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.
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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. ❤

things that i’ve learned so far.


counting down: 1 day before GST.

so, i had an episode with life. nothing major, just some quarter-life crises. *cue laughter*

these kind of things, it’s nothing new to me as there will always be some days where i’m just not feeling ’em. i would doubt myself, be really unforgiving, cursing over my little mistakes… i’d feel so low in life that at times i’d believe there is no way that i could come back up again. and then i just let it be, not wanting to do anything about it.

but that’s when i forget that, while we live in a world that doesn’t practice forgiveness, i am surrounded with patient teachers, supportive friends, and very loving family.

they are never falling short of love, patience, and most importantly, forgiveness. whatever that i have done wrong, they would sternly correct me, but never forgets to let me know that it’s not the end of the world. whatever that i have done right, they won’t just tell me that i’ve done a good job, but to continue doing so until it becomes a part of who i am.

and these lessons were something that i had forgotten to remind myself when i was my lowest.

i had a chance to impart what i learned into my new friends last thursday when they came to visit my work at Laundry. my favourite part about the experience is that when i was teaching the students some tips and tricks, they (the tips) became lightbulb moments to me as i had forgotten about them myself, until i had to talk about them!

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i don’t know if they managed to absorb anything at all but i really hope they did. ha

you see the thing is, everybody is destined to do great things, only if they allow themselves to do so. teaching is a powerful method to raise anybody up; it goes both ends of the spectrum. it is only when you decide to not do anything at all that you stay stagnant. and that’s exactly what happened to me.

i was uninspired. demotivated. sluggish. and i didn’t do anything about it. so i went back to teaching myself and allow myself to soak up new information wherever i go. i push myself to be willing to learn even especially if it is something that is out of my comfort zone and area of expertise. i mean, that’s the whole point, duh!

another thing that i stopped doing was to love everything that i was doing. i forgot why i was doing things. also mostly because i was doing them so much that i got sick and tired of doing it, almost too literally. i could use some break. but was break necessary? not really. maybe. if you really need one.

i just took a step back, remembering why and how i got “this far” in life. i will give credit where it’s due but i mainly just want to remind myself that most if not all of my decisions have lead to my position in life right now, starting from the day when i was really adamant about doing music for a living, without knowing specifically what i could do to contribute to the music scene. i went with my heart.

and while we’re on the topic, i really do want to continue serving the music / entertainment industry. like trying to make life better, i want to provide my time and energy for the greater good of music and its potential. i want to instil passion while still maintain the business sides of things. we are all coexisting, and there is no reason why we should work without the other. sharing is caring, and being selfish does not get you anywhere in life. fact.

there is still a lot to learn. i think that is the challenging part of living when you’re so busy working, that you forget to take time to learn. not being able to make time for me will always be an excuse. easier said than done, but when it is done, it automatically becomes a fulfilment. so off to learning i will!

meanwhile…

i did a quick/rough recording and mixing with some of my friends from ICOM the other day. not a bad mix after being away from “studio mixing” for almost a year. though i was actually mixing it on a M50x XD

also, my singing has gotten a lot better! yay me! but i still need to work on my crowd interaction and facial expressions. HELP

this beautiful picture was shot and edited by the ever so talented and wonderful, Albert Ng of glaringnotebook.com! he so awesome.

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as you can see i took some editing into my own hands….(scroll back up. ha)

i’ve been getting a lot of incredible work opportunities lately and i’m just super happy that in these opportunities i get to work on my strengths and weaknesses a lot. hopefully i can keep up with this little fire in me even when the GST comes. 2 more weeks until i give myself a week’s worth of rest, and then i’m back on my roller-coaster life!

xx

workspace: the BULB Coffee


what a day! let me tell you about it.

if i can afford to rent an office space for me to do my work, i would, okay? fast wifi, nicely treated acoustic, comfortable furnitures, unlimited supply of food……. yeah well, i can’t have it all now can i ? *sad face*

so i thought, you know, why not embrace the freelance life to the fullest? working from a hipster cafe and all…..ha okay anyway, i asked on twitter and facebook what’s the best place with fast wifi and great working environment besides Starbucks? not hating on starbucks, but i basically just wanted to not leave my spot for 8 hours straight.

i was recommended 2 places, and decided to go with Bulb Coffee, because it was the closest to my place and parking was slightly more accessible.

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i sat relatively near to the entrance. i spotted their power extension decided to settle down here almost right away. heeeeee

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they have a good variety of food and beverages. drinks are not more than rm12 (unless you ask for add-ons), the most expensive food on the menu is the big breakfast – rm17.90.

