Random Ramblings

I’m listening to Meghan Trainor right now and I decided to flip open my laptop and visit a place that I haven’t been to in ages, so long that it’s very existence began to be questioned by me, almost as though System of a Down had personally come to ask my permission to name one of their songs, and though I’m not sure where this is going part of me is sure there’s a point to this post, there has to be a point, I mean why else would I have started writing on a blog that’s essentially been dead for a while most of you may be expecting some sort of continuation to the graduation trip saga that ended so abruptly after part 1, I’m so sorry to disappoint it seems like I do that a lot end blog posts randomly I mean not disappoint but then again maybe I do both very often I’m not too sure I should probably check but then who can I trust to be honest with me trust no on trust no one trust no one the truth is out there macham X-Files maybe I should stop this paragraph here people do always complain that my sentences are too rambly and too long-winded for them to follow then again why should I care what people think please stop fooling around you know precisely why you should care stop acting holier than thou though thou is an interesting word to use I always use random words in posts and statuses is it statuses or statii I don’t even know I’m sure there’s an answer to this question somewhere but where probably on the Internet but that’s where I am right now it would mean I should end this paragraph here and go to the other million and 1 tabs that I have open to check on the plural of this word status but then will I be able to get my flow back I kinda like this flow of one continuous flow of an uninterrupted paragraph of just my thoughts and stuff even though I just got interrupted by people asking me questions though why would they do such a thing there’s no viable form of wisdom I have to offer them other than perhaps random comic book and geek trivia I do identify as a geek and I’m quite proud of it my god I’ve gone totally off track maybe I should get back on it oh yes I was wondering if I should end the paragraph but then I kept going so I should probably end the paragraph and so I shall end this random train of thought here.

Here.

I thought I’d just let my brain run free and wild, then reigned it in when I realised it didn’t like to go anyplace other than random dark corners of my mind that shouldn’t be displayed on a public forum. Then I lost the rope to reign it in. So I chased it for a while, herding it to safe pastures. Finally I caged it back, and now you’ll be happy to know the information superlowway of my mind is once again uncluttered and free for exploration.

This has been a post about random ramblings, and I’d like to thank you for taking part in this cruise. Please ensure you didn’t leave any valuables behind, and watch your step on the way out. Thanks for your patronage. Maybe someday soon I’ll add the other posts about my graduation trip. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe all my posts from now on shall be more stream of consciousness writing that takes a hold of me till I let it go. My fingers are hurting now. It’s cold. And my fingers are hurting. My fingers aren’t very well worked out apparently. Next time I’ll warm them up first.

Ok bye.

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Grad Trip, Part 1: Los Angeles, the Mecca of dance

My graduation trip actually began a year ago, when I first had the idea for it. I’d been dancing for 2.5 years at that point, and I knew that all the best dancers and teachers were in Los Angeles, so I said that one way or the other, I was gonna make it there.

A year later, I’m here.

Well, at least I was. I spent the past 2 weeks there. I’m not in San Diego, incidentally an extremely beautiful place, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of my trip.

But anyway, Los Angeles.

I stayed in Home For Dancers, which was a great decision. I made so many friends there, and learnt so much just from living with them and hearing them talking about dance, and the struggles they face as dancers. It’s opened my eyes to whole different world out there, one that’s a lot more raw and a lot less sheltered.

And then there’s the classes. What can you say when you get to take classes and interact with people you’ve only up till now idolised on YouTube? You get to see them in the flesh, interact with them, learn from them. It’s been absolutely amazing.

The highlights include taking classes and chilling with Ellen Kim, Willdabeast’s absolutely incredible amounts of passion and motivation, plus the way he encourages his students nonstop, Lyle Beniga and Devin Jamieson’s absolutely insane choreography which I took immediately after getting off a 20-hour flight, Lando Wilkins insane musicality, Brandon Dumlao’s flowy and fluid strength, Nika Kljun’s killer choreo as well as the backstreet boys MAJOR THROWBACK choreo and soo many more.

