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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gordon Ramsay


You all know I am like mega fan of AFC channel over at ASTRO. I don't know why but I can sit there for hours watching cook shows that don't really teach you how to cook (gone are the days where the presenter says "Now let us repeat the ingredients") but more like show you they're cooking and cooking is easy. I don't really believe that actually except for the show Chef At Home with the host Chef Michael Smith (hmmmm nowadays it seems like Chef is what you call, prefixed in a name like Dr, Dato' and etc) because I admire his kitchen, his simple approach to cooking that can actually work and of course the way he talks like he is teaching English. Then there's Jamie Oliver but that's in another channel. It's not like I love watching Jamie Oliver cook (very messy cook) but I like to watch his quest against school dinners and stuff. Moreover he gives me an impression he is a decent fellow. There are other shows which I kinda like watching but some I absolutely hated like that show where cooks cook as cooks. Unbelievable because 3 dishes in half an hour or so? And why must they always look french with french portion (as in SMALL)?

Now there's the alpha male in cooking shows or rather shows about cooks/food and this alpha male, the big brother, the boss of them all is none other than Chef Gordon Ramsay, or usually people like to prefix his title with another title, the notoriously rude but passionate Chef Gordon Ramsay. I tell you his name can actually get longer when one day he is Sir Gordon Ramsay or does he rather prefer Sir Chef Gordon Ramsay? He looks set to go that way since he already has his OBE. I am sure you know who he is. If there is a chef who is a star, he is the one. I never did see him as a celebrity chef. For me celebrity chefs are those who host cook shows although they're not cooks themselves in real life and is famous for hosting shows about food. He is a bona fide cook, chef, restauranteur and multi millionaire who so happens to be very very famous for all the right and wrong reasons. For one he has the look of someone who can intimidate everyone and that makes for good reality TV as those who bitches behind his back don't seem to do that right in his face. You must have seen him in Hell's Kitchen which I enjoyed the least because he will most likely be at his worst temper there. Moreover the format of the show with the zooming cameras and all seems more like The Apprentice meets America's Top Model, than a proper chef show. And is Beef Wellington that famous a dish?

I know him from Kitchen Nightmares, the UK edition. You see some time before he was truly globally famous, he did some seasons of Kitchen Nightmares where he would go to restaurants in trouble and try to turn things around in I think 7 days? Anyway most of the time all he did was really to make some management changes, boost morale and I must say, as the series went by he was also the therapist, as he tackled some bigger egos, obssession with plates and etc. It was like a documentary, he walks in, curses a lot but manages to convey the message across, owners would flip out and walk away and then come back and try to do it well and in the end revamped themselves. He would then come back for an impromptu visit months later or sometimes a year later to find either things have gone better or back to the way it was, again he had to curse a lot and then get the owners to do things right. Then no more. Of course I would check online and was glad to know these restaurants, pubs are doing pretty well but some do close down and a lot of comments were made that perhaps Gordon Ramsay didn't help things that much. Bullshit if you ask me. These people just never listen properly.

One of my most favourite episode is I still remember about a small restaurant Rococo I think that was run by a former chef who had a Michelin star (not Dunlop, Silverstone, but Michelin, like ratings for restaurants, seen as Oscars for restaurants) who had the look of someone who totally lost hope. So our Chef Ramsay insulted him, got locked out, then came back in and worked together, changed the style, the name and the restaurant now called Maggie's is still up by the way and I have never seen such a big change in the owner than in this restaurant where he looked passionate again about food and his job.

Truly, Kitchen Nightmares (UK ed) is truly inspiring and very interesting to watch because somehow, in all the cursing and fighting and bitching, you just get this impression Chef Ramsay really really want to help and share his knowledge. Maybe his ego dictates that he must make something of these places but I don't know, he seems sincere and with so much effort, I am sure he was sincere. I enjoyed every single episode, through all the bleeping. Sometimes one sentence of 10 words, 8 bleepings. But also thanks to Chef Ramsay, I can now pick and choose which words to hear and to form a sentence proper despite the beepings.

Then I saw Boiling Point which was made years and years ago when he was running his 1st restaurant, when he wasn't travelling around that much and pressure was high. That series kinda cemented his reputation as a bully and a temperamental person. Well he calls his staff fatso, stupid and a whole lot of cursing and stuff like that. But it shows the life of a chef in a quality restaurant and how much pressure that can be. It also shows kitchen, funnily enough can be such a cut throat business and environment where almost all are run with military precision and of course military drill. Scary but intriguing.

One observation here. He always emphasises on clean kitchen. That I agree. Also food presentation. Also agree. But why did I always see them wiping the plates with napkins but before that a quick wetting of the side of the napkins with saliva (of course) before wiping the edge of the plates? Isn't that as unhygienic as dirty kitchen in itself? Did I see it wrong?

I also saw Faking It where he had to train a burger flipper into a fake but believable head chef or we call executive chef. I am sure a whole lot more drama went on which were not shown and poor guy got it bad from Chef Ramsay but in the end he not only won the competition, he fooled all the judges. That was such a great episode and I'd recommend it to everyone to watch.

I also enjoyed The F word as he was more relaxed in there and one favourite segment had to be the cooking showdown between him and some famous personality and when it comes to dessert, he almost always losses. So he is not god of every dish!

However then I started watching Hell's Kitchen (US ed) which I hated watching because he was horrible in it but the contestants were worse and online I watched Kitchen Nightmares (US ed).

