flawed work of art.
Thursday, June 26, 2008 @ 2:30 pm
yup, yet another movie review.
I just came home from watching Kung Fu Panda with bako, fang and xin. being opening night, tickets were selling quick, even though we bought them five hours before showtime. the cinema was full to the brim with young adults such as ourselves who guffawed loudly and applauded in unison. I can't remember what movie I watched (I think it was in the UK) but that movie also received overwhelming response from the audience. quite sure it wasn't Da Vinci Code cos' bjorn, hils and I were the only living souls in that theater that evening, while faisal watched some horror flick about satan's offspring.
Kung Fu Panda is seriously the best animated film you'll see this year. don't even think about mentioning stupid Clone Wars. I dunno about you, but I think Georgie should've stopped at Episode 6. an animated Star Wars sequel?? what was he thinking?! anyhoo, back to the best animated movie so far. as you watch the movie, pay attention to the voices, you'll never guess who's behind them all, except the pretty obvious mr. black as Po, the big fat panda. although I knew dustin hoffman was the voice behind master shifu, I couldn't connect the 70-year-old's face to the rare red panda (which we saw at the zoo yesterday!). angelina jolie plays the somewhat snotty tigress, while lucy liu is the kind-hearted snake. you'll never guess who's monkey.... jackie you-can't-friggin'-do-a-kung-fu-movie-without-me chan! wooooo! the monkey doesn't say much though, not as much as the joke-cracking mantis. I especially liked the wise confucius-ish master wugui, which is of course a turtle, a very cute and endearing grandpa figure with very wise cheena quotes. another memorable character was the goose who was Po's dad. this noodle seller is so chinese, you could blindfold him with dental floss. seriously. it's like you can't get any cheena than that! ok, maybe my mother can, with all her red lanterns, but that's not the point.
and just like all blockbusters these days, stay till the very end. the credits are really quite interesting and not as long as most with white boring words against a black screen. instead of just a plain dark background, this one has lots of stills that are really quite cute. the last bit after the credits was short, but very sweet. so sweet that there was a dude in front who went, 'shit! that was touching!' sparking uncontrollable laughter among my two girlfriends.
so yes, people, go watch Kung Fu Panda. I even want to watch it again. it was, as Po describes so aptly, 'awesome!'.

Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 6:05 pm
just walked home from the city with fang and bako. it was a somewhat pleasant walk, not too cold that even fang took off her coat. sorry but I can't help but stick in a comparison with london comment again. I've walked alone in croydon when it was pitch dark loadsa times and I didn't feel as unsafe as I did walking in melb with company. there's a lot of weird, drunk, silly people on the melburnian streets, let me tell you.
oh yes, we caught 'don't mess with the zohan', not a film you wanna watch with your old folks, or one you'd wanna let the kiddies watch too. a lot of times, I had to go 'huh?' myself and ask bako quietly what was so funny. so weiyi, you probably won't enjoy it. I will never look at a hair salon or hummus the same way ever again, that's for sure.
p/s: rob schneider says more than 'you can do it!' in this film. yes, even a bigger role than the one he had in '50 first dates'. gosh, I like these adam sandler flicks, someone should organise an adam sandler marathon. from happy gilmore (still kinda my favourite) to click.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 1:59 pm
I hate to eavesdrop but sometimes I just can't help it. every time bako talks to his mum, I try to comprehend his heavy indo and translate it in my head.
however, poor bako can't help but overhear my conversation because of all the exclamation marks when I'm talking on the phone. it's like in the wet market!
this is how a typical conversation with my parents goes, with my mum in a not so bad mood:

