Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Carnivores Rock


"Stop being a vegan and start enjoying what you eat."

Jamie Oliver, British celebrity chef



I caught a National Geograpic Special at 4 am this morning after my failed attempt at falling asleep at an earthly hour. It's about human evolution.

Christians, Muslims and whoever else who will willfully stone me to death for even mentioning that blasphemous 'E' word, please stop reading right now. Vegans can stay.

As I was saying, this TV program dealt with the idea that our evolutionary ancestors coexisted with other hominid species and may have even competed with them - and discussed the possible advantages that our great x some really big number grandfather may possess over the other cavemen that made him the Ultimate Survivor, while the losers bit the dust of history.

The bulk of the story dealt with Homo erectus, the first known hominid to be more man than ape. Here's a photograph of him excavated from some African cave;

"Me, big hairy meat-eater!"

What interested me the most was the fact that Homo erectus, our ancestor, beat the other troglodytes by the simple reason that he ate meat.

Get this; we won't be around at all if our forefathers had been vegans.

Apparently, Homo erectus was the only caveman species that migrated out of Africa to spread all over the globe because the other cavemen ate only fruits and shoots (which, supposedly, was rather rare outside of Africa at that time). Homo erectus had the significant advantage of being able to adapt to new food sources - and in this case; meat, glorious meat!

Another substantial milestone in human evolution was the discovery (and control) of fire, postulated to be done so by Homo erectus as well. This allowed them to cook meat and that made them a heck lot smarter in a relatively short period of time. How? Allow me to explain;
  • Raw meat is tough and you'll need a lot of time to chew through them.
  • Cooking meat will tenderize it, cutting down the chewing time to 1/5th the time required to chomp down raw steaks.
  • Softer, cooked meat meant that Homo erectus will go on to develop smaller jaw muscles.
  • Smaller jaw muscles meant lesser attachment surfaces for them on the skull, leaving it to develop more space for a bigger brain.
But the centre point here is still meat. Brain tissue burns a lot more energy per minute compared to muscles - so a big brain is actually a liability in the animal kingdom, as food isn't exactly easy to come by. Meat was essential for our ancestors to become more intelligent (so to speak) as it provides more energy per gram compared to greens.

Meat = Smart!

Food.

It was also found out that an apeman, Paranthropus robustus, lived in the same place in Africa as Homo erectus. Robustus ate termites - which was an even richer calorie source compared to meat. Instead of us, it could have been Robustus' descendants that ultimately survived and rule the world today. It could have...

But one simple fact separates us from them;

Homo erectus ate Paranthropus robustus (No, I'm not joking).

Eat meat! Do not discard our legacy! Celebrate our existence!


Traditionalist,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Trippin' KL: College Reunion

"No man is an island."

An old proverb


I arrived in Midvalley Megamall at about 1 pm with minimal fuss (I'm starting to get this driving in KL thing) to attend a reunion with my old college classmates from my Taylor's days - which incidentally was scheduled to happen at 7 pm.

I'm a really punctual sort of person.

Actually, the reason for my very-early arrival was so I can finally get down to do some clothes shopping that have slipped my mind entirely the last time I came up to the shopping capital of Malaysia.

Guess what...

I forgot again.

Better than clothes.

Instead, I spend a good bit of my time browsing in the MPH there and made four more purchases;
  • A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Prachett. I didn't really plan to get this one but since I've already read the first book of the series...
  • Spartan by Valerio Massimo Manfredi. This author's historical trilogy on Alexander the Great is probably the only non-fiction work of literature that I didn't scoff at (seriously, give these a read!). I can only hope that his other works would be equally good.
  • The Sum of All Men by David Farland. On one of my Wiki-link-hopping sprees, I discovered this baby which many hailed as a 'classic of the fanstasy genre'. The synopsis sounded really cool, so here it is, bound for India to accompany me on some of my lonely nights.
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. No, I'm not a nerd that digest classics in my free time - it's just that a couple of my favourite books were set in the Napoleonic War era and I'm just interested in reading more about it.
While systematically scanning the whole store like I usually do, I came across this;

The indispensable guide to having no life.

I didn't buy it (though I'd love to learn how to really "set up, publish, and maintain a blog that draws readers"). I won't forgive myself if I should ever sink to that earth-eating low.

The rest of the time between MPH and my 7 pm reunion was filled by Just Follow Law (which was crap) and Pursuit of Happyness (which was the best darn flick I've watched this year). I'll review these later - after I've done reviewing the tons of books I've read in the past 2 weeks.

The only thing I've got to show for my 'clothes shopping day' is this;

White crew-neck from Tropicana Life.

And I actually bought it while I was in Sunway Pyramid to drop off a pal of mine prior to coming to Midvalley.

Old 04/05 PM10'ers.

The reunion itself filled with a strange mixture of emotions that usually leave me well alone. The chief of these feelings was a sense of inadequacy and awkwardness. Every word I said sounded rehearsed (at least to my ears) - and I have this unpleasant sensation that my facial expressions were stony and fake.

I wonder, did India do this to me?

When I was in Manipal, I spent most of my free time indoors on my own and fill them by either reading (medical books or otherwise) or watching some movie on my laptop. In the course of a typical day there, I would need only to speak to no more than 4 persons, and spend a little more than 10 words on each of them. Had a year there completely demolished my communication abilities? Am I no longer even able to even carry a short friendly conversation with my old college mates with whom I had the best times of my life with?

