Dear S

 

I’m sorry for being such a disappointment, I will reflect and come back a better person.

 

Published in: on May 20, 2016 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Movie- Midnight in Paris (2011)

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Woody Allen has succeeded in capturing the essence of romanticism, which works just like charm, albeit with more class and style, and the heart of all that it represents- nostalgia, a brewing concoction of deep and vivid emotions. Because being romantic often evokes nostalgic elements, in prose or influence, it is often a walk down memory lane.

And what a walk this is. Imagine a stroll on the favourite hour, a cool dark night, air of mist and mystery rising, of desire and lust in the settings of a beloved city, freed of stress and burden and in the mood for poetic and intellectual stimulation- in other words, the perfect condition for literature and art, and on top of that, meeting all your childhood idol, engaging all the while in a stimulating discussion. The idea makes one salivate and dizzy with excitement.

Gil Pender has that luxury here, of circumstances strange and never explicably understood, of being transported back into time. Yet that sense of rationality must not be held as law, as Gil pondered and explained to his fiancee while rewriting his novel, that the crippling desire for reason could stifle and mute creativity, like all relationship and men stale after being too realistic in life. It is that desire to dream, and in his own words, to go crazy with my imagination.

After that overwhelming awe subsided we see Gil moving freely and comfortable around his peers, before they were world renowned and recognised, and being able to hold his drive, thoughts and ideas among the legends, just like he was one himself and in the back every bit as talented. But the struggle is there and without hard work there is no stage set to perform our individual magnus opus. And I like that idea, of being reminded that even geniuses like Salvatore Dali, Pablo Picasso, Matisse, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tom Eliot, Paul Gaugin, Man Ray, Luis Bunuel, all had a point where they had to work really hard to prove themselves.

But what is it about art, that in between those simple fine lines so many men has found brilliance, madness alike and taken so many breaths away. One of the things I’ve understood in my many trips to museums is the essence of perspective, and in it the beholder sees anything and everything, art is rarely square and definite, the meaning is abstract, our opinions contrast, and our convictions lies a polarity of worlds apart from the man standing next to you. And the strange beauty is that the wilder and madder in its abstraction, the more acclaimed the genius in the painters, yet off the canvas those same genius are sometimes weird, occasionally mad, and most certainly quirky. The irony I’m trying to strike at is this- being normal seems to be mad in the eyes of those raving erratic geniuses, and being mad seems to be normal in the paintings of them we have carefully kept and worshipped. Maybe Aristotle finally got one thing right in saying, “No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness”.

I especially loved the cover picture of the movie as seen above, Paris warped into a Vincent Van Gogh classic in Starry Night, and probably one of the most recognised paintings of Western art culture. It reminded me that Paris is indeed a tale of two cities, old and new, and a constant in civilisation. Paris can sometimes leave a taste of regret, in that people who go there with the perfect image of a postcard city will leave with disappointment, as throngs of tourists had, but it is still and truly the City of Love, and no bit less charming than the manners of Parisians themselves, because with a little wit and humour we can sometimes return the favour, and the fun. Disclaimer- Do not let externalities spoil Paris.

 

“Ahh, men will come and go, but Paris! Monsier, Paris will always stay!”

We see a higher purpose in Pender, of being stuck in a familiar territory where individual talent are not directly proportionate to the output of work produced, being wasted on cheap Hollywood scripts and unable to find the breakthrough. The themes are all identifiable, and can be easily summarise- We are all much more capable than what we do. What is it that is slowing us down? I leave the answer to the readers themselves.

“This is the time we live in, everything moves so fast. Life is noisy and complicated” – Adriana

 

It amuses me that time is all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere. Time is the final destination. Maybe some day we will get looping machines that takes us to the past and the future, but for now, we are blinded to it as fate dictates, servants to the shackles imposed on us, both a gift and a curse. Where would my golden age be if I had a choice? The future excites and scares me, and the past romances and dulls me. Maybe we already know the answer, like Gill, but needed to go back one step further to see the clearer picture.

Or maybe it is the girl, because like all other beginnings, it often starts with a city, and a girl. Adriana, and the long walks with her in the city, 1920s-esque Paris, awashed in the orange street glow, curving lanes and stoney brick roads. Isn’t that how courtship should be like? In those walks we can take a girl into a different dimension, filled with adventures, interaction and chemistry. It is also where many men has succumbed to the deep vaults of love in those strolls, repressing impulses to steal hands, kisses and hearts.

Being in a new environment is even more stimulating, in Gil’s case a double whammy of a foreign place and a foreign time, but just travelling is enough to be a constant assault on all your senses. Travel is the freedom to wander in a different culture and gain new experiences, the flaming filaments of memory that beats time, that even years after the fragments can easily be pieced together. The thing is, I really like to travel. I don’t think I can ever get enough of it in my lifetime, but believe me when I say it’s not from the lack of trying.

Midnight in Paris closes off in the same way it started, reminding viewers that it is the city, that draw it’s people, and Gabrielle would reiterate the opening lines – “Paris is the most beautiful in the rain”; for me, Monsier and Mademoiselle, rain or no rain, Paris and the sense of being in a foreign city, will always be good enough for me.

Published in: on September 7, 2015 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Her (2013)

Movie- Her (2013)

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I like movies with depth. And with Her there is a level of depth that makes the experience more than just a visual one, one not just of vertical sense but horizontally and laterally. It makes rewatching the film a pleasure where you get to pick up small bites or cues you didn’t see the first time, and I always enjoy watching a good movie twice. The level of sophistication in Her made that easy, and shows the paradox of a man both in love, and out of love; living in the moment and out of the moment; of a world both wildly fascinating and colourful, but yet entraps the soul of the individuality strip to the dullest of touch.

And in that individuality we see Theodore, off the start reciting a beautiful passage drawn from his emotional wells, a deeply sentimental man who fits the perfect ideal of the husband material, yet you wonder why he is unable to live up to that image. Those who reached terminal greatness in their fields are often tormented of their success, and in a man as lovable as Theo, why can’t he be loved?

There is a certain melancholy to the air of a man like that I find hugely intriguing, not lest for what has happened to him, but for what I could learn from him. It makes all the more because it is easily relatable of having to recover from a misstep and finding a way to put himself back on track.

And who better to do it than Samantha.

It is no more of a beautiful meeting than it is of chance, yet a calculated probability so probable that it takes two one hundredth of a second and 180,000 names to create a perfect electric spark, the effect of which is immediately cannibalised and energised into Theo. Yet it is that exact precision I like about Samantha, a relentless and unforgiving efficiency, churning straight off the bat to clear up emails, contacts, and his life.

We all have an inner Samantha in us, yet we suppress her through procrastination, sloth, effortless and false ignorance. There is a clock in all of us that is constantly reminding ourselves that we can and is capable of being much better, yet the impression of having the time and the rest of the clock continues to fool us all. Samantha belongs to the future and so does our clock, our minute man running mere seconds to striking twelve and if you don’t work for your future, what are you working for?

And in that future of Her I see one of dazzling and shimmering promise, not just of surface superficiality in its aesthetics appeal, but a world of constant development and self improvement. I believe in the truth that in pursuing the self I will lose some sense of the group, even in my present arrangement of work and school I find it challenging on the social context, having to trim down my network. I have no doubt that as the days grow older I will see to lose more and deepen few, but such is life.

What could threaten life then? Surely an event of systems running the world leaving us would create a void so big that any attempts to plug it would be akin to papering plaster over a breached hull. We might not all drown, but the ship is going to sink eventually. This event, termed technology singularity, has been the focus of some of the top minds currently, and a consensus of a date around 2040.Like Sam Huntington’s Clash of Civilisation, another hypothesis that predicts the coming of religious destruction on a scale never seen before.I always think that I am fortunate because I live in one of the most exciting periods of life, while I can’t say for the future I have no complaints of being in the crossroads of a civilisation going from good to great yet facing threats never seen before.

In Her, all that knowledge, possibly a gap of thousands of years on the scale of human learning would be lost. Yet I liked how in the face of danger one still can be optimistic, and as Theo would ask, but where are you going? Samantha would put it- It’s not of the physical world and a little hard to explain, but if you ever get there, come find me. I believe that someday we can, and we will, that in adversity we find strength, to overcome all odds against us.

“Come find me when you get here, nothing will ever pull us apart.”

Love is a struggle. And as Theo would say, it is okay to feel that way of being in a perpetual state of lovesick without being heartbroken, of crying for ladies, only to be rebuffed by an alien kid who calls him a giant pussy, as if appearing vulnerable to your emotions are a form of weakness that we cannot admit. From a point of an alien perspective viewing Earth, you do need a weird warped wry sense of humour to digest it; humans incapable of admitting their love and vulnerability to each other.

Especially if you are falling in love with artificial intelligence. Just kidding. But seriously, what is? When I first heard about the movie, I thought it was plain stupid, that no one could or would ever fall in love with his computer. When I finished that movie, I was in love and slightly heartbroken.And that prejudice has gone and since replaced with a tinge of anger at that childishness, of gaining a pre-notion before even understanding the subject matter- Are A.I truly inferior because they are not on a physical plane?

That was the initial premise, and it was perfect how Spike Jonze crafted and altered that premise as the movie moves along. First we see Samantha sobbing of wanting to be there beside Theo, culminating in a crux of hiring a body substitute and a final realisation that it is a humanistic desire transplanted on her, and we see a sudden turnabout and the perfect transformation in the picnic where she jostled about her ability of being ethereal, unknowingly and unintentionally shaming and putting down her human counterparts. Well played, Spike.

It is all this pre-notion and precognition that is the fallacy of men, judgemental narrow cynics divided by racism, sexism, classism, lookism, homophobic, xenophobic, religion and status. Yet we forgot that we are all unified by love and an inherent need for social and emotional support, and we are perfectly capable of loving them all, and as Samantha would say- but the heart’s not like a box that gets filled up, it expands in size the more you love.

Love is pure, indeed.

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Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Heres why LKY should have died years earlier

The death of the head of a state should rightly attract mourning, but no man has attract detractors in such manner as LKY did. While the majority are expressing sympathy, some are split over the legacy that he left behind, with his shadow still looming across certain policies. And I am going to make an outrageous and absurd claim, LKY should have died years earlier, and I’ll tell you why.
So where is all this discontentment? The first thing I realise is that people tend to pick on incriminating evidence, akin to buying a sweater at Zara, and noticing a long stray strand of thread dangling at the side. It is unsightly, irritating and you do not want it.
Like foreign workers. Today many of us are unhappy with what it takes to be a Singaporean, and the influx of foreigners to be eroding our national identity. But here’s something to think about, at least we are doing something about the declining birth rate. There are countries like Japan and Thailand who are literally going extinct in as close as fifty years. And those are countries with centuries of history. One might not like it, but foreign workers are a necessity. Nobody grows up to be a sweeper, a cleaner or a construction worker nowadays. Who’s going to drive the buses? Any university graduate out there striving to be a hawker? We are increasingly selective with our jobs, we leave the backbone of dirty jobs to them, and we complain about their presence. And who’s to blame for the declining birth rate? I’ll leave it as that.
Many people do not want National Service as well. But here’s what annexation can tell us, which is the use of military force to occupy whole populations and acquire territory, with international laws safeguard generally denied.
1950 – Incorporation of Tibet by People Republic of China
1954 – Incorporation of Goa by India
1969 – Incorporation of West Papua by Indonesia
1975 – Incorporation of East Timor by Indonesia
1990 – Incorporation of Kuwait by Iraq
2014 – Incorporation of Crimea by Russia
Some of this territories being annexed have territories larger than Singapore many times. We may not have the most powerful standing army in the world, but our position has always been to deter, and I think we have largely succeeded, even if it means threatening war. To quote –
He [Mahathir] was direct and asked what we were building the SAF [Singapore Armed Forces] for. I (Lee Kuan Yew)replied equally directly that we feared that at some time or other there could be a random act of madness like cutting off our water supplied which they [the Malaysians] had publicly threatened whenever there were differences between us … In [the Separation] agreement, the Malaysian government had guaranteed our water supply. IF this was breached,we would go to the UN Security Council. If water shortage became urgent, in an emergency,we would have to go in, forcibly if need be, to repair damaged pipes and machinery to restore the water flow. I was putting my cards on the table. He denied that such precipitate action would happen. I said I believe that he would not do this, but we had to be prepared for all contingencies.” – Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore Prime Minister
Today, because of peace, I think many people have questioned the cause since we have the effect, I think to maintain that desired effect we still need the cause.
Education, is another area of divergence. If you like business, engineering, or finance, good for you. If you like arts or music, well I’m sure you have something to say. But we have two things to look at here. The first is the state of the economy, and the second is the demand of people for the jobs. And by the way, the architect for defence and education was actually Goh Keng Swee, another founding father of Singapore. LKY was the enforcer of them and was less involved with its design. Back then, the state of the economy was in tatters, and people were struggling to make ends meet. Their objective was to make a living, instead of seeking creative outlets for expressions. There were no jobs for such areas, and people were frankly not interested in them as well. They invested in what’s right for the country and turn it into an economic powerhouse and today it is the reverse, we are a generation seeking for self actualisation and we see that tradeoff years ago as a mistake. People forget that without the prosperity we might be foreign workers outsourced to other countries. And if you think they are not doing enough go look at how much money they are spending on the arts, sports and other creative industries. We are always waiting for that headline result to interpret it as a success but just because we have spent billions in business does not mean we are going to start churning out the next Microsoft and Apple, right?
Civil rights is the last issue I am going to touch on, and frankly I see it as an area that is hard to reconcile as well. LKY rarely espouse freedom of speech and is known to be hard on his detractors. Some see that machiavellian social model as a cost for the economic development of Singapore. And maybe it is unjust, with corporal punishment dealt out over many types of offences, from minor to major. My travels around the world have left me feeling mixed over this area, and while I do side for the liberty of the individual, I have seen with liberty how much evil one is capable of. We do after all have one of the safest streets in the world and it depends on where you stand at the end of it.
I actually think that the majority of those that are unhappy with him are the youths of Singapore, which I belong to as well, who have actually never seen him in action or his policies in effect, since he stepped down in 1990 as the Prime Minister, and I would tell them to go and read the autobiographies written on him and see what he has done in those years, and decide whether he is really that power hungry iron fisted dictator.
If it’s true that people take things for granted, tending not to appreciate what they already have and trying to pick on those incriminating issues, then here’s a few alternate realities without LKY. Just the way they wanted right?
How do you like a communist Singapore, if LKY had lost to the communists? A Singapore like North Korea, secluded, impoverish, atheist, without the strength and the size like China. (1963 General Elections)
How about a racist Singapore? One that cannot coexist with one another, with separate schools for every race and different languages and dialect being spoken? (1964 Racial Riots)
Today we see of Malaysia as one where we can go to for a cheap getaway, but imagine if it were the other way round.  Our prosperity have led to some eyes looking over with envy, and its not hard to imagine what could have happen if an army just marched in without resistance to acquire everything. (1971 British Military pulls out of Singapore)
How about a corrupted Singapore? Where with the right amount of bribes one can get almost anything, from aircraft engines to a nation sovereign fund.
My point here is, while the scenarios are highly imaginative, there were many areas where things could have gone horribly wrong. It is not easy to run a nation, unlike the CEO of a company. We are not like the US, who can survive a few patches of bad terms of leadership. If we make a wrong decision, it is very hard to recover from it.
And let’s not forget that this is a man who had everything. He came from a rich family, had great academic qualifications in law, and was set for life. He gave it all up to run for office and to represent the people, something that is admirable even till this day.
So why at the start did I say he should have died earlier? I do apologise for the insolent and impudent claim, but it seems that the longer he lived, the more washed away his legacy became. We still have that beautifully made sweater, and I’m sure we can fix that stray strand of thread. It is a long post and I thank you for reading, but heres a quote from him to end everything.
I did some sharp and hard things to get things right. Maybe some people disapproved of it… but a lot was at stake and I wanted the place to succeed, that’s all. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.” – Lee Kuan Yew, 1923-2015
Published in: on March 23, 2015 at 6:14 am  Leave a Comment  

The Angel Of Death

Death, or as we know it.
What is fear, and what is dying? Fear is the physical and psychological response resulting in negative and unpleasant emotions from an encounter or experience. Dying, as we know it, is the end of life as we interpret it. What are the differences between the two?
We understand much about fear. We understand the responses of the sequence of freeze, flight and lastly fight. We understand the psychological responses to fear. We all have a taste of fear and everyone knows what it feels like, with each having their own individual fears. We understand how to inflict fear on others, like telling of ghost stories or pretending to be some psychopathic serial killer. And we all have different ways of responding to fear, some avoid it completely, some embrace it as motivation, others seek a balance of the void through meditation. And while fear may not be a subject matter fully stripped bare and disclosed, we can say we have at least a definition and understanding on fear on an individual level.
What is scary about death is that we do not have any similar experiences to draw upon. It is an eventuality of the end, a black hole at the end of time that takes everything in and leaves nothing out. And so people embrace it differently. The Egyptians believe in death as just another start of a new passage, Hindus believe in the eternal samsara of rebirth. There are those who believe in a rosy and bright paradise in the afterlife, or a fiery and infernal underworld. Some astrophysicists believe that a slight form of energy retains. Mystics and fortune tellers enter trance to cross over world of realms.
The only certainty is death, but what comes after? No one knows. We have not the slightest idea of what it could be like and we tend to create explanations for things we don’t understand.
So isn’t it ironic to understand the emotion, but not the underlying cause of it? We are happy when we are being given ice cream, and sad because of heartbreaks. Death is as scary and more overpowering than what fear can offer, because it is an empty page in the book of knowledge.
Does death scares you?
Sure, death scares me. And why won’t it be? Everything that we do, participate, behave or act are in accordance to a certain root behaviour of building and gaining value. And that is why everything you do, everything, has at least a certain value to the individual. What is value? Value is the regard that something is held to deserve, the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. Everything that we do have a value. There is value in seeking financial gains. There is value in seeking a hedonistic lifestyle. There is value in seeking individual knowledge. There is value in seeking power. And it’s not just in broad areas or concepts. There is value in basic functions as well, in eating and enjoying the food, in travelling and seeing the world, in fighting and beating the crap out of people you hate, in taking drugs and relishing the thrill. The idea is to derive some form of happiness at the end, no matter how short lived they are.
So if you enjoy happiness, or any of the functions attached to it, good for you, you should be alive. Being alive is like one of the two sides of the coin, except that instead of good or evil, it is good or the absence of good. The absence of good isn’t just the equivalent of evil and opposite of good, it is a void in itself. There is nothing, just like in death. If you enjoy even the most basic function of living, to take a deep breath and smell life as it is, then understand that dying is not just stopping to breathe and losing the function of smell. It is a destroyer of worlds, and the antimatter that annihilates all that is life.
What are your thoughts on death?
I am very much afraid of death, because I’m deeply in love with life and it’s pleasure. It might be that direct correlation that the more I wanna live, the more I’m afraid to die. It’s not a question of not having any pleasures, death remove pleasure from the equation.
My flirtation with the angel of death came in many forms. I nearly drowned to death once when I was young. I also had genuine and legitimate cause for concern over contracting the Ebolavirus which sent me into two days of depression, which were luckily unvalidated. Some times I wonder how one could erase the entirety of his existence on this world. All the connections, work, love, bonds forged over the course of years, and years yet to come would be gone. How would the world be like with one less person? Maybe they didn’t really matter. But what about the reader? Will you register any emotions if you knew the person you have loved deeply didn’t even knew you existed?
Does death motivate you?
Sure it does, because life is finite like everything else. So does the deadline for my next assignment. Or the desire to be fitter by the end of the year. Death like all the other finites is just one more deadline on the list, one of the many timelines, but death is the last one laughing at them all.
Yet there could be two varying attitudes with this ‘to do list’ of death, one is to accept and work within the limits, the other is to give up and resign to fate. If you play by the rules and submit your work by the deadline, you reap the rewards and get the motivation to stay on and ultimately find happiness. On the other hand, the last time someone told me he was not afraid of dying, he was also late in paying his rent, late in finding a career, never had any desires for real love and lost the ability to dream and set targets for himself.
People who are not afraid of dying are under the illusion they have cast, that being the rebel hides the failure of themselves. And that is an individualistic selfish opinion because they don’t even respect how hard others are struggling to live. Parents are afraid of leaving orphans. Chefs are afraid of uneaten painstaking creations they make with passion. Sportsmen are rounding the clock just to give their all in one defining moment of the lives. There is value in everything, you just need to learn to see it.
One can never completely make the fear of dying go away. But it’s possible to come to peace with death. And that, like the matter and antimatter of life, can be a world of difference in itself.
Published in: on March 2, 2015 at 6:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Frankfurt 28/11/14

Frankfurt!

Germany gives me a driven and mechanised nation, one of great industrial strength and in which is reflected in the attitude of their people, humble, hardworking and driven. Compared to other countries in Europe they seems to be more developed, advanced and wealthier. But Frankfurt compared to Munich has retain more of a touristy nature despite the CBD just being right around the corner, the area around Dom/Romer station and St Paul church as well as Bartholomew cathedral is equally charming.

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My journey started this time at the Alte Oper station, where I walked down the prime shopping belt with fancy brands that I have no interest in. Afterwards I sat down at the square and took awhile soaking in the atmosphere and people watching. It was nice with the chocolate mocha to smoothen me out, and a german stranger came by on his bicycle and sat beside me in silence, with me and him enjoying each other company. It was nice to have that once in awhile.

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 Decided to walk to the German film museum and on the way walked past Goethe house and Goethe Museum, and crossed the Eiserner Steg bridge. I like crossing the ‘Love locked bridge’. It’s like a reaffirmation to the ones that were in love on the bridge, and are still in love. It made me wonder, are the promises that were made there still being kept? What is love, or whatever that we define love to be?
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To me love is eternal, and love should be part of a bigger equation. We shouldn’t have to reaffirm our individualistic and selfish nature on the sole attention of one, because that’s not how the world is. Love should encompass our affections towards the people around us, our friends, family, love for nature, love for animals, and through that bigger equation of love perhaps we can find and fall in love with someone, when we both share the same scope of love. How can we find love, if we are not in love ourselves?
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Saw the christmas market while walking past there and made a mental note to come back and visit it. The weather was really cold and I took some nice shots while crossing the bridge.
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Stumbled onto a flea market on the other side of the bridge. It was pretty interesting and is held on every saturdays, with dealers selling junkets from buddha statues to paintings and all sort of pre loved items to be on sale there. It was interesting and was quite lively.
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And finally, the Film Museum! The film museum was indeed quite fascinating, although I find it albeit too short for my liking. Something of this exhibition should be free and not be charged, but still it was a pretty good museum. On the first floor was the history of filmmaking, a pretty extensive room with some old cameras, explaining how film making first originated. There were some really old flip books on display, as well as a peepshow where they use motion to make the moving images tell a story.
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The second floor was more interesting, which features actors in their work and technology. There were a life-sized replica of the Alien from the Alien franchise, and the mask of Darth vader on display, as well as an Academy Award for best actor from 1969. I especially like the poster of the different actors, where The Aviator caught my attention. There was a section thereafter form of a green screen where if you move on the carpet your image will be projected onto the screen. Finally sat down for awhile on the mini theater where they were showing some form of continuos reel, form of scenes taken out of a movie to create a mood, for example, suspense I saw panic room, godfather, humour I saw some cartoons, drama I saw hitler and there were just different scenes put together to give a general mood which varies from happy to sad to suspense and horror. It was quite short at that level and that was the end of the normal exhibit. Honestly I was expecting at least two more levels to compensate for that amount but such is not the case and it is unjustified in the price even though the exhibits were good.
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I came up to the temporary exhibit- “Filmtheater. Kinofotografien von Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre where it shows the decay of American Cinema put into disuse through our rapid changes in society, and the old being forgotten and abandoned. They are now being used as states like supermarkets, factories, and gyms. That exhibit was really thought provoking and made me think about where we want our future to go, in the process burning bridges in our art and culture. Sadly I was not allowed to take pictures.
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I walked out of there feeling up for another museum, but I went there to see that it was closed so I decided to take a stroll down the river Mainz before ending back at Eiserner Steg again. Crossing it this time was beautiful because it was almost dark and the city was slowly coming to light. Frankfurt is such a beautiful metropolitan city, like the cityscape of Hong Kong, Singapore, New York they all are amazingly stunning in the night.
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Went back to the christmas market and had the steak burger, which was god damn awesome good that I slathered mustard and tomato all around my mouth while trying to eat it like a gentleman. Not possible to do it on so many levels.
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I was still hungry after that so I walked down the other stretch of the market and thought I reached the end. I saw flamkuchen and wanted to have some but it looks like a bar as well and the thing with travelling alone is that it is hard to go into a crowded place and take up space because everyone wants a table as well. So I went to the opposite direction and was delighted to see that the market extend all the way on the other end. I bought fish and chips without the chips but in a bun, and it was so godly amazing as well. The oil they used to fry it with is fragrant and gives the fish a nice flavour, like the taste in truffle oil. Having it with the bun and given the option of tartar sauce or garlic sauce, I chose tartar because it seemed that everyone was having that as well, and was initially regretting cause I think that tartar was bit unhealthy but my first bite eradicated those fears.
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Thereafter was me wandering the Christmas market without looking at much stalls or offering in depth while trying to take pictures. It was so crowded to try and move anywhere and people were squeezing and bumping into each other. Walked towards the christmas tree and the merry go round and took some pictures.
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Decided to wrap up my christmas market adventure and head to Main tower for a nice night view of Frankfurt, which didn’t ceased to amaze me. On the way there I saw a protest and asked if it was politics, which the policewomen told me that it was. There were such a heavy police presence around the area, cars, cordons, patrols, squads all around the area.
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Went up to the top of Main tower and the view was so amazing there. There were steam coming out from the top around the platform there were pictures and quiet hushes while taking picture, and all around you could hear the city, sirens, bells from the christmas market and churches, the protests from the politics over the speakers, cars horning, planes zooming, and the quiet sound of wind at that altitude of 150m. It was really cold though and almost suffocating, so I couldn’t stay long there.
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Decided to walk back to the hotel because I felt like taking a nice walk, and the map only showed it was 1.6km away. No kick!
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It was a nice romantic stroll back to the hotel, and even though there wasn’t any company with me I felt that I really enjoyed the day. I kinda missed having her around me, maybe I should tell her that.
Published in: on December 2, 2014 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  

7 Billion Others

Frankfurt Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Germany.

You know that there are times when you feel like your entire life is changed by a single moment?

My moment was defined when I walked into this tiny projector room at the corner of the top floor of the Natural History Museum in Frankfurt. It was a small projector room and they were playing a video titled Dreams.

How did I felt at the end? That my problems are so insignificant, and that the world is so large.

I walked out of there never to be the same person again.

Published in: on June 3, 2014 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Road to Perdition

Perdition — (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment; “Hurl’d headlong…To bottomless perdition, there to dwell”- John Milton; “a demon from the depths of the pit”; “Hell is paved with good intentions”-Dr. Johnson

– The Free Dictionary

2030, anticipation – The Great Gatsby.

I fumble nervously around the tip of the marker pen and toyed with what I was going to write. It was a box of chocolates specially air flown from Tokyo, with the intention as a gift for somebody in mind. It was her birthday after all. I decided to just keep things short, simple and sweet, and wrote on the box- Happy Birthday M, Have a good one! The ink seems a bit weak so I run through the lines again, reassuring myself that its gonna be a good night ahead. I was wearing a blue shirt over a maroon v-cut tee, with khaki chinos and my favourite high cut brown military boots. I smarten up the collar and head for the door.

2112, lost – City Lights.

Stamford Road- Left, right or straight ahead? A benz blazed past me impatiently, reminding me that I’m hogging up the road. I tried to flag an apology, but he was already long gone. Keep to the side of the road man. I took out my phone to check the GPS and an unseen message flashed across from M- See ya soon! Its gonna be like Bombay part II! I had only met her once during a working trip to Bombay, which I brought her out and had lots of fun, ending with heavy drinking during the night. I guess she was referring to that, and I started to regret taking the motorbike out for a ride. I tried to figure out where I was. It’s like a maze around the CBD area, and I really hate that traffic is most certainly one way, which means I can’t do a u-turn as and when I like and I have to find the next heading to get to my location. I gotta make two rights and figure out where the parking is. Not that bad it seems.

2131, nervous – Stairway to Heaven.

It is bad. I arrive after the half hour mark, due to a series of premature turns and obscure parking entrances which means that by the time I got there I had already circled the area a few times. I called M, and she picked up at the first dial. I’m at the lobby, see you! She showed up in a black dress really short around the edges, accentuating her legs. Hmmm. It looks a little Japanese inspired- the sleeves opening up around the forearms at the side, a little bit like a robe but so teasing at the same time; that deep slit around the neck topped with a band around the waist to keep that slim figure banging. Chic, classy and sexy. She gave me a hug when I was just about to stretch out my hand, and I covered it by stretching out my other hand almost simultaneously and giving her a tighter hug.

Close shave. Handshake? What the fuck? Are you kidding me? Brighten up your daft dumbass, and stop being such a nerd. 

After a series of rapid exchanges we join the bigger group waiting at the lift lobby. There were around six of them, I shake their hands and as soon as I’ve stepped into the lift I’ve forgotten all their names. M swipes the card for the suite room at the sixty fifth floor and we started the ascent. The five in the group were already having their own conversations, alienating the other guy and me in the lift. I figured the group were going to be a barrier to break so I made the first exchange with him on small talk, I go through the same old usual routine which has served me so handy in breaking the ice. Hafiz was to be my first friend at the party, but not the last. The indicator hits a loud ping at the sixty fifth to cut short the conversations and we are on our way.

2145, apprehension – Music, Lights, Action!

It is incredibly crowded with a sea of unfamiliar faces, people that I do not know. There were a group in the toilet, another at the sofa area, a few outside the balcony smoking and some crowding the bed area. I see a few Caucasian faces, and wonder whose friends were they. People were walking around here and there, getting drinks, passing chips, having cupcakes. Hafiz had already disappear into the sea of people and was probably in the next room. I tried to spread myself around the corner, and begun to feel apprehensive about my place at this party.

Sometimes when I’m nervous I like to keep my hands in my pocket, so I can show less of my body language and they can’t see me playing with my keys in my pocket. I guess that what it’s being like to come to a party not knowing anyone, but I like the idea of meeting new people. I run through the edges of the keys to settle and go into wallflower mode, observing the people I see. Towards the far end of the sofa another guy was clearly as uncomfortable as me, but to the contrary he did know people here. I watched as another girl came over to tease him playfully about his huge bowl of nachos and chips he was clunging on to tightly, as if it were a safeguard to keep him comfortable between the dangerous euphorics of the party and the safezone he was guarding intently. He’s questioning when they are going to play some movies. Way to go dude, I bet you’re hoping they play some of your favourite porno.

The caucasians were fumbling around with the music player, and one of them were clearing flirting with a gorgeous girl at the seat. She looks abit tipsy and is clearly enjoying the company. There’s a girl sitting at the sofa with a table beside full of drinks, so I walked to her and joked- are you the bartender? She didn’t seem to like being joked with, as if flirtation was an abhorred bane of the world and I was asking a vulgar question. I would think minor flirtation occurs at every level between men and women, but clearly she’s not getting much of it to know how to deal with it. I exchange a few pleasantries and poured myself a drink, a weird mix of gin and sprite. There isn’t much of a choice on the selections to offer, few bottles of wines, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin and some brand of vodka I’ve never heard of. I stared through the refracted bottom of the glass, intently trying to warp my sense of perspective and only getting back the dull colour of the gin, and proceeded to down it in one drink.

 2202, unease- Fight or Flight.

I’ve managed to find a seat, but am still equally left out. I take out my phone and send gy a message- hey, free tonight? supper in jb? It’s only ten but I’ve decided that I’m almost done here, probably staying till the cake cutting and then figure out an excuse to make a move. After all, I can’t envisioned going the whole night like that. My drink is emptied for the third time and I stand up to refill it. Three drinks in fifteen minutes, binge drinking because I’m out of other stuff to do. Another guy walks over with a beer in his hand, and proceeds to take a seat at the sofa beside Mr Movie Night/Nachos. He looks abit flushed, the boredom must be killing him as well, and I stifle out the humorous thought that somebody is worst off than me. I sat down on the last seat as the three of us watch the party from our seats. I catch him looking in my direction, figures that he is measuring and sizing me up, try to be cool with my drink before turning in his direction. This time he turns away and I pretend to look at the tv.

God damn this is fucking awkward. 

He finishes his drink, and crushes the can of budweiser into an hourglass. I think he realises that he is stuck in the middle of two guys without any drinks to keep it going, so I move my legs slightly to the side by folding one leg over the other so that there is a small opening should he decide to get up. He makes no action to move away though. It is much comfortable sitting down after all and comfortably out of the way of the excited mob bumbling up and down over the place.

Is that Budweiser? I asked a stupid question when i knew the answer, but sometimes just saying something is better than not saying anything at all. Yeah it is! I bought a dozen and I’ve drank 5-6 cans already! Wow, this guy is pretty chatty. I’m glad I made the first opening because after that he did most of the talking. Maybe it’s the alcohol, sometimes it just loosen you up and you need a little to get the groove going. In that span of space on the sofa we covered topics from hobbies, work, school, friends, women. By then I was starting to feel that maybe I should give it awhile more to decide if the party was worth staying, but I’m glad that I’ve found someone to talk to in Mark, even though I would let him down later.

2224, inquisitive- Meet the Fockers

You guys interested to play some drinking games? The group of caucasians approach us boys on the sofa. Mark was eager and gave them the affirmative. I like how caucasians mix up and bring more fun to the party. They are just more social creatures than us asians, being more fun loving and open to try new things, especially activities outside their comfort zone. They are also much more confident in approaching women, and I always feel like I can glean life lessons off them.

The game involves forming two teams on each side of a table and the first team that finishes all their drinks win. However you have to go in sequence like passing the baton, and only after the first guy finishes the drink and flips the cup can the second guy begin. The challenge is during the flipping of the cups, where you have to stand them cups upright on the table with a little bit exposed around the corner so you can use your finger to hit the cup to make them turn opposite up. You have to hit the cups just nice for it not to land sideways, and it’s funny to watch people fumble with it when they are drunk.

We are in the midst of the third round when some friends of M had to go (needed to catch last train) so we had the cake cutting instead. Their lack of gusto in the birthday song reminded me of the days in army when I would have gone- my grandmother can sing better than you! to my boys. I stand at the side with Mark as the pictures taking begin. It’s funny how girls need to take so many pictures when they look the same in every one of them.

Bran was the first american that introduced himself to us, he was the tallest and the oldest, probably around thirty. He had this alpha swagger of the pack, and he rightly deserve it. I find him the coolest and the most composed. He yelled at the second guy- Hey Andrew, you fucker! Come here and meet this guys! I remembered Andrew as the underwriter from Allianz, because I thought he was german since he was working for a german firm, but all three of them was from the states. Jeremy, the last guy of the group, was the dorkiest and the most reckless. He was the one flirting with the girl, Michelle, on the sofa just now. He would get the group in trouble later.

2318, relaxed, The night is still young

How many drinks have it been? I can feel my head getting really light now. Things are a little blurry and the party seems to be livelier. After a few rounds of drinking games, I decided to go for a break at the balcony. There were two guys outside and they seem to be arguing on something, but my intoxication means they are no mere of a distraction. I stood there absorbing the night view of the Marina Bay. It is amazing beyond words and I like the calm and serenity of it. I let my head hang loose before resting them on my crossed hands on the railing.  Back in there I could still hear the music muffled and blazing, but out here I feel at peace. The cool breeze on my face, the minuscule cars moving around barely beyond sight, the lights from the ships out at sea, they all seems so insignificant right now. I took out my phone and saw the reply from gy- What time? I closed the conversation without replying.

I must have been there for awhile, because Mark came over and caught me there- You should be drinking! The night is still young! Mark complained. I like how intoxication makes people take on the world, even when they are clearly done for the day.

I’ll be back in a moment!

And he left, shutting the sliding door and cutting out the music again. It’s like two different parallels of worlds out here and in there, and me the cosmic traveller crossing the boundaries between them; a crazed intoxicated jungle running on fuel of Calvin Harris mixes and here a peaceful observatory that give doses of calm, serenity and power. Power of being on top of the world and ready to take on the universe.

