Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Time To Try Defying Gravity

One year ago, I had Snowflake with Peter after he returned from mission trip.

He shared with me how amazing it was, and that I should go too someday.

I told him that I was more keen to volunteer for Life Game. To my surprise, he hesitated before replying, "That's good too, but I think it's still within your comfort zone."

What? Surely he couldn't have meant that, right?

"Sorry ah," he mumbled apologetically as always. "Sorry ah."

Later that night, he even sent me an SMS to say sorry again. Cute!

However, a deep thought had been grafted into my mind: Cold it be true? Was I really too comfortable in my ministry, willing only to approach the seen and face the understood?

It was too much to bear. Somewhat out of peer pressure, I agreed to join the 2012 mission trip first chance I got.

On a dreary Sunday evening in March, the team met together for the first time. It was a lot more serious and scary than I expected. Thankfully over the months, we slowly bonded through times of sharing, prayer, rehearsing and planning together. But one thing remained - the trip itself always seemed like a very distant event. Kind of like death - you spend your whole life preparing for it, but it never feels real until you're staring it in the eye.

Well, I'm now staring the mission trip in the eye. About 12 hours before takeoff.

It has not been an easy journey. Speaking from a humanly perspective, I dislike this trip a lot.

I dislike that it was extended beyond Christmas, seemingly against my will.

I dislike that it was placed in December, a very very busy month for everyone.

I dislike that I have to skip three weddings for it, two of friends who are quite close.

I dislike that I have had to turn down several jobs and endure some crazy rushes for it.

I dislike that so many super urgent projects have oh-so-conveniently popped up.

I dislike that I happened to sign up for the longest, furthest and most 'underprivileged' mission trip in my church history.

I dislike that we are going into an even more difficult and unfamiliar area this year.

I dislike that many people have warned me about falling horribly ill there.

I dislike that we will be there in WINTER with NO WATER HEATER.

I dislike that there are so many extra charges for this trip - vaccination, visa, insurance etc.

I dislike the fact that I'm really, really unprepared for this. As I type, I still have quite a fair bit of work to rush. Planning to wake up early tomorrow to complete it.

These past two weeks, I find myself sometimes zoning into a trance-like state as I imagine how the trip will be like. But ultimately, nothing fruitful seems to result from that.

Maybe, just maybe, it's time to let go and trust God.

Too late for second-guessing 

Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts 

Close my eyes... and leap!

It's time to try defying gravity
I think I'll try defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye I'm defying gravity
And you won't bring me down!

See you all on the other side of doomsday! ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lyrical Musings, Part 2

I wrote this and posted it online under a sexy new American pseudonym.
Wow. I'm really enjoying rhyming a lot these days. My hit-and-miss collection of mokkus (very, very loosely based on haikus) posted on Facebook over the past two days.

Mary Rose
Sat on a rose.
Mary rose.

(Okay okay, I'll come clean here. I actually stole this from one of those Bookworm joke books I read when I was younger. However, their version goes 'Mary Rose, sat on a PIN'. Which I think is not as funny as mine. I assure you however that the rest are mine.)

(A further check on Google reveals that it's actually quite a common prose.)

Kim Jong-Il
Ate bad eel.
Kim Jong ill.

Ha Ji Won
Bet ten won.
Ha Ji won.

Alice Tan
Sunbathed till ten.
Alice tan.

Ong Kar Ting
Forgot something.
Ong Kar think.

Chua Soi Lek
Unifi he lacked.
Chua Soi lag.

Ryu, Ken.
Who uses Hadouken?
Ryu can.

Brad Pitt
Went to a pit.
Brad peed.

Abu Bakar
Trapped in burning car.
Abu bakar.

John Woo
Typed "wuwuwuu~"
John woo.

Later amended to:
John Woo,
Knitted sweater of wool.
John woo.

Sekian, terima kasih.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lyrical Musings

This is not mine, though it wishes it was.

I was bored today and these resulted:

60 Going On 70
I am 60 (kg), going on 70 (kg)
I feel like a swine
Fellows I met have told me I'm fat
And now I just chat online.

I am 60 (kg), going on 70 (kg)
Overweight and so gross
Size zero tight jeans, clothes from magazines

What do I know of those?

Totally unprepared am I
To face a world of dates
Timid and shy and scared am I
Of girls below my weight.

I need someone heavier and fatter
To make me look somewhat cool
You are 70 (kg), going on 80 (kg)
I'll depend on you.

