My Norwegian Wood Experience (Spoiler Ahead)

by : Fatma Chingu

Its been ages my fellow readers~

Now I am gonna breakdown whats transpired from my journey through Murakami’s novel, Norwegian Wood.

First, I am going to confess that I don’t fancy the idea of reading a Murakami before. I am skeptical of course because Ruby loves him and I know I can never read anything that Ruby likes (sorry Ruby) since her taste is a bit “heavy” for me. In my defence, she loves to indulge herself in deep, philosophical, history kind of material (Palah too, just she is more interested in topics like ecosystem and Middle-Eastern issues) while me yeah, K-Drama and shallow things are more to my preferences.

How did I ended up reading a Murakami?

Simple, I just randomly bought one during my trip to Miri. It just so happens that I was strolling around the bookstore and saw Norwegian Wood. I got curious of course not by the title but because its Haruki Murakami. I thought “How fucked up his book could be? I should put myself to the test,” and there you go! My first Murakami.

I even posted that on my Instagram. A moment to remember heh?

Screenshot_2016-08-02-09-30-53-762[1]

Now moving on to the reading part.

Well the story consists of the main character’s monologue and his views. His name is Toru Watanabe.

wp-nw1

In his head, he is the most normal guy. But for me as a reader, he is a mess. There might be people who thinks otherwise but I really think he is not a normal guy. Who can be normal with all those tragedies happening around you? Lost a best friend who committed a suicide and crushing his best friend’s girlfriend who he only meets years later who ends up disappearing after a one night stand?

And yet he considers himself a normal guy. Optimism.

He eats alone, basically he enjoys solidarity.

“Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment. ”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

He could not even bothered to make friend with anyone but a guy, Kazuki. Kazuki is a smart guy (with similar taste in literature as Toru) and he is a major playboy. He takes Toru around to sleep with girls every now and then. Sex is just a physical activity, its healthy-for both of them. Love and sexual intercourse are different circles altogether, they does not overlap.

Let’s face it, humans are beast. Not bad of Murakami to have that in the story right? I am pretty sure lots of people could actually relate themselves to that. Fair comment.

What is a story without a heroine?

norwegian-wood-4-1050x558

That girl who runs away after one-night stand-Naoko.

Strangely I am invested in her character the most. At first, she is just a sad girl but as the story progresses, she is depressing as hell. She got her scars embedded deep inside her as she has been through a lot since childhood and experience suicides from two people she loves. She is damaged and beyond repair.

But I rooted for her.

Until the end.

And its not enjoyable.

 

norwegian2-jumbo

Midori, the second girl. She is a bright character (at least she jokes around more) in this story. I like her character, a lot. Confident, brutally honest and lewd.

She talks a lot about herself with Toru but I noticed he has not opened up about himself with Midori. Somehow Toru is not that open with Midori but the good feelings is still there. I am pretty sure that Toru is drawn to Midori not because he wants to, but because Midori made herself someone who Toru could be attracted to. Now that’s girl power.

Halfway through the book, I was forced to stop reading and called Ruby. I feel like I have been consumed by the story. Suddenly I feel depressed myself.

Well to sum the conversation between Ruby and I about me being engulfed in the story (too dramatic of me apparently), Ruby advised me to treat the book as a literature, instead of a door to my subconscious mind or any window to my soul-that kind of self-realization shit.

That moment I realized this is not a romance fiction. This book is all about growing up and becoming a young adult and as one, I can relate to the struggles of being conflicted about responsibilities not just in terms of physical beings but also the chain of relationships with people around us. Being a young adult means you are in power of your own words and action. If you choose to end your life, that’s the end for you. But for the people you left behind? Their time still runs and the hurt from your passing remains until their time is up. Unfair right?

“Only the Dead stay seventeen forever.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

What I like about this story is each character represents the different approaches in life.

Toru is someone who choose a safe path, being very cautious and kind to the ones he loves and just follow the flow. And the flow is not necessarily good. Have a stand for god’s sake.

Naoko is the pessimist. She has been been beaten up in life and instead of fighting more, she chosen to go down and drown herself in sorrow. In a way we cannot blame her for being miserable but life does not end at will unless we decided that way, right? She is just a sad character, and I always wishes she could be the other way around.

“No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Midori is fierce, non-nonchalant and takes risk. Her effort to pursue Toru (set aside the fact she was dating someone else in the process) and outwardly confessed to him makes me want to applaud her. She is not someone who succumb to negative energy of events. She does the opposite. Like when her father dies, instead of being a potato and locking herself away in despair, she went out to a vacation with her boyfriend to cheer herself up.

“I don’t care what you do to me, but I don’t want you to hurt me. I’ve had enough hurt already in my life. More than enough. Now I want to be happy.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Midori is clear with her feelings. To be honest, that’s a trait to be jealous of. For me at least. Compromising own feelings to avoid any unnecessary conflicts (be it work or personal life) proven to be a poison instead of a remedy. Truth to that. And in the end, Toru chosen her. Who wins? Everybody.

Who said being honest does not pay off?

To sum up the book experience, it is a complete literature and Murakami has impressed me with his style of writing. He makes me feel things, vision the scenes and empathize with the characters. Norwegian Wood is a story filled with truth, at least for me.