And with that power I draw one last breath of it along with the cool sea breeze and head back into the wild.

2359, elated, Cinderella before Midnight

…Where am I? The loud banging on the door was disrupting me from organising my thoughts. There’s someone in here! I snapped, trying to bark away my imaginary pursuers. The strong waft reminded me that I was in the lavatory, and that I really needed to take a pee. I must have blanked out for a while, for the next image that registered was me facing myself. The man in the mirror was beckoning me to release him from his reality of disproportionate fantasies and warped rapturous ecstasy. Let me out of this prism of confinement, he said.

I concur, but only after I run my hands through my hair putting the backcomb back in place. I open the door and the incessant banging stopped, replaced by an impatient looking guy. He says something to me but my ears make nothing out of it. I head back to the table to find everyone I know gone. Moments ago I was here playing five ten and having such a bad run at it. I might need to hire a personal assistant to advise me on drinking games. And then I remotely remembered trying to empty the entire contents of a bottle into Mark, and his last words to me- You’re trying to kill me. That was the last I saw of him that night, and I instantly felt abit guilty. Might have went overboard with that, and I tried to comfort myself by the fact that I’m in no better shape.

I draw open the sliding doors to the balcony and see Bran with Andrew smoking at the corner.

Bran! Where’s M?

Cinderella is having fun somewhere!

I smiled at the remark and was about to close the door when someone called out my name. It took me awhile before I realised who she is. Gosh she looked different.

Her name was Eileen.

0042, joy- New Asia Bar

Must have been awhile since I was out here. Eileen had introduced to me all her friends, and by now we were just chatting out here. The effects of the alcohol had receded and I was gaining more control bit by bit. Issac, a guy that came in a suit, offered me his boot liquour, with contents that will knocked the living daylights out of me and which I naturally so politely decline.

Issac suggested getting out of here. Eileen wanted to go to butter factory. We decided to call the birthday girl.

Hey M, where are you?

And she showed up just around the corner, as if she was there all along.

I am going to New Asia Bar. It’s just right around here!

And so we joined her, and the night that started promising so much begin to deliver so little. When we got there, a few of us had forgotten to bring their IC (or was underage). All I remembered of the bar was walking up the stairs never even getting to catch a glimpse of it, before getting called back by the group. We tried to argue with the bouncer, even pulling out the trump card of guests from the suite, but he was resolute and uncompromising and he stood firm.

And so they went back while the rest of us waited. And waited. And waited.

I tried to make small talk with the girls, but they were reserved and guarded. Must have caught me bellowing out at the opposing team to drink when I was high just now. I can get so wild when under influence, but that uninhibited joy of having fun gets me on every single time.

Sometimes it’s good to be bad.

0147, frisky- Get Buttered

Uncle, butter factory please!

I was on a cab with Eileen and Issac as I looked out the window. M was hugging her friends goodbye. We have decided to head to butter factory instead, as they were pissed with the bouncer. I was secretly pissed with myself for forgetting my ticket in. Now I have to pay the cover charge, which I really hate.

Once we were there we had problems with the bouncer. Bran was smoking in the queue despite the bouncer repeatedly telling him not to, and now they have decided to not let them in. Jeremy was making a big fuss about them being rascist, which was not helping things either. As I stood there watching the commotion, I can’t help but notice the smirk on the bouncer’s face. He was calm and composed, and knew he had the unyielding upperhand in that scenario. I looked over at Jeremy as he shouted, bellowed and then apologised, changing positions frequently. I knew in my heart who had won the battle.

I looked on as the group left in the cab. And as M turned around and told me the night would get better. I knew she was lying when she said that.

I looked on as the bouncer refused to let me in to the VIP area, as my entrance fees did not grant that privilege.

I looked on as M disappeared behind the door.

I looked on as the bouncer shook his head while I caught a glimpse of a smirk at the corner of his mouth.

0320 discouraged – City of Dreams

I looked on as I sat there at the corner of the club as everyone else around me have their share of fun. It was there in solitude that I finally realise why the club makes me feel like coming back every single time. It is this fear of solitude that I was experiencing, to want to be embraced by friends, to be popular, to feel rich, to be loved and to love, to live your wildest dreams. And everything that the club promises, it never lives up to it. And this discrepancy makes me blame the gap on my inadequacies, that I am not sufficient enough, not rich enough, not good looking enough. Maybe I was too shy, perhaps I chose the wrong shirt. I started doubting myself, and starting believing in others. Oh gosh she’s so pretty. I wished I had his body. It is like a place where people go to seek perfection, only to find their imperfection staring at them in return. And at the end of the day I always want to come back, to believe that the next time I’ll be better, if I’m more sporty and outgoing maybe she will look at me, to muster that courage to talk to her, to drink more and be invincible, to party hard and be unconquerable.

But I always fall, and I’m always conquered. It was there that I decided to take a stand. Not this time. As I sat there watching the couple opposite me love locked in lips and the group of guys smashing each other mugs with laughter, I’ve decided not this time. All the promises of laughter, love, happiness and freedom that the club had to offer, tonight I decided to stay true to myself and be who I was, not who I wanted to be.

As I was walking out I couldn’t help noticing this girl standing alone at the bar. It wasn’t the fact that a lovely girl like her had no companions around her. It wasn’t the fact that she was exposed, her back facing me, that long luscious hair and wearing this red dress that was lip smacking gorgeous that I had this irresistible urge to find out how she looked like. It was the way she was leaning across the bar with her right arm on the side of her face. It was like she was waiting for something. Or someone. I could be her prince charming and she could be my last shot at the apple in Eden. One final attempt.

I took one last look at her, turned around and headed for the door.

0355 fatigued – I’m Loving It

So the night had to end like this. As I found myself looking at the menu at McDonalds I found myself wandering, how did I ended up here?

I recall leaving the club and deciding to walk back to the hotel where I parked my motorbike. It was a nice stroll and a cool night, and I can still remember the remarkable and beautiful scene of the central business district area as I walked pass Esplanade. The city that never sleeps, the story of our success, the hub and heart of finance. And then walking down the underpass and the only person I have encountered in the stroll was a homeless man sleeping there. He took no notice of my shuffling as if I was never there as he wrapped himself tighter in the bristling cold. Oh the irony, the contrast of both pictures, that in the success of our story we have left so much, and so many behind.

And then I was there and the only place that was open at this hour of the night. I find comfort in those golden arcs, as if they represented civilisation and in all my travels it is my familiar companion. I walked in, in search of breakfast, only to find myself five minutes early staring at the dinner menu.

And so back to where I am. Right in front of the server who was looking at me.

Is breakfast available now?

Breakfast is available only in five minutes time sir.

Something about his tone of denial sounds so familiar. So I took a seat while waiting, enjoying the oldies that they were playing. I could still remember the crisp voice of Frank Sinatra over the speakers belting out the song Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, as I looked around the premises of the restaurants. A few pockets of tired and hungry clubbers grabbing supper outside the veranda, one of them seem either drunk or tired with his face buried in his hands, but other than that the place was deserted with most chairs overturned and stacked on tables.

I started munching down on my hash brown and washing it down with iced milo. Being the first customer the milo machine was still powering up so the server had opened a carton of pre-packed milo. I wanted to say something but remained silent during then. Now it tasted bland and really watered down. Feels like my kind of night as I sucked it up and finished the drink.

 0428 vulnerable – Road to Perdition

As I stood marvelling at Raffles City Mall and trying to peer the top of Swissotel where I was moments ago, I reflected on how disappointing my night had went from the euphoric highs. Nights like this always start promising so much and delivering so little. I went in to the mall to find the metal shutter to the basement drawn closed so I tried to walk in from the vehicle entrance. I notice a staircase down beside the entrance and presumed that was a shortcut down to the carpark.

As I walked down the steps of the L-shaped staircase I couldn’t really see the end of it. The lights in there were either pretty dim, or the walls were grey, giving it a very washed out look. There were remnants of cigarette butts scattered all over the place on the steps, thrown behind by smokers sitting on the steps. A large cardboard itself over the landing at the corner of the L-shaped staircase as I walked towards it. Somebody might have been sleeping on it a while ago. There was this bad feeling that started to rise from within me, and was calling for me not to go that way down. I have always brushed off my senses because as humans as they can be they always betray me. It is the fear within me that was growing, and I have always disregarded it having no disposition for the superstitious and the unnatural. I fear the dark and the unseen as my senses always unveil me but I have learnt to stay neutral and composed as my mind play tricks on me.

And this time, it did play tricks. As I walked closer I begin to realise the source for that feeling, that fear of going down the stairs. This time it was more than a feeling, and this time my senses did not betray me. I could hear it as I descended further the stairs. At first it was a wail, then it turn into a screeching. It was a siren. The alarm to the door had went off, probably due to some undesired disturbance. It would have definitely scattered off the pranksters as the alarm was ear deafening when in range, like having a bell right at the ear drum. Funny I couldn’t remember hearing it when at the top of the stairs, and dreading the climb back up I decided to test the door to see if it was still bolted. To my surprised it was unlocked and I effortlessly pushed open the door. The alarm was even louder on the inside and was extremely distracting so I tried to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Little did I know what was in store for me.

I dashed across to the second door and to my horror it was bolted shut. I turned around to catch the last glimpse of the door where I walked through swinging in and closing behind me as the alarm went silent again. Attempts to open that door remain futile. My eyes adjusted to the lighting in here as I tried to make out the surroundings. It was a square staircase landing around the size of a room. There was a long and narrow corridor down and by now I was running down it, seeing a door at the end. This door was larger and encompass the whole ending of the corridor. It was like two wooden doors meeting in the middle and swinging outwards. I recognised that as a cargo door. I bored my entire weight down on its horizontal metal handle bars, but they heaved no further other yielding a loud and denying click. I was feeling pretty desperate by now and tried to peer over the windows. They were frosted and I could make nothing out on the other side, which made it even more scary.

….to be contd

Published in: on May 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Complete Abolishment Of Death Penalty?

According to Sellin (1968), capital punishment has been prevalent throughout history, and is a punishment deeply rooted within civilization. It was practiced from ancient kingdoms like Greece, Rome and China and saw through the changes in society, beliefs and religions into present countries like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Singapore. Despite the many forms it takes the integrity of the iron claw of justice has remained the same, ensuring that civilization does not fall into a state of chaos. Even though extreme means may not be desirable at times, the death penalty is still necessary to keep the equilibrium, especially in a country like Singapore where safety has since been taken for granted.

The death penalty was inherited from our colonial predecessors and has since been in place after Singapore gained independence in August 1965. Under the Penal Code (Cap. 224), offenses ranging from murder, unlawful discharge of firearms and drug trafficking are punishable by death by hanging.

The death penalty in Singapore and the draconian use of it has brought up debates and discussions. Grounds ranging from religious, morals to ethical issues were often raised. Is it fundamentally right to take someone else life. If yes, who should appropriate that right? After all Moses once said in the Ten Commandments- Thou shalt not kill.

But what if that person himself has taken lifeblood away from the innocent and murdered them in cold blood, is it now morally imperative to extend grace to him, given that none were presented to the departed? Adams (2011) finds the answer in the bible, where the killing for the due consequence for crimes like murder can be justified. It is implied that since the blood will be on their head, there is no guilt for those carrying out the punishment, as it is on the accused for committing certain reprehensible actions.

Questions are raised morally as well. Who reserves the right to punish the accused? In murder related cases, punishment should be accorded to provide a closure for the family of the victim, knowing that the malefactor will never be free to wreck perniciousness to innocents again. That is what justice should stand for. Critics will however point out that the majority of executions has been carried out for drug related offenses instead of murder, but in the 2012 revision to the law Mahtani (2012) notes the new ruling on the roles of the trafficker and the intent to murder, which can alter the outcomes from death to life imprisonment.

By amending the death penalty the Singapore government shows that it is able to dwell upon current thinking and to further strengthen the basis behind the law. The intent to murder is still indefensible and impeachable by death. Death might seem cruel in many ways, but Zhu (1998) argues for the necessity of having the death penalty, reasoning that it serves at least two bases, the first to deliver reparation for atrocious crimes, and the second to discourage and deter those who may have harbored thoughts of ill intent.

Transversely the success of having the capital punishment as a deterrent have been argued by many, but Morin (2002) writes on research that shows the relationship between the death penalty and the murder rate akin to simple market economics. Through the dissemination of headlines and news from the media, whenever an offender is executed, it creates a ripple effect which increases the cost of committing murder, resulting in the fall of the murder rate. Conversely if the cost of committing murder was to ebb it would result in an escalation of the murder rate. This shows that most individuals do weigh their actions carefully before committing a rash act. For would be offenders, the death penalty serves as a grim reminder that the reaper will exact punishment to ensure that justice is served.

The recent Delhi rape case has shown the atrocities that men are capable of achieving. Mohindru (2013) reports on the quotes made by the law minister; “Many would agree that this is a type of case where, if the injuries inflicted were of a nature sufficient to cause death, then the abusers should face the death penalty,” which was posted on social media and the controversy it generated. The report has brought up the gruesome torture and sick sexual satiation inflicted on the lady, and a position that every woman around the world would not want to be in.

The issue of dressing was also raised, suggesting that women should not dress inappropriately and that the fault is on them if they do. This is a sentiment not echoed by the women in Singapore, who despite their dressing preferences can still feel safe on the streets at any time of the day. One may argue that Singapore restrictive laws are always labored as excessive and in some sense it may be true, but the ends should always justify the means and today we have one of the safest streets in the world and it is not by accident.

Bedau (1983) finds that the utilitarian view towards capital punishment is a necessary evil, where the harm can be justified only by being the necessary condition of greater good, happiness or benefit that exceeds the evil of punishment, and therefore achieves the maximum in social benefit at the cost of minimizing social harm. The death penalty should not be completely abolished as it will instead bring about higher murder rates and social suffering brought upon by the trafficking of drugs.

The complete abolishment of the death penalty in Singapore will see the state lose its psychological shackle over the dangerous and the deranged, justified by Hobbes (1981) when he wrote about the fear of death that keeps men to being at peace. The death penalty should be tweaked and revised, but until a better alternative is in place the Delhi brutal rape and murder case reminds us of the contrast out there and that the measures in place are but a necessary evil.

 

Reflections

This was done as a 1000 word essay, and I found it hard with the word limit. It wasn’t that I couldn’t write enough, the problem was that I had too much and I found it hard to construct and condense everything into a thousand word frame. I had to do several edits and I was unsatisfied with it. Key issues that I did not manage to address include, weighing the difference between life imprisonment and death penalty, which might seem the same thing but is a world apart of difference. I wanted to elaborate more on having a death row inmate on life imprisonment and feeding him with taxpayers money for the rest of his life. I did not manage to address the Gandhi saying of- an eye for an eye will make the world go blind. One eye (dangerous murderer) and the other eye (innocent victim), hardly a measure by any standard.

I tried unsuccessfully to argue against the death penalty, and halfway through this essay rewrote my stand to support it. Some reasons were when I realise the keyword was complete abolishment and noted the amendments made to the law in 2012 to address the high profile drug cases that has pictured Singapore as a fantasy enforcer of capital punishment in the world. I still believe in the integrity of human rights and the equality for everyone, but I have to think about the nature and profile of the person behind it. Between the psychopath and the virtuous, who would human rights favour?

I am deeply interested and believe that deep down in everyone of us there is a dark side that resides in us, sometimes gnawing at our conscious even if we’re not aware. The cruelty I read in North Korea and serial murders like Zodiac serves to remind me that as much as I wished there are some really sick people in this world, and they are not something we can wish away at twelve midnight and people whom even our fairy godmothers would apparate into the twilight.

Published in: on April 7, 2014 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

John Mayer

Soothing for the soul

Published in: on October 28, 2013 at 6:51 am  Leave a Comment  

The choice was …

The choice was once your choosing, before losing became my loss. I was there in your forgetting—until I was forgot. – Lang Leav

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Upworthy

Today I discovered a new website – http://www.upworthy.com

It basically share videos that are viral worthy, but different from those mindless cat roving magician tricks or public breakups caught on tape.

Sometimes it’s nice to still be reminded of the good in the world, bit by bit.

Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Panic Station!

I am convinced that Muse is high on L.S.D

Published in: on October 9, 2013 at 7:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Traición

Despite coming from an art background, I am hopelessly untalented in art.

I remember when I was young, I persuaded my parents to send me to art classes after kindergarten. My only memories were me struggling to elucidate my drawings. They were undecipherable by any means. My teacher would encourage me, saying that art did not need to have any semblance of a form, and that is a beauty of art in itself. At that age I struggled to understand what she meant.


Mr Bond does not have any talent in art as well

In poly, I took modules in history of art, 2D art and 3D art. I leave it to anyone’s guess how that turn out in the end.

However, a lack of artistic talent doesn’t stop me from appreciating art and their artists. Many are tragic characters, and unable to express themselves in the world they resort to paint and canvas. Vincent van Gogh was a post impressionism artist that I admired, and today his paintings are worth a fortune.

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Starry starry night

However, he died without being recognised for his work. He was shunned by society, outcasted, poor, had no luck in love, his brother was his only friend and he ultimately shot himself in a field.

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A foreboding of what’s to come?

ImageAnother famous artist, Edvard Munch, whose painting fetched the highest ever at an auction, was also troubled in life. He publicly admitted to struggling with insanity, and it can be felt from the intensity of his paintings.

ImageCult figure Andy Warhol with his Campbell soup renditions popularise pop art

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Salvator Dali and his bizarre melting clocks

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Betrayal by Mario Sanchez (Credits)

I like art in it’s form, the emotions it evokes and the different perspective viewed from different people

Published in: on October 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Musings of an Insomniac

Dear diary,

I’m having difficulty sleeping at night. Long nights, I tend to wake up, tossing and turning before going back to sleep. I might need pills for that.

It is in nights like this that I turn to you for solace.

I’ve met somebody special recently. It feels like we have gravitated to one another, and I’m hoping to meet her again in person.

I’ve learned a few new things in the field of psychology, some biasness and how perspective is the visual construction of our reality. Online based learning is really exciting this days, with the wealth of knowledge freely available, just as long as you’re willing to learn.

I’m working hard with a friend on our pet project, and I really hope we succeed. It is a fantastic idea and even though we are in the early stages we both seem to have grown a passion for it.

Somebody that inspired me recently- an Australian guy who has just spent the last four months backpacking through Europe and central America. It was amazing hearing his stories and made me raring and eager to go for my first solo backpacking trip. It will also be a journey to find my own self identity.

I like Europe, but I find myself in a strange land where people do not carry me seriously. Is it because of my race, or my age? I stand out in the sea of people for the wrong reasons. Someday I’ll conquer Europe when I’m ready, more financially abled and with the weight of age bearing down the stomp of my boots and the confidence beaming on my face.

Where then?

Could it be Thailand, where some term Bangkok as the capital for the backpackers in the world? Thailand is amazing, a land of smiles, and security is mainly not a concern. Beautiful landscapes, beaches, and spiritual in nature, I have no doubt I’ll have fun rubbing shoulders with other strangers and swinging off hammocks by the beach.

But somehow, something doesn’t fit with Thailand. I want to find my own roots, a place where I belong. Somewhere where I can find myself heard, and hear as well. Somewhere where I can look into the history of the past, and the marvels of the future. And all within a budget as well.

It is where I’m increasingly convinced that the calling is to China. It is after all where my ancestors came from, and the language I speak as well. Our sea faring ancestors traverse the globe for a better life, and we seems to have taken it for granted.

Yes, the west is more civilised and we have basked in their culture our entire lives, but I’m still a Chinese at heart. No matter if I’m born in the states, or in Australia. It is where my heritage is. That’s like saying a Canadian born Indian is different from an India born Indian. They are still Indians by race, just like how I’m still Chinese.

And just like how some animals can flock home to nest in their birthplace after several years, I have a desire to set soil on what was once the greatest empire on earth. Few things still amaze me, and the great wall is one of them. To be able to stand on the edge, and view the world from there, a world which had repeatedly tried to invade but failed, would be one of my goals of the trip.

China is where I have to go to embrace the rich history of my people and how far we’ve come.

And how far we’ve come indeed.

Signing off,

Cosmic Wanderer

Published in: on October 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Dollar Value

One of the challenges growing from a teenager into a working young adult is the influx of income coming in, and learning to manage it.

What do I mean by managing it?

I will use a personal example in this scenario- last weekend I was out with some friends to this restaurant called Artichoke, and over brunch I spent close to forty dollars, over drinks, food and desserts. The food was fantastic, the service was to notch and the company amongst friends was brilliant. I will patron it again without any qualms, and I have no doubt my friends feel equally the same.

Tonight my mum walked in to my room, and complained about how costs were rising. She was really unhappy in particular, about the hike in the price of shampoos. She also mentioned that she had to always bear the costs for forking out her own meal, which can range from two fifty to four dollars. Before she left the room, she beamed and said she’s proud that her son was earning money and hinted it lessened the stress on her.

It made my eyes cringed.

I guess anyone can see the vast difference there, me blowing forty dollars over brunch, and to her spending four dollars on a meal is a treat.

The simplest way I can put it- our generation has a different perspective to the value of a dollar. Our perspective is affected by the way we live in this modern cosmopolitan city (1. Lifestyle), the company we keep ourselves in and the need to keep up (2. Peers), our need for mindless self indulgence favouring desires instead of needs (3. Impulse), and lastly our lack of any sort of proper financial planning, preferring to live in the now instead of saving for the future (4. Planning)

I find it increasingly hard to reconcile the gap in our different perspectives. Some families might not see the gap, but I think it is increasingly apparent from middle class families and onwards.  Is it appropriate for me to go out on a night of hard partying, spending hundreds over drinks and music which serves no purpose except a few hours of entertainment, or will the money serve a better purpose elsewhere? Like getting a new dining table to replace the ugly old wooden creaky one that is long due for retirement.

It’s hard to have full control over all the four factors. Say if I might be able to pull the rein in on three factors- impulse, lifestyle, planning, but I know if a friend starts calling me about my availability for the night, it’s very hard for me to be still at home after midnight. Or the trap of buying a car this days before the age of thirty. Are you sure it’s not an impulse buy? Do you really need that car? Or do you just feel a need to keep up to your peers and not lose your social stature (read: face) while saddling a huge stress over your finances?

I myself am guilty, I am just a phone call away, being tempted too easily by cheap company and fun nights. But really, can we be blamed for our lifestyle? We are young, we love this freedom and we are optimistic about the future. We love to live in the now, to embrace our youth and our greatest experiment is our lives. We are westernised even though we are not westerners, surviving on coke, pizzas and 7-11. 

And what a contrast we are from our parents. Born after the war they saw through the formative years of the country, the hardships it endured, and have experienced several economic slowdowns, learning to appreciate starting a family early and saving for rainy days ahead. My dad tried his first pizza after the age of 50, and I want to give him so much more. This is the regret I have of not being able to close our huge gap. He would decline things he deemed overtly extravagant and which I find normal, choosing instead to dine at brick and mortar instead of fancy restaurants. But papa, fancy restaurants have so much more!

So what is this then, a generation thing? I hope it’s as simple to understand as that, because perspective has made our dollars not the same anymore. It isn’t caused by inflation, and cannot be explained by economics. It is a behaviour as to how we are managing our money, and spending it.

And it is something I find of a challenge, spending that money without understanding the value at all.

Published in: on September 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Freeloaders

Don’t you hate people who shows up for a social gathering without paying?

Take for example, organising a BBQ. The organiser buys all the food, books the pit, some alcohol for the after party and everyone is set to go. One guy turns up with a – “Oh I’m not eating, I’ve grabbed dinner at home but I’ll just come and chill” and all of a sudden you end up having to fork out more because now there’s less people to split the share.

Or going party and ordering bottles of alcohol and some jerk shows up with a- “Oh I don’t drink, I’ll just sit at the table and go to the dancefloor later and hang around and take up space while I watch you guys pay for the drinks.”

Get the f*** out of here.

I might sound petty, but I’m inclined to think that I’m not the only one here. And even then why should I be generous with somebody who obviously can afford to pay his own, it’s not as if I’m giving it away to charity. Sometimes it’s hard enough to organise a social gathering, putting in the extra effort to make a booking, getting the necessary stuff or food and having everyone to be there. Nobody’s asking to be paid to organise a get together among friends and having some fun, but just don’t let the organiser overpay. Because if that’s the case, the next one’s on you to organise.

So does that means asking a non-drinker to pay for his share while he watches other people get high on his money?

I don’t fully mean that either, but I believe in some cases if you do know that it is going to be an event with alcohol, and you are a strict vegan-holic, then don’t turn up. Because if you do, you are in the headcount. Then just pay your share, because it isn’t fair for others to pick up your tab.

Of course there are the birthdays, weddings, baby full moon events where the host will pick up the costs for their own special day to share the joy with guests. But even then, at least a red packet or present is due?

You don’t expect to show up at somebody’s wedding empty handed right? Because if you go to someone’s birthday without a present, you can be sure as hell he’s not coming to yours with an Armani collector’s timepiece.

Organising gatherings is so difficult. Maybe we should all just meet at MacDonalds and settle our own, and spend the next three hours hogging the table over dinner time while other diners lurk behind like vultures for the table.

Or maybe I should just turn up alone for my gatherings, frying my own honey glazed wings, drinking my own Macallan whiskey at the table, and laughing at my own jokes.

Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Take Flight

“Are you familiar with birds, Ron?”

“What?”

“Birds. Are you familiar with them?”

A little I guess..”

“Which bird would you associate with the night?”

“Owl?”

“Right. Which bird would you associate with babies?”

“Stork”

“And which bird would you associate with the clock?”

“Cuckoo?”

“How about contraception?”

“Contraception? Wait, are we still on the same topic cause I have no idea”

– “Swallow”

I keep feeling that I am not utilising my time properly. There’s this feeling that I have so much to do, and so little time. And procrastinating.

I’ll do this tomorrow.

I’ll do this when I get back.

I’ll settle it tomorrow.

Firstly, I have to fix my bike. Not that anything is broken, there’s some modifications here and there I would like to add. A little more speed wouldn’t hurt, would it? (Yes it would.)

Then I have to mend some old bridges. Certain people I haven’t seen in a long time, and I have some calling to do. I always think that one has to put in the effort to keep a friendship going afloat.

I need to start having a fix regime of gyming. I am doing it too sporadically, like going 4 times in a week and not going even once the next week.

And then I have to study next year. So much things I would like to do before then.

Like…… meeting you in person.

——————————————————————————————-

Ahmedabad Awakening

It’s been awhile since I’ve did any writing, and I have been traveling a lot and naturally there’s a lot on my mind. I need an outlet and so here I am.

Indian stations are always a favorite of mine. Some people dislike the filth, the poverty, the sunken streets. I like to face the ugly aspect of that, going out on the streets of India. It is a place where I always discover something new about myself. I find India a very spiritual place, of “mind over body where pursuits of spiritual enlightenment are not uncommon.

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I went out this morning to a bookstore around the corner called crosswords, and got a couple of books- Michael Crichton; prey some stationary and a Richard Branson biography.

On the way back there was a nice herd of cows just chilling under the bridge in the middle of the highway. They are sacred animals and they roam where they please in the country. How nice would it be if I had the same sort of power in my own country.

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Afterwards I tagged along with another guy to an underground market called Handloom. At first when I went in I didn’t had a good impression of the place. It was filthy, a little dark and smelled of damp spices. My first reaction was to take a quick walk and leave the place but after five minutes in I begin to settle down. I really shouldn’t have judged the place there’s so much to see.

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I bought 250g worth of a sweet tasting white potato thin crackers with peas and carrots that was amazing, for 38 rupees (sgd1-50rupees).

As I was walking back, this guy came up to me and kept saying- please, hungry, 5 rupees I shine shoe; over and over again. I ignored him and kept walking for another 10m until I took out a note of 10rupees and gave it to him. I was guilty so I declined the shoe shine.

I realised it took me 10 metres of walking to give a starving kid half my age twenty cents. Where have my conscience gone to?

Have you ever been guilty of that? Walking away from somebody in need when you are capable of giving much more.

On the streets of India that’s where I see the inequality of the world, and the unkind side of it. I promise to do more for charity within my means, and not turn a blind eye.

Back in my room I kept trying to wash off the filth on my shoes, and I realised it was all in my head.

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Published in: on August 17, 2013 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Legacy of the Bat

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“He’s not the hero Gotham needs right now. He’s the hero it deserves.”

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 4:58 am  Leave a Comment  

The Stand

Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.

Stephen King

Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Published in: on December 10, 2011 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  

The Redbull Renegade

My hands are hung loose, feet on the ground. I lean back while enjoying the lull of the wind. It creates a settling atmosphere of tranquil around me. A few shuffling leaves and no signs of life anywhere. The night is long and the wait stirs me towards impatience. SugababesPush The Button reverberates through my iPod. Any minute now as I continue to throw a taunting glare at the illuminated phosphorescent of red. It fears me.

Green. Good to go. I roll on the throttle as I savour her initial roar as it engulfs around me. I’ve always enjoyed the sensation, a hungry burst of fire unleashed from an excess of idling. The growling gets louder and I need to contain it. I roll off the throttle, pull in the clutch, and kick up the gear. Steady as she goes again. The euphonic humming indicates her sweet spot while I watch the meter goes. So far so good.

Then he came.

First, a small speck of flicker. Nothing to worry about. I pay no attention and continue with my routine. A fleet moment passes and it grows into a coruscate blaze. Like a lion stalking his prey he gains no further. I can barely see that silhouette of him. Yet his frame betrays his intention.

Big boy wants to play.

My grip on the throttle widens and like a sleeping ancient beast awaken by an intruding disbeliever she howls to life, very annoyed. I’m taken aback by the sudden rush of power as I struggle to control her. Man, it’s been a long time since I did this. The vibration gets heavier and resistance hack through me, reminding me of my mere mortality even though its greed for higher power blinds me. I tame her after three lamp posts. I glance back and to my surprise he’s still behind me. Damn, he’s fast. I could almost see something of a smirk through the dark of the night. Or maybe I’m imagining it. His visor is down and he’s clad in black.

At least he’s got some fashion sense. I make out a glowing eye instead of two through my mirrors. One headlamp. He’s a Kawasaki KRR150 rider. KRR. The nemesis of SP. My nemesis. Maybe that explains the hostility. Guess I won’t be making a new friend around here.

I knew the next stretch very well. Heck, I use this road all the time. Few placements of traffic lights, wide lanes and most importantly, a low volume of users. This is my territory. You don’t mess with me around here. There would be a hairpin bend ahead due to construction work along the road shoulder. The trap is set.

I slung a submissive posture, slow down and watch him pass by. I could see a redbull sticker across his lower plate of fairing. Very nice. He smells victory. I think otherwise.

He sees it. What he did next was something I wasn’t expecting. He executed a perfect corner of the hairpin bend. No flashes of brake lights. He went in with just his engine brake. He was mocking the ground inability to graze an immortal with his legs hanging just slightly off the gravel. And then he disappears across the foliage, leaving a wake of dust and smoke and a triumphant roar of victory. It fades away soon enough leaving me with the tranquil of the night again, like an old friend trying to console me.

Wow.

No doubt I was disappointed, but I was grinning face to face from that experience. He did more wonders than I could imagine, with his steed.

I’ve finally met a true racer.

Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection

spi·ral (sprl)
adj.

 – Coiling or developing around an axis in a constantly changing series of planes
 – Circling around a center at a continuously increasing or decreasing distance.

 

Published in: on May 28, 2011 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

It’s a hard life we lead out there..

Published in: on April 22, 2011 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Gatsby Trooper

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  

‘Don’t stare at me, baby. You can see me in the movies’

On my television set tonight, in the black-and-white movie Gilda, Rita Hayworth is seducing Glenn Ford, heartbreakingly refuting the old adage “the camera never lies.” It is close to 40 years now since last we were together, and the woman I had known in real life is, for me, still the single most tragic example of how far from the real person an image can be.

She was a Goddess on screen, about as desirable a woman as any man could want—perfection in feminine allure. From the moment I saw her, she haunted my imagination. And from the moment we met in the lobby of a small hotel in the tiny town of Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1972, until her death from Alzheimer’s disease 15 years later, she continued to haunt it, eliciting a far more profound emotion than lust.

My agent at that time, David Begelman, had talked me into a Western titled The Wrath of God—aptly named—to be shot entirely in Mexico. It would star Robert Mitchum, with Rita in the “and” position, set off in a billing box at the end of the actor credits. She was by then finished in pictures and the word was that Mitch had insisted on her, possibly for old times’ sake, the rumor being they had once had a tumble or two.

Mitch would play a runaway priest. I would be the town’s despot, who swears revenge on all priests for murdering my father, and Rita would be my mother, a God-fearing matron who never lets go of a set of rosary beads. What was I thinking? Well … I was thinking: Rita/Gilda.

rita-hayworth-fe02-leadRita Hayworth

And there she is, tiny and scattered, standing in front of me, a rain hat on her head. She shoots out her hand and smiles. “Hey, I know you,” she says. “I’ve seen ya in the movies. You’re gonna be my son.” I spout all the clichés: how excited I am to meet her and work with her, etc.

She tears off the rain hat, frantically runs her fingers through the once-lustrous auburn hair, now shorter and more sparse, shakes it out, pulls at it, and whips her head back and forth in an exaggerated “no,” flailing her hands in the air as if shooing away an army of flies.

“Oh, cut it out. Cut it out,” she says in a high-pitched, impatient tone, jamming the hat back on and fleeing the lobby.

Once on the set she is a total pro. Ready to go, eager to do her best. But the lines won’t come. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t retain the simplest phrase. In our first scene together, I approach her at prayer in a church and ask, “Why are you here?” Her line is “Because God is here.” But she can’t do it. Take after take she is unable to retain those four words. Oblivious to the rising tension and unkind remarks from the crew, she presses on. “Let’s do it again,” she says. “I’ll get it.”

Finally a man is laid down on the floor at her feet. Action is called. I ask, “Why are you here?” He whispers, “Because God is here.” Then immediately Rita says, “Because God is here.”

“Cut. Print. We got it,” slurs Ralph Nelson, our director, and the crew bursts into cheers and applause. Rita beams like a little girl who’s just been crowned Miss Snow Queen, completely unaware the cheers are jeers. At lunch, as she rests in her trailer, the jokes about her are lewd and cruel, and for years after, I too would be guilty of reenacting the scene for friends at her expense.

At about 5 p.m. on our first day off, the phone rings in my room. “Hey, it’s Rita. Do you wanna eat?” Thirty minutes later we are sitting in the hotel’s tiny restaurant. “We’ll be friends to start, OK? Dutch treat on dinners. One night you, one night me. Deal. Let’s have red wine. Just two glasses each.” After the first one she asks me how old I am. I tell her: 34.

When dinner is over, we walk through the chilly, dirty streets and she gathers her black-fringed shawl close around her shoulders, slips her arm into mine, and forgets my name. “Oh, yeah, yeah, Frank,” she says. “You’ll be Frankie. I love Frankie. Not Sinatra. The guy was never on time.” We pass an open-air market and she insists we buy fruit and cheese to keep in our rooms. “Just to have, you know, for the ghosts.”

As we walk back toward the hotel holding string sacks of food, she clings to me, her arm tight in the crook of mine, our bodies finding a rhythm, and she whispers words I cannot understand. When I see her to her door, she leans up to chastely kiss me good night and says: “Do me a favor, baby: don’t ever call me mother.”

Film sets, particularly on remote and distant locations, can be anything from warm, collegial good times to lethal, tension-filled bloodbaths. Without the familiar surroundings of home, family, and routine, these shoots can become a breeding ground for heightened drama, soaring libidos, and neurotic behavior. Ours becomes a polarized, not altogether homogeneous collection of crazy loners. At night, doors are closed tight and the cast mostly isolates. On this set a lot of the crew, a mix of American and hard-bitten Mexican wranglers, hits the seedy whorehouses regularly. There are torn-up hotel rooms, hallways reeking of marijuana, heavy bar bills, and drunken brawls at 3 a.m. on the barren streets.

