Friday, December 30, 2005

the forgotten promise

To stick up more photos from Greece...

The Corinth Canal in the twilight.

The monasteries at Meteora, and the natural carvings in the rock that I mentioned in one of my first posts.

A picture from inside the monastery grounds during that misty day...

The view of the Pelopponnese mountain range from the southern coastline of mainland Greece, just outside of Itea.

One of the jetties on the Itea bay, right in front of an establishment that's been there for about 20 years, called Miami.

A place called Mouse Island (Pontikonissi) - where the little church only has a small jetty for access.

Lovey, c

edwin's christmas mix

Diva Edwin gave me a lovely home-made CD of chrissy songs, which reminded me of all the mix tapes I used to make for myself, especially when I new there was going to be a temporary change in my life. I had a Christmas Hols 1988, a Greece 1984, an Exams 1990 TEE...

Once we planned a family trip across the UK and parts of the continent, so all my songs were chosen for long-distance travel with great views and nights spent in at my mum's home in Itea, Greece. My choices? INXS, Howard Jones, The Communards, Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles album, The Big Chill soundtrack. And everytime we rode a train or drove en masse in a tiny van up a mountainside, these songs would be blaring in my ears as I thought dreamily about stories of me and some romantic hero in the countryside...

So now I am listening to Edwin's choices and thinking of the feelings they have stirred in him that warrant them as his picks for this christmas CD. And though I may not know why or even understand why THAT song, I do get that under the glitter he is a romantic and is deeply inspired by beauty and the sanctity of a fantasy well-fantasised.

Now I have listened to his little album, the personal-ness of it gets me looking through all my music, and at last I choose "the Fantasy Suite" by Al Di Meola and others, a lovely, haunting instrumental that seems to be building a fantasy film set around me, all shadows, reds, squeals and emotions.

It's like a memory I have of attending an outdoor concert for the closing of the Perth International Arts Festival sometimes in the mid 90s. It was night. We had toruble parking, but we managed to find a place and trawl through the hundreds of people setting up their foldup chairs and picnics and portable barbecues on the grounds of the Perth Concert Hall. We were a way away from the orchestra, but it was wonderful. If you've never understood why anyone would go to a concert hall to listen to a live orchestra when half the price of the ticket would get you a recording which you can listen to over and over again, I'll tell you this: it's the feeling in the air.

And it's a real feeling. Even though it might all be miked up, at a live concert you can feel the vibration in the air - the hum of the strings, the throaty exhalation of the woodwinds... It's a vibe and a thrum that lifts the spirits and makes your hair stand on end.

I have been to classical concerts where I've felt so brought alive by that feeling that I've been close to tears (sob sob - the magnitude of the human expression!) thinking about the beauty of it all.

Anyway, at the end of the concert, the conductor began leading the orchestra into Tchaikovsky's ( I think) 1812 Overture, where the endingis a vivid portrayal of a large succession of canon blasts, which at this performance, was perfectly timed with gigantic, loudly percussive thunderstrokey fireworks up overhead!!

We all lit up, it was like a fluoro light had been turned on above us. There were about 10 or more of them, all huge fireballs that dissolved into glittery sparks. The finale was grand. I'm sure it's been done time and time again, but it was a truly spectacular experience!

But besides my personal excitement, hearing the outward gasps and screams and expressions of awe and wonderment was a lovely thing to behold. No frowns, no concerns, no hassles, just pure delight and being in the moment.

So thanks for my chrissy mix fix Edwin, as I drown in an aural pool of Spanish histrionics and drama...

Lovey, C

Thursday, December 29, 2005

the fever dies down... and a new flu rises

Aaaahhh... the delights of a present-stuffed evening and lamb-stuffed tummies... Christmas eve was all that we cracked it up to be and more, with Panini, Shimau and LokoMoko celebrating in our airconditioned and TV-less home (we have neglected to pay our dues for astro). So, with Mariah Carey and Black Eyed Peas pumping through the house, we tore open our presents with delight and muah-muahed and thanked each other before sitting back and gazing lovingly into the middle distance, hand on tummy.

With the excitement of Christmas over and my eldest's fever dying down, we returned to normal life again for oh, just a moment. Then her tummy started aching and her chest it started wheezing - so back to the doctor we were for a blood test and urine sample. I've never seen her so proud to part with a bodily fluid dutifully aimed at a plastic cup.

She had a bacterial infection which the doctor gave her antibiotics for - mama's dreaded prescription.

"She always vomits it up. It's a reflex action. Can't you just give her a shot?"

Doctor looks at me, probably thinking, is this what a desperate mother looks and sounds like?

