Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm A Loser

I bit my tongue while sneezing yesterday.

Now not only is my voice fucked up because of my illness, my enunciation is fucked up because my tongue hurts.

Goddammit. This sucks.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Rock the Vote

Just a short plug for one of the shows in Project Pilot, showing tonight on Arts Central.

If you didn't watch it tonight at 9pm, you missed it. But take my word for it, it's pretty good. The Section is about a group of reservists who get transported back in time to 1942, smack in the middle of the Japanese invasion of Singapore. One of the actors described it as "Lost meets Band of Brothers".

It's done by some people I really like personally, and some people I really respect professionally, so please SMS your votes in. I'm sure all of you can spare the 20 cents for the SMS, so do it, even if you haven't seen it. Just take my word for it. And hey, you can win a phone from Panasonic.

Voting starts 28 Nov 9pm for 24 hours only. The Section's code is "P1".

Enter: Show Number {space} Name {space} NRIC
Example: P1 Alan Lim 7123456F
Then SMS to 72888

See, it's easy.

Vote for it. Because I told you to. Because it has a killer cliffhanger and I wanna find out what happens in the next episode. And there won't be a next episode unless it wins. And finally, because I might get to work on it if there's a series, and I'd love to be able to do that.

Hurry, you don't have much time left.

PS: I'm still dying.

How I Will Die

I think I'm sick again.

I'm beginning to have an image of how I will die. It won't be pretty.

I'll be lying in bed. I'll be sneezing continuously. The mucus will keep on flowing out of my nose and down into my mouth, until finally I drown.

The tabloid headlines will scream: Man Drowns In Own Mucus.

Doctors and scientists will debate how this is even possible. They will come to a consensus that it's a freak incident caused by fucked up genes.

The world will go on turning. And I will be gone. Drowned in my own mucus.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bizarre Searches

Is it just me, or are the searches linking to this here blog getting more and more bizarre? They never used to be this way before... or at least, not to this extent.

it is better to put in the belly of a whore then to spill on the ground
"cute girl"
draft man lamp
Chicago: Wicker Park: Interracial Romance Chat Rooms
www.malaysian awesome
woman being fuck by two man
hilarious 2 contest
dressed like a whore
balls again black man
cute girl
tips on how to fuck like a whore
"carol sweeney" moon
"james kapner"
Rosario Dawson armpit
cute girl
cute girl
spoiler "three extremes"
dick lee wife tanya chua

Tons of "what the fuck?" moments.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Boxup Lives Again! (Not?!)

Ohmigod! The 20 Century Music (a.k.a. Boxup) site is back up! Hallelujah!

(I don't dare put a link here because the powers-that-be might shut it down)

I'd just paid US$140 for a 2-year membership renewal, and the website seemed to disappear into the depths of cyberspace a few days back. There was no one I could contact, because all the contact links on Boxup seemed broken. But now it lives! It lives!!

I'm so glad my money didn't go down the drain.

Addendum: Wait a fucking second. What happened to all the fucking links to the songs?! WHAT THE FUCK?!! I want my money back!!!

"网站緊急調整中, 停止下載試听服務, 請留意稍后公告, 謝謝."

I say again: What the fuck?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Madame Nazi Strikes

I went to a performance of《老九 音樂劇》(Lao Jiu the Musical) the other day. I'd seen the original straight theatre production (well, actually the re-staging of it) by Kuo Pao Kun, and had a very good impression of it. The play's protagonist, Ninth Child (Lao Jiu) has to choose between following the conventional path towards success and following his heart towards puppetry, summing up many a theatre practitioner's life decision.

However, the musical version had an uphill task this time around. And most of it was due to this particular staff member of the Drama Centre. Let's call her "Madame Nazi". She had a very distinctive look about her, not unfamiliar to many of us, the kind of woman many refer to as a "老處女", or Old Virgin. Basically, because she's been repressed her whole life, she sees it as her divine right and duty to make everyone else's lives as miserable as possible.

As we settled into our seats, my friend took out her mobile to send a message. Madame Nazi immediately pounced upon her.

"Please keep your phone. No use of mobile phones," she rasped.

My friend was bemused, but being a good Singaporean, she did as she was told. I said to her, loud enough to overhear, "There's still 15 minutes to showtime. This is ridiculous."

We then got to talking about the wireless internet available in the Central Library (the Drama Centre is located in the same building), and out of curiosity, I wanted to see if there was any wireless reception in the theatre. Checking my email would be preferable to sitting there and twiddling my thumbs anyway. So I whipped out my iBook.

Barely 20 seconds later, Madame Nazi appeared.

"Keep your computer, and put it under your chair."

"Why? This is ridiculous."

"No use of devices. Keep now."

"What is this? The show hasn't started yet."

"That's the rule. No devices."

I half-felt like making a scene, but kept my laptop anyway, muttering loudly, "Maybe the electromagnetic waves will make the actors' brains explode."

Obviously she didn't get the humor in that.

