Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good riddance, 2008.

Will you or not agree that 2008 is easily one of the worst years in the recent memory? At least for us Malaysians. Here’s my take on the happenings in 2008, especially on local politics.

Aside: Humour impaired politicians reading this; I’d like to remind you that this is more of a satiric take on what happened so save your money on hiring lawyers. End of aside.

Malaysia

From January to March, we saw endless barrage of news on the impending victory of the Barisan Nasional party in the upcoming election in March. Most mainstream newspapers carried news that the alliance was 357% confident of the victory so much so that people switched to alternate media which sourced news from squirrels.

Of course, March came  and the general election saw a BN winning by a shocking small margin, and the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, led by Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s de facto de niro leader, Anwar Ibrahim, managed to wrest Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Singapore. While wrestling, the latter slipped and fell and managed to crawl to safety.

What’s more interesting about the election was the fact people were so angry with the ruling party they are willing to vote on anyone standing opposing BN, including an amateur cell phone cameraman and a dog named Boo.

But the biggest blow to the ruling party was the fact that among the losers were MIC president Samy Vellu, Gerakan then acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Wanita Umno Deputy Chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. This embarrassed Samy Velu so much that he resigned from MIC as its president.

Gotcha! Not only he didn’t resign, he said he will stay as the president until others can pry his seat away “from my cold dead hands”.  After his passing, there will be an official definition for “spiritual leader”. Since he is still alive, he is embarking on rebranding exercise to entice more and more Indian members who hates his guts.

In the meantime, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir blamed Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the ruling party’s less than stellar victory demanding his resignation. In fact, he blamed Abdullah for everything, including the bad coffee he had that morning.

While bickering continued on whom to be blamed for the defeat and Abdullah insisting that he will stay as a president “until I fulfill my promise to clean this country of dirty toilets”. The drama was heightened when PKR’s de facto di caprio leader Anwar Ibrahim announced that Pakatan Rakyat will take over the entire country on September 16, by peaceful means including transcendental meditation and yoga. However, he did not clarify which year. “It could be 1963, for all you know,” an insider was quoted as saying.

(It should be noted that Anwar was facing a fresh charge of committing unnatural sex against Monica Lewinsky during this period).

Considering the Sept 16 take over will involve defection of member of parliaments, BN members suspected that the culprit might be it’s very vocal component party People’s Progressive Party (PPP) because PPP’s members were dissatisfied with the abbreviation which, in Tamil, means, “Shit, shit, shit”.

When reminded that none of the PPP members won the election, the fingers (including the thumb) was pointed at Sabah and Sarawak which, for years, have been complaining of neglect.

Here’s an excerpt of an actual report taken from Bernama (Dec 27, 2008) and I am not kidding:

Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman of Sabah had even implied that they would not mind moving out from the "bungalow" (BN) and live in a terrace house (PR), as they were only allowed to "sleep near the toilet", even though there were "many rooms in the bungalow".

Threats of defection further elevated when Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) pulled out from the coalition costing BN of two MPs, four state seats and lifetime supply of Laksa Sarawak.

In July, Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah vacated her Permatang Pauh seat due to overdue rental pressure from landlord, paving way for her husband to sit on it, despite the fact that he had bad back, poor front and weak inside.

Of course, he won easily, and kept on mumbling, “We have the numbers” on possible defection come September 16. In fact, that is all he says when met by press prompting speculation that he might actually have the forecasted number for the next 4D or Toto lotteries.

Confronted with fear of defection, BN sent its MPs to Taiwan for tour on agriculture and “how to talk and behave in parliament as Taiwan has always been exemplary in this area”. This proved to be valuable trip as we discover later during parliament proceedings.  

September 16 came and when, with nothing happening except for some bad case of flue for this writer, but Anwar insisted that it will happen in a different date, “Probably in the near future or when hell freezes over”, not realizing that his party members have already started congratulating Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as future Prime Minister.

