Friday, November 10, 2006

An End to a Reign of Error

Midterm elections in the United States have never really garnered much importance.
But history books will write that 2006's has grabbed everyone's attention.
The United States, and indeed the whole world, breathed an audible sigh of relief when the elections ended with the Democrats on the ascendant.
One hopes that Republican hubris has been replaced by Democratic modesty and pragmatic enthusiasm.
Republicans and Democrats are the 2 sides of the same coin, so one really hopes that now having made history, the Democrats would now go on to make progress, on a bipartisan level.
Word has it that it's going to be a Hillary/Obama presidential tag team for 2008.
It would be unprecendented to say the least to have a woman run for President and her Vice-President an Afrian American.
But that's the redeeming quality of modern democracy. Its enduring ability for self-correction.

An article from the New York Times, titled 'The Great Revulsion'

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Minerals and the image of maturity

Perhaps its was the job. Or maybe the ignorant lifestyle which led to the depletion of minerals in his body, a system normally associated with vibrance and energy.
He knew the answers even before the results were out. His blood test revealed, or in this case did not reveal an adequate level of vital minerals needed to sustain a normal day.
Multi-vitamins was an answer he actually stumbled upon, stumble being the by-word. Dad had bought him two rather inconspicuos brown bottles and placed them in full view on his shelf the year before.
"What good could come out of it?"
Negative thoughts when a more positive (less negative) one would sound somewhat like "Maybe this might work, maybe not, then what"
And in the blink of an eye, he suddenly looked ten years older to himself.
Holding his shoulders back and keeping his head higher somehow added many more years to the reflection in the mirror.
"Ok maybe Id look younger again if I droop my shoulders and hunch" he thought to himself. But his facial expression remain unchanged. And he did look younger.
Good posture adds years, bad posture takes them away. But more accurately, its the level of maturity, not the number of years that is being formed on the mind vis a vis the reflection. Image.
And the multi-vitamins really did make some diference.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tone depth

So there has been a gradual move away from trance music and in its place an infatuation (healthy or otherwise) for certain genres and groups has developed.
In no order of preference, the ears now tune in to the grooves of Unkle, Teloportmusik, OK Go, Air, Hybrid and Portishead.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Clash of the Titans

This season's Champions League promises to be a clash of epic proportions. Fans and neutrals around the world were practically salivating when the draws were made. Only giants walk the field now and nobody can say they were dissapointed with the outcome.

Arguably the most mouth watering of clashes: Barcelona vs Chelsea, and for the second season in a row too. Putting aside the animosity between the two clubs, this draw pits Catalonian attacking briliance against one of the meanest defences in England, if not Europe.

Equally titanic are the match ups of Arsenal vs Real Madrid, AC Milan vs Bayern Munch, Lyon vs PSV, and Ajax vs Inter.

Reigning champions Liverpool got off relatively easily with a draw against Benfica, and the same goes for the tie between Villareal and Rangers.

Come 21/22 Febuary and 7/8 March of 2006, hundreds of millions of spectators will be glued to their television sets as they watch what promises to be the most memorable Champions League season in recent memory.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Art of Flight & Explosions in the Sky

The one thing I really like about L.A is the scope and breadth of indie films offered at both indie theatres and mega cinema complexes. Couple that with a delightful deluge of film festivals and it soon becomes a delightful dilemma of 'too many films, too little time'.

Last night I went to the global premiere of The Art of Flight at the AFI Film Festival. The film is about the trials and tribulations millions of Sudanese face (how many of us can point out where Sudan is on the map) as their country plunges ever deeper into civil war, a war which has been raging unabetted since 1984. (Omg that makes it 21 years!?) It begins and ends in sadness and tragedy. Two million have died. Four million have been displaced. A whole generation of youth live and die by the gun, because that is all they know. It is the northern muslims against the southern christians, but that is the simplistic view. And there is no lasting solution in sight as the world turns a blind and apathetic eye to this long standing crisis.

