A Fuegokoori Evening

It had been quite a while back since I attended a musical event in Kuching. The last one I attended was organized by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra during one of their concert tours in Kuching last year. So when I heard about a classical trio making a tour in East Malaysia which would see them perform in Kuching, I immediately pounced at the opportunity without hesitation. I suppose Kuching isn’t exactly at the top of the ‘must-go-to-perform’ lists of most musicians, which is a pity really, but at least I can see that is changing in recent times.

It was a classical and mesmerizing evening as we were treated to a performance by the Fuegokoori trio, who performed a selection of masterpieces composed by the famed virtuoso Nicolo Paganini to the versatile Joe Hisashi whose work I got to know about through the Japanese animation ‘Spirited Away’. The Fuegokoori trio is comprised of Malaysian violinist Yap Ling, American cellist Robert Sang-Ung Choi and Singaporean guitarist Dominic Wan. To say that they performed admirably well would probably be an understatement, considering – myself as a member of the Sarawak Symphony Orchestra who finds some pieces so frustratingly-difficult to play – that they made playing the said pieces look like trying to cut a block of butter with a hot knife.

As I recounted the moment the trio played Hisashi’s ‘Memory’, I recalled how Robert’s fingers ‘danced’ up and down the cello’s fingerboard. Equally enchanting was how Dominic Wan expressed himself with, as with the other pieces, playing Sevilla by Isaac Albeniz. I was particularly hypnotized by Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’ too. The trio just made it look so effortless, like a duck jumping into water.

Left to right: Robert Sang-Ung Choi (cello), Dominic Wan (guitar), Yap Ling (violin)

My hope for the future is that there will be more musical tours to Kuching, as indeed while the number of individuals who appreciate classical music is still small, the numbers are certainly growing.

More Information About The Fuegokoori Trio

Fuego means “fire” in Spanish, whereas koori means “ice” in Japanese. Fire and ice represent extremes as well as the fiery energy that comes out when they are put together. Since the first concert of cello and guitar in 2003, Fuegokoori has produced two “live” CDs and plans to record its latest with the newly established Fuegokoori Trio, featuring violin, cello and guitar.

Now an internationally-acclaimed ensemble, Fuegokoori explores crossovers of extreme emotions and soul-searching themes, featuring obscure works of more celebrated composers like Paganini, Sarasate, Piazzolla and de Falla, directly contrasted with works by leading Japanese and Chinese composers like Mayuzumi Toshiro, Zhou Long and Joe Hisashi. Experience the refreshing juxtaposition of Asian calm and tranquility with flamenco’s exuberance and fire.

More information can be found at www.fuegokoori.com.

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FuegokooriTrio

Additional Note: Many thanks to Mr. Yap Ling for allowing me to take the photos.

More photos can be downloaded here.

A Musical January

This month will be a musical one indeed. See below for the following masterclasses and concerts. Tickets can be obtained from Classic Music Conservatory (CMC) in Kuching. Please contact Mr. Brian Lee for details (0 12-886 3588). Details on the concert and venue as shown below.

Fuegokoori Trio Comes to Kuching!

Venue: MBKS Kuching South City Hall Auditorium
Date: 16th January 2013
Ticket Price: RM 30.00
More Information: https://www.facebook.com/FuegokooriTrio


Stars of Today & Tomorrow in Concert 2013

Venue: Classic Music Conservatory
Date of Concert: 27th January 2013
Date of Masterclass: 28th January 2013 (morning)
Concert Ticket Price: RM 30.00 (students), RM 50.00 and RM 100.00 for adults.
Masterclass fee (Dr. Nicholas Ong – Piano, James Dong – Violin): RM 250.00 per hour.


Christmas By The Mall

It has been quite a while back when I took these pictures, just before Christmas to be exact, so this article is long overdue.

It is not uncommon to see Christmas decorations make their way into the malls during the season, but it appears that there is a new trend in the making. We’re seeing a number of giant ‘Christmas trees’ sprouting around town in front of malls and hotels, and the latest mall in Kuching is no exception.

The photos were shot entirely in Jpeg and were post-processed with Snapseed for iOS.

Equipment used:

  1. Camera – Nikon D7000
  2. Lenses – Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 and Nikkor 18 – 105mm
  3. Tripod

The mall entrance

The photographer and the child



Just some time between noon and about 8pm today, you may have noticed that it was difficult, if not impossible, to enter my website. The problem was eventually traced back to a memory allocation error with the server. Apparently this was caused by a ‘server migration’, which the service provider informed me about some 2 days earlier. In other words, it was mainly a configuration issue.

After performing countless reinstalls of the WordPress package, I realized that installing the JetPack plugin caused the wp-admin login module to not load properly. I was not even able to access the dashboard; I got a blank white page instead. I noticed an anomaly with the stats bar above (in the WordPress toolbar at the top – you see this only when logged in as an admin) in that the stats were hardly showing and I suspected the problem was caused by the JetPack plugin was consuming too much memory. I proceeded to delete the module (the whole folder) in the wp-contents/plugins folder via the CPanel file manager and the problem was solved. Anyway, I’m back online and glad to be so.



Motivation for the New Year

For those who are in need of some encouragement, here is a round-up of motivational quotes for the new year. The perfect recipe for our new year resolutions.

Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.
– Henry J. Kaiser

A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible.
– Polybius

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.
– Tom Wilson

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
– Benjamin Franklin

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.
– William Shakespeare

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore,
is not an act but a habit.
– Aristotle

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
– Helen Keller

Do not forget small kindnesses and do not remember small faults.
– Chinese Proverb

Look to be treated by others
as you have treated others.
– Publius Syrus

No great man ever complains of want of opportunities.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is of little traits that the greatest human character is composed.
– William Winter

It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
– Walter Lippmann

The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows.
– Aristotle Onassis

In learning to know other things, and other minds, we become more intimately acquainted with ourselves, and are to ourselves better worth knowing.
– Philip Gilbert Hamilton

Great effort from great motives is the best definition of a happy life.
– William Ellery Channing

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
– George Bernard Shaw

Every artist was first an amateur.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every man has his own destiny; the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.
– Henry Miller

Destiny is not a matter of chance; but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, It is a thing to be achieved.
– William Jennings Bryan

By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself.
– Menander

One who understands much displays a greater simplicity of character than one who understands little.
– Alexander Chase

Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.
– Benjamin Franklin

Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.
– William Hazlitt

If you would know the road ahead, ask someone who has traveled it.
– Chinese Proverb

Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other, it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.
– Charles Caleb Colton

A good deed is never lost: he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindness gathers love.
– Basil

New Resolutions

The year 2012 has come to a close, and in the blink of an eye too. As I sit down reminiscing the moments of the year while gazing at the blinking cursor before me, I take my time to reflect on the those moments that I cherished, the moments that I missed, goals that went down the drain, and those that did take off. This is usually the time of the year when many thoughts will go through my mind as I sometimes find myself in that awkward situation of being ’neither here nor there’.

For my new year resolutions, I will be focussing on two things; simplicity and focus. With regard to simplicity, I will do less things, knowing full well that it is only possible to do a few things well at a time. On focus, I will use my time and energy to do the things that matter most. This means less time (and money) wasted doing unproductive things. I guess that also means eating less and going to the movies less often.

Goals, I believe, should be specific. But I am not obliged to share the specifics here on the public domain. Anyways, happy new year to all!