Saturday, May 31, 2008

Inaccurate Portrayal of "Oriental" People

I seldom watch Channel 5, but this morning I decided to switch to that channel, after getting sick of the constant recycling of kids' drama serials over at Channel 8. So there on Channel 5 was this drama serial titled "The New Adventures of Robin Hood II" which featured some Japanese people. There was one particular character, a Japanese woman to be exact, which I felt was a disaster in character appearance.

If you could not tell what was wrong with her appearance, let me shed some light. First, her makeup was not what a typical Japanese woman in that era put on. I personally felt it was more like what Peking opera actors would wear on stage. As for her kimono, I've never heard of kimonos that is fastened right centre on one's body; only the ancient Chinese wear their dress that way! So you see, the character portrayal is a total flop, with the exception of the hair. But then again, thinking on the logical side, if a woman is constantly on the travel like this character does, it doesn't seem feasible for her to comb this hard-to-maintain hairstyle and makeup.

It is very ironic that such big mistakes can take place in American productions, whereby stylistic realism plays a very important part. Perhaps the designers for this show felt that the western audiences won't be able to tell the difference anyway, but then again it just reflect how badly their research was carried out.

Backdrop for my Paper Theatre

I've just made a backdrop for my paper theatre. It has been ages since I last paint, and I seemed to have deteriorated. Either that, or the material was too small for me to handle (25cm x 12.5cm using acrylic). Anyway why did I do this "backdrop", you may ask. It was actually a draft of some kind, which I intend to make into a real backdrop of size 10m by 5m for my Chinese opera troupe. However, I don't think I can handle a painting that big on my own (I don't even have such a big uninterrupted floor space to start with), and outsourcing to scenic backdrop painting companies locally could be costly too, I guess. What's more I'm doing not just one, but 3, or even up to 9 if budget allows. Maybe I'll have to look for such companies in China, but then again when the outsourcing company is far away, it is hard for one to supervise the progress. If anyone out there has got any recommendation on cheap and reliable scenic backdrop painting companies, do drop me a message!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ineffective Workers

It is not my style to whine about work, although I do sometimes comment about how tiring or stressful these works could be. Well, not unless I have to work with "undesirable" people. What I mean by undesirable people are those who spend half of their working time, or more, on self-declared breaks while leaving all unfinished work to the rest of the team who do not share their concept of loafing.

Today I went to help out in a school event, and I got a chance to work with such people. Altogether, including me, my faculty engaged 8 physical helpers to do some painting job. However, it didn't take long for this number to drop down to just 3. Where did the other 5 went to? Two of them disappeared from time to time, and another 3 just sit at a corner chit-chatting away. At least the first 2 helpers did do quite a bit of work, but the latter 3 simply laze around, and I even heard one of them commenting how tiring this job was. If such little painting job can tire them, what about the 3 of us who only stop for a sip of coffee throughout? I believe it makes sense that by chipping in effort to finish the job once and for all, all of us can leave earlier, but obviously these people don't think the same; they'd rather waste their time sitting at a corner doing nothing. The only thing they "helped" was to comment that one area was not well-painted, after we'd decided to pack up. Such people are damn annoying! On top of that, these people were the first to leave when the whole group was dismissed.

So you see the irony: people who worked less get to leave early, while people who worked more had to stay behind clearing up. Illogical right?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chinese Opera on National TV During Peak Hours

Tonight was the first episode of the 3rd season of a very popular game show sponsored by a very big supermarket. On this first episode, a few children were featured performing Teochew opera at the end of the show, and that made me very upset. Not that their performance were not good, and neither am I anti-Teochew opera. What I wasn't happy about was that they were actually performing in dialect on national TV during prime time airing slots, something our opera troupe was denied of years ago.

You see, years ago, our opera troupe was invited to take part in an episode of a local variety show (the show was to be aired on a Monday night). In this variety show, there was a singing competition, and weekly during the competition, the contestants had to go through a "test of the week", which could be anything from doing stunts or performing tasks which was out of the singing scope, depending who the "master of the week" was. So our role in this episode of the variety show was to have someone within our troupe to be the "master" and sing a segment of our Hokkien opera, and have the contestants sing like how our "master" did. We spent the whole evening recording the episode, and our involvement was even included in the TV trailer (showing one contestant singing beside our "master"). However at the last minute, all footages showing our "master" were deleted, on grounds that showing materials with dialect elements on national TV during prime time airing slots is against the higher authorities' regulations. We were all very unhappy, because we had informed everyone around us about the airing, but since that was something which could go against the regulations, we just have to accept that decision. So since the relevant authorities ruled that dialect elements should not be aired during prime time slots, why now this variety show, also on a prime time airing slot (and some more on a weekend), can feature Teochew opera performance? Not just that, many a times in charity gala shows, which are always aired on weekend prime time slots as well, there'd be guest stars singing Hokkien/ Cantonese songs or perform Teochew/ Cantonese opera. So why are these acts allowed too? On a side note, there're several occasions on weekend afternoons, segments featuring artistes singing Hokkien songs in Taiwanese variety shows were censored. Aren't weekend evenings more "prime" than weekend afternoons? Why are dialect elements in less "prime" slots censored while similar stuffs in more "prime" slots allowed to be aired?

I'm really confused with the stand of the relevant authority regarding this matter. I just don't think all these make any sense, but since my troupe leader did not pursue the matter back then, I didn't want to make a fuss too, and I was in no position to anyway. However, everytime I see Chinese opera acts during prime time slots on our national TV, I just get upset. Isn't that an irony, that a Chinese opera practitioner gets upset over Chinese opera act on TV?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hospital Woes

My father has been discharged from hospital yesterday. And he's not cured yet.

I am surprised by how inefficient the hospital is, not by their medical skills, but their administrative work. You see, my father was admitted to hospital on the 28th, after being going there for x-ray. The reason for the admission was to let the doctors do a thorough scan on my father's leg to determine where the fault is. My father was told the scan would be done the following day, but it wasn't carried out as promised, due to "too many patients on the waiting list". It was done, however, the day after, which meant 1 night was wasted away in the hospital. The report was out on 1st of May, and it was said that blood in 3 of his veins or arteries were not flowing well and need to "unblock" them. Therefore, my father was scheduled for that the following day, but when on the next day, after fasting the whole day and on drip, he was once again told that there were "too many patients on the waiting list", and that he would have to wait until Thursday. They then told my father that he could be discharged already and re-admit again on Wednesday night.

What kind of service is this? How can a big hospital like this not able to check their scheduling beforehand and make empty promises? What if on Thursday morning they "found out" that there're still "too many patients on the waiting list"? Is that how the hospital is making money, by making patients stay-in for nothing? If that's the case, I'd rather my father go seek medical treatment in a more expensive hospital that do not let their patients waste their precious money unnecessarily! It's such a shame that such a hospital can even be considered a "government hospital"!