Monday, January 31, 2005

The Aviator and Hotel Rwanda

2 great movies in 1 weekend ...

Let's start with Aviator. Leonardo Dicaprio delivered an incredible performance. This movie kinda reminded me of "Citizen Kane" and that's a good thing. Citizen Kane was a masterpiece, and so is this movie. Leo plays Howard Hughes, a genius who is only constrained by the limits of his physical/mental capacity, as well as the people around him. He stresses out the people working for him due to his inexhaustible flame of creativity, but what those people do not realize, is that he stresses out himself even more. Finally you see his body/mind breaking down due to the incapability to sustain his passion and Leonardo did a wonderful job portraying this suffering genius. Please watch this film as this is one truly great performance by a highly talented actor.

Hotel Rwanda, is a true story based on a genocide that occurred 10 years ago. 1 million people were killed in a span of 100 days and it is truly horrific to learn that racial "cleansing" can still happen in our generation. This is the story of Hotel Milles Collines and its manager, Paul. It is the story of a modern day "Oskar Schindler" and it is truly gripping. The story told of how the inaction of people, can cause the death of so many. This is a movie that spurs people to action, and not just sit back and read/watch news - but to act upon it. Because people's lives depend on it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005



People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered,
Love them Anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
Do Good Anyway
If you are successful, you will win false and true enemies,
Suceed Anyway
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,
Do Good Anyway
Honesty and frankness make you vunerable,
Be Honest and Frank Anyway
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,
Build Anyway
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,
Help People Anyway
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth,
Give the World The Best You've Got Anyway

-From a sign on the wall of Shisu Bhavan, the children's home in Calcutta

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bush's Freedom Peace Talk

Bush was inaugurated yesterday and his speech has a central theme - Spread Freedom. There was no direct reference to Iraq, and no specific mention of any plans for anything. It was a speech of ideals, goals and his beliefs on how freedom should be spread across the world. Below are some of his quotes, along with some of my comments.

"For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical — and then there came a day of fire."
- So for the past 1/2 a century (presumably he started count after the 1st Day of Fire - Pearl Habour), US has been standing watch on distant borders? Has he forgotten Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Vietnam, Korea and oh yes, Gulf War by his daddy-o? Is selling of arms to Isreal "standing watch on distant borders"? "Shipwreck of communism?" check out China baby.

"The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands..... The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
- Bush used war to liberate Iraqis from a "tyrant" ruler Saddam. He did this using phony evidence (WMD anyone?). Kinda put his "expansion of freedom in all the world" into perspective. Is his next plan to invade all the other countries whom he thinks are not aligned with his view of freedom and will create pokey evidence to do so?

"From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. ... Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time."
- So he is starting to align the beliefs of this government with that of "the Maker". And along with this is "the calling of our time", what is he setting us for? So if we're with this goverment, we're with God?

"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
- Gulps! Shudders to think what these "democratic movements" are. More tyrannical war to end tyranny?? Violence begets violence buddy.

"This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary."
- Now the word is out. War was he meant. So when is "necessary"? When they found/create a bunch of reasons to go preemptive again?

"We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies."
- Is this Judgement Day? Judged by who? The "Second coming" (2nd inauguration). Who does he think he is??

"Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country."
- Err ... What if the country doesn't think democracy is good for their people? For instance China? How about the Arab countries who believes in their version of democratic-dictatorship - like Iraq? Oh we saw what happened to that. "Future leaders in your free country" - we've got an example here! Reagan planted one called "Saddam" in Iraq to take care of Iran and when that went out of control, they made him a prisoner. How's that for reversal and who makes the rules?

" I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself — and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."
- So the "cause larger than your wants" that was "WMD" is now "freedom and liberty". And when the choice is made on wrong information, is that cause still justified? And if the cause is not justified - what kind of character is being added to the country? And war costs money - lots of money and it sure doesn't add wealth to the country, it takes it away.

"In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak. ... And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."
- Ask the abused prisoners in Abu Ghraib about service, mercy and the heart for the weak. .. and oh yeah about racism too.

"Renewed in our strength — tested, but not weary — we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."
- Geeze ... invading a country based on fake evidence and then claiming it to be an act of liberation is a great achievement of freedom. Let's see how history books will write about it in 20 years. It is so sad that people NOW do not see the truth as it is.

