Sunday, May 09, 2010

Xuan Xuan says

Meet my 2-year-old niece, pictured here with her 2-month-old brother. My sis just talked to her through the phone this morning.

Xuan Xuan: Ni zai na li? (Where are you?)
Sis: Wo zai PJ lo (I'm in PJ)
Xuan Xuan: Oh...zai Tai Ping ah? (Oh, in Taiping ah?)
Sis: Bu shi bu shi...wo zai PJ. (No no, I'm in PJ)
Xuan Xuan: zai Tai Ping ah? (Oh, you're in Taiping ah?)

My sis laughed...

(Here's the boom)

Sis: you jing zu Mothers' Day mah? (Did you celebrate Mothers' Day?)
Xuan Xuan: shen me lai de? (What is that?)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ice Kacang Puppy Love - A story about us

My current confidence level towards our local film production is at an all time high. Most of the Malaysian movies today aim to showcase our unique culture and I would say, most of them have succeeded. To me, Yasmin Ahmad kick-started this trend with her Sepet, Gubra and Mualaf; not to mention, her string of unforgetable Petronas advertisements. And then, there's Tiger Woo Hoo.

Lately,local favourite Ah Niu took the movie industry by storm despite this being new in the field of directing (Some casts also made very commendable debut appearances namely Gary Chaw Ge).

His movie, Ice Kacang Puppy Love stood out from other local productions not just due to its lineup of famous casts but the fact that it is much more successful in consolidating scenes we can all relate to.

As Malaysians, we should feel very lucky for 2 reasons:-

1. We have the right person to do it.

2. He is willing to do it.

Ah Niu has the network. After decorating our entertaining industry for more than a decade, he is successful in his own right and has many strings to pull. He knows very well our old traditions and old school culture based on his very own childhood experience. He sees the need to capture all these in a movie. Of course, knowing our culture is one thing. Portraying it in a humourous and contemporary way is another. But when done right,the result would be amazing. And I'm proud to say, this movie did just that.

He just did all of us and perhaps even our future generations a favour as these traditions may very well become very less-known if not extinct in the future as urbanisation continues to pick up pace.

Old buildings, old notes, playing marbles, telekom phone booth, old police uniform, rotiman on wheels - they may be foreign to our grandchildren. As it is, we are already less 'adventurous' compared to our parents. How many of us can climb trees?

As a first-time director, it took Ah Niu 6-7 years of hardwork and lots of money to make this film possible. He poured in millions of his very own Ringgit and even had to made a demo of the film to convince others into joining his production (Yes, he still needed to go the distance to sell his idea despite his reputation in the industry).

Assembling such an interesting line of casts requires vigorous coordination effort but he pulled it off. It is heartwarming to see many Malaysian artists who made it big overseas, willing to spare some time to make this noble project possible.

The filming took place mainly in Tronoh (near Ipoh) while some scenes were shot in Penang. Oustanding cinematography differentiates this movie from the rest, especially the part which the camera shot from inside the river.

Some picturesque scenes were made possible by quality filming. And of course, the brilliant music added to the film's success in stirring various emotions out of the audience.

The ending wasn't exactly a fairytale one but hey, not every pupply love ends up down the aisle.

We should all be very proud of this production. Our local film industry has just been lifted up a notch and hopefully, Malaysians will continue to be entertained by more quality movies.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hiking Broga Hill, Semenyih

I don’t hike that much back home. In fact, I’ve seen more of Australia’s beauty through Kosciusko, Cradle, Ainslie and the many nature parks in Australia. Thankfully, today, I was able to enjoy Malaysia’s.

It was worth waking up at 3.30am this morning to enjoy my first sunrise in Malaysia with my sis and friends.

By the time we fetched the rest and found our way to the foot of the mountain, it was already close to 6.30am and it was still pitch black. A smart lady was there selling torchlight that has this special 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 feature. There were also stalls selling fruits and refreshing beverages but they don’t open as early.

A bumpy ground defined the initial part of the journey before the steepness started to keep us busy.

Some stretches were quite dangerous.

They do have strings at some points but hikers could definitely use a bit more safety measures.

It was rather cloudy this morning so we didn’t get to see much sunrise at all.

This was about it.

All was not lost though. The view from one of the few peaks was breathtaking especially after the sun rose.

Photographers who were initially disappointed with poor shots at dawn were able to snap some good pictures with a bit of help of the sunlight.

