Thursday, March 24, 2005

Movie mania

So many movies, so little time...(L-R): Appleseed, Cafe Lumiere, Tokyo Godfathers

The S'pore International Fim Fest is back again! I look forward to the filmfest every year. Not only is the movie selection fun, I like going to the movie theatre and spotting old classmates I haven't seen in ages. Events such as these (besides 1-for-1 nights at the Wine Bar) tend to bring them out. I have already gotten my little booklet and pored over all the movies I want to watch. Someone on the committee is obviously an anime freak as the opening and closing movies of this year are both animes. Perhaps anime is becoming mainstream? Unfortunately, at $21 a pop, I'm not shelling out that much money to catch something I can easily get on DVD (or download hurhur) later.

Being the kan cheong people that we are and afraid that they will sell out, my friends and I have already bought tickets to Appleseed and Tokyo Godfathers. So that takes care of our anime fix. These are the other movies I'm interested in catching:

Café Lumiere - Café Lumière is Hou Hsiao-hsien’s beautiful homage to Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story) on the centenary of the Japanese filmmaker’s birth. Freelance writer Yoko (Yo Hitoto, of mixed Taiwanese-Japanese parentage) has returned home to Takasaki from Taiwan and is researching the life of 1930’s Taiwanese singer Jiang Ewn-Ye. She lives with her uncle and maintains a relationship with her divorced father and his new wife. But the real source of comfort and empathy comes from bookstore owner Hajime (Tadanobu Asano, Last Life in the Universe and Vital, featured in SIFF 2004). Hajime and Yoko share a profound, ambiguously defined friendship. Furthermore, Yoko’s father and those around her are taken aback to discover that she is pregnant and quietly attempt to understand her decision to enter motherhood on her own. Naturalistic in its tone and subtly rendered, Hou’s elegiac film is a wonderfully rendered tribute to the Japanese master.

Wilby Wonderful - Featuring a stellar ensemble cast of Canada’s most talented actors including Sandra Oh, James Allodi, Maury Chaykin and Paul Gross, Wilby Wonderful is the tale of an eccentric little community on Wilby island who are threatened by scandals that rock their world to the foundations. Duck MacDonald (Callum Keith Rennie) is the town’s dyslexic sign painter who keeps interrupting the suicide attempts of depressed video store-owner Dan (James Allodi). Meanwhile, Dan has enlisted real-estate agent Carol French (Sandra Oh) with the task of selling his house before his intended “departure”. However, Carol is more preoccupied with selling her recently deceased mother-in-law’s property to Mayor Brent Fisher (Maury Chaykin) to find a way in with the in-crowd. In a town full absorbing troubles, no one is prepared for the discovery of a body in the closet.

Stray Dogs - Set in Afghanistan, ‘Stray Dogs’ concerns brother and sister Zahed and Gol Ghoti who rescue a dog from the clutches of a group of kids bent on killing it on the premise that it belongs to one of their enemies – British, Soviet or American. The Ghoti siblings are virtual orphans, with both parents in jail. While their father was a Taliban fighter, their mother is arrested for remarrying in order to avoid starvation and poverty. As Zahed and Ghoti are homeless, they frequently visit their mother in prison and eventually, one of the guards allows them to spend nights with her. When the warden puts an end to this arrangement, insisting it is not an orphanage, they try their hand at petty crime just to be able to gain entrance into prison and a life off the streets. Ironic, beautifully shot in the characteristic style of the Makhmalbaf Film House and filled with pathos for a struggling people, Meshkini shows herself to be an exquisite filmmaker in her own right.

Soap Opera - Composed of several collected short stories, Wu Er Shan’s Soap Opera is a collection of everyday tales culled from newspapers and daily gossip. Abused and bullied kid Leyi vents his frustrations in a dramatically deathly way. Zhang cannot sleep because of six women who have moved in upstairs and who play loud music, despite his polite pleas for silence, until he too, eventually snaps. Lao Deng persistently fails in his suicide attempts while the son of a successful chef has murderous intents towards his wife. Unflinching in its gaze, Soap Opera plays witness to reality and brings cinema closer to the marrow of life. The film received the FIPRESCI Prize at the Pusan International Film Festival, 2004.