I will confess here; I hate Kitchen Nightmares (US ed). It no longer focus on the restaurant or its failing or even the healing process and the effort in trying to help it or even the therapist role he held in the UK edition, it became like any other American reality TV show with the focus being the cursing, the argument, the fights and pan and zoom to shocked faces. It is demeaning and did nothing to enhance Chef Ramsay's reputation but now created perhaps another criticism that perhaps it is all about money, fame and ego. I just wish to could write to him (I never want to meet him! I don't want to die!) and tell him please stop with that nonsense. Go back to the UK ed, do a proper Kitchen Nightmares and get creative control. Stop with all those high drama for the sake of TV stuff. When those people cried, I never believed any of it.

Anyway I have also read his autobiography, Humble Pie which I enjoyed tremendously although the accounts in there were more like our toll system, Touch N Go. But it did provide insight into his well insights. He never really cared about the criticisms about himself but he became very defensive when he is called a bully and a tyrant to his staff. I mean he is isn't he? Calling your waiter fatso, calling your staff stupid or useless or hand in the notice, etc and those poor guys just went along cooking whilst saying "Yes Gordon, No Gordon, Yes Gordon". I wonder are they really listening? They must have since most have been promoted to run restaurants within his group of restaurants.

Reading that book answered that question about his attitude towards his staff. It is no secret his place would be one of the worst places to work at because of the continous insults and taunts. So yeah he is a mean boss, sometime a bully. But look, that's how kitchens are apparently. They're highly pressured individuals trying to get something done within a time limit set to perfection. Everything is like an ochestra, well timed, you can't have the cello playing 2 seconds late and ruined the entire performance. I realised that watching The F Word actually. And from what I gathered, he is no more a bully than others in similar situations, except maybe Jamie Oliver who seems extremely polite to his staff in his restaurant, 15. Maybe all these are young men, 16, 18, 20. I admit it is very hard to watch Gordon Ramsay just keep insulting then but after watching Boiling Point and the majorly biased to the point of insulting More Boiling Point (which actually seems more like criticising him rather than showing things as they are) and reading Humble Pie, I came to the conclusion and I hope I am right, he insults, he taunts and nags. In fact it is more like nagging than anything else, a persistent nag filled with insults and profanity until you get it in your head. He has of course thrown dishes into the bin or on the floor, complete with the cups, etc but I have never read, seen nor heard that he has ever ever ever thrown like the beef wellington onto someone's face or poured a cup of hot soup over someone's head and then expect you to say sorry and continue cooking. That was his earliest training as a young chef and that to me is the ultimate NO and abuse. Insults is ok in the face of such aggression. So really he isn't that bad. Moreover those he insulted over and over and over again actually later on became his right hand man and such. So I suppose if he thinks you're talented, he will insult you more to beat down your ego and strip you bare of any pride so that you can be rebuilt as a stronger character and future commando of the kitchen.

That is what I gather. Moreover, in Humble Pie he said he had a difficult childhood and worse, a bad father and worst of all, a horrible brother, a junkie now awaiting trial in Indonesia I think. And I was thinking don't we all? Whilst you will read how he tried to not think about his brother or wash his hands off him after helping him over the years, you get this feeling he is a sentimental person and at the end of the day blood is thicker than water. He did theorised that perhaps his immense success made his brother feel small and therefore he went bad. Again bullshit. If someone wants to go bad they can have all sort of excuses. I do think Chef Ramsay has every right to feel proud of his success because he truly built himself an empire from absolutely nothing based solely on his talent and of course his luck in finding really loyal friends and staff. I think his ambition is driven by his fear. Perhaps fear of losing it all, I don't know. His persona may be tough, angry, passionate, temperamental, rude, etc. Sometimes he speaks his mind but most of the time I interprete them as speaking without thinking. Let's face it; he is not highly educated. So let's not allude ourselves to the illusion he is a cultured smart bookworm or whatever. He may not be the true gentleman or careful with his words. He is who he is; someone who became somebody from nobody. Having been through all that, he can't be the gentle soft spoken nice friendly guy next door. His son maybe, since his son would live a life he didn't have and be educated the way he never was.

So that is that. At one side there's this tyrant and at the other an honest friendly self made millionaire. I am not saying he is not prone to drama but blame that on the producers of the shows and yes like shown in More Boiling Point he does seem manipulative but that was how he was presented. The real man? Not sure. Don't want to meet him because I don't think I can stand him looking at me, like evaluating me and then will probably come to the conclusion, "Funn you are a useless *%$&#)@^#@^$(#^@*#^$E(@)#&#%^#%@#%##*#". I certainly don't want him as my boss although with him as my boss I am sure I will either quit or get stronger. I do want him as a friend because he seems loyal although it may take a bit of tolerance on my part. I don't want him as my husband because he works such long hours, the wife had to be independent. And kudos to his wife who managed life without him around most of the time. I would want him as my brother. Despite all the complaints, in the end he helps.

I would never be able to taste his cooking because fine dining means stuffy and expensive and I can neither afford expensive or tolerate stuffy. French is not my thing. Moreover no restaurant nearby.

So who is Gordon Ramsay? Probably a better person than what you see on TV, probably no more than that man you see and no less than the man you would never know. Despite what I saw, I can't help but watch him some more and the more I watch the more I feel if I ever mingle in the same circle as him and with the condition we have no reason to insult each other when we do meet, I do think I will like him. But definitely I will be very wary of him as well. I find it really funny in that Faking It episode, when the guy first met Ramsay, he was so demoralised that he went back to the 1st chef who trained him a bit and said "I have never met a person more unhappy than him" which was funny. But guess who shaped him up in the end? Sometimes I suppose getting the job done is more important but I am sure Chef Ramsay must have learned some humility or rather how to criticise gently in the episode of Rococo.

