Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Love Is The Answer
“Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer”
~ England Dan and John Ford Coley, “Love Is The Answer”
In my youth, I have always been a rare one for participating in competitions. As I approached my 30s, I ceased submitting entries for slogan-writing and other such contests for a very sensible reason – I didn’t know what to do with the prizes anymore. Almost all the prizes offered consist of merchandise I have not much use for, vacations that I never have the time to take, and tickets to events on weekends that are already packed with volunteer commitments. Looking for last-minute takers for the prizes became more than a minor annoyance and after several vouchers and hotel stays expired unnoticed and unmourned, I decided to take a break from taking part in contests.
My last two weekends, however, were unusual in that they were not packed with some frenetic activity with an immutable date and deadline. The parental home had been cleaned so vigorously that it could pass any white-glove test, the SPCA shelter had been scrubbed and disinfected and the neediest dogs have been bathed and tickwashed, my own Rowdies have been bathed and dewormed, our rescued dog Bravo has found a loving home with Anthony and family (thank you, dear Tony!), my work is ahead of schedule and all the necessary documents and correspondence I needed to produce for various organisations have been drafted.
And so when I saw a newspaper slogan-writing contest giving away tickets to John Ford Coley’s concert at the Genting Arena of Stars, I jumped at the opportunity to see one of my favourite singers in the flesh. The tickets I won were originally intended for my buddy Nicole and me, but due to some pressing family commitments, Nicole had to regretfully decline. With a heavy heart, I invited other friends to be my partner and guest. There was no shortage of England Dan & John Ford Coley fans and I finally settled for my friend and fellow volunteer Shyam. I have not been to Genting Highlands, Pahang , since 1991 and was really quite grateful when Shyam offered to drive. To save on costs, we decided to pack a picnic and camping gear and camp out in the car. Shyam packed spicy noodles and a guava, while I brought papaya, mandarin oranges, soda, sweets and munchies. And though I missed Nicole all weekend, Shyam provided good company and the weekend turned out to be a memorable one.
We parked at the open air car park in front of the unmistakable First World Hotel, which looks as though it had engaged Jackson Pollock as a colour and design consultant.
This is the lobby of the First World Hotel, with decorative lighting made of reused PET bottles. Too bad they didn't put in as much effort into reducing energy use.
A video I took on my Blackberry of John Ford Coley performing “Soldier In The Rain”. He also performed other ED & JFC staples such as “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” and “Sad To Belong”, as well as non-ED & JFC numbers such as Bread’s “If”, Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch”, and Phil Medley and Bert Berns’ “Twist and Shout”.
The audience was a largely middle-aged crowd but none were as loud and appreciative as Shyam and me.
Shyam and I posing in front of the stage after the concert, with the kind permission of the staff of Resorts World Genting.
Mr. Coley signing autographs for his fans. The queue snaked all the way up the stairs. They had run out of CDs by the time I got there.
I was too macho to bring a jacket and was shivering with cold when I saw this palace-like facade to one of the commercial establishments. We ended up drinking hot coffee and watching the Man Utd vs. Man City match at a canteen for cabbies and bus drivers.
Shyam riding the Rio Float with me at the First World Hotel indoor theme park after the concert because I wanted to take some aerial-view photos.
An aerial view of part of the indoor theme park, which is still very much in the Chinese New Year mood.
I’ve always loved Ferris Wheels. They are sturdy, old-fashioned and predictable, just like me, and don’t spin off their axles and perform infarction-inducing corkscrews and 360-degree loops.
Pole-dancing, lion style! I thought this particular lion looks a bit Christmassy.
The black lions came forward to receive "lai see" from members of the audience.
Here, Lion! Good Lion! Here, take the cash!
I told Shyam that it is good luck if the lion accepts money from you and gives you a token of appreciation (usually just orange segments) in return, and that you're supposed to stroke the lion's mane and beard for luck.
The "Fu" fortune charms that Shyam and I received from the lions.
I wonder what fortunes and adventures await me in the Year of the Rabbit! Perhaps more concerts, thanks to the generosity of sponsors like Resorts World Genting, and perhaps fewer weekends spent oscillating from one hectic activity to another. And maybe, just maybe, I’d get to meet Mr. Coley again.