My Favourite Things

Barbecued sweet pork and crispy fried chicken,
Rich chocolate cake and ice cream with pecans.
Big juicy burgers with onion rings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Indomee double with telur mata kerbau,
Large nasi lemak with extra hot sambal.
Kajang lamb sate with grilled chicken wings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

TUNAIIII...because I
did not bring my Smart Tagggg
Touch and Go zero
So I havvvvve
to goooooo long queue
So I go to Smart Tag lane

Cut into Tunai lane
All horn tilllll
my ears so painnnn

So if by the time you reach your turn
and you feel like want to die
Remember to have enough...

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think they're really quite funny and creative.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Larutan Tepu

Larutan tepu. Heard of it before? Maybe only if you're a product of the Sains in Bahasa teaching system.

In English, it means saturated liquid. In normal English, it means a liquid that has had so much dissolved into it till it cannot absorb anything else. If you were to continually stir salt into a cup of water, eventually it would become so saturated that new salt just would not dissolve in it. The water can no longer absorb any new salt particles.

During mission trip meeting last week, it dawned on me how easily we saturate our lives sometimes. We surround ourselves with endless activities, commitments, plans, gadgets and media, carelessly allowing them to eat up more and more of our time, till eventually we become tepu. In such a state, we are no longer able to absorb any more from God and His blessings. It is not that God's presence has decreased, but that our hearts and minds can no longer receive.

We need to take good care of ourselves. Life in the city naturally inclines us towards taking in more and more. It is not natural to live in simplicity - it takes a conscious decision and continuous effort.

My friend, I pray that you do not end up as a larutan tepu from the world's impurities. God has so much more goodness to stir into you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I've always been a fan of this song by Faye Wong.

Today I finally understood what the lyrics mean, and they're just as beautiful as I've always imagined them to be.

I still remember the hotel sign that day
I still recall our smiles as we departed
That day, the city streets bustled ever so
As we walked together for half a mile.

I still remember the streetlight's yellow on your face

Lighting up our lukewarm take-away
Silhouetted, the contours of your face looked too good
With tears held back, I dared myself to gaze closer

Forgetting all else

It felt like losing myself as well
Yet I could not forget our promise to watch yellow leaves fill the sky
Even if I part from you
A sad story indeed
You must forget, so that I shall not remember

For tomorrow, we may no longer recognise each other

Yet we will not forget our promise to meet again if we are still alive
Even if you are strong
Time will take its toll
Even if your hair turns white
I will still recognise you

I still remember the guitar chords that day

I still understand what every tune meant
Your voice lingered in the corner of the street
The road we walked past, like a song it faded

Forgetting all else

It felt like losing myself as well
Yet I could not forget our promise to watch yellow leaves fill the sky
Even if I part from you
A sad story indeed
You must forget, so that I shall not remember

For tomorrow, we may no longer recognise each other

Yet we will not forget our promise to meet again if we are still alive
Even if you are strong
Time will take its toll
Even if your hair turns white
I will still recognise you

Even if you are strong

Time will take its toll
Even if your hair turns white
I will still recognise you

Friday, September 28, 2012

Young Man

Young man,
Why are you so angry?
Why are you quick to speak, slow to listen?
Why are you filled daily with harshness and curses?

Young man,
Why are you in such a hurry?
Why are you running from one accomplishment to another?
Why are you making those around you run just as fast?

Young man,
Why are you so ambitious?
Why do you wish to amass riches beyond compare?
Why do you wish to lord over the rest of the world?

Young man,
Why are you so proud?
Why do you fall in love so easily with all you have done?
Why do you take pleasure in belittling those who are lesser?

Young man,
Why are you so reckless?
Why do you flirt with the dangers and temptations of this world?
Why do you desire to experience foolishness for yourself first?

Young man,
I'm sorry I scolded you for being too playful for my liking.
I'm sorry I was too busy to play silly ball games with you.
I'm sorry I worked too hard to give us a supposed better life.
I'm sorry I mocked your drawings and forced you to become me.
I'm sorry I disregarded all sound advice and paid with my body.

Young man,
Please stay a while
And listen to me.

Young man,
Don't go, I beg you
Listen to this old man.

Young man,
I wish you all the best in life.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Short Films, Lifelong Memories

My Youtube channel pic since 2006, taken in 2002.
Not sure if things have changed since then.
I love creating and telling stories. Always have, always will.

However, stories are mere souls. They need a body to reside in - the medium.

Recently, I have been very engrossed in analysing the intricacies of different storytelling mediums (media?). All my life, I chose to bring stories to life through writing. However, I am becoming aware that I am not a very good writer. A good writer needs to be an ardent reader or traveller, possess tremendous patience, passion, honesty and a certain degree of eccentricity. I am extremely average in all of these aspects; hence, a propensity only for short stories.

