Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Greetings from Siem Reap

It's my 3rd day in Cambodia and I'm sound and safe.

Visited some new wats... and revisited some old ones as well....

Met some nice frens along the way....

AND I missed The Amazing All-Star and tomorrow I'm gonna miss American Idol as well. Oh yeah.... say what you want, I'm an immature TV couch potato or reality TV show junkies I dun care.

Take k everybody.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Short Break

Chinese has a saying 吃过翻寻味 haha..... It means after eat, you look for the same lingering smell (ok, lost in translation).

Nothing much, it's just that I'm gonna take a short break to a place I had been before this. Hence no postings (maybe...) in the next 6 days.


American Idol 190407 Result


However, my big scare came true again. Lakisha is in the bottom 3 as well. I kinda expect Chris instead of Blake in the bottom 3. Think maybe the whole stand-up for his nasal singing voice and the whole confusion about Simon's insensitivities to the victims of the VT tragedy did help him.

Anyway, the BOTTOM 3 : sanjaya, lakisha & blake

Shrek 3 made some promotion with the appearance of Antonio Banderas and wife Melanie Griffith, the Shrek creator Jeffrey Katzenberg. A definite watch indeed.

Martina McBride performed to a standing ovation (well, tat's the routine in AI right? but she's good).

OK, the most important thing is SANJAYA IS OUSTED. Justice prevailed, not personal attack but his voice just couldn't bring him further.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

American Idol 180407

It's the country music week and as usual, it's not an easy week as it needs different charisma and style to carry those country tunes. Martina McBride came in as mentor.
AAnd the show started with Ryan saying condolences to the victims family in the VT tragedy.

1. Phil Stacy - A Keith Urban number
He opened the show with his best performance so far and apparently he suited this genre as his whole performance is very good. Oh yeah, personally I think getting rid of the cap and appearing shaved is a good move.

2. Jordin - Broken Wings (Martina McBride)
A brave attempt to sing the mentor's song and she WOWed me and blowed me away!!! And having Simon said, "This is the 1st time since I met you, I think you can be the next American Idol", that is really a great boost for her since she was a regulars in the bottom 3. Hope she sailed through convincingly this time.

3. Sanjaya - Let's Give Them Something To Talk About
He did a bandana, terribly no doubt. And he's clearly very smart in using the media and people's attention to his everything EXCEPT his voice. I hope this will seal his fate in the bottom 3. Ryan was overly protecting him and Simon called him "big mouth".

4. Lakisha - Jesus Take The Wheel (Carrie Underwood)
My fear came true. It's always scary for the Black female contestant when it came to country music, and it had always been if you watch the previous seasons. Vocally she's the weakest among her own performances all these while. Her voice sounds different when the chorus came... Hope she can lift herself from the bottom 3.

5. Chris
So-so and with his entry to last week's bottom 3, I personally think he'll be too, this week.

6. Melinda
WOW!!!!! She's the most consistent one among all the contestants. No wonder Simon said he saw some TINA TURNER in that performance too!!! Melinda !!!!!!!

7. Blake
OK and I always think that he'll split the votes with Chris. But with his be-box ability he may have some advantage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Updated Posts + Some Ramblings

Updated the movie review of The Squid and The Whale, The King and the post on the HK Film Festival.

Sabah's political scene is in the limelight recently with the resignation of Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat from the state's cabinet and accepted by Pak Lah himself. Bet more new will come later.....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Peggie's Wedding - Labuan

The Labuan skyline taken from the Beta Apartment, Financial Apartment where we were being "stationed" by Peggie (thanks!)

The "Peggie-gang" who attended the wedding ceremony in the church.
1st (L-R) : Yee Sun, Chui Li, Mak Wai Wai
2nd (L-R) : Tong Siau Fui, Lawrence, me, Donny
3rd (L-R) : Kenneth , Lee Shau Yee, Kok Leong

Peggie walking down the aisle happily

The bride is ready to throw the flower to the singles.

They say the glow of the bride is eminent and it's obvious here shown by Peggie's smile.

Peggie is aiming the flower?

Get set!!!!!

There she goes! Notice the anticipating crowd at the back!

Taken at Peggie and Tshing Teng's house.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

26th HK Film Awards 金像奖

1st of all, Astro is cheating us by not showcasing the show as LIVE as it claimed!!! It's censored and they should pay us the money back!!!

Daniel Wu started the ball running by winning the new director award via 四大天王, since I haven't watch it, so no comment. Presented by 林嘉欣 刘若英 (coming soon...........)

