Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nanny Fine! Mr Sheffield!

Hallmark Channel has been showing reruns of certain episodes of the Nanny from season 1-6. I missed the last episode where she gives birth though. Her whiny laugh is such a trademark and so unforgettable. Niles's sense of humour is so witty and I really appreciate such classy jokes as compared to the usual slapstick I see on TV.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New books to be recommended


Midnight Masquerade(Tiara Club): the princesses have to deal with the twins yet again and the preparations of one of them are actually sabotaged before her ice-skating competition. Thankfully, she gets help and the twins' deed is exposed. This is the latest book in this series. I absolutely love the blue cover and the outfits mentioned in the story.

Austenland: good experience of the Regency era, vicariously lived through the eyes of a modern-day chick. She becomes a lady in the early 19th century when she dons the clothes and takes on the lifestyle in this eponymous place.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: picks up as you get to the middle of the book and then you can't put it down till you finish reading it. Jane Austen is featured in the book and I can identify with Courtney's ecstasy as she beholds her, since I'm an Austen fanatic too. I like this book more than Austenland, though both portrays the Regency era. I guess it is because this one makes it seem more realistic, where Courtney wakes up in Jane's body. The element of time travel is an intrinsic part of the plot, which makes this book all the more beguiling.

Seducing Mr Darcy: skipping the sexually explicit portions does not make the perusal any less engrossing. The plot itself is attractive - the protaganists trying to restore the proper ending of Pride and Prejudice, as their imaginations have run too wild and have wrought havoc in the book, turning it topsy-turvy and deviant from its literary era.

Library news!

Drop Everything And Read(DEAR) is on once again at all libraries. From 1 November to 31 January( I hope I am correct about the end date), all members can borrow twice the usual number of books they borrow. Being a basic member, I can borrow 8 books or magazines. Premium members can borrow 16. We are given 2 weeks for magazines and 3 weeks for books. I've already embarked on my quest for 8 books each time I step into the library.

Also, Bishan Library is asking for English fiction books for readers from 17-40 years of age. Of course, these donated books are to be in good condition, ie. no stains or missing/torn pages. I've donated 6-7 books so I can make room for the countless books I've bought and that are waiting to be read. Some people donate non-fiction, children's and Chinese books. Can't they understand English?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christmas in the world of books

I saw 2 Christmas books at Times at PS. One is based on Nigella Lawson's recipes, entitled Nigella Christmas. I pored over it from cover to cover. A recipe caught my eye. It is really easy. It is Christmas Cornflakes Wreaths.

The other is really a magazine: Good Housekeeping. The odd thing though is that it was the November issue that had features on Christmas. There were recipes, fashionwear and gifts to look at. I was so tempted to buy it but I felt that it would be more worthwhile waiting for the December issue, since the November issue is already so enticing.

Yep, I bought the December issue of Good Housekeeping, along with other magazines like Singapore Woman's Weekly and Her World. I love the Christmas issues of magazines! :D

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Children's Day Sale at Popular Bookshop

There is a catalogue being distributed at all Popular Bookshop outlets on items to get for Children's Day. I picked out a few to recommend to one of my students.

-USBORNE Little Encyclopedia Series: Greek Myths
-Bibles and Stories of Faith selections
-Let's Visit series
-Roald Dahl's The Witches

He was enticed by one of the book series: Using Maths. I bought the one on Extreme Sports Challenge for him. It applies Math lessons to real life, so he can see that there is usefulness in learning Math. It was also a method to cheer him up as he felt he could have done better for my homework. I hope it works...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Latest movies

I've been watching movies more than ever and my date is my dad. Thank goodness we have almost the same interests and his choices are as good as my two god-brothers'. Also, since I am not really into movies and will not initiate going for one, I am open to whatever choices they make.

Here are some I recommend, with some personal comments inserted:

-Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe(Aslan comes back to life)
-Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian(kiss between Caspian and Susan)
-Red Cliff(can't wait for the second part to be shown next year!)
-Batman:Dark Knight(dycotomy between personal integrity and social justice)
-The Mummy 3:Tomb of the Dragon Emperor(Isabella Leong, Michelle Yeoh's English and Shangri-La)
-Journey to the Centre of the Earth(prefer the older version with Pat Boone in it)
-Music and Lyrics(Pop! Goes My Heart, Don't Write Me Off, Meaningless Kiss, Dance With Me Tonight and Way Out Of Love; bought the soundtrack too, chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant)
-Emma(the one starring Gwyneth Paltrow)
-Becoming Jane(based on Austen's love and starring Anne Hathaway)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More books, and magazines too!

There is a Harris Book Sale at Suntec's Tropics Atrium from now to the first week of Sept. Most books are at 25% off their prices but there is a catch. The Popular card cannot be used for further discount. Still, there are really good coffeetable books. I saw one on Biblical Illustrations, another on Archaeology, yet another on Greek Treasures, out of the many. There are many paperback novels and even religious books as well. I chanced upon the book Stepford Wives and the ending is rather tragic as compared to the movie's. Joanna tries to escape but is caught. She becomes a robotic wife too and just like the rest, seems strange to newcomers into the town. Her personal pursuits are shelved in deference to household preoccupations.

The best bookshops in town are Harris Suntec and PageOne at Vivocity. They are the biggest ones. The difference is that the former has more stationery while the latter has more books. It is more of a literature undergraduate's haven than the former, except that the former allows Popular members to use their cards for discounts. I especially like the Children's Reference section at the former. I came across Usborne books on Cooking and also a photographical book on Anne Frank, as well as a story based on Peter Van Dann's life after WWI. He was Anne's 'crush'. The Literature section at PageOne revealed gems on Jane Austen's era and how to live in it. The Children's section uncovered some jewels too like Tiara Club's Dressup book and Cosmogirl's Quiz Book. I prefer the latter.

SAN Bookshop at Plaza Singapura and Heartland Mall has good books too, and they are at a cheaper rate. You can either buy them or rent them. The rental period is for a month. I found the Twitches series. The characters are the same but the girls on the cover are whites. Still, they are worth reading. The Usborne Series for kids turned out a very digestible biography on Marie Antoinette. I found some good books from Milan Kundera, so Literature undergrads can get some of their texts from there. The only thing is that you are not allowed to read there. You have to rent or buy something. Guess they are rather protective over their goods and indicate that the shop is not a library or a bookshop like Times, Kinokuniya, Borders, PageOne, MPH or Harris. *shrug*

Here are some books I recommend:

-Return to Summerhouse(time-travel)
-Charmed: Mystic Knoll, The Queen's Curse and High Spirits(more than the usual Charmed plots)
-Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice(Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Benett, what more can I say?)
-Secrets of Love(Sense and Sensibility for teenagers)
-Carole Matthew's Welcome to the Real World(Music and Lyrics in novel form)
-Archie Comics: Betty and Veronica's Digest(an ultimate favourite for teenage girls)
-Chronicles of Narnia
-Jealousy Junkie(for magazine fans; based on seeking advice from magazines to deal with life's problems)
-Mr Midnight(horror stories but sometimes with a twist of realism)
-Seventeen Presents 500 Style Tips

Magazines are my favourite reads too. Their features on fashion and hairstyles are what attracts me. I do indulge in some gossip about celebrities as well, especially on the upcoming movie HSM3. Here are some I

-Seventeen(both Singapore and overseas)
-Shout(free gifts included)
-Cleo(reader-friendly in terms of language and contents)
-Her World
-Real Simple(makes the little things in life more precious)
-Woman's Weekly


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tutor advertisements of Hong Kong

Tuition agencies in the former British colony have portrayed their tutors in a different light from the usual, in their advertisements. They focus on their appearance as well. Tutors may be styled to look professional but underneath it all is really their work attitude and performance.

This may give people a wrong impression of the tutors.

Unscrupulous agencies can use the tutors' looks to conceal the fact that the tutors may not possess the relevant qualifications and experience as well.

Even qualifications take a step back to the work performance. They only determine the salaries and initial capabilities of the candidates.

What is worse is that the advertisements go into the sex appeal of the tutors and imply that taking up tuition at their agencies is a trendy habit. Agencies even organise celebrity performances and dangle materialistic gifts to lure students. Obviously, the target audience is that of teenagers who will then persuade their parents to pay for their tuition.

Christmas movies

I watched A Christmas Carol: the Musical and Muppets' A Christmas Carol. The former was a television premiere and I cried thrice while watching, primarily due to the songs sung by the characters. Music has a special meaning to me. A reflection chanced upon me in the process of watching it. I was asking God where He is with all the suffering in the world still happening. I was really crying for those in such dire straits. Then I realised that if the world is perfectly happy, there will be no desire for Him. Besides, some things happen out of our free will to choose the path we walk.

The Nativity Story

The Nativity Story was introduced amidst the Christmas season and it had attracted reviews of different extremes. One of it on the Internet was that it was a boring movie.

As a Catholic, this does affect me tremendously, as the movie really amplifies the birth of our Lord in a visual form. As a learned person, it just shows me that people nowadays go for things that excite and titillate them. Look at the amount of violence, sex and controversies that pervade the media forms in society. Even though The Passion of Christ was on our Lord's life too, it attracted more viewers because of the violence seen in it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A return trip to my first pianist love

Richard Clayderman was my first introduction to piano music and I was exposed to him in secondary school. I decided to make a return trip to his music and I find that I still love the songs I loved then. As usual, I went to Youtube to look for his music. My favourite pieces are: Nostalgy, Lyphard Melody, Lady Di, Souvenir De Enfrance, Cavatina, and Trista Coeur.

