Tuesday, December 15, 2009

World's Strictest Parents Show

A Singaporean family took up the challenge of housing two wayward Australian teenagers for a week, and to attempt to change the teenagers. The teenagers stayed with the family and participated in the family's activities. They had to adhere to the rules followed by the children and go to school with the children too.

The reality programme shown on Australian TV chronicles the struggles faced by the teenagers and the family. The teenagers found it very difficult to follow the rules while the family had to rein them in when they showed disobedience.

The irony is that after the project was over, it was the boy who made a change for the better. The girl became worse. People make the stereotypical assumption that the girl would respond positively instead, and it is such a pitiful disgrace to note the contrary result. It is heartening to note that the boy has expressed his filial love for his mother and has changed his bad habit of waking up late. Also, respectfulness was ingrained in both of them during the show. :)

A debate has ensued over this show as to the level of strictness parents should employ. I am glad that some youths actually agree that parents should be strict with their children so as to make them morally upright individuals. Indeed, children in the West are brought up too liberally and thus some become delinquents. I do acknowledge that some of the rules enforced in the programme are a little uncalled for, such as the banning of sleepovers. If they merely consist of girls, as initiated by the daughter for her friends to participate in, then such sleepovers are not wrong. Rules specifically for the sleepovers can still be imposed, such as no alcohol intake.

The rule about computers being installed in the living room for the parents to monitor their children's internet activities, is not unreasonable. If the children are allowed to have computers in their own bedrooms, then the parents will not be aware should they unintentionally visit adult-only websites, and the parents will not have the opportunity to explain the unhealthy nature of such websites to their children.

At the same time, R is not wrong in his opinion of the unnecessarily high level of strictness which may cause rebellion from children towards their parents in the later years. Sometimes, parents need to let their children fall down, learn what causes that fall and then climb back up with the knowledge that they should avoid that catalyst that had caused them to fall. In other words, they learn life's lessons in the hard way. It is heartbreaking for parents but the children learn the lessons better in this way.

I am also glad to note that some youths understand the difficulty of being parents, as they are unable to discern when to be strict or otherwise. They are human too and sometimes tough love can instill the fear of losing their children's love, in them as a result. All I can say is that they yearn to keep us safe in what they do, even if it borders on protectiveness.

Mr Daniel Koh puts it best when he expresses the fact that some parents are strict only towards their children's studies but not towards their moral upbringing, which is really far more important in helping them lead good lives. He cited physical punishment as a taboo however. This is something I beg to differ.Without such methods my parents used on me as a child, I would not have turned out to be who I am.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pop singers' appalling performance "stunts"

The most shocking one was Adam Lambert pushing his male dancer's face at his crotch area. That may have been due to the rush of adrenalin as he was performing and it may have been done for entertainment's sake, but it was a badly chosen act of showmanship.

He was also infamous for initiating a French kiss on his band member who is married. His claims that he just wanted to have a good time onstage, that it was time to take more risks and how it is too bad that people were too scared, are presumptuous, I feel. He may be on the road to fame but the failure to spare a thought for the feelings of others is inexcusable.

He is not the only one who has ruffled my feathers though. Carrie Underwood, who has always been known as a saccharine-sweet; goody-two-shoes country singer, wore a pants-less outfit for her performance. I feel that she was trying to fit into the trend of being raunchy as a singer in the pop music industry. I am rather dismayed by her choice of outfit in line with this intention. To give in to such peer pressure is a foolish decision, I feel. Her usually decent performances make her stand out from the usual cohort.

Rihanna made eyes pop when she wore a bandage-style catsuit. It was really daring and seriously, it would not have made much of a difference if she had not worn anything at all. The bandages were tightly wound around her body and made her breasts flat as a result. They just covered the nipples. I mention these two facts because the breasts could be seen! Her private area below the breasts was merely covered by a strip of bandage.

Two inferences strike me as I look at it. She was definitely not going through her menstruation and she was trying to gain attention in a different way from the attention which was a result of the problems she had with Chris Brown. Well, she did gain lots of attention from this outfit,and whether it is positive or negative, it will depend on the perspective each one has.

Lady Gaga's "stunt" with the piano baffles me. I do not see any logic behind it. It is really a senseless antic.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Celebrities prejudiced against

Belinda Lee recounted how she was insulted by an expatriate family while filming. Granted, they felt that the television cast and crew was disrupting their peace, but that does not entitle them to the act of insulting the crew, what more a celebrity. Belinda is good in her spoken English and they were probably too shallow in assuming that the uncouth/unrefined character she may have been playing was her real self. They could have politely asked the group to be less noisy, or something to that effect. Perhaps they had lost their tongue and could not phrase a simple request in their native language.

Threatening to call the police even after seeing that it was a filming event, with all the television cameras in the background, makes them uncouth, uncultured, uncivilized, unrefined and callous in my eyes. I am glad they eventually gave way and let the filming continue. I am even happier upon reading that they moved out too. After all, Mediacorp legitimately rented the houses for its drama series and was not committing any illegal activity in them. It goes to show that the family was like a frog in a wall, ignorant of the existence of Mediacorp and its outdoor shooting activities. No, I am not xenophobic.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Body Worlds exhibition

Corpses are stripped of their skin for this exhibition. It may be for an artistic purpose but I wouldn't let my mum's body be mutilated in this way. I feel it is a form of disrespect to the dead. Even though her body is a shell for her soul and it is cremated after death, cremation is a natural method of the death process. The body was the physical form of the person I love. This form of art degrades the journey of life and death, I feel.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Amazing Race S15

The recent episode which showed Mika unable to overcome her extreme fear of water was strikingly memorable. One half of the Globetrotters team was psychologically manipulating her emotions to give in to her fear so that the time would run out and his team could go first, thus avoiding elimination. That was unexpected not just for Canaan but for me too. I never thought he would be that despicable. Most teams do everything to win the race but what he did is too much, I feel.

The surprising and noble thing is that Canaan forgave Mika for getting them eliminated from the race and not being able to overcome her fear. She deserved to feel guilty for letting him down but he said that no one is perfect and to forgive is to be free. She should feel even worse after that and treasure him even more. What a guy! Such a role model for Christian guys in a relationship, assuming he is Christian!

Maria and Tiffany decided to hold their heads high and quit the race rather than hear the news of their elimination. They could not complete both detours before reaching the pit stop. I felt bad for them even though I frowned upon the fact that they did less work at the bell tower as compared to the other teams. They knew their limitations and humbly accepted that knowledge. Through the leagues of the race, they were firm in their teamwork and friendship. They are more honest and true to themselves than the Globetrotters, whose deed I mentioned above. I must confess that I initially thought of them as bimbos but I am now humbled by their dignified behaviour.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Illogical and scandalous promotion method for website

A website that sells cars is trying to lure more customers by enticing them with an event where topless girls wash cars. The catch is that the customers must introduce 5 more friends so that they are eligible for a lucky draw, with this event as the prize.

