Monday, February 28, 2005

Current update - 28/2/05

Why do I do this?

Read: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, Charlotte's Web by E.B White, Constantine by John Shirley & Seasons of Splendour by Madhur Jaffey
Decided to drop: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (It's confirmed. I'm not a fantasy fan)
Reading: Blood Canticle by Anne Rice & Tales of a Chinese Grandmother by Frances Carpenter
CD: none
Favorite song: Everybody's Changing by Keane
Playing: Emperor
Watching: The Apprentice 2, That 70's Show, Grounded for Life, Frasier, CSI, American Idol

*No. of times asked if I have a boyfriend: 2
*No. of times asked when I will get married: 8
*No. of times asked when I will have kids: 1
Note: * Since I started this blog of course. I've been getting these questions lots of times before but you can't honestly believe I would count them, right? I just thought of this lately. It's interesting to know the average number of times a single girl at a marriageable age get that million dollar question. I hope other single bloggers would do the same. Maybe we can write a thesis on it! I also change "ppl" to "times" since one person can ask all three questions.

Other news:
Sister came back from Haj so everything's back as it was.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


It rained! It rained!
Drooling Bouncy Smileys

After weeks and weeks of smoltering heat and days of obstructed view it rained the whole night last night.

I've had the best sleep in weeks. And I woke up feeling refreshed with this awesome crick in my neck.
Money Mouth
--------------------------------- Ad space -------------------------------

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Of all the photos

This is the best one Posted by Hello

None were spared. The living nor dead.

happy 2 months anniversary

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Going on a book hunt

So I went to the MPH warehouse sale. I just have to go today because it's the first day. I was hoping I will get the first dip on some good selections they might offer.

Since the first time I went to MPH warehouse sale it has always suck. Why they even bother to call it a 'warehouse' sale is beyond my understanding. Only half of the space were taken up by books while the rest were pens, calculators, cds and toys. The books mostly go for 30% discount only, while the more obscure titles were given a mere 40%. I thought the idea of a 'warehouse' sale is to clear their warehouse i.e. storage space. But all I see were the regular paperbacks that are currently sold at any bookstores in the world.

The appeal of a warehouse sale is usually the 'value buy' bins where they put all those single copies/old/damaged books that cannot be sold at their retail stores anymore. There were not that many bins and the selections were lousy. I just briefly browsed through them but mostly I saw obsolete editions of a programming language or a guide to a certain software, books on chemistry, business and craft. But a last minute look discovered an interesting book, Atlas of the New Age: The origins and development of the world's spiritual and mystical traditions. What the hell, it's a HC with very nice pictures and illustrations. I've always been interested in shamans, mythologies, divination etc. It was just RM15 anyway.

Apart from this book I also bought:

  • The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
  • The Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  • Classic Victorian & Edwardian Ghost Stories
  • The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan
  • The Good Earth - Pearl S Buck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
All at 30% discount. Not that great but I still bought them because I knew I will never get a better offer for these titles at other bookstores.

MPH warehouse sale is one that I'm not so excited about. The first one I've been too was lousy, It was in a smaller building with similar offers than this year's sale. I walked out with nothing but a useless MPH membership. The second one was not bad. I got my hands on McPherson's Close to Home for RM5, Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox for RM10 and Ryhme Stew for RM5; and Dick King Smith's The Sheep Pig for RM5.

Times warehouse sale was much better. More books at warehouse price rather than putting the current paperbacks and just give discounts. They do put some recent bestsellers but they were priced at RM20. That would be about RM12 to RM14 off the retail price. Still not bad.

But the best warehouse sale would still be the Penguin sale. I got my hands on so many classics like
  • Diary of Anne Frank
  • Poe's Comedies and Satires
  • M.R. James' The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Stories
  • Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde
  • Dante's Purgatorio and Paradiso
at RM10 per book. And they were those nice editions with notes and bibliographies that usually go up to RM40 at normal price. In addition I got a free Times membership and RM5 voucher for buying more than RM100.

But the best book sale of all time that I've been to is the one held by L------- Public Library back in '97 when I was in US. They were clearing out old books. And there were a lot of bestselling authors and classics. The paperbacks were going at US0.50 and HC US1. I completed my Jane Austen collection here. I also got hold of The Complete Sherlock Holmes in HC with all the original illustrations at about US2, if I'm not mistaken. But I remembered it was damn cheap and it was in very good condition. Come to think of it I don't know where they get the books. I don't think it was from the library because they were no envelopes where they put the date cards or any chop anywhere on any of the books. Most probably the books were donated to raise funds for the library.

The town I was in also has a lot of bookstores selling used books. I will never fail to walk in if I happen to come across one of these stores. You'll just never know what treasures you will find on the rows and rows of shelves even if the store was small.

Back in Malaysia, I was excited to find PayLess books. This is the place where I got the illustrated HC edition of The Emerald City of Oz, The Lost Princess of Oz, The Wind in the Willows, and Little Women. Now, if only I can get the rest of the Oz series in HC....

Since I have the means of buying things with my own money, my book collection has been growing. That's one weird thing about me. I would think twice in buying a RM40 blouse, but I could spend RM60 for books in the blink of an eye.

The sad story is all my books are stuck in boxes because there's just no space for them in my parent's house. So now I can't even make any analysis or recall anything particular about a certain book since I can't remember them all. If they were all arranged according to genre and author, all lined up nice and neat on a proper bookshelf, I could have instantly drawn on a certain event or a certain character of a certain book just by looking at the spine. So now if someone asked "What is your favourite book cover" or "What is your favorite literary couple" (like what Eyeris did), I couldn't say anything because I can't recall everything that I've read.