I'm damn tired after watching the show and will post completely when I have time later....
However, some moments I just have to write it here........

Moments I like during the show:
1. When Lau Ching Wan got the long-overdue Best Actor Award, it was sooooo touching. His speech is short and sweet and with all the punches too. His win is somehow equivalent to Teresa Mo's win last year for Best Supporting Actress.
2. When Anita Yuen Wing Yi talked about the fans-star relationship. She's back....

(full post........)

1. Like the new MC combination of the fat guy in Kung Fu Hustle Chan Zhi Chong 陈子聪, Zheng Bao Yi 曾宝义 and Nick Cheong Ga Fai 张家辉. However, they should not emphasis and keep reminding everybody that they're not professional MC and may make mistakes. Once is enough but keep repeating that? And Nick is not doing any good by READING from the script card, yeah... understand that he's nervous in addition to the MC jobs as he was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor as well. I mean, you can be inexperienced but must be professional lah.
2. Anita Yuen 袁泳仪 came out to talk about the recent hoo-ha about Andy Lau's fans' father who committed suicide and the fans herself making so much headlines after that demanding apology from him. It's like a support voice for Andy though the little segment made the ceremony changed its tone to very dark and serious. No right or wrong but I like Anita's voice delivering that. Some actors can just act with voice, think Sylvia Chang 张艾嘉.
3. And as expected, the success of The Departed and Martin Scorcese's Best Director award gets prominent indeed continuous mention throughout the ceremony and it's hard not to feel that the slumping HK movie industry needed some Botox dose to revive its glory days and this came at the perfect timing. But too much of the mentioning is quite sickening.
4. Lau Ching Wan's 刘青云 long-overdue win was the highlight of the ceremony. He said that he deserved a long acceptance speech and the crowd applauded to that. He was nominated for 7 times already and like what happened to Teresa Mo (nominated 8 times), this deserving win further prove that you have to wait for the win and most of the time, the winning film may not be the actor's best work. Haven't watch his winning film though. Oh yeah... thank god Aaron Kwok didn't win haha.... I know it's a biased opinion but his consecutive win in Taiwan's Golden Horse enough lor....
5. Gong Li 巩利 won Best Actress for her outstanding boobs performance in The Curse of the Golden Flower. She managed to outdo Teresa Mo in 大丈夫2 , Rene Liu in Happy Birthday 生日快乐 , Li Xing Jie 李心洁 in 鬼域 and Liong Lok Si 梁洛丝 in 伊莎贝拉
6. I personally think Jay Chou's win (again, thank god he didn't win the Best Supporting Actor for his wooden performance in Golden Flower) in the Original Song category is practically due to his star power. Songs wise, I think the original song in The Banquet sang by the China singer, 张靓颖 is way much deserving as the Best Song in Movie. Jay's entry 菊花台 is a good pop song with Chinese musical instrument composition but didn't compliment the movie as the song in The Banquet did. I still remember the song at the end of The Banquet with Zhang Zi Yi and bulu romaku meremang. The performance of ALIVE is very refreshing though they are never the favourite to win the category.
7. As a award show, this is indeed quite boring. The presenters were mostly uninteresting and unfunny unlike last year with Sandra Ng and Carina Lau.

Sutera Harbour Treasure Hunt

Posing before the hunt start. (Me, Hiew, Teo and Leslie)

We were Team #1, well for being the 1st team to register. Took this shot for compensation of never gonna get the 1st placing haha.......

We got #8 in the Open Category Race, an achievement itself as we were dropped out from the major league (or main division as Leslie and Teo put it) during the previous Celcom DBKK City Hunt.
We got a novelty price of being the 1st to register and Hiew got a lucky draw price as well. Not bad huh?

The Sabahan's saving grace, Team Main Tembak (without 2 of their female teammates in the pics), Bernard and Alvin who got #2. Bravo! Christine said this time they were "Kena Tembak" instead haha.....

Friday, April 13, 2007

American Idol Result Show 120407

The whole group sang Bailamos...
Out of nowhere... even he appears with Gwen Stefani weeks before, Akon is onstage again hm....
Simon was red-faced when being poked fun about having to wear a bra. And Ryan is asking him whether a 20mil offer will make him sing onstage so.... expect some singing by Simon. I think the show is sensing its formulaic frame and tried to spice it up by doing something different.
And Tony Bennett the legend himself is such a sport. He acted as one of the rejects being condemned by the 3 judges and that's so funny.
J. Lo is taking the opportunity to promote her Latin album, going back to her root, which is a good move since Beyonce is all over the place...

