Sunday, May 27, 2007


She stands there, old and stale. Wrinkles mark every chapter of her life in a definitive way. Darting around the room, her eyes make a desperate attempt to put names to the sea of faces in front of her:

The fat one. Hmmm.. must be Jeremy.

The one with Ang Kongs. Hmmm.. Justin? Cannot be, my grandson won't so "pai" one.

There you have it. My Grandma, stricken with Dementia and Alzheimer's. Her memory fails her every now and then, but if it happens to be her day, she remembers every single thing that has happened in the past 80 over years of her life.

I love my Grandma. Though she always whacks me and forces food down my throat when I was a child. And I know she loves me too. I recall the period when her memory first deterioated. She began to forget who is who in the family, but she always remembered me. Whenever I pick up her call, she'd instantanously know it's me upon hearing my voice.

"Ahhhhh.. Justin ah? Your mother leh?"

Sometimes being the black sheep of the family in the past is not a bad thing; people tend to remember you more than they do of others.

Although Grandma has taken the back seat in managing the family, her presence is still very much felt in the decisions the uncles and aunties make. Family gatherings are, in a way, centred around her. Which makes me think: would it still be the same when she passes on? Will we still meet, feast and be jolly when the hour comes for her to go?

I have my doubts, but I have my hopes too.

My cousins and I have talked in depth about this a couple of times and we believe that the best thing to do now is to start building bonds that are based not on responsibility - think: oh this is my family, therefore I must be there to show face -, but rather on the love that we could have for one another. We tried that out within our clique and realized that, yeah, we do love one another very much, even though we don't express it in the best way. We concluded that we'd organize gatherings among the cousins and make it a point to look out for one another the way our uncles and aunties have done for decades now. I mean, we're a family after all aren't we?

Still, the thought of losing Grandma chills my spine. I'd hold my breath each time I think about it and every year, I'd wonder if it'll be her last. I know what to do when Grandma is still alive; I'd embrace her, kiss her, hug her and joke with her everytime I see her. But it is when she departs that I'm at loss. I wouldn't know what to do then.

I love my Grandma.

I love you Grandma.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dear Uncle

Dear Uncle,

I wonder if it ever struck you that despite your miniature stature, pathetic status, irresponsible attitude and strabismus, my family still chose to allow you to marry my aunt. They opted to turn a blind eye to the obvious flaws that you have, thinking that you’d make up for them by fulfilling those marriage vows you exchanged in front of the altar that fateful day.

But have you? Let’s go through some of the wonderful things you have done over the years before coming to a conclusion:

When my aunt bore you your first child and was subsequently under confinement, my frail old grandma had to attend to her needs and that of the newborn. Giving her a token of your appreciation, you generously placed a $10 bill in a red packet and handed it to her.

Along came your second and third child, and the same thing happened – you conveniently left them in my grandma’s care. This time, however, by a stroke of creativity I suppose you should have as a self-proclaimed architect, you did something different: you didn’t even show gratitude in any form, but just took it that my grandma was doing what she should be doing.

Then storm clouds gathered and my aunt was diagnosed with lymph node cancer. So valiantly, you proceeded to stretch your budget on gambling to, I reckon, earn more money for her treatment. But you know, I guess lady luck was never on your side so you end up just throwing your money down an abyss, never to see it again. Again, you strode on courageously, always looking on the bright side of things, and decided to cut back on your family’s expenditure, leaving your beloved wife with little or no money to pay for her treatments, utility bills, school fees, food etc.

What? What was it you were saying? No money, not your fault. You also don’t know what to do? You’re trying hard to make ends meet? Oh yes, I’m sorry to omit the amount of effort you put in trying to coerce my aunt into working to pay her own treatment. I’m sorry, my bad.

Alright, enough about your spouse, whom you probably love so much that you hate her. Let’s talk about your children. I’ve heard that you’ve been a great role model and teacher to them. Independence is your over arching topic in all the lessons you put them through – like having your 12 year old daughter go down to buy dinner back for you while you go on a clickerty click click rampage on gambling sites. And when she bought the wrong food up, you threw in some corporal punishment by smacking her head for the mistake. Oh, I forgot to mention that superb stunt you pulled off when you backed out from an arranged meet-the-parents session with your daughter. Now my Mum has to waddle her way down with a fractured foot, just to spoil your otherwise flawless lesson on independence by not allowing your daughter to go down alone like a fool. Wow, you’re like my all time favourite superhero - Spiderman. You could simply weave a web of lies to protect yourself from the relentless attacks of self-perceived accusations and swing away to a distant place for refuge. Maybe you should get those $1.50 Spiderman masks from a nearby Pasar Malam and hide your face because people who see you in action are bound to react, violently. Try the mask I have in the picture below, though I think it looks better on me than on you.

