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“It has been said that to write is to live forever. The man who said that is now dead.”

Month: March, 2008

Uh-Oh…

    If I were a friend to a Rakan Masjid member, then would I be called…Rakan-Rakan Masjid?

    Uh-oh. A PAS Menteri Besar for Perak? So what now? These scenarios flew past my mind:

1. A bunch of us headed to the usual mamak stall for supper. As I was about to order my usual Maggi Goreng, the mapeleh dude says to me: “Bos, sini pompoan dodok la. Laki kena dodok seblah sana…” to which he adds “…jauh jauh seblah sana.”

2. Walking into the famous Lou Wong Taugeh Chicken shop, I noticed a newly-erected huge notice board on the wall bearing the word HALAL.

3. I sweared “Babi!” when I knocked my toe against a rock & the next thing I knew, I ended up spending a night behind bars for promoting an illegal animal in public.

4. I go with me girl to TGV Kinta City Ipoh to catch a movie. That night, we watched the same movie but in different halls, allocated according to gender. I ended up sharing my pop corn with some other girl’s boyfriend.

5. A new 24-hour mobile clinic team will be going from house to house across the state to implement the new compulsory “Lelaki Bersih Jantan Sejati, Sunatlah!” program. Special offer: First 1000 dicks get free & painless cuts. Free-of-charge services to boys yet to hit puberty as well as impotent men.

    Okay OKAY, I’m exaggerating.

    But though the scenarios above look seriously far-fetched at 1st glance, not all are as outrageous as first thought. I’m studying in a university in Perak, & the thought of going back there this July after my internship finishes for my final year gives me a tinge of frusfration. I am all for a Malaysian instead of a Malay, a Chinese or an Indian, believe me. But I more then understand DAP’s fear of PAS & it’s Islamic State ideology. & you can’t blame DAP for championing their so-called ketuanan Cina, how can you when we’ve all been subjected to ketuanan Melayu for so long without choice? & you can’t blame us Chinese for feeling a little cautious on this Perak MB tussle. Penang’s DAP declaring that they will not practise the heavily racial-based NEP, & Umno Malays are already protesting at Komtar. 1 bangsa? Yearite, a slight threat to their special privileges & they start protesting in the streets.

    Take a look at my university. They ban all religious societies or activities, but the biggest legal society in our university is Mosque Friends (RM, in BM). The organization, obviously a certain religious 1, not only makes up almost the entire student body council, they also seem to have been given full power & authority over all students of all races & religion. You are walking with a girl innocently at night & a group of KJ Mat Rempit wannabes encircle you & force you to go back to your own rooms. During music competition events like Euphonious (a battle of the bands) & Star Search (a singing competition) protesters linger at the hall entrances trying to convince the crowd to not attend such “haram” entertainment events, even giving out brochures on how “haram” these stuff were. An anti-RM blog comes up & they simply & randomly interrogate students whom they “suspect” are involved with the blog. Worse, during public events like our Convocation Fair & the Malam Merdeka, male & female seatings were segregated. The public consisting of our parents & family had first-hand view. What, you thought only those schools that appeared in the papers had gender segregation rules? No, it’s beginning to enlarge in my own darn uni. It does not matter whether you are Indian, Chinese, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindraf-ist or even if you worship a toilet bowl, you are still, however indirectly, subjected to their rules. Not university rules, but their rules. It’s like they are already forming their own government at university level, creating their own authority, these friends of a mosque.

    I’m not anti-Malay, in fact far from it. I also love my own university, despite this looming issue. I know that there are excellent individuals among the RM people & my Malay counterparts, as well as I know that there are bad seeds among us Chinese as well. My primary school Malay mates & my current colleagues in my department are examples of great individuals. But it’s stuff like what’s happening in politics & places closer to me, like my university, that supports my cautious approach to news like Perak’s new MB. If something like this is in full implementation without limitation in a university, what more in a whole bloody country? I will not waste my time debating why Perak’s new MB is from PAS despite them having least seats among the opposition, nor argue about the constitution, I have already accepted that. Nor would I discuss how Khairy lost at 1st count, ordered a recount & suddenly won by a 5000 majority at Rembau. Quite simply, with BN gaining less than 50% of the total votes in Peninsular, showing how strong the Opposition is right now, I just hope that the 5 scenarios above will remain as outrageous & far-fetched as they first seemed. We asked for a change, but not this manner of a change. The new MB for Perak is positioned at the top of a crucial mixed state, & he’s in a great position to lead a positive change for all races. Let this not be a downhill fight for him & us, but a shining chance & hope for more growth in overcoming racial & religious lines towards us being true Malaysians.

