My 2018 Bullet Journal Setup


Hey folks! For this week’s video, I’ll be sharing with you guys what I have set up for my 2018 bullet journal.

If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, the creator has a great video about it:

To put it simply, it’s a planner, diary, sketchbook all in one! At least for the artsy people, it can be a sketchbook too. For me, I use it mainly to organize my work and plan for the future. It’s like a planner, but with more versatility. I started this system near the end of 2016, and have been on it on and off throughout the whole of 2017. I’m back on it for good as I’ve left my full-time job and will need a system to organize my never-ending list of projects ideas. Ha!

This year, I just want to keep things task and goal-oriented. I find that having too many trackers and lists just ended up becoming wasted pages. So for my main set up this year, one of the most important spreads for me is my list of goals and reminders.

If you haven’t watched my 2018 goals video, check it out here:

The whole of last year wasn’t that great for me. I felt like I was constantly trying to make other people happy but not myself. I didn’t even do anything that I listed out in my “goals dump” (I mean, what even is that?). I didn’t grow as much. I didn’t do anything that I was passionate about, and I certainly did not have fun. My time was mostly consumed by work and every chance I get to do things outside of work (ie passion projects, going on holidays etc) I was guilt-tripped into thinking that I was doing things that weren’t meaningful.

Many of things on my goals list sound like they are super average and basically just things that normal people do every day. They’re not for me. I haven’t watched a movie or a TV series in a while. I have not seen my friends in a long time. I skipped church a lot more than ever because of work. So I’ve decided to make this year, my year.

I want to lose weight. Through my meals, simple home workouts, and a healthy mindset.

I want to be able to see my friends and family more. Over good food and great conversations.

I want to inspire people. Doing things that are out of the ordinary through means of continuous learning and experimenting. Things that I have thought about for months and years.

I also want to reach my financial goals. Achieve financial freedom and being able to focus my energy on homeschooling and child developments.

Those are my dreams. And I’m laying the groundwork in 2018.

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Creative Outputs and Where to Find Them


/not turning back on the title!

We’ve all been there. Writer’s block and all their relatives. And yet, we always forget that creativity can’t be forced. It has to come through inspirations or some form of motivation. Creativity also comes when you seek it, not when you’re waiting for it. Like it or not, creativity is an effort, not a gift. You may be gifted with talents, but unless you put your time into crafting your work, you’re not gonna go far with what you already have. It’s basically like investing.

For at least two months now, things have been quiet, work wise. My precious Macbook pro was away for longer than I remember because other things demanded more of my time and money that I would like. I’ve been happy, then unhappy, then happy again, and then finally, feeling lost. I started questioning everything around me like I usually would when I have all the free time in the world to sit down and think – what if. What if this, what if that. Nothing really comes out of them, but the questions were my muse. And then my phone became my occasional “solution”.

Until one day when I came into work. It just dawned on me – I’m creatively deprived and I’m unhappy. I need to do something. I want to do something.

It’s hard to explain the feeling when my work rarely demands creative (read: not innovative) outputs. I don’t freelance anymore and I’m a part of a somewhat rigid work system. My priorities have changed and I have to make an almost 180-degree shift in mindset for my job. But, I only felt the pang after things have quiet down for a long time and I cannot revert to The Sims 4, random music recordings or writing, and even making some random video that most likely will never end up anywhere on the world-wide web. Anything that I would’ve done to express myself creatively.

Not that I’m complaining, though. I love where I am in life so far, I just feel like I’m not much of myself lately and I don’t feel particularly ecstatic about it.

So here’s what I’ve started doing:

  1. Talk to some friends about it. Especially when they’re in the same line of work. Maybe, they share the same feeling. Talking things out tend to take half the load off your mind for a while, and then from here, you could either choose to continue with your life or set out a goal to meet.
  2. I didn’t really set any goals, but then I said yes to a project and surrounded myself with a different group of creative people, partially unrelated to what I do every day at work. Okay lah, 90% unrelated. But hey, it was what I used to do when I freelance, so why not. I got out of my routine and I actually enjoyed myself a lot. It was fun! Set out to do something that is out of your normal routine, even if you can’t think of a goal to achieve. Just do what is typically different from what you normally do.
  3. Looking for inspirations. Find out about what’s really up with me with Mr. Google. I haven’t really found anything yet, I just want to take a break from work and do something else first. That’s all I know now. Main thing is, you understand what is going on with yourself/life.

