117. Karaoke Me.

So we were out with our hosts, both attractive young thirty somethings who had the keys to the town.  And our hosts were determined to create memories for us, even if that meant we couldn’t remember it in the morning.

We started at Yardbird, an izakaya that specializes in chicken yakitori. Sake and hoots of laughter. How did they know these were my two favourite things to do on a Wednesday night?

Then they took our Varga virginity, via a suite of espresso martinis and an Asian elvis impersonator who serenaded Sarah like his tips depended on it.

Finally it was karaoke time. I don’t know where we were and I didn’t know who we were – until the microphones were handed out and the first song was selected.

Then we swiftly assumed our Karaoke personalities. Here’s how it fell.

The Blazing Rock Star: definitely Yannick. Most young male karaoke singers rule this genre and he was no exception. His picks came from the school of hard rock. He was the group’s emotional rock – he belted strong rhythmic 
songs that shifted us forever.

The Ultimate Big Fan: Ground control to Major Cam. An instant signature song. As he was singing, I instantly realised there is an undeniable cheekbone connection between him and Bowie.

The Bubbly Pop Idol: Sarah Sarah Sarah. She grooved and she moved and there were times when I thought she must have been a close friend of Taylor Swift’s – how did I miss that – and it was only a matter of time till she popped up on social media in a posse with voices like her own.

The Passionate Diva Wannabe: that would be me. Can I sing it without looking at the lyrics? I’m in. Is it a big emotional ballad? Watch me weep.  The crowd loved me, no really they did. Sarah even said we should start a band. This is a compulsory declaration at any good karaoke session.

We were in the lounge for hours, could’ve been days. We were also in the bathroom. And I got lost in the hallway at one point. There were a lot of Hong Kong date night couples serenading each other in private rooms. They were super cute, in a Sofia Coppola matching wool jumpers in the aircon  kind of way.

By the time we got out it was tomorrow and: yesterday all our troubles seemed so far away.

Spoiler alert: we haven’t started a band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

116. How to sweat champagne

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Turning up is everything 

I am sitting on a sofa in an apartment in Hong Kong. Wednesday morning. I was up yesterday morning at 330 to catch a flight here and once here had to immediately inhale a lot of champagne and other associated stimulants.

It would have been rude not to.

Staying in New Zealand time, it was a cool 24 hours later that I finally tipped into slumber.

Five hours after that I was awake and rearing to go, so I googled a hot yoga class and was downward dogging by 715am.

Captain Hindsight would suggest this was a decision that made no sense whatsoever. But of course I only ever invite him to the party after the event.

Truthfully? Probably still three sheets to the wind. Probably. Definitely.

My downward dog was wobbling and trembling, my mind impossible to steer in any direction for long. I even sweated, not something I’m famous for.

Did I leave when I realised I should have been stopped at the door by the yoga bouncer?  Of course not. I’m no quitter.

I pushed through. I pushed through.

Its two hours later now and I feel incredible.

Shall I tell you why? It’s called Healthonism. I’m not even making this up. Turns out that researchers have found out that  both alcohol and exercise trigger reward centers in the brain. Another study found out a positive connection between exercise and drinking habits, especially if the subject had a good workout on a particular day and rewarded themselves with a drink.

I did it the wrong way round, I’ll give you that. But I did it.

 

115. Thinking about the handbag.

It’s downstairs right now. The handbag.

By downstairs, I mean in Yves St Laurent. I’m in the Kris Lounge a floor above it, killing five hours at Changi Airport.

Should I get it?

I work hard. God I work hard. But I have big mortgages to show for all that hard work. So big. And I need to pay them off so I don’t have to work so hard.

Of course I have just come off two weeks working hard to simplify my mind, which should have an immediate and direct correlation to my life – a life which doesn’t need another handbag in it.

Right Jill?

I read a fascinating piece of non-news recently centred around a piece of research that identified the top ten items that give women a ‘buzz’ when purchasing.

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Some basket case paid 12,000 pounds for this.