Xinyao - always in my heart

The variety show S-pop Hurray on Channel U has revived my taste for Xinyao a.k.a Singapore (Chinese) songs. Liang Wenfu's lyrics have peppered many of such songs, giving them a poetic meaning. He uses metaphors to describe the impact of human relationships on our lives. He is a gifted lyricist indeed!

Some of these songs have been used as theme and interlude songs for our local drama serials, both past and current. I like those sung by Pan Ying, Dawn Gan and Joi Chua.

Another lyricist-cum-songwriter is Ng Kingkang. He came out with a Chinese album entitled 'My Friends, My Classmates, Everything I Love Most. I still remember the melody of the song in my head. He also wrote a book on university life, which puts a humorous dose on it and makes it less frightening for those who want to enter university.

His lyrics are really simplistic in meaning but so poignant and close to my heart. I listened to these songs when I was preparing to enter university. As a 18-year-old, friendships are the most important thing to me and that album brought out that sentiment even more.

The amazing thing about Xinyao is that the poetic lyrics and the melodious tunes are adequate to make the listening experience fulfilling. The singers do not have to use gimmicks like raunchy acts and nifty dance steps to add to their performances. The singers are also those who have good voices and the capability to bring out the emotions in the songs in their performances. It is so wonderful to see the singers dressing simply but singing such songs in updated versions. A parallel artiste who dresses simply but has a great singing voice and writes great songs, is Debbie Gibson.

Xinyao was featured in the newspapers not too long ago and from the article that spanned two full pages, I discovered that there are 2 album collections made up of 4 CDs each on Xinyao being sold in CD shops. I have bought one of them: Na Yi Duan Ri Zi(the black one) and it costs $69.90 if bought at Junction 8's Sembawang CD shop and $65.90 if bought at Vivocity's branch. The songs in there are so nostalgic, especially discs 2 and 3. The second album collection is a white one but its songs are more contemporary in comparison. There are also two other album collections on Liang Wenfu's compositions sold in the shops. The collection with more CDs and with a gold cover costs $59.60 at Bishan's branch while the other collection with less CDs can be found at Vivocity's branch.

More of Corrinne May and a return to Kenny G, plus Kevin Kern

I was on Youtube searching for music videos and found more Corrinne May tracks. My additional favourites are: In the Bleak Midwinter, Shelter, Five Loaves and Two Fishes, The Answer, Angel in Disguise and On the Side of Me, some of which are from her latest album Beautiful Seed. Again, these songs speak of love, death and religion; things close to my heart too.

I also found Kenny G tracks. My favourites are: Morning, Going Home and Always. Though his melodies seem to sound similar, I love to listen to them.

Kevin Kern is another musician who is close to my heart. He was recommended by a friend of mine and his piano music is definitely to my taste. I love his album Embracing the Wind and my favourite tracks are: Through Your Eyes, The Silence of Knowing, Bathed in Dawn's Light, From This Day Forward, A Secret Grove and A Gentle Whisper. Though his melodies may be simple and even similar, they appeal to me, since I like simple chords. The feelings they evoke in me are undefinable.

Clean-cut decency to raunchy sexuality

Even goody-two-shoes like Gigi Leung and Eason Chan have succumbed to graphically seductive acts in their concerts. Gigi danced with Vanness Wu in a provocative manner during her recent concert and was a different person altogether from her usual sweetie-pie image. Eason Chan too, included seemingly lecherous acts with his dancers in his concert. They were done in front of his wife and child.

His reply to this topic was his intention to evoke the senses of the audience. He claimed that he was just catering to their likes and it is really just a game. He seems to be conforming to the "need" to spice up his act. Is there a need to? A singer sings. That is his primary duty. Eason is already known for his voice. Since it is only a game, there is no whole-hearted attitude towards it but the audience cannot see that when they see his antics. He will inevitably give them the wrong impression that he advocates them. Even his child may start having the wrong notions about his values and his sexuality.

He mentioned that he wanted to test his sexual preference through these acts and that it was reinforced as a result. That is a lame excuse really. He is already married to a woman and is a father. He implied that this makes him an improved product and on par with his contemporaries. To do such acts is to improve oneself?? His definition of "improved" is certainly warped. I think he and the rest of the performers who do these acts are actually regressive in their morals; decadent with such licentious behaviour.

A documentary I watched

I watched a documentary on the National Geographic channel, where a pilot was blown out of the cockpit onto the outside of a plane when its front window shattered. He almost died of hypothermia after being exposed to the cold winds for a long time.

It was later found that the engineer in charge of maintaining the plane had used screws a size too small to fasten the glass panel onto the front of the plane. He had matched the original worn-out screws to their new counterparts by sight, without realising that they were actually of the wrong dimensions. He had also shrugged off the reminder of his colleague to counter-check his new screws with the data in the manual provided.

Though it was part of his normal routine in the maintenance of the plane, and he didn't mean to be lazy about it, it still put him at the centre of an investigation pertaining to the pilot's ordeal. Lucky for him that the pilot survived the arduous situation he had been in.

G2K's Christmas advertisements

"Being good isn't as important as looking good"? Yes, the model certainly looks stylish in her outfit which is part of the store's Christmas collection but to claim appearance over character as the goal of every consumer is absolutely ridiculous.

I was appalled when I came across this advertisement. Readers will learn this wrong value from such an advertisement. Clothes don't make a man. A man is defined by his character and the way he treats people.

Mystery Night

A story from Mystery Night has a profound impact on me. It stars Zeng Huifen as a creature from another realm. She, together with her partner, is dressed in white and embodies a state of being that is devoid of feeling. They attempt to lure humans in a vulnerable state, away from their loved ones to their world. They succeed until this old man fails the experiment carried out on him. He decides to stay with his sick wife when he is brought back to her. Huifen's character is also eventually melted by the love she sees in humans and especially by a boy she spends time with. She allows him to return to his mother and sacrifices herself as well as her partner in the process.

Oprah Winfrey shows

Simone Heng proposed a topic on the pervasive influence of Oprah. Indeed, she is very influential but I beg to differ on her extreme power over society. I think she uses her effect on people for good.

Some of her shows really move me. There was one on paying it forward. She collaborated with the bank to give $1000 to each member of the audience so that they could use it for a needy person. Some of them snowballed the amount into a much bigger one with lots of effort from those around them. A show highlighted the plight of exploited children and the rescue mission involved. Another was on great love stories. There was yet another on the reunion between marines and their families. Dreams do come true on her show. She actually gave a fully furnished house to Bernadette with 11 children to look after, on a meagre salary as a Starbucks counter staff.

Of course, other lighter-based shows were on her favourite things, with some being given to the members of the audience too, fashion that is suitable for specific body shapes and losing weight success stories.

I enjoy watching her shows. They are informative and inspiring.

New things I've borrowed

I am continuing to frequent the library and I borrowed 2 bridal magazines. I think out of all the bridal magazines I've read so far, Wedding and Travel is the best. It is informative, visual and inspiring. Advertisements are fewer as compared to others. It looks thick but is really very light.

I borrowed more cookery books. I can never tire of them. I borrowed those to do with holiday and historical recipes. :D It was really pleasurable relishing the coloured pictures in them. I also borrowed children's ghost stories. I am not exactly referring to Mr Midnight but I am referring to those set in the 20th Century in England and America, complemented by late Victorian elements.

I also borrowed the cd: Carpenters Christmas from my cousin. It consists of: Christmas Portrait and Old-fashioned Christmas. The former gives the listener a more homely and warm feel of Christmas while the latter puts him in a classical mood. I prefer the former. It is a good way of getting into the Christmas mood. :)

I read this magazine called Family and there was an article on Reading for Children in it. I picked up some useful tips in teaching pre-schoolers to read. I adopted the method of phonemics, where you split the word into different sounds and then join them back to make up the word. It seems to be working. :) It does! My student's reading has improved so much within 3 lessons. He finds it easier and more fun to read.

O how I've missed the library!

I have finally started going back to the library. The cookery section at Bishan is full of treasures. I have started taking notes from the books too for my own cooking experiments. :)

I've also borrowed self-improvement books and I find that the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is far more interesting than the Cup of Comfort series. Though the books from both series are based on the same genre, the stories in the latter seem a little less interesting. What do you think?

There's also a promotion campaign to encourage reading, where users get to borrow double their usual number of books borrowed each time. I'm ecstatic but I doubt I can borrow that many books. I savour what I read and that takes a long time. Also, I don't want to lug so many books home. It is from 1 Nov to 31 Jan, I believe.

There's also a prize for the millionth borrower within the first week. He or she gets a complimentary 5-year premium membership and a Nokia handphone. For the one closest to the millionth borrower, he or she gets a complimentary 5-year premium membership.

Ok, I gave in to temptation and borrowed 8 books, since magazines are included too. I borrowed 5 magazines as part of the 8. They are on the theme of Christmas. I'm trying to get into the Christmas mood.

I am not the only one who gave in to this temptation. I saw a family borrow umpteen books. It seemed as if they were premium members and could thus borrow 16 books each. With the three of them, they could borrow 48 books in total. Their books were mostly children's books. I'm heartened to see that the parents were introducing their child to the joy of reading.

Singers turning raunchy in their videos

Jolin Tsai is just another Asian star who has started making raunchy videos that are sexually provocative. Her intimate scene with Stephen Fung as well as the inclusion of two female prisoners getting intimate, have earned her video an M18 rating.