"May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America."
- Yup .... God Bless America. And let's just wish the rest of the World Good luck :P

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Thoughts of the past week

I haven't updated the blogs with my "deep thoughts" of late. Mostly interesting articles that I've read, but that's all. Well I'll admit, it is easier to post those. Take up less time. So for the fans of my ramblings, sorry :P. Really who reads my blog anyways. So today, I've decided to write in a more freeform way. Whatever comes to my mind.

Ok, so I went to Sting's concert last Monday. Awesome!!!! This guy rocks my world. His music, his words, his works. Beautiful. And I got a feeling this might be the last time I am gonna see him live, so I tried to breathe in every air of the atmosphere, and soak into the ambience of the night. It was nice of him to remember coming back to Singapore 10 years ago, and I wonder how many of the people in the indoor stadium that night was like me thinking "I was there ..." :). Was kinda worried if the friend I was bringing will enjoy the show since she knew nuts about his music - "I only knew the stalker song ...". Now she knows a bit more about the shape of his heart and this englishman who spent sometime in NY. :)

Talking God. This was a "spiritual" week for me. Talked alot about Religion, God, Buddhism, Tarot blah blah .... with a bunch of people who were very much touched by HIM. Reminded me of the time when I was bashing Mac users and eventually became a Mac User myself. I think my friend was right, I am pretty closed though how open I claim myself to be. I should probably extend the kind of openness to God and way I opened my heart to Buddhism. I started reading the Bible again - this time, using my heart. I started praying everynight, like I did when I was small. Strange things have been happening. I think I am gonna be eating my words again.

Feeling sorry for Buddha. Now this is weird having me talk about Buddhism after talking about God. Cos I kinda feel bad for Buddha that the theories of "LIFE" and "PERSPECTIVES" that he had taught, has transformed into joss sticks toddling and idol worshipping traditions. Whatever happened to the "Middle way" and the "8 fold path"? Well, it has since become "the extreme ways" and "8 ways of burning papers". :P Well well, seems like enlightenment is the last thing on these people's minds now.

Ok ... so talking about how I was a Mac Basher? ... Now I am sooo in love with Macs. After so many years of being made fun of as a Mac User, I am so happy to see Apple kicking ass these days. Latest Toys from the Appleland? Let's start with the iPod Shuffle. Very Cool Very Small and Creative is gonna start peeing in their pants again. Granted it has no screen, but it is as small as a thumbdrive, almost like a chewing gum strip, and it is very clean looking. Oh man I am a sucker for clean designs. Clean and simple. Mac mini is another apple truimph. This machine will make tons of converts. This little computer will fly off the shelves cos why? It is simple, clean, and cheap. No .. cheap is not a good word to use. Inexpensive. YESSSS :)

Now another of cool toy recently acquired. Resident Evil 4. Awesome Game ... totally blew my mind. I wish the rest of the PS2 and Xbox world would just wake up and get themselves a Gamecube. This game is truly one of the best, most immersive I have ever experienced on any platform. :) The graphics .... are also top notch. Wow .. just awesome .... can't wait to play it when I go home tonight.

Too much money lost. Ok ... 3 weekends of mahjong has had a toll on my health and pocket. Gonna stop this week. I haven't watched a movie in a few weeks ... time to hit the movie theaters soon. What's showing now? Alfie, Aviator, damn ... too many good shows .... gonna have to choose. Do I have to choose?? Argh ...

Happy Shiny Me :)

It's a Brand New Day ....
Let's bring it on in a new way.
Leave the past behind,
And let the the Word guide the way
The lamp upon me
Will shine the path to see
The future is murky
But why should it bother me?
To know I have the faith by my side
Is the comfort I have in the darkest night
No fear or unnecessary worrying
Only the joy of everyday living.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The last word on WMD

This is a great article written on the recent report on US finally giving up on the search of WMD.

Final Word on Iraq's WMD Sounds Very Familiar

What we read from the news is what is provided to the news reporters ... who, in turn are getting their news from??... none other than the ones who wants to mislead. They do not research on the credibility .. they "relay" not "report" anymore.