The beauty of macro-shooting.

Nice silhouette!

There were certainly more people than I thought!

Some regular hikers. Mind you they were actually meditating, not merely posing for me =p

We were lucky enough to see a few rainbows.

I asked my sis and her friends to pose as if they were hiking and they were very amused by this picture =p

Walking down was tedious in its own way as we have to watch out for some 'flying foxes'.

Notice that little kid

Boy, he was quick! Gave all of us a shock.

Sevvy was so traumatised that she immediately chanted some prayers.

..while my sis did her own 'flying fox' trick =)

How far was the hike? Well, it certainly felt more than 1.7km but 4.8km? hm let us give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, shall we? =)

On we way back, I noticed, located nearby Mr Bronga was the Malaysian Campus of University of Nottingham which I thought was pretty cool though unbelievably inaccessible. How can you not own a car if you were to study here? Location wise, it seems really pale in comparison with Taylors, Inti, Sunway and the like. However, it does give its students a bit more of a campus feel. And it is University of Nottingham at the end of the day. My, just the word ‘Nottingham’ itself reminded me of Hugh Grant.

Beside the campus was a Biotechnology Research Center which provoked a sense of pride towards my country. Innovation… we’ve heard of it countless times. Everyone seems to be slipping this word in their inspirational speeches these days especially following the announcement of the long-awaited New Economic Model by our PM. I wondered how many of research centers like this are there in our country…how developed are much have they contributed. Biotechnology was one of the hyped-up choices of degree during my time, after Information Technology has had its glory days. Have government made good use of our biotechnology graduates? If Kai Xun, Jason, Su Yin, Felix, and other biotechnology graduates were to serve back home, they could be posted here, right here in Semenyih.

Ah…random thoughts. I did sleep in the car after that, while my sis was doing all the driving =p Terima kasih!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Last Few Days in Canberra

On graduation day, I saw Elvin taking pictures on this lavender patch so I've decided to take a last stroll down to ANU.
I couldn't help but to notice how well they bloom in summer.
And as I was away in Melbourne, 3 new sculptures were placed around civic and ANU. This one was easily my favourite not only because of its cuteness, but the story behind it. It's located near the Civic carousel.
On the Staircase, 2005 by Keld Moseholm

"This bronze and cooper sculpture contrasts a series of small human forms with the architectural weight of an oversized staircase. The artwork has a philosophical aspect by reflecting on the effect of reading on the spirit -
the more I read, the smaller I feel.

Launced by Jon Stanhope MLA Chief Minister and Minister for the Arts on 6 October 2009.
The second sculpture is located just a few footsteps away from the first. It originated from a weird Greek myth.
Icarus Series, 2009 by Jan Brown AM

"These four bronze figures are inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Icarus. This in story, Icarus' father, Daedalus, creates wings made from feathers and wax for himself and his son to flee from captivity on the island of Crete. Icarus is warned by his father not to fly too close to the sun or the sea. However, exhilarated by the experience of flight, Icarus flies too high, his waxen wings melt and he falls to his death. Brown's sculpture
encourages sympathy with Icarus' unbridled exuberance and an acceptance of its inevitable tragic consequences."

Launched on 16 December 2009 by Jon Stanhope MLA, Chief Minister and Minister for the Arts and Heritage
This one, many of you may have noticed it during graduation since it's strategically located near street theater cafe. As for as I know, there's no story behind it.
Relic, 2007 by Rick Amor

"Bronze, corten steel base."

Launced on 10 December 2009 by Jon Stanhope MLA Chief Minister and Minister for the Arts and Heritage.
Also, thanks to organiser, Mr Daryl, we last a great time catching up just a day before Winnie and Lyon flew off. Btw, Daryl and Barney raced in Northbourne Ave =p
Just yesterday, attending the ANU pre-dep in Spore reignited the excitement I had during my first year, "What will I see upon landing in Canberra? Who will I meet? What events will ANU organise? etc"
Man, I feel so excited for the newbies! Coincidentally, Winnie upload the unforgettable 1st-year Indian dance =) Ah...I'm so gonna miss uni.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


I just spent a good 3 hours in Newslink, reading about all sorts of things ranging from Tiger Wood's affair to 'Places to eat in Taiping'. There was this book about 'The Worst Invention of Mankind' and 'Karaoke' was surprisingly in the list. Perhaps I should go back and check out the reason.