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the decor is very homey. makes me feel very comfortable! music is from spotify, and i suspect they’re playing it from the coffee-house playlist because it’s soooo familiar hehe.

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this is my dinner! i had aglio olio for breakfast and pasta with basic tomato-based sauce for lunch. their portion isn’t big, but just enough to fill my tummy for 3-5 hours each time. i’ve had 2 cups of latte, 1 glass of orange juice and a cup of honey lemon throughout the day. the total amount comes to about rm70 (ahmagah). but i got 90% of my work done just from sitting here so i have no complaints!

coffee is great. environment is perfect; not too crowded. food is decent.

ears are tired, back is hurting, shaking and dizzy from coffee withdrawals HAHAH.

heading over to No Black Tie right after this to catch Zalila Lee and friends!! YAAAASSSS

work hard. play hard. 😉

2015 goals!


i don’t believe new resolutions should be made every year. it should be done every day. 😉

hello loves! i have been away, hiding, away from mostly reality but we all know that’s impossible. ha. but in all serious, if you’ve read my last post, i was really just trying to get my shit together in my absence.

mell is pondering about life. mostly what to have but dinner. same difference.
mell is pondering about life. mostly what to have for dinner. meh. same difference.

i have done a lot of thinking lately, and one of it was trying to figure out why i am not too fond of my current job even though at the beginning of it i was just thrilled to be a part of an organization and was looking forward to a series of challenges. but that’s the thing – i’m not challenged.

i’m not saying i hate the job or anything; i just feel like i could do so much more but my potentials and/or talents are wasted. doing the same routine every week has made me feeling a little too comfortable (it’d be too obnoxious for me to say that i got too good at my job LOL). it’s a lot more satisfying for me when i freelance with and for other people. you’ll never know what to expect and so i’m always rising up above my own levels “just in case”, which is, naturally always good and helpful.

anyways, that is top on my list for this year’s goals for sure. i’m prepping mentally to go back to freelancing. i don’t know what to expect, but i am opening myself up for a range of service soon with rates and all that so it’ll be easier for anyone who’s asking.

i’m not gonna stop here either. i’m going to seek jobs, accepting whatever opportunities that i know i can perform very well on, and hopefully at the same time, able to add-on to my ever-growing list of skills.

i hope everyone’s 2014 has been great so far. the bright side of everything is that you’re always learning new things, whether you realize them at first. the key to life is to always love, because “love is an open door!” HA.

all right then, cheeseballz out. here are my top 15 goals of 2015. hope yours aren’t as lame as mine. :3

  1. to quit my current job.
  2. to grow back my long hair.
  3. to read at least 15 books.
  4. to travel to at least 1 neighbouring country.
  5. (at least) 1 photography gig.
  6. (at least) 1 music video gig.
  7. new fashion style. (ahahahahaha who am i even kidding)
  8. to blog a minimum of once a week!!!
  9. to complete 15 free online courses!
  10. to release my compilation of originals! oh my :3
  11. to be a part of 1 album production.
  12. to write 15 short stories!
  13. to publish at least 5 newspaper articles / contribute a section in the opinions column.
  14. to release video letters every month.
  15. to write 1 song every month! pressureeeeee!

here’s my last original of 2014. enjoy! x

Nian Tze’s Mooncakes and Recipes


Nian Tze was always known for her generosity back when we used to be colleagues. This time around, I could not help but thought about her mooncakes as the Mid-Autumn Festival is drawing near. I bought 2 flavours from her and she gifted me with two others and so I thought why not compile her recipes here!

I’m not sure if she is still taking orders but I’ve included the price per piece if anyone wishes to try their luck! :p

 

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Pandan Redbean Snowskin Mooncake (Selling for RM5 per piece) *each piece is 100gm

Pastry:
90g Coconut Milk (Boiled and let chilled)
1tsp Pandan Essence
40gm krimwell
200g Redman snowskin premix
Some Pau Flour
(Total Weight = 330g)

Filling:
700g Red Bean paste
22g Melon Seed (Kuaci)
(Total Weight = 800g)

Method:
(Filling)
1) Divide Red bean paste and Melon seed into equal portion according to your mould, i.e. if using 100gm mould, 70gm is used for filling and 30gm for the skin.

