Monday, 31 December 2007

O Christmas Tree* - Johnny Cash



I've always had a Christmas tree as far as i can remember. And i've always loved it. Every year as a child i'd look forward to putting up the tree. Without fail, every year me dad would buy new ornaments for the tree. So much so that our tree was just chock-full of ornaments!!!! Some branches also began to give way - partly due to its age (yes, we in M'sia have fake trees which we reuse year after year). But that never stopped me dad from buying new ornaments every year.

As i think back of our old tree groaning under the weight of all the ornaments, i find a wonderful picture of me dad - who gave me something special in me childhood days, and who's love is best depicted by how much he gave and he gave, and he never stopped loving right till the end. In the same way, it reminds me of my heavenly Father who loved us so much that he gave us Jesus.

As i see Christmas trees this year, i see love. I see Jesus. That's the real meaning of Christmas!

p/s - check out me Christmas Tree list here.

*Taken from his album, Country Christmas which was released around 3 years after his death.

Last Christmas* - Wham!

Prologue: OK - better post up m X'mas posts before the year rings in!!!! Dun forget to check out me Christmas Countdown post in me other blog here.

Christmas came and went. It was wonderful, praise God! But not as good as the year before. Dun get me wrong - i dun wanna sound ungrateful but i still can't get over how wonderful last year's Christmas was!!!


I couldn't help but reminisce about wat happened last x'mas - and why it was so special, and will always be the most special one for me.

Back then, just before the x'mas holidays started, i was working at the cafe on campus. This meant that i had my fill - and more - of good old x'mas meals! Yup, i had so much turkey that i got sick of it!!!! The weather then was pretty mild and i used to sit out in the open air enjoying the cold crisp wind, eating me turkey and watching life go by on Square 3.

But no, that's not why x'mas was so special then.

A most memorable event was the Carols on the Square organised by the Christian groups on campus. It was a great time. Everyone loves singing carols!!! And it was my first experience caroling in winter! I had both me hands in me pockets and got someone else to share the carol sheet with me. It ended with some hot snacks - drinks and meat pies!

But no, that's not why x'mas was so special last year.

I had to work on x'mas eve - all the way till x'mas day! But i din really mind. Most of me mates werer back in their home countries. I kinda like going in to town and walking along the streets all decked up with x'mas decos, hearing carols being played, seeing people enjoying the holidays and doing their shopping. Come 12 midnite, it was a most diffrent experience for me too. The restaurant was closed oredi and the cooks prepared a lavish x'mas dinner for us staff - all chinese people. So when the clocks struck 12, we were wishing each other - in Cantonese! "Ah Man, sing tan fai lok!" :-) We had a nice time!

But nope. That too is not the reason why it was so good.

Had a very British x'mas morn too. Went to church for the service and then later was invited by Marcus for an x'mas lunch. Marcus is a brilliant host, as usual. But it was something else that took place during lunch - even he did not know about it. I had a call from back home. And i received the best news ever!!! I just starting shedding tears of joy! It was the best x'mas gift EVER!!!! I remember later that day i was busy texting me mates about the wonderful news and how they all shared with my joy!

And that's why i'll always remember last Christmas.

*The biggest selling single in UK chart history not to hit #1. It peaked at #2 in the Christmas season in 1984. #1 was taken by "Do they know it's Christmas?"

Drive you home* - Garbage



Jamie: It's my favorite time of day, driving you.
Aurelia: [in Portuguese] It's the saddest part of my day, leaving you.

*Taken from their 3rd album, Beautiful Garbage, i only just heard this song - and am liking it a lot!

Call me irresponsible* - Michael Bublé

Moi: So you finally went out wif her...

I was itching for all the juicy details

Me mate: Yeah (nonchalantly)... No biggie.

Moi: C'mon. Spill! Every single detail!!! Muahahaha!

Me mate: Really, it wasn't much. It was alrite.

I waited in silence for more...

Me mate: I really dun know, man... I mean, she's nice and all...

Pregnant pause

Moi: But....??????

Me mate: Well, there was no chemistry. Ok. Very little.

Moi: What the heck were you expecting? Heavens opened and heavenly hosts breaking out into hallelujah choruses????

Me mate: No la... but honestly, i dun think she's the one for me.

Moi: Oooo... so you were considering her!

Me mate: Yeah - that i dun deny. But now i'm having doubts.

Moi: Man, you're complicated. She's nice, isn't she? And she's kinda hot too!

Me mate: Yes, yes, without a doubt! But there has got to be more than that!

Moi: What more do you want?

Me mate: Like how i feel when i'm with Kelly...

Moi: No, no, no, no, no, no, no....

Me mate: wha...?

Moi: ...no, no, no. And NO!!!!

Me mate: I knew you'd react that way.

Moi: Of course i'll react that way! You know how i feel bout her!

Me mate: Hey - she's a wonderful person, k?

Moi: I'm sure she is - but she is off limits to you!!!!

Me mate: Watever...

Moi: Look, mate. I'm serious here...

Me mate: Ok, ok, ok.

*Silence*

Me mate: Is this the story of my life? The one i'm not interested is right there for me. The one i'm interested in, i'm not allowed to go after her.

I din know wat to say so the silence resumed.

Me mate: But i feel soooo alive when i'm with her...

I nodded sympathetically

Me mate: And she makes me laugh!!!! and i just love that mischievous glint in her eyes whenever she's... she's....

Moi: I know. i know her too. Prolly just as well as you know her. I love that mischievous streak in her too. But you know very well that nothing you start wif her will end well. We've been thru this before...