Yes, finally Abdullah relented and accepted his fate and started cleaning toilets in different floor. He will pass the mantle as PM to Najib next March and wowed that he will continue lavatory reforms…but not until after he cleans the one attached to his bedroom.

Yet, former premier Tun Dr. Mahathir still insisted that Abdullah step now. “What March? Step down now, today, this minute, this instant! Only after Abdullah steps down can we get better grade of coffee,” he said.

In the meantime, sources reported that Wan Azizah had made an urgent call to a doctor when she saw her husband sleepwalking and writing numbers on the wall mumbling, “We have the numbers”.

By the way, the JAKIM (Islamic Development Department) issued a Fatwa against Yoga, as it was against the teaching of Islam’s, since it “included elements of Hinduism, hints of Scientology and a sprinkle of voodoo-ism”. This will definitely hamper PKR de facto deVito leader’s attempt for peaceful takeover of the country.

On the economic front, the fuel price spiraled upwards, hitting the ceiling and the roof and later tumbled down, making consumers dizzy as the government increased the price of oetrol and diesel to the point where we had to sell our kidneys, and later decreased it to the point where the petrol kiosk owners have to sell their kidneys.

The economic crisis all over the world is apparently not hitting Malaysia. Both deputy prime minister and central bank governor assured that Malaysia is resilient and is crisis resistant. “Don’t worry, we will be alright. Next year should be good, and if there is any problem you can contact us in Switzerland,” an unnamed minister was quoted as saying.

In a more serious note, the year ended terribly for us when landslide occurred in Bukit Antarabangsa, claiming five lives and many homeless (some have still not returned to their home), only further asserting the notion that the government takes action only when lives are gone.


World

I can’t cover all, but two major happening occurred.

First, the year began with foul smell in the economic atmosphere as there were signs that USA is heading towards recession. “What recession?” the American economists said, “There ain’t no recession,” they added, not knowing that the sentence was a double negative, which means…

But months later, they came back and admitted that the country was in recession back in December 2007, “and we were already in deep shit then,”  “Really?” responded the international community sarcastically, “the sky is blue, and the crow is black, poodaa….”

But a major historical milestone was achieved in US when Barack Obama was elected as the president as this would be first time US, and this has never before happened, has a Klingon for president.

Interesting year so far. Hope the next one will be even more interesting. So, here’s wishing my blog visitors A HAPPY NEW YEAR. Take it easy on partying, you can get arrested.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Metal Health will drive you nuts!

Fans of hard rock & heavy/trash/speed/etc metal, beware! Head banging is dangerous. Or so, says an expert.

 

I was driving home last night, listening to BBC world over the radio, and the show featured an Australian associate professor, Andrew McIntosh, who said head banging not only can cause neck injury, headache and dizziness, but also brain damage.

 

Head banging is bad? In a song called Metal Health, by top notch heavy metal band, Quiet Row, the late vocalist Kevin DuBrow screams, “Bang your heeaaad! Metal health will drive you mad” That’s an instruction buddy, and you better bang your head.

 

I am typically not your head banger….well, more of head bobber.  I mean, we all do that right, bobbing head, but it could go wild depending on the tempo of the music, the harder the rock, or the speedier the metal. It’s especially not good when you are in the car, at the traffic light, waiting for it to go green.

 

Next lane driver’s wife           : Why is he bobbing his head so violently?

Next lane driver                     : I don’t know. Rehearsing oral sex perhaps.

Next lane driver’s wife           : I want to go home NOW!

 

Though, I am not into head banging, I empathise with head bangers. That is an immediate reaction to great metallic riffs, and thundering drums. How many of you did not even move your head a bit when the Brian May kicks in the big one in the middle of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – voted as the ultimate car song recently?

 

Speaking of car songs, how many of you have serious conflicts with your passenger with choice of radio stations or songs? I mean if you are driving, you have all the right…err…right?

