Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Partying and Reading Weekend!

This was the first time, after so....long, I felt that my weekend was well spent! :D First, I was able to spend my Saturday night with my hubby and my bro at.....THE HENNESSY ARTISTRY @ Orange Club KL! We didn't have to worry about the long queues and all...coz, we had VIP passes! Wooopee! And we had the opportunity to feel what's it like to be in the 'limelight' and flashes of paparazzi LOL It did feel great haha but not sure if it feels the same if you get it everywhere you go :P

Anyway, what happened was, we stood right in front of this Hennessy Artistry backdrop, and had our pictures taken by a few photographers. One of them even gave us the picture in Polaroid! heehe (Other pictures can be seen in Facebook :P) Oh and the night was superb! Especially when The Dey was on stage. I was hip hoppin' to their stuff the whole night man....They were not only great performers but talented too! (Altho' they draw some similarities to Black Eye Peas)

The opening was done by Until June. Love their stuff as well. The lead singer has a very versatile voice. I loved it! To me, Shayne Ward was the most disappointing one...I was looking forward to seeing him on stage, coz he seemed to have made himself quite a name here in Malaysia. Oh, and the dancers,...were HORRIGIBLE!! We couldn't stand the sight of them, we left after the 2nd song :P (Please bear in mind, this is based on a personal opinion k :P)

The night ended with a short session at Dataran Sunway mamak. I had a yummy plate of maggi goreng. Syoks! Hehe


And second, I've just completed Murakami's "After Dark". How was it? As usual, it was...mesmerising...It's his usual style, surreal, dark and mysterious. The story revolves around the theme "loneliness" which reveals itself during the dark hours of the night, coz I tink, Loneliness and Darkness seem to sing a synchronised tune :P

What kept me reading was Murakami's story telling techniques of giving life to these characters; although they were different in many ways, they somehow shared some similarities as to how lonely they felt despite the attention that had been given to them...

Mari - is seen, to many people, as an independent girl and knows exactly what she wants. But she doesn't think of herself that way. She thinks herself of an insignificance and wishes she has beauty like her elder sis, Eri.
Eri - possesses the beauty every girl dreams of, but yet, feels so uneasy and unhappy about herself that she succumbs to drugs. To Mari, since young, Eri gets alot of attention from the family as compared to her. Firstly because of her good looks, and now, because of her 'sleeping' condition.
Takahashi - a young musician, is drawn to Eri's beauty and Mari's brains. Coming from a broken family, he has always felt "alone" throughout his life even though his step mom accommodates to his every need. Loneliness still seems to be his best friend...

(There were some other characters which played an important role in this story as well, such as the ladies at the love ho and the man who raped the Chinese prostitute. (Personally, I don't think it would make much of a difference if Murakami didn't include this rapist, coz even after completing this book, I couldn't seem to place his role in this story....Some enlightenment please, anyone?))

Don't we all feel like them once awhile in our lives - that nobody cares for us and we're the most insignificant being on earth? And to some extent....we feel as tho' we don't belong, but we only feel a little better when we're urm...needed? Or am I only speaking for myself? :P For example, Mari did feel a little better of herself after she helped the Chinese prostitute, because it was only then, she began to slowly open up...and that she feels,...hey I'm not alone...

That's just my opinion of the story lah. You know how Murakami loves to leave his stories open to interpretations...So this is mine :P

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Guess what I found in my mailbox?

TOTTO CHAN!!! :D

I was exxxxtreeeeemely elated when I opened my parcel yesterday! Thank you so.........much Skye! I'm sure I'd enjoy this book as much as you did :) I was seriously afraid that it was that "special edition" calendar that you told me about...gosh...thank goodness it wasn't. If not, I'd be dead by now! :P

Anyway, I'll find a really good "off peak period" to sit down and indulge in this specially-recommended book ;) Thanks again... :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Illustrated Life of Pi

To those of you who have read Life of Pi (or even if you haven't), check this out!



Cool rite?? As reported in amazon.com, Croatian artist Tomislav Torjanac has illustrated Yann Martel's Booker-winning novel, Life of Pi, in sumptuous oils to create a special edition of rare beauty. Painted from the perspective of the novel's narrator, his use of colours, symbols and perspective reveals a new angle on Martel's audacious fable.



For more, go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2007/sep/27/
generalfiction?picture=330832907

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Have you read about The Happy Prince?

