Rainforest World Music Festival 2018 in Kuching, Malaysia

It was purely a coincidence that the Rainforest World Music Festival held yearly at Kuching (Sarawak ; Malaysia) falls exactly on the week I was there for a short getaway. My friend snagged tickets for 2 few days before we arrived at Kuching.
A quick search on Google tells me that not only does this 3-days international music festival from 13 – 15 July involve just music performances but also a cultural enlightenment for most of us. Activities include wellness programs, hands-on workshops on how to play an indigenous instruments and more.
My friend and I arrived at our destination by free shuttle bus in the afternoon on Sunday (the last day of Rainforest World Music Festival 2018). Booklets were given out and time slots were allocated to different activities.  
Since it was held within the compound of Sarawak Cultural Village, I had a great and exciting time exploring the place, climbing up and down log-cut ladders which might look scary for the faint hearted. I took many photos as well, especially with nature and homes made from nature.
Be sure to wear comfortable clothings as it was quite scotching in the afternoon. Food and beverages were not allowed to be brought in but fear not since there were a couple of food tents with seatings available. Mosquito repellent is necessary for mozzi magnets like me since the Rainforest World Music Festival is held among forest area after all.
The musical performances started slightly before nightfall, stretching all the way to midnight. It was the first time in my life to enjoy a series of life musical concerts performed by international musicians, in the midst of a Borneo rainforest literally! Not forgetting the star lit sky as well! How thrilling could it get?

DBS Comissions ”SPARKS, THE MUSICAL” To Commemorate Golden Jubilee

DBS Comissions ''SPARKS, THE MUSICAL'' To Commemorate Golden Jubilee
I was privileged enough to be invited by DBS to attend SPARKS, The Musical (performed from 3rd – 5th Aug) to commemorate the bank’s 50th anniversary. The gala show was attended by Guest of Honour Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as many of the bank’s leaders and employees from the early years.

SPARKS, The Musical was held at the Capitol Theatre, a historical building that was beautifully refurbished after 17 years. The place was basically a core for plays, musicals as well as grand gala events. Imagine the excitement when I received the “Golden Ticket”, a brochure as well as a copy of DBS commemorative booklet.

SPARKS, The Musical is performed by Adrian Pang who reprises his role as Chester Teo in DBS SPARKS series, together with his cast of professional actors from Pangdemonium theatre company.

“Pangdemonium is a proudly Singaporean, critically-acclaimed, award-winning theatre company with a mission to tell stories on the stage which are challenging, inspiring, relevant, accessible, and above all, of the highest artistic, entertainment and productions values, in a league with the very best of theatre internationally.” 

The Musical took me through the DBS journey back in time which was lit 50 years ago. It features behind the scenes of unsung heroes whom not only played crucial roles in the DBS story but also touched countless lives along the way. There were bonds built with some of their more memorable clients as they shared their triumphs, supporting them through challenging times like the global financial crisis and the SARS epidemic.

It was indeed an eye opener for me since I got to understand a bit more about the financial and banking industry in Singapore and also just realising that DBS has already been around for 50 years.
DBS SPARKS, THE MUSICAL at Capitol Theatre
DBS SPARKS, The Musical at Capitol Theatre
DBS SPARKS, THE MUSICAL

DBS SPARKS, THE MUSICAL

SPARKS, The Musical was held at the Capitol Theatre
Adrian Pang as Chester Teo in DBS SPARKS: The Musical
Adrian Pang reprises his role as Chester Teo in DBS SPARKS: The Musical
(Photo Credit: DBS)

Celebrating special moments of DBS' 50-year history by Pangdemonium theatre company
Celebrating special moments of DBS’ 50-year history
(Photo Credit: DBS)

A still shot of the Pangdemonium theatre company in action at DBS SPARKS The Musical
A still shot of the Pangdemonium theatre company in action at DBS SPARKS The Musical
(Photo Credit: DBS)

From Left – DBS Chairman Peter Seah, PM Lee Hsien Loong, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta at the DBS SPARKS The Musical 
(Photo Credit: DBS)

"Giselle" Ballet Performance at Esplanade Theatre

Probably one of my most unusual night’s out with my friends as we spent our 2 hours in Esplanade theatre watching a ballet performance titled “Giselle”. It was my first time and never in my life I would expect myself sitting in theatre watching a ballet performance. 
“Giselle” is a ballet performance in 2 acts, featuring choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, as it remains one of the well loved classics in the company’s history. With the hint of romance and betrayal, I had to decipher the entire storyline based on the performers acting and facial expression since no dialogue were involved at all. I guess it would be normal for my friends and I to sort of got ”lost” midway yet roughly understood the storyline in the end.
Anyway it was great to see interesting medieval style props as well as beautiful costumes worn by the performers/actors, maybe the term ballerinas would perhaps be more accurate. I also noticed each jump, hop or whatever movements were in sync with the background classical music as well. By watching them performed on their toes, it definitely looks tiring and requires plenty of practise.
Still, that night was an eye-opener for me even though ballet just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. At least I get to experience watching such a unique performance.

Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert – THE JAM

Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM
Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM
Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert – THE JAM has started and I still could not believe myself being seated on the second row, smacked right in the middle of the Esplanade Concert Hall! I was one of the fortunate few to be invited by DBS as a SPARKS fan.
Just a short recap, SPARKS is a mini series of episodes by DBS that is inspired by true stories, featuring a group of young bankers as they navigate work and personal lives. They challenged the status quo and went beyond when solving unusual client challenges. (You may want to also check out my previous when DBS launches SPARK episode 6 at DBS Asia X). 
The 7th episode has been up and running and in this latest episode, Sparks saw an all Singapore cast including Jaime Teo, Daren Tan, Noorlinah Mohamed and of course Nathan Hartono whom was one of the singers, together with Benjamin Kheng, Tabitha Nauser, Inch Chua and Andrew Marko performing that night! 
Besides the obvious beautiful voices of these 5 talented individuals, they definitely synchronised well while performing as a group. The zest and tons of humour they incorporated into their performance kept the audience wild and hyper! The funniest segment of the performance was when Nathan Hartono and Andrew Marko had a duet, singing out lyrics formed using “bad day” scenerios shouted out by the audience. Hmm, I should have shouted out something challenging for them!
That night ended with me and my friend getting the opportunity to take photos with the 5 stars singers. It was a thrilling experience for me since I hardly get the chance to be star struck!
Thank you DBS for the invite!  
3.     
Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM

Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM

Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM
Pangdemonium’s Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM

The Nutcracker – A Magical Extravaganza Theatrical Performance Review

The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
As the lights went off while the curtains went up, I was already seated at the edge of my seat, excitedly waiting for the performance to begin. I was least expecting Lawrence to make a grand magical appearance on stage which signalled the commencement of “The Nutcracker”.
For those who might not have known, “The Nutcracker” is an old Christmas classic tale of a young girl’s favourite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, came alive and after defeating the evil rat king in battle, brought her to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.
Jointly produced and presented with a twist from the original “The Nutcracker” by Gateway Entertainment and P’art 1 Design, this magical theatrical production has incorporated countless world-class illusions, known as magic in layman or kiddy terms. With the performance performed by award-winning Lawrance Khong and his daughter Priscilla Khong, together with an international dance troupe of 14 dancers and supported by over 50 backstage crew. No wonder the show had such an excellent and smooth flow of scenarios. 
Basically throughout the entire performance, there were almost no narration or dialogue except for maybe a brief introduction by Lawrance. Despite that fact, I could still easily understand and interpret the storyline through the professional acting of the performers. Their facial expressions, movements as well as the multiple dances performed kept me leaning over the edge of my seat since I was seated nearer to the back of the theatre.
My senses were overwhelmed in a positive aspect by the digital screen, an unconventional technological backdrop that displayed special 3D effects and laser-like lights that dances with the rhythm as well as for dramatic enhancement. Not forgetting a running scene where projection was used for a hyper reality effect that kept audiences in awe. Smoke was also incorporated close to the end of the performance.  
Elaborated props and colourfully designed costumes definitely deserved a thumbs up as well as such elements added to the overall visual of the performance. I could still remember my fascination as performers appear on stage, each with a totally different yet coherent style of costumes, scenes after scenes. I wouldn’t mind wearing such nice costumes as well too! I went “OMG’ when a realistic structure of a massive branch slowly descended from above. A rhetorical question of how on earth and how much effort and time was needed to make that? I exited my thinking cloud as I preferred to continue enjoying the performance since that particular scene reminded me of the movie “Monster, Inc”.
Tempted to go on and on describing every detail from the different scenarios to the breath taking magic performance but I would never want to spoil surprises. Do take a look at their website and tickets are available to be purchased on https://nutcracker.gateway.sg/.
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
The Nutcracker - A Spectacular Magic Extravaganza
Thank you Gateway Entertainment and Affluence PR for the magical invite!