The founder defends his idea by saying that girls are always associated with cars. I don't dispute that though I really can't fathom the origin or logic behind it. He goes on to say something provocative towards my sensibilities, that sex sells and advertising methods are meant to attract attention.

If something is insensible for people's minds and value systems, but is still popular with them, then it has to be advocated, or so he seems to imply by this. The girls may be gaining attention but it is based on their chest areas. That is attention which wouldn't be missed, should it not be gained. Moreover, the attention would be on the girls and not on the cars. Would the latter still be sold without the girls, or do the customers think that both will be sold to them? Haha.

The uploaded pictures of the event on the website will be censored so as not to offend sensibilities, but aren't the organizing and the holding of the event already offensive? To think that his wife supports his idea and says that it is something she will enjoy as well. It seems that her values are as warped as her husband's.

Monday, September 14, 2009


This IS a Christian website despite the persistent denials, for the following reasons:

1. It was introduced during a Christian event held in a church.

2. Mr Yap, the managing director and editor-in-chief, first introduced himself as a church elder before listing his occupation.

3. The organiser of the event has an objective of promoting Christian ministry and enterprise, and the website is based on procreation between man and woman, which is advocated by Christians.

Therefore, I do not see why Mr Yap has to continuously emphasise the lack of any Christian agenda by his website. Is he afraid that it will be linked to the AWARE saga or to Professor Thio's stand on homosexuality? By doing this, he is really causing more room for suspicion. The more he does this, the more people will suspect that he is trying to conceal the fact that it may really be a Christian website. Frankly, it is one. It is the truth so why should he bother lying about that? Should he not be proud of that since he is a church elder?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

German advertisement on Aids

In order to show how venomous Aids can be, this advertisement personifies it in the form of evil dictators' faces like Adolf Hitler, Josaph Stalin and Saddam Hussein.

Opinions on it abound. Some claim this actually makes Aids sufferers feel worse about themselves. Actually, the message is really to prevent more Aids sufferers and not to advocate this claim. It was really not the intention of the advertisement to have caused them to feel that way.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

FB from Mars's and Venus's points of views

Nicholas Fang has a friend who sees FB as a tool to allow him to look for friends he has met and want to maintain contact with too, but in this is really an invasion of personal space. What if they don't want to maintain contact? This very flaw has put some of my friends off FB.

The writer goes on to mention that the photo albums of our friends allow us an insight into their characters. Indeed, this is the most vital part of a person's FB profile for me. I immediately go to the photo albums of a new friend I've added, to ensure I've not added someone whose values clash with mine. At the same time, I will not dispute that the photos added on FB may be a tool of manipulation to make others think the best of the owner, where the true character of the owner is concealed under these seemingly harmless photos.

He ends off with the opinion that live social interaction and contact surpass information on FB, where getting to know someone is concerned. I agree with that, as body language and facial expressions shown when physically being with a person, cannot be gained access to via FB. Such unconscious revelations will determine the true feelings of a person towards another, as they cannot lie.

Otelli Edwards comments on how some of the status updates she is privy to, are too personal and reveal intimately private details of people's lives. These people are really just trying to gain attention but ironically, it turns me off.

She mentions how the travel photos of some people are put on their profiles for all to see. I do that too but it is not as a form of boasting, as she seems to be implying. I merely want to share my wonderful experiences with my friends.

She reveals that she has 320 friends, which is a conservative statistic, but guess what? I have only 148 friends. Does that make me close to a hermit in comparison? Definitely not. I know each and every one of them, and reject those I don't personally know, unless they verify their identities. I would rather have few but real friends, rather than many friends I barely know.

She goes on to remark on some applications on FB like pokes, gifts and quizzes. I do not really like to receive pokes, as I find them meaningless too. They are exactly like the nudges on MSN. I send such gifts as a form of cheering my friends up and take interesting quizzes for the fun and curiosity of it. I do not see how these are meaningless though. Of course, the quizzes I am referring to are historical- or media-based, rather than absolutely ludicrous or incomprehensible ones. Oh yes, I don't understand the rationale behind hate pages too. I didn't even know there was such a thing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Local reading habits

A survey conducted revealed that Singaporeans read magazines and newspapers, rather than fiction. This is very true because whenever I step into a bookshop, the magazine section is always crowded and the fiction section is just visited by a few customers. To be fair, the non-fiction section has more people than the fiction section, which brings me to the next revelation.

Horror of horrors, they read only for information and enrichment, rather than pleasure. As a fanatic bookworm, I am absolutely aghast at this. The gems that are available in the fiction section are blatantly neglected. It is a tragedy that people have closed their eyes and minds to them. This is also true for the children's section on fiction.

I blame the advent of technology as the sole reason for this demise. It is bad enough that television dramas, movies and dvds already exist and have snatched the limelight. Despite the fact that some shows are screen adaptations of novels, fiction books can pull me into a different world altogether, something which technology can't do as well. With the Internet which gives access to online games and videos, this demise may become permanent.

Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter

This is the first book in a really long time that I've read for consecutive days! It is gorgeously written. Potter meticulously parallels the love journey of Pride and Prejudice's lovers with her protaganists'. At the same time, she entwines the science of time-warps into it, as a lesson for the female protaganist, both in the character of Mr Darcy and in the authoress Jane Austen herself. It does get creepy as the female protaganist seeks to rationalise the subject of time-warps in her mind, and finds that there is no logical explanation for her experiences, even for me as a vicarious reader.

There is also a part where Pride and Prejudice the classic is in danger of being made extinct before its completion, but of course, this is just to provide the thrills for us readers. This particular part alludes to the book Seducing Mr Darcy, except that instead of the story coming to life, that book puts the protaganist into the world of fiction.

As a female reader, I understand her strong message which is conveyed through
the thoughts of her female protaganist. Mr Darcy is not as perfect as we women think. The era he came from conditioned his extremely conservative behaviour towards relationships and his chauvinistic attitudes towards women. It is better to leave him out of reality and not compare the men around us to him. The modern world has its advantages and so do its men.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The future of Riverdale's pals.

Archie has chosen Veronica, the spoilt brat, as his bride. Many readers have expressed strong disapproval about it. I am no exception, judging from my description of her. 99% of the readers, to be exact, question his choice.

Veronica gives the impression of infidelity and condescending insensitivity. If Archie marries Betty, she will get over her sadness rather quickly, sulking for a week at the most. Once she sees a handsome guy, she will forget all about Archie and pursue this new attraction. She treats Archie as a prize which she just wants to compete for with Betty. She is rich and which guy wouldn't fall at her feet with such looks as she has?

