Sunday, September 17, 2006

Country Singer


I used to be a country singer.  (Well, we lived in the country and I loved to sing.)  It was sort of therapeutic for me whenever I got stressed.  Besides, there wasn’t much else to do in the evenings.  And initially the only audience I had was my long-suffering siblings and parents.  Then some critics in the form of neighbors came into the picture.  Then we had family friends, including a cousin (who broke my guitar while trying to play sepak takraw and strum it at the same time).  


Now, fast-forward to 21st century.  I often wondered what chance I’d have getting up on a stage and singing to a real live audience.  The few chances I had for me to find out, I blew them.  (I chickened out.)   The only place I could get to sing without inhibitions was in the bathroom.  I could try the living room but then whenever I got the mike plugged in, the kids “have homework to do”, “gotta get to bed early”.  Wifey would busy herself in the kitchen.  I just guess my singing isn’t much to shout about.  I’ll say that they’re more understanding than appreciative, its dad’s way to de-stress.


One evening, at Sook Wen’s wedding dinner there was a karaoke session, and there were some good singers and some so-so ones, all scrambling for the mike.   Fine, let’s just be entertained and eat.  I was chewing on some chicken in my mouth when I heard my name being called out by the MC, introducing me as the uncle of the bride.  Being the good uncle that I am, I wasn’t about to let the bride down.  So I gamely got on to the stand and delivered a poorly timed ‘Green green grass of home’.  That wasn’t so bad because I wasn’t told in advance and didn’t have time to turn my stomach into knots waiting for the cue.


I’m not really too keen about conquering my fear of the stage.  I don’t need to earn a living from it.  But remembering an old lesson from dad about facing my fears, anything I’m scared of doing I just thought I should take a shot at before I got too old for it.  (I don’t think they’d let me up on the Bungee platform without a medical certificate, would they?  Anyway, I’m not scared of that, so I’ll rule that out as a challenge!).  But heck, why not?  Some day I may need to get up there and announce something or say something on someone else’s behalf and find myself getting stage-fright.   Err, scary.


So, last night at our company’s annual din (I mean dinner, but ‘din’ is the correct description for it) I took to the stage for the 2nd time in my life.  Shivering in the knees but managed to keep my voice steady, I introduced my song with, “This is a song recorded in 1960 by the Brothers Four.  But tonight I’m going to sing it alone.  (pause) It’s called - Greenfields” (But why the heavens did they make the music so much slower than when I was rehearsing it?).  


I got a colleague to record it with my Olympus.  He managed to catch the ending.  They blew too much smoke at the start.  That was good because I couldn’t see the VIP table which was right in front.  In spite of that I managed to catch a glimpse of the CEO nodding his head in approval.  He probably recognized the song.  (BTW, that’s not a port belly.  That’s my shirt I didn’t have time to tuck in properly.  The organizing committee ushers were extremely good at their job.  There was no lapse in the program.  Everything ran like clockwork.)  I brought my tie along but it felt so strangling I took it off before they finally dragged me up on stage (which is also not true, I went up willingly enough)

Here’s the Country Singer doing his stuff. 


P.S.  Sorry folks, no show.  The Olympus FE150 came with a quirky Quicktime.exe  playable only on version 6.4.  Can't run on anything else.  Too bad those folks at Olympus better buck up.

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