 

Not so with my fiancée, Linda. The radio player hogging girl has control over it, and she hates my metal collection. Once, and this is unintentional coz the radio DJ must have dozed off, I was forced to listen to three Michael Bolton songs CONSECUTIVELY! Enough horror to make me Run To The Hills (Iron Maiden).

 

Now that, professor Andrew McIntosh, causes brain damage.

 

Aside: As a punishment, I made Linda listen to a Black Sabbath song, and warned her that next time it might be Slipknot. I know it’s cruel, but three Michael Boltons is torture of the worst kind. End of aside.

 

Alas, during the radio show, McIntosh cited Bohemian Rhapsody as one of the brain damaging songs. How could you Mac? Upon hearing it, I wanted to go to the Parliament and protest, and lodge a police report.

 

According to McIntosh, to avoid all those issues, compulsive head bangers can wear some sort of neck brace, to control the movement of the neck not to tilt to a dangerous level. Right. Imagine a rock concert with neck brace wearing head bangers.  Instead of throwing T-Shirts and underwear, the performers would soon be barraged by attack of the killer neck-braces the head bangers are getting rid off. In short, it won’t work.

 

McIntosh is also trying to get heavy metal bands to be the ambassadors of anti-head banging campaign.

 

Rock star: We’re gonna rock you, tonight. But before that, we have a public announcement to make, head banging is injurious to health…

Audience: Booooo…..

 

Marketing wise that would be suicide.

 

It’s funny that an associate professor from Australia should come up with this study. This, considering that he hails from the same country as one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal act in the world, AC/DC. Yes, the same famous, wealthy, long living band that still forgets to buy its founder and lead guitarist, Angus Young, a longer pair of pants.

 

Another suggestion McIntosh came out with, and I am not frickin’ kidding here, is to alternate the heavy metal songs with softer ones. “You can listen to Spinal Tap, and then listen to Lionel Ritchie’s Hello. You can listen to (AC/DC’s) Highway To Hell and then, Fly Me To The Moon”.

 

Again, I am not joking. Imagine AC/DC belting out Highway To Hell, takes a break, and then Chairman of the Board, the Ole Blue Eyes himself takes the stage to fly you to the moon. In the crowd of head banging metal heads!

 

The final suggestion made me conclude that McIntosh is nuts. Not only that, he is dangerous to all hard rock/heavy metal fans in this world. I googled him and came with this and realized that he is not even a Heavy Metal fan.

 

Heavy metal fans of the world, let us unite. Let’s pool in some cash and get some professor to do a study that will conclude that listening to the likes of Bolton, Billy Joel, Whitney Houston not only turn your brain to scramble eggs, but also make you acquire all the tropical disease known to mankind and catkind.

 

Let’s start by writing the cheques to my name…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Goundamani: The Dark Superhero.

Warning: Strictly for Tamizh Film fans, especially of comedies.



Its phenomenal. About a decade ago, Tamizh film comedian Goundamani (or Kaundamani, or Koundermani) was dismissed by many has crude, crass and rude by many. He can only be enjoyed by those who don’t use their noodle all that much and enjoys slapstick.

Goundamani’s slapstick consist of only one thing – beating up his Hardy-esque partner. Senthil. If anyone really earns the literal meaning of sidekick, Senthil gets the honour.

Why phenomenal? Because of the growing interest as recently seen by the appreciative crowd, most of whom are in their early twenties here

Why, I myself have not been a great fan of his till of recent. Why the change of heart?

First and foremost, amidst all that kicking, and shouting on top of the lung, we missed to see the depth of his dialogues, the messages, and the not-so-subtle stab at the ridiculous aspect of the society and culture.

We neglected to appreciate Goundamani’s own original (he hardly mimics or spoofs other actor, strange for a contemporary comedian) brand of performance. His clear dialogue delivery, the modulation, the facial expression (the more he shows pain, the louder we laugh), body language, was there and I missed it first time around.

