Monday, December 18, 2006

91. 100 Million

I recently came across this interesting tidbit on this ever growing phenom of blogging. According to this article, there'd be 100 million bloggers in 2007. More mind boggling is that around 200 million have already stopped writing them. Now, I don't know about you, but to me that's a whole lot of people with a whole lot of time on their hands.

So, 200 million have already given up the ghost. Who can blame them? There's only so much you can rant and rave about till the absurb hopelessness of it all crushes your spirit. Unless you're one who's fond of informing millions of strangers (including numerous perverts and pedophiles) on your daily eating and shopping habbits and on where you went for holidays or where you got your latest haircut from, blogging can get really old really fast. Seriously.

Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on a stage and asked to say it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

90. Dream

A dream is a shadow...of something real...

Drink on that will ya.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

89. The Circle Closes

So we're back again after a prolonged absence. These few months surely would've been excruciatingly slow for those few of you out there inclined to waste precious moments of your lives you would never get back by lurking 'round the dodgy underbelly of this blog.

Well, rest assured there is much soul destroying yet left to do. Truly.

Ok, first up. Again hail and farewell to newly departed and returning friends. Taking that westward journey overs the seas, into Tolkien's hitherland perhaps? That yearning is too strong for some to ignore. As how the call of Valinor was too strong for the Vanyar and the Noldor. And to friends washed upon these shores again, greetings for we are well met once more. Ave atque vale!

You know, the year is about to close again. And I really wish that there was more sunlight to reminisce about at it's end. Yet, light is always tempered with darkness, and this year is the same. Wouldn't it be a joy for once if you could be the bearer of only fair tidings? Eddie Vedder must've felt the same way when he sang that he wished he was a messenger and all the news was good.

Yet it never is, and never can be. I just wish those affected will have the sheer strength of will to get past these trying times. For it doesn't rain all the time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

88. The Drew Meister

Just a word of welcome note here to my buddy Drew from way over in the UK who was kind enough to take up my invitation to contribute to this blog. Let's hope we see many more posts from him to follow on his first.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quotes, Part 1

‘I’m on my way, just leaving the house now’ – this blog owner replied on the mobile to me, who have been waiting outside his house for the past 10 minutes.

‘Should we pick an ABBA song?’ – a cheeky banker clicking his choice song on the karaoke remote with his thick fingers.

‘I think I should choose songs I can sing next time I do karaoke’ – yours truly saying out loud what’s on my audible tortured friends’ mind.

‘People are getting married so quickly after coming off their long relationship with their ex boyfriends’ – affectionately known as ‘mpg’ for most popular guy.

‘Seriously, it doesn’t matter what you call it, but if he listens to you – why not try for asking for a mobile or a house?’ – mpg.
‘He already bought me a new phone. See.’ – who may be a biggest player amongst my friends.

‘Okieeeee’ – with emphasis when asked when is the next Phuket trip.

‘Eh I think you have put on weight’ – an ex-stewardess, in a perfect example of pot calling the kettle black.

‘I have mentioned it to him at the very start that I’m non committal’ – player.

‘Are you still waiting for the dvd?’ – doe-eyed, my hope crushed by this with a cold blooded chuckle.

‘There is nothing wrong staying in London, manager, manager lah’ – a returned secondee on life back in KL. The concession was priceless.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

87. Arrested Development

You got it. Wait a bit, promises are yet to be delivered. Yup.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

86. All Hallow's Eve - Part 1

Rather irritatingly, this blog celebrates Halloween. Why? Who knows? It's like asking why the stars shine at night, or why grass is green and the sky blue. Well, actually there's a scientific explanation to all of that, but who wants to get themselves bogged down with all those darn details?

Right, so it's rather apt ain't it that this blog shall valiantly attempt to tell three tales of terror that will inspire both awe and dread (in equal measures no doubt!) for you sorry lot. Are you getting excited yet? No, you in the corner, stop doing that, it's not that kind of excitement.

Know that this blog is skillfully navigated by a Master Storyteller (note the capital letters, impressive eh?), so sit tight, have a cup of tea, and be prepared to be whisked away to wonderful world flowing with milk and honey and free parking...

First up on our long dark journey is a tale of man, nay, not a man surely, but something else! For deep inside him, there lies a beast sleeping, waiting for the right moment to come forth...to reveal his true nature...his calling...and the world will weep when the beast awakes...ladies and gentlemen...let me introduce you to the darkly wretched tale of...

Well, I guess you'll just have to wait a bit...watch this space for more...muahahaha...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

85. Shit Happens

Right, I was planning on posting on why Miami Vice absolutely rocks over the weekend (it does you know, for those of you who don't get it, I pity you). But as fate would have it, I found myself fucked over the weekend. Not literally mind you. Figuratively. Meaning that Michael Mann and his bad-ass crew will just have to wait till the next post to unleash their bad-assness to the unsuspecting readers of this blog (yep, all two of you).

Now back to being fucked over. You see, the world is full of assholes. In fact, everyone of us is an asshole to a certain extent. It's just that some of us are, well, bigger assholes than others. This I've known for ages, but to fight against the tide is futile, might as well go with the flow, and hold your breath for as long as you can. As long as their shit doesn't affect you, all can be right with the world eh? But it's always good to be aware of it floating around and avoid it as best as possible, unlike some people who have their heads stuffed so far up their own asses, till they've gone all high on their own shit that their impervious to other people's shit.

Yeah, sure you try your best to avoid it. But alas, you can't swim around without running into a bit of shit forever. Sometimes, it floats right smack in your face. Yeah, and it's pretty nasty. You just can tell when that distinct aroma fills up your nostrils and you have this sickening knot in your stomach.

Ah man. I won't bog you down with the details...the broad strokes? Well, let's just say there was an asshole out there, who did this totally fucked-up thing, which on it's own, I wouldn't have given a rat's ass about. It's just that he did it to me, and thus dragged me into his wonderful world of shit.

Truly it is wonderful. As the light upon the leaves of trees. As the voice of clear waters. As the stars above the mists of the world. Such is the beauty of the world of shit he's introduced to me.

Man, the sad thing is, he's just another one of the many assholes I've had the great misfortune of running into. In fact, I think this fella can qualify to be bestowed that highest rank amongst assholes, the fucktard (thus joining that notorious group consisting of George Lucas, Michael Bay, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, George Bush, the majority of Americans who voted for him, and all those damn Amway nuts who try to convert you to their unholy cause).

The sad thing is, that once elusive bunch are growing more with each passing day. This surely is a sign of the end of times. Shit happens man.

Monday, October 02, 2006

84. Truth

"What is this great evil? How did it steal into the world? From what seed, what root did it spring? Who's doing this? Who's killing us? Robbing us of light and life. Mocking us with the sight of what we might have known." - Private Train from The Thin Red Line

What is evil but the absence of good? Just like darkness is the absence of light, and cold the absence of heat.

So, if we sit by and detach ourselves from the plight of others, the plight of the children of Man before us, does that not make us evil too? In our actions, or rather, the absence of our actions.

So who made this evil? Who brought it into our world? Well, the answer is of course us. We brought it. We let it grow, and let it fester. It rots our core, in the very heart of our being. And it grows, it breeds like a parasite, feeding off the living, slowly sucking off the lifeforce. And it pollutes, and it sickens, and eventually, it will drive us all mad.

Such is life. It is cruel. Unfair. Only the strong survive. That's the way things are. Or so we tell ourselves. Maybe to make ourselves feel better?

