Monday, February 28, 2005

Cries and Whimpers

I got really really tired of location scouting. It's just so fucking hot the last couple days, and it's no fun to go running up and down streets in this kind of weather. Shophouse stairwells are also pure evil. They're completely boxed in, with no ventilation whatsoever, so what you get, essentially, is a tall cuboid-shaped oven. I climb up stairs, stand at a door, and knock. That's the limit of my physical activity in them, and sweat's pouring down my arms and face.

So I spent a good portion of the last two days at the Swedish Film Festival instead, and it was a good time. Not only was the air-conditioning almost unbearably cold, the movies were good too.

I don't have time nor energy to write about each of them now, so here's just a brief list of what I saw:

Songs From the Second Floor
Cries and Whispers
My Life as a Dog

On my way to the voiceover session on Saturday, a middle-aged guy hit my car from behind at a red light. I'd just lit a cigarette and taken a couple of drags. The light turned green and I was about to move off when he just slammed right into my back bumper. I got out and the first thing he said, sighing, was, "What happened?"

My Poor Car

As if acting innocent would absolve him of any guilt or responsibility! I tell you, these old fogeys, all that's important to them is face - they just cannot admit that they fucked up in front of anyone from a younger generation.

Of course, I think he might've been a little intimidated. Me with my cigarette and cool hair and sleeveless top and all. I'd like to think I looked at least a little badass.

Whatever. It was clear as day who was in the right. So he's paying for everything.

I, on the other hand, did the typical Singaporean thing: I went and bought 4D and Toto with the license plate numbers. I don't think I've bet so much on the lotteries before. Hopefully I get some money. Heh.

So it was my dad's birthday and we went to lunch at the East Coast Road branch of Margarita's - the Mexican place I went to over a month back. I "surreptitiously" passed my credit card to the waitress while on the way to the bathroom, but apparently I wasn't surreptitious enough, for according to my brother, my dad did the whole silly "I'll pay for it" bullshit and tried to swop his card for mine. What is it with older relatives? That's so annoying. Anyhow, my brother fixed it by the time I came back out.

The food was excellent, like before. Good to know the branch is equally good. Clumsy fingers on the part of the waitress though, but smashing plates on the ground is always a good way to liven up a dreary afternoon.

Lunch meant I had to skip the first show in the film festival, but it's OK. I guess I can always try to hunt it down on DVD. It's called The Invisible, and is about a boy who finds that he is a ghost. High-concept piece, but whether it's good or not depends a great deal on the execution. I'll find out. Eventually. Oh, and hey, big surprise: Hollywood apparently wants to remake it.

While waiting for Cries and Whispers to start, I had time to hunt down an attache case for my dad. This'll stop him from lugging all his files and papers to work in disgusting plastic bags. Ugh. It looks like he goes marketing every single day. What a heinous blight on the eyes. Again, I'm glad taste and style are not heritable.

Attache Case

I got a pretty good deal - a Japanese designer one with 50% off (it being part of an older line) and an additional 10% off for it being the last piece. Great gift at a great price, what could be better?

Right now, my brother is enjoying an Oscar Movie Marathon at Cineleisure Orchard, courtesy of a pair of tickets I won. Lucky bastard.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I Have No Life

I can't believe I worked till 11pm today. But all the forms for the various departments still needed to be done for Tuesday's shoot, since everyone would pretty much kill me if I handed them in on Monday. And I sure as hell don't wanna go back to work tomorrow when there's no air-conditioning and the office smells like a grave.

And I spent this afternoon triapsing around old Singapore looking for '70s-looking streets and alleys. So I couldn't do any paperwork during that time, plus it was fucking hot.

When I left the office, I was going to bring the forms to all the different departments. Then I realized that I'd left them upstairs. As Jack Black puts it so succinctly, fuck my ass. No way was I going back up. I have to be there at 8am again tomorrow anyhow.

Yeah. 8am in the morning. For a voiceover session.

Who the hell does that? People's voices are terrible in the morning. I'll sound like a frog with a head cold.

Whatever. It's not my show. And at least I'm getting paid for that.

More location scouting tomorrow. And hopefully I'll be able to find time for the Swedish Film Festival. They're showing Songs From the Second Floor and Persona (damn, Ebert even has two reviews of this) tomorrow night. I'm excited, even though I've seen the latter before. I'll see if it's less of a mindfuck the second time around.

You may ask, Why am I still up at 2am even though I have to wake up early in the morning?

The only answer is: I don't know.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Take a look at this.



Yet, I can see that happening so easily.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Fifteenth New Year Post (Or, Making Up the Numbers)

Since the Lunar New Year has fifteen days, I decided it would be nice to have fifteen New Year Posts in all. It only seems appropriate. I know, they're kinda all jammed together during the last couple of days, but still. At least I tried.

Since I'm lacking any topic for this post, I shall resort to posting pictures from my Flickr page that I've been unable to post on the blog. The main reason for the exclusion of these pictures is that I've simply been unable to find the opportunity; they just didn't seem to fit anything I'd written so far. Still, I like them, and would like them to see the light of day somehow.

So, here we go.

I took this one in Geylang over a month ago. We'd stopped to get some bubble tea - some very cheap bubble tea - and I got out of the car to have a cigarette. I was struck by the pretty blue sky and the clouds, looked up and down the alley I was parked in and just snapped it. I like it a good deal, partly because of the nice juxtaposition between the old and the new, but mainly because of the blue. Like I said before, Singapore just doesn't get that blue very often, especially with all the bushfires these days.

Yes, for those of you having winter now, Singapore is so fuckin' hot and dry at this time that we're having bloody bushfires.

Geylang Street

Oh, there's only one more picture. How lame. And I thought there would be more.

Anyhow, I didn't take this, and it's obviously a self-portrait. But the overexposure, though unintentional, makes it look very surreal and cool. Of course, the smirk helps too. Or maybe I'm mistaken and it's not a smirk. It's hard to tell from this angle.

JL Halo

I originally wrote a free-association thing about the picture, but after I did so I realized what terrible writing it was and how it should never be seen by anyone, ever. So I deleted it and you have this paragraph instead.

I think I'm done.

On a happier note, Team America: World Police opens tomorrow. I'm very excited. I mean, there's puppet sex! What could be any better?

