September 29, 2009

Chaos & Hot Air Do NOT Go Well Together.

~Jinhyun says:

So I had to teach the classes today - Lika was busy.
To be honest,
Rainy weather + me = LAZY.

But yeah, I dragged my ass up the studio for my own good. xD
Thankfully, there was only 3 classes today.

September 14, 2009

Genee International Ballet Competition 2009

Wow, it's been quite an experience, I'll tell ya that.
To be honest, I hadn't really expected it to be how it was.
I'll get to the details as I go along.


Day 1 [12/09.09]

Let's start off from the bus trip to Johor Bahru.
I had woken up at 6am on Friday morning, and I couldn't (and hadn't) had the time for a nap before the 12am trip, so it's pretty reasonable to say that Lika and I were practically out cold the entire time in the bus.
I have never slept that long in a bus throughout my entire bus-riding history.

We were expected to arrive at JB at around 6am, but seeing as the bus driver was probably in the F1 mood, we arrived a good 2 hours earlier.
The bus station was almost deserted, save the few other bus passengers and workers there. To be honest, if you had an overactive imagination, it could've looked like a horror movie waiting to happen.
But we were too tired for our minds to even go there, thank goodness.
Normally, when I 'wake up' from my naps in buses, I don't get that fatigued feeling like when I normally wake up from sleep at home, because I would just 'rest' in the bust and not really fall into (deep) sleep.
But this time, it felt as if I had woken up from a short nap. My voice was even a little hoarse from it.

The thing that was of no surprise/was expected though, was the temperature of the bus.
As usual, it was freezing, although I had my jacket on and even put on socks because my feet was turning to ice.

Anyways, back to JB.

Seeing as we were still a little foggy from sleep, we only had a cup of warm Milo at one of the mamak stalls there.
After that, we searched for the 'CW2' bus that we were supposed to go on to go to Singapore. Alas, we couldn't find a CW2. So instead, we found another bus (JE) that would be going to Singapore all the same.

By the time we got on the bus, ready to leave for Singapore, we were both wide awake.
Probably due to excitement more than anything, though. xD

We had to go through 2 customs, and thankfully, a Malay lady we met on the bus was so nice and kind as to help us through the customs' process.
It was really thanks to her that we even managed to get everything done correctly.

When we got out from the 2nd customs, it was only a few minutes ride in the bus before we arrived in Singapore, something that quite surprised me, as I heard that it would take about an hour from JB to Singapore.
Minus the customs and all, I think the entire bus trip took less than an hour, and we arrived in Singapore at about 8am.
So yeah, we were off to a pretty good start.

Upon descending the bus, Lika whipped out Singapore's map and we went on our way to find our hostel accommodation (G4 Station) at McKenzie Road.
We walked along pathways and streets, occasionally glancing at the map at hand, and passed Victoria Street and Ophir Road. However, still no McKenzie.
I had to rely solely on Lika's sense of direction, as anyone who's ever known me will know better than to trust me with directions, especially in a foreign country. >_>
Plus, I haven't been to Singapore in.. what, nearly 10 years now?

After walking for a while, and came to what we proclaimed looked like a dead end, we fished out the map again, only to find that we were in fact, further from our desired destination now.

So with a sheepish sigh, we folded up the map, acknowledged our inability to do something as simple as read a darned map, and went back to where we came from.

And hailed a taxi instead. Dx

The taxi could only send us to a particular junction, because the driver would have to make a big round to get to the other side, and that meant more fee.
So we thanked the driver, paid him, and got walking again.
Thankfully, the hostel was just right up front, and even us, the map-disabled, could not miss it.

Relief flooded us as we approached the hostel, newfound energy sweeping us.
As we arrived at the hostel, I was pretty surprised to see it 'run' completely by youngsters, probably in their twenties.
But that surprise didn't last long; it was quickly replaced by the same relief from earlier.
So we checked in, but the occupants from the room that was supposed to be ours hadn't checked out yet, so we had to wait.
The receptionist, a young girl, suggested we put our bags in a room in front of the reception desk, and to go have a bite to eat or use the internet while waiting.
And I must say, all the staff there were very nice and friendly. ^^
But best of all, they spoke good English.

Lika and I decided to go to a 7/11 nearby and purchase a Singaporean sim card, seeing as our phones didn't work when we tried them in the bus earlier.
The shoplots on that row were pretty small and narrow, so I was pretty psyched at what I saw in the fridge.

