Monday, November 19, 2007

Fallen Leaves: A Review

I haven't been to a play since Julius Caesar 2 years ago. So when BH asked if I'm interested and invited I quickly grab hold of the opportunity to revisit another play. Ticket was only Rm10 anyway, the money goes to charity, and I have never been to Bangsar before (seriously), so why not, I told myself. Besides, I needed some "refreshment" after all those hard work at office.

So I went to office in the noon just to clear up some stuff on the release package, and then went to wait for BH at the station. We dropped off at Bangsar LRT and took a cab to Bangsar Shopping Centre.

The show is titled "Fallen Leaves" and is having its last run at The Actors Studio. It's jointly organized by the Welcome Community Home, CloudBreak creative skills development centre, and sponsored by my company. It's a theatre production consisting 4 stories that explores the lives, prejudices and hardship faced by people living with HIV/AIDS that started at the end of last year. The part that spawned my interest in the first place was that the stories are performed by people infected with HIV/AIDS.

The set was minimal to the max (???) with only some dry tree leaves scattered at the sides of the stage and a projection screen on the wall. Each segment was mostly performed by one actor doing monologue, with only minimal supporting players. The first performance "The Poison Arrow" was by this 40-something Malay guy who dresses as normal and casual as one can get you'd mistaken him for some uncle on the street. The first 5 minutes of dialogue were plain and for a moment I thought it was gonna be boring, but as the play progress it gets interesting and livelier as he goes on describing how his own self was blinded by his own prejudice towards HIV-infected people.

Second act "A Shaded Life" was about a teen who started to use drugs during his teenage years and how it come to shape his adulthood. This part was not quite engaging but has a scene with the best stage lighting. Third act "Fool's Hill" was narrated by a man sitting on a hill top, reminiscing about his uncle who gave him a bag of branded clothes before dying of HIV. His fear of being infected by HIV prompted him to burn the clothes, and honestly disclosed this fact to the uncle. His unintentional disgust and uncontrolled fear caused him to bear a guilt after his uncle's death.

Fourth act was performed by a man sitting in a Zen like position on a bed, as he calmly tells the tale of living a life in a rehab centre. This part was especially memorable as the monologue conveys great imagery and the delivery was great, providing a sense of melancholy and giving a hint of hope in the last scene. Said last scene literally brought tears to my eyes, as the image of patients living their daily lives, going through their daily activities, just come across as so touching. I don't know why, it was a spur of the moment thing.

I have to give credit to the performers. Their performance was totally mesmerizing as the delivery and acting was so real and emotional. All this is made even amazing with the fact that they are neither professional nor amateur actors. I guess that their real life experience on drug usage and the hardship struggle against society's discrimination gave their performance the heart and soul it needed.

A brief Q&A session after the performance has the director Brian Jones describing the brainstorming and writing process, and how the production came to after these rehab patients were brought to see a Samuel Beckett play. Let me just say that it was really inspiring to learn from one of the performers, "When people applause us, it gives me courage." They have shown and proven that they are not the garbage society has branded them, and through the play, they can teach and even inspire the younger generation of not repeating their past

My previous experience with local theatre was "Pygmalion" and "Julius Caesar". Those were great shows, but this one has somehow struck a chord with its simplicity and relevance. I wouldn't say that it was groundbreaking or an eye-opening experience, but it definitely has changed some perspectives in me. Here are people living with HIV doing something meaningful while I just keep ranting on my work. Seriously, I feel so insignificant compared to them. I need to change.

It was DEFINITELY RM10 well spent. Upon exiting the stage I bought a "Fallen Leaves" T-shirt at a promotion booth for RM12.

Lingered around BSC for some 30 minutes before returning to Bangsar LRT. BH accidentally inserted her STAR ticket into the machine and it got stuck. Heh. The ticket salesperson helped
to remove it of course.

Went to KLCC and managed to buy tickets for Balls Of Fury. The movie was in the same reign as Blades of Glory ie. sports parody, but as a whole the welcome wears off fast. The first 45 minutes was ok, but the jokes started to fall apart from then on. The saving grace were James Hong's ping pong master-sifu character, who was dead on freaking LOL hilarious, and Christopher Walken, who is always great. As no-nonsense screwball comedies go, this one's pretty flat. But mindless fun it was.

All in all a great day spent on theatre and cinema with the company of someone whom I enjoy talking with.

I need more of this. After SR1, bring on the plays!

SIDENOTE: While on the way to BSC sped past by a restaurant with the name of "HSBC" in Hot & Spicy Bangladesh Cuisine....heh, another acronym for my company. :P

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Okay, I admit the last few posts were a little depressive and maybe I've gone overboard in my routine of ranting and complaining.

Here's something fun at BrainFall. Just trying it out lah...

Which Friends Character Are You?

You are Chandler. You're funny and that's why people like to have you around. You're also a great friend, and when someone you care about is in trouble, they know to come to you for some level-headed advice followed by some sharp sarcasm.
Find Your Character @

Which Famous Artist Are You?

You are Andy Warhol. Your artistic talent became clear at an early age. As a result, you are still developing your talent now, chasing the dream. A big fan of commercial art, you see greatness in the ordinary.
Find Your Character @

What Kind of Girl Will You Fall For?

You will fall for the cutie. You like girls with a personality. She's got to have a nice smile and a sense of humor. Although she doesn't have to be a model, she has to be that girl-next-door.
Find Your Character @

Which 24 Character Are You?

You are part Milo. You are the ultimate geek. You prefer to follow other people's orders
rather than come up your own set of rules. You are very responsibile and
prefer to work behind the spotlight, although with enough recognition you
might be better than the other people in the group. You have immense
leadership potential and talent, but it is up to you to go explore the
You are part Bill Buchanan. You are a law abiding citizen and in your world, rules are
the driving force behind anything and everything. Your leadership charisma
is something talked about by others, and instead of doing things
differently you do different things. You have an uncanny knack of staying
calm in tense situations and your tone is testimony to that. Keep the cool
attitude and you will surely overcome the most perilous situations.
Find Your Character @


I used to think that I am a cheerful person.

You know, the happy-go-lucky type. No matter the situation, I could always remain positive and unfazed. Well, not to the point of being overly-positive, but you get the point.

But I'm not so sure now.

Ever since working (it's a full year already) I find myself...not quite myself anymore. Maybe it's the long working hours. Maybe it's the tense environment. Or the fact that I just like to enjoy life and relax.

But lately I am becoming more and more depressed and confused.

I have become more cynical towards all things.

I complaint more and more.

I find myself seldom interacting with the colleagues anymore. I don't know why.

I sometimes eat in large portion just to indulge myself after working so hard. It doesn't help my ego that this has contributed to my ever expanding waistline goddammit...

For the past 4 months, my daily routine for dinner has been eating with colleagues before returning to office for a couple of hours work, or eating at mamak stalls after taking the SECOND LAST train back home.

I have only met those former college mates a few times since July.

I sometimes need to work on Saturday and even Sunday, not because my boss summons me back, but because there's so much bloody fucking work to finish off.

Most of my friends work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Well, I work 60 hours a week.


And they tell me they are tired.

I want my life back.