Rita and I drift toward each other like two boats on an unfamiliar sea, torn free of their moorings. We could just as easily have floated in opposite directions, but real life is now reel life, and on movie locations personal relationships are less often chosen than grasped at. Rita grasped at me and I chose to take her on. The 20-year difference in our ages suited the unreality of time and place. Each of us wanted something from the other, and neither of us much contemplated motive or consequence.

A ritual began. Dinner most nights in her rooms. She buys dozens of candles, lights them all, and puts them on every surface, including the floor. I start a fire and pour the wine. And we sit by the open window, our elbows resting on the low wooden sill. Three stories below is the main street of the town, brightly lit, dusty, dirty, and noisy. She wants to make another deal.

We will count trucks. All trucks passing by her window going left to right are mine. All going right to left are hers. Whoever has the most trucks by dinnertime gets treated. I stay with the wine, but she graduates to bourbon. Dinner is served on the floor, and we eat to the cacophony of noise from the street. Her hair is washed free of the day’s set and spray, her face polished clean of makeup, her dress a plain white caftan thrown over her naked body. She crosses her legs, barely touches the food, and talks and talks. Mostly about men. Shards of these ramblings stay with me.

“He found me when I was a kid. Brought me to L.A. What the hell did I know? I went along.” Of another she said, “Oh, Christ, he beat me bad. Then he skipped. I had to sign with Cohn [Harry Cohn, president of Columbia Pictures] for another seven to pay off the debts.” Of Orson Welles she said, “He tried to help me to be a great actress, but he always needed money.” And Prince Aly Khan: “I didn’t want to live nowhere where they kiss the hem of your skirt. I mean, what is that, for Chrissakes? Two guys laying on top of each other outside my bedroom door so I couldn’t get out. I didn’t want to be no f–kin’ princess anyway. So I went to the old man. He liked me, and I said to him, ‘Just give me my kid and let me out of here. I don’t want anything.’” And then she says, “Geez, they were always around. Husbands, boyfriends, lawyers, managers, press agents—the bosses. Where the f–k did they all go?” Her voice is tinny and high, almost childlike—until she picks up the telephone and says in movie-star timbre: “This is Miss Hayworth. Would you please send up another bottle of bourbon.”

When it becomes late and she has had enough of it, she flings her head back, hair flying about her face, and, in the candle’s light and fire’s glow, once again becomes the Goddess. She knows I am looking and she holds the pose, lowers her head, tucks in her chin, raises her eyes to mine, grabs my hair, and says, “Don’t stare at me, baby. You can see me in the movies.”

We will be seven weeks on this turbulent sea, and no other boats take notice of ours or even float past—none but Mitchum’s. A man whom very little escaped. As regards Rita and me, he becomes my one and only confidant. We never discuss their past together, nor does he offer any wisdom or make any judgment. He would just listen and then say: “Frankie, it is what it is.”

But one day he comes to me and says: “Listen, pal, we’re never going to finish this f–king picture if we don’t get your girl to work on time.” Mitch, Rita, and I have our own local drivers, and each of them regards the harrowing ride along narrow, unfenced mountain roads as challenges to be met with daredevil speed. Mitch sleeps through his rides and so do I. But Rita, who is terrified of all moving things, makes her driver go at a snail’s pace and often arrives at work an easy hour or more after everyone else. So Mitch comes up with a plan: “Look,” he says. “Let’s the three of us ride together. You sit up front and we’ll put Rita in the back with me.”

Early mornings become a struggle of manipulating Rita into a broken-down jalopy and laying her down on the floor of the back seat. Mitch tosses a blanket over her as she pulls her floppy sailor hat down past her eyes. I then hop in the front and off we go. These rides become a hilarious routine of Rita laughing and screaming at the top of her lungs, with Mitch stretched out on the back seat outshouting her, singing Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs, exactly as written, in perfect pitch, while a non-English-speaking driver careens close to the narrow road’s edge as wildly as he dares. When we reach the location, I get out and Mitch and I lift Rita from the floor, remove the blanket, pull up her hat, and calm her down. “Cheated the old Grim Reaper again,” he says and saunters off to his trailer.

On set, Rita continues to be a nightmare for everyone. There is not a shred of temperament, not a demand, not so much as a hint of cruelty. Rather, it is like watching a schoolgirl desperately trying to learn her times tables and unable to get past the twos. Very little sympathy is shown for her. It is assumed she is a drunk and is boozing in her trailer. No one, including Mitch, reaches out to help her. So little was known then of her disease that even I regarded the panic and terror in her eyes as the neurotic insecurity of a fading star.

In all her scenes, large placards are put next to the camera and her lines are written out in huge block letters. It becomes an agony for her to try to hold on to what little she can, and an embarrassment to face each daunting day. But she does face them, and she does make it through. Her pride and happiness at the smallest of her achievements are pitifully touching.

The nights are another kind of hell for her. She has climbed into my boat, and I come to see I have set a dangerous course for which I am woefully unprepared. There are stretches of time when the mist in her mind clears and she is very much with me. But often she desperately clings, weeps, and talks in words I cannot understand, and it is not always my name she calls out in the dark. When at last she sleeps, I leave her and go back to my room. There is, sadly, never a time when we awake in the same bed.

Our film comes to its predictable end, and on our last night, with my bags packed and waiting in my room, late in the candlelight I say the words I know she wants to hear. An easy lie to tell. The next morning at dawn I abandon her and fly back to real life.

A year later there she is on the Christmas cover of Esquire, looking like a waxen image of herself, smiling and confident, her arms wrapped around a Santa dummy, once more facing a lying camera. Our film is the last movie she ever makes. Her physical body passed out of existence on May 14, 1987, but Rita’s essence had faded from the frame long before.

Now, almost 40 years after I faded from her life, there she is in black and white on my television screen. And the camera’s lie is actually welcome and soothing. Her beauty is staggering. Her sultry voice, her body, the way she moves close to a man, the sway of her hips as she drunkenly belts out “Put the Blame on Mame,” stop time and obliterate what had been our reality. Her acting is honest and true. A thoroughbred, desperate to be taken seriously, cursed with a divine beauty, who could not find a man to desire that beauty as only a part of the whole woman.

Near the end of Gilda, it seems she has lost Glenn Ford forever because he believes her character is what she has been pretending to be: a loose woman out for a good time with as many men as she can find. Feeling profoundly alone and misunderstood, sitting at a bar, shyly smiling at the bartender, her face full of loss and vulnerability, she is hauntingly lovely. The bartender asks: “Would you like to have a tiny drink of ambrosia, suitable only for a goddess?”

In the movie’s final moments, the villain is killed and the lovers reunite.

“Let’s go home,” Rita says to Glenn as they face a new sunrise.

Those nights we spent together in Mexico, she’d say:

“Put all the lights out, Frankie, and open the shutters.”

And by the light of the candles and fire, she would once again become the legendary beauty who had obsessed and haunted my young imagination, swaying and dancing for me.

“Stay with me, baby. Stay with me tonight.”

I never shared a sunrise with Rita Hayworth; and I did not try to save her, nor could I have. The best I was able to do was take into my arms someone no longer any of the things she had once been: Movie Star, Princess, Goddess, or Gilda. Just a 54-year-old courageous and gentle woman named Margarita Carmen Cansino, one of God’s lost souls, clinging in the night to a man whose name she could not remember.

————————————-

From the book Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them by Frank Langella.

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pikachu, I Choose You

What do you do when your bunkmate starts playing pokemon in the middle of the night, or worse still, gets excited and feels that getting verbal, rough, and insulting his opponents(cute little pokemons) is a necessity to win the mini war he’s fighting at the small corner of the room?

Or what if another starts a mini k-pop karaoke and the rest starts singing along? And the problem is you don’t listen to K-pop and you have no idea what the fuck they are singing, but you just join in and start rambling nonsense so that you don’t feel left out?

How about having your 3 days old toilet paper returned to you after making a trip around the world in 2 hours (everyone likes to shit before outfield), being passed on, until you have no idea whether the last guy used it to wipe his ass or whether he sat and crapped on the toilet paper itself, because it came back flattened and even he could not explain why?

Or maybe the most important point to note is that you should be wary of the smallest guy in your section, because mine makes the loudest noise when he’s asleep. That small little fellow sure can snore. Or maybe he was learning to growl like a dragon. I don’t know. I couldn’t tell. We had to throw something at his bed to nudge him up abit so that he’d snap out of the Inception styled adventure he was having there.

If you are in(or out of) army, you can probably relate to me. After all, there’s always the snorlax and the jigglypuff in every section of 16 men. If you are not in army(or never will be), good for you. You don’t have to sleep with 15 other equally desperate guys, whose only options are turning gay or using their right hand from Monday to Friday until they book out. The second comes with a charge of Detention Barracks(military jail) so it’s an extra zest for the risk lovers.

And I think I’ve been playing with fire for awhile now. Don’t let your mind wander, my right hand is only for eating during weekdays(and occasionally throwing a punch or two to jokers). It’s just that I’ve been close to getting caught for the indiscipline that’s acting up on me. In fact, I’ve already bagged 6 confinements, 2 guard duty since BMT. My buddy had 5 confinements and 1 guard duty. We were the record holders for the highest number of confinement on Tekong shared between bed buddies and I’m proud we’ve both made it to command school now training to be leaders. Talk about quality leaders.

Still, my personality is getting me into hot shit. Like questioning and arguing with the sergeant why I can’t eat curry puff at the firing range. Pretty stupid right? Sometimes in the heat of the moment I tend to lose my rationale, especially since I never liked the Army system. I dislike authority. It’s too restricting and suffocating. Anyway that got me guard duty during Chinese New Year so while others out there can suffocate themselves with their angpao money I got a day off leisuring around the beautiful camp premises of Pasir Laba, guarding our camp from aliens and giant killer bee attacks.

Still, all this punishments are like a message- Welcome to Army. Where many questions are left unanswered and the cleanest part of your body is your thumb, because everyone will be asking you to suck it. Got your weekend burnt? Suck thumb lo.

Army however, is a learning opportunity. I won’t deny that. There’s alot of useful stuffs taught here and you can meet a wide diversity of people that comes from different races and background. And because we spent so much time together we pretty much go through every thing. Some guy shows up without shaving or talking for the next few days and you know that loser just been dumped. A little extra tender care for the week and you can resume the regime of beating him up after that.

There’s also others who’s very strong and is able to draw out emotional sustenance through his surroundings without having to be in love. I sadly, do not belong in that category. The blues of waking up in the morning missing somebody is a miserable position to be in.

Missing your loved ones aside, when the tough times come that’s where paradise ends. Especially outfield, which is a real bitch up the ass. Even the facilities in bunk seems like a distant luxury whenever we go outfield. You are covered in mud, you can’t bathe, you have to put on camouflage cream, dig your shellscrape(aka coffin), lack of sleep(8 hours out of 60), but the real thing that makes outfield tormenting is the nitty gritty little stuffs that’s being implemented. Outfield discipline and standards is unlike that in camp.

High kneel position if you are not doing anything,  one weekend burnt if the rifle is not on you, no lights to be used at night when you can’t even see beyond your arms, no field cooking unless permitted, being randomly asked to fall in at midnight, body vest and helmet on when moving around, and the fear of doing the Immediate Action Drills. It’s basically a drill to test your reaction to fake enemy fire, and sergeants always like to do it when everyone is shagged out. The two most dreaded ones are the Sniper contacted drill and the Artillery contacted drill. There’s a “casualty” for the first one and the group have to carry him and run, while the second involves running all the way back to base camp.

Like they always say- Tough times don’t last, tough men does!

It’s not just being tough, joking through the pain is another way of sweetening it. Especially with the lads in my section, it’s just so much fun to sit there and do nothing. I remembered this time where we were supposed to brush up on our section battle drills but we got so tired that we ended up sitting there rooted to the ground while we talked about what we’d do if we were the Chief of Army. Of course we’d all agree that as C.O.A the first course of action to do is to abolish the army and replace it with boy scouts, but from then on we were all divided – some wanted KFC at the cookhouse, some wanted NS to be compulsory for females (only those below 65kg) and to put them in the same bunk, others wanted air condition bunks. As for me? I think my demands are rather reasonable. I want my breakfast served to me on bed while I check my Facebook. Less sugar for my coffee please.

I wonder what will happen if we wrote all our opinions on a piece of paper and send it to Chief of Army office. Maybe we would get a medal for our contributions to revamping the Army. Who knows?

The sad part now is that we are all moving on to the next phase of our army life. Our foundation term has just ended, and while some are still staying on in infantry, others have been posted to different vocations like signals, artillery, tanks, military police. My buddy is going to Recce, while I’m posted to Engineer Training Institute.

This is the part where I extend my emotions and say I’m really gonna miss them. Especially my buddy, who’s got so many flaws. I don’t think that asshole reads my blog anyway, in fact I think he’s even having trouble reading his phone bill,  so I’m gonna flame him all I want. Thanks for always hogging the toilet, always blasting loud music without the consideration of others, sleep talking while I wake up to go to the loo and always getting us into trouble. Oh and I still got your socks even though I said that I returned it to you, so you are never gonna find out for the rest of your life where it went to.

Despite all the misgivings, Army so far has been an enjoyable experience. The funny thing is, you won’t like it when you are doing it. At that present moment the world out there seems so much better, the nightscene, the latest movies, everything that you can’t do. It’s when you look back that you realise how much the journey and the memories mean to you.

Now that I’m done reminiscing about the past-

Explosive Ordnance Disposal, here I come!

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ctrl + Alt + Del

Every year we get a chance for a fresh start, be it to redeem yourself from past mistakes or to aim and climb greater heights. This year is the same as well, with the closure of a decade and the beginning of another. It’s like reaching another checkpoint, where you stop and turn to reflect – Did I move forward and advanced as a person, or in reality did I just stayed there and waited for something to happen?

For me, 2010 was a good year. In fact, the whole decade of 2000 would probably have the most impact on my life. It spelled the transformation from a mischievous devil of a boy to a grown man. I learn to pick myself up when I fall, and to take criticisms with a pinch of salt. I saw people come and go, something I’ve come to believe is just a part and parcel of life. It made me believe even more in keeping close friends around you closer. It was also during this period where I learn to love, and to be loved in return. Of course for everything sweet, there’s the bitter side to it as well. I got my taste of heartbreak, but it was nothing I couldn’t survive. I picked up hobbies to channel my zeal towards enjoying life, and they paid off pretty well.

2010 in particular is the year where my studies come towards the end. All those efforts spent on mugging seems so tedious, but looking ahead it’s just a mere fraction of my life, where that small portion matters so much in being the foundation for the future. It’s the make or break period where you determine whether you live in rags or riches, unless you are a particular school dropout known as Bill Gates. 2010 was also the year where I enlisted to serve my country, and it is there where I learn many useful skills and gained a lifestyle that’s beneficial for my body. I’ve become faster, stronger, sexier and more confident as well. (Megan Fox, here I come)

To my readers, I hope the same year has bless you with the same fortune I had, if not, here’s the point where you can have the chance to restart everything and change it to the way you want. Take it to be like a keystroke of Ctrl+Alt+Del, open up your life and peek into it, and delete away all the bad and the ugly, retaining the good of you that you want to bring forward to the new year.

Perhaps a new year require a change of attitude as well. Here’s where we can we all be adventurous and try out new things, learning and laughing together in the process. I say, toss away your new year resolutions, how many of us have actually managed to completed it? (Definitely not me, I wrote one three pages long) Instead, maybe we should write about the things we don’t want to see in ourselves. Instead of asking to smile more, perhaps one should brood less about unhappy stuff. Instead of asking to become richer, maybe one should start saving more often. It’s a new year and instead of having the same boring resolution routine each year, we can always try experimenting it with a different approach. After all, if it doesn’t work, then you probably do not need to check here next new year for any updates. I will be in hiding during this period. If it does work, then what we will see is a new person that everyone loves. And I’d love to meet that better you.

Until then, we have a year ahead to improve and surpass each other to metamorphose into having an even superior personality and character than we have right now.

I’ll see you there.

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  

You’re The Legacy

You make my engine go faster

Over the weekend was lots of eating, gaming, chillax and Tron. I find the character Quorra really adorable, and the dazzling visuals in the movie makes a hell of an orgasmic experience.

This days, I miss writing alot. I wanna write more but I wish I had the time for it…

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Difference Between Me and You Is That I’m Not on Fire

Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.

Bob Dylan

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 4:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Awkward Silences

Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?

That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably share the silence.

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dancing On My Own

I always find it a pleasure to listen to songs where both their melody and lyrics fit and compliment each other, where the lyrics doesn’t feel like it’s been written just to fill the empty gaps in between pauses or just because it rhymes.

It’s like listening to Lady Gaga Bad Romance. It’s got an addictive tune, and she’s got a sexy voice. But the lyrics feels like it’s being written to suit the song, and not written together with the song. I’m not saying the song sucks, but the difference there is what makes a great and quality song, and one that is trying to become one. Remove the beat and repeat this – ” I want your ugly, I want your disease, I want your everything as long as it’s free (?) “. And if before the era of Lady Gaga you sang ” Rah rah ah ah ah, roma roma ma, gahgah ooo lah lah! ” loudly in public, you’ll get a nice little deluxe room in a fancy place called Woodbridge Hospital. Now, everyone’s humming it in public like a fashion statement.

Dancing On My Own by Robyn on the other hand is a song where both parallels meet and compliment each other. It’s incredible because what you get out of the perfect blend is emotions being evoked from the song, where the lyrics achieve the storytelling process and the tune brings the vibe out from it.

The song is about a girl watching on as her love interest makes out on the dance floor, ignorant to the fact that she is there. What I like is it’s synthesized and groovy beat that makes you wanna dance for the wrong reason, not to get wild but to unleash your sorrow. Contrary to most somber songs Dancing On My Own is rapid and fast paced, having a characteristic electronica burst to guide it through. Coupled with the dejection in her voice by the time the music stops you will find a certain melancholy and sympathy in your heart.

Then maybe you can donate it to Lady Gaga for free.

Published in: on November 14, 2010 at 7:36 am  Leave a Comment  

It’s not all that bad, but life in army is still pretty boring. Day in, day out, we go through a timetable that is rigid and repetitive.

There’s hardly any time for myself, but when I do, I spend the little time I have thinking about you. Sleeping comes second, without saying.

Sometimes I wish you weren’t that hard to figure out.

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

The Final Hour

S9049764B reporting for duty, sir

7 more hours to enlistment. Yet I’m still up on my bed, listening to 98.7FM, surfing Facebook, reading some recent news headlines.

In case you were wondering, I don’t enlist at 6pm. My enlistment is at 12.15pm sharp, and yes, minus 7 hours from that and you get 5am. So why am I up at this ungodly hour instead of sleeping and trying to get a goodnight rest. Well, I don’t really know either.

It’s like the night before you travel to somewhere nice and exotic for a holiday, and you’re all prepped up and feeling excited about it, finding it hard to sleep and not think of how much fun you’re going to have. I’m kinda feeling like that now, but the problem is, I’m not really gonna have much fun there, as much as I wished that was the case.

But surprisingly, it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I mean, I still feel bad about army, how much it sucks, how I’m going to miss my weekdays for the next two years, miss eating murtabak at 2am in the morning, miss my hair, and my freedom. But I get to meet new people, which I bet will be a big part of my life for the next two years. I get to bulk up myself up by the endless physical training so that at the end I’d look sexy and irresistible that even Megan Fox will have a crush on me. I get to be drilled everyday, to be more disciplined and organised. When I think of all this, I feel better. Slightly.

I think the fact that I’m so composed about it probably stemmed from the fact that I know that it’s mandatory and I’m pretty much resigned to my fate, and that I will not hesitate to defend my loved ones. I think if one’s family is threatened it forces a different kind of aggression out of people. Ask the rest of the army who’d brave the frontlines why they’d do it. I’m sure there are many more braver souls than me who’s willing to risk their lives for their loves.

Once I’m in there, I’m gonna miss all my friends, family and loved ones. Will probably write about my experiences there too.

Goodbye World!

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

The Local Tourist

So I was walking around in Suntec the other day when I picked up a copy of The Official Guide & Map of Singapore for tourists out of curiousity.

Looks something like this, just that mine’s cover pic has got the Singapore flyer

And guess what, I bought a street directory that morning at Shell for 8 dollars (8.35 to be exact), and when I opened the brochure the first thing that came out dangling was a Singapore map. Damn. But what can I say? That’s what the title reads isn’t it. Just my luck that Singapore Tourism Board doesn’t put travel guides at petrol station.

Anyway the point here is, just as I was flipping through the pages of our friendly neighbourhood travel brochure, it struck me that I didn’t really have a lot to boast about knowing my country. And from what they are showing to the tourists in the travel guide, they might even be more exposed to Singapore’s culture than I ever was.

The second page was a “Did you know?” kind of section, and I found some interesting facts, like the Suntec fountain of wealth which cost around USD6mil to build (I took a walk there later and it didn’t looked like money well spent to me), population in Singapore’s going close to 5 million (I always thought it was 4), and the famous Singapore Sling being first served at Raffles Hotel close to a century ago.

Already an icon worldwide

So what other discovery did I make in this treasure manifested in the form of a little book spanning 53 pages?

More surprises.

It’s funny how we always complain about Singapore being small and lacking in creativity when it comes to having new places, because I certainly found some hunts that’s worth visiting. Places you’d probably heard for a few thousand times, like Little India, but yet hiding a corner which is rich in history and culture.

A perfect guide for a hunter.

The first section is a list of locations for hardcore shoppers, accompanied with a description. Below are some portions which I quoted out.


Ngee Ann City
Takashimaya

Southeast Asia’s largest shopping centre is home to a department store, a supermarket, food court, boutiques and lifestyle stores.


Chijmes

Once a convent and orphanage, Chijmes was destroyed during World War II only to be refurbished into an entertainment hub.

Bugis Street

Once a raunchy night haunt for transvestites in the 1970s (Cool I didn’t know that!), this market now sells trendy street apparel and accessories from Japan, Hong Kong and Korea.

Interesting little book. I think it offers a different way of looking at our little country. Some of the contents in it are things that Singaporeans interact with everyday, like our local delights (Char Kway Teow, Murtabak, etc.), but they brand it into the gems of our country. Makes me feel abit guilty when I remembered I didn’t finish my Murtabak the other day..

It’s amazing how much reading something so insignificant can do to a person. Like just nonchalantly picking up a guide for tourists can end up with a hunger and desire to explore more about my country. I guess it’s as they say, looking at the world in a different light can always open up new possibilities.

So I’ve decided, I’m going to travel around Singapore like a real tourist. I’ll probably need to disguise and arm myself with an Malaysian accent and a “I ❤ Singapore” shirt, but I think I’ll do just fine in fooling half the country with my facade. It’s the traveller that’s acted up in me that will ultimately be tested, like listening all over again to the history of Singapore, listening about the prince who landed on the coast and saw a lion, listening to the culture and diversity of a multi cultural society, but at the end of the day, because I used to slept through history lessons, they could prove to be beneficial.

Sounds exciting already. I’ll probably start with a breakfast along Singapore River, then visit the national museum, afterwards stop by Haw Par Villa for some pictures, visit the scenic Mount Faber at night and take a cable car to party along the beach of Sentosa. But oh wait, I am not supposed to know Singapore that well in the first place, isn’t it? Opps..

Well Singapore, here I come!

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 7:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Hola Señor, Quesadillas por favor

Three days ago, I had an insane craving for Mexican food and Taco Bell.

Now, considering I’ve never set foot in Taco Bell before, nor ate proper Mexican cuisine except a rather fail attempt in making Burritos from a Popiah, I was wondering to myself – Where the hell did you get the craving for Mexican food?

Thus begins the greatest mystery on Earth.

To try and solve this complex puzzle, I tried to recall everything that had to do with Mexicans. After rewatching the entire trilogy of Once Upon A Time in Mexico, and randomly writing whatever Mexican food that comes to mind during then, I came up with a list of Mexican-related food that I’ve eaten at the end.

– KFC Banditto Pocket
– 7-11 Go Go Taquitos

I look at the list, decided I was still not getting any closer to solving this mystery, and went on to the next Mexicano film. 40 films later I added Nachos to the list, wondered was it the trigger, googled and found this

Nope, definitely not Nachos. But by a bizarre twist of events I turned my focus to satisfying my craving. When you’re hungry and you’re looking at all kinds of food you wish you could wrap your tongue on, it’s like torture.

I surrender! Please let me eat that Burrito!

I went to my fridge, found it amazingly barren of food, and scavenge what I could find to make a proper meal. Mexican style of course. The end result?

Yes, that really is (Mexican styled) Roti Prata

I was actually pretty impressed with my cooking. I think I should do random stuffs like that more often. Potential cook in the making!

So anyway, this is a pretty lame post, but I was bored and hungry and I need something to keep my mind off from thinking about food. I end up writing about food anyway so it didn’t help at all.

Published in: on September 7, 2010 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Undisclosed Desires

I want to reconcile the violence in your heart
I want to recognize your beauty is not just a mask
I want to exorcise the demons from your past
I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart

Muse

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ashes Of Time (Redux)

I like to revisit movies that I’ve watched. To me watching movies again can reinvigorate the senses and one particular movie I’ve rewatched recently is Wong Kar Wai – Ashes Of Time Redux. An under appreciated work from a master of storytelling.

The cinematography and direction of this movie is beautiful. The bright colour palettes and grainy feel coming straight from the editor’s reel provides a parallel to the world, a harsh and dystopic desert where killings are common and as a means of surviving in a decaying & pillaging environment.

In the movie the backdrop of the characters are perhaps more synonymous with Wuxia novels fans, with Wong Kar Wai’s movie a development into them. Our protagonist is a smooth talking, self serving middleman who brokers assassinations for people, also going by his more famous name that some might already recognise – the renowned pugilist Ouyang Feng.

Portrayed by the late Zhang Guo Rong

The loosely knitted plot itself forms semblance of order around the central character, coming from his adamant exploit and manipulation of skilled swordsmen into bounty hunters. Ouyang Feng intends to profit himself while sending them on dangerous and sometimes fatal missions, all the time developing deeper understanding and attachment with the people he crosses path with.

Brigitte Lin as “Murong Yin/Murong Yang

Tony Leung Chiu Wai as “Blind Swordsman

Jacky Zhang Xueyou as “Hong Qi

Tony Leung Ka Fai as “Huang Yaoshi

Ouyang Feng narration of his encounters shows him to be a deeply troubled man who has yet to accept the betrayal of his lover, a stark contrast with his behaviour as a wry and animated man. Another of Wong Kar Wai trademark characteristic with the fooling around of unstable characters undergoing inner turmoil.

Themes of morality, adultry, jealousy are also mentioned, although they are generally mild and in accordance with the era they’re in. But wait, what about the strongest emotional tool that Wong Kar Wai always wield in his movies – love?

Ashes of Time does not disappoint, with love being the motivation for all the characters at some point. After all, when it comes down to romance, no one portrays it better than Wong Kar Wai.

Ashes of Time is not a classic Wuxia film. It may be disorientated, confusing, and too dense. But what keeps the film together is it’s pace and melodramatic romance. At the end though, it was one interesting quote that stood out and wouldn’t leave my mind.

我曾经听人说过,当你已经无法拥有的时候,你唯一能做的就是保留住那些记忆。

– 歐陽鋒

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

What? It’s National Day?

Did you realised that National Day is about a week away?!

It came to me when my mum was watching the tv and they were playing some sappy and horrible song, which turns out to be our NDP 2010 Theme Song. Nice! I guess Singaporean singers should just refrain from making cheers because they suck so bad in it. (oh yeah~ Oh YeAH~ OH YEAH~ YOU ARE THE ONE SINGAPORE!!)

Other than the bad cheers, other reminders that tell us National Day is coming are the flags hanging on our HDB blocks, and the pre-excitement about our National Day parade, mostly centered around their goodies bag.

Aunties – Ehh this year goodie bag got what inside arh?

The National Day Parade is one event which will never get me excited. To be honest I do not really know what’s in the parade lineup. I’ve never watched the live telecast and only attended it once in Primary 5. Couldn’t remember what went on in it, because I was genuinely bored and my view was obstructed by a fat kid sitting in front of me.

I ended up watching birds, remembered a part about helicopters and skydivers with flags, ripping and ransacking the goodie bag for food, and watching more birds. I was waiting for something explosive, which finally came at the end. Even then I was not very impressed, because as an eleven year old pyrotechnics mischief the NDP final fireworks segment was the equivalent of what my mum had to handle when I’m home every night. I used to have a place in my cupboard which I labelled the Danger Corner because of all the matches, pop pop, lighters, party poppers, candles, boxes of stick fireworks, squeezable fake mines that I’ve stocked up there.

You have no childhood if you don’t know what this is

National Day Parade to me was just another hyped event that was way over-rated. But it doesn’t seems that way to the other five million people that are sharing the island with me, so I’ve decided something.

I am going to watch the NDP on tv this year.

You must be going, cheyy, but it was not an easy decision for me. It required courage and bravery. It required the guts of a lionheart. In fact all it required was half a mug of tiger beer.

Let’s hope that I don’t drink before the show or the grand fireworks finale would be happening at Danger Corner.

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

World Cup 2010: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Four years ago, I caught the excitement at Genting Highlands. I wasn’t very much a soccer person back then, but it was just amazing how despite that I could sit down and enjoy an atmospheric and thrilling 90 minutes of action with a bunch of strangers whom I’ve never met my entire life, and yet share groans of disappointment and euphoric yelps from near misses and goals.

It was a pleasant coincidence that four years later I’d be in Genting again, and had the luck to catch part of the World Cup there. But this time, I felt different. There was the passion, and an understanding for the game, a global obsession with no boundaries, a connection between people of different diversity and colours. So even when that connection ends after one month, the memories that carry on will be sweet and ever lasting. For me, to re-live it is to re-read it. Here is where I give my 2010 World Cup experience and joy it’s immortality.

The Good


Spain VS Holland Finals

If there was a list of the best countries never to win the World Cup, this two countries would be right at the top end of it. Holland, the blend of 1974 and 1978 nicknamed the Clockwork Oranje was the best football country to ever not win the World Cup. They invented and successfully mastered Total Football, one of the finest forms of football to watch.  Spain has been playing good football of late and despite taking home Euros 2008 they’ve never won the World Cup. For them to meet in the last game of the World Cup was an extremely tasty prospect.


South Africa As Host Country

For many South Africans, this World Cup has been a dream in waiting. There were many fears about the preparation being unable to be completed on time, with ten stadiums and more than one billion dollars needed for this event. But everything went smoothly, and the culture and people welcomed the visitors with open arms. The tourism and awareness raised will definitely go a long way to help South Africa in developing it’s areas, especially those that are plagued with poverty, and it’s profile, seeing that before the World Cup it was generally labelled as a dangerous territory to venture into with fancy stories about being robbed at gunpoint right after exiting the airport, and a company even going so far as to offer bullet proof vests for tourists before the World Cup, creating a media hype about the security. The world will view South Africa in a different light after this historic event.


Spain as World Cup Winners

Spain as winners was nothing surprising, was it? After all, Paul has already foretold us that La Roja will be returning home with the crown. As Euro 08 winners, they came into this tournament as favourites, and after a slight scare in the opening matches, they never looked back. Their quick and precision passing was one of the few highlights of the whole competition. Holland may have created Total Football, but Spain perfected and upgraded it, and they showed them who the better side was by emerging victorious after a hard fought battle.


Paul the Oracle Octopus

Don’t worry, I won’t leave out the climax of the World Cup – An octopus. I should have put my money on where he puts his butt. He correctly predicted the right box bearing the winning country’s flag a total of eight times, and if the odds are 50/50 chances of winning for both teams, then the odds to predict all of them correctly would be 1/256. To show that he’s not just attracted to the colours and pattern of a flag he correctly predicted Serbia over Germany, which they won 2-1. Not bad for an octopus. Now that he’s retired from football maybe we can have other uses for him?

Hehe, I’m just kidding.


Germany “Die Mannschaft” Squad

To be honest I wasn’t expecting Germany to do very well in this World Cup. But like they’ve shown in the past, you can never write them off fully. The squad that came to the World Cup was fresh, young and full of vigor, but lacking in experience. Many wrote them off and claimed that Michael Ballack missing the World Cup would be a great misfortune for them. But instead youngsters like Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil blossomed, with Ballack absence giving them a bigger and greater role. With strong defensive lines and quick on the counterattack, the German Blitzkrieg terrorised enemy defenses, growing in confidence with each passing victory, until they were stopped in the tracks by the Spanish. To go home in third place while they could have won the crown would be hard for the German squad to swallow, but don’t expect them to continue playing the role of chasing winners, their future looks promising. More good things to come from Germany.

Diego Forlan lifting Uruguay to glory

No one would have expected Uruguay to make it to the semi-finals, and they owe it to one hand, Suarez, and one man – Diego Forlan. Sharing his expertise with his teammates, he guided them to glory with four crucial goals to bring Uruguay to the semi finals, with one more coming from the third and fourth placing against Germany. He deserved the Fifa Golden Ball award, and missed out narrowly to Thomas Müller for the Golden Boot. Oh, and he has a hot girlfriend.

The Bad

Disappointing Stars of World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Kaka and Franck Ribery. The mega stars of football that the world was so familiar with. Many was expecting them to use the World Cup platform to write their name into football history, but instead they were quiet and faded off the campaign with a whimper. I’ve barely seen Rooney with the ball, Kaka has been off form for quite some time, Ronaldo was unable to emulate his brilliance in club football, Ribery playtime was over in three games and only Messi came the closest. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal among the five. Maybe the weight and pressure was too heavy for them to perform, but that’s what they’re paid by the millions to do in the first place.

Last World Cup’s Finalists unable to advance pass Group Stages

What happened to France and Italy? No one really knows. While both of them may have an aging squad, they have vast experience in competitions like this. Their domestic leagues are also among the top few in world rankings, so you can’t say there wasn’t sufficient quality players to choose from. So was it tactics? Perhaps it is. Both their managers have come under heavy fire for their humiliating World Cup campaigns, with Marcelo Lippi apologising and accepting full responsibility to the media despite leading Italy to glory in 2006. Raymond Domenech opted for a more controversial way of bowing out of the World Cup. Having his entire team fall out with him by refusing to train, had one of his player using vulgarities on him, refusing to shake a fellow manager’s hand after a game, that pretty much sums up his career and his last game in charge of the Les Bleus.

The Ugly

Fifa refusal to use technology to aid the game

I won’t blame the linesman for failing to notice that the ball has crossed the line in the England vs Germany game. The ball’s round. It’s impossible to be continuously tracking the ball with the naked eye. But in this age, viewers like us don’t even have to spot it because we can always wait for the replay, where one second can be slowed to seemingly infinity. Under this circumstances, we make even better judgement than referees on the pitch. Penalty kick given seems to be dubious? Wait for the replay and we’ll see if it’s faked. Why not hand the power to the referees and give them a more clearer perspective?

Apparently Fifa stance is that it wants to preserve the original flavour of football. It’s an irony that in the Argentina vs Mexico game, when Carlos Tevez scored an offside goal, the linesman allowed it, but some fool in the technical room replayed it on the big screen and everyone at the stadium saw that mistake, including the linesman but he couldn’t change his decision. Fifa argue that the game has been playing like that since the inception of the World Cup. The mistakes contribute to the game. True, Diego Maradona infamous hand ball in 1986 dubbed the Hand of God is still a talking point today, but the football now and back then has changed alot too. It’s much more fast paced now, and players are more aggressive. If Fifa can’t learn to adapt, then it’ll be unjust and inequality that awaits football.

Luis Suarez Hand of God

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez must be aiming for the goalkeeper’s Golden Glove award when he decided to slap away a ball that was goal bound in the dying minutes of the game against Ghana. The referee did spotted it, and meted out the punishment in just, sending off Suarez and awarding a penalty, which Ghana eventually missed. Luis Suarez made himself more hated by celebrating over the top when Ghana missed, and then proudly declaring to the media that “The ‘Hand of God‘ now belongs to me”. Its raises question about what then is cheating considered to be truly cheating; to get caught while in the act of doing it, or to intentionally know that it is wrong and yet still break the rules for it.

