31 December - Thursday
11:49 A.M.

Adieu... Till tomorrow?

What a year. Looking back at 2006, it's hard to look at just specific events when the whole year was quite a ride. From Paris to Bangkok, learning French to Thai, soldier to civilian, single to attached and from pretty lost to very satisfied. Damn, it was quite a year. I'm actually working on a performance right now, for a New Year's Eve Event tonight, which I'll be co-hosting and performing for. I'll be doing a jazz number and the whole process brought back great memories of performances from the past and how much I missed the whole thing.

It's nice to think that I would usher 2007 on a stage doing what I love, and honestly, to me, that's the best New Year's celebration I could possibly have. I learnt a lot this year - listen to your gut, give yourself chances, be patient and sometimes, moving on takes more strength than harping on events of the past.

And so, this is it. 2007's gonna be crazy. I can feel it. Well, guess it's gonna be like any other year...... ha.

Love,
Steve Andre

22 December - Friday
10:19 P.M.

Stevalicious

So, when time stands still, and it's only you and me, that second could just be eternity. After searching and searching, and with no expectations of anything, I finally feel like I'm getting what I deserve. Why shouldn't I experience true bliss? It's always been me, me and me. I never thought of getting to a stage, when it would be a "we". But I guess when that happens, and when you don't even realize it, now that's something to remember.

With Christmas just 3 days away, it's funny how the holidays tend to make people either delirious or depressed. Shopping, lists, presents, parties - the list goes on and on. I wanna tone it down this year, have a quiet Christmas, with the people I love, my family, friends and you.

So, we it is :)

Steve Andre

20 December - Wednesday
1:13 P.M.

2006 - In A Periscope...

  

So this is it. It's almost over. You know, whenever a new year inches closer, we tend to analyse and ponder about the happenings of the current year, which is normal and justified. But this year, I decided to remember the moments of 2006 instead. That day at Jinesh's house, as all three of us were taking a picture, I had a moment. Here I was with 2 of my best friends, who I've known for almost a decade, and as much as we've fought, quarrelled or even drifted apart from time to time, nothing has changed. And at that very moment, everything just felt so right. So I might know what's gonna happen in 2007 or in the future, but somehow I'm ready to just let it flow. And so 2006 perhaps didn't go as I expected, but that's ok. I still had a really good time and with friends like that, who wouldn't?

So as I try to squeeze the last minute Christmas shopping with meeting up with special people, I'm gonna keep these moments in my heart - birthdays, meetings, drama and well, what a year!

Steve Andre Prasad

11 December - Monday
8:53 P.M.

Your world, my world

 
 

I had no idea it was 4 days.. oh wait, was it 4 or 5? Time just flew and for once, I forgot about my lists, routine.. and well, everything else. Mmmmm. What a week :) I might not have accomplished much this week, but boy am I satisfied. Last week was probably the best week I've ever had this year. Everything just seemed so normal and just so right. Been listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens and Goldfrapp and tracks like A Loverless Bed and Ohh La La are in my head. So, December looks interesting - with loads of plans and catching up to do with all my friends - I'm pretty psyched. Most of all, I feel alive! Bring it on!

Steve Andre Prasad

05 December - Tuesday
3:06 P.M.

To Be Alone With You

It's finally December - funny how I can remember December 2005 clearly and this year seemed to run by like whoosh! That's what December does to you - it makes you think about the whole year, think of all that you've accomplished (or not) and as the new year inches closer, it makes you happy yet nervous, for what's to come. And so the past 4 months were quite a blur - I honestly had no idea what I was doing - it was purely mechanical and after a while, seemed so trivial. There were occasional breaks - Kelvin's birthday, Adrianna's birthday and the escape to town to watch a movie with Jinesh and Rohai.

So, the exams are over. Funny how I orchestrated my whole life to revolve around it (the grades, the grades, the grades!!), but when it came down to the crux, everything just fizzled. Looking back, with hindsight, I know I was fully prepared for it. Okay, I would not say that for Math though, but for the others, I really gave my heart and soul into it. I kept encouraging myself by telling myself that this was just nothing compared to what I've fought for before (you're a fighter Prasad, you are), somehow, in the midst of my monotony and insect-like existence, I wasn't sure about the battle anymore. I don't give up, I never do - but somehow, this didn't seem like giving up, it felt like I was taking a stand. Last year, I thought, come January, I'd do my album, send it all out again, wait till my results and then I'd have a choice. But I think along the way, I got so fixated with perfection. Perfect life, perfect school, perfect grades, perfect relationships.. And then, I guess, I just didn't believe in perfect anymore. What is perfect anyway? What is perfect to me, could never be perfect to perhaps, you, or somebody else.

As much as it was mundane and painful, it did let me think about a lot of things. What I want to do, what I want to accomplish, not based on any stereotypical notion of success. Funny how, all my life, I spoke against everything, and suddenly I felt like I was conforming to the very principles I exhorted against. So, perhaps the process did contribute to some self actualization. I realized I'm human, and I make mistakes and sometimes, I do need a break too. And so I'm finally back to where I started, where I was, right at the beginning.

Apart from sleeping *grins*, I have been pretty busy with music. I just did the finishing touches for an album that I have been working for, for the past 7 months or so. It has quite a range of songs, from fun to cheeky, to melancholic and hopeful. I guess it truly reflects the ride of 2006. It was only a few months back, when I finally decided on the title, "Perfect". It pokes fun at perfection, on all fronts of life, be it relationships, family or work. I wanted to debunk the idea of perfection and ironically, the songs do share similar themes and tend to resonate ideas of perfection or imperfection. The last album, Now or Never, was reflective, romantic and historical. The mood was generally upbeat. This one however, is melancholic and borders on nonchalance for some of the tracks. I personally love Strangers, Perfect (II) and So Perfect. And I'm glad the album ends with that track as that's the only love song I wrote for this album, and it's sincere and hopeful. I wrote that 3 days ago, and it felt so liberating to feel so positive and blissful and I decided that this album had to end this way, on a good note. Since my albums tend to represent the phases that I go through, I thought this would be a perfect (no pun intended) ending to this chapter.

Here's the tracklisting for the album "Perfect":

01) Demons
02) Perfect
03) Always Thought What I Knew
04) I'm Ok
05) The Valley
06) Perfect (II)
07) Fabulous
08) Strangers (New to Me, New to You)
09) Re-Run
10) You're Ok
11) So Perfect

With Thai language classes, plans for the new album Now or Never to be recorded, a new photo shoot and other stuff I'm working on, I wake up every morning (or afternoon) feeling generally upbeat. I would be teaching in January and hopefully things go as planned. And I am working on a new album now, apart from finalizing the tracks for Now or Never, and I want it to be totally different from the stuff I've done these past few years.. Ambitious? Perhaps. Satisfied? Very.

Au Revior,
Steve Andre Prasad

04 December - Monday
4:11 P.M.

So Perfect

That glint in your eye,
The shadow of your smile,
That look on your face,
Canít hardly keep my pace.

Iíll split if you try,
Run up a steady mile,
Youíre so imperfect,
But so perfect in my eyes.

When I hold you and you
Breathe so loud,
Can remember every sound,
Resonate in my mind
When I look into your eyes,
Only one thing I can describe,
Youíre so imperfect,
But so perfect in my eyes.

I canít deny what I feel,
You and I,
It feels so real,
And then I wonder,
So many times I canít believe.

I have watched you sleep,
Doesnít matter what others see,
Youíre so imperfect,
But so perfect in my eyes.
(But so perfect in my eyes)

Steve Andre Prasad

06 October - Friday
9:24 A.M.

Mandarin Hues

Verse 1
In some far away place
I donít have to be somebody else
The walls would speak another language
Whispers of secrets from a time
Where movements were the only speech
Voices rally against the beat
Can you feel the oriental breeze?
I shiver with all that it means

Verse 2
Itís a love that canít be ignored
Itís worth really fighting for
More than any other feasible chore
Itís the ancient art of lords
That canít be explained anymore

Chorus:
Itís you and I, itís me for you
Itís the only way of truth
Fingertips of yesterday
Is all we have left to say
Nothing can erase the way
It might even be today
I will not question the past
This intrigue and romance will last.