“Which is why I am writing this book. To think. To understand. It just happens to be the way I’m made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Fun facts :

His readers have been speculating that this story actually happens to him, and the main character was inspired from his personal experience. At the credit part of the book he quickly dismissed that by saying his real experience will only produced 14 pages. It was that boring.

And it has a movie version. Warning ahead, some scenes are absent. So keep an open mind before watching the movie if you read the book first.

Just read the book before watching the movie.

Be fair to yourself.

P/S: This is my first book review. So be open minded okay? Haruki’s fans might have a different opinion from mine. This review might be not be gory-ly detailed but I am writing this quite sometime after I finished reading it. So some facts might be inaccurate. But the quotes are from Goodreads so… they are the exact ones. /laughs/

Click on this to read Ruby’s review on another Murakami:

https://threechinguz.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/colorless-tsukuru-tazaki-and-his-years-of-pilgrimage-haruki-murakami/

Till next time!

Advertisements

Kapoor and Sons (2016) – Raw and Real Family Drama.

By The Gorgeous Palah Chinguz

Kapoor-Sons-New-Poster-1-740x417

Rating : 4/5

Seriously i didn’t expect anything in this film and it turns out to have everything ; emotional journey, Great assemble of casts, strong plot and extra points for having fawad in the film. He’s such a Bae. I swear my head just wanted to explode because I can’t brain how wrong I am to think that this will be another cliche Bollywood film. A lot of spoiler will be discussed later on as I can’t hold myself any longer. I need to get this thoughts out of my head as soon as possible.

Homosexuality and the society’s acceptance.

p22-M-ka-

Rahul Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Tia Malik.

You’re kidding, right? It’s 2016 and we never had a fair share of bollywood films that tried to view homosexuality in a positive way. We mocked gays in the film and always portrayed them as too feminine and flamboyant person. Homophobic much? I get it that our parent’s generation might not accepted homosexuality and their takes on it will be it is not normal. How about our generation? Us? Millennials? Didn’t we saw that changes is coming? The cultural change can be done but it starts with us. With the right mentality, education and open mindedness, we can help them to feel that there are nothing wrong with them. It pains me to see how Fawad portrayed Rahul Kapoor , the perfect son, the successful author and the entrepreneur but still hiding in the closet. He pretended to have a girlfriend and all but deep down wishing that his mother will see right through him so he don’t have to pretend anymore. It was tiring living a double life and be a person you don’t want to be. Up to the point, he even said to his brother, Arjun Kapoor, that he’s willing to surrender his place of being the perfect son in their family to Arjun.

I wont drag my religion into it. Not to be defensive about it actually but i do believe what  you do and whom you choose to love is personal choice. It can only be between you and god. Simple as that. Fanatics, fundamentalists and conservatives might argue differently but let them be. They have no other job aside from being religious police.

Parent’s favourite child.

665630

Rahul Kapoor and… his father’s broken car.

If you can’t figure out whose your parent’s favourite child, that means you are the one. If you can, then it’s real. Don’t cry, your parents are human too. They make mistakes and these are one of their mistakes that we have to make peace & move on eventually. Of course they keep saying they love your siblings and you equally but ……. I think you can figure it out. Sunitha Kapoor and His husband, may not vocally said that their favorite son is Rahul but all acts pointed it was him. In this film, Arjun Kapoor is the innocent victim caught in this parents’ disease (as I called it).Sidharth Malhotra’s performance as Arjun Kapoor is not bad at all. There are moments which you could feel how unfair his parents treated him. Rahul drove and accidentally damaged the car yet their father get angry at Arjun. Rahul’s room remain intact when he’s gone but Arjun’s room being used by their mom to escape from her problematic marriage. Both of them are struggling authors but yet their mother choose to save Rahul’s career by sharing Arjun’s idea to Rahul. That’s really fucked up and no excuses could make up for it. Sunitha has her own reasons to do so , I guess but it was totally unfair.

Infidelity in MArriage.

kapoor-sons-Rajat-Ratna

Harsh and Sunitha Kapoor reminiscing their fun memories.

I may not support polygamy but i know that there is no such thing as monogamy. People fell in love but they also fell out of love. When you get married, you not only need love to strengthen the relationship, you also need tolerance and compromise. I am surprised how many people didnt realized this and yet they wonder why they are not happy in their marriage. The question arose is how much longer can you tolerate and compromise, to what extend can you tolerate and compromise because for me if you tolerate and compromise too much, you’re going to lose yourself. Marriage is good for some people but if its begin to make you feel dreadful and despised it, then fucking leave. Why they bother to stay and try to save the marriage is beyond me. Rajat kapoor totally nailed the character of Harsh Kapoor ; Intense father and grumpy husband. Ive seen Rajat in his best performance especially in Ankhon Dekhi but this role also worth noting too. This is second time Ratna Pathak played Fawad’s mother and their chemistry never cease to amaze audiences. Fawad will always be the favorite son on screen, I presume especially in bollywood. What are the causes of infidelity in marriage? I just cant seem to place it mainly on the major cause.