Betty, on the other hand, my heroine, is a sweet and thoughtful lass. She has always been there for Archie. She really likes Archie. She is understandably heartbroken at this news. So what if it happens in real life with Brad Pitt? This is fiction. It should not mirror reality. This is not the 19th century, where realism dominates literature.

I echo Mr Tom Michael who said that Archie may marry Betty. I hope he breaks his proposal to Veronica before the wedding, after realising Betty is the true one for him. After all, there are still 2 weeks to it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CNN's article on FB

The CNN website featured an article on FB users. It is very interesting, since I'm an avid user. I must log on to FB at least once a day, to check on my virtual farms and to discover God's daily message to me. I did the accompanying quiz and found out that I'm a popular user with interesting updates :)

I love updating my status with little sharings on my life(which aren't too personal and don't incite a bombardment of comments) or interesting sayings/truths. It is a form of sharing and exchanging lifestyles as well as thoughts. At the same time, it is strange to see status updates that have to do with the activities done in private. Has the delight in sharing gone beyond reasonable boundaries? There is actually a website that allows lame status updates from FB to be posted there. It is for the sake of humour and the origins of the updates are kept anonymous, but I don't intend to mock my acquaintances with such updates.

I have some thoughts on the annoying types of users as mentioned in the article, even though I am aware that some readers may be offended. There are some status updates that are too private but there are some others that are merely tools to gain attention from others on oneself. Some people use the chance to boast about the people in their lives. It is repulsive instead of interesting. I do have a blog as well but I've labelled it as my website. Thus, people can choose to visit it or not. They are not thrown with repetitive notifications that I have one.

Some people really do have many friends and that is their perogative. I have a self-made rule of not adding people I don't personally know to my list, even if we have mutual friends. I don't wish to add people just to boost my friend list. Some people add me to their list but don't contact me after that. I don't see the point in even adding me in the first place. I am just added to boost their list. I would rather be ignored.

Bad English irritates me. It is an occupational hazard. Hence I get extremely annoyed when comments on my status updates are riddled with excruciatingly horrid grammar mistakes to the extent that I don't comprehend at all what the gist of the comments is about. It worsens things when there is a blatant misinterpretation of my status updates and this misinterpretation continues despite hints.

A spam of comments and gift applications also turn me off, especially when it is from the same person. Sometimes I resort to ignoring them when I am notified. If I feel like it, I check only the first and last comments. It gets tedious accepting every gift and replying to every comment. This applies to quizzes or group invitations too. It gets annoying when I've clearly done the quiz and the results have been posted on my profile.

Perhaps I may be seen as a crank; someone who complains about things observed, in the status updates. It is my way of getting pent-up feelings out at that moment. I may also be seen as an obscurist, but it is deliberate to be seen as this. I do practise crypticism when the updates are referring to certain people on FB. I am only direct when my patience has crossed the line.

It is a real fear that certain indecent photos of oneself may be posted on FB by others, but I have nothing to hide. I am aware that potential employers browse FB. I'm not omitting any negative truths about myself though. My conscience is really clear.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

NDP Pole Acrobats

This group of performers has been sorely criticized for their sleazy acts. Their acts originate from strip clubs and some members of the public feel that the acts are unsuitable for such a national occasion.

I too, am against the act if it is done in its original setting. However, I look at it with new eyes this time. The moves done by the performers are truly acrobatic in nature. There is no indication of sexuality involved. The performers' explanation of their choice of outfit is also satisfactory. It is for practical purposes rather than any other. Since the moves have been revamped for this national occasion, in order to showcase our country's excellence in the sports arena, there is no reason why this particular performance should be frowned upon.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Human relations

An article on how parents can instill in their children a desire to obey, is also relevant to teachers. The solution is to develop a loving relationship with the children. However, it seems to harbour manipulative purposes. In developing a relationship, sincerity is the essence and not personal gain.

This can be carried forward to spousal relationships as well. Obedience is not obtained with imposed control and forced gain for personal satisfaction. It is done so out of a genuine desire for love and the welfare of the other person.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

DJ Soo's departure from radio

There are conflicting reasons for her departure from 98.7FM. In her FB profile, she wrote that she had been criticized for her bad language skills and lack of an American accent. What is the logic behind the craze for an American accent?! Does having one make a person seem "cool"? We are not an American state. Not having this accent does not determine our lack of identity as a Singaporean. If it is because of the former reason, that is indeed an occupational hazard, though her colleague said that she had no problem with that.

At the same time, that does not warrant a resignation from her. Perhaps there were other reasons that led to it as well. According to her superior, her show had to be cancelled due to poor listenership rates. She could have been deployed to other duties. A resignation does not seem to justify as a response to this phenomenon.

Her superior, who is Daniel Ong, was queried on this matter. He did deploy her to another post but she rejected it. He also clarified that her flaw was that she lacked accurate pronunciation of foreign artistes' names as well as a smooth flow in hosting her show. There was nothing about speaking with a particular accent. She did not deny the former, incidentally. Her fellow colleagues had also been asked to help her improve in that aspect. This is contradictory when one recalls the earlier article on this whole matter. Her colleague had said her language skills posed no problem. Was it an attempt to conceal the truth before this matter became official? I wonder...

Daniel Ong also stated that she had been asked to improve on her grammar and diction. This definitely presents doubts towards her ability as a deejay. Contrary to what her colleague Vernon A said, being one is not just possessing personality but having basic language skills too. I agree with her superior. Broken and improper English will cause people not to understand the way she speaks. Soo Wei claimed that the listenership rates had been increasing but her superior claimed otherwise. Who is right? Is she trying to salvage her wounded pride or is he trying to quell the reality of things?

She told the reporter that viewers have been nice to her despite her poor language skills. Is she hinting at the fact that they overlook her flaw and look to who she really is? Her job requires her to possess such skills, so as her superior, Daniel Ong is not doing the wrong thing. Her plan to explore teaching is laughable. She will need to brush up on her language in preparation for that. I'm a teacher, by the way. If she did not possess such skills as a deejay, she will not be able to fulfill the higher expectation on her, if she becomes a teacher. Leonard Soosay's comment on how little our local accent is valued due to the issue over her pronunciation, is controversial. What has pronunciation to do with the Singlish accent? The focus is on her basic language skills, not on the way she sounds when she speaks English. Her final response to her superior's comments was that she did not want to refute them. I wonder if it is because she knows he was speaking the truth.