I felt robbed, and of what, I can't say for sure - but I know something was robbed from me.

Anyway, most of the old PM10'ers were acting exactly like how I remembered them. I was pleasantly surprised that half the class actually made it despite that many of us are currently studying in different countries all over the world. We were suppose to hold the meet at Chili's but due to a vote called for by Keat Seong, we changed the venue to Kim Gary (which I prefer anyway).

I left the reunion at 10 pm with a raining cloud hovering over my head. Good times, I realised, are as precious as those cheesy Kodak and digital camera commercials show them to be. I had everything back then.

I have nothing now.

Just gotten a new phone, by the way (my old one took a suicide leap from the fourth floor of Nehru, my old hostel).


... and 120 gigabytes worth of storage space.

It's exactly what I need - more space to store my movies, TV shows and music to fuel my increasingly empty and meaningless life.


I am no man,
k0k s3n w4i

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I, Stupid

"Only a fool lets his heart overrule his brain."

Anne O. Nimus


I touched down in Malacca yesterday (or rather, this morning) at about 1 am. First, I'd have to drop Odessa off at her house - she had hitched a ride from KL after attending her own meet there. As I pulled into her driveway, a woman in her late thirties or forties walked in after us.

Odessa got the fright of her life when that woman tapped the window on her side (we did not notice till that moment). The woman then proceeded at rapid-fire in Mandarin about a sob story of how her husband had locked her out of their home. We gestured for her to leave but she wouldn't listen. She even told us that she recently had an operation done on one of her breast ("wo de nai kai tao") and that she's not in good health, that her husband has two other wives and about how dangerous it was for a woman her age to walk around at that time.

The point is, she needed me to drive her to her sister's or brother's house somewhere in Klebang (!). That's a good 15 minutes drive at the very least. That woman also asked Odessa's permission to stay in her house for the night if it was not convenient for me to give her a lift (you should have seen the face Odessa pulled when that woman made the suggestion).

From the look of her, she definitely did not seem to be in much ill-health (she was in fact rather tough looking and wore her hair military short). Also, she looked weirdly calm for a woman who had a polygamous husband who locked her outside their house at 1 am in the morning. Call me crazy, but I had my suspicions.

Odessa hatched a crafty plan; she told the woman that I'd drive her, but she (the woman) should first get out of her driveway so I can back my car out. The idea was that I should drive off straight home leaving that woman there as soon as Odessa got her front gate locked up.

Luckily, that woman agreed and everything went according to plan. Just as I was about to zoom off leaving the woman behind to bite my dust, I had a sudden moral attack; "What if everything that woman said was true?" In spite of the fact that all clues pointed otherwise, I gestured for the woman to get into the car.

That's probably the un-smartest thing I've done in a long, long time.

The drive to her brother's/sister's/don't-know-who's house in Klebang was definitely the scariest car-ride I've ever been on. I never took my eyes off her for a single second, in case she should whip out a knife and put it to my throat. I had one hand ready to poke her eyes out if she tries anything sudden. Halfway through the journey, I began to entertain thoughts that she might not even be human at all. You never can know.

Somewhere along the road in Tengkera, she put her right hand onto (not into) her left pocket. I immediately barked at her in my very crappy Mandarin to keep both hands on her laps. I insisted on having a clear view of them (the hands, not the laps!) at all times. Thankfully, she obeyed.

As we're driving on the seaside road of Klebang, I asked her where exactly this relative's house is located. She said that it's already quite near and that I only need to make a right turn somewhere in front. Understand that Klebang is a really quiet, dark, deserted place at 1.15 am in the morning - and the housing areas in Klebang is even quieter, darker and more deserted than the main road. I pointedly told her I'm not going to drive into any small roads and that she must walk in herself. I have been worried the whole journey that she'd ask me to stop at a location where she had accomplices hiding, ready to rob, carjack and murder me. I've grown pretty paranoid after the mugging incident more than two years ago in SS15, Subang Jaya.

She begged me to drive her in, telling me that she'll ask her brother/sister/somebody to pay me RM 20 if I do so. I refused firmly. Failing that, she told me to pull over in front of a dilapidated grocery store that stood by the main road that supposedly belonged to an aunt of hers - and I did so, thinking that she couldn't have cronies hiding everywhere in Klebang. She got off and I immediately sped off without even looking back (that's in case she's a spook or spirit of some kind).

I was lucky that nothing untoward happened to me but I've no doubt that what I did was insanely dangerous and extremely stupid. I didn't tell my parents about this because I know that I'll get the scolding of my life if I did. I was putting the car and my life at risk helping to drive a stranger miles out of town when all she had to offer was a fake-sounding hard-luck story I didn't even believe in the first place. I'm sure grifters and con-artists would die to meet me - I'd probably be the easiest mark they would ever swindle.

My only comfort is some words spoken by Betty Cooper (that blonde in one of those Archie's comic books) I've read years ago;

"I'd rather be cheated than having to miss out on helping someone genuinely down on his (or her) luck."


The new eye of k0k bl0k.

In other news, my Mom and Dad just bought me a digital camera from Panasonic two days ago - in spite of my insisting that he shouldn't. I won't pretend that I'm glad he ignored my protests.


