Sunday, October 31, 2004


It's Sunday now, which means that my big debut in a starring role on national television is tomorrow night. I haven't told many people about it, so I expect surprised calls and SMSes. Or maybe no one I know watches it, and I'm getting ahead of myself. Whatever. I don't really care either way. It's pretty terribly cut together, that much I know, having seen (kind of) a final cut.

I don't really wanna watch it at home, I think I'll feel weird when my parents see my performance. Not that it's a great one, it's just... weird. Like how I feel weird when they see any of my films. It's just that you never know what to expect from them, it's like, even if they don't get it, or hate it, they feel compelled to say something nice. Which usually turns out pretty lame. Or they like it but say something lame anyways, and I don't know how to answer. You know, something like "The weather was really nice that day." What can you say to that, besides, "Um, yeah"?

Um, yeah. Watch it and see what you think. Or don't. Either way. It don't really matter.

Of Bloggers and Sock Fetishists

Here's an interesting theory from Miguel on why people blog:

It always amazes me that somehow people I don't know are reading this blog too. I mean, I do my fair share of blog-hopping sometimes, but I rarely find one that's captivating enough that I'll wanna read every new entry. Maybe I'm flattering myself and no one does that here, but still, it's really kinda cool to hear from complete strangers. The more the merrier. (Hi, min!)

After I put up a link on my Friendster page to here, I've actually gotten Friendster messages from someone about this here blog. Aww, shucks. And I thought no one gave a shit about Friendster.

Moving on... I had a strange encounter today. This afternoon, I went for a run... all of 2.4km. Pretty damn amazing. Those who know me know I hate to run, I don't know what got into me. Perhaps it was the pressure of seeing the pounds pile on since I returned from the States. Anyway, I thought it'd be nice to take a dip in the pool after the run, since I was sweating buckets. It was a pretty hot afternoon, and amazingly for this week, it wasn't raining. So I was in the locker/shower room changing into my trunks and I went to the sink to wash my face because I was feeling really hot. When I returned after like 20 seconds, I found one of my socks missing from inside my shoe. I was like, "What the fuck?" because I clearly remembered stuffing a sock into each shoe. Socks stuffed into shoes do not just go missing on their own, unlike socks in washing machines, dryers, or sock drawers. I hunted around, and saw no sign of it. There was only one explanation: A sock fetishist!

I can imagine many of you going "Ewww" already, but apparently it's a pretty common fetish, at least from info on the internet and shit. I don't really care either way. It was a pretty cheap sock, and I have tons of other ones just like it. Plus, imagine, an alpha male figure walks in after a workout, dripping with sweat and, um, male-ness. Who wouldn't want a piece of me? (Ah, how shameless can I get...) And you know what, it's kinda flattering that someone actually found me attractive enough to wanna make off with one of my personal items (even though it is another guy... hmm. D'oh!). Maybe if more people found me sexually attractive I'd be getting more booty and I wouldn't be this disgruntled. But I digress. There was only one part about the whole thing that pissed me off. Well, maybe two.

Firstly, he could've asked. I would've given it to him had he asked. It's only polite to ask. But that's not too likely to happen, is it?

Second, why did he take only one sock? That's terrible! He should've taken both! Being the anal-retentive that I am, what the hell am I gonna do with one sock? I'm probably gonna throw it away, because I certainly can't wear it without the other side, and I can't stand keeping it all by itself in the sock drawer. And then down the road I'm gonna have a hole in another sock and want to replace it with this one, only to realize that I'd already thrown it away. Aargh! That was just so inconsiderate of him! What a selfish bastard! Does he know how much anguish having just one sock causes me?

In fact, it caused me so much anguish that I had to be a little consumer whore and spend the entire evening at retail therapy with Kiwi, spending so much more than the price of the sock. I finally got that sweet Springfield corduroy jacket I'd been eyeing for a while, along with quite a few pieces of sportswear (ironically, for someone who doesn't do sports all that much I do have quite the sportswear collection). Damn you, Sock Fetishist! Why couldn't you have taken both of them?



Oh, and Happy Halloween to all. Enjoy yourselves in E-ton, and everyone have a drink for me, as usual. Happy belated birthday to the crazy ho's Sarah and Eileen!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Why Do I Do This?

Saw the trailer for Saw before Old Boy. What makes theatre-owners think that these two movies have anything in common anyway? Why would someone who enjoys Old Boy want to see Saw? Violence should not be a common point, since they're such different uses of violence. Anyway it looks like a piece of shit. Anyone who's seen it care to comment? #2? I'm sure you've seen this, probably while you were high as a kite too.

Why do I write on this blog? I really don't quite know yet. I mean, yes, ostensibly it's for my friends in the US to know wassup and all that, but then I've been pretty lazy about giving my contact information and link to this page to everyone. I mean to though, I'm just slowly getting my way round to it.

Then it could exist for the sole purpose of my bitching and whining. Of which I do a lot of. Though I hope it's entertaining in some fashion at least. But that reason's really kinda sad.

It could be just writing for the sake of writing. I don't get to do much nowadays, since college is over and done with ("Questions of the Self and the Other in Mulholland Drive". Go!), and I haven't exactly been all that productive with my screenplay output, since that stuff takes time, time which I haven't been able to steal from the vortex of despair that is my job. (And I have to rewrite a script for work over the weekend too. Dammit. I try to do things the way they like it and it gets tossed back to me. Bah.) So is this the only outlet for creativity I have left? It'll be pretty sad if it is...

I used to keep a diary of sorts when I was a kid. That I remember. I also remember trying to dig it up a few years back to see what I could recollect of my youth from its pages, and being thoroughly disappointed, to the point where I tossed the whole thing in the trash. See, not that I had a boring childhood (well, I really kinda did). It seemed that somehow I'd deemed it necessary to fill that "diary" not with entries about my daily life, but utterly useless bits of trivia that I'd managed to pick up from TV, entertainment magazines, and the like. Yes, I was a regular little celebrity whore. I feel so ashamed. Now I make fun of all the silly kids who stand outside Caldecott Hill waiting for their Singapore Idols. If I'd been their age, I might've wanted to do that too... or at least entertained the thought of doing it. I suck balls.

So perhaps this is an attempt to rectify that situation. Penning (or typing) down witty prose about my thoughts and actions while trying desperately to right the wrongs of the past. Sounds noble, no?

And perhaps I do it for the fans (Ha! I can hear sniggering already). No one seems to leave comments, so I really don't know how many people are regularly reading this here thang, but at least in email correspondence I've gotten some really sweet comments.

"your writing inevitably leaves a smile on my face (Free Porn for the Aged is brilliant), and... it's nice (to) hear from a fellow discontent (or a superior discontent, mebbe)."
High praise indeed from someone who writes much better than I do.

"LOVE ur blog man...."
Awww... simple but nice. Thanks.

Anyone have any theories on why I blog?

Ooh, just thought of one more. I remember reading in the papers about this Singaporean girl that was supposed to be all outrageous and foul-mouthed and had a really entertaining blog, so I went to the site for a look. Um, yeah, didn't find it all that great. More like silly, and often annoying. And please, "foul-mouthed"? She's like a Catholic schoolgirl compared to me. I thought, godammit, I can do much better! Plus, I actually have coherent thoughts about Issues and shit (I swear I do, I just haven't gotten around to them yet). So yeah. Here we are...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Stuff I Saw

Some notes about stuff I saw recently.

