Thursday, February 17, 2011

Because I'm one of those who tries really hard to avoid Valentines

I do, I really do. I hate that a lot of the stuff are doubled the usual price. I hate that the restaurants have this menu called 'The Love Menu'. I hate that suddenly all charity organisations jump into the bandwagon of charging flowers triple or quadruple the normal price. I hate that suddenly all the singles get all defensive, when I ask daily things after work like, "so what's the plan" - they get all niggah on me and say OH LIKE THAT NOWLAH.

Until, I see Daren all groomed up, with his long jeans, and a white Padini Shirt and in his stylish new Cotton On shoes, and to a place to bring me to (apparently just cause it's a Monday) and well to avoid at all cause that if I ever do, get all retarded and gloomy that he didn't do anything for me during "Valentines". When by his nature, maybe even when he's sleeping - he lives in just random short pants, a simple tee and a pair of faded slippery flip flops.

You know, the best part about him being my best friend is that he puts up a lot of effort when it comes to me. He even got the RM 10 of a freaking stalk of a rose for me -____________________- You should've seen how hard I tried to say no, and that damn salesman had to say "Girls would never ask wan, they usually expects guys to WANT to buy for them wannnnn".

With what all the bitterness in me regarding this classic most manipulative marketing gimmick, I find softness in all his efforts. I find tenderness in his intentions. That the only reason one tries really hard to make another person happy is because... it simply makes them genuinely happy too.

Thank you :)

Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The importance of education

When dad passed on when I was 10, I remembered being so fearful of a lot of things in my life. About mum, about brother who at that time was having a really tough time accepting his passing on, about sister who was still such a baby then, about house – on who's going to take care of us, about having a male figure to protect us, and most importantly about being financially stable and for the three of us to be able to carry on with studies for the rest of our lives.

We were blessed, that late dad had money in all sorts of savings, and ways. As a librarian, mum has always upholded the importance of reading. Just reading for that matter, it doesn’t matter whether we’d be picking up something that is probably ancient years old, from today’s paper, anything from the TV to basically to just being able to absorb information from anything that we read online or offline. Good or bad. As a result, our house has stacks of books lying everywhere, racks of books, encyclopedias, the list just goes on.

Watching The Reader last week when I was on my one week long break was nothing but a tap on the shoulders of how important, greatly important education is. Kate Winslet pursued an affair with a sixteen year old boy, and in exchange for sex, Winslet requested to be read, everyday, because she loved stories, every time before they do it. After months of continuing their relationship and as both find it more and more difficult to fit and adjust to each others’ emotional needs, Winslet decided to leave him cold on a casual weekday noon. With no letters, no reasons. As time pass by, and as the boy grew older he continued with his tertiary education and attended a law school and met her for the second time. Only this time, it was in the court. She was convicted over approving papers on disallowing inmates not to be released during a massive fire. Stamped and signed by her. But the issue was, for the whole of her life, she has always been illiterate. She couldn’t read the papers, she couldn’t read the signatures, she couldn’t read the allegations, she could read nothing. So basically, she was framed. And he was the only who could attest to it. But when she was put in a position to object the accusations, she gave in and took the life sentence instead, all because of shame.

This is a story of how one depicts the great importance of education. How sometimes, we the rest of the world so shamelessly take for granted the education that we have, both earned and awarded. Theoretical or practices. How we so absent mindedly choose to succumb to laziness to things as simple as ‘thinking over a situation, solving a crisis’. We just give up.

When so clearly we have all the knowledge that one could use and practice to solve it. We even have the education to be strong in dire times, the chants to keep ourselves grounded, we are of well informed generation.

Everyday when I learn something new, ordinary or not I appreciate that my mental capability (though not the greatest) could cope with it, and I pray that I am always, or rather hopes to be always inquisitive. To be sincerely interested in a lot of things in life, simple or not. I am not the smartest, but I love finding out about things.

Education and knowledge is limitless. Does dropping out from college but learning everything from scratch about music, chords, notes is considered picking up an education? Yes. Does quitting your job and learning everything about the total opposite of your career spectrum say picking up on architecture when you’ve done greeting cards all your life is considered an education? Yes. (Yes I took this from 500 days of summer). Is learning how to do hopscotch when all you’ve played in your whole life is uh, iPod an education, simply put, yes. My lecturer once said that education is a privilege. It's not a necessity.

I figured all of us must be open to learning something new everyday, maybe even of something greater, like investing on philanthropy, or like the what other country is facing, like what other religion is really like (just the other day we were talking about it). Ignorance is not always a bliss you know. It’s a saying we want to believe that it's better to be that way, but there are just some things you are at greater advantage... if you just know more than the person standing next to you.

Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Laneway Festival at Singapore 2011


For some strange reason, the photos no longer appear on this post. I am uncertain what has happened to them, but I reckon it's a Blogger issue. For photos of this beautiful island, please check out my photos on Facebook HERE

Dear friends,
If you’re a massive indie music fan like me, and love free-spirited concerts; and if you had to choose to go to just one concert in a year (if you really have to). Laneway Festival is where your money should be at. The deets: January 29, Saturday at Fort Canning Park.
Four simple reasons why:
1. It cost around 100SGD, about RM200 for a 10 hours concert. See that’s about RM20 for a set (up to 30 – 45 minutes depending on songs and solo pieces) when a one piece concert would usually have a set of just 45minutes, an hour tops (including intervals) to cost equally that much. If you really think about it, that’s a conjob.
2. It’s a bloody festival. That means eating fries and gulping down beers at 3PM on a Saturday while dancing is most welcome (DAMNENCOURAGEDSOMEMORE). Other concerts even restrict cameras like wtf?
3. It’s on a freaking massive field. About that time and age you literally dance in the rain instead of singing in drizzles infront of your house and say you did it. Jyeah right.
4. Let's just say... it was a massive festival:

Lineup for Sg’s Laneway Festival is as below (in order of appearance); Warpaint, Ladyhawke, Beach House, Deerhunter, Holy F@#k!, (!!!) chk chk chk, Yeasayer, Foals and The Temper Trap.
When Audrey told me about Laneway Festival, I was really excited and back then even though I knew about The Temper Trap, I admit I didn’t know ALL of their songs. But still, I wasn’t hesitant. I told her to get it because I’ve planned my holidays, and a concert festival to boot the holiday was definitely the kick I wanted.
That was about a month plus ago, and ever since I’ve started Youtubing the bands, I fell in love with especially 3/ 9 of the bands. I knew it was going to be epic.
Sleepy Audrey before the concert because we slept at what, 3.30AM and woke up at 9AM.

See I’ve never really used that word epic to describe anything cause I kinda don’t know what that word really depict, but thanks to Laneway I now know what epic means. Or looks like. It felt like it was a festival in a festival, and the best part was I really can’t think of anyone else who’d make the concert anymore epic than it was then spending and dancing and singing in the rain with AudreyLove and with uh, a kangaroo? Oh, that's Oliver (something, something) in red hat. That guy who hosts the Sony Cybershot show in AXN.

So the 3 bands that made me a million more excited to go than I already was were ; Warpaint, Foals and The Temper Trap.
Thanks to the multi talented hot foursome with their psychedeliic jams, I now know too what a girl crush means. I have a massive girl crush on Warpaint’s bassist. My God, she’s hot. The criteria to look ‘yeng’ in a band that are purely in my opinion would be ;
a. Personality (this is usually shallowly judged based on what they wear and their playfulness/showmanship on stage),
b. Hair (eccentric souls usually have out of the ordinary hairstyles, or maybe a twist)
c. Your performing aura (you know how sometimes some singers or performers have the best showmanship and they can make everyone jump from their seats?) Just that, x-factor aura you know?
d. And of course most importantly, how good their hands are with the strings. And yes, because you have all that, I love you Lindberg;

Hehehe yes I was abit stalkerish.

Warpaint as an intro act was epic. I thought I missed Elephant cause I was about a song late, but when they hit the first note for it as the last song I went nuts. Didn’t help that Lindberg was gorgeous as hell, I loved her and her style and her stage persona I was snapping her away on my trusty Lumix.
After the Warpaint, Audrey and I needed to redeem ourselves for being a song late. We squeezed in and we manage to get to right infront of the grand stand. Ladyhawke was dressed in all black, sleeveless shirt and skinnies. After a couple of songs we were very close to going deaf. We first found out about Ladyhawke back when we were in Adelaide. Most of the pubs were playing her song so we were pretty stoke for the set as well.

It was worth it!!

Beach House
Then there was the Beach House. Honestly, I don’t remember any of their songs prior to the festival. Abit uncool, but I was depending on their showmanship and of course jive to make me dance, and the main vocalist was a show herself. Covered in a bright green jacket, almost gender-unidentified she owned the board. Like others, this band has an electronica feel to it but compared to Foals, this has a more calm, cool and collected feel. I guess you know, they ARE the Beach House.

Right after this with deafened ears, growling stomach, dry throat, Salonpas-ed back, cold pale toe nails we decided we had to leave the precious spot or we will die out of suffocation or hunger, you know whichever. So we squeezed our way out for a couple of cold drinks and NACHOS. God bless their cheap filling food, we lasted till midnight with just that.

