Monday, December 31, 2007

Dreamcatcher

We are all mortals. Our bodies, though strong, can't defy time.

One day, we will die.

What matters most is the legacy we leave behind.

Did we become all that we are capable of becoming? Did we make the difference that we came here to make? Did we pursue our dreams when all around us thought we were chasing illusions?

Only those who dare to rise are able to lift themselves above horizons.

Only those bold enough to chase dreams...

...are the ones who catch them.

*From a WWE advert promoting Wrestlemania XX. I leave this year and this thought with you. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Make Me Whole

Make Me Whole
by Amel Lerrieux

Darling I want you to listen
I stayed up all night, so I could get this thing right
And I don't think there's anything missing
Cause a person like you, made it easy to do
I've waited for so long, to sing to you this song

Cause your eyes are the windows to heaven
Your smile could heal a million souls
Your love completes my existence
You're the other half that makes me whole
You're the only other half that makes me whole

I think the angels are your brothers
They told you about me, said you're just what she needs
And I find myself thanking your mother
For giving birth to a saint
My spirit flies when I say your name
If there's one thing that's true
It's that I was born to love you

Cause your eyes are the windows to heaven
Your smile could heal a million souls
Your love completes my existence
You're the other half that makes me whole
You're the only other half that makes me whole

You make my dreams
Come true over and, over again
And I honestly truly believe
You and me are written in the stars
I live my whole life through
To giving thanks to you

Cause your eyes are the windows to heaven
Your smile could heal a million souls
Your love completes my existence
You're the other half that makes me whole
You're the only other half that makes me whole

*For the record, Amel Lerrieux has the voice of an angel. :>

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Light Our Darkest Hour!

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."

Aristotle Onassis, shipping magnate.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Red Light District

I set up the camera, twitching with the balance of the tripod to ensure that the video will come out looking balanced. Flicking a glance over to the ladies on the right, May Yee and Carol is standing with Mit, trying to coax her into the mood of saying something for the camera. "Just say what comes to mind," I hear the voice of May saying. Mit, for her part, still looks slightly petrified.

It is a warm morning at Jacob & Rawlins. Not being a usual spot for me, I can nevertheless appreciate the environment and the relative peace and quiet we have here. All the more useful for the occasion: the recording of a video for an upcoming wedding.

"OK, ladies," I announce, grabbing their attention. "Ready to roll."

Mit, still slightly nervous, sits down in front of the camera regardless. "I'm still not sure of what to say," she protest, as if that would make a difference.

No one knows what they ever want to say in front of the camera. Not even me at times, though with time itself, that has gotten better. I still hate acting, however; however bad or inexperienced my directing is, it is still miles better than my acting.

Being behind the camera, then, is a better alternative to being in front of it.

"OK, and we are...go." I raise a thumbs up, indicating that the video is rolling.

Something about the red light, I reason, that shakes people into such nervousness. What could it be? The fear of public re-broadcast of your words? The anal compulsion when it comes to one's looks? The...

...the idea that what you're saying is, for once, being recorded, and kept for posterity?


"People are afraid of cameras and recorders," my lecturer once said. "It is a medium that provides for endless reproduction and preservation of your opinions."

Scary, I suppose, when you think that what you have to say can be recorded forever.

But then again, even records can be erased.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Villains of the Day: Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran


Rare are the posts posted of my heroes. Even rarer are the posts of my villains. A large part of that has much to do with the fact that I don't have any...

...until now.

Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran are the executive producers and creators of the television show '24'. It is arguably the hottest, most exciting television show that I have ever seen.

Yes, I have been attracted and followed many television shows before. Friends and The Simpsons are always good for a good laugh, Heroes was interesting in the first season, while I even managed to catch into some of the Gray's Anatomy craze for a short while.

But by and large, the desire to sit down week after week, for my fix of weekly drama, really didn't light itself.

A part of that, I suppose, stems from the fact that my life already has enough drama as it is. An even bigger part of that comes from the lack of any real excitement about any TV show. None of them has enough of a hook to keep me even remotely interested to tune in next week.

Until 24 came along.

The premise (the events within the season takes place in a single day) is as unrealistic as it can be, but let not that get in the way of good storytelling, of effective character building, of unexpected twists and turn, and of an impressive ability to go through an entire day without eating or sleeping. For once in my life, I am hooked to a TV show in every sense of the word.

So, 24 is good. Then why is Joel and Robert the villains of the day?

Because 24 is arguably the hottest, most exciting television show I have ever seen.

It is the one of the most addictive drugs I have ever taken, the amongst the sweetest of scents I've ever smelt, arguably the most beautiful woman I've laid my eyes upon, in real life or otherwise...

It is slowly taking over my life. Buying the DVD, there is no chance that I will get through a week, nay...a day, without the want, the need, to watch it, back to back, non stop, all the way through from the first hour till the last.

It incapacitates me, reduces my ability to work, play, and even rest.

It is a drug, and I can't stop taking it.

DAMMIT!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Kit Kat

It peeked its eyes up at me, hopefully. A soft meow escaped from its mouth, before it quickly shifted its attention elsewhere.

"What are we going to do with it?" I asked Desmond.

We're sitting in the living room, the TV, having been watched by us, now watching us with its roles reversed. 'The Condemned', a movie we bought starring Stone Cold Steve Austin, lost out to the little kitten now known as Ashley.