So today, for example, was the most mind-stimulating day for me. I haven’t felt like it in a while. Ideas after ideas just came to me, almost taking me away from reality in the midst of conversations among my friends. I was jotting away when more ideas stemmed from inspirations all around me. It was great. It felt great. All it take was for me to get out of my normal routine, the people I see almost every day, and being a part of a project that isn’t part of my job scope. I was even excited to fork out my savings to pay for my MBP’s graphics card when I was completely against this idea months ago! I was just on fire to get something done!!

Don’t believe me? Check out my new online personality name – mxll. I swapped the e for x. You still pronounce it “Mell”. And I am feeling content. I finally feel satisfied with my online personality name. If I’m going back to writing songs, this is what I’m gonna use from now on. I’m gonna be working on it as a brand, and I will carry it everywhere I go online. “news and shoes by mxll”. YAS.

There is a list of things that I’m going to do, or at least want to do before things get busy after Chinese New Year. I realized that a lot of things are just within reach the moment I stopped being a couch potato contemplating life. I’m a doer, but with seasons. Complications. But. I just wish I had taken my time more seriously when things were extremely quiet before I got my full-time job. I could’ve done a lot of things but I spent it all on sleeping, watching useless YouTube videos, and God knows what else. I can never get it back, and it sucks because I’m turning 24 soon and I don’t feel like I’ve done enough for myself.

But I don’t have time to regret. The project isn’t over yet and I’m getting my laptop back soon. Time to get to work!!

When do I get to believe the work I do is important to me?


i mean, i still don’t know.

after my last post, i lost track of time and just rolled with it. time, i mean. i was doing okay for a while, learning to bend my ego and accept things as they are, unless i need to speak up. speak up, that’s another thing i’ve learned too. starting a new job tends to intimidate me because many times i feel like speaking my mind up and…i just couldn’t. but i slowly learn how to. more importantly, when. there are many times i filter myself, out of fear, but in hopes that it does me good than harm.

filter. the word people use these days not as its original definition. and it’s something that i have been slowly doing since middle of this year. i’m sharing lesser and lesser each day about my life and my thoughts on social media. i left twitter in august, uninstalled facebook on my phone, and very occasionally on instagram for the pictures that i really, really want to share. i am taking a step back from everything to find back what drives me to wake up every day and do what i love. because i really don’t know.

i mean, if you want to talk about goals and everything, i will be very honest – to travel the world and raise a family. so what’s stopping me?

doubts.

questions.

the people around me.

sure, it’s easy to do the “ignore what they say and just do you” thing but the thing is, i haven’t decided what i believe to be the most important work in the world…..yet. i mean the things that i do now to meet my goals. travelling the world is cliché, i know, and raising a family doesn’t sound much like a goal but hey, these are what i really want to do in the future. everything else will be just hobby. i’m not depressed or short-sighted or anything, i just focus more on the now than i do on the future. what i decide now is basically what my future is going to look like.

so, what do i really want to do now? honestly – be a freelancer again – and that is only because i don’t have time to creatively express myself or even time to rest. not to be a negative nancy or anything but if you asked me 3 years ago what do i want to do every day my answer would have been work, because i saw myself as a workaholic even when i was a student. but work became an endless routine that didn’t really have a destination for me to go to so that slowly died and replaced with, you guessed it, laziness. i feel lost. i don’t want to waste my life away but this is honestly how i feel  – lost.

i have said the word honest like 4 times now.

i am doing what i can to improve in all areas at work; in administrations, leadership, and planning. i got myself started with a bullet journal system to organize my work, i learn to communicate better, and i am slowly taking up more responsibilities as a challenge as every day i am learning about my limits and then i push. this results in me becoming slightly less emotional in my decision-making and more….i guess you can say mature. meh

meh is how i feel. in true malaysian accent – doing all this for what? 

i don’t hate what i do. i actually love coming to work and i guess i’m saying all this is because i don’t know if what i’m doing now is for me or for my future. “me” and “my future” can be one and the same, but in this case, i’m talking more of “now” vs “my future”. like gah. i’m lost. i’m questioning everything. i can feel it in my bones that i am changing but i don’t know if it’s for better or for worse. i still feel like i’m going in circles even though some people would kill (lol pls don’t) to have a stable-income job like i have now over anything that they may want more than anything out there. i don’t even know what i truly want.