One of the most beautiful short stories I've ever read so far...is The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. I've not read all of the stories in this collection (The Happy Prince and Other Stories) yet, but I'm pretty sure, when I do, I'd be in for a journey filled with sadness and sorrow, but in a good way.

In a nutshell, The Happy Prince is about doing good with a sincere heart. The Happy Prince, is a statue built in memory of a prince. Standing high on a mountain, he could see pain and misery that was happening around him. One day, during a cold winter, a Swallow decided to perch on the Prince for a one night's rest before he proceeded to Egypt. Little did the Swallow know, his one night would extend to another night, then another and another till he died, due to the wintry blasts, at the feet of the Happy Prince. It was during stay that he helped The Happy Prince bring joy to the people who suffered below - he flew to them, upon The Happy Prince's requests, and brought them all the sapphires, rubies and fine gold that was gilded all over the Prince.

When everything was stripped off, the Prince looked shabby, and no longer looked as charming and as beautiful as before. He was then demolished, because he was considered useless, and was thrown into a furnace. What surprised the people was, the Prince's leaden heart just wouldn't melt in it, so it was thrown on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow lain.

One day God calls to one of His Angels, to bring Him the two most precious things in the city. And the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the Swallow.

This story, although fiction, brings hope and it goes to show that all is not lost when you spread kindness, joy and happiness. And don't be disheartened if you're rejected, because God knows.

Let's do something good to someone, and if that person wants to return the favour, ask him/her to pay it forward :)

Good night everyone and may the Angels watch over you....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Being Invisible = Being Ignored

Topics about gays and lesbians have always piqued my interest for many reasons. One of the many obvious ones is, well, I have quite a few gay and lesbians friends, who are smart and talented, and whom I'm really proud of.

Recently, I've read this very interesting article about homosexuals, and the first few paragraphs caught my attention. I'd like to strongly urge you to take a few moments to read it.

"Bob McCoy is a youthful, active 78-year-old. He sings in his church choir, takes a weekly computer class, and regularly attends social gatherings organized by a gay senior citizens group in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lives. But McCoy worries about a day when he can no longer care for himself: he has no close family, no partner, and he's outlived most of his friends. "I'm used to having friends I can call up and say, 'Let's go to [a movie],'" he says. "But now there's nobody to call."

Newly engaged, Jim Fetterman, 62, and Ilde Gonzalez-Rivera, 56, look forward to growing old together at their home in Queens, N.Y., where they share a garden and a green Cadillac. But the couple isn't sure if or when they'll be able to marry. Their house is in Rivera's name, but because the couple can't legally wed in New York, Fetterman won't automatically inherit it, should his partner die. And even though they are registered domestic partners in New York City, neither man will have access to the other's Social Security, because the federal government doesn't recognize their relationship. "It's not something we like to think about, but there's a certain amount of anxiety that comes with not having those things," says Fetterman.

These are typical faces of the gay and aging—a growing population often overlooked by mainstream advocates. Gerontologists haven't traditionally viewed sexual orientation as relevant to their work—and, according to a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, most national health surveys of elderly citizens fail to assess sexual orientation. But gay seniors confront unique challenges: they're twice as likely as straights to live alone, and 10 times less likely to have a caretaker should they fall ill. Older gay men are at high risk for HIV, and many suffer the psychological effects of losing friends to the AIDS crisis. Many face discrimination in medical and social services, and on top of it all, they're less likely to have health insurance: one survey, by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law, at UCLA, estimates that gay seniors are half as likely to have coverage as their straight counterparts."

Isn't that saddening? Okay, so I don't know much about laws on homosexuals or what "sexuality" really means, or what the "real" issues are behind sexuality. But what I know for sure is, in many ways, homosexuals have long been discriminated and unfairly treated, and I feel utterly ashamed by it. We're all humans and we all have our rights to live the life we deserve in this world.

I'll be interviewing a priest on same sex marriage soon. If you have any questions you'd like to ask him, feel free to email them to me, or just post it up on the "comment" section below.

If you want to read the rest of the article, it's at http://www.newsweek.com/id/159509

More on Murakami...

10 Questions for Haruki Murakami
(by TIME Magazine)


What's your favorite book?
Sarosh Shaheen
Ottawa, Canada
The Great Gatsby. I translated it a couple of years ago. I wanted to translate it when I was in my 20s, but I wasn't ready.