Buffalo Boy - Set in the lowlands of South Vietnam during the French occupation in 1940, Buffalo Boy’s protagonist is the teenager Kim whose father puts him in charge of herding two starving buffaloes towards the mountains and pastures of Ba-thé, outside of the flooded terrain in the lowlands. Through his journey, Kim encounters violence as well as comradeship with other buffalo herders. The voyage itself becomes a metaphor for a rite of passage from the innocence of youth to a world of harshness, alcohol consumption and guarded relationships. Indeed, water itself becomes a metaphor and visual device for life and its particular force. Minh Nguyen-Vo’s debut feature film is a telling example of post-war Vietnamese cinema that is slowly finding a voice in addressing social issues within the country. Winner of the Silver Hugo Award for Best New Director at the 40th Chicago International Film Festival.

Underexposure - Filmmaking and the arts have an arduous journey towards reconstructing itself in post-Baathist Iraq. Whereas an oppressive regime clamped down on expression previously, now Iraqis must contend with looting and a foreign regime that has systematically burnt down or destroyed its museums, galleries and libraries. In this atmosphere, 30-year old Oday Rasheed has crafted a multi-faceted tale following the lives of six characters who wander the city of Baghdad after the war, in search of regeneration. Hassan is making a documentary about Baghdad and fast running out of film. Moataz is a musician dying of cancer. Schizophrenic Nasir determines to take a wounded soldier from southern Iraq to float his dead body down the Tigris homewards. The film’s title speaks on several levels: a reference as much to the reams of outdated film stock that allowed Rasheed to make his film, as it is to the artists who have quietly struggled without notice under the Baathists, Underexposure is brave, exciting and the face of a slowly renewing nation.

The People of Angkor - Rithy Panh (S-21 Khmer Rouge Killing Machine SIFF 2004) continues his exploration of Cambodia – a land devastated by oppression, poverty and war. Here, he focuses on the famous city of Angkor, widely recognised for its bas-reliefs and religious iconography. Panh gleans stories from the inhabitants of the city and their hopes, however slim, for the future. A peddler who has yet to learn to read and cannot afford an education wonders what direction to take. A former peasant who now labours at restoration sites remembers his agrarian days fondly and cherishes his fighting cock named “Lemon Soup”. Through these different stories, both humour and pathos emerge.

Note: all synopses taken from the SIFF website.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

ShooStories: Boho White

#3 *Fresh!*

The Shoo: Boho White
Circa: March 2005 (last Sat!)
Where: Aldo, Raffles City Shopping Centre

The Story: I've only had one pair of white sandals before this, and it got broken after I was in a bad car accident more than a year ago. The impact of my car hitting another car somehow caused one of the straps to snap. So not only did I have my baby smushed, I also had to hobble around while waiting for the tow truck to arrive.

My point? Oh yes. So I never got round to replacing the old pair until recently. Reason why I got this pair is 'cos I have a white pair of pants which I want to wear for the church Easter service on Friday (all musicians and singers have been given a dress code of black and white) and I needed shoos to match. Kinda ironic huh, Lent is all about denying oneself and remembering Jesus' sacrifice and here I am being a vainpot, thinking of matching my clothes. Oh well, Happy Easter!


Detail of shoo

Monday, March 21, 2005

Weekend accounting

Oh what a huge amount of money I spent on Saturday. I went to the NATAS travel fair at Suntec City in the morning in the hopes of finding a good deal for my May trip to Australia. And indeedy, I did. It was worth it waking up early and braving the crowds (of which it wasn't so considerable at 10am) and one persistent and sickeningly cheery Prudential girl. I was so confident I wouldn't be able to find a better deal elsewhere, I paid for the ticket upfront, with the exception of airport tax, to be paid on collection of the ticket.

In the glow of my find, I did some retail therapee and bought a pair of shoes, a top and sunblock. Just like that. Normally I prowl around for hours, but the amount of time it took for all these purchases was just under 2 hours. Wow, I'm getting good at this.