I must say though, everybody, including the great Gordon Ramsay may feel French cooking as the best of the best of the best of the best, personally and from what I observe, those famous chefs continously and quite religiously go back to Asian flavours when they're eating out, curry, Thai and Chinese. So perhaps French is the standard for stylish food but for me the ultimate best is the fusion between Chinese and Thai or rather Chinese and everything else. In fact whilst the westerners use millions of cutlery meant specifically for specific dish, I love the fact for Chinese, a pair of chopsticks can achieve the same results. They use different knives for different meat or fish or fruits or veges, Chinese use only one knife; those huge heavy ones to do carving, slice fish, debone chicken and cut fruits. They use pots and pans, we use one thing; wok. Sometimes claypot. Heck, we even bury a chicken in hot steaming mud or whatever to make The Beggar Chicken. Not to brag or anything but I always feel Chinese food, fused with Thai flavours or everything else is the ultimate best. And cheaper too. And bigger portion too. And hot too. And less hands touching the food too.

What do you think?


Monday, March 24, 2008

Updates


Finally a review!! Sorry, busy with that stupid tablet and my obsession with Second Life and bloody drawing a bloody wedding gown using that bloody tablet!!!

Sorry again, watched too much Hell's Kitchen. I can never say the F word but I am ok with bloody.

Anyway new review of the movie Shutter, the Thai version. Frankly never had there been any method so powerful to denounce piracy than these American remakes of Asian horror movies that don't even bother changing the titles. WATCH ORIGINAL my friends, especially when it comes to horror films. Will add the link in Movies later.

Other reviews coming soon.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fruity art


Just got this email with various pictures of art carving using fruits and my god, they ranged from cute to manic but cute! I can't wait to let you see them so I am posting this from office!! Do tell which is you favourite.




Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Never(ever)land


Looking at these stunning photos of Michael Jackson's famous (or infamous) Neverland estate is a bit disconcerting as well as creepy. The fact that the tone is dark, midnight and empty, devoid of human presence except for the photographer, some images became quite dark in its deeper meanings. You can read what you want into it but the entire bronze children statue, playground, etc just reminded me of some highly scary horror movie where it involves an adult and plenty of seemingly happy but not that happy children. Did you get the same vibe as I did?


Monday, March 17, 2008

AI 7 : Why AI why?


Apparently there's Lennon-McCartney part 2! David Archuleta is doomed! Choose Yesterday, choose whatever but choose the ones you know David!!
Anyway why is everybody fawning over Carly Smithson? I find her technically flawless but totally bland as a performer. I know why now she didn't succeed before despite the huge boost in budget unlike those afforded to Taylor Hicks. She may have the singing chops but she sounded too mechanical, like a robot. Almost non-human. You know what? You know why she is technically flawless? She had an unfair advantage over the others. She got a USD2 million recording deal, surely she must have been given the training and all. And with all that she she still sounded awful then maybe it is justified her album flop. I don't like her not because of her album deal but because she simply is a very boring performer when there are others much much better.
Please America vote her out!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

AI 7 : What happened?


I love this article which named David Archuleta as David Awwwwwchuleta. Very funny. Anyway I was in JB, in a hotel, watching the repeat on Channel 5 (yeap, singapore channel) and I was to excited it was essntially Beatles night or as in Lennon-McCartney night. Simple songs with growing maturity, popular melody and sometimes heartfelt lyrics. 12 guys and girls, all went quite well with David Cook singing rock version of every single song he will be singing but did so incredibly and professionally perfect. Even Chikezie was getting better and seems much more humbled.

Those the judges said great was Carly Smithson. Well technically flawless but now I kinda understand why her major first album didn't make it. She sings well, technically great but somehow she's like a robot, without any emotion. Even if she sings a sad song, it's like hitting the notes but yet the emotional connection is not there. I find her bland, boring and really overrated. If she wins obviously she won't make it. Because she had a chance, she didn't make it. Now I understand what it means by presence. She doesn't have any.

Judges love Brooke White's Let It Be. Sincere, yes. Sang well? Good actually but she did nothing to it. It can be anyone, anybody singing that song. I don't feel nor see her identity in that song so it was pretty generic.

David Hernandez was lifeless. I wonder why? Anyway he got booted out so I suppose his past was catching up on him. He can be an actor I suppose.

Michael Johns sang badly. I don't quite like him and whilst he promotes himself as a rocker, Simon was right; he doesn't exude that as much as David Cook.

The Filipino girl was actually very good. They all said her performance was safe, boring, etc. I find her performance very mesmerizing. Perhaps because I am Asian and I appreciate a more subdued performance but I find that she made that song more of her own that Brooke White did. She had melody, she had ups, and she had downs. I wondered was I hearing what the judges were hearing? I didn't like her lipstick though. Anyway her name is Ramiele Malubay .

Amanda Overmyer was unique. She is one of those highly specialised contestant that won't go far but if in a band could be very successful. However well she may sing, not singing clearly is to be the worst there is. There is a reason for lyrics in a song, especially these type of songs and to sing like you're mumbling is to be worst than forgetting the lyrics. Mumbling means you're a bad singer, forgetting lyrics simply means you were unprepared and human.