    For now, can I instead just be a Rakan Jessica Alba? That, she can implement whatever rules she wants, yea baby.

We Oppose!

    “Huuu huuuu…Samy Velluuuuuuu…the best news in the world!”

    That reaction from my dad says it all yesterday, when the idiot box declared the news of Uncle Sam’s highly-anticipated defeat at Sungai Siput. That, coming from a 61-year-old, mind you.

    “Finally”. That’s the perfect word to sum up the political tsunami that swamped Malaysia. & though we sort of expected it, but we sure as hell didn’t predict it would be this thunderous. Winds of change? More like a hurricane of change, I figure.

   With 5 states in the Opposition hands, as well as almost all key areas in KL (the rather cute Nurul Izzah trouncing old Shahrizat), it is time for the Opposition show us what they can do. Yes, they might not be able to change much for these coming 5 years with BN likely to limit funds to the 5 states anyway, but a change has to be initiated. You guys got our vote, now it’s time you prove to us that our votes weren’t wasted. & I do hope no one is stupid enough to go on a public victory parade again. Please, do not stupidly give a chance to those Umno blokes to instigate another riot and put the blame on the Chinese (yes, I’m talking about another May 13th).

    On a day when even the likes of Koh Tsu Koon & Chew Mei Fun were ousted, good news also came when ZAM, our public-humiliation Information Minister lost as well. But nothing could have even come close to the relief of the end of Uncle Sam’s reign. Hey, it was even reported the chap with the prosperous belly said he was going to go back home to have a bath before results were announced. It was definitely the longest bath in his life, for he never came back to the polling center. At least Koh portrayed himself to be a gentleman of a loser, conceding defeat & handling the press with emotions controlled as well as he could (that defeated face was hard to hide even for the strongest of men).

    The results in KL reflect the colossal difference between voters from different backgrounds. Yes, to put it bluntly, only the foolish & (forgive me if I’m insulting anyone) the kampung people will eat up BN’s crap talk. The young, especially those in the city, are highly likely to ponder what was written in Malaysia Today rather than lap up the lies BN forces upon local newspapers. Indeed we would choose alternative media over Government-controlled media anytime. Look at the papers & TV news today. Instead of covering the rise of the Opposition, they focused & blabbered on & on about BN’s “gracefulness” in accepting defeat & EC declaring that the shocking results were proof that the election was not rigged (oh, so now you’re talking eh?). Puhleeeeze. Don’t even get me started on the covered-up indelible ink fiasco.

    The defeats in Penang & Perak displays the strong dissastifaction among Chinese voters. To be fair, I don’t think they had issues with MCA, it was more like voting against Umno. Moreover, BN would have even struggled to get past the half mark in the Parliamentary seats race if not for their sweep in Perlis, Johor & the least-demanding people in Sabah & Sarawak. Take Sabah & Sarawak out of the equation, & see what Peninsular gives you, simple.

    It’s too early to rejoice, people. Yes, we have prevented BN the 2/3 majority, & 5 states were claimed. With 82 Parliamentary seats, the Opposition voices were never stronger than now. But will they improve things & bring to debate the issues of the people, or will they add to the existing crap & simply continue the Dewan Rakyat’s tradition of tok-kokking? Even if we get past that, words mean nothing without action, which was basically the simple reason that explains BN’s downfall in the eyes of many people like me. We say BN’s motto is simply “Plan well (& forget about implementation)”. Will Badawi still continue to sleep for 4-5 years & only wake up during election period? All I know now is that there will definitely be more noise in the parliament, that’s for sure.

    I do not believe that the Opposition will be much (or any) better a government than the BN people, at least for the near future. I just hope that this colossal slap in the face will wake our government up to our voices, & that the opposing team will make them improve. For starters, BN must use whatever remaining balls they have to admit their mistakes. The word “change” has been used almost always as a motto or slogan in any parties or candidates running in the elections in any parts of the world, but that word has never been more significant in Malaysia than right about now.