It's so frustrating not to join in any book discussions because the books are not on-hand. I couldn't even give a proper link to any of the books that I've mentioned here. Even ISBN nos. would be good enough so that ppl could know which edition I'm ranting about. But alas, they're all nicely tucked away in boxes. I don't know which box they're in and it's too late to go for a book hunt in my own room. So hopefully, one fine day, when I do manage to fit a bookshelf in my room I will come back and update this post. Hopefully.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Madame Kampung Gal predicts

None of this year's contenders are such clear winners thus making the 77th Oscar much thrilling to watch. The two favourites of this year are Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby and Scorcese's The Aviator. Everyone's been saying that Million Dollar Baby is Eastwood at his best but Scorcese is long overdue for his own Oscar.

I don't know about MDB since I'm not really a fan of Eastwood (the actor and director) and I never really cared about boxing movies. But the movie got to me during the second half when I realized that this is not another Rocky. Swank deserved an Oscar for this one. Who cares if it's too early for her to get a second nod. Take away the political bullshit and just give credit where its due. But I cannot say the same about the rest of the cast. I feel that Freeman was doing another Shawshank Redemption while Eastwood was not that convincing as the hard-hearted guilt-ridden trainer. I don't know why he got the nomination.

The topic of how a virtual unknown rises above anyone's expectations and the relationships that were formed and broken along the way has been explored many times in films in various forms. But Eastwood didn't offer anything new. Supposed to be an emotional movie, it didn't really tug on my emotion until much later. In short this movie was not consistent in terms of acting and story.

The Aviator was not that impressive to me at first since I don't know who the hell Howard Hughes was before this movie came out. But the glamorous look of the period was perfectly captured by Scorcese. The star-studded supporting actors like Jude Law, Alan Alda, John C Reilly, Ian Holm, Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale and many more, make this movie a very nice treat.

A check at IMDB revealed that Scorcese shot the film in a way that it will look like how a color film would look from that period of time.
Achieved mainly through digitally enhanced postproduction, Scorsese recreated the look of Cinecolor and two-strip Technicolor. Watch in particular for the scene where Hughes meets Errol Flynn in the club. Hughes is served precisely placed peas on a plate, and they appear blue or turquoise - just as they'd have looked in the primitive two-strip Technicolor process. As Hughes ages throughout the film, the color gets more sophisticated and full-bodied.

Now if this is not considered as filming genius I don't know what is. In addition to another great performance by DiCaprio, I think this movie would rise as the big winner of this year. However like past years, this will not guarantee that Scorcese will take home the Best Director award. I'm not a fan of Scorcese either (in fact I don't think I have any favourite director, ok maybe Tim Burton). I watched The Godfather trilogy with the response of "Eh? So what?". Gangs of New York didn't impress me either. I think it got something to do with the actors. I was busy trying to convince myself that DiCaprio was a thug and Diaz was a girl who had a hard life. It didn't really sink in. But I feel that The Aviator is great. At least it's better than MDB. It will get Best Film but I'm not sure about Best Director.

I was also torn between Foxx and DiCaprio for Best Actor (lets face the facts here, the rest didn't have a chance, not even good ol' Johnny Depp). I was sure that Foxx would be a sure winner but after watching Ray, I just don't feel that his performance was that great. For me a great performance must be tied with consistency. You must be able to grip my attention from the very first word that you uttered. And Foxx doesn't look that comfortable in Ray's seat at the beginning of the film. He was still not Ray Charles in the first few minutes of the film. But he did made it up with a very emotional performance in the second half.

DiCaprio was consistent probably due to the fact that he's used to dramatic roles, unlike Foxx. But I think his face got in the way. Everytime I see him, I would be reminded of the image of him floating with a plank of wood, getting pale and dying. He just couldn't cover up his pretty heart-throb face no matter how great his performance was, not that I blame him. It's just the way I perceive him. To me he will always be the pretty boy who can act. On the other hand, I was able to forget Foxx the comedian and Foxx the Ugly Girl (his regular character in In Living Color) while watching his performance in Ray.

The Oscars have a history of awarding performances that are totally unlike the actor in real life like Halle Berry the depressed mom, Charlize Theron the serial killer, Mira Sorvino the prostitute, Hillary Swank the tomboy, Robin Williams the reserved quiet psychiatrist, Zellweger the country girl... well you get the picture. So if they were to follow this tradition than by all means give it to Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. The reserved Owen played a passionate, opinionated doctor who never fails to voice out his thoughts while the sweet little Miss Portman played (gasp!) a stripper. Well I watched Closer and I do feel they deserve to win. It's a sure win for Owen, but Portman has to watch out for Blanchett.

To conclude, below are my predictions for the main awards: -
Best Film: The Aviator
Best Director: Clint Eastwood (but I do want Scorcese to win)
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx
Best Actress: Hillary Swank
Best Supporting actor: Clive owen
Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Song: Phantom of the Opera
Best original screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Best adapted screenplay: Sideways
Best animated film: The Incredibles (sure winner)
Best foreign language film: The Sea Inside

And just for the heck of it, these are my predictions for the rest of the categories. Most of them are lucky guesses anyway.

My oscar predictions Posted by Hello

Anything funny strikes your eye?

Check out the 'Quotes' section Posted by Hello

I wonder how many "Japanese seeing-eye-dog" movies are out there...

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Hell's Cinema

Considering that now the Oscar fever is building up and my past few posts were movie related, I think I would like to continue the trend and talk about the joys and qualms of going to the movies. Because there's always that person who never bothered to switch off the phone, those that talk incessantly, those that can't keep still or those that find great joys in kicking the seat in front of them. But have you ever experienced all these at one seating? I have.

I was watching Harry Potter 3 (for the second time) and we got the best seat possible, right smack in the center of the cinema. We went in, in a timely manner and we were gracious, switched off the phone just as we sat down.

First came the 'blockhead', right in front of us sitting tall as if he was at his graduation ceremony.

Second came the 'late-comer'. Not only was she late she was also yakking all the way to her seat. She took her seat at the left of me, still yakking while playing with her handphone. The lights were already dimmed so you can imagine what a beacon her phone was from my seat.

