HAPPY NEW YEAR readers of the Decode Blog!
It’s been four weeks already since some of us Decoders have joined a convoy to travel to Beijing, China. One of our main purposes is of course to know what is happening to China and why/how the Asian Century is unfolding.
For those who are not well acquainted with the term “Asian Century,” it has been coined by the meeting of Rajiv Gandhi and Deng Xiaoping, leaders of China and India in the 70s, predicting that in the 21st century, the world will be dominated not by the West (U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe) but by China and India, two Asian countries with the largest populations on earth.
Of course, we Filipinos predictably have no idea of this phenomenon that is NOW sweeping the globe. Droves of Filipinos young and old are still dreaming of going out of the country to go to America to achieve that so-called “American Dream.” But here’s the thing: global power has now shifted from the West to the East, says Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy, of the National University of Singapore. And true enough when we went to Beijing, we were shocked at what we saw.
2008 is really a turning point of Asia because of two pivotal events: (1) the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics Opening which shook the world as China ushered in the most expensive of all the openings of Olympics in the entire Olympic history. It was awe-inspiring as each segment of the presentation showed the world that China is a civilization that the West has to face in this century. (2) It’s of course the current global economic crisis that began in Wall Street and is now rocking the boat for all countries who heavily depended on the West.
When three of us Decoders went to Beijing, what we saw was utterly shocking. We didn’t find a Communist country, much less a people deprived of basic human rights. We did not find people wanting to leave China. What we found were streets bustling with fashionable people buying Louis Vuitton and Versace, young people in bicycles smiling and carrying books, streets so wide and so long that you couldn’t even see the end of it, buildings so tall with large LCD screens on their outer facades, in short the pervasive feeling in the air was tremendous optimism for the future.
We were fortunate to have a knowledgeable and passionate tour guide with us, Ms. Lily, who toured us all over Beijing. The first three days (beginning December 8) were about China. We visited the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Ming Dynasty Tombs, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall. The second three days, we visited the humongous Dragon Airport—the largest airport terminal in the world, the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the Water Cube (National Aquatics Center), the Egg (National Opera House), and the sophisticated and large Capital Museum.
We thought China would be so affected by the economic crisis. We asked the tour guide if this was so. “No,” she said. “A small fraction of our businesses have closed down, but the main ones are still booming.” Then she went on to say, “Did you know, there are 6,000 new cars in our streets every day.” Wow.
I won’t tell you about their structures because I sure know that you guys must have read those facts somewhere. But here’s what I discovered, China is China because they did not forget who they were. One part of Tian’enmen Square was the Legation Quarter, where the tour guide said the “No Dogs and Chinese allowed” sign used to be displayed there for all the world to see. I saw how they did not forget their past, and how their optimism and pride are not founded on sheer pride alone, but on their 5000 years of history and that Asian-ness—their love for their country and their culture, that time and time again they have proven to the world that we Asians are not barbarians and primitives, we had a civilization and we can rebuild one. (Think of Zheng He predating Columbus!)
Now I discovered why they can build structures like the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. It’s like a small effort compared to the structures of their past like the Great Wall—built on mountains covered by clouds.
While we were on the bus that Thursday, one of the people in the group we were with asked, “Do you think China will be the next superpower?”
How the tour guide replied to that question shocked us.
“No, no, no. We are not a superpower. We don’t want to be one. We want China to be strong, yes, but we don’t want to have the ultimate global power. You saw the sites we’ve visited? We always have walls in our history and culture. Walls on the Forbidden City. Walls on our cities. The Great Wall. We want China to be strong, but not as the West wants itself to be strong—like colonizing other nations. We have this philosophy—the water from the well never bothers the water from the river.”
Wow. That’s Confucius right there! That is why the West can never understand the East. The West thinks that China is here to take power from them. While the West is typically individualistic in that sense, they can never understand how we Easterners value ‘community’.
They say that real traveling is not using your legs to see new places, but looking for the secrets of a certain place with the eyes of one’s heart. I can only imagine what Marco Polo had glimpsed when he saw China in all its grandeur.
What China has taught us is a lesson that we Filipinos should never ever forget—Love of Country. And I can say this confidently, the Chinese loved their country even when 20 years ago it was the basketcase of the world. And now that China is on the rise, we Decoders are confident that as we love the Philippines—by pursuing excellence in our endeavors, we shall see it rise one day, beginning with us.