Which brings me to the biggest surprise; David Archuleta. What happened to him? Why did he choose a song he wasn't familiar with? Why didn't he choose Yesterday? Or even Let It Be? Or even any song but that song? I felt so bad for him and it shows he could make mistakes. When he did sing though he was very good but when he forgot the lyrics I think 3 times, you could see he looked pale. To me forgetting the lyrics is bad but not the worst. Even Alan Tam routinely forgets his lyrics but he is a great singer. David will pull himself through but yes he gave the 2nd worst performance based solely on the forgetting the lyrics and singing a bit out of tune part. The judges were very nice to him though. Well he's only 17 and if rumours were accurate, he has a very overbearing father which might add to the pressure. Since he fluffed maybe the pressure is less. No mor ethe golden boy, he can now just sing.

The absolute worst to me was Kristy Lee Cook. She committed the biggest and worst sin a singer can commit; taking a popular and good song and changing it into a farce. Singing country is ok. Many did that. But changing the tune into some song on Helium and Heroin is really really truly astrocious and guess what? She survived another week. Based solely on looks I tell you. She is pretty and she was really bad! I was thinking what's next? Beatles' elevator jingle? Worst ever I have heard. Worst than Chris Sligh himself when he changed a very popular song. And what's worse? She said she had fun. FUN? This is not the time to murder a song and say you have fun. Most bastardized word, fun.

The best for me was Jason Castro. I love him. He may not be the best singer or the most ambitious since he gives me the DUDE vibe, he is handsome, always smiling and his heart is in the right place. He just wants to sing and with very little attention and pressure, he is slowly gainin a loyal fanbase. His song was If I Fell and like David Cook, he sang it his way. No matter what others say, he is determined to sing it his way. The guitar is back. Whilst the judges may feel he was pitchy or boring or out of tune, I thought that was his style and he sang it in such a dreamy way I felt seduced by his singing. He was so romantic when he sang the chorus and I just can't believe 2 judges fell for the robotic Carly Smithson and felt nothing for this guy who clearly sings from the heart. What he lacks in technique or voice he more than makes up with his unique approach to his music and his belief in the words and chosen songs. Much like David Archuleta when he was singing Imagine. Many wanted variety. Well David Cook has been on a one track mind so far so why ask this of Jason? He has his style and he was simply mesmerizing, reminded me of those yesteryear stars who sang the words with conviction and memorably without having to go overboard to prove variety. For Jason Castro, melody is top priority and I feel he may not win AI but he won me over with his dedication. And because I love his performance so much, here is the clip for you to judge. What a beautiful performance.




As for David Archuleta, he is still my favourite and I believe he can and will pull himself up. And if he is reading this, my only message to him is watch Season 5 and Taylor Hicks. He chose songs he believed in, songs he knew and so he sang them well. Song choice is important. I hope he bucks up.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

When stupid people calls with stupid problems ...


Received this in an email. Not sure if it was real but the email said it was an actual conversation because a customer and a customer service rep over the hotline thing. Just read, it gets better and better.

This has got to be one of the funniest things in a long time. I think this guy should have been promoted, not fired. This is a true story from the Word Perfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department. Needless to say the Help Desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the Word Perfect organization for 'Termination without Cause'.

Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee. (Now I know why they record these conversations!):

Operator: 'Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?'

Caller: 'Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect.'

Operator: 'What sort of trouble??'

Caller: 'Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.'

Operator: 'Went away?'

Caller: 'They disappeared.'

Operator: 'Hmm So what does your screen look like now?'

Caller: 'Nothing.'

Operator: 'Nothing??'

Caller: 'It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type.'

Operator: 'Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out??'

Caller: 'How do I tell?'

Operator: 'Can you see the C: prompt on the screen??'

Caller: 'What's a sea-prompt?'

Operator: 'Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?'

Caller: 'There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type.'

Operator: 'Does your monitor have a power indicator??'

Caller: 'What's a monitor?'

Operator: 'It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on??'

Caller: 'I don't know.'

Operator: 'Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??'

Caller: 'Yes, I think so.'

Operator: 'Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall.

Caller: 'Yes, it is.'

Operator: 'When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one??'

Caller: 'No.'

Operator: 'Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.'

Caller: 'Okay, here it is.'

Operator: 'Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer.'

Caller: 'I can't reach.'

Operator: 'Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is??'

Caller: 'No.'

Operator: 'Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over??'

Caller: 'Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark.'

Operator: 'Dark??'

Caller: 'Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.

Operator: 'Well, turn on the office light then.'

Caller: 'I can't.'

Operator: 'No? Why not??'

Caller: 'Because there's a power failure.'

Operator: 'A power......... A power failure? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in??'

Caller: 'Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.'

Operator: 'Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.'

Caller: 'Really? Is it that bad?'

Operator: 'Yes, I'm afraid it is.'

Caller: 'Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them??'

Operator: 'Tell them you're too f --- ing stupid to own a computer!!!!!

Well the operator should be fired for being rude but the caller should be hanged for being stupid.

And now I come to the following video, the mother of all stupidity. There is a difference between saying EMERGENCY and the tower people saying since EMERGENCY is not used it is not urgent and the following video which is of no relation. Of course the airline protested, saying the tower guy did not use standard what was it, RKO words. Like "Have they cleared you into the ramp?" I mean how difficult it is to understand the word CLEAR and RAMP? Should he have said "Have they given you full final authority and permission to enter into the ramp?" You judge it for yourself. Apparently this is China Airline.



There's a better one reported in HK news I think. May be the same one as this one. That one ended with the controller saying "No one speaks English today". Now I am scared.