We are such strange creatures, the human race. Capable of so much compassion and love, yet also cruelty and indifference. At times, perhaps from fatigue of chasing our fortunes, we pause a bit and wonder, just what path is it that we've set ourselves on? But to pause too long, is to slowly comprehend that we can't do nearly enough. The alternative? Never stop to pause, things cannot be changed. You do what you can, when you can. And most of times, when you feel like it. Truth.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

83. More Than Meets The Eye

Right if you're like any other guy who's actually a geek at heart, heading over to the cinema for the past few years surely seeing your innermost wildest dreams come true. Kinda like waking up to find the nubile Jessica Alba sleeping snugly beside you in the morning.

Excuse this mental impasse....the mere mention of the Jessica Alba gives cause for a moment of silence in respect of that hotness personified...but honestly though, for me, no one can surprass Laura Palmer as the ultimate famous person fantasy. Laura who? Well, if you don't know who that is, then surely you are damned. Alright, so she's not actually a real person, but it's my bloody fantasy so I make up my own rules. Twin Peaks was the greatest thing ever on the telly, I dare you to disagree.

Ah, but I digress. What I mean by having your dreams fulfilled is seeing your ultimate childhood faves come to life on the big screen. Top of the bunch would be the brilliant celluloid adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (though, in retrospect I felt that The Two Towers was rather ponderous and The Return of the King was slightly clunky, only elevated to true greatness due to the build-up and actual Battle of Pelennor Fields...The Fellowship of the Ring is hands down the best of the bunch).

Then comic book fans had rather well-made screen versions of Spiderman and X-Men. Not to mention a kick-ass Batman (can't wait for Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight! WORD). And for once, we had a Star Wars prequel that was worthy of being called a Star Wars film.

And now, now we have The Transformers. Fuckin' more than meets the eye fellas. I can almost forgive the fact that Michael Bay is directing. It's the fucking Transformers man. Optimus Prime. Megatron. Freaking Unicron...UNICRON!!! Holy shit-o-rama! Woo hoo!!! It's just way too cool to see those big giant robots transforming into shit. No way did I think I'd see a non-animated Transformers movie in this lifetime!!!

So we geeks patiently wait for Summer 2007. And I'm sure somewhere out there, there lies a untapped script of boundless potential titled The Thundercats. The who? Well, I'll tell you who...Thunder...Thunder...Thundercats!!! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!





You know I'm bad-ass

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

82. Pure Shores

So, this is it. Back to this so-called life. After a week-long sojourn in just about the most awesome place known to man, it's down to the daily grind once more. Yeah dude, this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. So no point kicking a shit-storm about it eh.

You know it's funny. Sometimes we can't help but feel how fucked up things are, be it because of a crummy job, a shitty relationship, having enough not money, having a bad case of indigestion, being born short, being born ugly, being born with a tiny pecker, and in some cases, being born at all. The world may be going to hell and back, yet we just can't help but think of how bad things are for ourselves. Typical eh.

Sure you might be earning a tidy sum, and drive around with a respectable car, and you might be dating a looker...but hell, you could be earning so much more, and fly about in beemer convertible, dating one of those FHM top 100 chicks while you were at it. Ain't that all so sucky-yucky? That you can't have all that? Fuck, plain unlucky eh? Being passed on a promotion, not winning that lottery, not being able to bang an Amber Chia.

We're freaking takers. Face it. Nothing is enough. What we can't get, we want. And yet somehow, when we get it, it fills us with an emptiness of being. So we go on wanting more. Heck, a hell a lot more.

Putting things in perspective, beneath that bright sheen of the tropical paradise that was visited, you can't help get yourself exposed to it's seedy underbelly (entirely willingly I might add). And people who live their lives there are people who sometimes struggle to get a meal a day. Maybe people who have to sell their bodies and souls just to feed their families. And mind you, they are people. They're not a statistic from the UN. Not a number you see flashed about on CNN.

Yeah I know, sometimes you can't help but detach yourself from it all. Of course when you view the world in your comfy sofa through that 45 inch plasma of yours, you think, shit that's bad. In fact, that's downright horrible. So you feel bad. That feeling may linger a bit, a few hours, maybe even a few days. But it passes. It always does. Because we can never really connect unless we're there first hand. And when we're there, we can't help feel the pull, the pull to perhaps do something?

Be the change you want to see in the world. Gandhi said that. But he was one of the few who had actually the strength and conviction to make good on his words. Not many of us can say the same. We can help, but how much? Is the little we do good enough? Does it make a difference, or does it make it worse? Are we weekend saviours? Because it's the trendy thing to do? Or is it our conscience talking now? We take so much away that it eats up our souls, and rots us to our very core. So we give something back so we can feel better?

Heck if I know. But I do know this. There's no limit to how much we can complain about our perceived predicaments in life. Yet it's always good to remember, that we have it good, damn good compared to so many others.

You see a snapshot in a week of how bad things can be for some, and you go home to your own world, and feel sorta bad for these people. Yet, this is their lives, the whole year round. And no matter what you say or do can change it. At least not at this moment.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

80. Nuts

Hang a sec...West Ham has just signed Tevez and Mascherano? You're fucking kidding me right. What next? Ronaldinho to sign for Wigan??? Adriano to sign for Reading??? Kaka for Bolton??? Right, I promised myself no more posts about football for the rest of the year after I went all apeshit during the World Cup but this just had to be posted...come on, Tevez and Mascherano??? West Ham???

No freaking way.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

79. Halcyon Days

In Greek mythology, Alcyone was a demi-goddess, married to Ceyx, a king of Thessaly. She was the daughter of Aelous, King of the Winds. Her name itself meant Queen Who Wards Off Storms. Yet it was in a storm that she would face her greatest heartbreak.

Her love for her husband Ceyx was great and immeasurable, as the starlit heavens, and she was loathe to be ever parted from him, and him her. Yet there came a time when Ceyx had to make a long voyage across the sea, and Alcyone was much grieved to hear of this. She knew of the powerful winds that were upon the sea at that time of year, and pleaded Ceyx not to leave. Yet he was steadfast, for it was a journey he had to make. Then, she asked to be permitted to join him, for as long as they were together, they could endure anything.

This deeply moved Ceyx, but he would not risk her across such a long sea journey and parted that very night. And as fate would have it, scarcely had his voyage begun that the heavens opened and a fierce storm broke over the sea. The crew quivered with fear as they felt and saw the wrath of the gods, but Ceyx was unmoved and tranquil. His thoughts were only for his beloved Alcyone, and he rejoiced at her safety. And as the great waves broke upon his vessel, and as the waters closed upon him, her name was on his lips, and thus he perished and fell into the darkness yonder.

Alcyone was unaware of the tragedy that had befallen, and counted the days for the safe return of her husband. She prayed every day to the gods for his safe passage, and so touched was the goddess Juno by her plight that she made it known to her of her husband's dark fate, hoping that she would have peace at last.

But overcome with grief, Alcyone threw herself into the sea, for she would not live on without her love. Yet behold, the gods once again took pity upon her that as leapt into the seas, she was transformed into a halcyon bird, and united with her husband who was too transformed into the same bird.

And so their love endured, beyond death, and was everlasting so long as there were days left upon the world. And they bred on a floating nest when the waves of the sea came to be still for seven days in the winter, whence her father Aelous would rein in the wind and sea. And the calmness of sea during that time came to be known by sailors as halcyon days, and have since become regarded as days of peace and happiness, a symbol of tranquillity.

Thus for each of us, we have our own halcyon days, perhaps from those nostalgic summers of our youth, or those moments spent in the presence of our loved ones. They may or may not last, for such things are never meant too, but those memories will always remain till the end of days so long as we keep them in our hearts. J.M. Barrie, he who once wrote of a boy who would never grow up, once said that God gave us all memory so we would always have roses in December. And indeed, perhaps he's right.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

78. Stand

Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. Grit your teeth, suck it in, take the blows, and stand up and be counted. It's part of life. And we each of us have come to such situations when a little steel was necessary. Be it during those excruciating hours spent at work over the weekend chasing that impossible deadline with even more impossible team members. Or playing through the pain barrier for your team on the court or on the field 'cos everyone's counting on you. It can even be just getting on with life as usual after suffering a great loss...something as simple as that, yet it may be the hardest thing in the world. Say aye if you agree. Yes, you can stop nodding your head sagely as you read this (that sage nodding of yours is making you look like a moron to everyone else).

