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Sound of silence

The composer shook his head as he listened to my CD. "What instrument did you record this on? It sounds flat. It sounds like the room wasn't big enough."

He then played a CD of one of his modern pentatonic piano pieces recorded on a concert grand. "Can you hear the difference?"

Yes, there is a big difference in sound quality between my domestic instrument in my house in London and the concert grand in the concert hall.

"You can do so much more with your music," he added.

The three weeks I spent in Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore, however joyful and meaningful they were, interrupted the flow of my music composition and learning Dutch. Among my relatives and friends I couldn't hear myself think. In the collective society, what mattered most was knowing what was expected of you. Individualistic pursuits such as composing and learning Dutch were questioned as to their long term relevance and value. In Asian culture, having children was considered one of the best investments in life, even better than land and gold. They are expected to take care of you in your old age.

"Did you ever want to have children? Ever long to be a father?" I asked the American.

"No. I like children. I have taught kids. I enjoy them. But I don't feel the urge to have ones of my own," he replied.

I asked another musician what he thought of kids. "To be honest, I never wanted to be a father. I just wanted to have a career in music."

Why are the opinions of Western men so different from those of Asian women? Perhaps I didn't ask enough people. Perhaps I need to listen to the sound of silence and come up with my own opinion. After all, I have Asian roots but Western expectations.

29 April 2004 Thursday

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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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