Where the hell were these "rules" anyway? I didn't see them posted anywhere.

Now that I think back on it, I was probably too nice. I should've made a huge scene. After all, such bitches only deserve the best from me, and I'm always glad to have a captive audience.

Actually, given what was to come in the performance, I probably wouldn't have minded getting thrown out of the theatre. It'd be kinda fun too, since I've never actually been thrown out of anywhere before.

Anyway, my friends heard from an usher friend of theirs that Madame Nazi was notorious for being a hard-ass bitch, and was universally detested even in their circle. Which only confirms my Old Virgin theory.

So I was already pissed before the curtain was raised. I turned to my friend and said, "It's going to be really hard to make me like this show."

And of course it was a let-down. The lead was simply underqualified to take the lead in a musical; his voice didn't have the power to do that. It didn't help that his character seemed undeveloped, with numerous scenes of him studying for an exam and not much in terms of his supposed love for puppetry. The songs were mostly forgettable, and the only people who managed to wring any pathos out of their performances were 黃家強 (Johnny Ng) as the Father and Lim Kay Siu as the Old Puppeteer. Even then, Kay Siu had to learn Mandarin especially for the role, and his discomfort showed, rendering his performance less powerful than what he was capable of. The supporting cast were OK, but the lacklustre performance of the lead really made everything go down like a lead balloon.

It all came together in a ridiculous scene featuring huge puppets fighting and twirling around onstage, which not only felt wrong in the context of the play, it was just plain laughable. Oh, and the nearly three hour long runtime was unforgivable too, considering how much crap still remained to be cut.

Actually I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, it had been directed by Kuo's daughter Kuo Jian Hong. She is notorious for unleashing Avatar upon the world. For those unfamiliar with it, there are no words to describe this celluloid atrocity. Unfortunately, it has a place in history as Singapore's first sci-fi feature, but really, nothing can justify its existence. When I saw it, I literally felt like I was slowly dying in the theatre. That's how bad it was. I only gave this musical a chance because I thought she might have a homeground advantage on the stage. She did, but not by much.

Hopefully Rent can wash some of this foul taste out of my mouth. Ugh.

Happy Thanksgiving

It should be Thanksgiving evening now over in the States.

Have a wonderful dinner, don't overstuff yourselves on the leftovers, and go nuts shopping tomorrow!

Meanwhile, I think I shall nap.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Drink, Therefore I Write

Spent all of today hopping from one place to another, drinking beer and wine and re-writing a script with great - if rather mean - company.

And hey, I finished it by the end of the night, which means I can spend the next two days lazing around! Hooray!

Every day should be like this.

On another note: Ezann Lee makes tasty fried beehoon (vermicelli).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Another Six-Pack

New bunch of movies.

黑社會 (Election)
I had to make a trip all the way to Clementi to see this in a shitty cinema as it wasn't showing anywhere else. It was so not worth it. Despite all the hype, it's really nothing you haven't seen before in countless other triad movies, and while the actors were decent, you couldn't really expect anything less from such calibre. Infernal Affairs it definitely isn't. And the horrendous ending made for Mainland China came along with the Mandarin dub - apparently they couldn't be bothered to fork out more money to dub over the Hong Kong version. Basically it reverses every single theme in the movie within a span of thirty seconds, and slams the message into your face in an unsubtle move worthy of Jack Neo at his best (or worst): Crime Doesn't Pay.

Saving Face
A certain Dark Prodigy may have the hots for Lynn Chen, but personally I feel she looks weird from certain angles. Give me Michelle Krusiec any day. Anyway, it feels like this whole Asian-American ground has been retreaded God knows how many times before, so no big surprises. Still, competently done, even if some lessons were rather in-your-face. Has a nice, sweet ending - that has got to be one of the loveliest lesbian kisses I've seen on film.

Tony Jaa is fucking insane. That's the biggest thing I took away from this movie (renamed The Protector in the US). The guy does all his stuntwork without wires, and I don't see how any human body can do what he does with his. Running up walls, jumping over cars, somersaulting backwards and kicking people in the head. Complete madness. This is basically a bunch of jaw-dropping abso-fuckin'-lutely amazing action sequences stuck together with wet elephant dung.

If it is to be believed, there is a TV channel in Australia where news anchors speak in Thai-accented English. A cop who is unintelligible to every English speaker on the planet can somehow manage to get onto the Australian Police Force (and is quite possibly the most unfunny comic relief I've ever seen). And elephants are to be treated like family. That last one is forgivable; it's probably a Thai thing.

Best moment: A four minute-long Steadicam shot that follows the protagonist up a spiralling tower while he kicks butt along the way. The operator runs behind him, then in front of him, goes over to the parapet to see a guy fall all the way down, and tracks him all the way up. The action is incredibly choreographed - all in one unbroken take. Can you imagine how tired the poor Steadicam operator must've been?

