Archive | January, 2010

An opus to love – so fragile, so elusive

18 Jan

There are few things as refreshing to the creative’s soul than to meet a fellow artistic explorer. I met one such kindred spirit in Edmund Yeo, also known as The Great Swifty. Last year, he made a series of short films which all won awards – testament to his talent and ingenuity.

An ex-colleague of mine was rather disdainful about Edmund, saying that he thought far too highly of himself.

He obviously didn’t get Edmund at all. He’s a funny soul, who is often misunderstood. If only they could see past the hilarious fascetiousness on his blog and see the sensitive soul with a gift and love for narrative.

Doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally want to smack him. But anyway, the whole point of this blogpost is not to pimp him out but to review Kingyo, my favourite of all the shorts he made last year.

Edmund is studying film in Japan right now and worked on an adaptation of Nobel Laureate Yasunari Kawabata’s 1924 short story, Canaries.

Kingyo doesn’t mean ‘canaries’ in Japan, mind you, but goldfish. There’s a funny story behind that. He sent me the treatment and initial script for the film. I liked it but when it came to a bit where poor canaries would be subjected to some not-very-nice things, I protested.

(No spoilers, I promise)

"Do you really want to _____ the poor canaries?" I said.


So he substituted goldfish instead.

On with the review. Kingyo is a love story of sorts, of two ex-lovers who meet in Tokyo. One is a middle-aged university professor, another his former student who is working part-time as an Akihabara maid. For those unfamiliar with Japanese culture, Akihibara maids aren’t real maids – they just dress up like one to please their customers who get a kick out of going around town with a hot chick in a maid outfit.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Edmund got rather experimental using a split-screen technique throughout the film. It was murder to edit, he told me, but the end result was worth it.

The split-screens became a metaphor of the former lovers – to be so close and yet so far. To be together and yet not together. The separation and distance between them they could not bridge.

Another theme that runs through the play is how sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until it is lost to you forever. Kingyo is a bittersweet tale of love found and love lost. Bittersweet, poetic and very tastefully done.

Kingyo was shown at the Venice film festival to a very appreciative audience. You can also read another review of Kingyo here.

What I like about Edmund as a filmmaker is his love for narrative. He’s very much about story and not so much the arty-farty filmmaker who prefer to give audiences a headache as opposed to entertaining them or telling a story. The latter kind always piss me off.

His talent will definitely see him through in the next few years and the next short he’s coming up with is rather dark, but if it’s anywhere as good as his last films, I can hardly wait.

Kingyo’s a film I heartily recommend and though it’s short, it leaves quite the impression.

It got me a little depressed thinking about love. Must we only appreciate something once it’s lost to us forever? Why must someone walk away before you realise the space he/she leaves behind is so hard to fill?

I think perhaps some people commit suicide because they know that they’ll never be thought about as much, appreciated or loved when they’re alive as much as when they’re dead.

Which is such a tragic shame.

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Note to Orang Malaya: About frogs

14 Jan

I am again angry. At a very bodoh ill-informed Tweet.

@brigitterozario Church shld give up fight to use ‘Allah’; let Sabah and S’wak be unhappy and take it to the polls!

Kepala otak engkau.

Please to read this article in Nut Graph about the 1994 Sabah state elections.

Sabahans voted for PBS and rejected BN.

What happened? Raja Segala Katak Anwar Ibrahim engineered a mass defection of frogs from PBS into BN.

The Perak ‘betrayal’ was NOTHING compared to how Sabah’s selfish, greedy, corrupt politicians sold the state to BN.

For what? So-called development?

We chose to stay under the opposition, despite BN denying the PBS-led state federal funds. We were suffering but still PBS stubbornly chose to stay out of BN. And the people honoured that decision by voting them in for the second term.

And what does Anwar and those kataks do? Hand the state over to BN on a silver platter. I was 16 then and could barely understand what was going on.

But despite the years passing, I still feel betrayed.

Now we have all those illegal immigrant phantom voters, paid to vote for BN. All the poor, the ill-educated voters who went to the polls only to be betrayed years ago. Now they’ve given up. They voted but BN didn’t care and took the state with Anwar’s help.

So Brigitte, you seriously expect Sabahans to vote for a coalition led by the man who engineered the downfall of Sabah to the BN?

Move to East Malaysia and understand the tricky and complicated politics there. I’ve lived with Sarawakians for nearly 4 years; it took me that long to understand how the people there think. What drives them is not what matters to West Malaysians.

Sabah is also a different kind of place. Sabahans are not grasping. They are peaceful people, who are content with little. Who deal with poverty with just stoic acceptance.

While our politicians run us ragged with their greed and grasping natures, taking advantage of how mild-mannered and unambitious most Sabahans are.

So I would respectfully ask people like Brigitte to shut the hell up because you know nothing about us. We’re now your jailors because our votes keep BN in power? ASK WHO GAVE SABAH TO BN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Orang Malaya. Tak pandai belajar, tak boleh diajar.

Dear God, sod off

14 Jan

The good news is that I’ve finished the lyrics for a song that keeps running in my head.

The bad news is that in my struggles over the last year to find a better coping mechanism, I’m finding that believing in God falls short.

Sounds nihilistic, right?

The problem with believing in God is believing He listens. That He’ll make it all right. If you just wait and believe that all things will happen in His time and not yours.

I don’t know where He is but I am beginning to think He’s not listening.

Or that He’s using me and asking a wee bit too much.

I lost counts of all the nights I pray that He will take away any desire that is not for Him. So I can just be happy and content being His little candle and burning away. Take away my desire for the one thing I want but can’t have.

