Monday, 23 December 2013

Yesterday once more* - The Carpenters

It was on the 10th of December when I finally put up the tree. I wrapped the lights around it and turned it on. I then switched off the living room lights.

And then, it happened. The magic. I was transformed back to.... ME! But me when I was a small boy, mesmerised with the beautiful flashing lights on the Christmas tree me dad bought and set up.

As I sat in the darkness, eyes affixed on those flashing lights on the fake pine tree, I was just overwhelmed with so much emotions. It was like all my childhood memories of Christmas came rushing back (if that was even possible) and engulfed me completely.

Even tho my father did not believe in Jesus at that time, he made it a point that we celebrate Christmas. He would make sure it is special for us - especially since we, his children attend Sunday School. So we had a Christmas tree. Every year, he would buy new ornaments - and we just keep on adding and ading them to our tree until it just groaned with the weight of all the baubles and angels and fairies and reindeers and santas etc.

Every year, i would bug my parents to put up the tree - and i would spend a lot of time in the dark sleeping under the tree, enjoying the blinking lights of the trees.

And there would be presents. Lots of it. After all, it was also my birthday!!! Frens would come and gawk in envy at all those presents under the tree - some even asking if they were real. Well, they were!

Looking back, i know i have been so blessed!

And that night when i set up what would be Shona's first Christmas tree, i sat there with tears in my eyes - I just hope that Shona will have wonderful memories of Christmas like the ones me dad gave me when I was a small child.

*A song which always never fail to bring me back to my childhood days - so apt as that is what the song is all about! Used to me my all time fav song those days.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

They don't care about us* - Michael Jackson

This is the poster from the previous Hobbit movie. It features the dwarves in the movie. How many of them do remember in the latest movie?

I bet that it's probably only Thorin and Kili. Some will remember Balin - and also Dwalin but they will be remembered as the "old one" and the "grumpy one".

That is one of my main issues with the sequel to the Hobbit. I just don't care about them at all. If any of them die, it really dun bother me at all. Unlike the Fellowship of the Ring where when a member is killed, it effects us all.

In this case, it doens't mean much to me - not that i dispise them but there is no emotional connection with them. Even Thorin didn't seem like a nice dwarf in the sequel.

Not only the dwarfs, the elves too were the same to me. In fact, the depiction of the elves is so different! In the Two Towers, the elves sacrificed themselves and fought alongside with humans in a war that one could say had nothing to do with them.

But in the sequel, we see the elves as cunning and devious and selfish. Even the "good" ones like Legolas are boring.

But perhaps the point of the movie - or the trilogy is not the elves nor the dwarfs but the Hobbit itself!!! And in this case, i must say that Martin Freeman did brilliantly. In both movies. If not for him, i think we can just forget about the trilogy (unless we want to watch it just for the CGIs and the beautiful NZ landscape).

And the other attraction in this sequel is none other than Smaug! The scenes with Bilbo and Smaug are the best - just like the scenes between Bilbo and Gollum were the best in the first movie.

The only problem is that it takes sooooo long before we finally get there - and it took so long to say not much.

So how is the sequel? It was enjoyable and fun. There were some really good scenes (Bilbo and Smaug) but there was an emotional disconnect between me and the movie - unlike the LOTR movies.

*One of his most controversial songs.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The reason* - Hoobastank

I think that BSC has the best Christmas deco this year!

Isn't it impressive? It is a table setting for a Christmas dinner. Well, some dinner. Or a feast, to be precise! With turkey, lobster etc.

What makes it impressive is that the chairs are actually the stalls - and people actually walk under the huge table!

Top marks from me!

But fail when it comes to spiritual content!!! In fact, all the malls fail miserably!!! With themes like "bears", the Nutcracker, balloons - and even Minions!!! - they all seem to have missed out on the true meaning of Christmas.

No, it's not eating and feasting. Nor is it buying gifts (even tho the malls will want us to do that. Christmas at the end of the day is about "Christ"! That is why it is called Christmas - not Feastmas or Bearmas. Or even Minionmas!!!

The problem is not just here in Malaysia. Last year in London, we were there when they launched the Christmas lights which followed the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas - using the things mentioned in that Christmas song. This year, the theme is Mr Peabody and Sherman!!!