"We could but she would have to stay in for observation, in case there is a reaction."

I must have looked so disappointed. I was about to ask if he could just give her the shot and dispense with the formalities. Any reactions I will be responsible for. But he turned to her and uttered sternly, "Girl, you must finish all your medicine."

Thanks a lot, I thought. So I picked up the prescription and dismissively tossed it into my bag, thinking, another one for the kitchen cupboard.

We got home. She fought and retched and did everything but put the strawberry concoction to her lips. Then her father loomed over her and told her in no uncertain terms that she would be taking her medicine no matter what. After a rather long bout of wailing and (mother's) hair-pulling, she finally took the dose.

Then she suddenly puckered up her lips and squeezed her cheeks together using both hands.

"What are you doing?"

"This is how to stop vomiting, Mama."

Turns out she saw something on CSI and this was her version of making it work. So since then we have finished the whole course of antibiotics and she no longer has problems swallowing medicine.

I have always believed in the power and goodness of television!

Another flu that has arisen is the Actorlympics! run which is practically sold out! I have a feeling it is because of two reasons:

Stunning postcards

Baik Punya Cilok, which has reached fever pitch and grossed over a million ringgit in less than a week - and stars four of our regular Actorlympians.

So, if we don't see you there, then you've missed out big time! Last night was a lot of fun with lots of new people. We can tell because the anticipation in the air is different. And the laughter is a lot more spontaneous. Plus we had some great "volunteers" from the audience who got up to do some improv for us.

There may still be some tickets left, so check with the box office. If not, catch it next time in February 2006.

And now the lead up to New YEars....

Lovey, C

Friday, December 23, 2005

the meaning behind the name and cinema! cinema! cinema!

Why goldenoro?

Well, because my first and last name can mean gold in different languages, not going by the way they are spelt, though, but how they sound.

I was considering goldgold but thought it didn't quite roll off the tongue like goldenoro did.

Today there was a bomb scare at the shopping centre we were all wandering around in. We stayed away from the shop the bomb was supposedly in, but I got a little wired and decided to get teh car out of the parking lot and wait for hubby boo outside on the road. Hey, it's Christmas, and there are some out there who think they have a point to prove. Then I thought, what about all the other malls with heavier traffic? But nothing happened and we all got home safe.

My eldest is down with the flu. Her little heart-shaped face is flushed and her eyes are oily red. My youngest is trying hard to imitate being sick so that she can get some TLC too - but she is way too active (and melodramatic) to feign anykind of sickness.

Now they're both sleeping well and it occurred to me that a Best of Seven movie list would be fun to do too.

My Best of Seven Movie List:

Cinema Paradiso
Because it makes me cry, and because I'm too old to care if I do. Because I can, dammit! Catch the teenage Toto in other indie goodies such as Like Water For Chocolate and Once Upon A Time In Mexico. He's a native-born Australian by the way.

From a batch of fantastic comedy action flicks that came out of the 80s - Man With THe One Red Shoe, Beverly Hills Cop, F/X, etc. This one, with Chevy Chase delivering the dry and banal Fletch with such finesse and wit, was in my view the best.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Beats the other two for simply being the orgasmic ending to prolonged and feverish anticipation of the cinematic release of the first of three... And for the nine of the fellowship who brought us all the dream.

For being a film that opened my eyes to the potential of Malay cinema and storytelling. For all the layers of meaning and the depth of perception of the Malaysian psyche. Afdlin Shauki is a master storyteller trying to shift the poverty of mainstream Malay cinema and the dire perception of the producers, of what makes a good story and what the audience wants...

For sentiment, spirit and love that shines from the screen, and for the bravery of presenting a tiny story with such largesse of spirit.

For Jean Reno, Christophe Lambert, Jean-Hugues Anglade and Luc Besson. Also for the wonderful soundtrack by Eric Serra, who features as a down and out bass player in the film. This movie gives you such a sense of space and place, and is mostly set in the underground Paris metro. Actually, I first saw the English-dubbed version and although the voices have dubious accents and intonation, the dialogue seems funnier in english than the original french! Look out for a heart-stopping action sequence when Lambert runs from the cops to the sound of a rocking soundtrack. It's the Highlander in a trenchcoat - swoon!

Hercules Returns
An Australian flick by two comedians who used to tour cinemas and do live dubbing over b-grade movies, totally changing the story line and ripping the movie apart with scandalous flippancy and total delight! Although Herc Rets does suffer a little for the bracketing story they put around the actual fun part (the old italian b-grade story of hercules and samson), the rest of it is side-splittingly funny and features Ozzie actors who have gone on to better things.

