music and piracy, arrrrrrr!!!11111111

Music and piracy is a bad, bad combination and if you are unlucky, might even land you in trouble with the RIAA. Unless of course it is John Mayer and Johnny Depp on each side of my bed; in which case the entire world should celebrate the coming together of music and piracy as we they become a glorious one under the shadows of the pale moonlight…

Or you buy a CD featuring local underground bands for RM20 and with your purchase, get to redeem two complimentary tickets to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End at any GSC cinemas in Klang Valley! ARRrrrrrrrr mateyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!11111111

PIRATED! A Taste of the Malaysian Underground

The featured bands are 13 Tribes, Mathari, Miniature Garden, Telephony Delivery, The Basil Band, The Caylor Sisters and SkyJuiceCoffee. Judging by the very kesian-y state of Malaysian music, they probably have day jobs ( they’d better! ) and are doing this for the love of music so varied from the likes of SheilaOn7, mawisux, mawisux and mawisux. That, believe me, is the best thing since [ insert Malaysian achievement here ]. Click here to listen to the demo tracks.

The whole deal is brought to you by Tumpang.com, a new Malaysian e-shopping site where registered members can purchase discounted items ( either singular or in bulk, and in the case of the latter, more discount will be given ).

Click here to buy the CD, and click here to find out how you can redeem the free tickets to go watch Johnny Depp in swashbuckling action.

And that is how music and piracy get together ;)

(Despite the advertorial tone of this post, I am not getting paid for it. Maybe I should start charging or something… )

a monday a week keeps suanie… fuck, rhyming sucks

Was browsing through PPS this morning and saw a lot of ZAM-related posts. For some unexplained reason, I was reminded of this wonderful tune we used to sing when we were kids. Heck, I even sang it in front of many people for a mini-Yamaha concert! I have no idea why I did it, I don’t remember if I’d volunteered to embarrass myself in front of my peers, but I did receive a McDota voucher :D

(For those not in the know, McDota was the equivalent of KFC before the latter infiltrated our little town)

Anyway, the song was ‘Jong Jong Inai’.

“Jong jong inai, mak ipong rajawali
Jong jong inai, mak ipong rajawali
Jong jong inai, mak ipong rajawali
Sepak tunggul inai, berdarah ibu kaki

Semangkuk jeruk,sepinggan dadar
Tak cukup pulut, tambah nasi dagang

Jong jong inai, mak ipong rajawali
Jong jong inai, mak ipong rajawaliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”

(Lyrics amended thanks to Azmeen :P)

I have no idea what the song means and I have no idea why I related it to the noob. Mondays are weird that way.

Update: Fifteen minutes later, I remembered my kindergarten days at St Henry. We were told to dress up in fancy costumes on graduation day. I went as a bride carrying a bunch of plastic flowers; I remember hating the lacy stuff to bits. When the photo of me in my costume was printed and given to me, I detested it so much that I bit the edge of the photo multiple times. Self-loathing at such a young age :D

But my point to this memory is, someone was late to the party, and boy, did she arrive in style! I turned around to see a couple of people guiding a huge ass robot ( I was rather little at that time), and when the robot ‘opened’ ala ‘Total Recall’, it was Sharon N! :D Heh, you remember or not? :)

sumolah! great expectations

Sumolah movie poster

I had great expectations and hopes for this movie. Maybe it was the hyped-up marketing, as one CinemaOnline reviewer puts it, maybe because I’d enjoyed Afdlin Shauki’s previous movies and stage acts, maybe because for nationalism purposes I’d wanted it to be so good to sweep me off my heavy feet.

To call a spade a spade, I unfortunately left the cinema hall rather unimpressed, and I’ll tell you why.

Movie synopsis:

Ramlee ( Afdlin Shauki ), a down and out loser accepted a challenge to finish 20 plates of sushi within one minute. He lost the bet, and had to work in the Japanese restaurant ‘Boleh Sushi’ headed by Honda ( Patrick Teoh ) to pay off his debt. Soon he was friends with his colleagues, Haris ( Awie ) and Andy ( Radhi Khalid ), learnt values of hard work and even fall head over heels with Honda’s half-Malay, half-Japanese daughter, Siti ( Inthira Charoenpura ).

