Monthly Archives: March 2012

Quite possibly the funniest road name in Great Britain for a Sabahan

Southall is a large suburban district of west London, England, part of the London Borough of Ealing, about 17km west of Charing Cross, one of 35 major centres in Greater London, and has one of the largest concentrations of South Asian people outside of the Indian sub-continent.

One of the many lanes there is the following, of postcode district UB2:

Tentelow Lane Southall
[Photo credit: Pascalis Alban Akim Uringgon's photos in Facebook]

A verification that this is indeed real can be found for the lane’s entry in Zoopla, the UK’s property and house prices website that provides information such as sold house prices and current value estimates for all 27 million residential properties in the UK.

Global Peace Index (GPI) Report: Malaysia’s ranking

According to the Global Peace Index (GPI) Report 2011, Malaysia is the safest country in Southeast Asia and 19th safest in the world. Perhaps that would mean online insurance quotes are relatively lower in this part of the world.

Referring to the GPI’s wikipedia page:

- Since 2007, Malaysia has been steadily going up the ranks: 37-37-26-22-19
- Malaysia is even safer than Singapore, which is ranked 24th.
- for some reason Brunei is not ranked
- Malaysia is ranked safer than the following more advanced countries: Holland, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Spain, France, Italy, South Korea, USA.
- the country with the biggest economy, USA is ranked 82nd.
- the country with the 2nd biggest economy, China is ranked 80th
- the safest country in the world is Iceland, followed by, in order: NZ, Japan, Denmark, Czech Rep, Austria, Finland, Canada, Norway, Slovenia.
- the least safe country in the world is Somalia, followed by Iraq and Sudan.

In the ensuing discussion, someone suggested that in order to make the streets safer, why not employ vigilantes, or perhaps the people themselves become vigilantes, a popular culture reference being Charles Bronson’s character in the Death Wish films.

But, after the famous 1984 vigilantism case of Bernhard Goetz, Bronson himself recommended that people not imitate his character. In addition, the original Death Wish film (1974) was disliked by many critics due to it advocating vigilantism and unlimited punishment to criminals. Perhaps startlingly, the novel on which the film was based actually denounced vigilantism, while the film went in the opposite direction.

Vigilantism is generally discouraged by official agencies and the law, because it’s so easy for it to give way to criminal behavior on the part of the vigilante. The best that can be done is neighborhood watch programs like Rukun Tetangga and others who use legal means of bringing people to justice.

Model house / architectural model for primary school children

Towards late February, my son told me that he has to do a model house, to be sent latest by the end of that week. Then he showed me the school textbook, which shows how to do it. We then did a simple one, but he said it’s not good enough, and that a classmate has made a good one earlier and it’s the reference standard.

So the next day I went to his classroom and saw:

model home

model home

model home

There’s only one person in the house who can match that – so Ethan “collaborated closely” with his Auntie Nana to produce:

model home

Don’t be fooled by the ordinary looking exterior. The roof can be lifted up to reveal:

model home

model home

model home

He was so excited that Friday morning that he was all ready to go to school by 5.45am. And true enough, his creation was deemed the best and he quickly became the most popular student of his class that day.

Thanks Auntie!

Malaysians who have graduated from the world’s top music schools

Adeline Wong, who received her Bachelor of Music at the Eastman School of Music in New York and her Master of Music at the Royal College of Music, London, where she received the Cobbett and Hurlstone Composition Prize.

Ng Chong Lim (b.1972), who won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London, earning a Postgraduate Diploma.

Dr Su Lian Tan (b 1964), Malaysian-born, who holds a Ph.D and M.M. from Princeton University, an M.M from the Juilliard School, and a B.A from Bennington College.

Dr Nicholas Ong, Malaysian-born, who holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance (D.M.A.) at Juilliard, in addition to an M.M from Peabody Conservatory & a Diplome Superieur de Concertiste, Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, France.

All these guys seem to be playing too-serious instruments, anybody went to a top music school playing more “rad” things like the electric guitar or Selmer Saxophones?

First Malaysian to be accepted into Juilliard School

Updated 6 March 2012

If Dr Su Lian Tan is the first Malaysian (or at least Malaysian-born) to graduate from Juilliard, Dr Nicholas Ong should be the second.

He began piano lessons aged six, and holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance (D.M.A.) at Juilliard, in addition to an M.M from Peabody Conservatory & a Diplome Superieur de Concertiste, Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, France.

Thanks again to devyerlih.

Updated 5 March 2012

Looks like there’s someone Malaysian-born who graduated from Juilliard even earlier.

Su Lian Tan

Dr Su Lian Tan (born 1964) [or perhaps better known as Tan Su Lian in this part of the world], was born in Malaysia and was a child prodigy too. The flute being her favourite instrument, she turned pro at 14, and is currently professor of music at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA.

She holds a Ph.D and M.M. from Princeton University, an M.M from the Juilliard School, and a B.A from Bennington College.

Thanks to devyerlih.

2 March 2012

Juilliard is probably the world’s most prestigious performing arts school. Established in 1905, it’s located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

It trains a few hundred undergrad & graduate students in dance, drama, and music.

Students can borrow top notch musical instruments, including 4 Guarneri and 2 Stradivari violins. The school has 253 Steinway pianos, the largest collection of any institution in the world for the world’s top piano brand.

Juilliard graduates have won many top awards, including 105 Grammy Awards, 24 Academy Awards (Oscars) and 16 Pulitzer Prizes.

It’s notoriously difficult to gain admission into. Typically less than 10% of applicants would be successful.

Malaysian piano prodigy Tengku Ahmad Irfan Tengku Ahmad Shahrizal, 13 auditioned for Juilliard in February 2011, in front of Dr Yoheved Kaplinsky, Juilliard’s pre-college artistic director and professor of music. She has served as judge at the world’s top music competitions, including the Tchaikovsky Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

That should make even the best pianists feel slightly nervous.

Yet, his performance was such that she was impressed – even called him a genius, a rate talent, who has shown “sophistication and depth” in his piano playing and composition.

He has since enrolled in September 2011, pursuing a double major in piano and composition as well as an elective in conducting, and has progressed to such an extent that “his compositions are so mature and sophisticated that even his teachers are amazed.”

Tengku Ahmad Irfan performing the 3rd movement of Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 during Konsert Permata Seni 2010. At that time he was only 11 years old

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The Star, 3 Mar 2012
New Straits Times, 3 Mar 2012