Numbers time
Air ticket to Australia on Emirates: $480 (not including tax)
Aldo shoes (watch out for it in ShooStories!): $99.90
A French Connection truffle of a halter top: $79
The Natural Source baby sunblock, 2 tubes (one for me, one for a friend's baby): $28.50

In other news, I caught In Good Company. I enjoyed it, even though it wasn't quite the comedy I expected it to be. It did have its laugh out loud moments, but it was more a movie of quiet and subtle humour and feeling. That's a good thing. I liked how the movie was real, and didn't have the usual romantic mush ending so typical of most Hollywood fare. And of course, I always enjoy watching Topher Grace in his intellectual loser roles. Although, it's time he switched focus before he gets typecasted.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Just when I thought this was another boring workday...

...I get this email in my office mailbox:

From: Corporate Communications
Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 1:43 PM
Subject: NTU Staff for MediaCorp Game Show

Hi colleagues,

Mediacorp is interested in having 5 NTU staff participate in their upcoming matchmaking programme: 缘 来 就 是 你. Comprising 13 episodes, the programme will be broadcast over Channel U starting 5 Apr (Tues), at 9:15pm.

About the programme:
  • Hosted by Kym Ng and Quan Yi Feng.
  • Programme will first feature 5 participants in their work environment.
  • The hosts will 'interview' the 5 participants and play games with them. The hosts will then make the final decision on who will proceed to the second part of the programme where they search for their 'soul-mate'.
  • On the following weekend, the hosts and one selected contestant will move to another location (shopping mall or Orchard Road) to search for four potential “soul mates” in order to perfect the match.
  • Finally, the contestant will pick the lucky one whom he/ she thinks is their Ms/ Mr Right. The perfect couple will get the top prizes.
    Note: There are no other obligations beyond the gameshow. The ‘matchmaking’ is basically an opportunity for participants to know more friends.

Requirements as stated by Mediacorp:

  • Single, in their 20s or 30s.
  • Lively, look good on camera, and not shy about being on TV (and being filmed playing simple interactive games).
  • Able to speak simple Mandarin.

I see two motives behind this programme:
1) NTU wants to be seen as hip and widdit. SMU got happy jumping people on their billboards, NUS got cool-Levis-wannabe ad, so we one-up them and produce a TV show. That'll show them.
2) Government is worried about single people not getting married and producing babies. So, brainwave: we use uni staff (egghead kind) and hep them find their soulmate. Sure people will get married and make babies after this.

I don't know about the 'lively' and 'look good on camera' part. From what I've seen of the staff around campus, this does not augur well. Oh, I can't wait for this to be aired.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wishlist (part deux)

To wear:

(From Revolve Clothing) Rock and rugged. I'll take two please...

The buying bug has bitten again ever since Retail Therapy called and said they were having a sale. Would like a new pair of jeans and have discovered Chip & Pepper. My sister has a new pair of C&P and I sneakily tried it on when she wasn't looking and the fit is oh-so-good! I find it really hard to find jeans and really envy all those boyish-figured girls who look so good in Levis. I just look lumpy in them. For me, the best pairs of jeans I've had so far are my Citizens of Humanity and Marcs.

To adorn:

I'm loopy for you...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

ShooStories: My Arabian fantasy


The Shoo: Arabian Diva (I like to pretend I'm Princess Jasmine from Aladdin hurhur)
Circa: December 2003
Where: Shoo shop called "The Shoe Connection" in a massive mall called Times Square in KL

The Story: I was in KL on another one of my visits to my dad, with my mum and sister, and we were out shopping (as usual). We were curious to see what Times Square had to offer. Perhaps we would unearth more exciting finds. The first shop we saw as we came off the escalator from the carpark was this one; it didn't look particularly exciting at first glance but I always believe in giving chances.

And true enough, I found this exotic-looking pair lurking in a corner. They were available in a few colours - black, beige and white. I'm not one for flat shoes as I think they tend to make my calves look a little chubba, but these were too pretty sparkly to resist. Sqeuins will do that to me. Spent the next 15 min deciding between black or beige, parading up and down, while my dad looked on and told me to hurry up and aiyah, just buy both lah.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Thoughts going through the noodle while watching Hitch

  • Will Smith sure has big ears
  • But he's still hot
  • Aww the streets of New York. Wish I were there again.
  • I love Eva Mendes' outfits.
  • And her hair.
  • Ohmygosh...her curves! She's so hot!
  • OK seriously, she's a gossip columnist for a trashy paper. How can she afford to live in such a nice apartment in NY??
  • Ditto for Will.
  • Kevin James looks like a big teddy bear.
  • Hmm Amber Valletta isn't too bad an actor.
Verdict: Enjoyable Saturday night movie. Not too cuddly mushy to the point that it's nauseating, although the ending felt a bit contrived. If it weren't for Will Smith and Kevin James, it probably wouldn't have been so funny.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Reason #429 to get an iPod

Even iPods have to look smart. It's all about the accessories dah-ling.

