Bloody Trap

During my trip back to Myanmar, when my friends in Myanmar were trying to plan on going to a rave together, they asked me if I wanted to come with them. Being in Myanmar only for a few days and I would rather spend more time with my family. I told them no, which they were all ok with. However, when I told them that I had never been to a rave, this was when I found out that sometimes, people actually assumed some things out of me, which I might have never done before. Yes, they were surprised and most of them even refused to believe that I had never been to a rave before.

A few days ago, my friend asked me if I wanted to go with her and a bunch of her friends to a trap gig, I said yes right away. Yes, life is short and preaching #yolo, I agreed to try new things in my life. Now, I am not a stranger to trap music and being a songwriter who’s constantly on a watch over the evolution of music, I am well aware of how trap music has somewhat dominate some part of pop culture. However, I have never been to a trap gig before. How is this even a gig? I somewhat see this as a mini rave where you have DJ’s playing music on stage for people to dance with.

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It was at Oxford Art factory and I have to admit I do love the venue. It was small, yet cozy. Arty, yet not pretentious. Daring, yet not loud. I got there at 9 pm and the supporting act just kept going on and on until 1 am. There were altogether four DJ changes before the actual main act, this famous local trap DJ called Enschway, got up on stage to DJ.

I have seen and heard of mosh pits but this was the first ever time I have ever seen a trap gig mosh pit. I have never imagine people moshing to the trap beat but it kinda works. The cool thing about mosh pits in this gig was how friendly and united people are. In Myanmar, it would take people ages to warm up to get their butts on the dance floor. Here, at this gig, people were just so united bopping their heads in unison to the beat. Then, there was this mosh pit in the centre where mostly guys would get inside and push each other. They would push each other and some of them would actually fall down from pushing each other. I thought there was going to be a fight at any second but no, these people were smiling and laughing at each other and they would pick each other up when they fall. It was somewhat dangerous, but cute. I’m all up for anything when it comes to peace.

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After 30 minutes into the main act, although I have to admit how it was no surprise that Enschway is popular. I was getting so tired of being on the dancefloor. Maybe it was the energy of the crowd but it also seemed as if the crowd was getting much more energetic as well. I decided to go up the stairs away from the dancefloor and just view the crowd. It was a good view from the top. Head bopping in unison and people so actively pushing each other in the mosh pit, all for the sake of fun.

My friend came and called me down. At first, I was not going to go down but then, given they said they would be leaving in 30 minutes, I decided to go down and have some fun. Now, there was this chick there who kept dancing cray cray and she kept pushing others, including my friend and me. She would put her hands on our shoulders. It was not offensive and it’s nice to see her having ultimate fun being all friendly with anyone around her. However, when my friend told me how he thought she is on drugs, I had to agree.

While I was bopping my head to the final 30 minutes of the night, suddenly the mosh pit got violent. My friends and I did stay away at a distance. No matter how much we thought we were at a safe zone, some distance away from the mosh pit, it was not safe enough. And something did stop me from going back to the dancefloor but I just had to go back down there to be with my friend, although I did not want to be down there. It was then and there that when I looked up, I saw the back of my friend’s head coming towards my face and before I knew what was happening, his head thudded heavily into my face and my nose started bleeding a waterfall of blood.

I thought it was just a simple cut or just my veins bursting from the heat of the night. Nope, it was an injury of some sort. It was then that that girl, who my friend and I thought was on drugs, came to me and asked me if I were ok. I was ok and the only thing that was lingering at that time in my head was how I would not be happy if I ended up with a broken nose and which surgeon should I go to for a nose job. Thailand or Korea? Yes, that was what was in my head. As I looked up at the girl to say I am ok, my nose started to bleed more until there was a flood of unstoppable flow of blood rushed out of my nostril. Then, my friend and that girl led me to the security guard.

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This is what’s good about Australia I guess. The security guard asked me to sit down and took care of me. There was this guy from the bar, who I am pretty sure is someone who has medic experience, came to me and gave me a tissue with some liquid in it and asked me to put it in my nose. He said “it would sting”. I cringed. I hate things that sting. But, to my surprise, it did not sting at all. I was also lucky that my friend’s boyfriend was actually a boxer, a boxing fighter. He asked me if I were breathing normal. This was ok and I was indeed breathing normally. He assured me as long as I was breathing normally, it would mean that I had not broken any bones. Yay! No more surgery needed.

As much as I did not feel anything much and surprisingly not freaked out for the amount of blood I have on my face, I was calm. I was ok. However, everyone around me was stressing out making sure I was ok. I can’t blame them. The blood took some time to stop dripping and it was just a massive amount of blood.

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So yeah it was my first trap gig and the first time I bled in a night club. I almost felt like a manly man, walking out of the club with a blood stained shirt. I am not sure if people looked but I made sure I took off the shirt that had blood stains on it before people start thinking that I got into some fight. Quite a night! Quite an experience! You only live once and hopefully, you only bleed once!

Depth of Popularity

It’s always been a push and pull when it comes to my view on ‘popularity’ and every time I get to a place, I would always get drawn back down by my own fear. I have never liked being number one or being on top, since it’s too lonely out there. However, even in the second place, sometimes I would always sub consciously question myself about those around me.

Like a lot of us, human beings, I have always been attracted to attention. I love it when people give me attention. And for some reason, I do a pretty good job when it comes to attracting others for attention. My friends would call me the people’s person and they always say I would do well in PR roles, if it comes to work. However, although I agree on some of the stuffs they say, I do have my limitations and I guess I can never fake or undo the way I feel towards ‘popularity’ or ‘attention seeking’.

