“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” - Emile Zola
I have forgotten now how I came across this quotation, but I can share with you that it resonated with me in a deeply personal way. It made me think of my son. Nick is an artist. He is an actor, songwriter, and a vocalist in an alternative rock band called Rosevelt. He has also explored film making and now works in a creative environment where he produces music videos and media. Growing up, Nick was impatient with the hard work ethic of his mum and dad. He was the most stubborn of students when it came to learning math or languages. Likewise, he would seldom tidy his room or adhere to his dad's attempts to instill responsibility in him by assigning him household chores. Even though he loved music and spent hours developing his own ideas about music as an outlet for his personal expression, he would repeatedly fail at learning traditional music theory and notation. He had no tolerance for learning to play silly beginner songs by reading the music on a page while sitting with an instructor who tapped out the beat. Instead, he spent hours and hours in his room, and he began to master the simple device of trial and error. He used a guitar, a keyboard, cameras, the computer hooked up to the internet, and various recording devices as his primary tools in a quest that we could not quite understand at the time. We did however, see and recognize that something was happening, and while we may not have fully understood it, we did not discourage it outright.
Certainly to my Quay Lo and I, who shared the hard work, step by step ethics of the post war baby boomers, had our struggles with Nick when he was in his teens. We failed to recognize that Nick was part of a pattern, a generational shift in values and methods that marks a new way of working, playing, and how to find your own path.
To parents who have children who are creative, I recommend that you watch this video and you may start to understand the new concepts of life, love, work, and self definition. I did not understand it before. What I knew was that my son was doing what he loved, and I came to accept that. My husband and I recognized that Nick still acknowledged our basic values of honesty, the acceptance of different people with different lifestyles, mutual respect, and personal integrity. Still, he embraced a different approach to answering that ancient question of who we are. We began to understand all this better a step at a time. Watching the video at the following link which was posted in Nick's facebook page, recently, I realized that if I had seen it several years ago, it would have helped to hasten my understanding and acceptance. If you have children I think you will benefit from watching this.
Work all and play all
I love my son very much and like all mothers I would like to stay connected with him as much as possible. Of course, we don’t see Nick as much as we would like and maybe I feel the empty nest syndrome. He is busy, chasing his dreams and making his way. So, I find excuses to see him and I found a good one. As they say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So, after a quick call to be sure I was not interrupting, I brought my "half baked lemon curd cheese cake to his office a few weeks ago. It was the first time I had been to his new office and I met his boss, Yuri Wong, an award winning music producer and the owner of The Factory Music Studio. The company is a creative media production enterprise with works ranging from tv soundtracks, full-length feature film scores, albums and commercials. I will always be grateful to Yuri for giving Nick the opportunity to learn from him. Just recently, they completed a music video project with local singer, Chelsia Ng. It is a cute, upbeat song and a very creative video. It is also a catchy tune that I find myself singing along with it.
I made some Hokkaido Chiffon cupcakes with vanilla whipped cream filling last week so I delivered two boxes to Yuri's office. We mothers never really stop feeding our children, even when they have grown up to become "millennials". Of course, it also gave me a good excuse to see my son. For the next batch, I will make them with vanilla custard cream. Both my Quay Lo and Nick said they prefer the custard cream filling to the whipped cream. I promised Yuri that I would make enough so that he and his lovely wife, Xandria Ooi could sample those soon. Here is the recipe for the vanilla custard cream filling.
Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes
with vanilla custard cream filling
with vanilla custard cream filling
click on the picture to get the cupcake recipe
Custard cream filling ingredients:
Adapted from food.com with modification
2 cups milk
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 whole vanilla pod
1 grated orange rind
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and set aside. Throw the pods into the milk and cook in a bain-marie till you see a light froth around the edges of the pan, where tiny bubbles will form. To prevent scorching, be sure to stir the milk as it heats. Mix together sugar, egg, flour and salt in a bowl and beat well. Add slowly to milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla seeds and orange rind. Mix well, let cool and cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge for later use. Make sure the cling wrap just touching the custard so it doesn't form a skin.