Best moment that should have been in The Matrix sequels but isn't: After he realizes his "brother" - the elephant - is dead, Tony takes on an entire stadium-full of bad guys dressed in black suits, a la Neo. But man oh man, he's way more brutal, and the sound effect guys have their hands full as he breaks limb after limb after limb. The crisp sound of breaking bones is enough to make you cringe every single time.

(T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 (Dreamship Surprise - Period 1)
Peurile nonsense that would probably work better as sketch comedy than as a feature - and it really did have its roots in a sketch show. Basically, imagine if the crew of Star Trek were very gay, and had to travel back in time to prevent an invasion of Earth. William Shatner and George Lucas would kill themselves if they ever saw this. I don't even know why I saw it.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Darker and much more intense - I like. I'm glad they cut all the fat out, it's much better this way. Except I personally felt they could've cut even more. It would've been perfectly fine without the entire Quidditch World Cup sequence or the Yule Ball. The former had a half-fucked neither here nor there length, and the latter just went on too long and had no bearing on the plot other than to show the kids were growing up, which seemed kind of redundant, when you consider this next scene.

Best moment for me: When Moaning Myrtle tries to sex Harry up in the bathtub while teaching him how to decipher his clue. Now that's what I call a real 色鬼 (sex-crazed ghost - trust me, it makes a lot more sense in Chinese). This is just hilarious and had quite a fair bit of sexual tension. Kids growing up - check. Humor - check. Plot advancement - check. Letting teenage girls swoon over Daniel Radcliffe's bare torso - check. I rest my case; it's a perfect scene.

The last two challenges seemed kinda rushed and blah, and so did not live up to the dragon sequence. Ralph Fiennes was great though, with a lazy, "I eat babies for breakfast" drawl. The shot where the camera circles around him as he takes on his final form is one of the best effect shots I've ever seen.

So yeah, I liked it. I can't really decide whether I prefer this or the previous one, because Alfonso Cuarón is really one of my favorite directors, and I'm partial to his work. Of course, this is from a non-fan of the books, who stopped halfway into Azkaban and just couldn't be bothered to start again. I don't really care how faithful a Harry Potter adaptation is, I just care whether or not it made a good movie.

Oliver Twist
Given the title of "Least Essential Cinema" by The Onion, and I'd have to agree. While competent, it feels very safe and could really have been directed by anybody. Maybe Roman Polanski was on depressants when he did this movie. Looks and feels like a made-for-TV movie, which is pretty much an insult to Polanski and Ben Kingsley. I didn't care for any character, even though they tried to give Kingsley's Fagin an emotional centre. Even the Artful Dodger was boring.

Food Tales

There's now a Hong Kong Cafe at 380 East Coast Road (between Still Road and Telok Kurau Road) where they sell all kinds of snacks and food from the former British territory. On the whole, they're pretty decent, but one thing above all others deserves mention: The French Toast with Peanut Butter.

I kid you not. This humble-looking piece of dough is loaded with scrumptious goodness. Every mouthful is a greasy, sweet, syrupy, sticky mix of heaven. I didn't care about the tasty authentic char siew (roast pork). I only wanted more French Toast.

Best thing about the place: They're open till 5 am every single day. New supper hangout, yay.

And now for something else food-related.

While at K Box Marine Parade I discovered a little roach crawling around a service area where they kept open containers of snacks. I burnt it with my cigarette repeatedly, but it kept scurrying away. Perhaps it was cruel of me, but I think roaches are the one creature on earth that deserves every nasty end they can get. Anyway it escaped, thought not without pain.

Moral of the story: Don't be so quick to gobble up those snacks you find in a karaoke, unless you see them prepared in front of you.

And of course, the service left much to be desired. Cutting a customer off in mid-song is not cool, even if he may be overstaying his welcome. But then again, it is K Box, so I wasn't all that surprised.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Small People, Missed Opportunities

Palpatine has been badmouthing me again, it seems.

First she insulted my friend's department by implying all they did was sit around and watch DVDs. Then she made a big show of wondering if someone by my name actually worked for the department.

I don't understand why she's doing it. When a boss badmouths a subordinate behind their back by passing silly sarcastic remarks, it only makes them look smaller themselves. Doesn't she realize that?

But then again, with her limited intelligence, I doubt she realizes anything unless it hit her in the face.

I spoke to our new boss today (one level higher up than Palpatine) about the fairness (or lack thereof) that will be in Palpatine's appraisal of me, and the financial damage it can do me in terms of bonuses and promotions.

Turns out Palpatine has not mentioned a word about me at all. Godammit! This only makes me look insecure and stupid now! Is this part of her evil plan?

Then I learnt some other people have been complaining about my "attitude". I don't know what they mean, unless speaking my mind and knowing what I want at the end of the day constitutes a negative attitude. Then again, this is Asia, where there are so many fucking stupid levels of red tape and face-saving crap it just boggles the mind, and which I have no time or patience for, so who knows?

I hate this bullshit. Why can't people just leave me the fuck alone?