Me mate: Yes, yes, yes! Arrgghhh!!!! I must vote you to be most likely to be the voice of reason... whenever i dun wanna hear it!

Moi: Sori, mate...

Me mate: No, it's O-K. I know you mean well. I do. It's just...

Moi: What?

Me mate: Wouldn't it be nice if i could just stop being reasonable and be impulsive - throw caution to the wind, and just live for the moment? Can't i just be irresponsible???

Moi: Of course it would - but eventually, you'll have to hit reality again. I mean, really hit reality. Then is it worth it all in the end?

No reply meant that he agreed.

Me mate: Maybe it's the forbidden...

Moi: ...fruit syndrome - theory - reasoning. Watever. The fact that she's off limits makes her all the more attractive, isn't it? Just like Eve having all the fruits in the garden but yet she longed for the one that she was not to eat. Do you think she enjoyed it? And even if she did, how long did that feeling last? Do you not think that she prolly regretted it for the rest of her life - which mind you, was a really, really long time!

Me mate: I hate you.

Moi: Yeah, i love you too, mate!

Names changed to protect identity

*The title song of his album of the same name. Perhaps the most famous version is by Frank Sinatra. The song also won an Oscar way back in 1963.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

The trouble with love is* - Kelly Clarkson



Love can be a many splendored thing
Can't deny the joy it brings
A dozen roses, diamond rings
Dreams for sale and fairy tales
It'll make you hear a symphony
And you just want the world to see
But like a drug that makes you blind,
It'll fool ya every time

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
It's stronger than your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn't care how fast you fall
And you can't refuse the call
See, you got no say at all

Now I was once a fool, it's true
I played the game by all the rules
But now my world's a deeper blue
I'm sadder, but I'm wiser too
I swore I'd never love again
I swore my heart would never mend
Said love wasn't worth the pain
But then I hear it call my name

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
It's stronger than your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn't care how fast you fall
And you can't refuse the call
See, you got no say at all

Every time I turn around
I think I've got it all figured out
My heart keeps callin' and I keep on fallin'
Over and over again
This sad story always ends the same
Me standin' in the pourin' rain
It seems no matter what I do
It tears my heart in two

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
It's stronger than your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn't care how fast you fall
And you can't refuse the call
See, you got no say at all

(Kelly Clarkson, Evan Rogers, and Carl Sturken)

*The final single from her full length debut album which basically flopped. It was featured in the soundtrack of "Love, Actually".

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Can't make you love me* - Britney Spears

And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space!

Iris (from the movie, The Holiday)

*One of her lessor known songs from her "Oops!... I did it again" album.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Twelve days of Christmas* - John Denver and the Muppets

So far, this has to be the carol of the season for me!

I've always been fascinated with this carol ever since i was a wee little boy. I loved the way how the song counts down with so many different gifts - and the change of tune during the 5th day to break the monotony.

This song first surfaced this year when i was teaching me Criminal Law students about this landmark case where there were 10 Lords of Appeals sitting - and i was like, "10 Lords of Appeal - hhmmm... sounds like a line from the 12 Days of Christmas". And just like my every other joke i make, many din have a clue at wat i was talking about!!!

Anyways, we were going back home from Jeram Besu the other day when this new version of this carol came on. I was trying hard to decide if i was more irritated or amused at it. Unfortunately, we din get to learn the artist's name.

The part of the song that goes "On the ___ day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." was sung in the traditional slow manner. Then the remaining of the line describing the gift was sung in hard rock style with distorted guitars rifts and drums and all!!! The really cool part was the "5 gold rings" part. Each time it came to that part, it was done in a different manner - 12 different styles. Cool. On one occasion, it was replaced with the refrain from "Frosty the Snowman"!!!!

I concluded that i enjoyed it but if i heard it again, it'd be tedious.

The funny thing was that a couple of hours later, i heard another version of it - the John Denver version with the Muppets!!!

And that wasn't the end of it - still another hours later, i heard the best of the lot - it was brought to me attention by one of me students. And i absolutely love it!!!! :-)

Here it is - trust me, it's worth the wait to listen to it (if you have slow internet connection):-



*Apparently, John Denver appeared with the Muppets in a Christmas TV Special in 1979. But i dun know if they sang this during the show or not.

For your eyes only* - Sheena Easton

Here are 2 letters i sent to The Star. Somehow, i doubt they'll get to see the light of day so i'll reproduce them here:-

Who threw the brick???

I was shocked when I read the article, "Charge Dropped" reported on the front page of your newspaper dated 18 December 2007. It was because the reason given was that the AG did not know "...who threw the brick which injured policeman Dadi Abdul Ghani". This means that it is essential for the prosecution's case to show who was the one who threw the brick. It also mean that it is so essential that without such knowledge, "the fairest thing to do" is to discontinue the charge.

The question that begs to be asked then was why then were the 31 charged initially for attempted murder (an offense which prevents them from being released on bail) when the AG did not know who threw the brick? Does this mean that it is possible for the prosecution to charge citizens in court without having any evidence/proof that the accused actually committed the actual act of the crime?

I always thought that the police and the prosecution would have completed their investigations and have the evidence and proof needed to support their case before charging anyone in Court. It is scary to think that one may be charged for an offense where the prosecution does not know if he/she actually committed the act. Where will the evidence come from?

And the second one:-
I am a little confused after reading the article, "Samy Vellu happy murder bid charge against 31 dropped" reported in your newspaper on 18 December 2007. In particular, the relevant part of the article which causes me confusion is as follows:-

"I am very happy the courts freed some of the detainees of all charges while bail was given to the other detainees," he said in a statement.