Of course, the term "raunchy" is not just restricted to intimate scenes pertaining to either gender, but to the sexually evocative dressing of the stars too. It was totally unexpected seeing a local star Chew Sin Huey turn her dressing up a notch in one of her videos. She used to be a pixie-faced singer who had a girl-next-door image in her earlier videos.

Jolin and Sin Huey decided to change their sweetie-pie images to their current ones, evidently to increase their album sales and their popularity rates. Yes, sex does sell. Their controversial videos may have achieved these aims but they are definitely at the expense of their moral values. Besides, they are really advocating, through their videos, that physical intimacy is normal and fine. That is the message that will be conveyed to their fans, including the young ones. If they are happy with this ultimate result, of course no one can judge them for it.

Call me naive but music should be more about talent and quality, rather than packaging, which usually includes sexual content. Look at stars like Chen Weilian and Stephanie Sun. These are pure musicians who do not need to resort to such gimmicks to boost their marketability.

The hype over High School Musical 2

I loved High School Musical, with the introduction of the characters we love and such melodious tracks to sing along to. However, this too early and excessive hype over its sequel on the media, through the music videos, trailers and CD, somehow makes the sequel seem repulsive. By the time it premiers on 9 September in Asia, I would not be excited anymore.

I don't really feel there is much to follow up on in terms of plot anyway. Yes, it is on Sharpay's revenge, according to Total Girl Magazine, but ultimately, the ending will be the triumph of Troy and Gabriella over her and her brother again.

The tracks don't really sound as melodious as those of the first story too. There are different versions of Start of Something New and What I've Been Looking For in You're the Music in Me, and We're All In This Together in the final track where everyone performs.

Yes, the setting is different, in a country club, and the kids deal with summer jobs and not school activities, but things are a tad too predictable and repetitive despite the attempt to improvise, in this sequel.

Must-reads and must-watchs

-Shopaholic Ties the Knot: the ending is absolutely unexpected and divinely wrought by Sophie Kinsella.

-Akeelah and the Bee: An underdog movie, according to the producer. I especially enjoy the ending, where there are two champions. Their struggles and subsequent victories are really heartwarming. A tale of friendship, family love, innocent romance and self-sacrifice.

Artistic appreciation isn't ruled by a closed mind

I've never failed to go for the concert held on an annual basis by Anglo-Chinese Junior College's choir, entitled: An Evening With Friends and performed at the Esplanade Concert Hall. It's not just because I know an alumni member but because I really like their singing. They excel at bringing out the spirituality and sentimentality of the music pieces. Their soft sounds are beautiful to hear and all the four sections are really good at projecting their parts. I've gone for their carolling sessions as well.

There are some people who don't appreciate them but I don't need to seek their approval in my patronization of school choirs, do I? Hence I don't even bother to tell people of my attendance of the choir's performances. I don't really care if I'm ostracized as a result, as had happened to someone else. Seriously, if these people allow their prejudices and loyalties to mar the true beauty of the choir's singing, then they're merely being shallow in their artistic and music appreciation. I'm exposing myself to different aspects of music and this is another way of doing so.

This attitude continues even in some members of the audience who attend the concerts. They go to support their friends who are in the choir but due to their lack of music appreciation, they insult the conductor when they laugh at certain times while the choir is singing. It had been just a simple musical scale of notes that had been sung during one of the pieces at the most recent concert, and that evoked such a rude outburst of laughter. It was as if they were mocking the conductor and composer of that piece.

Being at a young age doesn't mean that they should be understood for giving such a reaction. If that is so, then their educators are at fault for not imparting music appreciation and concert etiquette to them. Perhaps I may sound elitist here, since I do have musical exposure, but surely concert etiquette is for everyone?

Youtube has P & W videos!

I had always thought that Youtube has only homemade videos and some of them are at others' expense as well. My first exposure to it was when I saw some videos which were really senseless. One showed a girl pretending to be pregnant.

When I was introduced to hillsongs through charismatic sessions, I stumbled upon a Youtube video that had the song I wanted to look for: With All I Am. Then Mich told me of this other one: Passion 2007-How Can I Keep From Singing. With these two catalysts, I began to look for other Christian song videos. Now I find others that I already have heard from my CDs like Don Moen's My Creator King, God Will Make A Way, Hillsongs- Worthy Is The Lamb, and The Potter's Hand.

It's a different experience listening to the same songs on Youtube. The live worship concerts that have the songs just bring you close to tears. The energy and purity of freedom shown by the worshippers in their time with God touches you to the soul.

I think I'm going to be addicted to searching for these Christian song videos on this website. They're endless. :)

This is an update on my search progress for song videos. I've found more to pray with and revel in: Hillsong- Made Me Glad, Above All, I Worship You Almighty God, Hillsong- I Give You My Heart, Dwelling Places, You Are Holy, Breathe On Me, I Will Run To You, Lead Me Lord, We Are The Reason, I Will Be Here, Josh Groban's To Where You Are, You're Still You, You Raise Me Up and Jose Mari Chan's Please Be Careful With My Heart.

Hillsongs rock but it's really the heart of worship

I mentioned that I had bought 3 CDs of Hillsongs. They are: Shout to the Lord I and II, as well as Ultimate Worship. It's funny how I always thought that hillsongs comprised of only fast songs and were more for teenagers. Yes, there are fast songs and I'm still not too used to these songs which have a rock-like tempo but I'm enthusiastically flipping over the slower worship songs.

I'm really crazy over these CDs and have been listening to them very often. They just make me want to revel in the songs and not snap back into reality. One thing I must note though is that they are tools for me to encounter God but they're not the focal point of my Catholic faith. The focal point is the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament for us. Jesus in the Eucharist, help me remember this all the time.

Some of the songs from the various CDs are as follows:
(Shout to the Lord I) I Will Run To You, Jesus You Gave It All, I Give You My Heart, The Potter's Hand, Jesus Lover of My Soul, Dwelling Places, All Things Are Possible, Eagles Wings, Love You So Much, Holy Spirit Rain Down and So You Would Come. This last song is so very special and poignant to me.

Shout to the Lord II) Emmanuel, You Are Holy, Made Me Glad, Lord of All, Great In Power, It Is You, Magnificent, Worthy Is The Lamb, Breathe On Me and Jesus Lover of My Soul.

(Ultimate Worship) Made Me Glad, The Potter's Hand, I Give You My Heart, Still, All The Heavens and Worthy Is The Lamb.

The Shout To The Lord series of 2 volumes is worth buying because each volume contains 2 CDs. So you are really listening to 4 CDs.

Corrine May's music just rocks!

I fell in love with her music when I went for a friend's recital, where her song 'Safe in a Crazy World' was performed. The lyrics are very poignant and though they refer to God's salvation from this world, I see them in a personal light. The song stayed in my head and I decided to listen to it again by searching for its midi online.

I stumbled on her website and her 2 albums 'Safe in a Crazy World' and 'Fly Away' are featured, with their lyrics and track excerpts included. I've bookmarked her website www.corrinemay.com and listen to her songs very frequently.

The album 'Safe in a Crazy World' has a few tracks I enjoy. Obviously the song of the same title is one of them. 'Save Me' and 'Every Beat of my Heart' have meaningful lyrics too, evoking personal thoughts in me.

Her earlier album 'Fly Away' is more evocative though. The songs appeal to my love for the people in my life. The song of the same title makes me aware of family love and death as a reality. 'Same Side of the Moon', 'Stay on the Road', 'Mr Beasley', 'All that I Need', 'Journey' and 'Something About You' are tracks that brings out love for the people with "a special place in my heart". 'Journey' also speaks to me of faith in God, as shared by Corrine while 'If You Didn't Love Me' refers to the people in my life, causing me to be thankful for their unconditional love and second chances.

Her music, lyrics and most importantly, her open heart given through them, in trust to her listeners' hearts, is what makes her so special as a musician.

I finally bought her 2 cds and I don't regret the purchase. Practically every single track is worth listening to over and over again. Her music coupled with the original lyrics based on her life, bring you into an ideal world of poignant tenderness and real sentiments.

Personality tests galore

Another fancy that I indulge in on the Internet is to take personality tests. I get to know more about myself and about the closer people in my life. I can go on and on doing these tests and reading about the analyses based on the results.

There are even fashion tests, a deviation from the usual relationship and career tests. The types of outfits chosen for particular occasions will denote my character. Interesting!

Some of the websites are: gurl.com and tickle.com. There are so many tests to take that before you know it, you will have spent hours on the computer! Be warned though, some tests on tickle.com are really long! :S

Dress-up games

The Internet is full of wonderful worlds. With a search engine and a topic in mind, these worlds are accessible. I typed in "dolls' fashions", intending to gawk at the outfits made for Barbie dolls but was introduced to "dress-up games" as one of the results.

The games are addictive and enchanting. I have the chance not only to gawk at various beautiful outfits as well as accessories, but also to choose suitable looks for the characters. I even got to design my dream wedding gown and learn more about the dressing pertaining to historical eras. There are paperdolls, celebrity dolls and makeovers.

Here are some of my favourite websites: hollyhobbie.com, ellegirl.com, i-dressup.com and beinggirl.com. I hope all of you enjoy yourselves as much as I have. :) The fun is really in exploring the different websites that pop up.

Trendy = Immoral, courtesy of D & G brand

The fashion line D & G came up with a recent advertisement which had been published in Spanish magazines. It showed a woman in a rape-like position as men surrounded her. It is definitely derogatory, from a female's point of view. It actually implies that rape is 'cool' by using it as part of its advertising campaign.

What especially irks me is that the fashion brand felt that Spain was "backward" when it was asked to withdraw the advertisement. Spain is a predominantly Catholic country and that demand made on D & G was to aid its purpose of exposing its people, especially youths, to the PROPER media content. Obviously, D & G is merely interested in making profits and obtaining attention above molding character.