OK, back to the business.....
Bottom 3 : Phil, Hailey and.... Chris (oh.. tis is very unexpected!!!)

Ousted : HAILEY

Thursday, April 12, 2007

American Idol 110407

It's the LATINO sensation this week, with J.Lo as the mentor.

1. Melissa - Sway
She has to do SEXY but she is not the material. I mean it's quite hard for someone with her personality and physical attributes. She sings well as usual but it's her comment of Simon's not-so-positive remarks that's the highlight of her whole performance. "Well, at least he has the chance to say something"

2. Lakisha - Conga
She chose to do some vocal acrobatic with the fast-lyric belting singing. And for the first time, Paula gives constructive comments, she said Lakisha's being safe. Wow.... impressed by Paula.

3. Chris - Smooth
Originally a collaboration of Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana, he managed to inject some modern uber feel to the performance. That's mostly because Sway and Conga are old songs. Clever song selection.

4. Hailey - Turn the Beat Around
A Gloria Estefan signature. OK, this lass know how to flaunt her asset as in her sexy legs but her maneuver of the stage is too blant and careful, I mean she moved around too cautiously yet too rushing like she's gonna catch her all-that-too-important flight to meet her dream guy. Vocal wise, it's Hailey.

5. Phil - Maria, Maria
Another Santana tune. Dun really like it. However, it made me think of the other ex-Idol in previous season, Mario Vasquez who I think will be able to carry this tune better. Well, it's quite difficult to pull the lationo feel.

7. Jordin - The Rhythm is Gonna Get You
Again, another nothing-special performance. She was asked what kind of music genre that she want to do next week and she chose 80's!!! And I totally agree!!! It will be fun to see lots of big hair and padded shirts with lotsa fluorescent

8. Blake - I Need to Know
J.Lo's beau, Marc Anthony's signature. I think he's the best of the night. All said.

9. Sanjaya - Besame Mucho
I can't help but anticipating his performance and Ryan intro him as "the embodiment of the Latino passion"? Another fave song of mine was BUTCHERED by Sanjaya.
And he keep a moustache this week, a way to divert ppl's attention to her meagre vocal perhaps? Simon said, "And I'm gonna hate myself for this, it wasn't horrible"

Sanjaya is really getting the nerve of the American with tonnes of fiasco such as www.Votefortheworst.com (where Sanjaya topped the chart) and Howard Stern's campaign to ask Americans to vote Sanjaya as a way to dismerit American idol.

AND AGAIN MY PREDICTION : Bottom 3 will be Hailey, Phil and Jordin. Maybe either one of Melissa or Lakisha will be bottom 3 but my bet is that Hailey will be out.

茶餐廳 "Cha Chan Teng" vs 嘛嘛档 "Mamak Dang"


Now, maybe we can apply the same for our own "mamak" culture.

The Squid and The Whale

Cast : Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline

Remarkable acting chops by the kids. Touted to be the director's own experience with childhood scarred by the parents' divorce, this is a very good and realistic portrayal of the life awaiting the children as a result of the divorce. A good movie, neglected by most.

The King

Director : James Marsh
Cast : Gael Garcia Bernal, William Hurt
I didn't know much about this movie initially but bought it because of Bernal and William Hurt. It turned out to be a very disturbing film, a VERY disturbing ones. However, no graphic scenes, no offensive image etc but the plot itself IS. Throw in revenge, incest, getting even with ur past etc. It's not a great plot though. It's just about Bernal's character went to look for his father after his marine service stint and found out that her father was now a respected pastor with a new family. Plot thickens with him engaged in a sexual relationship with his father's daughter (this is totally incest - and I can't decipher whether Bernal's character had this in his plan), killed his father's son and lives with his father's family before killing the daughter and the mother. Morally-challenging, not suitable for everyone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All The King's Men

Director : Steven Zailian
Cast : Sean Penn, Jude Law, Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Jackie Earle Haley