Holland Aggressive Play

Despite all the expectations I had for the match, there was nothing pretty about Holland’s play at all in the end. The world used to know them as the Clockwork Oranje, but for this match there was nothing clockwork about them. The over physical approach that Holland attempted to play to block out Spain’s passing was a failure, because Spain still dominated possession. Nigel de Jong karate kick on Xabi Alonso was the most extreme out of all the tackles, and to be honest I was surprised Alonso didn’t emerged with a hole in his stomach and his gut hanging out. With nine yellow cards being brandished to them, including a second yellow to John Heitinga, only two outfield players was not booked, excluding the goalkeeper. After 2010 they will hold the record of losing the most finals in World Cup history, but with the way they played against Spain I hope they take it with a pinch of salt and come back for bigger, better, and hopefully prettier things in the future.

Goodbye World Cup, see you in four years time!

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Friends, New Places

I find the prospect of meeting new people a challenge in life.

Was at a Jacuzzi facilities in Genting earlier this week (Shiok!). It was kinda late in the night so there wasn’t anyone else when I went inside, especially with the World Cup game still on, which France would eventually go on and get hammered & eliminated 2-1 by South Africa.

I was about to drift off in that paradise settings when heavy footsteps awoke me. Perturbed by the fact that I would no longer have that whole place to myself, I took the opportunity to scrutinise him from head to toe while the intruder was stuffing his belongings into the locker. He seems to be of middle eastern descent, and kinda looked like the Prince of Persia, albeit a fatter one.

When he came into the pool I thought I’d be polite to warn him that among the two jacuzzi there, the one I was in was the hotter one. He didn’t seem to understood English when he dived in straight and waded across to the opposite far end directly facing me. It was only after a brief awkward period of silence that with a smirk he muttered the words- “No kick”.

Wow. A heat immune Prince of Persia. He has got to be from the desert.

After some ice-breaking exchanges we warmed up a little. He was insanely funny, a little bit of a sexist and a collector. We chatted for a good thirty minutes before he left to find his wife, whom he claimed that- “she’s lost everywhere except in her kitchen“.

It was fun talking to the Prince of Persia, so much so that I relished the opportunity to make another new friend in the next person who came in, still pleasant and smiling from that time with the Prince. After all, life’s full of little surprises and it’s up to you to find them all. Delightful people are everywhere. The next guy who came into the Jacuzzi didn’t turn out to be that delightful though.

I think he thought I was gay.

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

To Kill A Mockingbird

My adventure to the fictional sleepy town of Maycomb in 1936 around which the novel- To Kill A Mockingbird is set in started forty-eight hours ago. Forty eight hours later, the adventure ends, but it was a rocky journey through the themes of conscience and righteousness all built around an emotional core, and told from the perspective of a juvenile.

The juvenile is Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, who begins as a six-years old girl growing up in a decrepit town, and does not understand the weight of seriousness or the themes their family is embroiled in, when her father, in the name of law, decides to defend an innocent black man accused of raping a white girl in court. She falls back to her brother-Jeremy “Jem” Finch for advice when the world seems too distant to understand, who is older than her by four years.

The titular character of the story however, is Atticus Finch, the father of Scout and Jem. He is a lawyer, and believes that one should always uphold the law and a set of moral values. He believes the ideal world should be one where every men has an equal standing ground, something which is reflected upon his behaviour towards his kids, where he openly teaches them about having respect and dignity for the people around them. It was later revealed that he used to be an expert sharpshooter thirty years ago, one of the many things that he did not told his kids, because he felt that “God gave him an unfair advantage over other creatures”. A model citizen, Atticus is inspiring for firmly sticking to his set of values despite having all odds being stacked against him.

And so the family tackles with the issues that arises because of their father involvement with the accused. A series of twists and turns throughout the story makes it more compelling.

The innocence of which the story was told also made it unique, memorable, heartwarming and funny, despite tackling on themes like racism and rape. In that sense Harper Lee has done an enrapturing job in writing a piece of literary legacy, striking many hearts with its simple yet affectionate story. To Kill A Mockingbird is a timeless classic that serves to forever remind us of the shackles of inequality the world is being bounded to, and the countless people that are still working relentlessly to free us from them towards a better future.

Published in: on May 27, 2010 at 9:40 am  Leave a Comment  

You talkin’ to me, darling?

I feel out of sorts lately. It’s like there’s this niggling death-watch beetle in the soul draining my life out of me, sapping on it the same way a leech does for blood. Especially at work, where I do things halfheartedly, and only realised them after. It’s almost equivalent to not using my brain, with the exception being when the Sony Ericsson promoter walks over for her calculator, in which it instantly turns into a living formula.

I just feel drained out all the time and I have no idea what’s the reason for it. Maybe it’s the impending conscription, maybe it’s a lack of tender feminine apprehension, maybe it’s a mixture of being stuck in between puberty and mid-life crisis.

Or maybe it’s because I need a spark in my life.

I haven’t been me for awhile. I just went through the last few posts and they are rubbish. I’ve been a shitty writer and a critic lately, not that I care of either, but it’s just a pain to look at. There wasn’t any directions, and the Lost in Translation review just about means what it reads. Maybe I’ll write about Gandhi in my next post and hope that I can be enlightened by the time I finish the last word. I just seem to be lacking the drive to do anything wholeheartedly.


You sir, what in the world are you talking about?

Besides, I haven’t had any time to do the things I like. There are tons of movie queued waiting to be watched, I’ve got a guitar gathering dust at the corner, fishing gears that’s polished and shiny instead of rusty and dirt-ridden, and renewed my airgun club membership only to have the card in my wallet for display and bragging purposes.

[ Me: I airgun champion
Kid: Really arh?!
Me: Yah                                 ]

But it’s the little things like this that actually affect people. All this while I was probably finding something or someone to blame. But perhaps, instead of asking what’s wrong, I should ask what’s right instead.

I haven’t been appreciative of a lot of things. And that includes the people around me. Don’t worry I’m not gonna have a meltdown and start sobbing about how thankful I am of my parents and friends like they do on the thankyou speech for Star Awards, but you do get the idea. Sometimes it’s amazing how some people have stood by you, despite the number of changes people go through they still accept what you’ve become.

You may be thinking why the hell is me being enervated and lethargic got to do with the people around me.

I actually am thinking the same thing either. It’s just that I’ve sidetrack so much that I’ve forgot what I was writing in the first place. So I’m going to make up a crap excuse – The people around me are affected because I’m lethargic and tired all the time! (Huh?)

In a way it’s true. I’ve been neglecting people around me, but I’ve barely enough time for myself in the first place. I remember the days when there was so much time around that I’d just sit somewhere and turn into a rock. Even now I’m writing on borrowed time, at the expense of my shuteye.

I guess I’m going to cut down on certain activities, which includes eating all the time, and start having better time management. It just feels so good to be alive. Sometimes I get real stupid and find myself asking, is it really me inside ME? Moments when you feel that you’re a bystander, but then realises that it’s actually you when you scratch your nose. Maybe you’re just as weird as me and have experienced that before. It’s the kind of spiritual shit and sometimes I wonder where all that goes when it ends and a person dies. Religious people may have some place to console themselves, maybe it’s the kind of darkness that fascinates and frightens me at the same time, because not knowing what’s next makes you wanna enjoy what’s now to the fullest.

But anyway, I think I’m just awesome. I’ve gone from Gandhi to some cheesy acknowledgment speech to religion with a few mere paragraphs separating each other. And I was just commenting about my standard of writing. Nice.

But I’m only writing down what’s on my mind, and the one thing that’s on my mind for a long time should be pretty obvious – I want to sleep. They say people tend to perform at a lower par than normal when lacking sleep, they were right. If they need proof I’ll submit mine as scientific evidence.

Well adios, I seemed to have overstayed my goodbye. It’s making this piece of shit even more terrible the longer I try to write it. I’ll try and redeem myself in the next post I promise, provided if it’s not about Gandhi.

Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 2:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Survival Guide – Women

What is the most dangerous species known to men?

The fact that you can die in your sleep(for cheating lads out there) while sleeping should give you something to put your money for. And it’s probably only one of the thousand different ways you could die if you even happen to incur the wrath of this creature. Sleeping in the living room, extortion, poisoned to death, what’s new?

Thankyou, but I guess I’ll pass on the drink

So through a night of boozing and getting high and wasted and reaching a state of nirvana, it occurred to me that we need to have defensive plans set up in action, survival strategies that can safeguard our future and existence in this world. It was definitely a stroke of genius. I’ll probably go down in history for being the first man to do this. If things get out of hand this tactics will serve you well in hand, provided you still have your balls intact.

Strategy One – Get her Disgusted

It’s the simplest techniques ever – Just be yourself. Keep burping, share the same undies with your best buddies, or if those doesn’t work, use the most lethal method, dig your nose+make a sandwich. Come up with the most revolting actions to scare her away, then you can point the finger and say she’s the one who initiated it. Just remember not to eat the sandwich though.

Strategy Two – Computer Nerd

There are alot of ways you could go about doing this. If you are not a genuine gamer, then try this. Start talking about how attracted you are to Aquagirl, and how fascinated you are to her underwater breathing powers and how well she swim. State that you can’t wait to play her in the upcoming game(make one up if there isn’t any, most girls can’t tell), then for the final straw request for her to dress up like Aquagirl. She’ll be off the door before you can even finish saying pumpkin pie. If you are a gamer, then it’s easy – just buy World of Warcraft.

Strategy Three – Turn Gay

This requires dedication and hardwork, and a mentality to change. This is a point of no return, so before you inject those hormones you might wanna think twice about it. For you might end up on the wrong side of the road, mingling with women and ogling at hot guys and turning out to become what you were trying to escape. Nah you don’t wanna go on this path, it’s a bad idea. If you really choose this, please erase me from your memory before proceeding, I’ve had enough near death experiences.

Strategy Four – Silent Treatment

Avoid meeting her whenever possible, and call her only once every two weeks and ask her how have she been. Make it seems like a routine check-on-granny call. Granted she don’t take medicines, and you don’t have to speak twice as loud, but ask silly questions like how’s your leg and whether her eyesight is getting any better.

Strategy Five – Cheat on Her

Grab a woman on the streets and start going out with her. The uglier the better, because women always like to compare themselves with each other. But just so you know, you are treading on dangerous ground here. Unless you’re bold and adventurous you don’t really wanna do this, for the survival rate is about 50%.

Strategy Six – Be a Monk

Rename yourself Mingyi and you could start raking in millions if you’re acrobatic. But it’s a big sacrifice you have to make. You’re not just running away from one woman, you are forsaking the entire ocean. And there’s no more Heineken and honey glazed chicken at the end of the tunnel waiting for you. Only resort to this when life is endangered.

Strategy Seven – Go Missing-in-Action

It’s gonna require alot of money and an elaborate story. Pretend to go skiing in Switzerland or something, and have the whole mountain collapse on you. From there on it’s pretty much up to you. You can go hide in a cave, go hike Mount Everest, or tour around Italy.

Do not give up without a fight

If all the above professional techniques still do not work for you, then I guess you are on your own my friend.

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stop looking at (my) butt

You know, I’ve nothing against gays, really. I’m not a hater busting their balls about the right path of god, nor am I a pro-activist for their human rights. I’m neutral, ph = 7 on a litmus paper.

But things has just turned a tad acidic now.

I went to the gym this morning, and I was cool and minding my own business, just like usual. It’s been awhile and I was real busy with all that crammed schedule, being overworked, heartbroken, underpaid, insomniac, monday blues, waiting for the lottery, suffering from depression and bipolar disorder and yes they’re excuses really in fact I’m just plain lazy. So when you wake up thinking to do something you haven’t done for some time, it spells something new. I thought lady luck was smiling upon me.

But no, it was a two hundred pound guy with lean meat and muscles bulging out from all direction smiling at me.

Now, the thing about most gyms is that they like to have a full length mirror on one of the walls. It supposedly elongates the room, making it look bigger and more attractive to potential customers. But customers like me who have paid the money find it increasingly irritating, especially when we are worn out and struggling to lift that 15kg weight. In fact the only use I could find for that is to brush away stray strands of hair above my eyebrow, which is mind-blastingly thoughtful for a guy who’s going there to lift weights.

But apparently for dear Mr. Peek-a-Butt it doesn’t bother him the least at all. It seems to work for him because now he can look at the back and front view of any person who walked in. The moment I walked into the place, I knew something was queer with this guy. He was wearing tights that stretches and reflects like plastic, and I thought he’d look best at home standing side by side Batman. He was toned, and his six pad was more glaring than his face, it’s like begging so much for you to look at it rather than the face in a conversation. But I’ve seen worst dress sense on the streets, it’s his actions that put me off.

He took up a spot right behind me, and started flexing his muscles, flaunting them. It was a nightmare for me because we were both facing the mirror except I was sitting down on a bench while he was standing up. So I got up, pretended to change my weights and moved to the next bench. That’s when I saw him looking at my butt (like I even have one in the first place), and when I sat down he gave me a flirtatious wink.

I flinched and nearly bit my tongue in three places.

If it wasn’t for his size I’d have whacked the crap out of him. He left the place soon after, as he must have guessed that we were not on the same frequency. What a relief.

Guess I should start changing out of my boxers when hitting the gym next time. Especially those with polka dots.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lost In Translation

After all this heavy routine and highly taxing life, I found a light hearted break that I desperately craved in the film Lost in Translation. I had alot of heavy stuffs on my mind, so it was like a light detoxing therapy and I really enjoyed the movie, an experience I never had the luxury to have for some time now.

Set in the beautiful backdrop of Tokyo and the Park Hyatt Hotel, the film explores themes like culture shock and alienation experienced by two characters in the movie, Bob Harris and Charlotte. Bob Harris is an aging movie star, his prime long behind him and losing his identity on where he’s heading, while Charlotte is a confused young wife who’s followed her husband on a work assignment, being left in the hotel alone while she wonders about the present and the future.

I like the feel of the film, a kind of stylised loneliness as the characters wander around the city, sightseeing and savouring the breathtaking views, but at the same time unable to fit into and understand the society; language, religion and culture all being major obstacles. As a result, they are only able to achieve a bystander role, unable to fully communicate with the city, despite acknowledging it’s beauty. The recurring use of camera angles shooting outside of the windows further enhanced the overall mood, a perspective that the viewers can share, akin to an observer without interaction, separated by a medium in the form of a glass. In this case the actors seem to become the viewer, separated from the city by the windows, and the fourth wall is removed for us as the viewers, being thrown into the film and standing side by side the actors, experiencing their alienation from the culture of Japan. I like the closeness and the bond created with the characters.

The casting couldn’t have been more perfect, with the chemistry between the two proving it. Scarlett Johansson does such a natural job of portraying Charlotte, you sometimes see glimpse of her real self in the film, giggling to jokes, being curious, and handling the matureness of her counterpart Bill Murray, whom the same can almost be said as well, for the humour generated is certainly not read line by line from the script, a veteran who improvised to certain situations and created a playful and funny demeanor with the character he carry. Put them together and the relationship between Bob and Charlotte is electrical, a budding friendship that borderlines on platonic romance. There’s nothing sexual there, but it’s love as you know it, in the simplest of ways.

The ending also leave things open as the mystery of that scene adds on to the beauty of the film. Some viewers might find it annoying to not know what was said, but sidestepping and looking at it from a fresh angle one will feel that perhaps it is justified, because if the imagination accedes it, it could be a declaration of love, or a confrontation, or just random chatter and not knowing bring a heightened sense of intricacy to it, as the mind runs rampant and wild to search for an answer, creating infinite possibilities in the process. It creates this focal point of the film that we reflect back on, and the movie does not ease away to be forgotten in three days, and as I always emphasise, the aftertaste of a movie is important because it’s like a biometric identity. Most Hollywood action films generate almost no aftertaste because they are targeted at the general movie-goers. They have almost no identity and it’s like a carbon copy to cash in on the lucrative business, and the sequels, they are just horrible. I remembered walking out of Resident Evil: Extinction at the end of the film trying to remember the plot, which I went home and googled. It’s a shame cause I liked the first one. In a way Lost in Translation has it’s very unique biometric aftertaste because it is simple, and a light hearted contemporary. There’s nothing like sub laying messages nor does it asks alot of questions. It gives a sort of cool and refreshing experience.

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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To infinity and beyond

The world is my playground.


Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name

Yesterday


You were my lover, my partner in crime. It was always so warm around you, I guess you just had this touch that reach out to people, and make them feel comfortable around you. That was captivating, as if you were the centre of attraction and I was just another pile of iron dust attracted to this hyper-electro magnet, caught up in the vortex swirl around you. You were a catch, a prized trophy.

Today

I couldn’t make out the meaning behind your smile, forced awkwardness, victorious smirk, or an expression of platonic love. You claimed that I was good with women, and for that you left me. I never thought the same way, and even if it were true it was no crime. What was being done and said was never meant to be replicated and received again. I will never understand the way you got back to being normal, slotting back into the cycle as if it was a routine practice. And all of a sudden, we are strangers, caught up in a weird world around us, and you seem to have forgotten who I was, or what you once held to me. You’re cold, you’re so cold.

Tomorrow

I will not write this for you, because in the hopes of you reading it that would be giving me something to hope for, and blind daftness is not what I am seeking. I will need a gun to force this into your hands. I write this in the hopes that perhaps it will offer some form of consolation and to help me cross over to the greener pastures. Here you view a man who once thought he was unbreakable, broken and defeated. I will not hide, it takes courage to be here. I finally understand that perhaps the one to pull the trigger first will survive unscathed, the other scarred for life. I always thought I understood the rules. I thank you for making me a better man, and for giving me the edge that I lack. You’re back where you belong, on the stage under the limelight, but I will not stay in that dark, dusty and forgotten corner for long.

I’ll be back to the front seats in no time, the main audience where you once seek to please.

Published in: on April 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where are the colours?

Sometimes it feels like the world is falling asleep.

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 6:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Lifelong Obsession

I lust for you day and night so much that it has impaired my mind from functioning fully. I could almost smell you, and your taste still lingers in my mouth, an invitation of the feast to come. You’re a constant craving on the back of my mind, an itch I’ll never get around to nullify by scratching, a reach I’ll never try to run by escaping. Your touch is alluring…… yet satisfying.

I’m talking about my latest obsessions with Pizzas. (what else were you thinking?!)

Ever since that trip to Spizza.. My mind has been filled with sinful thoughts. Is there no redemption at the end of the tunnel waiting for me?

Now, for a boy like me growing up in a chinese tradition family, pizzas were considered a myth. All my tastebuds ever got around was grandma’s kway chap and the secret recipe herbal chicken. On an neutral standpoint they would be on par with pizzas, the east meets west, and two could debate for weeks and neither would win on whose the better side in this battle of the tastebuds.

But that’s a neutral standpoint.

Tell me you wouldn’t get sick of seafood if you live by the sea. And we are often cynical when people find the food that we grew up on to be flabbergasting delicious. Don’t believe me? Ask the thais what they think of tomyam. Foods that we can’t taste are often romanticised and claimed to be better than it taste. For once, Pizzas live up to it’s reputation. Or so I thought.

Just then, some ridiculously good pizzas just had to came my way and disrupt my world up. It upsets the balance of power between oriental and western, and tips it heavily towards the latter. And that’s not fairplay. In a wider context using pizza is cheating, using good pizzas is a crime.

Which is why it’s so criminally sinful to enjoy a good pizza, as you can’t go back home and tell mum that her 酱油鸡 has a new rival, can you?

I remembered eating my first pizza. I was probably 10, and it was at a classmate’s birthday bash. Couldn’t remembered who but I will be eternally grateful. I remembered looking at the cheese stretching after giving it a humongous bite and wondering if it had bonded to me just as I did to it, as it seem reluctant to part with me. Could never understand the physics. Gets the satisfaction even when I’m watching them. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with pizzas ever since.

But in this lifelong obsession with eating pizzas, there are always roadblocks and obstacles.

Because the thing here about chinese tradition families is, sometimes twenty dollars does not equals to a pizza. Sometimes twenty dollars equals to ten chicken rice, or in a generation older terms, equals to 5kg of rice, 1 kg of flour, 500g of salt and sugar, 3 cabbages, a pomfret fish, a catty of pork and maybe squeeze in a pear for dessert. I still remembered the time when granny caught me eating Macdonalds and spent the whole day lamenting that money poorly spent and trying to instill the correct finance management in me (Ahhh, fond memories). Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned if she catches me with a slice of Pepperoni Delight’ hanging in my mouth.

Another thing is the mechanics of eating a bread with tomato sauce doesn’t really fit nicely under the “Guide of Nutritious Food for Hyperactive Kids, Edition 4 (By Parents, For Parents)”. Especially in a chinese family, where they believe that only rice and noodles can fill the stomach, you find it difficult to convince your parents why they should call Pizza Hut for takeaways. Of course now that I’ve grown they have naturally loosen up a bit, but back in the past calling 6235-3535 was akin to calling 999. You get a gasp of horror, an immediate grab and slam of the phone to cut the receiving end, an instant reprieve and disapproval and sometimes the threat of the cane.

External factors aside, in the pizza itself, there can also be obstacles in finding a good one. The taste, of course, is the primary concern. There are many different ways to cook them and they have different results, place one on the frying pan, put it in the electric oven, or go professional and use the coal-fired brick oven.

And different types of pizzas as well. (Sorry to do this to you if you’re hungry)

Neapolitan Pizza

Roman Pizza

No idea what this is

Flammkuchen. I used to work at a German restaurant and always sneak one or two out! It’s quite good!!

Spizza! (Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for any damage caused by excessive licking to the monitor screen)

Domino’s Pizza! They have a store at Bukit Timah

And lastly, Pizza Hut. Funny their pictures never seems to match the real thing.

At the end of the day, there’s no good or bad pizzas. It’s all down to personal preferences. But if you still prefer your herbal chicken and is not convinced why pizza is a better choice for you and your tastebuds, ring me up and get ready to talk for weeks.

But if you do share my obsession, I have only four words left to advise and wrap this post up – Serve while piping hot.

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

If memories could be canned, would they also have expiry dates? If so, I hope they last for centuries.

如果记忆也是一个罐头的话,我希望这罐罐头不会过期; 如果一定要加一个日子的话,我希望它是一万年。

重庆森林

Published in: on March 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

The sky is not the limit and you’re never gonna guess what is…

So I was visiting the other day and I came across my friend’s extensive albums collection. I was kinda impressed with this hobby of his so my hands got itchy and I poked around a little.

Just in between the neat columns of rows was a dishevel stack of albums, there were a few with their plastic covers not fully lodged in, signs that they were played recently, but pushed behind was another pile of a different calibre, they look like albums forgotten through time with their layer of dust, lacking the quality to be warranted a place on the stands.

With a far side sticking out was the album – First Impressions of Earth by The Strokes. I thought to myself, what a waste. I believe it’s one of their more underappreciated album, although I don’t deny that The Strokes kinda failed to build on the overwhelming acclaim of their previous albums. I suggested to play that album. My friend agreed.

I found out that he bought it from a shopping centre bazaar at two dollars as he liked the cover of the studio album. I wanted to chide him because I thought that the quality in it was more than just a piece of paper, but stopped short when I realise I’ve never bought a single album in my entire life. Johnny Depp would have to best me first if he wanted to be the pirate king.

We went into a little discussion on the influence of English versus Chinese songs, and he was a little critical, but in the end we were in consensus that English songs were slightly ahead of their counterpart, and were better established, but the quality can be comparable on both sides.

That’s when the song Red Light rolled on.

I’ve always liked Red Light and it’s retro-pop feel ever since the first time I’ve heard it. But it always frustrate me as I could never make out what the lyrics meant. There seem to be two conflicting sides, one side acknowledging, the other against, built around the line – Two can be complete without the rest of the world.

The first part the protagonist seems to be agreeing with the line, and was a gentleman in his dealings with the lady (presumably the grand character and the basis who made the song possible), even stating that “All the girls could never make me love them the way I love you.”

But the second half of the song seems to be on a bittersweet note, changing along with the request to forget the past. And all of a sudden he claims – Two can be complete without the rest of the world. Oh you know I said it just to get you to laugh. He doesn’t believe in it anymore.

I could never figure out what he meant. There was just this recurring guitar note that seems to carry on the never ending riddle to the song, which ends with a haunting fallout of the words, the sky is not the limit and you’re never gonna guess what is, as if challenging the listener to solve it. I remember I used to listen to it over and over again.

But at that point, as we listen to that song, I noticed that there was a weird octave effect created when he sings the second half, as if creating the split. And that’s when I realise, maybe the grand character was never the attraction in the first place. It was the attracted. The song was about him and the change of his character (similar to the change in the song’s pitch), perhaps in a playboy manner, and not what the girl did to lower his attraction. Maybe he was never the victim in the first place.

I finally understood that song, at least in my own sense of way. I smiled and my friend was curious about why I was smiling, so I said when the song was over in a sarcastic manner, I’m glad you didn’t buy fishball noodles with that two dollars.

He replied, I couldn’t. They cost twice as much.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gone with the wind

Nowadays, I just can’t seem to fork out the time to write that I’ve almost forgotten how much I’ve loved it. (I took twenty minutes to write this sentence, which in the process was interrupted 3 times by the buzzing of msn conversations, and a brief period where I found myself stuck at a girl’s profile on Facebook)

And with all the distractions that can interfere with the state of mind, especially when writing, sometimes I feel like unplugging myself from the whole system. But well, things are easier said than done.

I guess internet addiction has an extensive reach that stretches and envelope the modern age. Maybe that’s the reason why I hesitate in having a third generation phone. I don’t want to be checking Facebook every five minutes, updating Twitter every time I reach a new location, or have my msn messenger on a 24/7 shift. It’s just the last gasp of my rationality begging not to be controlled by electronic adversaries that are threatening to invade my personal space. Even my mum is thinking of having a Facebook account. Things are a tad too transparent this days.

And if I could, I’d run away with the wind. It’s a new thrill that I’ve found to feed my mind the satisfaction it craves. I like the feeling of riding, it’s living your life on the edge but you become more appreciative because time pass by the seconds.

But the real deal of at the edge experience will probably be at Singapore’s famous series of curves – 99 bends. And never on my life would I have guessed the identity of the first person who would bring me there.

After all, not many of you can boast that your first experience at those deadly curves was proudly presented to you by your dad, can you?

It all begins with a little tongue in cheek action, exploration as the agenda for an excuse, and a promise not to tell mummy. But the main reason we were there was because pop genuinely wanted me to see firsthand the dangers of the bends. Countless people have lost their lives there, and he was to make sure that I won’t join the list. He also mentioned another set of bends, which I believe is the devil’s bend, which is longer and just as difficult to negotiate through as well.

It was around nine at night when we reached, visibility was kinda low, and the quiet forest surrounding seem to give it a more eerie aspect. Crickets gave off their intermittent chirping all around, and it’s not hard to understand why there are so many ghastly rumours about the bends, as with a little imagination they could serve as the basis for stories of crying souls trapped in those curves.

With a nod as affirmative that he was going in, I tried to absorb as much of the road as I could. We were going uphill, there seems to be more traffic on the other side. I guess most thrill seekers will prefer to go downhill as it’s faster. The first few bends were more than ample in their role of giving an introduction, but they were nothing like the rest that were to come, at one point the turn seemed more like an U-turn than a curve.

Dad was going kinda fast, and I was a little worried initially, but as I saw how he managed to dispatch those curves with relative ease – he even achieve a forty-five degree tilt during the cornering (or what felt like it) with me on the bike – my attention turned from the curves to the opposing traffic. The lanes were extremely narrow, the width was about enough for one car’s width at a time, and the real danger was worrying about spillage over to the other lane, one have to be careful not to cross over the line when negotiating the bend as there could be oncoming traffic, and at the same time be wary of oncoming vehicles accidentally crossing into your lane.

But I was amazed because I finally got to see pop’s driving skill. He was so engrossed in his guidance talk that at certain points he unknowingly let loose a hand, creating that index finger jabbing upwards motion, seemingly excited and agitated and driving to make his point known, all the time controlling his vehicle with one hand. The sad thing is, I couldn’t hear him at all.

I was savouring the sound of the wind in my ears.

But at the end of the day, it’s the experience that counts, and what I really lack. Maybe someday in the future it would be me showing off, negotiating a u-turn curve with one hand and at the same time maintaining a forty five degrees cornering while babbling on about Einstein’s relativity theory which no one gives a shit about.

But until then, I guess I’ll just keep my head alive for now.

Published in: on February 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Anticipated Movies of 2010

Shutter Island


Set in 1954, two U.S. marshals investigate the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane on an island in Massachusetts.

Why the buzz – Comes from one of the best directors in the world, Martin Scorsese. He’s known for portraying violence, crime and redemption in his films, and I like some of his older works like Goodfellas. With a divergent in terms of genre I would definitely love to see this film, considering he has not lost any of his technical abilities despite his age. It also stars one of the hottest actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, and even though I’m not a very hardcore fan of him, he still packs plenty of punch to make this movie worth noting.

Robin Hood


A movie about the famous outlawed hero in English folklore, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.

Why the buzz – Directed by Ridley Scott, another talented filmmaker, and starring Russell Crowe, this combination evoked memories about another previous film from the duo, Gladiator. Other works include Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, Alien, and his opus magnum Blade Runner.

Alice In Wonderland

Another famous work of literature about a girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures.

Why the buzz – A director who’s famous for dark and quirky films taking on a classic children fairytale, it would be interesting to see the result of this Tim Burton’s production. Also rejoining Burton in this film is his two favourite performers, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

Inception

A man tries to steal a potentially disastrous idea that can alter everything on Earth.

Why the buzz – Firstly, I have no idea what the film is about either. It seems to revolve around the capabilities of the human mind, something that is always subjected to fabrication. But in this field people are recognised for their reputation, and like all the other films above, this one does have a few prominent people in it. Directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, The Prestige) and starring Leonardo DiCaprio (again), this movie will be anticipated more for it’s production team reputation then it’s content.

Iron Man 2

The industrialist playboy and genius engineer who creates a powered suit to become known as the Marvel superhero Iron Man.

Why the buzz – You must be living in a hole if you don’t know who Iron Man is.

Toy Story 3

As Andy grows up leaves for college, a series of misfortune led to the toys being given away, but when they realise it wasn’t with consent from their owner the toys try to make it back.

Why the buzz – It’s been 11 years since the last film, and I’ve had personal memories for this series as I grew up on it, to the extent that at some point I felt like Andy, the owner of the toys. I believe that other viewers of the series would have had fond memories because of the way it connects with the audience, creating a scenario that was not alien for growing boys. Tom Hanks will be returning to voice Woody.

Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time

The titular video game character appears on the big screen to star in a motion picture of it’s own.

Why the buzz – The popular video game has gained a cult following, which made the transition to the theatre easier, alongside it’s engaging plot and intriguing characters.

Jonah Hex

In the late 1800s, a Wild West bounty hunter tracks a voodoo practitioner bent on raising an army of Confederate zombies.

Why the buzz – The film adaptation of the comic book hero stars Josh Brolin (the cool guy from No Country For Old Men and Planet Terror) as the bounty hunter. If you need any other reason to convince you why it’s worth the anticipation, the reason is Megan Fox.

Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Who will guard the guards themselves?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Juvenal

Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

This is it

As I watched helplessly Arsenal getting breached and penetrated in defense, and then Drogba scoring the second goal which effectively killed the game, my face was akin to that of Almunia and his weak unimpressive antics – struck with shock and horror. On my mind was everything except glory, and that glory that has eluded us for nearly five years now. This rant is probably a knee-jerk reaction to our defeat at Chelsea, and possibly the chance of winning the season, but Arsenal were once at the top of the world. What ever happened to The Invincibles, the blend of Arsenal that went through the whole season undefeated and emerged as champions? Despite having a complete overhaul of the squad since the glory days, there are no excuses as we still retain one of the best managers in the game – Arsene Wenger.

Nicknamed Le Professeur, he brings a whole new level to football because of his dedication and passion to the game, living and breathing it and spending every minute of his life to studying what makes it tick. He’s even able to read the club’s balance sheet, probably the only football manager who could do that, because of his master degree in economics, which might also explain why he’s so stingy in the transfer market.

Did that stinginess cost us the title? Should he have bought players in the recent winter transfer market?

I personally feel that he should. Lacking in cover up front, we’ve been playing Arshavin up front for a few games now, and the burden for scoring goals has fall upon our midfield, in particular Fabregas, Diaby and Denilson, and although they’ve done it for some games, we’ve found the Arsenal running low on ammunition and inspiration on certain situations.

But then there’s the problem of having the right candidate to sign. The truth is, we don’t really have a lot to choose from, there’s Chamakh, Huntelaar and Dzeko, the three realistic strikers that we could sign and fit in to Arsenal style of play, as we don’t need one who’s trigger happy and wasteful in front of goals instead of our usual slick patience buildup passing. But having to prise any one of them away requires money, something Wenger’s not particularly well known for splashing.

Will a striker arriving through the gates of Emirates stadium be the end to our woes?

Not exactly. The mistakes at Old Trafford has either gone unnoticed, or they were just too careless to let it happen again, because as I watch Lampard having the luxury to run almost 30-yards without anybody coming up to stop him, it was like watching an action replay of Rooney scoring against us just a week ago. If we are to win the title, we need to be able to improve on our past mistakes.

Besides, our #1 doesn’t quite seems to be in the form as the figure, because quite simply, he hasn’t been number one in keeping our lines from being breached. Our last silverware came along with the old reliable goalkeepers, David Seaman and Jens Lehman. Almunia just doesn’t make the mark, with the form he’s in now we’ll concede more goals than we can ever score. At Stamford Bridge we held possession, but on every break and counterattack they threatened to scored – The first two goals came in two tries. The goalkeeper may not be accounted solely for defense, but it is the goalkeeper that commands and give confidence to the back four. In Arsenal they seem to be losing confidence instead. Almunia has been disappointing this season, and he will be even more disappointed if he hears the rumours that Wenger tried to sign a goalkeeper but failed in the transfer window.

Gael Clichy has also been unconvincing this season, especially against United, where they capitalised and came down from the right flank, choosing instead to avoid the more solid Sagna. But the cover in the form of Kieran Gibbs is injured for the rest of the season, so I guess we’ll have to make do with him.

I hope Arsene Wenger knows what he’s doing, because if he’s not, he can always come down to my blog for help, I promise I won’t charge.

Guess we’ll have to look forward and hope for a fruitful season next year. (Again)

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Only the dead have seen the end of the war

War. War never changes.

Fallout 3

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

The soldier that has fled 50 steps mocks the one that has fled 100 steps

This is our latest sensation.

So I was browsing around facebook when I saw links being thrown about. For the first few times I didn’t really bothered to click on it, but I eventually did, since it was getting quite popular.

I had the most entertaining five minutes of my life.

It was a typical ahbeng kid, bragging about his manliness and daring guts, forming a sort of gang with other likewise minds.

I laughed myself silly and remembered the old days where such nonsense was common around me, joining and forming gangs based on loyalty and to pick on rival gangs to further up their reputation in the area. Such things has been going on for as long as I could remember. I’ve since outgrown such nonsense but it was funny to see the immature side of being young.

And that’s when I saw the fan group.

My first thought was – Wow, they even created a fan group for those kids, how awesome is that!

But the more I read, the more I find it disturbing. I begin to see people flaming those kids, using vulgarities, and I saw on one of the pictures that a user typed – “you guys need to grow some **** hair before talking big, let me teach you how to be a real gangster.” It’s like a giant hate group, and hate spreads, anyone who joined that group would definitely comment on the silliness of those kids. Compound that by all the members of the group and you have a terrifying amount of hate speech. I would eventually find that they had taken down that fan group, but at that point of time things wasn’t humorous to me anymore.

I had perfectly the same reaction as everybody, I thought they were stupid, that they were childish, and that they were lame braggers. But I went an extra step and I put myself in their shoes. I came to those conclusions because I was judging them as a 20 year old. They were 14. When I was 14 I couldn’t tell from right or wrong on the streets. Smoking was cool, and anyone in a gang was respected. What were you doing when you were 14?

I looked at some of the profiles of users that were mocking them, and I find sadistic irony upon everyone of them. Why? Because they wasn’t that far off from them as they were when 14 years old. Minus the tattoos, the cigarette in mouth, the flash of red and gold across the hair, and minus off a few years of experience, and you have another Jovan from the Tiongxim brothers.

But hey, look, I’m not trying to pass the hate on, to direct it at another person and say he is wrong, she is right. What I’m saying is, why can’t we as a society, learn to live and let die?