Incidentally, Italy is where the head of the Catholic church resides. I am glad this advertisement has been banned in its publications too.

Blessed Art Thou the painting

This painting depicts Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary. She is surrounded by two cherubims and carries a baby in her arms.

This is an utter blasphemy to the Catholic faith. Her dress is plungingly low-cut in front. Angelina may be a mother and adopt poor children but she is the third party that broke up Brad Pitt's marriage to Jennifer Aniston.

The Virgin Mary is chaste in her dressing and stayed faithful as well as virginal to her betrothed Joseph.

Recent movies

Happy Feet may be a song-and-dance musical comedy about penguins but there are really some essential values within it. Being different from others does not take away the fact that we are really the same underneath. The protaganist Mumble cannot sing like the others but instead tap-dances. He is ostracized as a result even though he is from the same clan of penguins as them. One feels for him as he learns to accept and love himself. He eventually does realise that non- conformity is not a hindrance to true love.

Night at the Museum is more for history lovers with famous figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, Christopher Columbus, Sacajawea and Ahkmenrah to whet their appetites. I was inspired to research more on them. History came alive for Larry's son and Rebecca, as well as for me. There were comic moments in the movie like when the dinosaur skeleton became a dog, but it was really the historical dominance that got to me.

The acclaimed Curse of the Golden Flower deserves the accolades of 'Most Indecent Costume Designs' and 'Most Extreme Negativities'. Even the palace maids' robes are plungingly low-cut, what more the Empress's, which just serves to degrade women by portraying them as sexual objects. There are only the themes of violence, ambition, lust, rebellion, adultery, incest, murder, sex, scandals and bloodshed in the movie. No plot is evident. No positive subject matter is dominant in it, except for the fillial piety between the Empress and the second son. The end seems to advocate the concept of evil's triumph with a tinge of pride. There is really zero morality in the movie, like much of popular media.

Stepford Wives

I managed to watch this movie on Cinemax channel and some poignant thoughts struck me in the midst of watching it.

Compromise is the key to maintaining a relationship. By putting yourself in the shoes of your partner, you will understand why he reacts in certain situations and by meeting his needs, peace is attained. This was the result of the big quarrel Joanna and Walter had late in the night.

As she sacrificed her intellect out of love for him at the Men's Association, she asked Mike if the wives could tell their husbands that they love them. He proudly said that they could say it in various languages. She then asked the ultimate question as to whether they could say it and mean it. That was a heartfelt scene played out beautifully by Nicole Kidman. When you relate to people you care about, you must be sincere in how you communicate with them.

Close to the end, all is revealed when Walter confessed that he couldn't bring himself to change Joanna. That proved he truly loved her and her love was reciprocated. He wasn't selfish like the other husbands. The tragedy is played out when Claire revealed her hidden secret of having been betrayed by her husband and then plotting that devious plan to have a town of robots. It is further intensified when she committed suicide by kissing Mike after he was destroyed by Joanna. This is also another form of true love.

The movie scared me because humans in a relationship want the perfect partner for themselves and will do anything to attain that. In this movie, the essentiality of human nature is sacrificed for artificial flawlessness. This want is deemed as the definition of domestic happiness. The basic conclusion is that the dominance of self leads to the loss of the true self within.

Amazing Race 10 and Asia 1

There are a few pairs of contestants that really repulse me or inspire me in the way they play this game.

Godwin and Edwin Cho actually lived by the alliance they formed with the Alabama team and the coal miner team, helping them and even waiting for them to leave together, even though they themselves had finished their tasks. Unfortunately, the Alabama team undermined this alliance by saying not so nice things about it behind the brothers' backs. They found it troublesome because they had to follow the brothers who were not sure about the directions to a place.

An alliance is somewhat like a friendship and when someone's flaws are made apparent, the person should still be accepted for who he is. Obviously, the Alabama team doesn't know what the true meaning of an alliance is. I'm not going to cheer for them to win the million dollars anymore. I was actually a little glad that the beauty queens yielded them in the chariot race. They are actually in the top three teams, according to the latest episode. I really don't want them to win the game. One of them still had the cheek to say that they are different from the other two teams because they have "heart". If they really do, they wouldn't have verbally broken the alliance with the Chos. Anyway, the models won eventually and the Alabama team came in last. Yes!

Sharon and Melody exhibited the qualities of perseverance, support and understanding in their friendship, especially when they had to search for a small surf souvenir in tonnes of sand. Sharon didn't think of giving up at all and Melody didn't question her decision. Of course, there were other teams which exhibited such qualities as well. These four teams chose to fight it out to the very end and the joy of finding the souvenir eventually was evident on their faces.

Audrey and Jacqueline used their looks and flirtatious ways to play the game. The fact that they defended their actions as "...to have fun...playing around because we were bored and tired...boys liked it..." makes them seem even more detestable. One can ask for directions without flirting in the process. This made it seem as if they didn't even use their own real efforts to play the game.

Powerful time-travel movies

The most famous one is Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox. However, I've watched a few more that have made a great impact on me.

Disney Channel's recently concluded Black Hole High showed the workings of time-travel using the law of physics. It was a fascinating series.

A classic movie is Somewhere in Time starring the late Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. I love the theme song. It brings out the poignancy of the sad ending.

Reeve's character willed himself to travel back to the 1920s in the same hotel where he was staying at. He closed his eyes as he lay on the bed and kept chanting "1920s".

He did and saw this beautiful actress played by Seymour. He fell in love with her and tried to get her attention. She saw him and almost got together with him, if not for her director who liked her too.

Reeve's character had a 1980s item with him unfortunately and he was inevitably brought back to his time. He tried to will himself back to the past a second time but failed. This scene saw him crying tremendously and his pain was conveyed to me so powerfully.

Another movie, this time a Chinese one, has Stephen Chow and Gong Li as the lead actor and actress. I believe it is called God of Gamblers 2.

Chow's character is a gambling prodigy and has special powers. When he fights with people of similar talents, they get transported from HK 1990s to Shanghai 1930s. There, he meets the gambling legends he read about in his own time and even works for one. He meets his grandparents as well.

He falls in love at first sight with Gong Li's character. She plays twin sisters, one of which is mentally retarded. He falls in love with this sister but mistakes the other for her. He almost snatches the other sister away from his boss who is engaged to her. The other sister is tragically killed while trying to warn her fiance against her father who is a traitor.

When he realises the truth of the sisters, he can't bring himself to love her. He does eventually, with encouragement from his grandfather. When he is about to go back to the 1990s, he tries to bring her along in order to cure her. She ages however, because she belongs to her own time. He has to push her away and the parting scene is poignant. He goes back to the 1990s alone.

Reality TV

Amazing Race has had a great impact on the relationships of some participants. Sarah and Peter from the current season have parted ways because she felt very put down and disregarded by him at certain points during their time together on the race. According to media reports, he did not apologise to her upon knowing of her unhappiness and even sought to defend his actions.

There were couples who had their love for each other reaffirmed as a result of the series. Tom and Terry realised each other's strengths during the race while Kendra wanted Frank to be the father of her future kids. This was poignant for me as it takes a lot for a woman to say that to a man.

I remember some other couples whose relationships had been tried during the series. Married couples start quarrelling with and blasting each other when things don't go their way. There was Lake and Michelle amongst others. When interviewed, they shrugged their fierce arguments off as part of their marriage life.

However, I realise that reality TV exaggerates what appears somewhat bad for the sake of viewers' entertainment. What is unreal appears authentic and the truth is compromised. Sometimes, certain angles of a situation are made to seem true or worse still, complete editing replaces the original happenings.

Perhaps Lake and Michelle's squabbling wasn't that serious but the way the producers portrayed it made it seem so. In The Apprentice, the latest candidate to be ousted from the competition was really fired because of his domineering and arrogant character, but viewers were made to think that it was because of his obesity.

Plastic surgery - does it really last?

Yang Min, a student in China, went through extensive plastic surgery on almost her entire body in order to look like Vicki Zhao. She is not at a more senior age, when such ladies use surgery to regain their youthful looks. She seems to be dissatisfied with her own looks. She doesn't look deformed, to be frank. There are people worse off than her. Well, I hope this surgery has helped her inferiority complex to dissipate.

Mediacorp showed a programme called Extreme Makeover. This programme gives selected people the chance to go through a free makeover comprising of plastic surgery, dental surgery, hair styling, makeup and a suitable outfit. The pain they endure while recovering from the operations seem to be worth it for them when their final look is revealed.

I've a couple of questions though. Will the look last for all time or is there a need to go for regular follow-ups to maintain it? Perhaps then, the expenses will be incurred by the people themselves? Also, doesn't this emphasis on external appearances undermine the real beauty hidden within every person?

There was a follow-up programme called the Swan, where all the participants took part in a beauty contest to determine which one had the "best" makeover. The dejected faces of those who were eliminated caused indignance within me. They were more beautiful after going through the makeover and a mere contest incorporating subjective judgements made them lose their innate confidence all over again. They were back to square one.

Was the beauty pageant even necessary in the first place?


There are two websites called myscene.com and barbie.com, where one can play games on fashion and beauty. I let myself loose when I visit them. I apply all sorts of colours on the models' faces. It's probably a way of expressing my yearning for using it in reality. Pretty ironic, eh? I'm quite afraid of using makeup on my face as well. I don't know if I'll look good.

