Friday, January 30, 2009

Red Cliff II

Battle of Red Cliff II/ Chi Bi

What better way to start my first day of Chinese New Year celebration than to watch the continuation of the Battle of Red Cliff in the cinema!

The first part of the 'most expensive Asian movie to date' Red Cliff was mostly on introducing key characters from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the alliance of Shu with Wu to battle against the Wei faction comandeered by Cao Cao. The first part was good, but I was more looking forward to the second part of the movie. Maybe I did feel a bit envious about US having to watch the condensed version of the movie with both parts in it.

Red Cliff II wouldn't have come at a better time on CNY. I was so satisfied after waiting for months to catch up with the second episode of the movie. And I wouldn't be more satisfied about the cast chosen to act in this movie.

It was fortunate Chow Yun Fatt jumps off 'Red Cliff' from acting as Wu strategist Zhou Yu, because I feel that he could not bring much justice to his assigned character (Zhou Yu). Tony Leung, famed for his role in Lust, Caution actually did a perfect job playing his role as Zhou Yu, and again, it is fortunate again for Tony to turn down the role of Zhuge Liang, because he somehow fits Zhou Yu's character much better.

In fact, I couldn't agree more with Takeshi Kaneshiro's marvellous portrayal of Shu strategist Zhuge Liang. Maybe he's more destined for that role as well. I also applauded Zhang Fengyi for acting as Cao Cao, he certainly fits in his character snuggly. Zhao Wei, who acted in Painted Skin last year, and makes a comeback acting as Sun Shang Xiang, was not bad either. Although I question about Lin Chi Ling's portrayal of Zhou Yu's wife Xiao Qiao as Red Cliff makes it the first movie she acts in her career. But none the less, the movie was awesome with their chemistry mixed in together.

The second movie finally gets on to the real thing, continuing from the first episode and moving on to the naval battle in Chi Bi. It's a no-nonsense movie about battle of wits between the Shu-Wu alliance and Wei, and I'm awestruck with the intellect and careful minds of Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu (I still adore Takeshi Kaneshiro because of that =D )

The battle was intense, with help from action director John Woo, it gets even more enticing! He has done a lot for his ambitious Mandarin movie - with rich stories of brotherhood, valor, bravery, and courage, it's no wonder Red Cliff deserves a nomination, sorry, make that three nominations in the Asian Film Awards.

Here's a bit of a spoiler - If you have read the novel, you would have known Cao Cao will lose in this battle because of his mistake of eliminating his most important naval generals. I don't remember Xiao Qiao actually went to Cao Cao's side and drinks tea with him, heck I don't even have the slighest clue how Cao Cao actually has a lustful desire for Xiao Qiao in the first place when he never actually knew about her in reality. Well, all for the sake of fan-service! =3

But there's one line Cao Cao spoke that actually made me laugh -

"I lost the war to a cup of tea!"

Overall, I suggest everyone, regardless of whether you read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel or not, to watch this movie when you have the chance. If you're a Malay or an Indian, no fret, there's English subtitles to cater to non-Chinese audiences.

Now, I should get my hand on a copy of Red Cliff I from my cousin!

Good Girl to Remain Good

After nervous and tensed rumors going around last year whether Grammy award winner Rihanna will stop over Malaysian shores for a concert or not, no fret.

Malaysians can finally rejoice as Rihanna will indeed be performing, and with the date set on 13 February, everyone here is looking forward to having a good time dancing and singing together with Rihanna. However, Rihanna will be forced to tone down her 'Good Girl Gone Bad' image once she's here, as the Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) will put all of its ridiculous efforts to 'Stop the Music' - putting an end to every Malaysian desire to see Rihanna to perform on the local stage.

Going their wrong way on influencing citizens, PAS took most of their time thinking of reasons why the Rihanna concert should be halted, and these are some of the interesting yet akward ones:
1. It is unsuitable and disrespectful towards local culture in Malaysia.
2. The concert is said to taint the minds of youths.
3. Her performance is said to support the Israel-Palestinean war, and her songs contain elements of disrespect towards Eastern culture.
4. She pays for taxes to fund for weapons of mass destruction.
5. Her concert will belittle local artistes.
6. Her clothing is just too hot to handle?

First of all, why would the Rihanna concert be disrespectful to Malaysian culture? Has PAS set any guidelines and rules on concert etiquettes here? And what does it really take to have a concert that boring and monotonous to suit local culture?

PAS must have been living under the rock by now, continuing to live their traditional saintly way of living, unoblivious to the fact that this is the modern age of free speech and mind. How would Rihanna's songs negatively affect the minds of our youths? We youths are smart enough to differentiate what is good and bad for us, and certainly Rihanna is not. We have been exposed to a myriad of mass medias, and therefore, a wide diversity of modern and traditional cultures all around the world.

