Sunday, July 31, 2011

98 MINUTES

On Thursday night, men clad in red and blue dotted the green field of Bukit Jalil, their sole purpose to be in possession of an elusive ball, just so that they can :

i. Score a goal and defeat the other team
ii. Keep it in possession so that the other team doesn't score.

I don't really watch much sports, because I think it's much better if you go out and play the sports yourself, so my sitting in front of the TV hugging a cushion on Thursday night waiting in anticipation for the Malaysia vs *Singapore FIFA World Cup Qualifying Round was surprising even to me. I suppose I got influenced by my colleagues who actually left the workplace that evening clad in the Malaysian team colours headed straight to the stadium. Throughout the day, I kept hearing snippets of conversation about the match later that day, and rightly so, as compared to just three years ago, the Malaysian team had improved tremendously. So much so that at the end of last year when we won a rather important match (the Suzuki Cup, I think), the PM actually declared a public holiday!! Seriously.

The match began rather slowly at first, without any goals scored during the first half, although the Singaporean team did a good deal of attacking, attempting to score goals as I stared open mouthed as the Malaysian goal keeper saved goal after goal. Our defence was in shambles. No, actually, our defence was practically non-existent. So naturally for me (and most other Malaysians), the hero of the day was the goal keeper. He was awesome.

The second half saw Malaysia scoring the first goal for the match. I got excited at that point and actually screamed 'goal'! Alas! The second half also saw Singapore score a goal (no thanks to the defence once again) which sort of dashed our hopes on moving onwards to the third round, as we had lost to them 3-5 in the first match held in Singapore on the 23rd, which was also a pretty good match (I only watched the 2nd half of that match, though)

Whilst the Malaysian defence sucked, the Singaporean players took turns in dramatically falling down and extreme displays of exaggerated injuries you'd think they were made of glass instead of flesh and blood. There was a time when the Singaporean goal keeper thought he was a zombie and kept clutching his head as though it was about to fall off. So much drama and game time wasted. In the end, the referees decided to give only 8 minutes of extra (injury) time, 3 minutes after the first half and 5 minutes after the second half.

* They might be known as the Singaporean team, but some of the players are only Singaporeans because of football. There are two former Chinese nationals, and three more from Europe.

The game highlights: Check out the saves by the goalkeeper.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carte Blanche

If I were a psychology student, a study on people's inclination towards curiosity might be something I would pick for a research study, because lets face it - everyone is curious up to a certain degree. I occasionally preface questions with a 'just curious' remark before I dive in.  However, since I've long left the days of sitting at a desk with a coffee mug, a thick book and an assortment of pens and pencils, and have doubts about having any use for psychology (I am not exactly what you'd call a people person), I figured I'll just blog about it.

On Sunday night, an *old friend (let's call him Pineapple) whom I haven't seen or had a proper conversation with for years and years (probably since 2000) decided to say hi when he saw me online. While this in itself was not all that weird to begin with since most people say hi to each other when they meet them online especially after a long time, what I found strange and a tad bit unnerving is that the question, "so, are you married?" was blurted out so suddenly within the first few minutes of our conversation that it actually caught me off-guard. Thank goodness it was only an online conversation, and this friend was probably spared the look of mock horror on my face. 

I answered him and  I thought to myself  "Ha! Now that you've asked a rather **personal question, I am free to ask anything as well!"  and I happily allowed my fingers to type out the very same question he asked me. Turns out, this is a friend with a story - he was about to get married, but he and his (ex) partner called it off to go their own separate ways just a few months ago. I certainly wasn't expecting that.

There's no moral of the story to this post, or even a story for that matter - except, maybe we could all learn to not always turn the table on people in terms of questions they ask us unless we already know the answer to the question. Ha ha. However, it is certainly proof that people are curious. As to why they are curious about your availability/marital status, I can't say, although I have a strong feeling it's due to how the society views life in general.

*As usual, when talking to him, I tried to recall the details of our past interaction - how we ended up being friends and such,  and the story is basically like this - his younger brother who is nearer my age was friends with some of my friends and me, and for that reason, we ended up hanging out quite a bit back then. After some time, however, another friend joined our group and somehow was attracted to this guy, which she unfortunately believed had similar sentiments towards her, but it was not to be. Ah, unrequited love. One afternoon, she stormed into my dorm room, crying and narrated the heartbreaking story of how this guy had ***led her on, etc and how he had the gall to walk off, buy some tissue paper and then offer her the offending packet of tissues when she started crying. And then just because she started hating him, he turned from being a drop dead handsome guy into someone whose head is shaped like a pineapple! - in her eyes. ;)
Even worse, I even wondered if the person he almost married thought he looked like a pineapple or not.