Sucker,
k0k s3n w4i

Sunday, March 25, 2007

'C' for Cocking-Up

"It’s very disheartening to receive text messages from the Road Safety Department every morning on the number of people killed on the roads."

Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy,
current Transport Minister of Malaysia


In an effort to reduce road tragedies and simply to show the world (again) that 'Malaysia memang Boleh', the Ministry of Transportation had introduced a new traffic light system that is more in-tune with general Malaysian attitude. The first of these new lights was installed at one of Malacca's busiest crossroads smack in the middle of the state's commercial zone of Jalan Hang Tuah;

'C' for "Chung!"

Everybody in Malaysia, from the smallest child to the biggest ah-bengs in their ultra-souped-up Satrias knows that a blinking green light means that one must floor the accelerator to the max in order to fly past the traffic light before it becomes red again and the surveillance camera starts snapping.

So, with this bit of 'truly Malaysian' culture in mind, the traffic lights will now flash a blinking green 'C' instead, exactly 4 seconds before the colour changes. This needs no explanation, of course. Everyone intuitively knows that 'C' means "Chung!", a Mandarin word for "speed like crazy f*cker" that had gone into colloquial use. It doesn't matter whether you're a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sakai or Iban Laut; If you're a true-bred Malaysian, you know what "Chung!" means.

In case some people make a lot of unnecessary hoo-haa over the use of a Mandarin word, 'C' also doubles up as 'Cepat!'. That's some bloody smart-ass fellas they got hired in the Ministry of Transportation there - they know how to please everybody!

'C' also stands for "Chup!"

We Malaysians are also big on symmetry, evident from one of our most treasured monuments; the double-phallic-symbol of the Petronas Twin Towers. So naturally, if green is 'C', red must also be 'C'.

And if you don't know what "Chup!" means, you can do like what Dato' Paduka Haji "Bad-Ass" Badruddin sez;

"You keluar dari Malaysia!"

The standardised hand-sign for "Chup!"

Nobody really knows how the word "Chup!" and its hand-sign came about initially -but every Malaysian knows how to use it. Kindergarten kids would employ it to put playground games like "Police and Thief" on hold. Referees or coaches would use it to halt national football matches. From powerful corporate meetings to parliamentary assemblies, "Chup!" stops everything in their progress. "Chup!" is Malaysia's indisputable time-out tool - and nobody, but nobody questions the almighty "Chup!"

"Chup!" can even stop airplanes. If you don't believe me, you can go on KLIA's tarmac to try for yourself.

Hence, the Ministry of Transportation thought that it's a supremely good idea to use it with traffic lights as well.

*Cough*

And thus I conclude my theory on why the traffic light at Jalan Hang Tuah is flashing 'C's. The only other explanation is that the guys at the Ministry are incompetent horse-sh!t. But since we all know that the government is infallible and is NEVER incompetent, you are all forced to accept my interpretation of the event as the true one.

Anyway, what's even more interesting is that the countdown display counts this way;

9 ---> 'C' ---> 7 ---> 6 ---> 5 ---> 4 ---> 3 ---> 6 ---> 1 ---> 4

Malaysia Boleh! - don't you doubt that.


The patriot,
k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Something's Rotten in the State of Malacca

"Saya Anti Rasuah."

On one of those cute little badges
issued to Malaysian police officers


On the same day that I witnessed 3 consecutive road accidents, I was also treated to a familiar sight which is rather distinctive of Malaysian culture.

No, I won't state the obvious. Just look at the pretty pictures.

I was about to drive off in my car which was parked right opposite that new 'Digital Mall' (├╝ber lame name for a gadget mall, by the way) when I spotted Malacca's finest in action,


I'm not really sure what law that black car in front had broken. My guess was that the owner had forgotten to put up one of those scratch-a-number parking coupons or something.

Things got a lot more interesting complicated however, when the car's owner popped out of one the shops along the street and approached the police officer,


I was not really privy to traffic police procedures (since I *cough* never kena saman before), but I thought that it usually involves asking for the offender's identity card and driver's license.

It turned out that I was wrong. Come, let us take a closer peek.

Apparently, If you get halted by any cops for doing naughty things on the road, you must first pull out a piece of paper with Malaysia's first Agong printed on it,


If I remember correctly, you'll get a RM 30 fine for parking without that scratch-and-match coupon thingy. I certainly hope that the police officer would have enough change on him. The car-owner-guy seemed to be carrying only RM 50 notes.

I'm really embarrassed at how little I know about these things. I used to think that parking fines were paid at the Dewan Bandaraya near Jusco. Silly me. Apparently, you can just pay the officer which caught you on the spot to save you a whole buttload of unnecessary hassle! Gee whiz!


And of course, it is customary for the police officer to give a short talk on traffic rules and stuff to the offender. The bulk of the talk will involve friendly advice on how breaking the law is not worth the outrageous fine the government imposed.

Oh no sir, it's not worth it at all. Boy, I certainly wish that there's a way to get out of that.


I salute the model police officer above who had done his job admirably. Despite forgetting to wear his 'Saya Anti Rasuah' badge, he really taught the car-owner-bloke a lesson that day. At the end of his lecture, I am sure that the guy was a totally reformed person. Yes sirree, he'll never break no rule ever again for the rest of his life.