The filmaker, Davin Anders Hutchin, who was at the premiere and gave a Q & A session after the screening, is a U.S citizen of Egyptian descent. From his mellowed responses, he sounded defeated yet defiant, and one could tell that he was deeply scarred by the experiences that making this film bestowed upon him.

"When I came back to the States, everyone said welcome home. But this didn't feel like home anymore"

And the most surprising thing about the film is the soundtrack. Actually it was just one track but it kept on playing in various parts of the film. Soundbytes are downloadable here! (Scroll to the bottom of page and click on the 'Cactus' track) The first half reminded me of some tracks in the Gladiator movie, the other half of a guy thats praying through loudspeakers at the mosque. But anyways, the track was created by a band of Suadanese refugees living in the ghetto slums of Cairo. They normally have no audience but themselves and on a few occasions the fim maker, who felt it appropriate to include their music into the film. I find the song very sad.

On a brighter note, I just discovered this band called 'Explosions in the Sky'. It was almost purely by accident as I had put my winamp playlist to shuffle, by accident, and they managed to shuffle through my 30GB worth of mp3s. So when I first heard the track 'First Breath after Coma', I was like 'This track is gooooood'. Then I looked at the playlist and said to myself "Explosions in the Sky'?!?! Where in the hell of my computer did they come from? And the whats better is that they will be coming to perform in LA come December 16th.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Quote of the Day

"I quit, but stayed on the job"

Penny Knoll, as mentioned in this IHT article about prejudice in Corporate America.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We are in the Top 5....again

Singapore has yet again received high marks in another international study, this time on corruption (or lack of). Im sure this study pleases the Government very much, and will no doubt take extra pains to highlight this to it's emphatic citizens.
Transparency International recently released its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and taking a quick look at the rankings would show that we scored a high mark of 9.4, just behind Iceland, Finland, New Zealand and Denmark.
By perception (pun intended), corruption and poverty are directly proportional, which kinda explains why which countries fall within the top and bottom 30. I had actually scrolled all the way down to look for America's ranking, only to be dissapointed when I found that she was 17th placed with 7.6 marks. Our dear neighbours up north scored a 5.1 at 39th place while our lovely southern neighbours was placed 137th with 2.2 marks.
Not to be distracted by numbers and rankings, I think there is one factor that TI forgot to include. I havent read the whole report yet but I think you can base corruption on one immutable factor. The gap between the rich and poor.
Im making broad assumptions here but Singapore does deserve it's high CPI. There is no gapping gulf between the rich and poor, there is a budgeoning middle class, and with regards to GDP per capita (we are 29th placed) there is a strong correlation between a high GDP per capita and lack of corruption.
On another note, America is 2nd placed when it comes to GDP per capita. But a closer look behind the numbers would reveal that the United States has the highest poverty rate of any industrialized nation, studies and reports point to the inexorable elimination of the middle class (which in my opinion is the backbone of any nation), and that the majority of the wealth is accumulated in the hands of the minority. Don't ask me for links and numbers yet because I tend not to bookmark the articles and reports I read.
But one thing's for sure, the CPI rankings can be a relatively accurate perception of the state of corruption around the world, but it should not be taken as the bible truth. Simply because the CPI is based mainly on the views of business people and analysts around the world.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I love assuming people

The thing about Los Angeles is it's multi-ethnicity. While this is always a good thing in theory, in reality the poeple never get a decent chance to mingle because each ethnic group ends up conglomerating in ther own self-sufficient enclaves. So I always get a god laugh me whenever I witness a faux pas in progress. This time it had to happen to my friend Vim while we were eating at this eatery called Little Java he googled on the net.

Vim: Can I get a chendol please.
Indo man: Coke? You want coke?
Vim: Not coke. Chendol.
Indo man: Oh ok I get coke for you.
Vim: No no chendol.
Indo man: Oh you know chendol? But you're Indian.