Whenever I said Men wanted to be with younger and prettier wife, thats not necessarily true cause ive seen before whereby husband cheated on his wife with someone older/uglier than his wife. Is it because of unsatisfying and repetitive sex or lame bed skills? Could it be one of the causes of husband/wife betraying their own spouse? In this film, it was obvious that the feelings is not there anymore. Harsh Kapoor was having an affair with his colleague until he quitted his job at the bank. His wife knew the affair and thought it was over. She still taunted him occasionally but never in a million years thought that her husband is continuously meeting her behind her back.

____________________________________________________________

Overall, this is one of the good films that i’ve watched this year. Bad prediction from my side but i was satisfied the way this film turned out to be. Rishi Kapoor is amazing as a grandfather in this film. He is mischievous and playful. Rishi Kapoor take the acting to the next level by wearing prosthetic to portray someone 20 years older than his own age. Im sorry i didnt write much about him though.

kapoor-sons-Rishi Kapoor

Short Getaway to Kuala Sepetang, Perak

by Ruby Gege

All hail the weekends, people! Palah and I decided that for our second weekend getaway, we would go to Kuala Sepetang. Where the hell is that? You may ask. Trust me, I asked the same question two years ago. Hahaha.

Kuala Sepetang is a small town 16 km away from Taiping. It is not much of a town, really, but a highly-functional fishing village. It used to be quite busy as a mining area and was formerly known as Port Weld (fancy name, eh?) It is known for its great seafood, fishing village that looked pretty much the same since Merdeka days and its riverside tourism (boat ride, eagle-sighting, dolphin sighting (if you’re lucky) and some fireflies stuff, too). Since I am not a fan of nature, my purpose was mainly to enjoy the scenery and fresh air, aside from going to the Matang Museum and Mangrove Forest walk.

The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Sepetang can be quite tiring. Thus, Palah and I (joined by our master nappers, Jeep and Fatin) decided to stop by Ipoh and spent the first night at Palah’s family home. We headed to Kuala Sepetang the next day, which took us about one hour.

The first place we went was Kedai Makan Yut Sun, a superb kopitiam in Taiping. For the past 2 years, I have been having an intense love affair with this establishment. We orded the best food to have there – kaya and butter bread, chicken chop with rice, Roti Seremban and kuey tiow. The coffee there, I tell you, is one of the best coffee in Malaysia.

12963426_10209611909281129_1193548058841338358_n
Palah looking absolutely serious and Fatin choosing what to eat.

Afterwards, we headed to Matang Museum, which is situated between Taiping and Kuala Sepetang. Rich in history, it tells the history of a powerful Malay nobleman, Ngah Ibrahim, who ruled Larut (together with Matang and Selama, the districts had Taiping as their capital). During his rule, chaos reigned as the Larut Wars were happening between the clan of Hai San and Ghee Hin, two Chinese secret society based in Malaya during that time. Come the intervention of the Perak Sultanate and the British colonial government, somehow Ngah Ibrahim found himself punished for opposing the British rule. A complex history at that time, to be sure.

12924624_10208896489590749_4868214791569178189_n
Matang Museum, also known as Kota Ngah Ibrahim

The building itself is beautifuuuul! The fort surrounding the building is actually the original fort of Ngah Ibrahim’s mansion. The house is also quite intact. When we went in, the officers of the museum were quiet but cordial to us. The exhibitions in the museum are also praiseworthy. They have different sections – the different types of miners (Chinese and Malay), the Japanese rule, the replica of offices of Malay noblemen and British officers. Aside from that, the museum also offers lots of knowledge about important historical figures that our mainstream society has seem to have forgotten about.

db2e7b2b-e953-4f41-ac7f-03eb84cf7eda
Jeep smiling with the vintage background. Looks like a painting, does it not? The wall, I mean, not Jeep.

The outer side of the museum, of course, is highly Instagram-ish. It is a good thing that they did not alter or renovate the paint so much that the building retains a nostalgic and historical feel.

e2e656a6-3fe3-4c37-a1c6-8fee59fa8cf5
Where art thou, Captain Speedy? Here’s to me fantasizing myself as a Malay princess 200 years ago, and Jeep ignoring my antics.

A few hundred metres from the main building is the house of Captain Speedy, who was Ngah Ibrahim’s officer. Sadly, though, the building is not open for visitors so we could only get to take a picture outside the house.

Then, off we went to Kuala Sepetang. The first place we stopped by is the Mangrove Forest Reserve. Since I am not much of nature’s lover, I’ll just say this to you – it is quite an amazing place for you to take a nice long walk. In the forest. Literally. Surrounded by a gazillion trees. Palah went cray cray with her love for greeneries. Haha. According to Palah, the Mangrove Forest here was actually declared as the best mangrove forest reserve in the world! Not bad, Malaysia, not bad. Sometimes, the country does make me proud!

There is also a small jetty at the end of our walk. We rested by the jetty for a while. Palah embodied her role as a serious inspiring photographer, taking a picture of what-not.

M

After spending some time there, we went to have lunch at the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah. The mee udang there is soooo delicious! It is spicy, soupy and has lots and lots of fresh prawns.

After lunch, we went to our hotel, the Happy 8 Retreat, which is right by the river. It is a nice place to stay, though can be quite tiring as it has no elevator and our room is on the (God forbid) 3rd FLOOR! So, lots of climbing for us fat people! The staffs are quite helpful and friendly, most of them seem to be local people. We took a nap, rested and basically enjoyed our beds and air-conditioner. However, if you guys are serious coffee or tea drinkers like me, I would suggest that you bring your own supply of beverages since they don’t supply it a lot there (like… only one packet of instant coffee for each room).