The Fourteenth New Year Post (Or, Water, Water, Everywhere)

I think there's already too much coverage on the tsunami incident already, so I wasn't exactly ecstatic when my producer wanted to have a four-episode special on it. At that stage they were calling it the Tsunami Special, which not only alliterates, but also sounds like a set meal at a seafood restaurant.

Later on, I was happy that I didn't have to do it. Instead I was put on another programme. This made my day, as I could see the logistics being a real bitch.

I paid a visit to the set as they were shooting a scene, and got to see the AD tearing his hair out from stress. Still, it looked like fun. Especially when crew members were roped in to play dead bodies.

And it gave me the chance to take this picture, which is what the post is really about anyway. Here's the field assistant Wilson with his best impression of a sorority girl in a wet T-shirt contest. I happen to think it's bloody hilarious.


The Thirteenth New Year Post (Or, The Madness)

This is the last day of the Lunar New Year. Not that it feels particularly festive. It's just that you're going to see the end of the series of lame titles.

Prepping for two episodes simultaneously is just pure madness. The characters, scenes and locations have all kinda flowed together into this amalgam of insanity, and I'm getting stuff confused left, right and centre.

Tons of shit to do, and so little time to do it. I shoot next Tuesday. Woohoo.

Gotta get back to work. Enough slacking.

The Twelfth New Year Post (Or, Fuckin' Commies)

A friend working in Shanghai can't access my blog at all. She's never been able to do so, all these months.

I wonder if China blocks Blogspot entirely from their servers, or is it just my site? I mean, the "whore" in the title is pretty risqué, no? Who knows, the subversive, counter-cultural thoughts and opinions contained herein may just bring about the downfall of civilization as we know it.


Ah, those fuckin' Commies.

The Eleventh New Year Post (Or, Mr. Robinson & A Crazy Ride)

My dinner today consisted of an apple, a slice of coffee cheesecake from Starbucks, and an ice cream cone from Anderson's. Boy, am I hungry now.

On the way home from seeing Ray tonight, I had the misfortune of getting a cab driver who was almost certifiably insane. He treated his Mercedes cab like Speed Racer's, well, racer. He sped up to ridiculous levels, sometimes travelling at 180% of the limit, and on top of that, he was rough, reckless, and the ride was bumpy as hell. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the fact that he was chatting to a friend on his fuckin' walkie talkie the entire time. I held on tightly to my backpack like it was a life preserver. Luckily it was a short ride or I most probably would've gotten carsick.

But anyhow, back to Ray. The hype is true, Jamie Foxx is Ray Charles. And the actress playing his mother is really good. But apart from them and the musical numbers, there really isn't much that's amazing about this movie. Annoying flashbacks, cheap psychoanalyses, and silly cold turkey scenes just let everything down. There's only so many montages of a man's accomplishments we can take. Yeah, the man lost his little brother, but it feels really cheap when the movie tries to use that as a justification for his heroin addiction. I mean, people don't really need a reason to be a junkie, or even if they do, it can't just be simplified into one little nicely-packed traumatic episode.

Still, it was OK, I guess.

Moving on, I saw my old senior medic on the MRT the other day. He's still working at the camp I was posted to. The moment he saw me board the train, he smacked his forehead and said, "I just had to run into you today." He then proceeded to tell me about his shitty day.

Well, I can't really repeat what he said, since it's all classified shit. But suffice to say that when you're in the medical line, you basically don't want to have a shitty day at work because, well, lives are in the balance and all.

It brought back memories of my past escapades in that hellhole (it wasn't really that bad, it's just a very depressing place). Some of them fond. Well, actually when you look back, even the shit seems somewhat amusing. Stuff like pricking my finger to test if a machine was reading blood glucose levels accurately, because a patient's readings were off the scale. Shit like that.

I guess at the end of the day, I'm just glad I'm not in a profession where other people's lives are at stake. It's a lot of responsibility, and when something does fuck up, you really don't want to have to have someone's blood on your hands.

So yay for entertainment. Nothing really matters here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Tenth New Year Post (Or, Funny Thing I Heard on the Radio Today)

My dad had Capital Radio 95.8FM on this morning as we drove to work. It's a lame-ass Chinese station catering to older (read: lamer) people who take interest in petty affairs and faux-intelligent "debates" about "current affairs".

Anyhow, the presenter says, "We're having a discussion in a little while, and the topic for today is 'Extramarital Affairs'."

She then starts playing a song and announces, "This song is '快樂無罪' (Happiness Is No Sin) by 許美靜 (Mavis Hee)."

How ironically appropriate.

I laughed out loud, then had to explain everything to my dad, who'd been oblivious to the whole thing.

His response: "You should write in to complain."


The Ninth New Year Post (Or, In Memoriam)

Dear Kok Yong,

It was a January day, in 1999, over six years ago. A whole bunch of stupid kids, new enlistees in the army, sat in that training shed. Everything felt weird and different and new – the uniforms, the boots, the gear, the people around. The only familiar thing was the sweltering heat.

It probably wasn’t even your fault. I mean, we were all new and didn’t know what the hell was going on. I don’t even remember what happened. Some silly mistake, I guess, which led to you being singled out by the sergeants.

“What’s your name?”

“Tan Kok Yong,” you said timidly.

In a way, that fear was probably in most of us – unsure of what the future 2½ years held, not even knowing what lay ahead for the day. But laughing at your mistake made it somehow a little easier to bear.

What can I say now? I’m sorry we laughed? That’s the way of the world. Survival of the fittest. Picking on the weak, or the perceived weak. That’s how it works in schoolyards. The army. Probably almost everywhere you can think of.

Still, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry none of us ever seemed to get what you felt. I guess we were all just too wrapped up in ourselves. BMT is enough of a burden without taking on other people’s cares and worries as well. Still, I suppose we could have tried harder.

I don’t think you were picked on more than other people, although you might have perceived it as such. It certainly seemed like you took it the hardest. We kind of shrugged it off our shoulders, but you really seemed to dwell on all the negativity.

You didn’t have to feel responsible for anything. I know, sometimes shit happens and everyone suffers for a single person’s little mistake. But that’s the way it goes, and there’s no point beating yourself up for anything. After all, we’ve all done it at one point or other. And let’s face it, we were all stupid kids at the time.

Of course I can say, “You gotta look past that” now, but would that be of any use?

