Another day, another update from Deon Toh from Japan!
Japanese efficiency, and dedication to their craft – attending to every minor detail pertaining to the achievement of excellence, is something that always impresses me when I visit this country (If you’re wondering whether I am making a gross generalisation, yes I am, but I confidently do so backed with personal experiences). To me, these qualities permeate most aspects of their country. From their efficient public transport infrastructure, and their close-to-perfection of food, to their meticulous passion-driven betterment of arts and crafts, it is impossible to ignore the aforementioned qualities when soaking in Japanese culture.
For me, studying Japanese culture inevitably makes me ponder on our (Singaporean) differences. I don’t think of one as better than the other, but I do acknowledge the differences. I’m proud of Singapore and what we stand for, and I love what makes us Singaporeans.
Okay, enough of this social studies essay.
What I’m trying to say is, whenever I’m on tour, I tend to ruminate on what I represent/offer by bringing my songs to a foreign land. Naturally, self doubt and a bout of questioning occurs. Do I have songs that are good enough? Will the band and I embarrass ourselves and not live up to the hype we (try to) generate? Will the audience ‘get’ what I’m doing? Are there cultural differences that they won’t understand? Will I even have an audience?
Being in a land where music acts are so dedicated inspires me so much, but scares the shit out of me sometimes. After all, I just want to do good and not fall short of expectations (of myself and from others).
I try to take comfort in the fact that people who turn up are open to hearing my music. Literally and metaphorically, it is already one foot through the door. And though audiences are different everywhere, what brings everyone together is music. Cliché, I know. But das is true. Music lovers, concert promoters, bands, stage hands – we all love music. So as long as the band and I play our hearts out and leave it all on stage, we know we can live with ourselves.
After all, it’s just us five simple Singaporeans from the Lion City trying to play music.
A few notes to myself amidst navigating this bottomless pit of introspective bloodshed:
1. Self-doubt keeps us on our toes and helps to propel us a little more towards excellence.
2. We are all unique in our own little ways, and we all have something to offer. :’) just the difference in cultures/genres/experiences already make us distinct. Let alone the stories we tell.
3. Home or abroad, just do your best. If fear creeps in, just whack only.
4. Gee, looking back at the start of this post, that’s really a huge spiral of incoherentness and tumbling around with jumbled thoughts to get to this point.
99. Get some sleep.