Today over at White as Milk, I’m talking about what it was like to grow up as only child.
I should start off by admitting that I’m not really a rock concert kind of person. I see rock shows every so often as a change of pace, or because I really like an artist, but in general I dislike them because it’s too loud, the music is distorted, you end up standing for the whole thing, and you can’t even see the person you’re there to see. Worst of all is when the singer isn’t really all that impressive without all the technical help added in the studio. I much prefer Broadway musicals–beautiful music, I get to sit, I can understand the lyrics, high quality (usually) voices, and narrative (which, as a storyteller myself, I am incredibly fond of, unsurprisingly).
So, now that I’ve gotten that off my curmudgeonly chest…
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, LADY GAGA IS EVEN MORE AWESOME IN PERSON THAN ON HER CD’S/MUSIC VIDEOS.
I will admit that I’ve been a “Little Monster” (the popular nickname for Lady Gaga fans for those not into pop/current music) for a few years. I first liked the catchy pop music. Then I caught a video (Paparazzi, I think) on youtube and I’ve been hooked ever since. Most of the time there’s so many elements happening in her music videos that you can just enjoy them as a story, or you can go for a swim in symbolism (which I will admit to doing–I love deconstructing stuff, and Gaga’s work is ripe for it). I’m a little obsessed with the “Judas” video at the moment for that reason (I could sit around and analyze/talk about that for AGES) Obviously her strong stance on gay rights is right up my alley.
So when I heard she was going to bring her Born This Way Ball to Singapore, I made a point of trying to buy a ticket as soon as they went on sale. 20 minutes after they did, I was able to get through on the website, at which point only single seats were available. I promptly bought one and texted Ravi something along the lines of “Thank you for the Lady Gaga concert ticket. What a great Mother’s Day gift.” His response was something back to the effect of “Glad I don’t have to figure that out.”
I knew I was likely going to miss the opening act because I had to get the girls home from Ellie’s pre-school pick up, get ready, breastfeed, and then drive to the Indoor stadium. However, I didn’t think I’d be more than 15 minutes late—with traffic I was almost an hour late, and trying not to freak out. Luckily I got to my seat about five minutes before Lady Gaga took the stage.
It was a show unlike any other I’d seen The dancing was spectacular, her voice was even better live (if anything, she downplays what an amazing singer she in on her albums), the costumes were everything you’d expect, and there was even a vague narrative (taking over a country). I think what blew me away was how little (if at all) the show was toned down. She opened with “Government Hooker,” for one. There was rhetoric like “I am not an instrument of your government.”
She performed “Judas,” which was banned here in Singapore from radio play. Possibly because I”m a former Catholic and anything that pisses them off tends to cheer me up (particularly in a literary, musical, or art related form), or possibly just because it’s a damn good song (and video–see above) it’s a current favorite of mine. However, it crossed a line here (and in many other nearby countries–it was also banned in Indonesia and Malaysia). It was the cause of protests during her concerts in the Philippines. Threats from Islamic Extremists caused her to cancel her Jakarta concert (which in a predictable yet amusing twist has only boosted her popularity there.)
screen shot from a radio station explaining that “Judas” is banned from radio play in SG
Clip of her playing Judas in concert. Sorry for the distortion-shot on my camera phone and the bass distorted both sound and picture
There was a ton of homoerotic dancing. It was, quite possibly, the most gay friendly night of my time here in Singapore. I felt free to be myself–including the part of me that is open about my bisexuality. I know that 337(a) isn’t often enforced, but it *is* still on the books, and Pink Dot (while awesome) is a far cry from a Pride Parade/Festival. We are very far from even discussing marriage equality here. While I’m not trying to impose my vision of equality on Singapore/Asia, one of the things I struggle with most in Singapore is how open/vocal I can be without risking Ravi’s employment pass/my dependent pass. Foreigners, after all, aren’t allowed to be “political,” and it’s hard to know what that means. I have a feeling that my full uncensored view about all things LGBT would likely fall into that category, so I mostly keep my mouth shut and support Pink Dot and the few opportunities I have.
I absolutely loved every second of it. After the first 20-30 minutes, I put the cameras away so I could just enjoy the show. I’m kind of sad that my camera died before one part where she was sitting and chatting with the audience when someone tossed her a doll. She then made it dance on the stage and sang a bit of “Born this Way.” She then said “if you ever wonder what I’m like when I’m at home in my room…I do a lot of silly stuff like that.” But enjoy the rest of my photos and videos.