How has distance-running affected you as a writer?

Pallavi Dixit

Minneapolis, Minn.
You need two things to write a big book: concentration and endurance. Running long distances gives me the power of endurance.

What sneakers do you run in?
Sara Ivry
New York City
I don't stick to one brand. Now I'm using Nike — but the Nike people gave them to me.

To what extent do you see yourself as a Japanese author, as opposed to just an author?
Daniel Burke
Chicago
I'm a Japanese writer. I was born in Japan and I live mainly in Japan. I think in Japanese and I write in Japanese. And, still, I look at things globally. For instance, my characters like tofu a lot. Let's say that a Norwegian reader reads that and thinks, "That guy likes tofu." But I don't know if he knows what tofu is! Still, he can understand what [the character] feels.

How do Western cultural references affect your stories?
Seth Satterlee
New Orleans
When I write that my character is cooking spaghetti for lunch, some Western readers say it's strange: "Why is a Japanese guy cooking spaghetti for lunch?" And when a character listens to Radiohead while driving, some people will say he's too Westernized. But that's natural to me.

Food is significant in your novels. What's your ideal meal?
Candice Cho
Washington
My favorite meal is when you have no idea what to cook and you open the refrigerator and find celery, egg, tofu and tomato. I use everything and make my own dish. That is my perfect food. No planning.

Why has your writing found such an international audience?
Jos Diaz
New York City
I have no idea. But style is very important. If prose has a natural rhythm it won't be spoiled by translation.

How has jazz influenced your writing?
Jeremiah Boydstun
Mililani, Hawaii
I owned a jazz club and was listening to jazz every day from morning to night. I appreciate the sense of rhythm and improvisation. A good musician doesn't know what's going to happen next. It's spur of the moment. When I write a novel or story, I don't know what is going to happen next.

Why do you tell stories that have magical elements?
Adam Pelavin
Riverside, Calif.
I believe that the magic and power of a story can encourage and fascinate you. In prehistory, outside the cave it was dark, but inside they had a fire and somebody was good at telling stories. Every time I write, I think of the cave. We are one group, outside it's dark and wolves are howling, but I have a story to tell.

Can you elaborate about your forthcoming novel?
Adrian Comeau
Halifax, Canada
I've been writing that book for close to two years and it's going to be the biggest book I've ever written. All my books are weird love stories. I love weird love stories. And this book is a very long, weird love story.

Picture: Haruki Murakami is working on a new novel (file photo). (AFP: Michal Cizek)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hear our women RAAAP!

You guys should check this out. It's so freakin' cool haha



If you're wondering who this Mak Bedah is....the story is here:
http://www.imow.org/wpp/stories/viewStory?storyId=1624

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stretch Up and Reach for the Stars....

Adryan, thanks for sharing this with me... :)

This is an interesting, inspiring quote Adryan got from a book titled, "Twelve Pillars to be Successful" by Jim Rohn and Chris Widener.

"1st Pillar - Personal Development. The only way things are going to change for you is when you change. Work harder on (improving) yourself than you do on your job. Read books, attend seminars, study the best and successful people, apply and implement what you learn. A tree will grow as tall as it can. Man can choose to be all or choose to be less. Why not stretch up to the full measure of all the challenge and see all you can do?"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Calling out all ART FREAKS!


Title : Black & White Fest
Venue : The Annexe @ Central Market
The Annexe Gallery Studio Theatre, Central Market Annexe, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours : Office Hours: 10am - 6pm; Exhibition Days: 11am - 7pm
URL : http://www.centralmarket-kl.com.my
Date & Time : Fri 19 Sep - Sun 5 Oct 2008 (11am - 7pm)
Tickets : Free Admission
Phone :03-2070 1137
Synopsis : The Black & White Fest is a mini multi-arts fest that is a celebration of Diversity.

Divided into three parts, the fest promises:

Diversity - a Photography Exhibition
Featuring works by Alan Ng, Alex Moh, Azril Ismail, Azrul K. Abdullah, Bernice Chauly, Caecar Chong, Erna Dyanty, Lim Hock Seng, Pang Khee Teik and Tan Chee Hon.

Ten Malaysian photographers return to their first love, black & white photography, to seek diversity in a monochromatic world. All works are shot on black & white film and printed on silver gelatin paper.

