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Month: April, 2008

The Truckers Slay Them All!

    On the 26th of April (last Saturday), the annual Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Inter-Department Badminton Tournament took place at Menara TM’s Multipurpose Hall. Each participating department team consisted of 2 pairs of men doubles & 1 pair of mix doubles (+ reserves), where each round winner will be determined by the best of 3. Among some of the teams that participated were representatives from Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars Dept, Finance & Controlling Dept, Pekan Assemblying Plant, Commercial Vehicles (MB & Fuso) Dept & students from the Mercedes-Benz Academy Training Centre.

MBCV Team A & B

MB Commercial Vehicles Team A & Team B together, in our Mitsubishi Fuso kit

Team ATC

MB Academy Training Centre

Finance & Controlling Dept.

& the best-dressed award goes to…Finance & Controlling Dept, har har

The trophies at stake

The trophies with the famous star logo

    The day belonged to my team, Slayer (Commercial Vehicles Team A) which beat hot favourites See-Da-Hand (Academy Training Centre, ATC) in the final 2-1 to emerge overall champions. Our 1st men doubles pairing, Gary & Kamarol, did superbly in disposing the 1st pairing from ATC (1 of them was a super-smasher state player by the way) in 3 hard-fought sets, especially in the 1st set which they won only by a mere point. See-Da-Hand leveled the team score when they trounced us in the mix doubles match, before Jason & I took the court in the final decisive 2nd men doubles match. We took the 1st set rather convincingly, before losing the 2nd set meekly. Thankfully we both regained our form, & my partner was really good, so I just had to support him in the 3rd set, to finally land the needed winning point for the team. The Joker (Finance & Controlling Dept.), led by their very own Vice President Ralph Kirshmer, ended up taking 3rd placing.

1st Men Doubles

Our 1st men doubles in action against ATC

FiCo

How to play against the pairing of the Vice President & Senior Manager in charge of our company’s finances? You beat them, they cut funds for your gaji. Luckily HR dept. didn’t play…

Huh?

Su Wen got the biggest cheers for cutest & confused look of the day…& that fitting shirt

Me!

Yours truly in action in the final…this time in our MBCV kit

    As the tournament was played in the 21-point format, mistakes proved costly throughout our entire game. I played so “kan-cheong”ly at times that Gary warned me rather menacingly just before the final: “Kevin you better play with your brains ah! You don’t use your brains I straaaangle you ah!”, hahaha. I also seemed to have suffered the 2nd set disease, because I won every 1st set & then lost every 2nd set in every round all the way to the final, which meant every game I played went to rubber sets. What the heck man.

With Ralph

Receiving my trophy from Ralph Kirshmer, V. President of Finance & Controlling Dept

Champions!

With our champion trophies…the truck slayers! Ok, that was lame…

    All in all, it was indeed a spirited experience, filled with laughs especially from the super hyper mix doubles team from Pekan who fumbled their way through their match in the 1st round. The girls who participated certainly liven up things & kept everything less serious. Some of our umpires made us laugh when they got confused, losing count using the unpopular 21-point format. At the end of the day, it was all in good spirit & sportsmanship, & of course, fun.

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Of Women & Blockbusters To Come…

    Damn that income tax radio advertisement. The government actually composed a happy song to advertise their reminder to everyone to submit their income tax forms? What the fart? Since when did income tax=happy? The song goes, all radio-friendly pop rock happy style, in the chorus: “Selalu diingatkan~~…blablabla…selalu diingatkan~~!!!” or something, & then ends with a voice-over going “Submit your income tax forms now. This message is brought to you by Lembaga Hasil Dalam…”. Mental.

    Today is Women’s Day for Kevin.

    Who dares to disagree with Megan Fox being no.1 in “FHM’s Top 100 Sexiest Women In The World of 2008”? I’ll shoot your crotch.

Megan Fox in Transformers

    Who the hell looks that hot while bending over a beat-up Corvette bonnet? Oh yea, we guys dig a chick in a mini skirt, bending over a car, & knows her “double overhead cam shafts” well. Though she can’t act to save her life, she has the ability to make Optimus Prime transform a mechanical hard-on in a second. & the rest of the top 5 ain’t that bad either.