Verse 3
Asiatic empires of belief
Stemmed from rivers and walls beneath
The hard rocks of the Far East
Written on the palm of history.
An escape would be so hard
An eternity apart
Forget about the time and space
Itíll never be too late

Chorus:
Itís you and I, itís me for you
Itís the only way of truth
Fingertips of yesterday
Is all we have left to say
Nothing can erase the way
It might even be today
I will not question the past
This intrigue and romance will last.

Chorus:
Itís you and I, itís me for you
Itís the only way of truth
Fingertips of yesterday
Is all we have left to say
Nothing can erase the way
It might even be today
I will not question the past
This intrigue and romance will last.

Bridge
Itís all about the way you move
I canít believe I know you
It felt like it was yesterday
I fell in love with all you said
Like this was why the world was made

Chorus:
Itís you and I, itís me for you
Itís the only way of truth
Fingertips of yesterday
Is all we have left to say
Nothing can erase the way
It might even be today
I will not question the past
This intrigue and romance will last.

Chorus:
Itís you and I, itís me for you
Itís the only way of truth
Fingertips of yesterday
Is all we have left to say
Nothing can erase the way
It might even be today
I will not question the past
This intrigue and romance will last.

Steve Andre

28 September - Thursday
1:22 P.M.

Fast & Furious? Now, now.. only in Tokyo!

So, I have my Green tea every morning, moochi every month (depending on my dad's schedule), weekly Japanese binge, chinese tea in the afternoon, mooncakes for tea (Yums, Pandan snowskin!), malay kuehs (thanks to Ramadan, Kueh Dada and Talam Ubi's my fave!), Starbucks? Please, I'll have my Ya Kun, Thank you. Wait, is that the Teriyaki Boyz on the radio? Lunch? Duck Rice and some Hokkien Mee. And Dinner? It's okay, I'll just have some pâté with bread.

Yumsies :P

Prasad.

29 August - Tuesday
6:07 A.M.

Strangers (New to Me, New to You)

Verse 1:
That day
I fell in love with you,
Strangers passed by
Fingertips dry,
By the windows of everything new.
Holding your hand,
A brush, I understand
That this is new to you too.

Verse 2:
But who was that now?
You sound different somehow.
Is this the way to before?
Since this is no more.
So, I can only see
Strangers walking endlessly.

Verse 3:
That day,
I figured out somehow
Faces canít lie,
Memories fly,
When thereís only one among few
We can be strangers, me and you
This is new to me too.

Steve Andre

23 August - Wednesday
12:09 A.M.

Morning Passages

I think I spend more time ruminating, as opposed to actually doing anything. Which is kinda scary. I've decided to stop looking back, and planning and thinking about what ifs, but to just live the moment. It felt good - to just have an hour and dash to Orchard to check out some stores - it felt good to pop in a DVD and forget about the reality. But is that really all there is?

And sometimes, I have to defy the very essence of who I am, to get myself back to reality. Like a pinch on the arm, to wake me up from that long ride on the train. And that, for someone who's all about the rules - can be kinda exhilarating, and dangerous. So, how do I rationalize all this? Do I even have to?

There are a couple of things that I've done that not I'm proud of, but I think I'm glad I'm able to identify them and appropriate them into my value system. I don't wanna cheat myself, even for the mere test of my persistence. But anyhow, I think I know who I am good enough, and even I need to cut myself some slack once in a while.

I'm only human :)

Prasad

11 August - Friday
12:48 P.M.

I'll pass on the easy ride...

It feels good to wake up and have goals and a purpose. Yes, so people do give up, for various reasons. They get sidelined or they just stop listening. To themselves. Sometimes, the right decision might not necessarily be the easiest decision, but that doesn't make it any less the right decision.

And I've always believed in myself and I'm never gonna stop. Okay, so I started doubting myself last month. But now I understand.

This is it. It's full swing all the way. Cuz this time, it's personal.

Prasad.

27 July - Thursday
8:08 P.M.

The singer acts

So, do sex and gender differ purely on biological lines? Was is communism, or containment? Or pure ignorance? Okay, so I integrate this and, then differentiate that? Hmmm.

What happens after the hours? After all those hours. As they multiply over and over... what happens after? Today, I finally understood why they run away. Why, they leave it all behind. Why they feel like that have to. Like as if, it's the only way. Because, what happens after the hours are all done and over? What happens then? Never been on this side of the spectrum. Never. But it's enlightening.

Questions, questions, so many questions. Answers anyone?

I think faith. Faith and dreams.

Prasad

16 July - Sunday
9:26 A.M.

High on hope

It seems almost impossible to start. How ever did I do it last year? I really have no idea. Now, looking back, I'm so proud of myself. I mean, regardless of the outcome, I actually pulled through, which I now consider quite an enriching experience. So, I asked myself yesterday why it seemed so hard. Have I stopped dreaming? Have I just become downright lazy? Or am I just settling? As I sent Adrianna off at the airport (don't ask me why, but the airport always feels nostalgic), I started thinking about my goals. I do have quite a list I wanna accomplish and I started making a little list in my head.. (ok, I know you're probably thinking, doesn't he have enough lists?) And so this is gonna be painful. And yes, I might be re-defining  masochism to a whole new level. But at the back of my head, I know this is gonna make me stronger and yes, it's gonna require sacrifice and commitment.

At the height of my rationalization, I realized what a beautiful morning it was. The sun was shining brightly and it looked fantastic. I have the liberty to wake up whenever I want to, which is quite a luxury, and I have the liberty to decide my future.

So, maybe this paradise is for me after all? I mean, who says it has be an Eden. It could just be this.

Today, I'm gonna get things started seriously. Only 110 days left! *phew*

Au Revior!

Steve Andre Prasad

13 July - Thursday
5:27 A.M.

Just another day...

So, as Israel invaded Lebanon and Iran is being sent to the Security Council and millions in Mumbai try to get back to their routine, I was sitting on my table in my room trying to figure out the special angles of trigonometry. It's just another day...

Prasad.

10 July - Monday
3:21 A.M.

Doing it way big

So, I've been trying to psych myself up to do this. I have to admit, it's been hard. I guess this is what they call rock bottom. Two minutes ago, everything that has ever happened these past 3 years flashed in my head. And then it hit me, that I need to do this. There has to be a happy ending. If I give up, or regret in any way, once it's over, I'll never forgive myself. I'm gonna do this.

Prasad.

06 July - Thursday
12:07 A.M.

Paradise

It took me literally 3 weeks to get here. These past 3 weeks have been filled with quite a lot - I had to sort out a lot of things in my head and I needed to get myself back on track. Despite the fact that it took me 3 weeks, I'm glad I gave myself that time. Not only did I think about my life, but about my family, friends, my career and my value system. I was re-thinking a lot of things that perhaps I've overlooked these past few years, perhaps due to my schedule or ignorance.

Firstly, I learnt about living together. So, it takes more than just casual "Good Mornings" and "Heys" to make relationships work. Secondly, sometimes being aware of the intricate nuances of life, could actually put you on an upper hand. Thirdly, yes, so we have problems. But others do too. Basically, everybody does. But that doesn't make our problems any more or less important. It's all about perspective. Lastly, I should never ever doubt my abilities or even forgo them, over a problem or heartbreak. Because, these only make you stronger and more equipped for the ride.

So, what happens now? Well, I'm gonna work my ass off for the A's.

Yup. Bring it on.

Prasad.

04 July - Tuesday
2:09 A.M.

Je suis cassé? Encore.

Autour de moi
Je ne vois pas
Qui sont des anges
Surement pas moi
Encore une fois
Je suis cassé
Encore une fois
Je n'y crois pas

Steve Andre

02 July - Sunday
5:22 A.M.

Go Figure

Perfect (Part II)

Verse 1
So, Iím supposed to say goodbye
Iím supposed to leave this right
Where itís supposed to be.
Forget about you and I
No one said it would be easy tryiní,
Supposed to do this all tonight.

Verse 2
What about those compliments?
What about those memories?
What about the ďI miss youísĒ and
ďI need you babyísĒ?
Iím supposed to throw it all aside,
Supposed to leave it all behind
Leave it all behind.