I could bet you that I can easily find another 14 siao from a school in Singapore. Minor splinter groups like this are everywhere. This boys just made the wrong move and blogged about theirs.

And they don’t deserve to face the firing squad just for that.

Another facebook page uncovering sensitive and private pictures from the boys, with some of them digitally altered for entertaining purposes. I’ve nothing against creating a page to commemorate their fail, but why cross the line and publish sensitive data that could impact them in the long run? After all they still have a whole life ahead of them, and people do change. I’ve seen worst cases – drug-addict turn banker, gangster turn entrepreneur.

Imagine this scenario – I could be a boss five years down the road and I’m hiring, and just so happens one of the boys applies for a job, and he could have real potential, but I remember this incident and I terminate his interview.

If five years down the road is too long, why not talk about now?

How is he going to bring his face up and go home to face his parents? I do believe that his attitude was wrong in the first place – but this matter was scaled out of proportion.

And the newspapers even got the photo wrong. I’ve read that the photo they used for Jovan – the alleged leader of the 14 siao, was in fact another person who is totally unrelated to the whole incident. And despite the whole matter’s been blown out of proportion, someone even called their school to report about the wrongdoings and demand something be done about it. They would probably have got counseling in other cases, but with this incident blowing so big a shithole, it’s hard to believe that their punishments would be so meek. And let’s say put the physical aspect aside, mentally, how would they be affected by this incident. It’s a crushing weight they have to shoulder, and our community has just about alienated the entire world from them, with the media casting a bad light and the IT world buzzing with criticisms. One forum even had a thread congratulating members about exposing them, telling each other – well done guys.

This are 14 year old kids. Are we really helping them? Are we attempting to guide lost sheeps to the right of way, or are we just gathering around to gloat?

Maybe they really did deserved it. Maybe.

But perhaps some others will eventually realise that they’ve gone so far down the road to become something not so different from what they hate.

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lust; Caution

A thousand ways to please your man,
not even one requires a plan.

The Strokes

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

No Country For Old Men

I actually started out with a film called Burn After Reading. I kinda liked it, so I did a search on the directors and found out that they would directed this masterpiece too. At first, the title of the show didn’t sound too convincing. But the reviews were good so I thought I’d give it a try. Now one habit of mine is, whenever I watch a film, I would often like to start it without knowing anything about the plot. I would just wiki it and look at the reviews. If it’s good then it’s worth watching. So when the show starts rolling in the back of my mind I was guessing this was a comedy film about an old folks home. Boy was I in for a surprise.

The premise is established straight away near the start of the film. A man picks up two million dollars, and he is subsequently hunted. The hunter and the hunted. A structure retold time and time again. Yet why is No Country For Old Men one of the best films made in the decade?

Visual

I know it sounds quite simple. But having a visual feel in a film is by no means an easy feat. Why? Because it’s not easy to explain with pictures. Which is why most directors often opt the easy way out, using dialogues or narratives. That doesn’t mean they are not important aspects of the story-telling part, but they are being used excessively to be of liking. Like the master of slow sensuous & stylized films, Wong Kar Wai, once said of his art – A form of physicalized memory that can be experienced again and again, or recorded over, or screened until it literally falls apart, until it pixilates right in front of you. This film had a different sensation, a slow seemingly degenerative burn that moves towards the impending finale. The actors don’t speak much, they do what they do best – portraying it out.

Suspense

Suspense in itself is the essence to a thriller. Combine that with the structure and it’s enough to keep the viewers on their toes. Throughout the film the lighting further enhance the anticipation lying ahead. It’s dark in the room, the footsteps out in the corridor inches closer and louder. The shadow falls upon the door….. and then walks away. However, the knot in the viewer’s stomach doesn’t go away. We are aching to find out what happens next. A well crafted scene littered with just the right amount of suspense goes a long way. And one that is sustained and stretched throughout the movie, growing thinner and thinner till it snaps, yet at the same time keeping the quality constant, is a gift to the viewer to savour.

Gore

Why does gore play such an important part in this story? Because it reminds us that despite the fact that they are all efficient killers, they are still human. Their greatest achilles heel is being of flesh and blood. And we are constantly reminded of that. As the film goes on, the death tow jumps higher. More and more people are caught into this intricate web, and most often the only way out is to go on another journey to meet the grim reaper himself. And those who are dealing out the punishments are not being unpunished as well, the characters start to bleed, like an indication of the progress of the film, the deeper it advances, the more damage they suffer. It’s like a slow lead up to the climax. We all know somebody’s gonna die, the question is who – is it the hunter or the hunted.

Subtle themes

I like the way the film offers another perspective, in the form of the character Sheriff Bell. It’s like adding another dimension away from all that fast paced action.

Sheriff Bell takes on the role of the bystander in the film, having witness the events that eventually leads to the climax, and the death of one of the characters. To him, it’s just another passing case that he’s had to undertake, but which he still does with the utmost seriousness and professionalism, albeit without the sharpness that he once had, having been worn out and disillusioned with crime and it’s violent face. I like films that have underlying meanings to be interpreted, rather than just offering a linear window of thought. Some of the questions he brought in really got me thinking. He opens the prologue of the film with the first few opening lines, as follows –

I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. Me and him was sheriffs at the same time; him up in Plano and me out here. I think he’s pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough’d never carry one; that’s the younger Jim. Gaston Boykins wouldn’t wear one up in Camanche County. I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can’t help but compare yourself against the oldtimers. Can’t help but wonder how they’d have operated these times. There was this boy I sent to the electric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killed a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”. I don’t know what to make of that. I sure don’t. The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, “O.K, I’ll be part of this world.”

The questions that he wanted answered were simple. Is society moving forward or degenerating backwards? Age and experience were beginning to hint the latter. He’s the kind of person that seems to have seen so much, that he doesn’t want to see anymore. And I like it that the film was set in Wild West’ Texas. There’s a sort of sleepy and time weary feel to it, as does the character governing there – Sheriff Bell himself.

I think a good movie doesn’t just end after credits, it asks questions, it leaves an aftertaste in the viewer. No Country For Old Men has managed to balance them all in that aspect, and even gone to achieve more. Some might not like the ending, but I think it’s meant to be interpreted, the directors (Coen Brothers) seemingly giving that option of penning the last chapter to the viewer. What’s my say and the stroke of my pen?

I would say – O.K, I’ll be part of this world.

Published in: on January 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

You Only Live Twice

You only live twice.
Once when you are born,
And once when you look death in the face.

Ian Fleming

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Love is the red the rose on your coffin door; Black is the kiss the touch of the serpent son

I saw a funny spectacle today.

Outside this 7-11 I saw this lovey dovey couple snuggling in the winter chill of Christmas. She was wearing his jacket, slightly oversized for her. He was putting his nose in her hair, a kissing/smelling gesture, whispering sweet nothings. It was so mushy onlookers could have felt another chill down their spine. But of course, it was heartwarming to see such love being affectionately displayed on the streets.

So I went inside 7-11, got my stuffs, and out I came and what do I see.

A full blown war.

She was sobbing. You could see she was holding it back but the tears were swelling in her eyes. The guy was aloof and indifferent. Maybe slightly annoyed that she couldn’t keep a grip in public. The tension was intense, you could almost smell it in the air. Another pull on the string and it might snap. Then she stomped away in the opposite direction, with his jacket still on, and along the way she cast a few fleeting halfway glances back, as if to see if he would give chase. I was kinda surprised that he didn’t. He just sat there, with an expression that seems to say – Grow up.

Love is a funny thing.

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Traveller's Log

I guess it’s been some time since I last went to Genting Highlands. Probably been years. So naturally, I grabbed the first chance I could for a holiday in the City of Entertainment. I could really do with one. There’s been so much on my mind lately. Besides, the things there are dirt cheap! It would rather seems that I embarked on a food rampage trip. I also did a lot of writing there. Below are excerpts from The Traveller’s Log. I had written seventeen pages in that two days which I can only describe with one word – Overkill!!

I was scheduled to leave Singapore at 5am this morning. I only fell asleep at 3am. What a good start. I just couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning in bed. I guess it’s the anticipation and excitement buildup that leads to the energy overdrive.

I always like to travel at night. I think this trip further augmented that peculiar liking of mine. Somehow everything just felt so perfect in the canvas of darkness under the nightsky. The stars. There were no clouds, offering a magnificent view of the sparkles. That stretch of emptiness all around. The road was quiet. I always hate it when I sling my head on the window, fell asleep, and wake up to find the hot babe in the car beside gaping at me salivating all over my shirt. The view. What a view. We were traveling across lush greeneries – Plantations, fields, forests, farms. But of course, you couldn’t make out the green in that blanket of darkness, and I guess that’s what makes it so sexy. It seems to add another dimension to it, shedding it’s natural color in the twilight, as if it were a sacrifice to the gods, the day up and their freedom enjoyed, subdued in the dark and retreating to the slumbers of the shadows. I love the tranquility it offers. I love the unobstructed view. I love my iPod blasting in the background. I can die happy now. (Note: I lied at the last part)

The first time in my life I’ve seen the sky and the mountain seemingly kissing each other.
A view to kill for.

Managed to catch some sleep during the journey, which was hellish long, and I find myself escaping from one hell to the other. Now it’s the waiting time at the checkin counter that’s ridiculous. I’m 200 numbers away from the one displayed at the switchboard. That means 200 people in front of me waiting for their rooms. There are around 30 counters. It’s 12.45pm now. Let’s see how efficient the First World Hotel staffs are. (Note: Checkin around 2.30pm and was told room service is still cleaning up the room. I was abit pissed there, but I would find out that they have over 6000 rooms and is currently one of the world biggest hotels. Yet they charge around RM80/SGD33 per night for the cheapest room, so I really should shutup and wait next time. Besides, I can’t help but feel abit sympathetic for that poor auntie who’s had to clean up the room every morning, especially with people like me who likes to practise kungfu and make a mess out of the room before leaving.)


First stop – Flying Coaster! I have never taken this ride before. They charge separately from the theme park itself. Somehow it looks more comedic than intimidating. It’s basically like a roller coaster, and you gotta lie down on your belly with arms out like Superman. My robotic analysis tells me that the initial lunge and the 360 degree spins to be the exciting part. (Note: It wasn’t that fun! Other than the adrenaline surge from the initial lunge the rest made me feel like vomiting when I got to the ground)

Was tempted by the rides, and therefore bought the outdoor pass for unlimited rides at RM$44. Almost regretted the moment I went in. The crowd is terrible. It’s the school holidays period for both M’sia and Singapore. I only managed to try two rides. Spaceshot and another stupid indoor space simulation ride which I totally wasted my time on. I’ve walked into a trap because I thought the queue was short. Now I know it was short for a reason. It was around five pm because Spaceshot took me an hour to queue and I wasted like ten minutes of my life in that lame ride. I didn’t even understand what the hell was going on the audio was so soft and there was a bunch of annoying kids behind me. What’s make that worse is that the queue at Corkscrew closed at five, to be reopen at seven pm. I was so freakin’ angry that I swore to bring a rocket on the next trip and blow the bloody lame ride up. It has cost me ten minutes of my life, my corkscrew ride and nearly took my sanity away. The queues at the rest of the stations is disgusting so I came out for a breather, sipping tea and venting my anger through words now. I will decide whether to go back later. (Note: I took the picture at the Go-Kart station. The queue goes longer inside, it isn’t straight as it seems, it’s zig zagged like a bloody maze, and around 8 person go on 2 laps each time. Rolling thunder had a long queue that could equal this also. Most fun rides had around an estimated one hour wait, and even those kiddy rides like the haunted house had an amazingly long queue.)
You have to literally combat your way though from point A to B

I’m really gonna miss the food here. Even the fast food is.. zomg!! It might sound lame to go to Genting for fastfood, but trust me, it’s not! It’s cheap and on the go. They’ve got this cheese wedges at KFC, which I’m really into right now. I initially thought the cheese was the same as the one they used for the cheese fries in Singapore, but no, it’s very much nicer. It’s like combining the cheese at KFC and LJS and the result – Finger Lickin’ Good cheese. They’ve also got this popular fast food chain called Marrybrown, and I’m addicted to the curly fries. Which reminds me of A&W’s curly fries as well. I don’t think there’s A&W here at Genting, but I do remember seeing one on the journey here. It was early in the morning and A&W wasn’t open yet. I’ll be sure to drop by on the return trip. Hasta la vista, baby. (Note: Had A&W on the return trip. Rootbeer with a scoop of vanilla, curly fries and a space waffle. Bring back A&W to Singapore man!)

Back at the room

It is actually possible to travel to Genting on a SGD$150 budget, travel, expenses, and accommodation included. But you will find it extremely hard. And I will tell you why. I was walking at this factory outlet shop looking at the clothes, when I saw this extremely nice leather jacket. Normally, I would just walk away, but it’s Genting right? So I took it down for a look. The price tag says RM$269/SGD$112. I still wasn’t convince to bring home this eye candy. Until I saw the brand. It’s from ZARA!!! They’re probably selling that at 3-5 times the price in Singapore! They tried to cover out the name but you could still make out the words faintly. I wouldn’t want to know where they got it. Maybe they robbed the warehouse. It ain’t my business. I also found a shirt with an Armani Exchange label going for RM$50, and bought three other t-shirts. Come to think of it I’m kinda impulsive at times. If it wasn’t for that hot salesgirl they put there I probably won’t start a spree. The jacket was a bargain, the AX tee was forgivable, but I don’t need those shirts. This is where guys are bad at shopping. They lose out to a miniskirt. I’m gonna head down and maybe grab a coffee at starbucks, then I’ve got a movie to catch.

Tony Leung’s got one (Infernal Affairs), Brad Pitt’s got one (Benjamin Buttons), and now.
I’ve got one.

I always like to travel. I have a sort of a wanderer’s blood in me. I like to roam around, without commitments, as a visitor and not a dweller. I hate to stay stagnant. I like change. I like to move forward. I don’t like too much baggage, and I mean more than it being physical. Emotionally, that’s been my weak point as well. But I believe that there’s a girl out there somewhere who will eventually clip my wings, and I will begin writing a new chapter in my life at that point. But until then, I’m enjoying days as it goes by. I will miss this place. And I’m looking forward to the places I’ve yet to visit.

There’s so much to do.. So little time to act.

Signing off,
The Traveller

I guess that about sums it. The rest are not for publication, including a rather lengthy prologue describing a perfect stranger sitting opposite me. No, this time you don’t get access to that, it’s private!

The trip was a blast. I guess the festive period brings the mood up as well. The whole place is decorated with Christmas themed lightings, and people all around are dressed up for the season, Santa hats on happy faces can be seen everywhere. It makes one feel more homely. I enjoyed myself there. The view was magnificent too. Check them out.

The room.

The view from the room.

The view from the room.

The view from the room.

I took this at around 2am. It’s just so busy everywhere and there never is a dull moment.

Sometimes I hear people say – that place? Oh c’mon, I’ve been there umpteen times already, it’s gotten boring. I think for people like me, we find satisfaction when we travel because we want to escape from something. It could be your wife. It could be your boss. It could be the daily mundane cycle that’s settling in and you want to get rid of that sinking boredom.

True, another three or four times to Genting and I’ll probably know the way like the area around my house. But I’ll continue to go there, because I can find something there I can’t find here. An experience, a mood that I can get into. I can’t pack my bags and go to Orchard Road looking for the same enjoyment. And Sentosa proximity is too close for a traveller looking for an adventure.

We adopt another way of thinking when we leave the country. Basic things like culture and currency affect that thinking. It’s a mindset. I get excited looking at RM$6 cigarettes, even though I don’t buy them. It fits me into that traveling mood. I go to Sentosa and I see all the same things I’ve been trying to escape from – high prices, the climate, maybe I bump into a friend who is a friend of the person I’m trying to forget, and reminds me of her.

A traveller’s one and only job, is to escape that giant web of complication. You can’t really call it a job also because there is no pressure to deliver. Granted, there are bigger things in the picture, so we can’t keep playing the role of the traveller. There’s a mortgage to pay and a family to feed. But know this, whenever you’re feeling empty and you need to recharge your batteries, the mantle of the traveller is waiting for you at the corner. Pick it up and you will find an experience waiting for you at the end. For you’re a traveller. I’m a traveller.

We are all a part of the face that belongs to The Traveller.

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

阿榮正傳

自从上次用华语结束后,我对自己起了一个很好奇的问题。

那就是,如果用华语来写博客,还能不能把自己所想表达的心事写下来呢?也好奇是能不能够把程度写得跟英语一样,是不是算个双种语言都在掌握之中的一个人?

所以这么一疯, 就给我疯到底吧,我的读客们,请忍着我的烂透的华语程度吧,谢谢!

但不妨告诉你们,有时候我就是喜欢这种不可预测的感觉,这种疯狂。 不管明日会发生什么天大的事,我只要求隐藏好给我个惊喜。惊喜就是一种礼物,想想看, 如果知道明天会发生什么,那活着好没意思阿. 从来没想过用华语来写博客的阿荣, 这可是第一次, 所以有一点兴奋, 也在享受着一个经验。。

最近我发觉现在自己也很少用到华语, 也最少有三年没写了。 自从中学毕业后就没动到词语, 想起来真遗憾,亏小时候整天怕听写会不及格(后果是屁股吃藤条!), 长大一点屁用都没有!

但是真的没用, 还是我错了?

小时候的阿荣, 可帅呆了!

对我而言, 因为从小长大的环境都是属于比较华文派的, 所以我对学华语来说起初没有什么兴趣, 都会讲了嘛。 况且比起写英文字, 华语难多咯! 我相信会有很多年轻人同意这个看法。。 自己身旁就有几个朋友, 不用说写, 连讲华语都不喜欢。

对我来说,现在连找讲华语的朋友都难找。本身看法,语言是一种沟通的方式,可以伸出和接触更多人。虽然英文现在可以说是属于个国际语言,但我们也不能单单靠它。

身为个福建人, 一样丢脸的事, 我从小就不会讲福建话。。 因此阿荣和奶奶很难沟通, 因为她只会讲这个语言. 这就产生了一个代沟。 子孙虽然满堂, 但少过一半会时常回去探望她。

奶奶过世也有三年了。

我对事情的印象还是很深刻。还记得那时是办葬礼的最后一天了。站在后面的阿荣,看了和尚念经后,大家的眼泪都留下来。

在那时,我发现到了两样东西。

我的身旁的人全部都哭了。有一些还哭得很厉害。我心想,在这些人里面,有几个,一辈子跟奶奶除了问候,讲了少过二十句的话。看着他们哭得连鼻涕都流出来了,阿荣当时只感觉到一阵冷幽默。但也有可能它们真的是感到悲痛,因为身前没好好把握机会和奶奶在一起,所以眼泪触发自遗憾才会哭得那么厉害。人就是那么可悲。不到失去一个人后才会发觉没有它是不行的。

看着它们伤心的面孔,我才发现到另一个冷库的事实。

阿荣竟然在办葬礼的七天里面,一滴眼泪也没流。脑里第一时间想的是,你的心跑到哪里去了!还是人吗?

我虽然和奶奶有个代沟,但我不可以说我不认识她, 不爱她。小时候的阿荣,跟表哥的感情很要好,而表哥和奶奶一起住,所以时常会有接触。在那里住的时候,奶奶都很照顾我,烧菜给时常肚子饿的荣荣吃,连最喜欢吃的食物她都了如指掌。但因为福建的程度很差,总是和奶奶有问题沟通。有时还要表哥来替我翻译。奶奶也不埋怨,她似乎了如到,这个世界已经不属于她的,那个简单沟通的方式已经不纯在了,地球旋转得那么快,今世的人都有不同的生活方式,讲的都是个不同的语言。福建在也不是一个能在街上听到年轻人所讲的语言。

虽然心里满怀着悲哀, 但阿荣在当时的场面真的哭不出来。在那哭声的背景下, 阿荣了如道, 伤痛不一定是要用眼泪而写下来的, 我在那天学到, 原来也是有另外一种方法来表达你的悲痛。

那就是用我们的心。

这个经验是触发我学福建的理由。对我来说, 它是一个很特别的记忆, 因为它代表了一个美丽生命的结束, 也代表了我学一门新知识的开始。

三年后, 现在的阿荣, 福建语也会讲到七七八八了。学会了一个语言, 似乎很像把一道门开了起来, 在门后面发现到全部会讲那种语言的人。当然, 顽皮的阿荣学会了福建语后, 也代表说如果你惹我的话, 准备死吧!! 我会用流利的福建把你骂道像个臭头猪八戒! 想自杀就来试试看吧!

咳咳咳。。

人生就是一条走不完的学习道路嘛。如果可以学的话, 为什么不敢去尝试呢?

对亲爱的奶奶来说, 也许世界把她抛弃在后头, 当作是被遗忘的时光。

但对我来说, 这只是一个开始而已。。 瞧着看吧。

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 7:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

It's better to have love and lost; Than never to have loved at all

Those eyes. Damn. I’ve been lovestruck and how did this even happen?

I guess it starts with a where, when and how.

I’ll start with the when. It was after a long day. And normally journeys home are the point where we unwind. Where we think of the events that happened on that day. And where we are the most vulnerable and unprepared. And so the Perfect Stranger strikes.

Next up is the where. It was a bus. My hair was all messed up and I had a dishevelled look. I was tired and worn out, my shirt was hanging out in one place. I was about to alight when I felt a pair of eyes on me, searching, gazing, probing.

Now, the how is something that I cannot quite fully comprehend. It could be her beautiful eyes. It was partially covered by her hair, as if it was a shield, a barrier to avoid direct confrontation with my piercing glance. It could be her submissive posture. I knew I dominated that moment, but still I’ve lost the battle. She stole my heart. It could be that she carried an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. And for that moment I gave it to her.

What makes her stand out from the rest of the women?

Perhaps it’s because of the fact that I’ll never be able to see her again. A fleeting encounter with a stranger, albeit one that is perfect. It could only happen this way. If the scenario were to change and I did befriend her on the spot, then things will not be the same. She will not be the Perfect Stranger and I won’t grow to love her like I did now. The reason I was dealt a blow was because my mind knows that I’ll never be able to get her, and the heart can’t accept that. We can never accept the fact that there are certain things that’s outta our reach.

But for now she still remained the Perfect Stranger. I didn’t know her, but yet at that moment I felt the warmth we shared was that of lovers. It seems to me that for that seconds or so the world was ours, and that the people around us didn’t mattered, and even if the sky were to fall I would bear it with one hand and took her with the other.

But a pity, it only lasted a few seconds.

我们华人有个谶语 –不在乎天长地久,只在乎曾经拥有. 有可能就是因为它是那么的短的一次相逢, 才会引人恋恋不忘。

看来我可不像自己想象中的那么无情。最后还是逃不过女人的魔法。

Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

What's in a Name? That which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet

I was browsing through facebook, hopping around profiles until I came across this old schoolmate of mine.

At other times I would continue around with my own business, but this time something caught my attention. It was not the fact that she got an extreme makeover, or that her friend beside in the profile picture was looking ridiculously gorgeous. No, rather, it was her name. And I will tell you why before you say I’m not a sexually healthy male adolescent.

It was in french.

She was perfectly chinese. Or at least that’s what I remembered, but you can’t just turn french overnight can you?

Unless you are an egg or something. (ha, ha, ha.)

And the problem is, I kinda like her old name better. It was one of the nicer chinese names for girls, even though I agree that there are a lot of other fucked up chinese names out there trying to screw newborn babies and trying to be born with a nice and epic sounding one is like trying your luck with 4D. But I think hers was genuinely unique and feminine.

And it seems to me that she renamed herself because she wants to be inferred of a higher standing. Just like how everyone seems to take on a new christened name upon graduating to poly. Hell, society seems to have caught up even on me and invited me to join in the blast. I would choose not to have one if I could, but honestly speaking it inconveniences me and sometimes having to repeat your chinese name twice or thrice during an introduction is no fun at all. Not to mention of course other benefits like making your name easier to remember, and easier to pronounce as well. But when to draw the line?

Right now I have probably three of four friends who’s had a complete overhaul of their names, including one that seems to have taken on the persona of a Japanese ninja. Having a name that goes Hayabusa Mokosochi in Maplestory is cool, just don’t bring it out to your real life.

I guess I could understand if somebody wants to have a name to be easier remembered, but why change it when it’s impactful enough already? Besides there is definitely more depth in chinese names as compared to Jane or Peter, and I believe that one should learn to appreciate his/her own chinese name more.  I could almost say the same to myself, if only my name didn’t sound so Way Wrong. (re-read it)

This is where I quote Travis Bickle – You talkin’ to me? But I’m the only one here.

Sighs.

This is where I console myself by saying it can’t be that bad. But seriously, it can’t be that bad, can it?

It’s not that I don’t like my name and is thinking of renaming myself french, it’s just that I kinda preferred if my name was cooler like 歐陽鋒 or 周杰倫.

Well, at least I still got a cool sounding “Rong” in my name. Ron just came out when I tried to introduced myself as Rong and that guy couldn’t pronounce it, and I thought it would be good if I use it for non chinese friends and other formal places.

I think that what matters in a name is that it serves as a purpose of a tag, to label, to connect. I also believe that if your parents named you after something, it was because they believed that you will grow up having the attributes or virtues of it. What’s the meaning then if you destroyed something they believed in just to make yourself more presentable?

I’m still kinda curious if Hayabusa Mokosochi will turn his head around if I call out to him at Orchard Road. I hope he doesn’t read my blog.

The name(s) used have been altered to protect the safety of the author.
Well, at least I still got a cool sounding “Rong” in my name. Ron just came out when I tried to introduced myself as Rong and that guy couldn’t pronounce it, and I thought it would be good if I use it for non chinese friends and other formal places.
Published in: on November 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chow Mo-wan

I’m rewatching 2046 for probably the tenth time now. And what about it?

I guess for every movie the story has got to have an engaging lead character, someone who’s able to charm the viewers. And in 2046 you’ve got one who’s such a natural, he ends up charming the women in the film itself as well. In comes our lead character, Chow Mo-wan.

PDVD_021

In the first film, In The Mood For Love, he first appears as a man who’s bounded by society in the 60s, unable to love the woman of his life because of the taboos that was associated back then. But what I really like was his transformation in the sequel, 2046. In 2046, he has turned into a ladies men, thriving on female company, but still unable to recover from his heartbreak since the first film.

2046b

In my opinion, he’s gotta be the best movie character ever created. He’s carefully thought out, and the character has depth. I felt myself immense in his character, and I can’t see why not, because he represents a vulnerable part in every guy, where if inflicted with a wave of romantic destruction how our masculinity will struggle to uphold the fragile side of us.

Similarly he likes to write, and often seeks the higher purpose in any underlying meaning he is presented with. Love is now presented to him sarcastically, he no longer believes in long and everlasting, he looks for passionate short flings for satisfaction. And one can see that all this is compounded because of the heartbreak he suffered.

And so he writes. A warped and twisted love story, about a man, androids, a bullet train, and a place known as 2046.

PDVD_023

In the story he writes, 2046 is described as a place where lonely souls travel via a train to recapture lost loves. Chow slowly discovers that the protagonist he is writing about is actually himself, drawing inspirations from his own adventures. Unable to get over his heartache, the train in the story the protagonist is on seems to mirror his sorrow, traveling for a seemingly uncertain and long time. The female androids aboard the train seems to mirror the female companionship Chow enjoys, where his promiscuity only serves to satisfy his sexual gratification, and nothing more. However by the end of the story, when the protagonist gets off the train, that also serves as the healing point where Chow recovers from his heartache as well. In that aspect the two inter-weave closely and that’s another thing I like about the film itself. Using a second story to tell the first.

Chow

Underneath that cool demeanor is a man anguished and rejected by the woman he loved, and so sought to bury it by keeping himself in the company of other women. In the end he decides that it’s not working as well as he thought, and finally realises that he’s got to let her go.

Did Chow Mo-wan entered my life? He certainly did. What’s made the whole story and him so intricating then?

Perhaps it is not the person you have loved that is lost, but the moment itself, and the loser is condemned to relive it forever.

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Comments (8)  

10 Secrets About Guys

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We think about sex all the time

Research has shown that the area in our brain connected to sex is two times larger in volume and cells than women. It probably explains why we want to get intimate every single time we see you. We are just wired this way, love. You can’t ask us to stop saving mankind from extinction, can you?

We don’t lace our words with sugar all the time

Occasionally, you ask us how you look with that dress on. When we say you look nice, we mean it. Stop busting our balls just because we didn’t use fanciful words, we are just too lazy tired at times. You should basically understand one thing, that you are our own personal goddess, and you look fantastic in anything, even our shirts, and I mean just the shirt.

We love football

They are part of our growing up process, we guys grow up in the mud. Throw in a ball and you complete the picture. We’ll fight for the ball, but that’s how football started, isn’t it? 1 guy decides that him fighting alone isn’t enough, so he runs along and finds 10 other guys. Pretty soon, they realise they gotta keep their hands off the ball so they can throw punches on the opposing team. In the end, the game is created. Also, we’ll appreciate if you keep your hands off the remote when the game is on.

We hate long talks

Why? Because we don’t know what to say for god sake. We know you didn’t ask for us to say anything, and that’s where it starts to confuse us. It’s like asking a question and not expecting an answer. We just don’t understand why you have to tell someone about your problems and know he’s not going to solve it. That’s like going to the bank when you are hungry. It doesn’t help.

A part of us still can’t grow up

We still love our toys. They just got bigger in the process. We love cars, we love our guns, we love our gadgets. Don’t blame us if we spend more on them than on you. Just think of it this way, its a long term investment. They keep us happy, and we’ll keep you happy by buying you diamonds. (Like real)

We sometimes brag

Note I used the word sometimes. We like it when you go aweshock and your eyes enlarge with amazement. It makes us feel like there is someone looking up to us, admiring our manhood. We all like to be your closet superhero, rescuing you from monstrous villains and lecherous creatures, holding our great sword of justice and punishing the weaked, protecting you from your nightmares, and you can always, without fail, count on us to save the gorgeous damsel in distress in the hour of extreme urgency. (Only the front bit is true)

We don’t understand your six sense, and it scares the crap out of us

Let’s admit it, women sense more things than guys. I don’t know how you girls do it, but it’s unsettling for us. It’s like you sniff things out from us, and that’s not all. You sniff the things we want to hide from you out of us. I don’t know how you girls do it, but right now my comrades are working on developing a solution that will save the male population by making us immune. It will put a mental block to the psychic powers that female possess, because they will get nothing out of us except unconcious mumbles and jibberish, thus putting an end to their evil plot to take over the world. The solution is actually alcohol.

We don’t want to spend all our time with you

Sometimes we like to hit the bar with our buddies, or just go fishing alone, and we’ll appreciate if you get the hint that we don’t want you to tag along. It’s not that we don’t love you anymore, it’s just that we don’t want to go to every four corners and have your face popping out like a Mas Selamat poster everywhere. Basically we need some time alone to think about stuffs (nothing is considered stuffs as well), and enjoy a little bit of freedom to venture into our own area of interests without you having an input in it.

Don’t expect us to sense it if you like us as well

Your hints are not getting their way to us. Either they get blown away halfway while flying through the wind to us, or they fly to the wrong target beacon, because half the time, we don’t know if you like us or not. As a result, we forgo lots of opportunities unless you are one that we’ll regret deeply if we didn’t approach you. We are not asking you to make a first move, give us more hints than just glancing back at us, and we’ll do the rest.

We are not heartless, we just have more serotonin

If we don’t get all teary when we see the neighbour’s dog get hit by a car, it doesn’t mean we are cruel. It’s proven that men produce 52% more serotonin than women, something which influence mood, making us feel upbeat all the time. Lost our job? It’s okay. We don’t sink into depression, we look forward to the 16-hour-a-day xbox sessions before starting to find a new one.

To end everything on a clearer note, here’s what we guys have been thinking all along.

brain_male

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Is The End Results Of All The Bright Lights; The Eye In The Sky Is Watching Us All.

I admire people who has reached the top of their game.

How many times have we dangle with the idea of reaching the top. It all seems harder to achieve than just dreaming about it. Without motivation, one can get nowhere. Which is why I’m always amazed when I see the finest people in a particular group, excelling in their hobby, their profession.

800px-Military_cyclists_in_pace_line From young I used to admire the cream of the crop, the people at the top whom almost perfected their skills in that particular area. We’ll never be perfect, or to perfect something, but for those who try, we’ll be as close to it as it ever gets. And to be the closest, to nearly grasp perfection in one’s hand and conquer it, that will be the greatest satisfaction one could ever get. I wanted to be a daring cyclist, but the closest I could get was a crappy neighbourhood bike with no gears to slap me in the face and bring me back to reality.

That doesn’t stop me from daydreaming, because admiration for the love of life is what makes me tick. I like to live in depth, I think many people nowadays are wasting their lives away in mindless self indulgence, following the trend, directionless people who are always thinking of having more fun, thinking of the clubbings and parties the next moment. That doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in this kind of activities, just not excessively. I seek enjoyment, to let my hair down, de-stress and for the perfect stranger. I’m not walking into the club thinking I’m definitely gonna get laid tonight, thinking to grab the next hot chick butt, and thinking of going there every other day. I think there’s gotta be more to life than that. The comparison is clear, it’s like fine dining and binge eating, and yes, there’s a difference. There too, is a difference between people. People are the same, just like a specific activity. But ultimately how we choose to live our life – or complicate it is different, just like how different we indulge in that specific activity.

The World Is Yours

I anticipate encounters with people that has depth. In my entire life I think I’ve probably met 2, both girls, and not exactly the prettiest thing. I’m not being rude, but those 2 sometimes start me thinking, is it really because they are ugly, and therefore they seek further in the purpose of life?
I mean, I’m not gonna go into a whole lot of shit in spiritual living, that’s not the point, but somehow I just feel, they probably thought to themselves, Do I really need to be beautiful to be able to live life to the fullest?
In this bias world, somehow I think I’ll never be able to live long enough to find out.  Another thing I realised, they are both loners. Well not exactly those type with no fucking friends at all, those are extreme, they still show up for birthday parties and such, and are darlings to talk with, pretty sociable, but loners as in, they like to spend time alone. They don’t crave attention, they seek other forms of spotlights which they can still feel happy without having to show their faces, musical talents for example. You can be behind a curtain and still get an applause from the audience. They enjoy capturing moments, photography, and one thing I noticed, photography with life in it. Be it a butterfly at work, or the highest point of the world. Not necessary lifeform, but things created by life, things that are dynamic, full of energy, full of color. They remain optimistic in life, and they rarely indulge in love. I think maybe to them it’s a bonus, never an obligation. And their knowledge is immense. I thought I had a good grasp on history, but someone corrected me on the life of Adolf Hitler. I thought I would understand politics, but someone taught me to look at the civilians, and not the officials. On a long enough timeline, you start to appreciate people for their character, and not their good looks. With that admiration of life and the people, I’ll start into the next level of life, the profession that we man manifest into.

Some people are good in what they do, they excel in their hobbies, their profession. They dedicate every minute to improving themselves, even though they might already be the best. Here’s a few classes of people that I appreciate on the highest esteem.

Anglers

I admire anglers, because fishing is something which reallAnglers-open-the-salmon-f-001y require skills. Either you master it, or you go home with an empty catch. It’s as simple as that. And the profundity that comes with it is immense, it’s techniques require patience to master. Fishing wants you to live and breathe it, to know the different types of hook that gives different leverage over the catch, to know the kind of fishing line, to know how to put the bait on the hook, a bait that is hastily tied will only result in it coming loose and eventually drop, to know the different types of rod and the number of categories they have.Photo0073
In the past I often looked at the old birds- ah pehs wearing singlets and slippers, riding a bicycle, with their equipments; often cheap but effective products, and I wonder, would I someday be able to learn all their knowledge on the game itself. It isn’t that hard, but to reach the top of the game, you have to dedicate. Thats also one thing I love about fishing. The people. I think there is a mutual respect among anglers, and often there is this boredom when waiting for the catch, and we end up chatting with the whole 30-40 people on the jetty. By the end of the day, we’re all freakin’ best friends. They gather if someone has a big catch, and the more experienced ones often render help on how to reel it in. Even those reclusive and quiet ones at the corner will throw you smiles as compliments, elevating your sense of achievement for that particular catch.