FHM Top 5

    Proof that the top 5 really are the sexiest women in the world? I thought the world was going to end when Adam Sandler (yes, that bastard) laid his dirty palms on Jessica Biel‘s bikini-clad hooters. I thought the world really has ended when Jessica Alba announced she’s been knocked up & all pregnant. Next, who the hell does not want Elisha Cuthbert to be our girl next door? & to round up at no.5 is the one with the most famous golden globes in Hollywood that everyone wants to get their hands on, Scarlett Johansson.

    The list was pretty awesome until I puked seeing Hilary Duff making the Top 10, & worst, Britney making the Top 100. Bless me, who the hell still finds anything close to sexy in a totally screwed-up drunk exposing her V to anyone who wants to see it?

    Okay okay, before I get carried away in exposing my overdriven male hormones online, I would like to point out to some other categories of women celebrities which you probably could not find in a hot-blooded magazine like FHM. Now that we know what FHM (in other words, most of the world male population) thinks, what do I think? If you noticed, the majority of the women in sexiest women polls across the globe always are made up by a majority from the 16-30 years of age range. So let’s take a look at the ranges that do not get as much recognition, but from my personal point of view, really are the significant ones in the entertainment world. After all, sex does sell, but talent & uniqueness stay much longer. Let us take a look at the really young, & the old.

The Young Wonders

    This is where the word sexy does not exist yet, but rather, more importantly, when pure talent & hardwork really show. & for me, this is by far my favourite people to watch out on the screen, when the young ones show us what they can really do.

The Young Wonders

    Anna Paquin amazed everyone with her Academy Award winning performance in The Piano when she was just 10 years of age, & Drew Barrymore was too cute for words in E.T.. But Dakota Fanning was the one that really caught my attention the most, with her absolutely spectacular performance in I Am Sam & Taken. Then came Rachel Hurd-Wood in Peter Pan, with her hot lips matching her sweet English charm. Emma Watson delighted with her haughty-turned-hot Hermione Granger in the Potter movies. Last year belonged to big-eyed AnnaSophia Robb, who single-handedly carried Bridge To Terabithia & saved The Reaping. Finally, Abigail Breslin‘s outstanding turn in Little Miss Sunshine, followed by her believable jungle girl in Nim’s Island & endearing daughter in Definitely, Maybe, confirmed her status as the most wanted young prodigy in Hollywood this year. I would also like to mention Ellen Page, the now famous Juno actress who though might be older than the rest above, is definitely the most intensely gifted young actress of all.

    Just to add, I think Miley Cyrus is over-rated. & I do not appreciate her boasting during the Idol Gives Back telecast. Her voice is icky, & she’s not talented at all at anything she’s doing.

The Elegant Veterans

    We’ve done young & talented, while FHM has settled the sexy ones for me, so let’s go for the highest in the pecking order, the ones above the 35 years of age at least. These people amaze me because of their ability to mesmerize us with their supreme confidence, versatility & elegance on screen through all the years of their career.

The Elegant Veterans

    Okay, so I won’t go as far as Judi Dench or Sissy Spacek, but my favourite “veteran” has to be Julianne Moore. She’s so bloody convincing she even made Evolution bearable & quite funny. Do I need to say anything that has not been said about Nicole Kidman, the gorgeous Australian actress that really became her own after dumping Tom Cruise, or the alluring Jennifer Connelly, who matches her onscreen elegance with strong performances? Next would have to be Britain’s most glamorous offer, Rachel Weisz. She made a name for herself as the charming bumbling librarian in The Mummy & I’ve been hooked ever since; I even loved Eragon’s dragon solely for the dragon’s voice itself (which Weisz voiced, of course). If elegance was the word for Connelly & Weisz, when it comes to versatility, there is only one name that could live up to it & even surpass it: Cate Blanchett. It takes alot of balls (even more for a woman, since she has none) to be as scary as Cate was in the Elizabeth movies, but it takes even more to be Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator & Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, in which she was stunning in both roles. I even loved her less dramatic roles in Babel & Notes on a Scandal. Just for an exception, I would like to list out Catharine Zeta-Jones, who isn’t exactly a very good actress, but whose beauty in The Mask Of Zorro I could never quite forget. Oh yea, watch out for mom-of-2 Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s making a comeback & looking mighty fine in Iron Man.

    Alright, enough about women. It’s time to talk about the only thing that matters when we’ve arrived at this time of the year. It’s time for the summer blockbusters, the must-sees of the year! Are you ready for…oh crap, look at Eva Longoria, how can I resist her when she’s lying down like that?