Comments in slideshows


I have been using slideshow templates from slide.com for the pictures in Funn Stuff (new ones since Jan 2008 can be found in Funn Stuff 2) instead of individually posting them which is very tiring. And I just discovered that you can actually leave comments within the slideshow itself! You can either

1. wait for the slideshow to finish and then you will a bunch of new buttons within the interface itself, just choose Comments and the just post away; or

2. whilst the slide is going on, click the MORE button at the right hand corner on top and then choose Comments and post away.

You should try out slide.com. It allows for unlimited amount of pictures as well as coming with several types of cool looking movie-ish templates. I use the very basic graphic template since I am posting pictures for all to see, not really like some art show.


After ice rain in South China ...


I received an email which contained the following images which the email said was beautiful. No doubt, nature is beautiful but then I read the title, "After ice rain in South China" so it must be that CNY time. And I became really really scared. Look at how thick the ice was on those leaves, it must have been devastatingly cold. How many died I wonder? Beautiful yes, but sometimes like I said, nature in its infinite wisdom chose to decorate a horrific event with a beautiful aftermath. It is still scary to me. What do you think?





>> Full sets pictures in original size here at http://profile.imageshack.us/user/funnjewell(choose "fsicerainchina" in My Tags panel)


Election results


One word; shocking. But then kinda expected it. What I didn't expect was those who was supposed to win, lost big time. In my area, the BN guy lost and the PKR guy won. That wasn't expected. But analysing it thoroughly, what is to be expected? The Indians, Chinese and even some Malays came out in full force to give the opposition a voice. A stronger voice which is good except I don't like those wives making way for husbands to come back into the parliament like Anwar. Anyway he is coming back in.

For weeks I kinda thought whoever did the PR for BN was doing it wrong. And now the results kinda speak for themselves. Look BN, MCA and MIC...

1. If you're going to alienate people or certain race or certain sectors, just make sure they are not the registered voters!

2. Play fair. Everyday I read Anwar this, Anwar that. If you're going to criticise the opposition on moral grounds, just make sure you yourself is of upstanding outstanding way great moral ground too. I feel this contributed to their defeat because of the arrogance that they think public will believe everything we read or disbelieve what we couldn't read.

3. If you want to put out statistics like what MCA did with the govt scholarships and all, just make sure it is of such an overwhelming number, not just a so called 200 increase per year. The more I read those ads the more I thought MCA wasn't or couldn't do anything for us Chinese. I am sure you will now how the Indians feel.

4. Let people demonstrate instead of throwing out the tear gas and throwing people in jail. Fair play will show a more transparent government.

5. And if you want a transparent goverment, at least clean up the records and all. I believe the negatives have always been there, only now it is more widely known because government is a bit more transparent and yet arrogant enough not to clean up the act.

6. The whole Lingam and his correct, correct, correct must have contributed also.

7. Samy Vellu. Enough said.

8. I pity Ong Ka Ting but what to do when you align yourself with a bunch of nitwits?

9. Give sensitivity and PR course to the BN members because what came out of their mouths were poisonous to the party. All those talks about Bocor here, accept the rape there... no good.

10. AND never ever underestimate the power of a combined majority of the minority. Malaysia is for all and from all and therefore treat all fairly.

Truth is I kinda think if you were to stand as BN in major or smaller towns it is like poison. Anyway BN still the main dude but not with a megaphone anymore. So does this mean the palace in selangor will be torn down? There would be major investigations into big guns? And more importantly that I will be considered a bumputra?

I doubt it. But at least there will be a good fight. I hope.

I wonder could the oppositions form a party and takeover the government? Would anyone want to align themselves to PAS? I hope not.
So I suppose if either Obama or Clinton wins a nomination (like it is taking forever), America will surely see either a first black formerly Muslim potentially linked to the terrorist president or a first woman formerly first lady potentially formerly corrupted president. All those potentially must be backed by evidence of course and those formerly is hoping that they are not really as such. Why do I care? My own backyard is also messy enough. Americans have to take care of their own backyards.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why CJ7 is a great movie


CJ7 opens to lukewarm response in USA. It's the same everywhere. Either you love CJ7 or you don't. And those who don't, probably didn't get the idea of CJ7. I have read some eloquent reviews of CJ7 by westerners and believe me, most really got it. One even analysed it in such a beautiful and profound way I am now looking at CJ7 with renewed interest and different perspective. But those who didn't basically had probably 4 major complaints; that it is so unlike Kung Fu Hustle an Shaolin Soccer since it is so mellow, the kid seems to torture the alien dog but to no purpose in the story, that the story was going nowhere and in the end the characters seemed stuck in the same predicament so the story wasn't really moving along and that it is really a kid flick.

How wrong can they all be?

For one, Stephen Chow is more than just Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer. So those 2 movies were fast paced and quite mad in its contents, that doesn't mean Stephen Chow is not and should not branch out to other genres or focus more on storytelling. I suspect these people never seen King Of Comedy because King Of Comedy wasn't big on FX and stuff but I consider it Stephen Chow's most heartfelt and best movie ever. The fact he wants a change is good and the fact that he did it his own way but maintain the manic pace albeit lesser than more to me is a welcomed change. Even he himself is tired of being branded king of nonsensical movies since I think he once said he never thought his movies were nonsensical in that sense.