Third came the 'rustler'. Probably not able to find any benches inside the mall, they purchased 2 cinema tickets so they can have a place to sit and inspect the result of their day's worth of shopping, while rummaging through their many plastic bags looking for things to chew on.

However, it was not over yet. The 'late-comer' aka 'the yakker' still haven't stop yakking even after the movie started. Because then she began to narrate the movie to her partner. Not only were she narrating, she was also lip-synching, saying the line out loud like she was the official script girl for TGV. "Yes Harry" "No Harry" "Ronald!" on and on and on. She was such a show-off, most probably hoping that the rest of us would be impressed that she's such a big fan of Harry Potter to know every line from the movie. NOT! And she wasn't even a good lip-syncher. She only knew the two-word lines. I'm not impressed pal!
And then came the big hall scene. And she started singing. Yes! She was singing!
Double double toil and trouble,
mumble mumble mumble
Something wicked this way come!
Agghhhhhh!!!!!!!!! I can't stand it anymore. I gave her a look. A loooooonnnnggggg look. I make sure that it was long enough for her to notice that I'm looking right at her. She tried to ignore me but I knew that she noticed me and she kept quiet... for a while. Then she started lip-synching again. Now, I'm not a short-tempered person and it's very difficult to get me angry but I was really pissed-off at that time. I turned to my friend, "The person beside me can't stop talking!"
"The person beside me can't stop eating!" she replied. I guess she got problems of her own in addition to the blockhead in front of her.

"Could you please be quiet?". R gave my elbow a nudge. "She's annoying!" I told R. I was really hoping that the person in front of her would at least turn around and gave her that look too. Maybe then she will know how annoying she was. It was not just my imagination that she was talking way above the appropriate volume for cinema and most annoying of all, she never stopped! There was always something to say, always something to lip-sync to. God! She did stop after I said that, to only start again a few minutes later.

Shut Up
I wish I could just scream that to her but instead I said, "Excuse me. Can you stop talking? I'm trying to watch the movie! It's very annoying!" And she kept quiet after that. But not absolute quiet. Nothing would stop her from narrating and commenting the movie to her friend, though she did it less and with a lower volume.

After we got out, we were not talking about the movie, we were talking about the bunch of losers that were our neighbors. R shared my frustration because she can also hear the yakker from her side. And I shared her frustration because I can hear the ppl beside her rustling through their plastic bags all the way from my side.

All in all, that was by far the WORST cinema experience I ever had. I will never forget it as long as I live, or until I found an even worst experience than this, which I doubt. But I do need to be grateful that the one behind us were not a 'kicker'. Oh wait, I did get a kicker when I saw this movie the first time. Oh hell!

I can't remember the last time I had a perfect cinema experience. I almost got it when I watched Cold Mountain but suddenly a phone rang at the most romantic moment of the whole goddamn movie.
"I'd marry you, I'd ma.... kring kring.... halo! watching a movie. Nanti I call balik. Apa? Tak boleh. Jangan buat camtu... giggle... ha... ok... ok..." She was so damn loud!
SSSHHHHH!!!!!!!! sad the person behind her. The whole cinema were already looking at her. At least we got her boyfriend uncomfortable. Hehe padan muka.

Will I ever get the most perfect, the most enjoyable movie experience? I don't know. But that remains as one of my most cherished wish.

--------------------------------- Ad space -------------------------------

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The perils of a small businessman

God I hate my boss. Why does he like to wait for the very last minute to settle such important things as the bill.

I go to work this morning to a shop that has been locked up by the court. Yes! By the Mahkamah Majistret. It seems that we have a little amount of rental due to the management. So the mgmt asked their lawyer to call up the court to lock up the shop that my boss built. There we were on the first day of work after one week of holiday, not able to work. I don't know if I should be concerned or happy.
Very Confused
This happened so many times already. First the phone, then the electricity and now the shop itself. Then he wonders why this branch is not doing so well.

Afterwards, his wife (whose business shares the same premise) came to the rescue and settled whatever it is that need to be settled. Around 1:30 we were able to go to work at last, but not without some repercussions. It threw her whole feng shui plan for the shop.

One of her staff was suppose to be the first to walk into the shop. She's supposed to ring the golden bell all around the shop and then burn the incense and spread the smoke all over the shop too. But that was not meant to be because
1. Someone came into the shop yesterday and yesterday was an unlucky day for us;
2. She still wasn't the first to come in because the guy who open the shop walked into it right after;
3. She was supposed to do it all within 9 to 11am because that was our ong (lucky) time. Heh! No luck there.
But she did all that needs to be done anyway. It doesn't hurt right? Maybe it will balance out the unluckiness we've been getting. Hopefully we will get back the 'slightly unlucky' status that we had before all this happened.
Oh Well

I need a new job. Know any vacancies??? Any book related company would be fine. But must be executive position. I didn't come this far to become a retail assistant okay. Please post a comment or e-mail me if you know anything. I will be much obliged.

--------------------------------- Ad space -------------------------------

Monday, February 14, 2005

Oscar break

I think I need to take a break from blogging. Hehe you know why? Because I just got my hands on Sideways, Closer, Ray, Million Dollar Baby, Vera Drake, and Kinsey. With the addition of Finding Neverland, The Aviator, the Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter 3, The Village, The Passion of the Christ, Shrek 2, Troy, House of Flying Daggers, Shark Tale, The Polar Express, I Robot, and Spider-man 2 that I have seen; I will finally get to make my own judgment and not just make lucky guesses. Wish me luck trying to watch all these movies by March 2Feb 28.

Disinformation dissemination

Do you know that you have to change your IC after you turned 18?
Well I don't. So now I have to pay RM70 for fines.
The officer also told me that we are suppose to change them AGAIN when we turn 25! What the hell was that about??? So now do we have to change our IC every three freakin' years?!?
I didn't know, I told her. Well we annouced it in the papers, she said.
But my parents didn't tell me about his, none of my family members told me about this, none of my friends told me about this, none of my colleaques told me about this, even the government officers who were organizing my transfer to US never told me about THIS! Apparently I'm not the only one. The guy next to me also has to pay the fines. So you tell me, who's fault is it that we didn't know about this??? God! It's like they always find new ways to squeeze more money from you.
I'm pissed. I tried to look good for my picture but I just can't. You want to know which one is me? I'm the one with the pissed-off look on my IC.
--------------------------------- Ad space -------------------------------

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Of good and evil

Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons, and God and the Devil.