Chorus:
Never thought that it would be
Confusion versus sanity
For what it was, it might never be
An ideal of what we thought
Of what we could be.
With a logical sobriety
When we give up
What we want so badly
If youíre gonna want perfect,
Itís not gonna be reality.
No no,
If youíre gonna want perfect,
Itís not gonna be reality.

Verse 3
I remember that impulsive stride,
That I donít care but this feels right
Look that was in your eye.
Forget about those endless nights,
No such thing as daylight,
Cuz we werenít keepin track of time.

Verse 4
What about those shower scenes?
What about those shared stories?
What about the ďGood morningísĒ
and ďAre you freeísĒ?
Iím supposed to walk it off a mile
Supposed to leave it all behind
Leave it all behind.

Chorus:
Never thought that it would be
Confusion versus sanity
For what it was, it might never be
An ideal of what we thought
Of what we could be.
With a logical sobriety
When we give up
What we want so badly
If youíre gonna want perfect,
Itís not gonna be reality.
No no,
If youíre gonna want perfect,
Itís not gonna be reality.

Bridge:
Imagine that first eye to eye,
For a moment, I didnít know why
It could feel like this,
And it felt so real.
Remember when our legs brushed aside
And it still felt so right
I gotta leave this all behind.

Chorus:
Never thought that it would be
Confusion versus sanity
For what it was, it might never be
An ideal of what we thought
Of what we could be.
With a logical sobriety
When we give up
What we want so badly
If youíre gonna want perfect,
Itís not gonna be reality.
Itís not gonna be reality.

Steve Andre Prasad

01 July - Saturday
5:34 A.M.

Bangkok Blues

  

Thought I'd show everyone how beautiful Bangkok is. The parks, the malls, the everything - wow. It was just fantastic. I won't be going back there for a while. But I will, one day. I am quite convinced that it's THE place to go in Asia.

So, 6 months have already passed. 2006 might have just whizzed by, but somehow I feel like I'm just getting started. It's been a ride - and I'm sure the next 6 months are gonna be extremely boring. I foresee buckets of green tea, Red Bull and tons of missed calls on my mobile.

Had my first Literature class yesterday and it felt good. I'm getting back into the zone and I'm glad. I guess it's true, it's now or never. I choose now.

Prasad.

27 June - Tuesday
2:52 P.M.

New

Everything feels new - my routine, what I want, what I feel, what I see and what I had - when something ends, we tend to look at what we've lost - never what we've gained. But I'm smiling right now, because I know I've gained. When would you ever imagine me wearing orange color shorts? Whitish-pink shirts? And to even ponder about my heritage and culture and laugh everytime I see a poster of a Bollywood movie. Or the sudden appreciation of Thai food and culture? And even trying to be patient with my father's idiosyncracies and realizing that it's better to have a Dad that's messy, than to not have one at all. And to let down my guard with my family... And to think that these past 2 weeks, I've done nothing but brood, when I should have been cherishing the thought that though some things can end, others last forever. And that's what matters.

So, I think I'm ready. I like what I've become and I don't regret it at all. So, maybe it might never be perfect, but I've had perfect and it was fantastic. Who said it doesn't exist? I'm living proof it does. And so, I'm ready.

Lessons are gonna start on the 1st of July. "Again? You must be crazy!" - the general feedback I tend to get. I would have private lessons at a school and private tuition at home as well. It took me a while to get into this zone, but I know when I do, it's gonna be full swing. And I might have to take a break from the website as well, with a message or two once in a while.

And yes, I'm ready. In every sense of the word.

Prasad

26 June - Monday
1:59 A.M.

Let go Prasad, let go...

What a week. I was out almost every day - and I think I met everyone I know in my life, this past week. From SJI friends to college friends and even French class friends. I haven't accomplished anything substantial this week - I mean, I know I'm gonna start studying this week, but signing up for the classes and stuff might take a day or two. It's been such a crazy week, from auditions to coffees with friends to dinner dates with more friends.

But why does it feel so empty?

Prasad.

20 June - Tuesday
5:54 P.M.

The Wings

I collected my IC from camp today, along with a certificate of service and some booklets. Finally, it's actually over. To think that the past 2 years plus was nothing but just a memory, is quite overwhelming. As I walked out, I thought of how every other time I took that path, I dreamt of the day when it would finally be my last. And today, it really was. It was a nice ending to a chapter.

It's funny how, in a week, things can change. Hell, that could even happen in a second. Letting go is something not natural for people. Addictions, temptations and obsessions form due to that inability. It's in the very essence of who we are. We like having what we have, because change is something we're not used to. Even if it means convincing ourselves that it was worth it. But it was worth it. How I do let go? But sometimes, you just have to. It's the hardest thing to do, but it's only gonna make you stronger. And so I tell myself.

I feel like I'm on a clean slate. A brand new beginning. I'm 21 years old and I'm finally able to work on my career. I just can't wait to get started!

Prasad.

18 June - Sunday
4:11 A.M.

Heart or head?

So, I think with my heart instead of with my head. Maybe I should consider putting my head on the forefront list before jumping on the bandwagon to what the heart campaigns for all the time. Record deal in Baltimore, yay, screw the A'levels. Heart! Pay off National Service and live my dream. Heart! Spend thousands on clothes when I barely wear them. Heart! Don't rush into getting over someone you fell in love with in the 9th Grade (a.k.a Secondary 3), I mean, not like as if there would be emotional baggage? Or any long-distance drama. Heart! Shut out your ex (a.k.a best friend) since the lines could get blurry and I don't need any more emotional drama. (Wait, could there actually be any more drama?) Heart! Go to Paris in the midst of getting my A'level results, I mean, I only worked my ass out for it, do I really have to be here? Heart! Thinking that perhaps, long-distance based on feelings and chemistry alone could be worth fighting for. Heart!

Now, do I really need to say anymore? Hmmm.

Perhaps it's the typical impulsive Arien nature - go with the heart! Well, It's been a crazy 2 months - with quite a lot of changes, decisions and well, ephinines. I'm still in one piece and I'm glad that I can use everything to make me stronger and help me focus on what I need to this year. An extremely pivotal year. I need to do this and do it well, and give it all my heart. Perhaps, like they say, the third time's always a charm. Heart or head? Hmmm. Head!

Prasad.

17 June - Saturday
4:04 A.M.

This is it

2 years and 4 months ago, my life changed. At that time, it felt like the end. There was no turning back and well, everything was a mess. And when I say everything, I really mean everything. I don't know how I pulled through, but I did. I actually used it to make me stronger. I continued writing, did my A'levels again and started learning French. So, I wasn't happy with everything that happened these past 2 years - perhaps in my education, personal life or even the music, but who said it was gonna be easy anyway? It just seemed like yesterday when I was 18 and when I had everything planned out.

Regardless of everything, I'm still here. I'm still pulling through. And finally, I'm free. In every sense of the word. Forget about Baltimore, the Army and everything else. Now it's just me, myself and I. The future's right in front of me. I feel excited. I don't know what to expect anymore - but somehow I'm just gonna work my ass out for it. There's nothing to pull me down anymore - no more excuses as to why I couldn't do it, or why it wasn't what I expected. Just me, myself and I.

So, here I go.

Prasad

16 June - Friday
12:51 A.M.

I'm Ok

Verse 1
Perfect nights, you on my side,
Remember that first train ride
From the East to the city centre,
It was only you and me
There was nothing better.

Verse 2
Kissing till our lips were dry,
Blood rushing to feed this high,
This feels so right,
This feels so right.

Chorus:
Iím at a strange brink tonight,
Martiniís kicking in with style,
How can I forget?
A future seemed so set.
As I sit, this paperís wet
My hands are shaking,
This roomís a mess
Iím ok. Iím ok.
Iím ok.

Verse 3
Had one or two occasional fights,
Like everybody, we had our nights
It was possible,
It felt so right.

Verse 4
The world was dizzy,
No one else was alive,
No such things as bad news tonight,
How could this end
When it felt so right?

Chorus:
Iím at a strange brink tonight,
Martiniís kicking in with style,
How can I forget?
A future seemed so set.
As I sit, this paperís wet
My hands are shaking,
This roomís a mess
Iím ok. Iím ok.
Iím ok.