I used to think that cool colours like blue make good eyeshadow colours but after visiting these websites, I've learnt that warm colours like pink also do. :)

Super Mission

It was a joyous Hari Raya for this Malay family who had found their long-lost friends via Stomp. Mediacorp used to have this Taiwanese variety show called Super Sunday on their list of TV programmes. There is a segment within it called Super Mission, where the hosts invite celebrities to request for a long-lost someone to be found. It can be a first love, a teacher or a classmate.

The times they spent together are reenacted by the organizers of the show and then the search is shown. The exciting part happens when the celebrity is asked to wait as the mystery guest comes in. When he or she is revealed, there is either happiness at the reunion or pain when death has occurred.

Now this show has been taken off the schedule. I wish it would be put back again.

Madonna's mock crucifixion show

There has been criticism over this performance of hers and her latest explanation as to its significance is not even logical, I feel. There is no connection between it and the visual image portrayed. It is a poor attempt indeed, for a Roman Catholic herself.

As a Roman Catholic, I am deeply turned off by this. She is evidently making fun of our Lord's love for us, even if it was unconsciously. I think even if she was an atheist, she should have been more sensitive to such a fundamental doctrine of Christianity.

"A plea for people to help one another" doesn't seem relevant to this and "taking up the cross" is inaccurately quoted, since it is not referring to solely a physical form of doing so. She brought up the problem of starvation in Africa for people out there to open their hearts to but this attempted sense of compassion and generosity she is trying to imbue doesn't link up to the true meaning of the crucifixion, which is God's selfless love for humanity. She has obviously misconstrued it and omitted the essential role of divinity in this.

Bishan Library

I went to Bishan Library to sneak a peek at what was so 'cool' about it, as reviewed in the newspapers. It definitely fits the description.

The brightly-coloured and "Ikea-like" armchairs in the adult sections are super-snug to be in as one reads for hours on end. I enjoyed walking to the shelves for books and then plopping down on these "paradisal worlds" to get into another world.

There are science games to rack your brains on in the form of video machines and even a separate section in the library to hold private functions in. Unfortunately, this is partioned by a glass panel, thus rendering the noise made rather audible.

I was enticed in revelry by the range of books in the library. The cookery section is worth raving about. Besides the usual recipe books, there are also those on the history of what royalty ate through the centuries. I was greatly attracted to those, since I don't see them in other libraries and they are fantastic to flip through. Learning about what royalty ate is a rewarding experience! :)

I read the past issues of Cleo and Her World at the library too. The range of magazines there is more varied. Pets, decor, fitness, technology and architecture are some of the types of magazines that are rather unusual.

I borrowed 3 cookery books for the pictures and I just went crazy at the children's section. I made use of my premium membership and borrowed 8 books at one go. I don't care what people may think of me and I'm not afraid to say that I borrowed 3 Hardy Boys books and 5 Nancy Drew books. I am a fan of these detectives. I
borrowed 2 magazines: Family Circle and Weight Watchers. I borrowed 6 books on relationships as well.

So, go there now! Stop reading my blog, Oscar-worthy though it is. Lol.

Magazines' chronology on women

I stumbled on an interesting website as I was perusing e-magazines. I love reading women's/ girls' magazines. There was a website from UK on the chronological presentation of women's magazines. Imagine that!

The early part of the 20th Century portrayed women as traditional, with their primary role as homemakers. The advertisements were on products like groceries. As the decades passed, the advertisements included beauty products as well, though the majority was still groceries.

The current magazines portray women as independent, sexy and seductive. From a religious viewpoint, these qualities are certainly contrary to what women were meant to be!

The Fairy's Kiss concert

I was privileged enough to attend this concert which showcased Min Lee, our very own musician, as one of the participants. There were also Albert Tiu as the pianist, Holly Carr as the artist as well as a Welsh story-teller and an American emcee.

The story-teller was absolutely enthralling in his narrations and he delighted even the children in the audience. He told the story of a Greek myth and this brought a big smile on my face. I love Greek mythology. He also told a narrative comprising of illogical juxtapositions, which brought out lots of laughter from the people. Even though my first encounter with a Welsh did hamper my understanding of his speech due to his accent, this story-teller was comprehensible in his speech.

I've a passion for music as well and Min Lee was the centre of my focus. Her music was evocative and deep, bringing out questions towards it in the recesses of my mind. She was playing based on the stories told during the hour-long concert. Some famous stories were Orpheus and Euricedes, as well as Faust. She also played to the title story of the concert - The Fairy's Kiss and Dance of the Goblins. She put in different perspectives towards their sterotypical associations.

I emailed her my questions and she is not only pretty and talented, but also contemplative and easy to talk to. I enjoyed our exchanges. I'm glad I went for this event. :) The price was definitely worth paying.

Unfortunately, my experience was marred by some irreverent and inconsiderate members of the audience who were really youths. Though they dressed more formally than their usual outfits, their behaviour was unbecoming and disrupting. They were told off gently twice by the ushers but it was only a mother's admonishment that quietened them down. Hooligans! The emcee actually asked them if they wanted to go on stage to sing due to their noise, and they have been to a concert before! They sat very near me unfortunately. I was rather annoyed by them.

Where are the books on old Singapore??

I've been searching in vain for books describing the life of Singapore in the old days. I've some in my personal collection but my thirst for such a genre is never-ending.

I've two publications written by Si Jing on her life in Chinatown during her younger days. I also have one written from a Peranakan perspective, incorporating her family biography in the process. Another is by Denyse Tessensohn entitled Elvis Lives in Katong, introducing the Eurasian culture to people of the other races. Yet another and also the last one I had obtained is written by a former newspaper writer on the olden days of Singapore.

Does anyone have any idea where I can obtain such books from?

Retail therapy in an unusual form

Most women turn to retail therapy to cheer themselves up when they are troubled or stressed. The most common form of it is clothes, bags or shoes, I reckon. I've never been much of a shopper for those items, except when I'm in need of new ones or for special occasions. I've always prided myself on being an exception in comparison to them, to sound a tad condescending here but with no malice intended.

Lately however, I've fallen prey to a different form of retail consumption - books and magazines. I do feel like a shopaholic, though in the literary form. Perhaps that explains why Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series is akin to me. Becky Bloomwood and I look to retail consumption as a form of emotional therapy but of course, we've different tastes and my finances are definitely not deviant towards debt. Yes, I do spend considerable amounts of money each time I embark on these shopping sprees but my finances are still pretty much in order.

Our nation's birthday!

I try to make it a point to watch our National Day Parade on television every year. It defies reason as to why I do this. The indescribable feelings evoked in me whilst watching it draws me back each time. However, one thing I can pinpoint that I look forward to in the parade is the national songs featured as part of the medley as well as the theme song for each year. Even the national anthem is more meaningful to me now after having sung it for the diplomatic dinner between Singapore and the Vatican state. It had been impressed upon us that we were singing it not just as a church choir member but also as a Singapore citizen.

Reviews had been given by our fellow citizens on the parade. The minority felt that it was "predictable" and just like always. The same items were displayed as before and there was no novelty about it. I was indignant after reading this letter but someone wrote in to counter this opinion, which eased my sense of injustice.

It takes concerted efforts behind the scenes of all major performances to create such celebrations for the occasion. By undermining the parade, aren't these efforts being disregarded?!

In this year's parade, what caused a lump in my throat were two things. PAP and WP members working for the state arrived together for the parade. I saw two WP members amongst the PAP members. It certainly proved that despite being in different political parties, their common identity as Singaporeans supercedes that fact. Also, the history of Singapore was flashed and it made me realise how we, as a nation, have come a long way. If we just stop to look out for such rainbows in the sky, we won't just see a plain blue sky, will we?

There are also a few national songs that strike a chord in my heart when they are sung. Home sung by Kit Chan, Reach for the Stars sung by Taufik and Rui-En, Where I Belong sung by Tanya Chua and this year's theme song My Island Home sung by Keira Gong are these songs. Even older songs like Stand Up for Singapore, We are Singapore and Count on Me Singapore never fail to make me feel nostalgic and poignant.

Yes, the fireworks definitely made the whole experience for me as a television viewer magical, so I am sure the spectators at the stadium would have felt the same way too. There were four rounds of fireworks at the parade and they weren't just lit in the air! There were ground fireworks too!

I must add however, that though the fireworks rendered me speechless, except for a silent and awed "Wow.", the significance of the parade really goes beyond such extravaganza for me. I do have a sense of national pride as I behold the spiritual victories we had over such tough times as the Japanese Occupation, the racial riots, the tedious days of post-independence, the economic depressions, the Hotel New World collapse and the SARS disaster. We went through these milestones as a nation united in co-operation and selflessness.

Power of individual languages

I did texts which were translated from their original languages to English, as an undergraduate, for easier accessibility to and universality in the world. There were Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things from India and Henrik Ibsen's plays from Norway among others.

The fear that the true meanings conveyed by the authors may be lost in the process of translation, is a very real one. Originality and authenticity are thus compromised.

This year's Commonwealth Essay Competition produced an essay by our very own Singaporean girl. She included this topic in it. She has Bengali roots and is fluent in English as well. She mentioned that when the Bengali songs she listens to are translated into English for wider audience appreciation, "the meanings of the lyrics can never penetrate and they lose their identity."

Modified syllabus for Lit confirmed

Local works are on the cards in the list of texts students are to do for the examinations. They are seen as "more familiar in terms of context (and) style (as well as) more accessible to students (so that they can) share their insights (on the) work(s)." Indeed, the use of local dialectical terms in these works allows the students to have easier comprehensibility of the content as opposed to foreign works which have their own brands of dialects, completely foreign(pun) to the students.