Any movie about these things would go into my must-see movie list including Constantine. And it also helps that Mr Reeves is in it.

Constantine I can simply say is different and that is what makes it a great watch. I didn't have any expectations apart from seeing his cute face on the big screen. But after I got the 5 second dosage of seeing his face I just have to shift my attention to the story. Like I said earlier anything about good and evil, Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons, God and Devil and everything in between (mainly humans) has always intrigued me. I love the Hellraiser series, Warlock and even Hideaway. I love movies where men try to play God with little success like Island of Dr Moreau. And how men can still find faith in God like Dead Man Walking; and even something other than God like Contact.

Movies like these are not always about the whole package. It's not about how good or bad the acting was, or how juvenile the script is, or how laughable the special effects were. What I would usually loook for is the message that it's trying to convey and how they do it.

Like recently, I watched The Gathering on Astro. Christina Ricci was terrible. I believe her talent has run out after she did The Addams Family. But the story of how a group "who came to watch not for salvation but for lust" is pretty interesting. The thing that they were watching was Jesus' crucifixion. As punishment they are destined to watch men experience their greatest tragedies: the world war, nuclear bomb, public massacres, assasinations. I have to close one eye on Ricci's acting to enjoy the movie. But all in all the message I truly took to heart. When you see something wrong don't just stand there and watch, at least try to do something to change it. With the Hellraiser it is in simple terms, ultimate pleasure does not come without pain. How you interpret that is up to you.

Hehe you must have thought that I'm going to write a review on Constantine, not this time. I think one of the reason why I enjoyed this movie was because I didn't read any reviews, or see any making-ofs. All I got was the trailer, the vision of black wings and Keanu Reeves. I cannot write a review without drawing on some scenes and I'm afraid that would just spoil the experience for you. You should try it some time. Go see a movie without reading any reviews, hear any comments from your friends or see any making-ofs or interviews. I did that once for House of Flying Daggers. I was halfway through the movie and I was going, "Wait a minute, where's the House of Flying Daggers???" But the movie was still good to watch. It's just that if I knew the movie is a love story I wouldn't even consider watching it.

But what I can give you is the rundown of the main cast so you don't have to do your own research on them.
Constantine - Keanu Reeves (of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Dracula, Speed, A Walk in the Clouds, and what else... oh yeah! The Matrix trilogy of course how could I forget that)
Angela/Isabel Dodson - Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Enemy at the Gates)
Chas Kramer - Shia LeBeouf (Holes, Charlie's Angels 2)
Midnite - Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Lara Croft 2)
The ones to watch out for,
Gabriel - Tilda Swinton (Orlando, The Beach)
Lucifer - Peter Stormare (Armageddon, 8MM, Fargo)
and last but not least
Balthazar - Gavin Rosdale (Bush's frontman, Mr Stefani)
If you're interested with Hellblazer, the comic that Constantine was based on, you can click here. It is a very comprehensive site with a lengthy description of who John Constantine, the comic book character is down to his family tree. It even has the full summary of all the comics.

For a full review on why I like this movie I would have to wait until about 50% of the general population have seen it. So maybe I'll wait until the movie has run its course in the cinemas. Then I'll be comfortable enough to talk about it in great lengths. Anyway, I just have to watch it again. The cinema I was in was not a conducive atmosphere to fully understand this type of movie. Now, what's with all the half-breeds? Why her? There was a couple sitting beside us and he was wooing her while watching the movie. What kind of people who goes to a movie to talk? I don't understand. Go lepak at a mamak stall la. You can talk all you want and no one is gonna shush you. Or you can come to this place where no one will care if you want to scream at the top of your lungs, and where you can talk on your phone as long as you want, provided that the phone can stand the heat.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Comical reaction

One thing I've recently learned about comic to film adaptations is that there is so many ways to judge them. It's quite similar to book adaptations. They either maintain the main storyline (like The Joy Luck Club, LOTR, Pride & Prejudice), the characters, the characters' origins and motivations, or try to recreate the emotional aspect of the respective book (like Cold Mountain and Beloved).

And just like book adaptations, comic adaptations has its hits and misses.
Hits: Spider-man, Batman,
Misses: Catwoman, Elektra, Daredevil

But what I want to discuss now is a recent adaptation of a comic character, Elektra. There were many various reasons given as to why it was a miss, but these are my reasons. The action scenes were not as thrilling as I expected it to be. Various interviews of the cast and crew were talking about how the fighting scenes are done by them and not stunt doubles. But I'm sorry to say I couldn't see it. If I didn't see those interviews I would still think they are done by stunt doubles. The villains are interesting just like what Garner said, but then I only see them in about 10 minutes of screen time altogether. And the final showdown got me saying "So what?" And do I need to mention the cliches? I thought that Hollywood by this time has learned something like "not all succesful action films need to have a kissing scene." But they do it anyway with no apparent motivation in both characters. Just because they were alone on the balcony and she was feeling vulnerable and he was there, they just have to kiss. I was expecting the orchestra to strike up at any moment.

But after I read an article by The Star's Kaleon Rahan I realized something. If Elektra the movie was to stay true to Elektra the comic, then wouldn't that make the movie a success? Kaleon said that the assasination scene, how she interact with the Millers and the Chaste, and her flawed/emotionally-disturbed character is similar to its original counterpart. On the other hand another reviewer from the same paper said that her obsessive compulsive behavior in the movie is absurd. I think that's not fair. She should at least make a comparison to the Elektra that her creator wanted her to be and not just what the movie portrays.