When she asked me whose team I'd be happy working on, I honestly said, I have no idea. Inside, I was thinking, why can't I form a team of my own, dammit? If I don't get somewhere by the end of my present contract in 2010, I'm splitting.

It wasn't until she prodded me that I realized that I got along with a lot more freelancers than fulltime staff, and that this might hurt my prospects. Godammit. I can't help it if I think most of the fulltime staff are incompetent and have lost their balls sometime in the last decade. This fucking blows.

In other news, I found out some time ago that I'd been bumped off a pilot I was supposed to write. Apparently the EP didn't see me at the office (is he the only person on the planet who doesn't know I work from home?) and got in touch with a Hong Kong-based writer. What I wanna ask is: Why couldn't he have just emailed me or given me a call? Jesus, is it that difficult?

Of course I'm partly to blame. I already know that nothing is going to get handed to me on a silver platter because they don't trust new people. I'm gonna have to fight for every opportunity myself. And still I got lazy and didn't follow up with him. All it would've needed was an email a week or so, and I didn't do it. I just did research on my own. What pure stupidity.

Since the people who write pilots usually end up being head writer on the project, I could've been made head writer within two years of my joining the company - pretty fucking amazing, if you ask me. And now that chance is gone, slipped through my fingers like a well-greased pig. Fuck.

Still, I managed to stick my foot in through the door, not letting it shut on me, so I'm still involved in the project, albeit in a lesser capacity. Anything to avoid being on Palpatine's team.

Good lesson learnt though. I can never be too careful.

My Weekend

Spraying lots of insect repellent on my arms and legs only to get bitten on my back.

Getting mud all over my white sneakers - I hate that squelching sound mud makes when it sucks your foot in.

Sleeping in a bed on a set made up to look like an army bunk.

Ending that sleep in 15 minutes to go to the next day's shoot.

Re-writing lines on the spot to accomodate an actor with such a poor command of English he completely mangles any dialogue above three lines and any word with three syllables or above.

Frantic calls to the executive producer and head writer about cutting down scripts for the abovementioned actor.

Going over-schedule, then under-schedule, then over again. Every single day.

Blacking out repeatedly at the wheel due to a lack of sleep (I'm still doing that today).

The ADs and I taking turns to fall asleep on set.

Ordering ten burgers from MacDonald's, only to leave with five (their mistake), and getting lots of free food when I returned for the remainder.

Yelling at a lot of kid extras.

Smoking in school.

Eating lots of leftover crap that was used on set.

Feeling awful afterwards - crap doesn't digest well.

Eating lots of other crap for meals.

Drinking far too little water.

Smoking far too much.

Taking a cold shower after 15 minutes sleep, in a bathroom with a busted lock. Brrr!

Being flabbergasted at a director's very loose interpretation of the meaning of sticking to a schedule.

Warning an actor about a mental extra who makes up constantly changing stories about his occupation and life.

Someone getting a blowjob in the carpark where we were shooting a night scene at. Unfortunately only the actors saw it, and they didn't call any of the crew to shoot it. Selfish bastards.

Laughing a lot. Amazing how silly things become absolutely hilarious when you're running on empty.

The director making up lyrics and the actor making up a tune on the spot, and teaching the whole cast to sing it in thirty seconds.

Moving a bed in the middle of the wilderness.

An actress replying, "Luckily I have no boobs" when the director asked her to squeeze against a mahjong table.

Making ridiculously good hands for the players of a mahjong game, combinations of tiles that you'd probably only get once in your lifetime. 十三夭, 大四喜, 大三元, etc.

Being very, very exhausted.

That's what I remember of my weekend. I hope you had a better one.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ugh II





Saturday, November 19, 2005

Shoot the Writer!

Went on my first work-related shoot in donkey months on Wednesday. I'd been badgering the EP to understudy a director on the shooting of The Sitcom, and he agreed. In fact, he even put me on the episode that I'd written. And on that day, they just happened to be shooting that particular episode.

Now I have a thing about writers on set. I think they shouldn't be there. The main reason is that they tend to lose objectivity. It's their baby, and they see everything one particular way and try to make sure it's done "their" way. Except it's not their place to say anything, because they're not the fucking director. I've seen a "writer" from the Dark Side try to overstep his boundaries and direct the scene before, which pissed the actual director off no end. So I told myself, don't get involved, hold your tongue.

Luckily, the director was nice and willing to share. He also double-checked points in the script a couple of times with me, which I appreciated. He didn't have to do that. But all in all I don't think I learnt that much, it's more of a formality I have to go through to climb up I suppose.

It's also very cool to see actors deliver the lines you wrote and know that this is actually going to be seen by more than five people - a lot more than five people, in fact. It is one of the most popular sitcoms here, after all.

And I also realized how easy it is to write something and not see the difficulty in executing it. It's all very well to write "Character A backs up and trips over Character B, crouched on the ground", but when the actors fall over 20 times in a row you really start to feel guilty as hell - another reason writers shouldn't be on set, so that you don't see the cast curse and swear at the fucker who was responsible for the script.