Buyers' Preview: Thu 18 Sep 2008 (1pm - 8pm). Please contact Pang Khee Teik at 03-2070 1137.

Photographers' Talk: Sat 20 Sep 2008 (3pm).
~
Wayang Kita-Kita - Poster Exhibition
Filmmaker Amir Muhammad and designer Liza Manshoor celebrate the 75th anniversary of Malay cinema by turning hundreds of "found" black & white stills from early Malay movies into quirky posters. The show implicitly acknowledges the crucial role of piracy in constructing our cultural memory.
~
Constitutional Amendments - Text Installation
The Malaysian Constitution has been amended over 600 times since 1957. The Centre for Independent Journalism's interactive exhibition highlights some of the more dubious changes and asks you to mark your preferences between the original and the amended ones. Do you dare make an informed choice?
~
The opening of the Black & White Fest will take place on Fri 19 Sep, 2008 at 8pm. Refreshments will be served.

Source: http://www.kakiseni.com/events/misc/MTEyOTM.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy (Belated) Roald Dahl Day!

Ok...So I'm abit out-dated :P Roald Dahl Day was on the 13th of September (Go to his website! You'll have fun browsing ;))

Anyway...I didn't know 13th of Sept is Roald Dahl day till later, when I read about it in the papers :P No wonder there was a huuuuuge selection of Roald Dahl's books when I was at The Borders!

Being the kiasu me, I bought one of his books which I found somewhere near the entrance, away from the other of his famous works like the BFG, Mathilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Oh yeah, if you're a big fan of his, and would love to keep some of these creative, fun covers, get them at The Borders, coz they're offering 20% discount, with the coupon from The Star. Offer's valid till the 28th Sept!)

As you can see from the picture, I bought the Penguin Student Edition: Roald Dahl Ten Short Stories (Click picture to enlarge). I'm enjoying all of his short stories so far. My favourites: The Hitchhiker, My Lady My Dove, and The Umbrella Man. All of them were written with a wicked sense of humour, and not forgetting his signature startling twists at the end! If you happen to see this book in any of the bookstores, have a quick read on The Hitchhiker and you'll know what I mean ;)

Okay, I'm off. Till then, if you need some sort of quick entertainment that won't require you to switch on the tv or leave home, grab a Dahl! ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

All for One, One for All

Palate Palette proudly presents. .. Anything Goes, Anything Shows!

A new platform for creative and passionate minds to come together and share visual stories

Are you a film junkie? Whether you like watching or making films, this is your chance to catch a variety of interesting short films in the comfort of our upstairs lounge (designated TV room for the night!). Anything from today's pop culture and mushy love stories to arty pieces and documentaries; you name it, we'll show it. Come eat, drink, be merry and... watch films! We'll even provide freshly- popped curry and seaweed popcorn for your munching pleasure. We reckon dinner beforehand at PP would be a good idea :)

A good friend told us about this fantastic idea so for the September edition of our monthly film night (always on a Thursday), Palate Palette is proud to do its part in promoting "oneness" with the screening of Living Library Short Films, Volume 1 by the Global Oneness Project (www.globalonenessproject.org) . One love!

In a nutshell, The Global Oneness Project is exploring how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in our increasingly complex world. Join us for a screening of the first volume of short films from the Global Oneness Project living library, shot in India, Australia, Ecuador, and the US. Told from people working in such diverse fields as agriculture, religion and conflict resolution, these stories will challenge you to re-imagine your relationship to the world.

Come join us! Screenings are free! And so is our popcorn! 9pm, upstairs lounge @ Palate Palette, Thursday, 18 September 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reel on Wheel


"Stop & Stare..." Yeah, that's basically what Kevin Connolly gets when he moves around on his skateboard. Having being stared at ever since birth, photographer Kevin Connolly, a 22 year old Montana native, turns his disability to an opportunity. He has travelled to 15 countries, 31 cities and taken 32,000 photos of the 'watchers' on his skateboard. Why on a skateboard? Well, Connolly was born without legs. Doctors told him it's a "sporadic birth defect".

So now, imagine this, you're on a skateboard, with no legs, using only your hands to propell yourself. How on earth are you still gonna take pictures? (I can't even take a freaking good picture standing still!) Plus, taking someone's picture who's staring at you,...won't it make them feel uncomfortable? How does Connolly do it?

