Ian Tai on Campbell Street

Playing Kim Haus last weekend was good fun, albeit a chaotic in the sense that it felt like a musical free-for-all. Sunday was a double-billed evening with Gerard Anthony, a guy who’s a great pub mainstay in the Klang Valley. I also was helped on the stage by Peter G and Chris; Peter G is an old-timer who’s freewheeling around Southeast Asia with his wife, while Chris is living in Kim Haus for the next few weeks, and handling sound and coordination.

This is Chris (Christoph Joerg), the friendliest German you could ever meet.

This is Peter G, the chummiest silver-foxed Aussie you could ever meet.

This is Gerard Anthony – if you ever see him playing at a bar in KL/PJ, tell him I said hi.

Aside from my own featured gigs, I had a short set at Kim Haus on Sunday afternoon for Northern Rock, which is the start of a little something that Shaneil Devaser has in mind for, well, Penang and the north. I connected with Zee Ng, a young man who DIY’d his first EP, and finally caught Volatile in action, aside from catching Temjin and The Endleaves.

I’ve been invited back to play in Penang by Jaime from Volatile on September 9 for an intimate acoustic gig – like I’ve said, any excuse is a good excuse to go to Penang.

I’m looking forward to it.

Sadness? Over-rated.

I don’t really subscribe to the theory that sadness is tender. I don’t understand how it works. There’s nothing poetic about it. There’s nothing nice about it. Sadness just helps to paint a portent picture of melancholia, available at your friendly neighbourhood Shoppe d’Feelings for, let’s say, a nickel.

Thanks to a steady stream of blue-ribbon deviantART accounts, tween dramas, Thai music videos [look them up], radio weepers and a misinterpretation of the colour burgundy, we’ve been put on a collision course with the idea that sadness equates to beauty. That’s also if you include any filter-toting smartphone photograph you’ve taken of an inanimate object, in an attempt to highlight sadness by stating that the otherwise dead thing is more alive than you are [guilty!].

We indulge ourselves in all these extremities because we’re terribly [and mayhaps comfortably] numb most of the time. So much so that we can freely admit that the most genuine thing that we’ve felt in our lives was not happiness, but sorrow [guilty!], just like the endless bald tate of Billy Corgan’s head.

I don’t reckon this to be true. I think sadness, although limitless, should not be indulged in for too long, even if it is to relive certain tender memories that you couldn’t extract from the neighbourhood Brain Trust for a dime. Pensiveness does NOT equate to feeling sad and morose and drowning yourself in Vitamin Water. Nostalgia does NOT mean you have to will yourself to go back in time to relive and repeat that one defining moment in life when taking a left turn would have given you hard candy instead of sour plums.

Sadness is not fashionable. Sadness is not trendy. Sadness is not an Afghan coat that is supposed to keep you warm [guilty!]. Sadness is not a dog to fit in your clutch. Sadness is not cool. Sadness is hardly the encyclopedia-like database of fine wines and cheeses that you have in your head.

Sadness is sad. SAD. SAD!

I repeat: SAD. It’s like Crash And The Boys said: so sad, so, so sad [look them up].

You know that pain of yours that you claim the whole world ignores? It’s actually there. It’s the collective groan of a lot of tired ears.

If you have a problem, and you have to let it out, then let it out. Do not wallow into some contemptuous solo period of lamenting that no one can understand. You have friends, and ready, willing, loving, ears at the fore. Use them. People are concerned for you, and deciding to declare yourself an anthropomorphic raccoon [you guessed it…guilty!] will NOT lighten your heart’s burden.

(A burden is to be shared, because the people whose healing hands lay upon you may also need your healing hands one day to be laid upon them.)

And if you need to wallow, be constructive about it. Write a song, or some prose. Bake a cake. Don’t be another McGuffin. Because once you realise how much of a red herring everything is, you’re not in any shape to do anything but laugh.

Jon Bon Jovi said that no man is an island.

Don’t be.

An island, I mean. You can be Jon Bon Jovi, he’s quite a cool guy.

