Friday, 20 February 2009

The winner takes it all* - Meryl Streep


Yes, you! I'm talking to you!!!!!
No, dun turn around look. There's no one behind you.

I'm talking to you! You who have NOT watched Slumdog Millionaire yet.

What? What do i wanna tell you? I wanna shoo you away. GO AWAY! PEGI JAUH-JAUH, OK?

Be warned. This post contains MAJOR spoilers for the movie - so unless you wanna know how it ends before watching it, i strongly recommend that you go to another web-page.

The movie was brilliant! Danny Boyle is brilliant! Will he win an Oscar? We'll see.
The first chase scene was superb! The camera angles from all over - below, above, off screen, side view - was wonderful! It captured the slums so well - wat was missing was the smell. But i loved it.

I only have one complaint - i din like the feel-good ending. Why did he have to win the 20 million rupees???? I humbly suggest that it would have been better if he lost all the money but found the girl. Why did he want the money for? He was never like that. And the only reason why he took part in the game show was so that she could see him! He was hoping to be reunited with her somehow. And it worked! But they chose to end it with a winner takes it all ending. Too sugary for me.

But it din spoil the show for me.
I'm having a tough time choosing between this and Benjamin Button. I think if push comes to shove, i'll choose this. What tips the scale is the exotic location of India - which is the next destination for my major holiday trip this year!

p/s - oh, a trivia. This is wat i got from IMDB:- "The pile of excreta that the young Jamal jumps into and was made from a combination of peanut butter and chocolate". Yes, we all prolly cringed and felt disgusted at that scene - but now that we know wat it really was, it'd be lovely to jump into it, won't it? ;-P

p/p/s - one thing that disturbed me was the question regarding where was Cambridge Circus located. I consider meself almost a London-er but yet i din know where in London it is!!!! I just found out (after Googling and Wiki-ing it) that i walk pass it countless of times!!!! Just that i din know it was called as such. It's the intersection in front of The Palace Theatre.

*This was the version taken from the movie,
Mamma Mia.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

You lift me up* - Josh Groban

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
Brendan Graham

I do not deny that it has been pretty difficult lately. Well, not as difficult as it had been for some of me mates (to whom my heart goes out to - hang on in there, aight?). But when i decided not to do anything about it, and just to leave it into the hands of God, the burden was lifted. Miraculously, one may say - and i do not deny it.

Nothing has changed outwardly. The matter has not been resolved. But the peace i am experiencing is truly the type that passes all understanding. If left on me own, i'd be spiteful and vengeful. Now i'm just joyful - truly God can lift me up to so much MORE than i can ever be on my own strength.

I thank God for all the support and mature advice given to me by me mates at this time too.

*Originally sung by Secret Garden, this song has been covered over a hundred times and Groban's version is perhaps one of the better known ones in this region.

No reply* - The Beatles

'Moses was a humble (meek) man, unlike many who rise to positions of great power and prestige. When attacked, he did not defend himself but rather laid the matter before God and waited for God's vindication'.
Excerpt from my Bible Study notes obtained last night

Psalm 54

1 Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.

2 Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.

3 Strangers are attacking me;
ruthless men seek my life—
men without regard for God.

4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.

5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.

6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, O LORD,
for it is good.

7 For he has delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

I shall try to remain silent and trust in God.

*From their album Beatles for Sale, released in 1964.

Monday, 16 February 2009

I wish it would rain down* - Phil Collins

So here i am, sitting in my room, with not much clothing on, a table fan less than 2 feet away blowing directly at me, the aircond on full blast.

IT IS SO HOT!!!!!!!

I can't remember when it last rained - here in M'sia. The Klang Valley, to be precise. No surprise people all over are falling sick. I meself have been hovering between sick and well many times. Praise God i always seem to fall back into the well category.

Can't remember since when it has been so hot and dry - esp in the afternoons. On top of that, i miss the rain. I really do.

And i think i need some 'rain' in me spiritual life too...