Some very brave moves by the screenwriter & director, plunking us right smack in the middle of their world, with only a few lines of text for an introduction, mainly about what is "Code 46". None of the gadgets are flashily displayed, unlike in movies like Minority Report ("This is the future, it's way cool!"), here it's more along the lines of: "Here's the future, deal with it."

I already love Samantha Morton from oh, everything else she does. And Tim Robbins is always dependable. Great character studies, and very very romantic, although I know it will leave many people cold. No walks in the park or candlelight dinners, this is the real deal. Curiosity, connection, lust, and then love. The bleak landscape tells volumes about the world they inhabit and their states of mind.

One cool thing is the fact that languages are mixed and matched, with Spanish, Chinese, and other fragments of languages thrown into everyday conversation. It's kinda nice, how everyone's one big happy family. Not.

Two especially strong scenes, and they all use the same shot. Handheld, closeup of Samantha Morton's face as she looks straight into camera - Tim Robbins' POV. First one is when she dances in a club. Mesmerizing, seductive, very, very sexy. And second when she's forcing him to make love to her in a motel room (she's taken a virus that makes her body reject his advances, so she has to ask him to tie her up and rape her). That shot of her face, torn between repulsion and desire, love and pain, is one of the most stunning performances, both shot and actor-wise, that I've seen.

Oh, and finally, a good use of a Coldplay song, unlike the atrocity that was Wicker Park.

Unbelievably sad and powerful. Low-budget indie with a great cast, especially the outstanding lead. Colombian girls become "mules", swallowing pellets of heroin and smuggling them into America, all for a better life. I love the way how the most important things don't have to be said, looks more than suffice. After all, what can you say when you say goodbye to a childhood friend, perhaps forever? What can you say when you find out that the girl who has come to be your friend on the trip has died from a pellet bursting in her stomach? And what can you say to that girl's sister, who is ignorant of how you turned up at her doorstep, and that her sister is already dead?
Like #1 said to me so many months back (OK, it hasn't been that long), "I'm glad Demme didn't fuck it up." Really solid, and tense. Loved the cinematography, some pretty bold choices are made right at the very beginning. A conversation between Denzel Washington and his former corporal is shown mostly in huge close-ups, with the characters looking almost directly at the camera. Highly unsettling, especially with the sound design (which is great, by the way) hitting all the right notes; this scene sets the mood for the entire movie - which is that everything and everyone is fucked. Of course, solid performances all round, and even a hint of incest. Always lovely.
Gorgeous. Lovely tinted images look like pictures ripped straight from a 1930's-style painting. Fun, fun movie. Did I mention gorgeous? I was pleasantly surprised when one of my favorite actors-that-no-one-knows-about, Giovanni Ribisi appeared as Jude Law's sidekick. He's a great young actor, I think, and it's kinda sad he's not a bigger name than he is. The medic who gets shot in the liver and dies in Saving Private Ryan, the disturbed young man in The Gift, the husband in Lost In Translation. Good stuff. Oh, and Phoebe's brother Frank in Friends. Ah, now you know who he is. Philistines.

The Grand Prix winner at Cannes, from Korea. Tarantino loves this film, and it's not hard to see why. I haven't been this happy after seeing a movie since the Kill Bill's. It's stylish, it's melodramatic, it's darkly funny, it's also amazingly tragic and above all, well-crafted. I love moments where I go, "Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck." It means the film's just given me a kick in the balls in terms of plot development. It also means that it's a pretty amazing script to do that. So far movies that have made me do that have pretty much been The Sixth Sense and The Others (I'll amend this if I think of some more). And now Old Boy.

Favorite bits:
A tracking shot back and forth along a corridor while the lead character fights an entire gang of toughs, armed only with a hammer. One long take, great choreography (although it can't beat that amazing long take in the House of Blue Leaves from Kill Bill Vol. 1) and just plain cool.
A scene where the lead walks away from a high-rise building, and a man holding a dog plummets from the roof onto a car in the background. The dog bounces out of his hands and onto the ground. Pretty fucking hilarious.
A scene shot through a hole in a window - the lead character's POV - of a boy and a girl seducing each other, then gradually moving into sex. You can see the edges of the glass around the frame, moving back and forth. Highly voyeuristic, very erotic.

There's some nice use of classical music juxtaposed against violence, which I'm always a big fan of. I hope to someday use Bach's Air in G for a scene of extreme violence. Someday.

The violence wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Hammer pulling teeth out. Bloody teeth falling on a keyboard. Scissors cutting off a tongue. Everything takes place offscreen anyway, so it's all in the sound design and in your head. The most graphic scene would have to be the eating of the live octopus. I mean, the entire head is ripped clean off in one take, and the tentacles are still twisting and flailing weakly as he stuffs them in his mouth. Good thing octopi don't bleed. Well, I guess they must, but not red blood anyhow. I heard he ate four octopi for this scene. Tasty.

The Twilight of the Golds
This was a play by the NUS Theatre Faculty. I wasn't expecting anything much, so I was pleasantly surprised. And disappointed at the same time. I mean, three cast members ranged from fairly decent to really good. But the other two were just plain terrible. How can someone doing theatre be so terrible at their spoken English? And I don't just mean swallowing "t's" at the end of sentences and other typically Singaporean gaffes, I mean actually emphasizing the wrong words in a sentence so it's almost incomprehensible unless you're working really hard to understand it. I've never had to put in so much effort before just trying to listen to what actors were saying.

The biggest flaw though, was the choice of play. As I understood it, they didn't have a choice, and were told to do this by their professors. Well, that's fair enough, but it shows lack of research on their part. This is a very Jewish-American play, and while I don't claim to know much of Jewish families, I know enough from interactions with people and the media (oh, don't we all learn everything we know from the TV?) to know that something that's sorely lacking is the Jewish background. I mean, I know from the lines that they're Jewish, but I'd never know from their dressing, their mannerisms and other things like that. Perhaps I'm expecting cliches, I dunno. Maybe that's bad on my part. But still, the essence of the play is missing.

One interesting thing that happened was that there apparently was an auditorium or something next door to the little black box theatre, and they were playing Poltergeist that very night. Some very interesting cases of intertextuality happened, with the dialogue and music from next door juxtaposing almost perfectly with the scene that was playing out over here. For example, someone says something about her baby here, and next door, an ominous music cue plays: dum-dum-dum-DUM. Beautiful. Couldn't have planned it better.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A Quickie Before Bed

Just a quick post before I slip off to bed. Updates, updates.

I got gmail. Which I'm happy about.
The Good: 1 GB of storage.
The Bad: I can't use it with my Outlook Express yet.
The Ugly: Since I can't find the installation CD I can't even install my modem thingy into my laptop, so all internet access at home is through my Windows 98 PC, which is just about on its last legs. I mean, the screen periodically blacks out. Which is only slightly better than the pink that my laptop screen is 100% of the time.

