Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Lady, or the Tiger?

Intended to take a picture of the rug yesterday morning, but was a bit in the rush & took it when I returned to the pier later in the afternoon. Besides the sharp contrasting colours, I was curious with how the carpet was labeled "The Eye of the Tiger". Yeah, noticed the lack of the plural for 'eye'.

However the store owner had fully set up his merchandises. Obstructing the carpet. Unless you 'brighten' futher the picture, you won't be able to see partially the blue label "...The Tiger".

Still I'm quite satisfied with the picture. Especially with the lady batik robe adjacent to the fabric, which just brings to mind the short story "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

I must admit that I'm impressed with the semi-barbaric (you'll notice this mentioned many a time in the story) king's judicial system. Cost effective (no judges needed). Time saving (no lengthy hearing required). And definitely entertaining (the mass thrilled).

As for the question itself "The bitch, or the hungry cat?", it's clear which one is the answer. Such an excruciating thinking process by the king's daughter would inevitably lead to one decision. The tiger.

- The king's arena (imagine that of the Gladiator).
- Lack of sound except for the that of a heart beating (something like in the Bon Jovi's MTV clip It's My Life).
- The camera shows the surrounding. Audience seen yelling & cheering. But no sound, except that of the heart beating.
- The camera in a jerking manner zooms in to the king's daughter (jerking as in the 1st shot, she's seen from a distance, the 2nd shot is much closer, and so is the 3rd one).
- On the 4th shot, her right arm discreetly gestures to the right.
- (If this were to be made a comedy, the guy would then testily yell, "Your right or mine?!")
- The heartbeat still continues (in fact it crescendoes here) as the guy is shown walking towards a door.
- Pitch-dark (as the point of view is switched to that of the other side of the door), the door is opened & a bright white light washes over the screen.

Epilogue
- A tiger is seen walking back towards the cage purring.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

So where did I spot Trainspotting?

The previous visit to MDA homepage has the subsequent pull to one of my earlier articles, "Memorable Advices" in which I mentioned about the movie, Trainspotting. The gnawing question is how I did come across the movie poster if it's banned here? (Result page above)

Didn't recall watching it for sure. What I remember is a nicely varied-in-length of a series of advices employing parallelism.

Does it matter anyway? No, it doesn't. Just attempted to tidy up some annoying loose ends.

It gets messier.

I checked at the eLibraryHub homepage and the search result for the keyword 'trainspotting' shows 8 items. (Result page below)


Now I'm confused and amused. Is it banned or is it not banned? Or perhaps I should not write about it at all--not until I borrow the video from the library@esplanade.

Monday, September 25, 2006

South Park - 10 years running (and still banned)

Reading this CNN article, Scatology and satire: 10 years of 'South Park' makes me hope that the show is no longer banned here in Singapore. Not much logical, is it? Just because the series has existed for 10 years, so the ban is no longer valid?!

Cast the logic aside, I check at the Media Development Authority homepage. They have plenty information there, however the website is relatively simple to navigate. Go to Quick Links. Choose Film Ratings. Click Film Classification Database. Type the title of the movie and then you'll see the rating of the show.

Click the above image to go the result page.

Dang! Now I do wish that the ban has 'expiry date'.

SCÈNE D'HIVER

Or "A Winter Scene", a wonderfully brooding painting by Maurice de Vlaminck.

To continue from the previous article, this is the 3rd photo taken. The 4th one is "LE GRAND CIRQUE" by Marc Chagall. Not going to be posted though, because I'm not satisfied with how the photo turns out.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What a "Clown"!

Yes, "Clown" is one of the four pictures I mentioned earlier that I managed to take during the visit to the gallery.

The painter, Bernard Buffet was quoted to say this "Painting, we do not talk about it, we do not analyse it, we feel it."

So I don't talk about the painting (I merely blogged it), I don't analyze it (Sheesh. As if I have the skill and knowledge to do it. Heh), but I'll attempt to feel it.

And this is what I felt. I had this thought that the clown is trying to step out of the painting (see the clown's posture, people! See his left leg stepping forward? And notice his left arm? Thus the arm looks bigger than the other because it's supposed to be closer towards the fascinated / terrified / clueless spectator?)

Wait, what if the clown is not meant to give that 'stepping forward' impression? Afterall, the angle of the torso just looks so wrong. Now let's assume the clown is not supposed to step forward out of the painting. Therefore the left arm is indeed somehow meant to be longer and so are the left fingers. Right. Then what if they are not fingers? What if they are...claws? Own up, Bernard! What were you trying to say? That this painting was intended to be named as "Clown X"? *grin*

Hmm...that's perhaps how the idea of "Weapon X" was derived from.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is it a bird, man? It's a birdman!

Birdman - A bronze sculpture by Dali.