His graceless dancing, tone-deaf singing and terrible grasp of English language were supposed to be source of comedy (he is known to catch most of the Hollywood releases and recommends it to his colleagues). I didn’t laugh then, but now I am laughing my rear off.

I met a fellow member of the Tamizh film forum I visit, Prabhu Ram, who said, “To look at the slapstick element alone, you are missing the point,”. Truer words never spoken…at least it applies to Goundamani.

What astounded me, especially after revisiting those comedies is the amount of social commentary Goundamani included…also missed the first time around. So much so that the thread for his in the forum is named, “Philosopher Dr. Goundamani”, partly in jest, partly because, well, with all those satiric remarks that he tosses off without actually being smug about it (a crime Vivek sometimes commit).

Of late, something else occurred to me. That Goundamani could be the dark superhero for some of us. Yes, we all have good heart, we want to help the poor, the distressed, and we get thousands of super hero incarnation on screen. They are making millions out there in the box office.

But what about a fantasy creation that relates with the darker side of you. You know, the day to day annoyances, irritations that you have to deal with. Particularly people with the mental capacity of a hamster and is as annoying as that one immortal mosquito.

People like the characters Senthil played!

Watch those films again and figure out who was the annoyed one and who is the “annoyee”. Who was the provoked ones and who does the provoking? In Nattamai, why did Goundamani called his dad, played by Senthil, Dey Thagappa…extreme rudeness that had many fans of that time, even the faithful ones, put off? Watch that film again and you will realise what a rotten, womanising in a pathetic way Senthil’s character was. His action demanded no respect at all.

And how often we were subjected to the action of addressing someone with respect when we know that this person is rotten to the core. We had to do it, coz we have personal PR issue. Goundamani will do the name calling for you.

Admit it, there is a right-winger in even the most liberal of us. We want to dish out some painful insults to many annoying, irritating creatures that are teeming in this wonderful place call earth. Yes, especially the ones on the road.

Within the limits of given strict code of censorship, Gounder insults these bothersome creatures, kicks their butts (literally, instead of our whining of “I wish I could kick his butt), gets them in trouble. In one case, in indirect reference to what the bad guys did to a girl in the James Bond classic Goldfinger, Goundamani paints a less than beautiful male co-star with what I would call barrel belly with hot melting Silver! That’s for completely misinforming Goundamani the businessman and building his expectation sky high.

Most of Goundamani characters (mostly in the nineties) are remorseless, ruthless and relentlessly in pursuit of something and will not hesitate to insult and kick his way to achieve it. Witness the unconventional tricks he resorted to when he is determined to cancel the wedding in Ullathai Allithaa…and we get the heartiest laugh, especially when the plans fail. The “sotthulaa kallu” scene is boldly unconventional and elicits laughter from me anytime they show it again.

Tell me, can we be that insistent? Or consistent? We back out at early given embarrassment, but Goundamani hurls himself forward. We love him for it, plus he makes us laugh as a bonus point.

One forum member (Bala@crrajkumar) reminded me of one aspect of Goundamani’s character, “irreverence”. I’d add “total irreverence”, whether he is in a side comedy track or is next to the leading performers.

Speaking of which, I have yet to see any other comedians as bold as Goundamani when it comes criticising characters played by the biggest heroes. Witness Goundamani in Mannan and how easily he disses Rajini. Or how he teases Kamal in Singaravelan for his “latchiyam” or looking for “manastan” in Indian. Of course, the long “suffering” hero who has the best chemistry with Goundamani is Sathyaraj. The duos performance in riot-fest, Maaman Magal and Thai Maaman should have been given awards.

A rebel, an angry old man, a social critic, and now, a dark superhero, Goundamani is now set to make another round in the Tamizh film industry. Like or hate him, he has made his mark in the industry. He made all the other comedians that followed him dull after they run out of tricks. He is the ultimate superstar of the comedians.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Headlines and impressions.