Directors

Lucas-with-Camera I admire directors. It’s not easy directing a movie, and alot of people do not know that. I swear that when I first tried my hand on directing a short film, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. On top of that you have budget issues, unruly actors, and sometimes you even have production crew doubting whether the whole thing would work. You have to edit your footage after in post production, which is equally hellish. The next time you watch a movie or drama serials, look at the angles carefully. Every time there’s a change in the angle, it means it was a different shot as either the camera was shifted or there was two different cameras running. It was just editted in to make it look seamless as if it was one continuous shot, but behind the scenes a normal dialogue scene in a restaurant could take days to complete. Now you know why a two hour movie can take a year or two to complete.
But there too is a great accomplishment in this profession.
Nowadays, the films are easier to direct, most oftravel-film-in-the-mood-for-love them action films which relies more on their story itself. Just try watching In The Mood For Love by Wong Kar-Wai or any Tarantino/Scorsese old films. They rely more on the directing than a car which can transform into a talking robot. Film appreciation is slowly becoming a lost art, with many moviegoers looking when they go into a cinema for the storyline solely, love stories/comedies etc, which is why some of the best movies are not big box office performers. While the storyline is an important aspect of the movie, the emphasis is way more than just that, the actors, the directing, all contributes in part to making a movie enjoyable. Don’t believe me? Try watching Brian De Palma’s Scarface. While the movie itself was nothing impressive, Al Pacino performance made it a movie worth watching. It’s like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, nothing impressive with the movie, but the actor makes it magical.

Hunters

cattle7I admire Hunters. I used to watch documentaries showing the Big Five Game, coined by professionals as the toughest five animals to hunt. That somehow sparked my early interest in this sport. Man still retains a primal hunger, to prove our superiority, to be the fittest of the fittest, and I believe Hunting is the most conventional way we indulge in.
However, due to the volatile nature of the sport, with the increased satisfaction often brings higher downsides as well. I once read a story(read previous post), there once lived a very good hunter. There comes a point where he felt appalled with the sport. Why? Because he was perfect (Self perceived perfection in my opinion, you can come close, but you’ll never be god). He’s reach the top of the game, and he has never contemplate that before. Suddenly hes thrown to the point where he does not know what to do. Until one day, he would start capturing prostitutes and release them in the wild, proceed to stalk them and kill them. Sadly, this story is real. Remember Count Zaroff? He’s perfect, but he’s fiction. This Count Zaroff copycat self perceived himself to be perfect, and this perception eventually led to his arrest when one of his victims escaped. In the past I only find disgust for people like him, people like the Zodiac killer in the 1960s,  but now, I probably find a little bit duck_hunt_wideweb__470x299,0of sympathy and understanding. I’m not saying I support their actions, I see beyond just a side of things, there is a greater impact, its not just killing one person, its killing one person and hurting his wife, his daughter, his son, his family. I’m saying, when you come close to being perfect, there’s this scary thought that to achieve mastery would mean to devoid all satisfaction you can get from that hobby, and it drives people to act, to prevent themselves from being perfect, because then, there would be nothing left to be worth fighting for. If everytime I throw a hook into the water, I know that I’m gonna catch a fish, I would probably give up fishing, because then there is no fun in it. If everytime I pull that trigger, I know I brokeback-mountain-9would never miss, I would probably stop hunting. If each time one looks in a mirror, and is already perfect in beauty, she would probably stop putting makeup. That’s the irony I see, we strive to be perfect, but we never want to attain it.
That doesn’t mean I don’t love the game, Hunting is probably one of the best sports I love, the profession, but I’d never be a hunter, because I don’t have the chance. I’ll never reach the top of the game, because there is nothing to hunt in Singapore. I would have wished to be born in New Zealand, to live a cowboy life on a cattle ranch, fall in love, and lead a simple life. In Singapore, I’m already born with responsibilities, but since I new-zealand-covecan’t change my fate, I might as well recreate it. Someday I would probably go to New Zealand, and stay in the wild for 25 days, at a place devoid of civilization, with a gun and other basic amenities. There, I would write everyday about my experiences on a blog, about the difference of life in a city and in the wild, of survival in a harsh environment. I would love to hunt a wild boar tooth, which symbolises pure strength, raw power and manhood in tribal cultures.

Religious Followers

Pillar2-Supernatural-GodCreates-Man-Sistine-ChapelI admire people with faith, I really do. People with faith are overall better persons, because most religion offers to bring out the best of people, to correct them from the path of wrongdoings, to lead them to the right way. Most, I won’t say all, religious followers are better morally and spiritually, they ain’t confused, they practise the teachings of the religion, and they adhere to the set of ethics. But somehow, despite the admiration, I can’t quite wrap my lips around it to say that I am a religious follower. I am an agnostic atheist, and I’m not going to express my views on whether there is a supreme one, or the different types of religion, because I think I would offend a hell lot of people. Religion is a sensitive topic. And there is nothing that will diffuse this situation so far- it’s like a fence, on one side you have people claiming to have found the truth, inviting you over to join their spiritual journey, while on the other side you have people who reject all thoughts of the idea, claiming it to be a fake scam, choosingbioshock-no-gods-or-kings-only-man to carry on with their life as it is. For me? I think I would probably be sitting on the fence, observing the situation on both sides. I still don’t believe in one, but show me proof and I’ll change my mind. I’m more of a man of science, and so far science is proving to me that there is no god, or at least our opinion of god is flawed.  I once read an interesting article, which states that our opinion of god may be flawed. Put simply our gods might just be a race of pure humans who’s put us here on Earth for us to evolve, a civilization with no illness or death. The concept is fresh, and offers a new take on this debate that has been ongoing for hundred of years. And it seems like it will carry on for a long time as well.

Magicians

magicianI admire magicians. They are probably the most secretive types of people, and they have a good reason for it. Most magicians form guilds and clubs, inner circles where they discuss and share skills of the trade, and I’ve always wanted to join one of this someday and learn all of their tricks. I believe this is one of the hardest profession to master as well, not to mention being at the top. Magicians are simply wonderful entertainers, that perform feats that is seemingly impossible to the human eye, and I love them for that.

A scene from The Prestige detailing their act.

250px-Houdini_performing_Water_Torture_Cell

And the man whom I admired the most in trickery, the great magician Harry Houdini. He was well known for his daring acts, which on a few occasions he nearly paid for with his life. He was considered a pioneer in acts which required him to escape from confined areas, from being buried in the sand to trapped underwater. Here’s a man who is so dedicated to his profession, he has inspired countless of people into the profession for generations after his death. Some of his best tricks still remain a mystery today, and the secrets were never uncovered as to how he did it.
Isn’t it wonderful if we all had a few magic tricks up our sleeves to surprise our loved ones on bad days? The best magic trick I’ve seen was one where a magician starts folding a piece of paper into a rose, then with a flick of his wrist makes the whole thing erupts in fire, and hola, a real rose appears. Talk about real guys like me working hard to win a woman’s heart, magicians are cheats compared to us okay. So if there’s any magicians reading this please feel free to contact me to impart a thing or two to keep things in equilibrium!

Musicians

00f/43/arve/g2496/058I admire musicians. I think music is probably one of the things that could never go wrong with people. We may come from all walks of life, but we all have a passion for tapping along with the tune. I’m a sucker for music, I think it adds flavour to life. I have a weird brand of music though, I think it’s kinda influenced by my peers when I was growing up. I like oldies, and a handful of bands from present. I do listen to other types of music, just not a diehard fan of those genres.  Alot of my friends are fans of house, trance, R&B, because they go clubbing. I think it’s kinda common, like following the trend, but well, to eacnbm 487h his own I guess. I’ve always wanted to create my own band, but it’s harder because it’s more of a group thing. In fact my first attempt in creating a band ended quite badly, and it was not just the band that disbanded, the friendship we had kind of disappeared after that as well. I hate to lose my friends, and it’s always sad that such things do happen, but some things are just part and parcel of life. I would love to go back to music someday just for the fun of it. Some people say I daydream too much, but I think having dreams, even though some might be silly, is part of my life as well. You can’t ask me to stop breathing, can you?
Maybe, just maybe, I could be on that stage someday, to give a performance, and to receive an applause.

Skydivers

SunsetTandemI admire Skydivers. Skydivers have guts. They don’t chicken out 50,000 feet in the air, and they reap the rewards of that experience from making the leap. I once had a phobia for heights, you know. Back in my primary school days I didn’t dare to try rock climbing or standing on poles during adventure camps. I’ve long overcame it, which I partly attribute towards having an admiration for sky-diving. Some people can’tJimhd2 conquer their fears, because they always fear when there are risks involved- what if my parachute don’t open up? what if i faint halfway? You don’t want to look back in your life when you are 60 years old and go, how I wish I’d have made that jump. I say, just make that leap of faith, and you’ll find yourself an experience of a lifetime.

Artists

vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-paris-5I admire artists. I used to be fascinated with the golden age renaissance of art, wondering why pieces of art from that era can be sold for millions of dollars today. Art used to elude me, I couldn’t seek the beauty of it, and the more I look at it, the more ordinary it seems to me. But ordinary is a form of art itself, it is to express, to convey, thoughts manifesting into color and paint. I’ve since gone a long way when it comes to appreciating art, just like I’ve found out that many things in life have about the same concept. Unpolished diamonds are diamonds nonetheless, they just need that someone to bring that shine out of them, and they will be the most dazzling pretty little things one can see with the naked eye. Why have we eluded so many raw gems in life? For they are visible to only the strongest of people, and I aim to find all the treasures of life. I’ve found a few, and they can be everywhere. It’s like a bottle of red wine, you need to take your time to savour it to bring out the true flavour.
I admire the man in the picture. Vincent van Gogh. He was a troubled man, a man whovan-gogh-vincent-starry-night was denied love, a man who relied on his brother, a man who was outcast by society, a man who could not get medical attention, a man who finally shot himself in a wheat field. He died a nobody, but today he’s widely regarded as one of the world best artists. One could see that towards the end, he was suffering and was tormented, his paintings devoid of life, morbid and gloomy. 800px-Vincent_van_Gogh_(1853-1890)_-_Wheat_Field_with_Crows_(1890)Strangely I think that his last few artworks were masterpieces, drawn by a man who was looking at death in the face. A man so tortured by life, so understood by few, he chose the ultimate way out. This is a direct contrast to the life I wanted, if my outlook of life was white, then his was black. The only thing we had in common was that we both wanted to find ways to express oneself. Vincent van Gogh used painting to express himself, while I chose literature. It’s a strange coincidence that I had interest and took art when I was 8, but despite undergoing training my doodles look like crap (literally). They would probably be at it’s best lying somewhere on the table in a nursery classroom.

Actors

austrialia-hugh-jackman-nicole-kidmanI admire Actors. Beneath that mask, you’ll never really know who they are. They might even be acting their way through life for all I know. But thats the thing, isn’t it? Who isn’t performing an act in life? We act in front of people to get them to like us. Have you ever had different people giving different accounts describing you? We don’t treat every single person the same way, and we all have a way of telling that person how we feel towards them, you can be hostile to a person you dislike, or be quiet around him, or just act friendly.  Some people say I’m a sociable and outgoing person, while others say I’m softspoken and mysterious, and they’re not lying. We put up fake faces and throw plastic smiles. The question is, who is the better actor? For them, they are the best in the business, and I admire them for that.
Like the great poet William Shakespeare once wrote in a play of his-

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.

How shockingly accurate this line is, mirroring the life which we are all a part of. We are all performers, for audiences we might not even recognise. We change our faces so fast, Daysofbeingwild_cheungwe probably have 5-6 different personality. One for your boss, one for your family, one for your perfect stranger. It’s like setting up different shields to protect the real you, and the closer one gets in any kind of relationship, the more shields one penetrate. Funny how guys always mention, that their wife seems to change the moment they got married. Lazy, don’t do the dishes, likes to eat, etc. I guess girls could almost say the same for guys as well. Dirty, leave clothes lying about, likes to game, etc. Funny how this habits seem to “pop” up from nowhere after marriage. The best actors can cheat their way through, while the lousy ones get their acts exposed halfway through. Acting is presentation, like how women put makeup, our generation is one where we no longer dress for comfort and warmth, we dress to look good, to look smart, to look sexy. That’s not a bad thing because our generation is one that’s bold, but I’m just amazed by how fast the world turns and changes.

Howard Hughes

howardhughesThe last admiration on the list is not a profession, nor a hobby, he is a man. He was an inventor, an adventurer, an aviator, an industrialist, an engineer, a multi-billionaire, a movie director, a philanthropist and a womanizer. Some of you may not know him. He was the Bill Gates of our time, appearing annually in the world richest list of Forbes, a colorful man who was sensationalise by the media. Even as a kid he showed talent in certain areas, creating his own radio transmitter at 11 and taking flying lessons at 14. Howard Hughes inherited his father fortune upon his death at the age of 19, and was already a millionaire due to his father efforts in pioneering tools in oil drilling. Here’s the first part that I admire about him. He didn’t take the money and go, – I’m a rich fuck now, there is nothing I can’t get. He didn’t choose to slack and sustain his life off onhoward_hughes_film_hells_angels the money, which he could. Instead, he took the money, and made more money with it. Now here’s the second part I like about him. He made money in his areas of interests, with his hobbies. In 1927, at the age of 21, he directed his first theatrical film. He then went on to direct 6 films, which include famous films like Scarface, The Outlaw and Hell’s Angels, the most expensive film being made at that time. Hughes later started on his adventures in aviation, setting several records at that time, for airspeed (flying at 566km/h in the H-1), and completing a flight around the world in just 3 days and 19 hours and setting a hughesrecord for flying non-stop from Los Angeles to New York in 7 hours 30 mins. He was a pioneer in both making air flights commercial to public, stating that it was safe and reliable, and in aviation itself, setting up Hughes Aircraft and becoming a major shareholder in TWA, one of the largest airline company at that time. However, towards the latter part of his life, he grew extremely reclusive, and his eccentric behaviour only sought to increase the public inquisitive eye. He finally died from kidney failure, having suffered from malnutrition despite being among the richest men in the world. Funny how the men I admire always have an unglamourous end. Despite this he was one of the most colorful men of that century to ever lived, and his brilliance in fields like aviation, films and investing was undoubted. His playboy image and finance wizardry stays on in the hearts of those who remembered him, and those who did not will come to know of a loss of a man named Howard Hughes who lived his life on adventures and chased the things he desired in life.

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I believe we can all be men like Howard Hughes, with the capability to change the world, and making history for our own.

What will your legacy be?

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 8:15 am  Leave a Comment  

The Most Dangerous Game

The best short story ever written.

Most_dangerous_game

“OFF THERE to the right–somewhere–is a large island,” said Whitney.” It’s rather a mystery–”

“What island is it?” Rainsford asked.

“The old charts call it `Ship-Trap Island,”‘ Whitney replied.” A suggestive name, isn’t it? Sailors have a curious dread of the place. I don’t know why. Some superstition–”

“Can’t see it,” remarked Rainsford, trying to peer through the dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.

“You’ve good eyes,” said Whitney, with a laugh,” and I’ve seen you pick off a moose moving in the brown fall bush at four hundred yards, but even you can’t see four miles or so through a moonless Caribbean night.”

“Nor four yards,” admitted Rainsford. “Ugh! It’s like moist black velvet.”

“It will be light enough in Rio,” promised Whitney. “We should make it in a few days. I hope the jaguar guns have come from Purdey’s. We should have some good hunting up the Amazon. Great sport, hunting.”

“The best sport in the world,” agreed Rainsford.

“For the hunter,” amended Whitney. “Not for the jaguar.”

“Don’t talk rot, Whitney,” said Rainsford. “You’re a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?”

“Perhaps the jaguar does,” observed Whitney.

“Bah! They’ve no understanding.”

“Even so, I rather think they understand one thing–fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death.”

“Nonsense,” laughed Rainsford. “This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes–the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters. Do you think we’ve passed that island yet?”

“I can’t tell in the dark. I hope so.”

“Why? ” asked Rainsford.

“The place has a reputation–a bad one.”

“Cannibals?” suggested Rainsford.

“Hardly. Even cannibals wouldn’t live in such a God-forsaken place. But it’s gotten into sailor lore, somehow. Didn’t you notice that the crew’s nerves seemed a bit jumpy today?”

“They were a bit strange, now you mention it. Even Captain Nielsen–”

“Yes, even that tough-minded old Swede, who’d go up to the devil himself and ask him for a light. Those fishy blue eyes held a look I never saw there before. All I could get out of him was `This place has an evil name among seafaring men, sir.’ Then he said to me, very gravely, `Don’t you feel anything?’–as if the air about us was actually poisonous. Now, you mustn’t laugh when I tell you this–I did feel something like a sudden chill.

“There was no breeze. The sea was as flat as a plate-glass window. We were drawing near the island then. What I felt was a–a mental chill; a sort of sudden dread.”

“Pure imagination,” said Rainsford.

“One superstitious sailor can taint the whole ship’s company with his fear.”

“Maybe. But sometimes I think sailors have an extra sense that tells them when they are in danger. Sometimes I think evil is a tangible thing–with wave lengths, just as sound and light have. An evil place can, so to speak, broadcast vibrations of evil. Anyhow, I’m glad we’re getting out of this zone. Well, I think I’ll turn in now, Rainsford.”

“I’m not sleepy,” said Rainsford. “I’m going to smoke another pipe up on the afterdeck.”

“Good night, then, Rainsford. See you at breakfast.”

“Right. Good night, Whitney.”

There was no sound in the night as Rainsford sat there but the muffled throb of the engine that drove the yacht swiftly through the darkness, and the swish and ripple of the wash of the propeller.

Rainsford, reclining in a steamer chair, indolently puffed on his favorite brier. The sensuous drowsiness of the night was on him.” It’s so dark,” he thought, “that I could sleep without closing my eyes; the night would be my eyelids–”

An abrupt sound startled him. Off to the right he heard it, and his ears, expert in such matters, could not be mistaken. Again he heard the sound, and again. Somewhere, off in the blackness, someone had fired a gun three times.

Rainsford sprang up and moved quickly to the rail, mystified. He strained his eyes in the direction from which the reports had come, but it was like trying to see through a blanket. He leaped upon the rail and balanced himself there, to get greater elevation; his pipe, striking a rope, was knocked from his mouth. He lunged for it; a short, hoarse cry came from his lips as he realized he had reached too far and had lost his balance. The cry was pinched off short as the blood-warm waters of the Caribbean Sea dosed over his head.

He struggled up to the surface and tried to cry out, but the wash from the speeding yacht slapped him in the face and the salt water in his open mouth made him gag and strangle. Desperately he struck out with strong strokes after the receding lights of the yacht, but he stopped before he had swum fifty feet. A certain coolheadedness had come to him; it was not the first time he had been in a tight place. There was a chance that his cries could be heard by someone aboard the yacht, but that chance was slender and grew more slender as the yacht raced on. He wrestled himself out of his clothes and shouted with all his power. The lights of the yacht became faint and ever-vanishing fireflies; then they were blotted out entirely by the night.

Rainsford remembered the shots. They had come from the right, and doggedly he swam in that direction, swimming with slow, deliberate strokes, conserving his strength. For a seemingly endless time he fought the sea. He began to count his strokes; he could do possibly a hundred more and then–

Rainsford heard a sound. It came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror.

He did not recognize the animal that made the sound; he did not try to; with fresh vitality he swam toward the sound. He heard it again; then it was cut short by another noise, crisp, staccato.

“Pistol shot,” muttered Rainsford, swimming on.

Ten minutes of determined effort brought another sound to his ears–the most welcome he had ever heard–the muttering and growling of the sea breaking on a rocky shore. He was almost on the rocks before he saw them; on a night less calm he would have been shattered against them. With his remaining strength he dragged himself from the swirling waters. Jagged crags appeared to jut up into the opaqueness; he forced himself upward, hand over hand. Gasping, his hands raw, he reached a flat place at the top. Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then. All he knew was that he was safe from his enemy, the sea, and that utter weariness was on him. He flung himself down at the jungle edge and tumbled headlong into the deepest sleep of his life.

When he opened his eyes he knew from the position of the sun that it was late in the afternoon. Sleep had given him new vigor; a sharp hunger was picking at him. He looked about him, almost cheerfully.

“Where there are pistol shots, there are men. Where there are men, there is food,” he thought. But what kind of men, he wondered, in so forbidding a place? An unbroken front of snarled and ragged jungle fringed the shore.

He saw no sign of a trail through the closely knit web of weeds and trees; it was easier to go along the shore, and Rainsford floundered along by the water. Not far from where he landed, he stopped.

Some wounded thing–by the evidence, a large animal–had thrashed about in the underbrush; the jungle weeds were crushed down and the moss was lacerated; one patch of weeds was stained crimson. A small, glittering object not far away caught Rainsford’s eye and he picked it up. It was an empty cartridge.

“A twenty-two,” he remarked. “That’s odd. It must have been a fairly large animal too. The hunter had his nerve with him to tackle it with a light gun. It’s clear that the brute put up a fight. I suppose the first three shots I heard was when the hunter flushed his quarry and wounded it. The last shot was when he trailed it here and finished it.”

He examined the ground closely and found what he had hoped to find–the print of hunting boots. They pointed along the cliff in the direction he had been going. Eagerly he hurried along, now slipping on a rotten log or a loose stone, but making headway; night was beginning to settle down on the island.

Bleak darkness was blacking out the sea and jungle when Rainsford sighted the lights. He came upon them as he turned a crook in the coast line; and his first thought was that be had come upon a village, for there were many lights. But as he forged along he saw to his great astonishment that all the lights were in one enormous building–a lofty structure with pointed towers plunging upward into the gloom. His eyes made out the shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau; it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.

“Mirage,” thought Rainsford. But it was no mirage, he found, when he opened the tall spiked iron gate. The stone steps were real enough; the massive door with a leering gargoyle for a knocker was real enough; yet above it all hung an air of unreality.

He lifted the knocker, and it creaked up stiffly, as if it had never before been used. He let it fall, and it startled him with its booming loudness. He thought he heard steps within; the door remained closed. Again Rainsford lifted the heavy knocker, and let it fall. The door opened then–opened as suddenly as if it were on a spring–and Rainsford stood blinking in the river of glaring gold light that poured out. The first thing Rainsford’s eyes discerned was the largest man Rainsford had ever seen–a gigantic creature, solidly made and black bearded to the waist. In his hand the man held a long-barreled revolver, and he was pointing it straight at Rainsford’s heart.

Out of the snarl of beard two small eyes regarded Rainsford.

“Don’t be alarmed,” said Rainsford, with a smile which he hoped was disarming. “I’m no robber. I fell off a yacht. My name is Sanger Rainsford of New York City.”

The menacing look in the eyes did not change. The revolver pointing as rigidly as if the giant were a statue. He gave no sign that he understood Rainsford’s words, or that he had even heard them. He was dressed in uniform–a black uniform trimmed with gray astrakhan.

“I’m Sanger Rainsford of New York,” Rainsford began again. “I fell off a yacht. I am hungry.”

The man’s only answer was to raise with his thumb the hammer of his revolver. Then Rainsford saw the man’s free hand go to his forehead in a military salute, and he saw him click his heels together and stand at attention. Another man was coming down the broad marble steps, an erect, slender man in evening clothes. He advanced to Rainsford and held out his hand.

In a cultivated voice marked by a slight accent that gave it added precision and deliberateness, he said, “It is a very great pleasure and honor to welcome Mr. Sanger Rainsford, the celebrated hunter, to my home.”

Automatically Rainsford shook the man’s hand.

“I’ve read your book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet, you see,” explained the man. “I am General Zaroff.”

Rainsford’s first impression was that the man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original, almost bizarre quality about the general’s face. He was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white; but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as the night from which Rainsford had come. His eyes, too, were black and very bright. He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face–the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat. Turning to the giant in uniform, the general made a sign. The giant put away his pistol, saluted, withdrew.

“Ivan is an incredibly strong fellow,” remarked the general, “but he has the misfortune to be deaf and dumb. A simple fellow, but, I’m afraid, like all his race, a bit of a savage.”

“Is he Russian?”

“He is a Cossack,” said the general, and his smile showed red lips and pointed teeth. “So am I.”

“Come,” he said, “we shouldn’t be chatting here. We can talk later. Now you want clothes, food, rest. You shall have them. This is a most-restful spot.”

Ivan had reappeared, and the general spoke to him with lips that moved but gave forth no sound.

“Follow Ivan, if you please, Mr. Rainsford,” said the general. “I was about to have my dinner when you came. I’ll wait for you. You’ll find that my clothes will fit you, I think.”

It was to a huge, beam-ceilinged bedroom with a canopied bed big enough for six men that Rainsford followed the silent giant. Ivan laid out an evening suit, and Rainsford, as he put it on, noticed that it came from a London tailor who ordinarily cut and sewed for none below the rank of duke.

The dining room to which Ivan conducted him was in many ways remarkable. There was a medieval magnificence about it; it suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, its vast refectory tables where twoscore men could sit down to eat. About the hall were mounted heads of many animals–lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or more perfect specimens Rainsford had never seen. At the great table the general was sitting, alone.

“You’ll have a cocktail, Mr. Rainsford,” he suggested. The cocktail was surpassingly good; and, Rainsford noted, the table apointments were of the finest–the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china.

They were eating borsch, the rich, red soup with whipped cream so dear to Russian palates. Half apologetically General Zaroff said, “We do our best to preserve the amenities of civilization here. Please forgive any lapses. We are well off the beaten track, you know. Do you think the champagne has suffered from its long ocean trip?”

“Not in the least,” declared Rainsford. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. But there was one small trait of .the general’s that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly.

“Perhaps,” said General Zaroff, “you were surprised that I recognized your name. You see, I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian. I have but one passion in my life, Mr. Rainsford, and it is the hunt.”

“You have some wonderful heads here,” said Rainsford as he ate a particularly well-cooked filet mignon. ” That Cape buffalo is the largest I ever saw.”

“Oh, that fellow. Yes, he was a monster.”

“Did he charge you?”

“Hurled me against a tree,” said the general. “Fractured my skull. But I got the brute.”

“I’ve always thought,” said Rainsford, “that the Cape buffalo is the most dangerous of all big game.”

For a moment the general did not reply; he was smiling his curious red-lipped smile. Then he said slowly, “No. You are wrong, sir. The Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous big game.” He sipped his wine. “Here in my preserve on this island,” he said in the same slow tone, “I hunt more dangerous game.”

Rainsford expressed his surprise. “Is there big game on this island?”

The general nodded. “The biggest.”

“Really?”

“Oh, it isn’t here naturally, of course. I have to stock the island.”

“What have you imported, general?” Rainsford asked. “Tigers?”

The general smiled. “No,” he said. “Hunting tigers ceased to interest me some years ago. I exhausted their possibilities, you see. No thrill left in tigers, no real danger. I live for danger, Mr. Rainsford.”

The general took from his pocket a gold cigarette case and offered his guest a long black cigarette with a silver tip; it was perfumed and gave off a smell like incense.

“We will have some capital hunting, you and I,” said the general. “I shall be most glad to have your society.”

“But what game–” began Rainsford.

“I’ll tell you,” said the general. “You will be amused, I know. I think I may say, in all modesty, that I have done a rare thing. I have invented a new sensation. May I pour you another glass of port?”

“Thank you, general.”

The general filled both glasses, and said, “God makes some men poets. Some He makes kings, some beggars. Me He made a hunter. My hand was made for the trigger, my father said. He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea, and he was an ardent sportsman. When I was only five years old he gave me a little gun, specially made in Moscow for me, to shoot sparrows with. When I shot some of his prize turkeys with it, he did not punish me; he complimented me on my marksmanship. I killed my first bear in the Caucasus when I was ten. My whole life has been one prolonged hunt. I went into the army–it was expected of noblemen’s sons–and for a time commanded a division of Cossack cavalry, but my real interest was always the hunt. I have hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed.”

The general puffed at his cigarette.

“After the debacle in Russia I left the country, for it was imprudent for an officer of the Czar to stay there. Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris. Naturally, I continued to hunt–grizzliest in your Rockies, crocodiles in the Ganges, rhinoceroses in East Africa. It was in Africa that the Cape buffalo hit me and laid me up for six months. As soon as I recovered I started for the Amazon to hunt jaguars, for I had heard they were unusually cunning. They weren’t.” The Cossack sighed. “They were no match at all for a hunter with his wits about him, and a high-powered rifle. I was bitterly disappointed. I was lying in my tent with a splitting headache one night when a terrible thought pushed its way into my mind. Hunting was beginning to bore me! And hunting, remember, had been my life. I have heard that in America businessmen often go to pieces when they give up the business that has been their life.”

“Yes, that’s so,” said Rainsford.

The general smiled. “I had no wish to go to pieces,” he said. “I must do something. Now, mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford. Doubtless that is why I enjoy the problems of the chase.”

“No doubt, General Zaroff.”

“So,” continued the general, “I asked myself why the hunt no longer fascinated me. You are much younger than I am, Mr. Rainsford, and have not hunted as much, but you perhaps can guess the answer.”

“What was it?”

“Simply this: hunting had ceased to be what you call `a sporting proposition.’ It had become too easy. I always got my quarry. Always. There is no greater bore than perfection.”

The general lit a fresh cigarette.

“No animal had a chance with me any more. That is no boast; it is a mathematical certainty. The animal had nothing but his legs and his instinct. Instinct is no match for reason. When I thought of this it was a tragic moment for me, I can tell you.”

Rainsford leaned across the table, absorbed in what his host was saying.

“It came to me as an inspiration what I must do,” the general went on.

“And that was?”

The general smiled the quiet smile of one who has faced an obstacle and surmounted it with success. “I had to invent a new animal to hunt,” he said.

“A new animal? You’re joking.” “Not at all,” said the general. “I never joke about hunting. I needed a new animal. I found one. So I bought this island built this house, and here I do my hunting. The island is perfect for my purposes–there are jungles with a maze of traits in them, hills, swamps–”

“But the animal, General Zaroff?”

“Oh,” said the general, “it supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. No other hunting compares with it for an instant. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits.”

Rainsford’s bewilderment showed in his face.

“I wanted the ideal animal to hunt,” explained the general. “So I said, `What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?’ And the answer was, of course, `It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason.”‘

“But no animal can reason,” objected Rainsford.

“My dear fellow,” said the general, “there is one that can.”

“But you can’t mean–” gasped Rainsford.

“And why not?”

“I can’t believe you are serious, General Zaroff. This is a grisly joke.”

“Why should I not be serious? I am speaking of hunting.”

“Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder.”

The general laughed with entire good nature. He regarded Rainsford quizzically. “I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life. Surely your experiences in the war–”

“Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder,” finished Rainsford stiffly.

Laughter shook the general. “How extraordinarily droll you are!” he said. “One does not expect nowadays to find a young man of the educated class, even in America, with such a naive, and, if I may say so, mid-Victorian point of view. It’s like finding a snuffbox in a limousine. Ah, well, doubtless you had Puritan ancestors. So many Americans appear to have had. I’ll wager you’ll forget your notions when you go hunting with me. You’ve a genuine new thrill in store for you, Mr. Rainsford.”

“Thank you, I’m a hunter, not a murderer.”

“Dear me,” said the general, quite unruffled, “again that unpleasant word. But I think I can show you that your scruples are quite ill founded.”

“Yes?”

“Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships–lassars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels–a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.”

“But they are men,” said Rainsford hotly.

“Precisely,” said the general. “That is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion. So they are dangerous.”

“But where do you get them?”

The general’s left eyelid fluttered down in a wink. “This island is called Ship Trap,” he answered. “Sometimes an angry god of the high seas sends them to me. Sometimes, when Providence is not so kind, I help Providence a bit. Come to the window with me.”

Rainsford went to the window and looked out toward the sea.

“Watch! Out there!” exclaimed the general, pointing into the night. Rainsford’s eyes saw only blackness, and then, as the general pressed a button, far out to sea Rainsford saw the flash of lights.

The general chuckled. “They indicate a channel,” he said, “where there’s none; giant rocks with razor edges crouch like a sea monster with wide-open jaws. They can crush a ship as easily as I crush this nut.” He dropped a walnut on the hardwood floor and brought his heel grinding down on it. “Oh, yes,” he said, casually, as if in answer to a question, “I have electricity. We try to be civilized here.”

“Civilized? And you shoot down men?”

A trace of anger was in the general’s black eyes, but it was there for but a second; and he said, in his most pleasant manner, “Dear me, what a righteous young man you are! I assure you I do not do the thing you suggest. That would be barbarous. I treat these visitors with every consideration. They get plenty of good food and exercise. They get into splendid physical condition. You shall see for yourself tomorrow.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’ll visit my training school,” smiled the general. “It’s in the cellar. I have about a dozen pupils down there now. They’re from the Spanish bark San Lucar that had the bad luck to go on the rocks out there. A very inferior lot, I regret to say. Poor specimens and more accustomed to the deck than to the jungle.” He raised his hand, and Ivan, who served as waiter, brought thick Turkish coffee. Rainsford, with an effort, held his tongue in check.

“It’s a game, you see,” pursued the general blandly. “I suggest to one of them that we go hunting. I give him a supply of food and an excellent hunting knife. I give him three hours’ start. I am to follow, armed only with a pistol of the smallest caliber and range. If my quarry eludes me for three whole days, he wins the game. If I find him “–the general smiled–” he loses.”

“Suppose he refuses to be hunted?”

“Oh,” said the general, “I give him his option, of course. He need not play that game if he doesn’t wish to. If he does not wish to hunt, I turn him over to Ivan. Ivan once had the honor of serving as official knouter to the Great White Czar, and he has his own ideas of sport. Invariably, Mr. Rainsford, invariably they choose the hunt.”

“And if they win?”

The smile on the general’s face widened. “To date I have not lost,” he said. Then he added, hastily: “I don’t wish you to think me a braggart, Mr. Rainsford. Many of them afford only the most elementary sort of problem. Occasionally I strike a tartar. One almost did win. I eventually had to use the dogs.”

“The dogs?”

“This way, please. I’ll show you.”

The general steered Rainsford to a window. The lights from the windows sent a flickering illumination that made grotesque patterns on the courtyard below, and Rainsford could see moving about there a dozen or so huge black shapes; as they turned toward him, their eyes glittered greenly.

“A rather good lot, I think,” observed the general. “They are let out at seven every night. If anyone should try to get into my house–or out of it–something extremely regrettable would occur to him.” He hummed a snatch of song from the Folies Bergere.

“And now,” said the general, “I want to show you my new collection of heads. Will you come with me to the library?”

“I hope,” said Rainsford, “that you will excuse me tonight, General Zaroff. I’m really not feeling well.”

“Ah, indeed?” the general inquired solicitously. “Well, I suppose that’s only natural, after your long swim. You need a good, restful night’s sleep. Tomorrow you’ll feel like a new man, I’ll wager. Then we’ll hunt, eh? I’ve one rather promising prospect–” Rainsford was hurrying from the room.

“Sorry you can’t go with me tonight,” called the general. “I expect rather fair sport–a big, strong, black. He looks resourceful–Well, good night, Mr. Rainsford; I hope you have a good night’s rest.”

The bed was good, and the pajamas of the softest silk, and he was tired in every fiber of his being, but nevertheless Rainsford could not quiet his brain with the opiate of sleep. He lay, eyes wide open. Once he thought he heard stealthy steps in the corridor outside his room. He sought to throw open the door; it would not open. He went to the window and looked out. His room was high up in one of the towers. The lights of the chateau were out now, and it was dark and silent; but there was a fragment of sallow moon, and by its wan light he could see, dimly, the courtyard. There, weaving in and out in the pattern of shadow, were black, noiseless forms; the hounds heard him at the window and looked up, expectantly, with their green eyes. Rainsford went back to the bed and lay down. By many methods he tried to put himself to sleep. He had achieved a doze when, just as morning began to come, he heard, far off in the jungle, the faint report of a pistol.

General Zaroff did not appear until luncheon. He was dressed faultlessly in the tweeds of a country squire. He was solicitous about the state of Rainsford’s health.

“As for me,” sighed the general, “I do not feel so well. I am worried, Mr. Rainsford. Last night I detected traces of my old complaint.”

To Rainsford’s questioning glance the general said, “Ennui. Boredom.”