A man defines himself in his actions rather than his words. True. But you know, sometimes it ain't that easy eh. You have a little whinge about it, mope a bit. But then you get the shit done. No point feeling sorry for yourself and wallowing in useless self-pity. Don't play the blame game now. The time for making excuses should be consigned to your adolescence. Ah, might sound like typical machismo bravado, but it's true. There are no other options...except...

Whining like a girl in your blog, and writing posturing shit like the above to convince you to stand firm when the shit has truly hit the fan. My word, haven't we just got ourselves into a pickle. Dear oh dear. Speaking of pickles, check out the size of that mother below (I mean the pickle, not that random potential serial killer holding it). My, ain't she grand. Quite why the chubby dude holding her looks so happy is a mystery to ponder in the cold recesses of night...shiver...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

77. War

War. One man's terrorist may be another man's freedom fighter, but does it really matter anymore? In the end, all are punished.

Indeed, we are but the offspring of our thought. Yet in deed, we repeat the same mistakes over and over. This is the human condition. And it is irreversible.

76. Creakin'...

Bloody hell. Everything they say is true. Growing older is no fun man. You know why? I'll give you ten:

1. You can't act like a retard anymore...damn straight...somehow, it just doesn't seem right for anyone not in their twenties to scream and shout like stark-raving loonies in a club or bar, drink till your eyes bleed and howl at the moon after...piss in the wind...shoot moon-travellers into people's home or at your buddies...start mini-forest fires when camping...ah, you just get all misty-eyed thinking of the good ol days...

2. No more raves...yeah, true...no more PvD...bummer...

3. You can't move like you used too...those days running 5 km was a cinch...now, you're lucky if you make 500 metres...and you can't beat people like you used to on the football pitch...and you're out of breath after climbing a few flights of stars...and let's not get started on those extra pounds eh

4. You get overly picky in the films you watch...somehow watching Pirates 2 just doesn't do it for you anymore like how it may have in those days...come to think of it, the only thing worth watching this year was Lady in the Water...and even then, everyone else hated it...

5. All your freakin' friends are getting hitched...and don't wanna hang out anymore...thus forcing you to maybe re-assess your priorities in life...for the whole of 2 seconds at least

6. You're friends turn mellow...thus inevitably making you semi-mellow and just a bit world-weary?

7. You turn from an idealist to a realist...and in no good order...somehow going for political rallies or demonstrating on the streets like a firebrand gone loco just doesn't do it anymore...too much to lose?

8. You get too bogged down on work and other shit to do those little things that get you off, like say, writing in a blog or something...

9. You start questioning people's intentions...sincere or not...too much has been experienced that you just can't help yourself...

10. You never ever get round to finishing that epic novel you started when you were 16 and so far have written like 6 chapters on...but it shall be awesome when if it's ever finished, you just know it would be.

11. You forget things, like how to count...did I just say ten things or what?

Monday, July 17, 2006

75. Peace

We each of us seek some measure of peace in our lives, to still the restlessness in our hearts, and stay that emptiness that comes to past every now and then. Sometimes we find it, be it through others, and sometimes within oneself.

Yet other times, that disquiet shall not be stilled. Every walking hour may seem altogether too long or too brief. The bright light of day brings no comfort and the nights seem harsh and cold. We've all been through that, in some form or another. Mostly due to loss, be it the departure of a loved one or that moment in your life when everything seems entirely confusing.

But, hope we must, you hope and you pray; that these storm clouds shall past, and that there'll be light again one day.

It may not be easy, yet life is never easy. And you know that you won't have it any other way. The measure of a person is how they respond to adversity, how they define themselves through action and sheer force of will. Strength from within. Not all of us can find it, but to not do so is to stay in eternal wistfulness, and therefore wastefulness.

There's nothing more to say really, just that we have to be steadfast, and persevere. Hey, in our little ways, that's what we humans are good at, ain't it? And perhaps true lasting peace is never achievable, when you really think about it, how can it be? Maybe it's enough to have those special moments in our lives, remember how they made us feel, and the people whom we shared it with. Because once you have those moments, it'll last with you, for a lifetime.

:)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

74. Turkey job

This week, as tensions escalate once again in the Middle East between Israel and Lebanon, with the threat of a full-scale war breaking out, and oil prices soaring to record highs, the world should sleep soundly knowing that they can count on our Brave Leader of the Free World to guide us through these perilous times...

Friday, July 14, 2006

73. Full Circle

Here we are. Back where we started. The circle closes, but as soon as it does, it opens again. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and all that stuff. No alarms and no surprises eh.

On the brighter side, there's much more to look forward to eh, well there better be.

Monday, July 10, 2006

72. Triumphant

Call if fate. Call it luck. Call it sheer force of will. Whatever it is, Italy are the champions of the world. Deservedly so for the tournament they had. France were better on the night, but Italy has been better over the month. Ironic that it was Trezequet, he who broke Italian hearts in Euro 2000 with that golden goal, who was responsible for the only missed penalty of the night.

And Zizou? Brilliance is often tempered with madness, and it was on display for all the world to witness. First the impish penalty. Then the violent headbutt. Whatever his sin on the night, no one can take away his legacy. The best player since Maradona. The genius who made the ball sing. Au revoir Zizou.

Stand up for the Champions now. Stand up.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

71. Zone of the Enders

Right. Get with it. The Azzurri v les Bleus. Hope it's gonna be spectacle worthy of a World Cup final. Barring that, let the best team win. The Italians of course. But the best team throughout the tournament will not necessarily be the best team on the night. Let justice prevail, as it did 6 years ago in Holland. Italy were brilliant on the night, but France were brilliant throughout the tournament and ended worthy winners. Let it be the case tonight, by Crom!

Iacta alea est!








Conan wants an Italian victory. The other guy didn't agree with him.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

70. Allez France

So it's the French then. Repeat of the Euro 2000 finals. Revenge is in the offing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

69. ITALIA!!! ITALIA!!! ITALIA!!!

Zona Grosso!!! Zona Del Piero!!! Fucking fuck hell!!! Brilliant!!! Happy birthday Maldini!!! Happy birthday Baggio!!! ITALIA!!! ITALIA!!! ITALIA!!! ITALIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

68. Muppet Watch #3

No, it's not the pathetic England team this time round (though they come pretty close). Neither is it the flops of Brazil (who admittedly lost due to a supernatural performance from the majestic Zidane, keen to prolong his swan song no doubt). Surely this week's muppet must be that Peker-man, bad pun intended of course.

Leading against the Germans, he decides to withdraw an attacking player (albeit a somewhat subdued Riquelme) for a defensive midfielder. Then he takes out Crespo for Cruz with the Maradona-heir in waiting sitting on the bench. Rather predictably, they go on to concede a late equaliser. And fluff their penalties. Such a bloody waste...the Argies have been by far the best team this World Cup. Ah well, better a possible semi-finals against the Germans than the Argies for the Italians then.

Let's also take the time out to bid a fond farewell to the Three Lions. They came with big reputations and the egos to match, and left with the typical English response to defeat: plenty of excuses and wild-eyed ranting. Blame Johnny Foreigner!!! Those bloody cheats!!! Blame the ref! Bloody Argie! Blame the pitch! Too hard, too dry!!! Blame exhaustion!!! Of course we know it's too tiring to kick a ball from 12 yards, eh, eh?