Bridge:
Itís all sinking in right now
My pulse is racing,
Canít feel my heart,
Perfect clothes and restaurant bars,
Shining lights and perfect stars,
It felt so right
It felt so right.
Iím ok, Iím ok.
Iím ok.

Steve Andre Prasad

14 June - Wednesday
7:57 P.M.

The Blowers Daughter

And so, I'm back. I had such a great time in Bangkok - can't possibly describe it. Apart from the fact that it was a culture shock - since my last memory of it was 10 years ago, with dogs on the streets, stalls at every corner and crazy traffic. But this time, it was incredible. With malls the size of towns and food so good - really, Orchard can't touch Bangkok. Not one tiny bit.

And so, my military term finishes this Friday. Just 2 days away. Somehow, that's just the last thing on my mind.. *and so it is, just like you said it should be...* Well, finally a new phase in my life *we'll both forget the breeze, most of the time...* and I can start studying and work on what I need to do. Yes, I'm finally free, *And so it is, the colder water..* thrust out into the world. But as much as it's gonna take getting used to, I know it's gonna get better - eventually.

Joanna's birthday is next week. So, at least I have an excuse to party *I can't take my eyes off of you.. I can't take my eyes off you..* and to throw a crazy dinner. What's gonna happen now? I don't know - i'd probably spend time with my friends - sort things out in my head and start focusing on my education and career.

So, this is it. Wow.
*I can't take my mind off you...*

Prasad

10 June - Saturday
10:29 A.M.

From the coast of the Arabian Sea,
On the grains of Goa,
As I looked at the specks of islands
gracing the Malabar -
all I could think of was Dravidia.

A visage of an age, an era - oh so long ago.

And so, i'm finally leaving for Bangkok today. These past few days have been fulfilling - spending time with family, friends and a little well deserved partying on Wednesday night did top up the whole week, but thankfully, it didn't go down hill from there.

4 days in Bangkok - with ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the King's rule, where else can anybody be in South-East Asia?

Steve Andre.

06 June - Tuesday
9:02 A.M.

Être une homme

I know, you're probably thinking, it's 9 a.m., and he's actually awake! I'm coming outta my cave once in a while - at least I'm coming out! I started writing some new tracks, I mean, since I'm almost never not working on an album. The stuff that I've been writing have been very up-beat, hip-hop and dance influenced. I want this to represent the crazy, hip-hop loving, beat-grinding side of me. I mean, as much as I love the I'm-sitting-under-a-tree-and-i'm-gonna-kill-myself sorta tracks that were written in the "Salem's Dusk" and "Playing Picasso" era, I guess that was just me chronicling what I was feeling at that time and since it was so intense, the condensing of it intro tracks gave birth to pretty intense stuff. Those aren't tracks that I would necessarily sing under my breath when I'm running for the bus or just reading a magazine on the train. So, I decided to get in touch with the hip-hop side of me. To relive the days of "Just A Game" and "Some Serious Explanin' To Do".

I'm starting to ask myself, "Is this even worth it?", whenever I'm doing something, that might be taking a certain amount of my attention. It's just me, trying to lose up a bit. I don't know why, but I think I have become quite uptight, and I'm not really sure how that happened. Wasn't I the one that went for it all way in 2003, against all odds? And now, I'm a sucker for organization and stability? What happened?

With just 4 more days for my Bangkok trip - I'm trying to wrap things up in Singapore. The usual appointments and errands and last-minute-meeting-up-with-friends. So, what happens after Bangkok? I know what I'm gonna do - it's just the thought of getting into that zone, that's kinda excruciating. So much expectations, so many questions, opinions and views. What do I say or do anymore? Sometimes I feel like I should just take off. Drop everything and take off. Okay, I guess that would be more of running away than actually solving anything. Things have consequences - and sometimes it's the realization process that's painful, not the experience itself.

I finally found some time to sort out my Paris pictures and here are some:

  

Au Revoir!
Steve Andre

24 May - Wednesday
5:06 A.M.

La Seine

Verse 1
The pulse of a city,
The heart of a ruse
The ways of a century
Can define or confuse.

Verse 2
The walls and the bridges
Can support and destroy
How can I function
With my veins closing tight?

Chorus:
How can I describe
How I feel inside
When itís always me (Itís always me)
Itís never or now
For me to decide
When will that be? (when will that be)
Itís always me.

Verse 3
Thereís time for success,
Thereís time for defeat
So, what happens now,
I feel so incomplete.

Verse 4
A tribe of camaraderie,
A fortress in disguise
The walls that have stood
Battlements of all kind.

Chorus:
How can I describe
How I feel inside
When itís always me (Itís always me)
When everythinís the same
And I canít change
How can that be? (how can that be)
Itís always me.

Bridge
It humbles me so, drags me to the floor.
Shakes me to my core, never no more.
Sigh away all my debt,
I canít control this regret.
Is this all I can do?
Is this all I can do?

Chorus:
How can I describe
How I feel inside
When itís always me (Itís always me)
Itís never or now
For me to decide
When will that be?

How can I describe
How it feels inside
When itís always me (Itís always me)
Everything changes
And Iím standing around
How can that be? (how can that be)
Itís always me.

Itís always me,
Itís always me.
Itís always me,
Itís always me.

Steve Andre.

23 May - Tuesday
11:38 A.M.

Now or Never

Looking over the lights of Istanbul - a surge of inspiration hit me. I wanted to write something that would capture the feeling that I was feeling at that very instant - a mix of excitement, anxiety, faith and even hope. And I started writing La Seine. I wanted it to sound historical, almost ancient, yet exciting. Little did I know that the song itself would take a totally different turn in a matter of days. Yes, I would be roaming along the Seine and I would have to decide. Now or never? As the lights of Teheran glimmered from the corner of my eye - I didn't see it coming but I was halfway there.

I started writing this album about a year ago - at the beginning, there was no clear concept for the structure of the whole thing. I wrote about 2 random tracks, Now or Never and Mindfuck and those were powerful. The tracks that followed, I felt, complimented each other. Unlike the last two albums, this album has strong ballads and a few fun, RnB tracks. The mood is much lighter and some of the tracks are downright naughty, such as Eye Candy. Encore is my favourite track - it's about fighting and not giving up. It was supposed to be the first single from the album. The album reaches a peak at Unreal, and the songs after that take quite a turn. This Changes Everything was written in Paris, while La Seine was written on the way there and back. The change in mood is quite drastic, and I wasn't sure if the last few songs were compatible for the whole mood of the project. At that point, I was feeling down and all I had on my mind was uncertainty. But then, I realized that this was how everything went. And since I can't possibly control the mood of the songs, I decided to just let it flow.

I wanted to record the album, "Now or Never" in March and launch it in April. That was why the photo shoot was completed in December. I felt like the album represented the culmination of everything that I've ever worked so hard for - this was not just an album, but it represented the end of a phase, and the beginning of another. That is why I decided to name the album "Now or Never", as I felt that if I never did it now, I might never do it ever. That was how I was feeling, at that point, with regards to my music.

But of course, things did not go as planned. After getting my grades, and realizing that it didn't represent my full potential, I knew I had to make a decision. It was either now or never. I could move on, or redo them. Re-taking them would mean postponing the album. So, of course you could say that the title now reeks with irony, but oh well. After thinking about it, I decided to listen to my gut - which told me to redo them. So, I have no choice but to postpone this album till this December, when the dust settles with regards to my exams.

In 3 weeks or so, I would be leaving the military. This whole charade will finally be over. I'm not sure if I'm really digesting it, but I'm glad I can move on to the next phase of my life. With or without music, it's still all I've ever thought of since 2004.

Life has pretty much stood still this past month - I've been very unproductive, but very very happy. Sometimes, it's just letting go and enjoying the moment. I don't think I've given myself this chance in a very long time, and now that I have, I wanna enjoy it. My trip to Bangkok is confirmed and I can't wait for that. I decided to put up the track list for the album and I would be putting up more lyrics from the album soon. And yes, I'll try to pop in once in a while.

