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Essay by Sandarlin                             

1 City FM 13/Jul/2004
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13/Jul/2004
City FM

10/May/2004
Happy Ngapali Beach

08/May/2004
Traveling to Ngwe Saung

07/May/2004
Choosing to work in Myanmar Part-Three

Choosing to work in Myanmar Part-Two

Choosing to work in Myanmar Part-One

09/Feb/2003
Seeking pleasure at beer pubs (2)

Seeking pleasure at beer pubs (1)

Get through the handicap

09/Dec/2002
Inviting a thief to my house

12/Mar/2002
Water comes out (continue from Kyobintha village)

A visit to Kyobintha 4

A visit to Kyobintha village (1-3)

2/Sep/2001
Mandalay Diary 6th Jun 2001

Mandalay Diary 26th Mar 2001

Mandalay Diary 1st May 2001
City FM
by Sandarlin

I sang in the up-and-coming singers programme of City FM radio with the intention to leave something as a milestone while living in Myanmar. The song was “Lwan La” (Do you miss me?) originally sang by Chaw Su Khin. My close friends adviced me to change the song because it was not a famous one. But, I simply chose it because I like it. It was difficult for a foreigner to sing a song in the “So Kya Mae, Pyaw Kya Mae (Let’s sing and have fun)” programmer of MRTV. I once went there direct with a desire to sing on MRTV. But, I was refused even to be seen. Later once I knew that foreigners were accepted in the Karaoke programme of City FM, I went there.

10-9-2003

I went to the office of Laser World Recording with a Myanmar friend of mine in wet clothes on the day when it rained cats and dogs. The flat in 34th Street was too small to be noticeable. It was contrary to my thought that it would be a modern flat. When we went up the stairs, it was very dark. And the light had been gone out. On hearing me, a foreigner, say “I would like to sing a song on City FM.” after entering the office, the staff gathered around me as if it was a strange thing. They took extreme interest in me. They posed a pile of questions to me like “Do you live here?” “Can you sing Myanmar songs?” etc. I bought an application form with K 2000 and I put up it after filling in my name, title of the song, etc enclosing my photos. It was said that the CD was to be brought to the studio and a singer would have his or her song recorded while singing looking at the script on TV. The staff was very grateful to me saying, “It is wonderful to see a foreigner join the Myanmar songs programme”. They said they would ring me after one and half month.

4-11-2003

I visited the office and enquired about my singing schedule for I was not contacted for sometime. What a coincidence! They said they would record my song right on that day. I was in high spirit with the thought the recording of that day would be on air right away. With inspiration, I happened to apply make-up. At first sight of the Studio D in Hledan, I was very much surprised and almost happen to exclaim “Oh my! It is an ordinary house.” Gold fish and geese were kept outside the house. A staff ushered me into the room. It was more like a broadcasting room in schools than a studio. But, the recording room was systematically made and it was neat and tidy. I gave the video CD to a man who directed me to the recording room. “I am going to have my song recorded at once”.

Once the song started the CD was shaking and not working very well. Then, I was asked to replace it with another CD. While I was out for buying another CD, other singers sang comfortably and left there. They all showed no nervousness. It was only me who was so excited out of fear.

While waiting for my turn, I had a talk with a staff. Only then, I came to know that this was only scrutiny day. I thought this was day of recording because I did not understand what I was said. To have close look at, I saw two members of scrutiny board-one man and one lady. It seemed I could have my song recorded only after passing this stage. Although I sang after having the new CD played, the CD was not running well again. With the thought the player didn’t go with the CD, I had the CD player changed. Only then, the CD ran smoothly. Then, I could have my song recorded. I made mistakes at two places in nervousness. For the moment, I had my song recorded anyway. One member of the scrutiny board said to me “Please practice the places you made mistake carefully for the next recording.” “Oh! Does that mean I passed the exam?” “But, please leave the CD, and we’ll ring you up next week if you pass.” the man said.

When I left the studio I saw two singers-Khin Maung Toe and J Maung Maung. But, I did not know much about them. They were invited there to be interviewed for other FM programme. Later, I came to know that they are famous vocalists.

11-11-03

They rang me up to inform I was chosen. I got it!

1-12-03

I went to the studio D again at 11:00 hours. When I got there a young man was having his song recorded. Oh! Wonderful. He had very sweet voice. He left the studio calmly as other singers did. I did not see even a hint of nervousness in him. Gradually, it had become my turn. I found it a bit difficult to sing because the sound cannot be equalized due to the broken headphone. Although the song was not very loud, I had sung the song without any mistake. To have the song checked, we listened to just record song. At the very moment, the light went out. We couldn’t help it. We had to wait till the light was on again. During this, I heard someone play the guitar and sing. I joined the band and sang the Japanese song “Ue O Muite” together with them. And we talked about this and that. All sang the song heartily in peace. I love such a time. A time to relax. We –the staff and I shared the moment. For me, it was a very enjoyable moment because such situations are good in Myanmar.

The light was on again after some time. But, the machines were not working well. And we were told we could go if we wished. The recording was postponed. It was said they had to make recording of interviews with singers. I requested them to resume my schedule as soon as possible because the day for me to leave Myanmar for Japan was drawing near. Among the staff, a woman called Ma Win Win said eagerly that they would try their best to finish it. All the staff is nice.

3-12-2003

I received a phone call from Laser World. It gave a message for me to come to their office the next day.

4-12-2003

When I went to the recording house, they said they had to make recording of interviews with singers. (Ah! How frighten I am). They were going to interview May Kha Lar, a female singer and Tu Tu, a male singer. May Kha Lar seemed to have gone back after the recording. I was taken to the second floor where there was Tu Tu. I did not know the singer Tu Tu. I just greeted him and talked very little to him. I really did not know what to say and ask him because I had never listen to his songs. I had a chat to avoid the difficult situation. And I had a photo taken with him.

He had left after finishing recording of dialogue My dialogue (The title of the song and my name) seemed to be put among the conversation of them. I wrote down my dialogue on a piece of paper after discussing how I should talk. And I practiced the lines again and again. (How excited I was!). It was I who used to stutter with slip of tongue. My spoken Myanmar came out from quivered lips. I stammered saying even a very easy line. I made a mistake when I started to speak after appearance of the “start” cue. After three or four times of mistake, it became smooth at the fifth attempt. My voice was put among the dialogue of Tu Tu and May Kha Lar. I felt ashamed but I did not know why. My voice was made smooth with the help of computer.

The staff gave me a rousing encouragement, clapping their hands. Saying to them “Thank you”, all the steps had finished. It took me for about three months starting from the day of application. When I listened to it on actual broadcast, I felt ashamed. My Myanmar friends said “It is great” but some said, “It is like Japanese pronunciation”. It should be to this extent.

I had to ask for assistance from a lot of people for that recording. And I am grateful to all. Particular thanks are due to my Myanmar friend who helped we with this from beginning to end, the staff from Laser World, the head and staff from Studio D and the staff from Sanay Travels and Tours who documented from start to finish.

Sandarlin