Being touted as one of those love-it-or-hate it kinda flicks. Amazing cast by Penn who exudes such an enigma of a politician who soons to turned into something he once against of, Law who's always a magnet of persona whose charm and aura made you like him especially when he's some tormented in-dilemma soul, Winslet is as usual convincing, and other great cast such as Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Hopkins, Jackie Earle Haley (whom last I saw in Little Children as a paedophile - and yes, he's gonna play bad character ALL the time) made the whole ensemble stood out. Some of the reviews call it historically inaccurate which I can't comment much as I dunno much about the history of that part of US of A (Louisiana, that is) and that era.
Lots of critics complained about Hopkins British-fueled accent as opposed to the Southern accent, I have no qualm about that. Well, Winslet and Law are Brits! Oh yeah.. made me think of The Holiday where Law was Winslet brother. (and by the way, The Holiday is a good movie, entertaining and funny)
Tightly knitted and with great dialogues, it's definitely something you wanna watch especially if you are very much interested in politics (not as in wanting to be a politician but merely a citizen who's concerned about his/her country).

I remember : You don't matter! You don't matter if you don't vote!!! So, to all those eligible Malaysian who has not register as a voter, please do.


Gosford Park

Director : Robert Altman

Cast : Kristin Scott Thomas, Dame Maggie Smith, Clive Owen, Emily Watson, Dame Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Ryan Phillippe, Jeremy Northam, Stephen Fry, Alan Bates
With career spanning decades (his first direction in 1951) with about 88 pieces of movies under his direction belt, Robert Altman deserved the Oscar Honorary Award he received in 2006 and I remembered it was presented by Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin, both working on his last film, A Praire Home Companion (APHC). He passed away later that year.
Admittedly I haven't watch any of his works besides Gosford Park (GP) and APHC. I remembered the poster of Pret-a-Porter when I was in pubescent age but never watched it. Of course, I heard the name of some of his more reknowned works such as M.A.S.H., Nashville, Short Cuts and The Player but never watch any of those mentioned.
Just comparing the 2 that I watched, I think he's quite a versatile director in terms of theme and genre. APHC is very US-like with the setting around cowboy-country but GP is centred in the aristocrate society in Britain during the most turbulent time with wars and the disintegration of the monarch.
Tea at Four
Dinner at Eight
Murder at Midnight
But GP is NOT a who-dunnit movie. Yes, the plot circling around the murder of one of the character but Altman chose to delve more on the different social class existing in the society at that time. I like the 2 world segregation created by him; the rich and classy ones up on the floor and the servants and maids under the floor.
Helen Mirren is totally different here, especially when her image now is more regal and associated with the royalties following her Oscar-winning portrayal in The Queen (another movie in my film roll waiting...). She is brilliant as the chief maid with hidden tragic stories under her stern expressionless face. Smith is funny and sharp as usual in a bitchy old Countess who's broke, a role too easy and frequent for her, Watson is brilliant (when she's not?) as the edgy maid with an affair which changed the tune of the plot, and lots of other actors churned out notable performance.
Love the intertwined story lines among the large number of characters, a signature of Altman's movie, as in APHC. What's next? Gotta search his older movies...
Watch this when you have time and dun rush. Pay attention to the dialogues and also small little gestures and facial expression of the actors as the Brits are real good! Of course the Brit accent is sexy too.

Monday, April 09, 2007

最紧要正字 English Word


Spotted in Giant Hypermarket in Sandakan.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Learning from TV 1 - Grey's Anatomy

life's not a spectator sport
win or lose, it's not the matter
it's an on-going match
so, argue with the referee, change the rule
play a little rougher, or cheat
take a break, rest for a little while
play hard, play fast
play loose and play free
play as if there's no tomorrow
ok, winning or losing is not the matter
~Dr. Meridith Grey

My Healthy Sunday Lunch

My idea of an ideal Sunday? Lazying around if I have the chance. But my apartment needs serious cleaning, scrubbing and sanitizing after being ignored since CNY. Oh yeah... occasional vacuum doesn't count right?

After the morning spent with cleaning and having a short nap in the hot mid-afternoon, the tummy gave a wake-up call. Having sudden craving for some macaroni. Moderately delicious with maggi chicken cube, some frankies and slice-fried egg with abalone mushroom. I guess what it lacked is some greenies. Not in the pic is some unseeded grapes and a can of ever-dependable Anglia Shandy. Oh.. no wonder I'm 70kg now hahaha......

I'm looking 4ward to a raining afternoon with a cup of hot Nescafe with a book in hand and Ella Fitzgerald or Stacey Kent playing.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Lexus and The Olive Tree

Bought this along time ago. Started this first though didn't manage to finish it. Ironically, I finished his other works first, i.e. Latitude and Longitude (LaL - his article on 9/11). And now still reading his The World is Flat.

