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Monday, June 29, 2009

John Mayer's tribute to MJ

You can say many mean stuff about John Mayer, whether he's a jerk or uses popular female actresses to make a name for himself etc, it is even easy to forget this man wrote very good songs and won Grammys but there is no denying, he is an intelligent man. Read his tribute to MJ in Time magazine and read other tributes and not many dared to say what he said in such clear terms. And I agree with him when he said "In a way, he has returned to pristine condition in death. We can be free now for the rest of our lives to love the Michael Jackson we used to love". Great tribute of a very flawed man.

The Silver Chamber of Sorrows

Don't ask me what the title means. To me it is gibberish; arty but no meaning. I know Silver Lining of happiness perhaps but Silver Chamber of Sorrows? Anyway I am actively watching this series and I have a feeling it follows those China productions on old families and those BE GONE AND DIE values. I hate the "I am a woman, so pitiful" type of storyline of those days but I must say this series is in some ways intriguing. Some things seems out of character, and you may argue it is what it is, I feel it is dramatized for drama value and nothing else. At least it is not as silent and scheming as those China productions of the same era and storyline but being TVB it is either a cliffhanger or a happy ending of some sort. I can't expect everybody to die though. So far I am enjoying the series even if Shirley Yeung is irritating me with her OTT performance. Is it me or is it everytime she cries I feel nothing? And for a maid she wears too much make up. But compared to Charmaine Li (I think that's her name) Shirley Yeung is rightly cast as the maid. And sometimes lesser role means more exposure for an overexposed personality. I don't like her as an actress but her character is pretty spunky. Regret I didn't do an episodic thought on this!! Don't tell me the ending!!!! I wanna find out. And by the way is what's the young 4th wife's name? Is her only expression the one of arrogant contempt? And why does Nancy Sit always start and end a sentence with a heavy sighhhhhhh in a very dramatic way? And why do I despise her spineless first wife character who will be a pimp for her husband?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The death of Michael Jackson : An era has passed

I didn't mention Farrah Fawcett's death because frankly I have never watched her performances, but knew her by reputation. Today in the morning I was driving to work when I kept hearing Michael Jackson's songs and I was thinking "What? Tribute hour ah? He's dead issit?" and true enough he is dead, at the age of 50, apparently from a heart attack. Probably caused by stress of the concert (did he actually thought he could make the concerts at all?), pills addiction, malnourishment (he was very very thin) and exhaustion caused by his skin cancer (which in turn I believe was caused by his obsession to erase his own identity which wasn't necessarily race based-he just wanted a new identity because he hated his own). Whatever the reason may be, I never thought I would ever see him live a ripe old age of perhaps 90 so I did expect him to die young, like many fortune tellers once predicted. But I never expected him to just die so suddenly. 50 is not a young age but frankly like I said to my friend, 50 is still too young for death. He had 3 young children, all of whom will now face an uncertain future; what is certain is their father probably died heavily in debt (the concerts and all) and penniless; they were brought up in an unorthodox household and I believe for years to come one of the children, if not all will probably write a tell-all book about life with weird father and their mother may take custody but would they be happy? They have after all lived such sheltered lives.

Michael Jackson had a controlled bullying chilhood and everybody knows his father was the cause. He was after all the talented one, the cash cow. Growing up he changed his face to such an extreme he was made fun of at every available opportunity. He slept in oxygen chambers, had pet chimpanzees, slept with children, lived in an eerie place called Neverland and quite simply indulged himself to what he never had in childhood and guess what? Nobody stopped him. Not even the surgeons, for the very same reason nobody stopped Elvis Presley; they were too popular, too rich, could get what they want. What he actually needed probably was a loving parent who knew how to say no in a parent way.He got embroilled in lawsuits, the whole molestation cases where he settled out of court when he shouldn't have and his reputation, the most important of all was shattered. People admired him but yet avoided him like a pariah. He seemed stuck in his heydays with his costumes and lifestyles. If you ask me, I believed the rumours but I also believed it didn't go as far as to the point where he can't be stopped. I hope he did and for that reason this is why I am writing today of this phenomenal talent and a great icon in a positive way and reflecting what is great about him and I am looking at him kindly as opposed to with disgust.

