Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Malaysian movies, the Oscars & Top 10 lists

Sepet. Word is that this movie hyped up some issues in Malaysia that need hyping up. I read this Malaysian blogger, TV Smith's review of the movie.

Then I went to its director's blog.

And now I HAVE to find a way to see it. This is the first gem amongst the common local fare (mostly lightweight fluff that those singer/actress/model types love to star in) but the narrative behind it all is interesting. Its social commentary, its subject matter. It's skillful storytelling that's so powerful it doesn't need to be propped up with a huge budget. I think this is the kind of movie which will remind us of many intangible familiarities in the Malaysian experience.

BUT: I don't think Orked, the lead character in Sepet is the only malay girl around who lusts after Takeshi Kaneshiro, OK? That's just IMHO.

The only foreign asian movie in Sydney's cinemas right now is House of Flying Daggers. I love well designed epics, masterful framing and landscape eye candy but I fully blame that on my profession. And Takeshi is in this movie as well, ladies!

The Oscars is on TV tonight!

I don't know whether it's live or a delayed telecast by a few hours.
I love looking at the dresses. The best friend and I will be giving a running commentary (to each other) on what people are wearing.

We know who gives good frock and who doesn't!
Grace's pick:
Kate Beckinsale.

Will's pick:
Nicole Kidman.

We both wish we were Joan Rivers.

Have you ever felt like you wanted to be tansported away from where you are right now?

My little way of escaping, well, besides writing in this little corner of cyberspace, is inventing a list for the things I want. They eventually turn out to be mixture of things that I already own/travelled/experienced. Then I realise that my life isn't so bad after all. It's a way you remind yourself that the glass is half full.

I LOVE lists.

Top 10 holiday destinations (travelled and yet to travel) David Letterman, eat your heart out.

1. TASHKENT, UZBEK- I'm fascinated- what can I say? Doing that soon.
2. MIAMI, USA- I love this kitsch sun drenched city in shades of pastels. Been there. Done that.
3. BALI, INDO- It's an Aussie thing.
4. QUEENSTOWN, NZ- Of course. The skiing is to die for. Been there. Done that.
5. NEW YORK, USA- I want to do 2 sides of NYC- I want to be in Manhattan and go to the Hamptons. Then I want to be in New Jersey and go to Rockaway Beach. Doing that soon.
6. TOKYO, JAP- Need I say more? The pseudo-Jap in me leaps out of my skin. I love how the aesthetics of every single thing is geared towards harmony. Been there. Done that.
7. ISTANBUL, TUR- This is one city maze I want to spend hours exploring. Doing that soon.
8. LONDON, UK- I love how I feel like I've lived there all my life when I'm there. Been there. Done that.
9. PETRA, JORDAN- The sight of the ruins take my breath away whenever I see it. Doing that soon.
10. DUBLIN, IRELAND- Drink some guinness (bleeehhh) and listen to bands playing in pubs over there. Find out why so many amazing musicians come from this country. Doing that soon.

Too many things. Too little time in this lifetime.

Will & Grace

I'm "Grace". Only shorter, asian and just as boney-assed.
My best friend is "Will". Only blonde and 100x bitchier.

I'm serious.

But tonight is Will & Grace night, my wanker banker husband is out at a company function with other wanker bankers. So I'm here at home in my Bonds couture and an extra large strawberry dream smoothie from my neighbourhood Pulp juice bar.

I don't feel very MBA-ish tonight so I'll put the books aside until after Will & Grace.
Everyone has a sitcom that they relate to.
If I know anyone that says they relate to Friends, come here darling and please let me pull your fingernails out one by one.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Name your illusion

I know "H" really well. I would consider her one of my closest friends.
She went through a rough patch in her life when I got to know her. She's got a heart of gold but she's also got what you and I would consider expensive taste. She has a rich daddy, but is now on her own trying to sink or swim. Her Daddy has retired and sold off his business to pay off some debts. She lives with her longtime boyfriend, a chubby, nerdy, quiet, insecure guy. A techie type. He's all rough edges, which is fine, but he wants to be smooth and thinks he is smooth. There ain't nothing smooth about him.

I was at their expensive RENTED apartment recently BUT they have no couch, no car BUT they have a Sony flat screen TV BUT it sits on its cardboard box. She carries her LV and Prada bag everywhere and criticizes me when I prefer to carry my brandless (Esprit is not really branded is it) soft leather bag instead.

I know her man earns exactly half of what I earn, yet he wants to act like a big shot. He wants to pay for our dinners and our lunches together. Which is fine, but why not split the bill?
She just quit her customer service job recently. And it was a shitty job. The kind you have to wear a uniform for. And she's a lady of leisure these days, meeting us, her friends who work hard for what we have, in the city for lunch. She's still under the illusion that she's a Stepford Wife.

I want to open my mouth and tell her to wake up and smell the cafe latte but I don't think it makes a jot of difference to people like her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Valentine's Day. Bah Humbug.

What did my husband and I do? Not much.
I came home from work early. Made dinner.
He came home from work. Went online.
We ate dinner.
He watched TV.
I studied.
Went to sleep.


Friday, February 11, 2005

The Great Debate

Yes. I've been back in Sydney for a few weeks now and have just been on auto pilot.
I'm pretty out-of-it, actually- walking around like a zombie.

I've been following an unfolding saga on the internet lately.
It's snowballed into something bigger than blogs. *Gasp* Is that possible? What could possibly be bigger than blogs?

What sparked it off was this post from The Malay Male.
Now I've generally found this guy to be a breath of fresh air amongst Malaysian bloggers.

Another respected Malaysian blogger, TVSmith, wrote a response here.
Suffice to say that many in the blogging community hold this guy in high regard.

That above post incensed a mild mannered bike riding blogger so much that he wrote this.
OoooooooOOOooooooOOOooo, I said to myself. People are getting emotional here!

That in turn, provoked another blogger to provide some perspective to the situation.

And so the Drama Minggu Ini continues.......
Call me a voyeur, a ke-poh-chee, a soap opera fan.....

This is the thing I've found about anything at all in Malaysia. Everything is so race-specific. Yes, I know this is the legacy of our colonial past. Malaysians keep it well hidden, but there is racial tension in the air. That's the first thing I notice everytime I land in KLIA, actually. Not the smog, not the humidity, but the racial tension. My Malaysian passport identifies my race. So does my birth certificate. So does any Malaysian application form. It is this that decides whether I am entitled to a scholarship, loan, job, shares, land, contracts etc etc.

Given all these seething underlying issues, how do Malaysians actually find a forum to discuss these issues?
There's the problem right there. Other than the internet, there isn't much of an outlet for these frustrations we all experience every now and then. On top of all that, such discussion of racial issues are frowned upon by the Malaysian government, ever fearful of another 13th May 1969 riot. ("Riot" is putting it mildly. According to this certain someone whom I know, who was in Universiti Malaya at the time of the riots, there were people killing each other on the streets. Heads lopped off with "parangs" i.e. very big knives. As I recall, thousands of Chinese Malaysians started migrating to Australia, in their highest numbers in the 70's and 80's.)

What happens when open communication and criticism is taboo? We end up not understanding each other very well. So we're all human. We form lots of stereotypes of each other.

And before anyone starts to get all defensive about these stereotypes, I believe these behaviour patterns that the abovementioned gentlemen were talking about DO exist. We all have a little bit or a lot of these qualities in us, whatever race we are. It's important to remember that the personification of each race is like a cartoon character in a political satire. (Datuk Lat has perfected the art of gentle criticism.)
I guess, according to the stereotype, I CAN'T possibly be malay, right?

Let's all be open minded and listen when people speak.