Thursday, January 29, 2009

Red Cliff 2

What better way to usher into the New Year than having a bloody and violent Chinese history lesson at the movies right? And we can all thank John Woo for saving the CNY movie genre with this 2nd part of Red Cliff.

After feeling slightly cheated by the trailer for the 1st movie, we are finally treated to some awesome battle scenes in the 2nd. But not before another hour of intense build up & strategizing.

Do I have to remind you to wear your helmet every single day?

Well, things are never that easy with the Chinese. Even war acquire a deeper, more philosophical meaning.

Listen as Zhou Yu (Tony Leung) & Zhuge Liang (Takeshi) spout out fortune cookie quotes, Sun Tzu's teachings and Confucius sayings at every opportunity.

Also, this being a John Woo film, expect to see some trademark stuff from the director like...

His fetish for white doves

The bird look tasty roasted or deep fried

The theme of brotherhood. it me or is the relationship between Zhou Yu & Zhuge Liang really pushing the boundaries of 'brotherhood'?

Sometimes brotherhood takes a
bad seat when you need a smoke

And Chow Yun Fat leaping out sideways with two guns blazing. Nah, that was just wishful thinking on my part.

Sliding down the rails & toothpick is optional

Apparently, the Chinese also invented many of the methods employed in modern warfare.

Biological warfare, grenades, sophisticated crossbows and kamikaze attacks were all used in the battle thousand of years ago.

Heck, we even saw the soldiers play an ancient form of football (called Cuju) with skills that would make a Brazilian proud.

Ahh...another testament to the greatness of Chinese civilization. This will definitely make your skin glow a brighter shade of yellow. Just perfect for the New Year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do The Right Thing

The banners are up, security suddenly tightened, posters and articles trading accusations filled the walls of faculties. All these can only mean one thing...the campus election is around the corner.

Once again, the fight is on between the pro-aspirasi and pro-mahasiswa factions.

Although, student bodies are prohibited from being affiliated with any political parties, it's little secret that one faction is pro-establishment (pro-aspirasi) while the other is anti-establishment (pro-mahasiswa)

Student politics are a reflection of national politics, no matter how the authorities try to conceal it.

Perhaps mirroring the political situation outside of campus, the odds are heavily stacked against the opposition in the campus polls as well. The authorities are known to throw their backing behind pro-aspirasi candidates to ensure their victory.

During my 1st year, all Chinese students were made to attend a gathering to listen to some talk by the representatives of the Chinese student committee. We were told specifically not to vote for the pro-mahasiswa or 'green faction'

This is what happen when you let them win

If they came to power, the Chinese students will suffer. There will be strict enforcements on our attire & entertainment will be forbidden (except nasyid performances). Our campus will be turned into a Taliban approved learning centre!

Those possibilities alone are enough to make us gullible 1st year students make the 'right choices'.

Random picture, nothing to do with this post whatsoever

And for those of us who live in residential colleges, rumours that we will be kick out of college if we voted for the 'wrong' candidates will be passed around every year.

College authorities made it clear that they support the pro-aspirasi candidates. More intimidating is the fact that the ballot paper is marked with a serial number traceable to our names.

Doesn't matter whether those rumours are true or false, the majority wouldn't want to take the risk.

Nobody really cares about student politics anyway. Student activism is severely curtailed in Malaysia unlike their counterparts in other countries, where they are influential in initiating political, social & economic changes.

Student activism means standing in from of a tank to make a point

But here, the candidates are reduced to fighting over petty issues like prices of food in cafetaria and the bus schedule.

I hope I do not get into trouble for my rantings. Did I not mentioned that threats and intimidations aside, the campus elections are 100% clean & fair. And I promise that when election comes, I will do the 'right thing'

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Der Die Das

My German classes are starting next week. I will be taking Level 4 but unfortunately, I can still hardly string a proper sentence in German. Listening to native speakers is a challenge but...I am going to persevere.

I know, it might not be as cool as learning Japanese or Korean.
Yet, I am glad I am learning German as an extra language because :

1) when I see an object, I will quickly classified it as masculine, feminine or neutral. In German language, everything falls into those 3 categories.

So, a table is masculine, pig is neutral, a cup is feminine etc etc...

2) it makes me want to try & watch a German movie. I did watch 'Der Untergang' eventually.

It's a great movie about Hitler's downfall...but I gave up trying to make out what they are actually saying in German halfway through the movie. Reading the subtitles are so much easier.

3) when I order a burger at McDonald's, I knew that 'ich liebe es' written on the box means 'I'm lovin' it'

4) I found out that Deutschland is actually Germany, not Holland.

5) I discovered that some English words
, such as kindergarten are borrowed from German.

6) I can spell using fancy alphabets like ü, ä, ö and ß

7) I will not starve to death if stranded in Germany, but what I eat will be limited by my vocabulary, meaning - bread, sausages, potatoes & onion soup.

8) I can pronounce
Michael Ballack & Bastian Schweinsteiger's name correctly.

9) whenever I watch Project Runway (can't believe I actually admit it), I like hearing Heidi Klum bid farewell to the contestant using the German phrase 'auf Wiedersehen'

10) I can now curse in four different languages.

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