Handbags, of course, were the winner on the day. Because handbags are basically the crack cocaine of the fashion world. You buy your first good one and you’re addicted forever.

Second on the list was shoes.

For fucks sake, they didn’t need to pay a researcher to tell us Daily Mail readers this.

The one thing that I thought was vaguely interesting is that underwear is down the list at number eight… but it was the winner of the most spontaneous purchase award if there is such an award to be given. I thought that was just me, but it turns out I’m as common as synthetic lace.

I’m giving myself an award right now. I’ve been in the Singapore Airlines lounge for two hours already and I haven’t been up to the bar. See how I’m simplifying my life already?

Or maybe I’m just making room for the bag.

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SHELL I?

114. Regret and other useless emotions.

 

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Posing. Not meditating. As usual.

 

It seems to me that regret is the sugar of emotions. You know it’s bad for you, but you just keep going back for more.

I always feel jealous of people who emphatically say they have none. Whether that means they’ve learned, recalibrated and moved on or they’re just really good at discarding what doesn’t help them travel light, who knows. Or maybe they’re just assholes, that could be it too.

I’ve reached the age now where there is more behind me than ahead. So there’s plenty of material to pick over. And yes, I know looking back gives you nothing much more than a crick in the neck but I am a thinker and thinking ahead can prove even more exhausting at times.

Staying in the present is the true task for me – a daily endeavor.

I’ve just come back from a sixty-minute meditation class. This is a lot less impressive than it sounds. Beautiful Italian Angela runs two early classes a week from Desa Seni’s yoga platform. She breaks the class into bite sized pieces, kind of a confectionary counter of meditation tips and tricks. There goes that sugar analogy again.

Every minute of it challenges me, I’m not going to lie. But my mind is always clearer after the event than before.

On resurfacing into my actual life on Sunday, I vow – once again – to fit meditation of some description into my daily routine. I have an app installed already, but the routine I have practiced to date is to discard its daily notifications.

A Buddhist teacher gave me a powerful visualisation a few years ago.  Celebrate the tiny change. Visualise it as a drop. Now put a cup under it, to catch the drop. Pretty soon you will have half a cup of change.

How sweet is that.

112. Stumbling towards enlightenment.

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O is for oblivion?

Desa Seni has been taken over by white people, like 40 of them.

I’m not being casually racist. Each of them is literally and compulsorily dressed head to toe in white.

There’s a 30-day Kundalini Yoga training programme on at Desa Seni. Called by practitioners ‘the yoga of awareness’, it aims ‘to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others’.

To achieve this they’re all up and wafting by 430 every morning. I have no doubt, there will be plenty of remarkable new awarenesses happening in the pavilion this month. And don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them all.

But so far this is what I’m aware of: put 40 people in a small space together and within 12 hours they lose all awareness that there are people here who are not on the same ride.

I was in early yoga yesterday (put me in a white robe why don’t you) and I could hear primal screaming in the distance. Righto, I though, bit of an over reaction to a stubbed toe.

When I came back to my small poolside community, however, the stories were of the white-robed zealots high on new awareness, oblivious to anyone else. Apparently, there was chanting, howling, screaming, hugging, gong bashing and a full-scale pool side takeover of multi coloured emotion. At 8 am – exactly the time you’re looking for scrambled eggs.

My friends were outraged. I was a bit sorry I missed it.

Although that said, I was not keen on scrambled emotions being on the breakfast menu all week, so I meditated on the problem for 35 seconds and took a little quiet action.

I suggested to the manager the awareness people could possibly be made aware there were others here not on their journey who were being made very aware they were now outnumbered. And perhaps they could practice the compassion and consciousness needed to allow us the continue to have the holiday we came here for. And they could practice it every day.

I skipped out of early yoga this morning for an early walk around the streets pre-scooter takeover, so I missed their breakfast break. Let’s hope a little ‘noble silence’ was on the menu. Or is that mixing movements? Fuck me, this enlightenment business is complicated.