Hmmm.. no Scorsese or Eastwood, but these are my favourite movies and the heavyweight serious ones don't really count right now.

Having fun...


lists are good

I've been reading some interesting blogs and have decided that my initial disdain for lists of likes and dislikes was unfounded and snobbish. I suppose I decided that after I thought it would be fun to tell everyone my top 7 music moments:

My Top Seven Music Moments:
Or music that makes life stand still for a little while - in no particular order.

Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
The waterfall opening riff and Robert Smith's uncharacteristic whoop of joy at the start, the playful video and total abandonment of restraint make this a recurring music moment for me. Every time it plays I want to twirl and look upwards into a film camera twirling the other way while snowflakes fall...

Wonderwall - Oasis
Why? Not because of Oasis but because I was dead tired sitting on the floor on a dirty ferry in the middle of the night going from Italy to Greece and out of the hum of sleeplessness and fluorescent lights came this lonesome, plaintive voice, backed by an old guitar. Some tourist was playing to relieve the boredom and for a moment I was in love with being alone and unwashed and going nowhere, and having some stranger strike a chord.

Sweet Harmony - The Beloved
Bordering on Eurotrash. But I first heard it in a Greek nightclub and when the sophisticated drum loop started, a whole world of partying with beloved strangers opened up to me and I realised that with music, we are one... Actually, it's just the Europop sound which really works on this track.

Cornfield scene opera piece sung by dame Kiri Te Kanawa in "Room With A View"
If you're looking for that divine romantic movie, this is the one, and it is in this scene that one of the movie's passionate screen kisses takes place. Dame Kiri's voice soars and brings your heart up with it.

Toto's Theme - Cinema Paradiso
It's a good thing it takes me a while to recall this tune, because when I do remember it, be it in the car or in a meeting, I start crying.

When We Dance - Sting
And the whole album (I can't remember which). I studied for my TEE finals in Perth listening to this whole album, and sometimes I would look up from my chemistry notes and see the big picture about life. A song about not knowing and missing an unjustly lost one.

The whole Lord of the Rings soundtrack.
Because spending three years living and loving the characters of the trilogy demands a soundtrack. If a soundtrack was cinematic, this particular one would exemplify.

It's so mystifying the effect music has on one's senses. Memories of smells and physical feelings come up, depression ebbs, the senses calm. It's such a sophisticated thing, for animals like us to create and enjoy, such a language, so beautiful (yadda yadda yadda).

I know the above are limited. Why seven? It's more than 5 and less than 9 and also odd. I don't only like those kinds of music. I'm rather fond of acid jazz and love good and progressive pop. Anything with a great backbeat from the top 40 is fun too.

Best Christmas Carol Past: Nat King Cole singin' "Chestnut roasting on an open fire..."
Best Kiddie Christmas Carol: "Donde Esta Santa Claus?"
BEst Christmas Carol Present : Mariah Carey with the fabulous "All I want for Christmas Is You"

Lovey, C

Thursday, December 22, 2005

When Kong is King

When you work in the movie industry, either as a technical or creative person, it's always hard to watch a movie and get completely lost in it - because you're always thinking, "wow, I wonder how they did that?" Or, "look at that shot!" Or, "that's some really interesting character action going on there."

Usually, you can never really divest yourself of the real world and enter into the reality of the film. But every now and then a film comes along that sweeps you up into the grandeur of its reality, and for a while, you are wonderfully lost in the story.

Such a movie was King Kong.

Perhaps a little slow off the mark, but once the first real action sequence involving Kong comes along, the action kicks up and never slows till the end! I had shivers up and down my spine, and I swear I must have looked like the people in front on a roller coaster!

Naomi Watts and Kong were an amazing pair - obviously there's not much in the way of dialogue that can happen between them, so it was all done with expression and atmosphere, and of course, action. We know Kong cares for her because a) he doesn't mash her up, pick her bones and use her tibia as a toothpick, and b) because he keeps saving her and protecting her from horrible prehistoric beasties. I thought it was so very romantic and sad.

I say it was a movie in which you could lose yourself, but surprise surprise, the Malaysian audience was out in full force and of course, on their best behaviour.

Next to me, a young girl whined to her boyfriend to tell her what was happening, and to my disgust, obliged her laziness by giving a running commentary that was only broken when they rudely pushed past us and stepped on our toes to exit for a breather. They must have gone to the toilet together, because they came back empty handed. Girls, if you ever find yourself acting like a total bimbo, ask someone to kick you in the butt. Girls like that give us chicks a bad name!

