Monday, August 29, 2011

Ah kong

My ah kong has left to be with the Lord. He was sick for a long time, and the cancer had spread to his bones.

He lived to a ripe age of 91 :)

Earlier this year during Chinese New Year he was still looking healthy. He had short term memory loss, so most of our conversations in limited teochew (on my part) would consist of him asking me the same questions every five minutes:

"Are you working in KL now?"
"Is Jontzen still in Shanghai?"

His long term memory of me is up til around 2005 when I graduated from uni and started work in KL, and that was also when my brother was already working in Shanghai. So to him, I was still the fresh grad who just moved to KL, just rented a room, with new surroundings to adapt to.

I never got tired of answering his questions though. "Yes I am working in KL, this is Sen Kiat my husband, we got married last year.." It was kinda cute yet sad at the same time.

His wife, my grandmother, had passed away many years ago. I always asked my parents if he would remember that she was no longer around, or would he wake up in the mornings startled at the disappearance of his wife from his side.

He got really sick a few months back. From the healthy man I saw during Chinese New Year, he had suddenly become so frail that it hurt to recognize him. Skin to the bones and cheeks sunken in, he was admitted to hospital a few times.

Ah kong. I wished I spoke more teochew. I told you I love you in English and I think you understand that right? Every moment spent with you then onwards was more precious than gold. Feeding you porridge at the hospital, wiping your eyes, putting on your socks for you, massaging your ankles and shoulders... Will it ever be enough to show you that I love you dearly?

I didn't cry that much when I found out that he had left. I guess we all saw it coming and it was just a matter of time. But as I write this my tears are rolling down.

Ah kong. I wished I was there to send you off to the Lord. Still, it would never compare to the welcome of the angels above.

Love you, ah kong :)


Looking at the way my Monday to-do list was written, clearly I've got my priorities lined up right from the get go. I had written all the non-important but fun stuff at the top of the list and the really important one right at the end. Upon realizing that I had to furiously mark in red to draw my attention to the most important item.

I suppose linear thinking is not my thing haha :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dear Malaysians

Let's forget about being good Malaysians for a while, and just try to focus on being good people, on trying to have a good heart, and on trying to do the right thing. 

That's how Malaysia is going to be a better country in the future.

You may be a school teacher, a stay at home mom, a student, a janitor, a politician, a rockstar-- it doesn't matter. Let's just start with this small seed in our heart. You want a better Malaysia, right? 

p/s: I'm so, so, so, SO proud of my husband because he came up with this idea and together with the awesome team of creatives (in the agency, the client, and the production side), they came up with this viral video. You will see him in the video, holding a sign about apologizing for not returning a stranger's wallet he found in a taxi-- that incident happened to him when he was 14 years old. So yes, true story! :-p

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tutorial: Recording your own vocals on GarageBand with the built-in mic

I wrote this for Jodi because she wanted to record her own vocals on GarageBand. She's a really awesome singer and I always love her performances! She is gonna be a megastar one day :D

This tutorial is a very simple one, using the built-in microphone on your Macbook. If you have a USB mic, it would be better, but the point of this tutorial is to show you that you can achieve pretty decent quality with the built-in mic by taking control of a few settings. Here is one song that I recorded with the built-in mic:

KSD by chiiiiing

On to the tute......... take it away, tute!
Setting up your recording area
  1. Try to record in a small room so that there’s not so much echo
    (Note: Apparently one of Kelly Clarkson’s songs, “Irvine”, that was on her album was recorded by herself with her macbook in her closet. The vocals were so emotionally charged that the producers decided to use it instead of trying to replicate it at the studio.)
  2. Thick curtains and carpets are good because they help dampen some high frequency waves and also reduce echoes. (If you record in a bathroom, there will be a lot of echoes because the sound waves will be bouncing crazily against the bathroom tiles :D)
  3. You can also try covering yourself and your laptop with a thick blanket/quilt but it might be a bit hot hehe
  4. Turn off any electronics that might be adding noise to your environment (ie ceiling fans, CPU fans, mobile phone vibrating, etc)
  5. Close any windows to reduce sounds of car honking noises, cats fighting, etc
  6. Adjust your distance from the laptop microphone, ie if your song requires you to throw your voice loudly, place yourself further away from the mic. If your song requires a more personal and intimate delivery of the vocals, go nearer to the mic so that it’ll pick up the emotional nuances in your voice.
    (Note: The built-in mic on the macbook is usually located behind the keyboard, under the left speaker grille)
  7. Stand up if you feel it works better for your vocals; you can also sit down. Whatever works best for you :D

Setting up your macbook’s System Preferences
  1. Click on the Apple icon on the top left of your computer
  2. System Preferences > Sound > Input
  3. See image below:

Setting up your garageband’s Sound Settings to record vocals
  1. See image below:
  2. You may then proceed to record your vocals

Enhancing your vocal recording on garageband
  1. After recording your vocals, you can add filters to enhance the quality.
    See image below:

That's about it for now. If this tute helped you, let me know. Have fun!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Manual prints

Experimenting with printing patterns on fabric tonight! Let's see how lasting this paint is.... :p