We all knew how hard you worked, how much effort you put in. You woke up earlier than any of us, and went to bed late. Doing what? The stupid shit they make us do, like polish boots and clean rifles. You really wanted to do your best. You took your shit seriously. And we respected you for that.

Even so, you were always somewhat of a mystery. So quiet, so… timid, even. We’d sit around the bunk laughing and joking, or swearing at the instructors, and at the most you’d just chuckle a little. Still, I’d like to think that you were happy sometimes. I’d like to think that you found yourself welcome in the Section. At least, we always thought you did.

You could’ve said something. If not to us, then at least to Ben. After all, he was your Buddy. And we were a Section. We were a team. We had to stick together. If only you’d said something. Anything. We would’ve tried our best to help. At least I’d like to think we would’ve.

But all this is just empty speculation at this point, isn’t it? Because, face it, we’ll never know – they’re all “what-if’s” that don’t really serve any real purpose at all.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was Saturday night, the weekend after Chinese New Year. Almost midnight. I was drifting off to sleep when the phone rang.

It was from our camp, asking me to report at the jetty as soon as I could.


“Your section-mate Tan Kok Yong attempted suicide.”


That “fuck” was, quite simply, the purest distillation of fear and despair I ever felt.

In my dad’s car riding to the jetty, I stared out the window, seeing everything, yet nothing. I was riding on some wild, improbable hope that you were somehow all right. That life would go on the same as always. We’d go back on Sunday evening, book in, spend the week training in the shitty wilderness of Tekong, and book out on Saturday afternoon again. A few more rounds of that and we’d pass out of BMT with pride. I wanted that to happen so bad.

Me, Yujin, Ben, Gavin, Eng Siong, Frank, Tim, York King, Chuck. We drifted in one after another at the jetty, dazed and disbelieving. Sergeant Jimmy was there. So was Lieutenant Tan.

We took the fastcraft to Tekong. It was the first time we’d been on one, and it was a helluva lot faster than the old bumboats. Even so, we weren’t really in a mood to appreciate it.

We found out on the fastcraft that the guy who called us was wrong. It wasn’t “attempted” after all, but “committed”. Motherfucker. It’s a world of difference.

It was a night of endless interviews and questions: Who did he talk to? What did he say? Did he leave any clues? We were so unbelievably frustrated; here we were, knowing nothing, wanting information, answers, anything, and they were asking us question after question after fucking question.

There’s the fucking army for you. Always trying to pin the blame onto someone, to find a scapegoat, to absolve themselves of any responsibility. Shit happens and fingers start pointing in all directions.

Here are the fragmented pieces of the story we managed to gather that night from everyone.

Saturday afternoon.
A note at your desk.
Your sister read it.
You visited the ATM and got cash.
She saw you.
You ran and disappeared.
There was a crash.
You lay on concrete, at the foot of a block of flats.
Over ten stories up.
The end.

What we learnt only raised more questions. Questions for which we had no answers. No one had any answers.

Questions like:
Why visit the ATM?
Why right after Chinese New Year?
Why was everything so messy and hasty?
Why didn’t you wait for your A Level results?
Why not a word to anyone?

The most basic question. The root of the problem. The unknown. Why?

Endless speculation, endless guesses. All utterly useless. Pointless. Ridiculous.

* * * * * * * * * *

Your funeral was pretty painful to sit through. I don’t think anyone in that room wanted to be there, it was a horrible situation. Us in our uniforms, with Sergeant Jimmy and Lieutenant Tan. Your family, relatives and friends. To use the old cliché, you could slice the tension and awkwardness with a knife. Lots of people cried. We saw LTA Tan’s tears for the first time.

If you were there, how did you feel? Ashamed? Or glad that you meant something to so many people?

I’m sorry; it’s not my place to ask.

We went back to Tekong and jumped straight into a field camp. The rest of the platoon had already been there for a while. Questions were asked in hushed tones over the fading light. We talked quietly, sadly in our tents. It all seemed like a surreal adventure. Training went on as usual, although it did seem like the sergeants did hold back some.

But your bed remained empty, day after day. It got to a point where poor Ben couldn’t sleep beside that bed anymore; he was reminded of you every time he turned over. He finally had to switch to a spare bed across the room. My bed was opposite yours, and every time I looked across… It seemed like you were still there somehow.

You might have been gone, but you were still part of the section. We seemed to get along a lot better after that, and were a pretty tightly-knit group. Perhaps shared pain does bring people closer together.

* * * * * * * * * *

When I returned to my JC to collect my A Level results, I was reminded of you. I didn’t want to be, but I couldn’t help it. Somewhere your remains lay in a little urn, and here I was, in school, with everyone in a celebratory mood. I couldn’t bring myself to feel much joy at getting my good grades.

In my mind’s eye, I could see your parents receive the letter containing your results from the school. Leaving it unopened on your desk day after day, in the vain, futile hope that someday you’d be back to open it yourself.

Dammit, you were only nineteen. There were still so many things for you to do. So much life for you to live. Bad shit happens to everyone, but we have to get over it. We have to take things in our stride. Whatever happens, it’s not the end of the world. There’s always hope. That much I believe.

But then again, I’m not you. I won’t presume to know what went through your mind. I’m sorry; I was being judgmental and presumptuous.

* * * * * * * * * *

In 2002, my freshman year of college, I spend my Spring Break in New York City with my Buddy Yujin.

We lie in our beds the first night, and he says, “Remember how it was before? We were so silly… saying ‘goodnight buddy’ to each other like a couple of kids.”

I chuckle in the dark.

“Remember Kok Yong?” he asks, “I can’t believe it’s been over 3 years.”

I can’t think of anything to say, so I say yes.

“Sometimes I’ll see something, or someone, or whatever, and I’ll think of him.” He says wistfully.

“Same here. I don’t know why… But it happens sometimes.”

“I can still remember his face…”

“Yeah, his black plastic-rimmed glasses, that ‘blur’ look… He always reminded me of a teddy bear…”

“Yep… Goodnight, Buddy.”

“Goodnight, Buddy.”

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s 2005 now. Over six years on. I’d like to think we’ve all moved on. And yet, every time Chinese New Year rolls around, somehow or other, I’ll be reminded of you.

Here and there too, you’ve popped up in my thoughts and shown yourself in my work. My first short film project mentioned your story, and was dedicated to your memory. I hope you liked it. And this is actually the second draft of a letter to you that I first wrote in January 2003. Hopefully it’s a little better than that last one was.

