Wednesday, December 02, 2009

speaking of today.

I guess it has become almost like a tradition to post myself a message. Like I hear people in my head rattling spoons against champagne glasses shouting “SPEECH! SPEEEEECH!” And for the sake of those imaginary people who think I am worthy of their attention at least for this moment, I shall appease.

For the first time in my 27 years of existence, apart from writing this out, I have no intention of exerting any additional effort or emphasis on self-indulgence this 2nd December. It will come naturally with what I will be getting up to today. For everyone around me, it’s my birthday. For me, it’s one day away from opening night for the most extensive involvement I’ve ever taken on in theatre.

Christopher Ling is an important person to me in my life as a performer. In 2000, Chris selected me to be a member of his project Rep16:21, one of the pioneering youth theatre ensembles in Malaysia. The Swimming Instructor will be the first time we’re working together in nine years. The creative reunion has been nothing less than spectacular. And the playwright, the exceptional Desmond Sim, has written a story that is fun and frivolous as much as it is fragile and emotionally profound. It is such a privilege and honor to be on board this production, and I’m sure my co-stars Michael Chen and Niki Cheong would concur. I hope you enjoy watching what we’ve been conjuring over the past 2 months.

Today is a big day. Michael will be picking me up from my office at lunchtime to head over to the KL Performing Arts Centre, where we will be running the play three times over, including the final preview which would serve as a mockup of the actual staging tomorrow night. THEN! Niki, Michael and I will be rushing off to raid Sri Pentas studios for a guest spot on the notoriously cool 8TV Quickie at 11.30pm. Out of all the publicity gigs we’ve been engaged in to promote the play, this our first time ‘live’ as a threesome, so I can only be left to imagine how crazy that’s gonna turn out.

The birthday wishes that started trickling in since yesterday are but gentle reminders of how far I have come to be here and do what I love, and knowing that there are people out there who distinguish and support me for who I am, what I do and what I stand for. And for that, I am grateful. Seriously, sincerely, comprehensively grateful.

I wish to share with you guys something that happened to me two months ago. I’ll try and be as concise as possible! I was walking towards a bus stop to go to Midvalley for a magazine shoot. The designated bus zoomed by me as I was strolling on the sidewalk, and I broke into a sprint to try and catch it. I did thankfully, but shortly upon embarking I had realized that my cellphone had jumped out of my open pouch compartment on my knapsack. But I was already running late for my shoot, so I decided to travel to Midvalley to report to the crew and perhaps get some help to go back look for it. The designer drove me to the stretch of sidewalk that I had started sprinting from. There was a fair bit of road construction going on in that area, and two workers there asked me if I was looking for a phone. I affirmed their suspicions, and they mentioned that someone had found a phone and asked them if it belonged to anyone at the site. When they said ‘No’, he decided to take it with him. One of the workers offered to call my number. It went straight to voice mail. I panicked, thinking that this person had removed my SIM card already. Surprisingly, my own number called back 2 minutes later. The person on the other line couldn’t speak English very well, but he said that I could collect my phone from him at Bangsar Shopping Centre, which was a 7-minute drive away. I told him I would call again when I got there. I hugged both workers for their help – the first one reacted with shock, the second was more than eager to receive. My designer, who was waiting for me at the side of the road, picked me up and took me to BSC, but not without facing a terrible traffic jam. When I arrived there, BSC was still closed but there was a lot of renovations going on at the side of the centre. I called my phone and it went to voicemail again. It did so for the next 15 minutes. Maybe the guy was calling his home country to make the most out of this opportunity before returning the phone. I stepped out of the car and went scouting around the renovation site for someone to speak to, and found the supervisor. I told him about my predicament, and he asked for the name of the person I spoke to. Dangit, I forgot to ask! The supervisor said he couldn’t help me without a name and advised me to give up calling and just get a new phone. I thanked him and returned to the car. Over an hour had passed since my search had begun, and my designer said that we needed to return to Midvalley already as we were holding up the rest of the crew already at the shoot location. I requested to try calling one more time. I got through, and the person picked up. We asked for his name, what he was wearing. He said “Just come around to the other side of the Centre, where the bus stop is. I will be there.” And he hung up. We drove around the lot as he had directed, and there he was. A construction worker, emerging from the car park. In dirty yellow boots, dirty yellow helmet, clothes stained in earth and grime. And he was holding my silly old yellow backlight cellphone. When he saw my ecstatic face as I drove past him, he smiled a weary morning smile. I leapt from the car, he handed over my phone and I thanked him profusely, and whipped out some money as a token for his honesty. He reeled back and said ‘No! No!’ In defiance, almost. And he scurried away back into the car park to resume his duties. When I checked my phone for any international calls made within the past hour and a half, there were none. No local calls either, for that matter. The only reason for the voicemail prompt was that the worker was in a low reception area. The worker had seemingly picked up my phone for the sole intention of wanting to return it to its rightful owner.