That's the beauty of Malaysia's traffic law enforcement,

It fucking works!



Because it's there,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Auto Anarchy

"You better be careful when you drive. Malaccan drivers nowadays damn crazy one - overtaking and speeding like backside on fire."

My Dad, during the journey from KLIA,
on the first day of my return from India


After a hearty breakfast of Hainanese chicken rice balls at Jonker, I decided on visiting Jusco's Popular Bookstore for a spot of book-browsing. While on my way, I spotted the aftermath of a minor crash between two motorcycles at Jalan Mata Kuching.

Luckily, I kept my sister's camera handy on the passenger seat, and I managed to get a clear shot,

Motorbike vs. motorbike.

What I can't imagine was how two motorcycles managed to bang into each other. As far as I can remember, this road was never a great site for accidents - especially in the sober light of day.

The rest of the Journey to Jusco was pretty uneventful. My stay there was rather brief because the bookshop had nothing that held my interest (Popular Bookstore is more of a stationary supply company anyway). In less than half an hour, I'm back on the road again.

As I approached the junction coming out of Bukit Beruang, I spotted another minor road mishap. My first few shots of the scene was rather shaky and blurred. Fortunately, I managed to capture an adequate photograph through my rear windshield after I passed the cars,

Car vs. car.

When I turned to face the road in front of my car again with the camera still in my hand, I saw this,

Car vs. motorcycle.

This must be a sign from the gods! I saw not one... not two... but THREE different road accidents in one day! Two of them even happened at the same time at the very same junction! What are the chances of that?

And, where's the blooming 4D shop when you need one?


On a more serious note, I do notice that Malaccan drivers are starting to drive like KL hogs. Six months ago during my last vacation, I remember Malaccan drivers to be really courteous and considerate. They would chug along well below the speed limit and hardly ever overtake. Any car or motorcycle sporting a 'P' sticker can cruise around Malacca with the assurance that the other drivers would give way for the rookies (as opposed to KL, where 'P's are eaten alive). Alas, those days are gone but for good.

Some of the worst idiots on the road would even snap pictures with their fancy digital cameras while driving, paying little or no attention at all to where they are going. Bloody insane, I tell ya. Driving in Malacca had seriously become a hazardous business. I can totally see what my Dad meant now.



PS: The above incidents happened more than a two weeks ago. I have to keep postponing this post because I could never seem to run out of things I'd rather blog about.




Now watch me do this with no hands,
k0k s3n w4i

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Barefoot on a Gravel Path to Nowhere

“I wish I’m in law school instead”

Me, to anyone who would listen

At the start of the year, and me uncharacteristically happy studying some dead guy's armpit. Snitched from Perry.

A year ago, I was this invincible boy walking into adulthood, responsibility, and the first of many difficult steps into the white coat of a healer. I packed myself to India – to Manipal to learn the noblest of arts. I can do this, I was sure. Heck, I can do anything.

A year later, I feel anything but invincible. My shell of confidence now sports a thousand tiny leaky punctures. I feel exhausted – but yet the road goes on and on.

No wall was built greater than self-doubt.

In the course of my first year in Manipal, I have become increasingly more introverted and desensitized. I cared less about what happen outside my bricks of medical textbooks. I coveted good grades and strove to stay in the upper third of the class. I sleep nightly with a plastic bag of genuine human bones stowed under my bed. A guy hanged himself from his ceiling fan a few rooms away from my hostel room and I did not lose a single second of sleep over that. Being badgered daily by beggars no older than toddlers as I journeyed between lectures and meals had extinguished my ability to sympathise and pity. Bodies and organs of dead men upset me no more than cuts of beef on a butcher’s slab, thanks to the two-hour dissection sessions we attended everyday, first thing in the morning.

In short, I no longer give a sh!t.
Doctors aren’t angels in white coats. Doctors are automatons – cold, calculative; more circuit-boards than heart.

During our last dissection class (because I am incurably lame). Snitched from Ezyana (middle)

I questioned my motives. Why am I here? I seek respect and prestige. I seek the security of a profession whose members are in high demand and are adequately paid. I seek fulfillment for being able to trudge through the treacherous mires of medical school, internship, and eventual practice.

I seek a lot things and none of them benefits anyone outside the scope of me. I am nothing but a pernicious, selfish prick, and I'm ashamed of that.

In less than ten days, I will have to fly back to the drudgery that is med school with an immediate start on second year subjects. I’ll admit that the urge of not returning rests seductively on my mind. It’s four more hard years of grueling training, and it gets a lot harder after graduation. Also from the tales I’ve heard, marital bliss is not something doctors can usually have – doctors make notoriously bad husbands and fathers. From where I am standing right now, the road seems to be paved with sh!t.

I need to find some meaning in this job. I really do.


Need shoes,
k0k s3n w4i

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Random Excrements

"I can stand a giraffe on my face. Brilliant."

Orked, Sepet (2004)


Yet another example of a wizard movie poster.

Less than an hour ago, I watched Sepet on DVD while slurping from a smashing bowl of Maggi soup + egg.

Sadly, I enjoyed the Maggi more. Please don't stone me.