"He (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) has shown his caring nature and responsibility as a prime minister for all races," he added.

This seems to imply that the Prime Minister has a part to play in the court freeing the detainees which granting bail to others. Surely that is not right?
*From the movie of the same title, this was the only Bond song to feature the singer is actually seen singing it during the credits!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

One more chance* - Madonna

It's the X'mas hols!!! Feeble cheers...

No, dun get me wrong. I dun know who were happier - me students or me, when we finished our last lectures for the semester. It's just that there is so much to do in these 3 weeks that it's not much of a holiday for me. I prolly have to cancel me plans to go down to Singapore next week - to help me students with a moot competition next year. Oh well...

The end of the term usually is the time when people look back - especially if the end of the term coincides with the end of the year too. Was spending some time looking thru some students' blogs. The year 2s were looking back at their full year together. The year 1s were reminiscing the few months they had shared. I feel so happy for them - and very envious, of course. They have their whole lives ahead of them - and i believe the best is yet to come. Wait til they go over to UK and live together, travel together, discover themselves... together! I just wish i could turn back the clock and join them! :-)

To me, the best times of one's life surely has to be the student days - and if one had the privilege, student life in Uni.

Someone was rebuking me the other day for always looking back to me Uni days, longing to be back there again. It doesn't speak very well of the people in me life now, she said.

Dun get me wrong - being back home has been a blast! I've had wonderful mates around me. Sure, you begin to realise who yr real frens are - and altho i'm sad to discover who are not me frens, i've been blessed wif so many true frens. God indeed has been good.

Work is just getting better and better! I'm bonding well wif me colleagues and hanging out wif me students. I love wat i'm doing.

But yes, i confess - i still long for those days. At times - more often than i would like - I still wish i wasn't back home. But before you judge me, hear me out. I have reasons for feeling that way.

And yes, one of the reason is that i long for those good ol' days again, when i can be a carefree student once more. Like the advert for the toy shop goes, i dun wanna grow up! Can i not be like Peter Pan and live young and free in Neverland?

Still, having said that, i acknowledge that i've been privileged - more than most. I have had 2 bites at the cherry. I had a blast during me undergraduate days. And recently, i got to relive it again albeit as a post-graduate. And i'm thankful. Perhaps it is finally time for me to grow up?

In any event, this is not the main reason why i hate being back home. The main reason? Well, that's another story for another day.

For now, let me live vicariously thru me students' experiences and reminisce of the good old times. :-)


Undergraduate days (i shud try to scan more pics in - yeah, it was that long ago and we din have digicams back then!!! Just the other day, i had a blast of a time wif an old mate as we looked thru our old photos - and laugh at our hair and clothes(!) and the good old days!



Post-graduate days


*This is a little known song of hers - i dun think it was even released as a single. But i love it - just vocals and guitars at first, with a cello coming in later.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Rhythm is gonna get you* - Gloria Estefan

I enjoyed the choir prac last nite. There's something about being on stage that makes one feel so alive. Well, at least that's wat it does to me. unfortunately, the same cant be said about some people in the choir.

It just leaves me speechless how one can be singing on stage an upbeat and joyful song, and yet remain emotionless and absolutely static!!!!

I guess everyone is created differently? If that is so, that explains why i find it hard to understand how one can listen to music and remain unmoved, both emotionally and physically. It leaves me flummoxed. Yes, i'm the kind who looks like an idiot when stuck in me car in a traffic jam - my head will be bobbing to the music like a drunk pigeon. People will see me mouth open and close like a goldfish as i sing me heart out. Other times, i have to wipe tears from eyes - or even pull over to avoid having an accident.

So back to the prac we had last nite - so fun! For the few of us at back at least. We finally added some movements (not choreography) during an uptempo song. Inspired by our "movement director", me mate and i were the only 2 at the back, dancing with one hand in the air, spinning round high on the wooden platform we were standing on - i think much to the chagrin of the church deacon overseeing us!!!

Maybe that's another reason why some members are so "stone" - we are after all Asians, and Christians - brethren, even - one of the most conservative denominations!!! Dancing? How dare they!!!!! I remember many many years ago, a few of us were hauled-up by a church leader for being involved in some harmless dancing during a birthday party of one of the youth leaders.

It was as if indulging in an activity like that would make us all lose our Christian identity, and lead us all down the path of the pagans...

At least i'm glad to say that such sentiments are not voiced so loudly these days. Leaders getting mellow? i for one believe that music was created to let us express ourselves - emotionally, spiritually AND physically.

On top of all that, it is fun!!! Some of the best memories i have of me life in Essex includes that nite when me flatmates and i danced the nite away on the kitchen benches (the ceiling was too low for us to dance on the tables), and another nite (early hours of the morning, actually) when i danced for joy alone in the streets! Those were the days... :-)



Yes, i love moving to music. And yes, i still intend to take dance lessons. If only i can find the time...

At the very least, it is very therapeutic. If you dun believe me, you shud try it sometimes.

Sadness is easier because its surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free.
Kirsten Dunst character in Elizabethtown

*From her multi-platinum album released in the late eighties, this song hit #5 in the US Pop chart. Who can forget the infectious "Oh eh, oh eh; oh eh oo ah" start to the song and remain still?

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer* - Jewel

"So have you started your Christmas shopping?" me mate asked me over teh tarik yesterday.

What X'mas shopping? We need money for things like that, rite?

But i did go and look for some goodies for me students the other day, seeing that yesterday was the last of term and we're on X'mas break now - Woo hoo!!!