Daren Shiau's Heartland, a coming-of-age tale about a Singaporean male, Haresh Sharma's Off Centre, which looks at the plight of mental patients and MOE-commissioned Island Voices are the choices offered. This move makes local literature something we can be proud of. We see it in a different light and not inferior to literature from other countries.

"There is space for a range and spectrum of texts...that we want to expose our students to." It's about time we did. Local literature can be enriching, tasteful and appealing too. "If you want to develop critical, analytical skills, you can't be exposed to only Wordsworth and Shakespeare, (though valuable and appealing) canonical texts (in themselves)." Literature, like English, is vast in its horizons and to limit our tastes to a certain type of literature is not a wise literary decision.

Age-old GP question on television as good or bad

One of my favourite television programmes is the CSI series. The teams from Las Vegas, Miami and New York are equally good in my eyes. From this series, I get to learn more about forensic pathology and how an autopsy is done. Through DNA analysis and computer technology, I emerge triumphant with the teams when they manage to nail the culprits.

At the same time, programmes with fantastical plots can be the cause of children's accidental deaths. When actors and actresses do stunts, young viewers want to emulate them and end up flying to their deaths. Parents should then take up the responsibility of explaining to them the difference between fiction and reality.

Crimes have also stemmed from violent shows. Criminals have copied methods of killing from those shows. They have also learnt how to avoid being traced by the police from television programmes.

Television programmes may provide information and education but such benefits have obviously been abused. Knowledge is power but of what nature?

Ong Su Chin attributes her good English to television, besides books. In fact, she cites the reason for being exposed to incorrect English as school influences. This is discounting the fact that viewership discernment is practiced in the midst of watching television. We certainly don't want to "vegetate" in front of it, as Frances Ong puts it!

Some good educational programmes for children are Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, Clifford the Big Red Dog as well as PB and J Otters. They don't just teach the English language but also lessons on social interaction.

Dvds are also another alternative to instilling an English instinct in the children such that they "know when something sounds right or wrong."

She also advocates music as yet another feasible source of learning. This is very true because I find it easier to memorise lyrics to accompanying tunes. I take a faster time to memorise songs when I sing them rather than remember their lyrics before singing them.

The Imperfect Hero

This is a short film incorporating Christian values in the process. It is based on a man who had 80% burns on him at 22 months old. A truck crashed into his car at a toll booth. It exploded into flames and he was unable to escape. His parents could not find him amidst the chaos.

At the hospital, his parents prayed fervently for a miracle. They were undecided as to whether he should live in suffering or die to perfection. In the end, they left it to God. He survived.

He was practically disfigured despite the attempts to recreate his face. Cartilage had been taken from his hip to give him an arm but his fingers looked like stumps. He had to use a prosthetic leg. He retained only his other arm and leg. His eyes seemed to sink inward due to his face and he had only a little of one ear left while he was bald.

Through all this, he never gave in to despair. He learnt to run, jump, play and be a normal person like any other. He could even shoot a three-pointer in basketball. He knew that he represented all the hopes, efforts, love and miracles of those around him and didn't want to let them down. He knew that what God gave him within himself would not be disintegrated or be any different despite his outward lack of appearance.

His family loved him and the friends he had, though few, were true, as they looked beyond his outside. He even managed to marry and be a father. God allowed it as his diaper was wet on that fateful day. He had wondered how much his wife had to ovecome by being with him but God had told him to just receive it.

The trial for the truck driver began and the truth was poured out. He had wanted to kill his mistress beside him, who had threatened to tell his wife about their affair. So he crashed his truck into the family's car. He was full of remorse and kept his head down. When the man took the stand, he said he had forgiven the driver and prayed for him, that he would be open to God's grace to move on with life, in mercy and forgiveness.

I saw this film at my choir's prayer session and we had a sharing after that. It is indeed a rarity and a good exposure to our sheltered society here in Singapore. It puts us, especially the youths, into perspective. We learn to be contented with our deficiencies which are molehills compared to his. We learn to adopt his attitude of counting his blessings amidst his curses. We learn to forgive our enemies, which requires divine backing.

We vow never to be the cause of suffering to others. We learn to look beyond appearances and be indiscriminating. We learn to cherish the little we have and be thankful. We learn to be persevering in our endeavours and to believe in our God-given abilities, bringing out their potential for His glory.

Austen in her own right

I've never really been a fan of Austen because she can be rather long-winded in her descriptions. I actually felt I hated her works as an undergraduate. Perhaps it was because studying literature can inhibit the full enjoyment of it for its own sake.

Her love stories are typical romances in the modern sense though they are more civilized than modern ones which can be sexually explicit. A man and a woman meet and fall in love. They have to overcome various obstacles before coming together.

As Grace Chua in Sunday Life dated 16th July 2006 wrote, " Austen went one better by adding a... dose of satire...Her novels make fun of the society in which they are set..." This is another essential difference between her novels and modern novels of the same genre.

Sleep versus Death in the Bronte Project

I mentioned this book 'The Bronte Project' in an earlier entry. An excerpt from it aroused a sense of fear in me as I read it.

Two characters are talking about one of them having slept through a night in a haunted room. He described his sleep experience as such. "It wasn't a normal sleep though. It was more like a lack of consciousness. I simply ceased to be aware of being awake. It is, I imagine, how it must feel to be dead."

While my eyes moved from word to word, my mind accumulated indescribable terror. The last sentence struck cold chills into me. However, upon further reflection, I realised that he wasn't saying anything new.

A recent sermon I had heard in church spoke on sleep as "resting in the Lord". The fear I felt was because I was thinking from the worldly point of view. When you aren't consciously aware of your actions at all, and I mean physically unconscious, it can mean you've departed from life. Yes, this describes sleepwalking too, come to think of it. I guess the last sentence of the excerpt was the cause of my fear.

On the contrary, when you think of death from a religious point of view, there's only joy and anticipation, because when you die, you really live with the Lord. :) In that case, I wouldn't mind dying sooner!

What is your feather in the home? on Oprah Show

I was watching an episode on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Star World. It was on home decor that can heal painful memories in one's life. Her in-house designer Nate was the initiator of the projects.

He refurnished and redecorated a young widow's house which was filled with her late husband's things everywhere. She showed him a chest with those things inside. What he did was to put them in a more conspicuous place in her house. He put a feather which symbolised her late husband in a photo frame on the wall and even set up a corner where she could reminisce about the memories they had shared together. There was a table set up with photo albums and even the lamp on it had a glass base with their exchanged notes showcased within. She was stunned with happiness.

He also introduced his own house to the audience and it was filled with sentimental momentoes as well. He talked about a photograph that his photographer, who had died in the tsunami, had given to him. He said that was his "feather in the home", defined as something very special to us that we will take in a fire. He asked the audience and Oprah what their "feathers" are.

It set me thinking. I think I'll take photographs as well but then again, all that I cherish is locked within my heart. Even if the photographs cannot be saved, the memories won't die as long as I live on.

Falling in love with Shakespeare

Upon discovering this affair I've gotten involved in, I can't help but laugh to myself. I have never imagined myself actually falling for his charms, even since my undergraduate days as a literature major.

He is in the Canon list and is one of the greatest literary writers in the world for his universal and transcendent themes. I pay credence to this quality in his works, yes but I don't really see the beauty in his language.

His language is indeed poetic and full of literary devices but the interpretative aspect of it befuddles me, especially when I have to teach it to students. Sometimes I go through a hellish inertia while preparing my lessons. If not for the footnotes supplied by critics, I don't think I could have progressed steadily. Shakespeare lovers maintain the richness of his language and I acknowledge this. However, it can be a drawback. Each line is rich in meaning but this means dissecting his plays is done at a snail's pace.

As I try to simplify Macbeth in my analysis, I have discovered that I have unconsciously fallen in love with Shakespeare's language in the process, to the extent that I can come up with my own Shakespearean-like phrasings. *Takes a bow*

So here's my own little version of Shakespearean language and unknowing tribute to Shakespeare. It is on the concept of sleep, which is mentioned in Macbeth.

'To sleep is to forestall feeling, to procure healing from woe
To rest is to lie in balmy waters, to drink from refreshing seas
Emotional stability thou art give, with thy physical suspension'

Please give me your interpretations of this little verse in my chat box as you read my blog entries. It would be interesting to peruse them. *Smile*

Disney's original movie - High School Musical

This movie is about an audition for a school musical and two siblings who find themselves having to rival another two students for the lead roles. The siblings have always been the unanimous choices each year but this time round, their rivals, who are the school basketball team captain and a science brainiac, are given a second round of auditions. They try to get their rivals out of the race, even to the extent of tricking their drama teacher into changing the audition time so as to put the audition at the same time as the basketball championship and the science scholarship quiz.

Their rivals however, have an angel in the composer of the musical, whose music is snubbed by the two siblings. They hold rehearsals together whenever possible and as time passes, they do want to be part of the musical and fall for each other too.

Though the captain and the brainiac are really unwittingly dragged into the auditions, when the drama teacher hears them singing with the composer just for fun, their friends try to prevent them from participating in the musical. The captain's teammates want him to concentrate fully on his basketball tournament, coupled with his coach-cum-father's pressure to be a proper captain. The brainiac's friends too, tell her to go all out for the scholarship quiz, as that is her real forte. This places them in a dilemma as to choosing between their own dreams or the expectations on them by society.