Ah, of course the nation of Alan "I dived for England" Shearer and Steven "Did you see my swan dive against Hungary?" Gerrard never cheat. Nay, never. And Rooney's the saintliest player in the world, a real angel that one. No, he didn't intentional trod on Carvalho's vital bits. It was all in good humour eh. 'twas a good-natured tap on the balls right.

When the English press stops foaming in their mouths, they'll come to the realisation that England were actually crap. That the only players who escaped with their reputations intact are Walcott, Jenas and Bridge. Only because they didn't play. And because they didn't have much of a reputation to begin with. Lampard? Second best player in the world? You're having a laugh right. Gerrard? EPL Player of the Year? Probably, but just not good enough against the big boys. And Rooney? The next Pele? More like the next Vinnie Jones. Now bugger off.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

67. Onwards They March

What an upset. England, the over-whelming underdogs in the tie against the Ecuadorians, have managed to somehow scrap through, thanks to the mighty exploits of Beckham and co. What have we learned from this match?

a) Frank Lampard is surely the most over-rated footballer in the world. 2nd best player after Ronaldinho? Surely not. He's officially taken over the mantle from Gerrard, who at least looks half decent sometimes.
b) Beckham may play like crap for 89 minutes and 59 seconds, but is apt to score a brilliant free kick in a second (when he's not busy vomitting that is).
c) Watching England is like having a bit of your soul die away. It literally breaks the spirit and saps your will to live.
d) Frank Lampard is the most over-rated foot-, oh.
e) England's plan of playing a short-passing game consists of everyone passing to Beckham and him lumping 70 yard balls to no one in particular. Pure genius.

Of course, if England were to go on and win the damn thing, I'll be stuck with egg on my face. And if they do, the rubbish they've been playing will be forgiven and forgotten. But not by me, nay. The memory of the crimes they've committed against football and humanity in general shall be forever seared in my brain, till the end of days, when the cold of night has come.

Speaking of egg on the face, when will Shebby Singh give up the good fight and concentrate on things he's actually good at? Like, err...so he might actually be rubbish at everything. But I'm sure his mother still loves him. You could almost hear the nation collectively weep everytime he utters the phrase "And yes, Paul...", followed by an incoherent sentence or two, leaving the unfortunate Paul Masefield utterly perplexed.

But enough of the Sheb for now. As I write this, Italy has done it again! The spirit of USA 94 lives on! A late penalty puts the ten-men Italians through to the quarter-finals! Brilliant stuff that!!! ITALIA! ITALIA! ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

66. FORZA ITALIA!!!

Not the best team to go into the next round by a mile, but still not too shabby. If luck and form picks up, who knows how far they'll go...best not to think of the Aussies now, who (quite worringly) play a similar robust game like the Americans, and we all know what happened in that game, don't we? Eh? Eh?

For now, it's a good day, a Blue day. Go Azzurri!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

65. World Cup Watch

Bloody brilliant I tell you. Argentina. And that goal.

Basically it was ping, ping, ping, one touch football, a one-two involving a backheel and a sublime finish. Forget Maradona's individual strike. This was the best goal ever scored in a World Cup match.

This is how football should be played. High tempo short-passing, with the inter-changing of positions, and purposeful off-the-ball running. Exactly the opposite of how England play. Pure genius.

Early days yet, but the Argies look mighty good. Unless they've peaked too early or self-destruct. That looks highly unlikely with this team though. The spirit and togetherness is prevalent in how they play. And the steady head on Leo Messi's tiny shoulders is a testament of their mentality. Don't get over-confident, he says. Too early in the tournament for that.

Compare this to the voices emanating from the Inger-lund camp. Carragher says the Kop spirit will win it for them. Uh-huh. Right. Gerrard says that the Argies were playing against inferior opponents. True, they were. So what were Trinidad and Tobago and Paraguay? Surely they were ranked 1st and 2nd in the world eh, eh? Explain that 24 pass move that led to the goal. England can barely string two passes on the ground together before resorting to an aimless punt forward.

Enough of the bloody English. The most disappointing team of the World Cup so far must surely be Brazil. Talked up as the best Brazil team in years, this one seems to be lost in it's own hype. Not as bad as England but even more disappointing considering they have Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano in their side. So far, only Kaka's been delivering, with Ronaldinho looking a pale shadow of his brilliant self. What gives? I'll tell you what gives. Too many cooks for the same dish.

And what of Italy? Superb against Ghana but tentative against Team U! S! A! Fucking hell, they always do that don't they? Press the self-destruct button when everything seems to be going their way (cue brilliant Zaccardo own goal). Remember, the spirit of Roberto Baggio circa 1994 watches over you, so bloody shape up will ya???

It's Germany 2 Ecuador 0 as at half-time now. I do hope it's Germany-England in the next round. Please, please, pretty please.






"Wake-up, you ass-wipes!!! Cream those Czechs!!!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

64. Muppet Watch #2

At the risk of sounding as giddy as a schoolgirl on crack, I must say that England are doing their upmost best to fulfill all lofty expectations of themselves. Lofty in the sense that they'll be the best over-hyped team of the tournament.

Against Paraguay they looked clueless, lumbering and worse of all, uninterested. Though I must admit that they did have some semblance of a team for a minute or two. Just before they took the lead with a brilliant goal. Said goal in question was of course scored by a Paraguayan player. Then it went pretty much downhill from there. Only that there wasn't much lower to sink to.

Coming as underdogs against the mighty Trinidad and Tobago, England played as the weaker team would in these testing circumstances. They lumped the ball upfield with the blind hope that their break-dancing bean pole of a striker would get a lucky deflection and score. And score he did, which was again a Herculean-feat as he used his 10 foot 9 frame to outjump the giant 4 foot defender that was marking him. He did miss the most difficult chance of the World Cup so far mind. Unmarked and only the keeper to beat from about 8 yards. But of course the wind was blowing, and the sun was shining, the fans were too noisy, and the grass wasn't green enough. Valid reasons that.

But at least he did look better than his midget partner, who seemed to scurry about aimlessly carrying the heavy reputation of being someone who used to have pace and could score goals.

And the greatest midfield in the world, as we are all led to believe, had another outstanding game. Running around bumping into one another with antics that would make the Three Stooges proud, they seemed intent at outdoing one another in being the one who hit the most aimless and misdirected passes. Ever.

But of course they were playing against a midfield that would rival Brazil, with players plying their trade in the lower regions of Scottish and English football.

The best of the bunch would have to be Lampard, who has now decided that he's Pele. Only without the skill and technique. And the vision. And the ability to pass. Nevermind pass, the ability to think straight would suffice.

Ecuador and Germany must be wetting themselves in anticipation that they'd be lucky one to meet the muppets in the second round. Oh yeah, did I mention that? The muppets are through. And so the freakshow goes on in Germany. Viva Italia.







"Everyone, look at me!!! I'm a giant mutant-retard trying to dance!!! WHEEEE!!!!"




Saturday, June 10, 2006

63. Muppet Watch

Early days yet, but I must say that the Muppet of the Week Award has to go to the entire England World Cup squad. Has the world ever seen such a over-paid, over-hyped and self-absorbed bunch? The answer is unfortunately yes. Look to the England World Cup squad of 2002.

The kick-off is in 15 minutes. They're sure to win against unheralded Paraguay, but how I wish for an upset. It's just a shame that John Terry is English. He's just about the only decent bloke in there, him and perhaps Owen Hargreaves.

Hmmm, I'm strangely fascinated as I write as I watch the new Osim horse-riding thingy commercial...






