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Archive for the ‘Arts & Fashion’ Category

800px-Chopin_at_Singapore_Botanical_GardensGrowing up as a kid I loved listening to all kinds of music. I was not exposed to any musical environment. Mom was too busy earning bread for us to think about having any of us taking musical class. Plus, she believes in education, education, and education. The next door neighbor in Nhatrang had radio. I listened to whatever they listened. The morning BBC at the time broadcast from overseas allowed me to learn some Vietnamese songs, old and new at the time. I remember me writing down the songs I overheard from their radio. There were afternoon sing-a-song teaching program for children, foreign music request program every Sunday morning. So I collected all songs in my mind and/or jotted them down into a notebook, and learned different songs by Madonna, Michael Jackson, Bonney M, Modern Talking, Wham, ABBA, Julio Iglesias, even some french songs. I learned to sing along and then sing to my younger siblings, especially my younger sister who asked me to sing for her noonnap. Later on, living in Bien Hoa, Mom bought us radio-double cassette system and TV. I had more interest in tuning into different stations. I was into the classics station and would have it on to put me to sleep at night. The cassette musical tapes I had were given by the seller, and I listened to them over and over again until I transferred them to a longer ribboned tape (90 min) and overwrote the tape with my favorite songs from the radio stations. I loved the beats of the music and started picking up some ballroom-dance steps from a girl-friend (Phuong Thao). Speaking of Thao, she is an artist herself; she could draw very well. So, I went to sleep with classics and woke up in the morning dancing to the “beats”. I exercised, practiced the be-pop and cha-cha in the mornings. My mom and sister still talk jokingly about me “sweeping the floor in the morning”. I realized that was the beginning of what put me into the beats and into body shaping, and it did indeed help building some gestures into me. Then I got into music-exchange with school friends. Of course, these were the Vietnamese musical notes or songs made before 1975, which at the time was banned because they were considered by Vietnamese Communist as “nhac nguy doi truy” (addictive, non-patriotic, brain-washing music).
I could sing well. The age of karaoke in the 90’s proved that. Sometimes my mom and sisters encouraged me to participate into the contests. I did think about that; but I never felt a need to do such a thing, or to become a singer. I did sing at New Year’s celebration or cultural events. I am not timid. I enjoyed doing karaoke with friends, and yes, they called me singer or “ca si Yen-Nhi”. One thing I learned about myself is I like strong-willed or strong-spirited music, while most of Vietnamese music is so sad; they were all about one person departing, broken-hearted girls singing out for love. That is not what I would do on stage. So I’d rather choose the music of youth or young romance, of nationalism, of nature to sing. In other words, the songs I perform have to be meaningful to me. I admit music is in my blood. My maternal grandfather with his years of  playing french horn for french military had an influence on my musical talent. He taught me the musical keys. My father was active in community, was a soccer coach, played tennis when he was young, and had good voice. He loved singing to songs and to poems. I see I am a copy of him in that aspect sometimes. I am a truth seeker, as somebody says that to me. To really know the what and the how of music, I inquired more on how to appreciate music and arts, how to play piped organ (the one that is as high as the church building and requires you play with feet and hands), and tried to learn playing flute but my lungs are too weak. I ordered a brand-name $200-clarinet for that class, and unfortunately returned it after three months.
Years went by with my my own evolution, I turned to music when I need to relax. I guess my passion varies. The same with music. I changed taste from time to time. I guess, it does that to everybody, throughout different stages of their lives. But I can always go back to the roots. I can see myself confident when presenting myself or conducting my manner. I think that is part of what built me up as a person today. I see myself as a contributor, rather than an attention-grabber.

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As I am watching “Youth Knows no Pain” on HBO-E, I am triggered by a doctor’s question “What’s your feeling anout the anti-aging industry?”
I feel it is going over-board. So many people, doctors of all kinds, facialists, skin technicians and alike, are getting into this business. And so many young people are attracted into this beauty-fixer upper industry for their obsession of being beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I am attracted to pretty things as well, probably in two ways: out of curiosity and admiration. I admire beauty that is highly self-maintained through natural nourishment and trained through hard-core disciplinary acts.
I believe we are in the age-conscious era. We human beings have evolved from being conscious about what we intake to what is good for your body, your brain, and the most ultimate desire is stay young longer, (if not forever). So does Youth knows any pain? Of course, it does, depending on how we take “that pain”. No pain, no gain. Not happy about one aspect of your face, your body? We have to weigh on the pain if it’s worth it for the gain we want. The pain from the knife, from exercise or disciplinary actions. It is all up to us. Agreed for those who have limit physical capability have to choose the knife-pain. But then you have to maintain, to keep it up. I believe in no pain no gain. I listen to my body, and eat, sleep, relaxt, workout equally and moderately. I don’t really need to go far out of my way or my limitations.
I am in my thirty’s and no one can’t believe my real age. A plastic surgeon friend once said I look like twenty-something. God bless him! We all know it takes as double work for women as it does for men as part of aging process. Women stretch, expand, shrink, sag, wrinkle, lose bone density due to menses and giving childbirths. Men go bald, age later, sag a little bit, but most likely expand. Then it would be sad if men can’t keep up and can’t maintain. The key is “maintain”.
The worst mistake is to be like someone. As we grow and learn from mistakes, own experiences, we know more about ourselff. I have learn to love myself better, know what I want, what does and would make me happy, what stands out from my body, my face. To me, being healthy, in control of your life, and being strong are what boost the condidence and self-esteem, which then boost the beauty.

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Out of curiosity many times I have my mind swirling around words.  Words fascinated me.  One example is “imagination”.  Human minds can imagine far and beyond.  Just think about how all things we live with in modern world compared to our ancestors, all innovations, wars, wonders, on this world and I admire how powerful human mind can be.  The mind can transform the imaginative to reality.  The mind can see things in its own analytical ways, can form its own perception of a person, has power to build, also to kill, to destroy, and power to heal.  Multiple aspects of the human imagination (HI) span from spirtual, to religious, to high-tech. HI => technologies => products that go (movies, music, architecture) far beyond any imagination. I admire those brains with such grandiose imaginations. To put together the science and engineering logics of their imaginations must require the artistic side of their brain (the right brain? perhaps). It is all about the work of the arts.
Seeing my little second cousin’s drawing and playfully palying piano without looking at the keyboard is just astounding.  We don’t want to underestimate any one, even a kid.

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