The two things that really, really pulled down the quality of this production were;
  • Crappy Malaysian actors.
  • Really 'janggal' dialogues that left me with a 'WTF' expression half the time.
That guy who played Ah Loong AKA Jason can't act for ketupats (but thankfully, he looked good). That guy who played Ah Loong's best buddy, Ah Keong, was a couple million times worse (but not only because he looked like a cicak, mind you). I've never seen more awkward, contrived scenes than those that contained this two in them.

The best member of the cast was probably Sharifah Amani (Orked) because I did not flinch every time she opened her mouth to speak (and also because she's hot). And to their credit, Kak Yam, Orked's Mom and Dad carried their roles adequately.

As a love story, this film flopped but completely, but I'll admit that it's a pretty clever social commentary. The best bits from this movie were;
  • Orked and her girlfriend's conversation about how the white-folks influenced the cultures they conquered (though this part could have been more gracefully written).
  • Ah Loong's and Ah Keong's conversation in the hospital about how people were strangely more intolerant towards interracial marriages in modern times compared to the Malacca Sultanate era (the stuff they said were commendable - their acting still sucked).
  • Kak Yam and Orked's conversation about Orked receiving a scholarship even though she only had 5 A's in SPM, with subtle implications that Ah Loong didn't despite having 7 (that touched a string, because I got 7 as well).
Halfway through the flick, I was already awarding it a 2/10 in my mind. Mukshin, in spite of all its flaws, did make me laugh out loud a few times.

But luckily, the last few scenes managed to salvage whatever remained of this depth-bound dinghy. It's like what we used to say back in my DOTA days; it does not matter how many matches you lose as long as you win the last one.

The flashback to all the good times Orked and Ah Loong had to the sound of his handphone ringing was definitely a winner. At the end of all the happy times, I was shown a scene where the handphone was lying on the asphalt beside an unconscious Ah Loong who bled all over the road. But surprisingly, against all expectations (or the lack of thereof), we were treated to a scene where Orked, who was calling, managed to get through and actually talked to Ah Loong.

So what's up with that?
  • Was Ah Loong actually not as badly hurt as he appeared to be and woke up to answer Orked's call?
  • Digi got line even in Hell?*
My guess was Yasmin Ahmad was merely showing us an alternate ending; a brief glimpse of the possible happiness that Orked and Ah Loong could have had - had he not been killed in the road-crash. There was some sad beauty in that, and that redeemed the entire movie from crap-dom, in my list.

5.5/10, because I felt this was a teensy bit above the average mark. 0.5 mark for the honest commentary of Malaysian culture, 1 mark because I liked the ending, and 4 because Sharifah Amani was hot stuff.

*The number that Ah Loong slipped to Orked was definitely a 016 number.

Fun with Engrish. Random picture stored up in My Documents.

Here's an old poem I wrote in the Fifth Form, that I recently rediscovered scribbled on a piece of paper. It wasn't my best, but I'm afraid the bulk of my works have went missing. S'pity.

Encore

Let the first note break the peace,
Listen, we shall start the piece.

I will begin softly,
For I am afraid,
Lest it be distorted,
By wrong notes played,
Then I shall hasten,
I shall give you the cue,
That is where, I wish,
You will come in too.

Then,

As the dimminuendo,
Heralds the end,
Concluding, by hopes,
We can still be friends,
Finishing, with regrets,
With naught, and the chorus,
Neither in the middle,
Or at the first.

Then, returning to the initial beat,
I promise, I shall repeat.


I was such a hopeless romantic last time. At the prime of my 'jiwang'-ness, I churn out bad poetry daily. I'll award myself this;

Want one?

Here's a survey/forward mail/thingamajig tag from fuolornis. You can stop reading now if you've reached this far.

Bold the statements that are true to you.
Italicise the statements that you wish are true.
Leave the fibs alone.
Then, stab 3 people to do the same test.

I miss somebody right now.
I do not watch TV these days. (And I'm damn proud of it)
I believe honesty is usually the best policy. (Keyword: usually)
I have changed mentally over the last year. (Like going insane because of Med School? Hell yeah!)
I curse. (Like a sailor, mate)
I’m totally smart. (I'm also totally dishonest)
I need money right now. (There's this car I wan to buy...)
I love sushi. (And wasabi)
I have at least one sibling. (Now, ask me whether I have tried siblicide)
I am usually pessimistic. (So I can always either be proven right or pleasantly surprised. Sounds like a good deal to me)
I have a lot of mood swings. (Like a girl, a girl once said to me)
I have a hidden talent. (And bloody well hidden it is too)
I am currently single. (Stop reminding me)
I love to shop. (For books!)
I would rather shop than eat. (Only if it's books)
I have a cell phone. (When was this survey thing started? 1984?)
I’m not allergic to anything. (Jealous?)
I have made a move on a friend’s significant other or crush in the past. (She's too good for him. Honest)
I have tried alcohol before. (A month ago. So you can stop calling me a pansy, Dad)
I watch Spongebob Squarepants and I like it. (Whooo... lives in a pineapple under the sea?)
I’m obsessed with girls. (If only it's the other way round)
I study for tests most of the time. (Keyword: most)
I am comfortable with who I am right now. (Comfort and contentment are two very different things)
I love sea turtles. (Finger lickin' good)
Plan on achieving a major goal/dream. (Ah, to be able to touch my toes one day!)
I love sci-fi movies. (I love movies. Period)
I went college out of state.
I like sausages.
I love kisses. (I love a lot of other things as well but that's another story)
I can pick up things with my toes.
I can whistle. (Big deal)
I can move my tongue in waves, much like a snake’s slither. (I'd be such a hit with the ladies)
I have ridden/owned a horse.
I can’t stick to a diet. (Guilty)
I can’t stand at LEAST one person that I work with. (This is easy. I can't stand most of the people I work with)
I am an adrenaline junkie. (This... is... SPARTA!)