These couple of years, I realised that I could potentially spend hours in bookshops. It's like I'm in a zone where almost every type of books appeal to me, be it self-help books, fictions, traveling magazines, etc. I remember telling Ann Bell, "I love buying books but would never finish reading them." She found it pretty weird but that sentence still very much describes me.

You see, I may be interested in a particular book when I first saw it but it may eventually lie untouched in my cupboard after being scanned by the cashier. Perhaps I have the ADD thingy that Barney has. My attention diverges too quickly. Thus, it may be best that I just pay a weekly visit to bookshops and flip through all sorts of books.

All books are interesting in their own way, addressing different aspects of our lives and representing the hard work of their respective authors. Unfortunately, their price usually puts potential buyers off. It may also be impractical to keep buying books due to storage issue and the fact that they may not even be re-read.

Yi Sung showed me his e-book about a week ago. I was really impressed by its features and practicality, though Sung said he would miss the sight of his bookshelves should e-book totally eliminates the need to print books in the future. Perhaps some of us would miss the act of flipping pages, the dog ears, bookmarks, etc. These could be some of the things we like about reading and e-book takes away all that.

I think in the future, I'll end up bringing my children to bookshops and let them discover that there's so much to learn and every book is special in its own way.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Candle in the wind

The battle has ended. Just as I was drown with exams and studies, this news hit me hard. It did occur to me once in a while, “What if… she lost?” If you were to time-travel and told me my 4th aunt would only live till the age of 50, I’d say that it’s a cruel statement to make to a lady who was dear to everyone.

I find it hard to believe the hug I gave her last month was the last. The slight recovery she made when I was back home gave me hope, that I could one day see her normal self performing her daily routine and that I could one day, give her one tighter hug. I kept wondering what I would have done differently if I had known of this fact earlier.

Perhaps God has all this while been arranging a brief but merry life for my aunt. For those of you who were lucky enough to meet her, you’d remember how easily she made you feel belonged and how caring she was, even if you were not a close family member. At the end of the day, we’ve all been granted our wish, just in a slightly different way. She is no longer suffering but is no longer with us either.

All is not lost. Throughout her hardship, humanity has shone through her beloved husband, sister, daughter and family members who have been by her side, doing whatever they could to help. I admire them, deeply. Let us hope that she has regained her health and is happy wherever she is. In this trying time, may she guide her children though their exams and be there spiritually for her family who would find it very challenging to carry on living without her parental guidance and love.

To my 4th aunt, you have been an inspiration and will be deeply missed. We love you.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My first radio interview

I've always wanted to hear my own voice in a radio ad, saying,

"My FM, ying yue wu sian, tie xin kong jien. tai ping, 100.2, wo shi yeam"
"988, you sheng you se. tai ping 98.8, wo shi yeam"

And while watching Skyfire last year, I scrolled through as many radio stations as I could to see if there was any Chinese radio station in Canberra. Unfortunately, zero.

Hence, when HL called me last week and said he wanted to do a recorded interview with me on behalf of a Chinese radio station, imagine how excited I was. Aside from the fact that I've never done a radio interview, this would actually be conducted in Mandarin when I could barely string a perfect sentence with it. The topic revolves around uni, cultural shocks, student organisations, plans after uni, Malaysia, and also a bit on relationship. Understandably, everyone is worried about my cannot-make-it mandarin so I was thinking of brushing it up but assignments and exam preparation took up most of my time.

So I was pretty nervous when approaching HL today and prayed hard that he didn't have to pause the recording too frequently as a result of my poor mandarin.

I was greeted by this front desk.

And a familiar face =) Nick actually runs his own programme though I can't remember whether it's a daily or weekly one.

It didn't take me long to realise (from the pictures on the wall) that most of the people operating this radio station were uni students. The main station is located in Melbourne but FM88 just recently branched out to Canberra last May.

While we can't receive signal of this 6-month old radio station in radios, we can still do so online.
The interview lasted for slightly more than an hour. Thankfully, HL didn't have to stop the recording due to my mandarin.

While he was busy editing the interview, I wandered around the station.

admiring the technologies

and capturing as many pictures as I could to remind my future-self of this historic mandarin interview.

I was really tempted to stay for Ellen's interview but it would just make her more nervous =p
Anyways, I'm sure she would do well given that her mandarin is way better. Thanks a lot to HL for the memorable hour! (and stay tune to FM88) =p