Obviously one of the keys to Gaga’s success is her insistence that you love yourself, that you are special. (It was even the center of a recent Simpsons episode “Lisa goes Gaga”–thanks to my friend Jim for pointing me at it earlier today). No matter what horrible things someone is saying about you or doing to you (she shared a story about being tossed in the dumpster by some boys in front of classmates), that you are worthwhile. People respond to that, and obviously it’s something that isn’t getting said enough.
Early on, she did Born This Way, of course (shot on my dslr, so the pic/sound is a bit better)
I loved her motorcycle/keyboard
It’s hard to escape being a mom, though. The two people sitting in front of me were a mom and her tweenage daughter. It made me all mushy to think of sharing a concert or event like this with my daughters one day. Earlier this week, Ellie and I (and Rhi in my arms) had danced around to Lady Gaga, and Ellie is a fan of her songs. So after the show, I made a point of stopping by the merchandise tent. I couldn’t resist getting Ellie a light up hair bow, and the smallest shirt I could get for her…which is currently a nightgown on her.
Obviously, I think that if you get the chance, you need to catch the Born This Way Ball. It’s next in Australia and New Zeleand, then Europe and eventually the US. Keep an ear out for when tickets go on sale in your area.
My in-laws came back from India with a special treat for Ellie. I think she looks like a proper gujarati princess…if only I had my wedding bindi kicking around (it’s in the US), then the look would be complete. I’ll have to get a sticker one or two. We didn’t get the wrap done quite right, so I didn’t include those photos. Ellie will be sporting this at a cousin’s wedding this coming November.
And for Rhiannon
In the six months since we fired B, I have had to balance our family schedule against that of air con service techs, pest control, dry cleaning pick up/drop off, water delivery, and the occasional handyman call. As with service people the world over, appointments are often made within larger swaths of time; between 10 and 1, after 4, or before noon (as examples). The problem is that without a helper, I can’t afford such lackadaisical approaches to appointment making.
At some point in dealing with each of my service companies, I’ve had to utter the following sentence “I don’t have a maid, so you need to be on time.”
What bothers me isn’t that I have to be clear that we are not the average family with a maid who can be home all day if need be, waiting for a service person to arrive. What bothers me is that each of my companies/providers then takes scheduling so much more seriously.
My time is treated as more valuable than that of a maid.
I am uncomfortable with this, even as I appreciate that the companies I do business with are at least trying to help me out. It feels like a difficult needle to thread.
I recently joined the White as Milk team as a blogger.
White as Milk describes itself thusly…
White As Milk is a next to be online shop which will sell baby powder milk and/or diapers in Singapore based on a subscription model (launch is expected in June 2012)
Having said that this blog wants to be a point of contact with parents not only to promote how fantastic it is to be delivered milk and diapers home but also to share tips about the growth and education of our little ones and on a more larger note, life in Singapore (Yes, it is not because babies arrive that we have to stop discovering new restaurants, stop having drink with friends, stop watching movies or stop reading book.
I hope you’ll come and read me over there as well.
My first post for White as Milk is about how I became The Accidental Stay at Home Mom.
I really wanted to like A Chorus Line.
It was a childhood favorite; I wore out my VHS copy of the movie. I knew every song from the Original Broadway Cast Album. However, I had never seen it staged live before last weekend. Knowing that Baayork Lee, one of the original interviewees that helped shape the show, was directing and choreographing added to my anticipation. I was revved to see a revival of one of Broadway’s classic shows.
While sharp dancers, many cast members are clearly not vocalists. Many singing voices were lackluster, problematic in both diction and volume (and occasionally pitch–and I’m not talking about “Sing,” where being off pitch is the point of the number). Further, about half are also not compelling actors–I genuinely couldn’t care less about characters I *did* care about on the soundtrack and in the movie. The girl who I saw play Diana Morales, a Latina from the Bronx, was horribly miscast. By comparison, the woman playing Sheila (the oldest dancer present, wondering if she should just give it up and open a dance school), owned every second she had the spotlight.
It probably doesn’t help that this is a show that is not aging gracefully. References far too old for most people, yet not old enough to be nostaligic include–Steve McQueen, Bob Goulet, that 42nd street in Manhattan was ground zero for prostitution and sex shops until the mid 90′s (to see what it used to look like see here, versus today here), method acting, and the majority of the costumes.
