Sep 25, 2012

Bruno Mars - It Will Rain (Cover by Cynthia Ng)

Cynthia Ng Yi Xyann, the name one always heard in primary school (Penang Chinese Girls' Primary School), owing to her title of the 'flower of the school' (校花), whom I have not been keeping in contact with for 11 years!!! ever since Primary 6, whoolala. We're in the same class for 2 years (4H, 5H) anyway.

I guess after watching my Happy Birthday A Cappella, she intended to do a cover with me when I got back to Penang, and thankfully when I flew back to Penang from Singapore during my recess week, we managed to make one cover in one night at her house. It's a cover for Bruno Mars - It Will Rain.

Can you imagine how insane Bruno Mars is? The key I played for Cynthia (D major) is the original key Bruno Mars sang in, without her realization. He's just totally singing a female's key. I bet none of his songs is probably comfortably singable by normal guys, except The Lazy Song, I supposed.

Recording the audio was quite an impromptu. Luckily the clavinova at her house which she hasn't been touching for ages is a Yamaha clavinova, I know how to record the playback. Well, the reason of recording the playback is basically, the keys are making too much noise, it could've been louder than the musical notes produced by the keys.

The next fortunate and unforeseen thing was, she has a karaoke system at home. So having no mixer and stuffs, the smart way (or rather unprofessional) is to record her voice with my iPhone, by placing my phone in front of the one of the speakers. But sadly she has no pop filter, and it took me a while to bring down the volume of the 'p' and 'k' air.

Editing the video transition was another pain in the ass, as she kept having different postures (of the way her hands were holding the mic stand) when I was shooting her lip syncing with our first successful recording.

Well, I love collaboration, when you get to halve your effort for publicity.

And I have to say that she has a very voice, which she utilizes well. That's why I didn't even want to harmonize, because my voice just won't fit hers in any way.

So please do check out our cover for It Will Rain!

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

Sep 24, 2012

1st Nuffnang Cashout

Finally I received the cheque from Nuffnang, a blog advertising community. It took me a month to receive it despite being a Glitterati member.

Nuffnang is one of the main income sources for Xiaxue. However in order to make a living solely on blog advertising, one has to be as famous (controversial) as her, which in my opinion, leads to an easy life because it's passive income and you're gonna do something you actually enjoy.

I'm not famous and no one really reads my blog, so the earning generated is so low for my first cashout (S$73.21), which took like, a year or something? So basically the earning is proportional to one's blog traffic.

Fortunately there's Nuffnang, which I first knew from my sister who's been blogging for years when I was trying hard to apply for Google Adsense which ended up a failure due to some stupid and funny errors.

I strongly recommend using Nuffnang, if you're a blogger from an Asia Pacific country. Try not to use other blog advertising portal like Adverts etc if you're already using Nuffnang. Your loyalty will grant you a Glitterati membership from Nuffnang, allowing you to earn more.

I'm using Nuffnang under Singapore domain because currently I live in Singapore and SGD weighs more than MYR in terms of unit value, as mentioned in my previous post, My first Churp Churp cashout. The minimum cashout amount is S$50 for Nuffnang, S$50 less than Churp Churp's, indicating that earning is in comparison faster from Churp Churp than from Nuffnang.

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

The More We Get Together (Piano & Harmonica Cover)

There's a Chinese phrase that I've been hearing since young, 「吃飽沒事做」, lit. eat full nothing do. Wow, they rhyme.

So this time it's the retarded me playing instruments in the unusual way.

I just need to play the harmonica by biting without moving it horizontally because this nursery rhyme (a British folk song actually) uses only two chords. So I just blow for a C chord and draw for a G chord (although it's actually a G7add9 without G itself).

I crossed my arms and faced away from the piano to play and that's really obstructive to my movements, but if you noticed, my right hand was still on the side where is should be and so did my left hand, so it's still not too challenging, unlike those performed by professional entertaining pianists who're able to switch their hands' role.

But still, it's not easy for mine. You can try and see.

[The More We Get Together]
The more we get together, together, together,
the more we get together, the happier we shall be.
For your friends are my friends,
and my friends are your friends.
The more we get together, the happier we shall be.