Finally, after resting and before dinner, we went on a boat ride! I can’t really remember the name of the boat service company (Palah does, so you guys can ask her) but it is situated not more than three shoplots away from our hotel. After our phone call, she came to pick us up right away and took us to the boat. Imagine, only four of us and the aunty and the boat driver and the aunty’s son. The boat ride cost us RM 80 but it is totally worth it. We get to see the fishing village in more details! The houses in each side of the village – the one by the river and the other side which is literally… houses on the river… like… floating).

Come the next day, we did not do much. We rested all morning and drove to Ipoh to visit our friend, Ika. She is teaching English at a centre there and we lepak-ed at Plan B, this high-end food chain from KL. I am so surprised to see how Ipoh has changed in some certain parts. People are trying to be more hipster (kinda like Penang) and that annoyed us a bit. Of course, the food, though, is still alright.

7ad5529c-25ab-4f46-9c5a-797e7b44ba03
Jeep and Fatin, possibly over-whelmed by the over-hipsterness of Ipoh…

Of course, we would not want to leave Ipoh without going to a museum. First, we went to the Darul Ridzuan Museum but left extremely disappointed as most sections of the museum were closed for renovation. Determined to never give up, we googled and finally found Ho Yan Hor Museum. The outer look of the museum is very pleasing – blue in colour and homey-like. We did not know what the museum exhibits but the staffs there are extremely hospitable and friendly. Ho Yan Hor is a really famous herbal tea brand in Malaysia created by a pharmacist/tabib/healer decades ago. Due to his hard work, he managed to spread the fame of the tea nation-wide.

After saying goodbye to Ika, we then returned, quite reluctantly, to Kuala Lumpur. The short trip to Perak was short indeed. But it was lovely as hell. So guys, if you are looking for a place to visit which does not require lots of planning or money to be spent, we think Kuala Sepetang is the place for you. If you have more days to spare, you can actually stop by many townships on your way there ie Kuala Kangsar and Teluk Intan as well. I’m sure they have lots of interesting things to offer there as well.

That’s all for now! Bye bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Getaway to Lukut, Port Dickson

by Ruby Gege

Here is how it started – one week ago, I blurted out to Palah that, “damn, I need a short getaway to someplace near. The long hours at work have been killing me and I just need to escape.” Two days later, Palah – being the efficient planner that she is – informed me that there are lots of cheap but good hotels around the Port Dickson area. I was surprised – “are we going this weekend?” I asked. “I was thinking about April or May.” Palah laughed at me, telling me that this weekend would be the best time. Unprepared yet excited, I obliged. Come Saturday morning (which was yesterday), Palah, Jeep, my little sister and I took off to Negri Sembilan in my brother’s Perodua Myvi.

It turned out that the amazing hotel we’ve booked, The Guest Hotel & Spa, is located in the area of Lukut, which is a small town a few kilometres from Port Dickson. So, you see, we did not actually spend our time in PD at all. Lukut, though quiet, is a lovely town – peaceful with quite a number of interesting places to visit. We can safely say that our 24 hours spent there has been unexpectedly pleasant. We thought we were going to spend our getaway hanging out by the seashore but we actually did not. We took a lot of much needed rest, visited museums and went to a cafe, of course. I myself drank countless cups of coffee. The only beach we went to is Bagan Pinang, which is quite a nice beach.

We also went to the Country Cat Cafe. Palah and Jeep really loved it there. Since I’m not into animals, haha, I won’t talk about it here. Do contact Palah for more details about the cafe.

Here is a brief overview of the places we went.

1- The Guest Hotel & Spa

 Palah told me that the hotel is of a 3.5 star standard. The service is good – we booked a family suite that can fit 4 people and even got coupons for breakfast though we did not pay for it through Expedia. The place is very clean overall – from the breakfast area, the room to the swimming pools. We spent many hours resting in our room, literally refusing to leave the place.

Another plus thing about the hotel is its location. Since it’s not situated at the heart of PD, it has lots of parking space and places to eat around it. So yeay for drivers who are lazy to look for parkings anywhere!

2 – Muzium & Kota Lukut

The first place we visited in Lukut is its Museum. We were a bit baffled when we saw the signboard for the place. Even though we considered ourselves to be museum junkies, we have literally never heard of this museum’s existence. We were so impressed with the museum! The exhibitions inside explain the history of Lukut – how it started off as a tin-mining area. The wealth of the place had caused many conflicts between the royal families led by one Raja Jumaat and his prince, Raja Bot and the miners. Apparently, lots of battles and bloodshed had happened here, which were unbeknownst to me and my friends. Yeay for museums for giving us extra historical knowledge!

The building is a beautiful fusion building of Colonial and Malay style. It is quite well-maintained (kudos to the curator for this!). The courtyard is damn huge but too bad the weather was unforgivably hot.

3 – Alive 3D Art Gallery

Our second visit to the 3D Gallery! The first one we went to is in Langkawi Island. The entrance fee is RM 20 per head. Even though the gallery in Lukut is smaller, we had more fun taking photos here as there were not many visitors. The best thing about it is that it is not more than 50 metres away from our hotel! We took our time, choosing our best poses and literally went all out! The paintings are mediocre, really, but for the sake of funny Instagram photos, who the hell cares! Some photos we took really turned out great!