So that was fun. And this weekend is even more so. Overnight shoots on Friday and Saturday night (I'm barely even conscious right now), a script meeting on Saturday morning, then then an all-day shoot on Sunday - with only three hours downtime between Saturday's night shoot and Sunday's. By now you'll have realized that I meant "fun" instead of fun. Such is life.

Gotta run for my meeting now.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Flying By Night

Last weekend was a crazy marathon of video-making.

I joined Fly By Night with some friends, and the gist of it was that you had 40 hours in which to write, shoot and edit your short film after getting the theme on Friday evening. Past themes included "5 Minutes" and "Speed".

This year the theme was: ^#&$*)

Yep, you read it right. The six symbols above made up the theme.

One of the random thoughts Mel put out was about how these keys are rarely used on the keyboard, and how they'd feel left out. Everyone got a mental picture of people walking around dressed as keys from a keyboard and bitching to each other about their miserable lives. The Woes of the Forgotten Keys, so to speak.

And somehow during those four hours we spent coming up with the idea (we probably took longer than everyone else), it evolved into a documentary about the "Forgotten People" of Singapore. People who you may pass everyday on the streets yet hardly pay any attention to. People who may play an important role in our lives, but who we ignore all the time.

We had a whole list of these people to shoot, ranging from AIDS patients to foreign workers to mentally-challenged children. But in the end, due to constraints (40 hours being one of the largest) we had to be more realistic.

We headed out to get some night shots, which we didn't end up using at all, and had about four hours of sleep before we started the project proper.

FBN Shoot


The van I borrowed turned out to be extremely useful, especially in a shoot like ours, where we had to go all around town and basically try to find good footage. Luckily for us (but sadly a poor reflection on society), we seemed to be able to find interesting (read: generally sad-looking) subjects just about everywhere we turned. We'd literally stop for lunch and find a beautiful shot right outside the carpark.

FBN Old Ppl

FBN Bangla

We ended up with about 90 minutes of footage that day, which we had to cut into a five-minute short. That's probably one of the highest shooting ratios I've ever had to deal with.

The fascinating thing about making a documentary is how unpredictable it is. Most of your shots are obtained purely by chance. You observe and decide what to shoot. But if you were someplace else at the time, you'd get completely different footage. Then in the edit, the footage you can somehow speaks to you and certain themes and decisions emerge as a result of that. We ended up focusing on three main groups of people: The aged derelict, unskilled foreign workers, and the handicapped. That wasn't planned, it just happened. And similarly, other theories and concepts just came to the forefront in the edit spontaneously. What a rush!

I think the best part about working on something like this is the complete lack of any boundaries. Working in the broadcast media, as most of us did, can be a real bitch. There are so many guidelines and rules on what you can and cannot do. Suddenly we were in a situation where we could do anything, whatever the fuck we wanted, and it was like tons of doors just opened up in front of us. It's something that can never be properly understood until you actually work in the industry for a while. Such opportunities are so rare that when you actually get to do it it's really exhilarating. I know I'd never get a chance to do a documentary with harsh social criticism in my ordinary line of work. Actually, I'd never made a real documentary before (video docs of student film shoots don't really count), so this was doubly exciting for me.

I also loved the free-flowing collaboration process. There was no director, no assigned writer or editor. In fact I probably got the only assigned task - designated driver, and I was the team leader only by virtue of the fact that I'd handed in the entry form.

It's integral to my enjoyment of a project that there's interaction and exchange of ideas at every level. That's why I'm also enjoying my current show at work, because people are willing to listen. I don't see why that's so hard to understand for most bosses. When your opinion can be heard, you automatically feel more connected to the project. You feel like part of the team, you feel like you're contributing, like you're valued, you put in more effort, you work harder and better. It's not that complicated, it's just that so few people in power really understand that.

Anyone knows why something edited in Final Cut Pro 4 wouldn't put to tape (mini DV) using a firewire cable? We tried for over two hours, to no avail. Lots of troubleshooting tips from people, but none of them worked. It could've been an unblacked tape, but then I couldn't input my own timecode or change that in the timeline and... ugh. Whatever. I'm just glad that little episode is over. Even though we did just give up and export to DVD.

The screening was in Sunday afternoon, two hours after the deadline. Of course I was late, I was bloody tired. It ended up being rather fun, as many of the entries were rather clever and entertaining. Of course, with any short film program, there's bound to be a whole bunch of crap mixed in, but that's only to be expected.

The ten winners were announced at the end of it all, and it became clear that they were the ones whose films had made a positive impression and stuck in your head. Like the Kungfu Hustle spoof, the Low-budget Karaoke Music Video, the Cute Kitty Animation, the Big Loser, etc.