My sister once asked how I felt about Michael Jackson including all those molestation charges and I remember I said despite all those allegations, whether true or untrue, there is no denying he (at that time still very much alive and talking aboout comeback concerts) was a great entertainer, a great singer, a great performer and that kinda of artiste that are lesser and lesser seen, where nowadays are manufactured but could never last long. I believe if he had successfully played out the concerts he would have had the comeback he wanted and the money he desperately needed. At the time of his death at least he was making an effort, I hope.

Thanks to Kris Allen, I rediscovered MJ's songs and one of which was Man In The Mirror. The lyrics are so powerful and I wonder was MJ singing to himself?

An era has passed. The people I grew up listening to are all slowly greying and some are already dying. I feel like my own impending doom is nearer and nearer. I am not THAT old but somehow you feel the people you seem to know are now disappearing. Like Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Lydia Shum, Roman Tam, Michael Jackson....

I pity the younger generation today who missed out on these great icons who knew what performing meant. Not like the youngsters nowadays where their claim to fame is being seen or stripping in front of the webcam. There was a time there were artistes who inspired, who performed, who worked to the fullest to earn their fame and respect. In life Michael Jackson may have seen his reputation in tatters, in some big way caused by himself but in death and in such a sudden death at such a relatively young age where he probably had a few decades more of talent to share, where even at 90 he should have been still able to moonwalk, I believe he had saved his reputation and probably caused a revived interest in his music. In away I believe however sad his death may be, something positive may come out of it. I am not going to say he had a tragic life, no life however denied should allow someone to vent their unhappiness or desire on someone else in an unlawful immoral way but I would say this much; if given a choice he probably would have wanted a slightly different childhood and he never got that but he grew up to utilise his phenomenal talent and he did succeeded in inspiring an entire generation and for that I am saddened at his passing.

RIP Michael Jackson.

In tribute, I like to remember him at the height of his fame and of his beautiful slightly altered but still recognisable face;

Transformers are ethnically identifiable???

If that is true, I surely didn't get it! Everybody is talking about racist robots in Tranformers 2, where 2 robots speak like urban black people. And so they say that is stereotypical. Well frankly don't black people mostly speak that way anyway? How is that not a well intentioned stereotype? Moreover if I may add, the robots did their research online in the internet and they take on the personalities of the human traits they fancy so if anyone find these objectionable, doesn't it mean there's some prejudice here? I often hear Chinese being depicted as talking with oh and ah and leh and those chinese slangs and I am offended and then I remembered I do speak like that so I let it go. Not all stereotypes are bad unless you say all Germans act like Nazis. Now that is wrong! Oh come on they're robots and despite their differing ethnicity that they adopted when on Earth, inside they're all still metals, like all of us. If every robot in the movie speaks with an English accent and "acts" like white people you all go blasting it for being racist because no black people. You know what? I demand in Transformers 3 there should be a robot that speaks only in Chinese and needs a translator! I demand there is a Chinese soldier and I don't care if he or she speaks with lahs and lehs and ehs and whatever. I also demand for a fat robot! A robot that had to huff and puff when transforming and the transforming sounds must be extra loud because fat mah! I demand also a crippled robot, one without a foot. I demand a crazy robot, no Megatron doesn't fit the crazy bill. I demand a politician robot, the one that says A but means B and does C and justifies D.

Some people would make arguments out of nothing. As far as I am concerned most movies about black people are about the hood. Isn't THAT racist then? By the way why is it in ads or modelling Asians, as in Chinese are usually so bloody ugly? Is ugly the new funny? Or has it always been that way?