A Chorus Line is, at heart, about 17 dancers desperate to nail 8 parts. That is an ageless story, and as true today as it was in 1975. Leaving it as a period piece distances the audience and unlike “Thoroughly Modern Millie” where the fact that it was the 20′s was a key part of the story, leaving A Chorus Line in the 70′s does nothing to add to the show. There were a thousand missed opportunities.
I checked the show’s Wikipedia page for the show’s original date…and found that most of my program’s content about the show’s plot and history, and “other media” were plagiarized from that page, and I’d like my $20 SGD back (it also explains why the program talked about various productions of the show and the two documentaries about the show and completely ignored the 1985 movie, something I found baffling). The laziness inherent in plagiarizing the wikipedia page is perhaps the best summation of the show overall–that there was an obvious lack of effort.
This is a bare bones show. It’s supposed to take place on an empty stage, so it is simply the stage with a black background (that occasionally revolve to be mirrors). During Cassie’s solo, there are additional mirrors that descend from the ceiling–for no reason. She doesn’t interact with them, and they add nothing to the dance that the back mirrored wall doesn’t do. Why? Zach moves out into the audience, but without a spotlight or anything that could add to that. Again, a missed opportunity.
Did the show suck?
It wasn’t awful. Perhaps if it wasn’t coming on the heels of Wicked, which was a superior touring cast (either of the leads could have stepped onto a Broadway or West End stage), I wouldn’t have been so let down, but I’m not sure.
The dancing was superior (as it should be). Several numbers, such as “Dance 10, Looks 3″ and “I can do that” were outstanding. The cast is trying, but I lay most of the blame at Lee’s feet. You can’t put a new spin on a character, when you’re being told to paint by number and go through the motions.
If you really want to see the show, or if you really really love musical theater, it’s worth it to buy a 2nd or 3rd tier price ticket for the remaining week that it’s here. Otherwise, if you’ve been on the fence whether or not to go…give it pass.
This is my 500th post at Expat Bostonians.
I began the blog on March 8th, 2010; 2 years, 2 months and 9 or 10 days (depending on how you count the time difference) ago. A blog seemed like the logical way to keep our friends back home apprised of what life here in the Lion City was like. Before I moved here, the only things I knew (or thought I knew) about Singapore was that some American kid had gotten caned here when I was in high school, and that chewing gum was illegal here.
In honor of my 500th post, I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts in chronological order.
2010–Lots of factual posts (what does the money here look like), not a ton of introspection. I think I was so busy taking in Singapore that I couldn’t really process it.
Our look see visit to Singapore — This is a favorite post because it’s my baseline. It contains my first photos and impressions of Singapore. This is a post I look back at to see how far I’ve come.
Awkward–My first post about hiring a helper.
4th of July, Singaporean Style–Our first big American holiday spent in Singapore, and a favorite memory to this day. I’ve loved the American 4th of July event both years we’ve been here, and I’m looking forward to our third in a few months.
Palawan Beach–Our first visit there, and contains some of my favorite photos.
Thailand, Part 2–Describes one of the coolest things I’ve done in Southeast Asia-the Siam Safari in Phuket. A 6 hour adventure that tried to balance eco-tourism with preserving culture, and the struggles that come with it. I’m a nerd, so learning on vacation=YAY. Also-BABY ELEPHANTS! Extremely long entry, but one of my all time favorites
Christmas out and about in Singapore–I was totally thrown by stores being open and seeing Christmas treated as just another state sanctioned holiday.
2011-I got to know more people and began to really participate in the blogging community here. I started writing posts that tried to get to the why instead of the what. WHY were things the way they were instead of a book report.
Happy (sort of ) New Years–I live tweeted the NYE special with Kirsten and this post shares some of the highlights. Sort of New Years because it was 2011 in Singapore but still 2010 in Boston.
Skin Whitening…it’s a “thing” here–One of the first posts discussing my discomfort with the way whiteness is idealized here.
Having a Maid…the bad and the ugly–Singapore practically expects you to have a maid, but few people talk about the negatives. This post explored the negatives both from the culture clash perspective and the issues within Singapore itself (the racism and abuses).
What do I do when the power goes out and other questions I forgot to ask–just when you think you’ve figured out expat life, something happens to totally upend your sense of comfort.