And no doubt, China will lead this century, despite the West’s denial that its time is over, because “big” is never “big” in a Chinese’s eyes unless he does it himself.
2008 is indeed a pivotal moment. We were privileged to see China as it is now.
The Asian Century is indeed here!
PS: Watch “China Rising” segments on Discovery Channel, and while you’re at it, try visiting the Asian Century Museum at 3rd Floor of Crossroad 77 Convention Center, at Mo. Ignacia, Quezon City which reopens on January 4th, 2009.
Just a quick note.
I recently had a conversation with geeks and shall i say that geeks are really funny. Picture your self editing a word document with three others all at the same time in separate computers. Thanks to Google Docs you can actually do that. If an entire line gets deleted, it’s just too funny to trace who did it. I had the most hilarious time. Forget the paper trail and the “track changes” function of Word and edit while you laugh! There is this theory by one decoder that 10,000 BC was written using google docs with several people simultaneously editing!
Geeks also like talking about why they disagree! isn’t that funny? Conversation is always interesting. If i were a geek, i’d come up with a hotline and this would be my tagline. “If your day is dull, just dial G-E-E-K and you’ll laugh your blues away.”
The pursuit of having a bilateral, pearly set of teeth crept into my consciousness even before I knew my multiplication table. I had been a big fan of cute American girls beaming an expansive smile revealing a bracketed set of 20++ perfectly aligned teeth. I would’ve traded my Barbie dolls for braces laced with fluorescent pink elastics from end to end. Little did I know that it would be a very long wait before I could experience the sheer bliss of running my tongue over the sharp corners of cemented brackets.
So, I waited…
My panoramic jaw x-ray showed that the size of my jaws could not contain all the big chunks of second molars that were erupting into my mouth. I suppose the impacted molars were trapped somewhere inside my gums. I did not understand any of this. The next thing I knew was I was being swung down a dental chair and tada!–my initiation to the wonderful world of conscious sedation had begun.
I can still vividly recall the bitter-sweet aftermath of each of the 13 impacted teeth (of all sorts) that was extracted from my premature jaws—the tingly sensation on my gums that once held a healthy tooth, the blood blotted pillows, the oversized protrusion in my cheek that is a cotton ball cushion, and, best of all, an unbeatable diet of pure decadence: ice cream (of all sorts) that can be prolonged (with a bit of acting skills) for three days.
13 teeth less after… still, I waited…
I was appointed to go back to the clinic. After days of blissful anticipation, I readied myself and proceeded in my favorite floral dress. To my dismay, not a bracket was cemented on my teeth. I knew that the procedure usually takes two hours; mine was less than a fraction of a minute. My kind dentist simply handed me a tiny silver key and a plastic case of some sort. The content was a grave nightmare, a merciless modern-day torture item—an Expansion.
I cried every time my dad would pop the key in my expansion, expanding the mouthpiece a tenth of a millimeter each time. My suffering brought much hope to my kind dentist as she saw incremental improvement on my teeth that only a dentist could see. Soon, I got used to my slime green colored mouthpiece-companion. This lasted for almost a year, until it was accidentally thrown into a garbage chute.
I waited, still…
Five years later, my much-awaited desire was fulfilled. My teeth were lined with braces. Though a bit substandard, I thought they were dazzling.
Two years after, I severely dislocated my lower jaw. Good-bye braces, hello splint.
Again, I waited…
A special kind of braces was cemented on my teeth, not porcelain but state-of-the-art—better than those on the cute American girls.
Now that waiting is over and my braces are gone, looking back makes me think that maybe having a teeth phobia of some sort would have added sheer thrill to this article.
~FEARLESS IN PINK
Hello guys. i recently started reading the classics again. and it was a pleasant experience, revisiting the reasons why i adored the classics while growing up. reading iliad for example brought me back to the kind of poignant heroism of achilles. truth be told, i find it hard to watch Troy again. it’s one of those unrepeatables, all because of the PAIN that the viewer must face too in processing the choices that the heroes faced. hector was the ideal but was doomed to stand up for an ill-decision not of his own making. achilles craved for glory but could only gain it through a tragic death and in it, find his humanity. if you go further down the line of the great writings of the greeks, you’ll discover the tragedies and commentaries that answer what makes civilization? now jump a bit to another hemisphere and you find the russians tolstoy and dostoevsky who were decidedly un-western. read further and you discover what tolstoy has in common with augustine and rousseau! they all wrote confessions! augustine wrote his The Confessions while rousseau wrote his Confession and tolstoy wrote A Confession. as to the content… most insteresting is rousseau’s because he is TOTALLY RIDICULOUS. how’s that for an enlightenment thinker! enlightenment in his context is an absolute misnomer. now you will not be surprised why the french revolution was the way it was.