Amazing! I think you’ve done an amazing job as a husband-cum-father-cum-loser. You’re so good at getting it all wrong I doubt anyone can beat you to it. Maybe you didn’t dig your ears when you went through the procession of holy matrimony, that’s why you got it all mixed up. No wait, were you drunk? Because it seems every time you walk, you’re swaying from side to side and your eyes don’t look right to me. Oh, I forgot, you’re cross-eyed and that probably impaired you ability to strike a balance in life and walking. It could be a major cause of why you see right as wrong and wrong as right because you see things on the left with your right eye and things on your right with your left eye. I’m sorry, I should have known. My bad.

Uncle, you’ve never failed to make a laughing stock of yourself by your feeble attempts to be impressive. Quit it man. Seriously. Quit it. I laugh so hard I soil my Spongebob Squarepants boxers each time my family discusses you. Be genuine so we can help. Be real. Be honest about who you really are and admit your mistakes. Because he who is a respectable man shrouds himself not in fanciful decorations, but lays himself bare for all to see that he has nothing despicable or disgraceful to hide. Besides, Singapore’s so near the equator it’s insanely hot! Why on earth do you try to cover yourself with so many layers? But please! Spare my eyes and don't take me literally about baring yourself! With my current level of astigmatism and myopia, I'm already considered partially blind; I don't want to be totally blind at the sight of you in your birthday suit. Please put on you pants.

Lastly, please stop wearing those thick black rimmed or turtle shell framed glasses. Judging by your lousy acting when you cried over the phone whilst talking to my mother about your situation, you just don't have what it takes to be an emo. You sounded like you were having spasms, by the way.

Best Regards,
Justin (the one you tried to lecture about being a good son)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Catching Up

I caught up with a couple of old friends during the past few weeks. It was good seeing familiar faces which were undoubtedly tinted with a slight tinge of freshness. Prior to my appointment to meet them, I was extremely excited to see how they had changed. And I sure was surprised to see stone cold faces breaking into a warm smile, scrawny dudes putting on a massive bulk, long fringes reduce to bangs. But of course, some remain more or less the same outwardly, and inwardly, none of them changed; they're still the same old playful bunch of people I know, just more mature and definitely more controlled.

And so we spoke the lingos of yester-years, cracked the same old jokes, mused about our aspirations and dreams, laughed about our past mistakes, and filled one another up about things that we missed out on. It felt like a happy reunion of long lost brothers and sisters when we went through the motion of it. It was almost like reliving moments of our fragmented past all within the confines of a simple conversation. Amazing. And the best part of it all was that we all thought it was pretty funny going through our past stupidities. We had a healthy dosage of laughter; I think I just added a few more years to my life just by going out and giggling like a fool with them.

I never knew catching up would be such a fulfilling part of life. For a moment then, I felt I was in another world - a world free of stress, pre-conceived notions, hatred, envy and what nots of the real world we live in.

Catching up was good. Let's catch up soon shall we?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Worst Movies Ever!

Check out the ninja scene.

Don't you feel like punching the film makers?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Look what I found today!

For those of you who know what these letters mean. Shuddup. And wipe that grin off your face. Garrr..! For those of you who don't. Don't ask.