   In the mean time, most in the BN clan are probably thinking: “F**k, wasted all our efforts & money in patching up the pot holes & roads in the past weeks!”, while Uncle Sam probably does not want to step out of that bathroom cubicle of his, ever.

“Thundercats Are Go!”

    Boy was this year’s Academy Awards a depressing affair. With movies I’d probably never watch if it wasn’t because of their Best Picture nominations (e.g. brooding & bloody There Will Be Blood & winner No Country For Old Men) leading the pack, I was grateful for some uplifting moments thanks to Enchanted songs’ performances & Juno’s Diablo Cody (stripper-turned-1st-time-screenwriter) delightful but deserving win for Best Original Screenplay. Yup, on that night, I snored at the big picture, director, actors winners as always. For me, the more memorable & jubilating moments came from an impressive show-stealer Amy Adams who first sang “Happy Working Song” live & solo, then danced during Jon McLaughlin’s “So Close” performance, & ended the night as a presenter. It was perhaps a tad too cruel for Enchanted (Alan Menken, again) to have 3 nominations & performed 3 times that night, but still ended up losing in the Best Song category, but winner, indie Once with the song “Falling Slowly” put up an engaging performance enough to justify the win. I was also elated when The Bourne Ultimatum ended the night with 3 awards for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing & Film Editing, as well as for Diablo Cody’s marvelous win, but almost spat my food on the TV when The Golden Compass was announced as winner of Best Visual Effects. Excuse me?

    But I’m not here to talk long about the Academy, I’m here to specifically share my views on the other 2 Best Picture nominations. I’ll start with Atonement. I must say, new director Joe Wright, who brought us 1 of my favourite movies of all time, the wonderful Pride & Prejudice, is 1 talented dude. This time he attempts a much more challenging turn, to tell us a story of a novel within an adapted novel, & though with several flaws, the end result is nevertheless still impressive. With yet another fantastic cast (Knightley, McAvoy, & newcomer Saoirse Ronan), I thought the movie was horribly slow-moving most of the times but it did enough to keep my eyes, & mind, on the screen. & then, came the massive blow, the extremely powerful ending. I’m not going to spoil anything for you guys, but I must say that though it was not the typical tear-jerking ending, it was shocking as much as it was moving. McAvoy certainly gets a lot of screen time, with Knightley being slightly more limited perhaps undeservingly. However, Briony Tallis is the central character & the main focus of this movie. Saoirse Ronan was so good as the young Briony that I hated her so much (exactly what you should be doing, in case you are wondering). Romola Garai, though massively talented herself, didn’t quite fit the teenage Briony & presented a bump in Briony’s growing-up flow. I don’t know how to put it, but she sort of portrayed things that the Briony character just wouldn’t seem to do. Perhaps the hardest character to fit as the old & aging Briony, Vanessa Redgrave gave the most expressive close-up performance of the 3 “Briony”s, especially when delivering the honest reality beyond her novel.

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    However, I didn’t like the ending scene of Cecilia & Robbie together at the beach. It just didn’t quite feel right especially after the tell-all by Briony. All in all, though Joe Wright gives us a much more dramatic & epic-scale movie in Atonement, the sweet & simple Pride & Prejudice will remain much more memorable for me. The same could be said for the soundtrack, when you compare Dario Marianelli‘s epic work for Atonement to his lighter but charming Pride & Prejudice scores. Yes, it was yet another awesome score from Marianelli for Atonement (thus his Oscar win), his trademark piano tinglings ever present, delivered with smart but over-used typewriter syncopated beats. That can get tiresome after a while & before you realize it you’d be saying “dang, those typewriters again!”. At times I also felt the music was too dramatic, but it perhaps represented the heavy & looming consequences of what was happening on screen well. I guess everyone will also notice that rather amazing but too intentional long fluid shot of Dunkirk beach, even having time to include the choir of soldiers singing to perfectly match the accompanying sweeping music score.