Spotted these yummy cases from But they are hideously expensive, at 120 euros (translation: SGD$263) or slightly better on the original site, at 11,500 yen (translation: SGD$179). Only can look at and admire from afar.

Oh well, since we're just admiring, here are more to ogle: designer ones. Some of them are, considering the brand.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

ShooStories: The Introduction

There was a girl who had many shoes
She had so many, she didn't know what to do
So she decided to photograph them, one at a time,
And tell their stories, every Wed at nine.

OK ok, it's not going to be at nine every wed. I needed something to rhyme with time. As you can see, I'm no poet. But yeah, this just gives me an excuse to talk about my shoos. So there.


The Shoo: Pink Aviator (don't ask me why, that plastic covering reminds me of aviator sunglasses)
Circa: March 2004
Where: Some ah-lian looking shop in Hong Kong. One side of the shop sold a huge amount of clothes largely featuring an alarming amount of lace and ruffles, and the other side lots of neon-coloured shoes.

The Story: I was in HK accompanying my dad on a semi-business trip for a few days. It was my first time in HK and I was naturally very excited. After all, I had heard all those stories about the fabulous SHOPPING. My mother had told me before I left, "You'll love the shoes and the vegetables." So, I had tried the veggies and yes, they were gooood. But I was so disappointed. Where were all those famed fabbo shoes? I hadn't found anything I liked. They were either hideously expensive or hideously blah. Was I not going to the right places? Was I missing out on some secret golden mecca of shoe shops?

And then, in a garish shop in the middle of Central, I saw them. Pink and pointy. They sat on a rack in between a highlighter-yellow pair of patent pumps and a polka-dotted red and white pair. And right there, my faith in Hong Kong shoes was restored.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Naughty girl

I just had a two hour lunch with my dad. He's in town for a day but I can't meet him for dinner as I have to be in church tonight. We went to Original Sin at Holland Village, and I got to see what kind of people go for lunch on a weekday afternoon. Every single table was filled with expat tai-tais dressed in designer outfits and glittering jewellery and important business-looking people in important-looking work wear. We shared a Principessa salad and for mains, I had a very beany tasting moussaka, while my dad had some kind of ragout, far tastier than mine. For dessert, we moseyed down to the Da Paolo Gastronomia and bought a jivara chocolate mousse and pistachio nut bread and a marble cake. Quite the change from canteen food.

And quite by coincidence, my boss is on leave today. I swear I didn't know about it until this morning. Hurhurhur. Now need to hunt around for a fork to eat my cake.

Monday, March 07, 2005

This March, I am into...

Ooh how I love the rainy days, and the happy way I feel...only when I'm safe and dry inside.

...the return of the rain, spending three days a week at church, Lent, figuring out dates for my May Oz trip, Ryu Murakami, more Champloo, my new Polo Club membership, catching up on Oscar movies, Gold 90.5FM, char siew rice, musing on becoming a pod person, deciding if I really can do with another pair of shoes.

How about you?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Goodbye wisdom

The time has come for us to part. Even though I had been told as far back as 5 years ago that you would have to leave me someday, I didn't want to think about it. The thought of going through all that pain made me push any thought away, saying, "Later, later" or even deluding myself into thinking, "Nah, it won't happen."

But alas, that day is here for you have grown to be quite a pain. Yesterday was the worst. I couldn't eat all day, was in constant pain, and spent the day completely bummed out. I knew action had to be taken fast. No point procrastinating any longer.

So this morning, I did it. I called the dentist and have made an appointment for 11am tomorrow where I will climb into the chair, no doubt with much trepidation and heart afluttering, and I will finally say goodbye to you, my (not so) little wisdom tooth.

Haha that was fun writing!