Victor Khoo the ventriloquist wrote in to comment on this issue. He mentioned proper diction and grammar, as well as accurate pronunciation of artistes' names, as one of the main factors deejays must possess. They are sorely missing in Soo's case. Is it a wonder then that she was asked to stop being one?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Media entertainment at the expense of sexual harrassment

Bobby Chinn had taken advantage of Andrea De Cruz at the Asian TV Awards. His reasons of providing entertainment and being caught in the excitement of the event are really not acceptable. Even if he was not aware of her marital status, the very act of it is repulsive. As a woman who was treated like this by a stranger, never mind his celebrity status, she was definitely right to feel 'dirty'. Now I have a different impression of him whenever I see him on World Cafe:Asia. Needless to say, it is not a good one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blatant misinterpretation of a harmless picture

President Obama was practising caution as he went down some steep steps in Italy, by looking down at his feet at the same time. While this was happening, a Brazilian resercher was going up the same steps. They were next to each other. A newspaper article made unjustified conclusions to mislead readers into thinking that he was gawking at her. He is a God-fearing man, and is a happy husband as well as father. That conclusion was uncalled for. I would be irate if I were him.

This is the problem with tabloid papers which report mostly sensationalized news. They disregard the truth and cater to readers who find joy in reading such senseless articles.

Being a famous person

I did this topic with my student as an oral conversation question. He feels that being one is a form of pressure. A famous person has to answer for his actions to the public, who will judge him based on his actions. If he were given a choice, he would not be one. He feels that it is a must to be vigilant as a celebrity in public. It is a constant awareness a celebrity must possess, as he will be followed by the paparazzi wherever he goes. The late Princess Diana was hounded by these reporters and in a bid to avoid them, died in a car crash.

At the same time, celebrities can use their fame to do good. Alyssa Milano is a United Nations ambassador who tries to create an awareness of the poor citizens in Africa who are ill. She tries to garner donations so as to buy medicine and food for them. On the homeground, Felicia Chin and Zhang Yaodong volunteered to take food to the old and lonely flat-dwellers some time ago. These examples can be emulated by their young fans. They become role models to advocate the ideals of compassion and generosity.

Zoe Tay has been criticized for her looks. She is too old to be Fann Wong's twin in The Ultimatum, but it is the producers who casted her. Thus, it is not fair that she should be attacked. Anyway, where acting is concerned, she was better at it than Fann, who had different versions of the same facial expression. An actress should use her acting skills to be recognized, not her looks. Even if she does not maintain her looks, it is no sin.

On the other side of the coin, there are celebrities who are relatively unknown and insist on being given star treatment. A hairstylist was unhappy with not being able to have a hot drink while on a flight. When the stewardess explained that it was not available during turbulences, due to safety reasons, he pretended to understand, but subsequently blogged about the airline's poor service. What part of the reason does he not understand?! This is just one example of such people who think they deserve the same treatment as the really famous celebrities, when in actual fact their reputation and achievements do not earn such treatment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Ultimatum plus BK's advertisement

The reasons why this serial failed so badly are examined. Two huge blunders were committed in the midst of producing it. The scriptwriter practically plagiarised the plot from other Asian dramas. This does show a lack of originality and creativity in TCS dramas. Also, Zoe's metamorphorsis from good to evil was not thoroughly explored in the serial. This is a definite wrong in the literary world.

Viewers have been bombarding the authorities over Burger King's latest advertisement on its Super Seven Incher burger. It shows a lady's open mouth facing its burger. Viewers find this filled with sexual connotations. To be frank, I don't see the connotations, or I may be just naive. I can only see the connection with the word "long".

Books as luggage on trips

I never fail to bring some of the books I have bought but not read, on my overseas vacations. I think to myself that I will be able to read them on the flights to and fro. When I am on the flights however, I either sleep or am enthralled by the in-flight entertainment. I try to do some reading when I return to my hotel room each night, but coupled with the new books I buy from the local bookshops, the number of books in my luggage increases. I'm happy to say though that I managed to finish reading a magazine and a whole book on my last trip.

The books I bring are usually paperback fiction or on local nostalgia, thus they are not as bulky and heavy as Janadas Devan's. I try to reduce my final number to 2 or 3, so that I can leave space for my essentials. As Aldous Huxley mentioned 90 years ago, I cannot get out of the illusion that tourists have. I am definitely a reading addict like Devan too. The ironic thing is that I have always brought along "Twitter books" but I still fail to finish reading all of them :S

Friday, July 10, 2009

MJ's memorial

An article reported on certain outstanding people outside Staples Centre. An anti-gay pastor and his group held signs that cursed MJ. I shall not name him so as to maintain my dignity and integrity, unlike this pastor who showed utter disrespect to the dead. Even if he had intense grievances towards MJ, he could have chosen to air them on other occasions and at other locations. To think that he is a PASTOR! He surely insults those who live out the true meaning of being one!

Another person conveyed a bizarre message at the same location. This lady compared MJ to Jesus Christ, an utter blasphemy! Jesus died for us and yes, we crucify Him with the way we live, just as some people's criticism kill MJ's spirit, but he cannot be compared to God! Her ardour for him has gone to extreme fanaticism, at the expense of the Christian religion! If she is a Christian, that is even more shameful. She goes on to conclude that the end of the world is approaching as a result. Huh? Only God the Father knows when it will be, not even Jesus Himself!
I am speechless!

the relationship between critics and authors

Alice Hoffman the American writer was enraged with Boston Globe reviewer Roberta Silman over the way she had critiqued the novel The Story Sisters. I am sympathetic towards her protest of how the story itself was included in the review, but I feel that she had gone overboard in her too-emotional rebuttals, by way of expanding them to unjustifiable attacks on Silman's credentials, her company and city. She had blown the matter out of proportion by intruding into Silman's privacy as well and posting her personal details on the Internet. She had lost complete control of herself then. Thank goodness the people around her were more rational and harshly commented on her defences, which had culminated in such immature actions. I'm not surprised to note that her apology was not sincere enough. She probably issued it for fear of getting more backlash, but was not really repentant over what she had done to Silman. The proof is in how she felt "this whole situation has been completely blown out of proportion" by the backlash she had received. Ironically, she had first done this very thing by posting Silman's personal details for all to see, thus she actually has no right to say this of how people have viewed her actions.

Alain de Botton the pop philosopher had also made some extremely disparaging remarks on New York Times reviewer Caleb Crain. He called Crain a perverse maniac and expressed hatred towards Crain. His wish of ill will towards Crain stems of diabolical feelings, caused by extreme emotion and pride. Therefore, it is only fitting that he had to make a public apology as well, though he had fully realised what the impact of his remarks on Crain was. In my opinion, his words were more malicious than Hoffman's.

It is so difficult to be a critic, with such authors displaying the inability to graciously accept professional reviews on their works, but I guess this aspect comes with being one. I agree with Stephanie Yap that though you may be entitled as an author to respond to reviews on your works, it is better, and actually more mature, to respond in a controlled and objective manner, with the very tool you use to make a living. After all, as a literary artist, you are taught to examine things from all possible angles. At the same time, she comments on how critics should review authors' works, with understanding and consideration of how much work went into their novels. I like how she equates critics to reporters who need to write with objectivity.

