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.