Saturday, November 29, 2014

Reliving the glory

Every time I re-watch this, I still laugh ... hehehe. I suppose it's normal to appreciate your own art. Enjoy! I do. ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2014


Rain, solitude and free-time: A perfect recipe for reflections. 

Picture credit: The Darkroom - The Baltimore Sun
I just had a wonderful albeit stressful event over the weekend and I am relieved it is successful and it is over. I am thankful to have a united team that made it work although I still feel a bit like an outsider, like I don't belong. My boss and clients are happy and appreciative. So, I am having a nice quiet Monday-off today. No Monday blues can touch me today.
I have just celebrated my dad's 65th birthday over lunch with the whole family. He's recovering well after the cardiac fiasco in April, and he seems happier and less grumpy these days after the incident. I'm happy that he's happy. I'm glad my parents support and even help me prepare for my upcoming "I have a date with spring" callback auditions. It means the world when pragmatic Chinese parents support your artsy passion.
I just had my husband surprise-visit me at my event last Saturday night. And last night, we were discussing on how fragile love is and we both agree to continuously work to make our marriage as wonderful and magical as it is yesterday, today and forever during our family devotion time.

Everything in my life is wonderful at the moment. So, what is this poignant feeling I'm having? I suppose... artists emote, somehow it is part of our DNA. Oh, and of course, blame it on the rain.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Short + Sweet Musical 2014 Thank You's

No words can describe how happy I was last night at the Short + Sweet Musical Gala Night 2014. The musical hubby and I collaborated to write and compose won 2 awards as a team! And while we were already over the moon about that, we received the Festival Director's Award. It was all so unexpected as we had decided to take risks this year by recruiting many S+S newbies in both our teams. Praise God!!! Thank You Lord for making all of this possible..

A big fat CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners this year!!!

I am so thankful for so many things and so many people that has made this journey even possible. 

First and foremost, to hubby who always pushes and encourages me to continue to be creative and explore new things no matter how tired, lazy or uninspired I feel due to the stresses at work. Contrary to popular belief, spending the effort, time, energy and resources to write, compose or direct a musical is more refreshing, energizing and inspiring than physical rest could ever do. And it is hubby who is always behind me, making me a better person than I could ever be on my own.

Secondly, I would like to thank Ross and Shen for agreeing to take on our baby, 300 Million: The Reconceptualization of a Conception to life. I knew both of you are extremely busy and juggling a gazillion things on your plates at the moment, yet you put your hearts and souls into this. I am so proud of you Ross, your directorial debut really brought to life what had only existed in Alvin and my heads. I LOVE IT!!!!

Thirdly, to Mark and Laura. Thanks for trusting Alvin and me with your baby, A Woman At War. You have no idea how much we appreciate your empowerment in trying to bring to life what was in your heads. I hope we stayed true to your vision and made you proud. 

Thanks also to Mr & Mrs Wong and Mr & Mrs Ho, for allowing Sean and Wilfred to be a part of the team at A Woman At War. Thanks for trusting us enough to bring your sons through this musical journey despite the late nights and breaking their curfews time and again.

Thanks to Sean, Wilfred, Daniel and Thern for agreeing to play for A Woman At War. Thanks for your discipline and commitment to the rehearsals. Thanks for all your creative contribution to make the music event better than I could ever imagine on my own. 

Thanks to all the cast of A Woman At War: Boon Kit, Sara Vivian, Hilda, Teresa, Riena, Jee Yan, Kevin and Desmond for always seeking feedback and forever eager to improve. You guys have so much chemistry together and you sound wonderful together. I couldn't have asked for a better cast.

Thanks to Alfred, Nabilah and Fara for accepting the roles in 300 Million after the S+S Musical auditions. I know all of you had multiple offers and could have chosen many other musicals but I am so thankful that you accepted to be in team 300 million. And of course thanks to Calvin and the rest of the spermies who also joined the team later and brought the story to life!! You guys were perfect for your roles!!!

Thanks to Joe, Faridah, Soo, Boy, Lawrence, Arif and the entire crew of S+S Musical for the opportunity and the platform for us to explore our passion in the arts. 

Last but not least, thanks and the heartiest congratulations to the one and only musical sifu Nick Choo ... who inspired me to start writing 3 years ago after attending your S+S workshop. And thanks for continuously helping us grow by generously sharing your feedback and suggestions whenever we ask you. Really appreciate your time and your input! There is no one else more deserving of the Creative Excellence Award!! Congrats again!!

♥♥ Proud of both team "300 million" and team "AWAW"! ♥♥

Hubs and me getting the Festival Director's Award from the Festival Director herself! (photo courtesy of Short +  Sweet Malaysia) 

300 million winning Audience Choice Award (photo courtesy of Short +  Sweet Malaysia)

300 million winning Best Overall Production (photo courtesy of Short +  Sweet Malaysia)

Monday, September 01, 2014

We are back!! Short + Sweet Musical 2014

And we are back in action!! This year hubby and I have teamed up once again in not just 1 but 2 pieces for the Short + Sweet Musical Festival:
300 million: The Reconceptualization of a Conception is a punny piece, written and composed by both of us.
A Woman at War is an emotional piece of love and war, director and musical directed by hubby and me respectively.