Using the late John Updike's rules on reviewing, who was both a writer and a reviewer, and thus can understand both sides, she urges critics to give a positive comment in order to offset a negative comment, providing examples for both perspectives. She also stresses the importance of giving a generally positive tone to reviews. She concludes her article with the fact that writers must be prepared to have negative responses to their novels, while critics should constructively comment on novels, instead of being too biased in their reviews, to the point of giving too many negative remarks on the authors' works.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Can newspapers please check their allegations first?

David Beckham was alleged to have initiated private contact with a topless model after having hit on her and having his advances reciprocated. This was reported in an article written by a newspaper.

When he sued them over this extremely untrue piece of news, they admitted it was untrue and agreed to pay him damage fees. It is one thing to create scandal in order to increase readership, but it is another to attain this objective at the expense of truth, and people's lives and marriages!

Traditional media like newspapers are being compared to new forms like blogs and Facebook. Mr Nelson Quah expressed his opinion that there is no accountability in blogs. I beg to differ. My blog entries are based on newspaper articles, and since he implies that they have a sense of accountability and accuracy, my blog can be said to have that too, albeit containing personal opinions. I may be using a pseudonym but it does not diminish the authenticity of my entries.

Traditional media seems more trustworthy, only if it is limited to current affairs. Tabloid newspapers may not make true allegations, as I had mentioned in the first part of this entry.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Respect of sensibility

Tay Ping Hui has been lambasted for being too intimate with his fans in some photos. Seriously, local celebrities are more discerning in the way they present themselves to the public, and would not want to break the adoration they have received. Besides, he seems to be an open person and was probably being friendly. Different gestures can constitute friendliness. Some other celebrities may not be comfortable doing what he did, but that is due to their perceptions towards friendliness. They are probably more conservative. In any case, they are on his side and have spoken up for him.

He has clarified that his manager and other people were present when the photos were shot, so it was not a personal meeting. If his gestures were out of line, they would have told him so. He has also explained that one of the fans sat on his lap in order to fit into the photo and he had ensured his hands were not on any improper places of her body. I hope these netizens will retract their impulsive conclusions.

Utter disgust at novelist

Low Kay Hwa's works of fiction have been criticized for their low English standard and vulgarities. Mistakes have been quoted in the article for all to see. He however seems to think that just because his books are popular by virtue of the number of copies being borrowed by library users, it does not matter how misleading they may be to readers.

His opinions are repulsive. As an author, he is obliged to ensure that his works are written in a grammatically correct manner and their contents are communicated in a dignified style. Teenagers who read his books will then be educated in a proper way, since education is primarily obtained from books. He is audacious enough to write books with only a C5 grade in O'level English. A distinction is needed to be an author. His works are seen as "amateurish and that of a Sec 1 student". There are even expletives in them. How then can he recommend his books for silent reading periods?! Such material chosen is meant to help students in their language ability. He even shirks responsibility for causing them to adopt the incorrect language usage. Where are his literary and social responsibilities as an author?! How dare he charge $15.90 for each book? It would be an utter waste of money spent!

He has the wrong attitude towards writing novels. He thinks that it does not require good language skills. Which world is he living in? If language is not important, what else can help his story to be told in an accurate manner? It will be subject to massive misinterpretation and confused comprehension by readers. When that happens, he cannot blame anyone but himself, for his lack of linguistics. He is not out to impress people but to ensure his stories are read. Without the understanding of them, which stems from proper linguistic skills in order to communicate them, people will be reading merely words with no attached meanings. Language is the basic foundation of communication in speaking and writing.

Holy Innocents' High's principal is right in implying that by selling the books, the students are advocating the message that the books are good. However, with all this negativity contained within the books, are they really good? How can National Library Board include his books in its campaign to promote local fiction?! His books should be banned!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love buzz between 2 celebrities

The current issue of 8 Days magazine mentioned a sexy actress with a voluptuous-sized chest being seen holding hands with an actor who is moving up the ladder of the television industry. I figure she is Ann Kok because she had acted as a mother in a recent Channel 8 drama serial. The age difference between them is 8 years. I hope it is not Dai Yang Tian because I really want him to be in a relationship with Jeanette Aw. They looked so compatible in the Little Nonya and before the Peranakan Ball, he did mention something about wanting to date her, I recall.

Darn it! I was correct. The two of them admitted their romance in the current issue of I-weekly. She said though that they had only gone out together. Was it just a try-out session? She admitted that they were shopping at Cold Storage in Cluny Court, but were not holding hands or are not in a relationship. So does it mean that the fan had seen the wrong pair and that I-weekly's report is not accurate?

I am glad that Dai Yangtian is open to dating fans as well. That diminishes the chance of he being involved with Ann Kok. Hehe.

8 Days magazine interviewed Ann Kok over this matter and she explained that he had wanted to eat ice-cream, so she had brought him to a parlour before going with him to the supermarket. She reiterated that they had not been holding hands. She also said that he has been the one asking her out twice or thrice. I wonder if it is as a friend or as a potential partner. He had expressed interest in dating Jeanette Aw. I guess when she did not show active reciprocation to his offer, he switched targets.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm on FB! Twitter craze.

I was initially cynical of FB because I thought it was of no big deal. I decided to register my ranks with it however, when Meifen told me that I could look for our old classmates on it. I was so excited at the prospect and promptly joined it on the same day afterwards.

I did find some old friends and we have resumed contact. I really cherish these opportunities to do so with them. A couple of them are even in New York and Canada!

Some other things which have enticed me so so much are the quizzes, the groups, the Pick Your Five situations and the gift applications. Friends on my list have commented on the number of quizzes I've done and are probably fed up with my random and countless gift applications, especially food, that I've sent to them!

At the same time, there are some things in FB which neutralise my excessive craze for it. Some applications do not work or take a long time to upload. Some quizzes are created with bad English or are ridiculous in nature. Your status is put out for all to see, so you must be cautious when deciding what to write. People will start asking you questions based on it, and if you are someone rather private, it can be intimidating! Some of the games are not easy to play too! I had a hard time with Pet Society and Hell's Kitchen.

A few local celebrities gave their opinions on Twitter. Melody Chen prefers it to a blog. I think she likes to summarise her thoughts. I love blogging, on the contrary. ( Isn't it obvious? Lol.) I guess I am a person of many words ( and thoughts!). I also feel that Twitter is a mere aspect of what Facebook allows its users to do. Both allow their users to update their status(term in Facebook). Facebook allows you to play games, do quizzes and send applications. I am definitely on Patricia Mok's side in this :D

Monday, May 4, 2009

My take on the Star Awards

Those who worked hard were rewarded. I am happy that Ng Hui and Guo Liang got awards. She acted really well and it's about time he did get it. He is an eloquent compere.

