Was it friendship?

April 5, 2015

beyond borders you were there for me

although we were a thousand miles apart,

whatsapping reduced the distance considerably

like the comfort of cyberspace, you were always there

when I’d just missed the train and complain, you’d laugh

I’d wait and you’d paste a youtube link to share

When I was down, you’d listen

and always offer some advice

Thinking back, it was never the best since we lived separate lives

Yet the fact that you sincerely cared was nice

all the way in different countries

we shared the quirks and little things about our lives

nothing major, just occasional chatter and banter

Yet now that we’ve kept the distance ( since an LDR was not working)

like being barred from the internet

It’s only been a few hours,

and  I miss you terribly….

already.

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神鵰俠侶2014

It’s been awhile since I’ve revisited this blog, I seem to only revisit when I have something to say about a show. Well, I finally finished the 54 episodes of Yu Zheng’s latest ambition- The return of the condor heroes, one of my favourite Jin Yong stories. Also because I was a big fan of the comic book series when I was a kid- It’s amazing how vividly memories of my childhood hobbies remain in my head even though it’s been at least 10 years on but I can barely remember the contents of the book I last read.

So anyway, I was really excited about this latest adaptation despite the disappointment that 笑傲江湖 was because of the promising cast. Aside from the skepticism about Dragon Girl, I was so glad that Chen Xiao was playing Yang Guo. He is, by far the most ideal Yang Guo that I’ve seen so far. He is pretty close to the image of Yang Guo I had in my head! Li Mo Chou too-  so pretty! as she is supposed to be. So those promo stills got me all excited. I was pretty worried though, given all the things Yu Zheng had been saying- that he had changed the script and tried to put a new twist on the story. ( The nightmare of 笑傲江湖….)

Well as I watched the show, I was pleasantly surprised to find that much of the scenes of the show were EXACTLY as depicted in the comic book that I read! It really felt like the comic book had come to life for me. I’m also strangely inclined to feel that the colour of Yang Guo’s clothes are inspired by the cover pages of the comic book. ( could be just me though….) Sure, there were some changes that were made like Ma Yu disappeared altogether and love stories were inserted in for ALL the martial art experts. I can’t say that it was necessarily a bad alteration but it got a bit too staged when each love story from each 武林前辈 turned out to be a small love lesson for Yang Guo. Some stories were pretty interesting though such as Ouyang Feng’s but Huang Yao Shi’s was a bit too crazy for me. Other than that the main plot of the show was largely very dedicated to the book which I was really happy about. I also liked the first part on how all of them met as kids. Yes, it is coincidence only found in stories/ dramas but it was pretty nice to see their childhood fleshed out and see how they’ve changed/remained the same since children. By the way, kudos to the kid actor who played Yang Guo- really good acting.

This was definitely a very visually attractive version of the return of the condor heroes from the costumes, to the sets, to the CGI, to the actors, it was all very pretty. The entire cast was young and attractive and I loved all the characters. The actors, including the supporting actors all looked the part and acted their part pretty decently such that I more or less enjoyed watching everyone.  I was exceptionally pleased with Guo Jing and Huang Rong, for the first time, Guo Jing truly had the 大侠 feel I always imagined him to have- Upright, brave, principled, a big heart for the country and a loving but strict father. In other versions I don’t think I ever had any notable impression of Guo Jing. That character, despite how admirable he’s supposed to be, always came off lukewarm and semi retired for me in other versions. I also really liked Huang Rong. I liked how she was portrayed as brilliant but still human and how she and her husband really complemented each other in their strengths and weaknesses. As much as she made up for Guo Jing’s lack of intelligence, his big heart made up for her selfish one as a mother who fiercely loves her own family and children above all. Together, they’re a powerful combo and a star couple only to be rivalled by of course, the leading Yang Guo and Dragon Girl.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised to see chemistry between Chen Xiao and Chen Yan Xi. For all the backlash that she was given for being not pretty enough as Dragon Girl, she was actually okay. It did take a few episodes for me to get used to her, but in the end she did do a commendable job. She failed to grab my attention when she was away from Chen Xiao which was a weakness but as a couple, they worked. They were sweet and adorable together which made me sympathise with their struggle to be together. I guess in contrast to the usual portrayal of a cold and beautiful Dragon Girl, Chen Yan Xi’s Dragon Girl was more sweet and likeable. She wasn’t amazing but she was surprisingly not off putting either.  As for Chen Xiao….man I couldn’t be happier with his casting. He more or less brought to life the Yang Guo I had always imagined. Handsome, Smart, funny, slightly mischievous but at the same time sincere and chivalrous. enough said 🙂

