Category Archives: Music

They Can’t Take That Away From Me: the Fiction (part 2)

The Invitation: Timm’s story

“The way you smile just beams
the way you sing off-key
the way you haunt my dreams”

The driver politely told me that we were at terminal 3. I told him to drive around first since I had an important email to reply.
I didn’t. I was just surprised to see Jade’s name in my inbox. I hadn’t heard from her in years. Of course I blamed this whole grown-up world where I have to be either on the plane flying somewhere, in a meeting, lobbying some hard-to-meet politicians and have to be home for my girlfriend in weekends.

From: Jade
To: Timm
Subject: just open it will ya

Hallo Timm,
Wie geht’s?2
Gee, I had to open translate Google for that very simple ‘How are you’!  Can you believe it? Well, I’m sure you can believe it.
The last time I met you my German was non-exist, why should it get better now that I live in London. (Yes, I’ve been living in London for a year now, you arrogant bastard who actually live less than three-hour flight from me and never reply my email. Wow it feels so good to actually say that!)

I know that you’re still an important Sales Director for some big name company (I know that you’re still very much handsome) and hence you’re busy. I’m not asking lots of your precious time. Now, you see that little tiny attachment icon in the corner (or is it the bottom?) of this page? You gotta click it, as in now, jetzt.  It’s my wedding invitation. Enjoy reading it.  And don’t forget the RSVP. The bride to be needs to set up the seating arrangement.

Please please please come, Timmo.
Ich vermisse dich so sehr3. (I’ll make sure something Barry White will be playing in the reception)


I knew now how Julia Robert’s character’s felt in My Best Friend’s Wedding when she learned that the guy is marrying Cameron D. I was glad that I was not standing up when I read that email. Even so, I felt disoriented I didn’t know where I was. Only after reading it several times did I realize I was supposed to be at the airport terminal checking in to my flight back to Hamburg. Out of habit I tipped the driver generously, silently praying that he wouldn’t tell anyone in the branch office that Timm Neumann had an awkward moment with him.

My flight from Singapore to Hamburg was a little bit more than 16 hours. How much sleep did I get during this flight? Nil.  Der Flugbegleiter4 was kind enough to never let my drink get empty and let my mind do their wander.

If there was one thing I thought I can be certain of, it was that Jade remain single until she was at least 40. It is so unlike her that she is marrying some guy in her 30s. There’s no picture of him in the wedding invitation but I am sure I’m better in the looks department than him. How do I know? Because Jade wrote that I’m handsome. Oh but Jade is always good with words with the guys.

We met in a remote place in Northern Thailand in our early 20s during an international volunteer camp. Her outgoing personality and her laugh attracted me. The icing on the cake: she was easy on the eyes too. We were inseparable during the camp; it was the best time in my life. She didn’t have time to maintain a serious relationship at her age, she told me when the end of the camp was approaching. She had to be more serious in pursuing her degree in journalism. We promised that we would keep in touch, though.

We did keep that promise. We always met 2-3 times year for 4 years. She even travelled to Germany to visit me twice! Optimist (and good-looking guy if I may add) that I am, I somehow knew that she would eventually follow what her heart would tell her and be with me. For that reason, I always made sure that I was always single at least a month before and after our holiday together.

And Barry White, we love him so much. We could sing every song perfectly from any singer, but for our love to Mr. Barry White, we always sang off-key (except for the obviously sing-able part like “Let the music play”5).  We know Barry White’s lyrics by heart and we applied it in our daily lives (Example: a friend asked me if Bali was THE place to go, I’d reply by singing “satisfaction guaranteed6”. Followed rolled eyes were inevitable). When we were together it was crazier. We were stuck in 1970 disco music in the 2000s. Those were good old days, the post graduate days. I blame my grown up world for losing her.

I’ll make sure something Barry White will be playing in the reception.
Well Jade, I’ll make sure I’ll come to your wedding. I’ll come to dance to Barry White’s song and of course to really see what kind of guy is this William that you’re marrying.