I am so looking forward to Transformers 2. I heard it is longer and bigger action. Good. Anything for me to see more of Autobots! And I will even ignore all the cleavage shots of Megan Fox who I feel isn't my main reason. I like Shia Lebeouf and I am sure I will enjoy his performance. He reminds me of Michael J Fox and Tom Hanks, roll into one. So I don't care what the haters and critics say; for me the trailers rule and I don't expect rocket science when watching this movie. I will expect non stop blasts everywhere and since Michael Bay is the director (again) I have no doubt I will be rewarded with blasts after blasts after blasts. This is the reason despite piracy, this movie is pulling in serious money; because it has actions that must be seen in the cinema. So hate away you haters, hate away those who unfavourably compares this to Star Trek (which was awesome but if you want nitpicking I can do that and in restrospect Star Trek had problems that I shall not elaborate here) or T4 (never could bring myself to watch it), I will still watch it, and I am sure I will be blown away by it. Of course Transformers 1 was awesome, and may be the better of the 2 but you know what? Nothing hat entertaining and that engaging and that would dare to blow up the pyramids could be such pure crap. So hate away, there are plenty who will love this movie for what it is; action packed movie about transforming robots.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Travel plans

As in I have no travel plans since I have very few annual leave and unlike westerners who take long travelling holidays like months, like all Malaysians, my travel plans are always 1 week and shorter. Looking back I haven't been anywhere at all and suddenly I am given the prospect of travelling to 2 places next year, neither I am excited about since I am more into you know western stuff. Hong Kong is one possibility, in fact it is a huge possibility because Disneyland is there (small I know but still Disneyland) and my family is thinking of a family trip there, for perhaps 4 days or so just to visit a few HK famous sites and eat some famous food. My mind immediately went to wanton mee but then Malaysian wanton mee is perfection already. Truth is I am not excited about Hong Kong, which I told my family. I need only pay for the bare minimum and that is a big deal for me but still I felt like I have seen HK already through the series I have watched all my life. Of course if I am lucky I may be able to bump into some famous Hk stars on the streets. I swear when I was in college I bumped into a backpacking Frankie Lam. I am however not sure if he ever backpacked to Malaysia.

Next possible destination, which is an even more real possibility is South Korea (not North Korea oh no! Don't want to be arrested as spy for... who??) during the Autumn time. I have a choice of spring (not very exciting to me) and everybody says WINTER because of Winter Sonata but winter means I will need to spend thousands to buy those winter clothing. I want to see snow but thousands is not something I am prepared to pay. Autumn looks great to me, like to autumn leaves, I can just imagine it, the cool breeze and stuff. The fee is of course 3 times what I am asked to pay for the HK trip which means I have to be thrifty for the entire of next year which is an impossible task. Everytime I am done paying for something, something else crops up. So I am not sure if I can even save in time.

Now South Korea I am also not very excited. I like the idea of Cheju island which is part of the trip but frankly I am not into Korean food and except for the passing phase, I am not really into Korean culture. I like the idea of a hanbok but my sis said I must be crazy to wear that, because in Malaysia nobody wears qipao on the streets. I argued in Korea they do but again very expensive. I don't speak their language and their English seems limited but better than Japan as in if I ask where is the toilet I think I will be given the right direction.

You may ask why South Korea? My sis swears that she saw Bae Yongjun once in the LRT near Petaling Street. She didn't quite know who he was (as she was not into the South Korean craze then) and nobody recognised him until some Korean tourists got very excited seeing him. I didn't believe her of course until I read Bae Yongjun was indeed in Malaysia visiting Petaling Street for some photoshoot sometime back so it must be him she saw since she could describe his looks, glasses and height and all. According to her, he is a very handsome man and that says a lot because she hardly thinks anyone other than Keanu Reeves is handsome.

My personal preferred destination, somewhere I can afford is actually China, as in Beijing. I grew up watching those Forbidden City series and I remember many years ago I was in Singapore and visited the museum which had artifacts from China, some swords and suits and armours and of course the what is it called in English? In chinese called "Kiu"? The moment I saw them, felt them, touched them I was in total awe and also quite angry; to me back then TVB was bible truth and I told my sis "I felt cheated because in TVB world a "kiu" is carried by 4 people!" and the one I saw could crush 4 people. So my fascination with Beijing stuff started and of course not to boast, I kinda know a lot about Chinese emperors.