Have jumped over to do casting for a sitcom. Am starting to call some big names in the local biz these past few days. Am also getting ignored by their agents, haha. At least it beats running around in the sun doing bitchwork. It was a matter of push-pull, I suppose. Remember when my PM was telling me my days were numbered? Well, a post here opened up and I was asked by my EP if I was interested. She was very nice about it and all, but I kinda got the hint. She has said this was only temporary though, so maybe she was really being nice. I'll keep an eye out though, you never know what these old foxes have hidden away.

Saw the first episode I was attached to on national TV for the first time Monday night. The editors just mutilated it. There were many things I wasn't happy with, especially annoying freeze frames, speed ramping up and down, and just plain bad cuts. There should've been more action, I mean, we did shoot tons of footage of burning walls, people rioting and shit. I mean, that's what people wanna see, not boring shit of lame-ass wannabes who can't act or have proper pronunciation pretending to be lawyers in court.

I was surprised to see my blink-and-miss-it cameo in there. I'd forgotten they'd even shot it. Basically I was in a boat and I put my head down as the police boarded it. It's a very wide shot and I'm tiny, but you can still see me and my tattoo for all of... oh, two seconds.

I was even more surprised to see that the next episode was my starring debut. Somehow I always had the impression it was gonna be episode 3, but it seems it's really episode 2. Oh well. It's really quite bizarre to see that much of yourself in a trailer playing on TV. I hope I don't take public transport too much this week, or at least, they don't show the trailer while I'm taking the damn bus. Stupid MobileTV. You can't escape it anywhere. Now it's even in food courts. Why would someone think people would watch shitty programs on mute when they're eating? Luckily I think I look significantly different after they did my hair all 60's-like that no stupid kid is gonna point and whisper to his mummy, "There's the bad man that beat the other man to death in that trailer just now."

Oh yes, and I insist I still don't photograph well at all. If you took a jackfruit and kinda stomped on it some, it would probably resemble my face, or at least, what you'd see on TV next week.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A (Not So) Simple Equation

Apologies to Angeline for (kinda) stealing her format...

1) A Saturday night
2) A free stay at an upscale hotel
3) Two bottles of red wine
4) Two bottles of white wine
5) Half a bottle (approx. 500ml) of Malibu
6) A bottle (1 litre) of Johnny Walker Black Label
7) Five men
8) A camera phone
9) South Park Season 1 on DVD
10) A DVD player
11) Lots of potato chips
12) A loaf of chocalate-chip bread

Add the twelve ingredients above together and you get the following results:
(All names have been obscured for their protection. Please, don't even ask.)

1) Four men sniggering at the youngest member of the group passing out after one glass of white wine and a shot of Malibu.
2) Said youngest member waking up after two episodes of South Park and thirsting for much more.
3) First time taking shots for abovementioned young man.
4) Much loud raucous singing of old-school Chinese ballads (eg. 我是真的付出我的愛).
5) Belligerent discussion of soccer game on TV by some.
6) Drunk man dancing around saying, "I'm so drunk, I'm so drunk!"
7) Said drunk man taking tons of drunken pictures and movie clips with abovementioned camera phone (which will never be seen by anyone outside the five).
8) Drunken walk to 7-11 for more chips.
9) Chain-smoking along said drunken walk.
10) Drunk man launching himself from the floor repeatedly onto the bed like it was a swimming pool. Or a field of boobies. Or both.
11) The rapid attainment of the state of drunkenness where anything and everything seen, spoken or heard becomes abso-fuckin'-lutely hilarious.
12) Another drunken walk to the 7-11 to get an additional bottle of white wine (which has been included in the list above).
13) "You're drunk, right?" "Why else do you think I haven't gotten out of this chair all night?"
14) Drunk man jumping in the shower, turning on the water and sitting down in there in his FBT shorts, thereby ensuring he has no sleepwear.
15) Much discussion of different puking experiences.
16) Multiple trips to hug the toilet bowl and deposit various gastronomical contents by four of the men.
17) No such trips to hug the toilet bowl for our youngest, and most valiant member. And to think the four were sniggering at him before. Losers.
18) Said youngest and most valiant member also becoming the loudest and most belligerent member as the night wore on.
19) "I'M IN CONTROL. I'M IN CONTROL." (thump, thump, thump, as he knocks into walls, doors, etc.) "YOU ALL THINK I'M FUCKING DRUNK, RIGHT? BUT I'M NOT! I'M IN CONTROL." (thump! falls onto floor and refuses to be helped.) "I DON'T NEED HELP, I'M IN CONTROL." (looks at man sitting up on the bed) "GO TO SLEEP! I'M OK, I'M NOT DRUNK, I'M IN CONTROL!" (okay...)
20) Puke stains colored by red wine on a white T-shirt and a huge section of carpet - including a nice trail all the way to the bathroom.
21) Also, two towels destroyed by trying to soak up said puke stains on carpet.
22) Drunk man falling asleep hunched over the desk, only to wake up suddenly and deposit said huge puke stain and trail of puke on the carpeting.
23) Drunk man shitting himself for no apparent reason.
24) Five men passing out in bed, on floor and in cozy armchair.
25) Lazing around nursing hangovers and sore necks the next morning.
26) Recovery of most by lunch.
27) Excellent lor-mee at Telok Ayer hawker centre.
28) A cab trip home with a driver blasting bizarre Hokkien and Cantonese songs praising Jesus all the way. A sign? Maybe he was trying to save our sinful souls.
29) A massive, nauseating hangover for the youngest, most valiant, loudest and most belligerent member for the rest of the day. And possibly for some others too, I wouldn't know.
30) Some very pissed-off room cleaners. I can only guess.

The damage:
1) One stained T-shirt
2) One stained underwear
3) One stained pair of shorts
4) One wet pair of shorts
5) Two hotel towels
6) Huge section of stained carpet
7) One stained armchair
8) One stained footstool
9) One huge, nauseating hangover
10) A huge cleaning bill??? We'll find out...

I haven't gotten this piss-drunk since the night of the directing premiere in June, back in ol' E-ton. And we all know what a fiasco that entire night was. Thanks to everyone who came to that and tried to make me feel better though, I hope I was appreciative enough then. God knows I wasn't sober at all.

But all in all, this was an excellent night. Probably one of the happiest days I've had. Which is quite possibly due to point 11 above lasting for the longest time. I definitely feel better about my shitty job, and I didn't even have to bitch at all. Thank you all for a great time.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Last Bit o' Bitchin' (For a While, At Least)

I spoke to the department that used to handle (and I hope are still handling) us scholarship people today regarding my worries, and while I found a welcoming ear in my "handler" (heh, it's like I'm an undercover operative or something), I found her boss to be a little less, well, empathic. Maybe she's heard from too many people, or feel that all this is below her, I dunno. I mean, it's not like she was pissed at me or anything and gave me bad advice. It's more like advice along the lines of "wait and see", "we don't have, and can't give you a concrete plan", and tossing in, of course, the all-consuming "merger". That fucking merger's an excuse for everyone to fuck everything up, I tell you. She did tell me to write a list of what I think I can do and am not doing, maybe that will help somewhat. I mean, at least they can more fully "exploit" my mind and not just my physical body. So anyhow, I'm still not that better off in terms of knowing where I stand, but at least someone knows I'm pissed as fuck. Who knows, maybe in a couple months I may decide to place a homemade bomb in the CEO's office out of sheer spite, if no one gives a fuck. I mean, sometimes I'm that close to snapping. Which is when I run to ol' Mother Nicotina and suckle at her smoky teat (with apologies to the Friends writers for stealing their joke). But cigarettes are expensive and supposedly they kill, so I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

I swear though, this is the last bitching session here for a while at least. Reading a friend's blog sobered me up a little and made me feel guilty for being such a little bitch.