I’ve spent a lot of time dancing. I put a lot into dance, and sacrificed a lot for it. But this is the first time when I’ve felt like this. Like I understand dance on a deeper level now. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, other than to say that these 2 weeks have been amazing.

I danced in a video shot by a housemate (HOOOOOOO MY GOD Tai), I partied with my housemates at Carnival and got to see absolutely mindblowing performances from the likes of Jun Quemado and Laure Courtellemont, I spent a day in Santa Monica just walking up and down looking at stuff and not buying a damn thing, I felt my heart skip a beat as I entered Movement Lifestyle for the first time, and the sheer number of times I’ve felt my jaw drop from watching inspiring dancers is too many to count.

That’s a short summary of my first 2 weeks in LA. I took an Amtrak train to San Diego this afternoon (it’s like 8.15 p.m on Friday here, but in Singapore I know it’s 11.15 on Saturday), and started a conversation with a woman named Danica whose boyfriend is in the Marines and Special Forces, and we spent the whole 2 hour train ride just talking about life in general. She was an absolute delight to talk to, and she gave me so many tips and stuff on what to do and where to go.

Then I met my host family, Teresa and Gino, and fell in love with their house and their life. It’s such an amazing place they stay in, a quaint little neighbourhood that’s like 5 minutes from the beach. They’re amazing hosts too, really laidback and willing to help with anything I might need.

Now I’m writing this post, and getting excited for the days to come. Tomorrow is another adventure, just waiting to happen, and I can’t wait to see more, and do more.

Till tomorrow, then.

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On Silent Expression

I refuse to sleep till I’ve penned down my thoughts about what just happened. This concert, Shut Up And Dance 2014, just concluded tonight. With that, 4 months of effort came to a head in a night filled with insane quick changes, mad rushing about on stage, and a finale that came together as a family to support each other.

SUAD 2014 was an incredible concert for me. 2 years ago, SUAD 2012 had me sitting in the audience, having failed Blast! auditions the year before, and seeing those of my friends who had gotten in up on stage. That feeling hurt. It hurt something fierce.

It sparked something in me, a sense of “I cannot stop till I’m up on that stage.” And here, 2 years later, I made it.

To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. It was, quite simple, breathtaking. To be a part of such an incredible concert, with such amazing people surrounding me.

And then to find that there was a video dedicated to the organising committee. Almost too much. They deserved it, and y’all made it happen. You guys are something special, really.

I am proud. Just, so proud. Of everyone involved.

I’ve waited 2 years for this moment. And I’m glad I did.

That’s all I have to say for now, need some rest and I’ll get back to you with a more detailed epxplanation soon.

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Public Speaking and Worrywarts

And once again, I’m sitting in the public speaking lecture. I think this might just be my writing hour for the week. The hour in the week where I just zone out my lecturer and simply struggle against the chaos of my mind to put my thoughts down on paper (virtual paper?) in a form that allows some sort of coherence.

And once again I slip into my default mode of rambling on, writing sentences that seem to go on forever, the same way some of the sentences that Tolkien wrote used to seem.

Back on topic though, public speaking.

I took the module so that I could possibly have a module which I didn’t need to study for, which I could bank on for a potentially easy good grade.

Boy, was I wrong. The speeches that you have to deliver have to actually be researched. Can you believe it? The nerve of the moderators, making me work for my grades. How dare they. I daresay this might be cause for mutiny.

I’ve delivered 2 speeches so far, one which was introductory and one which was commemorative. I spoke about myself for the first one, due to the confusing reason of duh. The commemorative speech was more difficult, because you had to squeeze the lifestory of whosoever you spoke about, into 4 minutes. I chose to speak about my father, because of reasons. It was the obvious choice for me, with a father such as the one I have. But that’s a story for another day.

The last thing I’d like to talk about it worrying. It’s worrying how much worrying is done by people who worry about things they have no business worrying about. And yet, they do. On a constant, daily basis. The worrying is done in private, in public, softly, loudly, everywhere and anywhere.

