July 24, 2013

  • July 20, 2013. 2pm. Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Kew.

    Mozart – Piano Concerto No.21 in A, K. 414
    Schubert – Symphony No.8 in Bm, D. 759 “Unfinished”

    Piano – Tristan Lee
    Conductor- Zach Tay

    Today we celebrate and mark Tristan’s return home. He touched down a mere few hours before our rehearsal together on Tuesday, pushing through the tiredness of a day’s worth of travel. We are remarkably grateful to feature his work on stage today, so please offer Tristan a warm welcome back in what is forecasted to be a cold afternoon.

    We chose the theme of “Return” today also for another reason, one very close to my heart and a journey I would love to share with you this afternoon. 

    Schubert’s music is one I have always held close to home and there’s no other way to perform it than to wear it proudly on your sleeve. Today’s concert is a chance I would like to take to finally say a warm goodbye to my brother who passed away earlier this year.

    There is so very little we understand in the brief years that we live. How much can we in our very limited wisdom and frail human bodies understand love and loss, life and death. We sometimes seek and find no answers. We sometimes journey and find no end.

    There are almost no words to describe the darkness of life unfinished, a promise unfulfilled of a brother and friend. In our life’s journey where we try to measure and accomplish what we deem a life well lived, sometimes we forget that some friends travel alone.

    In this most beautiful, and profoundly apt unfinished piece of music, lay the most immense and sublime themes of coming and going, love, loss and goodbyes.

    In a typical concert, our humble ensemble finds its place here in Melbourne as a project orchestra that pushes boundaries and performs beyond the dotted lines. Our mandate is that we always remain relevant, and find new ways to reach for the sublime.

    Today the journey we take is different and one that takes us closer to the heart of the matter. Thank you for being with us, and I hope in our journey together this afternoon we find joy, healing and rest.


April 19, 2013

  • “somewhere there’s a score being kept, so you have an obligation to live life as well as you can. the human condition means that we can zone out and forget what the hell we’re doing. so the secret is to have a sense of who you are, all through the day, the week and life.” bill murray

January 12, 2010

  • here’s a preface for a book that aunty kim teng is putting together for markus. this text might not make it to print, you might understand why after reading it!

    i am certainly convinced that it is important because it has occupied my mind for the previous year, but after trying for a few days this is the best i could afford to do

    do enjoy the read. in warmest memory and appreciation of a dear friend


    As you begin to explore this collection of Markus’ legacy, I feel it is apt for me to share with you a story that might set a good tone for the rest of the book, a memory I share with Markus that has been deeply etched into my character, that will follow me to the day I meet him again.

    A familiar park near where I lived was surprisingly always well badly lit even towards midnight, always calm, quiet and serene. That was where Ben, Markus and I had our meetings towards the end of 2006. It must have been a well hidden secret because we were the only ones there all the time.

    It was a great meeting of minds for us friends; we took time to exchange thoughts on how to pave a clear path for the community we love to continue to pursue Jesus in a focused and effective way. Inevitably the discussion led us to have to deal with some difficult questions. Among them, we were asked if we were ready to devote our lives to Jesus fully and whole-heartedly, in complete abandon of our own plans and ambitions. Ben and I said yes almost immediately without hesitation.

    But Markus took a long pause; it certainly surprised us that this straight-forward query would be considered so carefully, not taken as a simple formality. Perhaps it was wise to take more careful consideration before such a statement of commitment was made, even for what we considered a text-book question. We were certainly good with text-books.

    But the expression that flowed from Markus’ face was one of genuine futility and resignation; he sat back and allowed his shoulders to drop beside him in abandon. “No” was his first and final answer. He still had such a great aspiration towards the causes we are now so familiar with. It was what I observed to be such a deeply moving and profound moment for Markus, where he was confronted with his struggle to reconcile the depth of his passion to tangibly serve his nation, with his love for Jesus.

    I must first confess to be guilty for some confusion about this story due to my shortcomings in articulating this clearly; but I must insist on how I am intuitively convinced, that veiled behind the details of this narrative, is a distilled silent wisdom that presents Markus at his best. Please allow me to challenge you to set this story to simmer at the back of your mind as it has mine for the past year, and hopefully come to the same discovery.

    But even if this story isn’t as poignant to you as it is for me, at the very least this will still be a worthwhile portrait of Markus’ innate dedication and integrity to not swerve from what he knows to be true.

    There is such a great deal of mystery in the world we live, and our inability to understand due to wisdom that escapes us – the wisdom of measuring the necessity of war and peace, justice and grace, need and want; and perhaps more relevant to us, life and death: the consideration if there is any Godly wisdom involved behind Markus’ early passing.

    I suppose it is with this tone of reverence and mystery that I suggest we continue to measure and appreciate his penned thoughts, laments and experiences with his friends and family. Markus’ struggle with life as he perceived it has inspired what we must already observe as a generation of resilience and strength, embodied in those who knew him well.

    May I challenge for you to leaf through the following pages with a great amount of love and respect. The legacy Markus measures for us, the wisdom that Markus’ instinctively understood and lived, is the same wisdom that teaches us when we are humble to listen.