Dry, dry, dry... :-(

*The longest running no. 1 single in Canada in 1990, this song also features brilliant guitars by Eric Clapton.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Reunited* - Peaches & Herb

It was a very different Reunion Dinner that i had on the eve of this Spring Festival Celebrations. Such dinners are usually - and almost always - meant for immediate family members. We'd come together and have this huge meal with steamed chicken, roast pork, green vege, preserved vege soup, char yoke, prawns etc.

This year - or rather, to be precise, last lunar year - i had my Reunion Dinner at London. I had it in an Indian restaurant near Brick Lane. I had garlic naan and chicken vindaloo. I had it with people who were not related to me - a Polish, an Indian and a Greek!!! Not very Chinese, you must say. Not Chinese AT ALL, I would say!

But it was a special time that we spent together. Sachin came all the way from Cambridge. Michael from Colchester. Tom was in London itself but had to drive all the to Central London. Being the weekend, there were the usual engineering works all over. So the entire Circle Line was out. The train from Colchester was affected and Michael had ti use alternative routes via bus and tube to reach our rendezvous point. Signaling problems also halted the Central Line. Still, we all made it in the end!

We had a good laugh at Sachin who can never keep his eyes opened for a photo!!!!

Second try and his eyes were still closed!!!!! Glad that some things dun change! Lol!

Right! Finally! This time, it's so obvious that he is forcing his eyes open!!!

A group photo! :-)

It was the first time since Tom left Rayleigh Tower in 2006 that the 4 of us have met together. These people were my 'family' members during those days. We lived together, cooked together, ate together, went to Tesco at 2 am together in the winter, laughed and joked together, shared our lives in that flat on the 10th floor for those 10 or 11 months.

It's strange how a bunch of strangers from different parts of the world studying different subjects can come together and touch my life the way they did in such a short period of time. These are my friends. These are the people who would tell me off when they think i'm wrong. Yes, they would laugh when i fall but they would also cry when i hurt. Most importantly, these are the people who accept me for who i am. I do not have to put up a show or a faced, act out a performance as someone whom they will like. When i'm with them, i can be just who i am. For i too accept them for who they are.

As we learnt during YAf last Sunday, "...friendship is about knowing and being known, loving and being loved, serving and being served, and celebrating and being celebrated".

I can truly say that i got to know them, i loved them, i served them and i celebrated them and with them. In the way, i had been known, i had been loved, i had been served and i had been celebrated too.

You can't really blame me then when i say that in times these days when the pressure overwhelms, when the pain really hurts, when the loneliness cries silently, when the frustrations mount, when the world gets that extra bit more cruel than usual, that i quickly and quietly run back to Flat 10 and hideaway for a while.

So it was a very important reunion for me. It was made all the more important cuz we realised that we do know when all of us can ever be together again! It's gonna be a long while before i finally grace the shores of England again. Tom might also be returning to Poland. So this reunion was also in some weird way, a goodbye.

*The song which was a huge 'crossover' hit - hitting no. 1 on both the pop and soul charts.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Ben* - Michael Jackson


It has been so long since i watched such a brilliant movie! Movies have been so bad that my expectations have been really low - so much so that i enjoyed flicks like What Happens In Vegas and Meet Dave!!!

When i was thinking back of the year 2008, i was meaning to post up my top movies of the year (just like how i did for 2007 here). But i could not think of any movies!!!!! Maybe Kung Fu Panda!

But The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is so so so so good! So brilliant! I so enjoy it! And i so must increase my vocabulary, especially on superlatives!!!!

It was so good that even tho i was extremely tired and sleepy before it, it kept me wide awake all thru the movie. It was so good that i enjoyed it even tho i was having an upset tummy. It was so good that i did not realise how long the movie actually is - 2 hours and 46 minutes!!!! Was shocked to discover it was so late when the movie ended - and would not have minded if it went on longer!

It is such a wonderful story of Benjamin. His life was unusual - but what he went thru i believe is what we all go thru in our lives - love, hurt, disappointment, frustration, elation, frenship, adventure. A reminder that every life is a miracle, that nothing lasts forever, that it is never too late to live our lives to its fullest.