I like his writing on the globalisation. As with LaL, I'm quite reserved with his tone on the American role in the world especially his undertone of US of A as THE superpower. In a way, it really tested my ability to embrace other people's opinion but hey, I succeeded and I finish the book and it did open my eyes to other opinions.

And yeah.... I'm gonna finish The World is Flat too. It costs me RM89.90 for God's sake!!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

大丈夫 2 (Men Suddenly In Black 2)

(coming soon....)
I didn't watch the 1st instalment but if the 1st instalment is about men/husband fooling around behind their wives so this time around, the 2nd instalment is about the wives getting some revenge. If the 1st instalment is a spoof of Infernal Affair 1 (无间道), then 2nd instalment is all about spoofing Election (黑社会). So, expect a lot of familiar scene twisted from Election and be prepared to laugh your heart out, especially if you watched Election before this.
I always have some reservations about HK movies nowadays, or should I say very selective and choosy. They tend to be "following-the-trend/一窝蜂". Just see how many Infernal Affairs wanna-be or look-alike came out after the orginal Infernal Affairs (and ironically, Infernal Affairs itself came out with a prequel and sequel!!!).
MSIB2 was actually co-produced by Teresa Mo's 毛舜筠's husband who also starred in the movie. She is also one of the screenplay writer and the original cast from 1st instalment along with Eric Tsang 曾志伟, Jordan Chan 陈小春 and Yuan Zhi Wei 原子蕙. A lot of surprise appearances or guest starring such as Sandra Ng 吴君如 , Tony Leung - voice only 梁家辉 , 曾华倩, 江欣燕, 梁小冰, 黎彼得,谭炳文,黄一山, 李斯棋,韩玛丽,关宝慧 etc... The early part especially the scene when all the wives gathered on the dinner table talking among themselves while the husbands also having their own men-talk is excellent!!! The dialogues are spot-on and soooo funny. Hail the script writer for this particular scene.
I will not touch much on the story or plot here cox it will be spoiler ahead.
The opening credits were funny as well. I summed up the funny ones (in the opening credit and in the movie) here for you. Sorry if the literal translation may not sounds funny as the funny tickle will be somewhere lost in translation. To make it worse for non-Chinese educated, there're some actually a spoof quote from the ancient Chinese literature as well.
( ) is pinyin in Cantonese
女人唔滚 男人唔紧 (nui yan ng guen nam yan ng gen)
women dun fool around, men won't care much
唔赌唔知时运高 唔滚唔知身体好 (ng dou ng ji si wen gou ng guen ng ji sen tei hou)
you don't know that you are lucky if you don't gamble
you don't know how fit your body if you don't fool around
小赌可怡情 大滚医绝症 (siu dou ho yi ching dai guen yi juet jing)
small gamble is good leisure fooling around can heal chronic disease (not logic right?)
故人西辞 《杜鲁志》 愿君永记 《中国城》
I can't translate this but get the joke as 《中国城》 refers to the biggest night club in HK
但求一泄 唔算变节 (dan kau yat sit ng suen bin jit)
just asking for a shot, nothing changed much
Other funny and 18SX remarks:
1. When they talked about the Hawkin's theory of Black Hole, they were mentioning other Black Hole as well.
2. The remark about 唔帮口 都帮下手
3. The remark about 3 minutes, 30 minutes and 3 hours
4. Police search
5. 何超仪 said 他摆进来,打个冷震就拿返出去,你估探热吗 (he put it in, shrug a while and take it out, he thought he's testing body temperature kah?) and then 黄又南 said 你探热就好了 我平时把下脉 好一点的话摸下骨咯 (yours ok lah, normally I only get to feel the nadi, if lucky, can stroke some bone lah)
6. Sandra Ng said 女人滚比男人滚有远见得多 男人滚是为了泄欲 女人滚是为了家庭和睦 (when women fool around, they are more far-sighted; men fools around to release their urge, women fools around to maintain the family harmony) - haha..... too sided on the women side I think
7. Sandra Ng said 签得纸结婚 就预了打这场仗 离婚就等于认输 (the moment the marriage certificate is signed, you are prepared to go to the battle. divorce means surrender in the battle)
Conclusion? Go watch and have fun laughing your heart out!!!!