Rihanna's songs certainly wouldn't have been contemptous to Eastern culture! Why would they disgrace her songs like that? Oh, what a heartbrake to a fan like me. =) I've been listening to Rihanna's songs over and over again on my iPod, and I loved the catchy song 'Please Don't Stop the Music' and her famous song 'Umbrella' and also her soft serenade with Chris Brown 'Hate That I Love You', and I've certainly don't find any lyrics or anything at all mentioning about disrespecting Eastern culture. PAS should have stop criticising Rihanna and at least learn to listen to a few pop songs for a change instead of the constant religious debating-bickering. We also have Malaysian songs and the more daring Indonesian songs just as good as Rihanna's, but is it really wise of them to mouth out bad stuff on Rihanna alone?

And how would her performance indirectly support the Israel-Gaza crisis? Come on, entertainment is far seperated from war fundings, and Rihanna certainly wouldn't have the interest to support the war at all. The only thing in her mind is singing her heart out to the Malaysian crowd. And how does paying her taxes help America purchasing weapons of mass destruction? And it's not just Rihanna who pays her taxes, it's everyone's responsibility to pay their taxes no matter where they are. All of us are paying our taxes too, and all of us are also contributing to the general defense of our country.

And how will her concert belittle local artists? She has the funding (and the sponsor) to make her concert a big hit. She has the influence and fans from all over the world. Her upbeat songs entertain her listeners. And let's make it one point - All successful singers start off small. She wasn't born with a silver spoon, she just has the talent of singing like our local artists, and she just has a really simple background before she makes her mark on the international singing platform. If Rihanna can certainly make it big here, wouldn't that inspire our local artists to perform just like her? And oh yeah, a local celebrity will be doing the opening performance for her concert, so says Celcom sponsors.

Although the point when they said Rihanna's clothes are 'too hot to handle', that's one thing. She may be even 'sexier and more dangerous' than Lavigne, I do agree. She adores wearing black leather bustiers, shorts and high-heel boots when performing, but we all know that in Malaysia, all singers are subjected to signing down the contract to perform modestly with full-covered clothing before performing in Malaysia.

I chuckled when PAS imagines Rihanna wearing a tudung during performance. Would she look like this?


We have lost the Beyonce concert last year, and we nearly lose Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani for the same reason. So many talented singers perform in Singapore instead due to fears from PAS protests and demonstrations. If this keeps going on, sooner or later, Malaysia is going to be one big laughing stock around the world for kicking out people who wanted to entertain in our country. And Singapore would be happier no thanks to PAS 'crudity'.

Although I won't be making an appearance in Rihanna's concert this Feb 13, I would certainly wish the concert won't be cancelled because of PAS. If this is the way PAS wants to influence more people to vote for them, that is wrong. I will say that PAS should do better things than criticising people overseas.

Btw, if you like Rihanna (and ignore PAS blabbering), Celcom is gladly giving discounts on Rihanna concert tickets. Do check it out! =)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy CNY!


May this brand new Year of the Ox bring upon wealth, prosperity and happiness!

Best wishes to my Chinese readers, and just about anyone who happens to read my blog =D

ps: Thank you, my lovely Eva for the artwork!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Yay!! Our First Place Video! =D

I will just keep it short.

Let me present, our proudest Financial Accounting assignment video! Just a simple 101 tutorial about the concept of goodwill in the accounting world, and we excelled at making it so simple even a layman could understand (well, hopefully)

I put in so much effort scripting, directing and editing the video, not forgetting the well-effort put in my group members Miow, Biiang, MC, Jon and 'we could not have done it if it wasn't for our Drama Queen 'PikaChew' ! xD

We were so excited and happy that our video was so successful and even entertaining, we net ourselves champion in our whole Accounting course. But what made us happier was the fact that all top 3 positions are dominated by our whole tutorial group 3! Yay, big cheers for them!

However, I'm not here just to brag about all this - Other people in our courses have done so hard to get their videos done as well, so cheers to them too.

But what makes our video to deserve a good placing was the fact that we made it different from the normal (and finishing it way before the deadline so as to end the stress asap). We add animations, subtitles, audio voice-overs, music background courtesy of Jon, and a lovable NG part at the end to match. Although I hate to say that our video quality should have been better if Jon's vid cam would have a higher resolution like the other groups... but I don't care less.

Enjoy our 2-part video! And oh, do comment on what you think about the video too =) The video is good, but it still has lots of room for improvement. Hopefully, we would get another chance to do another video directing in future semesters too.

Goodwill in Accounting - Part 1

Goodwill in Accounting - Part 2

If you would like a higher-quality video, you can link it back to Youtube and choose 'Watch in high quality' under the progress bar.