It started from a scar back when I was 20. My grand-dad was a pretty well respected diplomat in Myanmar and he was so well respected that he could seek help or ask for favors from anyone outside the country. Studying in Singapore back then and being away from home for the first time, it was a crossover moment in my life from a spoilt brat to an independent young man. So, it always takes a lot of effort. Along the way, something happened that would always leave a scar in me.

Some staffs from the Burmese Embassy in Singapore was helping me move from one unit to another. They insisted on carrying the stuffs and as they were resting, I was going to hand them some glasses of water when I caught them saying something about me. Something I should have never heard. One of them said to the other, “If it was not for his grand-dad, I would never helped this kid out with the move. He’s such a spoilt brat.” I do not really know how to make translate what he said to something that is absurdly offensive but what he said really hurt me and it changed the way I look at things.

Call me naive but when someone says good stuffs about me, I tend to believe it. A part of me wants to believe it and a part of me is just so dumb or naive. No matter how experienced I have become in life, the conversation between these two gentlemen has always haunt me about how popularity or what others see of you are not always what they seem.

I got lucky I guess. During uni years, I gained popularity from the social group called revue. We product comedy skit shows. I got rejected when I first tried out for the cast role during my first year of uni. Two years later, I became a cast member, then a director. With each achievement I have gained, it became too easy to make friends in uni and it became a little bit too easy to get attention out of these people.

When I finally left Australia to go back to my country, with hopes of coming back yet unsure of whether I would or not, after two years, I have become a thing of the past to my friends in Sydney. They have moved on. On the other hand, I have become involved in larger things in life in Myanmar. I got my own radio show and I have become one of the top billed MC for a lot of bilingual events in Myanmar. With these achievements, I have gained popularity once again without asking for it.

Then, I got called back to Sydney with a permanent residency. I could not let that opportunity go but after giving up on what I had in Myanmar and coming back to Sydney after five years, it was difficult. The uni crowd has dispersed. I am a nobody. Worse than that, I was no longer in a community. No longer in a society club. Nor a uni. I was just all over the place with different people I see each and every day. The popularity I used to get before has dropped dramatically.

To be honest, it does not bother me since I feel like I have a much better life with good friends around me now. However, whenever I think about my past and the popularity back then, I would always cringe with shame. I somehow feel that I am not capable of achieving big things in life. I feel like I am a ‘has been’ and the last thing a ‘has been’ want to do is reliving the past and feeling good about it. Those times were over. I will always treasure it but I’m no longer that Hein anymore.

Meanwhile, in the present, this little getaway with my friends this weekend consists of different generations of Revue. As my friends and I were having dinner, one of them came to me. He was a cast member in the show I directed. Two years after I left the country, he directed his own show. He sat near me and as he was talking about the past, I could not stop smiling to myself of the good times we had.

Then, he got a bit serious and said “If it was not for you and (the other two co-directors I worked with), I would have never joined revue”. “If it was not for you, I would not have met these awesome friends.” “If it was not for you, I would not have become a director” Call me a wuss but I could not stop holding my tears back. I did not end up crying but hearing this type of appreciation made me so grateful about having done what I had done.

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UNSW Med Revue back in 2009

In life, I do please a lot of people and sometimes I feel like I was brought into this life to please others. I make people happy but it has always been a one way deal and through experience, I had stopped expecting anything back and kept on giving. This time around, I am getting back an appreciation from a past cast member, who has flourished into a director on his own. I felt so assured about my self-esteem. It was a different kind of happiness I felt.

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the make up mirror before the show with messages from friends back in 2009

Popularity has always been measured upon quantity but never on the depth of each unit in this entity. Upon getting a confirmation of a depth from one unit feels so much better than ten times the quantity one would try to achieve.

Home away from Home

I am not surprised anymore why people likes to travel. As a kid, I had to travel a lot. I was pretty much on the plane to any places in Thailand, following my grand-dad and grand-ma around. Since grand-dad’s job involves traveling, I was pretty much immune to that awesome taste we would normally react to changes in our surroundings. To make things worse, I moved back to Myanmar and I studied abroad in two different countries in two different continents growing up. So, I had never been that much enthused to the though of traveling. In fact, I don’t even like it.

There is a Burmese saying about how we have a ‘travel’ print on our foot. Those who have these prints are bound to have to travel most of the time in their lives. A fortune teller once told me I have those prints and it’s no surprise. In order for me to get a permanent residency in Australia, I was asked to leave first, apply for it offshore and asked to come back five years later. It seems like I couldn’t just stay or settle at one place for more than six years. The long distance relationship with my Indonesian ex did not help either.

I try to avoid traveling as much as I can but today, it was different. I was invited to join a group of my ex-uni friends for a weekend getaway at an airbnb place, somewhere in the Northern area of Sydney. It was not away from the city but it was quite a distance from the city. This place is called Avalon and upon reaching there, it sure does feel like I was in another place.

Maybe it’s because I have been pretty much doing the routine weekend Friday clubbing with my gay brothers for quite some time but sitting in the car of my friend’s car while he drove us to the place of the getaway, I felt this sudden subtle sensation of being able to change the scenery around me. It felt like I was going somewhere away from the usual. It felt like I had something new to look forward to.

Finally, I reached the place we rented for two days. Couched up comfortable with my uni friends to play jackbox.tv, followed by this REALLY horrible movie called “The Room”, I found myself thoroughly enjoying every second of this. Is this age catching up? Or have I always been blind from the awesomeness of traveling? This is not even away from the city but still I felt nothing but calmness in my head. I was genuinely happy. It felt like a home far away from my home.

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