Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I used to like Vanessa Williams ...

... until she sang Colours of the Wind.

It's no secret that I loathed Pocahontas. The reason?

Just see below.

No matter how pretty and perky the film, I still cannot get over that Disney would want to gloss over the story of a 12 year old who was separated from her people, abused, forced to convert, paraded about like an exotic animal (to the minds of her captors, that's what she was) and was buried in a distant land after contracting a horrible disease courtesy of her unwashed jailers.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Ada aku kesah?

Indifference kills lame trolls.

All stolen from here.

When I was a child, to be told that I am unattractive was one of the worst things that could happen to me. I bought the whole ideal of beauty in media: to be thin, to be tall, to be pale complexioned.

Which is daft since:

a) Though I was slender (note the past tense), I'm not media-friendly thin.
b) I was short until I hit 15.
c) I'm a Malay - tan is my default colour.

Luckily for me, I somehow developed this idea that it's okay to not be pretty by the time I was around eleven or so. I gloried in not fitting the ideal, and I stopped scrutinising people for pleasing or unpleasant features or appearances.

Life is so much easier when you don't care what people think of your looks.

When I was sixteen, I attended a co-ed school and got me a pretty nasty culture shock. My idea of what teenage co-ed life was pretty much gleaned from television shows like Saved by the Bell. I had no idea that boys are so much more mealy-mouthed and gossip hungry than girls. Heck, they are even bitchier.

Case in point: one male school mate cornered me one day and told me that I should stop wearing skirts because my legs are ugly. He said that with an air of smug superiority, as though what he said came down from Mount Hira'.

I sat on a table, and looked down at my legs. They were curvy from ballet and covered with scars from scabs that I peeled before they healed. Most certainly not centerfold worthy.

I looked back at him and smiled.

"And who are you to me that I should care about your opinion? Are you my father? My brother? My boyfriend? Not any of those, right? So why should I care that you think that my legs are ugly?"

That was the first time I saw a Malay boy blush.

And frankly, if you are not going to pay for a new dress for me, or treatment for my ugly-ass appearance, why do you need to tell me what I already know? Bodoh, is it?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A mellow Nirvana

I am not a fan of country music but this revisit of Nirvana's In Bloom by Sturgill Simpson is perfectly lovely. The music video is pretty nifty too.

The original:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fill the tub, lean back, and relax.

I came across this band on the NPR Tiny Desk contest highlights. Just delicious. Have a listen.

*sips a chilled drink and let the mellowness envelops*

Have a great weekend, y'all.

"I could make you feel 22 again."

Ah, to be that young and foolish again. Maybe not.

Especially if you are Monica Lewinsky

The scandal broke out when I was in 2nd year in uni (yes, I'm that old. Shut up.). At that point in time, I was perplexed about the magnitude of the scandal. So a public leader couldn't keep his willy zipped up. So what? It's not news.

But apparently, the story of a dirty old man seducing young women in his (Oval) Office was so bloody news worthy, it nearly eclipsed other horrible news.

You know, stuff like NATO's failure in the former Yugoslavia, the economic melt down that toppled Asian economic tigers from their perches, the fall of Suharto, the genocides that kept breaking out with heart-breaking regularity around the globe, and so very many, many more.

I didn't read the scandal online because the Internet was in its infancy in my personal sphere. But her pictures were in the newspapers daily, with minute-to-minute revelations of the Starr Report.

As always, the man got away with a nod and a wink, while the woman was tarred and feathered all the way out of town. That was exactly what happened here, and instead of a three-day-wonder, it became a six ring circus that dragged on for months.

I have always felt sorry for Ms. Lewinsky. She suffered the humiliations of the damned just because another woman wanted to prove that Bill Clinton was a horn dog (duh!).

The constant barrage of the scandal on all news media made it ever easier to snigger at her for being "the other woman", for possessing loose morals, for seducing the "innocent boss", for being foolish enough to dally with a married man and the moralistic, self-righteously judgmental list goes on and on.

It also made it easy to forget that this slut / whore / tart / insert-invective-of-choice is a real person with feelings, who made mistakes in judgement (like your decision to buy that pleather skirt, thinking that you can stuff your fat ass into it once you lost that 20 lbs.), who have family and friends who are smeared by the scandal (her parents did a terrible job raising her, dontchathink?), and most importantly, a person whose life was irrevocably ruined.

Despite all that, she did triumph. She survived a calamitous loss of privacy and personal reputation never before seen in the history of the world, and still made something out of her life. She used her experience to examine how the Internet and social media has morphed bullying into a new monster that no one really knew how to deal with.

I love her take home message in this video: Have compassion for yourself.

And have compassion for others.

So think about this the next time you click the "Share" button. The next time you helped to viral a picture or a story. You don't have the context in which the story happened nor can you be sure that what was posted was truly something true.

