30 March, 2017

Bamboo flutes

For many years, I had only one flute bought from a book shop in Miri in the early 60's. This was the flute which I played in the boarding house at Tanjong in 1963/64. It is of key D. It has travelled with me all over the world to Australia in 1966, back to Brunei in 1972, Miri in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Then to NZ in 1995. Sometimes I still play this old flute at home in Hamilton.

key D

All I needed was just this one flute for many years. Then I discovered that there are also flutes made in keys C, E, F and G. After I retired, I gradually bought more flutes and tried them all. Through the years, I have collected quite a few bamboo flutes. My favourite key is C because it is not so loud and much softer in tone and more suitable for playing old Chinese pop songs. The D key is a bit louder and good for playing Scotland the Brave on the golf course whenever the group in front is walking too slowly. I always kept a D in my golf bag!

                                                                    
This is my favourite flute which I bought in Shanghai 5 years ago. I play this one very often now in Hamilton: at the lake, by the river and at the Hamilton Gardens. I seldom play flute at home any more because some of my neighbours don't like it and complained to noise control at the council.

my favourite
                        
The most expensive flute I have is this one bought in Shanghai for RMB300. Because of its price, I seldom carry it around with me.

RMB300
It has a very good tone, key C and has a double seal on the brass connectors. A few of my bamboo flutes cannot be played any more because of heat damage and cracks due to careless storage in golf bags, in boats and in the car. The NZ sun is extremely strong. A car in the hot sun can reach temperatures well above 40*C. Even a slight crack in the bamboo will create a small leak and render a flute useless for playing any more.
C,D, F, G, mesc.

All over the world, natives in Peru, Sri Lanka, China, Japan and India; all play a home made bamboo flute with 6 holes. Just wondering how they know to make all the holes at unequal distances apart, so that the flute is in tune and not off key. On the extreme right, mesc are 6 flutes from Peru, Sri Lanka etc...

Normally, I keep all my flutes in jars inside the computer room. 



29 March, 2017

Hamilton Gardens

I visit the Hamilton Gardens very often. There is always something to see there, especially on Saturdays during the summer months.
Tai-chi
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Maori warriors
It was a big surprise for me to see so many Maori performing at the Gardens last Saturday.
There is a wheel chair access at the Indian Cha Bagh garden. That is my favourite place where I played my flute because the acoustics is excellent inside the tunnel. The echos are just right.
Recently I have been playing my flute at the Japanese garden because it is very quiet there. Tourists who do not like my music, walk on faster. Those who like my flute, lingers and loiter around until I stop playing. Then they talk to me and I tell them about my Borneo roots...

Chinese garden

27 March, 2017

Borneo, my roots

I came from an island called Borneo which lies 400 km east of Singapore. 20% of this island were British colonies: Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak. I was born in Sarawak. 80% of Borneo belongs to Indonesia. When the British lowered the Union Jack in the Far East, the queen advised the three colonies to join Singapore and Malaya to form a federation and call ourselves Malaysia.

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