A friend was commenting about me using the term "X'mas" to refer to Christmas. I had to explain myself that X'mas is just the greek way of referring to Christmas. The "X" in the greek alphabeth stands for "Chi", referring to Christ!

Still, many people are replacing with "Christ" in Christmas with everything else they can think of.

I myself am guilty when i get so caught upwith the shopping and the gifts and the holidays. I hope this Christmas that i will celebrate it for the right reasons. The original reason! The brith of Jesus Christ.

*My favourite song of theirs - reminds me of the days in 2004/2005.

Monday, 16 December 2013

True love* - Elton John and Kiki Dee

Sleepless in Seattle was on and since there was nothing else better to watch, I decided to re-watch it.  I remember I used to love this movie.

I had to laugh a how young Tom Hanks looked in this movie. But then again, this show was released 20 years ago. Things have changed so much since then!

Yes, even my views have changed a lot. I found that I did not like the storyline any more. It was so silly. And so unrealistic. Is this what love is? No. In my view today, this is a very distorted view of what love is. I pitied the character playing Meg Ryan's boyfriend. Here was such a sweet wonderful man who truly loved her. But she did not recognise it. Instead, she was looking for the kind of superficial emotional love that is portrayed b Hollywood movies. Her character's best friend even chided her saying she doesn't want to fall in love - she wants to fall in love in the movies.

I used t believe in that too. And that there is the "one" and I should wait for her. She will be perfect and it will all fall into place.

But now I realise that it is all a myth. There is no perfect one as we are all imperfect. And a wonderful true marriage will be one where the partners work hard to keep the love and relationship going. That is true love. To love even the unloveable, to love when it is hard to do so, to love by putting the needs and the feelings of the one you love ahead of your own.

I was watching an episode of House (season 7 episode 4) where the victim was a schizophrenic. But her husband did not know it. In fact, at the end of the episode, he realised that he did not know so many things about her as she kept her illness a secret from him. And he did not know what to do. He told House that this woman is not who he married. House replied that it was - it's just that he didn't know at that time. House told him that she is suffering from a serious mental illness. The husband said that it was too hard to stay with her now. House walks off but before leaving, he said "It is always hard".

How true. It is never easy. It can be wonderful, it can be brilliant, it can be fulfilling - in fact, it should be all of those. But it is hard. If you do not want to work hard, then walk away. And you will never experience the beautiful true love that God planned for a man and a woman to have.

*This single was released way back in 1993, around the same time Sleepless in Seattle was screening.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

My all* - Mariah Carey

Later today, Nelson Mandela will be put to rest at his ancestral home. He is gone but he will definitely not be forgotten. I took this photo in London almost 20 years ago:-

The words under his bust is a quote of his - "The struggle is my life". And he truly demonstrated it.

This man is an inspiration to many of us. He was willing to stand up and fight for what is right - equality for all man, not considering the colour of his skin, whether it is black or white. He indeed gave his all for this fight and was willing to sacrifice his all.

His struggle has finally ended as his life on this earth has come to a stop. But for us who remain, the struggle goes on. Racism is still prevalent especially in my country. So our struggle will continue. But we know that those who have gone before us will be cheering us on.

*Her 13tg no. 1 hit in the Billboarf Hot 100.

Friday, 13 December 2013

I'd give my life for you* - Lea Salonga

I started - or rather, continued watching House recently. I'm still in season 7 and so far, it has been really good.

The last episode I watched was "Unplanned Panthood" - episode 5. It was really interesting in so many ways. The twist at the end was really good. The mother of their patient was found to have 2 kinds of cancer - and one was actually treating the other. The mother unfortunately passed the latter cancer to her baby and only the mother's blood can treat the baby. However, they needed to treat the mom's cancer which could prove fatal at any time. The problem with that is if her cancer is treated, then her blood will not be able to treat her baby's cancer anymore.

So what would the mom do? Obviously, she chose not to have her cancer treated until her baby is cured using her blood. That would take around more than 1 week but that was the risk she was willing to take.

The mother died shortly but her blood taken post mortem was sufficient to treat her baby completely. She gave her life to save her baby.

I have to admit that my eyes were not dry at the end of that episode. That is the love of a parent, isn't it? To be willing and ready to give their all, even if it means to die for them.