At this time, our questions have pretty much stopped. Let’s face it, they’re not very useful, are they? We got tired of asking. No one had any answers anyhow. Who ever knows why?

You know what, though? You may not have wanted to make a huge impression upon the world, Kok Yong, but ironically, you left an indelible mark on us. Even if the details become hazy over the years, you’ll never really be forgotten.

You might not have considered us as friends, but we’ll remember you as one.

I hope that somewhere, somehow, you’ll be able to read this.

Rest easy, my friend.


Monday, February 21, 2005

The Eighth New Year Post (Or, Am I Glad the New Year's Almost Over)

All in all, this was a good weekend.

On Saturday I had a secondary school class outing. Amazingly enough, there was a rather strong turnout - 16 out of 34 people.

Updates were mostly predictable, but of course there were some surprises, like the girl who'd started up her own business only to have it fail within the year. And the biggest surprise of all (well, technically it wasn't really a surprise since we knew beforehand) was one girl who was getting married.

What a disgusting reminder of my age. Bah.

Anyway, it was a good dinner. The steak was actually rather decent, which is pretty rare in Singapore, and especially at an OK price (S$25 or so). Erdinger was excellent as usual. So if you want a decent steak, you can check out Jerry's in the Club Street area.

4A Outing

The trip there was actually pretty amusing as well. I was running late so I decided to take a cab, and was promptly mistaken by the cab driver for a celeb from my company. Not anyone in particular, just a celeb in general. He said I dressed "like an idol". Har har. Rather bizarre. Look at the picture and judge for yourself if his comments were valid.

Instead of being late, I was frightfully early and so sat around taking pictures of people sneakily. Like of this guy, who seemed, like me, to be waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Waiting Guy

Managed, finally, to see the Botero exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum today. Childish comment: It's kinda cool that all his people look exactly alike, just with different hair, etc. Lots of dumpy, fleshy people and animals. It was a nice (and interesting) juxtaposition with all the beautiful photographs of stick-thin celebrities in the Russel Wong exhibit in the same museum.

Priest & Cat
The priest warns his young charges about the deadly beast waiting below.

Cat vs Man
Cat vs. Man

Got a free Alien Ant Farm CD from my favorite tiny CD stall, Foo Leong, in Chinatown. I guess the owner likes me and knows that I spend enough there to feed a tiny nation for a year. I don't think think I've ever heard of the group, but he insists they're good.

I was also complimented on my eclectic taste. My purchases from the stall today included U2, Queen, The Chemical Brothers, and - of all things - Taufik (Singapore Idol winner - support a bit lah. Plus, it's cheap). This doesn't include the Chinese CDs I got from Gramophone just a bit earlier.

And finally, on a more sombre note, I've added another NU blog link to the list on the right. It's rather depressing, but I'm glad to see that Tim's sense of humor is still intact. And of course, it's a reminder to us all that shit happens, and very often to the best people.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Seventh New Year Post (Or, Cheap Thrills)

Just 'cos it's fun, let's pop over to eXTReMe Tracking and see what kind of searches have been leading people here. Also, we haven't done that in a while.

From oldest to newest, stretching from Sunday 6 Feb to Saturday 19 Feb:

standard chartered singapore wristband
jolin naked
sepet meaning yasmin
standard chartered wristband
fiery thunderbolt
"Fiery Thunderbolt"
"fiery thunderbolt" story plot
fiery thunderbolt ending
jolin tsai panties
fbt shorts
jacky wu mahjong game cd key
synopsis fiery thunderbolt
rating for blade trinity in singapore
singaporean masturbating geylang
"ho wen long"
naked poster of Jolin
seeing is believing wristband standard chartered
standard chartered - seeing is believing wristband

Interest in Jolin Tsai has increased, either with or without panties. Searches show an increase of 200% from the previous survey.
Pathetic people interested in Fiery Thunderbolt also increased - more than doubled, in fact.
Yasmin remains steady at one search.
There seem to be more people interested in shorts and panties, FBT or not.
Rather disturbingly, Ho Wen Long comes right after "singaporean masturbating geylang". Come on, people, he's only a kid. You sick bastards.
Also, a rather high number of people were interested in the Seeing Is Believing wristbands, which is a good sign, I guess. There actually are decent people out there. Since you like it so much, here's a picture.

Seeing Is Believing

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Sixth New Year Post (a.k.a. The Movie Post)

Snuck off early from location scouting today to see two just-opened movies. Shh, don't worry, I'll more than make up for it tomorrow. It was nice that I knew so little about the two films in question, since I hadn't read that many reviews about them, so I was able to be surprised. Horrifically surprised in parts, as it turned out. But in a good way.

Million Dollar Baby is directed by Clint Eastwood, and it moves along like the man does, taking its own time, and moving with grace and dignity. The boxing scenes are quick and brutal, with no flashy crap that other directors often resort to for excitement. Performances are excellent all round, and isn't it funny that Hilary Swank only seems to be taken seriously when she's playing "macho" characters?

I appreciate the fact that not a single review tells you what happens eventually, and trust me, it's a real punch to the gut. Something that makes you feel sick to your stomach, but yes, in a good way.

When actors turn directors, they seem to do good work, mostly. Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins, Tim Blake Nelson, um, people who aren't called Tim. Or lesser names helming films like The Station Agent or In The Bedroom. I would hesitate to name Kevin Costner as one of them, but then again I was pleasantly surprised by Open Range. It seems that being actors themselves, they're more interested in character pieces, and the acting in their films are usually top-notch and gut-wrenchingly honest.

Eastwood likes to do a lot at a time, and here he's also responsible for producing the picture and composing the score. Luckily, the score for this seems pretty understated, which is a welcome relief from the musical histrionics of Mystic River that stuck out like a sore thumb and completely detracted from the movie.

If you haven't gotten my drift yet, I think Million Dollar Baby is excellent.

Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement), on the other hand, was a Very. Long. Engagement, indeed. Despite being 4 minutes shorter than Baby, it feels so much longer. Plot contrivance after plot contrivance occurs, as do scenes that do nothing more than add complications to an already complicated story. In comparison to the previous film, the war scenes don't feel brutal enough, and the emotions never quite ring true. It looks gorgeous, and Audrey Tautou is gorgeous, but somehow you are never quite able to give a shit about anything.

