Saturday, January 31, 2009

STUDIO GHIBLI

I spent my Chinese New Year holidays at home, downloading a few movies produced by Studio Ghibli. I saw my first anime movie about 10 years ago when a colleague showed me 'Princess Mononoke'. He had just come back from Japan back then and wanted to show the movie to his students. I could not understand the movie back then since everything was in Japanese. The only Japanese words I knew back then were 'arigato' and 'ajinomoto' (and still are). The Japanese anime and manga industry is huge and I know there are millions of fans out there. I am definitely a greenhorn compared to them. Studio Ghibli, under the direction of its co-founder and force, Hayao Miyazaki, has produced many movies such as Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Aesthetically and content-wise, I prefer Studio Ghibli's movies to Disney animated movies which can be a bunch of crap sometimes. Try to watch them if you can. You'll be amazed by the details done by the animators.

DIGITAL OR PHYSICAL?

Digital or physical? Manual or automatic? Do I follow the trend or do I stick to the old ways? Cash, cheque or credit card? The old government or a new government (hmmm)? In a world that is constantly changing, it can be quite difficult sometimes to make decisions regarding your decision. It is true that we have to make way for new inventions, innovations and ideas which make our lives more convenient but certain things have yet to prove themselves to be worthy to be embraced as part of our lives. When I was growing up, it was common to see music stores selling vinyl. Then, it was the cartridge. Followed by audio tapes and CDs. Now, we don't even have to go to the music store anymore to buy music. It's all in digital form which can be downloaded and we don't even have to pay with cash. Even credit cards are now considered as old fashion. Now, we have debit cards. For teenagers who don't have either credit or debit cards, they can now opt for MOLePoints, a form of online payment system which enables them to buy and pay for stuff via the Internet. I would say that this form of payment is some sort of middle-of-the-road solution for the cash or credit card question. How effective it is remains unknown but time will tell. I remember a concept explained by my professor in a Philosophy class during my college days, a concept introduced by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, a German philosopher. Hegel came up with the thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis concept. You can read it up in wikipedia if you are interested. Of course, there are a lot of people who don't agree with this concept and I agree that this concept is not applicable for all situations. Still, it's not wrong to come up with a compromise when you are dealing with two extremes. As for me, I still stick to my vinyls, old tapes and CDs. I still like the smell of fresh notes from the bank and the sound of coins jingling in my pocket. On the other hand, I am done with my video tapes and I have embraced DVDs since its arrival. I also enjoy typing using the computer compared to the typewriter (which I have to when I do my annual personal assessment). The only thing I can say about my choices is I want to have the best of everything and the best is what I dictate it to be.

MASTAN GHANI TELUK INTAN

I went to Teluk Intan a few weeks ago with a dear friend and I decided to take him to a place where my late father used to take my family whenever we went back to my grandfather's house there. Everyone in Teluk Intan and its surrounding areas knows this place. In fact, it has become a ritual for a lot of people to simply go there, enjoy the food and reminisce about the 'good ole times'. I, too, could not help but shared my childhood memories with my friend. For foodies who somehow find themselves in Teluk Intan, I suggest you go there and try the food. The choices are limited so don't expect anything fancy but go there to enjoy the old world charm and simplicity (whatever little that is still left intact).

Friday, January 30, 2009

OBAMA OH MAMA!

I don't usually voice out my opinion since I believe actions speak louder than words but I guess I have to do it this time. To put it briefly, I simply don't understand the brouhaha a lot of people are making regarding the 44th President of the United States. Afterall, he is just a president. Newspapers, magazines and the media are making it look as if it is truly a big deal. Come on guys, he is just a president of a country! I'm sure there must have been other significant moments which are worth mentioning and celebrating (like my birth or the day I accidentally fell into the drain) but somehow, those moments were not glamourous enough to be highlighted or maybe, they did not occur during our lifetime or even maybe, we could not be part of the action. It seems like everyone wants to have a piece of Obama these days (by writing this, I guess I am also one of them). Celebrations were carried out outside of his home country (I'm not naming which country/countries that did this). Singers and celebrities offered to perform during his inauguration ball. Designers who can't sew or even design have new clothing lines for him and his family (I wonder what his dog will be wearing?). Profit-hungry media and attention-hungry individuals come up with stories about his childhood, his family and relatives, his connection to the whole world, his etc, etc, etc and blah, blah, blah. Enough is enough. No more ego trips for him please. Wish him well and let him do his job. He promised hope and change (for his country and his countrymen). He never said anything about us. Maybe I'm being a little bit skeptical but why do we have to feel his presidency will do us any good? We have to remember that Obama does not run his country alone. He is only a persona elected to represent the executive branch of the government and I guess we are smart enough to figure out who those people are.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE!