I dedicate today to the three people who helped me that day. The three foreign construction workers who held no expectations nor no hidden agendas. Three unassuming people who, despite working for minimum wages, saw no benefit in keeping a valuable item of communication for themselves. Three people who, on any other given day, would probably not be granted the chance to renew anyone else’s faith in human caliber. I am thankful that my negligence granted them that golden chance.

Which leads me to my birthday wish! I wish for all my friends to practice gratitude to the people who offer us their services to make our everyday living that much more tolerable, but are the very ones who are so easily taken for granted. Do not be selective with your kindness! Show these guys the same graciousness and goodwill you would express to your friends. Whether it be a garbage man, a toll booth collector, a bus driver, a street sweeper, a postman, a security guard. You don’t even need to say anything to them. If you happen to pass them at all today, just flash them a smile, acknowledge them for their contribution to the community. You never know what beautiful smile may emerge from the most indifferent countenance.

And with that, I shall leave you with a wonderful song that a dear friend of mine Ashaari has recently shared with me. It’s by The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens.

Don’t be shy with your gratitude!

Oh, and don’t forget to show up at my play too, or I will hunt you down and give you tard germs.
Purchasing tickets from Axcess
Facebook event page

Thank you everyone for your wishes. You have my heart, as always.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Radio Blah Blah

This was one of the most randomest windows of opportunity that fell into my lap last week.

My friend Johnny dropped me an online message to ask if I was up for a radio interview with one of the coolest newer stations around, Business FM (BFM 89.9), in less than 24 hours. I immediately said yes, then I had to send in relevant materials about myself so that the station could prepare relevant questions for the interview.

I was nervous as heck since I know what a rambler I can be, and how my spontaneity - or rather lack of it - tends to leave me with endless shoulda-woulda-couldas long after the moment is over. But Johnny, who tuned in to the broadcast, assured me that I did a good job. He's one of the frankest BS-free people I know, so I can trust the fella.

I'm always so humbled to know that people out there would be interested in what I have to say, about myself and what I do, and I hope I provided a decent self-representation to those who are not familiar with my work.

Here's the podcast:

Part 1

Part 2

Thanks loads to Freda, the gorgeous radio announcer who facilitated my interview. She handled my nerves superbly well, and I must give props to anyone who successfully handles MY nerves. They can become quite ridiculous.

It's always fun getting thrown into new experiences with an audience, it combines two of my greatest loves: learning and sharing. Thanks loads for listening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Yakkity Yak on Sarawak (Part 2)

On 12th July 2009, right after the finale performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, I lost my digital camera. It contained almost 4 gigabytes of videos and photos taken over 4 days in Sarawak, which I had planned to put together for my first big little personal montage project.

The loss has not been felt entirely yet; I cannot compute how such trigger-happy efforts can be rewarded with such a brutal blow. In the meantime however, in a bid to document the memories in any form I still can, I have been compelled to write the journal of my 5-day trip in Sarawak, complete with a sappy mention of the notable videos taken each day.

All things happen for a reason, and I hope you enjoy the long silly ride of this reason.