 

4 – The Army Museum

On Sunday, after two hours of free breakfast and one hour of lounging around the swimming pool, we checked out of the hotel and drove to The Army Museum 10km away. Since I had been here around 6 years ago, I expected the visit to be quite meh. However, upon reaching the place, I was so shocked to see the new updates on the exhibitions. There were more impressive display – at the Malacca Sultanate section, they had a replica of a ship, A’Famosa and Stadhuys buildings. I was going ‘whoaaaah’ for the whole hour I was there. The part which we enjoyed most is the underground tunnel below the ground floor, which is meant to be a replica of a Communist Party hideout.

 

There are most pictures we have in our phones but putting them all here would be too messy. Do visit our Facebook page  – Ruby Jusoh or the Three Chinguz Facebook page if you want to see more pictures.

Overall, we had a great weekend getaway in Lukut. Even though we spent only about 24 hours there, we did more things than we could imagine, mainly because the area is a small town with substantial history. Now that we are back in KL, my friends and I are feeling the omens of returning to our ‘real life’ – the obligations of work, the responsibilities and facing up to life’s burdens. Ah, how we wish we could live by the seaside, enjoying the peacefulness of a small town, all day, everyday…

No. I am joking, of course. I’d die of boredom if that happens. Nonetheless, a short getaway is always necessary. As I mentioned before this, the chaotic lifestyle in KL drains your soul. An escape does not hurt and Lukut, Port Dickson is one of the place you can do it!

Ola Bola (2016) – A local film we all can relate to.

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

OlaBola-GSCMPoster
My Rating : 4/5

Kudos to the director, casts, staffs and all who were involved directly and indirectly in making this film. For me, though I found certain flaws in the acting but it is forgivable considering the theme of this film is peculiar and not similar at all with local films. Lately, racism has been a famous topic in Malaysia and it is repeated all over again by politicians, media and social networks. Using ‘you will believe again’ as the film’s trademark, one will not easily convinced to watching this right away. I was a bit skeptical but then I watched ‘The Journey’ film last year. It was an excellent film although it focused mainly on Malaysian Chinese Society. The director and script writer didn’t neglect the part that (as Malaysian) other races pretty much involved in our daily life. They (those irrelevant people) could argue that it’s not Malaysian film but for me, it pretty much is. Exploring how their society’s perception on inter racial marriage as a platform in the film works really well. So, what trigger me to watch Ola Bola (as I seldom watch local films unless it really is promising and brilliant at the same time) is this film shared the same director of ‘The Journey’ movie.

7n_olabolabakalditayangkaneng00
Our National Football Team

It’s a about the journey of Malaysia’s National Football team in the year of 1980. This is inspired from true event. The intensifying journey of the team in qualifying the team into 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, Russian is featured as a main story in the film. Why we need such film? That’s because we never had any film to reminisce us that we used to be incredible and fearless football team. We talked about ‘Malaysia Boleh’ but where it came from actually? This is one of the events that can take us back and recall that we are undefeatable as a team. This film did a lot for me personally. I don’t even know we beat Korea and our national team qualified to enter Olympics in 1980. I was ashamed for not knowing that. Maybe some of you felt that watching this film might not change anything; that once the film is over, we went back to our life and go on with our life. This is true but it does give me hope. Don’t you see? This film tried to revitalize the Malaysian spirit that ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided’ as JK Rowling put it nicely. I watched this film last Saturday and the cinema was packed with people with different races and varied ages as well. It was such a heartwarming to see that many Malaysians felt the need to support our local films.

ola-bola-4

The cinematography is gorgeous. It captured Malaysia really well. The script is not bad for a local film standard. There are a few lines which is corny and some sound forceful to make it echo unity and harmony but that’s just it. It was bearable and they didn’t overdo the script. The acting is not flawless (I have to be honest) there are certain weaknesses to it but I don’t really care for it. Not because the casts are attractive but most of them are not an actors. Some of them are football players turned amateur actors just for the sake of the films. For some people who loudly criticized that some of the actors in the film are ‘kayu’, you guys should give them a credit for trying. Most of you can even watch an unbearable local drama with irrelevant plot filled with talentless actress and actors, why feel the need to diss the film? This is pure gem compared to what you guys watch every day. Bront Palaree’s performance is brilliant. He carried his role as a sports commentator really well. The other actors like JC Chee, Luqman Hafidz, Saran Kumar Manokaran, Marianne Tan, Katrina Ho and Frankie Lee also not disappointing in portraying their characters.

Rahman-Ola-Bola
Bront Palarae portrayed the role of Sports commentator, Rahman.

bcf7
Saran Kumar Manokaran as ‘Muthu’

It touched a little bit personal struggle of the football players in their real life. The film is not 100 percent revolved around football or you silly American called it ‘Soccer’. Muthu is Portrayed by Saran Kumar Manokaran showed the struggle of being an eldest son in this family. His father wanted him to focus on helping the family. Being in a National Football Team back then and now is different. I read some interview given by the former national player saying that sometime they don’t even get paid and if they did, it is not as much as what the current player got now. Muthu is in a big dilemma; he wanted to quit the team to help his family but playing football is his passion as he stated ‘It’s the only thing that he knew’. JC Chee portayed as ‘Chow Kwok Keong or Tauke’ is the National Football Team Captain. He has been offered to play for a club in England but he refused to do so. He wanted to be champion in his own country. While we (as an audience) should laud his patriotism, his decision of not going causing his family especially his sister devastated. If he did go, he can easily earned money and help his family. He was also in torn of choosing to do what he believes in or helping his family. Maybe now we couldn’t feel the struggle but it is real as it can be back them.

