Choice and Chance


Every note to sound intent and choice

With art expressing beyond a formal limit

As music forms abandoned would be chaos

While restrictive rules awake a creative spirit

Play some notes by chance and choose the best

Go along and sound what comes to mind

Follow the tune, the flow will do the rest

Through trial and error keep going ‘til the end


We are different, both father and son

You intent on chance and I on choice

Not that my method is the better one

When music is for you to improvise


Varied are the ways we cannot control

We can use the mind to sense and flow

To add a small amount of chance to all

And await surprised by what we know


Choice and chance are one though two

Just as jazz and classic exist together

If life is left entirely to chance, you

With gifted mind would go no further


To chance is choice I’d rather you reduce

But set your mind on goals and all the steps

For your talents by choice you make use

So when with luck or not, you’ve hedged your bets


Freddy, as his Singaporean friends know him resides in London where he manages a hedge fund firm that he co-founded. He practices tai-chi, aspiring to be an instructor, composes music with his son and dabbles in painting.

This poem was first published in asia!s February 2006 print issue.