I forgot to mention in the last post that on our first night, Nur, Alfred, Mandra, Sam and I all stepped out for a late night walk along the beach, which was a 5 minute walk away from our cabin. There we marveled at the stars and kicked at the low tide. Sam and I started taking wicked long exposure shots of us writing our names and drawing hearts in the air with cellphone lights. We were having an absolute ball until some staff member from an adjacent resort chased us off the beach by order of his management; apparently to have people chillaxing by a beautiful midnight shore is ‘not nice’.
He damn right it’s not nice. It’s f**king brilliant.

10th July 2009

Town 'n' Out

I voluntarily plug some Jack Johnson into Nur’s speakers to enhance the joy of everyone waking up in our own time. We decide to head into Kuching town to meet up with extra bunkers Miranda and Jeremy and have lunch. The closest shuttle service into Kuching is situated at the entrance of the Sarawak Cultural Village, where the festival is being held. The venue is 20-minute walk from our resort. Nur and Alfred welcome the noonday sun with a generous slathering of tanning oil.

We redeem our access wrist tags to avoid the crowds later, and take a brisk walk around the village while we wait for the next shuttle out. The ride into town lasts an hour. Nur and Alfred hit the sack almost immediately, Sam’s jetlag keeps him up and both of us take pictures of rolling hills and shimmering lakes before I also let my consciousness dissipate into the tropical heat. When we step off the coach in Kuching, Alfred bumps into Paul and Marcie, two of his friends who happened to be walking in our direction. They’re also here for the festival and have rented a car to get around easier in. (I mention this point because it is imperative to an incident that happens just the day after.) We dine at a café that serves the greatest incarnation of ABC (Air Batu Campur = ‘Mixed Ice’ in direct Malay translation) I have ever sacrificed my sensitive teeth to: corn, lychee, jackfruit and apple mixed with pink sago and coconut agar jelly in a small mountain of shaved ice. Bliss in a bowl.

We walked around a bit around the city, including a quick stopover to the post office (which was a tourist site in itself) for Sam to send some postcards. On the way there, we pose by a hedge and I literally singe my hands on the afternoon pavement whilst attempting to pull off a baby freeze. We walk by a long strip of handicraft shops along the famous Kuching Waterfront and there are tons of things I’d want to buy. We’ll be spending the whole day in Kuching on the last day of the trip so I keep my purchases minimal – so far, just a couple of wood bracelets and an elaborate bead necklace that had ‘so totally beach party like omg’ written all over it.

We manage to buy food and drink supplies from a nearby grocery store, and take the next shuttle back to the Village. Little do we know though, that the coach has to check off a detailed schedule of designated spots around Kuching town before hitting the long road, stretching the hour-long journey by another 30 minutes. My nap is too scattered to offer rejuvenation, and immobile aircon vents are steering arctic winds into my frostbitten face.

Warming up
We finally reach the village and hike back to our cabin to prepare for the night’s festivities. Whilst gearing up at the cabin, a roar of thunder makes the wooden boards under our feet quiver. A sudden storm brings out the hydrophilic properties out of some mates and they cheer in anticipation. I don a big red disposable rain poncho much to the enjoyment of anti- and pro-rain advocates alike. The thing about rain ponchos is that the mini sauna effect they create from your body heat leaves you drenched all the same. I have always been one to place novelty before contradiction.

When we arrive at the village the crowd still seems manageable. We make a beeline for the food area. As with festival protocol, it’s hard to not pick a meal that doesn’t look nutritionally fulfilling. I end up making a slightly pricey but worthwhile purchase of Sarawak kolomee noodles done vegetarian style. I am even granted the request of extra veggies – judging from the overzealous helping of carrot and cucumber shavings, I take it that the guy manning the stall is very appreciative of me taking the chances on his meat alternative of tofu-mushroom mush. From the live projector screens we watch Noreummachi, an elaborately costumed percussion-horn troupe from Korea. Their appeal lies in their hats – they perform gymnastic ribbon routines entirely with their hats. They fling their heads about and twirl the ribbons above and around them in impeccable synchronization. All the troupe members must have very robust necks. Also imperative when it comes to dating a bumper car enthusiast or suffering from chronic nosebleeds.