What was especially striking was that one of the winning teams was made up of 14 and 15 year-olds. Their idea was a world in which obscenities were considered polite and politeness considered obscene. So you have a classroom setting, and the teacher enters and says, "Good morning, motherfuckers." Very smart, clever twist on the theme. And of course it gave the kids a chance to swear like there was no tomorrow onscreen, which I'm sure they relished.

When I was watching it, I thought it'd been done by adults, who'd gotten their little siblings and cousins to act in it. Then when I found out it'd been kids who'd gotten their teacher to play along, I'd have to say, I was pretty impressed. Kids nowadays. Cool teacher though, to take part in something like this. And I'm sure the kids will never forget this experience. This is what education should be all about, not stupid dates and numbers and facts.

Anyway, yeah, we were one of the ten. Got a little bit of money, which is hardly enough to cover a ticket to one of the many concerts I'm attending in the coming months. But it's better than nothing, and it did feel good.

Now all I have to do is go back and tweak the sound so it doesn't peak so much. But I feel lazy and probably won't do it till next week. Besides, I'm on shoot all weekend.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm Sleepy


I've been writing like crazy the past two nights. Ended at 4:30 AM last night and 4:00 AM tonight.

But I'm all done with my new script.

I'll just look it through tomorrow when I wake up and send it off.


Moving on to research for the next.

Maybe, hopefully, I can spend an afternoon like this again tomorrow.

Safra Sky

One can always dream.

Oh, and my mom found my glasses. She'd accidentally swept them into a drawer when she was putting some clothes away.


Life could be better. But right now it's pretty tolerable.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Where the Fuck Are My Glasses?

I'm pissed. Not only did my spare pair of glasses break last week, I also lost my regular pair yesterday.

Broken Specs

They're beyond repair.

I realized my glasses were missing right before I left for a movie. I had to struggle with my contacts (I don't wear them that often, so I'm pretty clumsy at putting them in), and was almost late.

I've looked all over the place, and even in the car, but I still can't find them.

I know I had them on Saturday night, because I see them in the pictures. And I'm pretty sure I brought them home because the streets looked all right as I drove.

So where the fuck are they? I can't afford to buy another pair right now.

Nights Out

For some reason I agreed to go to Zouk on Wednesday night. Yes, Mambo Night. The first Mambo since it reopened after month-long renovations, and with the next day a public holiday, to boot. I expected crowds. I did not expect half the population of Singapore to be there.

Outside Zouk

It was ridiculous. I was stuck in my car for 20 minutes outside Jiak Kim Street, and when I finally got to drive in, the line to get into the club stretched for a block. Never in my life have I seen a club so packed.

We got drinks at Winebar instead. At least you don't have to line up to get in. But along came a cute butch, a friend of a friend's sister (it's complicated) who insisted that we go into the club NOW, so she dragged us to the line for Velvet Underground. The guys (all two of us), being the law-abiding citizens we were, protested. Let's go somewhere else, we suggested, all the while thinking, "It's all very well for you girls. You're not the ones who'll get beaten up if we're found out." But they'd have none of it, so attempt to cut the line we did.

We stood next to the line and chatted, bravely trying to look like we belonged there. We looked no one in the eye, just talked amongst ourselves. And when the line started moving forward, we moved into it.

And it worked. Ten minutes later we were in Velvet. No one blinked an eye. Or if they did, they didn't say anything about it. What assholes we were. Here were people lining up for hours on end, and we got in just like that. Bastards.

But who cares? Principles are for when you're sober. When you've got a few drinks in you, out the window they go.

I'll have to say this though, butches have far more balls than guys do. God knows they need them, especially in this country.

Meihui says that we did what we did because of our US education. I say it's all because of the butch with balls of steel.

MH & Me

Velvet pretty much blew in terms of music, so we just got drunker instead. Finally at 2am, they started letting people from Velvet into Zouk and Phuture. So off to Zouk we went.

It was madness. There were so many people there, I swear you could cross the room by stepping on people's shoulders.

Inside Zouk

If you've never been to Zouk, here's some background information. Wednesday night is Mambo Night, where they play (mainly) retro music. It's a bizarre mix where Belinda Carlisle, Billy Joel, Guns N' Roses, The Village People and Bon Jovi can co-exist on the same playlist. You step in and it's like you entered an alternate universe. There are die-hard freaks who go every week. They're the ones that know the words to every song and they've invented hand movements to go along with each and every tune. It's a sign language where four fingers signify "for", a heart formed by their hands signify "love" and so on. They fight for a space on the platforms, where they face the crowd and showcase their synchronized moves. And the sad thing is, they don't all look like pathetic losers. Sure, there's a skinny ah beng and the fat girl in the shapeless tee, but there are also people that you'd think were pretty hot, were they not standing on a platform making complete asses of themselves. It's all very funny and sad and tacky and gross at the same time.