    Now I’m not going to stop myself on my 2nd movie review, I’m gonna rave all I want about Juno! Oh man, how long have I waited for something like this. Juno is, quite simply, witty, charming, & engaging all in one! Hey, so it’s a little too over-rated, but no one can deny it’s a must-watch. It covers a story about how a young woman is coping with an unplanned teenage pregnancy told in the wittiest of ways. By now everyone would know that Ellen Page is talent beyond her age (I still get a surge of pain in my balls when remembering her disturbing but effective turn in Hard Candy) & that she was way more than a cutesy face who runs through walls away from a dumb-ass Juggernaut (Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand). Sure as hell she stole the entire show, & only she could pull off Juno’s quirkiness & those kick-in-the-nuts lines Diablo Cody wrote. Aiye, she WAS Juno. But I must also mention the supporting casts, no one was less than stellar in their respective roles. From Jennifer Garner’s tight wife role, to JK Simmons & Allison Janney as Juno’s supportive family, to an equally quirky Olivia Thirlby as Juno’s best friend, Leah, what a cast! Even Jason Bateman & Michael Cera’s under-rated turns were brilliant!

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    Much has been said also about the superb script, & yes, the lines churned out by Juno & the other characters are the most memorable, aside from Page’s performance. I’m gonna let them do the talking then, through these favourite quotes I took from IMDb:

Rollo: [to Juno about her pregnancy test] This is your third test today, Mama Bear. Your eggo is preggo, no doubt about it.
Tough Girl: [
to Juno] It’s easy to tell. Is your nipples real brown?
Rollo: Maybe your boyfriend’s got mutant sperms. Knocked ya up twice.

Juno MacGuff: … Anyway dude, I’m telling you I’m pregnant and you’re acting shockingly cavalier.
Leah: Is this for real? Like, for real for real?
Juno MacGuff: Unfortunately, yes.
Leah: Oh my GOD. Oh shit! Phuket, Thailand!
Juno MacGuff: There we go. That was kind of the emotion that I was searching for on the first take.

Mac MacGuff: [after Juno told her parents she was pregnant] Did you see that coming?
Bren: Yeah… but I was hoping she was expelled, or into hard drugs.
Mac MacGuff: That was my first instict too. Or a DUI… anything but this!

Juno MacGuff: As far as boyfriends go, Paulie Bleeker is totally boss. He is the cheese to my macaroni.

Juno MacGuff: When I see them all running like that, with their things bouncing around in their shorts, I always picture them naked, even if I don’t want to. All i see is pork swords.

Vijay: I’m gonna stop wearing underwear. Raise my sperm count.

Mac MacGuff: Thanks for having me and my irresponsible child over your house.

Vanessa Loring: You think you’re really going to do this?
Juno MacGuff: Yea, if I could just have the thing and give it to you now, I totally would. But I’m guessing it looks probably like a sea monkey right now and we should let it get a little cuter.
Vanessa Loring: That’s great.
Mark Loring: Keep it in the oven.

Paulie Bleeker: I still have your underwear.
Juno MacGuff: I still have your virginity.

Leah: I wish my funbags would get bigger.

Juno MacGuff: …Whoa Bren! You’s a dick! I love it!

Juno MacGuff: [yelling through the house] Uh, dad?
Mac MacGuff: Yeah?
Juno MacGuff: Either I just wet my pants… or…
Mac MacGuff: “Or”…?
Juno MacGuff: Or… THUNDERCATS ARE GO!

Juno MacGuff: OWW! OWW! Fuckity OWW!

    What a riot.

    On another note, I’ve noticed Paramore has garnered a steadily growing fan base especially since their Best New Artist Grammy nomination, so good for them. Just keep on churning those great rocking music guys, along with those awesome acoustic videos too! & Hayley, you were flaming red hot that Grammy night, but throw away that dress! There are rumours of internal issues within the Paramore clan, fueled even more after news of the cancellation of the remainder of their European tour. I can only hope the rumours will remain rumours. The Grammys this year: absolute bore. Winehouse was totally weird, & Tina Turner performing? What a fiasco. At least Kanye West gave a blazing glow-in-the-dark show, while Alicia Keys & Foo Fighters were, as always, dependable live. Oh, all the surprising piano performances were superb, weren’t they?

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