December 14, 2009

October 8, 2009

April 10, 2009

  • was just watching an old film about love that wasn’t very pretty, about a couple that fell in love while working in a diner, arguing all the time from the moment they met, till the end of the film. what went through my mind was that it was all so irrational, so unnecessary, so flawed. why should they bother to try and love each other when the heart of the matter wasn’t that the love wasn’t adequate, but that they are so flawed in their character.

    but as the film progressed, it grew to be something unfamiliar yet strikingly beautiful, love so imperfect and inelegant, but uniquely powerful and relevant. though they remained as flawed as they were when they started.

    i think i’m reminded today that love was made for imperfect people, especially for those who are hurting because of the flaws of other people. because people will always have varying shades of flaws in our character, and it makes love a hope worth clinging on to.

February 3, 2009

  • a great friend once shared with me something he heard: ‘saying goodbye is an art, you never know if that’s the last time you ever see them.’ it’s something i have kept very close to me for the past 5 years since i heard it from him, but never had to brave it myself until today.

    farewell, old friend. you will be so sorely missed.

    It is with great heaviness in my heart that I begin to reflect upon the life and passing of my dear friend.

    I begin by pondering where I am, in a cafe on the streets of Melbourne, where I came years ago to pursue my craft as a musician. I start to imagine where I would’ve been if it weren’t for Markus. Had he not bothered to befriend and care for his mischievous classmate who always hung out with the wrong crowd, I would never have stepped into the confines of our church, and grown to love Jesus so dearly. Were it not for his unswerving encouragement and the first few chords he taught me on the guitar, I wouldn’t have come to do what I love for a living, and to express myself so fully as a musician.

    Perhaps if I had had the patience to follow up on the few lessons he had taught me on the soccer field, I could’ve been the next Beckham or Ronaldo.

    But I believe that because I know him intimately as a friend and confidante, I can speak confidently on behalf of us who know and love him so dearly, because I know it to be true: I believe there is no one we know who is more dedicated, willing and generous with his time and commitment towards the people and causes that he cares for, and hardly anyone more genuine, sincere, and willing to be brutally honest with our shortcomings, out of his love for us that is modelled after Jesus.

    Learning and playing with Markus for so many years as a musician, and accompanying him in his journey as a songwriter and lyricist, confirmed to me his great depth as a human being. His fragility and vulnerability has taught him great resilience, to accept and recover from whatever life had to throw at him. His honesty, big heart and genuine unassuming humility, has allowed the depth of his human quality to shine so brightly among the people that he knows.

    So it is with this sombre note at the end of this process, that I fully experience and mourn the loss of a dear friend. And as his friends and family all around the world contemplate the finality of his physical passing and what it signifies, I truly believe that his life and influence will so profoundly continue in the lives of those whom he has touched.

    For this I am so proud. And as I finish my final sip of coffee here in Melbourne, here’s a toast to you, my dear friend and brother. I owe who I am now, and who I will become, to you.

    Your friend, Yee Meng.

    (written for markus’ wake service; cafenatics, qv. melbourne. 7pm 5th febuary 2009)

August 6, 2008

  • brokenscar@ondergrounds2

    performing with kevin was a real treat! easiest man on the planet to work with, plenty of freedom to put my touch on his pieces. what a breeze! next gig’s on 16th august at the empress hotel, 714 nicholson street, fitzroy north.

    first time seeing myself in front of a marshall stack amp.. feels good!

July 30, 2008

  • “…and one day i will grow and change out of the person i am now [that] i know so deeply, with my remnants of joys and tears, love unrequited and unspoken of: painful and bittersweet; or beautiful, profound and fulfilling.

    one day, love won’t be the reason I live. and on that day that i decide to revisit these feelings, they won’t be there anymore.”

    12:27pm, 4th april 2004

July 29, 2008

  • mum sent word the other day that grandpa was getting more ill, and i thought back of my time spent with him with much love and respect, knowing that he will be at a better place if he goes. i was glad that i wasn’t upset or in crisis, cause after all i understood the human condition. i knew that we live in a fallen world. if he goes, i knew that our loss would be no greater than the many who pass each day.

    and it’s today that i painfully realize that i no longer feel as deeply as i used to.

    i can only vaguely remember back when my blog was not merely a gig guide. writing was my necessary release. i felt much more deeply, loved much more beautifully, lost much more painfully. i wrote and felt with that necessary intensity.

    surely i would’ve responded to this news very differently then. i probably would have painfully struggled as i considered the fragility and futility of human life, given much time and though to make some sense of my turmoil; and hopefully, come to appreciate a beautiful, profound meaning at the end of the tunnel.

    and so today, many years later, i realise that this ‘strength’ i was so proud to have came at a hefty price. i’m not sure now if it’s any strength at all.

    i quietly contemplate and search my heart, for who i used to be. but even if he is still somewhere in there, i wouldn’t know if it’s worth paying that cost of being fragile again.

    maybe it isn’t? it’s safer after all.

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