7f_mymoviesnottomissjan08
‘Tauke or Chow Kwok Keong’ Portrayed by JC Chee

I assure you that it’s not all sad and sappy in the film. Muthu’s younger brothers really incited non-stop laughter from the audience. They were very natural for child actors. Their foolishness and wickedness is refreshing in the film. Ong Thiam Cai or Ah Cai character is also unforgettable. He has been in National Football Team for 8 years but he entered the field to play not more than 5 times. He is quirky and skillful on the field but never been given a chance to show off his skill. He has been teased a lot by his team members but he laughed with them. This is a story comprised of the characters with diversified races and backgrounds. They are courage, gutsy and ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude. Along the way, some spirits might have been broken and shattered but they managed to get it together and rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

d4ca
The Characters in the film is inspired from true event.

Last but not least, watch it not because your friends recommend this film; watch it because you want to believe again.

Men Who Save the World/Lelaki Harapan Dunia (2014) – ‘An unapologetically honest’ local film

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating : 4/5
My Rating : 4/5

        I seldom watched local films. There i said it. No offense but with a shitty content, mediocre actors and actresses, i rather shove a poison in my mouth and die than watching them. There are some of good actors and actresses in Malaysia but i felt like their potential remain hindered in local film industry. Having to play the same characters over and over again and being forced to conform on the standard of local film (which is majority of them are so sub par and repetitive story line) leaving them no choice. The situation is no different for directors and script writers as well. There are young and promising talents out there. They are trying to enter the industry with a new and fresh ideas but failed to make any mark for their careers. Some of them decided to take a path as an independent film makers. They managed to attract a small amount of crowd but that’s it. Some people recognized their films but how many? They have their own niche for their films but to put their films in big screens is risky business and many are not ready to take it. Statistically speaking, most ended up flop in cinema.

         Facing international films as a stern competition is one thing but attracting younger generations to watch a sardonic film like ‘Men who save the world’ is another thing. To begin with, it doesnt have what malaysian youths usually enjoy ; action or romance films. It doesnt even embrace what typical malaysian directors love to do which is recycling horror tales and calling it a new and upgraded horror flick ever released. This film is opposite of everything typical local films usually possessed such as a) Its not necessarily has a love theme B) It does’nt have glossy factors like a good looking actors or hot actresses C) It’s revolves around cultures, values and morality that we often forget D) It’s mocking our society’s bad habit in a sarcastic manner. Hollywood and even bollywood is way past making satire films but Malaysia is practically an infant at this. Why? Because we are too defensive about everything. We are too busy being offended for many things. If we are not busy being offended, we are demanding government to ban anything that might offend us.

Because we all know what 'kompang' is, right?
Because we all know what ‘kompang’ is, right?

               Take a chill pill, will you? Take this film as an example which is instead of focusing the content of film, they are fighting and arguing that this film is an insult to Malay’s dignity. Why? because the director is not belong to Malay Race. He is chinese and some malays cant accept that.  Seriously, How can you be stupid than you already are right now?  Many failed to highlight the intention of both writer and director in this film. ‘Muafakat’ and ‘Angkat Rumah’ culture is at the brink of extinction. Currently, Malaysian youths preferred to migrate searching for better opportunity rather than staying in a rural area. They even chose to live in the city and leaving the elders behind. They went back once or twice to visit the elders and truth be told, they forgot the culture they were raised in (including myself). The elders still practicing it but these culture will be gone with them to be honest. However, this is not the thing they are discussing once they watched the film. They kept dissing that the director is a chinese. They kept insinuating that Malays and Islam has been portrayed in a bad manner and it was unforgivable for them. They even went on asking all Malays to boycott this film. What bad manner? Which one? Shaman, ‘Bomoh’ or Tahyul belief has been long existed and deeply rooted in our culture. Sorry but not sorry, admit it that some of our relatives still go and seek their counsel. Although you yourself dont believe it anymore, people around you still do.

Bomoh, Bomoh & Bomoh
Bomoh, Bomoh & Bomoh

                Before those morons started imposing this boycott on all of us or before we blindly following their order, i urged you guys to watch the film first. Give this film the benefit of the doubt, watch it without any pre conceived notion that you have regarding this film, keep an open mind and you can see what actually the film is all about. Sometime we watched film for an entertainment, to make us laugh but sometime we watched it because it is realistic and speaks to us in a direct and sensible truth. This film is one of them. You can enjoy watching ‘Hantu Mak limah’ or ‘Polis Evo’ (no judgment here though i will not watch them) but save some time to enjoy film like this in the future. Hopefully, we can save our local film industry by showing adequate support to high quality films like this in the future.