Hong Kong-Goldfish Market and Street Markets–On our child-free vacation in Hong Kong, Ravi and I visited the Goldfish Market in Hong Kong and it was another really memorable vacation moment.
Bad Expat (Part 1-ur doin it rong)–In which I explain all the ways I suck at being an expat.
Seth Rogen talks about Singapore–and SG isn’t happy–this was the first time I felt like I could explain and understand both sides of a US/SG critique and conflict of humor.
Things you don’t see/hear in Singapore–After a trip home, I began to realize there are some things I never see or hear in Singapore
Maids, Cultural Expectations and the Importance of Modeling (expat to expat advice)–A post that really talks about the cultural issues (small and big) that come with having a maid.
Pink Dot 2011–I was so proud to be at Pink Dot (an celebration of all love, particularly LGBT love and the only pro-gay event in Singapore) last year, when Google stepped up as the first ever corporate sponsor.
A negative experience at a doctor’s office and maybe some news–It feels strange to put such an angry post on my “favorites/top” list. However, I think it is well written and it clearly articulates an issue I’ve had repeatedly with older male doctors in Singapore-being condescended to/spoken to as if I were my 3 year old. As an expat, you have to constantly negotiate cultural issues, and, in general, it is best to learn to bend and to be flexible. However, it is also okay to have lines that you can not, under any circumstance, cross. This experience was one of them.
Our second 4th of July in Singapore-Our second, and equally memorable 4th of July in Singapore
My tale of laptop woe grows–I take my laptop to a certified apple repair center, tragic hilarity ensues
Comparing Singaporean and American Pregnancy Guides–After having a baby in the US, I wanted to read a local pregnancy guide to figure out how the approach locally was different.
My first name is not Crystalann–I like the post more because of the really interesting conversation it inspired in the comments section about names and culture.
Validation-The post I wrote after my first fiction short story acceptance
Santa Cruz Boardwalk-A wonderful day with Ellie on vacation. Ravi was sick, and I was pregnant, so it was one of our last big adventures just her and I before the baby arrived. I also love the pictures.
Why I didn’t want to be in the US on 9/11-On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I was in the US and I was reminded of many of the things I don’t like about being an American, and why we have such a bad reputation abroad.
Prenatal care in the US vs Singapore–Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I might like Singaporean prenatal care better.
Rhiannon Arcadia-I got to announce and post a picture of my newly born 2nd child. Of course it’s a favorite.
An American Halloween in Singapore–We go trick or treating!
Happy Birthday Elanor–her 3rd birthday post
Slutwalk Singapore 2011–I took the girls to slutwalk because I want to raise them to be strong independent feminists.
Oh Christmas Tree—We had a great Christmas Tree, until the cats went on the offensive
Disconnect-Firing B was not a highlight of my blog, but it was one of the most significant events, and for that reason, I need to include it.
Irresistible-The book with my short story in it was published (the short story is under a pen name, but if you read the book, you’ll be able to figure it out, trust me)
That does not mean what you think it means–English vs English FAIL
Lessons learned from my negative maid experience–I take ownership of my mistakes in the whole B debacle
What I love about Singapore that has nothing to do with my children–I had to really think about this as all my reflexive answers have to do with my kids.
Where are you from–I share a story about Ravi and wonder aloud how my 3rd culture kids are going to react to their home culture…or if they’ll even consider it their home culture
Stuff I wish I hadn’t brought to Singapore–Things that I’ve found around the house that have me wondering just what I was thinking when I brought them to Singapore
Elanor and the ACA–why health care matters–Elanor’s story (warning–possible triggers as it does graphically describe what happened to Ellie at a week of age, including how close she came to death, and includes a photo from intensive care)
When I was six–What life was like for me in small town MA as a kid in the 80′s
My misconceptions about Expat Life–Boy did I have it wrong on some things.
Ways that living in Singapore have changed me—the shallow edition
Wild Life Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour–the highlight of our trip to Australia
My bank is trying to Punk Me-another absurd/hilarious tale of customer service hell
Filed under: Acts of Supreme Clumsiness, Asia, Attractions, Australia, Before the Move, Boston, Culture Shock, customs, Expat to Expat Advice, general places, headdesk moments, Helpers, Holidays (Not Singaporean), Hong Kong, Identity, medical, North America, Phuket, politics, Pregnant Expat, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney, Thailand, Third Culture Kids, Travel, Travel by Continent, Country, Uniquely Singapore, US, With Kids | 4 Comments »