Over Her Dead Body

    Wait wait…no no. What I really mean is…are you ready for the big ones to hit our screens soon?

Summer Blockbusters

    First up is of course Iron Man, with Robert Downey Jr. in the leading role. I sure hope this would match Batman Begins, where the character is bigger than the hero. Christian Bale nailed it when Bruce Wayne became the leading character & not Batman, & Downey Jr. sure looks capable of doing that. Oh, he’s also driving my dream car of the moment, the Audi R8, in that movie. Next up would be the most anticipated Lucas-Spielberg return of Indiana Jones & the B-Grade Sounding Title, sorry, I mean the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, with Harrison Ford, Shia Labeouf & Cate Blanchett. The emo green man is also returning in the form of Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk (no more plastic Ang Lee versions please!) & Liv Tyler is in it, so I’m watching it. Everybody should know also by now that Tony Stark@Iron Man (Downey Jr.) will make a cameo appearance here. Wanted looks like a promising special effects bomb, since it’s coming from the director of Night Watch & Day Watch, that were filled with absurd out-of-this-world effects. & Angelina Jolie is in it, so that’s that. Enough has been hyped about The Dark Knight, & Heath Ledger’s The Joker looks set to be the mind-blowing villain everyone’s anticipating. Whatever it is, this will be my most waited movie of the year.

    Let’s not forget the other movies that just might spring a surprise & knock the socks off us all during this period.

Are They Gonna Be Hits?

    Hellboy, or the stupidly-renamed-by-our-censors Super Sapiens, was full of fun & it became an unlikely entertaining ride back then, & it’s sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is coming to our shores in July. Is it just me or is Selma Blair looking hotter than ever? Then there’s Hancock, a twist at a superhero tale concerning a hero with some PR issues who’s played by the only man that could pull this off, Will Smith. The next is an offering from M. Night Syamalan, The Happening, which I can only hope is as good as it’s mystifying trailer. Something about plants making people commit suicide or something…at least the poster looks promising. & finally, The X-Files 2: I Want To Believe; will it bomb or will it be able to recapture the TV series’ magic?

    Oooo I just hope it will be a good “summer-blockbuster” period, seeing that the only movie that has really captured my interest in 2008 so far was the explosive Cloverfield earlier this year. Oh yea, for some sleeper hits, you might wanna watch The Mist, which might have done better if it wasn’t released in the same time with Cloverfield, since it’s concept story is pretty much the same.

Current addiction: Breaking Benjamin’s “The Diary of Jane – Acoustic Version” & everything of Paramore.

Music, From Hearts to Hearts…

    I’m writing this in response to, or rather to compliment what Chee Fai wrote in his “I Wish I Can Play Music” entry in http://faiker.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/i-wish-i-can-play-music/#comments.

    Indeed, there are many reasons that would support the urge to create & play music. For me, one is unable to play real music when the purpose is to impress the other sex, full stop. Music should be taken up for the sole reason of the love & joy for music itself. I was lucky to have a dad who forced me to press my tiny little fingers against the keys of a piano back when I was too young to understand that in order to go really far in music, love & interest is not enough without talent or practice. However, after a few maturing years of constant training & practising, I then understood that more importantly, without loving & enjoying the music you play, when it doesn’t come from the heart regardless of how hard you practise, when the vibrations creating beautiful sounds does not send you tingles even a bit, your music will never be as good as it should be.

    As such, music is to be what it always should be, from the heart. That’s what so great about it in the 1st place, when you play music in the sincerest & most honest of ways, chances are it’s already good music without you realizing it.

    Adding on, I would also like to point you all to the other side of music. Beautiful isn’t it, when music can be loved & enjoyed in many ways aside from creating or playing it; it is also meant to be heard & shared. After all, what good is playing music when there are no ears (whether your own or others) to appreciate it. Everyone who loves music can play a role, from playing to listening to sharing; that makes music beautiful & unique. Everyone who plays music starts playing by learning other people’s music, & everyone improves their music by playing other people’s music! You listen to some good music a DJ was spinning at a club or on radio, or some random guy at the streets or at a pub, & you share it with your friends. Some try to learn the song, & then someone who just happened to hear it attempts to improvise with his own version. This then inspires one to create their own music, & someone else listens to that music & puts it up online, & the many other means of sharing it with others, & the cylce continues. Just take a look at the “Canon In D” electric guitar versions in YouTube, that was a phenomenon when so many people from all around the world just started sharing their own versions. So you see, everyone plays a role, the ability to listen, hear & appreciate music & then share it is very much an important talent as being able to play or create something.