i’m not competitive in my work field and so that makes it seem like i’m uninterested.

this past week i got little sparks of inspirations and so i played a bit of music. that felt nice. 

so i guess my next step from here on is to convince myself that, if i want to be able to provide for my family one day, one of the ways to do it is to improve myself, earn XP points, and level up. questions will eventually lead to answers so there is no harm in trying out a few options before discovering the best way to overcome my problems. or so i tell myself. and maybe THEN i get to tell myself “hey, you’re finally able to call this your most important work in the world!” otherwise, along the way, i do hope to find where is it i want to go or what i want to do for the rest of my life. right now, it just feels like it’s the beginning of everything.

The Big Move


Guess who will be living on her own next year?

My dad used to joke (or so I’d like to think that he’s joking but he probably never did lel) whenever I bring up the idea of moving out. He would tell each one of his children, especially the “rebellious” one *cough me cough*, that none of us would move out of his household, even when we’re all in our 30s, unless we’re married. Now, you gotta understand my dad – he’s the most loving person I know, and that is the only reason why he’d want us to stick around for as long as we can. And I really appreciate him for that. I grew from wanting to leave as soon as I turned 18 to wanting to be an adult that he could trust, an ally. And I especially love family trips because it means we get to spend time together, something that I haven’t been able to do since my schedule wouldn’t allow me so. But now, in two weeks’ time, they’d be moving back to Kuching.

*plot twist*

Yes, you read that correctly. Exactly two weeks from today, on the 23rd of December, my family (and I) will be flying down to Kuching. We won’t be moving in right away as we’ll be spending Christmas at the longhouse with grandma and cousins and aunties and uncles. And then we’d be spending some of our days at a hotel, compliments from my dad’s company. Only then we’d be moving in.

My dad got his transfer of letter a few months ago. He was due to move in October, exactly 7 years after moving to KL from Bintulu. I remember the day my dad got his transfer letter to KL; I had mixed emotions about it. Partly sad because my dad would have to fly first while the rest of us had to stay back until I was done with PMR. I remember the day the truck came to get our stuff. I remember two guys. I remember after they were done, they asked my mom if they could take a shower at the guest bathroom at the back. I remember the amount of sadness floating in the air upon take off, leaving behind all the familiarities. I remember my mom crying because one of her “anak angkat” sent her countless amount of crying emojies.

I remember my dad picking us up, booked a van for the six of us and all of our stuffs. I remember my mom telling us not to look so sakai, in awe of the skyscrapers in the heart of KL. I remember the nervous face the four of us had when we were in the van, on the way to our hotel. I remember the our little room, with only 2 queen beds to fit the 6 of us plus our boxes and luggages. I remember my dad took us to KLCC. The 14th of November was the day we moved into our first home in Taman Mayang Jaya. It was a single-storey house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. We slept on the floor in the living room, with only our clothes as our blankets, “mattresses” and “pillows” for almost 3 weeks. I remember cooking on our little portable stove, with enough gas to last us maybe two weeks to feed 6 mouths. I remember the night our stuff finally arrived, and a different night when our cars arrived. We stayed only for a year because the owner wanted to sell off the house.

10399790_1235899934302_7160199_n
the book shelf which served as a partition between the tv area and the family computer area as well as a gallery in our first home.

We moved into a double-storey house in SS4 and stayed for 2 years. We’ve found a little apartment we’ve called our home for the past 4 years now back in the same neighbourhood. Soon, it will feel empty and quiet. When I call out mama, no one will answer back. I won’t be able to tease my little sister any more on the silliest things. I won’t laugh at funny pictures with my second brother, and I certainly won’t be able to work with my ever-countable partner-in-crime first brother. No more politics and Christianity talks with my dad. Well, this could only mean that I’ll have a lot to catch up on whenever I’m back in Kuching, or every time they come to visit me here in KL.

Now, as my family is busy packing things and I’m counting down to the days when everything would finally feel real in my hands, I’m counting my blessing. I’m grateful that I’ve grown up so much the last 7 years. My perspectives and my way of living changed tremendously. I’m still a little but stubborn, but this time I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I learn to trust my gut even more, and I’m opened to all sorts of ideas. I’m not as easily angered as I used to or would break down emotionally when things get tough, but I still have a lot more to go with patience. I’ve definitely gained a lot of weight lol but I’ve never been happier, especially when I’ve always struggle with the way I look growing up. I also have learned how to filter the negative things people say to and about me. To me, this is something only the big(ger) city can do.