Spiderman 3

Although there were several negligible deviations from the original storyline in the first Spiderman movie in 2003, I was still impressed at how the film makers were able to place a heavy emphasis on character and plot development even though it was an action-packed movie. This valuable trait has not only earned the franchise a considerable amount of praise from critics, but also allowed it to stand out from other action movies which typically belong to the "all-brawn-no-brains" catagory. It has, no doubt, in my opinion, done justice to the original comic strip. The same goes for the second movie.
As for the lastest installment, I can only quote what the newsanchor in the film has to say to sum it all up,
"This might be the end of Spiderman."
Indeed, it might. Judging from the 3rd installment of the series, I think the director has blown the chances of ever reviving the franchise. Any avid Spiderman fan would be irked, but still satisfied if there were minor changes to the plot or aesthetics. Certain things like Spidey's webbing being organic, when it isn't in the original arc, or Mary Jane Watson being his first girlfriend, when it's supposed to be Gwen Stacy, can be overlooked. But having Sandman get away scot-free and worst of all, Venom die so quickly and easily at the ending is too much. It's an insult to the fans and the characters involved. I mean, Sandman's a state convict and Venom's supposed to be more powerful than Spidey right? What's the rational behind the ending man?
Also, there was little or no character or plot development in this one. I had high hopes when the show explored the softer side of Sandman, explaining the motivation behind his crimes. But I was throughly disappointed when the story immediately plunged into the characters of Eddie Brock and Gwen Stacy:
1) Brock was shoved into a scene where he starting taking pictures of a near fatal disaster and then introduced to Jonah Jameson as "the guy you hired last week". Pathetic.
2) Stacy just popped up from no where as an equally-as-bright-as-Parker student in Parker's physics class. Like where the hell has she been all these while until now? Parker must have been blind not to notice a beauty like her from the beginning. I thought his myopia got fixed when his genes got altered by that spider bite?
3) Even the intended relationship between Brock and Stacy was not supported by prior scenes. The only hint of it was a smart-ass remark Brock made to her father about her being his girlfriend. That's it.
Were the producers getting too complacent because they know that, either way, this is going to be a world wide blockbuster hit? I don't know for sure, but I think I can almost safely conclude that. Why else would they have so many inconsistencies in the show? Here's some to name a few:
1) Spidey had no problems removing the black suit when it first bonded with him and even manages to hide it in a small chest in his room. He could even put it on and take it off effortlessly. But in later scenes, he had so much difficulty doing so. Why's that? Nevermind that the symbiote's supposed to bond with Spidey, not the suit, but how in the world did it become so difficult to dispel later on? The only possible explaination the movie provided was from Dr. O'Connor who said that it would be increasingly difficult to dispel it if Spidey chosed to allow it to bond with him. But hadn't Spidey already bonded with it when it crept up his bedside earlier on?
2) Spidey threw a bomb which detonated upon impact when it hit the wall behind Harry Osborn. Osborn didn't die, but his face was scarred. How then did the same damn bomb blow the symbiote AND Brock into smithereens at the end? It's ridiculous because even if the bomb did kill both the alien and Brock, surely there must be traces of Brock's corpse left isn't it? But all was left of the aftermath was just a little incy wincy bit of the alien squealing and disintegrating. The only logical speculation my friend and I came out with is that Brock bonded with the alien again when he attempted to save it, became Venom and leapt away just before the bomb exploded. Feasible, but we aren't very sure. Unless this is what the director intended to do in order to give an illusion that this is the last installment, but has plans to continue the series.
3) Sandman was clearly determined to kill Spidey when Venom proposed an alliance to finish off the web crawler, but why did he suddenly become so remorseful towards the end? The drastic change in his emotions is too hard to swallow. One moment he is out for blood and the next he is all guilty and emotional. What's all these flipping here and there? Roti prata?
Could it be that the producers were trying too hard by squeezing in 3 villains into the measly 150 minutes of showtime? Or did they not try hard enough by failing to give each character enough screen time for more development? I mean, so what if the film clocks 180 or 210 minutes? It's not like they don't have enough budget to push it that long considering the obscene amount of profits from the first two films. It's not like the audience would go tired right? I bet my balls that those in the theater were dying for more. Titanic hit the 3 hour mark and it was still a mega blockbuster wasn't it? I just don't get it.
The Newspaper gave it pretty good reviews - 4.5 out of 5 stars, but I'd say that the critic was just being too kind. 4.5 is flattery. Come on man, quit trying to suck up to the producers, it ain't going to earn you a big fat pay cheque for publicity. The atrocity of its weak plot is enough to set tongues wagging among fans. That, my fellow comrade, is enough publicity in itself.
A word of advice - if you're happen to be among those who look out for good plots and character developments in a movie, AVOID SPIDERMAN 3 at ALL COSTS! Even if that means selling your pre-booked tickets. Get a DVD instead. Trust me, not the papers. Why? Because the critic who gave the 4.5 in today's papers confessed he isn't a Spidey fan, so you gotta take his review with a tablespoon of salt. Because there's a section by the art department that is dedicated to Spiderman 3 that has little snippets which introduces several characters in the Spiderman series and sad to say, they made an embarassing mistake of identifying Spider-Carnage as Carnage himself. What's more, they even said that Carnage came to be when the symbiote seperated from Eddie Brock and fused itself with Cletus Kassady. WRONG! The Venom symbiote gave birth to the Carnage symbiote, you noobs! I can't believe information on this, which is so easily available on the internet, can be misintepreted and replicated on the papers.
Here's evidence of the mistake:

(That, in the picture, is not Carnage. Its Spider-Carnage. Check out what they wrote in the introduction too.)

Spiderman 3 has been a disappointment for me. The only consolation was that the visual effects were breathtaking and the villians' design, especially Venom's, were intricately designed and executed. I take my hat off with regards to this, but other than that, I must say that the show has gone far too off tangent. It is, at the most, a sappy-all-brawn-no-brains, 3 out of 5 stars, mediocre action film.

I honestly feel better after this episode of verbal vomit. It's a release. Phew..