Some scenes you shouldn’t feel offended at all even if you are malay (because obviously it was true) :

  1. Believing Shaman’s word over their own rationality.
  2. Trusting an illicit-substance addict words rather than checking the old house itself.
  3. Too quick to pass judgment before investigating it thoroughly.
  4. (There is no insult on islam or attack on islam whatsoever) The Animal slaughter in eid-ul-adha might seem ordinary in our eyes but imagine kids (i know i cried when i first saw cow’s got slaughtered), people who are vegans saw it, their brain might exaggerate the scene and perceived it was barbaric. The director seems to portray the scene in kid’s perspective. You saw in that scene that the kids cried so hard. You shouldnt felt offended instead make it as a responsibility that if any people asked why the slaughter seems barbaric, explain it based on Islamic teaching. We don’t simply cut animals and make it suffer. Thanks to Wikipedia and its information ; i would love to clarify this to my fellow Malaysians (Non Muslims especially) that one of the rules to slaughter cow in ISLAM is that the knife must be sharp and the cut must be placed on specific location so that cow can face a quick death.

This method of slaughtering lawful animals have several conditions to be fulfilled: (1) The butcher must be Muslim, (2) The name of “ALLAH” or “In the name of Allah” must be called by the Muslim butcher upon slaughter of each halal animal separately, (3) it should consists of a swift, deep incision with a very sharp knife on the throat, cutting the wind pipe, jugular veins and carotid artery of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact.

Plot :

'Angkat Rumah' Culture
‘Angkat Rumah’ Culture

              The story started with Pak Awang ( Wan Hanafi Su) intended to remove his old house to a new location. He intend to finish rebuilding the house before her daughter get married (She was never shown in the film, FYI). He was planning to give the house as her daughter’s wedding gift. The old house has been left for few years and some part of it beyond repair. Together with his friend, Megat (Harun Salim Bachik), they consulted a local religious leader who is also house builder known as Tok Bilal (Jalil Hamid) for some advice. At first, he was reluctant because of it is nearly impossible task to relocate the house. However, he agreed to assist and by using his influence to ascertain a quite number of villagers to lend their hand in this matter. The story then shifted to an immigrant African man (known as solomon) who’s working as a hawker for counterfeited goods like belts and wallets. However, without having a license to sell, it causes problem to Solomon. All his goods has been confiscated by the authority and he ended up being beaten mercilessly by them. Fortunately, he managed to escape and hide in the lorry. Authority currently searching for him but he successfully fled right into the nearby forest before security checked the lorry.

Solomon hide in Pak Awang's old house.
Solomon hide in Pak Awang’s old house.

                Solomon ran as fast as he could before he stumbled upon Pak Awang old house. He used the house as his shelter before his presence is noticed by ‘good for nothing’ villager, Wan (Sofi Jikan). Never seen a black and African man before, he panicked and alerted head of village and others that the house is haunted. The rumors has been spreading around but the ‘moving house’ activity still continued despite the rumors. Pak Awang intended to finish the moving in 5 days. Villagers kept gossiping about it and related to certain incidents befell to some people is due to the house curse. First, Megat step on fragile floor and sprained his ankle, then Wan saw the black figure in the house, the daughter of one villager has been allegedly bitten by ghost and now, the camel that will be sacrificed for Eid Adha is currently missing. The ghost theory kept getting stronger and villagers are being restless because of the house. In turbulent time like this, we always used Shaman or ‘Bomoh’ to connect the link. It’s in our culture to refer our problem to them. Although this is not widely accepted anymore because Islam forbids it, still few of Malays continuing the beliefs. The shaman concluded based on his prediction that it was ‘Orang Minyak’, one of malay ghost myths. His guess was solely based on Wan’s description and the bitten mark on one of the villager’s daughter. Some of you may not know what is ‘Orang Minyak’ or to translate directly as ‘Oily Man’.

The orang minyak of the 1960s was described as human, naked and covered with oil (supposedly to make it difficult to catch). However, there were also stories of the orang minyak where it was supposedly supernatural in origin, or invisible to non-virgins, or both. The mass panic has also led to unmarried women, typically in student dormitories, borrowing sweaty clothes to give the impression to the orang minyak that they are with a man. (All Credit goes to Wikipedia for this description).

To lure 'Orang Minyak' , all male in village has to cross dress.
To lure ‘Orang Minyak’ , all men in village has to cross dress.

                 The shaman then asked all villagers to cross dress as to lure the demon out. Its somewhat a bit chaotic seeing all male wore baju kurung and vice versa in this village. Thats what Solomon felt when he saw this. He dont understand but he didnt say anything. He made himself remain hidden. The male villagers , on the other hands, remain vigilant to the current situation. Pak Awang failed to convince the rest to not heed what the shaman and Wan said. It might be their imagination, he assumed. Pak awang resorted to bribe Wan seeing that he failed to convince the villagers. He asked Wan to revert his statement and admitted he never saw the ghost around his old house. Wan refused to do that though he did took the money from him.

                Did Pak Awang managed to move his house on time? Did they ever found out that the ‘Oily Man’ is not really an oil man? I wont write the ending because i wanted you guys to watch it.