It looked SO.GOOD. *______*
Too bad I never really got around to buying it.
I swear I feel like kicking myself.

After that, we decided to have breakfast in one of the shops opposite our hostel, that was open at that time (Hawa Seafood).
We had Laksa, and I must say, it was pretty good!
While we were there, I managed to snap a photo of the G4 Hostel that we accommodated in:

Doesn't look like much on the outside, but I assure you that it was really cosy and clean inside.

After we finished breakfast, we headed back to the hostel, and decided to use the internet there, since our room was still unavailable as of yet.
I took that opportunity to send an email to mum (and check out FBs and whatnot), since we had trouble with the Singaporean sim card (but to which we found out later, that it was our own error).
It was then that I also took the first picture of Singapore with my digital camera (the rest was taken with my phone).
The result?


It's Lika and I, what were you expecting?? xD

Anyway, we finally got our room at about 10am, and upon entering the room, I was surprised at 2 things: The cleanliness/neatness/new-ishness, and the size of the room.



Although kinda small, it was homey and it looked new and clean, unlike what I was prepared to expect.
Which is quite a pleasant surprise, really.

Again, Lika and I decided to camwhore (or in Lika's words, 'camprostitute') in our new environment.



And of course, there was also:





Yes, Lika is to be blamed.

After our little 'photography session', we decided to take a nap before having to prepare for Genee later, seeing as we hadn't exactly slept well in the bus either.

We woke up at about 4pm to get ready, and decided to take a bath first.
I sort of panicked when Lika mentioned 'bathing together', but thankfully, as I found out later, the bathroom had two seperate stalls.
I wish I took a picture of the washroom though, it was simple and nice too.
And the water pressure was powerful. *_______*

Again, during and after getting ready for Genee, pictures were taken.


Candid shot. I happen to look sleepy and tired. I assure you, I was neither.


Of course, she just HAD to take a picture of me while I was putting on makeup. =.=


All dolled up and ready for the evening! ^^

Before we left for NUS though, we decided to eat something first.
We went to this typical chinese foodstore, where we attracted quite a few stares, dressed up like that.
I ordered duck rice (omnomnom), while Lika had fried rice (that woman simply cannot live without rice, I tell ya).
After we finished, we found out there was still time left before we had to leave (we planned to leave at 6.30pm at least, and it was only 5.30 then), so we decided to use the internet at the hostel while waiting.
The receptionist at that time, a young boy, had helped us find out the cost and given us advice on how to get to NUS, and it was pretty simple, so even us map-impaired people weren't worried we would get lost.

When it was time to leave, we took a cab to NUS.
Simple, right? Straightforward, no changing MRTs or LRTs, no getting lost.

Anyhow, when we get there, the place was kinda empty, save for the few NUS students and staff members.
It was kinda expected, after all, since the competition started at 7.30pm, and we arrived close to 6pm.
There was an exhibition there too, called Dance Ink, where pictures/paintings related to ballet and dance were put on show.
We managed to get a few photos of them:





This particular picture kinda gets me, I have no idea why. =p



Lika and I had also ordered a Genee shirt each.
Note 'ordered', because the female-sized shirts were out of stock, and really, you wouldn't expect us to go back to Malaysia, from an international event, empty handed, now, would you?

And of course, it would be quite impossible if Lika hadn't 'blessed' a place by visiting the bathroom to pee, so I managed to take some photos there as well.
Blame my inner camwhore.



Anyhow, as time went by, more people started filling the halls, and the pathway was becoming more packed and harder to get to the other end of the place, because when I say it's packed, I mean it's packed.
People from all over the world came to see the competition, and I had a hard time believing that that many people were probably booking seats the same time I was.

Lika and I decided to get a drink to share and sit at the uni's cafeteria while waiting for the hall to be officially opened.
And on the table was a 'menu' for the kind of desserts they offered.
And it looked like this:



We also saw Ms Chua at the counter (we were sitting near it), and called her.
Then she, along with her sister, joined us and chatted a while before seperating to our respective hall entrances.
Our seats were on the third floor, and it was really chilly along the corridors.
We got a free booklet/program book upon entering the hall, and I must say, it looked grand.

Although they made it clear that no photography was allowed, we figured that it only applied to during the competition, so we whipped out our phones and began snapping.
I say phone camera, because well, just in case.
This was what we snapped up.