A movie that focuses entirely on someone traveling to find their lover is really hard to do well. Cold Mountain (yawn) didn't quite manage to pull it off, and neither does Engagement. No matter how hard he tries, Jean-Pierre Jeunet never seems to make everything gel together. Better luck next time.

8 Days and Cineleisure Orchard are holding an Oscar movie marathon on 27-28 February, featuring Sideways, Ray, Closer and A Series of Unfortunate Events. It all culminates in a big-screen live screening of the over-inflated Circus of Hype called the Academy Awards, and costs only S$30 per person. I was all hyped-up about going, before I realized that I simply couldn't.

It ends on a Monday morning (or noon, if I want to stay for the live telecast), and while normally I would have no hesitation about taking leave (I have so many days left over anyway), I really can't on that day. I start two shoots back-to-back the next day, which will take nine days out of a ten-day stretch, and I can foresee that there is no way I can finish prepping for everything by that Monday. I know I definitely have enough time to prep for one very adequately, but two is a real stretch. So, no all-night movie marathon for me.

On that note, if anyone knows a street in Singapore that could pass off for a street in Thailand in the 1970s, I'd be really grateful.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Fifth New Year Post (Or, Just Stuff)

Just in case you were wondering, yes, this ridiculous practice of titling my posts will continue until the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year. It saves me the trouble of coming up with titles. Alas, it does nothing for the content though.

Apart from the voiceover work, I am finally getting paid for my little acting stint. It's not a lot. Hell, I'll come out and say it, it's pathetic. But it's something, at least.

Pictures On the Wall has been rejected from the Student Emmys. Ah well. Better luck next time.

My most recent cellphone bill came up to S$88.88. Hopefully that's a good sign.

Even though I switched to a plan that had S$100 of talktime, I still managed to exceed it by S$28. I have no idea how. Maybe little elves are using my phone at night.

Flight of the Phoenix was pretty bad. Not one character that wasn't a metaphorical piece of cardboard, and only Giovanni Ribisi was any interesting. Of course, I really watched it because of him. I think he's one of the most underrated young actors around, and he's done some really fantastic work in movies like Saving Private Ryan (who can forget the dying medic? Oh, that scene killed me, especially since I was a medic too) and The Gift. And of course, probably his most recognizable role was that of Phoebe's brother in Friends. Unfortunately there wasn't enough of him in Flight, and I was pretty damn bored. It wasn't even a decent B-movie, and I'm a pretty big fan of those... Blade: Trinity, anyone?

I will make it clear, though, that I want Dennis Quaid's body when I'm fifty. And I did learn that mysterious nomads in the middle of the Gobi Desert inexplicably speak Cantonese. What a surprise.

Finding Neverland, on the other hand, was a nice little movie. The only thing that marred my experience of it was that I had to sit in the front row and crane my head so much I got a neckache. Yes, there's not much depth to many characters and all, but I guess once in a while you just need a decent weepie for therapy. Of course, the movie had it easy with me since I'm a sucker for the Peter Pan story to begin with. I remember reading the book or watching the movie and being traumatized when Tinkerbell was dying. Lots of sniffling in the theatre all round.

As I left the theatre, there was this group of Air Force Officer Cadets in front of me. When I walked past them, I overheard this one telling the others that Flight of the Phoenix was good. I sighed inside. But I also noticed one of his friends still had red, teary eyes from Neverland. Heh. I probably looked like that. I was glad though, that I wasn't the only guy the movie got to. I mean, that last scene was really quite lovely, and the kid that plays Peter is a damn fine actor. It's just that, well, with most guys, it seems they'd rather kill themselves than cry at the movies. I guess it made me happy that this macho-looking Officer Cadet actually did cave. Hey, ladies, decent men still exist out there!

Yep, I'm done for the day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Fourth New Year Post (Or, What Was Good)

Bitching aside, I also know to count my blessings, so I'm glad that this Chinese New Year didn't completely suck. And it's for the following reasons:

The little sneak-off with my cousin for smokes and beer on Day One. I smoked, we both drank - what kind of monster do you think I am? I wouldn't make him smoke...

I do have a picture with the both of us, but we both look horrible in it, so it shall not see the light of day.

Constantine on the night of Day One with these two fine folks and others.

Weixuan pool

Scary Face Pool
Scary-looking dude, huh? Reminds me of the Vibrating Man in Jacob's Ladder. Anyway these are old pictures, taken when we went drinking and pool-playing a couple of weeks ago.

But yeah, Constantine was surprisingly good. I don't care what anyone else says. I like it a lot, and that's good enough for me. I was just happy that it felt rather Vertigo-ish and was really quite cool and moody. I hadn't read any of the comics beforehand, but my brother passed me a couple of Hellblazer collections later, and they were a good read. And after reading, it seemed the movie had stayed pretty faithful to the spirit of the books.

While searching for links, I realized Constantine hadn't been released in the States yet. That's pretty cool, finally we get something first.

Now the next big comic book movie I'm awaiting with baited breath is Batman Begins. I hope Chris Nolan doesn't fuck it up. It opens on my birthday, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a cool birthday present instead of a lame-ass one.

A chat at Bugis on the afternoon of Day Two was also good. I guess it just feels good to talk about stuff that bothers you in general.

Day Two also brought with it a late-night mahjong session which was a lot of fun. Thanks to my uncle and aunt for putting up with us. Even though most of us lost money, it was still a great time, and I was happy to give up some cash in exchange for that.

Day Three was spent in recovery. Which was also good.

Day Four brought with it my maternal grandma's birthday lunch. The food was good, which is always a relief. The company was OK, at least the more annoying relatives weren't there.

Here's the birthday girl, looking kinda bored.

Fa Cai
Here's my wet napkin pack. It says "get rich" or something to the effect. I hope it works.

After that came shopping and more mahjong. I bought some useless but cool-looking (I hope) shit, and won a bit of cash, so it was pretty decent, I guess. The sucky part: driving people home, bleary-eyed, at 4-fucking-am.

I zoned out while my friends played this game after mahjong.

High Angle Me
And here's the aforementioned zoning-out. Hmm. The white-balancing seems a bit off.

The Valentine's Day Non-Date was also good, but you know that already.

Finally, I got a gig today doing voiceover work for this. A bit of extra cash always comes in handy, especially after buying the bloody plane tickets to the States.