Then there was the child behind me who kept sneezing on my head and giving me unwanted back massages with his feet. Then two rows ahead, the teenager messaging to his friends and phone screen light piercing my retina and depriving me of a darkened theatre.

Last but not least, ah! the smart young teens sniggering at shy-shy moments and asking each other if one of the characters was really dead or not. "Dia mati ke? Tak mati lah! Eh, tengok tu! Mati dah!" And the last bright spark: "Mati? Siapa?"

Come the three hour mark, shuffling, chatting and general indifference began a tiresome period of trying to hear and be involved in the movie without popping a blood vessel.

Sad to say but I think most Malaysians have no stamina, can never really get into the spirit of things, and want their thoughts served up to them on a plate. And the other Malaysians who are willing to go the distance, are always positive and see the best in situations and each other, and want the challenge of the unknown, usually get bogged down by others' ignorance, obstinacy and total lack of imagination.

But I must quell my irritation, after all, it's yet another festive season and I shall be enjoying a quiet night with family and loving being insular for a while.

If you are looking for a great adventure, stunning visual effects, gorgeous stars and beautiful characters, I recommend King Kong. But be prepared, and if you can't stand the crowds, choose an early monday morning show! Oh, and watch out for the spectacular death scene of the ship's chef character played by Andy Serkis (Gollum AND Kong). It's soooo gross!Eeew..

Merry Christmas again for those celebrating.

My wish for Christmas: if it doesn't snow in KL, please let it rain!

Lovey, C

Monday, December 19, 2005

Aeon Flux, Shoots and Leaves

Just saw Aeon Flux, a cool movie, watchable, highly conceptualised to the point of corny. But good monday night fare. The most stunning thing about it was Charlize Theron, and even though her close-cropped hair wasn't a match for the real, animated Aeon's super-tanduk hairdo, she looked amazing and was very, very flexible.

Some more got hole in her back for telecommunicative ease. There was a point during the movie when I thought to myself, she's about my age and I can't even run like a human anymore. I feel like a hippo, or at best, a kind of saggy, been-pregnant subhumanoid when I try to run. And for another moment, I thought, if only I was as svelte, elastic and slim as Charlize Theron. Then I thought of the hours and weeks of training that would take, and the moment passed as I relaxed back into my cinema seat with my hotdog.

There was a scene when she awoke from a dream, wearing only strands of chain - you know, those ball-bearing chains that hold your luggage tags on? The guy next to me giggled with his male friend. Sometimes I despair over the minds of our audiences here in Malaysia. If they can't handle the bare flesh of a woman in a totally neutral scene, what on earth happens to them when they see one inflagrante, ready and willing to be used for their bodily desires? Laugh out loud? Snortle and whimper?

Then there was that moment when I saw Julius Caesar at the KLPac, when Cassius bares his chest and says something like, "Here's my naked breast, stab me..." The two boys in front of me giggled and huddled close to each other, whispering. Eeeyer, people, please bring up your kids with some maturity lah! Some of them might be leading the country one day.

So Aeon was enjoyable. It was nice to see Martin Csokas speaking and emoting after the dreadful castration of being Galadriel's dumb wife-accessory Celeborn in The Lord of The Rings. The pity of it is, the film didn't do justice to the wonderful ease with which Theron and Csokas brought the characters to life. Never mind, good body, good looks, okay whaaat!

So while I balance my laptop on my table-top thighs and cuddle my three-year-old postpartum belly fat between my forearms as I type, I think smugly about how terribly pressurised being a star and maintaining the posture, health and muscle tone must be. Whilst, for the rest of us, a simple trick of the imagination transforms us into the long-legged, lithe and not-too-shy-to-go-bare-assed-on-a-Brazilian-beach-if-I-had-to sort of people we like to think of ourselves as being. I mean, I see Angelina Jolie every time I look in the mirror, please! I don't need to exercise and work on my body when I have the power of delusion behind me!

So, I suppose this blog was just to say thanks to Aeon Flux for reminding me how much I depend on my ability to separate reality from belief.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Lovey, C

Sunday, December 18, 2005

my mother my hag

A few months ago I was changing my pillow cases when my daughter said to me, "Ma, why do you look like this when you change the pillows?"

Then she made a face much like the screamer in Edward Munch's "The Scream".

I just fell about laughing, and she's been very kindly exhibiting my pillow-changing expression to everyone she meets. I really do make that face when I hold a pillow under my chin while I pull its cover up.

