Monday 31 December 2007

Speed time in Kuala Lumpur

The three days in Kuala Lumpur went by in a breath. I suffered from lack of sleep and lack of water. Air conditioning is lethal for me. I wasn’t aware that it would dehydrate me so violently. I did drink, but I drank lots of green tea, which, I later found out, is another way to dehydrate my body.
I came back to Hong Kong with my body covered with red rashes from very weak kidneys. My Chinese doctor would have fainted if she saw me in such a state.
The ride back on the bus was the most surreal ever. I managed an hour of sleep before I woke up to the sound of the strangest pop music I ever heard. Something between Freddy Mercury and some wacky Bollywood-inspired music gone heavy-metal with the singer belting, no, screaming in his high pitched voice. I didn’t know what it was, a musical or a solo album. We were all freezing of cold because the driver put the air conditioning at the lowest temperature. To kill all the germs, or to kill us? I did talk about it to him but the request didn’t seem make any sense to him.
I got back to Singapore in the wee hours of the morning. Where I was, I had no idea. There was a hotel where some of the passengers went to collapse on armchairs. I also managed to doze on and off for an hour, as late party goers would come back to their room. A young man with two girls wearing the shortest skirt I’d ever seen on a woman, a solitary drunken man, a couple of sexy long limbed girls…

Images and scenes from my past days in Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam came back to me in flashes.
I didn’t do much sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur. One mall then another. It seems malls are the only place to go out in modern Asia… I didn’t mind though, for it was a good way to stay away from the heat.
My mind wasn’t tuned for any visit to the museum. But watching the architecture was a treat for me. The mid-eastern oriental influence was even stronger. Places like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore or Saigon seem to hesitate between many possible directions, culturally, architecturally. Unfortunately they all opt for a rather flattened-down similar choice - or Westernized? Is this the only way many cultures can co-exist in one place? What seems to matter is to make fast money. My architect friends here all lament about that shortsightedness of the promoters. It’s not meant to last. They only want to milk the cow while it’s still giving fresh milk.
A night out at the club. A Malaysian diva who did her routine with extreme professionalism, another fashion show - albeit an underwear fashion show, that was only an excuse to display hunky models. Eating and more eating (the food is too oily here). One mall after another. Syrupy Christmas songs again and again to jingle you down to the point of madness. The malls are a test to people’s sanity - or sensibility: how to resist the lure of DG, LV, CC, GG, YSL, the newest i-This, the latest phone… I sometime wonder why people do not rebel against this glamorous but ruinous invasion in disguise that turn them into walking advertisement boards. 

So I had finally met Zen, after months of  chatting  thanks to the wonders of the internet technology. He accepted to write songs together. I will start sending sketches of my songs so he can work on ideas of his own and send them back to me. Such a long distance way of collaborating would have been unthinkable a few years back. The three persons I was to meet in Malaysia turned out to be wonderful persons. Edwin, Robin and Zen. It all started in the virtual world, even if I believe that virtuality only exists in one’s mind. Internet is like going to a café and seeing many people. Eventually, only a couple of people end up having a significant role in one’s life. 
When I got in Zen’s car and greeted him for the first time, it was in the most relaxed familiarity, as if we had known each other for many years already, which creates athis strange feeling of having skipped a few episodes of a beloved TV series. He was at the end of a relationship. A jealous boyfriend, he, drowning more and more in work. Gay or straight, it always follows the same pattern!
We talked a lot. I tried to find words of encouragement. He's got talent. But life in a country like Malaysia can be numbing for creativity. Will he do the big move? I felt confused as well. He seemed to enjoy the few moments of intimacy that we shared. We sat for an hour in his car, in the parking lot.What I wanted to do was to embrace him and get even closer to him. Time was whirling fast around us. If I felt confused, he certainly was even more. But the way he held my hand, or carressed it gently...
There’s much more for me to say and to hope from it. I’d rather remain silent and quiet and lay a good foundation. One year, one month, a few hours… Who knows. Time, once again, will be my best ally, if anything is to happen. For now, my wish is for us to write a few songs that we can be proud of.

I don’t particularly want to rush back to Paris if it isn’t to start my work on the album. I do feel the urge now.
As the coach was now leaving Kuala Lumpur, I had all these memories to cherish. I hadn’t felt that way in ages. I may be only starting to experience the wind of a deeper change.


I have managed to settle an early breakfast appointment at 7:00 a.m.with Geoff in Singapore, before flying back to Hong Kong. That was the only time we found. I was so grateful he made the effort to get up and meet me. There was no one on the street. Since I was early, I found shelter in the patio the National Library and tried to relax and meditate for a while.
I felt like a wreck, my body was covered with rashes, I was tired from all these sleepless nights, the heat and most obviously lack of water.
Geoff and I had a very nice and posh breakfast at the Intercontinental Hotel. Later I would be on the plane back to Hong Kong, then the ferry that would finally take me to Lamma Island. Peace and quiet. All I longed for was a comfortable bed and hours of sleep. People could be celebrating the New Year, I couldn’t care less.
My New Year had already begun.

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