And yet the most disgusting thing we see now, is how Mr Bush is trying to stand by his decisions as correct and just.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

US gives up search for WMD

Ok, the news is in. No Weapons of Mass Destruction. Period. Before the invasion, it was all the shoddy facts and evidence they claimed to support it. Right now, after the invasion, after winning the US election, after the death toll of 1350 American troops with 10000 wounded, our dear Mr Bush still has nothing in his hands. But wait, he still has the world in his hands, he still stands as the president of the only country in the world with the capability to nuke the world, and he has proven how easy it is to convince 1/2 of America with cleverly constructed media.

U.S. Wraps Up Search for Banned Weapons in Iraq

I anticipate this to be the next topic to be mentioned by Jon Stewart to create some laughs. But, what the American people would be laughing, would be at their own gullibility. So is Mr Bush going to apologize to the Americans who has fought so hard for the war that was unjustified, or to the Iraqis who's lives have been shattered due to this invasion? Somehow I can sense a spin doctor working his magic behind the scenes now. Let's wait for the drama to unfold ... :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Englishman In Singapore

Last night, I went to the Sting's concert. It was a great experience. I think this time, the crowd was better than it was 10 years ago. Here we are looking at a 54 year old man ("virile" old man in my friend's own words), who is able to get an entire sold out concert full of people to stand and dance to his music throughout most of the night. Read: Throughout Most of the concert. And this is not the teeny booper crowd we're talking. These are folks ranging ages twenties to forties and fifties. Many of these people are his fans, and it was a very surreal feeling, just listening to the crowd singing along with him.

Here's hoping there's many more years of great music from him. He's inspired millions and I hope there'll be many more. Well he has made at least one new fan out of the friend I brought along.

Personal recommendation:
1) Why Should I Cry For You?
2) All This Time
3) Fields of Gold
4) Shape of my Heart
5) Englishman in New York
6) Ghost Story
.... there are really too many :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Celebration of Music

Songs = Music + Lyrics

Music is like the body and the lyrics make up the soul. Through the melody, the music takes shape. Through the lyrics, the music is given thoughts and meaning.

It is incredible that through the vibrations of the air, frequencies can be tuned and fashioned. The patterns of sounds composed become a melody. The melody of sounds can be arranged in an infinite number of ways and like a piece of art, it is an expression of one's feelings - be it happiness or sadness.

The lyrics of a song, serves to add meaning to a melody. The melody can be on its own, but the lyrics add to it a personality, and gives it a character. The lyrics can be the description of the melody or it can be the face of the body. It can be shaped to fit the melody, to enhance it or even deface it.

Great songs are usually a combination of great melody and beautiful lyrics. I love true artists who does both and excel.

Now what is this blog entry all about?? Well, guess really about nothing. I just felt inspired to write about this because I was listening to a new CD box set I just bought. It is a collection of songs by different artists from 11 record companies, all written by the venerable James Wong. These songs written by him are truly truly great. If you understand Mandarin and Cantonese, you should really give this box set a go. The lyrics are masterful and the melodies show how versatile he really is. The death of James Wong has brought for the first time the collaboration of 11 record companies and that speaks volumes about the kind of respect he gathers in the industry.

Now how about the English music industry, who do I prefer? Sting. Go read the lyrics of his songs - they read like poetry without even the music to accompany them. Why Should I Cry For You? Fields of Gold... and many more. And his music? He is an extremely talented fellow who tries different genres and styles of music for each of his albums. He never bores. He is also coming to Singapore for a concert on January 10th. So go get a ticket and get lost in his music. :)

Say Goodbye to 2004 ....

Guys and girls ... 2005 has arrived .. and looking back, it had been a tumultuous 2004. Even up to the very last few days of 2004, it was not an easy one for many, especially for those who's lives have been affected by the tsunami disaster. As of last count, 155,000 were confirmed dead and many still missing. At least 1/2 a million people in Sri Lanka are now homeless. 2004 has ended in a way that left millions dead, mourning, or grieving. Never in the recent history of mankind has new year been so difficult to pass. Compare the deaths in this tragedy to the one on Sep 11th 2001 where 3000 were dead, and you see the proportion of this disaster.

I had said before many times ... that 2004 is a year of change, and who would have thought the last days of the year brought more changes for almost everyone on this earth. Here's to all who have suffered, and may the new year bring new hopes and bring about a new beginning for all.