I wish I didn’t worry so much. Now I’m worried that my worrying is having a negative effect on my body, my life. I worry so much, I’m worried I’ll get white hair. Then I worry about the effect white hair would have on my beautiful face. Then I worry if my face is indeed beautiful, which is short lived because of course it isn’t. Then I proceed to worry about how I can make sure my un-beautiful face is not passed along to my progeny.

I’m worried.

Toodle-poo.

(I worry that my sign off is offensive.)

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Seeking Proficiency at Public Speaking

Did you know that when you press new post on WordPress, it shows you this loading animation with the text which says, “Beep beep boop?”

Something new is learnt by the masses everyday.

I’m sitting in the lecture for Public Speaking, and I realised that I’m an absolutely terrible listener, especially if the speech’s content is not engaging. Or if the speaker is not engaging. Basically if you don’t grab my attention.

Given that my attention span is roughly the same length as that of a rock, that isn’t a very good thing. 

When this happens, and I lose interest in what you’re saying, I start having a conversation in my own head where I’m commenting on the speech, adding my own little anecdotes and having the time of my life making an imaginary enraptured audience laugh at my every little sidenote. 

That wasn’t a joke. There is actually like a legitimate bunch of people with shadowy faces in my mind who wait with bated breath for the next brilliant comment that I come up with.

This isn’t a good thing if I’m expected to give a speech, because I tend to get lost in the jokes, and lose my train of thought. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why cue cards are important.

Being good at public speaking involves way more than having a nice voice, or being able to control your volume/tempo/whatever. It means having the attention of your audience from the word ‘go,’ and being able to hold that attention throughout the duration of your speech.

If I get surprised to see you suddenly speaking and I start paying attention only to find that you are in the middle of your speech, then you’ve already lost the first half of the battle.

Not pointing anyone out, just something I’d like to observe. 

Kudos to the speaker though, she held my attention after I had gotten over my initial shock.

In the lecture now, for SSA2209: Government and Politics of Singapore. Crap, he brought up saris, time to pay attention.

Must dash, toodlepoo.

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Gratitude, Wonderment, and Dance.

I’m sitting here, at my computer, having watched just one single dance video repeatedly for the past 40 minutes. After that, I was lying on my bed, unable to sleep. I was literally quivering, so high on that one video alone. That is what inspired this post.

I’ll start off by posting the video I was watching.

If you haven’t watched it, go watch it. If you’ve already watched it, watch it again. And again. And again.

It’s what I’ve been doing anyway.

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I want to start off the post proper by firstly saying that I feel so incredibly blessed. I feel so amazingly lucky and blessed, for everything that’s happened to me the past few months, dance wise and life wise. 

Last week wasn’t so good though, I had a major moment of self-doubt that I was able to get through solely with the help of my friends, and for that I’m thankful too. I’m thankful for all my friends, each and every single one of them, whether I may show it or not, I love all of you. In some way or the other each and every one of them has made me who I am today, and I am so incredibly blessed to have met all these people. Some may not be friends anymore, but they were in my life for some time at least, and I learnt from them. I learnt from all of them. Thank you, my friends.

I know I’ve pretty much established that I’m really thankful, but it goes beyond just simple words. There’s a feeling of innate, gratitude that cannot be expressed no matter how many words one types, one that cannot be conveyed through hugs or kisses. It simply exists, carefully close to the top of your soul, threatening to flow over the top and cover the world with its infectious joy. And you, standing there quivering with this joy built up inside you, you wouldn’t dream of doing a single thing to stop the infection. This epidemic is one you would gladly see infect everyone in the world, if only to give others a glimpse of what you are feeling and what you experience.

ZEN PENCILS – EDGAR MITCHELL: A global consciousness

I think this comic comes close to what I’m feeling, but less to do with politics and more to do with just… joy. Plain, simple, unbridled joy.

Maybe it’s because my birthday is literally a day away, I’ve been reflecting on my life and the things I’ve done, and that is partly what inspired this post. I’ve been feeling so incredibly blessed to be where I am today, to be able to do what I do, whether it’s study Engineering in one of the best universities in the world, or whether it’s being able to dance alongside my friends, incredibly talented dancers. I just feel so thankful, that I don’t even want my birthday to be about getting presents, or about celebrating me. I think that where I am, where I’ve come from, is enough celebration of me. I want this birthday to be different, to be about anything but me.