I mean seriously, what's so difficult about such a request? My peers' parents don't just die on them in relatively quick sucession, leaving them to deal with all the scary shit like paying bills, making sure all transfer documents are signed, that our money is not retained by the government, check, check and check that all is in place, basically all the practical ie survival stuff, that I'd hate to care and I wouldn't give a damn ideally. Hello, like how do I arrange a funeral blah blah. May I write about it instead?

I'd still like to thank her for quoting me in her blog though, it's always flattering to be quoted and/or linked.

Like I told her, I/we will gladly help her out when (I think it's more of a "when" than an "if", unfortunately) it happens and take care of at least some of the bitchwork for her. It's the least I/we can do.

If anything, I try to be a good friend to people I consider friends. Not necessarily the "hi-bye" folks, I mean, I'd bum them a ciggie once in a while, but that's about it. I mean people I really give a fuck about, in that "you mess with my friend and I will fuck your shit up" kind of way. And well, history helps. I think we've got too much history to be plain ol' "friends", much less "hi-bye friends", and I'll stand by my word.

And hey, I haven't even started on the really, really good friends.

You fuck with those and you fucking die, motherfucker. I fucking swear.

Of course, there aren't too many of those around, so you're pretty safe. Count your blessings, you punk-ass bitch.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Like a Seven Year-Old, I Crawl Into Bed

Saw Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) last night (in a theatre!) and am feeling very guilty about falling asleep in the middle of it. I know, I have the same excuse all the time - I was tired. Luckily I'd seen the Cameron Crowe remake, Vanilla Sky, before this, so I wasn't all that lost when I finally woke up. I kinda like this version, it's definitely more streamlined, more down and dirty, like an indie film should be. Crowe's was really really... glossy in comparison. I do like his musical choices though. And well, everyone knows Tom Cruise can't really act (except maybe in Magnolia).

I think it's something about the office that just saps my energy. I wake up tired, go to work and pretty much sleepwalk my way through, and go home unbelievably exhausted. When I think I've mustered the energy to do something after work, like see Abre Los Ojos, I promptly fall alseep. It's now only about 8.30pm and I'm longing to go to bed. Oh well, at least I have the day off tomorrow. I'll probably be energetic as fuck. Whatever that means.

I thought of a good metaphor today while taking a smoke break. See, my life is the cigarette, and my company is represented by the smoker, i.e., me. The cigarette burns fine on its own - not too fast, not too slow. But once the smoker starts sucking on it - fwoosh! It quickly gets sucked dry and burnt out. Apt, no? Right now, my company is furiously sucking on my filter, and I know it's a chain-smoker.

Like I say, I often wake up in the morning and ask myself what the fuck I'm doing with my life. Perhaps it's too late now to regret signing up for this. The company doesn't seem to have any plan for me, unlike many other such organizations that give out scholarships like this. I suppose someone just goes, "Oh, I have a bunch of people who are contractually bound to us for 4-6 years each. Let's see... ooh, I think it'll be fun to stick him here. And her there. And... oh, I'm bored. I think I'll go for lunch." And then promptly forgets all about us once he's back from lunch break. Seriously, I see no prospects at all in the future. Nada, zip, zero, none, mei you. Where am I going to be? I shouldn't be asking myself that, not when I'm supposed to be sitting well and pretty.

I know that without it, I probably would never have gone to NU and gotten so many opportunities. Is this what happens when the security blanket of school is ripped away? I thought I was cynical, but now I know I wasn't all that cynical, not quite yet. Is it unreasonable of me to be expecting something more? Can this be that goddamn "quarter-life crisis" that was the topic of discussion in the mainstream media a while back? I mean, it feels pretty much like a fucking crisis to me, thank you very much.

I also know it sounds whiney. Lots of people don't have jobs. Lots of people don't have job security. Yes, but then again, when a company gives out shit like that, I think they're obliged - nay, should be compelled - to get their shit together and give us the respect and treatment we deserve. After all, people leave your company all the time, don't you think it's because you suck in some small, undefinable way perhaps?

On a somewhat related note, I've hopped from my current program which deals with rape, murder and all that fun stuff to a sitcom-like thing, doing casting. I get to spend more time in the office (boo!) but probably less time at work (yay!). So not too bad. I get to return to good ol' semi-documentaries sometime in December. But hey, I'll still be writing them. Actually, that depends on whether my exec producer likes the sceenplay I just gave her today. Hey, I have a framing structure comprised of close-ups of tattoos, which I happen to think is a very cool idea. So there.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Almost Shortest Post Ever

Woke up this morning and saw that it had just rained outside. Stood at the window and breathed in deeply. The air was crisp and smelled clean. It also felt nice and cool against my skin.

That felt... good.

For once I wasn't asking myself what the fuck I was doing with my life the moment I woke up.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I was getting so carried away listing what made me happy about the movies this morning that I forgot to mention a rather nasty experience during my viewing of Trouble Every Day.

For those not in the know, there are a couple of movie theatres in Singapore that are located in some older housing areas, eg. around Chinatown or Beach Road. Some, or maybe all, examples are Yangtze Cinema (after the river in China) and Golden Theatre. Because of their location, they tend not to draw a young, hip crowd, but rather, a demographic almost exclusively comprised of retirees. Old men, to be more exact. And Dirty Old Men, or D.O.M., to be exact. Because of their proximity to the city centre, they are allowed to screen R21 movies, which theatres in the suburbs aren't allowed to. This has become a draw for these D.O.M., who flock to these theatres in the hopes of catching some nudity to spice up their dreary lives.

Sometimes they're rewarded, because as we all know, many flicks out there are nothing more than glorified porn. But often, they're disappointed by arthouse movies that show nudity almost as an afterthought. Or nudity in such creepy, uncomfortable situations that it's not a turn on at all. Which was the case in the aforementioned French psycho-horror film.

You have to feel sorry for them sometimes, because porn is hard to come by in Singapore if you're old and uneducated and know nothing of the internet. Sure, you could take a trip up to Johor Bahru in good ol' Malaysia where the bootleggers will be more than happy to sell you the entire collector's edition boxed set of Back Door Hussies, but then again, with their (probably) frigid wives at home, they can't really get their rocks off. One might also argue that if they saved the money from a couple of sessions, they might be able to head down to Geylang and have some real sex for a change. And that's entirely valid. Except they probably aren't the type who have the notion of saving for a rainy (or horny) day ingrained in them.

But then again, that doesn't give them the right to jerk off in the theatre and make nuisances of themselves for serious filmgoers. Come to think of it, I was probably a minority there, in that I wasn't there for sex and nudity, and really wanted to watch the movie.