We then got to looking at the program book.
Before I go any further, let me just state what I expected of Genee.
  • Typical international ballet competition - where professional veteran ballerinas and ballerinos would perform variations from plays like Swan Lake or Coppelia etc;
  • Olden days English backdrops, possibly;
  • An orchestra playing the live music for the scenes.

So imagine my shock when I found out that:
  • The oldest of the candidates was only 19, and the youngest was 15;
  • There was no orchestra.

I had to do a double-take on the Semi-Finals list, just to make sure that my eyes weren't deceiving me.
I mean really, when I was 15, I was doing.. what, probably Grade 6/7 syllabus work, dammit!
And here these girls are, competing in an international competition.
For the life of me, I would be able to compete even in their standards, even now. *sobs*

Oh, and this was the state of the hall shortly before the competition started:


Filled to the brim with audiences.
It was a full house, literally.
Every seat was occupied. O_O

And as I found out later when the show started, the supposed 'orchestra' I had expected was replaced by a single grand piano on the left corner of stage left.
And the stage was bare. No fancy backdrops, no elaborate costumes. Just plain leotards and tights, and their candidate number pinned on their leo.

However, they did perform variations and scenes from plays, and when they performed Swan Lake/Cinderella, the girls wore tutus/flowy nightdresses, and the boys, who performed Elite Syncopations/Les Patineurs/Danses Concertantes, wore a costumed top with the usual white tights.

Before they brought on the Finalists, they had the semi-finalists enter the stage simultaneously as the announcer called out their country.
When 'Malaysia' was called, the hall erupted in loud cheers.
Guess there are many from Malaysia that traveled to Singapore for this event too. ;D

I think the one that awed the audience the most was candidate #12, Paul Russell(17). So it was no surprise that he brought home the gold for Australia in the Males category.
I expected him to get the Audience's Choice award too, since he got a tremendous applause everytime he performed.
However, it was candidate #11, Claudia Dean, that took the ACA. She also won the gold in the Female category.
I don't have a decent picture of the winners; it was kinda a in-the-moment decision to quickly snap a picture of the winners on stage before the curtain closed.
So this was the only decent picture I had of the winners:


Nothing to shout about. =_=

Anyways, when it was all over, we followed Ms Chua and her sister, using the bus, then going to the MRT.
Lika & I got off at Bugis station, while Ms Chua & her sister rode further.
We then hailed a cab to get back to G4.

The driver (a different one, of course) stopped at the same junction, and we walked the rest of the way to G4 Station, as we had done earlier that morning.
But it was a different feeling as the streets were dark and intimidating, and there were even a few guys loitering near the Indian cinema (which was somewhat in front of the hostel).
We hurriedly made our way to the hostel, and as it had earlier this morning, relief swept over me the minute we entered the hostel; not from fear of the threatening darkness of the streets or the creepy group of people huddled up in the dark, no.
But simply because I was sweating somewhat profusely, and my feet were beginning to hurt from mum's Clarks shoes. xD
After all, I had spent nearly the entire night in them.

Lika was probably the most exhausted; having cough and a slight bout of homesickness and all.
She was only too eager to change into her pajamas, eat her 'dinner' (which was a packet of those cream bread; she brought two, one for me and one for her), wash up, and go to bed.
I originally thought of dropping by 7/11 and buy those delicious looking sandwiches I saw, but as I washed up, I felt too lazy to.
Again, I really should have gone. Dx
I had thought of using the internet too, and let Lika sleep, but that too was pushed aside as I grew lazy after I changed, what with it being an air-conditioned room, and the bed looking so inviting.

Not surprisingly, I fell asleep not long after I turned off the lights and laid in bed.


Day 2 [13/09.09]

My alarm went off at 8am.
But as was usual, I turned off the alarm and snapped my phone shut, seeing as Lika didn't look like she was gonna be waking up anytime soon.

At 8.30am, Lika's phone alarm rang, and this time, both of us woke up.
Lika coughed a little, sat up on the bed, and said a very simple 'Happy Birthday!'
I chuckled and sat up with her.
Normally, I would laze in bed for what seemed like hours, trying to get back to sleep.
But when I'm with a friend, I (almost) always have no problems getting up early. xD
We packed up what little things we hadn't managed to pack up yesterday, and took a shower.
After that, we went down for breakfast (which was from 8.30am - 10.30am, I think).