(coming soon....)
I wanted to like this movie because :
1. The movie was nominated for Best Picture in 2007 Oscar along with other nomination in Best Director, Best Orginal Screeplay, Best Supporting Actress (2) and Best Original Musics Score.
2. The director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu previous works includes 21 Grams and Amores Perros impressed me.
3. Again, the director is one of the 3 Mexican musketeers who storms the international cinema, the others being Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro.
4. My fave actors, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Not to say that I am disappointed but maybe due to the timing itself, where we have been fed with so many same-theme (or almost the same) movies such as Crash, Syriana and The Constant Gardener So, it came less appealing to me in some way. Having said that, the film intersects nicely with 3 main plot closely and beautifully knitted. Having Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt as one of the main plot in Morocco maybe attributed to star power factor but it's rare to see Pitt in some "not-the-main" roles. Both are brilliant. All the actors were giving punching performances. Rinko Kikuchi, Adriana Barazza deserved the Oscar nomintation they got. Again, Gael Garcia Bernal is always likable. The Moroccan family (father and 2 sons) especially the younger son, Yasser is so good. And the two children under Barazza's care are a joy to watch as well (one of them is the sister of the super child actor, Dakota Fanning, they really look-alike)
The name of the movie itself is a very good marketing strategy itself. I remember it created quite a buzz even before the Oscar season as lots of people are debating how to pronounce the word Babel. Well, even if it's a gimmick, it's a successful one. Babel itself is the name of the tower which human decided to build to reach God during a era when all the human being speaks the same language, in the Bible. Enraged by this disrespectful act, God decided to punish human and separate them into different groups and speaks different language (I reserved the right to be wrong here as I haven't read this story before from the bible, so correct me if I am wrong. Having said that, I'm wondering why it's a disrespect and why punish in this manner?). So, the title blends well with all the 3 main story lines, which all deals with the communications between human; husband Pitt and wife Blanchett, Pitt and the remaining of the American tourists in the bus, the deaf girl with the whole non-deaf world around her, Adriana's illegal status in the freedom land of America etc.....
It entails how important is communication and the fact that small misunderstanding or miscommunications has great impact beyond our own imagination.
So, folks, COMMUNICATE!!!!

Updated Ha Long Bay Posts

Updated the Ha Long Bay posts with captions completed.

F1 in Sepang Circuit, Malaysia

The Ferrari in Rome (2005)

Me in my own Ferrari.

Happy Birthday

It's a very simple story. Not only simple, but the plot is predictable and nothing new compared to other movie that we had watch before. Originally a short story by Rene Liu (劉若英), it was adapted into screenplay by Rene herself and her mentor, one of my fave artist, 张艾嘉. Hailed as the next touching offering after 星愿 (director :马楚成) and 心动 (director :张艾嘉), it did work for me.

Yeah.. it's simple and no surprise in any of the plot development or storylines but who cares? I mean the portrayal is real though the earlier part where Rene acted as university student took a lot to fathom (luckily the uni life is just a short part of the movie). The dilemma faced by both the character is real and you will find that it happened around you a lot, or it may happen to you before.
Of course, I can't say I am not biased by the fact that 张艾嘉 had a hand in this and Rene Liu (劉若英) is one of my fave actress. This lass had captured my attention since I first saw her in The Personal (征婚启事)

Back to Happy Birthday, all the cast gave commendable performance, even Louis Koo. Yeah... even Louis Koo. Look for the later part of the movie where Rene was calling Louis in her car. Her performance was priceless. The only qualm I had is that the VCD I rented was in Cantonese!!! Rene's Mandarin is soothing and exudes such meaty performance and I had to endure her being dubbed in Cantonese. It's the same as listening to Gong Li speaks in Cantonese in The Curse of the Golden Flower. The strange thing is that I remembered Rene was speaking in Mandarin while Louis in Cantonese in The Making which I saw in TV sometime ago....

Synopsis in Chinese (sorry to those who can't read)

每年的生日,小米(劉若英飾)都坐立不安的等待著一封風雨不改的電郵,一封從小南(古天樂飾),一個她從來無法忘記的人寄來的生日電郵。這次,滂沱大雨之下,這封電郵遲了42個小時。 小米與小南被大學同學公認為會是最早結婚的一對。小米是個從沒安全感的女孩,因為害怕失去;小南是個受歡迎的男孩,他一心愛著小米,然而他從不能搞懂小米的想法。小南往外國升學後,二人分手了,卻仍然保持著相互取暖、比好朋友好的朋友關係。無論小米和小南身邊出現多少情人、無論小米怎麼口口聲聲的說她不會嫁給小南,身旁朋友都深深感到,小米只愛小南,小南也只愛小米,總有一天他們會名正言順的走在一起。 然而畢竟,他們盼望的都沒有來臨,一天,小南竟說自己將要結婚。小米這才醒覺,這一次,她是真真正正的失去小南。唯有……