So I went in and sat in the second last row with my friend, and we were probably younger than everyone there by at least 30 years. Not that there was a huge crowd, mind you, probably under ten people. There was this older guy, probably in his fifties or sixties, behind me and to my right. He was OK at first, but then when the titties started appearing onscreen, I began to hear a rhythmic rubbing sound. I identified it as either fabric or skin, and was familiar enough with the art of self-fornication to be able to know what was going on. As can be expected, I was immediately pissed off. Here I am trying to get all I can out of the film, and there you are, also trying to get the damndest you can out of it, but in all the wrong ways.

After a while though, I began to feel mildly sorry for him, and even a little amused. He had picked the wrong movie completely, since there was not a hint of pure eroticism contained in the film. Whatever erotic impulses the characters may have had were completely subsumed in the sheer creep-factor of the framing and the sound design. I took perverse pleasure, even, in listening for his sighs of frustration as the director refused to reward him over and over again with any bit of gratification whatsoever. People would start to have sex, he'd go rubrubrub, and then - whoa! - they'd start getting their necks chewed out and their lips or labia bitten off. I grinned to myself; his frustration and annoyance were palpable (and audible).

It's because of poor people like these that the PAP (a.k.a. Our Lords And Masters) should reconsider their ban on porn. Imagine, D.O.M. would be much happier people if they could have Hongkong Penthouse on their hands. Then they'd be spending a lot more time at home, instead of triapsing all over the place in their old age. We do have to think about respecting the elderly, and providing elderly benefits, after all, and one of them should be free porn.

Free Porn For The Aged!

Now there's a campaign I could stand behind.

Movies Make Me Happy

I was supposed to spend yesterday going through research materials and laying out the structure for the screenplay I have to hand in on Monday. Instead I went on a movie marathon and was happy. All this work is putting a dent in my filmgoing habits, dammit. And it's not even work that makes me feel good. It's just... getting in the way of more important things.

Trouble Every Day
Enjoyed this far more than I thought I originally would. It's a beautifully crafted movie, and it's wonderfully refreshing to see something where every single gesture, shot, musical choice, etc. is a conscious decision that propels the film forward. I know that should be the case, but too often they are reduced to a pitifully obvious metaphor. Um, I'm getting confused by my own writing here. Let's see...

Metaphor in Wimbledon: the meteor seen on the news and in various scenes represent the relationship between Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany. Like, duh. A deaf, dumb and blind person could've seen that coming a mile away. And when they break up, guess what, it disappears from the sky. No. Fucking. Way.

Metaphor in Trouble Every Day: A simple, unassuming shot of a river, glistening red in the setting sun. A simple score underneath. Nothing forceful to bludgeon you into feeling something or getting anything out of it. Yet the red on the surface of the water resembles blood, a river of blood, with unfathomable depths. There's a metaphor for you. Crude, yes, but it doesn't hit you over the head.

It unfolds so very slowly and deliberately, you either hate the director for doing it, or you admire her balls for piecing out her information, making you draw the connections between the characters at a snail's pace, each revelation adding something new to their relationships. Audaciously, the plot only begins to be mentioned 45 minutes into the film.

Since the plot involves cannibalism, even scenes of intimacy, where a character kisses another character's arm, are framed in such a way and have an unsettling sound design so as to create the feel that he's, well, eating her arm somehow. Many shots are framed to make a person's neck the focal point, putting the audience in the POV of the attacker. Yet these are scenes in which no one is attacked. Lovely.

Speaking of sound design, it makes me happy that a horror film doesn't need to resort to the huge audio spikes (a.k.a. dirty tricks) to scare the audience. It scares the most when there is, in fact, no music at all. Well, at least it made me very very uncomfortable. Which perversely enough, makes me very happy.

Sex = Violence = Death. Isn't an orgasm also called la petit morte, the little death, in French? How apt.

Oh, and it has Vincent Gallo, of The Brown Bunny fame (or is it infamy?).

Enough babbling. Read a much more coherent review here.

Oh Wong Kar Wai. I don't know what to say. It didn't blow me away as much as I hoped it would. But that's no fault of yours. After In The Mood For Love, it would be a miracle to make anything better. But still, in a Wong Kar Wai film, you can expect:

Gorgeous, breathtakingly, achingly beautiful cinematography.
Empty characters seeking to fill the void in their lives with something, someone, anything, anyone.
A hauntingly apt score.
Sadness, all-permeating sadness, melancholy and loss.
Countless references to his own previous films and those of others.
Impeccable performances.

My favorite shot in the film:
In super slow-motion, Faye Wong smokes a cigarette on frame right in her room while the camera cranes up, also in super-slow-speed. At that speed, it's like it barely moves. The room is lit amazingly, and it almost looks black and white, very very noir. It reached into me and grabbed my heart and twisted, and was one of those applaud-out-loud moments at the movies. What can I say?

Perhaps there's a tad too much slow motion employed throughout. But what do I know? Wasn't as crazy as most of his other films in terms of framing and camera movement. But still pretty fuckin' amazing-looking.

The Motorcycle Diaries
Thought this would be really fucking great, but it was OK. Gorgeous, gorgeous places. Machu Picchu looks amazing. I would die happy if I ever got to go there.

Gael Garcia Bernal is reliable as always.

Liked how when they went into the more serious section, they changed the style a little into a more documentary-style way of shooting it - handheld and all. Probably just picked some natives off the street too. Very guerilla-style. I like.

Perhaps a little trite, no? I thought Y Tu Mama Tambien did the whole social commentary thing a lot better. Another review here from The Onion.

Liked the use of static shots where the subjects stared right at the camera. It wasn't a still photo, they were merely keeping as still as they could. It was used to reflect their revolutionary potential or something along those lines, something that Che Guevera saw in them. Even though I felt it might have been cribbed from 25th Hour, I still liked it. And even then, who knows if Spike Lee hadn't stolen it from somewhere else?

The best thing about film is that even when you steal something, you can always call it an homage.

Finally, a note from Premiere magazine about the harsh realities of retro-pop culture icons like Che Guevera:

And there you have it. May no one I know ever buy a Von Dutch T-shirt.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Chronicle of a Shitty Week

All in all, this has been a pretty shitty week.

On the second day of the shoot, Saturday, I was about to reach my workplace when I stopped my car suddenly and went around something in the middle of the road. It was a dead cat, run over by a car. Its bloody guts were spewing out of its mouth.

"Oh," I thought, "That can't be good." Not that I'm superstitiously-inclined or anything, but generally when you see a sign like that, the shit's about to hit the fan. And so it did. We ended up not shooting a third of the scenes that day, which meant Sunday was going to be jam-packed full of those scenes, scenes from Friday which weren't shot because the actress couldn't turn up, and what was originally scheduled for Sunday anyway.

Of course, it didn't help that (a), the director(s) wasn't moving very quickly in general, and (b), he was under supervision by the exec. producer since it was his first time directing (he was, and still is, mostly, an AD). And by the time she added her own opinions to everything we were so far back there was no way we could catch up. I basically knew we were fucked by lunchtime, except I was still thinking along the lines of "oh well, lah dee dah".