I’ve been celebrating my birthday expecting gifts for 23 years now, and I think that I’ve received enough gifts. I don’t want anything anymore. I’m maintaining that I don’t want any gifts. I want no spending of money to be done on my account. I’m thankful for all that I have, and what I don’t have, I don’t believe I need anymore. 

This joy, this… gratitude that I’m feeling is something I cannot stop thinking about, something I cannot stop feeling. And I’m so happy that it’s that way. I hope it never goes away. That’s why, based on a recommendation by Sarah, I’m making a record of exactly what I’m feeling, as detailed as possible, on this blog. Remember this feeling, read the rest of the post, remember what this feels like, so if you ever feel shitty, remind yourself of what you felt on this day.

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This post was inspired by a dance video I watched.

Hence a large part of the gratitude is towards dance. 

I watched the video over and over again, enough to notice the small details people wouldn’t notice on the first few playthroughs. 

Enough to see the pure joy that radiated from the dancers’ when they were dancing full out with no reservations and nothing held back. 

Enough to see the dancers around them feel this joy as it emanated from them, see them absorb this feeling and make it their own and return it back tenfold. 

Enough to see even the most experienced choreographers, despite being internationally renowned and supremely talented themselves, still watch like awestruck students being shown for the first time the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. That wide eyed wonder that you feel when you see something fundamentally inspiring or beautiful for the first time.

Call me crazy, call me melodramatic, but that same wonder is what I’m feeling now, having watched that video.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all JUST FOR THAT VIDEO. 

It’s an accumulation of feels. An accumulation of gratitude, of wonder, for this thing that I love doing. 

Dance.

I’ve been dancing (properly, as a passion) for 3 years now.

I started trying to dance in JC1. when I was 17. Never took it seriously, till after NS, university Hall Rag, in Raffles Hall.

I’ve come a long way. I’ve got a long way to go.

But I can honestly say this.

I love dance.

I love it with a passion that no one can take away from me. I love it with an intensity that sometimes scares me. I love it so much that I’m not ashamed to admit it when a piece moves me to the point of tears. I love it with a purpose that leads me to know, with a finality, that this thing I do, dance, is something that I’m never going to give up

And I’m so incredibly grateful that I have it in my life. Dance is something that no single person or event can ever take away from me. 

That in itself is incredible for me. I have a lot of issues with trust, with friendship, with insecurities. I have a lot of issues period. Sometimes I feel incredibly alone, and incredibly small and weak.

But tonight I realised. I have dance. No matter what happens. I’ll always have dance. I’ll always love dance. Even when I feel forsaken by everyone. Even when I feel like I cannot go on. When I feel like the whole world is against me (melodramatic much, but sometimes everyone feels that way, whether it’s the actual truth or not is another matter altogether).

I know that I can go somewhere, listen to music, find a piece that resonates with how I’m feeling at that point, and move to it.

For someone who relies on the spoken/written word so much, I have a favourite thing I like to say (sort of) and it is (ironically) that words can only say so much.

But in my world, where words fail, movement suceeds.

Dance can express emotions in a way that words will never have the power to. A simple motion, a look, a turn, a jump, can leave an audience, breathless, speechless, even in tears. I’ve read books that can do the same, and those are the truly gifted authors in my opinion, but for me personally, dance has so much more power than books.

I’ve had the privilege of dancing with and learning from some of the truly great dancers, and that is another thing I’m so incredibly grateful for. Being able to watch these maestros in action is another thing that no one can take from me. A memory that is etched onto my brain forever. 

Watching these great dancers, these artists, move with such fluidity and grace is something that has left me in wonder countless times, left me shaking my head in disbelief countless more, and left me simply motionless still more times than that. To see my sources of inspiration with their eyes twinkling and their jaws hanging off the floor, the same way I look when I watch them, is a totally humbling experience.