There were those whom I predicted would get awards, like Chen Hanwei. He acted really well. Also, Little Nonya was the best picture and had the best theme song.

The debate about Jeanette Aw and Joanne Peh has got my view flaring too. I feel the former should have gotten the award. It wasn't easy with so many emotional scenes for her TWO roles. At the same time, I admit that I'm biased in her favour. I was just as disappointed as she was. Well, at least she got into the Top 10 list. There was no doubt about it. Her roles were a tremendous cause for it. Joanne had scenes to develop her acting potential too. Her lunatic scenes in the attap hut weren't easy to act. I may sound like a sore-loser here but the media implied that she was arrogant when she first came into the industry and received no applause from her colleagues at a particular awards ceremony. It's better now, of course.

I'm happy that Dai Yangtian got the award. I'm a fan of him. His outfit was dandy too and I loved Jessca Liu's yellow gown too. I'm also happy for Zheng Geping. It was his first time in the top 10 list. :)

Fiona Xie and Michelle Chia didn't get into the Top 10 list. Hmm. I also happened to notice the latter giving an irritated look when Yvonne Lim gave air-kisses during her speech. She may have been trying to imitate the Hollywood celebrities but that's her perogative, I feel.

Finally, I'm heartened to know that there were many thanks offered to God by some winners, and am especially inspired by Chew Chor Meng's speech where he gave God back the glory and showed faith in His promise to heal his condition. :D

Friday, March 27, 2009

New books again!

Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me: a time-travel-cum-love story. I am a fan of time-travel stories and relish the moment she woke up in the future. As the story progresses with her colleagues hating her and her journey in trying to find out the reason, I could not wait to discover the answer too. I wished that she could go back to the present though but I guess she had a better life in the future.

Sophie Kinsella's The Undomestic Goddess: I liked this story better. I guess it appeals to me since I am now taking over the kitchen duties in my family. Her attempts at cooking especially, mirror my own, though I'm not as bad as she. Lol. The improvement in her skills due to the lessons learnt from her beau's mother are heartening indeed. I love the ending very much. She realised the beauty of simplicity and nature, and chose to forgo the high-flying life back in London. She showed determination in proving her innocence and the triumph she felt is indescribable. I was so afraid that her relationship would end for good but the two of them realised their love was stronger than they thought, and came back together. :) Now I really want to go to Paddington station!

LBD's The Rules of Gentility: rather authentic in its Regency setting and way of life. The pink cover is girly too, with the elegant embossments at the corners. It was a shock to discover that two of the suitors were homosexual though. Haha.

Where Angels Go: I love this book of happy endings with divine intervention in its course. It reassures me that our prayers are at the very least, heard. The stories which touch me the most is the one where a divorced couple get back together, after meeting online without knowing of each other's true identities, having learnt their lessons, and where a boy finally gets his Christmas present of a dog with red fur, after a stray dog of this type saves the family from a fire.

Trish Perry's The Guy I'm Not Dating: This was the first book that made me cry. The most I get is extremely disturbed. It is very poignant. I especially love the mingling of prayer/faith with romance/life. The traditional way of courtship is also a rare element. Indeed, it affirms my belief to wait for God's timing for love.

Kristen Sawyer's Not Quite a Bride: Has a pretty cover in turquoise green, my favourite colour. Love the perfect ending where Molly's best friend realises he has always held feelings for her and stops her from marrying her hired fiance. Eventually, she gets to plan her dream wedding again but this time, with someone she loves. Though it has less frills, it is warm and sweet, as it has a real romance involved. So appealing to women who have always dreamt of their wedding and having the kind of romance Molly has.

Chew Lee Li's The Mad Housewife's Diary: A witty account of life as a tai-tai residing in a condominium and with a rich husband to provide her with spending money. She is studying for a degree in English Literature, just like I did.

Never tired of the Little Nonya

I found the series on Youtube and have been watching certain scenes again and again. I really love the developing relationship between Anqi and Jonathan. I have this feeling that she wanted to accept his love, but he ran off after expressing his feelings. Was it out of shyness? He seems more sensitive and loving than Desmond. His understanding and empathy towards Yueniang as she told her story, is a giveaway sign. He is sensitive especially towards Anqi when she cries in the last episode as her Ma Ma thanks her for cooking, and Juxiang and Yousoke's love. He makes a better partner for Anqi. He exudes respect towards elders when he pays his respects to Yueniang upon her death. I wish the script had made his relationship with Anqi progress into love.

I also love the reunion between Yousoke and his family, as well as Little Kok Kok. It is so heartwarming, the coming back together of people who care for one another. I like the fiesty nature of Yueniang, when she deals with the two scums who make trouble for her and takes revenge on Tianbao for attempting to rape her. I also enjoy watching the kinship between Anqi and her Ma Ma, Tianlan and Yueniang, and Yueniang/Juxiang and Tao-jie. The tender moments are very real. The actresses act really well. Anqi's and Jonathan's sad looks as they watch Tao-jie limp are very authentic too. They really bring out the emotions very well.

I feel that Yousoke's and Juxiang's love is intense and intimate, not just sweet, and Chen Sheng would never be able to have that with her, even if they should marry. The looks they give each other are shared communication of emotions and words. They have gone through so much together and their love for each other is so strong that it transcends time and space. From the time he saved her from Da Sha till the time he lured the soldiers away from her to let her escape, and died as a result, they have each other in their hearts. She too, had faith that he would return to her after going back to Japan to see his father, despite people telling her otherwise, and waited for him outside their home every night.

Chen Xi's and Yueniang's love too was strong. I enjoyed their bickering when he met her while washing his hands, and the kidnapping incident was a turning point for their relationship. It was a waste that she did not take his deception very well and decided against being with him. I think Libby's love with him was not as strong, though they married. It is the same for Paul's love with Yueniang. Yueniang's love was so true and noble that she refused to be with Chen Xi when he wanted to divorce Zhenzhu, in order to protect his reputation. Chen Xi too, eventually let go of his love for her when he knew she was marrying Paul.

In a way, both mother and daughter had their true loves for a while. Their lives were worth living.

This show really reminds me of my Ma Ma and now I realise why I called her that. I also remember her for her cookery skills. I was her food taster. I just wish I knew more about her life than what I do know, but it is too late now.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What does Art encompass?

There was a vulgarity included as part of a sculpture in SMU. I think that it is unnecessary in bringing out the beauty of the art piece. Does the notion of art include such things and where does it end? Are vulgarities artistic in nature?