Soon Ramlee realised he had been tricked to be the 3rd member of Boleh Sushi’s sumo team, and had to take part in the Malaysian Sushi Association Amateur Sumo Wrestling Championship (MSAASWC). During training, he had an encounter with a member of a rival sumo team, Akira ( Gurmit Singh ) who was also Siti’s ex-flame. Will Ramlee be discouraged, or would he embrace the spirit of ‘nokotta‘ so pimped out in the movie?

The Good: Afdlin Shauki is an awesome comedian. His timing is always spot on, and he played to the stereotypical expectations of a fat person. I liked the introduction to sumo; not sure how accurate it is, but it was interesting to learn something new. The trip to Japan was lovely, but I suppose the credit goes to Japan for having all these bootiful sceneries. But overall I find the movie colourful.

Kartina Aziz as Ramlee’s long-suffering mother was aptly casted. The easy chemistry between Ramlee and Akira (even though they were rivals) was noticeable, maybe because Afdlin and Gurmit had worked before on other projects. I liked their sharp exchanges, had me LOL-ed at times.

Gavin Yap’s portrayal of a damn skinny but punk crazy sumo fighter was funny. I can’t make up my mind if he was maybe out of place, but he definitely provided comic relief. Maybe unintentionally? I don’t know, but the whole cinema LOL-ed at his antics.

The OK: Patrick Teoh’s portrayal as a Japanese dude who made Malaysia his home wasn’t as memorable as I’d hoped it would be, sometimes even frustrating. Reason = they had him speak English like a typical Chinaman, something I thought that could have been done without. I didn’t think it added value to the movie, him enunciating the way he did. Performance-wise, he delivered according to his given role.

Gurmit Singh was funny at times. But during certain scenes when he was acting smug or arrogant, I almost expected him to break out, “DONCH PRAY PRAY AR!!!!!!” I grew up watching this man on Channel/TCS 5 ok.

Everything else: if I didn’t put it in ‘The Good’ or ‘The Bad’, they all fall under ‘The OK’ category.

The Bad: I have a major, major grip with sound. Someone explained to me before how Afdlin directs/ acts in his movies, and does not record sound on-location. I think it is a serious overlook in any movie-making attempts, because IMHO sound is critical and crucial in the deliverance of a movie. I really, really dislike lip-syncing in movies, and throughout Sumolah! I couldn’t help but to wonder how much more I’d enjoyed the movie if it weren’t for the bad sound parts. Lip-syncing is bad. Lip-syncing is annoying. Lip-syncing is fake. Lip-syncing derives the audience of emotional connection with the characters. Nothing can replace sound/ dialogue recorded the same time the roles were acted out. It is just not the same.

Plus if sound was recorded real-time, they could have made do without the extra ‘er… err… heh.. hehh.. ermm..’ produced when they record it in the studio. Acting shy, uncertain and abashed need not be so painful to hear.

Props to Inthira for having to learn and memorise her lines in Malay at such short time, but I thought her character was quite redundant. She is pretty, she looks hot in a kimono, but I’d have preferred her to be given a stronger role. Not to say that being a morally righteous, culturally-aware, hardcore motivator is something to be dissed, but… that’s it? Also her performance was too subdued; perhaps due to her role, but I’d seen Nang-nak and she was brilliant. Erm, you make the connection lah :)

I also felt Sumolah! tried too hard to emphasise certain moral values, especially at the end of the film. Too much, beb, too much. It was also too long lah… 2 hours 20 minutes… as lengthy as Spiderman 3 but not as much ‘isi-isi penting’ because they were repeated over and over again.

I know that Celcom and Ogawa are the main sponsors of Sumolah! They were also heavily pimped throughout the movie, and at times it was just too much lor. Some parts were like pure advertisements for both Celcom and Ogawa — so much that when Haris was on video-call with his sweetie, I’d expected something like ‘Celcom 3G brings you closer to family and loved ones’. Blah.