So at the end of the day, I really don’t have many complaints with this comic book come to life adaptation. Yu Zheng actually did do a pretty good job this time round despite everything. I mean, what more could a reader ask for than to see their beloved book play out right before their eyes? Despite the flaws of being draggy at some parts  ( parts that could easily be fast forwarded without making much of a difference), too many flashback love stories along with the slightly ridiculous Li Mo Chou love story and a slightly lacklustre Dragon girl, it was overall, I think the most satisfying and entertaining version of the Yang Guo and Dragon Girl saga for me with an attractive cast and beautiful visuals.

The video is a beautiful recollection of this wonderful journey that has been the Lord of The Rings saga. It also more or less sums up what I’m feeling now. On a side note, it’s amazing that Pippin is singing the song!

Wow so I finally watched the last of Peter Jackson’s 6 movie Tolkien epic. Wow, what a ride it was. So many years, so much effort by PJ and his team, the actors, in the press conference, Orlando Bloom said that he was just 21 when he was casted for the first LOTR movie and now….he’s 37! I thank PJ for creating the epic saga that is the Lord of the Rings. There’s nothing in movie history that even comes close to it.

Anyway, the last movie was a joy ride. As a movie, it doesn’t really fit the criteria of what a good movie should be but it was fun anyway. Lots of war, grandeur, cool ( if not too staged) fights and nostalgic scenes that serve as a good introduction to the Lord of The Rings. Even though this is quite superficial, the most memorable part of the movie for me was Thranduil and his elkback. It definitely was a scene stealer. He looked so cool riding that magnificent beast amidst the battlefield. In Japanese, this would be the phrase- 立派なものだ!The antlers of the elk were so beautiful too. Well, that aside, I have to say I’m pretty satisfied with the last movie overall- I liked how they spent more time focusing on each of the individual characters this time. This being the third movie, you do grow attached to the protagonists and can’t help but cheer them on and watch in anticipation as they fight evil. So that was also fun.

Now all that’s left is to watch all 6 movies in the chronological order that they were meant to be in 😀 can’t wait. As Peter Jackson said , ‘it would be 24 hours of awesome’.

What a pleasant surprise to discover that they got acquainted and collaborated on a song! 🙂 The song’s alright. It’s catchy enough, but the main point is that they collaborated!! 😀 So cool…wasn’t expecting that although their sounds, now that I think about it do have their similarities! Here’s to future collaboration!

PS. Satoshi’s english is so cute hahaha. Surprisingly, his english singing style has a nice vibe that fits the song even though it’s obvious it’s not natural hahaha. I actually prefer him singing this song over Owl City.

Fireworks

August 5, 2014

Up into the sky they went,
brilliant and dazzling to the eye
sparkling flowers of green, blue and violet and then a
yellow chrysanthemum
A wonderful sight to behold.
If only for an instant in the span of time
They still soared and burned brilliantly-
just like the good times of laughter and smiles.
Mesmerizing but quick to die
I look on, watching the smoke fade away
If I closed my eyes,
Would I look up to once again see the gold shimmering lights?
It sucks to be on the other side
when you find that you’re once again
just staring into the long long night

Inspire.