Any hole that you dig for yourself can either be a grave, or it can lead you to the center of YOUR world. Your choice. These are things that you can’t get from your neighbourhood Hut O’ Self-Esteem for a buck – you can get them for free from within.

I’m not denying that you will get upset, and hurt. I’m only saying that there comes a time when even you must rise up, brush aside the rubble and force yourself to stand amongst giants.

So what does the cat say?Your move, Bogart.

Don’t be such a twat.

All Things Must Pass!

I’ve recently tried to change my world view about things. The reason being is, aside from certain uncontrollable factors that touch our lives [such as twisted terrorist attacks and the occasional lampoon of a kangaroo grove that acts as a government], we live life as if its a drudgery of sorts. Half of us already go through the paces, and none of us are truly enlightened about how abundantly complex and enjoyable life can be.

I know that I should be the LAST person to lecture on how to live life, seeing how my mindset is more antiquated than your grandfather’s old phonogram [look it up], but let’s not forget that every day can be lived better if we kick off the habit of pre-rendering it as an EXPERIENCE, and not a slog.

Life is too short for us to carry burdens of the heart, no matter how high they scale on the brevity factor. Life is too precious for us to fiddle and bicker over minor things [nothing is trivial, but everything can be minor]. Life is certainly too valuable for us to point fingers at one another.

Again, I am NOT an authority on how to live life. I don’t know anything about inner mantras, nor do I sing any hymns to make you want to raise your hands and cry HALLELUJAH [that’s a half-lie, I know lots of hymns but I don’t sing them].

I am merely a happy-go-lucky chap who doesn’t take life seriously [except for the serious stuff]. If it’s not related to work, I say, just be happy and try to do the right thing. Spread some good vibes and make someone’s day! Give yourself extra points for trying to put a smile on, let’s say, Obnoxious Grumpy Neighbour #65, who just happens to look like a dour Tommy Lee Jones. Even if it IS related to work, put a smile on your face, because outside of the workplace, you KNOW that the one imbecile you can’t get along with in the cubicle still has someone that they too must go home to.

Personally? I think we should try our best to live life through the eyes of a child, and remind ourselves that although we know what’s coming in the end, there’s nothing stopping us from seeing EVERYTHING as an experience. The bigger picture awaits you, like a veil that needs to free itself from being bound around your eyes. It’s sounds naive, but perceiving life as an EXPERIENCE rather than a drag can put things into perspective. The meaning of your life is what you make of it, after all.

There’re far too many pieces of bad news, bad moods and bad vibes going around that make everyone bitter and spiteful and incredibly intolerably Chinkier than most Chinese people would go.

Turn off your mind, relax and, like, y’know, float upstream once in a while. If you’re super busy and your eyes start spinning, then close them and relax.

And for those of you who say that I’m saying all this because I’ve found myself dangling on the precarious position between insanity and cushy middle-class living, I say: nay. I have been through too much in life and worked too hard to see my life slip away from me to refuse itself the enjoyment of…enjoyment. So while you shuffle your paper, count your numbers, downscale your overheads and improve corporate synergy, please do realise that you are the focal point of everything around you, and that although you think you have it bad, things could be much worse.

For Pete’s sake [Parker, Townsend, Sampras – your pick], relax, people. Be thankful that you’re alive, and, y’know, don’t be scared to show it once in a while.

Be happy!


Now show me that Superbass.


11,200,000 results, just for me. Awwww.

Hitting up “Ian Tai” on Google brings up an interesting list of possibilities. Have you ever thought about who those other people who share your name are? Where they work? Who they live with? If they like alphabet soup? If they’re allergic to cacti?

Would you ever be bothered to know them? Or at least get the full skinny on what makes your namesake tick? On a hunch, I’m going to assume that the Ian Tai in San Francisco has a lot more fun than I have in sleepy Kuala Lumpur. And I’m going to ask him. I’ll also attempt to track down a more illustrious Ian Tai who knows his gold, just for fun. [And I might request that he gives me his URL.]

Maybe, in the due process, I can get to know myself better through the people who know themselves best: me.

Just a thought.


Jesus, where did the time go?