The Third New Year Post (a.k.a. The Valentine's Day Post)

In lieu of The Third New Year Post (which will appear shortly, I promise), I have the Valentine's Day post instead. No particular reason, it's just that it's late and this will probably be a shorter post than the New Year one.

After a failed attempt to organize a single's outing for tonight, I went to work feeling generally blah. I've always hated Valentine's Day. It's probably sour grapes for my constant lack of a relationship, but I feel that's justifiable. The bitterness was exacerbated by the fact that I felt the beginnings of an illness coming on, with a nagging hint of a headache creeping up my neck. It didn't help that my brother and mother are both sick at this point, since it only increases the likelihood of that happening.

Anyway while doing mindless logging of tapes, I get a happy SMS from Angeline saying she's on leave. I decide to take a couple of panadols and a nap to see if I feel up to anything tonight. A few hours later, I miraculously recover and so the Non-Date Date was decided upon.

Unfortunately the bak kut teh stall at Rochor Centre I wanted to go to was closed. As was the Kwanyin Temple (I just wanted to be done with the whole thing to please my dad). And the good char kway teow at the Golden Mile Food Centre. Goddamnit, with the Chinese New Year holidays, it seems that only the shitty food places feel obliged to stay open. The good ones take long extended vacations that go on longer than they should because they can. Oh, and the Beach Road Army Market was closed too, so no shopping for cool stuff - but that was probably 'cos it was late.

Anyway, after driving around aimlessly, we discover that Meihui was back from New Zealand! How exciting. We drive over to her place and go for coffee and a bitching session. Before that though, we had to go with her to her ex's because she wanted to pass him something.

Me & Angeline: "Bad idea! Wrong signals! Wrong signals all over the place!"

We did it anyhow. No further comment.

Though the bitching session was nothing spectacular, it was nice. Just good company on a night where no one wants to be lonely. Several things were agreed upon:

One. As men get older, they reveal more and more that in fact they are nothing but little boys inside. They get louder, more annoying and attention-seeking. All this is to compensate for their realization that the family that they've once been the head of, now no longer needs to rely on them completely in order to function. They feel unwanted, inadequate, and hence need to reassert their authority. Sadly, this often takes the form of lashing out at everyone for the most ridiculous reasons, drawing more resentment and misunderstanding. Since they are such chauvinistic pig-headed people, it seems the only response is for us to just shut the hell up and let them expend their energies.

Two. The realities of the working world are now crashing down spectacularly on us. We were discussing about going to Phuket, just taking off for a weekend, since prices are really low now. We were all like, "Yeah, let's just go! The three of us! Beaches! Massages! Food! Yeah!" Upon comparing our respective schedules, we realized that there was no way this could happen until at least April. And of course we were utterly disgusted.

Three. The best time to go travelling is when you're a student. I mean, seriously, there's no other time when you can simply just shrug off "work" (taken to mean academics here) commitments so easily and simply disappear for a weekend. That is, if you can afford to go travelling all the time. I kinda regret all the weekends I spent slumming around in college and not going to more places. It's the ultimate irony, I suppose. When you have all the time in the world, you can't afford to, and when you can afford to, you can't find the time to do it.

Ah well. All in all, a good night. Probably one of the better Valentine's Days I've had.

Yes, I know that's sad.

You can take your fucking sympathy and shove it.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Second New Year Post (Or, Why It Sucked)

Since the New Year traditionally goes on for fifteen days, and this being the fifth day, it isn't too late to post with that title yet.

Anyway this will deal with why the New Year sucked. There'll be another post to balance it out soon, but I'd like to get the bitching over and done with.

So I was stuck with having to log tapes on New Year's Eve, since I'd been a lazy bastard late last week. I started late too, because I was trying to get writing samples for my boss ready - trying to move up the corporate ladder, so to speak. And well, so I ended late, well after almost everyone had left the office.

One thing led to another, and leaving out something in between, me and my dad got home pretty late, probably about six or so. It was still fine, for we would've made the Reunion Dinner, no problem. However, he got it into his head that it would be a good idea to deliver some flowers to his parents'. I do not understand the way the man's mind works. You're supposed to have a Reunion Dinner with your wife and kids on New Year's Eve, not go triapsing around the place being a bloody flower delivery guy. But who was I to stop him? He said he'd be quick, which in my parents' warped concept of time meant a few hours.

At home, my brother announced he was watching Constantine that evening with friends. At 8pm. Who the fuck schedules movies with friends on the evening that they're supposed to have dinner with the family? And not any family, mind you, a family that is notorious for their... flexibility when it comes to time.

It quickly became apparent that he was not going to make it in time, especially since dinner was still being made and was nowhere near ready. He changes the plans to a 9:30 show.

Time passes, with no sign of my dad. My brother announces he is going to be late, so he eats whatever's ready and leaves. My dad runs into him at the door and bitches about why he has to leave. I bitch about why he took over two hours to deliver some fucking flowers. He sees the stupid plants he placed outside the door have toppled over (because they're ugly and suck ass and their pots are way too light for them) and so insisted on "fixing" them, regardless of the time.

Finally sat down to Reunion Dinner at about 10pm, with just my parents and me. Tried not to be sulky. I don't remember what was on TV, but I'm sure it was something appalling.

Day One didn't start any better. My mom said we should leave by 9:30am to go visiting. Like I said, our family is notorious for being late. I told her no way, I was willing to bet good money that we wouldn't leave till noon at the earliest.

For a vast myriad of reasons, I turned out to be right. We set off, me with a sullen face, annoyed at my victory. I'd rather have left early and gotten things over and done with quickly. My brother remained at home, recuperating from Constantine. No, actually he was sick. Or so he claims. Little bugger's always getting sick. Weak, I tell you, weak.

By the time we reached my paternal grandparents', all the other relatives had left. My aunt and grandparents had changed from their New Year's best back into their goddamn pajamas, for crying out loud. How fucking festive is that?

I sit down beside an almost-comatose grandma. She blinks at me several times and asks if I'm me or my brother. I sigh and tell her. That's pretty much the extent of our conversation. I read a magazine. So does my mom. My aunt tries to give us food, which we decline, except for my dad, who stuffs his face. My grandpa gives us some angpows, which do little in the way of recuperating my contributions previously. That's it.