June 5, 2014

Don’t just imagine, but dream and create

the world beyond lies at your fingertips

bright and on the brink of bursting forth

Just let loose and compose

Draw

In the dark till the deadline descends

this chance will never come again

So shade, colour and emblazon till the

First light dawns

And let it never be said that your pen

Never took flight.

Ocean Princess

May 31, 2014

Why did I never realize the awesomeness of this track? It’s because I never listened to the end. You know I never really imagined that the last 1 minute of this song would make any difference but boy was I wrong.  The last one minute turns this song from average to amazinggggg.

Japanese Animated Films

April 8, 2014

So recently, I’ve been watching animated movies rather than series and wow I’ve discovered a few gems! Here’s my top 4 japanese animated films so far, listed in order. I just realized they are all in the romance genre. But really, the Japanese make the best romance movies….although if you are the sort who really needs happy endings, steer clear of japanese films.

5 centimetres per second ( 秒速の五センチ)

All I can say is sit, watch and be enthralled by the beautiful animation and music which compliments the poignant storyline perfectly.  Highly Recommended and it’s only 90 mins long! I watched this 3 times and I’ve found different things to love each time. 😀

Hotarubi no Mori e (蛍火の杜へ)

Now I did not expect a mere 45 mins to be so touching…..pretty impressive for a movie so short.

Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫)


This was just pretty epic.

The Girl Who Leapt through Time (時をかける彼女)

Well this is my least favourite out of the movies I’ve listed here but it’s still good. Good life lessons in the storyline although the girl got on my nerves a bit. Watch it just because it’s classic and there’s a beautifully touching sequence about an hour into it 🙂 My favourite part of the entire movie!

Somewhere In Between

March 3, 2014

Turn Left, Turn Right

There we were, across from one another

Engrossed in tales of other lives; yours and mine

you talked and gestured, I listened and smiled and

Vice versa

Somewhere between words and time were fireworks

Of such rare delight

 

It had been 2 cups of coffee and more

But we were still playing the same game

you asked ridiculous questions in all seriousness and I answered with care

How unusual (you thought)

Somewhere between logic and chaos was chemistry

Of a unique kind

 

Through our tales of woe and triumph

joy and comedy,

it wasn’t hard to see that we walked two separate lines.

you had your worries and I had my future;

different directions

Somewhere between the awareness of futility was attraction

Of a subtle type

 

The cups were removed and the lights were dimmed

I asked you where you lived and you said ‘ it’s a bit far out’

Somewhere between our farewells and smiles was an understanding that

time had run its course.

 

I turned left and you turned right,

As the space between us grew wider, so my heart grew heavier

In the face of impossibilities, I still hoped that somewhere, somehow, our lives would once again

Collide…

ROBOCOP

January 30, 2014

ROBOCOP.

I liked this movie. Why? Not because of the action packed scenes- Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit definitely wins in terms of intensity and heart pumping action. However, i guess you can’t really complain about watching a shoot out here and there. What i felt was the main highlight of this movie though which I was pleasantly surprised about were the ethical issues it brought out- man and technology as well as the subversion of truth in marketing. Now that wasn’t something I was expecting! From the trailer, Robocop seemed like another typical superhero movie where the good guy saves the day- which he did in the end, but I didn’t expect such effort to be put into developing these issues. In the end, it became a pretty thought provoking movie for me. Here’s why.