There are those of us who read newspapers, and then there are those who don’t. There are those who read news online, either the mainstream ones or the alternatives, and then there are those who don’t either. The “don’t” type usually gets their news from text messages.

Anyway, those who do read either the physical paper or online, are bound to sometimes just scan headlines. I do too…not because I am in hurry or what…just plain laziness. So, what impression do they give? How much can a headline tell you? I decided to give my own interpretation from the headlines taken from The Star online:


Retrenchment ‘the last resort’

The government has identified a location, to be called, Retrenchment as last tourism resort if all tourism resorts in the country are closed down.

A spokesperson for the tourism ministry who refused to be identified but goes by the moniker groucho070 in illegal online forums, said Retrenchment will have “any goddamn thing you bl**dy tourists want, including spa that has fish eating your dirt or whatever”.

In a telephone interview, groucho070 said Retrenchment will also feature a water park complete with the Loch Ness monster in it. “Yes, Nessie will make its appearance. We haven’t got any confirmation from the Bigfoot though,” he said.

No further information was available when the phone line was disconnected after what appeared to be some sort of struggle over the other side of the line….


Tunku Imran resigns over Bruce Willis issue

Tunku Imran has resigned from the Petra group after being “fed up” with Bruce Willis.

“I mean, how many Die Hard film is he going to make” he said, reacting to a recent rumour that the Hollywood star may film a fifth instalment of the famous action franchise.

“And why was he bald in the fourth one. He had hair in the first three Die Hard films,” he said, adding that he will no longer watch any of Bruce Willis films and hoped that the Malaysian public will do the same…


Rear-seat dilemma for parents with four children

Not enough with global and local economic uncertainties, Malaysians are now faced with issue concerning the rear seat, especially for parents with four children.

According to parents with four children, rear seats in cars have been giving them many problems ever since the fourth child was born.

“How come parents with less or more than four children never have problems with rear seats,” asked Sam E. Velu, a father of two boys, a girl and specie yet to be identified by scientists.

Among the problems given by the rear seats include, refusal to seat the passengers, instant deflation causing springs to hurt the children’s rear and also constant cry for milk…


No decision yet on extending live telecast

The Information Ministry has not decided on extending the live telecast of the parliament’s proceeding.

A spokesperson said that it is already concerned with the content of the program which is described as “not only is one of the most boring show next to Teletubbies, but its content is lewd, gross and full of bad language.”

He added that the show might even be pushed to late night in order to not have children “exposed to that kind of language that a typical member of parliament tends to resort to during outbursts”.

“In fact, we are seriously considering 18SG rating for it,” he added….


Ampang Jaya OCPD shoots down claims

In what appears to be another security triumph, Ampang Jaya OCPD managed to shoot down “claims” that has been terrorising Ampang Jaya.

The “claims”, nick name for a monster made up of police reports made by politicians during the last few months rose when the stack of reports suddenly took a life of its own.

“After the March 8 election, every Tom, Dick and Harry politicians have been making police reports claiming thislah, and thatlah. That is what they claim; we don’t know what is happening actually,” said Inspector Ahmad “The one-eyed shooter” Khalid.

He said, somehow the reports got together, managed to get a life of its own and was terrorising Ampang Jaya residents, making threatening noises and even stealing a street corner Nasi Lemak vendor’s Nasi Lemak.

“The last act of terror was the reason why we decided to shoot it down,” said Ahmad…


Lifestyle Section.

Time to shop till you drop

There are times to shop, and then, there are times to shop till you drop. Find out what shopping experts opinion on the exact time to drop after shopping. Also, exact location to drop, as many shopping complex feature non-drop friendly floors…


Fish head curry, Chinese style

If you think only the Swahillians made fish head curry, think again. Fish head curry, Chinese style, goes back to the Ming dynasty when cooking was done on those famous vases. We talk to Chef Jockey Chan on how the curry has evolved and where it is living now…

Latest actor to portray Marvel's Punisher hopes third time is the charm

Nope. They will never learn.
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