To a lot of people, life has become so dreary nowadays. What was once fun is no longer so. Life is fun, full of wonder and amazement when you are young, innocent, naive and beautiful. You feel that there is so much that you can do and explore. The world is still waiting for you to embrace you in its arms. But then, you grow older. You realize that life is not always fun. With age, come responsibilities and commitments. The world is not as rose-tinted as you once thought it was. In fact, it can be blurry, vague and sometimes, dark and scary. Your innocence and naivete are now lost and can never found again. It's like leaving home. You can always visit but you can never go back. Maybe, it is true when people say that ignorance is bliss. We are much more confident when we do not know much about the possibilities which await us. We become more hesitant and suspicious as our knowledge and experience grow. Our experiences have shown us that we cannot depend on life to take care of us. It is the other way around. Life is what we make it and we have to make it work not just for us but the others as well. Life can be wonderful again if we want it to be that way. I remember watching an episode (Kick The Can) of 'The Twilight Zone' with my late father one night about a group of old folks at an old folks' home. You can find it on youtube by typing 'twilight zone kick the can'. We won't be able to get young again just by kicking the cans like what the old folks did in that episode but maybe, we can feel young enough to see that life indeed can be wonderful again.

video

Monday, January 5, 2009

GOODBYE NENET

I was at work when one of my colleagues came to see me and said someone wanted to see me. I was shocked when I saw my nextdoor neighbour who came to bring me sad news. He told me a car had run over my cat right in front of my house. I was speechless and my head was spinning at the same time. Nenet, my cat, is no longer part of my household. Not again, that was what I said to my self. It was only this morning when I last saw him looking at me while he was still sitting on the bed. My neighbour asked me what I wanted to do with his body so I told him to put him in a box which I had in front of my house ( the same box where I put my dear beloved Mimi which died a few months back). I could not leave work at that time and I was thinking how to tell the news to my mum. My mum was not at home at that time since she was at the hemodialysis centre. I was planning to rush home during lunch hour and do whatever that needed to be done before my mum came home but she beat me to it. She came home much earlier and called me to tell what had happened. I went home but Nenet's body was nowhere to be found. I found out that another neighbour who was there during the accident had buried Nenet in front of my house. He said he did want me to see Nenet's body since his head was crushed. That was very considerate of him. He told me that a green car was speeding through the neighbourhood and had run over my dear Nenet. The driver stopped for a while but sped off when my neighbour started running towards him. I went to the place where Nenet was buried and I could still see his blood on the road. I don't even have a single picture of Nenet and now only memories remain. Nenet, just like Mimi, was a quiet cat. He would wait until my other cats had finished their meals before he ate. He seldom left the house and he would eat anything I gave him. He was big for his age and everybody loved him. I don't understand why people have to drive as if there is no tomorrow in residential areas. To a lot of people, I might have lost just a cat but it was my cat and I loved him very much. My mum said she would not dote on the cats that we still have at home anymore but I know she will change her mind once they come rubbing against her leg and start trying to sit on her lap. I am still numb and terribly saddened. I know I will recover but this whole experience has definitely left another sad mark in my life. Rest in peace, Nenet. You will be missed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It's been more than a month since I last wrote anything here and I feel it's about time I start writing again. Afterall, what's the point of having a blog if you are going to leave it blank, right? Well, I guess it's still not too late for me to wish everyone 'Happy New Year'. The Muslims celebrated the new year on December 29, a couple of days earlier than the Gregorian calendar. It's going to be the year 1430 Hijriah for the Muslims signifying the migration made by Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina. Unlike a lot of other people who were out and about ushering the new year in, I spent the New Year's Eve at the hospital. My mother was slightly anaemic and had to have blood transfusion. She also had to go for her three-times weekly hemodialysis. At the same time, my friends' mother was also in the hospital due to liver infection. The atmosphere at the hospital was really sedate. There were no fireworks, no parties, no celebrations whatsoever. Nobody was in the mood for any sort of merry-making. At that time, I could almost feel, see and touch the thin line that separates happiness and sadness, hope and despair, life and death. It makes me realize how lucky I am compared to a lot of other people. I still have my family who love me unconditionally, friends who are always there to me, a comfortable home to shelter me, a nice job that I enjoy and a country which I belong to. It might sound cliche but we usually take a lot of things for granted. We never know how much something means to us until we have lost it. Most of the time we don't even know that what we have is more than what we deserve. We need to ask ourselves that question and at the same time, be honest with our answers. Only then can we justify our existence. I don't have any New Year resolutions this year but I will try to make affirmations on a more regular basis. I believe in making changes when it is necessary to do so and in doing so, I believe I can be a better person. Have a wonderful 2009, everybody!