After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.


Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Raffles Country Club Performance '07

Last year I posted something about losing a library book at the Raffles Country Club during an ensemble perfomance. This was the photo we took at that time. I've been dying to get a copy of this! Many thanks to Byron Lim.

Left to right: Byron - 2nd Clarinet, Shawn - 1st Clarinet, Joel - Tuba, David - Star player slash Alto slash Soprano saxophone, Myself - 3rd Clarinet, James - Baritone Saxophone

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Waltz is Great

Went through the Preparation plus about 15 steps, then learnt a bit of the Whisk, which apparently came about when a dancer got drunk on whisky and tried to Waltz. Not sure if that's true, but it makes sense when you try it.

There's a very nice feeling I get when doing the Waltz. I can't describe it yet, but even as I'm soaked in pespiration, trying to keep a steady beat, getting my steps right, keeping my shoulders aligned, bending my knees at the right time, wobbling dangerously close to stumbling, holding my head high, keeping my arms up, sucking in my tummy, all the while trying to look like I'm dancing instead of working out, it all feels... just right.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Term 1 Week 3

It can be quite scary to think that the 3rd week of school has just passed. What with all that monitor duties and teacher adapting, it gets kind of tiring after a while. My nose protested today by giving a full blown leak from the start of school right until now.

This week I had my first Music lesson of the year, which was a total blast obviously. As usual, there was no end to the lame jokes Irfan and I kept coming up with in class (it's really a surprise we are two of the three whom our teacher is confident will do well in the O's if we keep up the hard work). Examples? "I got Mahler-ed by a tiger yesterday" or "Gay" in response to anything by Tchaikovsky or insisting that Wagner is pronounced "Vagner" (German) or critisizing Johannes Brahms for not grabbing Clara Wieck Schumann when he had the chance or trying to find out how our teacher pronounced Dvořák's name... Or even as silly as singing the first few bars of Smetana's The Moldau after finding out it was our teacher's favourite.

On a more serious note, we learnt about the idee fixe, a reoccuring melodic theme over several movements which was used by Berlioz, and leitmotif, a short musical idea associated with a person which is quite common nowadays that was used to unify Wagner's greatly extended musical dramas.

Just today Irfan and I went to the Esplanade Music Library again to listen to a bit of music. Our favourite pick of the day was Gustav Holst's The Planets. The first planet, Mars - The Bringer of War, had a consistent triplet quaver - crotchet - crotchet - quaver quaver - crotchet rhythm on a five-four time signature played by various instruments throughout the piece definitely put a good feel especially when played by the snare drums. The next planet, Venus - Bringer of Peace, was a lot more relaxing and soothing to the soul. Something I tend to enjoy more than Irfan. The final piece, Neptune - Bringer of Mystery, even features a female choir that is to sing in a concealed room adjacent to the concert hall, leaving the connecting doors open and slowly, quietly, closing the doors at the end of their eerie singing, setting a truly haunting setting fit for its title.

We followed the conductor's score as much as we could throughout the piece, noting the "breakdown of tonality" that came about roughly around the time it was composed (1920 ish). Want to experience the "breakdown of tonality"? Try listening to rapidly modulating keys that just don't make sense at all. It had some audiences literally throwing garbage at the orchestra when it first came about. If you are a true music traditionalist, I assume you'd literally break down into tears. Such was the case of our own Music teacher who could not believe one of Debussy's piano pieces was really Music when she was still studying. On the other hand, Debussy just so happens to be one of my favourite composers.... (Prelude to the Afternoon of the Fawn was the first piece of his that struck me). Musical Impressionism doesn't impress too many people I guess.

Jokes aside, my once feeble attempts at Liszt are now on a good track to Liebestraume. Hopefully, I can play it convincingly by O Levels. Yup. Things are looking good as far as Music goes for this year.

Setting New Year's Resolutions for Dummies

1. Make your 2008 goal to accomplish your monthly goals

2. Make your monthly goals to accomplish your weekly goals

3. Make your weekly goals to accomplish your daily goals

4. Make your daily goals to accomplish your 2008 goal

See? It's not so hard after all. You can now happily slack away 2008 always knowing that each day you are fulfilling 4 goals.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just A Moment Before a Quick Trip Back to KL

My poor blog has been left to rot while I plunged into a whole new year of school. With an all-new schedule that delays the start of school by 20 minutes. WOHOO!

Other than that, most people agree that the reign of tyranny has begun. I don't dare to say much, lest I wake up one night to find myself dragged out of bed with a sackcloth over my head, dumped into a black van and driven off to face either torture or expulsion, forever regretting the illusion that I had freedom of speech.

Nah. Our previous Principal, Mr. Ng, has finally left for ACS Jakarta. The previous ACS Junior Principal, Mr. Peter Tan, has taken the helm and boy have there been many changes in school. Not all of them were his idea, but a lot has changed. Most notable is the new rule that all students are to wear ACS socks. NEVER!

Another seemingly interesting bit of news for some of the students who have been in ACS Barker Road for a longer time, is that the old school barber Mr. Raju is back. If I am not wrong, I heard a gasp when it was announced during assembly that "Mr. Raju is back."

It is now becoming common for boys to laugh at people who got "Raju-ed" and ended up with "good boy" haircuts as a punishment for the having the opposite.

That aside, I've been getting a lot of great teachers this year. I also made a daring decision to take upon the responsibility of Class Monitor, hoping I'd be able to dispel my fear of responsibility which I discovered when I started getting burdened at Tsun Jin High.

Anyway, I'm going back to KL to attend a cousin's wedding. Will probably drop by to check out how the Tsun Jin Wind Orchestra is doing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back To School Already

Day Two of the first week of school.

Already rushing a Differentiation assignment for Additional Math which I didn't know I was supposed to do for the holidays -.- Went all over the internet to find out how to differentiate exponential functions, which after much failure and frustration I realized was on the very same worksheet I was doing the exercise from >.<

In the end, since I was listening to lots of Mozart at the time I ended up getting curious about what a Sinfonia Concertante is and wiki-ed it, and ended up learning about Scordatura.... wiki it yourself to find out =) Quite insightful. The first time I came close to something like that was when I was told how the slight off-ness of some string instruments had its uses. It makes sense now.

Apparently I learn more Music when I do A Math...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

This Morning

Talk about starting the New Year with a bang. Woke up at 11am and started attempting Chopin's Prelude Op. 45 on the pianoforte, which was terrible. Clearly, some pieces should never be sight-read XD

Packing my twice worn out school bag was fun. The only books I'm bringing are the many library books I have to return. My pencil case is still full of cartooning equipment, and the only proper thing I should be bringing to school is my Scientific Calculator and a bunch of highligthers. Other than that, I might as well be going out and standing around.

Started listening to Saxophonic by Dave Koz. It was my Christmas present of 2004, and it sure brought back some old memories. I still can't believe it's been four years already.

Back to school tomorrow.

Happy 2008!

Somewhere inside I'm wondering why so many holiday plans went wrong. Elsewhere inside I am so marvelled by all the unexpected things that popped up during the holidays that made it such a great experience.

I just wish words could describe this euphoric feeling I'm having just listening to yet another one of Mozart's symphonic pieces. Happy New Year all.