After eating, we head down to the field where the two main stages are. The rain has now demoted itself to a drizzle but its wrath has left the ground in a diaper gravy state – brown, viscous, strangely putrid, and deep enough to induce a voracious appetite for loose-fitting footwear. I resort to stashing my slippers away into my drawstring bag with a clean-looking plastic bag I salvage from an open garbage bin.

The drawbacks of going cheapo and choosing ‘Heavy Duty’ over Alkaline
I type this out however I cannot recall much of the rest of the evening, despite the festival pass being the biggest investment of the day and embodying the whole idea of going to Sarawak in the first place. Perhaps because the rest of the performances that night were not really up my alley. Perhaps my memory is selectively appalling. All I do remember is my right foot aching immensely from the unleveled ground (an old injury re-ignited through physical exertion at work and a bad move in indoor soccer); walking out of the field as the final group of the night (Poum Tchack from France) began and thinking, damn, I would so stay on and dance to this funky accordion stuff if my eyelids weren’t so heavy and my feet weren’t so buggered, having my mate Dave Beasley (I must write his name out in full because I think Beasley is one of the most awesomest surnames on the planet) for company at the stoney pavement rear end of the viewing field, passing out in an upright fetal position and occasionally waking up to remind myself that I wasn’t in bed at home and then checking that noone had stolen my bag from between my legs.

Strange how I don’t drink and I can’t even remember how I got back to the cabin. But in the morning I did find in my pocket a fare ticket for a snowmobile.

PHOTOS / VIDEOS TAKEN: Making fun of Nur and Alfred sleeping on the bus, Sarawak Cultural Village by day, the empty stage area, Sam climbing halfway a coconut tree and making it bend, mud mud mud

NEXT ENTRY: Orang Utans, Rescue, Tongues, attractive Portuguese sapiens

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Yakkity Yak on Sarawak (Part 1)

On 12th July 2009, right after the finale performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, I lost my digital camera. It contained almost 4 gigabytes of videos and photos taken over 4 days in Sarawak, which I had planned to put together for my first big little personal montage project.

The loss has not been felt entirely yet; I cannot compute how such trigger-happy efforts can be rewarded with such a brutal blow. In the meantime however, in a bid to document the memories in any form I still can, I have been compelled to write the journal of my 5-day trip in Sarawak, complete with a sappy mention of the notable videos taken each day.

All things happen for a reason, and I hope you enjoy the long silly ride of this reason.

Thursday, 9th July 2009

Fly buffoons, fly!
Nur, my right-hand-woman who has organized the RWMF trip, has requested for me to travel to the airport with her mates Mandra from France and Sam from England, who have come down to Malaysia to visit her for a month. The hour-long bus ride from KL Sentral station to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal provides a cozy setting for making acquaintance. When we arrive, we bump into Nur and Alfred, who have arrived from their office in Cyberjaya in surprisingly good time.

Nur, Mandra and Sam find out that their flight to Sarawak’s capital, Kuching, has been delayed by an hour (10:30pm), leaving Alfred and I to arrive two hours earlier (8:30pm). Nur tells Alf and I to figure out a way to reach Permai Rainforest Resort, which was an hour’s drive away from Kuching, while we wait for the rest to touch down.

Upon boarding our plane, Alf and I are given health declaration forms to fill up in light of the current Swine Flu rampage.

Alfred peers over and asks why I chose ‘No’ to this particular question

‘Have you been to any area or country with local transmission of Influenza A (H1N1) as indicated by the World Health Organization over the past 7 days?’

“Doesn’t Malaysia have it already?”

I point out the very last note on the page:

‘If the answer is Yes to any of the questions above, please report to the Health Quarantine Section.’

Without further hesitation, Alfred also ticks ‘No.