01. Now Or Never
02. Mindfuck
03. Never Say Never
04. Little Boy
05. Gaia
06. Mandarin Hues
07. Eye Candy
08. Encore
09. Unreal
10. This Changes Everything
11. La Seine
12. The End
13. When It Was Nothing

Au Revoir!
Steve.

28 April - Friday
8:40 P.M.

Free

It's been a few weeks, but I'm finally able to take a breather :) These past few weeks have been crazy - I have been spending a lot of time just lounging - talking on the phone - taking risks.. Never thought I'd put myself out there again, considering the drama that tends to unfold every summer, and well, the past that seems so present, as it unfolds itself right before my eyes, on my phone... my computer.. and in my thoughts.

With little thoughts of school or anything else, these past few weeks have been light, interesting and well, quite a standstill. Last Tuesday was my last working day in the office at camp. As I closed my file and walked out of the office, after saying my goodbyes, memories of stuff that happened 2 years ago came back - the thought that this was all coming to an end, was actually quite overwhelming. As I walked out of camp, I had no worries on my mind. Regardless of all the disappointments, I felt at ease. Finally.

I came back from the hospital yesterday - the operation was quite fast and thankfully, when I woke up, I was still under the painkillers as I couldn't feel much. Well, the house is pretty quiet with me all shut up and despite the pain, I'm glad I can finally adjust myself to my routine.

With plans to visit Bangkok in May and Australia in June, I'm excited. I'm Free.

Steve Andre

09 April - Sunday
7:33 P.M.

That's just fabulous

What a weekend. I can't even begin to describe. Surprises, shocks, drama and with presents on the side, yeah it sounds like a movie. Well, here it's just an ordinary weekend :)

As I looked into the restaurant where all my friends gathered and where I was utterly surprised, and perplexed for the whole evening, I could hardly contain all the thoughts going through my head. It was truly wonderful. That overwhelming feeling, was definitely something I never felt before. To sit there, and see all my friends, from all different phases of my life, sit and laugh and have a good time, was probably the best feeling ever. And so they got me. Yes, it's usually my thing.. to hit it off with a bang - but this time, I was fooled. After a crazy meal and with a little bit too much red wine, we decided to call it a night. But it was the beginning for me.

I woke up feeling light - I had not a care in the world. I had a party to attend tonight, and that was my only concern. And at 11:30, we all congregated at the bar, and with wine and champagne, celebrated me saying goodbye to all the foolish crap and drama that I hoped was just a by-product of being a teen.

When we're young, lessons are always a bore - you gotta get in on time, and yes, you might not have time for the coffee break in between. You gotta listen during the lesson, copy down notes and revise later. But in life, you don't have that opportunity. You can be late, but you're not gonna get a replay. You can get the notes from somebody else, but it really might not be applicable to you. At the end of the day, the lessons we learn, are truly lessons; when we learn. And so the first lesson I learnt since turning 21, was to cherish the moment. Sometimes, that's all that matters :)

And so, here I am. I'm 21 and when I look back, It's been fabulous. And when you top it up with the friends I have, now that's just fabulous.

Steve Andre Prasad.

02 April - Sunday
5:48 P.M.

I've decided

The past few weeks have been crazy - with my mind tossing here and there. Should I do this or that? Would I regret? Would it be the same? So many questions, so little answers. So, I decided to let it rest - let's just keep my options open and think about it. The last time I decided, I didn't have to think about it - I wanted to do it, and viola, I did it. And I never looked back and never did regret, regardless of the grades. Now when I think about it, I'm glad I did it. It has made me stronger and I didn't think I would be able to survive. But I did. And I'm proud of myself. So, shit happens and I can't expect everything to go my way. But at least, I had a plan and I went by it.

My parents were more for me re-doing the whole thing - until I talked to a teacher of mine and some friends who were giving me some legitimate options, like going overseas, going to a polytechnic and doing a one year course and then going to the University. And suddenly, I was being encouraged to not re-take it. And then it hit me. Everybody's gonna have their opinion and take on this. But at the end of the day, I'm gonna be doing this, and I have to ask myself if I'm ready to do it all over again. Or if I wanna move on. And if I do, would I ever look back and think, what if?

Yesterday, while walking back home from coffee with my friends, I made up my mind. I loved everything I studied last year, ok maybe not so much of the Statistics, but it fuelled my energy. After countless hours of tossing here and there, I finally decided. I'm gonna redo my A'levels. I know it's gonna be painful, crazy and I'm not gonna have enough sleep and I'm gonna be bitching about it to all my friends when I get started with my schedule, but it's just my gut that's telling me that I should do it. And my gut is usually right. It's just that feeling where you know that, yes, this time, I can make it different.

So, some find their way, and some take longer. And I always hated to succumb to the government planned route. So, here I am actually living it, as in, the unorthodox route.

I needed to make up my mind before my 21st birthday. I didn't want to usher my 21st year with questions. I wanted to know what I wanted to do. And I do. With 6 days to my birthday, I'm not sure what to think anymore. These past 20 years have been a ride. What can I expect next week? I really don't know. And I really don't wanna anyway :)

Steve Andre.

22 March - Wednesday
9:14 P.M.

Some like it hot

 

I was thinking of those little things that perk me up.. you know, the dreams, aspirations.. the things that usually drive me to pursue what I want. Since Go Figure, I used to dream of that day, one day, when it would all materialize - when I would go places, and live life. And then, I started laughing. I felt like a joke. Here I was, building castles when in reality, I was still stuck in 2003. Reality check? Maybe. Some take longer to find their way, a friend of mine mentioned. Let's hope I find it eventually.

Whatever it is - I'm gonna get through this. I've officially stopped moping, got back to my routine, am planning for the future and I'm still writing tracks. I guess that's the only consolation - me still believing in my music. I guess, on the other hand, the whole brouhaha has made me even more determined to work on the music - since I have had the opportunities before.

Over cheesecake that day, I was telling the guys about Paris. About how I felt liberated and how the energy and vibe that you feel in the street is just so overwhelming. They were saying about how the grass always seems greener on the other side. And that got me thinking. Was I really feeling Paris, or just escaping Singapore? But regardless of the fact that, even if I did live there, and the Eiffel tower would just look like a block of metal, it's the passion that differentiates them to the people here. People there looked alive - and not drained and concerned about getting the best seat on the MRT. Ironically, I remember everybody there assumed I was local, and not a foreigner. It was only when I couldn't say something in French, that made them realize that I could possibly be a foreigner. But here, everywhere I go, people question my nationality, race etc. Although I don't think it's entirely offensive, but I don't really find it polite even, unless it's someone I know. But when I was there, not one person asked about my ethnicity. "You can speak French, you're French", and although it might seem myopic, never once did I feel an outsider. I felt more inside than ever. Than ever.

Despite all the drama, I allowed myself to get distracted - well, in a good way. Which has grounded me and uplifted my spirits, so I'm not complaining. I think right now, any type of distraction is healthy.

I decided to showcase 2 more pictures from the City Chic collection. Just to tease ya'll a little bit. Both have got mixed reviews, but I personally like them alot.

Au Revoir.

Steve Andre.

19 March - Sunday
9:49 P.M.

Stronger

I feel so much better. After a long talk with Rohai, and piecing everything else everybody else around me have been saying, I decided to move out of this mourning period. And suddenly, I wasn't moping around anymore and yesterday, I met Rohai, Kelvin & Martin at The Cheesecake Cafe to chill. That was the first time I've been out since I returned from Paris. It's been two really crazy weeks - I've been constantly questioning myself and I guess, even putting myself down. But how could I not? I thought about it alot, and I realized that it wasn't about not being able to go to NUS/NTU or SMU or even going to any University. I worked so hard for it last year, I sacrificed everything, and although it was draining and crazy, it did feel fulfilling. And not doing as well as I hoped, made me question my capabilities. Is this my true potential? Is this really all I'm capable of? Of course, my parents and friends were throwing in reasons like, "oh, you were in the Army.. you only had limited time... you had to juggle with this and that.. and you did do so much better now, as compared to when you were in college.." As much as those reasons were valid, I just couldn't dismiss the fact that I felt quite cheated. All my life, I questioned and rebelled against the system.. I fought against it, aspired to be singer and worked for that. But, when that couldn't materialize, due to circumstances, I succumbed. I stayed. I went to the military, and I decided to re-do my studies. And that's why it hurts. And that's why I felt lost.