I wasn't sure wat i was gonna get - something cheap(!). Prolly some chocs. But the moment i walked into Cold Storage and saw it, i knew i had to get it.

I got this:-



It's so cool!!! And it was just nice for me 15 students in me Family Law class (yeah, the Year 1s had to settle for normal candy canes - look at it this way, they'll get to spend another X'mas with me next year).

So this candy cane pack thingy came wif 16 canes, 16 fluffy red noses and 32 "eyes" wif some bendy wriggly green thingies as antlers!



So in between preparing for their last lecture, i was busy glueing on the eyes and noses!



So it was X'mas gifts distribution yesterday. More than once, someone commented that i was like Santa, dressed in red (and green tie), going round distributing candy canes! Hey, i felt some X'mas in the air! Finally! :-)

So, that's it. The end of me first semester. What a brilliant time! Truly am so thankful to God. While i'm so so glad to finally get some sleep (proper sleep - not 2 hour cat naps here and there), i must say that i'm beginning to miss me students!

At least i'll be playing futsal wif some of them later! :-)

*I love her version! It's a capella!!! On a side note, some students were trying to guess wat was my "Christian" name and when i told them that it has something to do with X'mas, one suggested "Rudolph"!!!! She then went on to "Frosty". What the...??

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Sorry seems to be the hardest word* - Blue and Elton John

So me mate is mad at me for something i did. What shall i do????

Hhmmm..... got it! I'll just make light about the whole matter, joke bout it, laugh over it and make silly remarks regarding it!

*Later*

OK. That din work too well, did it? What else can i do????

Yes! I'll threaten to commit suicide if he still feels mad at me. That shud work!

*Much later*

He din seem seem to find that amusing either. What is his problem?????

OK. Here's the new game plan - i'll spread the word round among his frens, making it seem to them that he is being totally unreasonable. Maybe tt'll embarrass him sufficiently and he'll forget about the whole matter.

*Much, much later*

Dang. He told his frens the truth and they agree that they'd be mad too if they were in his position.

So how now? Maybe it's just best if i pretend that i din do anything to him. Maybe he'll just forget about it one day and then things will be alrite then.

Maybe not... but what the heck la! What's his freaking problem anyways???? Does he think he's the only fren i have? Why is it that i have to be the one doing everything??? What more can you ask me to do????

*No. 1 in the UK and in Europe for many weeks back in summer of 2002, it's their second single from their second album.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas* - Johnny Mathis

Excerpt of a letter from a fren in London:-

"Yesterday and today there has been a white frost on the shed roofs, very much in keeping with the Season."
Wish i'm there...


Frost over the grounds of UoE (November '05)


Frost on the bolts (of the dividers by the highway) - Christmas '05

*He recorded this in 197 but it wasn't heard often until it was featured in the movie Home Alone 2. Now where did i put that show? It's time to watch all them X'mas shows now!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Endless Summer Nights* - Richard Marx

This is such big news - in the footie world - that i just have to blog about it, even tho it may be old news by now.

Yup, we all know who are the people who are gonna get endless summer nites next year - kept wide awake wondering how in the world they are not playing in the Euro Championship 2008, feeling the pain and the shame. So much so that the millions they have in their bank accounts and the expensive cars parked in their huge garages are not enough to ease the pain. Why, they are David Beckham and his teammates.

I'm just so so surprised at how many people - whom i assumed to be England fans - were rejoicing at the fact tt England will not be in the Euro Championship 2008!!!! I'm one of them too. Of course me Brit mates are all in mourning - but i'm sure most of them, when viewing it objectively will have to agree that this is prolly a good thing to have happened to English football now.

So England is out. But why are so many people happy about it?

Well, i think it has a lot to do with frustration. For far too long, England has promised much but delivered little. Looking at the team, one can see names of big... no, huge stars of the EPL who week in and out produced scintillating footie for all to watch. But when they come on to the international stage, they appear like a deer caught in the headlights, running around like headless chickens and appearing more lost than Sawyer et al.

It has been like this for too long. It was to no one's surprise that they failed at the World Cup in 2006. It was no surprise that they had to struggle to make it into the pass few World Cups! It was like the script is written and they go thru it like zombies.

So i think the patience we have had has worn out. Enough is enough. They deserved not to be in the competition come next year. They are paid millions of pounds but yet continue to disappoint us. Is it any wonder why we are all so glad?

No, we are not fair-weathered fans. If they had performed well and given their best and still lost, would we not all stand by them proudly? Compare the situation with Northern Ireland and Scotland - they are out also but they do so with their pride intact and their heads held high - and their fans firmly behind them.

If they had managed to scrap thru to the Euro finals competition nx year, all their under-performing would be forgotten. The problems will be swept conveniently under the rug for another 2 years or so. So as a true fan, i am glad this happened - they need a wake up call. They need to hurt so that they'd buck up. I can only see good coming out from this defeat. The shame and the pain is not gonna be easily forgotten or shrugged off. It'll stay for a while. It'l return with a vengeance come next summer when the competition starts. It'll be a source of motivation to do better.

As it is, the good is already taking place. The coach is finally sacked. Perhaps now they'll get a real coach (no pun intended - me not a capello fan). A coach who has actually tasted success in the international scene (not one who hasn't even been close in the domestic one!) and knows what to do when the chips are against them. A coach who does not fear nor recognise egos but picks his team based on what is needed to win.

It remains to be seen. When the previous coach left, it was just a case of out of the frying pan but into the fire. Now that they've languished in the fire for a while, where will they end up? Can it get any worse?

I shudder to think.

p/s - pic taken from BBC News Online

*His 3rd single from his debut album released sometime in the late 80s.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Mood swings* - Debbie Gibson

It was one of the better days.