Pain relievers were not usually an option for me as I have always been scared of becoming addicted to them. I believe that the best meds in the world are laughter and sleep, which is why I do those two things a lot. But there comes a time when, at your wits end, you take on the Popeye the Sailor character, you mutter to yourself, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” and you resort to gulping down not a can of spinach but a 500 mg tablet of mefenamic acid. This is exactly what I did in response to the torment of inflamed gums, and may I just say that the result so astounded me, I just had to find out how exactly this powerful pill airbrushes away your pain, albeit temporarily. I decided to take a personal refresher course on sophomore high school Biology, minus the pressures of oral exams. Here are my study notes, do correct me if I have misunderstood some things:
Pain is a physiological effect of the synthesis of prostaglandins, which is produced when white blood cells flood towards a damaged tissue to try and minimize the destruction. In other words, pain is an indication that your body is trying to repair itself. Also involved in the production of prostaglandins is a substance in the body called cyclooxygenase or COX. Mefenamic acid works by blocking the action of cyclooxygenase, and, in effect, inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins. Results? Voila, pain and even fever is relieved! At least for the next four to six hours. I have never been a the best in Bio but learning about the human body again, Hamlet’s words are ringing in my ears, “What a piece of work is a man…” Is that cool or what?
~ r0b!n go0dfell0w
After my long stay in Malaysia, a Malaysian friend of mine said “My girlfriend told me I’m fat already. It’s because I met this Filipino guy who I always bring to where the good food is.” Hospitality can really cost us new sets of clothes. I felt a bit guilty, so I tried to come up with fast solutions. If David Copperfield can make the statue of liberty disappear and David Blane can levitate on the air, there must be a way to make a fat person thin right?
Luckily I remembered the Ebbinghaus illusion. It is a type of optical illusion where the perceived size of an object is biased to grow or to shrink by the relative size of other objects surrounding it. The diagram below can better give you an idea of what I mean.
Just replace the circles with actual people and the magic is revealed. Using that logic, I told him, not to worry. I said “next time you see your girlfriend just be sure, you bring your fatter friends with you”. But the plan backfired as he ended up saying “maybe I’ll bring you next time”.
The Qin dynasty is the first dynasty to have ever had an emperor. His name is Ying Zheng, but later on he changes his name to Shihuangdi, “First August Emperor”. He predicated that his empire would stand for ten thousand years, but it crumbled just three years after his death. During the Qin dynasty weapons were confiscated, the walls of each states were torn down, each state was uniformly administered, the Chinese scripts were unified, and the weights and measures were standardized.
There was a peasant uprising that took place three years after the death of Ying Zheng, his tyranny and megalomaniac projects like the Great Wall of China and the Terra cotta warriors caused this. Now the mandate of heaven belonged to the Han dynasty. Under the Han dynasty Confucianism flourished all over china; the promulgation of the teachings of Confucius (focused on human morality and right action). The Hans also removed the annual mobilization and training of peasants, now the warfare requires a permanent army, an army that is paid for by tax. In addition the Silk Road was opened during this period, allowing trade not just from within the empire, but also neighboring countries.
But the Han dynasty also collapsed from within. It was divided into three rival kingdoms; it is known as the Three kingdoms period. One literary master piece “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” depicts the battles and struggles of these three kingdoms. The famous John Woo movie “Red Cliff”, tells the story of the battle of Red Cliff lead by Liu Bei, it is just one story in the romance of the three kingdoms.
In 589 AD the Sui dynasty became that unifier, but like the Qin dynasty, it was built in ruthlessness and megalomaniac spending of resources. During the Sui reign, the great wall was extended and the longest man made grand canal in the world was constructed. History once again repeated itself; a dynasty that is not benevolent to its people will always lose the mandate of heaven.