The fatigue has returned and is taking over now - but i just wanna share some quotes from the movie (lifted from IMDB):-

I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is.

Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance.

Your life is defined by its opportunities... even the ones you miss.

It's a funny thing about comin' home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You'll realize what's changed is you.

Benjamin, we're meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?

Everyone feels different about themselves one way or another, but we all goin' the same way.

You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.

For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

And there is the really long one regarding how life is a series of intersecting lives and incidents.

Go watch it! I'll be watching it again.

Oh, Cate Blanchett looks so good this movie too! :-)

*The theme song for the 1972 movie of the same name, it was originally written for Donny Osmond but he was unavailable.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Fly* - Sugar Ray

Happy Birthday, Jumbo!

I found out today (from here) that the Boeing 747 celebrates its 40th birthday today! On a seemingly unrelated matter, i was watching National Geographic just now - a documentary entitled Carrier, regarding life on USS Nimitz - an American aircraft carrier. Brilliant!

Ask anyone around my age and they will tell you that Nimitz was the most prized Top Trump card for Warships. It was unbeatable in every aspect, except for its top speed, losing out obviously to a smaller ship.

These two incidents brought back childhood memories. Well, more like childhood dreams. There was a point of time when i wanted to be a pilot. Well, yes, it started off as wanting to be a pilot for an F-14 Tomcat (thanks to me dad who bought me a toy F-14 when i was really young)!!! Tomcats are navy aircrafts based usually on aircraft carriers. Yes, F-14s were on the Nimitz (altho now they use mainly the F-18s as the F-14s were retired in 2006).

But i still remember that one moment in time when i told meself that i will be a pilot! It was at Subang International Airport. I was looking at the planes on the runway - and i saw a 747. It may have been a familiar sight as it has been featured in many movies - but seeing it in 'real life' is so different. Larger than life! It astounded me. I watched it as it got ready and then taxied down the runway - and this ginourmous chunk of metal lifted off the ground gracefully and flew away. I was literally moved to tears!!!

The dream remained just that. I studied law, practiced for a bit and am now teaching. The closest i ever got to piloting a Jumbo Jet was driving my sis' old Daihatsu - the number plate was WAS 747 ;-P

I did think that i may have a chance to fly when i went to UoE to do my Masters. They had a Gliding Club. Members actually get to fly in a glider. But unsurprisingly, the fees to join that club was way above my budget.

Oh well... i may not be able to fly a 747 - but at least i can still fly in one! Which was wat i did last month.

It took only slightly a little over 12 hours to get from KLIA to Heathrow!

*This was their first hit, staying at the peak of Billboard Hot 100 for 6 weeks in a row in 1997.

Monday, 9 February 2009

You're my best friend* - Queen

I enjoy watching TV while in the UK. They have so many interesting programmes! During the last few weeks of the year, they had many of those 'countdown' programmes - like the 100 Best Comedies, Top 50 Best Musicals, 100 Most Annoying People in 2008 etc.

But unfortunately, they have a lot of crap shows too. And recently when i was there again, i was unfortunate to have caught one of those. It was Paris Hilton's BBF (British Best Friend). To be fair, it's not a Brit show - it started at MTV, with Paris Hilton's My New BFF. This is the British version.

It is sad. Pathetic. She has to star in a TV programme to find a best friend!!!! What the...????

I only caught the last part of it - where she had to decide which contestant would be out of the programme. So there were a lot of 'drama' and tears. I just can't decide who is the 'saddest' - Paris Hilton herself that she has to stoop to such a level to get a friend? Or the contestants who would subject themselves to such humiliation just to be Paris' best fren, or maybe get their 15 minutes of fame on local TV? Or the people who actually watch such programmes!!!!!!!

Ah well... yesterday, for YAF we did another study on 'Community', specifically about having a long and lasting friendship. There was one quote on what true friendship is which i really liked - and which i would want to share with y'all - yes, all 3 of u regular readers and the 20 odd who landed here randomly:-

The bottom line of friendship (is this): it is about knowing and being known, loving and being loved, serving and being served, and celebrating and being celebrated.