I did a quick lookover on the blog and realised that the last time I bothered posting anything was in April. Which either means:

  1. I’ve gotten my priorities right
  2. I’ve got nothing to say

I think it’s come down to a combination between the two.  But in a nutshell, nothing much has happened.

For starters:

  • I left a job in advertising to work here — the upside is that there’s no office to go to, ’cause  I’m based wherever I roam. Freelancing FTW. The downside: I have a penchant for going to a Starbucks to finish things off simply because being a social recluse doesn’t quite cut it (though I don’t actually engage any contact with anyone whilst sitting down at a Starbucks, so it seems terribly hypocritical, I know).
  • Renovation work started on my home and, well, totally wrecked it. I could post photos of how the house currently looks, but it’d absolutely break my heart.
  • I grew a beard and shaved it. Need proof (about the beard)? Here you go (a rare instance of self-reflective camwhoring):

Ok, yes, so, nothing’s really new, really. How quaint.


I like to think of myself as a busy person, even though I know that it’s really far from the truth.  I’d much rather prepare the groundwork for everything, and then leave the execution for someone else to follow up on.  After all, life really is much easier that way.

The thing about recording random pieces of music for me is that it really involves my full attention — I can’t really ask anyone to play a part for me, which is usually why I’ve been playing the same chords for the last 4 years.  Maybe I’ve been intrinsically convincing myself that I don’t actually need to widen my repertoire of standard chord progressions and six-string virtuosity because people might actually appreciate a simple song every now and then.

I don’t know — that’s just me being a wishful thinker.

I’ve recently procured a Mac, and I’ve only recently taken a bit of time to test the waters with GarageBand.  This is the first kahoogle that I’ve come up on it (though it’s a lo-fi, no frills streamer alternative).

It’s pretty much based on my current state of play/mind, and I suspect that there’ll be a few (not as dreary) pieces that I’ll be cooking up soon enough.  It’s not really an issue of the palette at my disposal — it’s got more to do with whether my main intention of writing these ditties will be realized.

Ian Tai – #1

2 Hours in Melaka!

Everybody tries to do something spontaneous once in a while under the pretense of spontaneousness (is there such a word?).  I went into the office today and had the epiphany to call upon the ever-reliable Matthew Ting for a quick roadtrip to Melaka.

The traffic going in and out was fine — our only issue is that visiting Melaka on Saturday afternoon can be a daunting task once you’re forced to weave around the actual town itself.

However, we did a good deal of wandering around for a 2 hour visit.  And this might just spawn a bit of wanderlust in terms of other day trips!

There’s still a long way to run, really.

The world’s a crazy place.

There are earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, mudslides, floods, car crashes, dumped babies, abortions, blackouts, famine, diseases, bigotry, Chinese people…the list of calamities and moments of adversity are endless.

And then, let’s not forget our lives.

I wish that there could be some kind of calm that we could cocoon ourselves into and protect ourselves from the outside world, but I think that doing so would make us all a little bit more wired.

With that in mind, I wish that you had more courage to see this through. Rubbish like this is more about taking trips together and holding hands and kissing cheeks. I love the small moments, the moments that keep things moving. Those random things we do that add a bit of a spark here and there. But I also believe in the big picture.

This will be the last time that I mention this in this context. It seems selfish and contrite to say all this with what’s happening in the world, but people are plainly selfish. And I’ll just take this chance to be a bit selfish, to say what’s got to be said:

Honest to God, I feel that you’re making a fucking big, big mistake. Because I’d do my best to be there for you, and although I can’t buy you anything shiny or new (nor would you ask it of me), I would be here to look after you the best way that I can.

Okay, that’s been said. And it’s sad to see you go, and it’s sad to see that you don’t feel the same, and y’know, that’s cool. Because all things are meant to fall apart. But it doesn’t mean that I have to like them. Maybe it’s me being a child, hitting out like this. But I really do think you’re making a big mistake. I suppose that my ego is just as big as yours, if only because I can’t understand why’d you want to put a stop to a good thing — something that has the ability to hit supernova status and turn mega.

Do I think that there’s something else afoot here? I don’t know, and it’s none of my business now.

All I know is that if you called, I’d come running.

I’d come running.

That’s all there is to it.