The movie makers must have a certain purpose in bringing Elektra to the silver screen. I believe that this time they were just trying to bank in on Garner's appeal. Daredevil was too small for her so she has to have her own movie. Elektra was not one of my must-see movie but after seeing the making-of and interviews, they got me interested. Not to see Elektra, but the fight scenes and the villains that they were talking so greatly about. Since those two didn't rise to the occasion I find the movie a miss.
But if I were an Elektra comics fan I might find the movie acceptable, provided that the original Elektra do go around kissing guys on balconies.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

What's the way to end a race?

Is to start another one.

Yes! Amazing Race 7 will start in March and the things that I'm looking forward to are more bickering, more stupid mistakes and the team of engaged Survivors, Rob and Amber. I can't wait.

Tonight was the finale of Amazing Race 6 and if you haven't seen it stop reading now.

Freddy and Kendra won by a train.

My favorite team, Kris and Jon, was so close. They have the most perfect leg. Kris was able to get the lock on the first round of tries . But they were unlucky enough to get a later flight to Chicago. It was because that ticketing officer who told them they have the fastest flight when they don't. That liar! There was a difference of 30 minutes between F&K's and K&J's flight. But K&J actually arrived 15 minutes earlier while F&K's flight got in 10 minutes late . They both ended up on the same train to Chicago Water Tower.

F&K finished their pizza first but found trouble in getting a taxi. Right about then K&J walked into the pizza place. When F&K did manage to get a taxi the driver didn't know how to go to Ping Tom Memorial! In the meantime, K&J finished their pizza and went straight to a door of a taxi. "Do you know how to go to Ping Tom Memorial?" Jon asked the driver. "Yes." . F&K were lost at this time.

I think Adam said it best right after Kris got the lock opened, "They must have a guardian angel on their shoulder."

Both teams got to the Memorial at about the same time. I thought it's going to be down to a footrace. But a damn train showed up right on K&J's path, and they couldn't get through . So they were the second team to arrive.

I am so broken-hearted. It would be perfect if Kris & Jon were to win. They were the sweetest couple in the whole history of the Amazing Race, they hardly fought, they worked together so well and they were never rude to anyone anywhere, to the locals nor the other team members. Even at the most stressful moment Jon would still say "please" and Kris will always have a "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" Just can't help but admire them.

I think Adam (of Adam and Rebecca) is a great observer of this team. Jon & Kris was unlucky enough to get a bad taxi driver who took them on a longer route when they were in Shanghai. Getting down from the taxi, Jon yelled, "That was the worst ride ever!" A&R were yielded at the time so they were not going anywhere. Seeing Jon like that Adam said, "That is the first time I've ever seen them get upset." There was a hint of admiration in his voice.

Well, their luck must have run out after they got that great taxi driver to the Memorial. But I still love you Kris & Jon. If it so happens that your guardian angel got lost along the way, I'm sending this to you.

The fruits of my labour

I spent the last weekend scanning my Bali photos (all 116 of them) with my not-so-recently acquired HP all-in-one printer. I find the process tiresome and the result unsatisfactory. An activity that I thought could be done in one day was stretched until 3am Monday morning. "Why did you put yourself through this?", you might ask and I asked the same question myself. The reasons were...
  1. I was so excited to experiment on the scanning function of my printer.
  2. R, who went to Bali with me lives in Seremban and we don't know when she's coming over. So I did it for her mainly.
  3. I always gripe to my friends who cannot post/e-mail photos even though they have the digital camera, the internet access and the time to do it. What goes around comes around. Now I get to feel the pressure.
  4. If I didn't finish it then, I will never finish it ever.

The reason that it took so long for me to do this was because I have to fight for the right of MY computer with my 11-year old nephew. Well I guess it's my fault. I was the one who introduced Emperor to him and now he's hooked too. Being the older relation, I have to mengalah [give way] of course.

I finally 'earned' my right after he went back to his house since tomorrow is a school day. At about 9pm, my parents packed all the kids into the car and leave. At long last I have the house to myself again. {Confused? Read my previous post}

But I still couldn't continue because Discovery was showing this interesting documentary on how the Chinese could be the first ppl to reach the American continent and even circumnavigate the world; 70 years before Christopher Columbus, based on Gavin Menzies' 1421: The Year China Discovered America. It was a 2-hour special so that comes up to 11pm. And then I have to watch The Apprentice of course so I can only continue the project after midnight.

The photos were up on Monday morning, but I was not ready to promote it just yet. Every picture tells a story and my photos have their stories too. So today I announce the official launch of Kampung Gal's photoblog. These photos are the fruits of my labour. Enjoy.

Note: If by any chance you visited it before today, you ain't see nothing yet. Nothing left to do but just see them again. It would be nice to have a celebrity to launch it but then I'll just settle with just me myself and I.

Whatever la...

Reading Dina's recent post made me remember this story.

My ex-bf's younger brother was marrying a janda with one child. He found it difficult to accept, so I said,
"Pernah jumpa ke?"
"Macam mana dia, ok ke?"
"So apa masalahnya?"
"Janda ni susah sikit la. Kita tak tau latar belakang dia."
"Dah tu. Ambik la tau latar belakang dia."
"Mak awak ok ke?"
"Kira ok la tu. Alah... kalau budak tu perangai elok, boleh jaga adik awak, apa salahnya. Lagipun adik awak dah suka kan."
"Ye la."
"Bila kendurinya, hantaran berapa?" (I'm doing a personal research on Malay marriages so I was a bit curious on the 'rate' for marrying a divorcee)
"Tahun depan kot. Hantaran 5 ribu."
Later on in the same phone conversation, he said, "Susah la nak kawin zaman skrg ni, kalau takde 7 ribu jangan harap la. Macam mana nak dapat yang 'murah' punya" (I knew he was joking)
"Iye! Macam mana?" Bouncy
"Kawin la janda anak satu"
I am so bad...
--------------------------------- Ad space -------------------------------

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The price of being careless

I reached home from work at about 7pm and I was really hungry. I was working alone at the shop today and I didn't get a proper lunch even though I have a few chances to get some. Anyway, I brought some nasi himpit with kuah kacang. Not much but it'll do, since I'm thinking of going back early. Tomorrow is Chinese New Year and my manager told me to close the shop if there's no one around. I got a couple of customers in the morning and it was pretty much quiet after that. But then the phone rang.
"What time do you close today?"
"Ermm... ermmm.... 6 o'clock."
"When are you opening again?"
"Next tuesday."
"Okay." click.
What the... So are you coming today or what?!