mum: hello, why didn't you reply my sms???
me: er, I was busy..
mum: I thought what happened to you! no reaction!
me: oh, er, sorry.
(after telling me about the various goings-on back home, she goes to find my dad)
mum: daddy is playing wii upstairs, I think. DADDY!
dad: what!
mum: na, talk to y-y-our 'sam gon deng'!
author's note: sam gon deng = apple of my eye in canto.
dad: hello?
me: hello! you got wii fit ah?!
dad: yah!
me: wah, really??
dad: no, no! not wii fit lah. you talking about the skateboard one hah?
me: er, yeah. the fitness one.
dad: no no, I'm just playing tennis.
me: ohh..
dad: EH! the fella go and serve when I'm talking to you! I thought he wouldn't serve!
me: cheating ah!
dad: I thought he wouldn't serve because I'm not playing..
me: go pause la!
(dad talks about exams, weather and my finances. the last one in a more serious tone)

Monday, June 02, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
you are about to read my final assignment for Creative Writing. the only one I dare to post because Grant liked it. (fiiiinally!)

Don't Forget House Keys

Matthew grimaced at the sound of the annoying ring tone. He felt for his cell phone on the bedside table and pushed the green button.
“Good evening. Is this Mr. Matthew Chute?” replied the voice on the other end.
“Mr. Chute, I’m sorry to bother you at such a late hour. My name is Nathaniel Thomas and I work at St. Georges' Hospital. Do you know of a Mr. Callum Simpson?”
“Yes, I do,” Matthew said, rubbing his eyes.
“Would you mind coming down to the hospital to identify his body? It could wait until morning, of course. But, I thought, as next of kin, you might want to know the news first.”
The young nurse in lilac scrubs pointed Matthew in the right direction. Being around sick people is as far out of his comfort zone as he could tolerate. There is something about that pungent smell of iodine, or is it detergent? Not to mention the beeping and wheezing of complicated machines. They expect to heal people in places like these?
He followed a man in a lab coat through the swing doors marked Mortuary Services. Matthew watched the man disappear down the corridor as he stepped up to the counter.
“May I help you?” asked the man behind the counter, with the name Nathaniel on his name tag.
“Yes. Hello. I got a call to identify my friend’s body.” Matthew found his own voice thin and foreign, not the same firm tone he always possessed.
“Just fill in this form and sign at the bottom.”
Matthew reached for the clipboard and sat on one of the empty waiting chairs. He glanced at the clock on the wall. It was 3.14 a.m. Half an hour ago, he was fast asleep next to his loyal greyhound. Now, he was in the same clothes he wore last night, about to see his dead friend. When he answered the phone call, he initially thought it was a hoax. He remembered receiving a call late one night from Callum who pretended to be a police officer. After failing to stifle a giggle, Callum had asked if he could crash at Matthew's because he had lost his keys in the pub again. On one occasion, Matthew was so annoyed at Callum's late night sleepovers that he had suggested rather sarcastically that Callum write a reminder on his forehead so he would never fail to forget his keys again.
As he ticked the box labeled 'friend' on the form, Matthew began to wonder why Callum put him as next of kin. Didn't Callum mention he had a sister in Essex? Wasn't it last Christmas when Callum visited his family in Coventry?
“You’re taking your skinny dog up to Oxford, for the Christmas weekend. Are you mad?” Callum exclaimed.
“Why not? The kids really love her. Besides, I know I can’t count on you to take care of her.” Matthew eyed Callum through the rearview mirror.
“At least I’m not the one who puts their dog in the front passenger seat and chucks their friend behind.” Callum stared at the greyhound curled up comfortably in the front seat next to Matthew. Matthew rolled his eyes.
“What are you doing for Christmas then?” Matthew asked.
“Heading up to Coventry for a little family get-together.”
“Hang on, I’ve known you for five years and you’ve never even so much as mentioned a second cousin. Now, you say you’ve got family in Coventry?”
“That’s because I know how to set my priorities right, like placing my friend over a dog.”
Matthew handed the clipboard back to Nathaniel and the latter asked him to take a seat while he got someone to take Matthew into the morgue.