Get your tickets here!! See you there!

Monday, February 17, 2014

♩ ♫ ♬ ♩ My epic Valentine ♩ ♫ ♬ ♩

In January, hubby had a eureka moment and decided to plan this year's Valentine's Day for us eventhough it's not his turn. We have this arrangement where we take turns every year to plan Valentine's Day so that not only is it fair, but we have an unspoken competition to outdo or out-love each other. ;-)

He created the event page and left me clues every week, sometimes more than 1 clue per week.
First clue were the colourful refreshing fruits.

 Then, in no particular order there were Wong Ah Fook, Parameswara, Ash Burn and Chilli Crab

 Then came the hardest clue of them all, a love poem.

And a platipus
It seemed like a bunch of random stuff that didn't make any sense to me. Except I connected the Wong Ah Fook, Parameswara and Sultan Abu Bakar (Ash Burn) to going southbound but I had thought we were going on a cuti-cuti Malaysia journey southbound and make our way back up to KL.
V-day came, and we carried our bagpacks and started walking from home ala Amazing Race. The weeks of anticipation had already made it epic before it began. It was so exciting. We then boarded a cab, he told me to tell the cabby where we were going... I looked back at him and told the cab driver "er, KL Sentral" and looked back at him. He asked if I was sure it was KL Sentral, I said 70% sure. Since he made me pack my TouchnGo card, I deduced a train-ride involved. It turned out he said we didn't use the TouchnGo anyway. From KL Sentral, again he asked where should we go next? I was only 50% sure this time, it could be a KTM train outstation or it could be LCCT. 

As we made our way down to the airport shuttle busses, I found out we were going to LCCT.

At the airport, he was too relaxed and we took our time with lunch and 2nd round lunch for him. I knew our flight was not so early, so I guess, not the Penang or KK flight which was too early. And we cannot be leaving the country because he did not specify to pack my passport. It must be a domestic flight.

So many flights, yang mana satu??? With the earlier clues connecting Johor and Melaka, I deduced that it had to be Johor since Melaka had no flights.

As we made our way inside the boarding area, he still hadn't shown me the ticket. He asked how sure I was about Johor, I said, 60% due to the clues. I deduced that we will not fly back but take a bus northbound after Johor so that we can go to Melaka, our favourite foodspot on the way back, hence the Parameswara. Ok, my history really really sucks back in school. I wasn't sure about any of my hypothesis but I sure was excited no matter what it was.

Finally I managed to peek at the ticket and saw the number... Indeed Johor was the right answer!!!
Our flight called for boarding anyway, so I would've known sooner or later.

Arrived in Senai!! What the hell will we do in Johor?? Or is it just the starting point of the journey? he said the he will give me a note to let me know what else is in store once we reach the hotel.

The first few clues started to unravel and make sense, we went to Jalan Wong Ah Fook, and checked into Citrus Hotel!!! Hmm, checking in to Johor does not sound like it's a starting point of a journey northbound.

Lo and behold, he showed me a Singapore Dollar "note". Then I asked how??? I didn't bring my passport. Guess who stole it?? I didn't even know he knew where I kept it. Moreover, I don't always keep my passport in the same place due to convnience, laziness or procrastination. Even I have to hunt for it when I need it usually.

We walked over to the CIQ and were on our way! The immigration officer asked for my address in Singapore eventhough it was a day-trip. Errr... I bet if he was one of those guys in "Lie to Me" he would've caught me. I said "Marina Bay Sands" with so little conviction that my acting teacher would cringe. I suspected we'd be watching a show. Why else would we go to Singapore... takkan la food?? he let me pass anyway. Phew!
I am ready to go over the causeway!
Past the causeway, a couple of MRT rides and voila... we were in Bugis Junction. As we walked around, he said that I had to find our dinner spot as he is not going to lead me there. Let me see... Chilli Crabs?? That would be in Clark Quay. Not right. So I went through the shop directory and saw... jeng jeng jeng!!! 

So, that's why the random platipus swimming photo was about. The place was lovely and quiet. Our table was ready for us as he had already made reservations.

The smug planner and the happy traveller. :) The pasta was great... there were many many choices and I had this truffle carbonara thingy that was yumz!

He gave one last clue about what we will be watching... something to do with rain. I said "Singing In the Rain?" I didn't want to use roaming data so I can't google what was on in Singapore at the time. He didn't seem convinced and it suddenly hit me..."the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plane". We are watch my childhood favourite "My Fair Lady"!!!!
My Fair Lady! Wouldn't it be lov-vely... lov-vely?? Turns out the love poem was Audrey Hepburn's favourite. It was even read at the funeral. Lovely.

Everything revealed itself... not all at once, but layer by layer, like an onion. Making that reeling feeling last longer. And you just want to savour every waking moment.