So I stayed until the intended time cursing myself if no one ever step through that door. As a consolation I thought, "Never mind, I don't have plans anyway and I do have stuff to do" (like updating my blog ). To ease my hunger I ate some cookies I found at the counter. Around 5:45, 2 customers walked in and bought some things (one of them bought a lot). Thank God, my sacrifice was not in vain.

Carelessness No 1: Not packing a proper lunch.

Right after they left I quickly packed it up, make sure everything is as it intended to be and lock the place up. Let me just say this - the holiday season is the BEST time to be in the city. No traffic jam!

Just as I entered my house I suddenly remembered, I didn't take back my tupperware! The one with the little bit of kuah kacang! The remaining of my not-so-proper lunch! Miss C is going to kill me! I can imagine if she were to come back from the holidays to find a tupperware filled with moldy, caked-up, smelly, swarming with ants tupperware on top of the counter. I'm dead.

I don't want to bother her on new year's eve with such 'trivial' thing as this, so I quickly sent her an SMS. I thought at least she can know what to expect. Maybe then her wrath would not be so bad. On the third day I would give her a courtesy call, making sure she got that SMS. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.

I really thought I did everything that needed to be done. I was reminded, a few times, to make sure that the thrash is empty ESPECIALLY of food stuff. I even moved that darn tupperware around a few times so that customers won't be able to see it yet still in plain sight so that I won't forget about it. God, I don't know what's wrong with me today.

Carelessness No. 2: Leaving the tupperware with food stuff in it when I know that no one is going to be there for the next 5 days to clean it up.

That's settled, I move on to the next issue, my hunger. Only then was I aware that there's totally nothing to eat in the house. There's not even a slice of bread. I couldn't even make a proper peanut butter sandwich. "Why didn't you stop somewhere for food before you got home?!" I scolded myself . I looked myself over, I'm in the t-shirt that I wore to sleep last night with a towel wrapped around my waist. Good enough. I'm just going to tapau (take-away) something and come back. I just pulled on my pants, pat some powder on my face, put on my tudung and went out, hoping that JJ is open on new year's eve.

Carelessness No. 3: Not assessing the food level in the house.

Yes! JJ is open. And there's a lot of people . I thought everyone is suppose to be having a reunion dinner or going on a vacation or something. What are they doing in JJ??? And what is this that I'm wearing??? Last night's t-shirt?!? Why didn't I spray some perfume for crying out loud. And my face? It was not even compact powder, it was talcum powder. And now I look like a smelly hobo. Darn it. Before I got out of the car, I took a quick sniff. Ok, not too bad. No visible stains. Just don't get too close with anyone and you'll be fine.

Before heading towards the supermarket I just have to stop at the ladies section. There's this one t-shirt that I've been eyeing, bright red with some motifs on the left shoulder. I want to celebrate new year too, you know! But alas no more stock. Damn. I don't care. I must buy something new today. Must!

Shortly, I found a pink knit top, RM29. Orait. Same price as the one that I wanted. Tried it on, not a perfect fit but still looks ok. I was ready to go to the counter when I saw a blouse, brown, casual yet classy, RM39. Tried it on, very nice... Silent Dragon likes! So I bought the brown blouse instead. Okay, enough already. Must go to supermarket now.

Bought a loaf of bread, 2 boxes of cereal, and milk. You can't go wrong with cereal. Anytime of the day there's always room for cereal. Then, I bought my dinner from the food court and finally, it's time to go home.

It's a habit of mine that before I reach my car, I must have the carkey in my hand. So, I dug into my sling bag and took out... the office key, put it back in, dig dig dig, rummage rummage rummage, office key again, dig in... office key... officekeyofficekey.... damnshitgodammit*&@;#^$*#&!!! At this point I began to panic. Did I loose my carkey? Cannot be. I'm not that careless, am I? I always put the key inside my bag right after I lock the car. I didn't remember holding it while shopping for clothes either. Where the hell is it??? Could I left it at the car?

I went to my car and I immediately saw an old man standing there. Oh God, please tell me that this man can help me. He came up to me and said,
"Ni awak punya kereta ke? Hilang kunci ye?"
[Is this your car? Did you looze your key?"
"Ye, kenapa?"
[Yes, why?]
"Pakcik jumpa kunci tadi. Anak pakcik dah bawak pergi security"
[I found the key. My daughter is taking it to security now]
"Ya Allah, jumpa kat pintu ke?"
[My God, did you found it at the door?]
"Iye. Lama jugak pakcik tunggu kalau2 tuan dia balik. Baru je kejap ni anak pakcik turun."
[Yes. I waited for quite some time now just in case the owner comes back. My daughter went down to security just now]
At this point he called his daughter to let her know that I'm here and to bring back the key.
"Pukul berapa pakcik jumpa tadi?"
[When did you find it?]
"Lama jugak. Kami keluar 8:15. (It was 8:35 at the time) Tak nak balik lagi, nak tunggu tuan dia balik. Semua orang tengah tunggu."
[Quite some time. We went out at 8:15. I just don't want to leave, want to wait for the owner. Everyone is waiting]
He pointed towards his car beside mine and in it was a man, an old lady, which I think is his wife and a child. Damn. I'm feeling guilty already.
"Susahkan pakcik je. Saya pun ingat kalau tak jumpa kunci kat sini nak pergi tanya security kalau2 ada orang jumpa. Saya ingatkan tercicir kat mana2 tadi."
[Sorry for troubling you. I thought of going to security myself if I couldn't find it here, just in case someone found it. I thought I dropped it somewhere]
"Takpela. Pakcik nak tolong. Tgk kereta pun macam kereta orang Melayu. Apa salahnya tolong." pause "Anak pakcik tu berat jugak, tgh sarat tu. Nasib baik ada escalator, ha ha ha..."
[It's ok. I wanted to help. Looks like the car belong to a Malay anyway so why not. My daughter is a bit heavy, with child. Thank goodness for escalators, ha ha ha...]
Ha ha ha he he he hi...hi... hi... Double damn! I just wish that the building would just collapse and take me with it.