On another note, my name has sprouted more spelling variations than bad Steven Seagal movies. His latest movie is tragically called 'Today You Die'. The poster depicts him walking menacingly in a black trench coat with a flames and explosions in the background. And I mustn't forget to mention the bonus black dude sidekick beside him. The best movie I ever saw starring Steven Seagal was Executive Decision. You guessed it because he got killed 15 minutes into the show.
Anyways, the other day I was developing some film, and the lady at the counter was taking down my particulars.


Lady: First name please?
Me: Eujin. E-U-J-I-N.
Lady then writes EUGENE.
Me: No no my name is spelt E-U-J-I-N.
Lady: Oh my bad.
And proceeds to write EUGIN.
Me: Erm....its J for Juliet....not G for Golf.
Lady: Ooh! Its been a long day.
And she proceeds to write YUJIN.

So I take another pen and form and fill it out myself.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Every great author has a philosophy

Orson Scott Card definetly ranks alongside the Sci-Fi greats I have read such as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. So it was with some sadness that I put down the final book in his Ender's series. The 4 book series starting with Ender's game (which I had already read in college but read again) was devoured in little over 2 weeks, and I came away with some of his philosophies firmly entrenched in my psyche.
Im sure most avid readers would be able to name at least one author who has made an indellible mark on their psyche. Two authors come into my mind for me. Frank Herbert with his Dune series, and Orson Scott Card's Ender series.
What made me seperate them from the rest is that they couple great storytelling with engaging (at least to me) philosophies.
Frank Herbert's Dune is filled with poetic tragedy from beginning to end. His books are more about sociology and psychology than science fiction. And his main philosophy revolves around the belief that power corrupts, that it is no such thing as a benign superpower (be it a person(s), group(s) or nation(s)), and that all humans are not created equal. All very cliched views I know but his ideas are framed in a refreshing and very thought provoking way.
Orson Scott Card's views mainly (repeatedly) revolve around relationships and moral decisions. His outlook is taken with a pinch of salt because there is a heavy Mormon slant to it. Not that I am against Mormonism, I am just wary of anything that is religously influenced.
Does anybody have a good author, book or series to recommend? Great storytelling and great philosophy is a must. Preferebly if coupled together in one package.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mad World

My life would be more complete when I get these 3 things: My bonsai tree, himalayan cat and siberian husky. So after work I got myself a nice little Juniper bonsai tree, and made friends with a Bonsai Master as well. Anybody who has been growing bonsai trees for most of his 60 year life and has a several hundred year old bonsai tree in his backyard, passed down from generations defintely deserves the title of Bonsai Master. Then while talking to him, I could suddenly see myself in the old man's place, snipping away at his bonsais, caring for them, nurturing them, shaping them into my image. The Juniper he sold me took 12 years to nurture, so patience is one of the virtues that comes with this art he says. I almost told him that I wanted to come help him tend his nursery in my free time, to help clear all the clutter that had surely gathered over many years of negligence, to give him an avenue to pass down some of his vast knowledge and skill. His son had died many years before. But I still have many other things to do. Like go to the gym, play soccer, tennis, meet up with friends, drinks, clubbing, work. So one's life does seem complete after all. But the thing is that I don't want to commit, lest he expects more. Because expectations and dissapointments go hand in hand. Because tonight a dream died. Because tonight I went jogging around my neighbourhood in the wee hours of the night. And when I sat down to stretch at an intersection, a cat came up to me. Because when I came home to hit the play button on my window media player (it was on random shuffle), my favourite song came out. Gary Jule's remix of Tears for fears Mad World is absolutely magical. And here goes the lyrics. Good night and good luck.

Mad World - Gary Jules
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places
Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going no where
Going no where
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression
No expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow
No tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very very
Mad world
Mad world
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday
Happy birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen
Sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me
No one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me
Look right through me
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very very
Mad world
Mad world
Enlarging your world
Mad world