I thought the class went pretty alrite. One of the rare moments when i was satisfied wif me own "performance".

Thereafter, i was running on pure adrenalin (and on some pretty darn good pineapple tarts!). It was one thing after another, culminating in me taking the place of another lecturer to judge a moot.

We had fun, we were stressed, we threatened to kill each other at least once - well, i threatened at least once! We laughed a lot, and cringed even more. When it was finally over, i felt this sense of overwhelming pride - at those who worked with super(wo)men strength, at those who showed their brilliance, at those who lived up to their abilities, at everyone who showed that they can stand up and be counted. There was the relief that it was finally over - and the usual feeling of emptiness that follows it.

Oh, and i oso got to take some pics! :-)

But the day was not over. The memorial service in the evening brought soberness and perspective to everything. It brought tears. It brought smiles. It brought a reminder of the hope and joy that awaits us all. It brought warmth in my heart as i think if Jit, in his usual friendly and warm way, with that trademark disarming grin on his face, meeting dad in heaven, sharing notes on how simply it is to be freed from the pains of this human shell and be in God's presence forever.

It also gave me a chance to catch up with people whom i normally won't meet - except when someone dies.

The day ended with a brilliant supper among close frens and a much longed-for hot shower when i finally crept into me house after midnite.

And despite just having less than 3 hours of sleep before a full long day, i did not feel tired. Maybe it was just passed my bedtime.

Yet, when the excitement had all died down, when the laughter and tears had subsided, when the mellowness of the wee hours of the morning starts creeping in, there is this strange feeling of dissatisfaction. Strange, since it was one of the better days. Strange, since i couldn't have asked for more. But after all that has been said and done, i still long... yearn for something else. To be somewhere else. To be with someone else - or more precisely, some other people. Strange, since i'm in my house but i dun feel like i'm home...



*One of my fav songs of hers, taken from her
Anything is Possible album

Monday, 12 November 2007

Let's run away* - Debbie Gibson
















Anyone wanna come along?

*The last track from her Think with your heart album.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Star* - Bryan Adams



I can't really say why i love this movie. I doubt if it'll ever come near to the all time fav movies of mine. It was entertaining for sure. The cast was good - from Bob De Niro to Michelle Pfeiffer, to the hilarious Ricky Gervais, Mark Strong, relatively new Charlie Cox and a delightful Rupert Everett. Good special effects too.

But what made it stand out from the rest these days can surely be attributed to 2 factors. The first was the surprisingly brilliant performance by Claire Danes.



Yes, there was something about the way how she glowed - no, not the special effects but how she really literally glowed! Even without the special effects, one could see it in her expression, from a frustrated and scared fallen star to a girl in love.

And her lines - really love them. Here are some:-

There are shop boys, and there are boys that just happened to work in a shop for the time being.

Hmm... Murdered by pirates, a heart torn out and eaten, meet Victoria... Can't quite decide which sounds more fun...

You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no fits. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.

I read that Sarah Michelle Gellar was asked first to take the role of Yvaine. But in spite of how big a Buffy fan i am, i can say that i'm quite glad Claire Danes got the role.

The other thing about the movie is the fantasy fairy tale nature of it. New worlds, beautiful sights, plurality of characters, endless adventures. A tale of being in a place but knowing that you really belong somewhere else.

Maybe that's how i feel now - and altho i haven't found my "happily ever after" ending, i could live vicariously off the characters on screen... at least for those few sweet minutes in a darkened cinema.

*A song used in the movie Jack, starring Robin Williams.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

We didn't start the fire* - Billy Joel

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes day! I forgot!!!! Can't believe it passed me by without me realising it. Was reminded of it when i took time today to read some of me mates' blogs.

It'll always bring back memories...

...memories of wondering why the kids are walking around the streets carrying a dummy - an effigy of someone...

...memories of a life time ago when a group of us walked home late at nite from the carnival, kicking the dry leaves strewn all over the ground, enjoying the cold of autumn and the fireworks spectacle in the skies...

...memories of gazing out of me 11th floor window all nite, seeing the brilliant colours of the fireworks, near and far, lighting up the skies...

...memories of an EasyJet flight back to London from Paris, where a heavy and worrisome heart was lifted by the sight of fireworks going off below us, above London...

...memories of sitting all alone in the Paris airport - where there was this guy - ears plugged wif headphones from his MP3 player - had tears streaming down his face. A grown man, openly crying in a public place. Yet, there was this strange look on his tears-streaked face - a mixture of pain and joy. It was like he was leaving Paris, and leaving something - or someone extremely special. The thought of that someone brought joy, but the thought of leaving brought pain... Or did i just imagine it all?

*A number 1 song (in the US) which makes reference to historical events during his lifetime.

Waiting for Wednesday* - Lisa Loeb and the 9 Stories

Wednesdays are my movie days!!! With discounted price, i make it a point to catch a movie a week. It's something i used to do b4 i went over to the UK, and now i'm back, i've resumed the said practice!

However, wif the amount of work i have these days, it's a shocker (to me close mates) that i've not watched a movie in the local cinemas since... Resident Evil: Extinction!!!

So it was wif some relish when we broke for a couple or more days break recently - and i decided to catch some movies wif a vengeance!!!! i watched 3 show back to back - that's the same number of movies i watched while i was living in Colchester!!!!