Over the years, I also dabbled in a little film-making. But these were always more out of necessity than interest. Now as I watch more short films on Youtube, this particular medium is starting to grow on me.

I love how little visual hints can be used to convey subtle character traits, suggest plot points or even beautify a scene. Compared to writing, where I often find it a chore to describe scenes without venturing into English Essay mode e.g. 'It was a bright and breezy day at the beach, with waving coconut trees and cheerful families framing the idyllic scene.' A+ for school, Big C for Cheesy for me. Unfortunately for writers, we are always fighting against the universal truth that a picture speaks a thousand words.

Also, I enjoy the camaraderie that the film-making process brings. Unlike writing which is almost always a lonesome affair, film-making gives everyone a chance to shine. The actors! The cameraman! The scriptwriter! The props and costume person (low budget, need to multitask)! Et cetera. It's one of the awesomest feelings to see everyone come together, passionate about the same cause and give their all! Adds a whole lot more dynamism to the project. Of course, working in a team isn't all fun and games. You win some, you lose some.

Ah...I love and miss making short films!

Just so that this post doesn't end too abruptly, here are some of my past short films that I love the most. Okay, so they're actually not short films. They're ads for a yearly youth Gospel Camp my church conducts.

2008: No Apologies: The Truth About Love, Life & Sex

Ep 1: Shot and dubbed in Zhi Yong's house in two hours. Extremely amateurish work, as we were totally new to this at the time. Evidence: hilariously inconsistent lighting and camera angle changes, on-the-spot and unwilling actors (especially Zhi Zheng), unsynchronised voice-overs. Fortunately, the sentimental Yiruma music (which was added because Zhi Yong SO HAPPENED to have it in his laptop) and Jhow Weh's voice saved it. The church people loved it.

Ep 2: To underscore how unprofessional we were back then, we weren't even able to retain the same actors for the next installment. They were too embarrassed. Well, at least we still had the original voice actors. I recall Zhi Yong having to work some editing gymnastics as we left out several lines during voice recording. In retrospect it was still very amateurish but the allegedly stirring storyline tugged many a heartstring. And the music.

Ep 3: Yay! The original actors returned. But it didn't make much a difference, as they were randomly cast and not believable as a couple from the start. Yeah, a six-year age gap is easy to tell once you're out of bed. All in all, a less-than-epic conclusion that contained too many flashbacks and a rather 'huh?' ending. We wanted to keep the ending ambiguous - it wasn't clear whether Alice was leaving for another place, or committing suicide. Nope, didn't work.

Ep 4: A joke epilogue that aired at the end of the camp Talent Night. I especially remember the thrill of creating overlapping voices for the first time. Funny to think how it started off as a silly conversation with Chi Yuan, and ended up being a moment for the ages! 

2009: Escape

Ep 1:
New year, new camp, entirely new direction! If last year's Ep 1 was 'controversial' for its suggested nudity, this was bordering on being too scary. We gathered in Ju Yuan's house to discuss script ideas, and started fooling around with masks and coats (The Dark Knight and Joker were still very much in fashion then). Several test shots later, a cool new video came into being.

Okay, not really. The initial video, which had Ju Yuan acting as the 'devil' and was supposedly set to the theme of Ghostbusters, was just too hard to take seriously. So I quickly organised a re-shoot. Unfortunately, Ju Yuan wasn't around on the day of the reshoot and we had to settle for...who else? Jhow Weh. Surprisingly, he delivered an inspired performance (both acting and voice-over!). Couple that with the chilling theme from Jaws, and a classic was born.

The campy first cut was eventually seen again in the bloopers video. 

Ep 2:
Once again, the curse of the sequel loomed large. After the well-received part 1, there were only two ways we could go. One, rehash the 'porn struggle' which was an appealing subject. Two, go for something new. The latter was clearly a logical choice. Unfortunately, other sins were just less 'captivating' than the subject of porn. The end result - a much weaker Part 2 that pushed a grand total of zero envelopes.

And would never have guessed it, but the mother-daughter-boyfriend phone conversations were INSANELY tough to shoot and edit. Mostly due to my lack of proper planning and equipment.

And, and, also...this would be my first collaboration with the talented actress/future director Evie Wong. In case you don't notice, her lines are all voice-overs! Yes, that means she had to recite her lines once during shooting, and repeat the exact words during voice-over recording. Not easy when you consider that most of our dialogue was ad-libbed.

Ep 3: Wiser from my mistake in No Apologies Part 3, I quickly established that this finale needed a bang. We started with 'Temptation is powerful', followed by 'Temptation is alluring'. It made sense then that the conclusion should be a positive one: 'Temptation is defeatable'.

