bobby chen

June 23, 2010

I went for a piano recital.

Posh huh?

Well, yes if you’re cultured…

Me, Toots….not so cultured like dat.

“Umm…so someone plays the piano….and we watch?”

“We just sit there and watch a piano all night long?”

“Maybe there’s dinner as well….”

“Ohhh I get it…I’m sure they’ll have dancers around…”

“Yeah yeahhhh must be!!”

Yeah, forgive us peasants.

I had some experience playing the piano. The last exam I went for was quite a high Grade, and well, that was a fun day for me and the examiner in that one hotel room. So dodgy right? Anyway, he was all British accent and “Miss, please play this in D major…”, “Miss, please hum this tune…”, Miss this, Miss that.

There was this one time he played a song, and I was supposed to clap the tune afterwards. Well, I would have clapped accurately if he didn’t play for a whole minute!! By the end of it, I forgot the first part of the song he played (you know, because I’m human...). When he was done, I clapped the last bit that I remembered and pretty much clapped freestyle around the room.

And when he asked me to play a very difficult song from a score that I’ve never seen, umm well…I kind of sat, smiled and I freaking composed a song.

I don’t think it sounded too bad, but well, long story short….The grinch failed me.

They always say pianists are very intelligent. Well, I know where I stand now!

Bobby Chen, a Malaysian doing the country proud.

I was fortunate enough to witness our own Sandakan-born Bobby Chen, the world class pianist who studied music in the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School of Music in the UK. He was taught by Ruth Nye who was taught by someone who was taught by someone who was taught by someone….who was taught by Beethoven. So, he and Beethoven – buddies (if you kind of forget about the links in between).

Bobby Chen is such an inspiration because he is SOOOO GOOD!! He is good but yet his humility and humbleness kind of portrays that he hasn’t a clue how huge his talent is. He speaks like an introvert with a very gentle demeanor, but when he plays!! He plays with so much feeling and emotion that I was mesmerised. You can YouTube him and see for yourself.

Anyway, there was a fancy dinner. Yay.

Mushroom truffle cappucino with portobello tempura

Beef something

There was a mix of 3 types of beef in there! Weird, but tasted really good.

Mango dessert

Piano recitals are interesting and of course, simply beautiful if you can appreciate music. If not, you’d just be another awkward person in the hall trying hard not to sneeze or make noise. No flash photography is allowed because it might distract the pianist. So basically, sit there, keep quiet and watch him.

OK seriously, there’s something SOOOOO sexy about a pianist’s hands. Their hands are huge and manly, but with slim and long fingers. I swear, Toots and I giggled at one point. Twisting our hair in our fingers and all.

OH YEAH!! That’s another reason I fail at being a pianist.

My hands are small, and some songs require you to stretch your thumb and little finger apart to the maximum. Maximum for average people is tear ligaments for me. So I used to cheat and use the other hand to press on that key that my thumb couldn’t reach. Of course, that hand had its own notes to play at the same time….so yeah, erm….it all kind of makes sense now as to why grinch failed me. Hey, no hard feelings.

Toots and Bobby Chen

PD and Bobby Chen

Us, wishing our bfs played the piano

But erm…his handwriting isn’t very sexy.

Anyway, he is spearheading a project with the Yehudi School to take 20-22 talented Malaysian pianists for a 10-day course in the British school from Dec 13-23. He said piano education usually stops after Grade 8 where there is nothing left to do to enhance these talents. So, in this school, there will be no exams. Just playing, listening, learning from top teachers, going to concerts everyday, basically take Malaysian pianists to a higher level.

If interested, you can email Bobby at

I also found this very interesting article about Bobby, his life and his project.