Other displays (especially paintings and not just by Dali) are equally impressive. Took about 4 photos before my camera was abruptly seized and I was hurled against the wall, right beside the sculpture of "Triumph Elephant" [1].

Nah, nothing as violent as that.

But it was embarrassing when I was politely advised that taking a picture in the gallery was not allowed. I did take a look at the entrance whether there's indeed such a notice. Nope. So it's not my mistake, was it? No big deal. [2] *shrug*

More info about the event: here. The location of the Opera Gallery is at the 2nd level in Takashimaya. If you use the escalator down from the 5th floor at the entrance of the library@Orchard, you won't miss it.

PS. [1] Besides "Triumph Elephant", Dali's other sculptures were also displayed: "Space Elephant" and "Space Venus". I begin to suspect that Dali could have problems in naming his artworks.

PS. [2] Of course the joke would be on me if not taking pictures in the art gallery is supposed to be known by all. :(

Translated -- not in India

It does take time since I posted about the song, "Made in India" in my article, "Presenting...The RejeX" but I finally get the lyric translated. And yup, the Hindi word 'duniya' does indeed mean 'world'.

Anyway, here it is:

Seen the whole world, from Japan to Rusia
From Australia to America
Seen the dream of love, need somebody as mine
Will get a good friend, one Indian

Made in India, made in India
Need one heart that’s made in India
O ho ho ho made in India, loved one
Need one heart that’s made in India

Body white or black, but honest and good-hearted
No diamond, no gold, no silver
Heart must be Indian, not Western
The one who can love me day and night

Made in India, made in India
Need one heart that’s made in India
O ho ho ho made in India, loved one
Need one heart that’s made in India

The rich are narrow-hearted, the poor open-hearted
I know what is good and bad
Seen the whole world, from Japan to Rusia
From Australia to America

Made in India, made in India
Need one heart that’s made in India
O ho ho ho made in India, loved one
Need one heart that’s made in India

O ho ho ho made in India, loved one
Need one heart that’s made in India
O ho ho ho made in India, loved one
Need one heart that’s made in India

PS. Okay, Alisha. That sure sounds too much nationalism for me. Heh.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Heart

Science Fiction Book – Science Fiction Movie – Science Fiction Film Festival – Golden Village – Heart.

It’s about an Indonesian movie, “Heart” directed by Hanny R Saputra. (His previous two movies were also titled in English: “Virgin” & “Mirror”. Okay, do not ask why the titles are not in Bahasa. Guess, he’d specialize in handling those shows named in English. Oh, and in one English word too.)

The plot is predictable, really. Take a look at the synopsis. Many can definitely guess how the story ends. So it’s not recommended then?

But it is. Despite the seemingly common & perhaps, overused theme, the movie managed to secure three awards during the MTV Indonesia Movie Award 2006 for Most Favorite Heart Melting Moment, Most Favorite Movie and Best Song In The Movie. Full story: here—if you can understand Bahasa. Pretty impressive, huh? Would have expected that GIE to win that award for Most Favorite Movie. By the way, GIE was featured in the Singapore International Film Festival 2006 & yes, I did watch & blog about it.

Bleah. I digress.

I recommend “Heart” not because of the awards. Not because I’m a nationalist. Not because--to partially quote the news from the official website--“(Heart) is a movie for anyone who has ever fallen in love and those who will fall in love” which, uhm, practically covers everybody.

I recommend “Heart” because how many Indonesian movies you notice shown in Singapore theatres these days? Try to look at it this way: the cinema operator must have weighed risks before deciding to bring in “Heart”. Thus commercially speaking, the movie must have been judged to be a successful one.

Cropped from the trailer.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sci-Fi Film Festival 2006

Just in one article before this I wrote that I usually dislike Science Fiction-themed books, but I'm perfectly alright if it's Science Fiction movies. Top on the list, the shows like: "The Matrix Trilogy", "Artifical Intelligence: AI", "The Time Machine" and "I, Robot". Therefore I find myself curious to see what will be shown as part of the Sci-Fi Film Festival 2006. Organized by Golden Village, it will take place from 21 to 24 September at selected GV cinemas such as GV Plaza, GV Marina and GV Grand.

Boy, am I not disappointed!

Only 3 titles would constitute the festival (Refer for the schedule here): "X-Men: The Last Stand", "Fantastic Four", and "The Day After Tomorrow". That...that's all?!

I sure hope that it's just a case of some poor website maintenance. Do tell me that the page is not updated yet. And that there would be more shows shall be included. If only the organizers take their cue from this The Wired article, "SCI-FI TOP 20 Futureplex".

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ender's Game

I usually dislike Science Fiction-themed books but Ender’s Game written by Orson Scott Card ought to be an exception.