It has been a while since I have flown out anywhere, and the sight of cumulus clouds browsing in clear cerulean pastures leaves me wide-eyed and breathless. I listen to selected tracks from Jason Mraz’s discography, which I had freshly re-fueled my MP3 player with the night before specially for the trip. (All but I’m Yours. I don’t get the hype about it and it’s way too straightforward a tune for my anthem playlist liking. But the funky and frenetic stuff, ah. That’s my Achilles heel.) I find it endearingly coincidental that Mraz’s latest album title effectively sums up my objective for this trip. We shall Sing. We shall Dance. And if there is a ripe enough advantage of space and time, We shall also Steal Things.

In an attempt to bide the time, Alfred and I attempt to have the longest dinner ever and still manage to fail by half an hour before Nur’s arrival. She and her 6 other mates finally touch down; I greet her at the gates with a dumb-schmuck grin and a tattered sheet of paper with NUR ZAKUAN & CO. hastily scribbled six times over in ballpoint.

Virgin night trek

We get a van and cab to our resort, discreetly tucked away in foliage and bug song. There is a 10-15 minute forest walk from the reception counter to our 2-bedroom cabin. A gorgeous moon halo illuminates the sky tonight, and with an 8-second exposure mode on my camera and unrivalled catatonic stealth I manage to capture it brilliantly on my camera.

After checking in and settling in, the management pays us a visit demands us to pay an exorbitant fee for the 3 extra people bunking in our 6-person cabin. A jump of RM350 per additional guest, compared to last year’s RM20, seems ruthlessly unjustified. To compound the issue, we were expecting four more people joining us over the next 24 hours. Nur decides to sort it out the next day, and we alert the stragglers of the need to conspire a sneak-in.

VIDEOS TAKEN: My eager beaver face upon takeoff, the window view of passing clouds, Nur & Alfred’s Instructional Tape on How To Inflate An Air Mattress

NEXT ENTRY: Town, Bus, Ice, Rain, Carrots, Mud that deserves to be made into poopoo pies

Monday, June 01, 2009

Won't you take me to :) town

I’m waiting around a recording studio as I type this, waiting for the occasional occasion where my vocal services are required for a Malaysian-made animation pilot. It’s a gorgeous house set atop a lush hill not too far from town, and I’m recording on the first floor - with strains of live traditional Malay music drifting up from a booth on ground floor. It’s getting dark, my eyes are straining, my bum aches on the cold marble floor (the sacrifices I make for power socket proximity), and my nostrils desperately seek the promise land through the destitute planes of second hand ciggy smoke. Its been a long day, today’s session is projected to last 10 hours. I’m heading to the office first thing tomorrow morning to face to colossal 48-hour task of successfully pulling off a media luncheon for an Aussie children’s TV show almost single-handedly.

I’m not happy. But I am content.

(Then again, I could be just saying that because my mate Johnny’s just sent me the grooviest Youtube link of Stevie Wonder on the talkbox. Drown me in that Stevie. Bludgeon me with that talkbox.)

When I took part in KLPac’s Shakespearean workshop presentation in April, we had a lot of student audiences. After one of the performances, one particular bevy of schoolgirls approached me for pictures and to congratulate me on my performance. And the unexpected happened. One girl told me that their school drama tournament was just around the corner, and she asked me for acting advice. I was dumbfounded. It seemed just yesterday that I was in her shoes, an eager beaver student waiting for actors to emerge from backstage to hound them for photo opportunities and tips on achieving my dream job. And now I finally understand, or at least safely assume, why most of them were unable to muster a substantial answer. It wasn’t because they wanted to protect the secrets of the trade. It’s because there are none. And they honestly don’t know what to say otherwise. The bug just grows and matures with you unawares, until of course you make that conscious decision to bring out the proverbial newspaper roll. It was a fascinating realization that I‘ve come so far and still be learning.

Like I‘ve said previously, It’s been a manic year, and tomorrow marks the beginning of the second half of the year. I like the way this it’s been going so far. I’ve sensed a better utilization of schedule without compromising on downtime. I’ve got almost the rest of the year entirely mapped out - it wasn’t my intention, since I had previously sworn off making plans to recover and breathe from a merciless year before this. But I think I’m ready for plans again, they no longer seem as asphyxiating.