I (2015) – A modern Beauty & The Beast Tale

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

ai-movie-poster-shankar-tamil-movie-6
My rating : 4/5

Puli is bad. Nope, I think bad would be an understatement, its worse. I’ve been misled that Puli will be the next bahubali (which is it failed miserably and its story was failed to grip the audience utterly). Maya will be the new breath take to Tamil Film Industry but Puli will be their damnation. I hated it and I walked out of cinema in the middle of movie. I’ve never done that. That is my first time (and i intend to make it the last one). However, i cant get over the feeling of how bad Puli is causing me to search few highly recommendable Tamil films. This is the way to win back my confidence in watching Tamil films again. Luckily, i found it. Through I (2015) i discovered that Vikram is a big deal in Tamil Film Industry and one of critical acclaimed actors in Kollywood.

Vikram as Lingesan
Vikram as Lingesan

Of course a mainstream movie will have a love story as their essence. In this film, the magical true love story happened between Lingesan (Vikram) and Diya (Amy Jackson). Lingesan has been a simple guy all his life. He owned a small gym and having a passion in a body building . He is completely obsessed with Diya which is a supermodel and actress in India. Being her biggest fan, he will buy every single product that Diya has endorsed and even stopped whenever Diya’s commercial film is on air. He entered a Tamil Nadu district Body Builder competition and won the first place. However, There was some jealousy incident occurred and Lingesan has made some enemy out of it. Lingesan become famous right after winning the title and started to do a small scale commercial films on his own. It must be a fate for Lingesan to meet Diya on her film set. Diya treated him like a normal fan but Lingesan fell head over heels for her.

Amy Jackson as Diya
Amy Jackson as Diya

Diya is the rising star in the industry. She is a very hard working and talented artist. However, after she rejected the offer to sleep with one of her co-stars, her offers starting to reduce. She get replaced by other new models instantly. Diya is scared that she might losing her popularity. She asked her agent to help her. She wanted to recruit her co-star to avoid such issue happened again. She found Lingesan advert in newspaper and managed to convince Lingesan to change his appearance. Lingesan transformed from a rural body builder to the urban male model. He even changed his name to ‘ Lee’. Lingesan dropped his dream to win ‘Mr India’ Body Building Competition and followed Diya to shoot commercial film in China. Being a newcomer in modelling industry, Lingesan has caused some of prominent models to lost their contract. Without his realization, the number of his enemy has been increasing. He is not aware of it and proceed with his life without any worry.

Vikram-I
Lingesan changed his name to Lee after the transformation.

Lee and Diya has been such a lovely pair in television and billboard. People enjoyed their chemistry and public demand to see them together on screen. They enjoyed the popularity and attention that has been given to them. Lee has been asked to do a commercial film for a cool drink belonged to one company which he indebted to them for giving him a chance to be a model. Lee rejected it due to some controversy that product has. That cool drink apparent has a high level of dangerous substance that may cause death. Lee replied honestly regarding the toxicity level when reporters probe him to ask why he rejected to do that drink commercial film.  Due to this, the company suffered a major setback and suffered market crash. The company owner planned to make Lee suffered because he almost make his company went bankrupt.

Lee and Diya is enjoying their limelight.
Lee and Diya is enjoying their limelight.

(Spoiler) The most unexpected villain in this story is Diya’s doctor. I didnt expect it a bit. He looked like a decent person and never betrayed anyone. I was wrong. This doctor dotted on Diya and wanted her all by himself. He managed to shoo away all the man that are interested in Diya but failed to keep Lee on a leash. Filled with hatred towards Lee, he banded together all people who hated Lee and plotted their own revenge. Lee is injected with some hazardous substance called “h4n6”. The effect of it has caused Lee to transformed into a hunchback person. Lee suffered heavily from his deformity and remain hidden from Diya. When Diya is getting restless, Lee staged his own death so that Diya will believe that he is no more and she can move on. It all change when Lee is diagnosed by other doctor. He suggested that what Lee is suffering is not from Genetic Disease but a Virus. The doctor said someone might have injected him with it.

Lingesan turned into an ugly monster after being injected by hazardous virus.
Lingesan turned into an ugly monster after being injected by hazardous virus.

Lee finally discovered that Diya’s doctor is not someone he can trust. He kidnapped Diya and plotting his vengeance to all who has done wrong to him. He didnt kill them but he let them suffered from being deformed exactly like they did to him. Diya recognized Lee despite his terrible look after spending a few days with him. Diya refused to go and promised to care for him until he recovered completely. With the help of kind doctor, Lee is recovered partially. His skin return to normalcy but his hunchback is not disappear completely. Diya and Lee stayed in a very isolated place and enjoyed each other company without any regards to their past. They left their world behind and choose solace over fame.

I’ve nothing much to say about Vikram and Amy Jackson. Vikram for all i know has been praised by the critics for nailing both role as Lingesan/ Lee and the monster perfectly. Amy Jackson also received nothing but a positive review for her previous films both for her acting and her deliverance in Tamil language. She is a foreigner but people appreciated her effortless way in speaking the language well.  People who complained that this movie  has a long duration and so many unnecessary scenes has been put in it, they are being unreasonable. Every single scene for me has been put together so well with a story line. A soundtrack composed by A.R Rahman is so addictive especially the first track titled ‘Mersalaayiten’. The video of this song is featuring Lingesan and his vivid imagination turning Diya into every single thing that he saw or touch ; from mobile phone to a bubble in a laundry room.