It came to a point last week where I couldn't even not do nothing for a minute, as when I was free, I would think about things and feel depressed. But if I was busy and occupied, that would take away my attention from the reality of things. And that's why I occupied myself with loads of errands last week. And I dreaded those long train journeys in the mornings and evenings.. because I would just sit and think. I couldn't sleep, although I was tired. I couldn't read, as I wasn't interested.

But yesterday, I decided to just let it be. A really close friend of mine told me how everyone has rough patches... and this is probably mine, and it's normal. We all go though it, and it would take time to get over. But we all pick ourselves up, eventually. Joanna was saying that with these grades, I could go to any University in Singapore and overseas, but it would only be difficult to get to NUS or NTU, as they are quite stringent with their admission criteria. And she posed the question to me. If I wanted to re-do the whole thing, that would mean that I wanna go to either one of those Universities. Although I never really had a concrete desire to go to either NUS or NTU, if I did wanna do Political Science, going there would mean going to the best in Singapore. And if I wanna do something, I would wanna go all the way.

Although, I had others who were saying, that perhaps this was a sign that I should move on? Though, I'm not sure what the significance of the results mean, I'm quite sure now, that I'm not gonna let this get the best of me. It's ironic how I've always condemned this whole government planned route, but here I am feeling quite lost and upset, because I might just miss that opportunity.

So, with about 2 weeks to my birthday, not only do I have no confirmation of University admission, but i'm unemployed and with no record deal :)

I decided to send the appeal for the Math paper, register for my A'levels again, and also send applications to the universities in Singapore. So, if the appeal pulls through, I could just cancel my A'level application. If it doesn't, and I also don't receive any replies from the universities, then i'd just do it again. I checked the syllabus, and all of it's still the same, except for Literature, where i'd have to do only one new book. So, it wouldn't be as tiring as last year, when I did 3 new books, all by myself. And after I leave the Army, I'd have all the time to myself to study. I wouldn't have to fight for time, like how I did last year - with changing duties, scheduling appointments and even going for an operation.

I still wanna pursue music, but I have to have a safety net. Although music is my true passion, I did enjoy some of the subjects I took last year. And furthering that, would also be quite satisfying. I do wanna further my education at some point in my life. That's why the A'levels I did last year were so important, as it meant alot to me. It wasn't like in 2003, where I wasn't focused and how everything was going smoothly with the music thing. Then, things were different. I was different. I needed to identify what I wanted and what I needed.

I decided to re-schedule the photo shoots for the Russian and Oriental themes and to also continue with the recording of the album. Why should I put it off, when I've been waiting for the past 2 years for this? I also collected all the photos of the City Chic theme from the photographer yesterday, and the picture featured below is from that collection. They were taken in December, before Christmas. There are a few that are album cover potentials, but I haven't decided on anything yet. I will be putting up more photos, even those taken in Paris and more lyrics this coming week.

Perhaps, it wasn't all that I expected. But this is just gonna make me stronger.

Steve.

16 March - Thursday
12:01 A.M.

Little Boy

Little boy, small country
Big dreams, who was to foresee?
Youíre so quiet, an individual,
So different in all that youíve known.

Little boy,
you have grown.
Through all the pain, it has shown
Through the way you think,
The way you talk,
What is in your mind,
What goes in and out all the time.

Little boy,
When did you last see,
the sunset and all the beautiful trees?
No longer little,
So many big dreams
Have so much to do,
So little time,
I am unmoved.

You have fallen,
So many times,
Memories come once in a while
Fight while you can,
Survive later,
When you blink an eye,
It all wonít even matter.

Little boy, small country
Big dreams, who was to foresee?

Steve Andre

14 March - Tuesday
11:45 P.M.

This changes everything

While walking back after sending Joanna off at the bus stop, I started thinking about what I want, and what I think I want. And I asked myself, is this what I really want? Everything has been fuzzy for the past few days - me perpetually staying at Hotel Denial and trying to escape from what I needed to confront - the future. Or maybe not necessarily the future, but at least a plan. If I do re-take it, it would be because I would wanna go to NUS. But if I don't wanna, I could still go to any other University. Be it local or foreign. So, why do I feel like such a failure? Then, I realized how ironic it was that although I hate a lot of the crap that I was indoctrinated with, while growing up here, here I was propagating it. Perhaps, deep inside, I feel like NUS should be my option, as that would validate my success?

So, there are choices, and I just have to be sure and choose one. I did send an appeal for my Math paper to be remarked again, but I don't think that would really help, as it's a long shot. It's Math, it's either right or wrong. So, why am I willing to take the risk, you ask? A drowning man clutching at straws.....

I decided to cancel the Russian & Oriental photo shoots, and postpone all plans relating to the album. I don't think it would be appropriate right now to do those, as I'm not really in the mood. I'm still going for French lessons, though I don't think I would continue to the Advanced stage once my intermediate classes end in May.

I'll get through this, I know. But with time.

Steve

10 March - Friday
9:53 P.M.

Je suis perdu?

I remember feeling so light walking to the gate.. I had absolutely no worries, and all I could think of was Paris. As the plane glided for take-off, my mind was filled with everything that happened in the past 2 years, and everything that could possibly happen, in the near future. And I was in an elated state of bliss, which I haven't been in, in a very very long time. I was free, well, for a while. And It felt good.

Hmm.. hopefully, Charles De Gaulle isn't too crowded when the plane lands *Staring up into the heavens, in this hell that binds your hands* I could live on croissants and roam Champs Elysees *Wrestle with your darkness, angels call your name* hrm.. darn, what if it's snowing? Hopefully, the hotel's near the metro *Can you hear what they're saying? Will you ever be the same?* Oh yes, I would love some orange juice, thanks. mmmmm. Bye home. That's probably.. Indonesia. *Remember, remember, never forget, all of your life has all been a test...* okay.. I have to establish some rules.. no thoughts of work, home or anything related to my routine in Singapore. It's my holiday, and I deserve this break. Paris, here I come. *You will find a gate that's open, even though your spirit's broken..*

Thankfully, I made friends with the passenger on my left and we ended up talking the whole time, till the plane landed. She was French, and had just spent six weeks in New Zealand backpacking. I told her about how I only a had basic knowledge of the French language, and she ended up teaching me some stuff and we went through some maps of Paris together, and she acted as my guide even when we landed in Charles De Gaulle Airport. All I had to do was follow. After landing at about 6:20 a.m, Paris time, we took the shuttle from Terminal 1 to 2 and took the train to Gare Du Nord.

After finding my way to the hotel and leaving my stuff there, I decided to walk around the area and get myself orientated with the surroundings. The first thing I did was walk into a Cafe and get a Raspberry tartlette, which was orgasmic. The metro station, Cadet, was only 3 minutes away and after finally getting a coffee and tickets, I decided to make my way to Champs Elysees. I remember getting out at Champs Elysees-Clemenceau and walking down some buildings and I suddenly realized that I was on Pont Alexanandre III, and as I recall, this was where the Nazi troops last marched until they got to the seat of government and declared the defeat of France. And right in front of me, was the magnificent Hotel Des Invalides, and as I turned, I suddenly saw the Eiffel Tower, it almost looked like a shadow, in the mist of the early afternoon. It was just so overwhelming. Just yesterday,  I was in Singapore and suddenly, I was just opposite the Eiffel Tower.

I remember walking down till I got to some Embassies, but it started snowing, so I decided to get back to the hotel and plan my itinerary. Since it was a Sunday, everything in France was closed, except for some of the boutiques in Champs Elysees or neighbourhood bakeries. Just as I stepped into my room, there was a phone call for me, and it was from my father's colleague, who I coincidentally met on board the plane and we decided to meet for hot chocolate and coffee in Champs Elysees, outside Louis Vuitton. So, I got off at George V and probably had the best hot chocolate ever. After walking to Place De La Concorde, where Marie Antoinette was beheaded, I took some pictures of L'Obelisque from Egypt and we walked through the magnificent Jardin Des Tuileries and headed to the Musee Du Louvre, where I took pictures of the museum and the pryamide glass structure. It was probably 0 degrees, but I had so much energy and I just wanted to go with the flow. Despite my shivering, I still wanted to walk to orientate myself with the city. We walked to St. Chapelle, the Latin Quarter and had dinner at this cosy restaurant at the Marais. After that, he brought me to see the Notre-Dame and I headed back to my hotel. I couldn't wait for the next day! I was in Paris, for goodness sake! Sometimes, I had to pinch myself to check if I was actually experiencing everything.