Interestingly, Evie's dialogue was recorded 100% from Taiwan (she had left to further her studies), based only on my English script. Plus, Lian Juang was very very reluctant to act. And check out Jhow Weh's epic sukan pants.

Bloopers: The aforementioned fiasco and more that followed. It's actually not that funny.

2010: The Pursuit Of Happiness

Ep 1: My personal favourite series! This time, the world was introduced to a gifted actor by the name of Clement Choo. We went to Benjamin's house and brainstormed for ideas before Clement and/or Benjamin stumbled upon the idea of doing something District 9-esque. If memory serves me right, we shot his interview scene there, and then drove straight to Peter's house for the second scene. As always, almost everything was ad-libbed.

Musically-wise, I love the surrealism and youthfulness 'Dreams' brings, reminiscent of one pursuing happiness. Perhaps some felt that it was too pop, but to me it perfectly captures the storyline's essence. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ep 2: Ah yes, the video that required two nights' worth of retakes. While it was unique for using only one continuous shot, this was a nightmare to shoot because of two words: Jhow Weh. Acting as the interviewer, he messed up his lines over and over and over and over while poor Li Yin endured laughing playfully with her 'dad' 68 million times. At the end of the night, we were finally closing in on a successful take. And...Jhow Weh's phone, which was also our camera, died. Seriously.

Utterly demotivated, everyone agreed to come back the next night. And Li Yin had to wear the same clothes, which is embarrassing if you're a girl. If you believe that the first take is the best, this would be one of the worst videos ever.

Compared to the previous years though, I feel that this didn't do too bad for an Episode 2. Furthered the plot quite nicely with some snippets of drama.

Ep 3: If I thought Ep 2 was hard to shoot, I was so so wrong. THIS WAS HARDER TO SHOOT THAN THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY.

Explanation: It was Chinese New Year, and both Brandon and Li Yin would be out of KL at varying times. Scheduling conflicts, if you will. Plus, we had to do some site recce as the first scene would be shot in Endah Parade.

After much hassle, yay! We finally got our shot. And the Curse of Jhow Weh's Phone struck again.

Without any reason, the file became CORRUPTED. ROSAK. KAPUT. Like...what??!

To cut a long story short, we had to reshoot one week later by when Brandon's hair had grown comically long and Li Yin had cut hers. At least we got a random shopper which Li Yin rather realistically bumped into as she stormed off.

As an aside, this was a rather emotional video for me. I was then being admitted to hospital for my knee operation, and would spend entire days editing it there. A lot of life pondering took place too, given the subject of the video. Till today, the song 'Maybe' by Yiruma takes me to a special place. :)

Once I finished this episode, I wept a little inside as I knew that it was the completion of a very special trilogy. No matter what was to come, they would always be irreplaceable to me.

2011: Unplug

Evie Wong returned to lend me a hand for this one. As much as I hate to admit it, my heart just wasn't very much into it then. I was also Camp Director that year, and thus didn't want to devote too much time into shooting videos.

From a technical aspect, it was a breakthrough as we started using Evie's canggih Sony Handycam (okay, still quite un-canggih actually), multiple camera angles and Adobe Premiere Pro editing (compared to Windows Movie Maker previously...don't you dare laugh!). It took some effort to coax a performance out of Joel, but he did considerably well.

Fun fact: This is the only Gospel Camp promo video where Jhow Weh does not appear in some capacity. He had a cameo appearance as a shopper in Pursuit Of Happiness Ep 3.

And...that's all, folks! More new memories soon, I hope?

To me, every single bump, bruise, cut, everything has been worth it. The sacrifices as you call them, I wouldn’t give any of ‘em back to you, because I loved ‘em all.” - Steve Austin

Monday, August 06, 2012

Don't Let China Win

Dedicated to Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, who gave us one of the most heart-stopping Olympic finals ever. Here's to the Batman and Joker of badminton.

March 4, 2053

Chong Wei stepped into the hospital room, somewhat hesitant.

He made his way towards the solitary bed, taking care not to put too much weight on his perpetually aching right foot. Each step taking him closer to a man he had not seen for over 20 years.

And there he was. A feeble man on the bed stuck with pitiful tubes and apparatuses all over. His body had long failed him, but in his eyes Chong Wei still recognised the defiant pride of a man they once called Super Dan.

With much effort, Lin Dan turned his face to Chong Wei and smiled.

My greatest adversary, Chong Wei thought as he smiled back and nodded. This man, who gave him countless sleepless nights, heartbreaks and tears. In the course of their careers they faced off close to 60 times, though many of the later matches were for charity events.