Because you could also be a guilty party to a mega bullying event and be completely oblivious about it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

"I can't think what on earth I'd need you for, unless I was in dire want of aggravation."

Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers, #4)Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loretta Chase is definitely one of my must-read authors. She has a deft touch for madcap heroines who take the alpha heroes down more than a peg.

Dukes Prefer Blondes feature Lady Clara Fairfax (who made an appearance in the Noirot trilogy (Silk is for Seduction, Scandal Wears Satin and Vixen in Velvet). The toast of the ton was restless when she crossed the path of dashing barrister Oliver 'Raven' Radford, sparking the fireworks.

It's a pleasant change to have a main character in a historical romance who isn't an aristocrat with a silver spoon and Ms. Chase did a splendid job in sketching what the justice system and the shenanigans of the lawyers in that era was like.

Fav quote: "If you must throw yourself away on somebody, Clara, then let it be me. If you must make something of somebody, make something of me."


Female protagonist: 5/5 stars
Male protagonist: 5/5 stars
Pacing: 4/5 stars
Storyline: 5/5 stars
Repeat reading factor: 5/5 stars

View all my reviews

"I'm keeping a list of disgusting things about you."

Heroes Are My WeaknessHeroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Annie Hewitt and Theo Harp were once teenage sweethearts until the day he nearly killed her. Since then they stayed out of each other's lives, until down-on-her-luck Annie sought refuge in a legacy that Theo covets.

 Expect screwball comedy and snappy dialogues, and if you are like me, you're likely to finish the340-page tome in less than two days.

Female protagonist: 5/5 stars
Male protagonist: 5/5 stars
Pacing: 4/5 stars
Storyline: 5/5 stars
Repeat reading factor: 4/5 stars

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Holiday in Paris? Piffle.

Every time I listen to this song, I feel like I'm sashaying into a space elevator to board an interstellar ship for a trip to the next galaxy, my micro-gravity suitcase floating by my side.

And what a joy to discover these beautiful treasure trove of space travel  inspired  NASA posters. Perhaps one day we will be Instagramming our holidays on Mars.

Moar gorgeous art under the cut.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Walking down the lane of sappiness.

I grew up with Disney. My favourite towel as a child was a pale blue terrycloth with the whole cast of Aristocats featured on it. I cried when my mother declared that it had gotten too threadbare and  ratty, and she transformed it into a gombal (Javanese for rag for wiping or foot mat).

When I was ten, I persuaded my father to buy me the VHS tape of Disney Halloween cartoons and proceeded to watch it every morning after sahur until it was time to get ready to go to school. I love me some dancing skeletons. I guess that explains my penchant for Goth motifs and dark thoughts.

One of the few nice things that the girl who taught me what a sociopath is ever did was lend me her Disney Cinderella picture book. She knew that I liked it and used it to manipulate me to do what she wanted. I'm cheap, you can bribe me with books. Yup, that also happened when I was ten.

During school holidays, the local television station would put up old Disney films catered for teenagers; a number of them featuring barely-not jail bait Kurt Russell. Truly wholesome stuff, with barely any nod to sexuality, unlike the current Disney fares.

But the only Disney song that I liked and could caterwaul along to is this one. My sister bought me the VHS tape of the film after my third form exam and I was enchanted. I think it was Beastly Prince's library that cinched the deal for me. Who cares about dancing candelabras and singing teapots when you have that biblio collection?

Anything after the Beauty and the Beast is met with sincere disdain. It started with Aladdin. That was around the time I became an absolutely insufferable hipster about music. They played the theme song on rotation until I was sick. Also because it was associated with a terrible time in my life. No, let's not go there.

I detested Pocahontas. I hated that they made it a romance. Hello? She was a child when she met John Smith. If they had anything romantic going on, it was child abuse. Not to mention that he brought her back to England to be paraded around like an exotic animal. She died of small pox in a foreign land, away from her people. That ain't a romance. That's slavery.

But what about Finding Nemo, asked some of my pals. It's a cute tale about a fish and his pals. Ellen DeGeneres is in it! You want me to believe that a saltwater fish survived the sewer system to get back to Daddy? Pull the other one.

I am okay with Mulan. I took my niece to watch Malefiecent (I kept looking at my phone throughout the film).

I guess I am a kind of an old coot.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Joy of Melancholia

Mellifluous and delicious.

We are all biased to think that the music of our teens and young adult to be the creme de la creme of listening pleasures. Research have shown that our music preference is pretty much imprinted during our teenage years. These aren't necessarily the pop hits of the day, I was imprinted with an appreciation for 60's bubblegum pop, thanks to Radio 4.

Mr Buckley has been dead for some time now, snatched by Death at 30. But his voice, the melody he penned, the lyrics he sang still touch the souls of his listeners. God knows I've put this damned thing on replay for the dozenth time.