Note :
2. How are you doing?
3. I miss you very much
4. The flight attendant
5. Let the music play. Album : Let the music play. 1976.
6. Come On. Album : The Icon is Love. 1995

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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Dating & its nitty gritty, Fiction, Music


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They Can’t Take That Away From Me: the Fiction (part 1)

The Facebook Chat: Chris’s story

“the way you wear hat
the way you sip your tea”
“Do you remember Jade?” I asked my wife
“The one who lives overseas and always moves away? The one you often lose track of?”, she replied.
“She’s in London now. We just chatted over FB. She’s getting married in July”
“Good for her”
“She’s inviting us. She knows we’ll be in London in July for my sister’s graduation”
“How does she know?”
“Well, I told her”
“So are we going to her wedding?”
“Yes, of course. Why shouldn’t we?” I replied, “She’ll be sending the actual invitation next month”

My wife then gave me a lecture about the importance of discussing important matter with your spouse.
She’s like that, my wife. She thinks that going to London a week earlier is “something important”.  She must be thinking about the extra expense for the UK trip. I know that she’s been eyeing a new handbag from some designer whose brand is difficult to pronounce (and with a more difficult to digest price tag on it).

The lecture continued into our bedroom right up our bed time. She now thinks that “something important” is related to going all to London to attend a wedding of a woman she hardly knows, a woman who doesn’t mean anything to us.
“She’s not even your best friend right, Sayang1?” she asked me.
I turned off the night lamp above my head and closed my eyes.

The image of Jade is more vivid with my eyes closed. She’s not my best friend alright, but I always wish I were one of hers.
I have adored that gal ever since we went out hiking together my junior year (her freshman year) in university.  She was still the only gal on that 3-day trip and she really amazed me. She didn’t complain despite the trail we picked out was pretty hard for a petite girl like her. She was a great cook – she put other stuffs when cooking the instant noodle so it didn’t only taste like MSG and fake chicken flavor. And she made good tea.

Ha ha ha, the tea thing. She is a tea-lover and made a fuss in making and drinking it.
She snapped at me the first time I drank her tea, “That’s not how you drink MY tea. My tea should be sipped, not gulped down. Can’t you be a classier guy?”
She then showed me how HER tea should be drunk.

Jade had never dated anyone exclusively before that hiking trip (yes, I did some thorough research) and alas, not after the hiking trip either. We went out to movies and concerts a couple of times but nothing happened afterward. I thought she’d fall for me, but no. I was just one of her many “victims”.  She pointed out to me after one late jazz concert that I am one of her go-to guys. A guy she could really count on. Damn. And I thought she with all the charms could be my something special.

Well, after all I guess she’s right. I’m her go-to guy. She could really count on me coming to her wedding despite my wife’s complain.

Note : 1. Sayang : darling

==to be continued to THE WAY YOU WEAR YOU HEART : The fiction (part II)

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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Dating & its nitty gritty, Fiction, Music


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My Handwriting – featuring Billie Holiday's lyrics

It looks nice.

A bit unstable for 't', 'w', 'I', 'l' but it still looks nice.

If it were a font it would be called 'skylark' because skylarks don't care if your handwriting looks nice or preppy, as long as you can write and others can read the writing.

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Music


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Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

Love is a many-splendored thing,

Love is a many-splendored thing,
It’s the April rose that only grows in the early spring,
Love is nature’s way of giving a reason to be living,
The golden crown that makes a man a king.

Once on a high and windy hill,
In the morning mist two lovers kissed and the world stood still,
Then your fingers touched my silent heart and taught it how to sing,
Yes, true love’s a many-splendored thing.

This song popped into my head while driving this morning. This takes me back to a day in the mid-90’s.

My dad played this song and hummed this continuously I thought I’d go crazy. What is “splendored”, anyway? It sounded like a made-up word.
Not long after that my brother with his baritone/tenor voice sang this song be-a-u-ti-ful-ly. He kept singing this song at home, in the car while driving me to school, and in parties (where he voluntarily performed). For years I’d disliked this song.

When this song popped into my head this morning though, I see the beauty of this song and smile for the memory of that day in mid 90s.

Love, after all, is a many splendored thing.

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Family, Music


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(Note : This is a “game” from Facebook.
RULES: Put on your iTunes, Windows media player, playlist on shuffle (I use my “Jazz female” playlist in my Ipod); for each question, press the next button to get your answer and you MUST write that song title no matter how silly it sounds)


IF SOMEONE SAYS ‘ARE YOU OKAY’ YOU SAY?    I’ve got a crush on you

See, I don’t really like when people ask me this question.
So I guess, my playlist tries to teach me to reply “I’ve got a crush on you” so we can focus back to the person instead of me. Next!