I cosplay or
know what cosplaying is. (If it involves leather and whips, count me in)

I have tried marijuana. (Try everything once, says my ol' Dad)
I have been in a threesome. (A filial son listens to his ol' Dad)
I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.
I’ve broken someone’s bones.
I talk really, really fast. (Like Cyndi. Now that's talent)
I like the way I look.
I’m a pretty good dancer.
I believe in God. (I heard lots of good stuff about this guy)
I’ve rejected someone before. (Now, won't that be nice?)
I’ve called the cops on a friend before. (There was this business of rolling old tires down the Ayer Keroh freeway...)
I’m shy around members of the opposite sex.
I have used my sexuality to advance my career. (If only I'm sexy enough)
I am happy at this moment! (I find blogging to be about as joyful as undergoing appendectomy)
I tie my shoelaces differently from anyone I’ve ever met.
I’m proficient in a musical instrument. (Chicks dig musicians. Poets and authors usually die virgin)
I worked at McDonald’s restaurant.
I have jumped off a bridge. (Should have done so years ago prior to adulthood)
I don’t know why the hell I just did this stupid thing. (Unfortunately, I know why)
I talk in my sleep.
I have been to over 15 conventions.
I love being happy. (I like being miserable more because it's cooler)

I wear glasses or contact lenses. (Eyes like gimlets, I tell ya)
I love to play video games.
I’m paranoid sometimes. (Try all the time)
I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
I have long hair. (Haha)
I have lost money in Las Vegas. (Nope, but my Dad did. He and his 'try everything once' mantra)
I have worn fake hair/fingernails/eyelashes in the past.
I couldn’t survive without Caller ID. (But why?)
I’m always hyper no matter how much sugar I have. (I'm a sloth no matter how much sugar I have)
I have a lot of friends. (Where?)
I have pecked someone of the same sex. (Sorry, Dad)
I enjoy talking on the phone.
I practically live in sweatpants or PJ pants. (I own neither)
Enjoy window shopping.
I don’t hate anyone. (LOL)
I’m completely embarrassed to be seen with my mother.
I watch MTV on a daily basis.
I have passed out drunk in the past 6 months. (I was sober for the past 20 years)
I want to have children in the future. (Like I want 11 toes instead of 10)
I have changed a diaper before.
I have a lot to learn. (Nonsense, I know everything)
I own the South Park movie.
I would die for my best friend. (Don't have one. Gaping vacancy. Send in your VC)
I think that Pizza Hut has the best pizza. (My ass has better pizzas than Pizza Hut)
I love Michael Jackson, scandals and all.
Halloween is awesome because you get free candy. (Chinese New Year is awesome because I get free money)
I have more than just my ears pierced. (For a man who says try everything, my Dad has very strong opinions about this)
I walk barefoot wherever I can. (Siao)
I spend ridiculous money on makeup.
I hate office jobs. (Am I to like jobs under the hot sun more?)
I think water rules. (Vanilla Coke rules!)
I fall for the worst people. (You dare mock my taste?)
I can’t live without black eyeliner.
I usually like covers better than originals. (Sacrilege!)
I still have every journal I’ve written in.
I try to forget things by drowning them out with loads of distractions. (I prefer to wallow in self pity)
I have jazz in my blood. (I have it in my playlist. Does that count?)
Climbing trees is a brilliant past-time. (If you're a monkey)
I wear a toe ring.
I am a caffeine junkie.
I will collect anything, and the more nonsensical the better. (My Dad collects empty mineral water bottles)
I'm an artist (But I have the soul of one)
I only clean my room when necessary. (I still won't clean my room even when I can't find the floor)
I like a person of the same sex. (No, Dad. Uh-uh)

I won't bother stabbing 3 others. Do it at your own peril.


Because I'm full of crap,
k0k s3n w4i

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Single Speck of Heaven

"The fact that disabled people exist does not prove that God isn't doing his job properly. In fact, God put these special people on earth to give us the chance of showing our better sides - to help and nurture those who weren't born quite as perfectly as we were."

June Yong, my old English tutor

Heaven is an old man standing on his left.

Last week, when I was in Tesco with Odessa, I spotted a familiar sight - one which I have seen many times over in various shopping complexes and malls in Malacca since many, many years ago.

I spotted the pair as I was entering a gift shop, and I was compelled to watch. The boy (we shall call him Pete) were strolling very slowly along aided by the shopping cart on which he held on to. His father (who henceforth should be known as Pete's Dad) was patiently inching along with Pete, holding the cart steady for his son.

Pete's legs are very thin - and look as if they can snap any time, even under Pete's paltry weight. His spine looks terribly misaligned and bent, and it obviously gives him undue trouble with every movement he tries to perform. Of his unfortunate deformity, I cannot name the ailment responsible, for I am not acquainted with him, but doubtless, it was of a congenital nature. Pete was probably around my age (20) or older, in spite of his size - but I am only hazarding a guess from his features.