Lovey, C

all i want for christmas is loads of presents, i mean, yooooouuuuu

Christmas is coming up and though we aren't of the ilk, we do celebrate as a kind of leftover habit from my christian days. One thing is for sure, for me, raya celebrations do not really compare to christmas - and i'm talking from a purely superficial point of view. When it comes to presents, decoration, songs and spirit, Commercial Christmas rocks! Despite the worries the ulamaks have of raya becoming commercialised, they really shouldn't get too anxious. Nothing beats Christmas consumerism!

This year, because my sister, who celebrates Christmas, will be alone, we have decided to have Christmas Eve dinner and go the whole hog (pardon the expression). We bought a tree, four strings of orange lights so that we could thread the lights throughout the tree, lots of gold and bronze baubles, a pink feather peacock bird for one daughter and a big fat santa for the other daughter. We put it up in half an hour and have been adjusting the decorations every day since.

In the next couple of days I shall be getting presents for our family, which we haven't done for a few years. And I've already picked out ten different wrapping paper designs which will look best under the tree. We really feel the urge to treat everyone and I can't wait for everyone to gather round and open their presents!

I will be cooking a roast lamb, roast vegetables and a warm salad, and Panini will bring her delicious stuffing and dessert. Then we'll have coffee and open the presents and maybe settle down to some tv and aircon - ooooh! The simple pelasures are the best.

Meanwhile, my parents who are visiting my mother's hometown of Itea, Greece, will probably have lamb on the spit, cooked in their fireplace, with lemon, oregano and olive oil, lots of retsina, and good family company. The windows will be fogged up from the cold and at midnight the churchbells will begin to ring. On New Year's Eve, the ships in the little bay will sound their horns ro whatever ships have, and everyone will turn on their lights and crack pomegranates on their doorstep for good luck.

Our nanny is leaving for a couple of weeks, so I'm fitting in as many outings for myself before she goes. Expect two sides of me to come out during that time: the frazzled mummy-wreck and the zen yoga-mummy. Glamour mummy has long been put to bed, and so has intelligent conversation mummy (she sucks up too much vital brain and muscle fuel). I've recently made the decision to stop buying 4 inch heels, they cost too much and tend to put my back out. So, all you short guys out there, including hubby boo, can look me in the eye from now on...

To all you Christmas Celebrators out there, Merry Christmas!

Lovey, C

Thursday, December 15, 2005

water runs through me

I sometimes go through a whole day drinking loads of drinks and very little water. Coffee, canned drinks and allsorts from the mamak - all of them tooth-clinky sweet and chockablock with stimulants. Headaches, abdominal twinges, joint pains and soprano teeth (you know when your tooth reacts painfully to sugar or cold, and then you go "aaaaahhhhh" just like a soprano) finally remind me that I haven't had a plain glass of water for two days.

That's when I reach for the Aitch Two O and glug down a bottle. Despite the sudden desire to pee every 15 minutes, I feel much lighter, much better and more alert.

So I put it to you that maybe that horrible, chronic feeling of bleurghness you've been having is really just your thirsty body telling you to get some water down your gullet. Don't overdo it though, kids. Too much water can upset the NaCl (salt, for all you chemistry dropouts) balance in your body, and cause all sorts of problems, like swellage of the brain and death!!

I kid you not. Salt levels in our body cells hold the cell together, so to speak. Too much water means that the salt gets diluted and then can't hold it all together, lah. Then your organs expand (and in this case it ain't a good thing) and pressure builds on them. That's why you read about kids on ecstacy dying because they drank too much water and exploded their livers - because the pill had the effect of making them feel thirsty and at the same time inhibiting their internal body sensors, so they couldn't tell when they had had enough water.

Two litres a day is good. Drunk over the course of one day, not all in one go.

And so is fibre, natural fibre from fruit and bran. Basically the bulky stuff goes through and de-plugs you from the inside. And no, caffeine and laxatives aren't the same thing.

Oh, my god, I just saw the newly skinnnified Peter Jackson on TV, and he looks so weird. His forehead is now much too big for his face. Must be a reel thinker. Har Har.

Anyway, why this sudden infomercial ? Good diet has been on my mind for a while, ever since I caught Jamie Oliver's School Dinners on TV (Actually, I've always been concerned with the quality of the stuff I put in my body, though my habits and my will keep letting me down. sigh) Much respect to the man for trying to turn around Britain's institutionalised school lunch system. He proved that good food can be made for the same budget as the mush and crap being fed to kids there.