The torturing the alien dog part is not torture. Children behaves that way. There is a streak of harmless violence in them, harmless until they start killing people or pets or such. Dicky didn't see CJ7 as a pet; CJ7 is a person to Dicky and to others CJ7 is weird, cute, curious. So naturally children's way of exhibiting curiosity is by chasing it down, trying to hold it albeit too rough and in Dicky's case, he was angry because CJ7 didn't fulfill his dream since he turns out to be a dud with not much magical power. But what Dicky didn't know was CJ7 had a power that would prove useful in the end and also very moving as well. Those who complained the ending was too sweet are cynics. What do you want? Dicky to be an orphan? The entire story is built on the notion of seeing some maturity in Dicky as one reviewer put it. And what happened to his father was what made him grow up overnight and that is just too cruel for a child and so CJ7 restored some innocence in him by bringing the father back and yet instilled in Dicky the value of appreciation and love and sacrifice.

Then the same predicament, same story ending. Look, the entire point of this movie is not to show the father and son break out of their poverty. The sad reality is the father probably will always be poor, and dirt poor at that. But this movie teaches us to appreciate what we have. Poverty is horrible but it is not worst than losing a parent or a loved one. I think Dicky would rather be poor than to lose his father as one scene sadly showed and the message is given not through changing their luck but changing their perspective, in this sense, Dicky's perspective since he almost lost respect for his father. That is the point of the movie. What do you all expect? Father strike lottery? Whilst the ending was curious and huh moment for me, one reviewer explained that faith gave CJ7 the alien dog life. And as I looked back, yes I do agree. Dicky learned to live without CJ7 and to obtain by own hardwork and not the easy way. Any parent would want their child to learn that and every child should know that. So for me the movie not having a message or ending or a story was never an issue to me because in Stephen Chow's case, subtlety is an art understood by lovers of his wide ranging broad and decades old career and not just defined by Kung Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer, both are find movies of course.

And finally, kid flick. This is like having no more insult to throw at a fat girl, you simply call her FATTY. How unoriginal, how boring, how unimaginative, how poor and how dumb. So what if this is a kid flick? Is kid flick the new insult for movies that are wholesome, hopeful and easy to watch? Must be all watch There Will Be Blood or The Bourne Ultimatum before we are called intelligent thinking adults? Please! Ratatouille told more than any other adult flicks! And CJ7 packs a heavy punch in terms of emotions. It hits you when you least expect it to hit and when it does, it really hurts. It tugs at your heart and you question how could this have happened? and wished it never did. It is powerful in that sense and any movie that makes you feel more than just a movie is deserving of some praise if not awards. Kid flick? Yeah, it is and so what? It was flicks like Bambi, Dumbo, Pinnochio, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, Happy Feet, etc that brings home the message and makes people cry over what could be the real thing, that it could actually happen and they're all supposedly kid flicks too since animation is kids flick. Never underestimate a kid flick because a story at its simplest is always a story at its most profound if told by a masterful storyteller.

And everybody, let it be known Stephen Chow is a masterful storyteller.

However I agree with the criticisms about the whole toilet humour. But can't he indulge a little?

CJ7 is a fantastic movie by itself. Compared to Stephen Chow's previous works, of course it lacks something since it is not his best but please it is not that bad. Sometimes when you keep producing A+ grades and suddenly you get an A-, the disappointment would be huge so I take all these blasting of Stephen Chow and comparisons to his few other movies as the highest praise to a film maker.

As for those nitty gritty criticisms about this movie being ET and the whole lot of nonsense, I have answered that in my review I think and I will not dignify it with an answer. Clearly some people cannot differentiate between a tribute and a rip off.

Do watch CJ7 when it opens at your place. Go for the Cantonese version if you can since it is always more enjoyable to hear Stephen Chow.

My review proper for this movie can be found in Reviews > Movies.


Gourmet cakes


To me anything fancy, expensive and looking more like art than digestible food is to me gourmet. Being a massive fan of Asian Food Channel and The F Word (hate Gordon Ramsay but love watching him, don't know about his food, not even sure I can afford it or even like it), when I received an email about yummy cakes I qas intrigued. I mean I don't really fancy cakes (except ice-cream cake perhaps) but these are beautiful. Don't look like I could actually eat them or digest them but they're at least really good imitation of the real goods. Much like the goods in Petaling Street! Anyway enjoy the slideshow. Slightly on the same topic, my previous post on Japanese cakes present a much more edible selection and equally as delightful looking albeit looks really loaded with sugar. You can find that post HERE.





For the individual pictures, go HERE and click "fsgourmetbaggycake" in the My Tags panel.


How to dress your dog ...


Some people really love their dogs and frankly looking at the following pictures I can't help but go oohs and ahhs. My favourite? I can't decide between the hot dogs, the dog with a knife between his head, superdog or maybe the three headed dog from Harry Potter. I would say the 3 headed dog because we have the owner dressing up as Harry Potter. Cute stuff. Feel free to repost or click the thumbnails for the original sized pictures. Got these from an email.

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My ticket, a piece of paper? HELP!


I am in total shock, very traumatised actually. Why? Well I booked a flight to Johor Bahru from Kuala Lumpur and back to KL to JB the next day. I booked a Malaysia Airlines flight, sent my guy to collect the ticket by paying cash. Maybe I haven't been following the recent developments or I haven't taken a flight domestically for some time now, my guy came back with a piece of white paper and said that's my ticket. The paper is printed with the words "Itinery", has my name (no IC number), max baggage weight, e-ticketing and booking number, flight details (no arrival time), payment details (very basic stuff) and a 4 line disclaimer clause. Nothing on check in time or something like that. In fact it didn't look like a ticket at all, it looked like I could even print it using Words. So I demanded my assistant to call Malaysia Airlines hotline and ask do I have to collect the ticket at KLIA thinking there must be some serious mistake and nope, it is my ticket and I will use that to board the plane. And that was when I became rather traumatised by the lack of a ticket which after some research I realised is called a paper ticket. You know those with red ink ad a few pages to tear off when boarding? I was so shocked I went into overdrive, checking online and discover for domestic flights, Malaysia Airlines has been issuing that as a ticket. Some other airlines use that for international flight as well. Advantage is that if you lose your ticket, all you need is to reprint. Unlike paper tickets which you will have to pay a penalty to replace it (been there before!), these simple tickets can be reprinted since it goes by booking number. And my assistant said my flight is confirmed.


