I thought 2020 was going to be my best ever year ever, but it turned out to be one of the worst year of the century.
At the start of this year I looked at my calendar with a huge smile.
I was looking forward to visiting new places and performing in new venues.
I had accepted an invitation to perform a Beethoven Recital and judge a competition in Xiang yang and was looking for tickets to Wuhan.
Where the nightmare began.
Career wise, I believe i'm not the only one under the water.
Millions of artists around the world are now suffering from the after-math of the lock downs. Many concert organisers will now be struggling to pay their cancelation fees, and organisations with out standing debts filing for liquidation.
Every single booking on my 2020 agenda are either canceled or moved to 2021.
Concerts in Italy, Sweden, China, Reunion. Tour in Portugal, Spain.
Not to mention my festivals in Thailand, Bulgaria, and the newly founded Chopin competition in South Africa.
Even at this point in time, there aren't any flights out.
I have 2 open return tickets, one was for Singapore (from February) and another to Madagascar (canceled holidays in April). Either way, I'm stuck here.
Anyway during this time of lockdown, I had time to do some self-searching. I practiced more and learnt new repertoire. I was able to do things I didn't have time for before, I went through old photos since 2018 and updated my previous blogs. Found some really interesting cooking recipes online, and even started a 90 day home work-out plan. I spent more time with family, especially Julie, and took time to simply be more grateful for everything that I already have.
A couple of months ago, on Father's Day while going through social media feeds, I saw most of my friends posting photos of their best memories with their dads.
I, on the other hand, was trying very hard to accept the fact that I won't be seeing my father again. Last august, after running two successful festivals internationally, I didn't find more time to be with him or to thank him. Or just to say goodbye..
On Father's Day, my father left us for good.
We weren't exactly close, but I feel that I could have done more. Or at least try to.
Back in January, before the Virus became a global pandemic, I lost a close friend, Lai Mei Kuen.
She one of the most respectable music educators in Malaysia. Invited me many times to perform and teach at her school. She even came to our our wedding back in 2015,
We had a really good time together last January in Malacca.
I knew she wasn't in the best of health. I should have done more.
I could have written more often to check in on her.
More recently we lost another family friend, Velou.
He came to every single concert since I moved here. He was always there at church.
We would sometimes give him a lift, hoping that he wouldn't have to walk home alone.
I could have done more for him. Visit him more often.
All that is no longer possible.
I simply couldn't find time to do the things I should be doing.
I was so focused on my career and my personal goals that I neglected the most important things in life. I took everything for granted.
I thought that if I worked hard I would achieve it all.
Well, this year, I learnt that hard work can't bring you success.
It only brings you self-fulfillment when you reach your goals.
I'm full of regrets about all the things I could have done but did not.
Success is when your time is up and you have no regrets.
The people closest to you. Family and friends, those are the things we should never have to regret about.
Above all, there is God. It is difficult to sit by and watch suffering spread over the world and not know what you can do. But those who are faithful to God have the power and the responsibility to ease suffering and make the world a slightly better place where they are.
In the last month, I felt really down and I drowned myself in more work. Teaching and practicing countless hours.. I thought had fallen into a deep dark depression. But I came to my senses over the weekend, there's still hope as long as there's life.
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger
- Friedrich Nietzsche.
So this is what I'm going to do...
A little over a year ago, I announced my retirement from the music industry entirely in 2022.
Today, I decided that I will overturn that decision.
I will dedicate my career and my music to my family.
I want to be the best version of myself.
To do that, it won't be possible without music.
I don't want to focus the rest of my days on fame, or success, nor money.
I owe everything to God. Everything that happened to me since I met Julie was a miracle.
The unbelievable journey of becoming a concert pianist.
From a 17 year old kid wandering the streets of Paris, hoping to find shelter and food, performing in restaurants and bars. Underaged, not speaking the language, penniless -obstacles after obstacles. Yet here we are!
It would be too much of a waste if I had kept everything to myself.
I will be writing a book about my life with my good friend Laurent Bouvier.
The book will be released in 2022, first in French, then perhaps in English hopefully before 2023.
I have an aunt who's been diagnosed with Leukemia, and she's now lying in the hospital at the time of writing. Please pray for her if you are reading this blog.
See you on the next blog (hopefully before 2021!)