Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just when I thought I can go back home earlier this year...

Gadoh: a movie review

When a movie is banned by the authorities, you know it is a must-watch.

Gadoh is a Malaysian movie that seeks to examine the racial tensions in our country. A Malay gang fights with a Chinese one in an urban school and that incident makes it to the papers. In order to placate the public and most importantly, the Ministry, the headmaster accepts the proposal of one Cikgu Ann to set up a theatre club to 'correct' the 'troubled kids'. Cikgu Ann ropes in her friend, Azman, who is a theatre activist.

Even with the few surprises, the plot is quite predictable. You can already expect a somewhat happy ending. But what makes the movie stand out is the fact it is a Malaysian movie and that racial slurs are constantly thrown about when the kids fight each other. Ah, bingo! No wonder the movie was banned!

I love the way the school is being used as an allegory to our country. When the kids fight along racial lines, there are suggestions to keep them apart - Malays with Malays and Chinese with Chinese. Someone said: "The problem is not the kids; it's the system." It's all too familiar. It is a system that keeps us apart, when we are trying to say, "Hey, we can work this out." It is a system that is too quick to judge and too eager to find a quick, but temporary solution.

Because at the end of the day, the kids manage to work together to put up a show, for the sole purpose of placating the authorities and media. I love the fact that even though it is not the most ideal situation, they make a statement through theatre and make the authorities squirm uneasily in their seats.

Ministry official to Headmaster: "How can you allow those kids to make a fool out of us all? I want you at my office. You have to be responsible for this."

That is one feel-good ending. Even so, I have a few criticisms. The fight between the gangs starts very early in the movie and resolves just as quickly. The movie oversimplifies things. As I was watching, I kept thinking if the situations were realistic enough.

Having said all that, the movie has achieved what it was meant to do. In my book, it is a good movie.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fragile Life, Precious Time

Just one night before, he complained of chest discomfort. The next morning, he's gone.

That is my Pek Pek - my dad's elder brother. He's only 60 years old. I was shocked by this news yesterday because the last time I saw him he was still smiling and ferrying his wife around on errands. He was overweight many years ago but he made the effort to lose weight. I never thought his life would be cut short so soon, especially when my cousins are still young, with the oldest just started university and the youngest in secondary school.

RIP Pek Pek. We would do our best to look after your family.

As I have always said, funerals are for the living. Because without that ritual and ceremony, the living will go on pining for the dead; keep looking around and calling out the names of their loved ones. Having said that, because I never attended my Popo's funeral, I sometimes think that she's still living in her KL home with Pek Pek's family. Now that I missed out on Pek Pek's funeral too, there's another name to add to the list...

I feel so sorry for my three cousins. They had less than 20 years with their dad. I guess I am by far, more fortunate because I still have my parents to go home to.

Let us thank God for the many years behind us, and may God grant us many more years together.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When a greeting is not just a greeting

'How are you?"

It's a standard Australian greeting, just like our Malaysian's "Have you eaten?" It seems simple enough for everyone to answer. But I find it so difficult to mouth a simple "Fine, thank you. How's your day?".

Because more often than not, I feel like I'm in the dumps. As much as I want to say that I'm doing great, I can't. I feel like I'm betraying myself by doing that. Yet, I don't want to unload all my worries onto a stranger who apparently by a twist of fate, is manning the cash register at Coles.

Uni Laughs #1: Contraception

Ms TC in Pharmacotherapy's Contraception lecture: "You would think that talking about sex first thing in the morning is a big draw. 20 people, I counted. This is the worst turnout ever."

Man, I love the Canadian woman!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Poem: Addicted to You

You leave me cold
with a bitter aftertaste
Yet, I cannot forget
the passionate nights we shared
No, I cannot forget
Your inviting warmth
Your intoxicating fragrance
Your enticing kiss

So, coffee
Can we begin once again?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. 
-Brian Littrell-

Sir, I have given up on aiming that high. Because falling hurts like hell.