Nina Wang 龚如心

She was one of the richest woman in Asia, with fortune about 3 times more than Queen Elizabeth. She controlled Chinachem Group which later expanded the business area into property as well. Her life was full of drama and she was one of the famous focal points of the media, especially in Hong Kong. She was kidnapped with her husband for sky-rocketing ransom figure but released. A few years after that, her husband was kidnapped again but never being released. This led to a long court-case with her father-in-law over the massive fortune and business empire left. She lost the control of the fortune once but fought back and was given the right during the second time of the legal proceeding.

She was well-known not only for her famous court case tussle with her father-in-law but also for her unique fashion sense (think Bjork). Her famous trademark is her cutesy two pigtails hairstyle and her fondness for the traditional chinese costume. Nicknamed as 小甜甜 (or literally translated as little sweetie), she generated lots of buzz for the media.

She even launched a cartoon series with the character based on herself. This woman is definitely a legend herself. She was not the typical over-spending rich woman as she claimed her monthly expenses is about RM1400 only!!!
She passed away earlier this week, allegedly from an acute cancer. With her death, the ever-going court case over the huge fortune left and also the debacle of wife-vs-father-in-law court battle was over. HK media reported, according one the close relative, her father-in-law saying, "What comes around, goes around (因果报应)" Sigh~
Anyway, she was a brave woman who was determined in fighting for her own right and having no fear for living for herself. With all due respect, may she rest in peace.

Holiday and Reflection

Cheng Beng Festival (Apr 5)
Good Friday (Apr 6)
Guan Yin Deity Festival 观音旦 (Apr 6)
Easter Day (Apr 8)
Malaysians are blessed with lots of holiday. Though not every states observe the same holiday, I think East Malaysians enjoyed more. Among 4 days above, only Good Friday is observed as holiday in East Malaysia. Hurray !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A long weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What similarity between Cheng Beng, Good Friday and Easter Day? For me, it's life and death. So, naturally lots of thinking flashed through my mind. When I listened to the HK Commercial 903 radio, the hosts were talking about the same thing as well. And maybe it's a coincidence that I had a conversation over msn and we had this conversation about death as well. I had written something in my previous post on this as well.

American Idol Ramblings

OK, this may be dismissed as the trivial post regarding some reality TV show but what the heck? I enjoyed the show no matter what.

The theme was American standards and the contestants were mentored by the legendary Tony Bennett. So, expect lotsa jazz and swing and big band!!!! My fave!!!! And the contestants were not disappointing as almost most of them performed well. My run-down as followed:

1. Blake - "Mack The Knife"
He started the show brilliantly. Nice vocal accompanied by slick and smooth dance move. Great.

2. Phil - "Night and Day"
I always have some reservation about his vocal though Bennett thinks he's a great singer. His rendition of Night and Day can be summed up by Simon's comment, "It has all the joy of someone singing in a funeral parlour" And I couldn't agree more.

3. Melinda - "I Got Rhythm"
She had a blast and she's a bomb (taking cue from Randy). I LOVE her. She exudes so much confidence and charm during her singing though when not singing, she kinda lacks it. Some memorable remarks from Paula Abdul, "your performance has a beginning, middle and end" which drawed irks from Simon who said, "Which song has no beginning, middle and end?" Also another good remark from Simon, "I don't think we have anything to criticize you anymore?..... You know, we want to be mean occasionally"

4. Chris - "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"
Nice polished performance. He'll definitely get around very much anymore.

5. Jordin - "opss.... I forgot the title"
She sang well indeed but personal notes, I couldn't remember well cox I think her selection of song is not really well-known. Having said that, it's a nice controlled performance (again, like Randy said) and draw another quote from Paula who said she's a magnet of joy and Simon was caught laughing on the camera when she said that!!!

6. Gina - "Smile"
She's totally gonna be ousted. No doubt about it. Not very much about singing but I think she lacks the persona that can charm the audience. And choosing a ballad, no matter how beautiful it is (taken from the final scene of a Charlie Chaplin's movie, Modern Times), in the middle of nice swinging, fun and cheeky numbers is definitely risky especially there's no WOW factor in the performance.