    Then we come to the question of comparing music with other talents. Well, I do not have an answer for that, nor can I answer why chicks supposedly dig musicians. But to put it simply, I can only say that music is the one thing that everyone can relate to, whether in love, anger, curiosity, frusfration, sadness & despair, & the most driving reason: hope. It gives us a sense of meaning of the ways of the world, & allows us to express ourselves & relate to others in ways only music could allow. When you can’t use your fingers to pluck the strings of a guitar, or to play the white & black keys of a piano, or you can’t use your hands to caress the bow against the strings of a violin, then use your ears & your heart to appreciate music, because other capable fingers & hands need them. You never know when someone needs them, & who knows, you just might have made someone’s day.

    From hearts, to hearts.

Arsenal: Shattered Promises…

    Unbelievable. Another season, but the same shit happens. Arsenal’s promising season collapsed towards the end, yet again, & in a manner of weeks, yet again.

    I was 1 of the few fans who always trusted Wenger, no matter what drastic decisions he makes. He has made many in recent seasons. It started with Viera. & when Henry, who will always remain a Highbury (& a brief Emirates) legend, left for Barcelona, I knew it was not the big disaster many made it out to be. Don’t get me wrong, nobody could do what Henry did in Arsenal, but from what I saw last season, the team was so over-reliant on him that players around him suffered when he played poorly, & he was not exactly the most encouraging team-mate on field. I saw his departure as the door finally being opened for Van Persie & the rest of the Gunners to finally breathe.

    It was indeed the right decision. Arsenal’s youthful team played superb football, while Henry is far from his best at Barcelona. It started off in the most promising of ways. Yet again, Wenger chose to not sign any big stars, we all know he has an eye for purchasing unknown gems & turning them into stunning players (Anelka & Henry, among many many other examples). Fabregas is without doubt the most visionary & irreplaceable midfielder in the Premier League, & my personal favourite, Van Persie should be 1st choice in front. Flamini had an outstanding season, & his inclusion in the first-team over Gilberto was justified, while Hleb finally showed spectacular skills we all knew he was capable of; he had a fantastic season. Gallas & Toure formed a formidable understanding at the heart of defence for 3 quarters of the season, Sagna was maturing fast, & the most under-rated player in the team, Clichy, was bombing forward like a hurricane with boundless energy for the entire season. United, Chelsea & Liverpool fans will not agree, but Arsenal played the most impressive football of the season. Look at the way we played against AC Milan at San Siro in the Champions League.

    So what in Wenger’s underpants went wrong for the Gunners?

    The League Cup was never a priority in Wenger’s eyes. Then came the 4-0 drubbing in the FA Cup. Wenger proclaimed it was not their priority for this season as well. But it was the turning point for Arsenal’s flying momentum, as they went through a winless streak in the league since then. Then we drew twice with Liverpool, only to be downed heartbreakingly 4-2 in the 2nd leg of the Champions League quarter-final. Adebayor’s equalizer in the 84th minute was barely celebrated when the penalty from Gerrard arrived. United hammered the final nail in when they undeservingly became 2-1 victors in the Premier League, effectively ending Arsenal’s gallant, promising but shattered season. In the Liverpool 2nd leg match, Arsenal played football worthy of champions in the 1st half, only to collapse in the 2nd half & the final 5 minutes of the match. This was again the case in the Manchester United match. The 1st half was filled with a fantastic display of attacking football from Arsenal, only to be let down by finishing & Song, who was erratic in central defence. We just couldn’t bloody score, & we were punished in the 2nd half. We can complain about the penalty that was never given in the Liverpool 1st leg, but the fact is, we were at fault for our defeats.