So my only wishes to my family once they settled in their new/old life back in Kuching is to not be contained back in a box. Always be opened to changes, new possibilities, exciting opportunities. Never ever settle for comfort. I find that “the box” is something that took me awhile to get out of since living in KL/PJ. Things won’t always go my way, and it won’t be the end of the world when it does. I learned (and still is learning) to grow out of my comfort, experience new foods, adventures and even culture. Sarawak is home, and thus automatically make you succumb to comfort. And I hope especially my growing siblings that they’d be opened to new ideas. When there is a will, there is a way.

Here’s to a new life – one that I am happy to call aunty life – paying household bills, collecting recipes, browsing on household appliances, and doing chores. Here’s to hoping that I will finally have better discipline to complete my goals. lol

x

Hello November


Since my last post, I’ve been keeping things low-key. I took 3 days off social media, kept (most of) my opinions away from twitter, spent a lot of my time off at home, and rethink just about every plans that I had made for my future, be it days, weeks, months, years away. And I’m kinda glad that I did all of those things. In a way, they kept me focused on the “now” – current projects and bigger (than usual) events. I also get to spend more time with the family, because my dad got a letter to transfer back to Sarawak. And I’ve decided to not go with them.

Work wise, so far one of my favourite projects to date was editing a short film produced by Observers’ Playground, a production “playground” that I’ve been a part of since The Lovesical. There had been multiple miscommunications and technical difficulties that almost cost us the deadline. We were doing count downs with series of pictures and two trailers so there was no way for us to miss it due to “technical difficulties”. As the (self-titled) manager for the count down, I wasn’t going to let this slip.

So, I went on and downloaded Adobe Premiere Pro and edited the entire thing myself.

First thing – OMG PREMIERE! I mean, it’s so much lighter than Final Cut Pro X and iMovie. They’re both rubbish to me now LOL. I have never used any Adobe softwares until the day I started editing the movie. In fact, I did everything in under 12 hours – edit, colour, music, and upload. Passable, but there is still so much to learn. I wish I have more projects to work on so I could keep Premiere, even if they are personal projects. Which brings me to a throwback – Letter to November. I really do miss doing these kind of videos.

I’m still doing events at Laundry Bar and The Bee. I took my braces off and now annoyingly wearing a retainer. Every first week upon receiving my paycheck I spend a portion of them on food, like really good, brunch food. I am currently on a Buzzfeed craze – Facebook videos, recipe lists, you name it. I am collecting recipes, doing budgeting, and making a list of things that I will need to buy after my family move out, because you know, the house will be empty and quiet. Wireless printer, check! I also sang at my friend’s wedding, in front of 300++ people.

Here’s my glass for the remaining two months of the year, where I will fill my off days with wishlists, making and saving more money, and planning next year with DIY projects, experiencing kitchen conundrums, and hopefully being able to blog more about my life. I’m particularly excited about home organizing and design ideas, since I will have the entire apartment to play around with!

signing out,
mel x

here is the latest picture of my face, taken earlier this morning on the way to church.
here is the latest picture of my face, taken earlier this morning on the way to church.

 

maybe i’m just not cut out


i need somebody to help redefine the meaning of passion, because i’ve been stripped from it.

up until now, i have always known what i wanted to do. it has always been music. anything behind the scenes, some kind of support to push the industry….if you call me asking me to help i will not have second doubts. i’m beginning to think that the act of putting other people first has been compromising my vision – what i want for myself – and now i just don’t know what to do. it doesn’t help that it’s the first hour of shark week, i’m feeling a little bit all emotional, so maybe i’m just being dramatic.

sure, everybody has one of those days. a bad gig, maybe. i’ve never run away deliberately from something until just awhile ago. i feel like a coward. a loser. anything to be away from total embarrassment. i hate being adult sometimes. i hate to put up this “i know what i’m doing” face even though at times i have zero clue on what i’m doing, but as long as i carry my confidence badge and going through my list of “this will not get you in trouble” i am usual okay. tonight i was not. and it had to be two days after i was told that a rental company wouldn’t hire me because one of the bosses doesn’t like me.

