Saturday, June 21, 2014


It's the 6th month of 2014 but more importantly today is the 6th anniversary of my living in Australia which means that I have spent 1/6th of my life on this continent (hence the triple 6 in the title).

On 21st June 2008, I stepped on a plane after having decided that Ision is my final destination. Thinking back now, I find it hard to believe that I had that amount of courage in me to make perhaps this biggest move in my life. I guess people have done much more glorious (and stranger) things in the name of love for eons so who am I to wax lyrical about my courage in the pursuit of this four-letter word?

I have always maintained that the motivation behind my relocation was 50% pull (Ision) and 50% push (draconian rules of Singapore especially towards homosexuals) although I think secretly the pull factor was a little more than 50%. The reason why I had to tell myself constantly that it was only 50% is because of my self-protection instinct—if the relationship fails, I would not have lost it all. But after 7 years in this together with Ision (plus a civil union along the way), I think this reminder to myself can finally be pronounced obsolete.

Of course this does not make the push factor any less significant. I have been following the development of gay rights in Singapore over these 6 years and sometimes I really struggle to see if it is truly three-steps forward/two-steps back or the other way round instead. The 6th (another 6!) Pink Dot takes place in a week (I swear I will attend it in person one day) and the fact that this event never stops growing larger in scale is in my opinion the strongest indicator that it's three-steps forward. Alas homosexuals living in Singapore must still remain ever-vigilant and cannot let their guard down as the opposing voices are often louder, shriller and most sickeningly, they come with greater clout.

Take the recent backlash from the Muslim community and the fact that different religious groups often unite in Singapore to sound their dissent for instance, ironically ignoring the other glaring things that make their faiths diametrically-opposite from one another. Don't these people have better things to do than to fight something that is inevitable? Don't they know what they do makes Singapore look like an oppressive third-world country (perhaps it still is) in the eyes of other nations? These people who rear their ugly heads against a single disadvantaged minority group never fail to grab every chance to satiate their hunger for might and superiority but they also unknowingly reveal how primitive and silly they are. As I see these naysayers come out of the woodwork once again and read about these disappointing developments, I feel glad that I made that decision 6 years ago.

You might now ask, if uprooting myself from Singapore was such a good idea, what do I have to show for this decision now that I have had all these years to establish my life down under? For starters, I am recognised under the law as the spouse of my same-sex partner so that is a huge plus (not huge enough as gay marriage is still illegal but we're getting there albeit slowly). I have also recently been given a role that furthers my career—my official title in Papua New Guinea is "Production Lead", something that will most definitely brighten up my CV. This progression must mean that I am doing things right in my career, which gives me another tick in this 6-year report card. Also, I have been looking for true love for the longest time and my relationship with Ision has never been stronger (in fact I am getting a little overly-dependent on him—sometimes I am not too sure if that is really a bad thing). Therefore in the love department, another tick has been earned.

Although as stated above, the three most important things in my life are all trending in the right direction, there are still several things that remain under-developed eg. my modelling career, busking ambitions, and property-purchase. As I am not getting any younger, I think it is best that I put my efforts in becoming a better model to hibernation (although I still want to do photo shoots in a few particular genres, when opportunities become available). Unlike modelling, busking is not age-dependent and since I am still composing regularly, falling behind is not such a bad thing (as long as I resume it at some point in time). Then comes the buying of property, which remains the biggest ick factor in my life right now. It's icky because I know it makes perfect fiscal sense to buy seeing that prices never stop rising yet I am still procrastinating (which never stopped since more than 3 years ago). Well I blame this on my job which constantly injects uncertainty into where I call "home" and since we are still planning to move to UK after my 12-month stint in Papua New Guinea, I think it is not the end-of-the-world if I don't buy now. This is the way I always rationalise my failings (a.k.a. finding something to blame)—definitely something I am not proud of but this system works so I tend not to mend it if it is not broken.

One thing that is certain is my life has become more of an adventure ever since I moved away from the predictable comforts of Singapore. This not only accelerated personal-growth, I have also come to realise it did (and still does) make life more interesting (even though I will never give up my penchant for routine and stability). As I prepare for my next adventure (my work in PNG tentatively starts 1st August), I look back fondly at how Australia has changed me over these 6 years, while missing the food, my friends and family back home (my favourite 3-F's).

If the only constant in life is change, I hope it treats me kindly so I can return to this spot in 6 years' time as a much better person to tell you all that has happened since.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Musical journey (47)

I have described in many previous posts the passion I have for performing and so it is not surprising that I will grab every opportunity to perform in front of audience. However I feel that there is a difference between this kind of ad hoc performances and those people do in order to earn a living. I might be perceived as negative here but I think making one's passion a livelihood somehow tarnishes that brilliant energy just a little bit. I am sure there are many examples out there that prove me wrong but this is just a personal opinion.

Opportunities to perform come in many forms and one of them is at work functions. When my current Australian company organised a talent contest, I was one of the first to sign up but alas there wasn't enough interest in the competition (how can an Asian person be less shy and inhibited than Aussies?!) and the event had to be cancelled. There were many more chances to sing for colleagues back when I was in Singapore which also included the associated task of writing team-building songs (that sometimes make me cringe a wee bit).

In this month's musical journey, you will get to listen to a song written for a company that is not so cringe-worthy. In fact I quite like the words myself (other than the word "safety" which I was forced to include) as they are really positive (I had to shove my usual negativity aside and invoke my imagination to write it). The clever (and lazy) thing about this composition is that I used the tune of one of my favourite Chinese pieces to write new words for the corporate event. Needless to say I enjoyed every second of performing it in front of my work mates (and bosses!).

So here's my musical sharing for June (2014 has sure flown by fast).

[More Than Meets the Eye]

The odds are small
The walls so tall
When challenged we show no signs of fear at all
But when we stand alone we will fall
So when we heed the call
We stand together through it all

The stakes are high
We race against time
There are no answers too hard for us to find
'Cos we have the skills for us to fight
Talents we cannot hide
'Cos we're more than meets the eye

We raise the bar high
So we can strive to be the best
And with pride we do it right
With safety in mind

Through good and bad times
We will find that we will build ties that bind
So hand in hand
Let us soar above the sky

With our goals in sight we're aligned
With each and every one we will strike
Nothing's too high for us to climb
We'll stand united at the start line
Now it's time for us to shine

The world will see why
We are more than meets the eye