The inevitable happened another dynasty overthrew the Sui, this dynasty is marked by prosperity and innovations in the arts and technology; they are known as the Tang Dynasty. The Tang dynasty is considered as the “Golden Age” of China. One significant policy that was implemented during this time was the “Equal Field System” where land grants were given by the emperor to the families based on their needs not their wealth. It was also during this period that Prince Shotoku Taishi, commissioned Ono no Imoko, to be an envoy from Sunrise Empire (Japan) to negotiate with the Sunset Empire (China) so that Japanese scholars can study in China. The Japanese scholars brought with them the idea of making swords, bonsai, tea drinking and many more. The idea came from china but because it was perfected in Japan, it is commonly associated to the Japanese.
But a series of rebellion broke out during this dynasty which led to another united China. They entered into a new period known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It was half a century of power struggle between another growing people known as the Song.
In 960 AD the Song gained the upper hand, it controlled majority of the cities. The Song dynasty initially had its capital at Bianjing (now Kaifeng), but it was conquered by the Jin dynasty. After losing control of northern china, the Song transferred its capital to the south in Lin’an (now Hangzhou). The Song dynasty was marked with significant improvements pre-modern technology, science, philosophy, mathematics, and engineering because of the invention of the movable type printing press.
The Song could have stayed in power, had it not for the genius of Kublai Khan, the grand son of Genghis Khan. For many years, the Song dynasty has repelled the Mongol hordes, which can be mostly attributed to their secret weapon, gun powder. But eventually Kublai Khan learned the secrets of Gun powder and was able to use it against the Song. He won and created a new dynasty called the Yuan dynasty. The capital was now moved to Beijing. Kublai Khan, opened trade routes to the west, which the well known Venetian trader Marco Polo used. In this period, Christianity and other religion was tolerated in China. Among the many innovations in this period was the use of paper money, the use of granaries as solutions to famines, and the introduction of drama and novels. Another interesting fact during this time was the invasion of Japan by the Mongols which ended by a tragedy because divine winds (Kamikaze) wiped out the Mongol fleet twice. There are some rumors that says that the ships used by Kublai Khan to send to Japan where former fishing boats designed to cross only rivers, haste really makes wastes.
But China should be ruled by the Chinese; at least this was the belief of the Chinese people who rebelled against the Mongols. The Ming people succeeded in overthrowing the Mongols and they ushered in the Ming dynasty. The Ming dynasty was different from all the other dynasties because it focused on agriculture. Emperor Hongwu aimed to create a self sufficient rural communities where there is no need to trade for basic commodities, these produced a surplus in food production and a population boom. The Ming dynasty was also megalomaniac; in this dynasty the largest fleet (300 ships) until the world war was launched. It was more than twice the size of the Spanish armada (130 fleets) strong. Its mission was to trade and sail the whole world. It was commissioned by a favored eunuch of emperor Wu di named admiral Zheng He. In addition, the Ming established the forbidden city and the restored the great wall and the grand canal
The Mings were later on defeated by the Manchu people and established the Qing dynasty. It is the last of all the Chinese dynasty. The Qing dynasty created the most complete Chinese dictionary. They also implemented the Eight Banner system because they do not want to be assimilated to the Chinese. It is a military institution that set up standards on which a Manchu “bannermen” would be identified it is based more on skills in archery, horsemanship, and frugality.
The earliest written record of civilization in China began during the Shang dynasty (1600 – 1100 BC) where animal bones known as “oracle bones” and turtle shells became material where it was in scripted. The Shang dynasty is the longest running dynasty ever in Chinese history. It was ruled by 31 different kings and the capital was moved six times. The primary mark of this dynasty is the introduction of writing, the building of walled settlements, the appearance of an elite who extracted obedience and goods from the common people, and the use of large-scale military forces. The succession of power during the Shang dynasty is solely from father to the eldest son. Power revolves solely to the immediate family and relatives of the current Shang king.
By the end of the second millennium BC, the Shang was overthrown by the Zhou people; they were the people living in the west part of the Shang dynasty. The irony is that the Zhou people were considered as the ”Western Protector” by the Shang, this over throwing gave rise to the Zhou dynasty. The primary innovation during the Zhou dynasty was the practice of granting fiefdom where lands can be ruled not just by the immediate family and relatives of the king, but also by allies and other noblemen. The famous mandate of heaven idea was introduced also in this period, the concept of rulers being appointed by the one who is in heaven. If you watched the movie “Hero” it shows a story of an angry assassin abandoning his mission of killing the emperor by a simple phrase “All under heaven”, since heaven is the supreme authority and the current ruler is just the appointee. The idea of a power greater than that of the royal family and the nobility choosing the rightful ruler, would give the serfs a chance to rule the throne as what would be the case in most of the succeeding dynasties.