Well, said!

*Written by their bassist, John Deacon, this song was written for his wife.

Just walk away* - Celine Dion

I finally blogged about 2008 (see here). To help me remember the events of last year, i actually re-read through this blog. Yup, all the posts posted in 2008. I skimmed thru all of them.

And i realised one thing - my blog is pretty boring!!!!! i can't imagine why would anyone wanna read me blog! But yet, according to the site-meter, the current count is 27 people a day!!!

OK - i know a lot of them are random surfers who dun spend more than one or 2 seconds looking at me blog before coming to the conclusion that it is boring (but it took me years to realise that). But still, i think there are 2 or 3 'regulars'. And i respect them! Either they are stalking me - or they are just fascinated by bad writing!!!!

Oh well... at the end of the day, i guess what is important is that i enjoy blogging. And i blog not to read it again in the future. I blog just to let out my feelings and express myself. So it floats my boat. And that means i'm just gonna carry posting these boring stuffs up.

Yes, i know some people are sick of me talking about 'S' or about UoE or about London. Well, this is my blog and i'll blog watever i want. If you dun like it or find it boring, just leave! But if you do, feel free to come as often as u like - to laugh and to cry with me. To sing together with moi!

*One of the last singles from her album, The Colour of My Love, this single was however never released in the US. Used to love this album of hers. I think that SP still has my CD. Can't find it...

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Please forgive me* - Bryan Adams

Excerpt from a prayer letter sent by a fren in the UK:-
As we see heavy snow outside now, it reminds us of a scripture, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow' (Isaiah 1:18). Indeed, we can praise and thank God for cleansing our sins as white as snow.
It brought back memories of the first time i saw snow - freshly fallen snow. So white, so pure, so lovely. That is how powerful the cleansing power of Jesus is - if we believe in him and ask him for forgiveness.

Photos 'stolen' from BBC News site and various students' photos on FB

Is it unfair that our sins can be washed away just like that? No. And that is cuz Jesus paid the price for it when he died on the cross for the world.

*This single was released in the UK way back in 1993. Listening to it again now brings back memories of those wonderful days.

Let's have lunch - The cast of Sunset Boulevard

I love the song that is the title of this post. Well, i think i love all the songs from Sunset Boulevard!!!

In just a few minutes, the song manages to capture the busy-ness of life at a movie studio, people bumping into each other, promising to make time to catch up - hence the repeated phrase in the song, "Let's have lunch". But just as soon as those words were uttered, the people part ways.

Is that how yr life is? I have to confess that that is how mine is most of the time. I'd meet a fren - physically or on-line, and i'd always say that we should meet to catch up. "Let's have coffee". "We should have a drink together". "Let's have lunch". I'd be so busy - or maybe i am just a procrastinator through and through - that i would put off catching up with me mates. And my life just doesn't get 'not busy'! In fact, it just gets busier and busier. So i end up never catching up with that fren.

Just before i left to go to Reading last month, i got a winter coat from a mate - and the last thing we said to each other was that we should talk when i get back. He had some interesting (juicy?) updates to tell.

We never did meet. We never had that conversation. The mysterious girl will remain just that - a mystery.

Me mate passed away in his sleep. Suddenly. Unexpectedly.

I did see him online when i got back. He's always online very early in morning. But i never nudge him, never im-ed him. I was too busy. He was surely busy too.

Do i regret it? I cannot answer that in the negative. So many things to talk about. We were supposed to go for a hike together too. This was planned since last year but i was just too busy and had to put it off till this month.

I was just telling a student this week to go out and play in the snow instead of staying indoors preparing for her IHRL tutes (hope Prof Sandy doesn't read this blog!!!). I asked her what would she want to remember when she thinks back to this week in her life at Reading - that she was out wif her mates making snowmen and having snowball fights, or that she was indoors trying hard to ignore the cheerful laughters and pure white snow?

In the same way, i ask meself today - when i look back, what do i want to remember? That i was busy at work ignoring everyone or that i had a wonderful time wif a fren over a latte?