Well, this is how he does it: Connolly holds the camera near his hip and looks in the opposite direction. And since the camera's viewfinder isn't within his control, he memorises how to frame shots from his street-level perspective. Hence, most of his shots are taken on the move.

It was through these pictures, that sparked the idea of "The Rolling Exhibition" which showcases Connolly's collection of photographs, sponsored by ASMSU and is free and open to the public. (It was held in Washington DC by the way :P)

Funded by his winnings as a silver medalist in X Games' skiing competition (yes, he's a skiier too, an extreme one :P) as well as a grant from MSU, Connolly bought a round-trip airline ticket that took him from LA to New Zealand, the Pacific Rim, Asia and throughout Europe. It was this second trip that he shot thousands of digital images which he had showcased at his "Rolling Exhibition".

Through his travels and pictures, Connolly not only saw the world, but in the process, he discovered something about the watchers and himself.

"While these people have, on the surface, an expression of pity or sadness or curiosity, looking at thee legless guy on a skateboard," he says to Kevin Sites of Washington Post, "at the same time, they're opening themselves up; they're incredibly vulnerable." And capturing all these 'real moments' is the Holy Grail for every photographers.

Personally, Connolly is a great reminder to me that obstacles aren't obstacles, if we don't see them as obstacles. See obstacles (or brick walls) as opportunities. And use them to improve your life.

Remember this: God only helps those who help themselves :P

Some of the photos at the exhibition:

[For more, go to: www.therollingexhibition.com. Make this your must-do today. You won't regret it.]

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Books for your next vacation ;)

Oooo, I'm so excited about this 'collection' I just compiled! It's called the 'Sun, Sea and Sand Collection' haha :) (The collection got its name from the titles and colours of the books)

Bring any one of them along to your next vacation ;)

* Out of the Blue by Belinda Jones
This is great for chic lit lovers and those who already love Jones' previous works such as Divas Las Vegas and The California Club. Selena Harper works on a luxury cruiseship and is whisked around the world from Alaska to Zanzibar, with adventures waiting for her in every port. Just like any adventures, this one fell onto her lap, out of the blue (pun unintended). On a whim, she decided to spend a week on idyllic island of Crete, in the company of Alekos, a man she's certain is an incorrigible womaniser. This trip soon turned out to be an experience of her lifetime. Not only did the island enchant her but so did Alekos. Is he really the clad she's always thought him to be? Or could it turn out that his home is where her heart is?

* Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan
Turbulent Sea is the 6th title from Feehan's Drake Sisters Series. The previous titles (in chronological order) were Magic in the Wind, The Twilight before Christmas, Oceans of Fire, Dangerous Tides, and Safe Harbour, and it all revolves around the Drake sisters - Sarah, Kate, Abigail, Libby, Hannah, Joey, and Elle (youngest). Turbulent Sea is about Joey, who's a famous singer and is the most successful of all the Drake sisters. Her voice charms any one who hears it. People adore and worship her. But someone out there, is working very hard to destroy everything she is, everything she loves and believes in. Here's when our hero, Ilya Prakenskii, a Russian hit man, steps in to the rescue. But is he all that she believes he is? Or should he be the last person she gets close to...? (Wah lau...don't know why suddenly all my reviews end with questions haha damn cheesy man =P)

* East of the Sun by Julia Gregson
Gregson is a captivating narrator and makes you want to take a long, slow walk on this one. It's Autumn, 1928 and 3 young women are on their way to India, each with a new life in mind. Rose is about to marry a man she hardly knows; Victoria, her bridesmaid, is glad that she could use this an excuse to get away from her overbearing mother, and is determined to find a potential husband herself; and Viva, their amateur chaperone, is there to search for her childhood and freedom. But their hopes and dreams can do little to prepare them for what lies ahead for them in India.

* How to Survive your Sisters by Ellie Campbell
Oh, sisters! I have one and I know how it feels :P When you have 3 others, gosh...I guess it means clash of the siblings? Natalie wants the perfect wedding, Milly longs to be able to fit into clothes other than her maternity trousers, Avril secertly dreams of settling down with an unmarried man, while Hazel, the youngest of all, wishes she can be taken more seriously. When forced together for the first time in years, all hells break lose, and all plans have to be put aside. And things started to heat up as skeletons crawled out of the rather crowded MacLeod closet...(eerie music in the background =P)

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