**I might as well admit that I usually stay away from personal questions of any sort because I almost always end up being some sort of aunt agony once I do. Also, due to my good reputation as a secret keeper, friends like to tell me their stories, and sadly I really have no idea how to respond to some of them at times

*** No one knows his version of the story, and no one's ever asked, so I'll refrain from making any judgement on if he actually led her on or not. Knowing the girl, though, and although she was a friend as well,  I sort of have to believe that it was all in her head. :(

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yeah, They were all Yellow - The Aftermath and Other Things

Was there a winner on the 9th of July rally for electoral reforms? The answer probably depends on who you ask.

While people may argue that the objective of the rally - to march peacefully and handover the electoral reforms request to the King, by hand, that is,  was not really met that day for certain reasons, it can't be denied that the news surrounding the happenings on the day of the rally and the days after that has increased the people's awareness in general.

I've always thought that a "government" was something 'by the people and for the people', but when you read/watch the news, something is just not quite right. While the government seems to be 'by the people', it hardly is for the 'people' in a general sense. It's more like *"by the people, for 'some people', and if you're not in the category of  'some people', then it's the government against the people"

As (ahem) leaders, self appointed or otherwise, when the people start asking for reforms, it is time to go down to the field, get your hands dirty and find out why. And even after you've hurled threats of all sorts and people still defy you, then it is really time to start getting worried, and then to go out there and ask (nicely, thank you very much) them why. Anyone can see this. You surely don't need a reluctant political observer to tell you this.

Instead, hiding behind pretty flowers at the Floria thingy in Putrajaya and telling the media the next day that the silent majority was against the reforms is something no one would have expected from any leader! As the days went by, and the more articles you read (including stuff about connections with the communists- 6 people are currently still under arrest at this point, the Jews (so sorry!), the group of NGOs being sponsored by foreign countries with dubious interest among others), it clearly shows that the situation was handled in the worst way possible.

So the war of words continues, and people watch on as though an interesting sporting event is happening. The important thing is people are watching, I guess. On a much lighter note, there have been a few **funny things regarding this event which I thought I'd share here:

i. The official colour of the group of NGOs which was declared illegal is yellow (hence the title of the post), and it also happens to be the official royal colour. During a period of  xanthophobia, the king stepped in and said something. Perhaps he didn't want to go through the hassle of renewing his whole official wardrobe.

ii. When the leader of the country went to visit Queen E, she met him dressed in a bright yellow dress. 

* They asked for it. Who tells the police to take all necessary action against weaponless peaceful people marching??

** For lack of a better word.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dog Days of July

The heat rolls in waves, marking would be lazy days - for those of us who can be lazy, that is. In a small part of the world, specifically where I exist, hazy days may be something quite usual, but not lazy days. Not at this period in time, anyways.

While I love a good challenging mystery every now and then, the fact that quite a few mysteries decided to drop by together like unexpected relatives passing through your area en route to some other place is a mystery in itself. Questions like 'how?' and 'why the hell?' never seem like good enough questions to get to the rootcause of the problem.

And then, suddenly and unexpectedly the answer reveals itself. It's July. The lousiest month of the year!

Aside: Apparently, July was once known as Quintilis in Latin (source: wikipedia) Imagine using 'Qui' instead of Jul to indicate July in cramped writing spaces. And talking about cramped spaces, my mind is one right now. Hence the deviation from the previous topic. 

Another aside:? Well, turns out, a certain toad that's been missing for 87 years has been rediscovered in Sarawak. Well, the species, actually... not a particular toad. Otherwise, it'll also be the oldest toad ever. I think.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yeah, they Were All Yellow - A Background Story

There is a certain country where peaceful rallies require a permit, which will usually be denied in order to maintain peace, or so they say. 

Over the past few weeks, the whole country was abuzz with news of a planned peaceful rally, by a group of NGOs who are fighting for clean and fair elections, with 8 reasonable requests. Any sensible Malaysian could see that there was no harm in this. After all, clean and fair elections would benefit everyone in the long run, among them laying to rest the notion that dead people and phantom voters are at large and voting in favour of a certain party, and overall equality for all those who are taking part in the elections.