So.... I will make it a point to catch up wif me mates. I will try not to procrastinate. I will go for that coffee. I will have that supper. I will take the time - no, i will make the time. I hope i will...

So who's free for lunch?

Cherish* - Kool & the Gang

I've been tagged. This seems so... juvenile!!! But i have been tagged by a student.

In any event, it is something which i have been wanting to blog about for some time. It's the customary look back into the year passed. Yup, it's my 'New Year' post!!! Last year, my New Year post was posted on the 19th January. This year, it's on the 7th February!!!! But January 2009 has really been crazy - and will definitely be mentioned in 2010's New Year post next year (expected to be posted in March 2010!!!).

So finally, i've completed it. Trust me, it took A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT to do this! So check it out here - the list of memorable events of 2008 for me, memories which i cherish.

Here's a little teaser to whet your appetite!

*An extremely popular ballad in the 80s.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Bye bye* - Mariah Carey

Temerloh, RBS Mission Trip, Tawney Tower, sharing my first nasi lemak meal at Essex, Christmas dinner 2006, Cardiff, Christian Union UoE, Malaysian Society, Hari Raya gathering 2006, Pembrokeshire National Park, Carols in the Square, walking along the west coast, Bristol, Camden Town...

It's funny cuz in spite of all the times shared together, i can't find a photo of us two together. This is the best i could find - the shadows of 2 UoE students from Malaysia on a road in Bristol at the end of Summer 2006:-

Wonderful friend, dear brother, idealist, perfectionist, musician, trustworthy, likeable, footballer, self-sacrificing, people person, God's servant. You will be missed.

The last exchange of words we had was that we'll chat when i get back from the UK. We never did. I still have yr coat. Well, my coat which became yrs! We were also supposed to climb Bukit Tabur.

You always wanted to change the world. Someone once said that if you can change one person, you have succeeded in changing the world. My life is better enriched as you were in it. The world is shinning less brightly today in yr absence - but the light that you planted in the hearts of many burns strongly.

And I know you're shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day
(Carey, Afanasieff, Morris, Morris, Stockman, McCary)

a way, i'm kinda envious of you! Say hi to me dad for me. And look and see if Shona and Hollie are there too, please?

I'll see ya later, mate!

*Although some thought that this was a sure-shot hit for her, this song performed moderately in the US Charts, peaking only at no. 17.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Help!* - The Beatles

So i was signed up for this training on "Voice skill for presentations". Paul (that is Dr. Paul Almond, module convener for Criminal Law @ University of Reading) assured me that it would be fun.

It was!

There was an exercise where we had to think of a phrase and say it out to a partner with specific emphasis on certain words, on volume and speed. I couldn't help not being cheeky and so i said "Can you please not repeat what i am saying?", much to the amusement to the others. It backfired, tho, cuz when i had to repeat it a few times, i had difficulty saying it with a straight face.

The trainer was pretty good and had a vast knowledge on the matter. One thing we 'learnt' was that shouting "HELP" to attract attention when we are in danger is not a very good idea! You see, because the word "help" starts with the letter 'H', a lot of breath is used just to start saying it! And there is only 1 vowel in the word. Further, it ends with a 'P' - a short abrupt end.

We therefore lose a lot of volume and clarity as there is shortness of breath and too many consonants!

Our trainer suggested that the world - well, the English speaking world - should replace 'help' with some other word like 'BONG'! The 'bo...' helps in achieving a higher volume while the '' ending helps us to drag it longer!

Try it! I kid you not. It is so much easier to shout out "BONG" than "HELP"!

On a separate note, here is an amusing clip which had viewers all over the UK laughing last week. And it so happens that it was done with the song 'Help' playing in the background! Enjoy!

p/s - if my choir mistress is reading this, i actually confirmed with the trainer that eating spicy food before a singing presentation is alright! The spicy food does not affect the larynx!!! There you go! :-P

*This song was ranked at no. 29 in the Rolling Stones list of 500 Greatest Songs of all time. Apparently, Lennon wrote this song to describe the stress he faced due to the quick rise in fame from obscurity.