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

Sep 22, 2012

We Are Young (Cover by THreshold)

We, the seniors of THreshold (Temasek Hall Band) wanted to participate in Central Singapore Community Development Council (CSCDC)'s GET OUT 2012 People's Band Competition and it was epic that we actually recorded the video and audio of the cover and uploaded on the deadline day (22 Sep 2012).

It was the midnight when I rushed back to hall after queuing 9 hours for the iPhone 5, when Gary was upset that he couldn't attend his friend's birthday party because of this, when Justin had sore throat, when I need to fly back to Penang 7 hours after shooting the video.

Moreover, when I was back in Penang, the internet connection speed really couldn't make it, and I had to bring my laptop to my dad's office to upload the edited video, which still took hours in spite of that.

The sad fact that disappointed us the most was, on the next when CSCDC setup an app on Facebook for voting, our band wasn't shortlisted. Especially Justin, he was damn emo because of this, so was I, as we did pretty well in terms of performance, audio mixing and video editing, and I thought, no way we're not shortlisted.

Thank God, we actually were! Because CSCDC was just testing the app. Whoopee!

So what are you waiting for?! Vote for us right now!!

*UPDATE: Competition is over. We won the 1st Prize!!!

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

iPhone 5

On the very 1st day (21st Sep 2012) of iPhone 5 launch in Singapore, we managed to rush to Paragon at 3:20pm, with the funny us queuing and thinking "oh, the queue isn't really as long as expected at all", without realizing that we're in the first 'section' of the queue (ya, it's so long that it's 'sectioned').

Let's make things clear before proceeding:

1) Why Paragon?
My SingTel 2-year-contract has ended 1 year ago and I'm signing a contract with M1 to get an iPhone 5 32GB at $580.
I'm also able to port my number from SingTel to M1 to retain the same mobile number since it's from postpaid plan to postpaid plan.

2) Why M1?
Currently only M1 offers Multi-Line Saver and 3 of us (Isaac's cousin, Eugene and me) are signing under a main line holder (Isaac's cousin) and each of us will enjoy 25% off our respective monthly bills.

3) Why bother to buy on the 1st day and queue like crazy?
Well, I didn't really want to but the key point here is, the main line holder has to be a Singaporean or PR and Isaac's cousin is a Singaporean and she wanted to recontract as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I'm flying back to Penang on the next day so I have to get it done on that only possible day to be a sub line holder.
Besides, since the main line holder must be a Singaporean or PR, we don't have to pay the $800 deposit.

4) Must you get iPhone 5?
OH YESSS!!!! A lot of people have been criticizing iPhone 5 for not being a much improved phone compared to iPhone 4S. But hello, I was using an iPhone 3GS ever since I signed contract with SingTel, and I waited so long for iPhone 5 since my contract with SingTel ended. 3GS to 5 is at least a big leap.

5) How long did you queue for?
The first part of queuing is just to get a queue number, which took 2 hours.
We're told that we need to wait for perhaps 2-3 hours after we got our queue number (5317). At that time, the number served was 5198, means around 120 more people before us.
The truth: we waited for 7 FREAKING HOURS!!! Eugene and I bought each a drink from Starbucks (oh ya, I topped up $80 to my Starbucks Card and got a free 8GB thumbdrive) and studied, until they're closed.

The next day at Penang International Airport
Thankfully the contract was signed smoothly and we got our phones and tablet (Eugene signed for a Samsung tablet, so not mainstream) at around 12:30am.

I think they also expected that they had to work overtime, because they have to serve until the last customer whom they gave the queue number to.

For your info, I didn't have data plan during my SingTel contract, I'm now more survivable, and it's 4G some more. But I only have 2GB of free data to use, have to be thrifty.

Sometimes when I use my 3GS again, I feel that 3GS is so short and fat. Oh, and finally I got a functioning home button, unlike my stupid 3GS's broken home button which you have to press so hard to get back to the menu page (that's why I used AssistiveTouch).

Apart from that, the loading speed is so much faster now compared to my stupid 3GS (fat, short and slow).

The camera hor, forget about it, photo quality is still to lousy, I'll just use my Lumix GF3.

Nothing really too fancy about iPhone 5, but it's elegant to me (thin and tall), love it so much. I can play Scramble With Friends anywhere anytime now. :)

Unlocked iPhone 5 in white and black are now available at Amazon for only US$709 and US$690!

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

Sep 16, 2012

Boys Like Girls - Two Is Better Than One (A Cappella Cover)

Finally this time, I SING!!!