People all start with noble goals in research and ambitions to develop ideas and take advancements to the next level but at what point does it need to stop? What are the limits? It’s definitely not the sky.  In Robocop, we see how a doctor started out with research aimed at giving people better lives with prosthetic limbs. It was all great- a musician who lost his hands was able to play a guitar again. Murphy ( Robocop) could jump higher, run faster than he could ever have imagined when he was a normal, human police officer. However, here comes the part that gets uncomfortable- toying with emotions to make his reflexes on par with a pure robot with the effect that he doesn’t share the same affection he has for his family anymore. We see Murphy become a total pro at catching criminals but at the expense of his human nature.  In the movie, it is explained that our brain is what makes us who we are ( debatable). When someone loses the use of his body-You are still you because you have your own conscience and your own feelings that govern our reactions to the world around us. So what happens when someone tampers with that? Man, machine or hybrid? We are left with the conundrum expressed by the Doctor- He is a machine that thinks he is human in combat. It is arguable that Man over Machine still prevails because the statement is quantified and maybe these ‘ robocops’ really do decrease the crime rates everywhere. However, at what cost? We see that the cost is his humanity and the hurt it caused to his family.  This taking away of human nature can be justified on grounds that it is for greater good/ or the person gets a new lease on life. However, does the ‘ greater good’ give us the right to essentially ‘ kill off’ a person? It’s like pitting evil against evil and we choose the lesser of 2 evils. Who or what is to determine which is worse? Also this ‘ new lease on life’ isn’t really there if the person now doesn’t even have the mind to process it.

Another problem that surfaces is that the system is flawed. This is because behind every invention is a creator and the creator has ‘ full monopoly’ over the product. However, in this case the creator would be the inventor as well as those that fund the project. The problem with the creator is that he is not God. He is not perfect. Hence the phrase ‘playing God’. Firstly it’s really difficult to be God because it takes a lot of talent, money and time. Secondly, we aren’t God because man is corrupt by nature. We can’t trust ourselves. It’s great that the man is in control over his mechanical side but man also wants to control man because of the high risks they are playing with. A near ‘ super human’ can’t be allowed to wander around like any normal person because the heart of Man can’t be trusted. Yet, retention of control is in itself a dangerous thing. The invention was not allowed to touch his inventors – Robocop was programmed to shut down if he pointed a gun at the cooperation even though they were criminals.

How true is the Bible in Mark 7:20-21 which states that what defiles a man comes the heart. ‘For from within the heart of men, proceeds the evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders adulteries…’ This is the core problem with us- the reason why advancements are dangerous. How easy it is for people to let greed, pride and fear get in the way of what is right.

Even the very morally sound doctor when he realized he was going too far, was tempted to sweep things under the carpet with the prospect of being funded further. There is no perfect creator or perfect controller of our inventions and this can make technology a dangerous weapon – The argument is always ‘ what if it falls into the wrong hands’ and hence much precaution is taken but it’s just so easy for it to fall into the wrong hands….heck it already starts off in the wrong hands.

Second issue I’d like to trawl through  ( tired already…) would be the subversion of truth in marketing.  The script was definitely critiquing the methods of marketing that are used today. Half truths that cut out so much- sometimes even the most important bit. The scene where Robocop’s wife, Clara was told that her husband had lost his rationale to think because he had ‘ pointed a gun at a non-armed police officer’ was just extremely lawyerly. They left out the word ‘ corrupt’ and that omission just changed the entire truth from white to black without lying. At the same time, the art of persuasion is pretty impressive to see in action. The way the boss of Omnicorp convinced the doctor to continue working with him was so manipulative that it was actually scary. He knew exactly which buttons to press and exactly how to neutralise the negative impact of the situation.

Thankfully, at the end of the day, Robocop saves the day and the doctor keeps his moral conscience but the movie is pretty realistic in showing how easily persuaded humans can be to hide the truth, to sail to greater heights at all costs as long as it is beneficial to themselves. And the thing is, we can all relate because we’ve all experienced those same temptations before. Humans are truly selfish at the core and although good still prevailed- it really was by a hairline. To quote Star Wars ‘ There is still good in (us)’ but there is so much tendency to compromise when we face our own evil nature and as values and truth become more and more relative, it gets tougher to stay morally upright (I really submit that the trials can only be overcome with God and the Bible as our anchor), but then the light of those that do just shine brighter than ever as the times get darker.