UPDATE (7/3/05): In case you were wondering, I didn't go for an operation. Mine was just a simple tooth extraction and it was over in about 20 min. Yes there were some injections but as my dentist put numbing gel first, I hardly felt a thing. And when he was fiddling away with his pliers and whatnot instruments, I couldn't figure out what he was doing in there. Total bliss to be unable to see and feel what was going on in my mouth, and before I knew it, my dentist showed me a very big and rather bloodied tooth, saying, "It's over."

Indeed. I was given some antibiotics to prevent infections and some painkillers "just in case", said the nurse, and injunctions to gargle after every meal. Turns out I didn't need to use the painkillers at all. When the anaethestic wore off, I did feel some discomfort and soreness but nothing so unbearable. By night, I was having solid food, although careful not to chew on the left side of my mouth. And most importantly, I'm not in pain anymore! Yay!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Diary of a Saturday

The Oscars got me in such a tizzy I forgot to post about my weekend. Here, I present to you, in Bridget Jones style with timings as well, what I did last weekend:

Alarm rings. Lift head up from bed and peer at sky. Looks overcast. Hmm looks like plans to go roller-blading are dashed. Oh well. Roll over and go back to sleep.

Emerge from bed in haze and recall that as have not bought friend a birthday present for his party tonight, will bake him a cake. Harhar. Cheap and heartfelt. Triumph at own cleverness and creativity.

Have lunch consisting of leftover chicken from dinner two nights ago. Eat it standing up over kitchen counter. Consult recipe book for ingredients list, followed by digging around fridge to discover if do have said ingredients. Realise that need: caster sugar, strawberries and cream.

After a shower, it's off to NTUC! Mother is coming along too, as she says she wants to get her Moccona coffee which can ONLY be gotten from that particular outlet. Sister is jogging there to meet us. Conclude that sister is mad.

Freezing in the dairy section. Trying to decide between Thickened Cream and Pure Cream. Which is thicker and more spreadable? Recall that last time made cake, bought wrong cream and the cream part turned out a disaster. After some thought (and shaking of cartons), decide to get Pure Cream as it contains more milk fat.

Back home and potter around kitchen gathering and washing items needed.

Make mess of kitchen sink as have sifted half of self-raising flour onto kitchen countertop instead of bowl. Oops. Look around and discover in relief that mother did not see what happened. Wipe everything up quickly with paper towel and throw away evidence.

Curse self at deciding to make cake on hottest afternoon of the year. How does Nigella Lawson cook and look like goddess at the same time?

Curses! Is the cocoa supposed to congeal like that?

Gak, dropped bits of eggshell into yolk.

Mixer is whirring away. Everything looks good. Breathe sigh of relief. Hang on, how did some of the batter end up on the wall?

Cake in oven! Hurrah!

Remove cake from oven and leave to cool. Get ready quickly and zip off to church.

Pick mother up and have dinner at Komala's. Onion masala meal...mmm.

Return home and admire finished cake. Next step, garnishing! Cut strawberries and blueberries, open cream tub and discover to much joy that have chosen the right cream. Spread cream over cake and glory over how thick and spreadable it is! After decorating is done, decide to take picture of cake for posterity:

Party Cake, recipe Jamie Oliver, wonder-goddess me

Off to party, of course not forgetting to take cake along.

Walk in and discover am only one of two girls in party. Consider scolding friend for not inviting more straight (hot) men to his party, but decide against as is his birthday.

Much playing of Taboo.

Still playing Taboo.

Birthday cake and song time! Friend has 3 birthday cakes, including mine. All chocolate. Wow. Everyone is going to get fatass. Finally get to taste my cake. Not bad! I can bake after all!

After eating cake, settle down for Round 2 of Taboo and intermittent viewing of Britney Spears video extravaganza. Admire her sparkly eyeshadow, hot bod and amazing photoshopped skin.

Leave party for Caprice at Amoy Street. They are playing 80s music, whee! Walk in and discover two drag queens - one in very, very bad Diana Ross gold lame dress with puffed sleeves. Ask waiter for a sweet drink, and get a Spanish Fly. Tastes like cough medicine. Yuk! Note to self: never order Spanish Fly again.

Outside Caprice, 3am.

Feeling hungry. Off to River Valley for supper. Park at the kerb and sit next to 18 year olds who have just crawled out of Zouk. Order prata, soup kambing, satay washed down with lime juice. Bliss.

Beddy-bye calls.