    The trouble signs were always there from the beginning. Henry leaving was not 1 of them, it was the perfect opportunity for Van Persie. But this extremely talented forward spent most of the season injured, which was the biggest blow for me. Though I admit Adebayor has scored the more important goals for Arsenal for this season, I’ve never liked his style of play, & he was certainly nowhere near being the Henry-replacement Wenger said he was. Van Persie proved a point when he finally returned from the long injury, when he played like he never left the field at all, only to get another knock. By the time he returned again, it was already too late for Arsenal. Walcott showed glimpses of his true potential in that outstanding run during the Liverpool match & the 2 goals against Birmingham, but he was still taking too long to develop into a true 1st team player. The Gallas & Toure partnership faltered towards the end of the season, & worst, Gallas’s (whose appointment as Captain I never quite agreed) public outbursts was an embarrassment to the club & us fans. Sanderos should have played a bigger role, but he was only allowed limited playing time. The goalkeeper position remained a thorn; both Almunia & cry-baby Lehmann were erratic let-downs. Then came that bizarre bust-up on field between Adebayor & Bendtner. & with the most accurate master of finishers, Eduardo, suffering that horrific injury, it was a crucial & painful blow to the entire club. I still do not know what the eff is happening to Rosicky. Arsenal showed much mental strength, something they never had in the past seasons, in many instances during this season, but yet, lacked the sustaining energy for the most crucial period of all.

    I’m not an expert pundit, nor do I, like Shelby Singh, pretend to be one. Dennis Bergkamp, the greatest Arsenal player of all-time & the scorer of that magical goal against Argentina in the World Cup 98 quarter-final, was the driving reason I became a Gunners fan back then, & for many more years to come, through the ups & downs. But as a fan, I also have to accept the painful frustrations of the past 2 seasons, where Arsenal started with so much promise but faltered towards the end. The side is young & inexperienced, but this excuse has been used too many times. When I titled this “Shattered Promises”, I was not referring to any promises made by Wenger before the season started, I’m talking about how a team so promising ended up in such a heart-braking way. The future looks as bright as always, with Van Persie, Fabregas, Hleb, Walcott, & Clichy, with Diaby & Bendtner waiting for their turns. But the question remains, for this season at least, how a team which played the best, most outstanding & scintillating football of the season actually ended it without any silverware.

    Maybe the players got distracted by fans like this…

    Let’s hope Holland & Spain, the most talented countries never to win anything, will fare better in Euro 2008, just to lift my spirits a little.

Hermione Granger Can Ride My Broomstick Any Day…

    On the way to KLCC with Alan & Kareen, with Kareen leading the way to the car park beside her office & me driving:

Kareen: “Okay, slow down here.”
Alan & Me: “Okay okay.”
Kareen: “Ok, you can put signal here.”
Alan & Me: “Signal? Signal to where?”
Kareen: “Okay, here here!”
Alan & Me: “Signal WHERE? Left? Right?”
Kareen: “Left! Left! Okay, turn left in front here!”
Alan: “You ah, never tell which direction to…”
Kareen: “Not here not here! This is tanah perkuburan! Ok ok, here…”
Alan: “…give signal or turn. I also shocked…”

    Let me get 1 thing straight. Harry Potter may be the main & title character of the 7 books (& movies), but he is no where near being the real hero. Yes, Harry Potter is a total wuss.

    The real & unsung heroes of the entire rebellion against Tom Marvolo Riddle, the Death Eaters & the Ministry of Magic journey were the people behind the boy who lived to complain & feel sorry about his own life without parents. There was Neville Longbottom, who turned from being the lousiest weak git in 1st year to 1 of the leaders in the final Hogwarts battle, decapitating Nagini, the last Horcrux, thus making Voldemort mortal, with Gryffindor’s Sword. Then there was the feisty & gutsy Ginny Weasley, & the quirky but loyal Luna Lovegood, who became leaders of the DA in the absence of Harry, Ron & Hermione. Of course, Dumbledore’s might & importance could never be overlooked, even when he was dead. He remained a calming presence, always seeming to have answers for everything. Don’t forget Remus Lupin, who taught Harry how to conjure up a Patronus, which proved to be the 1 of the most, if not the most important of spells. What about Dobby, who was most loyal to Harry? Most importantly perhaps, is Severus Snape, whose true loyalty & love for Lily Evans, Harry’s mother, & the sacrifices he had to make, served as the backbone to Voldemort’s defeat. Quite frankly, the whole series was built around Snape’s journey of complex moral ambiguity.

    & finally, there is Hermione Jean Granger.