Then we found another spot. Somewhere much further but the entertainment we got from watching the hipsters and just about everyone else was basically priceless. Plus, we had a couple of seriously energetic cool Canadians behind us who so infectiously partied all night long, right up to getting topless by the end of the night.
These two dudes were relaxing on the ground when the moment the band struck their first note, they jolted up.

A unique note to start maybe? You do not need to be stoned to feel stoned when you listen to their music. I mean yes this is an indie fest, but Deerhunter’s set was a whole new level. What is an opposite of delirium? Yeah that. Slow and eccentric in it’s own ways, Deerhunter (singer iteslf looks like a deer acc. to Audrey) started off with a great intro, minor vocal intrusions and ultimately really psychedellic. You will literally feel lost in their music. Because I kinda did. And shit, I didn't took a photo of them (the deer).
Holy Fuck!
An electronica band that has very minimum vocals. By minimum I mean three or five intrusions, usually sound like ‘aaaahhhh’, ‘yeaaaaah’. Long and autotuned. Not easily relatable but my God can they perform. Drums was good, bassist was good as well.
See the table tuner?

(!!!) chk chk chk
I know what you guys have in mind. How the hell do you say that? I didn’t know how to at first as well, I kept referring them as C-H-K as in letter by letter to Audrey when she makes the “chek-eh-chek-eh-chek” sound I was like, RIGHT OKAY. I really don’t know the functionality of the three exclaimation marks either. Erm how do I describe their music without using the word eccentric again. Well I guess it’s fresh. Main vocalist was a ball of energy. Trademarked this really cute odd dance, and it seems like he’s having so much of fun you’re in doubts whether he’s on something or not. And yes, did you notice he wore a really short, short pants that they look like boxers? Oh God, bojangles.

He terrorised the crowd as well, in a good way ‘cause everyone started groping him that time. Will I ever listen to their music? Of course, but that might requires alot of redbull maybe.
This is a pretty awesome band.

I was pleasantly surprised. I knew most of the fans there went for the last three bands which were Yeasayer, Foals and The Temper Trap but I didn’t know what to expect from this particular band. Based in New York but infused with which I think abit of local indian beat (one of them is an Indian I think) the music is a rarity and they briefly remind me of alternative tribal music. Check them out.
And by far for me me the highlight of my night. I would like to pat my back for being able to discover Foals all by myself. Despite sounding like an alternative dance, the songs are considered transgressive, which actually when I think about it – yeah they were. Dark and twisted, the lyrics are ill but in celebration of death. The whole set made me love them a million times more musically wise. Brilliant guitar solos, brilliant drum solo, excellent vocals but when combined it becomes this slow headbang on an injection. Psychedellic and hazy.

The thing about Indie music that you will never get from big music productions is that they will not sound the same and they’re usually well, psychedellic. Because they’re not signed by big local music productions, they maintain a certain element of oddity and mysteriousness and non-main-stream-like (which are usually repetitive lyrics, similar like music beats and very simple and understanding lyrics). Indie’s don’t conform to these and some songs are subtlety violent that they're considered "not for all ages". Loved their set. PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR MUSIC. You will not regret it.
The Temper Trap
Audrey was looking forward to The Temper Trap the most – I’m sure you guys have had heard of Sweet Disposition the soundtrack for (500) Days of Summer. I love the lyrics. I listen to their songs all the time, and I’ve always had The Temper Trap moments back in office so I know most of their songs. We were dancing and singing to it, it really felt like a dream.

You know, to be able to see the them live when all this while you’ve had it on records. The beat, the feel, the experience. Their songs are like fervented body shakers. Especially the drum beats.
There were a few more things I remember the most besides the epic lineup. The party people, which some went home bottomless, topless – at least less on some parts these people were crazy awesome sports throughout the festival rain, or no rain:

Really? Could you ever imagine people start undressing in a concert festival and mud sliding down on like what seemed like family park at 3PM? Really?! These people sure know how to party alright.
An awesome travel journalist who were killing me and Audrey slowly with his exciting travelling stories (hikling in Laos, living in Sumatra, boating to Sumatra, went to Nepal on and on) :

And last but not least, the chance to dance in the heaviest rain one could ever imagine. Actually the rain was playing a mockery on us, it rained really heavily during the sets and then die down completely during intervals, and the wind blew, then rain again, then stopped again. There was a point I was all soaked right to the undies. I was dry and then wet, dry and wet, dry wet, dry wet. I was literally shivering down my spine.
Look through my Facebook photos for that shitty wet photo of us - while I show you a non wet after party photo of me and my sweetest friend here hehehehe. I love you Audrey!

Okay, I plan to go to the Roskilde Festival in say 5-6 years time 'cause it's a 5 days festival, so that my friend is gonna be way crazy. Who's coming with me for that one?!

Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.