I decided on a mixed bag of shows, so i chose 1408 (a last minute decision, taking the place of 30 Days of Nights which i guess will still be playing longer than 1408), Stardust and Shoot Em Up! I have everything - horror, fantasy, action, love, comedy, great actors and actresses. Yup, it was satisfying indeed - and for the first time in a long while, i stopped thinking about Criminal Law/Family Law for a few hours!!!!

Just a quickie review - 1408 wasn't as good a i thought it'd be. It was entertaining but not scary enuf. Still, it had John Cusack!!! Shoot Em Up was exactly wat i expected - and i still laugh at those local-movie-reviewers-political journalist wannabe/rejects who not only berate the movie but insult those (like moi! :-)) who enjoyed it!!! It's so sad that they are so stuffed-up that they just failed to see that the movie is not to be taken seriously. It would take an absolute fool to take it so and complain about the reality and the lack of a plausible plot. This over-the-top at its highest!!!!

Stardust? Brilliant! Good enuf to warrant a separate post by itself!

The main disappointment was the lack of trailers. In fact, i din get to see any trailers at all!!!! Maybe it's cuz i was running from one cinema hall to another and i missed it all. But i did catch some pretty good commercials.

The first is a really old Carlsberg ad - but new to me. How i know its old? It's got Cisse on it!!!!!! Check it out:-



And my fav ad at this point of time - you've prolly seen it numerous times too. I really like it:-



*Taken from her album, Tails, it is the highest charting song in the Billboard Top 100 chart with the word "Wednesday" in its title!!!! Now, that's trivia! ;-P

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Cry for help* - Rick Astley

Channel 10 newsreader Charmaine Dragun was successful, intelligent, talented and popular.

The 29-year-old seemed to have it all - a loving family, a long-term relationship and a stellar career as a prime-time news anchor.

Yet on Friday the "beautiful and bubbly" Dragun jumped to her death at The Gap - a notorious suicide spot in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

(read the whole report here)

When i read about her suicide a couple of days ago (from the report
here), i felt rather troubled. There were 2 things which disturbed me.

The first was the thought of how many people are like Charmaine Dragun - and how many of those will follow the unfortunate path that she chose.

It just goes to show how some people can be so good at putting up a facade, having a mask on all the time, when behind it tears flow and pain reside. Success and popularity can never bring contentment and satisfaction.

More often than not, we see the swan gliding effortlessly and gracefully along the surface of the water - we never see how it is kicking furiously and at times, frantically below the surface just to keep afloat and keep moving.

It is so sad that whatever was getting her down was so great that it literally pushed her over the edge.

How much do we need a reason to live, a purpose in our lives.

The second which disturbed me was the report of her "friends" who have now all come forward to speak well of her. They talk now of her brave battle with depression. My question is where were they when she finally caved in? If they knew of her serious depression, why did they not do something more? Get hep for her? Make sure she doesn't wander off to suicide areas on her own? Don't we all owe it to our friends to be there for them, esp in time of need? Isn't it too late now to talk about how she was "determined not to let (the depression) to control her" when it clear now that it did?

One of her colleagues (not one of those "friends") was quoted saying "No one had any idea how sad she must have been. People are now wondering if we should have taken more interest in what was going on in her life."

Is there anyone that we need to take more interest in their lives today? It's scary to think of what may happen if we failed to make that effort and time just to find out how someone is doing. I've gotta keep reminding meself of that - and maybe if we spend more time and interest in other people, we may just be able to hear their cry for help before its too late.


*His last major hit, it featured a gospel choir arranged by Andraé Crouch.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Bell bottom blues* - Derek and the Dominoes



I must admit that it was with some reluctance that i dragged meself out of bed and got ready to go for the above annual dinner. After all, being in the Law Programme, i only get to work wif very limited number of staff on campus and in the short span of time being there, i haven't really gotten close to anyone.

And when i arrived and checked out the pre-dinner activities, it appeared like me fears were confirmed. I found the activities to be pretty lame!!!! It was like some "Canteen Day" thingy with games like pin the horn on the cow (or watever animal it was), throwing hoops, magnetic fishing, darts and the best - knocking nails into a wooden chopping board. Still, i must admit that it was kinda fun seeing a bunch of adults behaving like teenagers and just having a good time. After all, tt's wat it's all about isn't it?

I wouldn't know since this was my first experience at an annual dinner of a huge corporation (my previous company's annual dinners will usually take up at most 2 tables!!! If we have one...).

But as the nite went on, i found meself enjoying it a little - yes, i confess!!!! The music played all nite long were the kind i'd listen to growing up - The Beatles, Queen, Phil Collins and all the songs from th disco era! :-)

2 things really made it a nite to remember for me - and no, neither of it is the fact that i won a 32" Phillips flat screen TV during the lucky draw!!! ;-)

The first was the dance competition. I must say it was truly enjoyable. Some tried really hard and you have to give credit to them for their efforts. Others - in particular, the first team were bloody good!!!! Unfortunately, they lost out to another team which really put in the extra effort like having 3 change of costumes during their performance. What really made my nite were the names they gave themselves. Like the winning team was called "The ThunderButt Sisters"!!!! But the one that cracked up - and still is cracking me up now is the team that called themselves "The BOOGERS"!!!!!!!!!

I really think that they thought that those who boogie are called boogers!!!!!! Well, maybe they din think so and the name was all in good fun. NOT!!!!!

The BOOGERS!!!! Rtflol!!!!!

The second event was the presentation for long-term service and excellence awards. As i sat there watching these people take their prizes, i watch wif some level of respect at how some people can stay loyal to one place for so many years. Some had been teaching for 25 years!!!! Will i have such a staying power? Such commitment? And as i clapped for those who received rewards for excellence, i wondered if i'll ever be good enuf to be recognised as such...