Children everywhere are getting more access to sweets and non-nutritious food such that obesity, diabetes and poor health are becoming common in children everywhere. Jamie Oliver inteviewed a doctor who said that he was seeing more and more kids with constipation, caused by lack of fibre in their diet. All they eat is that deep-fried eraser food commonly known as nuggets, and chips. They don't eat fruit or vegetables, in fact react violently toward the suggestion that they do.

So this doctor told the tale of the day a 5 or 6 year old came in, whose faecal matter was so impacted that he was vomiting food up FROM INSIDE HIS INTESTINES. That means that because his paip dah blocking he was vomiting up his stool.

That is really gross and also I think of it as a form of abuse on the parents' behalf. What are they feeding him? They're not stuck in a third-world country, for goodness' sake! Then I realise, how time and being busy become excellent excuses to turn to nuggets and sodium and nitrate-rich products like sausages and frozen dinners.

So I have resolved to cook proper daily food for my kiddies, and if time becomes a problem, at least freeze some healthy home-cooked meals to have on hand when I'm not around or too tired or too busy or whatever excuses I come up with. After all, I chose to have them, and I knew the responsibilities I would have before they came to be, so I must!

So. Water, water, water! Fibre, fibre, fibre! And the next time you reach for that nuggy-poo. think yukky-poo coming out the wrong way...



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

baby's back!

My man came home a few days ago and now we're back to the daily grind. I was envious of the cold weather he was enjoying while away, but truth be told, the idea of being on the move constantly for a few days seems oh, so tiring to think of...

Our office renos are almost finished, save a few touches we didn't think of, like, you know, powerpoints and stuff.

We're coming up to our show next week and the flyers are out already. In case you don't come across them, here they are in all their finished glory!

Lovey, C

Sunday, December 11, 2005

restructuring our ong

Some pictures of the renovations we are having done at the office. We had always had an open plan office and were a little hesitant to split the place up into rooms.

However, we are happy with the spaces we now have.

All our peeps have proper little cubicles to lock their offices away into, and the front area is more spacious than we thought.

Now we also have a conference room and an editing and machine room.

Sayonara to the old Works, hello to the new!

a place in the son

Some shots from the info sitcom we are shooting, for one of the loval government stations. The brief we were given was information for children. We thought, ugh. Then we offered a sitcom situation where three likeable kids learnt about teen issues by themselves - a proactive, positive and pristine. Happily, we were given the go-ahead and are now in production.

I wrote more than half the scripts out of 26 episodes (the job on which I was also tending to another project: increasing the size of my ass), and enjoyed every minute of it.

However the strangest thing about writing an information programme for teens here is that you can't show what having an open, positive attitude is, because you can't BE open on national tv! Not about sex or moral issues anyway.

So we tried double entendre and innuendo (trying as hard as we could to keep it from straying into Benny Hill territory), and then found out that there could be no SUBTEXT about sex in the script!! That means if we tried to talk about sex without actually talking about it (nudge nudge wink wink) we would not pass the censors. Actually, we were kind of (pleasantly) surprised that they were aware of the concept, and also hoping that they won't recognise our subtext when they see it!

So our attempt to instill awareness in teens has been thwarted, and fewer kids out there in Malaysialand will know the benefits of a condom or even their right to say no.

Still, we have a fantastic young cast under the tutelage of boho geekster Na'a Murad. Yes, he's old, but he still thinks like a kid, so everyone's having a good time despite the major setbacks we have had. It's also possible we may not finish in time and may be forced to come back for re-shoots a few weeks down the line. Just for another one or two days of shoot. Booorring!

Still, Panini is soldiering on as usual, never letting setbacks affect her professionalism as the show's producer, production and location manager, floor manager and general continuity and script expert. A pack of lights and the odd coffee keeps her momentarily happy, but never long enough to sit on her laurels.

I decided a couple of years ago that 1) I wasn't good at producing, partly because of my husband losing me part of my brain (see last but one post) and 2) I didn't like doing it as much as I liked being good at it (once upon a time). So I told myself I should do what I really wanted to do, write, and my decision has turned me into a paid writer (after about 10 years of working myself towards it while keeping myself busy doing things I was good at, but not loving).

So, here are the pics. Enjoy.

Lovey, C

Saturday, December 10, 2005

the land below the wind

No, it's not a fart joke and it's got nothing to do with the wide expanse of thigh area upon which I sit. It's Sabah, a lovely place which I am proud to call, not home, but my birthplace.

Kota Kinabalu is the name of the capital city where I grew up. It's a beautiful little place which began as a little dock town along the coast. Wedged between the warm blue sea and a little ridge of land, the township was eventually forced to reclaim land from the sea. Why is it called reclamation? Surely it should be called appropriation or colonisation of said water.