As they pass the gift shop we were entering, Pete stopped walking. With great difficulty, he reached out for some colourful plastic bric-a-bracs hanging on a display tree. Holding himself steady with his small, bony left hand on the shopping cart, he reached out with his right. Too bad, the prize was distanced a little too far, and he failed.

It was terribly painful to watch.

Pete's Dad, a man that I guessed to be between the ages of 60-70, pulled the display tree nearer to Pete, so he can reach the bric-a-brac that was of interest to him. With great concentration, he fingered the object, studying its colour and texture thoroughly before letting it go. At that, the pair trudged on to continue their quiet window shopping tour of Tesco.

I'm an atheist.

But at moments like this, I can believe in God.

Because, I can see His hand.


And since we're on the subject of wonderful parents (and at the express request of a friend of a friend);

Baby Aisya's spot of heaven.

It's in the face of such heart-wrenching random injustices in this world that I find refuge in my old English tutor's words (which I am sharing with you up there as the quote-of-the-post).

Baby Aisya was born with Fraser Syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive genetic anomaly which left the little girl with completely fused eyelids, webbed fingers, impaired hearing, and a partially blocked larynx. Take a look at her neck; that's where Baby Aisya breathes from.

But that story was already told, and told by someone who have met both the great Mom and child in person, so I won't waste your time listening to my take on it. Unless you're in hurry to get a kidney transplant or something, do spend a couple of minute checking out these links;

The Article in The Star, 24th December 2006.
Daphne Ling's (the authoress') Blog.

If you have any loose change jingling about in your pocket, contact Daphne Ling at 016-5422774 for more information on how to give them to Baby Aisya. She needs it for a couple of artificial eyes/lenses. Perhaps if she's lucky, she'll be able to read blogs someday like you can right now.

And if you have a blog yourself, spread the word in your next post, okay? It won't be obtrusive; just a couple of links with a paragraph at the bottom of your daily emo-rants. That's not too much to ask, I trust?

Ps: If you use Daphne's number for any other reasons other than for giving aide to Baby Aisya, you'll be cursed with the blackest black luck for the next 5-and-a-half years. Grow up.

Pss: Before I forget again, I've replaced the pictures in my 'Kate' post with something more appropriate.


One of the luckier ones,
k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Of Fairytales, Spartans and First Love Stories

"Women are great leaders. You're following one right now."

Spotted on a bumper sticker of a car driven by an aggressive lady


No, seriously. Don't do this to yourself.


Bridge to Terabithia

The kiddie bait.

My bet is that 99% of kids in Malaysia have never heard of this "beloved novel" that "came to life" recently to the TGV or GSC near you (and I confess fraternity with the majority). And all these kids which bullied their Daddies and Mummies to bring them to watch this Narnia lookalike will be oh-so-disappointed when they get there.

But I'm not saying that this movie is crap.

This is the first movie this year to move me to tears (think damp eyes, not broken dam crying), but that was due to a whole well of emotional slosh-a-bout already locked up inside me.

The message of this flick is simple;
  • Treasure your friends
  • Be nice your sister
  • Keep an open mind
I've a younger sister and this flick absolutely filled me with self-loathing. Unlike Jesse's sister, May Belle, who was still only 7, my sister's already 16. She practically spent her childhood not having her elder brother around - because I'm a loner, even within the family and I certainly haven't been bringing her out and stuff. I know how absolutely spiffing it is for girls to have bigger brothers, and my sister was deprived of all that spiff. And it's too late for me to do anything about it now.

I need to stop falling in love with underage kids.

The best bit about this flick was AnnaSophia Robb's portrayal as the boyish Leslie. Leslie, in the book, cannot be discerned from a boy but Hollywood had decided to make her a lot more girlish than her literary counterpart.

It's a mark of a good actress if she can make people care about the character she plays - and the quirky, spunky Leslie played by AnnaSophia is a definite heart-winner. It's precisely the amount of life she projects that made Leslie's death all the more wrenching, and there's no way we can ask more from a child actress.

A little bit of trivia here; AnnaSophia played Violet Beauregarde in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation.

And Jesse's little sister, May Belle (Bailee Madison) was the perfect baby girl. Besides, AnnaSophia, she's probably the other most memorable member of the cast. That dude who played Jesse was as wooden as the trees in Terabithia, with slightly less force of personality.

In summary, this is a 6/10 movie. Just don't expect Narnia if you plan on seeing it. I bought the novel it's based upon right after I exited the theatre - and in my opinion, there's no need to bother with the book. The movie was waaay more entertaining.


300

This made me smile.

I can't believe my luck when I saw 300 scheduled on the display screen in TGV, KLCC. I remember reading somewhere that the worldwide release is set sometime in April - imagine my oh-my-goodness elation at that moment. I was afraid that I would have to watch this via some DVD rip file - but it seems I would still need download the movie after all (they *cough* censored some parts).

FYI, this flick was based on a graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, who in turn based it on an old flick he watched called the 300 Spartans - which was inspired by the Battle of Thermopylae (which is Greek for 'Hot Gates', I suppose). Don't anybody write their own stuff anymore?