I don’t even want to talk about Ogawa’s blatant, in-your-face product placement. Just a note to all advertisers: yes you poured in/ will continue to pour in money to the movie industries, local movies need more support, but please leave the creative control alone kthx.

Overall: Like I’d said, I’d expected better. I hope whatever I’d written will not discourage the people who worked so hard to bring Sumolah! to screen. I know Zona put a lot into the production, you can read their production diaries here. There’s always room for improvement, kan? :D

I was telling James about the movie, and he asked, “Cicak-man vs. Sumo-lah… who wins?”

In that case, Sumo-lah! wins the best movie of the year, y’all!

(Sumo-lah! is showing in Malaysian cinemas now. Go catch it if you want to, before it is too late, i.e. Pirates 3 coming out and the cinemas get overcrowded.)

things you learn from living with a baby

1. Boundaries

Ryan draws

Never let a baby armed with a pen draw anything on your bed, even if you’d supplied him with a writing pad with many many pages. Somehow the pen would find a way to leave its mark on your bed sheet.

2. Extravagance

Ryan in a car

Until they reach a certain age, do not insert coins into the kiddie ride. They seem happy enough to play in a non-moving kiddie ride. Once you put in RM1, they would try their best to scramble out and run away.

3. Overestimation

Ryan asleep

If you are going to take a toddler that weighs more than 10kg out for more than a couple of hours, it is more than advisable to bring the stroller. Unless you are Sazali Samad.

4. Life lessons

Ryan and beer

Start ‘em young.

5. Cultivate friendships

Ryan and FA-2

Make sure you get him to be friends with YOUR friends. That way, when you bring him out and need to concentrate on your dinner or go to the loo or whatever, your friends will be willing to look after him for a while.

Ryan and FA

Never hurt to have more friends :)

this is not a rant part 2

Last month, Don Imus, an American shock jock was fired by CBS and MSNBC. He had called members of a university’s women basketball team ‘nappy-headed hos‘, and it was the subsequent almost nationwide public outrage that got him the sack (I don’t think corporate America would give a shit if no one had protested).

The basketball team were hurt by his remarks, saying that it had “stolen a moment of pure grace” from the team. While I believe that no one but yourself can make you feel bad about yourself (and that no one else would believe the team members are really nappy-headed hos), the stream of righteousness that followed was interesting to see. Don’t quote me but I believe that there is a great divide between conservative and liberal Americans; while some people didn’t think it was worthy of several days of headlines, others were more than offended that Imus issued an apology (that didn’t help his case).

But that is America, where porn is a booming industry, where almost everyone knows their free speech and other constitutional rights, where the ruling government is (almost) changed every 4 years, where social welfare benefits more immigrants than their own poor people, where Bush used ‘God’ to help him in his WMD search (on our side, we have Mr. Vellu using God as an excuse for highway mishaps)… I guess MadHaiku would be better at this than me, i.e. summarising America.

What has it got to do with us? Nothing whatsoever. Because Members of Parliament who associate leaking roof tops due to poor workmanship and maintenance with the female menstrual cycles won’t apologise, won’t retract, won’t think what they said was highly inappropriate or wrong, let alone get fired. Not even with the nation fuming at their ‘unparliamentary’ words. Not even when there is video evidence to counter their claims of ‘misquotation’. And not even when one of the MPs in question has a standing history of saying downright stupid, offensive and various other ‘unparliamentary’ stuff.

This is not an issue about race. It is not even about political views and leanings. Maybe it is about how parliament sessions are conducted — just go search on YouTube and you can get a glimpse of how they behave and react; not just MPs from the ruling government but also the opposition.

All these MPs were (supposedly) elected by the people. I think the two offending MPs are not just insulting men, women and children, but also the constituencies they represent. If Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil doesn’t fight on this issue, I don’t see the point of her remaining on the cabinet. But why do I have a sinking feeling that nothing would be done about this, and that life would go on and people will soon forget?

Everything should just go my way. At least I would provide free beer for all, and the world would be happy once more.