The location may send the wrong message to the students. Vulgarities are to be condoned and even appreciated? What are we teaching our future generations? Underwear, a user, thinks that ATan is being too conservative. I beg to differ.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take Home Chef

This cooking show is about Curtis Stone, a chef, and his camera crew, looking out for female shoppers at supermarkets to cook their meals for them. The meals are based on the likes of the people they are cooking for, or on the type of supermarkets they are at. He buys the ingredients for the dishes he will cook and usually includes a kitchen appliance as a gift to them.

On the way to their homes, he gets to know them and things about the people whom they will be eating with. Once there, he cooks the dishes in their kitchens and teaches them some cooking tips too. Then together, they surprise the people coming over to the house. After finishing up the dishes, he serves them to the pair, introducing them in the process before leaving the pair to enjoy the meal. Interviews with him and the pair on their feelings about certain parts of the show are interspersed throughout the programme.

I enjoy watching this programme and wish that we could have a local version. Then again, I doubt that chefs here are that free to do what he does. It would be nice to have a chef approach me i0n the supermarket to offer to cook on my behalf, since I'm still a novice at it. However, cooking is a labour of love to me and by cooking for my guests, it is my way of showing love to them. This is how I've been brought up as a Nonya. Perhaps I am not suitable to be approached by a chef then. Lol.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

She's Too Young(2004)

This is a good educational medium for youths who engage in promiscuity and the power of peer pressure. Hannah is a decent girl who wants to fit in with her friends who boast about their sexual exploits. When she starts dating an older boy she likes, she rejects his attempt to get her to have sex with him. She eventually gives in to his psychologically manipulative attempt to make her feel bad about rejecting him, and agrees to have sex with him.

With her foray into sexual intimacy, she changes into a more liberal person who mistakes sex for love. She even tries to be intimate with her male best friend who has always been there for her but he gently pushes her away.

Her friends are found to have a STD and soon she finds that she has contracted it too. Hannah is later accosted at a party by her date's friend and fortunately, her best friend rescues her. Her parents pick her up from his place, after having developed an understanding towards what she is going through. As for her friends, one has a curfew imposed on her by her mother and this helps to turn her back to the right path, since she is forced to spend time with her family, while the other retains her rebellious streak and goes for a threesome with strangers before being sent off to a boarding school.

Beautiful Girl(2003)

This movie redefines beauty through a plump beauty queen contestant. Her beauty comes out in her confidence, her love for the children she teaches, her singing talent and her compassion towards a rival contestant despite being scoffed at. She becomes a role model for her rival and inspires her to stand up against her mother for forcing her to participate in beauty pageants. Her beauty even causes her to edge out her fellow contestants to win one of the top places in the contest.

In the process of exemplifying lasting beauty, she does fall prey to the empty perception of beauty. Dyeing her hair blond is one of the things she does to be conventionally beautiful. She almost loses herself and her loved ones while getting carried away in her preparations for the pageant. She manages to find herself again just before the contest and asks for forgiveness from her fiance.

Her mother also initially believes that she can never win the pageant due to her lack of conventional beauty and does not share her joy in having gotten the opportunity to participate. However, she slowly realises the error of her ways and gives her utmost support to her daughter at the pageant.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons

To write a review about this movie would be to erase the beauty that has etched itself within me after having watched it. I want to continue savouring the sweetness I received during the experience.

All I can say is that it is a beautiful film about living life and loving the people in your life. It is definitely a movie worth savouring thoughtfully.

I brought out with me smiles on my face as the credits rolled to signal the end of its running. I usually cry when I watch emotionally pensive movies such as this but this time, I did not. I guess knowing that it had been written by F.Scott Fitzgerald who had also written The Great Gatsby, one of my favourite novels, helped me lock in my literary perusal. There were poignant scenes of death and loss, but this intellectual approach to the film protected me from an outburst.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Regency romances and chic-lit

I realise I've fallen hard for the genre of Regency Romance. It all started with Kiera Knightley's interpretation of Lizzy Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Then I started going crazy over everything to do with Mr Darcy. I bought spin-offs on his character and the love between he and Lizzy.

Then it was everything about Austen. I ravished books on her world in the early 19th century and her wisdom about living.
I love Amanda Grange's series of diaries written from the viewpoints of the male leads in Austen's novels. I have lapped up Edmund's and Darcy's diaries. My next target is Knightley's diary. Ironically, I used to hate Austen's works as a Lit major. I guess it's different studying them as opposed to reading them for pleasure.

Chic-lit came up with novels on becoming a Regency lady in her era through time travel and entering a secluded place; one away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I threw myself into this world and have no way of coming out of it. That's fine by me. :D I especially love their covers, and of course, the stories contained within. Reading my recommended lists of books will tell you that. Most of the books fall in this category.

Yet another 'new' bookshop

Kinokuniya has been around for a rather long time but I went to the one in Liang Court only today. It is really big and a reader's paradise. I need at least 1 and a half hours to walk through the whole place, and this is merely restricted to the English book and magazine sections.

The children and young adult sections are full of jewels. I had to resist the temptation to buy a few books. There are books on well-loved characters like Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, Harry Potter and the Narnians. It is such a pity that people are ignorant of the wonders to be found there.

The Literature section is also another treasure chest. Most of the books are chic-lit though. The whole collection of Little Black Dress Books is there. I bought one with a bright pink cover, my favourite colour. It is a Regency romance. It is entitled The Rules of Gentility. I now own a LBD book!

The stationery section is also a dazzle for ladies who like pretty and cute things. I bought pink flower stickers. I also saw paper crafts, drawstring and little tote bags, notebooks and diaries, and letter pads amongst other things. The designs are absolutely gorgeous and colourful, especially the Japanese ones. I was brought back to my secondary school days when I used to collect notepads.

This has become another favourite bookshop of mine, besides PageOne, MPH Citylink and Harris Suntec. :D

I discovered the Harris bookshop at Changi Airport T3. It was awesome, as I had finally found a book I have been searching for a long time. I couldn't buy it though, as I was flying off in a short time. I've not found the book in any other bookshop, and even in London, however. :S

Waterstone's at Charing Cross and Foyles at Embankment are two huge bookshops in London. They are as big as the Borders/Books Etc bookshop at Bayswater and Oxford Circus there. I bought/found unusual books and managed to find another book I had been searching for a long time. I also bought books I had seen back here, at much cheaper prices after conversion. Another bookshop I went to was Books Warehouse at Notting Hill.

Just like Rohit Brijnath, I too, zero in on bookshops at shopping malls. I have a love relationship with them too, courtesy of my parents. They take up a huge portion of my spending and I must cut down on it now that I've an additional Internet subscription plan.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Books and mags for sale!

Sugar(September 2008): a UK magazine for teenage girls at S$6. Original price was S$9.20.

Cleo Singapore(October 2008): a local magazine for women at S$3. Original price was S$4.40.

I'm also selling books for children and teenagers. There are books like Midnight Masquerade from Tiara Club series(newest book), two books from My Story series, Archie comics(double digest and holiday issue) and Teddy Bear Tales.