But after more thought about it, i decided that the true recognition will come, not with an award of a trophy and 600 quid in front of me peers, but rather, from me students. It has been my prayer from day 1 that somehow, i can make a small difference in their lives for good. As i struggle daily to even prepare my lessons, i must admit there is always the constant fear of letting them down, of not being good enuf, of killing off their interest and enthusiasm if i dun do it right.

There have been really good days and not so good ones. I thank God for one such as yesterday where i thought the class went pretty well. And on top of that, just sitting around wif a couple of me students after class hours, talking and sharing and just connecting with them - well, those are priceless moments for me.

I'm still taking baby steps into this whole new world - but someday, i hope that i will receive some confirmation that i did play a positive part in their lives.

I'll just end off with one of the most brilliant scenes in modern cinema - perhaps a scene which played big role in me ending up where i am today. It never fails to leave me wif dry eyes each time i see it - altho if you din watch the movie, you may be wondering wats it all about!!!!. If any of you wanna watch it, you can come over to me house and we can watch it on me spanking brand new 32" flat screen TV! Muahahahaha!!!!!



*Written by Eric Clapton, it featured only him on the guitars. This was a song about a girl he dated but she couldn't speak English so he had to depend on an interpretor. He performed this song again in his Royal Albert Hall concert accompanied by an orchestra! Wonderful!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

One fine day* - Natalie Merchant

What a wonderful day!!! When i woke up, the sun was peeking out thru the clouds, marking the end of a very extremely wet Monday!

Then, as one of me mates love to say in typical Malaysian manner - "Started la"! As i was walking away from me house, i realised i din have me belt on. Go back. Upon reaching office, i discovered to my horror that my pen drive is still stuck in my laptop at home!!!!!!

Had to rush home to go get it as me lecture slides and some video clips (which i stayed up til 5 am preparing) were all in it.

Managed to get back on time, tho, thanks to Weng Soon (cheers, mate). Needed water and coffee. Couldn't get neither as there was no water in the staffroom. Rushed to the lecture theatre only to discover that the LCD projector decided to give up on me.

Tried to drink from the nearby water-cooler only to find that it wasn't working.

Had to find another lecture theatre which was available. Moved everyone to LT3 only to discover that some engineering students were having some presentations and kept us out for a bit.

When i got in, i realised that LT3 only allows me to use either the LCD screen or the white board, not like LT7. I needed to use both so had to improvise.

Then, i discovered that the sound was not coming out from the speakers - so din get to show the video clip in the end.

As you can imagine, by then, i wasn't at my best to deliver any lectures. Felt like i did a bad job.

It started to rain again and it began to start freezing in me room. I knew it then that i'm falling sick.

I'm sick now - but still have to prepare for tomorrow's lectures. Doctor told me not to be a hero. But there's so much to cover for Criminal Law and as it is, we have lost a few lectures due to holidays and other activities and will lose another full week come Deepavali next month.

On top of all that, still hurting over England's loss last weekend at paris and Hamilton losing by one point at Brazil. At least Alonso din win... And peeved at the fact that a fren tried to set me up wif a psychopathic girl knowingly!!!!!

Oh well... we all have one of them days like these, dun we? Hopefully, i've used up my quota for the year. Or for the decade!!!

Anyways, it could be worse, rite? And i can think of many blessings to be thankful for.

*Taken from the soundtrack of the movie with the same name, starring George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Words get in the way* - Jewel

Like sleeping but not resting,
Like hurting but not crying,
Like eating but not tasting,
Like singing in tune but out of beat,
Like a sunrise with the clouds blocking the sun,
Like a rose without its smell,
Like seeing your photo, but not being able to touch you
Like being happy but not joyful,
Like letting go but not forgetting

Could this be the beginning of the end? For this blog, i mean.

I look back at the past few posts and even i find this blog to be getting a tad bit boring. Ok, maybe more than a tad bit?

All i have done is just linked some news report, or reproduced some cheesy lyrics of some old song, posted up some pics, talked about a book which no one is prolly reading these days and gave some abrupt updates on my less than happening life.

It's not like i dowan to blog. But when i do, i find that i can't. It's not that i have nothing to say. On the contrary... but yet, words fail me.

I could say that my lessons preparation have taken up all my time and energy.

I could blame Facebook.

Maybe it's cuz of the fact that students are reading this blog now. Or maybe i'm afraid more people would take my words and twist it around. Maybe i'm scared i may hurt people i care with my honesty. Maybe this blog should be renamed "Truly Madly..." and i leave all those things deep inside where they are. But i should let them out, shouldn't i? Well, i did start a new blog which up till now is still postless.

Maybe its just a phase...

*Track #7 from her last album, going back to her folk acoustic roots.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Red hot* - Debbie Gibson

Man, what a derby it was!!! It just sparked to life in the second half. And when it did, what an adrenalin rush it was. The drama, the baffling substitutions, the high-flying tackles, the yellow and red cards, the many chances!!!

At the end, all that mattered was how one Dutch man performed when the responsibility fell on him. Only one word can describe Dirk Kuyt - bottle!!!! He's got it. Loads of it!

For someone who has not scored in the Premiership since April, it really took a lot for him to take the penalty kick! In a Merseyside Derby!!! When Liverpool was down by one goal!!!!! I cannot begin to imagine the pressure that could have been upon his shoulders.

But he did it. Twice!!!! The second after a very unsportsmanlike act by Phil Neville who denied Lucas a Premiership debut goal.



