Sunday, March 26, 2006

Of Foreign Workers...

I saw a scene yesterday when I was on my way back from Malacca. There's this father with his 2 children and a maid, they were on their way to their car and were getting into it. The dad asked the girl, who was about just 6 or 7 I guess, to sit at the back with the maid, and the girl struggled and refused, almost to the point of crying.

At that time I wonder: is this happening in other places? Children, or sometimes adults, who refused to sit with their Indon maids because of their skin colour and because they are "different than us"?

Define "different".

Is it their skin colour? Nationality? Personality?

From my observation -- and I believe many will share this observation -- it seems that we're very wary of foreign workers (particularly the construction workers) in our country roaming around the city, afraid that they wil mug us, molest us, rob us, murder us...we seem to be afraid of them, but why?

Here's how I see it:

We're short of workers in the building and construction sector. No one is willing to work under the hot sun for small bloody pay. We Malaysians are too proud for that. We only wanna do business, earn lots of money, feed ourselves and our need to buy and spend otherwise unnecessary items.... (I'm not saying ALL of us, just the majority...)

So without any choice, we import foreign workers to work for us. Build houses. Construct buildings. Do whatever menial jobs that Malaysians not willing to do.

But we despise them, even LOOK DOWN on them, because of their rugged appearance -- the very people who built those fancy bungalows so we can live comfortably while they stay in rumah setinggan because the bloddy agency who represent them doesn't pay them enough or provide a decent hostel.

If ur in a foreign country, being stared and looked down and treated like shit, will u feel strange? Will u feel angry? If these feelings isn't well controlled and u have no where to let the heat out, what will u do?

U mug.

U molest.

U rob.

U even kill.

Thus this is where our gejala sosial come from. People come here, work for us, we treat them like shit, they buay song, do bad things to us. U have to wonder whether we ourselves are the cause of all this.

Of course, not all Malaysians treat foreign workers like shit. I wouldn't like to think that we are those kind of people. I don't dare say that i'm indiscriminate towards anybody coz nobody's perfect. I'm just saying that maybe, JUST MAYBE, deep down in our hearts, subconsciously, we regard them as different from us, that we have some hidden prejudice towards others.

Not as serious as racial discrimination or Abu Ghraib incidents, but acting differently when they're around us.

Feel free to disagree.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Review: Brokeback Mountain

"Jack fuckin' Twist."

That's what Ennis call his lover after 4 years of separation. Then they hugged each other and make out. Yes, it's the "gay cowboy" film that everyone's talking about.

All the brouhaha surrounding this film since awards season until now made me just have to watch it. It has become the most honoured film in history, winning more Best Film title than any other film., although it did lost out to Crash for the Best Picture Oscar. Not that I must watch Best Picture movies everytime they came out, I'm just curious as to whether it lives up to the hype (plus I also like to watch films that are banned here :P). Since when did a gay film caught so much attention?

So I grabbed a copy of Brokeback Mountain DVD along with some other Best Picture Oscar nominees while I was at Wangsa Maju, and watched with Alex that night.

As you would've probably knew the plot from other countless reviews, I'll skip it here. The original story is very veryshort, only about 40 pages (I read the book, so i know), and with a very unique narrative, simultaneously funny and melodramatic. So the 2 hour plus film added some dialogues and characters to fill out the missing links. Some of the scenes go for few minutes without a word spoken but the shots are beautiful. The landscapes, clouds, thousands of sheeps being herded to the mountain are captured with great cinematography. (although later I do learn that there are some CGI involved, but as long as it's well done, hey, who cares?)

The musical score is simply yet beautiful and are soothing listen, with mostly acoustic guitar work with a country twang, although I have to complain that they are quite repetitive throughout the duration. But it WILL grow on you and stuck there in your head.

This film is about love, passion, companionship, belonging, and it wouldn't be what it is without the great performances from the actors.

Jake Gyllenhaal, compare him here with his other films and you'll see that this is his best work. It's very subtle to notice, but he really nailed the character based on my reading on the book.

Anne Hathaway is just OK, but I'll give her credits for finally breaking the teen movie mold (and for showing her breast for that ONE SECOND...haha).

Michelle Williams is in a brief and small part, but is memorable in a few scenes, especially her last one.

And finally, Heath Ledger. For his performance, I have only to say, WOW. Looking him, you'd forget that this is the same guy who was in A Knight's Tale. In fact, I totally forgot that he was in The Brothers Grimm last year. He just completely immersed in the character and you will only remember Ennis Del Mar after finish watching the film. That's how powerful it is. Witness his and Gylenhaal's last scene together when they are about to leave Brokeback Mountain and have an argument.

Jack: "I wish I knew how to quit you."

Ennis: "Then why don't you just let me be huh? It's because of you Jack that I'm like this...Nowhere, nothing."

Totally powerful. That's when my mom remarked that they are in love for love and not for sex. (watched with my mom on 2nd viewing)

The film IMO also has some themes and social commentary going on, but are well hidden in layered dialogues. Themes of surpression of feelings, social prejudice and unconditional love are just some of it. It also makes one wonder whether is it wrong to love another person of the same gender not because of physical sex but because of the companionship, bond and trust that they share (FYI, Ennis is not homosexual, it's just that the person he loves and cares most happens to be a guy). Ang Lee really deserves the Oscar for his direction, because it simply is a very well directed piece that brings out the story and the casts' acting chops.

Watch this film. Download, pirate DVDs, whatever. Even if you have no interest, watch for the cinematography and score. But I doubt anyone wouldn't be slightly interested.

