Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm not sure what to make of Romero's Land of the Dead. It's not exactly horror, though the Dead could have used better table manners. It's not comedy because it wasn't funny. It's not quite action either as the plot moved at the pace of the undead shuffle.

Perhaps I approached this movie with the wrong expectations. I wanted thrills, scares and a sustained atmosphere of suspense, but this wasn't the kind of movie to deliver that kind of thing. It's hard to feel scared of the Dead right from the opening sequence. They walk around in their little suburban town trying to recapture the lives they had lost. A Dead couple holds hands as they take a midnight stagger through the city square, Dead musicians manipulate their instruments though they have lost their skill to play them, and the Dead gas station attendant makes himself busy with his gas pump. And, oh, the wistful look in their eyes as they struggle to recapture old forgotten memories while they "pretend they are still alive..." There's nothing else for them to do anyway.

Then enter the Living on their motor-bikes, trucks and jeeps shooting up the town, randomly gunning down Dead bystanders in order to loot supplies (food, medicines, etc.) that the Dead will never use anyway. Is it any wonder then that the Dead gas station attendant who witnesses this carnage suddenly erupts in rage and snags a rifle from one of the raiders of his fair neighbourhood and eventually learns to use it?

The Dead are supposed to be mindless creatures who exist only to eat living flesh, but this Dead hero develops the ability to communicate with his fellow Dead, grows his Dead army, and learns to improvise a revenge attack on the Living, nestled safely behind the electric fences surrounding their city.

Yes, the Dead learn to use tools (all the better for breaking Living heads open with), they learn to follow a leader (they become a real political entity), they learn to teach new skills to one another, and more importantly, they learn to yearn for a patch of space they can call their own without the indiscriminate incursion of the Living anytime they suka-suka.

In fact, every character in this movie embarks on a quest for a home. The rich make their home in a swanky skyscraper and act like the poor, let alone the Dead, don't exist. The poor, hemmed in by their protective fence, want to upgrade or be free of their claustrophobia once and for all by just heading North.

I guess it's not so much a horror movie as it is a morality play, then. What do you call home? How far will you go to acquire turf? How prepared are you to defend what's yours? Haha! Maybe we could commission a screening of this movie for next years' Total Defence Day activity?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

You know you've finally settled into a place when mealtime comes around and, if you find yourself eating alone, you feel like something is missing from your life.

I'm such a different person today from the person I was 7-8 years ago. Back then I could only lunch alone 'cos I couldn't stand anyone crowding out my lunch hour, my sanctuary time away from the buzz of people's gossip, demands and to-do lists. I just had to get out of the office and run as far and as fast as I could away, and hope to goodness that I don't bump into anyone I might vaguely know on the way out. If so, at best there would be a small delay as we exchanged pleseantries, at worst I might end up with a lunch companion, in which case I would try to rush back and hide behind my PC and get back to busy work as soon as lunchbreak was over. There; I've just admitted to having some very deep-rooted anti-social issues, so yeah, I'm nuts. Sue me.

It was a very different feeling when I was walking towards the M2 leaving for a late lunch when I saw Anthony pulling into the parking lot with NBS and Amy in tow having just finished their's. It's the kind of feeling that forces the lower lip outwards to protrude beyond the upper. Not a particularly pleasant sensation. So the pendulum has swung the other way, to the complete opposite extreme, and that only goes to show that I'm still nuts.

Thank God it's only Monday's time table that puts me in isolation from the rest of the staff room. The rest of the week I can be a normal sociable individual and do the lunch thing with people, so it's not so bad.

What all this tells me is that I do have an emotional stake in my workplace now, something the drifter in me of many years ago never had. I have found a roost after all and like it or not, for better or for worse, NY has become a home to me. And, God help me, I don't want to leave.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Today we met Saul, Vince's friend and the closest thing to a guide we could get who knew his way around the area Vince wanted to get his car done up at. Amy, June and I accompanied them just for the heck of it and did some mall pounding while we were there. Vince's car needed some time in the shop so Saul taught June and me to play Uno (we a bit suaku lah, ok?) from the set he had just bought. In the evening, Vince made good his promise to June and with Saul's help brought us to have Bak Kut Teh (June still remembers KL) by the side of a road over a smelly drain. Actually what was promised was the bak kut teh, the drain was a bonus. 'nuff said.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

M-I-L couldn't go to the Parade this year, so we grabbed her tix in exchange for a flurry of errands we ran for her this morning. We finally made it here and are now baking in the afternoon sun waiting for things to start happenin'.

It's a sea of red and the crowd is going a little crazy with the toys stuffed into this year's funpacks. Amongst the noisemakers, waving objects and nightlights, I found a fashion rubber band. Blue with the inspiring motto, "Keep Singapore Litter-Free." I'll never take it off my wrist again... :P

Most shots I had to take while there was still daylight. My digi-cam is total crap when it comes to night shots. These airborne blokes are making us dizzy with their spiral patterns as they jump out of a chopper and try to land in the middle of the Padang. Some people will do anything for an NDP ticket.

The F16 squadron executing a perfect "Bomb-burst" maneuvre. Military hardware is best put to use in peacetime as crowd entertainment devices. No one really wants to use them as they were designed. Let's keep it that way.

Standard NDP postcard shot. This is the cue for everyone to rise and sing the National Anthem.

Fireworks is one of the hardest shots to make on a digi-cam. Especially at night. There is so much lag between the time the cam focus locks to the opening of the apature that the big bang's usually over and all you've got is a picture of empty night sky. So here's a shot of a bunch of rockets going up. Don't complain.

Don't also ask about all that other stuff in the middle of the show. I know perfectly well what I came to the Padang to see, and you're looking at it.

Happy 40th, Singapore!
Guess who scored last-minute tix to the Parade? Or rather, guess which couple 2 tix found to take to the Parade? Having a M-I-L who's a member of a grassroots organization has it's advantages!
Aha! Now I know what bugged me most about "Pagoda Street." It's a rich boy's idea of what being down and out in Singapore is like. The lack of research and effort to make the characters more believable and using these caricatures as a vehicle to showcase "Singapore" is particularly irksome.

OK. Maybe I should lighten up about the whole thing. It's entertainment, after all; but how many of us felt the same way when The Amazing Race came to town and the face that represented us on international TV turned out to be "Poo Koo Kang's?"

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Meet our brunch, cheeseburger spilling its innards out onto the plate (L), and fish on a king-sized bed of chips (R). Not a bad spread for a dog-friendly place like the les Amis, Botanic Gardens.

Local indegenous wildlife: a large tree spider whose legs are so neatly parted it looks like it only has four rather than the usual eight. The sign is for the tree, not the spider.

And 2 good friends, Mimi (L) and Q-tip (R) take a break after a nice, long walk in the park.

Edit 01:
Later in the afternoon we join hundreds of other dog owners for the Dog Walk at West Coast Park in honour of S'pore's 40th birthday. The crowd in the middle where the flag is surrounds a giant birthday cake that will be distributed to all dogs in the park. Pandan flavoured with bits of cranberry on top. Mimi & Q-tip won't eat their piece though. Pity.

Who else should join the festivities than the Other Presidential Candidate who took the opportunity to meet the people and their dogs. If he's already on the campaign trail, I guess it means there will be an election after all. I haven't see the Incumbent doing anything like this yet. Maybe he's taking things too easy?