Anyway, it was idyllic, hot, crickety and home for me until I left for boarding school at St Hilda's Anglican Girls' School (or St. Hags as our rival scools would call us) in Perth when I was about 11.

I've been home few times since I finished learning in 1996 and went straight to work in KL. In the space of a few years, KK has turned into another smallish concretised place, though it still retains some bits and pieces I remember fondly.

We used to spend every day swimming at the golf club in Tanjung Aru, the Kinabalu Golf Club, right next to the Yacht Club. I remember digging large holes in the beach while our parents socialised nearby on the club grounds. We would dig and dig and dig till the layer of brown sand disappeared and a black, quartzy sand appeared, oozing inky stinkiness (oh yes, it stank to high heaven).

We would play adventures and go roaming up and down the beach, hearing shrieky warnings every now and then as Mum would come to the edge of the club grounds and yell for us to turn back or else!

The water was always brown, because it was so shallow. You could walk about 50 metres some days, and still be only thigh-deep. Jellyfish would come in like waves of gooey, rubbery and yukkily tentacled underwater sheets. They were horrible, but sometimes fun as we would dare each other to run out from the shore to hop onto a huge tree trunk that had floated in from the sea and beached itself on our beach.

Then it was almost always still. the highest wave I remember was one about a metre high, during a particularly stormy day. It rose, crested and crash, and that was it.

When I went to Perth for studies, I found myself along the coast again, and though I loved the pristine beaches and the shocking blue of the Indian Ocean, I enjoyed the cold and wet weather so much more. I imagined myself the heroine of a Victorian novel, wrapped up tightly against the chill winds. That I looked more like the heroine's ethnic parlourmaid and behaved more like the hero's sidekick friend didn't faze me.

And of course, my mother's hometown of Itea, in Greece, is a little crusty gem lying in a bay between the Pelopponese straits and the Parnassos mountains, home to legendary places like Delphi and Thebes (you know, where Oedipus wreaked his havoc).

So I guess the sea has always been my home. And although I haven't lived near the sea in nigh on 9 years, I still consider it home, I guess. The first 6 months in KL were fun and exciting, but come the seventh month, I felt a horrible crick in my neck and back, and a great burden bearing down on me every time I drove through the concrete and the dirt.

From the ground, KL has no sky. It's only when you see KL from afar that it becomes beautiful. I got used to that suppressing feeling, and found beauty in my life and my dwelling.

My dream home would be atop a hill or cliff overlooking the sea. I realise that a lot of things that I want for myself and for my family are deeply rooted in how I was brought up and where I was brought up. Also, I remember that as a child, no matter how much we travelled, and how many different and beautiful places we saw, I would always find the time to create a little space for myself to which I would retreat on my own.

I would demarcate a line between myself and my sister on the back seat of our rented car, or turn on my walkman and gaze soulfully into the distance as Sting, INXS and the Communards played, or simply zip myself and my private things into a sleeping bag and shut my eyes.

So I guess not being exactly where I want to be is not such a big thing, maybe because I also enjoy retreating into my own world. Nowadays, I guess it is writing or being alone without the family.

So spending most of my formative years in a beautiful place hasn't spoiled me for the big city. I do enjoy the hustle of a fast-paced city, but it's the grime and the bad attitudes that send me back to my little hole to ease away the headaches.

Wish I had a photo of KK to post, but I need a scanner. So, here is a photo I have on my computer, which doesn't say much about the landscape, only the colour of the sky. The mosque is on the new university campus just north of the city limits. Pink and clean, but at the time unutilised.

If I find more, I will upload.

Lovey, C

cetera-ble thing

You know when you hear a song, and for a while in your teens you "remember" it, that kind of mythical remembrance where you can't quite place the memory but you feel like you've known it all your life, like from the womb or something.

During my late teens when I would hear songs like "You're The Inspiration", "Glory Of Love", and other 80s progressive love songs, as well as many, many other songs - I would get this kind of body-memory flashback, and a feeling of childhood security would come over me.

But I didn't even know who Chicago was, nor did I remember hearing it in my home. (I distinctly remember the Olivia Newton-John album and Michael Jackson's Thriller, but other than that was my father's music-club album collection) At the time I was finishing off my highschool in Perth, Western Australia, and in that insular little teeny schooly world, that kind of music was daggy, but if you liked it, you were ecclectic and different. Kids are funny - it was Chicago for goodness' sake! I suppose their parents liked it or something.

Anyway, memory is such a myriad and untrustable thing. I used to have a great memory.