don’t get me started on that one. ranted about it on twitter, so i’m not gonna start talking about it here.

maybe i’m just not cut out you know, to be a sound engineer. i tried. i’ve been learning. i’ve been teaching myself to work under pressure, to have things in control, but tonight, obviously i was not in control, else i wouldn’t be asked to step aside and give my job for the night so somebody better could take over. i could think of a million reasons why things went wrong tonight but it’s just not worth it. i couldn’t stay anymore. i’ve lost my place. i had to leave. i can’t even begin to describe how embarrassed i felt when i was stripped of what i was putting so much effort into, but it’s just not enough.

you can’t compare someone with less than two years of field experience to someone who brags about having 6-10 years of experience. i was given a chance, and i proved to them that i could do it during sound check, minus one percussion player. don’t get me started on that one. she’s a picky person when it comes to the sound of her cajon. the one person i worried the most was the one who couldn’t make it for sound check. anyway, turns out, the biggest feedback tonight wasn’t from the usual culprit – vocal effects – but rather, the overhead mic. and the feedback came from the house, which never got me to think that it would feed from the monitor since i didn’t send any.

excuse my train of thoughts.

i don’t think being fired is the big problem here. this whole emotional, self-doubt journey started when i mixed my first big show, at the same venue, by the same company. things just snowballed from there. which got me thinking – maybe i should just take a break. quit sound engineering for awhile and focus more on PR, marketing, and managing work. engage with my surrounding more and teach myself to be more attentive. one thing about diagnosing yourself with having ADHD, you find yourself always being trapped in your own world, juggling between fantasy and reality. my mind’s not focused on live sound, at least not in the mixing department. i can run, think, and manage well on behalf of and for everybody, but i just can’t mix.

no, i haven’t gotten better at all. so i’m going to take a break. not entirely; i still need to earn some income. but i’m gonna focus more on the administrative and public relations side of things.

this is me simply hoping that it’s just the period cramps talking, because i feel done. i’m done.

 

(this blog is written purely from my frame of thoughts with zero editing. excuse the mistakes.)

The Art of Noble Douche


Closure. For many years I was battling with facts vs imaginations, and today I finally got the chance to feel like I can breathe again. My heart is lighter. I am able to forgive and love. I am able to rebuild the broken bridges. I wasn’t waiting, but after today, it felt like the wait is over. This is over.

And now, I’m going to teach you the art of Noble Douche.

  1. Don’t be specific with your answers. Have other people guess and then get mad at them for being so clueless with your vague answers.
  2. Always be right, and always be confident about it. Everybody else is wrong. And then convince people that you are right.
  3. Be everybody’s best friend, but treat your girl/boyfriend like crap behind your friends’ back. While you’re at it, spend more time with your friends than your significant other.
  4. Oh, oh, tell everybody your significant other is being difficult because they cannot understand why you’re being mad at them for being frustrated at you for yelling at them, being stubborn and arguing with them, instead of talking things out when you could.
  5. Complaint about everything. Nothing is perfect right?
  6. Tell everyone, but the person you’re having problems with, about your problems with the person. They don’t need to know. They’re not important.
  7. Never own up to your mistake. You’re always right, remember? Just walk away. Nothing to see here.
  8. Make promises, and then break them. Because you can do whatever the hell you want. No one can tell you otherwise.
  9. Start a group project, and then leave it halfway. Again, no one can tell you otherwise. Have someone else do it for you while you’re away.
  10. Tell people that you’ll be fine and then burst out at them out of nowhere for not understanding that you have a lot of things to do and people are just bunch of nuisance.
  11. Make someone feel like they’re the most important person in the world and then decided one day that maybe they’re not. Meh. Whatever.
  12. Pull pranks on people but gets mad at them when they pull a prank on you. Like, how dare they?!

While you’re doing all these things, give the most honourable reasons that you can think of. Your friends will understand. Really. Just tell them that you have a change of heart when you can’t keep your promises anymore. Or that you didn’t realize that you were making mistakes because no one told you about it in the first place. Can’t continue the project anymore due to commitments? Yeah, totally. They don’t believe you? It’s okay, just keep talking until they don’t wanna hear you talk anymore. Now you don’t have to deal with them ever again!