    I did not know for sure how to pronounce Hermione until Goblet of Fire, when Hermione tried teaching Viktor Krum how to pronounce “Her-my-oh-nee”. But right from the 1st book, I was sure Hermione would be my favourite character till the end of the series. She came into Hogwarts as a bossy, clever, haughty “insufferable know-it-all” (as Snape said). She learned everything from books, her lepak place was the library & she loves raising her hands in classes. After that fateful troll encounter in the girl’s toilet, she became a true friend of Harry & that other git named Ron. In the beginning, she was this insecure girl with a knack for losing logic & priorities under stressful situations. After all, in Philosopher’s Stone, she told Harry & Ron that getting expelled was worse than getting killed. Who could forget her for completely losing it when she wailed that there was no wood to conjure up a fire to deal with the Devil’s Snare (she had a wand, you know), or that her Boggart formed McGonagall telling her she failed every subject? Though we all laughed at this bushy-haired-big-front-teeth girl in the beginning, it was all these characters of her which led to her being the total heroine behind Harry. Rowling says that Hermione feels “utterly inadequate…and to compensate, she tries to be the best at everything at school, projecting a false confidence that can irritate people.”

    She progressed through the books with her outstanding cleverness & skills in magic as well as her rational logic, & a very good heart. She was vocally against the enslavement of house-elfs, started SPEW, always helped those irritating 2 gits with their homework albeit a little grudgingly. She learned the Polyjuice Potion charm at such a young age in Chamber of Secrets, & that was incredibly useful right till the last book. She was the only student capable (& crazy enough) to attempt so many subjects that McGonagall allowed her to use the Time-turner in Prisoner of Azkaban. Sirius commented to her that she really was the brightest witch of your age”. She was also the 1st to rebel under the Umbridge era in Hogwarts, starting Dumbledore’s Army that gathered all students to put theory into practice under the guidance of Harry. That movement proved an important change for most of the students, as Neville gained confidence & encouragement that sparked his character transformation while Ginny learned that she was awesome at hexes & the Reducto curse.

    Hermione’s contribution & heroics became really pivotal in the last book, the Deathly Hallows. She was fiercely loyal to Harry till the end. With Ron being a complete idiot who only knew how to complain, even abandoning the mission halfway, Hermione was always the 1 who remained on top of things, always had everything prepared. How many times did she save Harry’s hairy ass with her quick-thinking of places to Apparate to, & her sharp thinking of spells to use to protect them when in hiding & in those dire situations? Don’t even mention the fact that she made the biggest sacrifice among them all in preparation for the final mission to destroy all the remaining Horcruxes. She modified her parents’ memory into believing they were some other people & that they had no daughter, & made them move to Australia for their safety. In the final battle, she was the 1 who destroyed the cup in the chamber of secrets with a basilisk fang. Without Hermione, Harry was going into war like a limp dick with no testicles hanging on.

    & then, there is Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson.

    When Watson first appeared in the 1st movie as Hermione, I thought she was completely perfect. With her thick but sweet British accent pouring through her bossy lines, she was portrayed as being bright, snobbish but adorable. But when Emma grew up in Prisoner of Azkaban & matured into this drop-dead hot version of Hermione, all hot-blooded males broke loose. Bookish Hermione was not supposed to be this hot, not even by a mile. But Emma gave such convincing & outstanding performances in the movies to come that I forgave her for being so much more beautiful than what was portrayed in the books. She delivered Hermione’s lines with such intensity bordering on the over-acting lines, which was exactly how Hermione was. Perhaps Emma did over-act in Goblet of Fire, when almost all her lines came spluttering out as if she was going to cry every time, but all was again forgiven when she gave us the most memorable scene from the movie; the sight of her in a pink gown walking down the stairs with a megawatt smile at the Yule’s Ball. In fact, Emma maturing from cute in the 1st 2 movies into hot in the remaining movies, especially Goblet of Fire, was perfect timing, seeing that Katie Leung nuke-bombed as Cho Chang in the same movie. The Cho Chang of the books, the talented Ravenclaw Seeker who was the hottest girl in Hogwarts, was Asia’s sole pride & hope in stamping a mark in the Potter world. Instead, they casted this Scottish roti-cheeks girl who was not even as pretty as Edison Chen. You know it’s bad when she made the whole kissing scene in Order of the Phoenix a complete uggh moment. Are you seriously telling me there are no young teen Kelly Hus, Gong Lis or Kristin Kreuks among us to choose from?! Anyway, my point is, Emma Watson made Hermione into a full-circle kick-ass heroine, by making her hot. She sure sent pulses racing with the way she giggled during the “just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon” scene.