The England squad, led by Beckham (pictured carrying Sven in a basket), make their way to the stadium for their opening game

Monday, June 05, 2006

62. The World Cup Cometh

Hell yeah. Viva Italia. Screw England. But of course the best team (hint, starts with a 'B' and ends with a 'razil') will win it easily.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

61. Irreversible


A whole slew of politically charged films have been released the last two or three years or so, a sign of the times no doubt. Some, like the remake of the 60's thriller The Manchurian Candidate and the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room explored the notion of Corporate America as a vile entity with tentacles that reached into the very heart of the White House itself. Others, like Good Night, and Good Luck. offered a more introspective look into the time-held ideals of liberty and justice, and the ever-present threats to maintaining them, be it from external or internal forces (it also gives a hint of the rising influence of big business in television, foreshadowing the current state of the news media as it is now).

The common theme these films share is the idea that government, in all it's means and form, is not to be trusted. There is a warning here not to be idle, to guard against the bubble of complacency created by consumerism and the mass media, and look beyond what we're fed by those in power and those with vested interests. Most importantly, to not forget and ignore the key issues at hand.

Two films in particular, stand out.

The first film is Stephen Gaghan's politically charged thriller Syriana. Based on the memoirs of former CIA agent Stephen Bauer, the film is an intricately woven tale of oil companies, terrorists, spies and the unseen mechanism that fuels America's never ceasing quest to protect it's oil interests in the Gulf, at any cost. Stephen Gaghan coincidentally won an Oscar for his screenplay for Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, and this film very much follows a similar narrative and style. Tightly woven and extremely convulted, Syriana is nonetheless a compelling look into the inside world of politics and covert operations, and how the two serve each other.

The second film is the documentary Why We Fight. A deliberate and thoughtful look into the politics of war, it is a refreshing change of pace from Moore's frantic and, quite honestly, immature leftwing rant, Fahrenheit 911. Why We Fight mainly examines the close ties between big business (mainly the arms industry) and American foreign policy, and the answers are pretty disturbing.

Needless to say, by both films' chilling conclusions, we are forced to face with the hopelessly bleak future we have created for ourselves, and the implications of that future are extremely unsettling. It is a future born of accepting that we are willing to pay the ultimate price to consolidate our economic security.

And this brings me to Grave of the Fireflies, a film that reminds us of the costs we've paid, and that we'll continue to pay so long as we're willing to pay it.


THE GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES


Grave of the Fireflies is a small film by any standards, focused solely on two protaganists, a boy and his little sister as they make their way through the wasteland of a countryside decimated by war. There isn't much of a plot to speak of, and the film's pacing is idyllic and at times, seemingly aimless. Dialogue is kept to a minimal, and when spoken, is mostly innocuous, with nothing profound shared nor learnt. It is also in the genre known mistakenly as anime, which is Japanese animation to you and me (quite why this particular genre is called anime when it is the French word for animation is anyone's guess, the Japanese themselves refer to it simply is animation). Most importanly though, it is a profoundly moving and important film, one that at once celebrates humanity in the face tragedy, and let's us, the viewer, come to terms with our own mortality. It is a presumptuous notion truly, but this film is one of the few that may indeed change our outlook on life and how we live it.

Mention the word anime and images of flying samurais and giant robots come to mind. And one would be mostly right to stereotype the genre as nothing but mindless entertainment with an abundance of graitutous sex and violence, supported by nonsensical plots that are nothing but an elaborate excuse to showcase all the above excesses.

But it is easy to forget that some of the most important animated films to come out during the 20th and 21st century have originated from Japan (Akira, Barefoot Gen, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away spring to mind). And most have been by the master storytellers at Studio Ghibli.

Unknown mostly outside of it's native Japan, Grave of the Fireflies may be the pinnacle of Japanese animation. Tenderly crafted by the geniuses at Studio Ghibli, it represents not only the best animated film ever made, but quite possibly, as in this writer's mind, the greatest film ever made.

For those who will simple not watch a film for the mere fact that it is animated or in a medium unfamiliar to them, then they are truly missing out on a masterpiece. The realism of this film lies not in it's animation but in the emotions that the film evokes. It challenges the viewer to look beyond the images that are presented on screen and rather, to ideas that the images represent.

Roger Ebert, quite rightly so, has called this film is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation (you can view more on his insights on the film here). He was moved to the point of tears after viewing the film. A quick check on the net shows that many share the sentiment (read Amazon reviews here and IMDB reviews here).

Some may mistake this film as an anti-war film, especially with since it's set during the Second World War and tells a tale of two children orphaned by it. It is not anti-war, it is pro-life. It shows us what it means to live, and what it means to have hope and love. It also shows us how delicate life is, and the devastating effects of us losing our humanity.

There is something familiar about the film, something that we can relate to. It is because we know that the events depicted in this film could be happening this very minute. Forget that the characters are Japanese, but perhaps an Iraqi, or a Somalian, or maybe even somebody closer to home. It is a disquieting thought, but one that is too important to ignore.

Perhaps we should all really think of the consequences of our decisions, on why we fight and what we believe in. We can justifiably say that the Allies fought in the Second World War to overthrow an evil regime bent on exterminating a race of people. Yet, the Americans systematically fire-bombed Japan, purposely targeting the civilian population to terrorise them into submission. The bombings caused the deaths of 100,000 civilians, and Robert McNamara himself has admitted that if the US would have lost the world, he and General Cutris LeMay (who had planned the fire-bombing) would have been tried as a war criminal. After of which, they dropped two atomic bombs on a crippled nation.

It is easy to forget the human toll behind the numbers. The millions of lives lost during the countless wars fought. And more to be lost in the wars to come. We must never forget, for to forget is to compromise our own humanity, and if we lose our humanity, then we are truly lost.

We are but the offspring of our thought. Yet in deed, we repeat the same mistakes over and over. This is the human condition. And it is irreversible.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

60. Pan in the Sky

"Anyway, I keep picturing these little kids playing some game in this big field or rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean, except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."
- J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Maybe it's cos he hasn't seen this. Heh.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

59. A Life Less Ordinary

I kinda wished we had more distractions in the city. Something that, you know, could make life just the little bit less ordinary. Perhaps it's asking too much. More than a lot. You gave me nothing, now it's all I got. Ah, shut it.

Just ignore that retarded alter-ego of mine. You know, the idealistic one who's apt to rattle off some Bono-esque lyrical rhyming of some sort every now and then. A bad case of arrested development that. Nasty.

Actually, I'm mistaken. There perhaps are lots of it. Maybe it's because we get so caught up doing our thing that we sometimes forget to get just a little bit distracted every now and then.

Nonsense.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

58. C H A M P I O N S ! ! ! Part Deux


Like all things, the second time round may not be as sweet as the first, but it's still way awesome. Chelsea, 2005/06 English Premier League Champions. Oh yeah. Now, if they can only sort out that pesky Champions League...

Monday, April 17, 2006

57. Decay


Ex-hippies from the 70's getting Wall Street jobs. You spend all your idealistic youth sticking it to the Man, only to sell out later. Become the thing you hated most. Just another suit feeding the fat cats way up, most likely helping yourself to the rich pickings while you were at it.

At day's end, you give yourself a pat on your back, mighty pleased with yourself for a good day's work. Smiling that Cheshire Cat smile. Who gives a shit about what you do. You're another Kenneth Lay in the making. Another Jeff Skilling. As long as the share values are up. Screw the masses. The little people. Like Eddie Vedder would say, it's evolution baby.

But hey, profit is the way of life ain't it? Let's not kid ourselves. Everything looks justifiable when you get that spanking new 5 series beemer. That palace in the sky. Hot babes just waiting to get their paws on you. Greed is good. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

It's not a question of conscience. It's a question of getting as much as you can, while you can. Do it with a straight face. Practice every day in the mirror. Just make do with hating what you see once in a while. Don't worry, that feeling won't stay. Convince yourself long enough, and you may actually start believing the righteousness of your way of life. That's not the question here.

To be a rock and not to roll? Now that is the question.

"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost;" - J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, April 09, 2006

56. We're Off Once More

It's already April. That's almost a third of the year over and done with. What gives? Surely it's not all flown by?