(Pastry Skin)
1) Mix all pastry ingredient together except Pau flour. Process till even & divide into equal portion, rest for 5-10 mins.
2) Roll pastry into flat sheet, wrap in filling, seal edges & press into mould. Knock out, fridge.

* This recipe makes about 11 pieces for 100gm mould.

 

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Coco Banana Snowskin Mooncake (Selling for RM6 per piece) *each piece is 100gm

Pastry:
90g Chocolate Milk
10gm Coco Powder
40gm krimwell
200g Redman snowskin premix
Some Pau Flour
(Total Weight = 340g)

Filling:
500g lotus paste
250g ripe banana (Pisang Emas)
50g gula melaka
(Total Weight = 800g)

Method:
(Filling)
1) Double boil gula melaka till melt, put in banana to cook for a while then mix in lotus paste, knead till even.
2) Divide into equal portion according to your mould, i.e. if using 100gm mould, 70gm is used for filling and 30gm for the skin.

(Pastry Skin)
1) Mix all pastry ingredient together except Pau flour. Process till even & divide into equal portion, rest for 5-10 mins.
2) Roll pastry into flat sheet, wrap in filling, seal edges & press into mould. Knock out, fridge.

* This recipe makes about 11 pieces for 100gm mould.

 

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Coffee Nutella Cheese Snowskin Mooncake (Selling for RM7 per piece) *each piece is 100gm

Pastry:
90g cold coffee
1tsp coffee essence
40gm krimwell
200g Redman snowskin premix
Some Pau Flour
(Total Weight = 330g)

Filling:
500g lotus paste 200g Nutella
250g cream cheese
(Total Weight = 950g)

Method:
(Filling)
1) Double boil Nutella till melt, mix in lotus paste, knead till even.
2) Divide into equal portion according to your mould, i.e. if using 100gm mould, 70gm is used for filling and 30gm for the skin. Hence, I cut the cream cheese to about 20gm each and the kneaded paste to about 60gm each. Fillings will be about 80gm each.

(Pastry Skin)
1) Mix all pastry ingredient together except Pau flour.
Process till even & divide into equal portion, rest for 5-10 mins.
2) Roll pastry into flat sheet, wrap in filling, seal edges & press into mould. Knock out, fridge.

* This recipe makes about 11 pieces for 100gm mould.

 

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Orange Chocolate Walnut Snowskin Mooncake (Selling for RM8 per piece) *each piece is 100gm

Pastry:
200g cold water
250g Sunquick
2&1/2tsp lemon juice/rind
2&1/2tsp orange paste
200gm krimwell
1000g Redman snowskin premix
Some Pau Flour
(Total Weight = 1650g)

Filling:
1000g lotus paste
180g cooking chocolate
180g toasted walnut
180g orange peel
90g chocolate chip
(Total Weight = 1630g)

Method:
(Filling)
1) Double boil chocolate till melt, mix in lotus paste, knead till even.
2) Mix in walnut (toasted), orange peels & chocolate chips.
3) Divide into equal portion.

(Pastry)
1) Mix all pastry ingredient together except Pau flour. Process till even & divide into equal portion, rest for 5-10 mins.
2) Roll pastry into flat sheet, wrap in filling, seal edges & press into mould. Knock out, fridge.

* Modified recipe from a book.

My old time favourite is the orange chocolate flavour. I can never get enough of it. Hit me up (or Nian Tze, if you know her personally) if you’re too lazy or do not have the means to bake them yourself. 😀

x

Short Story: Reality


 Photo on 4-29-13 at 11_Fotor

What the heck was that, brain? I would not call that sleep. Unacceptable. And couldn’t you have chosen someone else to dream of? Seriously!

She struggles to take a breath. Crap, it’s already 7. Ah, my head! The pain was throbbing from the sides of her skull and her scalp. She was convinced. Must be from the lack of sleep. After all, four hours of half-sleeping will never be enough for her. But that wasn’t all that gave her the headaches.

Did I really just dream of him twice within the span of four hours? She sighed. After all this time, she was still having recurring nightmares of the one that she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. It’s been a fucking year and three months, brain. You can do better than this. Teamwork; that’s all there is to it. She sighed again. She finds her phone and started typing.

Just dreamt of you. Again. You would think that with the amount of distractions I’ve given myself I’d eventually forget about you and move on. But, no. I’ve actually been doing great so far until last night so you must have still mean a great deal to me. But, you know. Whatevs.

She hits send and got up from her bed, disgruntled and famished.