"I don't know," came the answer. He had picked up the kitten left in a box by the side of the road. It is a cute little creature, one that is easily amused by the simplest of things, and the shortest of strings and digits.

It is a position that we have been in; the desire to take care of something so small and fragile no doubt a familiar one. But beyond that, when the moment of actually being responsible comes, it is one that is frightening. Slightly scary, it has to be said.

It need not be. Being responsible is difficult, but there are ways around it, ways to overcome it, just like everything else.

As yet, we have yet to decide whether to keep it or not. Letting it go now, I must admit, is not one option that will comfort me. Short though the time may be, now that it's here in my life...

...a part of me, a big part of me, wants it to stay.

The other part of me thinks of the contract signed with the landlord, one that, if I am not mistaken, calls for pets to not be kept.

Like I said, the barriers in place.

And like I also said, the barriers that can be overcome...somehow.

I looked over to Desmond. "Hey man," I called. He looked over to me. "Damn you, man."

He laughed, at the same time as I did. "Thanks, mate."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thank You, Rod Stewart

The wind hailed outside, smashing my windscreen with its ammo of assorted rain drops. The night promised to follow as the day, the drizzle having been non-stop since late afternoon.

I drove on further, fiddling with the radio tuner as I did so. It has been a long time since I minded being stuck in traffic. Unlike many, I began to enjoy the aspects of a traffic jam in the Klang Valley as that wouldn't have been available otherwise. There is a solitude that comes with the space and time vacuum. Many have decried it, but I find that, in the ever swirling world that is fast becoming my own, such moments of solitude can be godsend.

And then there are moments when the last thing you want is silence.

"Come on, come on," I whispered, running through the preset radio stations. "Play something good...I want to sing..." Somehow, the conspiracy worked: there are no good songs playing. Certainly not one I can sing along to. I eventually left it on Lite, settling instead for the voice of the DJ.

"Coming up next, the original version of the song made popular recently by Sheryl Crow...Rod Stewart with, 'The First Cut Is The Deepest'."

I had not heard this song for a while, and know even less of the lyrics, but given the lack of options, my ears perked nonetheless.

"I would have given you all of my heart
But there's someone who's torn it apart..."

...how apt, I thought...

"And she's taken just all that I had
But if you want I'll try to love again."

Sometimes, there are just some songs, movies, things, objects, people, time, that somehow reaches out to you, and pulls at your heart.

"Baby I'll try to love again but I know..."

And usually(though the word usually can never be used with much confidence in this context), they come from the most unexpected of sources.

"The first cut is the deepest
Baby I know the first cut is the deepest
But when it come to being lucky she's cursed
When it come to loving me she's the worst..."

I smiled to myself, the rogue amber from the traffic light illuminating my face. I smiled not because of that, but because of the happiness that comes from having belted that song out loud. Moreover, it comes from having belted out that which laid dormant within my soul for a long time.

"I still want you by my side
Just to help me dry the tears that I've cried..."

Within a second, the light changed to green.

"And I'm sure going to give you a try
And if you want I'll try to love again
Baby I'll try to love again but I know..."

And outside, the rainy night continued its torrent hailing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

La Dolce Vita

One late autumn night, the disciple woke up crying. So the master asked the disciple, "Did you have a nightmare?"

"No," he answered.

"Did you have a sad dream?"

"No," the disciple sniffed, "I had a sweet dream."

The master was perplexed. "Then why are you crying so sadly?"

The disciple answered quietly, while wiping away his tears.

"Because the dream I had can't come true."

*Taken from the Korean film, A Bittersweet Life

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Digital Divide

Just the other day, I came upon my old collection of music CDs. It was and still is an eclectic mix of songs, singers and lyrics, one that should not be discarded so easily.

Except that I did.

Now that I have my laptop almost with me wherever I go, I find the need to dig out CDs becoming less and less...needy. Being very much a child of the digital age, I have taken to downloading, sending, and receiving songs amongst my friends.

All the while, my old collections sits alone, gathering the dust, and biting it for good measure (yes, Queen is amongst those hidden in the sleeves).

I dusted them off, and took it downstairs to where the CD player is. I have had that since 1999; a loyal servant, it has kept me much company through the lonely nights of the winter of 1999, inspiration through my high school exams of 2000, and melancholic appreciation of the first time I had my heart broken in August (September?) 2004.

I only recently took it out of storage to plug an empty looking space in the living room; it, too, has become a victim.

I put on the CD, and leaned back in the couch, letting the events of the day wash over me. It struck me, as Queen's "Bicycle" echoed against the surrounding walls, that this is a form of the digital divide. Not one that happens between the 1st and 3rd world, nor one between the urban and rural communities. It's not even the one taking place between the class reality that is Malaysia today: between the haves and the have-nots.

It is here, right now, live, the one that divides me from a technology that I no longer depend on. One that had given me much pleasure and satisfaction in the past, but superceded by the simplicity of the mobile: wireless Internet, laptop, mobile external hard drives with thousands of songs that would take 3.4 days (it says here on my iTunes) to play through, back to back. The digital divide, I realise, happens even on the smallest of stages, in our every day lives, on technologies that may still be current.

Just not as current as the latest one.

And I think back to the songs that aren't on my hard drive, to the singers who whose immortality merely extends to the spherical existence afforded by my old CDs.

Frank Sinatra.

Andy Williams.

Nat King Cole.

Queen.

And Britney Spears.

Now, as for my cassettes...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The James Dean Syndrome

"Only the day after tomorrow belongs to me."

Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher