Saturday, November 22, 2008

35) My Life several decades later

As I write, I am recapping the fond memories of the years gone by. I have retired from civil service, have a wonderful wife and two equally wonderful grown up sons. I am still doing solo gigs for functions and also jam with a band playing lead guitar and keyboards. Music is still an important part of my life.

I have kept in contact with most of the guys who are mentioned in my story. As for the members of the Fabulous Falcons, sadly, Christopher aka 13 has passed on. He was an unfortunate victim of a hit-and-run accident. Thomas Ham is residing in the United States of America and I last visited him when I was in Boston a few years back. We still keep in contact through email. Tommy Ong is in Kuala Lumpur where he owns a recording studio. Recently I have been in close contact with Andrew Thong my partner at Miners’ Arms through Facebook. He is now a chef in London. Michael Ho, my bandmate from The Drifter days still lives in Ipoh and is retired from RTM. We meet up occasionally.

After all that is said and done, I think my life has turned out great and I am still residing in Ipoh with my wife Liz, the girl I met at Romy’s party. Both my sons are working in Kuala Lumpur. Although they are professionals in their own fields, I am glad that they, like me, have found the joy in music and made it part of their lives although not as a career.

34) Royal Ipoh Club ........... Idris Room

In Ipoh, there weren’t really a whole lot of places or night spots to play. Since I started with the Golf Club, I decided I will try my luck at Ipoh Club. After some negotiations, I got the contract to provide a band for the Idris Room playing six nights a week. I got together, Tony who was a veteran pianist/trumpeter, Yus on drums, Guna on guitar and me on keyboards. It was already the late nineteen eighties. It was a welcome change for me playing with a four piece band after going solo or duet for so long. We provided soft music for dining and dance music for the later part of the night.

In 1991, Guna had to leave us due to work commitments so my elder son, Donovan joined the band playing the lead guitar. He was just a seventeen year old lad, fresh from school and just started college. In spite of his age, he fitted in well with the veteran members of the band. I know it wasn’t easy for Don as he had to attend college till evening, do assignments and then off to play music at night, but he never complained. As for me, I was glad that I got the chance to spend extra time with my son and took the opportunity for father/son bonding.

This went on till the mid 1990s when Liz and I decided that I should not struggle with the late nights anymore. Don and I usually got home by about 2 a.m. and I had to clock in by 8 am for work each morning at Government Service. I hardly had time to see my wife and younger son, Jay who was a teenager by now. Although it was great being able to bond with Don, my firstborn as we played together each night, I was missing out on being part of Jay’s growing up years. I decided that I was never going to take up a gig with a contract ever again but concentrate on only playing for functions which paid really well. This will enable me to spend time at home with my family as I don’t want to regret waking up one day and realize that my family had grown up without me.

While I was busy working day and night, my younger son, Jay, developed his musical skills. He was already playing the guitar and his preference was more for bass and he could also sing so together with my elder son Don, we performed as a trio singing in harmony to songs by the Beach Boys, the Beatles and so on. This didn’t go on for too long as Don had to leave Ipoh to take up employment in Penang as an Engineer and Jay had already finished formal schooling and was in college. On hindsight now, I am glad I did not take up any more contracts for at least I got to spend some of their formative years being home with them after my day job.

The Navel Gazer's Simple Stories

Today started really well for me. Alexandra Wong, the Navel Gazer a Star columnist that my wife Liz and I befriended not too long ago, did a story on us. Came as a real surprise when Alex sms this morning to tell us to read the star !