I'm excited about being confirmed for a small stint for a docudrama for The History Channel, as part of a series that highlights some little-known fragments of Malaysian history. It's a non-speaking role and the pay's a tad paltry but hey, these days owning even a History Channel sticker could boost you several rungs up the social ladder. I should be shooting for two days sometime in June.

I’ve always warmed up to the idea of wrapping up a year with something extra chunky, and I’ve been served my ladleful of peanut butter for 2009: earlier last week I received the script for a big December play. Three players, a swimming pool and a whole lotta cheek. I just finished reading it last night; it’s a light commercial piece, which is beneficial for me because by the looks of it, I’m going to need to usher much of my energy into getting my character right. I was handpicked for the role so there is no way I can afford to do injustice to her. I’m glad I’ve been given a 6-month headstart! I’ll pump ya’ll with the juice when the date grows more significant.

I really want to start blogging regularly again. I’ve been notorious for wearing my heart on my sleeve, and I miss taking a small everyday incidence and going all Lord-Of-The-Rings with it, deliberating over my words for hours on end before I deem it post-able. How I wish my work commitments were halved so that I could stick to the promise I've made to my blog to not condemn it into the pits of obscurity. I’ll see how I can get myself back on track again.

For now, or more specifically the rest of the evening, it’s back to the mic, headphones and a glass of good ol‘ passage-clearing sky juice.

The closest Fairil & I will ever get to matrimony

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whirlwind Days

Gahdamn, it’s been a crazy year so far.

Just been getting myself involved in so many projects both commercial and personal. And I’m starting to painfully rule out the incorporation of ‘rest’ from my current lifestyle. Being the natural lazy person that I am, it’s bizarre how I would now choose productivity over sloth had I been forced to make a preference. In such a competitive industry like entertainment however, we’re all eventually conditioned to keep ourselves on our toes at our own accord. Do you smell the sweet incense of tragedy in the air?

Last week saw the first official screening of my short film ‘Baby The Rain Will Fall’ which was a highlight at Creative United Movement’s ‘Unite and Shoot’ filmmaking gathering at my current favorite haunt in town, Palate Palette. To those who came, thank you for your support from the bottom of my heart. The response was overwhelming, so much so that some people had to end up watching the film from the stairs coming up to the screening room! One of my directors Adrian is looking at getting out some DVD copies to leave at the café for free. If you’re interested in getting a copy, let me know and I’ll see what I can arrange. We sincerely hope that Unite and Shoot will establish the beginnings of groundbreaking filmmaking projects in Malaysia. Check out Creative United Movement at

The top floor of Palate Palette packed to the brim

Over the weekend, I attended most engaging acting workshop at the National Arts Academy. It was facilitated by renowned Japanese theatre practitioner, Hideki Noda. There was a lot of group and partner work involved. I was expecting more solo work, but realized how important it was to be aware of other performers sharing the stage with you. Very eye opening.

It was this same weekend that I also did two shoots - one was for the inaugural Malaysian edition of socialite magazine Sur La Terre. It being my first magazine cover ever, I’m honestly very nervous about how that will turn out. It should be released mid-April, so keep an eye out for it at newsstands.

Getting my hair did at KLCC park, in a shirt I can only dream of affording

Later that day was another shoot which was a collaboration with my mate Johnny McGeorge who needed a model for a brand concept proposal. Despite dealing with relatively unfamiliar resources, J managed to cut a superbly slick shoot that showed me in a light even I have never seen myself in. I’m excited to see his final selection of shots, and with his permission I‘ll upload them on this page. The bloke is phenomenal. Check out his work at

On Monday, I shot a milk product TV commercial for the Vietnamese market. I portrayed the mother to the boy protagonist. I arrived on set at 8am, but was only needed at 5.30pm, and I barely shot for half an hour! Strangely enough, it didn’t feel like a day wasted at all - all the kid talents that day were the most well-behaved and professional young bunch I’ve ever dealt with! My ‘son’ Chadman was a real trooper, cooperative and so adorable I wanted to take him home. And I just ate and drank all day which inadvertently kept my energy levels up - we’re talking about potato chips, isotonic drinks, iced lemon tea, Ribena, breakfast cereal, chocolate, biscuits, candy - admittedly, this was all stolen from the cooler box reserved for the kids. And that’s not even mentioning breakfast, lunch and tea yet! As you may have noticed, I take my gluttony very seriously.