The practice of fiefdom later on determined the next stage of Chinese history known as the warring states period. Fiefdom allowed mini nobles and kings to divide and rule the large kingdom and the idea of the mandate of heaven opened the idea that anyone can become the supreme ruler; hence the throne was open for power struggle. In this period, there were seven states that became strong enough to consider themselves independent. But amongst the seven, one dynasty stood greater, the Qin state. The Qin state elevated the Chinese from dynasty to imperial as it conquered and united all the seven other states.
How to get the most from your tea drinking experience?
Take this time to brood (don’t brood too long though because this will not be healthy anymore)! How’s that for the melancholic-poetic bone in you? Sit by the window. Drink in some poetry. Read the classics. Reflect. We all need this to get in touch with the finer things that make us human.
Now let’s get started.
First, get a tea press. Tea bags are okay in the fast lane… but let’s do things differently for once. I suggest that you get yourself a small Bodum or Pyrex black tea press. Get the larger one if you plan on brewing a lot of tea in one go. Starbucks used to have quaint tea presses with design, but now it only has the medium sized one.
Second, get some Darjeeling tea leaves. Try Stash. You can check Tea Spa for stock. Follow the directions on the packet for the brewing and make sure that you don’t underbrew or overbrew. Stick to the ideal duration for best taste. Now for the sugar, try cubes. If none is on stock, get crystals. If none is available, only then should you consider honey. Since this is dark tea—which to me is the champagne of teas—don’t forget the milk! Fresh milk is best.
Third. Find proper tea cups and saucers. That is very much part of the experience. Drop the sugar cubes into the cup first then pour the tea. Last is the milk. Leave it to settle first. After a short while, dip the tea unstirred. Naturally, the tea gets progressively sweeter as you drink. It’s like your reward is at the end of the rainbow! Or you get to reflect that your destiny gets brighter and brighter like the noonday sun! Of course in your succeeding cups, you can stir your tea.
4th. Sipping tea is perfect among friends. If coffee is taken quickly, sipping tea among friends takes 3 hours! The hours pass happily.
Here are some alternatives to Darjeeling. Try Starbucks’ Extra Hot Green Tea Latte or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Chai Latte. Who would have thought that green tea can be taken with milk? Perhaps I was oblivious because of my affinity to how Asian teas are taken. In Japan, tea is serious business!
Sipping tea is one of the best experiences in the world. I took a liking to sipping dark tea, most specifically Darjeeling. Try taking it with fresh milk and some sugar cubes and your day is made. But so much more happens when you sip tea. Every time I sip tea, I am instantly transported to the time of the Pubs which people frequent to get the latest stock prices from the docks, the latest news on international politics, latest pieces by the great writers and even latest inventions by the scientific community. They called it Penny University. For a penny, one gets a cup of tea, a roll of newspaper and here’s the best treat of all—one gets to converse with the wits of the day! In the East, tea is a time of respite between two warriors who pause to reflect on life. In that brief moment, they are not enemies to be conquered. War would be farthest from their beings. They get to sip life again. Sipping tea, for Asians, is also about establishing relationships by first getting to know each other. You might have noticed that beautiful scene in Fearless where the martial artists from Japan and China were sipping tea to get to know each other. For the Japanese, sipping tea is one entire ceremony—a cultural institution if you must. They call it Chado, the way of tea. If you are a guest, sipping tea begins way way before you enter the tea room. It begins when you start washing your hands. Very much like life. The journey begins not in the result, but in the inner aspects—a resolution within, a decision. Chado makes a statement on civilization. For instance, it covers interpersonal behavior (i.e. etiquette), democracy (i.e. you are all human beings when you are sipping together), and service (e.g. the best design on the tea cup of the host must face the guest). Wow… all that in just a tea cup!
There is a new equation that I learned yesterday, like how post it, x-ray, and all the other accidental inventions was discovered, I have never planned nor wished to discover it. It’s a lot simpler to explain that quantum physics and compared to genetic algorithm this one is so much easier to understand. Well its not part of the branch of evolutionary computations, but it happens in a case to case basis. The rules are actually simple, just a disclaimer this equation is not a theorem for the simple reason that there are additional assumptions to consider and a lot of arbitrary values just pops up on the other side of the equation. The equation is:
15mins = 24hours + 264MYR++
Allow me to explain the equation above. There is a famous saying that to know the value of 1 second ask a silver medalist in a race. To know the value of 15 minutes, ask nobody, since nobody has just been left by the plane. Well I may have several reasons why I was left out, but the bottom line is that I really have no valid excuse. So for nobody’s dignity’s sake, the real reason for this will not be revealed in this blog entry.