I am a little offended by this answer. I sing perfectly well-tuned.
Message noted though: I have to come regularly to my choir rehearsal and do daily warm-up for my voice

I like people as I spend day by day with them.

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?    Cruising for bruising
Lately life’s been so predictable, so I really want a new adventure. If I’m to say ‘looking for trouble’, maybe because I’m looking for one.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?    Cry me a river
The song describes that since that boy made her cry before, he had to cry her a river to get her back.
This is definitely not my life’s purpose, but I don’t mind having a guy cry for me. Yes, I’m that high-maintenance.

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?    Take five
Five minutes break should always be taken. Why work so hard if you can’t take a five minutes break to enjoy the view?

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?    I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair
(I truly can’t analyze this)

(geeeeee, really?)

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?    Bewitched, bothered, bewildered

WHAT IS 2 + 2?    Certain sadness
I think this indicates when someone attached to someone else and am having a love affair with another person (which belongs to someone else). Certain sadness indeed.

I will never ever forget you guys

It IS a very nice life story

I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, now I just want to measure how high the moon is from where I’m sitting.

Yes, cute guy, let’s go to Aruanda and stay there forever.

And we’ll dance to this song at our wedding

And when I die, you must play this so people know that I’m so drunk on love. I’m love over-dose

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST??    How insensitive
How insensitive this question is, I was dreaming about life in Aruanda.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?    Ain’t misbehaving

But now that it’s published in this blog, this is hardly a secret


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?    You couldn’t be cuter
I think ‘funnier’ is more suitable for my friends.

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?    Dream a little dream of me
Cute guy, please dream a little dream of me tonight.


Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Dailies, Music


BASIA’s Go For You (& losing bet to yourself)

(Lyrics are available below. But here is my two cents about falling in and out of love.)

Relationship goes wrong. After all the madness, the fights, the dramas, the puffy eyes, we bet ourselves not to give our hearts (and mind and soul) to someone else. To fall in love is like a nostalgia. Let’s just (put our bad habit here) like crazy until we can forget his/her phone numbers.

Life is back to normal when we can pass 3 days in a row not thinking about our bad habit (FYI : I was abroad and I didn’t have a will for 3 days in a row to shop). Life’s good. We survive major heartbreak. We’re survivors!

Then a someone new comes in our way.

We can’t tell which one of these elements tell the other two (mind tells heart and soul?) that this someone is so nice that we don’t mind spending more time with this person, he/she looks so cute, etc (we all know the standard operation procedure is, right?). We’re about to lose the bet. Or are we?

It’s your call.
In my case, I lost the bet.

Now let’s sing.


I’m through with love
It’s only a madness
I’m finished with this
This moment was never my joy
Who needs a heart break?
Don’t want anybody to call my own

But when you’re near
The sweetest sensation
Takes over my heart
I feel like I’m losing control
These moments of weakness
Allow me a glimpse of heaven

But I’ve been so strong
Can it be true
It’s like a mystery too soulful
For you broke my resolve
Now I’m fighting I try
but I cannot deny
that I could really go for you
I’m looking for clues
What else to do
I take leave of my senses
Give back all defenses
I have to comply
Can no longer deny
That I could really go for you

It could be so good
I’m wishing anew
oh why should I resent
something I’ve always missed?

What’s the point in my pride
if I cannot deny that I could really
go for you
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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Dating & its nitty gritty, Music


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If I Were a Genre of Music…

I would be jazz.

[Portrait of Deryk Sampson, Lynn Carver, Justin Arndt, and Clair Dorward, Famous Door, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947] (LOC)
I sing in my spare time. I sing jazz, R&B, a bit of rock and roll, and some showtunes. I can’t tell which one of them is my most favorite genres, luckily I’m not a professional singer having to choose one only. I find that they’re all beautiful and they’re all challenging. But to have a music genre as a metaphor for myself, I must say it’s jazz (with a twist of rock and roll).

I understand that jazz is not only about singing and not also about just playing an instrument.

My understanding about jazz is that you have to know the ground rule of the original composition, you put your heart and soul in performing it, and you perform it beautifully with your own interpretation and improvisation.

Most of the times, I know what I want to do in life. Obstacles are met here and there. I just have to compromise with them, make some slight improvisation in life. And I hope people see me living my life as an entertaining one, like watching a jazz concert.

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Posted by on April 23, 2011 in Dailies, Music


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