But alas, my family said no because they went to Guangzhou last year (they said great trip but I feel nothing for Guangzhou) so Beijing is a bit too early. So Great Wall Of China has to wait for my turn to climb on it and walk on it and scream "I AM A WARRIORRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!". Because you see you're not a warrior if you have not walked on the great wall of China, as the saying goes.

As for western countries, their no. 1 destination is Australia. Not in my radar at all. I feel England as in London after all I earned my degree from one of the universities there, external courses of course. I wish to see my alma mater. Other than that maybe New York and maybe Greece since I also know some about Greek Mythology and also Europe. No NOT Paris or France, so not there (I personally feel there is no proper use for the Eiffel Tower and guess what? I am not the only one who thought so!)but rather Italy, as in sightseeing, architecture mainly. And of course Spain, also for the architecture. Ok maybe Paris is also preferred destination because of the museum. Actually museum is more my thing than anything else, as in artifacts.

Surprisingly none of the above is a beach destination. Not that I don't want to go to beaches, those are for total relaxation but if I want active activity, I feel architecture is my kinda thing rather than shopping. I mean how much can you shop? I know you can shop a lot but seriously every Prada in the world is still a Prada but architecture is unique to its location.

But that is only dreaming. So for now, HK and South Korea are good destinations even if I am not hyped about it. Unless I meet Bae Yongjun there or Jang Dongggun, I surely will blog blog blog about it.

Hopefully I could go and be hyped about it.

I went to Kuantan the other week. I had fun, truthfully had a great time eating stuffed crab (actually that was in Kuala Terengganu or somewhere there). Teluk Chempedak was awfully dirty and crowded and ultra salty but other than that Kuantan has changed so much. You see when I was very young I was often there as my mom lived there so to me that was like hometown. I nearly couldn't recognise the place but probably because I never quite remembered it at all.

What about you? Any planned holiday destinations? Any dream holiday destinations?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Confused me

I suffered a major confusion last night as I was watching the new drama series The Silver Chamber of Sorrows(ASTRO 930pm) and also the Astro on Demand showing 1st episode of Rosy Business. I mistaken Elliot Ngok with Ng Wai Kwok. Seriously, I had to do a double take to see one is younger than the other. I even thought Susan Tse (very familiar! What was she in???) with Chiu Nga Chi!! They all just looked so alike!! Even the series is similar although I am more excited about Rosy Business because Wayne Lai is in it and he is fierce! That Sorrows series is rifed with overacting or rather old school acting like dramatically banging fists on walls whilst shaking head still plastered to the wall but well, Chun Pui is in it so it should be good.

How can I make such mistakes?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

When empathy fails me ...

I like to think that I am a person who can empathise with those in trouble. Recently I read about a father who threw his son and daughter and himself over the balcony or something, the son died and the daughter and himself survived all because his attempts to reconcile with the wife failed. He was released from jail after only serving 3 years in a Greek prison because of his fragile mental health aka he was crazy when he did what he did. Words failed me when he celebrated his release from prison because in the first place he was there because he threw his son off the balcony. Then words failed me further when he said he wanted to see his daughter again, to explain why he did what he did or rather why she shouldn't hate him. If any judge will allow that kind of access, I would say I may turn into a mute.

Then I read about this case which I have read about some months back. Words failed me again and lucky for me the mother in question did not ask for empathy.

Now today I read the headline of yet another case, "Torment of mother who admits she drowned son aged 11 over cash crisis" [READ ARTICLE HERE] and I think the headline basically summarises the entire story. Of course if you read more you will find also that she is relying and will be successful in her reliance of Diminished Responsibility. Now what is DR? It is akin to temporary insanity, not insanity but temporary, when you're driven to do something you normally won't do and after doing it in a moment of utter insanity you turn up rather not so insane after finishing the task. This is usually seen in battered wives burning their abusive husbands to their deaths when they were sleeping. In fact I think this was how the defence to murder came about. Can't say provocation and in England there is no defence of temporary insanity.