I missed my check in time by 15 minutes, the consequence was more than what I was willing to pay, but I paid it anyway since it was my fault. I need to wait for another 24 hours because Malaysia Airlines only flies once everyday to Manila. So when I missed my flight, I went to the Malaysia Airlines ticketing office to have it rebooked to the following day. They charged me certain fees, I’m guessing its rebooking fee and no show me, it cost me around MYR 264 or USD75. It’s still cheap compared to other airlines like Singapore Airlines who charged a friend of mine SGD 300+ for a missed flight. As I said, it’s not a theorem since my 15 minutes cost less than my friend’s 15 minutes.
After all the rebooking errands have been done, the next problem is just where to sleep. I’ve seen some people, pretending to be Tom Hanks in the movie “The Terminal”, sleeping on the benches of the airport, not a very pleasant sight to see, so I never considered it as an option. Finding a hotel in KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is not a problem since you can do spontaneous booking from the hotel booths available there. In fact, there is a hotel inside the airport already, but I never went into a hotel. I opted, to sleep over a friend’s house, since the offer was made a few days before I ever went to KL.
Well, regardless of how much the 15 minutes actually cost me, past is past and lesson learned. I’m writing this blog entry somewhere in the South China sea in between Malaysia and the Philippines. The price of the 15 minutes has already been paid for and the lessons have already been learned. Right now I’m just so excited to go back to the place I call home.
I was totally surprised by this movie.
I thought this was another lame digital film like Happily Never After, but hey, this one was … soo geeky!
Let me share you my quick synopsis of Igor.
If you want a taste of Frankenstein and Mad Scientists, of monsters and musicals, of a gloomy but funny story, of Jaqueline and Heidi (yes that’s Jekkyl and Hyde for you), of a sudden feeling of Schadenfreude, of Annie the musicale and hypnotic machines, well you shouldn’t miss Igor.
Igor is the recently acclaimed comedy digital animated film about a life of an Igor (If you haven’t watched Frankenstein, Igor is the popular sidekick guy portrayed as an assistant of Dracula or Frankenstein). PULL ZE SWITCH!
Enter the town of Malaria, a town that has an everlasting dark cloud hovering above it. This dark cloud has hampered its industry. Because of this, the evil mayor of Malaria has organized the annual EVIL Science Fair gathering mad scientists who would invent evil inventions. Out of fear for their lives, the whole world would pay Malaria large sums of money so that the inventions would not lay havoc on them. This same money would be the prize of the Evil Science Fair. Now in this town, there are lots of Mad Scientists and each has their own Igor, assistants trained in the Igor School… and the first thing they learn in that school is that phrase they should always use in response to any mad scientist: “yezzz mastah!”
Now there’s this particular Igor who wanted to invent an evil invention. In fact he already invented several gizmos: two of those became his friends—Scamper the Existentialist Rabbit, and Brian (who actually came from a jar with a dead brain inside… Brian is a misspelling of ‘brain’). Igor wanted to say this to his master but the Mad Scientist would not believe him because Igors, they believe, can’t think. But while this Mad Scientist is testing his new invention… er the “Evil Lasagna” it exploded, leaving just an arm of the said scientist. Fearing for his life, Igor invented a long-awaited dream, a monster with life! Unfortunately so, his monster turned out to be … not evil, but EVA—an aspiring actress who couldn’t even hurt a fly. Now, an evil scientist named Dr. Schadenfreude (yeah, the infamous German word was turned into a name of a character in this film) was so jealous of Igor’s former master that he investigated and found out that there’s no Mad Scientist to be found. And worse, he found out Igor’s invention and wants to steal it… for the upcoming Science Fair.
I was really laughing so hard in the cinema while watching the whole film. I bet GEEKS made this movie… Now I will never see Annie the same way again. Haha.
The film ended with this saying: It is better to be a good nobody than an evil somebody! Now that’s what a GREAT movie is all about!
If you’re a geek, don’t miss this movie. It’s really really worth watching!