So Sunday morning I walk out of my apartment block, and a live rat runs across my path. This time I went, "Oh, a live rat. That's the exact opposite of what I saw yesterday, which should be good." And I guess things did go better, with no help from the exec producer though. Doesn't she understand that things are tight enough as they are, and any form of meddling is just going to hinder everyone? I was more of a hardass this time round, although I wasn't as bad as I was on Buskin'. At least I didn't threaten to cut anyone's balls off or anything.

Some people just don't deal well with others face to face. And when you're someone like that, you can't be a director. You just can't. Being a director means getting up close and personal with your actors, especially if they're a seven year-old who's playing the part of an abused child. You cannot hide in a corner watching your monitor and expect the fuckin' AD to give direction or convey instructions. You might as well let me direct then. This applied to mostly the exec producer though... but she had her fingers in everything enough to throw me off and make me pretty pissed. Any time you add something to the end of a scene it is going to add lots more time to your schedule. You should be cutting and not adding. I didn't understand what the fuck was going on in her head. Pretty transitions are not going to make you show work, especially if you have shitty editors to begin with. Or maybe since you have final cut, I should say that you have shitty editing sense?

I could go into tons about editing theory and practice here, but I've done enough of that with DeYoung & Co. over the summer, so I shall refrain for now. Suffice to say we have some of the worst editors on the face of the planet here.

You already know about my lost wallet on Sunday.

On Monday I wrote my production report. I tried my best to be gentle and forgiving, but hey, I'm an angry person at heart, and it must've spilled over in my writing. Still, I tried my best to address the matter and not get personal. In fact I was extremely impersonal, but a little critical. I could've been harsh, but again, I held back. Apparently not enough for some. Because I received a long, defensive email from the exec producer about what I did wrong and what I did right for the last couple days. Like I said, she's a person that deals better with people when she's hiding behind something, be it email, or SMS. I read through it, chuckled at parts and promptly dismissed it.

I then wrote another email about the reshoot that she wanted to do for another episode on Friday, because it was a stupid idea. She wanted it to be reshot because of a costume issue which only a small proportion of the audience was going to pick on. To me, that's just not worth the time and effort, even if your genre demands accuracy.

My production manager came up to me and patted me on the shoulder shortly after. "You're like me, forthright. You speak your mind. Unfortunately, your days are numbered."

"Fine, I don't really care anyway. I can't be fired for anything I've done, and I'm already selling out so I don't give a damn where they decide to transfer me."

Well, I didn't really say all of that quite so eloquently, but that was the gist of it.

He then took me out for lunch and proceeded to bitch the entire time about his dealings with bureaucracy. I nodded, bought my cigarettes, had my lunch and smiled appropriately.

The exec producer asked for a meeting with me because she thought I was having "issues" or something. Well. She hinted that I might want to go work on a sitcom instead. I told her the truth, that I didn't care either way. It's a job. I get paid. That's it. End of story. Any place I work, and show I do, it's still a job. I hinted that an editing position might be nice. She said she would ask.

The next day, she sends another email - side note, she sends email even though I just have to walk not twenty feet to her desk - saying the editors here use Avid Media Composer, and if I was familiar with it. I said I knew Avid Xpress like the back of my hand, and I didn't see how it could be very much different.

Another email: The editing department has no one and no time to train me, so I can't do anything there. Bullshit. I don't need training. Just sit me down, take 15 minutes to point out the controls for me, and I'll cut your shit for you posthaste. They're just trying to safeguard their territory. Who wants a hotshot young punk from the US nosing in on their bread and butter, especially if they know, deep down inside, that he's probably better because what they do sucks major ass?

Oh yes, and also, for the reshoot on Friday, can I be the AD because the real one has to go scout locations for her next shoot, due to start on Monday? Of course. But only to help that AD out.

This is working out to be a long post. I should probably post more often, to shorten the length of these things.

Finally. The last chapter. Hopefully.

Woke up yesterday morning with a throbbing in my pierced earlobe. It was a little swollen. I thought I'd better clean it with the solution that I got when I first pierced my ear. I'd been pretty good about cleaning the piercings for a while, but kinda lapsed in the last week or so because of the shoot.

Went to work. Logged tapes from the shoot all day. These people have not heard of an "Assistant Editor" before, so the AD again, does all the bitchwork. Luckily I'm experienced enough with Avids to log like a motherfucker. 16 tapes in 9 hours. Beat that. (On a side note, 16 thirty-minute Betas for a half-hour show is a ridiculous shooting ratio. Fuckin' video. Everyone just keeps rolling.) Ear throbs all throughout the day. Smoke every hour or two just so I can see the sun.

Reach home at about 9pm. Look at my ear in the bathroom. Promptly freak the fuck out because it is leaking pus. Wipe it off and try getting the piercing out. I fail. Blood leaks out now. Motherfucker. As I try to remove the back of the piercing I notice the front bit is getting pulled into the lobe. Not good. I decide to stop because I didn't want to have it pull all the way through and end up with a gaping hole. And because it hurt like a bitch.

So off to the doctor's I went. And coincidentally, the only clinic open that late was one where I'd been to location scout barely two weeks ago. Even more coincidentally, the doctor on duty was the one I'd spoken to then. I grinned ruefully as I saw him, "Unfortunately I have to see you again under these conditions."

He took it out. That hurt some.

So I ended up with some costly antibiotics, instructions to clean and such, blah blah blah. He offered me a medical certificate, which I declined, saying I still had a shoot the next day.

Voice in my head: "You stupid fuck! Next time someone offers you an MC, you fucking take it!"

So here I am, about to leave for work in 15 minutes. Nursing an earlobe leaking all kinds of unmentionable and unidentifiable fluids and hungry for a cigarette.

But 2046 opened yesterday in Singapore. There's hope yet in the world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Goodbye, Mr. Superman

It should be pretty apparent by now that whenever I don't blog for a while, it usually means I've been on a shoot. Such was the case this weekend, when I holed up in a good buddy's flat for two whole days on end, trashing the place (I did clean up what I could though, but I hope we're still friends after this), feeling absolutely guilty, and also getting pissed off at everything that was going so slowly and stupidly. I swear, the amount of communication that goes on for a shoot in this fucking corporation is ridiculously low, so no one knows what the fuck is going on. But that's not the point of this post.

See, I've been robbed.

Not "robbed" robbed. More like "dropped my wallet, someone picked it up and took my stuff" robbed. The bastard made off with over $160 in cash, which I'd gotten back in return for concert tickets but forgot to deposit in the bank, and my just-topped-up EZ-link card ($20). I also had to replace my credit/debit cards, which is gonna cost another $30. So all in all, that's over $200 out. Bugger. It's cold comfort that someone else had the decency to return me whatever was left after the pillaging.

I thought I was gonna have to beg, borrow or steal to get through the rest of the month (for the reason why, check out an earlier post regarding my financial situation), but then I get a pleasant surprise today when I find out that the rest of the money for my film grant has come in from the Singapore Film Commission. Yay. So now not only am I not poor, I am richer than I was on payday last month. God bless people who give other people money to make movies (God in the most generic, non-religious sense of the word, that is).

I haven't been keeping up with the news, so it was a great shock to me today when I heard of Christopher Reeve's passing on the radio. Damn these shoots (had one today too). Fortunately there wasn't much traffic in the parking lot where I was, or I probably would've run into something. It was more traumatizing than Superman #75 way back in '92 or '93 (Comic geek reference!).