Do read the article and you will understand why I say empathy fails me utterly in this situation. The father, an egyptian bastard did not pay for the child's upkeeping so the mother was forced to remove the child from an expensive school and downgrade their lifestyles, I assume significantly. She couldn't cope, so one day she drugged her son and drowned her. Lied about it but guilt caught up with her and so she confessed. But the judge seems in favour of letting her go off lightly, saying financial hardship caused her to do what she did.

Now let me tell you a story. I was in Malacca last year I think, having lunch at the famous Chicken Rice Ball restaurant, the original one. My sister pointed out to me this old grandmother looking lady sitting at the back of the store and said that woman is the owner and originator of the chicken rice ball concept. She said she knew all these because she saw a local documentary on restaurants and their back stories. The woman's husband was a fisherman who died at sea I think and she had several young children to bring up. She had no education and no money. So what did she do? She had only one skill; making chicken rice. And she carried her portable stall with her but when it was too much, she came up with the idea of making the rice into compact rice balls. Her few older children had to stop schooling to help out and I suppose as always the youngest is the luckiest since he or she would have the education the rest can't afford. She made do and she raised her children and survived and now spend her days sitting idlely in her restaurant, enjoying her retirement. Did she ever consider killing her children just because she was facing financial hardship?

I tell you this much; Asians, particular the older generations are made of backbone of steel. They may have considered death but for their children they will try all they could to survive and make a decent living and to provide what they could. She had several children coupled with no education and a dead husband and she weathered the storm and came out stronger. She did not whine about how life was bad to her because frankly she wouldn't have the time nor the luxury to do that; she was far too busy surviving for her kids.

And now look at this "mother of the year" Jennifer Taylor. She may have pleaded guilty, and society today will look kindly upon her, the law will look kindly upon her, her son probably didn't know what happened to him. In fact similarly we in Malaysia has a similar case where poor little girl died, chopped into pieces by the boyfriend and the mother who knew said nothing, did nothing and she got away with just that.

But you know maybe we shouldn't empathise with them. Under no circumstances whatsoever, save for your child is the spawn of the devil and has committed murder or is a serial killer in the making, should you ever kill your child over whatever reason, more so financial hardship. The tears this woman cried and many of such similar women are not guilt; those are fear, those are crocodile tears for sympathy and guess what? The law and those who professes to uphold the law bought the fakery of it all. And what of the dead? What of the victim? The young man robbed of his life? Did his mother ever asked him "Do you want to die?", or "Can you suffer with me and together we find a way to survive?". Suddenly being faced with the prospect of no more Gucci bags or Jimmy Choos or expensive sushi dinner every single day or a big house and worse, having to work 2 jobs to make ends meet drove her to her final decision; all of which are flimsy excuses.

That being said, I am touched and saddened by those who genuinely love their child, who lost their child and decided they can't live on without their child and so one whole family, a father and a mother, carrying their dead child's body (who died of sickness) and his favourite toys jumped off the cliff to accompany their young beautiful boy in the afterlife. This is a very sad story and you can read it all here. Which is why it is important to have a 2nd child because that gives hope and makes you sit up and do all you can to move on.

This is two extremes; one the most disgusting mother and father (save for Baby P's mother; she has the dubious honour of being the worst of the lot for cases of recent decade) and the other this couple who had so much love for their son and the light dimmed on their son it dimmed on them too.

Which is why I admire Elisabeth Fritzl. That woman has boundless love and recently she stopped therapy with the consent of her doctors because she found love in a younger bodyguard. That relationship may or may not work out but I have a feeling she will survive anything.