7. Sanjaya - "Cheek to Cheek"
To me, he dun bother about the singing anymore. He focused on the performance package, which includes his attire and hair-do which I can't comment as I'm no fashion expert here. Like what Simon said last week, "You live in your own world. The audience like you. Good luck". And this week, Simon said, "Let's try different tactics this week. Incredible". And my God, he literally butchered one of my fave song Cheek to Cheek.

8. Hailey - Ain't Misbehaving
She worked out the crowd and yes, she dressed sexily. Simon said, "You have nice legs". Cheekily performed, I think it's quite a good performance.

9. Lakisha - Stormy Weather
She closed the night's show WITH A BANG! I like her and Melinda very much but after few performances, I prefer Melinda more as Lakisha looks a bit tensed when singing and seems doesn't enjoy it as much as Melinda. Having said that, she's a powerful singer which deserves to stay much longer in the competition. Simon said, "Sassy great performance"

RESULT : Hailey, Phil and Gina in the bottom three and Gina was ousted.

P/S : I'm not that fond of Gina all this while but she bowed out gracefully. I mean the song itself was such an irony to her departure. Smile? Means that she has to smile (well.... unwillingly?) though it's a sad moment for her. And the lyrics didn't help much too !!!!

Smile, though your heart is aching,
Smile even though it's breaking,
When there're clouds in the sky, you'll get by

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Cheng Beng 清明节

Cheng Beng nowadays become a family exercise event. The whole family will get into sporting gear and bring some stuff, be it some paper-based worldly material goods or food such as chicken, char siew, fruits or kuih-muih to visit the grave of their ancestors.

In Sandakan, there are few graveyards but the biggest and oldest one will be the Bak Gong San (BGS) which is incidentally the name of so many graveyards in Malaysia. My family used to wake up VERY early (and I mean real early like 3am) and go to the market to buy things needed for the praying. However as time goes by, the things needed became simpler and more practical nowadays. I still remember my father used to purchase a packet of Lucky brand ciggie to burn for my grandpa (Chinese old traditional practice : They believe that burning anything will send those stuff to the other world to be used by those who passed away or sell salty duck egg). I wonder if you can find any Lucky brand now.

We will reach the foot of the BGS about 4am in the morning and it's dark, and I mean REALLY dark. If the moon is full then the area will be less dark but all the tombs will be very visible from the place we park our car. Most of the time we will be braving the dark and walk up the BGS and perform our prayer at my grandpa and grandma's grave.

Recently we are not that early anymore and by my family definition, that will be reaching there around 5am in the morning. Now this time we will be quite afraid, not afraid of ghost or spirit but more to the men (real life) with parang dan sabit. Not because they want to kill us but they are there to offer their service t clear the bushes and long grass growing vigorously around the grave site. Some ethnic-community based association will clear the area where most of their members' grave site are, saving their descendents effort to clear them before paying their respect.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What Sarah Moon Said On Photography

"I've never photograph reality"
"I've always feel that photography provides an opportunity for staging, for telling a story through images. What I aim at, is an image with a minimum of information and marks, that has no reference to a given time or place 0 but that nevertheless speaks to me, that evokes something which happened just before or may happen just after"
Sarah Moon born as Marielle Hadengues in 1940 in England
taken from WestEast Magazine 2005 Issue 15

Monday, April 02, 2007

16th Jan - 11th Day (Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, Vietnam)

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 1

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 2

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 3

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 4

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 5

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 6

Lots of boats in Ha Long Bay

On the way to the cave exploring

Signature postcard shot taken in one of the island where cave exploring is the main activity

With the aid of colourful lights, the view is quite spectacular inside the cave.

Taken at the cave entrance

The phallic stalagmite given a boost of emphasis of the red neon light.

17th Jan - 12th Day (Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, Vietnam)

Early morning in Cat Ba Island

The morning has broken. Taken in front of the hotel we stayed in Cat Ba island.

The hotel we stayed in Cat Ba Island.

Boat Children goes to school in the island.

Boat Children 2

The jungle-trekking in Cat Ba island. Not really a difficult trail indeed.
L-R : Lotte (Belgium), Rinalto (Switzerland), Ann (Belgium)
Front : Sharon (Australia)

With Kim (HCMC, Vietnam) at the peak
Local Ha Long Bay fishermen

Level post?

Boat with the Viet Cong flag

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 1

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 2

Picturesque Ha Long Bay 3

Me and Ann in kayak. I'm in safety jacket cox I dunno how to swim.

UNO time at night after dinner on boat.
Lotte, Ann and Rinalto
Me and Sharon