The Thomas Cups. The World Championships. The Super Series. The Opens.

The Olympics.

To be more precise, the 2016 Rio Olympics. The defining moment when Chong Wei etched his place in sporting folklore for eternity.

Then 33 years of age, he staged a spectacular comeback into the Olympics and battled all the way into a historic third consecutive Olympics badminton final against - you guessed it, Lin Dan. At that time though, it wasn't a foregone conclusion as Lin himself was already 32 years old and past his prime. But both competitors showed tremendous resilience to skip past the field of younger players, silencing critics who predicted embarrassing early-round exits for the two.

The highly-anticipated final, touted by the media as 'Eight Years In The Making', would be either one of two things. Lin could take another unconquerable step into greatness, or Chong Wei could seize his one last chance at redemption. The stakes were just too high – especially for Chong Wei, for whom a third straight final defeat could prove to be too crushing. The Chinese press especially had a field day, speculating that Chong Wei might even fall into depression should he lose again.

It was the game of Chong Wei's life. He played like a man possessed; chasing after shuttles beyond reach, returning strikes that were too powerful, outmaneuvering the master at every turn. If it was even possible, the commentators noted, both men were playing at a level higher than four years ago.

An all-too-familiar story ensued: Chong Wei won the first set, Lin snatched the second, and both went neck-to-neck in the rubber. Just like in London, leads were traded back and forth and neither man could establish an advantage. At 15-15, the stadium hushed as Lin started his serve.

Mistake. It went short. The Malaysian supporters went wild, begging Chong Wei to not let history repeat.

Much wiser this time, Chong Wei remained calm and took his time to read and counter Lin's moves. 17, 18, 19, 20! Game point. If Lin could somehow come back from this, Chong Wei would never, ever forgive himself.

He steadied himself and served. After a brief flurry of exchanges, an opportunity presented itself at the net for Chong Wei. The deftest of flicks was enough to lift it over into Lin's half, just slightly past Dan's outstretched arm.

And that was it. Chong Wei, at third time trying, had finally delivered Malaysia's first Olympics gold medal.

In a cheeky move, he peeled off his shirt and posed with a less impressive body.

Soon after that legendary game, both announced their retirements. As years went by and newer stars rose, they gradually stopped meeting. That was, till Chong Wei received news that Lin was severely ill.

Now here he lay, old and dying. It was very strange and scary all at once.

Lin tugged at Chong Wei, motioning for him to come closer.

"My friend." Chong Wei tried not to let his voice break.

Lin pulled Chong Wei even closer, trying to speak into his ear.


" beat me. At the Olympics." came the hoarse whisper.

"It was a good game, my friend."

Lin nodded, his breathing growing more laboured by the second.

"You beat me...because I let you."


"I didn't...want be sad."

And Lin Dan breathed his last. Still smiling. Still defiant. Still brutally truthful.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lim Hui Jia (Part 2)


Hui Jia woke up, trying to make out his surroundings.

Right. It was a fifteen-minute break between classes, and he had drifted to sleep while thinking of ideas for the upcoming school essay contest. Right before Kevin, the bordering-on-obnoxious rich kid in class, interrupted.

"I'm having a birthday party at my place this Saturday. You wanna come over?"

"I'll need to ask my mother first."

"Adoi, mother mother. OK lah, you let me know asap kay?"


"You dunno what asap means ah? As swift as possible lah..."

"Oh, okay. Then I'll let you know...asap."

"Make sure you come kay." Kevin leaned closer with a smirk. "The girls are coming also."


"Ma, please! It's just a few hours."

"I know. But who's going to take care of the house while I'm away?"

"Why are you going to Aunt Mabel's house again?"

"Her house got flooded last night. She needs help sorting her stuff back. Hmm, in fact...I should ask you to come along as well!"

"Don't you dare! I have tonnes of homework!"

"Good! Then you can stay home to finish them."

"Maaaaaaaa...please, please. I'll be home early I promise. Once they finish, I'll leave."

She gazed at him, half relenting.

"Pleeeeeease. I've never been to a party ever."

"What time will you be back?"

"Ten o' clock. Sharp."

"You said it, okay?"

"Yes, promise."

"Okay then."

"Yes!" he pumped his fist in the air. "You're the best, ma!"

All she could do was smile.


"All right, who's game for the next round?" Kevin held up a precious free controller.

It was the night of the party. Everything was spectacularly novel to Hui Jia so far, from seeing his school mates all dressed up to the idea of unlimited snacking. Here, everyone seemed nicer and friendlier than in class, as though they shared a collective social awkwardness that brought them closer. Every joke became funnier, every conversation warmer, every thought simpler.