That woman who calls herself a mother? That one who drowned her child because she has no money? She probably would strangle all the children born in the cellar but guess what? She won't kill herself. She is far too cowardly for that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

TVB's take on Dr House & new series

I have been watching the Astro On Demand channel to see what's new and am intrigued by this news series starring Sheren Teng and Wayne Lai. Can't remember the title. Anyway there's a new series coming soon with a very grave and serious looking Alex Fong (Chung Soon) asking a bunch of newbies why they wanted to become a psychiatrist. I really can't remember the title but I remember the English title is rather stupid even if I can't remember. Something like "We Really Care" or "We Greatly Care" or whatever. I just remember it was dumb. Anyway the trailer was pretty short and intense and looking at the subject matter, don't know whether it is good or not, it is about crazy people or people with mental health problems and we all know... overacting abound!!! Anyway saw the longer trailer and the moment I saw it, even without the cane and the limp and we have a younger but not quite hotter Alex Fong, I know this is Dr House meets Psychiatry!! True!! Who else uses a white board to write a diagnosis whilst pointing out the inadequacies of his assistants? Who else would give a lecture to his younglings and have his younglings say "Well you asked so I answered" when he said the younglings were wrong? It is DR HOUSE!! As in House MD! But minus the sarcasm, about psychiatry (hey! diagnosis but mental diagnosis instead of physical diagnosis) and a younger doctor and definitely less sarcastic. I don't even this Alex Fong will be someone annoying at all. And there's that crazy eye Kate Tsui and a very verbally abusive Ben Wong playing I think a cop. This series is like a whole lot of angry men, crazy women and let me predict, one of the younglings or even our main man himself or someone in a leading character will suffer from either a mental breakdown or has history of mental illness. To say TVB is predictable is an understatement but well, at least we know someone in TVB does watch American network series. Not sure kudos or not but I tell you this...

Forensic Heroes which rip everything terrible about CSI (I think the whole wearing glasses in slow mo way is from CSI : Miami) is worse! Forensic Heroes II is peculiar. As the serie go along, less forensic more detective work. So everytime I switch on the TV, I see Charmaine Sheh and occasionally not just Bobby Au Yeung but Kevin Cheng and Frankie Lam at the crime scene which means we have head of forensics, his senior assistant AND the head ME there all 3 to investigate the case of a... ermm... missing Rolex? The stories still suck I tell you. Why won't the police arrest the negligent mother who so obviously is negligent and is overly concerned over a hurt security guard? And the entire idea for some tissue time when mother realised her child is very important with Bobby telling her the same thing is rather cliche and yes, predictable. Arrest her I say and then we would have some new storyline breakthrough. Anyway why can't they just make a series about Charmaine as the police woman and then have the guys from Forensic Heroes and even Healing Hands as special guest stars? I can see why people feel strongly against Forensic Heroes II.

I myself feel strongly against this piece crap not because of Charmaine Sheh. Rather the stories were crappy. No, Charmaine Sheh actually gave a convincing and one of her best performances as a tough as nail cop and I tell you Yoyo Mung should learn from that. I was convinced Charmaine can run, punch and investigate like a cop eventhough the dialogue she had to deliver was well... was dumb. So kudos for Charmaine for making something so crappy into something still crappy but at least I have Charmaine to look forward to. Chemistry wise, surprise surprise she had zero chemistry with Frankie and Kevin. All 3 together seems so boring. Why can't she be Bobby's love interest, Yoyo just die and Linda Chung overseas studying instead of dying?

Still pure crap.

Back to Astro On Demand. Wow, so many new shows but the titles are really bad. At The Threshold Of A Persona?? Why not just Immigration Blues? Or Tales Of Immigration? What was it? We Care Deeply Great whatever? Why not Dr House Ook-Kei MD?

Which series you're looking forward to?

Sehseh, if you're reading this, I think I know which series you're looking forward to so no need to even mention. I think I look forward to that to, the title again I can't remember BUT I dislike the fact that people say it is Jewel In The Palace Part Deux. It is not. The story isn't even similar. I would say it is War & Bauty Part Deux. Why? Jewel In The Palace is really about a determined young woman in a palace but this series I am talking about is more about power struggle. Totally different.