And I thought of my parents. No, they did not heroically gave their lives to save mine. But in their own ways, they gave their lives and their all for me. Papa lived his life only to provide for us, his children, and in the later part of his life, to provide for his grandchildren. Mama is still giving her life for me.

History will not remember them for tragically dying to save my life. But I will always remember them for giving their lives for me - and never asking for anything in return. True love. Real love. I am so blessed.

Now it is my turn. And I hope that I will give my all for my children - just like my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father have done.

*Taken from the musical Miss Saigon.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Outside* - George Michael

Today was pretty memorable. I had the opportunity to attend and "Roundtable Meeting" with the following guests:-

1. The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – Judge Sang-Hyun Song of South Korea.

2. Judge of the International Court of Justice (The World Court) – Judge Dalveer Bhandari of India.

3. Third in charge at the Permanent Court of Arbitration – Dr. Aloysius Llamzon of the Netherlands.

4. General of The Hague Conference on Private International Law – Dr. Christophe Bernasconi of Mexico.

It is indeed a treat for someone like me who spent a year studying about the ICC, the ICJ and the PCA. It brought back so much memories of that year in Colchester.

To me, the "star" of the event was surely Judge Song, the president of the ICC. He has held on that post since 2003 - and will be holding on to it until 2015.

I must say that i am a bit ashamed to admit that when i got the chance to go to the Netherlands right after my studies in Colchester, i spent all my time in Amsterdam and did not go to the Hague where the ICC and ICJ is situated.

I really hope i can get the chance to go there in the near future.

This is the closest i ever got to the Hague - when my students went to visit the ICJ and tagged me in thier photo! Lol!

Anyways, back to today - it was interesting to hear Judge Song talk about the ICC - especially on Malaysia's position. Malaysia is not a party to the Rome statute - and as such, we are not under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

But Malaysia has come close to being a state party. In fact, teh ambassador to the Philippines was sharing about how a couple of years ago, the Phillippines decided to seriously consider ratifying the Rome statute - a big reason was becuase Malaysia was considering doing that!!! Now they are under the ICC but Malaysia is still not!

Judge Song gave the illustration of how Malaysia has come to the door of the ICC and even knocked on it a couple of years ago. The door has opened. But up until today, for some reason, Malaysia has not gone inside. We are still outside the door of the ICC.

Is it a lack of political will? There seems to be a fear that the rulers of the country will lose their immunity against prosecution. There seemed to also be a silly excuse that we need to get all our laws in order first before joining - like how someone must study and be an expert in the Bible first before becoming a Christian.

It is quite sad that Malaysia is still lagging in its international obligations. Do our leaders think that there is no need to get the help of the ICC as we are doing fine? i saw a lot of the opposition leaders but none from the government.

It looks like we will still continue to remain outside the doors of the ICC. Sad.

*The lead single from his Greatest Hits album, it was controversial as it took a swipe at the incident where he was arrested for engaging in a lewd act earlier in 1998.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Take my breath away* - Berlin

I had to stay up late to do work and i was already exhausted before it turned dark! And I had to wake up early to go for a tutorial. So when i found out that Liverpool was playing (around 4 am local time), i had to make the painful decision not to watch.

But i did wake up close to half 5 and decided to go and check out the last few minutes of the game. I stayed on to watch the highlights. It was so good. Suarez was so brilliant!

Taken from LFC's fb page
 4 goals! The first is a contender for the goal of the season!!! And the 3rd is the goal that will probably win the goal of the season if the first doesn't. It was sublime, his touches. He flicked it over the defender, latched on to it and sent to the to corner of the net. Watching it in slo-mo was like poetry in motion!!!

This guy is so so good! He is the top scorer of the league now - bearing in mind that he missed out quite a few games early in the season. But i am glad that he is now getting people to talk about him regarding his skills, regarding his football, regarding his passion, regarding his joy in playing in the no. 7 Liverpool jersey.

Just look at his stats for the game:-

Taken from LFC's fb page
Can i say it again? Brilliant!!! He will be a Liverpool legend, together with the likes of Dalglish, Keegan, Rush and Fowler. In fact, he is a legend already!!!!

*The song featured in the movie, Top Gun - seems to be apt when referring to Suarez!