Recently I bought a book from a Cat Cafe next to our home. It’s called ‘Live Curious’ (《好奇地活着》). Within contain about 26 different stories of 26 different people, each with different a unique career. So many of these stories reflect the quiet lives of the Chinese from different cities.

(I’ve often felt embarrassed and very frustrated by fellow Singaporeans who lash out unfairly at Chinese because they haven’t really known any personally. I may not have travelled as widely as i’d like to, but after living in various cities for work, I have made friends, real people, been touched by them, … met good people, perhaps also some a**h*l*s as well, but how could we be so blind as to not see racism on our very own lips whilst blaming others for it?… Anyway, that’s another story for another day.)

But in this book, there was 1 particular career that struck me as significant. And that we had personally experienced one of the weeks we were here. I would never forget it. Because of his last words to us before he left to return to the States.

Like any other tourist, he sat down at our lounge. He was the sort of person Starhub would use for ads. Non descript. The common everyday man. So he blended right in. In fact despite him sitting in the front, and clapping, i noticed nothing about him that was worth the usual attention or effort we had to put in to entertain. (If you hadn’t noticed, being a lounge musician/singer is just a part of standing on stage and producing music. A lot of it has to do with entertainment. It is not be strongest of strengths to put it lightly. And i have great respect for anyone who was born for stage. And love to watch them).

But at the end of the night, we spoke with him as we were about to leave and it was then, i realised, he didn’t speak much Mandarin, actually really none at all. His English was heavily American, to which he revealed he was from the US of A. There I was trying to find Mandarin songs all night (again – you should hear our stories about That). And a wonderful gentleman he was, told us how he enjoyed our music and we were an unusual couple perfectly fitted for this stage. (“Perfect Match” were the words he used). After that conversation, there was something about him that made us both feel very comfortable whenever he turned up, which he did continuously for the next 2 days as well before he flew.

Coming back to the book i was reading. I realised his quiet demeanour had probably more to do with his ‘job’ than just his personality – though he was one of the nicest, most genuine gentlemen we had met here. I call them Industry Spies. I believe their job go a little further than just reporting, but also perhaps, like guardian angels, they try to inspire hope in the crew/staff. Perhaps not, perhaps it was just Mr Shen. But before he left, he actually walked up to the stage after sitting through all our sets the entire evening to speak to us. I hadn’t sung my favourite jazz ballads, for any, but each time i sang, he lowered his head in deep appreciation and clapped. I felt like we shared a playlist all night, so that saying Music brings people closer is true. Even at that arm’s length. He reminded us that there will always be someone out there that we are touching that we don’t know about. Perhaps the Lobby Lounge had been so previously painted over as a jukebox, often with drum machines and pop hits, and perhaps often performed by jaded songstresses and musos, that today i find myself struggling to recreate this space. I treasure it because any stage is a responsibility. And i realise that this ideal stage i have isn’t my own. It is to be shared with the audience. There will always be a larger crowd who love the ‘hits’ of various eras, and hence my heart would be beating for them to be comforted more than for the songs. I’m grateful for a partner who balances out our share of responsibilities as an entertainer as well as competent class A singer/muso.

I’m grateful for these opportunities to hone my skills in so many ways. As an accompanist, a singer, a mind-reader (still working on telling the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans apart…), a heart-reader. A Student at all times. Humility is only possible when you stand in awe of greatness. Hence it comes with challenges. But how else would one have it if you wish to grow? Stand next to the One who is Great.

So thank you Mr S. You have made an indelible mark in what we think is our last contract abroad as Bunny and Bear. Thank you for your kindness, your appreciation and your words. Bless you and your journey as (what I’d like to imagine you are) our very Industry Spy.

Categories: Uncategorized