    Of course, Harry was not completely useless, as Voldemort made him to be a hero, allowing him to be a rallying point for the real heroes to gather round, to form the army that would take Voldemort down. However, without Hermione, without Snape, Dobby, Lupin, Neville, Luna, Ginny, Dumbledore, or even the Weasley twins, Harry would be a small fart to Voldemort. But among all these unsung heroes behind the boy with the lightning scar, my favourite character, & my Potter hero, is this bright, fiercely intellectual & loyal girl in the books who was enhanced into a beautiful one on the silver screen. & that is why I just joined the Facebook group “Hermione Granger Can Ride My Broomstick Any Day”.

    Something of interest, I found these summarized in Wikipedia. In an interview, online chat in the Wizard of the Month section of her website, & during her 2007 U.S. Open Book Tour, Rowling revealed additional character information that she chose not to include in the book. She stated that:

1. Harry becomes an Auror for the Ministry of Magic, & is later appointed head of the department. He keeps Sirius’s motorcycle, which Arthur Weasley repaired for him, but he can no longer speak Parseltongue after the destruction of Voldemort’s soul fragment within him.
2. Ginny Weasley plays for the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team for a time, leaves to establish a family with Harry & later becomes the lead Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet.
3. Ron Weasley works at George’s store for a time, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, then joins Harry as an Auror.
4. Hermione finds her parents in Australia & removes the memory modification charm she had put on them for safety. She initially works for the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, greatly improving life for house elves & their ilk. She later moves to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement & assists in eradicating oppressive, pro-pureblood laws. She was also the only member of the trio to go back & complete her seventh year at Hogwarts.
5. Dumbledore‘s relationship with Gellert Grindelwald extended beyond mere friendship; indeed, Rowling has revealed that “Dumbledore is gay, actually”, & harboured romantic feelings for Grindelwald.
6. After his death, Voldemort is forced to exist in the stunted form Harry witnessed in the King’s Cross limbo; his crimes were too severe for him to become a ghost.

    Rowling also explained the fates of several secondary characters:

1. George Weasley continues his successful joke shop. George married Angelina Johnson & has two children: a son named Fred, in memory of his late twin brother, & a daughter, Roxanne.
2. Luna Lovegood searches the world for odd & unique creatures. She eventually marries Rolf, a grandson of the famed naturalist Newt Scamander. They have twins called Lorcan & Lysander. Her father’s publication, The Quibbler, has returned to its usual condition of “advanced lunacy” & is appreciated for its unintentional humour.
3. Percy Weasley married a woman named Audrey & had two daughters, named Molly & Lucy.
4. Firenze is welcomed back into his herd, who finally acknowledge the virtue of his pro-human leanings.
5. Dolores Umbridge is arrested, interrogated, & imprisoned for crimes against Muggle-borns.
6. Cho Chang went on to marry a Muggle.
7. Neville Longbottom becomes professor of Herbology at Hogwarts & marries Hannah Abbott.
8. Besides Victoire Weasley, Bill & Fleur Weasley have a younger son & a younger daughter, named Dominique & Louis.
9. On her website, Rowling posted a Weasley family tree, showing that Harry‘s children’s full names are James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter, & Lily Luna Potter.

    There have been transformations in the wider wizarding world:

1. Kingsley Shacklebolt is the permanent Minister for Magic, with Percy Weasley working under him as a high official. Among the reforms introduced by Shacklebolt, Azkaban no longer uses Dementors. Consequently, the world is now a “much sunnier place”. Harry, Ron, & Hermione have also been instrumental in reforming the Ministry.
2. At Hogwarts, Slytherin House has become more diluted & is no longer the pure-blood bastion it once was, although its dark reputation lingers.
3. Voldemort’s jinx on the Defence Against the Dark Arts position is broken with his death. There is now a permanent Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry comes to the Defence Against the Dark Arts class to lecture several times a year.
4. A portrait of Snape, who briefly served as Hogwarts Headmaster, does not appear in the headmaster’s office as he abandoned his post. Harry ensures the addition of Snape’s portrait, and publicly reveals Snape’s steadfastness.

    This post may seem a little off timing, when many think that the Potter craze for the books have subsided while the next Potter movie is still months away, but for me, Rowling’s books are something close to a miracle that will linger for years. Hey, if she can make me & my generation of buggers, the generation of iPods & MTV, read her books & be totally engrossed in them, that’s quite an achievement ain’t it.

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