I love you Alvin... more and more each year. Only you know me like the way you know me, only you can love me the way you love me. ❤ I LOVE YOU!!! ❤

OMGEEEEEEE... next year is my turn to plan. How to out-do this??? @_@ But I think it's uber cool that we compete to love each other better, that way... we keep getting better at it. Right? ❤

Friday, October 04, 2013

What If: The Journey

What began with a blip of a thought in my head has bloomed into a living breathing thing on stage. Isn't that amazing? I'm sad that the journey has come to and end... as usual, it's post production syndrome.

I remember looking desperately for a director and musical director as I always believe it is better to have others execute your vision to help suss out the blind spots. Thankfully, I have an uber talented family... hehehe. My sis-in-law, Hilda agreed to direct it!!!

Then came the audition. We spotted a few talents that we liked and approached them. Vanessa was recruited immediately. But our other chosen actors did not accept. As luck would have it, we bumped into a last minute auditionee on the way out of klpac and saw one last auditionee perform. And that was how we got our leading lady, Vivian. Our leading guy pulled out, and in the end we got Vanessa's boyfriend Nick to join us. It's the second time I'm working together with Nick. That, was how our cast came together in the end. What an awesome group it was... 3 triple-threats.

I still could not find a musical director and had to step in as the last resort. Thank God I found an awesome pianist to co-musical direct with me, Elaine. I wanted a cellist but the first 2 I approached couldn't or wouldn't do it. My bff Hazel suggested her fellow sunday school teacher, Siaw Wei and she agreed!! Along with Elaine's bf Francis on bass, we had a full band!!

(picture courtesy of

(picture courtesy of
Although we didn't win any awards this year, I was still darn proud of what the team did... music or acting. Seeing how wonderful and moving Nick Choo's piece was (winner of 8 awards!), it has inspired us to want to work harder and want to be better. He was the one who taught me about rhythm, inflection and all that jazz 3 years ago at the Short and Sweet Workshop. I wouldn't have started writing or composing if not for him in the first place.

Everytime I watched it, I had a whole community of butterflies in my stomach... Have always loved that feeling when I was performing. Never thought I'd get that from writing... I love it too. I guess this is only the beginning of more awesome things to come!!! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What if?

What if years ago you had chosen a different path in life? How would things turn out? Better? Worse? Who knows?

I remember the line from a song in Pocahontas' Just Around The River Bend
"But people, I guess, can't live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
What's around the riverbend?"

I wrote this musical based on that thought, not realizing that the timing is spot on for my very own life. Now, my fictitious story is ever closer to my heart.

This September 25th - 28th, come and watch it at the Short + Sweet Musical Festival 2013 in klpac.

"What If?"
Writer & Composer: Karynn Tan
Director: Hilda Looi
Musical Director: Karynn Tan & Elaine Toon
Cast: Vivian Chan, Vanessa Wu, Kevin Chong

Thursday, July 04, 2013

A little too green for a yellow

I love personality tests. I just love anything and everything to do with human behaviour. Always so fascinating!! ♥

I just did a Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument during a training last month. Results show that I am a very very high yellow... a dash of red and a pinch of blue. But absolutely zero green-ness. Zilch!

Here is the overview of the 4 quadrants, what colour(s) are you?

Right now, my job feels very green and blue. Very.
I feel like a fish out of water
Yet I do like my team, and I do like the company. Anyway, I'm too new and it's too soon to move on. But I really really dread my daily work. It's really dreadful. Don't you wish you could test-drive a job before accepting it?? How now brown cow??

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Picture Perfect

Have you ever awaken in the morning with the feeling that you have the best life in the world? That there isn't a single thing you want to change? That you are happy, contented and feel so thankful to God for everything you could cry? That your life is picture perfect!

I have. I had it for a whole year! I am very fortunate. (or unfortunate maybe?) Because that blissful feeling is etched so deeply in your soul that you will remember it for life. And going back to imperfection feels wrong. Now what can I do to fix this imperfection and make it picture perfect again?

Having a picture perfect life is different for everyone.
For me it's; more time with God, more time with hubby, more time for family, more time for arts, more time for friends, more time for my cats, more fulfilling social or community work & more meaning to life.

Picture perfect indeed 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Is it worth it?

Just had lunch with my favourite headhunter yesterday. I've never gotten a job through her before but we just clicked as friends due to our shared values in life.

One of the topic that came up was what makes what we do worth it?? For some people, it could be the money they are paid for it. For others, it could be the recognition from the company or from society. It could be anything. But looking at the horrible attrition rates these days, I guess nobody feels that anything is worth it.

For me? I'm idealistic, not naive but idealistic. I don't believe that the everyone is good, but I believe there is good in everyone. So, although I am measured by numbers, paid by numbers, recognized by numbers... what makes it worth it for me is not numbers. I truly want to make a difference and give patients better lives and I have to believe that that is what the doctors want too. And in attaining that, the numbers will come in as more patients are given that better life. Working with customers towards an idealistic wholesome cause that binds us together somehow. That is what makes it worth it for me.

But 2 months out of my sabbatical and I feel so drained. I feel so uninspired. I feel that everyone in the organization does not believe that same ideal. Maybe the whole world does not believe that same ideal. That business can only be done by the conventional "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" model.

I can't just go through the motions if I don't believe what I do can make any difference. How then can I make this worth it for little ol' me who refuse to burst her idealistic bubble?