Please email me at siokhian@gmail.com, should you be interested in purchasing them. We will discuss the details of the exchange via email. Thanks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good book to devour!

I found this book in the Legend of the Sea ship's library. I am not a fan of Little Black Dress books but this particular novella kept my attention as the plot thickened. I was egging Daisy on to accept Eliot's feelings for her even though Miles had proposed to her. He was so much more sincere and even wrote a book based on his love for her! How sweet is that? This gestures resonates with the chords of my imagination. Miles's proposal was dramatic with all the stops he pulled in Venice but it seemed so elaborate that it took on a farcical-like nature as compared to Eliot's simple gestures of initial friendship, which turned into pure love for Daisy. I was so happy when she did accept Eliot's feelings for her.

The Legend of the Sea ship's library

Friday, January 9, 2009

Red Cliff II - a must see!

This is the sequel to Red Cliff. I think it is better than the first part because there are human elements inserted into the story.

Sun Shangxiang had a little puppy love for a soldier from Cao Cao's army and their bonding is sweet to behold. His death right before her eyes is a bittersweet ending to what could have been a romance, if she had revealed her true identity and if he had followed her to Sun Quan's army. After all, he fought for Cao Cao so that his family could survive, so perhaps his loyalty to Cao Cao is questionable.

I enjoyed Lin Chiling's portrayal of Xiaoqiao. She is demure, a good wife, passionate towards her country, brave, calm, devious and understanding. She was always there by Zhou Yu's side and the way she did the tea ceremony really brought out the etiquette it requires. Her bravery and patriotism caused her to go over to the enemy's side to attempt to turn the tables on Cao Cao. I don't think her acting is wooden, as some critics say.

Cao Cao is given a human side. He shows respect for Xiaoqiao when he could have raped her. After all, she gave herself to him by going there alone. He also tries to motivate his sick men by sharing with them his feelings as a father. These make up for the ruthlessness he shows in sending his dead soldiers to Sun Quan's army to infect the soldiers, and in poisoning Jiang Gan for his stupidity. Gan Xing sacrifices himself to aid the allies in reuniting for the ultimate battle with Cao Cao.

At the same time, some characters are developed very well. Zhu Geliang is seen in his brilliance and ingenuity, as Zhou Yu is. The way the former obtains the arrows and the way the latter gets the two generals executed are admirable. They are portrayed as equally wise and intelligent. Sun Shangxiang's bravery comes to a climax when she unravels the map of Cao Cao's army camp from her body. Sun Quan manages to overcome his fear and Cao Cao's taunting by shooting an arrow at Cao Cao's hairline.

Themes of loyalty, friendship and brotherhood, and mercy are also chronicled. These are most apparent when the sick soldiers of Cao Cao are moved by his sharing and chant cries of "Victory!" to signify their willingness to fight for him, when almost the allies gather before him and put him to shame with their unity, and when they show him mercy instead of killing him in the end. The didacticism conveyed is that no one wins in a war; everyone loses either his life or his loved ones.

The Little Nonya

I bought the DVD which shows the episodes from 1-12. The way Juxiang is, is the way I would like to be as a woman. She is gentle and cooks very well. She treats Ah Tao very well, unlike the other family members and conscientiously does the cooking, with patience, perseverance and humility. She is willing to learn how to cook from Chong Po, loves Tianlan a lot, and teaches Ah Tao how to cook Babi Pongteh and Fish Maw Soup. She expresses her feelings with her sweet smiles and facial expressions. Yes, my grandmother was a Peranakan and I can relate to Angela. Thus, Juxiang and Yueniang are my role models.

At the same time, she is feisty and makes choices to stand up for her rights, by running away from home to avoid marrying Charlie Zhang. Though she puts herself at a disadvantage by her handicap and is almost trafficked as a prostitute, she frees herself and others.

I like the sweet romance between Juxiang and Yosuke. It is a great pity that they died young. At the same time, it would have been good if Ah Tao and Tianlan had come to join her. Of course, this will make it a fairy-tale story. It will also make it a fairy tale if Xiujuan was matchmade with Jincheng, since they were already lovers, and if Chen Sheng liked Meiyu whom he was married to. Chen Sheng could then have lived with Meiyu till old age, if he had not been murdered.

I note that Angela has a photographer admirer in Jonathan too. She is in the same situation as her great-grandauntie, since Yosuke was a photographer who fell in love with the Baba culture too.

On a different note, I caught the finale of the whole serial and I am not too reactive over the separation of Yueniang and Chen Xi. I actually admire Yueniang's decision to leave Chen Xi though she clearly loved him too. It shows true love, self-sacrifice and strength of character. Instead, I wish that Yuzhu could have lived a good life. She was more of a victim than either Juxiang or Yueniang. To be raped and then prostituted by her own husband till she contracted venereal disease and went mad, is very very tragic. She was a well-educated, lovely and vivacious woman, before she went through all that. It would have been good too, if Yueniang could have died peacefully in her sleep, like Rose in Titanic: the movie did. Also, she could have lived to see Angela and Jonathan marry with kids. Oh well, this is just mere wishful thinking. :S

I must say that the actresses chosen to portray the characters in their different ages have similar looks, such that their aging process is realistic. :) Jeanette Aw and Xiang Yun both portray Yueniang, and Ng Hui and Zhu Xiufeng both portray Ah Tao. Funnily though, the other characters are portrayed by the same actor/actress with a change in makeup. Hmm.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Barbie's A Christmas Carol

I bought this from Borders with my $20 gift voucher and so had to only pay another $4.90. It is based on Charles Dickens's classic but is presented in a light-hearted version for young girls. The classic is presented as a story within a story that Barbie tells her sister Kelly, using a snow globe. This makes the viewers assume that Eden is related to them.

There are carols interspersed in the story and some more changes are present too.

In terms of characters, the Spirit of Christmas Future is revealed to be a beautiful woman underneath her hood, which makes the Spirit look much less sinister. Scrooge is Eden, an opera diva, Bob Cratchit is Catherine, her childhood friend, Jacob Marley is Aunt Marie and Tiny Tim is Tammy, a limping orphan.

In terms of plot, in Eden's past, she was forced to work on Christmas Day and was given a huge scolding by her aunt when she sneaked out to Catherine's house, nothing like Scrooge's jolly employer and broken relationship. In her present, her workers are angry with her for making them work on Christmas Day and she sees the orphans whom Catherine cares for, which is different from Scrooge's visions of Bob's and Fred's Christmas celebrations. In her future, she sees Catherine as mean as her, after having fired her workers for coming in to work a few minutes late, and sees herself leading a poor life with no help from anyone. Her change is seen when she hands out presents to her workers and goes to visit the orphans.