So, round this time last year, if I'm not mistaken, I was rambling on what a friend of mine experienced when her condo was hit by some mild tremors. She was pretty terrified at the time, but had a nervous laugh about it after. She wasn't the only one affected, some buddies from work had that same uncomfortable experience. All had an identical reaction, fear followed by relief.

And after? Nothing's changed. Things always fall back into place. You know why? Because people hardly ever change. They may go through life altering experiences. Only that it's not really life altering because if it were, they would've, erm, altered their lives somewhat. Only they don't. Possibly for a week or two. But beyond that? Well, you know the drill. Life has a funny way of knocking you back in that old comfortable rhythm. You're used to it, and it can get somewhat frightening if you don't have that sense of familiarity.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not at all. It's just that, well, it can get pretty hysterical and useless when you really think about it.

Unfortunately, this doesn't make a whole of sense to me at this point of time. Maybe tomorrow, under the clear light of day. As for now, there's something terribly unsettling about the whole thing. Or maybe not.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

55. Milosevic

Farewell to bad rubbish. Responsible for more than 200,000 deaths during the Balkan conflict, the "Butcher of the Balkans" Slobodan Milosevic was found dead in his cell yesterday. He got off easy if you ask me.

If there were really any justice in the world, he should've been castrated and had his limbs amputated. Then they should've displayed that limbless, dickless sodding piece of shit to all the Balkan states he so terrorised and let the public use him as a punching bag. Of course, he'd have to be kept alive as long as possible to be tortured in the worst possible way so they can't really let it get too far.

And what kind of torture should he'd have to endure that would match his crimes? Well, a pulled fingernail now and then never killed anyone. And I kinda like what Adolf Hitler's punishment in hell was as imagined by the South Park creators (the whole daily pineapple up the ass routine). Only instead of pineapples, it should be durians. Additionally, he'd be forced to listen to endless Ricky Martin and Spice Girls songs. Now, that'd be just too cruel.

Below are some other people that have yet to be punished for crimes against humanity. There might hope yet for the world if we can get to them before they get away with that pesky "dying of natural causes" thingy.



Mass murderer and all-round looney, Saddam Hussein

Mass murderer and all-round dumbass, George Bush


Dumbass and all-round dodgy marksman, Dick Cheney

Elder of the two brothers ugly and all-round downright ugly, Gary Neville

Creator of Jar Jar and midi-chlorins and all-round no-necked douchebag, George Lucas

Friday, March 10, 2006

54. The Emperor Has No Clothes




The secret is out. Shhhh, say it quietly. Or rather, maybe we shouldn't. The British press (both tabloid or otherwise) surely aren't. They're practically screaming it at the top of their lungs. And just what is it that they're going on about? What's the thing that's got them in such a feeding frenzy? Well it's because the Emperor, it seems, has no clothes.

The Emperor in meaning of course is the Special One himself, Jose Mourinho. The undisputed Master and Commander of Stamford Bridge. A shy Russian may be doing the bank-rolling, an ex-Man U fan may be doing the administrative running of things, but there's no doubt who the real head honcho, the numero uno, of Chelsea is. That's right. It's old Mr Smoldering and Pouting himself. The man whom all Chelsea fans love to love, and everyone else loves to loathe.

So headlines in the press are blaring how inadequate Chelsea are compared to the sheer genius of Barcelona, a case of the artists vs the artisans. How Jose got his tactics completely wrong on the night (case in point: Huth playing as a target man upfront). And how such an expensively assembled team can put out such a limp performance.

Well actually, I've been harping about it for ages now. It just strikes me as odd why they've only now figured it out. And the problem does not really lie with Chelsea at all, it lies with the entire English Premier League. And how it's been overhyped to death.

Collectively, Chelsea's present squad costs significantly more than what it did to assembly Barca's squad. Think about it. Terry and Lampard's comments after the 2nd leg of the last 16 was that there wasn't much difference in quality between Chelsea's and Barcelona's squads. That and the fact they were the two best club sides in the world. Ho hum.

When you pay 24 million quid for a fumbling and clumsy sod of a player like Drogba when it cost Barcelona significantly cheaper to purchase the exhilirating Samuel Eto'o, you've really got to ask yourself some very deep questions. Wright-Philips went for double the amount Man U payed for Cristiano Ronaldo. True, Ronaldo is crap and but his level of crapiness is yet to sink to Drogba like-depths. Plus, he's still on the young side and has time to mature and improve on his skills (like crossing the ball decently for once). In two to three years time, he has the potential to be a passable Luis Figo clone (ala another Portuguese starlet, Simao). More damningly, Rooney was only 3 million pounds more expensive than Drogba. Also, Essien's price was double that of Xabi Alonso.

Let's not bring up the other signings Chelsea have made in the past. There's just so much one can bear. Let's just say that the only players worth their value brought in since the new regime are as follows: Robben, Cech, Crespo, Makelele. That's it. Of course Ferreira and Carvalho are halfway decent defenders, but surely for the prices that they were bought for there would have been better alternatives out there (Zambrotta and Nesta spring just to name a few).

Ok, let's not criticise Jose's transfer policy. Everyone knows that Chelsea have to pay way over the odds for every player they buy. Fair play then, with enormous resources comes inflated prices.

But one does have to wonder on his tactics. Cautious to the point of tedium sums it up best. As a Chelsea fan, I'm not afraid to admit it. Yet they were tactics good enough to win the Premiership by a mile last season and to clinch this year round as well. That just shows to prove the overall standard of the Premiership. Man U have been shit for the past five years now, and are steadily declining into oblivion despite what Fergie says. It's too unpredictable to tell with Arse at the moment but they do have the potential to rise up again, but not within the next two to three years. Only Liverpool have looked decent enough to challenge Chelsea but then again they have the likes of Traore and Cisse in their team, so you can more or less count them out.

Let's not kid ourselves here. A mediorce Chelsea may just stroll through to another league title without breaking sweat. But when it comes to Europe, that's a whole different ballgame here. After all that build-up and hype that's gone Chelsea's way, how they have the best squad in world football, etc, the way they meekly bowed out against Barca was frankly, embarrassing. The two best club sides in the world? Not by a mile. The best team was definitely on show, but the 2nd best team was no where to be found (it's a toss-up between Juve or Milan).

Liverpool's fluke win in the Champions League last year withstanding, English clubs have always underperformed in Europe. And the blame has always been those dodgy cheating foreign tactics like diving and time-wasting. Well, honestly, there's just so much one can blame before taking a good long look at themselves to find where the problem truly lies.

Man U and Liverpool went out limply to a team who are woefully underperforming in the Portuguese league. Why? They were just out-skilled and out-thought. Chelsea went down without so much of a whimper against a rampant Barca side. Why? Barca had technical players who knew what to do with the ball while Chelsea couldn't even string three decent passes together without conceding possession. And Arsenal? Well, we all know Real Madrid have long ceased to be a football club and has instead turned in a freak show starring overaged and underperforming stars (kinda like in Vegas) so they don't really count as opposition against a team containing the second best player in the world in my books (my top three in order would be Ronaldinho, Henry and Totti).

Wouldn't it be nice for once if Chelsea, with all their vast resources, could assembly a team capable of winning and entertaining? As a fan since the days of Hoddle, Gullit and Vialli, I find the current Chelsea side to be functional, capable of flashes of brilliance, yet dull most of the time. We're still winning, so no complaints. But perhaps, a little guile and magic is required to take the team to the next level. Maybe one day, Chelsea will win the Champions League with the type of thrilling football that Barca are so deservedly praised for. And till that day comes, I'll have to be content with sweeping mediorce competition in a mediorce league.