I remember being a little boy and watching reruns of Superman on the TV and really, truly, believing that "a man can fly". He wasn't my hero or anything, but for a while, he came pretty close. Any way you look at them now, the first couple of Superman flicks are still really fucking awesome, and probably the only other superhero movies that come close are the recent Spider-Man ones. Still, no matter how ridiculous you think it may be, no one pulls off the sense of nobility while dressed in silly blue tights like he did. And I ate it up like candy, I really did. It worked. He worked. If I had to describe the experience, it would be "quasi-religious". And I'm sure many people feel the same way.

So goodbye, Mr. Superman. And I'd like to think that not only is he no longer a paraplegic, he's flying again, somehow, somewhere. Just like he used to.

"You will believe a man can fly."
- tagline for Superman: The Movie (1978)

I did. And I still do.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Pictures On the Wall

I never really thought about the title of my thesis film. Pictures On the Wall. Why did I call it that? Of course it sounds better than Ouroboros, or Resolution, at least in the context of the film, I admit. On the obvious side, Thomas takes pictures and later puts them up on his wall, and taking down a picture is an expression of his father's emotional state later, among other scenes. But beyond these simple reasons, was there anything deeper?

Then, while at a good friend's place the other day, I suddenly understood. And everything became clear. Kinda like attaining Nirvana, almost.

He had pictures of himself as a little kid on the wall - smiling right at the camera with his mom, sitting with his grandma, birthday cake before him, pictures like that. He looked like a little angel. They were these tiny pictures in their little frames, and looking at them, I felt like I was voyeuristically peering into a past that I didn't know, and I felt wrong somehow. I remember feeling the same way, almost, when I looked at Matt Cozza's journal thingy he had to do for his 7th Grade class. (good God, wasn't he cute with his little lawnmower?) And above all, I felt overwhelmingly sad, for a multitude of reasons.

It was part of the past, probably a good past too, that can only be looked upon in nostalgia and longing. But then again, don't people always look back with rose-tinted glasses? No matter what though, it exists only in the minds of the people in the pictures, and even though I'd been allowed a glimpse into that world for a split second, I will never be there, I will never understand it, never really feel it. It doesn't matter how close I am to that person or whoever it is whose pictures I'm looking at. It's a part of the past that I can never hope to know. I am an outsider, looking in, and it is at that point when the distance between me and the subject of the picture seems to be a huge gulf.

The older we get, the more lost we feel. Looking back at old pictures, don't you feel as if those were the best years of your life? That you seemed to know exactly why you were put on this planet, and exactly what other people were there for (of course you were put here to be God, and everyone else to cater to your every whim). Oh sure, you had worries and cares, but through the filter of age, they seem to be nothing more than trivialities, while at the time they were Life and Death.

I don't enjoy looking at my own pictures back from when I'm a kid. Neither do I like looking at recent ones much. Which is why all my pictures are kept away in albums and I don't display them. (Only when I was in the US, and those were more of my friends than of me) For one thing, I photograph horribly. I always thought I reached my peak of attractiveness at age seven and steadily went into a decline ever since (actually my peak of unattractiveness was probably between ages 14 and 17, so go figure). Whatever piercings, tattoos, accessories, or clothes I put upon myself, are only an attempt to delay the inevitable. For another, I always feel like I was so happy then, when in actual fact that might be far from the truth. Why is it that people always smile in pictures? Are you really happy? Or do you just want to reassure your future self that you were?

Why do people put pictures up? Do they want to be constantly reminded of their past? Each picture hung on a wall is like a black hole that attracts my attention. I don't enjoy looking at them, I always feel sad, but I can't resist. The force of time/nostalgia/the past pulling me into their neat little worlds sandwiched within their frames proves irresistable every time. I enter these little worlds through a time warp of the mind, and leave shaken and somehow a little emptier inside. But I'm such a whore for it too. I mean, I often actually ask to look at someone else's pictures. I don't know why. Am I such a glutton for punishment? Or do I simply enjoy actually feeling something?

I must confess not all pictures make me feel this way. Most are just blah. But occasionally some come along that just reach out, grab me by the neck and pull me in. Those are the ones, the ones that matter. The ones that are what my title refers to, I suppose.

I do realize that retroactive analysis of your own work is pretty pretentious, and I apologize for any hint of pretension I might have given off. This was truly a new revelation for me at the moment, and I was pretty stunned when it hit.

On a similar note, I've realized that music can do it too. Since I got my iPod, I've gotten back into the habit of listening to music on the go. The other day, at the MRT station, this sappy Julian Cheung ballad, Suddenly Thinking Of You (literal translation) started playing (the beauty of Shuffle Mode), and somehow, it was a combination of the location, the time, the song and my state of mind. I was pulled back to when I was 17 or 18, hearing the song on the radio for the first time and desperately wanting to know what it was, then later feeling an incredible urge to work it into a play (which I did with my friends). The memory was so intense I had to stop walking, and I just stood there listening until the song ended, and I found myself with goosebumps all over. Now that's a beautiful feeling.

I almost got it again when I played the DVD that came with the new Jacky Cheung album last night. Looking at the music videos from when I was 13 or 14, listening to the music that ruled my life, that meant everything to me then was an amazingly powerful experience. So powerful that I felt exhausted and drained afterwards.

I meant to write better about the pictures. Perhaps I will find a better way tomorrow and edit this post again. But for now, this is it, since it's been over two hours since I started.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Financial Status = Dubya's Budget Deficit

I think I should be able to get myself declared a bankrupt soon. After all, I currently only have about S$170 (approx. US$100) in my bank account. Yep, I got quite the rude shock tonight at the ATM. And that's supposed to last me till Oct 25.

Then I remembered someone still owed me $260 for concert tickets, so I got on her tail pretty fast. And bless her heart, she wanted to return it to me tomorrow.

So I'm not entirely in dire straits. But boy, am I cutting it close. I'd forgotten about my whopping phone bill that I'd paid a few days before, which apparently was almost the current amount left in my account. So I went on a shopping spree yesterday, buying a stack of CDs yea high and an iPod case (those fuckers at Apple really rip you a new asshole, don't they?). And even though I got a case, I somehow still managed to nick a pretty nasty one on the shiny side of my Poddy. My heart died a little when I saw it today.

OK, so it's not as bad as George W. Bush's budget deficit. But it's pretty damn close.

No one, but no one, call me to go shopping. Understood?


Sunday, October 03, 2004

Parents and Kids

My mom surprised me the other day by saying very casually to me, "So you got your first paycheck right? When are you going to give us some money?" (Or something to that effect, I don't really remember)

I was flabbergasted.

Some background info for you non-Asian, and hyphenated-Asian folks. When a child ventures out into the world and starts making a steady paycheck, he/she is generally "expected" here to present his/her parents with a portion of said paycheck as a gesture of appreciation for all that they've done throughout the years.

Which makes sense if the parents are earning a meagre living and still supporting the family, or if they're retired and are living off their savings or pension. But not when one of your parents makes 3 times what you do, and the other almost 8 times. It just didn't make any logical sense to me whatsoever.

