Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tears Running Dry

As I type this entry, my nose is still blocked and my eyes are sore from what tantamount to 2 hour and change of weeping.

Thanks to Nagasaki: Memories of My Son (N:MMS).

It has been ages since I wept through out a film. The first film that ever made me cry was Story of a Mad Woman, a Taiwanese film that glorified insane sacrifices for love and filial piety. I was eight years old and it was the first time that a tale moved me to tears. Not easy for someone with 'hati kering' like me.

The Japanese are no slackers at crafting tearjerker melodrama and below is my reaction to this insanely evocative and sentimental post WW2 film.

Beware! Spoilers ahead!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Mars and Venus in one

Have you ever thought what it's like to live as the opposite gender? I occasionally dreamed I am a man; boy, those dreams were fun. There are no drawbacks to being stronger, taller than other people; no one complained when I dominated the conversation.

This is an interesting viewpoint of someone who has experienced living as both a man and a woman.

Welcome to being mansplained, Paula.

Friday, March 2, 2018

If This World is Wearing Thin and You're Thinking of Escape

Donald Trump's election into the White House felt surreal to me after 8 years of Obama administration. How or why he won, well, them's the break.

But truly, the only defense in the age of Trump is humour.

Post title came from the first line of this song.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Run, run, baby
Run, run
Til your heart gives out
And your knees break apart
Like a child's toy at the end of childhood

Run, run, baby
Run, run
Out of the cage of hope and denial
Black blue flesh hidden under thick skin
Craving the kiss of misery

Run, run, baby
Run, run
Til the end of the round Earth
Ending up where you began
Writing secrets with your tears

Run, run, baby
Run, run
Breath has deserted you
Deflated lungs scrying your death
Essence of the stars returning home

Friday, January 26, 2018

What Lies Beneath

I liked watching beauty through the decades videos because it gives us a glimpse of how things once was like.

Of course those are limited to:
1. Western beauty ideals; and
2. Beauty ideals that were set by the wealthy (because they can afford it).

These videos underscore how no matter how much things change, some things remain the same. Women are expected to look a certain way (and suffer to get it if they didn't win the genetics lottery) to be considered beautiful. The beauty standards are often arbitrary and fickle; thick eyebrows one decade, pencil thin the next.

Here is another such video with an interesting twist. (Stolen from here)

It's a good refresher. Women are forever being erased from the history books as though half of the world's population have no historical value or did anything interesting enough to be noted. It is important to remind ourselves that women are not just vainpots primping in front of the mirror; they move the world as well.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Going Viral

How does a word that used to denote disease now becomes the buzzword of communication tech? People in marketing are now always on the look out for ways to make their campaign reach the widest possible audience, and today the most visible marketing currency is video.

Watch Sarah Wood, COO of Unruly Media, explain what it takes to make a marketing video go viral; it's a little chilling how what you think is an organic online interaction really is orchestrated by algorithms crunched by unseen people a world away.

*video is stolen from Wired.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Haunted by Sea Maidens

This song is used as part of the spiritual healing ritual based on the tale of the fisherman who lost his heart to the sea princess. Traditionally this was used for treating what now would be called post traumatic stress disorder; to revive the spirits of someone who has had a traumatic experience.

In other words, traditional Malay medicine use music and song and dance to heal psychological illness. Pretty progressive, don'tcha think?


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Breaking Up is Easier than Breaking a Habit

Every new year (be it the Islamic or Gregorian calendar), I'd tell myself to cut my electronic umbilical cord AKA the smartphone.

Or at least, put it far enough away from me during off times so I'd be more productive -- write more, make inroads in my avalanching to-be-read pile, finish embroidering my kebaya ...

Alas, I still fail. I'd manage maybe 2 or 3 days, and then I fall off the wagon again. The phone is also where I keep track of my email - work and personal - so even when silenced, I still reach for it every so often.

Watching this is pretty sobering, I must say.

Freakin' scary.  Especially since I'm in the middle of reading Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain.

I can feel my brain being rewired.

Frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to wean myself off of the phone. I am a reading junkie; my phone plays a HUGE role in feeding my habit. I use it for reading my e-books and it's where I keep my Kobo account. Heck, I'm reading Carr's book on my smart phone, small screen notwithstanding.

It's ever harder to put the device far away when so much of our social interactions - be it family or friends or professional relationships - is controlled by that rectangle of silicon and circuits.

By making itself indispensable, the smart phone controls our lives beyond what we should be comfortable with. With the Internet of Things, one day we may not even have to carry the smart phone anymore; it may be grafted under our skin, with retinal implant to display the screen. Forget being afraid of Big Brother's surveillance; we already take Big Brother everywhere we go on purpose and eagerly.

If you wanna know more, read this and let me know if it made your hair raise as it did mine.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dressed to Kill

You can never dress alone ...

... if your clothes are this complicated.

This sort of fashion was probably the reason why very few European ladies follow their husbands when they go pillaging in the tropics in the 18th century. The suffering when your scapula began to itch; how on earth do you reach that annoying spot?

I don't imagine the garment is terribly comfortable; the boning of the corset looks like sheer torture. Keeping the spine erect is one thing, but the squashing of boobies is another.

Thank God this style is no longer in fashion, no? Although those pockets are really kind of sweet.

*stolen from theLiverpool Museum blog.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A for ...

A for alma mater.

A for Assunta!

And yes, this is an ode to my halcyon school days.

If you live in Petaling Jaya, the name Assunta is synonymous with gung-ho all-girls school. I was privileged to attend the Assunta Primary and Secondary School up to the year I turned 16.

There is nothing quite like life in an all-girls school. It was easy going, loud (my 2nd and 3rd form class was declared as the noisiest in the school, naturally) and chock-full of stress and fun.

One awesome thing about attending an all-girls school is that you don't need to be ladylike (or control ayu) because you have no one to impress. You get to let down your hair, express your inner demonic tendencies and just totally be yourself.

When I attended a co-ed school, I found out the hard way that such liberties are not common.

We also had the best canteen food. In a time when upscale mall food courts are non existent, we get to choose from noodles (laksa/curry/soup/fried)  to rice, to burgers, buns (sweet/savoury), roti canai and even mini donuts, on a daily basis. Visiting other schools where you queue for the same dish everyone else is eating brought forth the kind of sympathies reserved for starving children in Africa.

The racial mix at Assunta means that everyone speaks a little bit of a lot of languages like Hakka, Tamil, Cantonese,  Malayalee, Javanese, particularly the swear words. The lingua franca was broken English peppered liberally with Malay. It is an important contributor to our fluency in the colonists' language.

It was also the time and place to make lifelong friends whom you fight with and defend against all comers come hell and high water. After all, in a school of over 2000 people, the odds are good that you could find someone who would click with you.

We may not meet often, but when we do, it's like we just saw each other last week.

Of course the school has changed tremendously since my days long past. The Thinking Pool has been replaced. The Cow Shed and Woodlands are now part of the food court-like canteen complete with LCD screen. The Music and Art Block has been revamped to add another storey to accommodate an art gallery.  The Basement of the Mutiara Block has been converted into 4 classrooms.

Stained glass deco for the school hall is sick.

However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. For all the cosmetic changes the years have wrought, the school spirit remains the same. All the voices raised in joy to sing the school song are inculcated with tenets of loyalty to the school and Country, determination to realise their dreams and camaraderie of the sisterhood.

Ad veritatem per caritatem!