Brokeback Mountain has inspired an Internet phenomenon known as re-cut trailers, but with a gay twist. If you have the chance, watch Brokeback to The Future and Bareback Mountain, 2 well known parodies. I watch it when I have the chance.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tak Syok Lah!

Was surfing in the evening when Mom called. Turns out that she was to be recommended into hospital by Dr. Nazam coz of a sudden rise in blood pressure...thought that she has to be admitted for the night but the docs just asked her to come back tomorrow morning for another round of checking. They still can't diagnosed what's wrong with the high blood pressure......

But she's still weak, constantly feeling drowsy and wanna i could do now is look after her and pray that she'll be okay...

Then, few hours later, Standlye called.

Dude said that according to his pals, MAS has withdrew the flights to Manchester within 3 months. Holy fuck.

See...Standlye, Gerlin, Anna and I already booked the flights to Manchester. Now what we supposed to do? Some of Standlye's friends had received phone calls from STA to arrange new flight dates and time, but not us. Yet.

So my dad called our neighbour who was working at MAS and she confirmed the news. Apparently MAS is facing loss in revenue and profits (which is old news, and thus reaffirm the theory that MAS is blah in investment and business, like buying one million riggit paintings to hang at office) so they're forced to withdraw flights. They don't even fly to India.....

Great. Now we have to fly to London (if that's possible) and take a 10 hour coach before arriving at Marybone. Or we change the airline entirely and maybe make a stop at Dubai or Hong Kong or Doha or wherever it is before arriving London. Still troublesome. And tiring.

Until then, it's up to STA and their arrangements.

Stupid MAS.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Am now in the CIT centre in TARC, blogging with my hands freezing coz of the bloody air cond blowing like hell......

just finished the LJMU briefing and successfully scored the interview, heh...nothing important actually...them fellas just wanted to test the understanding of our English skills and the motives of studying there......piece a cake bullshitting all the way through :P

I'm now seriously contemplating whether I want to continue studying Masters course after September...the COL is just too damn high, and the tenant who rented our house at Rasah Jaya kept delayin' the payment for the purchase, thinking he's the only one in the world who's interested in the house. Stupid me not enough $$$ to study liao......

But I'm cool with that, I know my parents can't afford to pay for the Masters course, maybe if I can apply and get a scholarship...but fat chance that may be coming true....

I'm not in a particularly good mood right now...Dad's at home throwing hissy fits at Mom for some small matters which I'm not gonna go into details......I don't like it when dad's mad...he's the kind of person who doesn't talk easily, keeping in silent all the doesn't solve the problem at all, only worsens it......he doesn't even want to eat with's rare that he is so angry, but I am so puzzled as to why he would get upset over a small incident......

Tomorrow's got a briefing again for the air travel packages...aih, headache again......

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Here's my Johari window, tried it out of can give your input if you think you know me enough...appreciate your feedbacks...

Am currently uploading some photos onto Legend's server out of requests from a few friends, but it takes too long for a damn 56k I'll upload in "installments" :P will give the link when it's done......

Monday, March 06, 2006

After the Oscars

Wow, I haven't blog in such a long time...not that nothing notable happened for the past 2 weeks, it's just that I have this kinda lazy feeling to write...mind you, I do have a lot of thoughts and experience to pour out, but the feeling and mood's just not there......

Since I don't have any topic at hand that's worthy of interest, I'll just talk about the Oscars aka the Academy Awards. Ya know I'm a movie freak, buying DVDs like mad during the awards season. But since entering college, every year I missed the chance to watch the show live coz of classes and with the TV not available in hostel. And since broadband is not available, watching it live online is not an option either. (wait, they do broadcast it on the Net right?)

Not this year. I woke up today early at 7 (well, early by my standards) to catch the awards. As usual, the red carpet was full of glitz and glamour, the latest fashion on display on the actresses, particularly hot was Keira Knightley, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Aniston. There was no Johnny Depp in the men's department, although there was this one guy who actually turned out in jeans! Check out the pics on IMDb or the official site.

Host Jon Stewart was playing safe in my opinion, compared to Crystal or Rock, though there were some hilarious lines. My fav line quoting Stewart:

"I was really surprised that Cinderella Man didn't win for best makeup, you know, imagine how difficult it is to put Russell Crowe in a fight."

The homosexual theme was also poked fun ("Not all gay people are cowboys", referring to Capote; "a movie about boxing is called Cinderella Man")......

There was no one sided win for any movie, although Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Memoirs of A Geisha and King Kong each won 3 awards. My real surprises came when Crash beat Brokeback for Best Picture, even if it's a close fight...I was rooting for Crash though, coz it's the only nominated best film i've seen; and when Hustle & Flow won Best Original Song, instead of In The Deep from Crash (which was beautiful).

Here's the winners' list:

Film: Crash
Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line
Suporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana
Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Original Screenplay: Crash
Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain
Animated Feature: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Original Score: Brokeback Mountain
Original Song: It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp, Hustle & Flow (cool title !!!)
Art Direction: Memoirs of a Geisha
Cinematography: Memoirs of a Geisha
Costume Design: Memoirs of a Geisha
Makeup: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
FIlm Editing: Crash
Sound Editing: King Kong
Sound Mixing: King Kong
Visual Effects: King Kong

Of all the best pictures I've only seen Crash, maybe next week I'll make a trip to Sg Wang Plaza to get those pirated goods coz face it, all these movies are never gonna make it to our cinemas.