What I really liked about the surroundings were the lanes and the architecture of the buildings. I think throughout my trip, I probably walked an average of about 8 hours a day, and believe me, I never ever walk in Singapore. There was just so much to see. The buildings in the Marais and Latin Quarter were so different from those perhaps, across the bank. Sometimes, I'd just walk by the river Seine and look at the sky and I felt almost transported to a different plane. Forget the stereotypes people love to exclaim about the French, I met nice, polite and friendly French people. Not only did I get help when I asked for directions or to take a picture, but also good service when I visited the departmental stores.

The museums were also packed with students and teachers and I saw teachers bringing 8 to 10 year old kids around, asking their opinions and teaching them about the history and significance of the paintings and sculptures that were showcased. Not only did the people dress well, but they also carried themselves well in the metro, or in the streets. I was intrigued by these aspects of their culture. I mean, at least a standard of decorum is established in the society. I mean, it's not like as if people in Singapore roam naked or anything, but it's that refined outlook that's lacking. Some of the streets were narrow, winding and dirty. The drainage system also seemed a bit out-dated, but it's the energy and vibe that hits you, when you're walking the streets or just standing in the train and looking at the people around and hearing them converse in Japanese, Korean, Italian, Spanish, English, French, Arabic, Hindi and even Tamil.

Day II: After grabbing some croissants from a cafe nearby, I decided that I would do some window shopping since I couldn't do any the day before, since all the boutiques were closed. I headed down to the heart of the capital: Champs Elysees. I stormed the newly renovated Louis Vuitton boutique and headed to others like Gucci, Prada, YSL, Energie etc. Just turning back, I remember looking at the Arc De Triomphe, and I couldn't help smiling. And it hit me that I was in Paris. After buying some snacks and feeling so at home in Zara, I decided to go to a huge shopping mall, Galleries La Fayette, ironically, on the same street as my hotel, rue de Provence, but far down. After spending hours at the men's building, I decided to head to another huge shopping mall at Port Malliot, Palais De' Congress, which boasts 1000 boutiques in one single building. After that, I decided to head down to Montmarte, where every tourist ends up, eventually, or so i've heard. After climbing up the hill to see the Sacre-Coeur, and staring at the view of the city from the hill, I headed down to Moulin Rouge and headed back to my hotel.

Day III: I decided to get a Museum Pass, which would entitle me to visit all the major museums and monuments in and outside Paris, and with that pass, I didn't have to queue up and I also had special entry at all the areas. I decided to cover all the private museums and monuments first and use the pass for the last few days. On my third day, I ended up at Montmarte again (surprise, surprise), and decided to visit the Musee de l'Erotisme. It had very very... interesting display.. ahem. And well, some were from the 14th century and even earlier and the works displayed were actually quite comprehensive. They were from India, Japan, Peru and from many parts of Africa. The museum had 6 floors, and each floor had a theme. After that, I headed to the Catacombs, and for 2.50 Euros, I spent my whole mid afternoon 83 steps underground. I discovered this ancient church, Saint Pierre De Montrouge nearby the Catacombs, and just beside it, there was a Starbucks. I couldn't help but grin at the juxtaposition of the old and new. That's Paris, I guess. After that, I headed to the Eiffel tower and after climbing up to the second floor, I wished I had just paid the extra fare and taken the lift instead. On the way up, the passage seemed almost never ending and the size of the structure was quite overwhelming. When I finally took the lift to the third floor, it was at that very moment, that I declared my love to Paris. You could see across the Seine and the view of the city was just.. breath-taking. It wasn't high rise buildings or just mere slabs of concrete. These were buildings dating back thousands of years and the islands in the middle of Paris, on the Seine, could also be seen. I remember getting myself a cup of coffee and cake and just gazing into the horizon. Despite the wind and -2 degrees temperature, I remember just staring at the city, and feeling total nonchalance to all that was happening around me. It was just me, and Paris.

Day IV: I decided to tone it down on the fourth day. I realized that my legs were aching from all the walking and I also felt tired in the day. I mean, it's my holiday, and I shouldn't feel tired. I decided to wake up a bit later and headed down to the Louvre. The museum itself is huge, and not only are the pieces displayed fantastic, the architecture of the place itself could confound someone. I spent about 8 hours just browsing at the section of 17th and 18 century art, including the sections on Egyptian and Islamic art. and I couldn't even finish that wing, in one day. I don't think I can possibly explain how captivated I was with the works displayed. There were mummies, ceremonial casings, mummified cats and they covered every single aspect of ancient Egyptian life, which was overwhelming. After the Louvre, I went to the Latin Quarter to have some dinner and walked around and did some shopping for paintings and postcards.

Day V: I woke up late on the 5th day. I also decided to sleep in, as I was kinda exhausted and I wasn't sure if I was ready for another 8 hours in the museum. Perhaps I'll go to the Arc De Triomphe? Or perhaps Notre-Dame? I decided to call home and check on everything. Plus, subconsciously, I felt something amiss. The trip had reached an all-time high and everything was going on so well. Everything was gonna change in a matter of seconds, and I didn't even know it.

So, I called home and well, reality struck. My A'level grades were released the day prior, and well, I didn't do well for my Math. But regardless of that, I didn't do as well as I expected overall. And there I was, at a train station, in the middle of Paris, and suddenly, all I could hear was silence. It was much better than the last time.. but who cares about the last time? I didn't. Then, it was all too messy. But this time, I really wanted to do it. I really really wanted to do well. And I worked my ass out for it. I called Rohai and Jinesh, as I needed to talk to some friends, as it all seemed kinda blurry. My mind went blank and everything seemed unreal.

And then, suddenly it hit me. This was all a lie. I thought I deserved it. But well, look what came out of everything. After that revelation, I couldn't function. I walked and walked. By the time I got to Notre-Dame, the doors were already closed. I walked by the Seine for a while and just thought about things. What happens now? What happens in June when I finally leave the Army? There were just too many questions, and well, not many answers. And so, I walked until I felt better. I decided to visit Centre Georges Pompidou and distract myself with modern art. I stayed there till they closed.

As I returned, my mind was elsewhere. I felt like I was floating. It just felt so ironic. I thought this year would be different. Something good would come out of everything. I never did believe in happy endings, but I was hoping for a happy closure to this phase. Half of me felt like I should come back and settle things, the other half was grateful for being far away from home. Atleast, I can think about things entirely by myself. I was so looking forward to my trip, but now, it just felt so trivial. And I felt empty. Almost devoid of any capacity to feel good.

Day VI: I decided to carry on with my holiday and use the time I had with myself to think. I called home and told my mum that I was doing ok, and that I'd figure it out, even if it meant doing it again. I went to Musee D'Orsay and I spent about 5 hours there wandering. I was surrounded by pieces of Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Millet and so many other talented artists. I realized how escapism was my art. I've done it before, and I was doing it right at that very moment. After looking at a particular painting, I would ask myself, what were they thinking or doing when they thought of this? Did they have difficulties? Problems? Everything seemed almost circular, and my thoughts kept directing me to one single point, my grades. Since it was a Friday, and the Louvre was open till 9:30 P.M., I decided to head down to the museum and check out the Mona Lisa. After spending a few hours there, I left.

Day VII: It felt almost surreal, to think that I was in Paris for the last week. And to think that in that one week, so much has happened and changed. I went to Versailles to see the Chateau De Versailles and it was probably the highlight of the whole trip, okay, perhaps after the Eiffel Tower. Walking through the Hall of Mirrors, Marie Antoinette's chamber and just looking at such decadence and grandeur, it made me forget about everything, for a while. After spending some time in the Garden, I decided to head to La Valley, their shopping discount district, you could call it the Bugis of Paris, but with Chanel and Armani. After browsing, and getting Vodka and wine from the supermarche, I decided that it was high time to get back to Paris. After an hour's train ride, I finally was back at my room.

