Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Got a frantic (ok, I'm embellishing) phone call from Angie on Friday.

Apparently, they'd left it to quite the last minute and it turned out that tickets for the Phillips International Jazz Festival thingy were sold out.

Quite coinkidinkally, at the time I received the call, I was just heading out to pick Paul up and go prep for the bbq and at the back of my mind was this thing about picking up tickets for the show.

A couple of quick phone calls later and tickets secured, Angie was I believe, relieved and reassured that they wouldn't be coming up to KL for nothing. She mentioned that 4 people would be coming with her. More on that later.

The BBQ on Friday night was lovely and we even had a bit of a sing along with Lew on the Piano and Paul videoing (is that a word?) us.

Saturday night was the clincher though.

I was running late, as is my wont, and when I almost breathlessly ran into the shop, Angie and her 4 boys were waiting there. Thank God they had just arrived and were sampling our rum balls.

And here's the rub...I hadn't expected her boys to be so young. I should mention at this point that I think Angie's done a marvelous job in promoting young talent in A cappella. The average age interested in A cappella in Singapore is WAY lower than what it is here. Angie actually goes to schools to do workshops and teach. Fantastic! What a passion!

Angie's lads', as they shall forever be called, were well mannered, polite, and mature beyond their years. Really fun to hang with. Allan loved it. I don't think I've ever mentioned before but Allan has an affinity for youth. He knows how to relate to them and he's unflinching when it comes to the truth. Which I think they appreciate. Rather than talking down to them, he knows how to talk with them. A very great difference and something I admire in him. As he puts it "treat them like adults."

Bryant, Jer (so nicknamed because there was another "Jeremy"), Jeremy, and Hao Ren had this Acappella group with another who could not make it this time round. The name; SWAT! They told me what it stood for but damned if I can remember now.

After the relative fiasco of the Jazz Festival which was anything but, we all went out and had supper. They loved our Rum Balls so we promised to get some to them the next day, Sunday.

By the time they were dropped off at the Bus station on Sunday, I think we had made some fast friends and I know I for one, thoroughly enjoyed their company. From Angie to the boys. I also know that Allan and I are looking forward to seeing them again in the not too distant future. We're in the process of thinking about going to Singapore to perform and hopefully the next time we see them, we will be doing just that.

Hmmm, that Jazz Festival.

Everyone I met felt that the Jazz Festival was misnamed. It should have been something like "Concert In the Park." After Idea of North opened it was downhill all the way. Did I mention that Idea of North were absolutely superb? As good as our benchmark, The Song Company. And I'd love to learn how to use mikes.

As I mentioned, after Idea of North, came Krakatau. World Music by any charitable definition. Then Camellia. hmmm. Ballads anyone? Then Ning. To my mind, there was this HUGE break from any sort of Jazz music until we got to Ning, who did well but she's really more a Soul and R&B singer. The Sheila came on and saved the day and promptly went on to this group called Silk. World Music again. The night finished with Anggun who by dint of her star power and vamping saved the night. But was she jazz? NO!

I have half a mind to write to Philips and Light & Easy, the sponsoring radio station and point that out.

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