Monday, November 28, 2005

Bollywood And Me

More than half the world knows that I'm into Chinese opera, and many people know that I'm interested in Thai music and movies. However, not many know that I'm into Tamil movies as well. It sounds unbelievable, to the extent that when I told my ex-colleague, who is an Indian-Chinese, he thought I was fooling him

Of all genres, why Bollywood movies? If it was Thai or Malay movies, I can still understand a sentence or two out of the entire show, but Tamil is one language which I don't even understand a single word, except for "Vannakum!" Actually I have been watching Tamil movies since I was young. Not that I watched under the influence of my parents, since they do not understand the language either. At that age, I was too young to understand what's going on in the shows on television. Hence I just watch whatever there was available, anything that was not boring to me. Tamil movies somehow was interesting to me. In fact it wasn't just Tamil movies, but Tamil cultural shows like those short dance segments that were shown in the evenings (at that time, Tamil programmes were shown for only a few hours a day on the Mandarin channel). Of course I did not know what they were singing or talking about, but I just find their language interesting. Their music was also rather fascinating, especially their percussion instruments

Bollywood movies, either you like them or you hate them. The main reasons why some people do not like them are that typical Bollywood shows are too draggy, with stereotypical plots and illogical dance and song segments in between scenes (I have seen one movie whereby one of the dance segments was shot in Singapore, although the story of the movie does not happen in Singapore). No doubt Bollywood movies are quite lengthy, but the plots are not as draggy as in the past. As for the dance and music, I think you just got to get used to them! In recent years, Bollywood film music is getting better, and the dance segments are becoming more enjoyable to watch. Just like yesterday night's "Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai" and last week's "Mujhse Dosti Karoge!" are fine examples; a far cry from those "running around coconut trees" stereotypes. These movies not only have a following in India, but also in U.K. and U.S. too

In short, I think Bollywood movies are interesting mix of drama, music and dance. At times you just have to stop thinking in logical terms before you can fully enjoy the essence of the movie!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Finally Up: My Opera Troupe's Website

After many months of planning and shelving aside, the new website for my Chinese opera troupe is finally up and running! Not all, but I guess about 90%. I'm still trying to figure out how to make my guestbook script to display correctly in Chinese, as well to to configure it to suit the theme of the website. Also, biodata of some crew members are not up yet as I don't have their data or pictures on hand. Looks like I have more things to settle with! But at least now I can have a piece of mind as I don't have to be reminded constantly to go update the website.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Telemarketer

I don’t quite like telemarketers in general. They always call you at random hours, and then rattle on and on about whatever promotions they’re supposed to push without giving a heck if you’re free at that point of time, or even interested in the first place.

This morning I received another such call. But this telemarketer is somehow different from the rest I’ve came across. He was more professional, and he is by far the only telemarketer that I don’t dislike. As usual, after confirming my identity over the phone, he starts talking non-stop as if reading from a script. However, after I told him that my income makes me ineligible for application of their service, he told me he’d call back again for a revised promotion according to my income. Although I know he actually meant “Sorry you’re not eligible!”, but that was something nice to hear. Unlike some others who just went speechless and then blurted “Sorry, then this promotion is not for you!”.

Although a telemarketer’s primary job is to push services to customers, often reciting the same script to potential customers day in day out, it doesn’t just end there. I had never been a telemarketer before, but I believe one needs to know how to talk professionally, as well as being able to handle unexpected events in order to be an effective telemarketer. If a telemarketer does not possess these qualities, then he or she should just go look for other jobs. These are the people that ruin the image of other good telemarketers!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I Had a Japanese Name

A few moments ago, I sent a belated birthday greetings to a polytechnic classmate of mine. We haven't been in contact for many years already, but since her birthday is just one day ahead of me, I thought I might as well send her some well wishes. No excuse for not able to remember her birthday! When signing off, I suddenly remembered one thing: I had a Japanese name! Used to have, to be exact

On my first week of lessons back in polytechnic, there was a particular lecturer who asked the entire class to tell him how we would want him to address us as. When it was my turn to speak, I just blurted out "Michiru", and since then it had become my name. What does "Michiru" mean? Frankly speaking, up till now I still have no idea! All I know was that I heard of this name once over at "Japan Hour". Nevertheless this name sounded cool to me, and not commonly used among fellow Japanese-wannabe schoolmates.

However, this name became history after I graduated from polytechnic as people started to address me by my surname or my initials (hence AyCee became my nick name, since AyCee is A.C., short for Aaron Christopher). Polytechnic days were the best period of my life, but alas it was long history. Perhaps I should revert back to "Michiru", to remind myself of the good old days...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Moving On: Opera Troupe's Website

Today I finally started work of my opera troupe's website, a project which was shelved off since May. Being busy was part of my reasons for the delay, but the main issue was that at many point of time, I was so frustrated at the job that I decided to just stop working on it.

Our website, which existed since the late 90s, was first created by Amai, but soon was passed over to me for updating and revamping. I enjoy working on the website, but as time goes by, I realised that it was hard to manage so much contents all by myself. To make things worse, my original concept of the new website was later found to be not so structurally good. Hence I had to redo the interface and reorganise the contents. Till now I had already done 3 revamps, including the one I'm working on at the moment.

I don't know when the new website will be fully functional (it has not been fully functional since the day I started the revamp!). I can only do whatever I could do for now, and see how things turn out. Hopefully I would be able to finish it by the end of the year, which is when our next performance is scheduled.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Selamat Hari Raya Puasa!

Today marks the celebration of Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore for the Muslim community. I'm non-Muslim, but I get to benefit from it as it is a public holiday as well.

Many (non-Muslim) people consider it as the "Muslim New Year", even a taxi driver asked me if I would be enjoying half day off at work for this "Muslim New Year". However this is in fact incorrect. Hari Raya Puasa falls on the 9th month of the Muslim calander, whereas their new year, a not so significant day, falls on the first month.

Being one of the most important festivals of the Muslim world, the celebration started a month earlier by fasting. This culture of fasting was practised as a form of self-discipline, and all Muslims (children, pregnant ladies and sick people) are required to fast from sunrise till sunset. In Singapore and Malaysia, only Muslims are required to fast, but in places like Saudi Arabia, even non-Muslims (foreign workers) have to follow this culture!

Speaking of fasting, there was once recently where I almost "fasted" for a day, and it was terrible. On that day, I had my breakfast as usual at around 6 in the morning (the sun wasn't up yet), and worked throughout the day without any lunch or tea breaks in between till after sunset. Not that I'm trying to behave like a Muslim, but I was too busy to even eat. At the end of the day, I was so hungry that I had to buy some chocolate to eat before heading back for dinner. I wonder how the Muslims managed to fast continuously for a month, when one day without food is already so tough!

Fasting ends on the day of Hari Raya Puasa. On this day, every household will prepare lots of Malay food and pastries to celebrate. Speaking of which reminds me of my ex-neighbours in my previous neighbourhood. On my adjacent unit was a Muslim family, and although we seldom communicate due to language barrier, they'd always bring us alot of festive goodies during Hari Raya Puasa. The mistress of the family was just an ordinary housewife, but the food she made were very delicious. In return for her kindness, we would give them red packets (we did not have green packets) as a form of blessing. That was one of the "highlights" for Hari Raya Puasa then to me, since I knew nothing about the festival back then as I was still quite young. How memorable those days were! However, the family shifted away a few years later, and since then we had lost touch.

These years, Hari Raya Puasa to me is simply another festive holiday as I do not have any Malay friends to celebrate with. Nevertheless, I'd still like to wish all Muslims out there "Selamat Hari Raya Puasa Aidilfitri"!