"OK, I know I racked up a lot of bills on your credit card, but I have the statements and I fully intend to pay them in full."

"It's not that. We don't need you to pay them."

"OK... (puzzled) I had to pay my roommates for the summer's rent, and my iPod took away a big chunk too. I'll have to wait till the end of the month to see what I can give you for that."

"I said you don't have to pay us back. You should have set aside a portion at the beginning of the month. We shouldn't be your least priority."

What the fuck? Where's this coming from?

"You're not making any sense."

"No, you're not getting me. It's not about the money, it's about filial piety."

Throwing that phrase at me just pisses me off even more. That's one the most ridiculous, overused phrases ever in an Asian context. Basically it's an excuse for parents to guilt-trip you and load you with emotional baggage so you will constantly have them in your mind and not neglect them or toss them off into a retirement home.

"It's not about that. It just doesn't make any sense to me."

"You know KC's daughter? She's in the same company as you. Her take-home pay is only $1800 a month. She asked her dad how much he wanted, and he said $600. So that girl is giving him that every month. So obedient."

"No, that's just ridiculous and stupid. Unless he was retired, or making far less money than she is."

Seriously, it's even worse than income tax. What a stupid girl.

"So which part of 'I don't know if I have enough money to last the month' didn't you understand? I just don't."

And so it went.

I wonder when this ridiculous practice started, and everyone assumed it was their god-given right (not that I believe in god, capital G or not) to claim a portion of their child's income, and to dub them as ungrateful bastards should that fail to happen, without taking into consideration logic and common sense.

It's not that I'm not appreciative. It's just that I have enough troubles without people guilt-tripping me out, even if they are my parents. I'd much rather show my appreciation in other ways, like volunteering to drive my lazy-ass brother to his dorm so they don't have to.

Yes, I should probably be less pissy. Yes, I do look at a friend whose mom is in the hospital and think I should try to feel the way she feels towards her mom. And I think I do, at least I hope so.

I also look at a good friend whose parents are in a situation, and think "perhaps it would be better if he could let it all go". But who am I to tell him that? It's hard. And coming to terms with that even harder. It's something he has to figure out for himself, whether it's something he really wants, or feels he can live with. I want to tell him he's a great guy, it's not his fault at all, he doesn't have to feel obliged to do anything to keep it going. I don't know if he reads this blog on a regular basis. But if he does, he should know what I'm talking about. Maybe he'll hate me for it. After all, it really is none of my business. And I admit, I am an outsider. I do not know specifics. I cannot judge. And I will not judge. I will, however, listen if you want me to. And I will tell you honestly what I think. And if I don't have any ideas I will shut up and just be there if needs be.

And if any of you were to ask "Who is this person?", I only have one reply: "Mind your own fucking business." I'm writing this down because it's something that's been on my mind quite a bit recently. That's all.

On another note, I read an article in the papers where this writer visited some children's homes and noted how he felt. Basically, he says, it's the little moments he witnessed that made the Homes feel not like institutions, but like real homes. The kids taking care of each other, the closeness between the staff and the kids. These kids haven't had a great childhood, and if they're of a certain age, they're probably going to stay in the Homes until they're 16, because people only want to adopt cute babies or toddlers. Why aren't there more people willing to take these kids in? You don't need to mould them from birth for you to have a positive effect on their lives. If they'd let me, I'd adopt a kid in a heartbeat, no matter how old he was. Of course, it's only theoretical... I'd probably die under the pressure, and then he/she would have to go find another foster parent. But still, I'd fucking try.

I think I'd make a fucking great dad. So there.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Random Bites

A triumphant albeit somewhat ridiculous beginning at mahjong last night quickly slipped into pathetic attempts at constructing ever-more-ambitious combinations, which of course turned my lead into a deficit like that. Ah well. Such is life.

So neither mine nor Osato's Even If I Told You made it to the Chicago Filmfest. That makes me sad. That means no free visit to Evanston in the near future.

From Cameron's livejournal:
Quote of the Day:
"People should not name their main characters "James Kapner" unless their name is something vaguely different from "James Kapner."
- Adam Bertocci

My subscriptions to Premiere and American Cinematographer have started showing up in my mailbox. Yay.

I've come to realize an essential skill in being a CEO is the ability to rattle on for hours while sounding very much like you know what you're talking about, but in reality saying nothing at all. It's amazing how they sidestep every question and turn it into something else. No wonder all these politicians are ex-CEOs or something.

Sepet, one of my likes from the Malaysian filmfest, has opened at Cineleisure Orchard. Catch it if you can, preferably with someone you can cuddle up to. It has its flaws, but like I said, is far too likeable for you to be pissed at them.

Anyone know where I can get a three-room flat that's relatively clutter-free, and somewhere that can pass for a hospital's ER? I'm getting kinda desperate for these locations. Maybe I should leave the apartment instead of sitting around writing my blog and actually look for them. I bet that would help.


Go Jackie

Jackie Chan's New Police Story fuckin' rocks.

A quote from Labbit-Dog: "really liked it. not for the storyline, but for the old fashioned action that many of us have not seen in a while. the action actually reminds me of my childhood when action movies are really action movies. no special effects."

And it really is. Remember Rumble in the Bronx, Police Story 3, etc.? They were awesome. They were also made almost a decade ago, and in between then and now his movies have gotten progressively worse. Of course Hollywood has had a huge hand in bastardizing his brand of action. The Medallion and The Tuxedo (I won't even dignify those with links) were as annoying and useless as that piece of toilet paper that got stuck on the side of the toilet and wouldn't go down with the rest of the mess.

But hey, now he's back in his element and totally kicking ass.

In which movie recently have you seen someone ride a bike down the side of a building? And someone else rollerblade down the side of that same building after him? And then two people abseiling down after them, using a pair of handcuffs and a stick as hooks? It's so ridiculously breathtaking it just boggles the mind. And the movie's full of those "No, they didn't just do that!" moments, which makes me very happy.

And for those of you who love your Legos, one of the climactic fights takes place in a hall where there's a huge Lego exhibit. Cue destruction of giant Lego dinosaur.

Of course there's a lot of hoohah about him stretching his "dramatic muscles" by having many emotional scenes which require him to look pained and cry. Unfortunately he isn't quite as convincing as when he's hitting someone in the face. In fact, I'd rather someone just keep hitting him in the face, at least then I won't be able to see the bad acting.

I know the plot's not supposed to matter much in these movies, but ugh, the melodrama's piled on thicker than Great-Aunt Petuna's shag carpet. If a girl had a bomb strapped to her and her boyfriend was trying to save her, I don't think anyone in the right mind would cover the timer, look their boyfriend in the eye and ask him if he loved her. What sunk it was that not only did he say "yes", but that "yes, I love you" made everyone watching in the police station cry. I couldn't help it, I let loose with a belly-laugh. And so did half the audience at least.

On another note, I also caught Imelda, the new documentary on Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines. She's a really fascinating character, and often, you can't make up your mind whether she's certifiably insane, delusional, or is incredibly lucid and politically savvy underneath the ditzy facede. If you don't know her story, look it up online, it's pretty unbelievable.

But then again, rigged elections aren't exactly new in the world. Case in point, Dubya.