Come on you Blues!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

53. Simplicity



Ok, this is a shameless plug for a friend's new floral boutique. It's located at Plaza Damas, at the Dorchester apartment building. You can check out more here. Since Valentine's is round the corner, you'd do well to check out some of the stuff they carry. Pretty neat. Good prices too. Oh ya, be sure to check out the Swedish kickboxing delivery boy they've got working for them, he's pretty entertaining to watch.




Tuesday, February 07, 2006

52. Free Speech?

Well, what a week it's been. While we've been off revelling during the Chinese New Year holidays, gambling and loh sang-ing and drinking ourselves retarded, the world has apparently gone to hell again.

So unless you've been off digging holes (of the ass variety) somewhere in Brokeback Mountain this past week, you'd surely be aware of the whole brouhaha concerning some rather controversial cartoons published by a right-wing Danish newspaper depicting a revered relligious icon in a not so flattering light (I'm not talking about Jedi Master Yoda here to all you registered members of the Jedi out there).

Cue violent protests the world round...flags burning going on in the streets, embassies being firebombed, people blowing shit up, people blowing themselves up, babies being roasted, nosehairs being pulled, etc. Yawn, boring. What else is new? Would we have expected any less?

You know, I just wished that, for once, the mainstream media would report on something that's actually newsworthy. Like this for instance. Ahhh, just the kind of article that'd make all the pedophiles of the world rejoice! Doesn't it just speak volumes of the state of the world we live in that an eleven year old girl with F-cup sized boobs could possibly bring an end to the Japan-China row that's been simmering for decades?

Back to the toons. If you're curious, you can look them up yourself. Judge for yourself whether they're offensive or not. And what about the reaction eh?

Right, so maybe torching a nation's embassy to express outrage at something one of that nation's newspapers printed isn't the best way one can express themselves. That'd be comparable to say, setting fire to your Calvin Klein undies 'cos you hate the fucktarded way George Bush speaks.

And asking the Danish government to apologise for something they didn't do probably isn't the most sound idea either. Again, that'd be like asking George Bush apologise to the world for America giving us the likes of Tom Cruise, the Olsen twins and errr, George Bush...now wait a sec here...

But hang on a minute, what actually is the issue here? Some Muslims in Denmark woke up one morning to the cartoon image of the founder of Islam with a bomb in his turban. They got pissed. Word got round, soon other Muslims got pissed. They set fire to a lot of shit. Then a bunch of European newspapers reprinted the image just to show that there's no big deal. So more shit got blown up. The papers tell everyone not to wet their panties, it's only free speech. The cartoons were meant to be satirical. A satire of what? Well, relligious extremism and terrorism dummy!

Interesting. Is it just me or does it strike you as odd that if the toons were meant to be satricial, why they would choose to depict a relligion's prophet instead of a known terrorist like Osama bin Laden? That would be equivalent and as offensive to showing Jesus dressed up as Rambo chopping up some hapless Mayans to comment on the Spanish conquest of Yucat√°n.

So, we could possibly specalute that the editors of the newspaper knew what they were doing. That they were smart enough to gauge what the reaction would be. And that the cartoons were nothing more than an attempt to offend and insult a relligion and it's followers, all hiding under the pretext of satire and free speech.

But that's a moot point. That the cartoons were intentionally offensive or not is irrevelant to what the actual argument is, which is of course free speech, and the notion that it need be defended at all costs. So strong is this sentiment that countless papers across Europe reprinted the cartoons in an act of soliditary for their Danish counterparts.

Opinion on the net seems to be divided, but some sites make the very strong and well-argued stand that everyone should have the boundless right to say anything they want, whenever they want. In fact, some make it sound like to think otherwise would make you a bona fide communist. You know, like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and George Clooney.

Well, of course we know that if we don't defend free speech, then democracy and civilisation as we know it would all coming crashing down on us.

So, I suppose if the NY Post were to print a cartoon of the Pope getting his ass rammed by Elton John as a commentary of homosexuality in the Roman Catholic church, Catholics should all just shrug their shoulders, be politely offended and say; "Gee whiz, it's ok that they're insulted the highest authority of my church because they're entitled to do so, I'm so happy that I can burst into a thousand butterflies that they're exercising their right to free speech! Wheeee!!!"?

How bout if a paper were to lampoon the Holocaust? Yeah, we could have laughing and dancing Jewish women and children getting high while being gassed in Auschwitz! I suppose Jewish people all the world round should just live and let live eh, because of course, it would be barbaric to try and stop people from doing that kinda stuff. Remember, the fall of democracy and civilisation as we know it.

No apology required or expected because that's free speech right? And we, as defenders of democracy and the civilised world (well, at least the Western model of democracy and civilised world), should just grit out teeth and maybe protest a little (in a civilised manner of course!) or do a nice boycott of the paper. Yeah, perhaps that makes sense. Perhaps it's the most reasonable thing to do.

But say if someone were to come over to your house one night, and describe in graphic detail over a loudspeaker how he'd like to have a foursome with your momma, your wife and your 5 year-old daughter, what would you do? What would your first instinct be? To call the police and wait for them to come while you and your family sit around and hear all the vile and sickening things he had to say? Or would you grab a baseball bat, go outside, and turn that fucker's face into jello?

Think about it.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

51. Zero Six

Right, so 2006 is here. And 2005, a fond farewell to you it is for some, and a "yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker" for others. As for me? Indifference.

With that in mind, it's appropriate that this blog's first entry of the year is to post a shout-out to two close friends who've had contrasting ends to their zero five. One experiencing jubilation, and the other, something else entirely.

Let's start with hearty congratulations to yet another buddy who's tied the knot. Well done, you poor sod. They've really gotten to you haven't they? I mean, here's a guy who was giving up his carefree bachelor days of not putting the toilet seat back down after taking a piss in exchange for sharing the rest of his life with someone who would eventually get fat and nag him incessantly. And he couldn't look any happier. Jeez man, I mean this guy was literally bursting through the seams with happiness. If there was ever a more delighted person in the planet, I have yet to meet him.

And what a wedding it was, though you wouldn't have thought it initially. It started off innocently enough, with most guests arriving after 8 even though the invitation card explicitly said to be there at 7 sharp. It was your typical by the numbers Chinese-sytle do. At first I was kinda winging it really, my bummed out ankle making it all quite difficult to have much fun. Luckily the table I was seated at were with some other dudes we were all tight with, thankfully negating the need for small talk with a bunch of strangers.

The food was ok if not expected, the scraps that were left at least. Did I also mention that those guys I was seated with were also the greediest bunch of bastards in the world? Looking them eat was like watching something from a wildlife program on the Discovery channel. Nasty stuff.

K, like I was saying, you more or less know what's coming for the night. Besides the usual menu, there'd be the slide show showing in the bride and groom in all their youthful glory, and there'd be the cutting of the huge fake cake which I have no idea what purpose it serves, then there's the toasting led by the best man or gal doing their level best to stir the crowd but always followed by muted yam sengs in reply, and the usual speeches where 50% of the guests would be too drunk or engrossed in the self-importance of their own yakking to bother about (yeah, like their conversations were so important that they couldn't hold it up for a few minutes to hear the words of the people who organised the whole thing, bunch of wankers). Other than that, there was a life band playing swing, which is always a nice touch and a welcome change from listening to another Bryan Adams or Michael Learns To Rock cd.

Then the big end for the night...the groom's speech. At least most of the guests would have the decency to pay attention, most that is, some people you just can't reach. It's all pretty standard till now. But then, something unexpected happens. Upon finishing his undying thanks to her parents for raising such a lovely bride, he nervously declares that he hadn't actually officially proposed to her and would like to take the opportunity to do so now. But that's not really the unexpected thing (you'd be surprised how there aren't any proper proposals in marriages nowadays, they just seem to happen, as if it's a given, scary ain't it?). Of course we all find it rather sweet in a thank-God-it's-him-and-not-me sorta way (doing something like that in a hall filled with 600-odd people staring at you is not something that men aspire to do, fact).