Then, taking a second helping of crêpes Suzette, the general explained: “The hunting was not good last night. The fellow lost his head. He made a straight trail that offered no problems at all. That’s the trouble with these sailors; they have dull brains to begin with, and they do not know how to get about in the woods. They do excessively stupid and obvious things. It’s most annoying. Will you have another glass of Chablis, Mr. Rainsford?”

“General,” said Rainsford firmly, “I wish to leave this island at once.”

The general raised his thickets of eyebrows; he seemed hurt. “But, my dear fellow,” the general protested, “you’ve only just come. You’ve had no hunting–”

“I wish to go today,” said Rainsford. He saw the dead black eyes of the general on him, studying him. General Zaroff’s face suddenly brightened.

He filled Rainsford’s glass with venerable Chablis from a dusty bottle.

“Tonight,” said the general, “we will hunt–you and I.”

Rainsford shook his head. “No, general,” he said. “I will not hunt.”

The general shrugged his shoulders and delicately ate a hothouse grape. “As you wish, my friend,” he said. “The choice rests entirely with you. But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan’s?”

He nodded toward the corner to where the giant stood, scowling, his thick arms crossed on his hogshead of chest.

“You don’t mean–” cried Rainsford.

“My dear fellow,” said the general, “have I not told you I always mean what I say about hunting? This is really an inspiration. I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel–at last.” The general raised his glass, but Rainsford sat staring at him.

“You’ll find this game worth playing,” the general said enthusiastically.” Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength and stamina against mine. Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh?”

“And if I win–” began Rainsford huskily.

“I’ll cheerfully acknowledge myself defeat if I do not find you by midnight of the third day,” said General Zaroff. “My sloop will place you on the mainland near a town.” The general read what Rainsford was thinking.

“Oh, you can trust me,” said the Cossack. “I will give you my word as a gentleman and a sportsman. Of course you, in turn, must agree to say nothing of your visit here.”

“I’ll agree to nothing of the kind,” said Rainsford.

“Oh,” said the general, “in that case–But why discuss that now? Three days hence we can discuss it over a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, unless–”

The general sipped his wine.

Then a businesslike air animated him. “Ivan,” he said to Rainsford, “will supply you with hunting clothes, food, a knife. I suggest you wear moccasins; they leave a poorer trail. I suggest, too, that you avoid the big swamp in the southeast corner of the island. We call it Death Swamp. There’s quicksand there. One foolish fellow tried it. The deplorable part of it was that Lazarus followed him. You can imagine my feelings, Mr. Rainsford. I loved Lazarus; he was the finest hound in my pack. Well, I must beg you to excuse me now. I always’ take a siesta after lunch. You’ll hardly have time for a nap, I fear. You’ll want to start, no doubt. I shall not follow till dusk. Hunting at night is so much more exciting than by day, don’t you think? Au revoir, Mr. Rainsford, au revoir.” General Zaroff, with a deep, courtly bow, strolled from the room.

From another door came Ivan. Under one arm he carried khaki hunting clothes, a haversack of food, a leather sheath containing a long-bladed hunting knife; his right hand rested on a cocked revolver thrust in the crimson sash about his waist.

Rainsford had fought his way through the bush for two hours. “I must keep my nerve. I must keep my nerve,” he said through tight teeth.

He had not been entirely clearheaded when the chateau gates snapped shut behind him. His whole idea at first was to put distance between himself and General Zaroff; and, to this end, he had plunged along, spurred on by the sharp rowers of something very like panic. Now he had got a grip on himself, had stopped, and was taking stock of himself and the situation. He saw that straight flight was futile; inevitably it would bring him face to face with the sea. He was in a picture with a frame of water, and his operations, clearly, must take place within that frame.

“I’ll give him a trail to follow,” muttered Rainsford, and he struck off from the rude path he had been following into the trackless wilderness. He executed a series of intricate loops; he doubled on his trail again and again, recalling all the lore of the fox hunt, and all the dodges of the fox. Night found him leg-weary, with hands and face lashed by the branches, on a thickly wooded ridge. He knew it would be insane to blunder on through the dark, even if he had the strength. His need for rest was imperative and he thought, “I have played the fox, now I must play the cat of the fable.” A big tree with a thick trunk and outspread branches was near by, and, taking care to leave not the slightest mark, he climbed up into the crotch, and, stretching out on one of the broad limbs, after a fashion, rested. Rest brought him new confidence and almost a feeling of security. Even so zealous a hunter as General Zaroff could not trace him there, he told himself; only the devil himself could follow that complicated trail through the jungle after dark. But perhaps the general was a devil–

An apprehensive night crawled slowly by like a wounded snake and sleep did not visit Rainsford, although the silence of a dead world was on the jungle. Toward morning when a dingy gray was varnishing the sky, the cry of some startled bird focused Rainsford’s attention in that direction. Something was coming through the bush, coming slowly, carefully, coming by the same winding way Rainsford had come. He flattened himself down on the limb and, through a screen of leaves almost as thick as tapestry, he watched. . . . That which was approaching was a man.

It was General Zaroff. He made his way along with his eyes fixed in utmost concentration on the ground before him. He paused, almost beneath the tree, dropped to his knees and studied the ground. Rainsford’s impulse was to hurl himself down like a panther, but he saw that the general’s right hand held something metallic–a small automatic pistol.

The hunter shook his head several times, as if he were puzzled. Then he straightened up and took from his case one of his black cigarettes; its pungent incenselike smoke floated up to Rainsford’s nostrils.

Rainsford held his breath. The general’s eyes had left the ground and were traveling inch by inch up the tree. Rainsford froze there, every muscle tensed for a spring. But the sharp eyes of the hunter stopped before they reached the limb where Rainsford lay; a smile spread over his brown face. Very deliberately he blew a smoke ring into the air; then he turned his back on the tree and walked carelessly away, back along the trail he had come. The swish of the underbrush against his hunting boots grew fainter and fainter.

The pent-up air burst hotly from Rainsford’s lungs. His first thought made him feel sick and numb. The general could follow a trail through the woods at night; he could follow an extremely difficult trail; he must have uncanny powers; only by the merest chance had the Cossack failed to see his quarry.

Rainsford’s second thought was even more terrible. It sent a shudder of cold horror through his whole being. Why had the general smiled? Why had he turned back?

Rainsford did not want to believe what his reason told him was true, but the truth was as evident as the sun that had by now pushed through the morning mists. The general was playing with him! The general was saving him for another day’s sport! The Cossack was the cat; he was the mouse. Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror.

“I will not lose my nerve. I will not.”

He slid down from the tree, and struck off again into the woods. His face was set and he forced the machinery of his mind to function. Three hundred yards from his hiding place he stopped where a huge dead tree leaned precariously on a smaller, living one. Throwing off his sack of food, Rainsford took his knife from its sheath and began to work with all his energy.

The job was finished at last, and he threw himself down behind a fallen log a hundred feet away. He did not have to wait long. The cat was coming again to play with the mouse.

Following the trail with the sureness of a bloodhound came General Zaroff. Nothing escaped those searching black eyes, no crushed blade of grass, no bent twig, no mark, no matter how faint, in the moss. So intent was the Cossack on his stalking that he was upon the thing Rainsford had made before he saw it. His foot touched the protruding bough that was the trigger. Even as he touched it, the general sensed his danger and leaped back with the agility of an ape. But he was not quite quick enough; the dead tree, delicately adjusted to rest on the cut living one, crashed down and struck the general a glancing blow on the shoulder as it fell; but for his alertness, he must have been smashed beneath it. He staggered, but he did not fall; nor did he drop his revolver. He stood there, rubbing his injured shoulder, and Rainsford, with fear again gripping his heart, heard the general’s mocking laugh ring through the jungle.

“Rainsford,” called the general, “if you are within sound of my voice, as I suppose you are, let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford. I am going now to have my wound dressed; it’s only a slight one. But I shall be back. I shall be back.”

When the general, nursing his bruised shoulder, had gone, Rainsford took up his flight again. It was flight now, a desperate, hopeless flight, that carried him on for some hours. Dusk came, then darkness, and still he pressed on. The ground grew softer under his moccasins; the vegetation grew ranker, denser; insects bit him savagely.

Then, as he stepped forward, his foot sank into the ooze. He tried to wrench it back, but the muck sucked viciously at his foot as if it were a giant leech. With a violent effort, he tore his feet loose. He knew where he was now. Death Swamp and its quicksand.

His hands were tight closed as if his nerve were something tangible that someone in the darkness was trying to tear from his grip. The softness of the earth had given him an idea. He stepped back from the quicksand a dozen feet or so and, like some huge prehistoric beaver, he began to dig.

Rainsford had dug himself in in France when a second’s delay meant death. That had been a placid pastime compared to his digging now. The pit grew deeper; when it was above his shoulders, he climbed out and from some hard saplings cut stakes and sharpened them to a fine point. These stakes he planted in the bottom of the pit with the points sticking up. With flying fingers he wove a rough carpet of weeds and branches and with it he covered the mouth of the pit. Then, wet with sweat and aching with tiredness, he crouched behind the stump of a lightning-charred tree.

He knew his pursuer was coming; he heard the padding sound of feet on the soft earth, and the night breeze brought him the perfume of the general’s cigarette. It seemed to Rainsford that the general was coming with unusual swiftness; he was not feeling his way along, foot by foot. Rainsford, crouching there, could not see the general, nor could he see the pit. He lived a year in a minute. Then he felt an impulse to cry aloud with joy, for he heard the sharp crackle of the breaking branches as the cover of the pit gave way; he heard the sharp scream of pain as the pointed stakes found their mark. He leaped up from his place of concealment. Then he cowered back. Three feet from the pit a man was standing, with an electric torch in his hand.

“You’ve done well, Rainsford,” the voice of the general called. “Your Burmese tiger pit has claimed one of my best dogs. Again you score. I think, Mr. Rainsford, Ill see what you can do against my whole pack. I’m going home for a rest now. Thank you for a most amusing evening.”

At daybreak Rainsford, lying near the swamp, was awakened by a sound that made him know that he had new things to learn about fear. It was a distant sound, faint and wavering, but he knew it. It was the baying of a pack of hounds.

Rainsford knew he could do one of two things. He could stay where he was and wait. That was suicide. He could flee. That was postponing the inevitable. For a moment he stood there, thinking. An idea that held a wild chance came to him, and, tightening his belt, he headed away from the swamp.

The baying of the hounds drew nearer, then still nearer, nearer, ever nearer. On a ridge Rainsford climbed a tree. Down a watercourse, not a quarter of a mile away, he could see the bush moving. Straining his eyes, he saw the lean figure of General Zaroff; just ahead of him Rainsford made out another figure whose wide shoulders surged through the tall jungle weeds; it was the giant Ivan, and he seemed pulled forward by some unseen force; Rainsford knew that Ivan must be holding the pack in leash.

They would be on him any minute now. His mind worked frantically. He thought of a native trick he had learned in Uganda. He slid down the tree. He caught hold of a springy young sapling and to it he fastened his hunting knife, with the blade pointing down the trail; with a bit of wild grapevine he tied back the sapling. Then he ran for his life. The hounds raised their voices as they hit the fresh scent. Rainsford knew now how an animal at bay feels.

He had to stop to get his breath. The baying of the hounds stopped abruptly, and Rainsford’s heart stopped too. They must have reached the knife.

He shinned excitedly up a tree and looked back. His pursuers had stopped. But the hope that was in Rainsford’s brain when he climbed died, for he saw in the shallow valley that General Zaroff was still on his feet. But Ivan was not. The knife, driven by the recoil of the springing tree, had not wholly failed.

Rainsford had hardly tumbled to the ground when the pack took up the cry again.

“Nerve, nerve, nerve!” he panted, as he dashed along. A blue gap showed between the trees dead ahead. Ever nearer drew the hounds. Rainsford forced himself on toward that gap. He reached it. It was the shore of the sea. Across a cove he could see the gloomy gray stone of the chateau. Twenty feet below him the sea rumbled and hissed. Rainsford hesitated. He heard the hounds. Then he leaped far out into the sea. . . .

When the general and his pack reached the place by the sea, the Cossack stopped. For some minutes he stood regarding the blue-green expanse of water. He shrugged his shoulders. Then be sat down, took a drink of brandy from a silver flask, lit a cigarette, and hummed a bit from Madame Butterfly.

General Zaroff had an exceedingly good dinner in his great paneled dining hall that evening. With it he had a bottle of Pol Roger and half a bottle of Chambertin. Two slight annoyances kept him from perfect enjoyment. One was the thought that it would be difficult to replace Ivan; the other was that his quarry had escaped him; of course, the American hadn’t played the game–so thought the general as he tasted his after-dinner liqueur. In his library he read, to soothe himself, from the works of Marcus Aurelius. At ten he went up to his bedroom. He was deliciously tired, he said to himself, as he locked himself in. There was a little moonlight, so, before turning on his light, he went to the window and looked down at the courtyard. He could see the great hounds, and he called, “Better luck another time,” to them. Then he switched on the light.

A man, who had been hiding in the curtains of the bed, was standing there.

“Rainsford!” screamed the general. “How in God’s name did you get here?”

“Swam,” said Rainsford. “I found it quicker than walking through the jungle.”

The general sucked in his breath and smiled. “I congratulate you,” he said. “You have won the game.”

Rainsford did not smile. “I am still a beast at bay,” he said, in a low, hoarse voice. “Get ready, General Zaroff.”

The general made one of his deepest bows. “I see,” he said. “Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford.” . . .

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lady In Red

Stranger stop and wish me well,
Just say a prayer for my soul in hell.
I was a good fellow, most people said,
Betrayed by a woman dressed all in red.

– John Herbert Dillinger

Published in: on July 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Rendezvous With Technology

I’m staring down at my current phone, amazed by how much it satisfies me. It’s meek and mellow personality go well with my fiery and demanding nature, always pushing for more, always trying to challenge boundaries. It manages to cater to any whims of mine, faithfully and wholeheartedly. It emits a charming glow, and the longer I hold my gaze for it, the more captivating it turns, as if it were a peacock fluttering it’s feather, delighted with the attention.

I’m quite pleased with it, really.

In case you start wondering, no, I didn’t get myself a new iPhone 3GS. I know all the hype surrounding it, and not without basis of course, with all the critical acclaim thrown at it ever since it was launched a few days ago. It’s being praised for style and substance, and for redefining the world of mobile phones. I’m a fan of an iPhone too, with my company’s background, but financially, getting one is out of the question.

So what am I talking about?

Is it the Nokia 5800?

Nope.

Or perhaps LG, they make good phones too.

Nah, apparently the case here is slightly special. All the guesses were good, but they were based on the opinion that I was at the other end. I’m not using a phone that’s getting better with time, I’m going back in time and using something that was once just as good as well.

The Nokia 8210. Princess says it’s the 8250 with the butterfly wings. EVEN GENIUS COCK UP OKAY.

nokia-8250

Yes, I’m using a phone released ten years ago. Yes, I’m using a phone without cameras and GPS, without msn, and no, you can’t update your facebook status with it.

How I eventually even got to using one was a long story, but was just a series of quirky events following one another. I felt that it was quite refreshing to have something new for a change too.

I was right.

Initially, it was quite difficult. There were always moments when my hand will move towards my phone when something caught my eye, wanting to capture it in digital print, but then realise that I wasn’t using my old phone anymore.

But somewhere along I’ve learn that it is quite adequate enough for me. It’s like being handed a check on my reliance on technology. And it’s really something that I wasn’t able to see in the past.

After a few days of living with a phone that has practically no useful functions other than calling and sending messages, with probably the sole exception of Snake (yeah!!!), I’ve learnt to let go.

It started me thinking about technology. True, we’ll always benefit from technology no matter what.

Groovy

But when to stop?

If someday something apocalyptical were to happen (touch wood), will man be able to survive through it without our handy tools? War? Natural disaster? Invasion? Will the day come when man leaves everything for the machine to do? What if our machines turn on us? Distant possibilities but nevertheless not impossible.

We have advance a long way in terms of technology. But it wasn’t long ago when your grandfather were still plying his trade with his hands instead of operating a machine. And the situation in future doesn’t seem likely to change as well. The comparison will always be clear, machines win, man lose.

If given the chance, will you trade your phone and comfy bed for a gun and a night in the wild plains of Australia?

I will.

I know I will be switching back to my old phone in a couple more days, but I’m game for a change like this again anytime.

duck_hunt_wideweb__470x299,0

It’s like taking a delve occasionally into the wild from this technology-aided world. And it’s as good as it lasted, but boy did it lasted well.

Goodbye 8250.

I’ll be seeing you again.

Published in: on July 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Fight/Flight

Your legacy has all but fade;
you sink deeper each day.
What was it the mind reiterate;
it could be a glimmer of providence.

We all work wonders in our days;
to find a different view each day.
Hold true to your beliefs my dear;
and fly far far away.

Wings of everlast we dream each day;
to bring us from this deluded facade.
Good people slog hard each day;
while the rest have nothing to say.

From far you seemed like my salvation;
and to rise further the harder the break.
Things will be alright the heart says;
pull out and flutter the mind says.

Perhaps the aftermath is written;
and our life is planned for us to take.
But I do not believe in god, destiny or fate.
The gunslinger advances on a new path each day.

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Art Of Animation

I don’t know what hit me but recently I’m learning to appreciate things that was previously overlooked as part and parcel of life.

Like cartoons.

Part of growing up was all about the cartoons, Looney Tunes and Popeye. I used to believe that spinach was a sacred powerup until I tried it for the first time.

I sworn to never watch Popeye after that. That old cheat.

Now then, what do I mean by learning to appreciate things that are part and parcel of life? Especially on the subject of cartoons. Is it just Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Snow White and the many other famous characters?

It’s just like learning to see beyond it’s main allure, and start to appreciate the little other things it offers as well. When you look on it as a whole, you might be surprised.

Let me show you what I mean. Here’s a little twist to a commonly heard story.

Haha. Didn’t really expect that did ya.

Another of my favourite, The Tell-Tale Heart.

There’s this strangely disturbing and dark theme encircling the animation and yet there is this enticement that attracts me to it. Good narration and visual themes added on to the suspense. And there is alot of subtext involved, little things that you have to see through and pick up along the way.

The story is told through
the eyes of a madman…….
Who, like all of us, believed
that he was sane.

-Read through the lines, and you find that something else about the viewers is hinted as well.

It takes a delve through the mind of a lunatic, and I think it gave a pretty good effort of what he was thinking through the direction of the animation. It plays around with the concept of time, which was shown by the many visual references of clocks, and made used of animation to give that discomfort of what the lunatic felt to the viewer. For example, the scene where the eye diversify into something like snow flakes was pretty uncomfortable, as if I was able to feel from the lunatic’s angle how disturbing the eye was, the eye ever-seeing and penetrating.

I am not insane or psycho (I think), but I felt in that 7 minutes I was standing in the shoes of the madman.

It’s just the strange feeling of changing one’s perspective to find that something so ordinary and mundane, with a switch of the mind, has now turned into a depth of bottomless delights, waiting to be explored and vivid till the far corners. It’s like going the extra effort to turn the kaleidoscope, and to find that what was previously thought as definitive and exact are now to be infinite and incomprehensible.

It does seems like in the eyes of the beholder, beauty is not the only subject with more than one viewpoint.

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Dreams & Reality

Something I always felt was an interesting thing to talk about, and recently I’ve watched Revolutionary Road and I thought that and some other things kinda triggered the spark to maybe write about this. Are you in control of your life, or is your life controlling you?

When I was small, I wanted to be an artist because I love to draw, however I never really pursue that as an option, to think of it as a career as my mum discouraged and did not approve of drawing as a professional career. As a society we are bred to think that all male breadwinners should be capable lawyers or doctors so that their family would be content with life. Stereotypes being fed to generations and generations. Malays are poor. Indian beat their wives. We begin to live a life in repetition.

What happened to my dream of becoming an artist at 8? Down the drain. I would probably be Disney and I would probably create characters which would be embrace by millions of people, but sadly I did not walk down that career. When I was young I saw my father working hard for the family, holding a nine to five job with two kids and one more on the way. I told myself I didn’t wanted this kind of life.

Now I see myself walking down the path that my father took.

I’ve always been fascinated by hunting and I thought why wasn’t I born in Australia or New Zealand where the plains loom in an infinite manner towards the horizon and where a man can survive with a gun and his kit for weeks. But I’m not going to shirk responsibility and since I was born into another world, a different dimension, I will strive to become only the best, and I’m going to earn money and provide for my kids just like what my father did.

I think that in our world people are beginning to lose track of their purposes.

What is your goal in life? What is your purpose? Is it to get that managerial promotion you have been aiming so long for? Is it to study 3 years for that certificate? Is your dream to become a financial consultant?

There’s this story of a video I heard today. A boy, aged 7, is looking outside of his classroom at a kite in the sky. He dreams of being able to fly the kite, but his attention is cut back to his teacher when he finished writing the equation and turns back to face the class. Cut forward and he is 23 this year. He just graduated from University and he wants to join the Red Cross and follow them on their overseas campaign to countries in need of humanitarian aid. His dad speaks with him and he decides to join an accounting company. He is 30 this year. He keeps away the soccer ball from childhood in a closet and in his arms there is no longer a ball but a baby has taken it’s place. He is 48 this year. He is fishing and when he cast the lines it resembles the jagged lines that show the stock market rise and fall. He has dabbled in stocks and has just lost his job and money. He is on his deathbed. There are tears in his eyes. His memory fades to him, as if they were going backwards in time, and he realise there is nothing memorable in them. The final scene shows a gravestone with his name and date of decease on them, and as it zooms out his family are kneeling on the floor and crying. A boy wanders away from the group, and he looks at a kite in the distance in awe. The cycle goes on.

Some people call it the rat race. We chase for the superficials in life. Money. Women. Luxuries your mind could ever wanted, and they wanted it everyday. The rich breaks out of the cycle. The poor gets suck deeper into it. So is the main cause really money? I beg to differ, because money does not dictate how you are going to live your life.

However, that doesn’t mean we ain’t slaves to money. Everyone needs money. But even rich people are still lacking things in their life. They search their souls and to finite the infinite, to try and understand, but they don’t see it. The most basic and simple purpose they were being born for, right in front of their eyes, yet they can’t grasp.

They lose the ability to dream.

Dreams are wonderful things. They keep my life going, because I have dreams and I want to fulfill them. Do you remember what you always dreamed for when you were 9? It can be something stupid. Probably a doll. Perhaps that limited edition Hot Wheels racetrack. You probably dreamed you were a police officer when you grew up.

That feeling is amazing. It’s like that bolted door in your mind where all the wonders are in it, and everytime you unlock it you find something new and fresh, a source of motivation. When the rich have everything they ever wanted in their life, they begin to lose that ability, because then they will perceive everything as finite and within their grasp. Build that house for me. Buy that newest car. Travel around the world. They get complacent because then, they feel that there is no longer things they can’t get. They forget that memory of being young and having your nose pressup against the wall of a car showroom, marvelling at the latest model which will become a form of motivation for the next 2 years. They forget that instant euphoria rushing through the veins the first time they pump that guzzle and hear the engine purr.

Car Showroom 4

And to say that rich people lose the ability to dream would be a very narrow statement as well.

Even poor guys lose that ability to dream. That officeboy stuck in his cubicle, waiting for the clock to turn 6pm and to catch that latest episode of CSI when he reaches home. He no longer strives for a promotion. His mindset change to that from earning more money, working hard, to that of cutting costs and scrimp to save. No longer is there a desire to achieve more to get that same car the rich man was looking at, he looks for an alternative way out. He buys a cheaper car. He gets a cheaper phone.

Alot of times we conform under pressure from passive influence of the society. You may not want an office job. You could probably be the best soccer player the world ever had, but you didn’t realise and nurture your potential because of the linear system we grow up in. In Singapore, the education system practically kills off creativity, and we wonder why generations after generations we rank the bottom few in the world when it comes to thinking out of the box. We don’t aspire to be film directors, we don’t aspire to be artists, we just follow the path our predecessors took when they were at our age. We have to fulfill our responsibilities the society has imposed upon us; study hard, get a good job, have kids. Are we really moving forward or degenerating backwards then as a society? Globalisation, modernisation or points toward better living conditions, but we lose the freedom in the process. Imagine the future, tall skyscrapers will replace green horizons, hover cars, air conditioning, everything will begin to lose that nature touch. Hunting will probably take place in an air conditioned environment, on a massive room up at 152 floor. Of course this is just my opinion and I could be wrong, but I am already having a distaste for the world I’m living now.

We have our fabricated peace, where terrorism lurks like a reaper in that dark corner. It’s good to hear about aid relief going into countries that need them, but we still have alot to do in order to work together for a better future. What was the most recent world event that happened?

The H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak.

And how did Singapore reacted? By importing and stockpiling antivirus and medicines used to counter them. What happens then, when Singapore does that? Countries that really need them like Mexico are facing shortage of proper medications to administer to their people. We import antivirus that can treat one quarter of our population, but currently we only have 14 cases of swine flu. This is the reality of the world we are living in.

As long as I have dreams, everything that I do will be stepping stones toward them, whether I like it or not. I would probably be a businessman, a politician, a teacher, a white collar worker, an accountant, a salesman, a corporate manager, a financial consultant, an adviser, a servicemen, a marketer, and none of this are what I ever wanted to be in life.

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

On The Andrew Ryan’s Legacy

Gaming has always been a hobby of mine, among many others. I believe that in every subject there is another level to bring a hobby to, a level where it becomes something like appreciating them. Going to theatres with friends every week is not the same as film appreciation. I believe the latter to be one of a more higher level, to seek out good films, to enjoy them, to understand them, to applaud them. Good films can be addictive, and it applies the same to games as well. What is my motive in trying to drive such clarification in the line between the two, you may ask. I believe in living life to the fullest. What makes a person happy? It’s not being a doctor and earning six thousand per month thats making the lad fully satisfied and happy with his life, don’t get me wrong though I’m not saying he does not have passion for his career. It’s his indulgence in golf at weekends that makes him happy. And it’s his financial freedom that allows him to entertain such indulgence. Some people likes to listen to music. Listening to Madonna and Nirvana doesn’t make music a hobby. It’s learning to appreciate the wide variety of music, and the effects it gives to the mind that makes it a hobby worth the appreciation. Some people love mahjong. The conversations and the exhilaration from winning might make it worth the hobby. But learning to appreciate it as an art and mastering it’s strategies, calculations and winning hands make you altogether an even better player. I’m not saying that if you do not bring your hobby to a level of appreciation then you must do it. I do have other hobbies that I equally love, but not on that level, like fishing. It’s a hobby that I will definitely like to indulge in, but as a starter I’m still learning the crooks and crannies of it, and finding out what is it in them that makes me tick. It might be the wind blowing on your cheek and the soft radio crisping in the background, it might be the satisfaction you get from hauling in a catch, it might be the kind of conversation you are getting with your friend, not just some filler chat you get but that kind of out in the sea in the middle of nowhere open it all out chat. When I’m ready I will take it to the next level, learning what kind of baits catches the different types of fishes, learning which hook gives more edge and customising the best equipments out there combined with skill and precision. You see, I’m just asking you to look at the possibilities. You might be surprised.

And now, back to the subject of gaming. I do in particular have a fondness for good games, but I’m trying to limit myself too, so it comes down to balancing out the total time spend on them. One of the most recent games that I completed was Bioshock. What it is about the game that really shocks me is not it’s gameplay, though it was freaking good, but the kind of story you get that pieces the game together. Set in alternative history, the game re-explores topics on men, political oppression, science, morality among many others. On a side note, it was what made me read Atlas Shrugged, the game itself inspired by the book.

bioshock-no-gods-or-kings-only-man

No gods or kings. Only man.

In the game, political and religious oppression has forced one man, business magnate Andrew Ryan, to create an underwater city named Rapture, visioned to be an utopia where the great minds would not be constrained. The introduction was pretty good, where he delivered his opening speech.

I am Andrew Ryan and I am here to ask you a question:
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

No, says the man in Washington; it belongs to the poor.
No, says the man in the Vatican; it belongs to God.
No, says the man in Moscow; it belongs to everyone.

I rejected those answers.
Instead, I chose something
different.
I chose the impossible. I chose…

Rapture.
— Andrew Ryan

For ten years, Rapture was what Ryan wanted it to be. Significant breakthroughs were made in science, making plastic and cosmetic surgery common, and engineering of DNA made powers like telekinesis, pyrokinesis, electrokinesis and many others seems normal to the citizens of Rapture. However, Ryan’s contempt for the outside world led to his downfall. His only rule, which is to forbid all contacts with the outside world prove one too many for the citizens of Rapture. A civil war began, and the excessive DNA altering had made them mentally unstable, and by the time the player steps into the city in 1960 it has turned into a dystopia. The citizens are now known as splicers, both mentally deranged and physically deformed by the excessive use of their powers. Think of them as zombies dashing at you with a knife and screaming Einstein’s relative theory at the same time.

931329_20070608_790screen0052
Battling a female splicer wearing an 18th century venetian ball mask with the electrobolt DNA alteration.

924919_20070110_790screen001Doctors screaming and charging at you claiming you are too ugly and need plastic surgery (no shit!)

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It’s common to just pause halfway through and admire the game’s lighting. Brilliant.

And now, I’ll go into the main topic that I want to touch on. Somehow this game reminds me of political oppression in Singapore. I believe many people now don’t give shit about politics, especially youths. In the past I can’t be bothered either. I believed the government was doing a good job, but now I feel that many Singaporeans are oppressed by the government and have become docile and tamed. There are many laws waiting to prosecute them, I bet many Singaporeans don’t even know they can be charge in court and given a large fine for not flushing the toilet. It’s purpose might not truly be use to charge people in court, but it is there as a deterrent to stop people, and it is one among many others that are used to restrict our freedom. Walking naked in Holland V can get you arrested by cops. Oral sex is illegal even for married couples unless it is foreplay. Sports or bar brawls can give you a one week jail sentence. You are not allowed to give a public rally without permission, be it for political, charitable or religious purposes. No guns in Singapore. Even airguns. No playboys magazine, illegal possession of pornographic materials. No firecrackers. Pranks such as pulling one’s pants down can get you 2 charges in court, molest and use of criminal force. Using somebody’s else wireless broadband can get you a fine. Gatherings consisting of more than four person past 10pm are considered illegal gatherings and you can be pulled over by police for checking. Fishing anywhere in Sentosa can get you a fine of $500 dollars. You are not allowed to have black visers for your motorbike helmets. You are not allowed to smoke here. You are not allowed to eat chewing gum. Why? Because we do not want chewing gums being spit all over the country. Some people might say I’m selfish, but if I’m able to account for my actions, and I say that I will not spit them anywhere and damage the clean green image of Singapore, will you give me a gum? If I say that my purpose of having an airgun is for entertainment purposes without any criminal intent will you give me one? As an individual my actions may correspond with that of the law, but I’m still being restricted by them. Some people might say it’s for the greater good, we need this laws to make Singapore a safer place. Do we truly?

Some people say laws are meant to protect them, well I have a few stories to tell, and they are all shockingly true. Case A, my friend and his dad have passed their 2B and are both qualified to ride a bike. The son have a bike, and the father have been riding for 20 years on another bike. So there was this day when my friend borrowed his dad bike as he needed some groceries, and he was stopped on the road by traffic police, and subsequently charged to court. His offence? Driving a bike without his name on the insurance. His dad and him was sentenced to suspension from driving for a year. Yes, his dad too. Try to imagine the disruption in your life, from being suspended one year. I understand the concern that driving without insurance is a fully dangerous thing to do, and right now I’m not justifying that he is right in riding his dad bike without his name on the insurance. Right now I’m justifying that point A, he has been riding on his bike for awhile and he therefore have some experience; and point B, he is not aware that riding his dad bike is a crime. What they say is that you can’t ride a bike without insurance, but he is insured, just not under his father’s bike. In this case, is the ignorant party guilty of the crime? Case B, one of my ex co-worker was connived and cheated out of $80,000. He made a police report, in which they filed it in a nonchalent manner, and out of chance he happened to see what the officer wrote on top of his case file. ” Not Urgent “. It’s been almost a year now, and I can imagine that file rotting somewhere on a tower of cabinets filled with similar reports. For your info, he is 22 years old, and have been cheated by fellow peers (people whom we know and have already told the police) to register his name for a company, in which they ran away with the money leaving him with nothing but an empty company shell and the debts with suppliers. I repeat, we know who the culprits are, all it needs is for the police to follow up and apprehand them. If you want to know his fate, he is now a bankrupt, and he works for a cold storage company delivering frozen food at fifty dollars per day. They give him the goods to send out for the day and he is not allowed to go home until the task is done, which on certain days can take up to 13 hours. Case C, if you own a vehicle of any kind, you will treat it like a baby with the utmost care. And what if, on one fine day, you walk over to the carpark to find lets say, your bike, missing from where you left it? What will you do? Make a police report? But with each passing day, there is still no news. You take the public transport everyday, and on it you wonder about the efficiency of the police force. Singapore is a small place, and our authorities is top-class, so you think. It took a hundred and eighteen days for the police force to find the bike, close to one third of a year, and even then you couldn’t really say they found it, because it was left lying on a side road underneath a tree, in a condition so abused by it’s recent handler that you would be better off getting a new one. Case D, if someday, you ever got assaulted, remember one thing. Never fight back. Take the beatings, or you will be left defenseless after. What do I mean? 6 guys pull you over to a corner. They surround you. There’s no way out, and the one you got a problem with starts hitting you, his friends cheering him on. Don’t hit back, I say, because if you do, when the police come, what do they tell you? That brawls like this are known as Affray and either both of you settle this incident now, or the police will bring you two back to the station. But they were the ones with the intent to assault me, all you did was to retaliate a few blows in self defense. You try to reason with him. He shakes his head. In the end, you are left with a bruised body and your broken honour. Even though Singapore have a relatively low crime rate, don’t just take it for granted and assume it means we are living in a safe place. Because in the end, it might not be the criminals that hurt you. It might be the very face of justice itself.

What about the government? The NKF affair made a big hooha out of them. How can such an organisation working at the highest level with the government be allowed such a scandal. Ten cents for every dollar is being used for charitable purposes. It’s a freaking joke. And among the politicians in the world, compare their pay and guess what, Singapore ranks first. (Obviously this is not a rat race, we don’t need to be number one thankyou) And nobody can deny the sphere of influence the Lee family wield on Singapore. I don’t need to elaborate on our emperor and his son. They are well known enough. Ho Ching (once cited as the 3rd most powerful woman in the world) was once the CEO of Temasek Holdings, 100% owned by Ministry of Finance. She lost billions for Temasek Holdings and then resigned in 2009. Lee Hsien Yang was once the CEO of Singtel, and now moved on to the position of non-executive Chairman of the Company and Consultant of Fraser and Neave (F&N), a leading Singapore based business group dealing with food and beverages.

And on the freedom of speech in Singapore. Do we have any to begin with? We go to school everyday in the past chanting the pledge, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality. If I take a loudspeaker and were to express my political views at, lets say Cineleisure, I will be hauled away by the authorities, whereas in countries like America people are doing it everyday.

Someone once told me, you can’t have everything. Look at our country today, it’s a first world country where everything you need is easily available, why are you still complaining? It’s true, I do adore the cheese and FHM from the neighbourhood mart, as compared to countries like Africa where supermarkets are rarer than diamonds, but you have to see what I’m trying to get at. The point being made now is not who’s building a better house, but who’s providing better welfare for the workers. You can have the most beautiful house built at the end of the day, but you treat your workers like trash. You lock them up from the world so that they are not expose to free people, and because of the way they grow up, they think that there’s nothing wrong. You expel dissidents at first sign to prevent their ideas from spreading. At the end of the day, you don’t care because you have the best house in the world built and the money goes into your pocket. But what about your workers? Efficient, but otherwise the same as mindless zombies. I do love my country and am thankful to be born in a cosmopolitan country where opportunities are plentiful, but it comes at the price of my right and my freedom, and I don’t like it.

Should we follow Andrew Ryan? A man who tried and fail, or submit to our fates?

No gods or kings.

Only man.

Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Eloisa to Abelard

How happy is the blameless vestal lot;
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind;
Each prayer accepted, and each wish resigned.
Published in: on February 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

All The World's A Stage, And The Men And Women Merely Players

I always knew wealth is power, but I believed it would not have any impact on me at my current age. Probably because I was still young, probably because I was still naive, I believed in the world where wealth and it’s dark greed would be unable to reach me, since I do not have any commitments and I was shielded by it’s cruelty, sheltered in my family’s shadow.

money

It taught me three things.

Firstly, money isn’t everything, but Everything is money. It’s a self contradicting statement, but you have to learn to see it’s irony. It’s true that money can’t buy you things that aren’t materialistic, but you’ll realise that everything around you co-exists with money. Money can’t buy you a girlfriend, but you have to be free from financial troubles to be able to support one. You can’t throw money around and ask to buy trust, but the fundamental block in building trust is wealth. Doing business with people is all about how affluent they are. The poorer you are, the difficulty you will encounter in trying to make people trust you goes higher. Money can’t buy you friendships, but being richer means having a bigger presence and social status. Being a financial burden to your friends is often associated with a negative connotation. Reminds me of a perfect example. When I was in secondary school, I had this guy studying in the same class as mine. Everytime he comes up to me asking to lend him money, I had difficulty turning him down as it was being quite impolite saying a straight no. Have you ever had experiences of classmates coming up to you to borrow a few dollars, which you know they will never return? I tend to avoid him when I see him prowling around during recess time. Money can’t buy happiness, but being able to reward yourself when you or your family are feeling down means a higher level of comfort and safety to guard against the things that may threaten their spiritual well being. Your wife’s yapping about that wrinkle that just appeared on her face? A diamond necklace spiced with a little love will do the trick. Worried about your son’s future? Being able to afford the best education for him out there is the most important thing. Unhappy about the recent increased workload? Go for an exotic holidays around The Bahamas. Money can’t buy you life, but without it you would be long dead. 20% of infants die before they reach age 5 in Africa, due to lack of daily essentials like fresh water. Even in Singapore, to be able to safeguard yourself against sudden accidents like car crashes only means being able to prolong your life through good healthcare services, and when such incidents happen one tends to prefer the best medicare that is available. So you see, everything around us is affected by money, directly or indirectly.

The second thing that I learned is that it taught me how to see people. I’ve learned, unfortunately in the hard way, that some people might just fold under money. Threatened by the prospect of losing their wealth, their integrity, honor and morality turns to dust. I first grasped this idea from the book Atlas Shrugged. I like to bring it up because it is the first philosphical book I’ve read and the elements are quite strong, to the extent that it manifested into my life even after finishing the book for ages. What is it about? Atlas Shrugged is basically about this philosophy called Objectivism, which is about achieving productivity, happiness, and pursuing reason as absolute. In the book there are two groups of men, the “Atlases”, a group of men who is producing and providing jobs to a world that is degenerating and devolving, and the “looters”, a group of incompetent men who is trying to ride on the success of the “Atlases”, but at the same time trying to stop them to gain further recognition of their own self existence, as if to prove to the world that they are capable of what the “Atlases” can do, and do it just as well. Basically in the book the “Atlases” is a group of industrialists, and the “Looters” is the government. What defines a looter in our world? A looter is basically someone who claims that help should be rendered to them since they are unable to earn themselves. They are people who pursue play instead of productivity. To put simply into the modern world, take for example, the country of America and it’s policies. If you are unemployed, the government will render you help and dispatch you cash to help you until you find your next job. Some people, citing lack of qualifications as reason and high competition, has given up pursuits on finding a new job and practically stayed stagnant, living off the sum rendered by the government every month. This people can also be called the “looters” by the theory of Objectivism, becoming over reliant and has become a person that is not capable of production or contributing. Basically, they are people who complain about having no money when they are not looking for a job, incapable of contributing to the society, people who take instead of give, people who cite need as their reason and demand that help be dispatched. I learned the hard way that a looter will always be selfish, often worrying about whether one might be implicated, instead of thinking how to contribute help if any.

The third thing I learned is that I have to start doing precautions to safeguard and build my wealth. I was motivated in the past, but I am even motivated now, because I’ve seen what wealthy people can do. Being financially free brings you to another step in life, to be able to live the life you always wanted, to not worry about how to handle the problems that might come the next day, to be self employed, and to live life to the fullest. Being wealthy means a higher status in the society, to enjoy memberships and privileges, to afford the nicest clothes, to fine dine at the most beautiful restaurant and many more, the limitless potential it can give. I’ve also realised the need to balance the things that I do, to achieve a line of harmony between my hobbies and work. It is regrettable that sometimes, without good planning, time goes to waste. In life, time waits for no man, someone of the same age as you might have achieved further recognition and greater wealth in life, and I believed that good planning of time is what differentiates the two. Wealth is ambiguous, it can be good, it can be bad. Just like fire, wielded in the right hands and it will be seen as a saviour of life, a bringer of light, but in the incorrect hands, can be destructive and merciless, a silhouette of death. I remembered my dad once asked me (in chinese of course);

What’s the most important problem in your field right now?

I thought of quite a few, but generally it was that I could not get my mind locked on something. Sometimes I say, oh i want to do this and that, but I never really set out all the way to accomplish it. When I wanted to replied him, he seems to sense it and before I spoke he asked another question.

Are you working on your problems?

There was abit of silence then, and he asked,

Why not?

Three simple questions, none which was answered, one clear resolution. Basically what he asked was, what’s your most important problem and why aren’t you doing anything to fix it? Most people would shy away from this question. I did. But right now I understood what he was trying to say.

I lacked patience.

I had to learn all of this in the hard way. I probably won’t be blogging anytime soon, this is a rough patch which I have to overcome. It’s not easy trying to stay focus and not lose myself to this mess.

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Strange World

Kaka – Rejected £107 million bid (S$235m) from Manchester City.

Obama – Everyone’s happy over someone who’s done nothing yet.

Credit Crisis – Singapore in worst shape since independence in 1965. (I may not even get a job when I graduate and am ready to carve a career)

Minister Pay Cut – Ministers can still expect to take home around S$1.54million after the cuts. Prime Minister Lee still takes home S$3.04 million after a cut of 19%.

World Cup – What happened to the Singapore’s vision of qualifying for the Fifa World Cup in 2010 20100?

Sin City 2 – Release date pushed back by a year. Again.

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 5:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Race; Resistance; Glory; Retribution

ducatti-st2
Keep your eyes where it should belong 🙂

I’ve always wanted a bike since I was young. It’s sort of an inherited thing. My father always like to bring me around for rides when I was young, and I think that left a deep impression on me. He is also legendary among summon officers for creating imaginary parking lots, something which I would like to emulate too, albeit with higher skills and finesse in evasion.

Alot people feel that riding a bike is extremely dangerous. I’m not going to deny that fact, but my opinion is that the rider plays a part in his own safety. Some accidents might be caused by the other party’s reckless driving, but most of the time it’s the riders who likes to speed resulting in dire consequences. As compared to car, bikes take up a much lesser surface area on the road. There is more freedom and maneuverability and with that comes the tendacy to speed. It’s true that cars are safer, but it is because most cars don’t speed, not because they don’t want to, but there is no space for them to do so, every few intervals there are traffic lights, and on expressways there are so many cars that you won’t try anything funny unless you have a deathwish. To me it’s more of a psychological barrier, an inner demon, which one must try to understand and conquer, to be able to understand that it is going to be his responsibility to resist the devil’s temptation knocking.

empty-road

That dry road, the empty stretch ahead, the traffic light turning green any moment, the low hungry humming of your engine, that hot babe in the car beside and the desire to impress. Damn.

I’m hoping to enrol soon and get my license. I’m thinking of getting a bike straight after that, but I’ll see how it goes. 2 years in the army while I leave the beast chained and sheltered seems a little unsettling to me. I also have in mind the model that I’m going to get, but the hassle will be finding the right racing paintworks.

Here are a few bikes that I like.

suzuki-girl-4

Suzuki GSX-R

2008 Honda CBR1000RR

CBR

honda-sp1

Honda NSR SP150

suzuki-girl

GSX-R

suzuki-girl-2

GSX-R

hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa

black-kawasaki-ninja-zx-6r

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

That would be all for now otherwise those non bike lovers will think I’m a junkie.

Till then, can’t wait to get my license. I’m just as excited as those marines yapping, “Hell, it’s about time!”

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Year Resolutions

Brand new year! It doesn’t feel alot different from any other years, just that we get the holidays all over again.

I always thought having resolutions are for dumb people, I still do, why make a list when you know you can’t fulfill the most of them. But it’s supposed to be a fresh year, so I thought I’d change my mindset a little. Who knows? Having targets and guidelines might just increase productivity around here.

I’ll try and make it as short as possible.

Stay alive.
Get fit.
Eat right.
Earn more money.
Reduce stress.
Take a trip.
Volunteer to help someone.
Frag more girls.
Cut down on gaming.
Get my bike license.
Buy a hat.
Try Popeyes chicken.
Get a goatee.
Read more books.
Sign up for shooting club.
Try wasabi with wine.
Buy game for Xbox.
Meet up with old friends.
Try an adventure camp.
Get a leather shoes.
Be nicer to my sister.
Sport a new hairstyle.
Take care of my laptop.
Get a girl no. during clubbing.
Make no enemies.
Eat less Macdonald’s.
Go out with my dad.
Fix my doorknob.
Try more guitar songs.
Meet more people.
Don’t do things half-heartedly.
Be a charmer.
Reinvoke my fishing passion.
Watch more good movies.
Be more humorous.
Understand people.
Visit my grandmother.
Drink more water.
Go for star-gazing at night.
Don’t be arrogant.
Learn Mahjong.
Attend a car exhibition.
Treat a family dinner.
Don’t let my eyesight deteriorate.
Get a tan.
Chase my debtors.
Take up more hobbies.
Tidy up my room.
Improve mum’s culinary skills by one way or another.
Have a cool gaming nickname.
Indulge in fine dining.
Be more aggressive in chasing girls.
Enjoy music.
Start preparing for army.
Give up seat for elderly on bus.
Learn to keep people’s secrets.
Support a new club.
Don’t binge drink.
Look good.
Get caller ID for my phone.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Go for night riding.
Get a short pants.
Repolish my cycling skills.
Start on my future.
Get my bracers.
Don’t fall sick.
Be more independent.
Learn some cool survival tips.
Don’t bet on soccer.
Host a BBQ.
Force a nyonya to cook me nice food.
Don’t flunk my studies.
Finish my comics.
Be more generous.
Practise objectivism.

That’s about it. It wasn’t too hard after all…

Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

10 Reasons Why A Guy Chooses Not To Get A Girlfriend

10. Some girls freakin’ nag like the radio, it makes a guy go crazy.

9. We don’t have to hate looking at the bills.

8. Girlfriends are high maintenance machines and require lots of care and devotion.

7. We love to live life the carefree way.

6. We can act like a geek and keep playing computer games.

5. We don’t want to meet your parents yet.

4. We love to enjoy eye candy on the dancefloor without fear of bumping into your spy.

3. We have no obligations to remember anybody’s birthday.

2. We are just waiting for the perfect girl, the one in a million. There are over 3 billion females in the world, which leaves me around three thousand girls to pick from. Not bad.

And lastly, the most important reason why a guy chooses not to have a girlfriend. I will probably earn millions for figuring this out first and get featured on The Straits Times.

The most important reason:

1. We want to catch our late night soccer game.

And there you go. Do thank me if you have figured out not to have a girlfriend too. If you are a girl deluded enough and wants to try your luck, feel free to drop me a line. But let me warn you, the odds are one in a million. I won’t bother if I were you.

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 7:06 pm  Comments (3)  

Bad Company

Two of my friends, kw and Thomas, celebrated my birthday with me, by teaching me all sorts of naughty things. Yeap, they call it the righteous way.

You must be wondering what did they do. Well..

They brought me to Zouk!

photo0053

There’s nothing wrong about the former, but its what they teach me inside that is bad. All sorts of things your mummy won’t even wanna mention to you, and they compiled it and gave it in a single shot.

It first started after getting our chop. We decided to go for supper first before clubbing as it was still early and the crowd sucks. Halfway through, I saw my poly friend with a group of her female friends (all freakin’ hot) going to the prata shop for a quickbite, naturally I just said hi, I was already very embarassed running into her there (Don’t ask me why, school and play doesn’t go hand in hand most of the time). After that my friends gave me that “WTF” look like I just let a million dollar opportunity slip out of my hand! Wanna know what they say?

Bad Company: Walao you damn loser leh, all the hot babes there and you just said HI? You know when they walk over the guys from all three tables turn their heads around anot. Go jio her over here eat together or what lah. If you just now sweet talk abit we won’t be like now three gays sitting together
Me: You siao ar, she my poly friend lah
Bad Company: You must understand, (First of the many Theories to come) What happens in a club, stays in a club.

And they even threatened to abandon me inside if I don’t go back and socialise with the girls! I had to go back and chat with my friend and ask her to meet me and bad companies at the dancefloor, I swear, it was the worst 30 secs of my life. Imagine trying to hook up 8 hot babes with a cheesy pick-up line, all staring at you to see whether you will cock up, performing an Olympics gold class gymnastic routine and trying your best to look sane at the same time and you just got what I’ve went through.
photo0045
Phuture dancefloor

When we went inside, I was a complete dork. I bang onto the glass door (twice), exit through the entrance, accidentally opened the ladies room door (nobody saw heng), tried hard liquor which nearly killed me, and sat on somebody’s handbag.

After all this you would thought that I will stay in the corners to avoid being the centre of attraction and get ridiculed at again, but surprisingly, which I feel may be the liquor wrongdoing, I went straight onto the dancefloor to grind with the babes. ALONE!

If somebody told me that he saw me acting like that before this incident, I would have laugh my head off and scolded him crazy.

But then again, it was an enjoyable experience, but I don’t know got the energy and the guts to go in like that again. I was quite shock by the girls dresscode also. Quite open, very unlike normal Singaporeans.

We met up with kw cute friend, Jasmine.

photo00481

She’s a very good dancer. And yah, if you curious, I dance like cock.. But first timer lah, will definitely get better!

And Thomas, after all the bad theories he teach, he didn’t even go on dancefloor!! He just sit at the bar and drink. And then after that he pangseh me and kw to bring his drunk friend home. (thats what he says, but I’ve got a strange feeling he got hooked up that night)

photo0051
Kw with Jasmine

Dance till around 4am, then decided to call it a day. I was very tired already, can’t even feel my legs..
photo0054
Dead drunk

I really enjoyed myself thoroughly that night. Someday, I gonna go back again, act like a complete dork and dive straight onto the dancefloor for a solo mission. Like what bad company says, what happens in a club, stays in a club!

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Top Five Heroes/Villains Showdown!

I’ve always loved the heroes, but sometimes the villains get so irresistible it’s hard not to like them. So here it is, my top five heroes/villains!

#5.

kill_bill_2

Bill  VS  Bride

If you haven’t catch any Quentin Tarantino films (other good ones include Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction), this is the first movie you should probably start with. It’s considered one of the least violent movies in his career even though there’s plenty of blood and gore. So basically, the premise of this movie is about the old klingon proverb – Revenge is a dish best served cold. On a bride’s wedding day, everyone was killed by unknown assailants and she was hurt bad but survived, and now she’s on an unstoppable rage to find the ones responsible.

I like the way where their names are kept unknown till the last part of the movie, it came as a surprise for her name, I didn’t realise they were hinting to it all the time. And the whole time they portrayed Bill as a masochistic lunatic and dangerous person, that when they showed him for the first time, I thought, hell no, there’s something wrong around here!

But nothing is wrong, and I shall not divulge any more information as I might spoil it for those who haven’t seen the movie. The bride is the perfect example of never judge a book by it’s cover, as the movie slowly reveals her solemn past. Bill is the de facto leader, and a charmer in every sense (Hence the nick Snake Charmer), and for that charming skills, I had to declare him the better half among the two.

kill_bill_vol_1_black

VERDICT : Bill Wins

#4.

cloudstrife_sephiroth1

Cloud  VS  Sephiroth

Hmm. This is a difficult one. For those who have not played the game or watch any Final Fantasy 7 media, here’s the punchline. The hero and the villain, they are so similar in character that you can’t differentiate which is which!

Both are mysterious, their motives is unknown to the audience, they don’t talk much and they have an obscured past.  On one hand, Cloud is more of the grim and serious person, quiet and withdrawn (even around pretty girls), but his silence hides whipcord efficiency and his introverted behaviour fuel, feed and strengthen his love and camaraderie for his close ones while on the other hand Sephiroth is the cool cucumber guy that strikes fear in his opponent eyes, calm and composed but hovering on the edge of  trepidation, so much so that you can smell the cloak of death just by looking at him. On some occasions he taunts and toys with his opponent, where he let Cloud lives numerous times, scoffing and despising his inability to stop him.
sephiroth
You are no match for the onslaught of death!

I felt that if someone had to make a choice between the two, it would definitely be made less painful if he or she had watched the final battle scene between Sephiroth and Cloud in Advent Children.

black-wing-metamorphosis
I will never be a memory.

Cloud’s omnislash was extremely captivating, but it was Sephiroth departing scene, his black wing metamorphosis that stole the limelight.

VERDICT :  Sephiroth Wins

#3.

spider_man_3_international_poster_wallpaper1

Spiderman  VS  Venom

Spiderman had always been my favourite comic book hero. Somehow he captures every male teenager’s superhero fantasy, in the way that he portrays a normal person, and that connects with the audience. He gets bullied by his classmates, he needs to study for year end examinations, and he deals with puppy love and highschool sweethearts. Need I say more about his winning formula? Does anyone wanna be Superman? A stowaway from an alien planet, wear undies on the wrong side, crunch bullets for breakfast, freaks out at the sight of kryptonite and emits laser from his eyeballs. Guess not.

I can still remember the first time watching the movie. I was at my uncle house, and their player was showing the first Spiderman movie. I sat down at the point where geeky schoolboy rescues Mary Jane from a bunch of thugs, and after that she rewards him with a kiss in the rain. And she did it upside down.

I was sold.

For the next 3 months I dreamt of getting bitten by a spider.  Anyway, after watching the third movie, I had the following thoughts.

– It was a bad decision to include Venom, it was too soon, and they killed him off. Now where’s the bloody payoff? And where are you gonna put Carnage(He’s sorta a 2nd Venom) into the picture now?

– Mary Jane is still very very very sexy. (Hey if you change your mind and dump Parker you could always call me.)

– Is Sandman suppose to be a bad guy or what, he barely appears in the film. What’s all that big outdoor physics particle laboratory and the “it’s probably a bird, it will fly away when we fire up” bullshit?

– How come whenever Venom talks he needs to unmask?

large_eddie-brock-transformed-into-venom-jxdi1c5a

Dude.. That’s so uncool.. All the godly powers in the world and yet you can’t speak through a mask.. It’s really a waste, someone should buy a mouth filter for him.

VERDICT : Spiderman Wins

#2.

lechiffre-vs-james-bond

James Bond  VS  Le Chiffre

Here’s a take on the world of deception, espionage and deceit. Welcome to the world of secret agents in the twenty first century.

The good guy (obviously James Bond) is sent to stop a high stakes poker game held by a banker (Le Chiffre) to fund terrorism activities. The hero and villain is both well groomed, gentlemen, savvy, modern and knows how to deal with woman. (obviously James Bond again)

The 21st film restarts everything in the James Bond franchise, no more Cold War storyline, and it places Bond in the modern 21st century (Irony huh). In the film, James Bond first achieves his double 0 status by taking out two people in a gruesome manner. The new Bond is arrogant and cocky, but only in the way that he can afford to, and he has much to see and learn on his license to kill. His first mission quickly place him hot on heels on a global terrorist organisation, and it’s associate, Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre is this mathematical genius and chess prodigy guy who acts as a banker for the bad guys, he is merciless, cunning and ruthless. I felt that he is one of the best Bond villains, his inhaler reminds me of another badass villain. Darth Vader. His eyes does not feel, it is cold, dead and lifeless, as if it’s purpose were to act as a visual equipment and nothing more. However, I was kinda disappointed by the way he went out. Bond should deserve the praise, if any, for knowing how to act according to the situation. On many occasions he defies death and take the villains out in the fashioned way, guns and fists.

casino-royale-movie-poster

I believe that the latest Commander Bond (by Daniel Craig) is one of the best few in the series, and you can see that most of the stuns are done physically, the way it used to be in the old days. To hell with the laser emitting Omega watches, invisible DB9, bulletproof-glass-cracking rings, homing missles and computer graphics. Talk to the fist.

VERDICT : Bond Wins

#1.

infernal_affairs

Lau Kin Meng  VS  Chan Wing Yan

Here’s one of the favourite movies from all time. Infernal Affairs. It came at a time where movies on underworld triad were plentiful and considered a dying and boring genre, and was heralded as a revival of Hong Kong triad movies.

Meng is a mole planted by the triads in the police force, and he rises above the ranks for ten years. Exposed to righteousness, he question his motive and is clearly tormented by his background. Unbeknownst to him, another person is experiencing exactly the same problem, only on the opposite side. Yan is a police mole in the triads who has entangled himself so deep that he’s starting to question his focus and sanity, alongside his compatriots loyalty to him.

Both characters in the film are struggling with their double identities, and throughout the film makes key decisions that could affect each other’s secret identity. Meng is shown to be quite ruthless at times, sacrificing a few things here and there to reach his target. He is intelligent and ambitious, and has no qualms on using them. Yan is a strained undercover officer, and has started to doubt his ability in continuing in his line of work, as shown in his repeated requests to retire. He is loyal and trustworthy, but fears his good side may instead destroys the best of him.

I felt that the tension between the two is extremely enjoyable even up to it’s impacting ending. It never came down to a good guy or bad guy thing, only that the background between the two defines them, one whose working for the triads and the other for the police force.

Yan is more suave and polished among the two, even though he is clearly anguished and tormented throughout the course of action. For those who have not seen the movie, again, I shall not say more. Both are equally good, but if one had to choose, Yan is simply the better one.

infernal

VERDICT : Yan Wins

So here it is, ending with three heroes and two villains for the showdown! (Quite balanced liao lah)

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Birthday, JoJo!

photo04661

Published in: on December 7, 2008 at 5:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Power To The People

Sometimes when I can’t sleep and I’m tossing and turning on my bed, I like to think about people. I like to think about the people that I’ve met, successful people, celebrities, my friends, and what they will become in the future. I like to think about their current achievements and how they made it that far.

Remember Marilyn Monroe?

marilyn-monroe

One of the most captivating woman ever to lived in the world, that even after her death her lover had half a dozen roses delivered to her grave three times a week for thirty years until he died. I like to think about how she started out as a nobody, and her struggling career and how she made it into Hollywood’s A-list celebrities.

I like to think about my friends, and what they live for, the past, the present, or the future.

People who live for the past will go, oh I wish I didn’t do this, or oh I wish she would come back to me. They are full of regrets and they cling on to the past, hoping to be able to relive their experiences.

People who live for the present, they are normally the fun chasers. They probably have less than a hundred dollars in their accounts and they like to enjoy living day by day, going by that “walk one step count one step” theory.

People who live for the future, they are normally more hardworking as they have goals and dreams to fulfill. They are willing to forgo suffering at the present for a better future.

In my opinion, people can be abit of both, but they tend to lean towards one side more. A person can be 60% for the present and 40% for the past. People do change too. Someone who live for the future now might change ten years down the road to live for the present.

I like to think about where my friends are standing at, and I prefer to look at the people who live for the future. Businessmen, musicians, designers, engineers, patriots, scientists.

savvy

Here’s to the future, and all those who are going to be part of it.

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 7:27 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sarah Kerrigan

kerrigan-sproof

One of the guys in my class tried redesigning Kerrigan from Starcraft. The end result is a little different. Yeah, I know, she doesn’t wear Levis jeans and dissect Terrans in the game, but it’s just pretty from any angle you look at it, and I thought I might just give him the credit by posting. It’s really not easy to get something like that. My attempt looks like a scraggy monster from a cardboard pop-up book.

You are a piece of work, my friend!

Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Spams Spams Spams!

I opened up my mailbox today, and they are freaking loaded with spam mails! And the funny thing is, everyone of them seems to be the same! Don’t tell me about some sutra curse and that you have to send that to 100 guys or your parents or loved ones will die, I don’t give a damn!

It’s funny how they always appear to be the same.

If you send this to 10 person in 5 mins, goodluck will come to you and your crush will come knocking on your door after that! It’s strange but it’s true!

– Don’t send it 2.30am in the morning you stupid fuck, no wonder you can’t get a bloody girlfriend.

Your mother will die if you don’t send this to 4 person in 4mins!

– I really can’t find anything to comment on this one, you must be real dumb to believe it.

Wealth and fortune will come to you if you send it to 18 people in 8 mins!

– You should try robbing the bank instead.

I can’t believe that all my friends fall of the same trick over and over again. They usually have those phony names like FW: PLEASE READ or what crap, I can almost guess which one’s a spam mail and which one is not.

And surprisingly, they come from the same people who you thought will grow smarter after sending a few mails out like idiots. I had this mother death one from this guy, and the next day he sent me another one telling me Microsoft is giving money for every mail he sent, and the next he sent me pictures of a house that looks as if it’s from a B-grade cheesy horror movie, saying that you must send to blah blah people in blah blah minutes, or the vengeful ghost from the house will come and find you. Hell, I’m even beginning to think that he’s enjoying sending them out.

Please do not try and send me spam mails anymore, or I may be compelled to do the same as a moral obligation.

nothing-will-ever-happen-with-this

Get a life huh spammers 😐

Published in: on December 1, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Comments (2)  
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LOVELESS

Prologue
When the war of the beasts brings about the world’s end
The goddess descends from the sky
Wings of light and dark spread afar
She guides us to bliss, her gift everlasting

Act I
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the goddess
We seek it thus, and take it to the sky
Ripples form on the water’s surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.

Act II
There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess
Hero of the dawn, Healer of worlds

Dreams of the morrow hath the shattered soul
Pride is lost
Wings stripped away, the end is nigh

Act III
My friend, do you fly away now?
To a world that abhors you and I?
All that awaits you is a somber morrow
No matter where the winds may blow
My friend, your desire
Is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess

Act IV
My friend, the fates are cruel
There are no dreams, no honor remains
The arrow has left the bow of the goddess

My soul, corrupted by vengeance
Hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey
In my own salvation
And your eternal slumber

Legend shall speak
Of sacrifice at world’s end
The wind sails over the water’s surface
Quietly, but surely

Act V
Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice

Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Girls = Evil?

girlsevil

Haha! Probably done by some homo who couldn’t get a girlfriend. Just a bit of fun lah no offense huh ladies.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The 24-hours Inflation Terrorists

It seems that everywhere we go, prices are not the same anymore. Bar Chor Mee – 3 dollars; Coffee – 80cents; Macspicy – $3.95

And I just might have deduced the culprit responsible for this national crisis.

th_7-11_logo

Bingo, they are the newest terrorists in town. To explain my reason on this conclusion, I will cite one recent incident. The other day, I was in this store browsing. I decided to get a pack of Ruffles, a cheese and ham sandwich, and a mash potato. So happily I went over to the counter, smiled at the elderly folks, and passed them the items. And guess what the register says. Close to a whopping ten dollars!

The breakdown is as follows;

Ruffles(Chedder and Sour Cream) – $5
Cheese and Ham Sandwich -$3
Mash Potato – $1.35

I mean, wth is going on here? My trips to the mamashop with the same amount can get 1 more pack of Ruffles! They hire elderly folks to work as counter staff so that you will show sympathy and not argue with their smiling faces, which judging by their warm hospitality, might not know the true nature of the company they are working for, they open 24 hours so they can fleece you twice as much, and they have shops at every corner of the city state so that you have no choice but to walk inside one!

But have this got to do with inflation, you ask. Haven’t you seen what this convenience stores are capable of?! First they raise the price of, let’s say, the loafs of bread by 20 cents in all their outlets. This will always be followed by the other supermarkets, and then the smaller grocery stores!

Based on several highly credible sources, I might also have found the motives of the inflation terrorists.

– They have invested heavily in Lehman Brothers stock, only to lose all the money.
– They are the ones setting the benchmark of GST.
– They are actually Cold Storage + FairPrice in disguise. (Hence the rival store Cheers)
– The owner might actually be Mas Selamat.

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  

The name's Bond, James Bond.

camille_quantum

Quantum of Solace didn’t disappoint.. But it didn’t answered many questions that I was looking for when I went into the theatre. I felt it wasn’t as good as the first one also. Unlike Casino Royale, there was no payoff for this one.

Another few things I noticed, Bond didn’t mention his favourite drink again!

A dry Martini, with three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, not stirred, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

In the first movie, when asked whether he likes it shaken or stirred, he replies, do i look like i give a damn?

In this movie, he’s seen drinking it, but someone else describes the drink.

He didn’t delivered his golden line which he always use to introduce himself! (Hence I had to do it for him)

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Angel From My Nightmare

Woke up in the middle of the night. Had a nightmare in which my dad killed my mum and he went to jail, and I have to deal with the aftereffects of being the sole breadwinner. I was sweating all over even though I wasn’t wearing a shirt. It all seems so dramatic when I think about it again.

I didn’t wanted to sleep after that, so I watched some cartoons till 8am for school. Was it fear or was it just a heightened sense of things?

In class now, feel like sleeping…… zzZ

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 3:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Cycle Of Unrecycled Destinies

How far would you go, if you know you have what it takes but there just isn’t the chance for you to grab. It’s never your fault that the people around you are incompetent and useless. The measure of man is never going to be gauged, we are limitless, but the way some people are construct, they are never going to break through their inner demon, their own boundaries.

Our gift, infinite in mystery, that is what defines you and me. Some say the way the stars are aligned already shows how your life is going to be live by you. I believe I control what I do, and I believe every man is entitled to the same decisions that is available to me as well. Opportunities come and go, it is how you grasp them and use it to your fullest that will make you successful. Poverty, the Democrats believe that it is caused by social problems and inequality, and that for people to succeed in life, they should start with an equal playing field, they believe in aids that increases productivity, while Republicans believe that everyone is allowed to make his or her individual choices, and that they should live with the consequences. In this aspect they see poverty as an individual problem rather than a social one. Why is it that on such a simple topic can there be such a diversity of views?

Some people say, ” aiyah, don’t do it lah, this kind of thing nobody try before, you want to be hero. ” Why is it that we have to walk down the paths set by our predecessors?

A lone wolf; an unending battle and it’s cradle of filth.

If this is my destiny, I’m going to deny it, if this is what the gods sent me, I’m going to defy it.

I never lose.

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Atlas Shrugged

His desire for her had died in the first week of their marriage. What remained was only a need which he was unable to destroy. He had never entered a whorehouse; he thought, at times, that the self-loathing he would experience there could be no worse than what he felt when he was driven to enter his wife’s bedroom.
He would often find her reading a book. She would put it aside, with a white ribbon to mark the pages. When lie lay exhausted, his eyes closed, still breathing in gasps, she would turn on the light, pick up the book and continue her reading.

He told himself that he deserved the torture, because he had wished never to touch her again and was unable to maintain his decision. He despised himself for that. He despised a need which now held no shred of joy or meaning, which had become the mere need of a woman’s body, an anonymous body that belonged to a woman whom he had to forget while he held it. He became convinced that the need was depravity.
He did not condemn Lillian. He felt a dreary, indifferent respect for her. His hatred of his own desire had made him accept the doctrine that women were pure and that a pure woman was one incapable of physical pleasure.

Through the quiet agony of the years of his marriage, there had been one thought which he would not permit himself to consider; the thought of infidelity. He had given his word. He intended to keep it. It was not loyalty to Lillian; it was not the person of Lillian that he wished to protect from dishonor—but the person of his wife.

He thought of that now, standing at the window. He had not wanted to enter her room. He had fought against it. He had fought, more fiercely, against knowing the particular reason why he would not be able to withstand it tonight. Then, seeing her, he had known suddenly that he would not touch her. The reason which had driven him here tonight was the reason which made it impossible for him.
He stood still, feeling free of desire, feeling the bleak relief of indifference to his body, to this room, even to his presence here. He had turned away from her, not to see her lacquered chastity. What he thought he should feel was respect; what he felt was revulsion.

“. . . but Dr. Pritchett said that our culture is dying because our universities have to depend on the alms of the meat packers, the steel puddlers and the purveyors of breakfast cereals.”

Why had she married him?—he thought. That bright, crisp voice was not talking at random. She knew why he had come here. She knew what it would do to him to see her pick up a silver buffer and go on talking gaily, polishing her fingernails. She was talking about the party.
But she did not mention Bertram Scudder—or Dagny Taggart.

What had she sought in marrying him? He felt the presence of some cold, driving purpose within her—but found nothing to condemn. She had never tried to use him. She made no demands on him. She found no satisfaction in the prestige of industrial power—she spurned it—she preferred her own circle of friends. She was not after money—she spent little—she was indifferent to the kind of extravagance he could have afforded. He had no right to accuse her, he thought, or ever to break the bond. She was a woman of honor in their marriage. She wanted nothing material from him.

He turned and looked at her wearily.

“Next time you give a party,” he said, “stick to your own crowd.
Don’t invite what you think are my friends. I don’t care to meet them socially.”
She laughed, startled and pleased. “I don’t blame you, darling,” she said.

He walked out, adding nothing else.
What did she want from him?—he thought. What was she after?

In the universe as he knew it. There was no answer.

———————————————

Women; meaningful pursuits or disposable pleasures?

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  

For The Soviet Union!

Been here and there the past few days. And oh I went to Sq class BBQ, feel kinda bad to barge in like that, but those guys was really nice and fun. There’s this guy called Winson, reminds me of Jimson. One brought red wine to a BBQ(I swear), the other drink bottles of XO like cokes(I double swear). +1 to the extreme alcoholics.

Welcome back, comrade.

This was one of the first RTS games I ever played! Brings back lots of fond memories. I remember that the special agent Tanya in it was one of my first loves of my life. Other than the pink ranger, of course. There will be many more to come after her, but let’s not talk about it. 🙂

Anyway, they replace the old Tanya in Red Alert 2 for a new one!

Yum. Well if she doesn’t work out fine there’s Kelly Hu too.

To end on another note, I can’t wait for Quantum of Solace! It better be good, especially after what they did to Vesper. She is the next best thing that happened to me after the Pink Ranger. And Tanya. And.. and, and. Well, sad to say, thats all for the “many more to come after her” . 😦

Published in: on October 26, 2008 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Overaged Sunny Boys In A Kids Pool Volume 2

We had to keep the tiger from sleeping this time. It would be disastrous if he goes on sleeping like no tomorrow.

Anyway, we went back to infiltrate those devilish imps headquarters. You know the saying that goes, if you can’t beat them, join them! So here we are with our rubber duckies and toy boats, slowly becoming kids in the process…

We met John and Samuel in the process. The slides in the picture, there’s Blue, Pink, Yellow(Can’t see), and the blue and pink slides must be sat together with a float. Those sons of bitches jump in straight and leave their float wobbling behind! And it got even funnier when one of their floats got stuck and didn’t came out.

And thanks to Xiaohei and Dippy who keeps trying to sink me on the lazy river(I swear guys, in case you haven’t notice, I’m on a float), I’ve got water in my ear and can’t hear properly for 3 days. And oh yeah dippy that elbowed on me when you tried to capsize us must have felt gratifying for you… I’ll get ya 👿

Didn’t really get enough of the wave pool though. Should have grabbed those floats and camp there. It would be fun when there’s 5 people on the float down at 1.9m trying to capsize each other when the wave starts coming.

yy , Dippy, xXQiQiXx, Jimmy AKA TigerSlayer, me. Xh’s taking the picture.

yy lost his specs! Hahahahahahahahahahaha. That’s what happens to heroes who wear their spectacles into the lazy river. Seriously, with all that water gushing around, I won’t be surprised if your swimming trunks gets washed away. Not that I would look anyway. 🙄

He’s acting like he knows where the camera is, but if you look closer, his eyes are directed somewhere else! LOL! Probably at the president, I guess.

Favourite chilling spot, Mushroom Hideout! Didn’t get the chance to chill there on the second visit though. Too bloody crowded.

Awwww, he finally found the right direction to look. 😀

Published in: on October 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

SX electric guitar

Need help, anyone who knows about guitar please tell me!

Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 5:13 am  Leave a Comment