Ah sarcasm. I’ve lost my touch with it because people actually would feel like punching me in the face for it. It’s not the things I say, really. It’s the face that comes with it, because expressions are NOT something that I’m good at controlling. So to keep things at a minimum rage, I have trained myself to speak less, thus be sarcastic even lesser. How did I do though? Did I do okay with the list? Hahah.

Anyways. Once upon a time I used to look up to someone, and because he’s so great and everything, I used to think that I wasn’t good enough and that I’ll never be good at all. This person was my teacher, but he taught me nothing to improve myself, rather, I was questioning everything down to my existence. Nah, I wasn’t suicidal. I just didn’t know what I was doing with my life. He was no less my best friend, yet I’d questioned my faith in him, and regret it soon after, because maybe, just maybe, I’m only overreacting. Overthinking.

Today, after 2 years, I finally got my closure, and it’s not even from him. I’ve forgotten how to love, to forgive and forget, until I took the time to sit down with my iced coffee and a plate of waffles, shared between 2 friends. One of them being his best friend, who only after being friends with his new girlfriend, got a taste of what he is truly like behind her back. And that’s the thing; he’s fooled everybody long enough because he’s a different person behind all of his friends’ back. Bloody noble two-faced douche.

Right. Sorry. Rant over. We’re good.

How to avoid these kind of people:

  1. Reality check, if you’re too deep into your friendship, just hang out with them less.
  2. If you ever feel like they’re the first person you’ll turn to for help, look for someone else immediately.
  3. Don’t know how to get out of your one-sided conversations? Just stop them mid way and run. THEY’LL NEVER REALIZE IT’S THEM.
  4. Put your headphones on when you’re near them or when they’re nearing you. Better yet, just don’t be anywhere near them at all.
  5. Don’t feel offended by their backstabbing remarks, because they are more likely to be talking about themselves than you.

Now this reminds me of the story of the boiling frog syndrome.

In the 1990s, it was used as a metaphor about inaction in response to climate change and staying in abusive relationships. – Wikipedia

These kind of people, they don’t make you realize how you feel until you take a step back, trying to analyze what the hell is going on. You will feel frustration, demotivation, sometimes even demoralized, but you don’t know it until you’ve finally decided that maybe, just maybe you should stop tolerating it.

Anyways, they’re not bad people. Just not the best people to keep in your life. You can still be friends, help out when you can, but just don’t tolerate bullshit, whatever the definition may be for you. Keep your head up and breathe. Let’s move on! 🙂

In the Silence of June


Dear June
If you were a person
I’d ask you why the silence
Why my skin doesn’t remember
What used to by my heart’s lover

No touch is every familiar anymore
No voice is recognizable through the creeks of the wall

Too many affairs, none worth recollecting
Every encounter is a brief memory
Gone, as soon as the new one comes along

Quiet month, June is. I don’t know what to do with the free time that I have. Part of it is because Laundry has taken out 2nd and 3rd resident live Thursday shows of the month. All these spaces, is making me lose focus from one matter to the other. When I have nothing solid to think about or to prioritize, I don’t know what to do with my illegal notions.

Illegal, because they’ve done nothing but harm to my soul. My negative thoughts need to go away. 

I’m taking up a little part-time job at Drum Asia until my calendar is filled up again. I’m mostly the studio assistant while the main facility coördinator is away. So far familiar faces find it odd that I’m there. I mean, I do to. Ha. I’ve carried the live sound tag around me longer than I every worked in a studio / office space. It’s a no brainer job, but I’m looking forward to future collaborations.

Speaking of collaboration, I’m working on one with a fellow composer from the US! Basic idea is that he writes, I mix. But it’s really not that easy (on my side) as I have not been mixing on a DAW in a while. He recently gave me one of his songs to mix. I mixed it 5 times before getting the hang of it. You cannot understand an orchestra like pop music. It’s a different world altogether!

I sent the mix back after working on it in a day. One of the things that I couldn’t achieve was the “proper balance” and fullness of the orchestra. Don’t get me wrong, if it was a pop music, my balance would’ve been perfect. But I completely missed the dynamic power & relations between the instruments that the wrong parts are coming out in the mix. He explains,

An orchestra is split into 4 sections, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, and Strings. Each of those have not only different timbres, but they also all sound at different volume levels. It’s kind of like rock paper scissors.