And now, after the cake cutting and opening of presents - for which Hui Jia was eternally grateful to his mother's sense in picking out a socially-acceptable gift - the people were starting to leave. Some of the boys, himself included, were still having a few rounds of Playstation something. It was all just too terribly exciting for him.

"Hey," someone called out to him. "Your phone's ringing."

Drat! He quickly glanced at the living hall clock. Nine fifty.

Of course, it had to be his mother.

"Hello?" he tried his best to sound proper.

"Ah Jia, are you still at the party?"

"Uh, yah. But leaving soon!"

"Okay, good."

She then proceeded to utter the best sentence in the universe.

"I'll be home later, we've still got quite a lot to do."


"Your friend will be fetching you home right?"


"Okay, so make sure you follow him, don't let people wait for you. If I'm not home yet when you sleep, leave the front light on."

"Okay, ma."

"Okay, bye."

End of conversation.

And the start of Need For Speed: Most Wanted!

"I'm in!" he grabbed the controller and pressed Start.

To be continued.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lim Hui Jia (Part 1)

"Lim Hui Jia."

A scruffy boy by the window rolled his eyes.

"Lim Hui Jia." the teacher repeated louder.

"Here." He raised his hand half-heartedly and quickly turned his gaze back outside.

Hui Jia, who had yet to settle on an English name, had despised his name for all thirteen years of his existence. Simply because it sounded exactly like 'go home' in Mandarin. And anyone with half a brain knows that in school, having a name that sounds remotely like any actual words is asking for trouble.

True enough, trouble dogged him. Most of the boys teased him to no end, incorporating his name into every sentence they conversed in.

"Hey, what time you hui jia today?"

"Haiya, you don't talk so hui jia lah!"

"Where's your homework? Hui jia already?"

Even the teachers chipped in, often complete with a hateful face of look-at-me-i'm-so-witty!.

He figured that it would stop after a while. But no luck, not even after years of schooling. Which to his teenage self was an eternity. And most likely a lifelong condemnation.


"Ah Jia! Get off your computer! Come eat dinner now."

Hui Jia slipped on his earphones, pretending not to hear.

Two minutes passed before his mother stormed into the room. She was a rather large lady, sometimes slow in movement but always quick and sharp with her tongue.

"HEY! I said turn off your computer!"

He glared at her before saving his game to shut down the computer.


"Eat your beansprouts," she scooped an oversized pile into his bowl.


"They're good for you."

He picked them up with his chopsticks, strand by strand, studying them carefully.

"Ma, why is my name Hui Jia?"

"How many times do you want to ask me? Did someone in school tease you again?"

He put down his chopsticks crossly. "What do you think?"

"Watch your manners. What's wrong with your name? Isn't it nice?"

"No way! You try going to school every day and having your friends go 'Oooh...let's hui jia! Heyyy...why don't you hui jia!' Hui jia this, hui jia that! So funny! I swear when I'm older, I''m going to change my name!"

She pursed her lips, allowing for an uncomfortable pause. "How about your mother? Do you want to change your mother as well?"

"When did I ever say that?"

"Your name reminds you of who you are and where you came from. If you change it, you're saying that you don't care about all that."

There was no winning. He mouthed whatever, stuffing the horrid beansprouts in.

To be continued.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friendster, I Miss You

If I could turn the World Wide Web back to a time in its history, it would be 2003.

As unimaginable as it is, then there was no Facebook. No Youtube. Not even - horrors - Gmail. Yup, once upon a time email had a storage limit of 2MB.

In those days, online interaction took place primarily through MSN Messenger, or ICQ for some quainter folk. Everyone went bonkers over cool new emoticons, saving and sharing them with much gusto.

For funny/cool videos, you had to visit specialised Flash and video sites such as and Well, they were definitely upfront about being slacker sites. Most people had a designated folder for video clips shared through email or MSN Messenger.

And of course, the mother of all social networking sites - Friendster. What could Friendster do? For starters, it was the easiest way for anyone to create an online presence. Self-made domains (Angelfire and Geocities, anyone?) required actual technical know-how and blogs asked for too much content. Now finally you could have all your friends together in a community, each with their customised profiles and photos for you to pore over. Photos and profiles aside, one thing that made Friendster truly special was the testimonials.

For those whose memories have been blurred by Facebook or who never knew, testimonials were a passage you wrote to describe / complement / reminisce about your friendship with someone. Generally, the length was indicative of your degree of friendship. Rumours once abound of a three-page testimonial. A most unfortunate later innovation would happen - forwarded testimonials mostly consisting of teddy bears, angels or smileys formed by punctuation marks.