Cooking is her favourite therapy. Although she wasn’t exactly cooking that morning, she found peace just from spreading butter on slices of baguette, to be toasted in the oven. But, she wasn’t exactly patient either. She left the oven at a slightly higher temperature, which led to a few pieces of burned toasts. Some, with burned sides. Life doesn’t like me right now. I just know it.

Iced tea and burned toasts, not what she had in mind before falling asleep. She anticipated the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, followed by the fluffiness of griddle-pan waffles topped with sunny-side up eggs and bacon on the side, much like her usual favourite – pancakes and eggs. She did get a cup of Sumatra coffee on-the-go from the opposite café upon realizing she had arrived at work on time, but earlier than everyone else. No idea what this is but coffee is coffee. Please love me today.

Her phone buzzed.

Hey. I know things haven’t been easy for you too but holding on to the past is never going to be a good thing. And, no. I’m not the kind of guy with hopes that you still think about me. I hope you can keep moving on and work towards a better life. I know it’s not easy but please try. I wish you the best of luck in anything that you’re going to go through in the future. You always could do it without my help. You’re stronger than you think.

Fuck. Her little heart yells. Her hands shaking, body shivering. Her eyes began brimming, but she managed to gather all the strength that she could muster. After a fucking year? After all that yelling, telling me that you never wanted to talk to me anymore, this is the best that you could say? My messages were left never replied and you never once had the decency to even pick my calls, even if it’s work-related! She never thought his first reply after 10 months of silence would infuriate her. But it did.

She started composing her words in her head. After a couple of breaths, she began typing.

Serious shit, I’m getting emotional Just getting this after one year. Are we seriously becoming strangers, after everything that we’ve been through?? And I’m trying! You know full well that I am. Last night was just….one of those rough nights. But whatevs. Go kick ass in your life too. I still wish I could be in it. Miss you always x

Send. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. THAT IS NOT WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY. This is going to mess me up all day. Fuck.

She quickly scans through her contact list, looking for a shoulder to cry on. Micah! 

She took a screenshot of their conversation and sends it over to Micah, with a few more messages describing her confused & mixed-feelings situation.

“This is just an illusion, right?”
“I don’t think so. It was pretty heartfelt. But um, I’m going to be driving for about 2 hours with him today. 4, if you include the return trip.”
“Of course the person that I wanna talk to the most about this HAS to be the guy that will be spending time with him!”
“I’ll shut up. I won’t do anything.”
“Could you buy him a bar of Toblerone, though? The white ones. I’d pay you back.”
“Kinda doesn’t go with whatever was in that message, don’t you think?”
“No message. Just a bar of chocolate. He will never figure it’s me.”
“I’ll confuse him with an illusion. I’ll talk to you tonight?”
“Thanks, Mike. I owe you a million. :)”

Reality.

She sighed. I’m back to reality.

Reality is when she goes back to work, pretending that none of the morning scenes ever happened.

Reality is when she argues with her priorities, and makes a trip down to where she was needed the most, succeeded in fixing other people’s problems but her own.

Reality is crying her eyes out from keeping the emotions in longer than she could hold them, while driving back to her first workplace.

Reality is when she pens her thoughts in lyrical form, feeling lonely in a room full of people, and at the same time loved and cared for by the people that she now calls her new family.

Reality is when her hoodie smells like cigarettes and she wishes that it smells like him instead.

Reality is when she shuts the world out at the end of the night with hopes to return the next day, continuing her services to the people, better than ever.

I really want my waffles though. She muttered, half-asleep.

Alex Goot & Against the Current LIVE in KL


Aaaahhhhh Mental.

Thank you Darren (AHM) for inviting me! Wouldn’t have left the house if ya didn’t. ha! Too exhausted from back-to-back events and workload. 😛

I got in late, so I completely missed Lizzie’s performance and got in during Skyward’s last song. Glad I could at least catch An Honest Mistake though. I brought my Canon EOS1100D with me so I don’t have to bear with the low quality pictures from my phone. aha.

Side note before moving on to the pictures: THE LIGHTS WERE AMAZING. CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT!

 

An Honest Mistake

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Against the Current

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Alex Goot

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(more) Camera & Phones

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Outside the hall: during breaks & after the concert.

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After-party!

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I don’t know when else I’ll get to have this kind of opportunity. Never been to an actual concert besides the praise and worship ones so I’m honestly grateful for Darren. As a production girl, I just wanna give props to the production team. You guys did an incredible job and none of this would’ve happened without you guys! To the acts, AWESOME AS ALWAYS!

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