A slightly less than sensible Malaysian though would say that the rally would disrupt peace and harmony among the many races that call themselves Malaysian (sniggers), and selfish business people would complain of loss of income due to the people not being brave enough to venture out of their houses to shop during the rally in case things got messy. Based on past experience of another illegal rally back in 2009 against the ISA, the messiness only began when the police decided that releasing tear gas and water cannons at people was a fun game.

Totally unreasonable Malaysians, on the other hand, would call the rally an illegal one, pointedly refuse to give the permit although they have been informed much earlier, accuse the organisers of being in possession of illegal weapons openly amongst their paraphernalia, organise counter rallies to oppose this rally (yes, go ahead and laugh), hold roadblocks just to annoy the people, and basically get all emotional and talk of revoking the citizenship of person behind the rally, and give backing to a certain uncontrollable martial arts group whose chief said that he could not control his members if they got out of hand, and ban the colour yellow. 

The whole thing began to look very ugly at a certain point, until the king intervened, that is, and The Leader of the Country grudgingly said they could go on with the rally in a stadium. Somehow, over the days that led to the rally, the stadium committee started being an ass, so in the end, that is yesterday, 9 July 2011 the group of NGOs had to resort to the street, supported by a group of 50,000 strong (according to them) or 6000 (according to the police) who walked from nearby train stations as all the roads to the city were blocked by the cops.  A total of 1401 people were arrested in KL, 1 man died, and countless others were tear gassed, and sprayed with water cannons.

To be continued

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Big Bad Movie Challenge

I think I surprised a fellow blog buddy just now over a revelation that I'm not really into movies by admitting that I had not watched Die Hard, which according to him is the basis for all action movies. And then it just got worse from there, because it turns out that I had not watched a whole lot of movies that are the basis of modern society!

So, in an attempt to challenge myself (after a whole lot of prodding from him despite it being a conversation that was carried online) I have decided to undertake the *daunting task of watching (gulp!) the movies that this particular blog buddy thinks are 'must-watch' movies. The list is as follows:

Terminator 2
Die Hard
Aliens (After reading the IMDB page, I realised that I have already watched this)
Pulp Fiction
Goodfellas
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Schindlers List
The Godfather (I've always wanted to watch this, but could never find a copy of the DVD anywhere)
Shawshank Redemption
Memento
The Usual Suspects
Leon: The Professional
American History X
Taxi Driver
Saving Private Ryan 
Reservoir Dogs
LA Confidental
Full Metal Jacket
The Green Mile
2001: Space Odyessey
Gladiator
Downfall
Unforgiven
Fargo
Heat
300
Sin City

Other suggestions:
(by King of Scurf)
Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources
Il Postino
Delicatessen
The Lives of Others
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (hello nursemyra)
Films directed by Pedro Almodovar

English films that are a little off the beaten track...

A Man for All Seasons
Being John Malkovich
Another Year
Dean Spanley
Brazil
The Virgin Suicides

(by Jai)
Somewhere in time
The Painted Veil
Revolutionary Road
All the Star Wars,
Jeux d'enfants

(by Saby)
Snatch
Lock stock and 2 smoking barrels
Big Fish
The Red Violin 
Superbad
Easy A
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Kick Ass
Trainspottig
Jackie Brown
 
(The list doesn't include movies which I've already watched) Anyway, if you're reading this and would like to add to the list, feel free to do so. I might as well hit all the birds with one stone.

*You can ask me to read any book, any time of the day, but the idea of spending two hours watching a movie is pretty daunting for me!

Note: I had a totally different form of blog post in mind for today, something on a much more serious note, but I think I'll keep that for another day.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Porridge is Bubbling, Bubbling Hot

Porridge is bubbling
Porridge is bubbling, bubbling hot,
Stir it round
And round in the pot.
The bubbles plip!
The bubbles plop!
It's ready to eat
All bubbling hot
Traditional

We were eight years old, and a classmate of mine actually cried as he struggled when he was made to recite the poem above during English class when our English teacher was auditioning for those who were talented in reciting poetry to represent our class in one of the many competitions held during the English Language Week. But then, this post is not about porridge, nor is it about the unfortunate classmate of mine. Instead, it's sort of connected with the insane heat we've been having of late. And how is porridge precisely connected with the heat wave? They're both Hot. Well, mostly.

In fact, it's been so hot that at some point I imagined that the witch from Hansel and Gretel had put in the whole earth into her oven to slowly cook us and eventually eat us up.