I’ve come a long way. I’ve got a long way to go. All of us do. No matter where you may be in dance, the beauty of dance is there is no end to the journey of learning. Even masters can learn something. That is what dance has shown me. It’s shown me that no matter how much you may achieve in whatever field you may pursue, there is always more that you can learn, more that you can be inspired by. 

Dance, as a fundamentally physical act, has transcended the physical. This is something else I realised. For me, at least, dance has become an incredible source of strength. It’s almost a religious experience, and I’m not afraid to say that. Religion gives so many people all over the world hope, gives them strength. It inspires, it calms, it brings out the best in people. That is exactly what dance has done for me. To say that dance is a source of strength for me, is not something I say lightly. Many people go through life, struggling with issues most would not be able to handle. They are often asked where they find the strength to go on. I’d like to think that if I were to face such a challenge, that maybe, just maybe dance would help alleviate my burden. When I feel absolutely shitty, when I feel like no one in the whole entire world would care whether I lived or died, I turn to dance. I find a song that resonates, as I said before, and I move. If I am in a position where I cannot move freely, I close my eyes and I imagine myself moving. I see the steps in my mind, see myself executing them perfectly, and though in reality I move nowhere near as strongly/fluidly/whatever-ly as in my mind. I know what I am seeing. I know what I want. I know that that freedom, that freedom of expression is still there. I know that I can dance it away. I can lose myself in the music, the moment, and never let it go. 

Thanks, Eminem.

Another thing I’m grateful for is the fact that I am still able to feel this wonder now, maybe even more intensely than I used to. A lot of people don’t realise, but finding something, anything, that brings you a sense of wonder, of such intense inspiration, is not easy. Lots of people don’t have it. This wonder is something I mentioned but that I want to bring up again, because that awe is far from insignificant, I feel. This sense of awe I feel when watching dancers give their all on stage is, a sense of amazement, of wonderment, of sheer bloody inspiration. Inspiration from the fact that bodies can express what words can’t, inspiration from the fact that the dancers make everything look so effortless, awe at the knowledge that that same effortlessness took endless hours of practice to achieve. 

I was told by a dance senior once, that the day I stop feeling this sense of wonder, is the day I should step away from dance. I’m glad I still have it, and that it is more intense than ever. Being a dancer is not easy, and without the proper motivation pushing you forward, it’s easy to lose sight of why you dance. 

Tonight, I’m reminded of what dance means to me, and of why I dance. Dance is my form of expression, primarily. Though I may use words (excessively), but when you feel a song, and you choreograph to it, there is no greater joy than the joy of sharing your feelings with other people through motion. Dance is my caterpillar, constantly evolving into a butterfly that sheds it’s cocoon for the first time and emerges in all its glory, ready to dazzle the world with its newfound beauty. Dance is my newborn child, staring at the world around it as it takes in all the glorious information for the first time with wide eyed wonder. Dance is my solace, my strength, dance is my friend when I have none, my lover when I feel unlovable, and my god when I question religion. I dance because dance is my safe haven, the secret I have that keeps me smiling when all the world crumbles around me, the strength that keeps me going. 

I dance because I must.

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Rumblings of… Something.

You hear the rumble as it starts, soft and barely discernible. It could be almost anything, a passing vehicle or the hum of your laptop in the background. Yet there’s something distinct about this sound. Something that isn’t quite right, something that presses against your subconscious, begging you to listen to that voice you tuned out long ago.

You hear the thunder start to build, slow and steady. The vibrations of the sounds start to make your teeth chatter, as you sit uncomfortably, never in one position for too long. You try harder to ignore it, but it’s almost as though the harder you try to avoid it by stepping out of its path the more stubbornly it forces you back into its path, all the while bearing down on you, gathering speed as it heads directly towards you.

You hear the screams of dissent, feel the breath upon your neck of something not altogether unpleasant but something you know you’re going to regret giving in to. You feel the temptation of the wolf in disguise, as its tactics change from your mere obliteration to your seduction. The temptress steps forward, whispering into your ear, promising the world to you should you just give in. If you can just. Give. In.

So why don’t you?

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