It was simple, and certainly simply laid out - two loaves of bread, a tupperware of what smelt (and later, tasted) like durian biscuits, margarine, and a variety of jams and marmalade.
On the left side of the table was a tin of Milo and a jug of coffee.
Though to be honest, it would've been better if the margarine container was cleaner (not to mention less oily), and if they had seperate, dry spoons for the creamer.
All the butterknives and spoons were soaked in water - and quite dirty (as you can imagine, after a few uses).

But I guess nothing is perfect, right?
The rooms, the washrooms and toilets; they're already better than I expected, plus the friendly service of the attendees.
I didn't mind that little piece of imperfection, seeing as everything else was good.
After breakfast, we used the internet again.
Lika said her friend was coming to bring us shopping at Bugis Street, where it was a tourist bargain spot.
And when her friend came, it would be then that we would check out.

We didn't get to use the internet for long; her friend and her friend's boyfriend arrived pretty soon.
So we went up to get our stuff and checked out.

Then we walked to Bugis station, and that itself already got my pores leaking.
There were a lot of clothes stores, foodstalls, and watch shops.
As we were browsing through the stalls, a certain blinking neon sign caught Lika's eye.
And out of curiosity (though she already knew what shop it is, she was just curious as to what sort of things a shop like this would sell; other than what was displayed in the glass cabinet), she went in.
I peeked in, but remained outside. Shops like these always made me feel a little uncomfortable.
I always felt that if you were in these kind of shops, the guys who come to browse as well will automatically assume you were.. well, lonely.
But Lika's friend and her boyfriend kept encouraging me to go, saying that there was nothing to be afraid of, since I was legal and all.
After a few more peeks, I decided, what the hell, no harm in going in, right?
So I did.

To be honest, I was surprised at the 'variety' of the toys there.
I mean sure, I've heard (and seen) the basics, but these...
Whoa, I never knew toys like that even existed. xD
I still felt a little uncomfortable at the stares I was getting from the men who came to browse, it seemed as though they were imagining me with those toys or something.. Eew.

But yeah, that would definitely be a memorable 21st birthday. xD

We walked around for a half hour or so, and then it was time to get to the bus station.
Lika's friend took us to all the shortcuts to get there, so needless to say, we were early.
She also made sure we took the CW2 bus this time.
She saw us into the bus safely, then waved and went off.
She's a lovely girl.^^

Since we still had over 9$ in the Singaporean sim card, we decided to finish it up by calling our family, otherwise it'd be a waste.
So I called mum up (having failed to do so during breakfast; which meant she was still sleeping at that time), and told her about my little 'escapade'.
She burst out laughing.

The rest of the trip would be pretty boring and pointless to write down, seeing as nothing much really happened.
But I probably should mention, though, how the bloody bus driver made so many freaking stops. First, he stopped in front of a mart in Mersing, and the lady that was with him said that he needed to get something. So fine, we waited a good 10-15 minutes for his return, only to see him bring up a hamper.
Then, he drove a short distance to the actual bus station for Mersing, and we waited around 20 minutes for him and the other passengers who had wanted to 'relieve themselves' to return.
As if that was not enough, he later stopped at some junction in this kampung-ish area, for about 5-10 minutes for God knows what.

Lika and I were beginning to get miffed.
Not everyone appreciated the delay of time as he apparently did.
As if to test all our patience further, he stopped by somewhere again, announcing that anyone who wanted to buy dinner for their break fast could do so now.
I mean seriously, what the fuck.
I know that the Malays probably are starving and whatnot, but using that as an excuse to stop for food, when he's already made so many other long stops, is a pathetic excuse.

He then apologized to the non-Malay passengers, trying to pacify us by saying we could buy food there too, if we wanted/were hungry.
Seriously, I was pissed off at said driver.
I wouldn't think that nearly everyone was brainless enough to not pack food for themselves for break fast, knowing it would be a long trip.

Well because of that, we arrived back at Kuantan at nearly 9pm.
I had wanted to arrive early, if possible, and maybe have dinner with the family, but that was quite impossible now, was it?

Anyways, all happenings aside, I wouldn't change anything from this trip for the world.
I think it has been a long time since I genuinely enjoyed a trip, and missed it badly the second I left.
At least I took the cherished memories of Genee and Singapore back to Kuantan, which explains the detailed entry, as I never wanted to forget what happened.