Because I'm not gifted with an outstanding voice (a decent way of saying I have a terribly unpleasant voice), I have to do more than just singing - backing and harmonizing myself. And to enhance the visual effect, instead of making six windows in a video, I cloned myself and it looks really like there're six me in a room.

Compared to my usual cover videos that have 2 or 3 me, this one is really hardcore.

Thank God they blended nicely in the end.

Leftmost: Low Background Vocal
Left: Low Melody Harmony
Middle top: Bass
Middle bottom: Main Melody
Right: High Melody Harmony
Rightmost: High Background Vocal

Enjoy, and if you feel like judging my voice, just go ahead, I know my voice sucks, but it takes efforts to produce this all by myself.

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

Sep 14, 2012

Breakdance: V-Kick

As you're turning to a year 4 undergraduate, you'll soon realize that your friends who used to reside in the same hall with you are scattered around the other corners of the campus. When I was in year 2, Wilsen, Jason, Yi Kee and I had a weekly breakdance session where I sort of 'coached' them for some breakdance moves.

The number of close friends staying in hall is becoming less and less from time to time.

Airchair @ Vienna, Austria
It's really so hard to see breakdancing people around, at least not in my circle of friends. Therefore I couldn't actually maintain a breakdance training routine myself and my skill then regressed gradually.

Thanks to the past me in high school, who became so depraved and neglected my studies, who suddenly turned smart when I was in pre-U. Usually, and I say usually, people who breakdance are typically those whose academic grades suffer. Allow me to brag for a while: so in this top 30 university in the world, it's even harder to get friends who breakdance. ^^

This brings us to today's video, shot at Temasek Hall basketball court.

I performed V-Kick here, in a super lousy outfit (really sorry about that!).

I think I do V-Kick relatively decently, compared to other people, and compared to my other breakdance moves.

Music is created by my YAMAHA PSR S900 keyboard. Enjoy!

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

Sep 11, 2012

Ju-on: The Grudge Theme (Keyboard Cover)

Ju-on: The Grudge
In my opinion, Ju-on is the scariest horror movie series on earth. In the past I love to watch Ju-on, thinking that it's so freaking exciting. I don't think my heart can take that excitement right now. Haha... And I easily get goose bumps just by seeing some ghost randomly appears in the screen even when I don't listen to the sound. And if I do, I would probably punch the monitor.

Japanese are so creative in coming up with the freaky horror movie ideas. There're basically two scary half-dead ghosts (I don't know how to define because they're physically touchable onryō's).

One is the mother (Kayako) who's so strong that she crawls all the way from the compartment beneath the roof and above the cupboard, through the staircase, just to kill someone by dragging them to the 'dark side'. She's known with her frog-croaking mourn.

The other one is the son (Toshio) who's always half-naked and somehow associated with a black cat. He's also quite creepy because of this big eyes and powdered face.

Well, the purpose of this post is to share my rendition of the Ju-on main theme, which is some creepy melody on piano and a bit on strings. The original one has this effect that improves the creepiness with its increasing volume, which I didn't include in my rendition because its not really instrumental.

The atmosphere in the video is edited in Adobe Premiere Pro because I was afraid that I would be freaked out by myself if I used such low lighting. And finally, my outfit is to make myself look like a reaper, although it seems to fail because its just a jacket. Haha...

Enjoy. I think it'll only give you the heebie jeebies if you watch it alone with low lighting.
Not very advisable to watch before going to bed.

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist

Sep 8, 2012

Barney & Friends Opening Theme (Erhu & Keyboard Cover)

Justin sometimes plays the Barney & Friends ending theme (I Love You) when I left the bandroom earlier during jamming. Then that morning I was thinking of making a cover for that.

However, from my finding, that ending song's range doesn't really favor rendition for erhu. And I went to search for the opening theme, which is in G major and it's rather playable by erhu.

Since it's so lively, I smiled more this time, with that funny outfit that tries to resemble Barney.

By the way, I was glad that I found a very suitable style from my keyboard, called "USMarch", which accompanies the best as this song's arrangement. Besides, using flute + glockenspiel is making the cover and the original song sound more alike.

Javin Tham MSc, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB, CQPA, CQIA, MSOE, MIPlantE Industrie 4.0 Consultant | Pop Piano Coach | YouTube Coverist