I wanna drift! I wanna drift! I wanna drift!
I always wanted to learn how to drift (watch the trailer and you’ll know why). In fact, I just learned how to drift in the Daytona USA 1 arcade game. A friend of mine taught me after losing several races to him. It’s quite easy; the secret is to know the map, you must know when to drift and when to just turn. In Daytona USA 1, the best map to practice drifting is the advanced map, then select manual transmission. When you’re about to turn shift to gear number 1 and turn the steering wheel towards the direction you want to turn. When you turn to that direction shift to 3rd gear then to 4th gear. Easy right?
But this post isn’t about drifting. It’s about KL drift. Ironically, KL drift reminds me more of Lord of the rings rather than Tokyo drift. No, the lead character isn’t a small hobbit and neither does he look anything close to Elijah Wood. The supporting character isn’t a fat hobbit either. He is actually a thin tall guy. The similarity lies in the story. The drifting part is actually just sugar coats to the story. I don’t want to be a spoiler but I’ll guess ill tell the story anyway (hey, you can chose not to read this blog entry yet, if your planning to watch the movie). The lead character in the story is guy named Zack, he wanted the drug syndicates to stop selling drugs in his town so he challenged the drug leader to a race around the city. If Zack loses, he gives up his car, but if he wins, the drug leader and his gang leaves town. But there is another parallel story happening. There is a conflict between Zack and his best friend Sham. Sham really likes Zack’s ex-girlfriend and she likes him too, but since Zack isn’t cool about it, Sham tried to push her away. Zack hated Sham because he thought that they were dating, but in reality Sham was really loyal friend. Even though Zack already beaten up and pushed Sham away many times, Sham would always be there for Zack when he needed him. There was even this one time when Sham risked his life to rescued Zack from being killed by the syndicates. During the last part of the scene, Zack won the race but the drug leader didn’t keep his promise. Instead he made Zack’s life so miserable; he killed one of Zack’s friends. At the very last part, the drug leader wanted to run over Zack with a speeding sports car, but Sham traded his life for Zack by pushing him out of the way. Until now I still don’t know if Sham is alive as the last scene ended with Sham in comma after being hit by a car.
Told you it was like Frodo and S(h)am, Frodo was a ring bearer tasked to destroy the ring in mount Mordor. Frodo had a faithful friend which is Sam, who even though he was pushed away many times and falsely accused, still remained loyal to him, even to the point of risking his own life to save Frodo.
“Tuan tuan dan puan puan, selamat datang ke Kuala Lumpur International Airport”. If you happen to hear these words being announced by the stewardess or the captain while in an airplane ride there are just two logical explanations for it. Either you arrived in your destination (it should be KLIA, Malaysia), or the unlikely event that you rode the wrong plane. Well luckily they installed parachutes for rare scenarios like that. Don’t forget to grab also the life vest located under your seat just incase you landed on water.
Ever wonder why MH705 is in the title? Its special because it’s the flight number that took Nobody to KL Malaysia. MH705 looks so ordinary, but it goes more than that. Let me elaborate, MH stands for Malaysian Hospitality. I can say that Malaysians are indeed hospitable people, we don’t need to look far to know the hospitality quotient of a country. As what the AXE commercial always reminds us “first impressions last” and for any traveler, the first impression is the airport. The airport basically tells you how welcome you are in a country your entering into. In order to gauge if KLIA is really a good airport, lets use the surveys. In http://www.worldairportawards.com/ survey for 2008, KLIA was ranked number 4; Hong Kong Aiport being the first, followed by Changi Airport in Singapore, then by Incheon Airport in Seoul. In another survey conducted by Forbes, it ranked number 7.
Just to give you an idea on how beautiful the airport is. Here is a video that will tour you around the place. (They play this video whenever your about to arrive in KLIA on Malaysia Airlines)
If you have watched Eagle Eye like me in a cinema, you’ve been probably drained by the rush of excitement taking you at the edge of your seat. I fortunately watched this film in a new cinema in SM City Marikina, where quite a few watched it. I’m here to tell you why this is a movie really worth watching, especially if you want that geeky brain to feel a rush of cold water.