And I am still traumatised by it all. Call me old fashioned but I want my paper tickets because it feels more secure. Like depositing money into your bank account only to be told nope, that bank no longer issues any bank books, but will send bank statements every 6 months. That got me panicking, like what if the money didn't get in, what if it's not there, etc. Same with the whole ticketing issue. Now I am panicking big time. So basically my entire flight is recorded in the computers and they just confirm via the computers?So what if the computers have a meltdown?


So what am I supposed to do? Take that one piece of white cut out paper to KLIA, straight go to the check in counter, show that one piece of paper to the check in counter person and he/she will issue a boarding pass? And then what? Keep the same piece of paper for my return flight?
So is that it? Anyone who has taken a domestic flight recently with these one piece of paper as a ticket please tell me what to do. Do I go to the ticket counter in KLIA or straight to the check in counter? Some guidance please before I go bonkers, hyperventilate and die from the stress.


The magic of Hollywood


This is what a makeup artiste can do nowadays. Amazing! Take a big guess who this popular and much praised actor is.



The answer as they say my friend is in the gossip columns! Click here for the answer.


Comedy Court


Malaysia has 2 very funny Indian guys who pokes fun on the local political and social scene, Allan Perera and Indi Nadarajah. I went to one of their shows and it had me rolling on the floor. Problem is you have got to know a bit of the Malaysian scene to understand the jokes but if you do believe me I am sure you will agree nothing can be funnier than what they show.

For example, a satarical look at Malaysian lawyers. The old ones usually graduate form English universities and are very eloquent in English. However in recent years the judges' are mostly local graduates so their Malay language is stronger but there is a big sign in court which says please use the national language, being the Malay language or Bahasa Malaysia. Usually if a lawyer requests it, the judge will hear the matter in English. In fact sometimes it is a mish mash of English and BM. However true true true that some judges' insists on BM first until they get a bit frustrated or maybe just simply forgotten about the notice that they began speaking in English. It is very real, I myself am guilty as charged that is not using the national language. The following video really captured that real scene perfectly and it has to be the funniest video I have ever seen! True! Unfortunately you have to understand BM to know the big fuss. Simply put the lawyer who stood up requested for the proceedings to be heard in English and the judge denied his request and much to his shock he had to begin speaking BM. He has to instroduce his opponent and he ended up introducing his opponent, now here I didn't here clearly since the tape isn't top quality, anyway as his best friend or something of that sort which the opponent took offence in and they ended up arguing over the introduction and using a whole lot of English words disguised as Malay words. You know, just put meng in the beginning and kan at the end and you have a credible sounding BM word. For example, mengflykan, mengintimatekan... you get the picture. Have a look...




There is a true story, not sure from which source. There was a case, a car accident case and a lawyer was arguing with a witness about a fact which the witness hotly denies.

Lawyer : Sana ada sekolah!! (There is a school there!)
Witness : Tidak ada sekolah!! (There is no school there!)
Lawyer : Awak tipu! Sana ada sekolah! (You lied. There is a school there!!)
Witness : Tak ada! (NO!!)
Lawyer held up a picture and triumphantly said "Inilah sekolah itu!!" (This is the school!!) and the witness angrily said "Itu Selekoh!!" (That is a corner!!).

You see Sekolah for school is quite close to Selekoh for corner!

Some usual ones even our politicians made the boo-boo was describing how embarassing certain stuff was and they said "Kemaluan saya adalah teruk!!" which actually means "My genitals are bad!!"!! You see MALU is embarassed or shame but KEMALUAN is reference to the genitals!!! That was funny.

Many more English friendly videos at the website which is a must watch. They really portray politicians, lawyers and even VCD peddlers perfectly! Check out their website at http://www.comedycourt.com.my/


AI 7 : Top 8 guys


It's 80s week. Whilst David Archuleta is still great (but his voice faltered and his song too serious) and David Cook was good with a rock version of Hello and David Hernandez, the gay stripper was also very good, I thought the best of the night was the very mellow and blur blur Jason Castro. Either you love or hate him. Ever since Daydream, I love him. He ditched his guitar and just sang. Many complained he was out of tune. That's not out of tune. I admire him because no matter what people say, he sings it his way and his unique style. Whilst David Archuleta may be technically flawless with a beautiful clear voice, Jason Castro who is now my top 2 favourite is interesting as he interprets the songs his way and his way only. He is not popular, a bit like Elliott Yamin but of course not great singer but very good. He is goofy too. But I worry for him in other genres but I can see him as a folk song singer, or John Mayer type you know. Anyway the song he sang Hallelujah is already a very good song so I suppose some songs you just can't kill. What he did was for once Paula Abdul, as drunk as she was explained it perfectly; so effortless. Have a listen and I hope America please keep him around.




Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Harry Connick Jr, what a witty guy!