One very uncomfortable minute later, his daughter showed up. And he was right, she's very heavy with child, probably due in... like... any minute now! She gave me the key and I gave her and her father my most heartfelt thank you (what else can I give?). As I got into my car, I looked over to the car next to me. The man was not even looking at me and neither the old lady. They must be really pissed at me for making his pregnant wife/her pregnant daughter walked all the way down and back just because some girl was careless with her keys.

On second thought, why didn't that man went down and give the keys to security himself? Why did they wait for 20 freakin' minutes in the car with an old lady and a child in this kind of weather? Why didn't they just give the keys to security right after they found it? My name is actually on the keychain, the management could have easily paged for me. why? Why? WHY?!? Must they do all this just to make me feel guilty. Okay fine I know that it's not nice to question a good deed. I'm grateful, I truly am. It kindles my faith that there are still good people out there in the world. Just hope that they would still look out for each other regardless of the other person being a Malay, Chinese, African, American, vegetable, animal or mineral.

Carelessness No. 4: Leaving the car keys at the lock.

In all the years of being a car owner (about 4++ years) I only have this happen to me once. And that was because I have to carry a lot of things from my car and I must have forgotten about it. Thankfully the parking attendant saw it first and kept the keys for me. After that incident I make sure that it will never happen again. Take the keys, check that all the doors are locked and windows rolled up.

I don't know what was wrong with me today. I have always been careful. Lock the door once you're inside, look out for suspicious ppl, don't open the window for strangers and so on and so forth. I'm short of carrying a pepper spray and keeping a screw driver in my car. Was it because I slept very late 2 nights in a row? Was it because I have so many things on my mind? Was it because I was so hungry? Whatever it was it doesn't matter. There's no excuse for it. There's no excuse for the first incident either. I should never have been so careless. I can't afford to be so careless. If you're a girl living in a big city like KL, you just can't. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime. The most you can do is take preventive measures and pray that nothing bad will happen to you. To be careless is priceless.

For me, loosing my key today was like a wake-up call. That God placed that particular family with the old lady, the pregnant wife and the young child just to make me feel so guilty that I will never forget this as long as I live. And I'm grateful that God is more subtle instead of assigning me to a more unpleasant fate. My only wish is that the family that helped me would forget about this whole incident as soon as possible. Or I'll forever be known as "The stupid girl who left the key at the door"

To all Chinese and Muslims, Happy New Year!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Information discrimination

Yasmin Ahmad gave her two cents worth about censorship, which was featured in today's theSun. First things first, I find it funny when she was asked,
"Do you think the [cut] scenes were necessary?"
And she responded so well.
If the scenes were not neccessary, I would not have shot them.

Well, all her blog visitors have followed her trials and tribulations with the Censorship Board (CB) in releasing her first baby from the start. But the most touching blog for me is this one. She has to compromise for the sake of the ppl behind the film. Again, financial woes overcome the art. However, I'm glad that she did because even though it's not as perfect as she wanted it to be it would still be seen. Hopefully she can find a way to release a director's cut of the film. Hey, I would go to the ends of the earth to get a copy.

She expressed her frustration with CB on how they wanted to promote inter-racial integration but yet clamp down on films like Sepet. We have always try to justify CB's actions in any of its decisions. But one thing pops to my mind while reading this interview, and I feel that this applies to most government bodies. They are just afraid that Trajedi 13 Mei will occur again.

Everyone agrees that the event on 13 May 1969 was significant yet it is the least talked about event in this country. This event was not even mentioned in school history textbooks (at least when I was in school 10 years ago). A search for "trajedi 13 Mei" at Google only yielded a few related hits but the articles just mention that event as an example or reference but never really elaborated on it. A few hits talk about Tun Dr Mahathir's role after the event (most of them in a negative way), how he loudly criticize the then PM, Tunku Abdul Rahman, which led to his UMNO membership being revoked. No luck either when I entered "tragedy 13 may". Majority of the hits are from another country.

This event was bloody, brutal and mindless, so I was told. All I knew about this event is the many stories told to me by my friends who heard it from another friend who knew someone's uncle who was 7 years old at that time. So you can understand my predicament. I actually had a copy of what I think an official report of the event but I actually borrowed it to a friend and to make long story short I didn't get it back. (Note to self: must find a way to get it back!)

So, why all this hush-hush treatment on a historical event? This is one of the greatest mysteries for me that I wish I could uncover. One possible explaination is that the government is afraid that by talking about it, it would reignite the animosity between the Malays and Chinese. This is because the most controversial aspect of 13 May is, who started it? The Malays point their fingers to the Chinese for being too cocky, flaunting their win of the '69 election while insulting the Malays. Meanwhile the Chinese pointed their fingers to the Malays saying they're the ones who picked up the parang first. I should not take this personally, but having both Malay and Chinese genes in me it does make you feel torn at times.

I don't know what the government did at that time. I remembered from the report (that I've read only once) that they came up with various policies. But whatever it was it has succeeded in curbing any more major racial disputes. If I'm not mistaken there were still a few skirmishes after 13 May but they were not as big as the one in KL.