They give in to the pressure on them initially and decide to give up their musical dreams. In fact, it is the captain who falls first. However, he unconsciously denies the feelings he shares with the brainiac in the midst of it. She is obviously upset and follows suit. Their friends slowly note the melancholic change in them and decide to confess their part in quelling the couple's passion. Even the captain's father finally decides that his son's happiness is more important than his expectations on his son.

The movie ends happily with all of them working together to create glitches in the two events so that the couple can go for the audition. Eventually, the two siblings learn to accept that their rivals are indeed worthy to be given the lead roles in the musical and the two parties of friends are amazed at the talent shown forth by the couple in their singing. This is undoubtedly a feel-good show.

Since it is a musical, this movie is liberally peppered with songs throughout its plot development. The lyrics cut close to reality with their focus on love, friendship, the pursuit of dreams and integrity. The emotions showcased by the characters as they sing those songs bring out the saccharine-sweet plot even more. At the same time, the melodies of the songs are pleasing on the ear and most importantly, the cast can actually sing! *big smile*

Animated movie reviews

Over the Hedge is really funny and shows how initial utilitarian purposes can turn into true friendships and family love.

A raccoon steals food from a massive bear and has to replenish all of it. He attempts to trick a group of forest animals into helping him steal food from a human suburban estate. They fall prey to his sugar-laced lies and the tempting goodies laid before them, to the extent that they disregard the words of their former leader who sees through the raccoon's persona. They treat him with reverence and shower upon him gifts befitting those for a leader. Eventually they realise their former leader is correct in his judgement of the raccoon when the raccoon blurts out the truth while they are busy stealing food. He however, wins back their trust when he decides to risk the bear's wrath by destroying the food and save them from capture. Together, the animals gain victory over their human enemies.

The songs in between strike a chord in one's heart as they speak about themes close to every human. The betrayal felt by the former leader from his fellow animals, the newfound love felt by the raccoon from his new family members and the start of new friendships formed between the raccoon and the animals can be felt when one fully thrusts his empathy and emotions into the movie as it progresses.

Another movie still being shown in theatres is Cars. I was initially sceptical of this show as I thought that it was more for male moviegoers, since it is about a passion that pertains more to them. I was so wrong in this rash assessment.

The cars and vehicles come alive as personifications of real human archetypes. Their interaction and relationships formed among one another present invaluable lessons for life for the audience. Once again, the songs that accompany the movie are heart-stirring and evoke dycotonomies of choices to be made, not just by the characters themselves but also by viewers, should they be in the same situations.

A rookie car is initially arrogant and thinks he can make it in the limelight all on his own after being placed on par with the champion cars in a national race. He despises the sponsors who have supported him through his climb because they consist of old and rusty vehicles. As he journeys to LA for a second race to determine the real champion car among the three top placed cars, it is a journey that he will never forget.

He falls in love, finds true friendship in a jeep that he would have once looked down upon and makes a smashing discovery of a long-lost champion car in a long-forgotten town during the journey, all of which are sparked off by a crime he had committed against the town's laws. He learns what truth and the good life really mean as well, in the process of learning to give to others and putting hope back into their lives.

When he does compete in the second race, he learns the ultimate lesson of all: what a true champion really means and he does reap the rewards for it. He makes the right choices too, choosing love and friendship above glamour and fame. He learns to truly appreciate his sponsors as well.

A more accessible portrayal of Literature

There is this genre of fiction on the bookshelves and it seems to emit more mass appeal, I feel.

Some classical women writers are being applied to our post-modern age, based on the common theme of love. I've come across 2 books on this very 'cross-era-istic' manner of approaching the classics. Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte are the 2 "privileged" choices, depending on which way you look at it. Some critics may think this new genre does absolute dishonour to their original presentation of the pre-modernist eras. I would like to think that this makes them more universal and transcendent in their appeal to readers.

Austen's works and Bronte's life are used to help post-modern readers like yours truly grapple with the dominant forces of life being thrown into our faces, especially that of relationships. All of Austen's novels are applied to the lessons we can learn while experiencing different types of love and Bronte's own personal letters are applied in the same way. So who can say they are stale and staid??

The two books are entitled Jane Austen's Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson and The Bronte Project by Jennifer Vandever. They are categorized under the genre of chic-lit.

It would earn more plus points from me if more classical female writers were applied in the same fashion.

Brand new children's read

I've discovered yet another series written for girls below 13 years of age. It is about 6 princesses who aim to join the Tiara Club. They enrol in a course that teaches them the know-hows of being perfect princesses and thus enables them to join the privileged club, if they gain 500 points at the end of it.

Their adventures and misadventures are chronicled in the series, narrated by each of the princesses. They are named Emily, Daisy, Charlotte, Katie, Alice and Sophia. They learn more about true friendships and true character values in the process. Of course, they get to join the club eventually, all 6 of them.

There is a second series based on the continuation of their journeys as princesses in the Silver Tower. This is after they have become club members.
This is the sequel series to Tiara Club series. It continues on the adventures of these six princesses who are also best friends, as they attempt to gain points in order to graduate.

Each princess has a little adventure of her own and through her adventure, she is rallied by the support of her best friends.

The stories bring the reader into a dream world of perfection, idealism and princess life.

There are also subsequent series like Ruby Mansion where
the princesses' adventures are really enjoyable to share with and one rejoices at their triumphs over the evil princesses'' plots to topple them. There are also Pearl Palace and Emerald Castle as well.

There are even individual books like Christmas Wonderland, Butterfly Ball, Princess Parade and Emerald Ball.
Each one features a different set of princesses. The same values and adventures are chronicled in each series, with a pair of villain princesses to thwart their plans.

I bought the Princess Fashion Dress-up Book where paper dolls of the princesses and their outfits can be taken out from the book and played with. I've always been enthralled by their outfits, whether in the illustrations or in the descriptions of them. Now I finally get a chance to dress the princesses up! Page One at Vivocity has this book. Be A Perfect Princess Guide is my next target. :D

Children's reads

Mr Midnight books are written in the horror genre and this never fails to entice readers. Though they are meant for children, they can be pretty scary in their plots, if timid adults read them. They are good recommendations for folks who enjoy horror reads but find adult novels of the same genre, either too thick or too complicated. There is no one particular book that is outstanding in this series. It really depends on your specific interests.

Enid Blyton has also written various detective-cum-mystery series like Five Find-outers, Famous Five and Secret Seven. They instill logical thinking and deductive reasoning in readers who are inspired to solve the mysteries together with the children, much like Sherlock Holmes's method of cracking cases. Even supposedly supernatural and inexplicable occurrences are later revealed to be part of the crooks' plans, in the process of achieving their ultimate goals. The children are elevated as characters when they manage to solve mysteries which have dumbfounded the police.

She has also come up with the Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree series. Both these series emphasise fantasy in their content, with a whole host of lovable characters from Fairyland. I think these two series are collectibles in their own right. Readers are captivated as they journey with the characters to different lands up the tree and on the chair.

Carolyn Keene, the author of the Nancy Drew series, writes similarly to Blyton in her mystery series. Nancy Drew, an amateur but excellent detective, together with her friends, solves different cases each time. She encounters dangerous criminals, bungling thieves and professional spies, sometimes placing her own life at risk in the process of solving the cases.

There is a similar series meant for younger readers too. It is called Nancy Drew Notebooks. Nancy is much younger in this series and the mysteries she solves are simpler and less jeopardizing for her. For boys, there is the Hardy Boys series. Two brothers are also placed in situations similar to the older Nancy and sometimes the four of them actually work together in the same cases.

The Rainbow Magic series focuses on different groups of fairies in Fairyland and how two girls, Rachel and Kristy, help them against the goblins of their enemy, Jack Frost. There are the Weather Fairies, Party Fairies and Rainbow Fairies as collections in this series. Magic thus revolves abundantly around the girls' adventures A book costs $10.90.

Disney Princess magazines are also another of the recommended reads. There are stories revolving around the princessses Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Snow White, Belle, Mulan and Pocahontas. However besides that, there are colouring pages, puzzles, personality tests, contests and reviews included as well. Each monthly issue costs $3.90 or one can sign up for the subscription plans on hand.

Free will vs inevitable consequence in Macbeth

I'm going through Macbeth for my lessons and a dycotomy I posed was that Macbeth could have chosen to let nature take its course like Banquo did, or play God by intervening in the natural progression of events, which he did, like Oedipus Rex.

This provoked some thoughts in my mind. The reactions we have towards our encounters in life can be due to our own choices or due to the "inevitable consequences" of those encounters. For example, when our love or friendship is not reciprocated, we can choose either to hang on stubbornly to those feelings or to let them go and move on. Another example can be the converse situation. If we're hurt, let down or betrayed, we can either forgive or bear a grudge.

Getting back to Macbeth, he chose to murder Duncan so that he could make the prediction happen faster. He let desire and greed for the throne rule his act. It was not the prediction that caused him to contemplate the decision. In the first place, the prediction didn't state how long it would take for it to be fulfilled. It's like saying that instead of letting the prediction take its 10 years to be fulfilled, Macbeth wanted it to be fulfilled in 1 year and so committed treason. The stipulated time duration is of course from a hypothetical point of view. Macbeth was thus impatient.

So, in reality, is our unwillingness to forgive and to let go our own choice or an "inevitable consequence"? If the latter is our answer, is that more of an excuse?

Don't get me wrong. I'm aware of the difficulty of doing this. I'm just making a point and stimulating some thinking here.

Disney channel!

This was given as part of the package for kids and as a cartoon fan, I subscribed to the package. It has a mixture of cartoons, movies, animated series and sitcoms on hand.