P/s: if you're wondering why this entry was posted so late, it's because unfortunately, my time has been upset since my return from Singapore; resulting in me getting so sleepy and sleeping before 2am(2AM^^ ok, I'll stop..) at least, and have me waking up at around 6am. =.=
I finally got around to finishing this because I didn't want to delay writing this 'fan account' or 'report', whichever tickles your fancy; for fear of forgetting the details.
I'm glad I finally finished it - I can start sleeping in peace now, knowing I have nothing to rush anymore. xD

September 11, 2009

Where Did The Time GO??

I'll be going to Singapore tonight.
Holy cow, where has the time gone?
I'm so excited, I'm either fidgeting or spacing out the whole day.

But.. ah~ That's.. normal. >_>
I haven't even started packing yet, and whenever I think of packing, I get so restless because I'm worried I might forget to bring or do something. >_<
I hate Post-Travelling Anxiety.. =_=

September 06, 2009

Vern's Bridal Performance

I gotta say, I feel kinda guilty that I hadn't helped out much for the preparation of this performance...
I only managed to attend the last practise, where Catherina(however her name is spelt), Lika and I were literally laughing the entire class (that was after the practise).
Things came up that made me unable to help the first 2-3 weeks.
I gotta say, this performance, I had all the bad luck happen to me.

First, I couldn't find a bottom to match my blouse (the one I bought with Lika in Padini).
Then, I couldn't find a shoe to match the outfit I was wearing. Mummy suggested a shoe. And I was wearing a skirt.
No comment. (At least, I'll try not to.)
In the end, I decided on wearing one of Ashley's old Bata sandals, which had a little heel.
Finding a bottom to match my blouse (the theme was 'Love Is In The Air' or something like that, so jeans were considered not very appropriate) had already made me a few minutes late (I was supposed to meet Lika in her studio at 8.30am), and finding an appropriate footwear (that was not torn or unappropriate) took a few other good minutes.
So I ended up reaching Lika's studio close to 9. >_>

I helped apply makeup on some of the girls, scrunch some of their hair up with hair gel.
Then after we left the studio and went to Mega (Irene, Jing Faye & Samantha sat my car, Xing Wei, Agnes & Esther in Lika's), as we were walking to the lift from the 2nd floor, I thought my sandal felt slightly looser.
Then as I went into the lift, it snapped.
My sandal, I mean.

I tried to fix it to the best of my ability when we entered the tent, but alas, it was beyond repair.
I couldn't even hobble around. I knew I had to go and buy a pair of sandals or I'd never be able to get around, let alone get back to my car later.
Again, I thought I could've at least made my way to the nearest shoe shop (which is De Silva, in front of the VCD shop on the way to the 2nd concourse), but I hadn't even gone past the ATM machines when I realised that I would never make it with my broken shoes.
Lika had offered me her heels at first, and I declined, for I didn't really fancy looking so tall, what with me not being used to heels and all.
But I had no choice now.
Unless I wanted to walk barefoot to the shoe shop (which would attract even more stares), I had to lend Lika's heels.

No thanks, of course, to Lika who announced a "Everyone move~ Giraffe coming through.." to everyone in the tent. xD
So yeah, I walked (more like hobbled, actually) to De Silva and started looking for sandals that would fit my outfit.
Turns out the one that did, didn't have it in a bigger size.
Damn my huge feet. ㅠㅠ
So I ended up spending the entire time in Mega in my new tight shoes, and almost getting a blister in my heel.
Thank goodness I keep some spare band-aid in my purse for emergencies like these.

Oh, and then we had to wait for Samantha's parents to fetch her too.
In that shoe, and only having Milo for breakfast, I swear I nearly died (ok, fine, so I'm overexaggerating).

But lady luck started being kinder to me when Lika and I made our way to Starbucks.
Caffeine was heaven.
I had a Mocha Frappucino, and it tasted so good. *________*

But overall, it was a great day because the kids were awesome.^^
We're all so proud of them, and some of them (Michelle, Irene, etc; those who were performing for the first time, including Xing Wei, although she's performed a lot already) were really nervous, but they all did well.

As always, I hadn't managed to get enough sleep the night before, and the mocha from this afternoon kept me awake till evening.
The caffeine has worn of now, and I'm starting to type in gibberish.
So I'd best end it here while I'm still coherent.

Oh, and some pictures from the performance... Taken by Donna, Sophia & Sonya's mother. I would post more pictures, but my internet hates me, so yeah.