It was however a grim reminder that Liverpool has not been winning many games - which made this win - altho on its own, as a merseyside derby, a very sweet win - even more the sweeter. What is sad is that altho this was a win, they dun look convincing enuf to (re)launch their Premiership title challenge.

Maybe once Torres, Agger and Alonso returns, things might get better. And once Gerrard gets shoved back to the right side of midfield (see this article).

Well, here's hoping that this is the start of a good sports weekend - with the Rugby finals later and the Brazilian GP tomorrow.

p/s - one thing which struck me about the game were the pre-match scenes around the stadium b4 the game. The Merseyside derbies are such special events as the city of Liverpool is suddenly divided into the blues and the reds. Husbands and wives could find themselves in different colours. Work mates and neighbours will be rooting for opposition teams. Yet, in spite of it all, there is nothing personal in it. This was reflected by a shot on 5 blokes in the stands - 3 in Liverpool colours while the other 2 in blue - how they were fooling around with each other, obviously being best of mates, so unlike international games or even other EPL matches when supporters in different colours will be separated. Thruout the game, the camera kept on going back to the 5, and those in blue and those in red were taking turns smiling and sulking - but they were together thru the whole game. Nice.

*Track #5 from her debut album, Out of the blue.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Don't be cruel* - Cheap Trick

Cruel. Inhumane. Despicable.

These are the words used to describe the former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor, a police officer and the Government of Malaysia.

Despicable. Shameful. Disgrace. An extremely bad example. That's what the said former IGP is, according to the High Court of Malaysia.

The government of Malaysia has been found to have unlawfully detained an innocent man, and subjected him to "a vile assault, unspeakable humiliation, prolonged physical and mental ill-treatment". There has been a gross abuse of power.

Read the news report here.

I just wonder how long will it be before the senior Judges in the Court of Appeal or Federal Court overrules this decision and criticise the High Court Judge.

But let us just enjoy the fact that justice is done. For now.

*Their remake of Elvis' classic which went on to hit #4 in the US way back in 1988.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

A smile like yours* - Natalie Cole

Thought I'd seen everything there was to see in this world
Now I'm not so sure I've really seen anything at all
I thought life could show me no surprises
And then you came and showed me I was wrong

I thought I'd been everywhere
I've climbed a mountain so high, sailed the sea, crossed the sky
And still I was nowhere at all, until that day, oh, you came to my senses
And your smile, it made sense out of it all,

I have seen the bluest skies,
Rainbows that would make you cry,
I have seen miracles that moved my soul,
Days that changed my life,
I have seen the brightest stars shine like diamonds in the dark
Seen all the wonders of the world,
But I've never seen a smile as beautiful as yours


Diane Warren

*Taken from the movie of the same name.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

This time next year* - cast of Sunset Boulevard

October the 17th. What can i say? Life has been interesting for me.

This time in 2003, i was a partner in a law firm in Selangor, Malaysia.

This time in 2004, i was unemployed, just bumming around.

This time in 2005, i was just settling in to life as a post-grad student at UoE.

This time in 2006, i was in London, looking for a job.

Today, i'm a lecturer in a private University here in Subang Jaya.

This time next year? Chances are, i'll still be a lecturer... but i won't put any money on that!

*The last song before the intermission, the cast were celebrating New Year's Eve. Love this musical!

The nicest kids in town* - James Marsden & cast of Hairspray

It's 2 am. M'sian time.

I just read mails from mates in China and India, got a growing gift on Facebook from a Korean fren and heard from another mate (who is in Sudan now!!!). Someone else was pretty pissed off at something which i blogged about - it was just an observation i made and now, i'm the horrible judgmental person.

Wat-e-va...

You know what i love about my job? It feels like i'm back in Uni again!!! I eat close to midnite and then i work until the wee hours of the morning, reading law books, cases and articles. Dun think i'll get much sleep b4 rushing off to class later. So as i sit here in the dark, lit only by the table lamp and the screen of me laptop, i am reminded of life back in UoE - so many nites like now. The only difference is that i dun have drunk Brits making noise outside!!!! And no mates whom i can disturb by going over to their room.

But the best thing about me new job are me students. Have been spending some time wif them, both in and out of class. It's prolly unfair to the other people in the world but to me, they are the nicest bunch of students ever! I really enjoyed those times, chatting away wif them. I'm thankful to God for them and this only makes me even more motivated to make a difference in their lives.

I really hope i can do that.

*Yup, who thought that Cyclops can sing? The theme song of the Corny Colin's show in the musical, Hairspray.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Too much* - Spice Girls

I definitely ate too much last weekend!!!! 2 buffets in the space of less than 24 hours! Looks like i no longer can be called "Obi-Mun" - instead, i should be called "Obese-Mun"!!!

Nope, not my lame joke. Got it from online:-


Pic taken from www.cartoonstock.com

Well, the food was really nothing to shout about, honestly. I had Hartz Chicken buffet on Sat nite and then Jap food for lunch on Sunday. What was really brilliant was that at the buffet at Jogoya, there was free-flow Häagen-Dazs® Strawberry Ice Cream!!!!!!!! :-P :-P

Pic taken from www.gohappy.com.tw

Yup, it's worth it if you just go and eat scoops and scoops of ice-cream!!! But for other food stuffs, me recommendations would be the salmon sashimi, the tempura and teppenyaki prawns, the soft-shelled crabs and the refreshing coconut water which comes in little coconut shells.

OK - since this is a part Star Wars post, here's something i just added to my dream-list - a TIE Fighter PC table!!!!!! MUST GET!!!!




*Their second single from their second album, it was their 6th consecutive #1 single in the UK. (Can't find anymore food related songs which have not been used).