Imagine opening your ATM, and you find out that you have $700,000.00 in your account. Surprised, you take some of the money (which is A LOT) and then going back to your tiny little shabby apartment only to be surprised by the packages inside your abode. You open them, and you find you have some guns of different sizes, ammos and other military stuff, and then later your mobile phone rings. “You have 15 seconds Jerry Shaw to leave the premises…” and suddenly all those things that the voice is saying will be a total blur as you’d probably resort to panic. Seconds later, the FBI crashes on your window and arrest you.
That’s probably the short intro to “Eagle Eye” starring Shia LaBeouf (I still see him as Even Stevens). I can’t tell you the rest of the story because I don’t want to spoil you with the experience but rest assured this is highly recommended especially if you want to be paranoid with every form of technology. There’s an advice there advices tells everyone that cellphones can be tracked by the FBI just be merely turning it on. They can hear you through the phone’s microphone and so the best thing to protect your privacy is to turn it off and remove the battery.
All I can say is the story is action-packed, witty, and the director is most probably a geek. The tension in the story builds up as the thought provoking questions rush into you after the film: Is freedom worth sacrificing for security? The limits of logic of the machines and the flaw of being human when it comes to right and wrong is the meat of this cinematic experience. The scarier part of this is that we’re nearer to this futuristic possibility than ever before.
I’m not encouraging you to be a Luddite, but the whole film makes sense, coupled with breathtaking action packed scenes and paranoia.
I highly recommend this film with Die Hard 4, and Wall-E.
Chores are almost synonymous to drudgery. Perhaps the carefreeness of youth makes this so. The idea of having to do something at an appointed time was totally undesirable compared to the freedom of spontaneous action. Playing the piano for visitors was a “chore.” I had to be dragged from the neighbor’s mango tree or called for piano practice from my grime accumulating spontaneous afternoon play. Sleeping at 3pm was a chore compared to wearing a raincoat and walking outside in the rain. As I got older, chores got more interesting. A perfectly good novel became a chore to read all because it was required by the teacher. Eating anything healthy was a chore because it was good for me.
Fast forward into adulthood.
Now, I am of a different mind. I never would have thought that washing dishes can be therapeutic. Cleaning the bathroom can be relaxing. Throwing the trash can be humanizing. Extrapolating from these…there are things that must be done because they are part of being human. Freedom can be a chore if spontaneity means purposelessness, irresponsibility and zero drive to accomplish anything worthwhile.
I love Booker T. Washington because he taught his students to love work not as drudgery. But to find beauty and dignity in it. Must-Dos are part of being human.
This was my last movie in the theater. I should’ve read up on it first but this is what I get for thinking that the surprise enhances satisfaction. Anyway, I was looking forward to another remake of the decadent-post-post-modern future. In the past we’ve had a creative mishmash of Mad Max, Waterworld, Judge Dredd, Matrix, Aeon Flux and so on. But with Babylon AD, I was expecting some twist in the story, with the mention of Babylon. Was hoping for a sort of storytelling of Nebuchadnezzar-like decadence as a consequence of human choices. But no. It was Vin Diesel wasting his carefully earned one-dimensional acting in absolutely no dimensional acting. And how about wasting Michelle Yeoh’s martial arts?!! Chronicles of Riddick would have been a joy to watch if only for that bit of the scorching sunlight and the idea of a pervading myth. Nevertheless, watching Babylon AD wasn’t a total waste. Here are some geeky details that are interesting though three out of four are un-cool.
First, the hi-tech MAP (yep–a map, the amazing invention that drivers DO NOT use for the sheer excitement of getting lost) was extremely cool! Can’t wait to have that handy someday.
Second, the difference between a mercenary and a terrorist! Catch the dialogue in the beginning. This was HILARIOUS (my eyebrows are reaching the roof). I mean…. HELLOOOOO. Argh.
Third, artificial intelligence as a surrogate parent. This was really pushing it, though the social theorist progeny of the Enlightenment philosophers might have nodded in approval. Bwahaha.
Fourth, the injectible passport. It’s not impossible–but it’s a product of a twisted mind. And it being used for double crossing was totally predictable.
Again, watching it was not a total waste. I became more excited in looking forward to watching the next Star Trek movie. Nothing related. It’s just the natural effect of watching a bad movie. It just heightens the desire to watch something interesting (and yes, Star Trek is interesting…I can already hear the theme song playing).
Just one more bit. I saw Vin Diesel in The Boiler Room while channel surfing the other day. I was pleasantly surprised. It was one and a half dimensional acting. Cool to find out that half a degree makes a world of a difference. Harhar.