My dad insists we go to the Kwanyin Temple. I don't really care one way or the other. The street seems a little crowded at first, then gets worse and worse. Someone's playing this horrendous English version of a New Year song, with atrocious lines like "Kwanyin give you blessing and luck". A chill goes down my spine, and I flip off in the general direction of the music.

In front of the temple are barricades, and the police are letting people go in a batch at a time. It's absolutely fucking insane. I swear repeatedly under my breath. I suggest that we just forget about it and come another day. For once, my parents agree. Goddamn.

Was so pissed at everything I SMSed people to tell them how this was the worst New Year ever.

At my maternal grandma's, no one really talked to me except my cousins, which was fine. All the better, in fact. I consciously avoided striking up lame conversations, and got so bored of doing absolutely nothing that I dragged my cousin out for some beer and cigarettes. He's a nice kid, always so accomodating to my vices.

Angpow-wise it was still pretty pathetic. No profits this year. Great, I'm not even married and I'm already beginning to lose money in red packets. Fortunately, after everything was over, I am out only about S$25 as of today. To be honest, I was expecting far worse, especially the way trends were going on Day One.

The rest of the days were better. But that's for another post.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The First New Year Post

In about an hour's time, it will be the beginning of a new lunar year. The year of the Chicken, or some say Rooster. Perhaps it's a good year to whore myself out? (That was a bad play on Chinese words - very very lame)

This will be the first New Year I'll be spending at home after missing the last three in a row. For some reason I'm not exactly looking forward to it. Part of me misses the fun I used to have with my roommates and our friends on this occasion - when the world around you doesn't even acknowledge your holiday you just have to be festive in your own way. And hey, we had a lot of fun.

One thing that I didn't miss was the inane conversation with relatives. You know, those people that you see, oh, maybe three times a year? More if there's a wedding or a funeral. The ones that you see regularly or semi-regularly are fine. The rest are just... something that just needs to be done.

You smile, say the typical lame greetings, maybe get an awkward pat on the shoulder. I always get comments on my hair, since it's a different color everytime they see me. Then the usual Game of questions starts. A few years ago it used to be "When are you ORD-ing? Where's your camp? Do you stay in or stay out?" Now it's probably going to be "What are you working as? Do you see a lot of stars? Do you work five days or more a week?" Then I'll have to smile and explain nicely that my job basically consists of bitchwork, at which they look uncomfortable and I dance a little jig of joy inside for succeeding in unsettling them. At which point both parties fall into awkward silence and desperately try to come up with excuses to end the conversation. "I'm going to get a drink" is still a hot favorite. In a few years' time the Game will probably consist of questions like "When are you getting married?" At which point it might be kinda fun to say things like "I'm considering cohabiting with a girl and a monkey and having mad sex with both of them", if only just to see the look on their faces.

I didn't remember Chinese New Year being so blah. I used to have fun. But then again, when you're a kid, you're pretty easily satisfied. As long as there were other kids to play with, money in your pockets (you didn't even care how much - the physical number of red packets were more important than the sum of money), festive goodies stuffed in your mouth and lame comedies on TV, you were happy as fuck. Now everything just makes me want to get drunk and chain-smoke. Both of which are generally frowned upon in the company of family. My generation of kids grew up. New kids were born and replaced us, kind of. I mean, people generally pay more attention to the younger members of the family, but then again, we had the distinction of coming first. These young whippersnappers (I always wanted to use that word), I look at them and I see a mass of kids. They kinda blend into one another and lack any distinct personalities whatsoever. I even forget who their parents are. These kids are around all the time, it seems, I just tend to ignore their presence.

I stay away from Chinatown also during this period as far as I can. I hate the insane crowds there and I'm not interested in anything the stores and stalls are selling anyhow. Red and gold give me a headache, and I hate the crassness of the New Year songs with their cymbals and cheapass synthesizer faux-cheerful beats. But above all, nothing annoys me more than the feeling that everything is about pure commercialism and materialism. It seems the vast majority of New Year greetings have to do with money or wealth or possessions, and it's sad that this seems to be what the Chinese today have latched onto - nothing more than a desire to make as much money as possible, fuck everything else. It just disgusts me to no end.

I still go to this little CD store in Chinatown called Foo Leong though. They have good deals, and I don't mind braving the crowds for a little while to get my CD fix. I only wish they'd stop selling the cheapass China parallel import CDs.

This year also marks the first time I'm giving out red packets. According to my mom, I'm making a living now, and so am obliged to give them to my grandparents and parents. Ugh. It haven't even received a single one and I'm already out a huge sum of money (at least for me it is). This looks to be a pretty pathetic year in terms of New Year "earnings", since I have a pretty big deficit even before anything starts. And it looks like this is going to be pretty much the case from here on.


This and That

You know you're spending way too much time at the computer when you get a nasty-looking brown bruise on the bottom of your right wrist - at the exact spot where your wrist is in contact with the table while using a mouse. And when I say "you", I mean "me".

Finally got around to watching the wonderful Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education. Lovingly sumptuous, as usual, and it seems he likes the "movie-within-a-movie" thing a lot, since it's expanded from the short in Talk To Her to almost half the movie here.

My favorite thing about his films is how deep inside, they're such melodramas, and instead of shying away from melodrama, like most "serious" filmmakers try to do, he embraces it wholeheartedly. By this, I mean that he deliberately plays up the twists and connections between the characters. But because he treats every single character with such love and respect, it never comes across as cheap, unlike the shit they play every day on Days Of Our Lives or Fiery Thunderbolt (or insert name of your most-hated soap opera here). They are full-bodied, flesh-and-blood characters who just happen to live in a melodramatic world, and try to make the best of it they can. He also gets amazing performances every time from his actors, which help his approach greatly.

There were two cuts, or so I heard, in the version screened in Singapore. Both involving fellatio, I think. I'm so sick of hearing myself rant about the censors, I don't think I'll say anything more. I know I'll get the DVD anyway.

After the movie, my companion asked if I'd be able to accept my child if he/she was gay. I said yes, without hesitation (at least, I hope I didn't hesitate). I didn't give a reason then, but it's not too late to do so now. Well, a simple one, anyway.

I believe that basic human rights apply to everyone, regardless of their gender, race, religious convictions (or lack thereof) and sexuality. You can't really control who you love or your orientation, and who's to say what's right or wrong? Moralists? Those hypocritical self-righteous bastards? I'm not about to let them dictate how I or my children should lead their lives.