Me showing my 'son' Chadman how to give me the biggest hug he's got!

What’s next for me? Well, I’ll be guest model for a fashion event next week at Club Twenty One, on 2nd April. The monthly series called Fashfab will this time feature an upcoming designer called Micky Tan. The collection she’s presenting will be full of colourful, floaty and fanciful pieces. I hope I will do her brand justice! For those who are interested, check out this event on Facebook:

What I’m most excited about right now that I’ve just been selected to participate in an exclusive and very intensive 3-week Shakespearean workshop at KL Performing Arts Centre. I’ve always had an inherent fear of Shakespeare simply because it was something beyond my comprehension, but all the more reason why I decided to take it on. And like what ballet is to dance, Shakespeare pretty much forms the foundation of excelling in theatre. So last Friday, I auditioned for it before Joe Hasham, one of the biggest names in Malaysian theatre and a man whose presence always leaves my stomach bursting with anxiety. I thought I bombed, but he assured me I did alright. And I never expected to get a phonecall of confirmation of my placement 3 days later! It will be conducted by Australian veteran performer and director Jeff Kevin. There will be a workshop performance on 24-26 April at KLPac. I am super psyched for the challenge.

Can you believe that I’ve primarily narrated about what has transpired over the past 7 days?

And to think that I have a full time job in event management too.

Part of me just wants to fall sick so I have an excuse to not. move. at. all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Citizen 3, this is Auckland. Auckland, Citizen 3.

One of the first short plays I've ever written, 'Citizen 3', is premiering in New Zealand tomorrow tonight.

And I'm not there to watch it.

It's a very heart-wrenching feeling, not being present at a huge milestone in my career as a writer. I wish I could slink into the theatre, find a corner seat and hear the first lines being uttered in darkness, butterflies and all, gravity-oblivious, nervous as f***.

I initially wrote about the playwriting process here, and it still never ceases to amaze me how the words that have rolled off my fingers have the capability of reaching audiences through a multi-sensory medium, let alone in another part of the world that I have yet to set foot in.

I unfortunately wasn't able to find a sponsor to fund my trip over, especially in such financially troubling times. But I do feel privileged and honored and blessed that people have enough faith in my talents to share it on an international level.

To my scriptwriting mentor Tony Forster, I am in awe of you, and thank you so graciously for your guidance. Alex and Gerald, thank you for your input on 'Citizen 3', and for injecting so much passion into Oryza and what it stands for.

And to my director Yee Yang aka Square, gosh. I don't know where to start with my appreciation for the ridiculous amounts of hard work that you have put into this production. I know there have been times where I didn't really make things any less chaotic. But it never went unfelt, and your calibre humbles me, always. Next time you come back to KL, I'm gonna make sure we're not going to start and end our encounter with something as tragic as a rushed lunch again.

To my fellow writers Hiroshi, Mei-Lin, Kiel, Mukilan, Misa, Renee and Ying Ly, it's humbling to be put in the same league as all of you. Congratulations and may this production evoke and inspire, and lead to more phenomenal representations of the world's Asian community.

To the actors of 'Citizen 3': Leand, Alvin, Andrea and John, thank you so much for being a part of my vision. May you have fun portraying the characters as much as I had fun creating them.

I know I have missed out many more who are responsible for making this a success, so to all the cast and crew of Asian Tales™: Native Alienz - BREAK A LEG!

For those who just happen to be in Auckland as they read this, do yourself a favor and watch this.

For more info about the play and ticket details, visit The Oryza Foundation website.