Percussion>Brass>Woodwinds>Strings>Harp.

So in this song for example, when the orchestra swells, the brass and percussion usually over power. To compensate, composers will write different dynamics to balance out the orchestra. As a rule of thumb You write brass two dynamic levels lower than strings, and woodwinds one dynamic level lower. (Which I try to do.)

These kind of things, they don’t teach you in a 18-month certificate in audio production course. No, they teach you the technical side of audio engineering, like how to EQ, compress, pan, and add effects. Music and technology go hand-in-hand, but sometimes people tend to overlook the creative side of music production. Audio engineering is just there to bring the musical experience to a whole new level. Pair a good writer or composer with an engineer who understands the idea behind the written song, and the music will transport you to a different universe.

Anyway, that was exactly what I was looking for. How do I mimic a live orchestral music? I couldn’t understand my friend’s piece at all.

And then he asked me if I read music. BINGO.

Okay, here’s another thing about being a part of the 18-month program that you spent RM40k on, you only get one semester of music theory, and it’s so basic anyone could score an A like a no brainer. And I mean it. Sure, my classmates struggled, but the music theory subject 3 semesters after my intake was a lot harder. They had a bit of ear training, a bit of contemporary harmony maybe, more than what I had learned in my first semester. -_-

Back to the reading music part. My friend explained, in the past when I recorded with live orchestra, the engineer wanted a copy of the score to mix with. That why you’d know what’s going on, and what to bring out, what dynamics to use in what parts etc. And he’s absolutely right. Even Studio 21:05 owner JD reads the score when mixing live. LIVE. What more there is when recording and mixing in the studio with the help of a music score!

You know what time it is? Time to study back my Italian terminologies & practice my sight-reading.

Check out some of his work here! Until I’m satisfied with my mix, I won’t be posting that one up. Haha.

Anyways, I’m 3 songs & 14 books behind. I have bits and pieces of ideas for my April song, and a brief quote for my May song, and last night I wrote some lyrics for my June song. Nothing is solid. A bit uninspired at the moment but that’s fairly normal. I’ve also only read 1 book this year, and I’m struggling to pick up another book to read. There is still time!

Meanwhile, KL/PJ is currently scorching HOT! This is where I’m gonna end my blog for today. I’m looking at travel options this time around next year. Backpacking and all that glory. Until next time! x

I miss Singapore and its colourful lights at night.
I miss Singapore and its colourful lights at night.

where to next?


creativity is maximized when you are living in the moment.

of all the goals that i have written out for myself this year, i was really fixated on a particular one  –  to travel to a neighbouring country. and i have only one country in mind.

Singapore. The land of kiasu-ness.

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i went in for work. we were supposed to fly on the 21st, but i made it a point to fly in a day earlier so i could take my time walking around before work. i made a great deal about it.

you see, both my parents are protective. my dad especially. and our whole family is so close that that we almost never travel by ourselves. i flew in with my pastor & 2 other church members once after my finals for a church camp, and another by myself for a workshop on sound. i also flew to Miri with a band for work some time last year. i had to always keep them updated for all 3 accounts to keep them at peace.

now with that picture painted in your mind, when i got the idea to fly in a day earlier, mom was adamant that dad wouldn’t agree to the idea. i was stubborn. i thought, well i’ll only know if i ask him straight up. and i did. we discussed. i shared my ideas. i gave him my virtual itinerary and he said, “i’m glad we have this discussion. you can go.” i was over the moon!

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i stayed in Boat Quay, at the 5footway.inn hostel for a night, and then crashed at Michelle’s cousin place in Upper Seranggon for the rest of the trip (i think). but, i do however recommend 5footway if you ever plan to visit Singapore. it’s reasonable, clean, and the staff is very friendly. i love their pantry/lounge area as well; they have a coffee machine, hot water dispenser, fridge, water dispenser, sofa area with a TV and a DVD player, indoor and outdoor (facing the Singapore river) dining area.

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i spent the evening in doing my share of sightseeing. you can find more pictures here. then after dinner i went to clarke quay to catch a bit of Music Matters Live festival, and with discipline headed back to the hostel by 11.30pm because my legs were sore so it felt like a trip. i washed up, replied some emails, did some planning, catching up on social media, and ready mentally for work the next day.