The decision to minimize the information with regards to this event is something that I cannot fully agree nor disagree. I disagree that any historical event can be wiped out and forgotten. That not talking about it doesn't make it go away. But I agree that some (not all) would still be offended with the racial issue underlying this event. That all it takes is a spark and a wild fire could ensue.

But preventing a director from trying to make the most honest film that she can present is not the way to minimize racial disputes. In fact, I don't think there is any racial slurs in the scenes that were taken out accept for one. Here, you can be the judge yourself.

Four out of the eight scenes taken out were: -
(courtesy of theSun)

1. Husband tickling his wife affectionaly in bed.
Now, I can understand that being a Muslim, it is not appropriate to show two unrelated ppl in bed tickling each other. But there are also other Malay movies where you see young couples (playing characters who are not married) hugging and holding hands in public. So what's the difference? I assume that the couple featured in this scene is Ida Nerina and Harith Iskandar. Now with no intention to insult anyone, is it because the couple in Sepet is not so pretty to look at? So okay they are not as pretty as... say... Erra Fazira and Yusry but that cannot be the reason why this scene didn't get through, can it?

2. The Chinese boy and his Malay girlfriend go to a photo shop and take a picture on a motorcycle.
Unless they were doing the 'bedroom lambada' on the motorcycle, I don't see why they have to take this out.

3. A scene between two characters where one says, "not all Chinese men cheat and not all Malay men are lazy". The Malay girl replies: "That is where you are wrong; all Malay men are lazy."
This is the scene that I'm a bit uncomfortable with in that it's possible these remarks may not sit well with some ppl. But I fully accept Yasmin's explaination on why this scene is important, "This whole scene is done tongue-in-cheek and it goes to show that Malays can joke about themselves."

4. A scene at a nightspot showing a GRO sitting on the lap of the lead character. Later, he gets angry and leaves. The GRO falls to the floor and when she picks herself up, she gives him the finger.
Ooooh... the finger... very taboo one... But the irony is even the so-called great west, a culture most ppl claim this generation is idolizing will not show the finger on their national tv. Well yes they still allow it at the cinemas, with the appropriate ratings. And it's also true that they have different standards of censorship with different media. So why can't we adopt the same approach and thus give our artists the freedom in expressing their art?

Yasmin thinks that the board is "old-fashioned" and do not "actually have a passion about film" which I agree. But the suggestion to replace them with a younger set of ppl is noble yet pretty ambitious. I don't see it coming until the present members resign or die. But then, in the event that any of them resign or die, they would just be replaced with another old-fashioned, politically-charged member.

But what I do hope is that the next generation of leaders would at least try to break away from this tradition. Keep an open mind and try to judge things in context rather than taking it at face value. I love this country and I think it's great but I truly believe that it can be even greater.

You know what, now I'm excited to see Yusof Haslam's Sembilu 2005, another movie that also features an inter-racial love story. I would love to put Sembilu and Sepet side by side and see which film is more appealing to the general public and why.

Friday, February 04, 2005

New look

Just like blogs, blog templates are available in the millions from the internet. I was looking for one that I like yet simple enough that I can still tweak it with the limited knowledge of HTML and CCS that I have. After hours of browsing and head-scratching I finally found one.

I visited blogskins before but I found the site a bit tedious because you have to click a lot just to see a sample template. I tried browsing and there were like 10,000++ for "Blogger Main" and 5,000++ for "simple" . Only then did I saw the searchbar (duh). I search "blogger main simple white" and this is the first hit. Silent Dragon likes! . I think it's just perfect and totally embodies the spirit of the Kampung Gal (the old typewriter) in the City (the internet medium).

I played around with it a bit and voila this is what I got. The codes are simple and short (thank God) compared to those that blogger provides. With the little knowledge that I have and with lots of trial and error I finally got it right. Hmm... I guess all those programming courses I took in college have some use after all. So, this is it. I present to you Kampung Gal's new look. It's not perfect yet but I'm pretty darn proud of it. Hey, I slept at 4am last night to get this blog looking this way so be nice.

The designer also has other simple but still nice blog templates (see them here). Checked them all out but still likes this one. I am so grateful that the owner is not so hoohaa about copyright. You can still change them but just leave the link back to her site. Thanks Mela. This blog entry is dedicated to you.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

What am I?

Found this link at Ezz's site with very interesting results. My comments in red.

What movie do I belong in?

Bring It On!

I don't think it's true though. Could I be lying at some of the questions? Shocked But I like the movie. Does that count? Hmmm... Let me meditate on this one first...
Well okay maybe it's true. Some of my best memories were when I was in Form 5 and sometimes I do wish that I'm back there again. However, I'm not sure if the boys are still fine
Additional thought (4 Feb): Oh heck, I always wish I'm 17 again so fine, I agree with this result.

Which of the X-Men do I resemble most?
You are Beast of the X-men!

With all that knowledge upstairs it's hard to
relate to people. Sometimes you just find
yourself enjoying a lab expeiriements. you are
an adventurer anda great friend!

Yeah! I'm the genius who's always blue. Awright!

So I think I'm an adventure crew character!

You're Godzilla!

Fancy that! who knew that one day in phsyics class
would spawn a revolution such as you? Keep
chewing on tall buildings. We like you no other

I just knew somewhere deep down inside this introvert kampung girl a monster is brewing.

Which celebrity will I hook up with if I were drunk?


Animated Hearts He's so cute! But wait a minute... I have to get drunk to hook up with him? Damn! Confused

Picture This?
I don't think this is really a quiz and I'm not sure if it's of any significance but this was my first choice.

What the.... Hmm

That was one mindless hour of my life. Can't believe I tried them all. The last time I did one of these quizzes I found out I belong to Gryffindor and I'm Moony (i.e. Prof Lupin from Harry Potter).

What about you? Got some extra time? Check out Quizilla. The link that I got from Ezz was actually a small part of it. There were like gazillion more quizzes on this site. Wow, I foresee more mindless hours coming up.
Crystal Ball
(Ad space)