Oh, how I miss the testimonials. The utter joy of having a friend oblige your request with a painstakingly crafted piece, detailing how you first met. Feeling a warmth creep into your heart as they describe the little things about you that they cherish. All topped with a cheese-laden wish for lasting friendship. Those were less jaded days, when the Internet was a heaven-sent tool for connecting with friends.

Today, the tool has become an over-convoluted Swiss army knife. I'm tired of the endless stream of crass jokes, profanity, pictures, videos, songs, game requests, news articles, links etc that greet me daily. We no longer communicate through words but media. Somewhere, we have traded our emotions for emoticons.

Today, we keep in touch by viewing each others' photos and posts. We find common ground by sharing the same media and joining the same groups. We show appreciation for one another with a simple Like. All too easy, too automated.

If Facebook introduced testimonials today, would they still work?

Probably yes. But only if they were limited to 140 characters.

Here's the Friendster, and a time when the Internet brought us all closer. 

And in case you didn't know, Friendster was relaunched in June 2011 as a social gaming platform. Save for a minority of informed users who backed up in time, all old Friendster user profiles have been permanently deleted. Including testimonials. :(

Thursday, June 07, 2012

There's Gonna Be A Revival In The Land!

There's gonna be a revival in the land,
There's gonna be a revival in the laaaand.
From the north! (NORTH!)
To the south! (SOUTH!)
To the east, and the wehhhhh-st.
There's gonna be a revival (HEY HEY!)
There's gonna be a revival (HEY HEY!)
There's gonna be a revival in the land!



Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Don't Feel Like Blogging This Month

I take full credit for downloading this picture from
Yeah, the title says it all.

Too much on my mind. Too few words.

So, you shall have to suffice with these two dumb videos I decided to make on a pitiful Friday night at home:

P.S. I always wanted to blog about this movie (You Are The Apple Of My Eye / 那些年,我們一起追的女孩) but grew reluctant when I saw how much has already been said and written about it. Yeah, I'm weird that way.

I'll come clean here though.

I actually watched it FOUR times in the cinema (twice by myself).

I was at one point VERY fascinated with Michelle Chen, the movie's lead actress. I am especially interested in how she studied in the US, came back to Taiwan, decided to become an actress at a rather late age and suddenly shot to stardom.

I am also fascinated with Giddens Ko, the director and author of the autobiographical book it's based on. Inspired by his courage, honesty and ability to tell an age-old tale in a refreshing way.

All in all, it's the story I wish I wrote. In case you haven't noticed, I've always been a great fan of school-themed and romance stories. Okay, so I suck at writing romance stories. But still.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie, when the gang all graduate from high school and go their separate ways. Naively and adorably he tells her to not to fall for other guys in university.
That was so 2003 for me!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Think About His Love

On 5th April 2012, at the stroke of 5.06pm, I tweeted to the world:

It is finished.

It was a reference to Jesus' utterance as he died on the cross (John 19:30), as well as sheer relief at completing my biggest film-making project yet.

What was it? It was somewhat of a dream come true - a short film for my church's Good Friday service this year. Instead of routine sketches or song performances, I boldly suggested that this year we should try doing a short film because:
a) It would be something new.
b) We would be able to easily view it again and share with others.
c) It would allow participation even from people who couldn't attend or weren't free for rehearsals.

And because the Youth Department was in charge of the service this year, I could make it happen!

And happen it did. The theme was something very close to my heart - restoring passion to a jaded, going-through-the-motions church. In a divinely inspired moment, it occurred to base it on the church of Laodicea mentioned in Revelation (the last book of the Bible).

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Revelation 3:14-17

At that time though, I wasn't sure how to execute it. It felt more like a theme for the service. I pictured welcoming the congregation to this mock church called 'Lao' ('old' in Chinese) Church and mimic the lukewarm Laodiceans in our service. But that was definitely too radical.

True to my style, the idea was put on hold until time drew too close and we had to start shooting. I was still toying with another script idea focusing on a girl who stopped attending church. But, nah...I stuck to the original Lao Church plot and centred it around them organising a Good Friday service - a case of art imitating life? I've actually always been a fan of plots building up to an event climax. They generally make the story faster-paced and more suspenseful.

One week before shooting, I sat down and went through the script with the talented Miss Evie who was doubling as assistant director and lead actress. I watched in awe as she instantly made some very practical improvements, plus providing me with a much better ending. I think that was when I started to fall in love with...the art of film-making. Period.

Shooting took place over one weekend, albeit quite rushed. I was extremely blessed to also have the help of Ju Yuan, another brilliant director/cinematographer. All I needed to do was brief the actors on their lines, briefly describe the scene and...voila! Magic would take place.