Australian-produced Bananas in Pyjamas has beloved characters like B1 and B2, Morgan, Amy, Lulu and Rat to reach out to the young ones while P, B and J Otter teaches values through the siblings made up of Peanut, Baby Butter and Jelly as well as their parents and neighbours. Clifford the Big Red Dog is a really adorable, gigantic and floppy-looking dog who also imparts values with his owner and best friend Emily Elizabeth. He is assisted by his dog friends Cleo, Max and T.Bone.

Sabrina the witch, which is based on the same character in the Archie comic series, also teaches lessons on life through its plots. Art Attack helps kids to learn about Art in a fun and innovative way and Hidden Mickey inculcates a sense of alertness in kids by presenting them with opportunities to spot the hidden Mickey icon in scenes from various shows.

The animated series like The Untalkative Bunny and Mr Bean the Animated Series provide entertainment, juxtaposed with the cartoons like Totally Spies and Chip and Dale, which serve the same purpose.

Movies like The Piglet Movie and Mulan 2 present well-loved Disney characters in various adventures, just as sitcoms like That's So Raven, Phil of the Future, Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody provide some relaxation after a hard day's work.

Change in local Lit syllabus

The syllabus for students doing Literature for major exams will have changes made to it. There is an idea to include more local Singaporean writers' works, according to the mass media.

There has always been this unspoken perception that our local literature is not worth reading for reasons other than leisure. Perhaps that's because the interesting ones are the ones not worth studying and the ones worth studying are the boring ones. I mean, would you rather read Russell Lee's True Singapore Ghost Stories or Catherine Lim's Unhurried Thoughts At A Funeral? Oh, the latter is truly one of Singapore's best literary artists but how many people can really appreciate her works? I feel that readers' tastes in literature have become decadent with time.

One thing's for sure, Shakespeare has to be included in the syllabus because he's in the Canon list, like it or not. I don't exactly scream in delight when I have to study his works but I'm resigned to having to do his texts in Literature. He's recognized as a great (in the true sense of the word) writer in the literary world.

There are good writers, other than Catherine Lim, in our local arena but students need to have an open mind to be exposed to literature outside their limited scope of knowledge, even if they don't exactly enjoy all the texts, this coming from a B.A(Hons) English (Literature) graduate.

So many outstanding writers await our "Enter!" to their knocks into our minds. I particularly enjoy the works of Sheridan, Wordsworth, Keats, Wilde, Miller and Strindberg among other authors in the literary world.

Travel and Living channel

Included in the Educational Package I subscribed to on SCV is Travel and Living channel. It shows travelogues, cooking shows and lifestyle programmes. This was the reason why I subscribed to this package. The rest of the channels are really just given free, according to SCV.

Just like the programme Japan Hour, it binds the ties between my parents and I. We watch travelogues together, which allows us the chance to reminisce about our travels, since we have practically travelled the whole world.

We watched one which showcased different types of cruises. Disney Cruise is the best family cruise with entertainment for people of all ages. Oh, it is definitely expensive but its accolade will demand a high price to be paid in return.

As we were watching this, we talked about a cruise we took from Sweden to Finland. Though it was a one-night affair, it was still memorable. The huge spread at the buffet dinner, with lots of salmon, it being a Norweigian speciality, and the great shopping made it worthwhile. :) The cabin however, was small and tight.

Passport to Europe is also another travelogue that evokes memories in us. We have travelled to Europe 4 times already and when we see those places on the programme, it brings back fond remembrances of our trips. Samantha Brown, the host, manages to be so natural and familiar in front of the camera that I actually feel as if I'm enjoying the places with her!

In Destination Week, different countries are showcased and a recent episode I saw was on China. When Megan McCormick travelled to Shanghai, I was reminded of my own trip there. The Oriental Pearl Tower and Nanjing Road were familiar sights to me. Then she travelled by rail through Chongqing to Xi'an where the terrracotta warriors are.

I look forward to Fridays because that is when Jamie Oliver makes cooking seem really effortless. He cooks for his friends and family in Oliver's Twist and The Naked Chef. It gives me an epiphanical revelation of the reason why the most famous chefs in the world are mainly men.

There's also Kylie Kwong who cooks fusion dishes with her Heart and Soul as well as Nigella Lawson, the food gourmet goddess whose recommended recipes are extravagantly rich but ultra-delicious. Keith Floyd's culinary ventures in India and Africa seem like different foods thrown together in a wok filled with oil, just as easy as Jamie's whipped up dishes.

Bob Blum, the Surreal Gourmet, comes up with fanciful dishes which may require inaccessible ingredients but which look so enticing. He made hamburgers which had beef and foie gras making up the patties as well as forest mushrooms as the topping, before selling them for US$50 each on the streets in New York, in the most recent episode. People who bought them actually said that the burger was worth paying such a high price for!

The Christmas season was celebrated in a flamboyant way on this channel. There were programmes on the foods and special activities associated with the occasion. From them, I learnt that life-sized gingerbread houses are popular in American hotels and classes are even held for children to decorate those provided, in more practical sizes of course. Some Americans also choose to celebrate a sunny Christmas by escaping to Florida where they indulge in the water theme parks scattered across the state.

Disney World and Epcot Centre in Florida were the spotlight of one of the programmes. Samantha Brown made things seem so fabulous and fantastic with her natural charisma and childlike awe exhibited at each encounter she met with. The Christmas Parade shown on the channel brought me back in time to the one I saw last year. Sheer bliss!

Japan Hour the documentary

Japan Hour on Channel News Asia is an awesome programme. It has evolved from game quizzes concerning the food to travelogues on the different parts of the country, including their delicacies of course. My mouth waters when the hosts exclaim,"O-i-shi!" Though I wonder if they really mean it, just the sight of the food already whets my appetite. I'm a visual person when it comes to food!

There were dishes like conger eel with rice, which's absolutely soft, chicken sashimi which's supposed to be odour-free and clam in fritters in the recent episodes. The sashimi doesn't appeal to me because the only raw food I consume is yu sheng! When I went to Japan, I actually cooked the raw food in the nabe! The clam however, made me hungry and still do, as I write this entry! I've a weakness for fried food!

I was so inspired to eat Japanese food for dinner after watching the episode! It's my favourite food but unfortunately, the restaurant nearby was too crowded. Sigh. Oh, it did inspire me to go to Japan as a result! It's also a show that binds the ties between my mum and I, since we look forward to watching it and talk about the food introduced. :) It is shown on Saturday nights at 7.30pm and on Sundays at 8am and 1pm.

Aeon Flux the movie and I Have A Date With A Vampire drama series.

This is a movie that induces pondering. Certain dycotomies are inserted into the plot.

The government that oversees the ruling of the land and its people eradicate opposition to its workings. It believes strongly in conformity, unquestioning submission and rationality for the "greater good" of its ultimate goal. Murder is then one of its methods in obtaining the achievement of these beliefs.

When Aeon, an assassin is hired to kill the leader, things change because it turns out that they were married in their previous life. The feelings they shared are still present and he betrays the group. He gives in to his feelings and emotions. So does Aeon. She abandons her mission.

Another assassin is called to finish the job. She is Aeon's friend and has been similarly programmed to do so. However, at the last minute, when she is asked to kill Aeon for disloyalty, she helps Aeon instead. She remembers the friendship they share. Just like the leader, she lets her heart rule. Thus, the dycotomy of rationality vs emotion, head vs heart.

The government confines the people within a certain boundary, labelling "the outside" as detrimental to survival. That may be a guise for maintaining control over them. Once the people step out, it loses them. Eventually, Aeon and the leader lead the people outside. Here's another dycotomy of control vs freedom, self vs others.

The Vampire series ended last night. The love relationship between Ma Xiaoling and Kuang Tian you spans death and time. The intimacy they share is spell-binding because it is so intense. It is not shown through physical intimacy though but through the looks they cast each other. No wonder the eyes are the window to one's soul. They just hold hands and put their arms around each other at the very most.

Also, the words they say to express their true feelings are not verbose but few and yet strong. It's more of the vibes and feelings they show towards each other as well. There's telepathy and emotional intimacy between them.

This is so unlike frivolous relationships where sex indicates love. More like lust, I reckon. Love's just an excuse. It's not making love but making lust!

Another portrayal of love is when Mr X willingly gives up love as long as Wu Lei can resurrect from the dead. Contradictory in itself, since his decision is made out of love but he's willing to forgo a relationship with her in the Eternal World for her salvation, which's selfless.

Tianya tells her dad to save the future at the expense of herself. Once he does that, she vanishes, as she's from a different future. Another selfless act. The memories of her disappear as a result but the love and kinship they share still remain. It transcends time and space.

Sky likes Tianya and though she doesn't have much time left, she still agrees to start a relationship with him. Love is not measured by time but by the feeling in itself. They don't have much time together but at least they start on one. Even just one minute is enough.

Kary likes Sky too. She gets jealous of Tianya initially but in the end, she doesn't get so possessive. She also sacrifices herself, together with Big R, to stop Mother Yao Chi.

There's the usual type of love where Yao Chi turns mad out of being spurned by Fuxi for Chang E. They wage a battle which spans the different cycles of life and which almost brings the world to a catastrophic end. Yao Chi separates Chang E from Fuxi and kills Linlin, another lover of his in the process. Her feelings for him escalate to a dramatic form of release.

Though this love is part of the gods' plan to manipulate and capture Fate, they fail to anticipate the power of love. The feelings shared between Yao Chi, Fuxi and Chang E become real.

I may sound like a sentimental person but the love between Xiaoling and Tianyou is the ideal expression of it. Kudos to the two actors who play them. They've made their characters so real that their life together occupies my mind.