Or at least take away the ‘black dog’. Winston Churchill could deal with it but I’m not Churchill. Or Lincoln.

I admire the people who want to live even just one more day. I don’t. I don’t want anything. I have no dreams, no aspirations.

My conclusion: life is unfair. The world is a cruel, terrible place. People can be undeserving, horrible pricks and even if they are, sometimes life is better to them than to you.

I can’t change that. Who can? I ask God to make it better. To make it stop. Three decades and I still walk around feeling like a big black hole.

If I keep believing in You, I’ll be unhappy with You. So God, I’ll just give up on You. You’re not listening and I’m beginning to wonder if You ever did. So sod off. I am tired of being bitter and waiting on You. I’m tired of being sick and tired.

Instead I will accept the world is a dark and awful place but as long as I’m alive, I will put up with it and do as much good as I can anyway. Make things a little bit better for the other inmates of this sodding jail we call the world and do it because it’s needed. And not for You.

I’m so tired of You.

Dear God


See I’ve been wrestling with this problem
A pain that never ends
Wounds that never heal
Hurts that will not mend

I’ve asked You time and time again
For You to make it right
That maybe in this darkness
You’d care to shine some light

Maybe you’re just a fallacy I want so much to believe
Or You’re the real problem, not the answer that I need


I’m tired of this
I’m tired of You
I’m tired of wondering just what You’re gonna do

I’m tired of pretending
that it’ll all be OK
That someday I’ll learn to stop feeling this way

Dear God, I’m tired
Lord hear me, I’m tired


I’ve asked You to make me over
Take away my selfish needs
That You’d be my only lover
For You’d be all my deeds

Yet You won’t take away this desire
For the one thing I can’t find
I wait for You to change me
Take the longing off my mind

I pray each day You’ll call to come around to take me Home
Leave this pointless life and always being on my own

Repeat Chorus:


So now that I’ve decided I won’t believe in You no more
I’m tired of living with my heart and soul down on the floor
Why should I believe You’re listening?
It’ll only give me hope
When I should just accept that life will always be unfair
And that it will stop hurting once I learn just not to care…

About You.

Rules for warriors of truth

12 Jan

I’m known to be a despot about books. While I am totally against book banning, I have no reservations about slamming a book down someone’s throat.

There are books that I will demand my friends read, to the point of taking said book, handing it to them or literally smacking them on the heads with it.

“You. Have. To. Read. This. Book.”

There is one book I think all journalists, editors and yes, even bloggers must read. It is called ‘The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect’.

On the subject of bloggers, it would be nice for you to read it but it isn’t absolutely essential if all you blog about are personal subjects. Now if you’re one of those so-called sociopolitical bloggers, then I probably will hit you on the head with it. WIth a lot of force because most of you piss me off that much.

Two excerpts from the reviews of the book:

“Don’t even think of becoming a reporter, editor, columnist or influential blogger without reading this modern classic.”

-William Safire,

The New York Times


The Elements of Journalism…belongs on the shelf of every citizen who reads the paper or watches the tube.”

Roger Mudd

Wall Street Journal

It angers me to read a lot of the reporting on the current hot topic – the Allah issue – as there is a lot of sensationalist, ridiculous speculation going on. I was hopping mad when one online publication reported rumours as fact.

Irresponsible journalism is unforgivable. Journalists are purveyors of truth, after all. It made me even more angry to see text messages being sent out that claimed cars were burning in PJ and Christians must remove all their religious paraphenalia and PROTECT THEIR CARS.

No, not look after yourselves, be careful, or pray. The message is ‘LOOK AFTER YOUR CARS’. I am disgusted with the abject selfishness and materialism shown by these so-called  Christians. If you were a Christian, you’d know you don’t own anything. God does. It’s His car, not yours. Pray for your country, its people and not your damn cars.

Back to the book, here are the elements of journalism as espoused by said book:

  1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.
  2. Its first loyalty is to citizens.
  3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
  7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
  9. Its practitioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience.

  11. Citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news.

Do our journalists and publications follow those elements. For the most part, no. Our newspapers are mostly glorified party newsletters. Or worse, patsies of advertisers. The press should serve the people but they are now beholden to the people who actually pay their salaries. Hint: it’s not the people.

No wonder circulation is down. It’s because the public no longer trusts in the mainstream media. Journalists no longer know how to be journalists and the public doesn’t even know what they should expect, no, demand from them.

Standards of reporting are down. Standards of writing are down.

It’s everyone’s fault, really, for allowing those standards to drop.

Then we have bloggers and those who Tweet. I believe in a right to free speech and expressing opinons but some of these people are just plain irresponsible. Some silly girl on Twitter was claiming that no Malays offered help to rebuild or protect churches.

Who are you, little girl? A journalist? Were you on a church board? You didn’t check your facts, but instead made hateful comments and worsened the situation. You complain about Malay/Muslims being racist but take a good long look at the mirror and tell me what you see. Would God really be proud of your self-righteousness and blatantly ignoring the truth?

If you refuse to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

As a writer and occasional blogger, I am beholden to the truth. My personal stance is that I refuse to be anyone’s mouthpiece. Not BN, not Pakatan nor any religion.

I belong to God, not religion. I believe in His mercy, His compassion, His grace. But I will not be any religion’s mouthpiece, nor push any agenda that does not place truth at the heart of it.

So please, before you forward any moronic SMS or hate Tweet/post/email, think. Is this the truth? Can I prove it is the truth? Will I really be doing good or harm by spreading these words.

Think. Pray if you do pray. Ask. Verify.

Else you will just be part of the problem.

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