Meihui had to go, so I sent her out to get a cab. It was 2.30am, and people were still in line to get in outside the club. On my way back, I was stuck in the tunnel to Zouk for over ten minutes. That tiny space was so packed your bits were literally squashed against other people's bits. Not an experience I'd care to repeat. I reached into my pocket for my phone and spent 30 seconds maneuvering it to my face.

We got out as quickly as we could, which wasn't very quickly at all, and headed into Phuture, where (praise the fuckin' Lord!) they were playing hip-hop. Unfortunately some of our party were rather into retro, so we spent the rest of the evening shuttling back and forth between Zouk and Phuture. Still, it was fun. And the fact that we managed to "fight" our way in on what must be the most packed night of the year is something to be proud of, no? Even if we did cheat...

3 Tired People

Saturday night was spent at a bar along Mohamed Sultan Road. Joyce, one of our friends from NU, was celebrating her birthday, and her (rich) boyfriend had the place booked.

The NU peeps

Sure, the party was a surprise. But the bigger surprise was to follow. He'd also gotten a stripper for her. That got a lot of laughs.


Poor girl was rather traumatized by the whole affair.


I offered to buy her a drink in lieu of a present. The bartender recommended a Black Craft, which was a special drink they had. He claimed it was stronger than a Graveyard. Unfortunately, he neglected to mention the price - a staggering S$45.00. For one drink.

There was a whole elaborate affair which consisted of setting the bartop aflame and breathing fire, culminating in a rather boring-looking reddish drink (seen with Joyce above). The fire-breathing was cool though, although I thought that for $45, it could have gone on a bit longer. I guess literally most of the money for the drink went up in smoke. Unfortunately no pictures - my camera was on auto mode and the flash killed all the flames.

It was a nice surprise to see Stephen there, being from Hong Kong and all. He'd been working in Singapore for 5 months, and when we found out that he'd never been to Zouk yet (sacrilege!) we made a date for this Wednesday. He has to go, if only to experience the weirdness that is Mambo Night.

Damn, I'm running out of money fast.

We Suck

As I passed Tampines MRT station earlier today, there was a fat woman sprawled on the ground. Did I say fat? I meant clinically obese. She had a mat on the floor, and surrounding her was stuff like tissue paper which she was selling. But she lay on her side, dead to the world. In fact, one would think she really was dead.

I glanced at her and walked on, as did everyone else. But as I walked to the ATM, I thought that was rather selfish of me. She might very well be dead. With all that fat on her, I wouldn't be surprised if she had a coronary just getting out of bed in the morning. I didn't want to be an unthinking, self-absorbed bastard like the typical Singaporean, so I made up my mind to check up on her on my way back.

And I did. Kind of. I stood about three feet away and looked at her distended, pale belly. It was rising and falling regularly. She was breathing. She was alive, just sleeping. I walked away, satisfied with myself.

On my way home, the thought came to me. Why had I just stood there? Why couldn't I have woken her up and checked if she really was OK? Sure, she smelled funny, but she was a fellow human being. At least I could have shown that little bit more concern for her. She wasn't dead, that much was certain, but what if she'd had a stroke? What if she'd been gravely ill? I passed a dead cat lying in the middle of the street, guts strewn across two traffic lanes. Not a good sign.

You hear these stories all the time. People fall in the street, or get hurt in a traffic accident, or get molested or something. And everyone around them just stands and watches. That's Singapore for you. A nation of watchers. We don't want to get involved. We're taught not to stand out from the crowd. If you help, you're standing out. You're actively involving yourself in someone else's business, and we don't do that. Not if it's a stranger. Hell, especially if it's a stranger. They could be out to mug you, or they could be part of some setup for a TV show. Basically you don't want to risk losing face.

But that's absolute bullshit. The truth of the matter is, we are a horrible people. Singaporeans are some of the most uncaring, selfish people I have ever known. We're terribly quick to call in on charity shows where our favorite stars perform, but on the street, one to one, we have cold, cold hearts. Our masturbatory tendencies towards navel gazing and self-aggrandizing makes us brag and spout crap like what an economic power we are, and how clean and beautiful our city is, but who gives a shit. Seriously, it doesn't matter when we are so fucked up inside.

Fact is, even though I try not to be, a part of me is like that too. I was a medic once, I should be trying to help people if they seem to be having some medical trouble on the street. Instead I just look and if they're breathing, I walk on. I couldn't even be bothered to ask her how she was feeling. I'd even ignored her the first time. What a bastard.

I disgust me.

Next time. Next time I see someone like that, I'll step up to the task. I'll ask them how they're feeling. And if they yell at me for waking them up, so be it. Thing is, you never know. You might get yelled at, but then again, you might be saving a life. What's more important? Your stupid pride, or a fellow human being?

Next time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Farce and Meat

Ah, the perils of having a boss who's a moron. And evil, to boot.

I'd done the first draft of a script and sent it in. She'd liked the outline and the beats before, so there was absolutely no reason for her to dislike too much of this draft, beyond actual lines of dialogue.

She hated the story.