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the next day the band arrived from KL. i spent the day pacing around waiting for them. then they played a show at night. the day after i took the time to visit Esplanade, see the Marina Bay Sands, Merlion and Singapore Flyer, and even made a trip down to Bugis area and bought 2 tank tops for myself, 2 blouses for mom and t-shirts for the siblings. i spent the rest of the day with the band tackling 2 interviews.

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i woke up extra early on my last day of Singapore as Michelle brought me out for some good ol’ Ya Kun breakfast at the Nexx Mall. and then we walked around the mall (albeit 9am and most of the stores weren’t openend yet lol) and she bought me some pastries to bring home to the family! by 10am we headed back to the apartment so i could finish packing and made my way down to the airport via the MRT.

the train delayed at the final interchange to the airport by 15 minutes. my flight was delayed by 20 minutes. my bus was delayed by 10 minutes. but i made it back in time for Jumero’s Lot 10 set up & sound check at The Bee.

and so now i’m asking myself –  where to next?

i just want to be immersed in their culture. their lifestyle.
i just want to be immersed in their culture. their lifestyle. everywhere i go, i just fall in love more and more.
what a sight.
what a sight.
Twin Lakes from Australia.
Twin Lakes from Australia.

i’ll come back for you, Singapore. ❤

Top 3 April Faves + Biggest Lesson Learned


hello internet. it’s been awhile. i’d probably say this every time i update this space. ha. 

i’ve been suppressing my thoughts lately. it’s more like one of the methods to teach myself that not all opinions matter and that silence is golden. it gives me a chance to think and analyze more before drawing any conclusions, and it is not something that the internet world is great at doing. here’s why.

i’m a big fan of reading comments, knowing what everybody else are thinking about a certain topic, be it on Facebook or YouTube. but, there is one small downside to this; you’d get infected with stupidity. stupidity isn’t a disease, but it sure is spreading like one. and i catch myself from time to time judging from what seems to be just the surface of what really lies beneath the said matter. and honestly, ugh, i don’t like myself sometimes.

thinking takes time. it is a lot easier to be lazy. it’s not rocket science. but, human behaviour needs to be nurtured. as someone who is easily influenced by my environment, i’d always have to remind myself to be kinder, more thoughtful, grow with patience, live with more smiles. yeah well i’m still working on them. especially the last one. don’t even get me started with that.

also, i’m not the smartest person i know. i always say the wrong things, in the sense that i phrase my words to be the opposite of my intentions. it’s a working progress.

Here’s the thing about being mean. It’s a lot easier to be mean than it is to be nice. Mean people, on top of being jerks, they’re also lazy and uninventive. Being nice takes work. That’s why I really like people that are really nice.

– Casey Neistat.

and with that, i start my list of this month’s top 3 faves with the man himself.

i am very in love with his latest video/story-making adventure on YouTube. he now vlogs daily. i’ve stopped spending my morning watching YouTube videos when getting ready thus indirectly quit watching JKNews. no reason, but Casey’s vlogs are the only vlogs that I would want to watch these days. i love his way of storytelling (editing), but more importantly, i love his storylines (content) even more.

it is what i look for these days, especially in movies. any movie with a good storyline wins it all for me. ❤

the past month, i find myself craving for BKT. a lot.

more specifically, the bak kut teh shop in Desa Sri Hartamas.
from the bak kut teh shop in Desa Sri Hartamas.

here’s the thing about bak kut teh; it’s comfort food. it literally brings a sense of comfort when i’m indulging it. the fragrant smell of the herbs, savoury yet flavourful broth, pair it with my favourite leafy green vegetables and some rice, and i feel all warm and toasty inside. it’s the best kind of food to end my long day at work, which is funny because it is typically a breakfast dish. ha

i prefer the Hokkien/Canto versions. 😀

i also got a new phone, the Lenovo A606. Got it for free after upgrading to the MaxisOne plan. love love love the camera. my favourite upgrade form my last phone, the Sony Xperia C.

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Bae.

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"Hensem" #melinyaWorks

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Bae number 2. Omnomnomnomnom

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i would add the sims 3 into the list as i’m back on it lately but y’all know the sims in general is my forever love. after fries. LOL

this month is a little bit slow for me. it’s a major difference from the last two months. i really want to go back to working but i don’t know where to look for. let’s hope May will be a little better. :3