I just went to see his New Orleans concert at the KLCC Philharmonic whatever is the entire name place and though disappointingly he sang very little (smooth and nice voice), it was a thumping good time, especially when the trombone player almost upstaged him. What an excellent show by that guy! And Harry Connick Jr joked about Berjaya Times Square (still waiting for his photo from the roller coaster ride it seems and he said that in the 1st night where he complaint about broken down printer as the reason why he paid and still didn't get his pictures and it so happens the owner of Berjaya Times Square was there!), nasi lemak (oh toilet humour!), fake goods (he made a very good point; if you were gonna buy fake watches, why buy Emporio Armani when you could have Rolex??), beautiful Malaysian women, monkeys at Batu Caves, a snide remark against Bush and of course how Americans prefer Barrack Obama. He even asked us who we prefer. I decided not to say anything but Barrack Obama seems to be the overwhelming favourite. Which shows a black former muslim with questionable ties to Al Qaeda (well that's BS to me but he did went to school with some future radicals, terrorists and what nots) has more chance at becoming the next president of the United States than a woman! But the more famous personalities support him, the more unlikely he will win. Remember John Kerry?

Anyway that guy was so funny in his banter with the audience and then sing and the way he moved his fingers across the piano and drums, totally magical. I just wished he sang more although he ended the night with It Had To Be You. Less than 2 hour show, started on time and with his own band. Fantastic.

The only not so fantastic thing are the chairs in that bloody theatre. So low, so straight, so uncomfortable.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lydia Shum's memorial service in HK & poor Adam Cheng


I was watching the Lydia Shum memorial live from HK and I tell you this, I was watching halfway onwards and I had 3 moments during that memorial scene that had me really really emotional;

1. That moment when Tang Kwong Wing basically scolded Adam Cheng for being an absent father and saying "Everybody kept saying we as uncles and aunties should take care of Joyce and I believe we should and we will. But I don't understand; what about the father? Where is he in her life? Where is he? Shouldn't he bear some responbilities? Adam, you come up and you explain where were you! Explain now! Explain!"

People were clapping. Adam Cheng actually walked up with Joyce and he tried to explain and my sis said she heard people screaming "You're insincere! You're an insincere bastard!". And Adam Cheng finally said "I have stood aside not wanting to get myself into this mess but I feel I could be silent no more. Joyce, should I tell the truth? Should I?" and Joyce said "Yes, tell the truth" and he tried to explain his attempts at seeing Lydia when she was sick, how his daughter explained it was not the right time and all and finally Adam had to look at Joyce, pleading almost and Joyce finally said "This is a memorial for my mother. This is for my mother's memory. My family knows the truth about my father, whatever else people say, it doesn't matter, he knows it and I know it. Please keep it this way".

Put it this way; Adam Cheng is not the smartest man, nor is he the most eloquent. When he looked pleadingly at his daughter, I really really pitied him.

I must say, Tang Kwong Wing was too much. This memorial was to celebrate her memory, not to put blame. Who are we to know what actually happened? If the daughter can stand next to her father, if his ex wife could forgive him, who are we to say he didn't do his responsibility or was not prevented from being a responsible father? As I watched the clips of the past, it was wrong to say Adam gave her nothing and ripped her heart out. He gave her the best possible present; her daughter. I felt so bad for Adam Cheng and I thought it was shameful that the memorial almost became a joke.

2. Joyce was classy. Pretty, classy and eloquent. She braved it all, stood by her father and all and I thought she was quite brave to rebut one of her uncles in defence of her father. Can't wait to see her standing next to Eric Tsang and hosting one day. She already has her mother's gift of the way with words.

3. Eric Tsang summed it the best. I cried watching the way he remembered her memory and he summed all those scandalous moments by simply saying "We all know Lydia was most worried about her daughter. But when I saw Joyce standing up here just now, braving the scandals and handling it well, I feel Lydia should not worry that much. Joyce, you can stand by me on this stage anytime in the future". Classy eulogy.

Many people came, and it was in fact a bigger event that all those TVB bash and Miss HK put together. The studio was huge, the program tastefully done and the pictures chosen were best in representing Lydia's image to the world. It was heartfelt, beautiful and moving, all except for that tiny moment when the whole thing threatened to be almost like I said, a joke. I am sure Lydia Shum would never attempt or intend to humiliate Adam Cheng the way the public and her brothers and sister were ready to do so. I cried and cried and cried and at the end I stopped crying and saw so many people past and present; some retired came back out, some couldn't come. Charmaine Sheh, Shirley Yeung, Ron Ng, Kevin Cheng, Anne Heung, Kenix Kwok, Raymond Lam, etc all were there to represent the young but I doubt they were really ever that close to her and the old ones who retired came out in full force, including Felix Wong and gang. Joyce hugged those who were close, and shook the hands of those who were not, but always graceful, gracious and polite. I was very impressed with how she handled the moments and indeed Lydia Shum taught her well and her memory is alive in the daughter.

When TVB plans something well, this is the results. Why can't they put as much effort in those TVB bash and all? And it was a huge mega affair, which shows how important she was in TVB when all the big guns came out, save for Sir Run Run Shaw who was probably at home.

One question though; Whilst Dodo hosted the mini memorial and was not seen in this one, and the ever composed emcee (whose name I forgot) even faltered for that one moment as he read an emotional letter to Joyce, where was Liza Wang? She was not at the mini memorial and she wasn't here. Law Ka Ying was there but was Liza too sad to attend?

Truth be told if Liza Wang were to die, I doubt she would have such a big memorial although the biggest would be reserved to Sir Run Run Shaw.

Seeing how well and mature Joyce was, I think her mother had little to worry about. However I pity Adam Cheng. Give him a break.