Now, let me ask you, does that make any sense at all? How can you like the outline and the beats, then hate the story? I mean, it's all there.

But she is a person with her brain stuffed halfway up her rectum, so it's not entirely surprising. The cow.

Good thing she didn't know I wrote that (the head writer kept all scripts a secret in terms of who wrote what), or she'd've hated it more.

So I had to completely redo an entire story last week. Sent it in again. In the meeting, a colleague (one of the smart ones) commented, "I like this one. It's very farcical."

Palpatine and Boba Flat of course didn't know what a farce was. But they were adamant that they hated farces, because the term sounded like some high-falutin' type of comedy. So in effect, I wrote a farce, then tried to disguise it by putting in silly, stupid elements that would distract them from the fact that it was, in fact, a farce. But of course that wouldn't fool anyone with any intelligence. It was enough for them though.

The head writer froze at the comment. He knew how fucked I'd be if the Dark Side caught on to the fact that I'd written a farce. He needn't have worried.

"No, it's not a farce," said Palpatine.

"But it is," said the intelligent colleague, perplexed.

"It's not," snapped Palpatine, giving him a withering look that said, "I'm the boss so you'd better shut the hell up and stop talking back. And you're a fool who wouldn't recognize a farce if it bit you in the ass."

The colleague shut up. The head writer breathed a sigh of relief.

But it still came back with about 80% needing changes. Correction, it didn't "need" them. They just wanted changes for the most ridiculous reasons imaginable, and because they were Evil Cows.

So I did them and sent them in again. I haven't heard from them yet. Which I'm not sure is a good thing, since I'm supposed to have a first draft ready by Friday.

In the meantime, I guess I should probably start doing research into my next project, which will hopefully be a dark, depressing drama exploring the underworld. But still, I've spent the most part of a week sitting on my ass already.

Of course that's just in regards to work. When I get the proper motivation for other activities (which happens with rather alarming frequency), I have no problems getting into gear. Such as for an insane barbecue buffet at Brazilian Churrascaria, which sounded like heaven to the carnivore in me.

Dinner Group

Imagine, 12 different cuts of meat, served by waiters who walk around and slice chunks of it onto your plate every few minutes! Unfortunately, it wasn't too long, probably 1 1/2 cycles, before we had to stop or risk bursting our stomachs.

Good thing the waiters were quick with the meats. Kiwi can get scary when he's hungry. See below for evidence from the past.

Hungry Kiwi

Anyhow, during the meal, I rediscovered my knife fetish, which was evident from some time back:

Knife 1

Knife 2

And we caught Qinwei with (gasp!) beer!


Somehow I ended up in an empty condominium, taking an imaginary bath. But let's not go there.

Shower Scene

But yeah, not much on the writing front, though there's lots to be done.

It's just real hard to just fuckin' do it. I think a new environment will help. At least, I hope it does. I just don't want to deal with all this bullshit anymore.

Fuck it for now. Tonight I'm going to the newly-reopened Phuture at Zouk. Hopefully it'll be fun.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Old Halloween Sights

In the spirit of Halloween, here are some old Halloween pictures from 2003. I can't put up any new ones of this year because someone hasn't given them to me yet. Ahem.

Group pic

The above picture includes a Lame Soldier Who Couldn't Think Of A Better Costume (Colin), Wolverine's head & claws (um, me), a Purple Bug (Karen), a Baseball Player (Weisheng), Yu-Gi-Oh (Albert) and a bunch of other people who were too lazy to get costumes. For shame.

Ryu & SS

Ryu (Chye) and a miserable, failed attempt at Strawberry Shortcake (Weixuan). Poor girl tried to dye her hair pink. Didn't work. She may be smiling, but she's weeping inside.

CCP & Drag Queen

Chairman Mao would roll over in his grave. That is, if he had space to - he does look rather chunky. Anyhow, a Chinese Communist Party Member (Ah Tan) - even though it's not really a costume - and a Drag Queen (Wuyi).

Emily & Wolv
Emily the Strange (Camille) and Wolverine (me)

I'm still very proud of that Wolverine costume, especially the claws. I spent three fuckin' hours making them.

While we're on the topic of Halloween, I had free passes to the preview of The Skeleton Key during the Nokia Starlight Cinema event a while ago. While it sounds pretty fun - sitting outdoors, lounging around on the grass while watching a movie - I've found that even if they do their best, the sound systems for these things inevitably sound rather shitty. Let's say you're sitting near the back, like we were. The place is so big that by the time the sound from the front speakers reaches you, you've already heard the same sound from the back speakers, and so you get a weird echo-ey effect.

Starlight Cinema 1

But we didn't have to bear with the annoying sound for very long. The minute the actual movie started to play, the rain started to fall. And since we didn't pay for the tickets, we just said, "Fuck it," and went home. Besides, we'd spent the whole afternoon drinking, so it was a pretty fulfilling day already.

Starlight Cinema 2

I heard it was a shitty movie anyway. So no big loss.