Day VIII: After finally realizing that my flight was at 11:50 A.M. in the morning and not 23:50 P.M., I rushed down to CDG via the metro and after some crazy huffing and puffing, I managed to get there an hour before the plane took off. I was so afraid that the gates would have closed. It felt wrong, to leave Paris like that, without even a proper goodbye. As I sat, and watched Paris go by, and clouds take cover, the feeling was just too overwhelming. It wasn't the thought of leaving Paris that made me feel that way, but coming back home and feeling exactly like how I did in 2004, when I came back from Baltimore, was what I never expected. I never thought history would repeat itself. Hopefully, It isn't too hot when I get back.. *Open up my heart, Cause my lips to speak..* What happens when I get back? *Bring the heavens and the stars, Down to earth for me..* I'll just have to pick up the pieces. *Can you hear what they are saying, Will you ever be the same..*

And that was how my holiday went. When I came back, I had to settle post trip issues, bills, camp stuff and of course, the looming question of what happens now. I really don't know.

I really don't know.

Steve

25 February - Saturday
3:08 P.M.

Parisian Panache!

6 or 7 years ago, I wrote a song called Weekend In Paris, it was hip-hop, very up-beat and I loved it. That was during the phase of Thank You Billie and Different Man. When I think back on all those tracks that I wrote when I was much younger, i tend to cringe, okay fine, and laugh, but I guess these tracks gave me the foundation and experience that I needed. And I've also almost completed the album I've been writing for the past few months and I'm excited about the one that's going to be released in April.

I'm glad with where I am right now, things are looking far from bleak, like how they were 2 years ago, and I feel like there's so much to look forward to this year, and I don't think I've had this much optimism since.. 2003. And so, I'm off to Paris for a week plus, to just lose myself. I want to gallivant the streets with no worries, thoughts or concerns of home. I worked my ass off last year, and you know what, I think it's high time I take a trip and just spend time doing things that I like. Just being me.

Sometimes we all need to escape, it doesn't have to be a month or two. But i guess that's just a way to help assure my sanity. The last trip I had was to Baltimore, and that wasn't even a trip. And well, that brought out things that even I couldn't control. So, this is my first trip in ages. Apart from going to the Museums and national monuments, palaces, ethnic and historical enclaves, I would also wanna just have a cup of coffee and read a book by the river. Why not?

And so this is it. I'll be back in March :)

Au Revoir!

Steve.

18 February - Saturday
2:50 A.M.

Why not an encore?

And so, It's been forever. Since January, my schedule has been crazy. I've been going to the office almost everyday, running errands which never seem to end and keeping up appointments, which never seem to end as well. Apart from the usual drama from my friends, like Marque fainting cuz of liver inflammation, Joanna flipping because of boyfriend situations and Adrianna.. well, just being herself, life has been quite serene. Well, alot of things have been going through my mind. As of today, I've served 2 years and 1 day in the military. It was my one year anniversary yesterday. It's crazy, cuz I can still remember the very day I entered.. how it all felt. And every time I think about it, I'm not sure when to stop, when to tell my mind that the pain probably ended there.. or there. But I usually can't put a full stop to the whole fiasco.

But in these 2 years, I have grown. With or without the military, I have developed and experienced new things, and for that, I'm grateful. I guess after leaving everything, my music, my sanity and most of all, my freedom, I never thought I'd ever be able to pick up the pieces again. I think I was in an absolute low. But I did. With no record deal, mediocre results, and just no prospects, I think I felt quite useless. But that was then. And my writing helped me. If it wasn't for Salem's Dusk, or the other tracks I wrote in that period, I don't think I would have gained the strength to try again.

It was only then, when I decided that I was not gonna let this get the best of me - and that I was gonna try again. And I did. In 3 weeks or so, I'll be receiving my A'level results, and in about 2-3 months time or so, I'll be releasing an album. And who would have thought that I would have the energy to even re-take my A's? Even I didn't think so. I don't know how I did it, but I did. I'm glad I made the choices I did in these past 2 years, be it good or bad.

And at the brink of a closure, I feel nervous. What happens now? Have I grown so comfy in uncertainty? Dangling in space - with almost no worry about the future? I'm just gonna go with the flow. I know now that, whatever I do, i'll be true to myself and I'd know for sure if that's for me, be it music or anything else.

I don't think anybody thought they would be an encore, that I would try again, put my heart out there, perhaps not with rhetoric speeches about being true and blah blah, but just living it and breathing it. Nobody thought that I'd ever think of Baltimore again. How could I not?

Things are going smoothly and I'll probably be going for my well deserved vacation soon and I'd probably spend 9 days or so overseas... a break which I think I desperately need. Escaping from reality? More like searching for certainty.

Steve

22 January - Sunday
7:40 P.M.

Wait and See? Hell no

Where do I begin? It's scary how when we start thinking and rationalizing about how relationships screw up.. we always think and think.. and as much as the arrows might point to us, or to the other party, it's always dismissed as just the circumstance of things, or perhaps bad timing, or the classic, "We weren't getting along from the beginning to begin with". But then, what if a pattern occurs? Do we always date the same people we love to date? Despite the masochistic trauma that might follow after an almost eternal hiatus?

After some drama in the beginning of the year, I started thinking of my relationships as a whole and well, you could say that a giant bell started ringing in my head. And then it hit me, I have done some major screw ups in some relationships. I don't understand how I have the ability to freak out with such precise timing, I think I've perfected it to an art.

Yeah it's true. So, I do try to control everything. I don't know, I guess I just like to establish some order in my life and I like being in control of stuff in my life. But I guess I have to realize that I can't be in control of everything. I guess when something happens, a fight, a quarrel or any other disagreement, I would withdraw and shut it out.  It's funny how, as much as we might think we have experience in such matters, at the end of the day, we are just like everybody - right where we started. It's really crazy how the game get's so complicated when it could actually be very simple.

Sometimes I wish I could just kick myself for not acting out certain things, like perhaps chatting up with someone or perhaps passing my number. Sometimes, we're willing to just wait and see. But what the hell is that anyway? Why is it so hard to take a risk. What's the most I could possible lose? Isn't life a risk anyway?

What if it works out - it could be fantastic - almost bliss - or absolute hell - but wait, atleast I tried?

And so, here I end. Cheers to the end of waiting and seeing. No more :)

Steve.

10 January - Tuesday
4:50 P.M.

Filthy/Gorgeous

And I can't believe it's here. 2006 - finally. I dreamt of it, wished it, flirted with it. And now it's finally here. The New Year was a bang, well, I decided to have a low-key 'stay at home' celebration, and spent time with friends and family. So far, January has been good - with the highlight on Rohai's 21st Birthday party and the crazy after party that followed. When was the last time I actually went to a club? I think it was Feb or March 2005. So, it was revelling indeed. Well, of course, there was drama :) You know, the usual, friends kissing friends, friends kissing strangers, strangers kissing strangers. I guess it was the culmination of all the suppressed party energy from last year, and I had a blast. And I bloody deserved it. We had the whole bar to ourselves at his party, and that meant unlimited grinding to music actually listenable, with chocolate fudge cake and punch. What more could I have asked for?

And of course, there was the usual bumping into "ghosts from the past" at the club, which I've grown accustomed to. It's like a ritual. "Hey, how are you? I'm good. And you? I'm good too. Isn't it crowded? Very. So, what have you been up to? The usual. Ah, the usual."

The "City Chic" photo shoot was done on the eve of Christmas Eve and it was a thrilling experience. Having photos taken at 4 in the morning in the airport, was something I thought about, but never actually dreamt would have materialized. And the shots were interesting, and ideas of how to design the new web site and album are flooding me, which is a good thing. So far, I am on schedule but it's been a bit slow due to Rohai's Birthday, the hospital episode 2 days before New Year's (don't ask) and my plans for a long-awaited holiday. But it would all turn out ok, I bet.

So, with the new album and site coming up and loads of new stuff still processing in my head, I'm quite excited. Bring it on.

Cheers to 2006 :)

Steve.