Matthew looked down at his Nike Airs and lost himself in his deep thoughts. It could also be someone else, couldn’t it? If they were so sure it was Callum, they wouldn’t make me come down all the way to the hospital to identify his body, right? Just then, a pair of black boots appeared in front of his worn out, two-year-old shoes.
“Mr. Chute?” enquired a bespectacled old man in a starched white lab coat.
“Yes?” replied a slightly disoriented Matthew.
“I'm the diener of the morgue, Christopher Hayes. Kindly follow me, please.”
Matthew steadied himself and followed Hayes down the corridor, where the old man stopped in front of a set of black swing doors and turned to face him.
“I should probably caution you first,” he said wearily. “If you find yourself feeling queasy at any moment, feel free to excuse yourself and leave the room.”
“All I need from you is a nod and then we can discuss the rest outside.”
Matthew could feel the strong thumping of his heartbeat. Was he ready to do this? He swallowed and took a deep breath.
“I’m ready,” he lied.
Hayes pushed one of the doors and held it open for Matthew. Matthew felt a cold rush of air hit his face. Right in the center of the room was a gleaming silver table, with a surgical light hanging over it. White square tiles lined the wall and floor. The scene reminded Matthew of the butcher’s around the corner of his street. Starting to feel uneasy, he placed his hand on the side of a sink to support himself. Just get this over and done with, Matthew. He took a deep breath to regain his composure and joined the diener in front of the mortuary refrigerators. Hayes’ eyes met his to ascertain Matthew’s commitment. After receiving a nod from Matthew, Hayes pulled out a black body bag from the middle drawer. Matthew felt a nervous tingle on the back of his neck, the last thing he wanted to see was his dead friend in a state of rigor mortis. Hayes unzipped the body bag to reveal Callum’s face and upper body. It was hard to recognize Callum without the usual rosy tinge in his cheeks. His face was white with a hue of blue. There was a cut on his purple lip and one of his eyes bore a greenish black bruise. The bugger got into a fight. Standing over Callum’s stiff body, Matthew couldn’t help but wonder how a promising young student ended up in a body bag.
Matthew and Callum went to the same prestigious college in Manchester. The all-boys college valued moulding all-rounded gentlemen, with most of them going on to pursue further education at Oxford and Cambridge. Matthew’s father went to the same college and so did Matthew’s grandfather. Naturally, everyone had high expectations for him as well. In the first year of his A-Level course, Matthew aced the examinations and was touted as the Principal’s favourite, bound for either Oxford or Cambridge. In the beginning of second year, a boy with distinctive platinum blonde hair arrived at the college. He quickly caught the Principal’s attention as well, for his natural talent in cricket and also being able to match Matthew’s academic achievements. It was not long before Callum outshone Matthew and became the Principal’s new favourite.
Nathaniel placed a plastic zip-lock bag containing Callum’s belongings on the counter and requested Matthew’s signature on another legal document. Matthew read the words on the form but he could not comprehend what it was about. Callum’s Burberry wallet in front of him was distracting. He gave up after the third line and just penned his signature at the bottom.
He had stayed with Hayes in the morgue for far longer than he had expected. The old diener had confirmed that Callum was involved in a brawl outside a pub. As Callum turned to go back to the pub, the man with whom he had a fought stabbed him with a pocket knife. He then hid Callum in a dark alley where he wasn’t discovered until two hours later.
“Your friend still had a pulse on the way to the hospital,” Hayes continued. “But he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving here, when his heart stopped beating.”
Matthew was lost for words. He wanted to know if the man who stabbed his friend was caught.
“The police are still looking for the suspect, but you can proceed with the funeral arrangements. The Coroner’s Report was submitted a while ago.”
In the car, as Matthew was driving back home, he glanced at the plastic bag beside him that held Callum’s personal belongings. At the traffic light, he unzipped the bag to take out the brown wallet. As he flipped it open, it revealed a stuck on post-it note scrawled with the words ‘don’t forget house keys’.