The unexpected thing is when he asks the audience to forgive him for what is to happen next. Immediately us guys in the audience feel a sense of dread creeping up on us...something was rotten in the state of Denmark. We all instinctively knew what was coming next. Needless to say, our worst fears were confirmed when he proceeded to grab the mike for a solo singing performance, backed by a piano no less. Those feelings of dread were soon replaced by sheer terror when we heard the song selection he had concocted for us all. And what was it? 'Twas a medley consisting of You Raise Me Up, Flying Without Wings and other like-minded tunes that's been blocked off by my mind (just like how some guys who've experienced really, really horrible things like being anally-raped or being forced as a child to have a perm would suppress those memories). To cap it all off, he goes on bended knee for the most hair-raising proclaimation of love undying since the days of Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

We cringe in our seats as the spectacle of it all unfolds before our eyes, observing him in a mixture of raw horror and wonder, hell even the chicks on our table are close to choking on their own vomit. The guys? Well let's just say that some of us on the table couldn't even bear to make eye contact with one another, possibly out of fear it'd be perceived as being homosexual.

But as the grand events unveiled itself in all it's disturbing glory, there was something other than nauseam and crippling fear we felt, respect. Hell yeah. You had to give props to the guy. I mean here he was, as nervous as hell, spouting stuff that would make Strawberry Shortcake and her friend Blueberry barf, exposing his deepest emotions in front of hundreds of people, mostly uncles and aunties and countless acquaintences of the dad and mom he could be buggered to remember. Now that's what you call a display of love. Who else would go through such lengths to make a fool of himself? Just to make a very special night that extra memorable, no unforgettable for the woman he loves? Well, a man in love is really a fool come to think of it. There's no other explanation for it.

The heart is an organ of fire no doubt, and that fool's lucky to be so caught up in it's rapture. And I thought stuff like this only happens on Friends.

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About a month ago and old uni mate I haven't spoken to for more than 6 years got in touch with me. I, of course, was pleased to bits. This guy is like just about the most decent guy I've ever met. A real stand-up guy, you know what I mean? He was already a senior the time I first enrolled, and he stayed a few rooms away from me on my floor in the hostel. Considering the amount the stark-raving loonies prowling round everywhere, I was pretty lucky to have someone around who had some semblance of sanity.

Anyway, so him being a senior and everything, he was sorta like the guy everyone looked up to on our floor, the wise mentor if you like. Heck, lots of fellas went to him if they ever needed any help with their English or just wanted to chill out and listen to him recount his uni experiences, and heck, he sure had many a regal tale to tell. We always could count on him to dish out the dirt on a lecturer, some nasties seniors, and even a fellow or two residing in our college. But he was stern when he had to be too, like how all big brothers had to be, and would straighten you out a bit when you needed straightening out. Best thing about him was that his room door was open to everyone, irregardless of race.

I remember some of the best times I had in the uni was hanging out with him and his roommates. And talking bout roommates, boy did he have his fair share of colourful ones. There was this one singh guy who used to strut round our floor half-naked in the wee hours of night, with his waste-length hair unshackled from his turban. Fuck, did that one scare the beejesus out of a few of us whenever we had to go to the common loo after midnight when the hallways were dark. Imagine walking through a dimly corridor, and seeing some long haired naked being prowling around. Then there was this quiet and unassuming Japanese guy whom we all initially thought was a super nerd who had his nose always burried in his books. He couldn't really speak English well either, and we used to take the piss out of him all the time. Sure it was mean as hell, but he was good-natured fella, and put up with our shit. Super guy. We all found out later that he was quite the psycho, and seemingly had a blatant disregard for personal safety (he once almost dismembered a finger in a game of cricket 'cos he didn't bat with gloves on). Plus, further investigation revealed that he was also a pervert (I only just found out that he had a wide selection of hentai delivered to him from Japan every month, now we know why he had his nose burried in those books eh).

So anyway, like I said, it's been ages since I last met up with him. The last time I saw him was at his wedding bout 6 years ago. Then we just lost each other's contacts and, you know the drill. Luckily another mutual friend somehow got hold of him and he passed on my contact to him. Anyway, we met up for some coffee to catch up on old times to see what he's been up to. As far as I knew, he had taken up a teaching position in a prestigious international school (he graduated in physical education). It suited him, he always had those noble attributes all dedicated teachers have. He was also a kick-ass athelete in his own right, being captain of the hockey team and all and was not too shabby at cricket either.

So it was to my surprise when he told me he was no longer teaching, that somehow, he had been suspended indefinitely from his position in his school for 'disciplinary' reasons. Say what? This guy was like the epitomy of discipline. Something surely had to give. Sure enough, I get the whole story, and boys and gals, it ain't pretty. His story goes something like this:

It seems that my friend had made several enemies in school amongst the teaching staff. Being who he was, someone who always would speak his mind whenever he knew he was right, he stepped on a few toes, especially amongst the expat teachers. While some teachers would pamper the students cos they were mostly children of VVIPs and corporate bigshots, he would have none of it. Fearless eh, and foolhardy I suppose. But a man without principles is not really a man, that's what the movies tells us anyway.

Now he had this particular rival who was vying for the affections of a fellow teacher with him. Needless to say, he was in the front seat and the rival, who incidentally was the school's discipline teacher, was not too happy. Plus, there were numerous instances when my friend would go straight to the principal whenever there was a major disciplinary issue with the students the discipline teacher was rather crap at his job. In fact, he had already been involved himself in some of these disciplinary issues. There was this one incident where one of the students, was caught sneaking off from a boy's room in the dorm, not once but numerous times, which is entails an automatic suspension. The case was reported to the discipline teacher, and lo and behold, nothing gets done because she's shagging him as well. He already had a rap sheet from other schools, where he was sacked from one for having sex with one of the students. But somehow, he had endeared himself with the top hierarchy and the expat community and consolidated his position as an untouchable.

There were numerous other events, too long to go in detail here. These things go on for a few years, till one day my friend gets called up by the disciplinary board. It seems that some charges had been levelled against him. Two in particular stood out: causing physical harm to students, and the other, quite incredulously, molesting some male students. And before you could say Anwar Ibrahim, he was suspended pending further investigation.

So the investigation goes on, then he's finally called up for the tribunal, where they don't pass him the details of the allegations against him till the day itself, and it's a hell of a thick folder. It smells like a set-up straight away. And to cut a long story short, he was asked to leave. Fellow teachers (the local ones) who made a complaint or who wished to testify in his defence were issued show-cause letters for doing so. Something was not only rotten in the state of Denmark, it was fucking festering. I can't really do his story justice, but needless to say he was left high and dry by the school he so dedicately served for a good ten years.

Like I said, I know this guy. Ain't no way the charges they levelled against him were true. Heck, if it was, wouldn't it be already a police case? Makes no bloody sense. Needless to say, he ain't giving up without a fight. He's taking it to next level and has gotten a lawyer to take up his plight. The lawyer had advised him that it'd be a long and arduous battle, a costly one too. My friend currently is doing a temp job, having been jobless for the past six months or so. He's a strong dude, and my respect for him grows even more considering with all the adversity he's gone through, he's still fighting and won't stand down from his convictions. Now that's someone who can hold his head high.

And to that wanker discipline teacher and those involved in humiliating and destroying the reputation of this honourable man, all I can do is quote Bono when he sang: "Don't believe in Goldman, his type like a curse, instant karma's gonna get him, if I don't get him first", a reference to Albert Goldman, author of The Lives of John Lennon, a book which stirred controversy for it's many allegations and unflattering potrait of Lennon the man.

Yeah buddy, what goes around, comes around. You can be sure of that.