Editing took much longer than anything I had ever experienced. Mostly because my aging laptop was very, very slow. I could only move two frames before waiting one minute for it to load. For more than a week, editing became a round-the-clock obsession. Sometimes even I scared myself with my enthusiasm.

Scene by scene I pieced it together, replaying anything I had completed countless times to spot any flaws. I just couldn't wait for the whole thing to be completed. Even the subtitles were created using a special software that enabled outlines around them. Previously with Windows Movie Maker, they tended to fade into the background when it wasn't contrasted enough. A masterpiece in the making, baybeh!

After the service, we received oodles of good feedback regarding the short film. It was funny, meaningful, touching, stirring, brilliant all at once! I was super proud of it, by far my most complete work of art.

So imagine my disappointed when I was informed that due to certain reasons, I could not upload the short film, its trailer or bloopers video onto Youtube.


I did pour in many, many hours into it. So it's understandable that I'm miffed.

I guess it's a good lesson in humility and submission for me. I'll never forget some lessons in my past when I secretly and selfishly disobeyed some people. When I was eventually outed, I paid very heavy prices.

"Don't worry," I tell myself. "You'll get to do bigger and better productions in the future! This will be nothing compared to those. Use your gifts to bless others, not to build up your own kingdom!"

All rightey then!

For now, you can drop me a comment if you want to watch the short film.

"Think About His Love"
A comfortable church.
A spirited girl.
A celebration for the ages.
For Carmen and her church, Good Friday 2012 was one day that they would never forget.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Player 2 has left the game.
You have been granted control of Player 2's units.

And cue a flurry of cusses that would make a sailor blush.

"Eh, leave lah. How to play already."
"Yaya, don't waste time."

Join new game. Change name if necessary.

Ta-da! New game, new players, new battle, new hope.

No matter how messed up that old game was, it's all in the past. It doesn't matter anymore.

Can I live in the World of Warcraft? Please.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I'm not supposed to exist.

I'm an accident. A mistake.

Nobody likes me.

They talk about me when they see me, but as though I'm some sort of problem that needs fixing.

I know deep down, they wish that I was never born.

I see through their oh-you're-so-specials and hey-he's-one-of-us-toos.

Am I really, guys? Really?

I hate it when you all pretend to love and celebrate me.

When you try so hard to cater for my special needs.

If I mattered, you would think of me at other times too right?

Not only when I show up.

Oh hey, he's here! Let's welcome him! He's our friend.

Friend. Yeah, right.

Can't you see? All I want is to fit in like anyone else.

I don't want your kindness.

I don't want to be treated specially.

I just want to be normal.

Just because I'm not always around doesn't make me weird.

It's just so unfair.

Stop talking about me. Stop giving me weird names. Stop making jokes. Stop publishing articles. Stop sharing on Facebook.

Whatever you want to think about me after reading this, just stop.

Don't think. I am me.

Just let me have my 24 hours in peace.

Yours truly,
February 29

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The 3 Ps

At the end of last year, I shared with some dear friends on the 3 Ps for doing anything well.

It was something that came to mind quite suddenly. But as I prepared it, I realised that it didn't come out of thin air. It was a cumulative result of things I learned during the course of working.

Purpose: Knowing what you want.
Planning: Knowing how to get it.
Passion: Knowing you want it.

Purpose, Planning and Passion.

Thank you.

Monday, January 02, 2012

I'm Famous!

Me circled in red, with my signature cacat fingers and glasses.

On 30th December 2011, I received word of a V for Vendetta-themed flash mob to be held at Dataran Merdeka on New Year's Eve. Basically, they were trying to re-enact the final scene of the movie complete with fireworks and all (fireworks supplied by the Malaysian government in conjunction with Konsert Ambang 2012 TV3). However instead of mysteriously shipping actual masks to homes, soft copies of the Guy Fawkes mask were distributed online for participants to print and cut out. Cool.

And oh, of course there was a purpose to this event. Themed 'Occupy Dataran' (let's just pick one reference and stick with it shall we, organisers?), it was a sneaky protest against the recent Peaceful Assemblies Act and increasingly blatant instances of corruption as the General Elections loomed.

So yeah...I shall spare the details. Suffice to say, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Awesomest moment ever: when the protesters started appearing one by one at the designated time and place with their concealed masks, amid the sea of countdowners. And then a bright yellow balloon with 'Mature Democracy For Malaysia 2012' beckoning us to follow. That's definitely one off the bucket list.

V For Merdeka indeed!

I appear in the first few seconds of the video, in a black 'WORLD WITHOUT STRANGERS' T-shirt. You can't miss me.