Bottom line is, if I'm a parent, I'd want my kids to be happy. And if that means humping someone of the same gender, then I say by all means, go for it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Painful Rejection

How can my professional life be going so well and so terribly at the same time?

The good news is that I am to be involved in the conceptualization of a new drama series, and perhaps even write and direct some of it. If you think about it, that's a huge leap from no creative input to an amazing amount of it, and is definitely something to be happy about. Yeah, it's still for mainstream TV, and you can say "sellout" all you want, but at least I'm getting somewhere. Hopefully there'll be a pay raise to match.

As for the bad news... Well, you can read it yourself in the emails I'm reproducing here. I don't really feel like talking that much about it anymore, after writing emails back and forth over the past few days.

On Wednesday night, after my latest shoot wrapped, I received this:

Ref : Pictures On The Wall

Thank you very much for submitting the abovementioned short film. As you know, the regulation for participating in the Singapore Short Film Competition is that the film must not be screened elsewhere.

It has come to our attention that your film has been screened at the Substation before, and unfortunately, this would disqualify your film from the competition.

We thank you again for your keen interest at our Festival and we look forward to see your future productions next year.

Yours sincerely
Festival Coordinator

I was understandably upset and immediately shot off a bitter and sarcastic email, which in hindsight was probably not the smartest thing to do at the time. I am proud of myself for refraining from any swearing in it though.

I managed to wrangle the email of the festival director from someone, and wrote this shortly after, on Friday morning.

I recently submitted my short film, Pictures On the Wall to the Singapore International Film Festival's Singapore Short Film Competition.

Two days ago, I received an email from Festival Coordinator Joe saying that it had been disqualified from competition because it had screened at First Take at the Substation in December 2004.

I was understandably very upset and disappointed, and let him know in no uncertain terms. Now I am writing to you to appeal this decision, based on the reasons below.

The rules were only released in November 2004, and I sent in my entry in October, one month before that. How can I be expected to know the rules if they hadn't been released at the time?

Furthermore, I cannot be expected to know that these have been the rules "all along". I have been away from Singapore for three years, and prior to these years, had never made a film in Singapore before.

Secondly, The rules state that the film must not have been shown at any festival or event previously. I did not know First Take qualified as an official "event". To me, it seemed like an informal gathering of people to watch some student film. There was no competition involved, no prizes, no critics, nothing. Going by the films that were shown along with mine, it seemed like I'd submitted it to the wrong place, for everyone seemed to be showing their first projects whereas mine was a thesis film. I wanted a little exposure and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Additionally, the usual venue was occupied at the time of the screening in December, so it had to be shown in a tiny room which fit thirty people at the most. Out of these, five of them were my friends who'd already seen the film. What kind of a pathetic reach is that?

With all the time, effort, and money I spent making this half hour short film on 16mm, I cannot just sit by and let it just be seen by twenty people. What is the point of that?

At the end of the day, I would never have submitted it to First Take if I'd known it would be grounds for disqualification from the SIFF.

And finally, a bit about the rule itself.

What is the point of having this rule in the first place? The pool of Singapore-made films is not exactly huge to begin with. Why thin it out even more by implementing this so stringently? If the whole point is to encourage local filmmaking, this runs counter to everything that stands for. How can crushing a work based on a technicality, without even considering its individual merits, be justifiable? Is all the talk about supporting local film just that, talk and nothing else?

The festival programs films from all over the world, many of which have been screened and won awards in international festivals. Why the double standards then, for local short films?

If you can watch the film and consider it for screening, I would be satisfied. I don't even care about the competition. Even if it screens out of competition I'll be more than happy. The bottom line is, please don't deny me a chance to show my work just based on a technicality.

Thank you very much

I got this reply:

we sympathise with you so our suggestion is that we screen it as one of the non-finalists. There are two days at the goethe-inst that we screen all the entries so we can include it there.

hope you are ok with this. please understand that this is the best that we can do.

"We sympathize with you." Ha! He even got my name wrong (I didn't cut-and-paste that portion).

The saga continues:

Does that mean that this is part of the Singapore Film Festival? I mean, will I be able to say "My film was at the SIFF" or is this just a screening of every single entry you received, without any "quality control"?

If there's no "QC" involved, who is going to be watching these? It seems that these screenings then would comprise of friends and family as opposed to people in the film industry. Am I correct in this assumption?

A non-reply from him, still getting my name wrong, and avoiding my main point entirely:

these screenings represent all the entries submitted but they are not the selected ones. They will not be listed in the catalogue.

hope that clears it up for you

Finally, my latest email, written on Saturday morning.

Since you put it that way, isn't this no consolation at all? If every single entry is getting this screening, then you haven't really considered my appeal at all have you?

Like I said before, if every single entry is getting screened at this venue, then the audience will be comprised of friends and families of the entrants, which will do nothing for me in terms of getting my film seen by the "right people" (and all that entails, not to say that I am being elitist or anything, just pragmatic).

All I ask is that you take a look at the film and judge it based on its merits and consider if it is worthy of being in the final selection. I would much rather have you come up to me and tell me straight to my face, "We are not choosing your film because after viewing, we hate it and think it is an absolute piece of crap and a waste of celluloid", because at least that would've meant that you had seen it and thought about it, as opposed to simply dismissing me and brushing me off based on a technicality which is not even my fault.

Would you be willing to at least look at the film and think about it, or is even this gesture out of the question? That's all I need to know.

I don't think there's much hope at all. It just bugs me that even people who are supposedly in the arts and helping local artists are such sticklers for mindless rules and regulations, and when pressed, cannot even justify why these rules exist in the first place.

What pains me the most is that this is happening in my own homeland. Something is very wrong here. Like I said in my first angry email, which I did not reproduce here:

Finally, thank you very much for crushing whatever hope I had of having an encouraging film environment here in Singapore, in my homeland. Should I migrate to make movies, then? You have no idea how angry and disappointed I am right now. I see that filmmaking is subject to the same unbending rules as everything else on this island.

I shall wait. If in the end the answer is still no, then I shall have no choice but to blow the matter up and go after all the press I can get.

Yes, I'm vengeful and petty. If you cross me I will boycott you and do my best to slam you. Perhaps it won't do much for me, besides making me look like a fool. But there's always the slim hope that I might be able to do something to help others like me in the future, if they decide to change the rules based on such negative publicity.

Ah, everyone loves a martyr.