The future Earth is bracing itself for the possibility of the third invasion of the ant-like aliens, rightly namely the buggers. Barely surviving the first two attacks, the now-united government of Earth, the Hegemon, decrees that the third battle has to be conducted at the buggers’ home planet. Yes, the Hegemon apparently subscribes to ‘offence is the best defence’.

The Earth prepares to attack the buggers. It has the necessary technology & weaponry. What it needs is the commander of the fleet. As the journey to the buggers’ home planet may take years, it is thus logical to prepare children as the future leaders. Only selected ones are allowed to attend the Battle School, a space station where those children are trained to be soldiers & learn to be leaders as they battle each other’s army in war games.

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is one of such children. Believed to be the Earth’s best hope, the school administrators intend to make his stay in the Battle School very challenging. He’s the youngest. He’s proven to be the most brilliant among the brilliant children. Many resent losing to him. Even Ender himself at one time acknowledge that winning may not be everything. (But Ender will never realize how true it is, not until he wins his final ‘game’.)

Quoted from the book:

That's the problem with winning right from the start, thought Ender. You lose friends.

The book gives a glimpse about how it feels to be a leader, about how lonely it could feel when you reach the top and about how you deal with expectations. Readers are able to emphatize with how leaders sometimes must make a difficult decision. And live with it.

Not a surprise, therefore, that the Marine University at Quantico adopts “Ender’s Game” as a textbook on the psychology of leadership.

Quoted from the website:
When the Marine University at Quantico required students in one class to read Ender's Game, it wasn't for the strategy -- tactics in 3D space aren't really a big deal for the Marines. Rather, it was because Ender's Game is virtually a textbook in how to develop a strong relationship between a commander and his troops -- with plenty of examples also in how to fail as a commander.

For those who only read books with ‘track record’, consider this: Ender's Game was the winner of the Nebula Award in 1985 & the Hugo Award in 1986. Now, how about it?

Friday, September 15, 2006

To Angie...

A mere coincidence reading your thought at heartstorm's blog,
Nevertheless it left a lingering impression that you're special.
Go and visit her blog, I told myself.
End the curiosity and then move on, will you?
Looking back, I realize I was just a jerk.
I still am, maybe--despite you generously claimed me "my dearest angel".
Not that it matters anymore for you're already gone.
Ending your restless journey & starting your restful one.

Believe that you're grinning right now from Heaven
Especially as you witness how I stagger to find the words
Rightly convey how exceptional you are.
Not that anybody needs to be reminded
As we all know that you are special.
Dreams could be forgotten when one wakes up.
Everything changes--some truth could even be false.
This truth, however, will stay true; I love you.
The thing is who (in his/her right mind) doesn't?
Envy your friends who're blessed of knowing you longer.

Heaven is where you deserve to be, dearest friend.
Oh, rest in peace as our love to you will never cease.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Don't judge a book by its cover, nor by its blurb, nor by its price tag

--which shall only be $12. Finally I've got the answer to the previously raised question in this article about how much the book will cost.

"So you think you can write a novel?" will not only serve as a proof that it is NOT impossible to compose a 50,000-word fiction within 30 days, but also it reflects a potential for subsequent anthologies, perhaps titled something like this: "So you think you can write a better novel?" or "No kidding, won't you ever give up thinking you can write a novel?" (with a little caption of "We won't."). Heh. Just a hint or two to the publisher.

To the buyers, have fun reading it. Hopefully you'll feel challenged & join the writing madness this coming November during the annual NaNoWriMo. Set your personal goal & aim to achieve it. I did. I proved what I always believe that "within every reader, there is a writer lurking to emerge".

It is a race where you shall face your worst opponent: yourself. See you at the finish line! ^_^"

The cover for "So You Think You Can Write A Novel?".

The blurb. Click the image to enlarge.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Watchmen? I'd rather read it & the Dossier.

Okay. Can't resist and you see it coming. Getting too predictable, aren't I?

Watchmen. A graphic novel. Written by Alan Moore. If you like his "V for Vendetta" (I have not read this one, though. Only saw the movie) & "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (the books, LOEG are great, highly recommended & among the first in the list--although the show is a real bummer), you will very likely enjoy this one too.

On another note, the third volume of LOEG will soon be released: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier.

About the book (quoted from Amazon.com)

"England in the mid 1950s is not the same as it was. The powers that be have instituted...some changes. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have been disbanded and disavowed, and the country is under the control of an iron-fisted regime. Now, after many years, the still youthful Mina Murray and a rejuvenated Allan Quatermain return and are in search of some answers. Answers that can only be found in a book buried deep in the vaults of their old headquarters, a book that holds the key to the hidden history of the League throughout the ages: The Black Dossier. As Allan and Mina delve into the details of their precursors, some dating back centuries, they must elude their dangerous pursuers who are Hell-bent on retrieving the lost manuscript... and ending the League once and for all."

Notice that while the previous two volumes took place in 1898, this one would be in 1950. The phrase "the still youthful Mina Murray" hopefully will provide a clue about what has been so special about her. She's the only female member--in fact, the leader--of LOEG in 1898. Her 'special' talents had not been clearly revealed. Unlike Nemo who provided technological support with his Nautilus, Quatermain with his vast experience, Jekyll/Hyde with his brute force & Griffin with his invisibility.

But Murray? Well, she was able to 'tame' Hyde. Remember the part in Vol.1 on the airborne structure when she just repeatedly slapped Jekyll because they needed Hyde? As Jekyll transformed to the furious Hyde who looked as if he was ready to tear apart Murray, his eyes was 'fixed' to Murray's & he obeyed the latter's chillingly polite request to let go of her wrist.

In fact Nemo too once asked her directly why she's recruited as part of the team. Her answer, if I recall rightly, was curt & something along the line of mind-your-own-business.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Not about the destination, it's about the journey...of being LOST.

LOST: season finale part 1 of 2 was shown yesterday. I was transfixed most of the time--thanks goodness for the commercials. The jigsaw puzzle is almost completed that I dread to see how the set will look like. I’d refrain from recounting more about it, at least till the overdue summary of the episodes is done.

Considering the last one was posted about a month ago (here), I’ll definitely have a great time to decipher my messy draft (try to scribble during the show with your eyes focusing NOT on the paper).

If only I have the time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

He is...what he is.


For some reason, it reminds me about the "bloody hell" advertisement.

Despite a milder--and predictable--theme of "I am a hub", I however must admit that the content of this Starhub ad hilarious.

It effectively employs a series of parallelisms of "I am a ..." mostly, before it swerves in the end to "I am in trouble".

With "I am a winner", the main character (MC) is shown to be accidentally winning the auction. $10K for such a wooden statue? The look of his wife tells that he is already in trouble.

"I am a giant" or to be precise, "I wish I were a giant" has the MC welcoming one gigantic guest (business partner? client?) whose peculiar greeting style puts the MC in discomfort. And this is followed by 5 equally huge men, ready to teach him that peculiar greeting style.

"I am a world traveller" is where the MC unintentionally practises the earlier greeting style with a glaring fellow passenger when he's dangling dangerously at the back of a public bus.

"I am a fanatic" tickles me. The expression of our MC's companion which is full of resignation when he has to witness how the MC with--yeah, again--that peculiar greeting style leads to him a possession of a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt.

Lastly with "I am in trouble". That greeting style is used once more in a surprised birthday party of the MC's wife. Which turns out to be a surprise, all right. An embarrassing one.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Out of work, out of mind...

Last week had been a restful time for me. Guess what? I had a surgery. Nothing life-threatening, thanks goodness. Just removing a tooth. The dentist called the case ‘premolar impaction’. Suffice to say, I have this one tooth popped up in one funny angle (horizontal) & if not extracted, it would create infection or decay to the other 2 teeth.

That’s indeed the decisive keyword. Infection. No way would I want to go through the same situation like the one last time when the wisdom tooth at my lower right jaw had created a hell of infection to the gum. Couldn’t recall when it was. Memory block, I guess. That time I couldn’t use Medisave to partially claim the bill for sure.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah, the bloody gum (literally) was infected. Badly. I was advised to take antibiotics for a few days before the surgery could be carried out. Otherwise, the anesthetic might not properly function.

I was adamant. I said to go ahead. It was Painful. I survived.

Now, let me attempt to be positive for the last week ordeal. Firstly, the premolar impaction had not caused any infection yet. So the anesthetic worked. The surgery was, therefore, painless. Secondly, despite the numbers & types of painkillers given—which I chose not to take for I always pride myself of having a high threshold of pain. Come to think about it, it’s nothing to be proud of. That only means if I realize that I'm in pain, it’s already unbearable & in a serious state—the pain was in fact rather manageable. I didn’t lose my appetite. I could enjoy that century egg porridge in the morning, that chicken porridge in the afternoon & that fish porridge in the night. I could still go to the library to check my emails, others' blogs & the recent happenings. I could even revise my Thailand backpacking trip plan: the destinations, the list of guesthouses I’d stay & the activities. The best part's perhaps that I could still focus on LOST on Channel 5 on Thursday (this week’s going to be the Season Finale Part 1 of 2). Heh.

Admittedly the last week had been enjoyable, albeit costly--in terms of monetary & my annual leaves because medical leaves granted by a dentist are not recognized as...medical leaves. Long story cut short: it's a Company Policy. *roll eyes* But still I welcomed the change. To experience the simple joy of being able to sleep late, content with the knowledge that I would wake up in the next day as & when I would be ready to wake up.

PS. And to think that in the World of Graphic Novels, even villains like Two-Face (the above right image) have perfect teeth.