The Best. Scene. Ever.

It's one of those few versus insurmountable odds story; the titular 300 Spartans against a million (or millions, I can't remember now). I wanted to buy the graphic novel the flick was based on but the price tag gave a me a swift Spartan kick in my rump. Looks like I'll have to download it after all.

This is a movie that focuses on visuals over everything else. Every scene (or so I believe) was shot against a blue screen to mimic the flavour of the landscapes in the graphic novel. Slow-mo (or more popularly known as 'bullet-time', popularised by The Matrix and the Max Payne games) were used generously to magnify every battle sequence - every sweaty, muscled movement - to their utmost jaw-dropping potential.

Be damned with realism. The gargantuan size of the Persian King, the exaggerated deformity of the oracle dudes, the insane stand of 300 men against millions - these are the reasons I go to the movies for!

And as I said, visuals over everything else. You might want to leave your brains at the door before you walk in to watch 300.

The story was historically outrageously inaccurate (I used to be a huge Graeco-Roman buff and Sparta was one of the more interesting Greek states). The movie based the Spartan's brave stand to be in defense of free-will, right to choose, democracy and all-that-jazz; complete bullsh!t, in my opinion. As you can see in the flick itself, every child born in Sparta is immediately examined physically - the failure of which meant abandonment and certain death. And at a truly green age of 7(?), whichever child let to live would be drafted into the strictest, most inhumane of training programs. No choice. Completely totalitarian. Completely Spartan.

Not to mention that slaves or helots made up 30 - 40% of Sparta's population. The Persians are actually a whole lot nicer (if a rather more boring) bunch than the Spartans.

This ain't no documentary, but it still kicks a million Persian butts.

An example of the Spartans' world-class military dental care.

I suspect that Gerard Butler was casted because he looked so damn cool with his mouth wide open like this (to his credit, he played King Leonidas to perfection).

Also, watch out for certain scenes where the actors hold poses way too long trying to capture some dramatic 'feel' or other. I'm sure they looked much cooler in the graphic novel than they did on the big screen (as some giggles from the audience attested)

Rorschach, my favourite batshit insane vigilante from Watchmen.

All I'm waiting for right now is Zack Snyder's translation of my favourite graphic novel; Watchmen by Alan Moore. Seeing what a smashing job he did with 300, I'm sure that my baby is in good hands.

300 chalks a strong 8.5/10 in my book - definitely one of this year's must-watch. Anyone who disagree can get a Spartan kick from me up his plumbings.


Mukshin

An example of a promotional poster that works.

The last Malaysian-bred movie I've watched was Puteri Gunung Ledang, which was pure, certified, irredeemable sh!t. Not crap, mind you - but sh!t (there's a difference). I watched KL Menjerit 2 as well (but that did not count since I saw it free-of-charge when I was working in GSC). Incidentally, that was sh!t as well.

Despite so many glowing reviews, both from authorities of the industry and from bloggers, I consider Mukshin to be crap (not as bad as sh!t). I'm not looking at it from a sympathetic Malaysian eye. I am fair, and I grade this on the same scale I grade all the other movies I watch.

This is bloody uncomfortable to watch.

The actors/actresses were lousy (with the possible exception of that little girl who played Orked and that bloke who played her Dad). The point of making a movie is to engage someone's interest and immerse them completely into the story. The acting in Mukshin felt really awkward. I know that, because I was shifting a lot in my seat trying to find a comfortable position all through the movie.

I snorted dozens of times at Orked's Mom whenever she starts showing off her crappy English. No one speaks that way - unless they are really artificial and pretentious. I have this impression that Yasmin Ahmad was trying to portray a liberal minded and educated woman as Orked's Mom - and at that, she failed miserably. However, that does fit terribly well with some of the neighbours' opinion that Orked's Mom spoke English to show-off. So I'll give her (Yasmin) the benefit of the doubt here.

But honestly, do we really need to see Orked's Mom squeeze her daughter's 10-year-old boobies?

Look at how Mukshin is leering lecherously at a very bored Orked.

I suppose that Orked got pissed with Mukshin in the end when Mukshin forbade her to join the guys' games because he didn't want the other boys to touch Orked. But I can't say that for sure. Yasmin Ahmad was being a tad too vague on that point.

And I also suspect that she did not show us what Mukshin wrote at the tail of the kite because she can't write anything cool, touching, or convincing enough to make Orked react the way she did.


Please, don't give me any of that "leave it to the audience to conclude" or "we need not show everything to tell a story" bullsh!t.

Another mark of shoddy storytelling was Orked's Mom telling the father that she caught Orked reading a calendar, and she was worried that she's spending too much time on books. A good storyteller/director shows the audience that Orked was a great reader by some cleverly shot scenes, possibly reading under the blanket and setting it on fire with an oil-lamp - not have Orked's Mom say it out straight in her mock-classy English.

This movie made me feel that it's a ramshackle piece of production - and no amount of hype or awards is going to change that bad taste in my mouth. 3/10, and I'm being mighty generous here. Don't waste your time or cash; go watch 300. The Spartans can kick Mukshin's ass from here to Persia and back.

But I'm going to get Sepet on DVD anyway. Hopefully, I'll enjoy that more than this.



So bite me,
k0k s3n w4i