Then I met my husband and all was lost. I never knew how destructive a creative personality can be on an ordered and logical mind. It was give in or be usurped, so it was about three years into our marriage that my mind left me. Or "went bungkus" as my mother would say.

So now I do things like walk purposefully out the door with all my bags and essentials, you know, so that the kids don't get a whiff of the mixed intentions I have of leaving home to work and staying home to cuddle, so that I get out of the door unshaken and useful. Then I get to the car and realise I have forgotten something and have to go back in looking stern. Those kids can eat you alive, they're animals! They can sense when you're about to give in, then they move in for the kill. I swear I've had to grow stone around my heart just to be able to function in my daily life. In that sense, I am far more evolved thatn hubby dearest, who basks in the glory of being the subject of their manipulation!

Anyway, so nowadays I am a shadow of my former self, memory-wise. I can hardly differentiate between my children's names, so now I just say, "Ey!" or "Baby Boodle Bottom" or something. They don't care, they still come to you as long as you have goodies or are offering a cuddle.

Then there's the other kind of memory - the past, the relationships, the things people said. I find my memories of the same situation don't add up when I talk to others involved. Is it me or them who's got it wrong? I used to get so upset. Now I'm kind of at peace with it. If it's going to take up space in my head, then I might as well appropriate it and make it as much mine as possible!

So I've colonised the memories that have been filed by my senses, by re-writing, glorifying and sepia-toning them with my inner whatsit.

I know, it's a terrible thing, but better happy and misdirected than correct and colourless, don't you think?

Lovey, C

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

the drama continues...

After I posted the last blog and went to sleep, I got a sad call from Panini saying that the power mains in the street had burst into flames and there was no more power at the godsent house...

This morning a sleep-deprived Panini drove back to the location to make sure that the power was being fixed, and waited about an hour for replacement guys from Bangsar, because all the tenaga troops in Ampang were busy. After they finally got it all to work (leaky cover) she left for the office, dodging suddenly-everywhere tenaga troops in Melawati.

They had finally managed to get on a roll last night, but at about 4 the mini-tragedy struck, with about 20 of their 25 scenes for the day yet to be shot!!

While I doddled around in the office all day babysitting some construction workers, Panini battled to keep eyelids open and sanity intact while she went about quietly panicking and refusing to give in to the urge to die like the last leaf-impersonator in "A Bug's Life" - you know, up onto tips of toes, then keel over backwards, feet up in the air.

She said to me, "Bad luck comes in threes, so if we take the first location pulling out, then the construction next door, then the exploding power mains, we've come through the worst. BUT if one of the above doesn't qualify as bad luck, then we have one more piece of crap coming our way."

Then she looked at me as if to say, "So, do we count all three?"

Of course we count all three! What are we, nuts? I can't tell if she's being optimistic or pessimistic. Or fatalistic, just wanting more pathos. It's so typical of her and very amusing to me!

Very cutelah, to see her worried/naive concern.

Let's wish ourselves more luck for tonight. Or is that bad luck?

Lovey, C

jigglybutt nugget pants!

We have just started production on one of our 26-episode series for RTM called Jeff's Place - a production plagued with location problems. After our initial location bailed out on us about a week before rolling, our producer Panini (not her real name...) did a massive, heart-palpitating ring-around to friends and produciton houses begging for something big enough to accommodate a shoot.

We finally found one, a godsend, when we found out a prominent tv actress friend was renting out her house for back-to-back productions! So after one big collective sigh of relief, we went about the rest of the business of producing a tv series for kids about kids issues.

Then... JENG JENG JENG... our fairy godmother tv actress calls to say that the seemingly abandoned construction site adjacent to their house was filing up with machinery and people.


So ting-tong piling all day till sundown. We are so grateful to our entire cast and crew for agreeing so easily to changing the shoot to a night shoot. Still, time and dialogue haunt us, and even though we rolled uneventfully tonight and at quite a good pace, the going will still be slow.

So we're silently brainstorming and trying to figure out how to cram everything into our week-long shoot without causing serious stress and fractured personalities.

So, when I go home, what do I do? Bloglah! Instead of sleeping.

I think I'm gonnaZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Lubby, C

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

far from home

The Greeks have this thing. Ancient sailors past would dream of coming home, yearning for family and PATRITHA - meaning fatherland I think.

The earliest-known book, Homer's Odyssey, tells of such a journey. Odysseus, on his way back from the Trojan Wars, is faced with trials and tribulations, trickery and time lapses, as he tries to get home to his beloved wife Penelope. Unbeknownst to him, she is being harangued by suitors hankering after her wealth.

With pressure mounting, and her so-called guests demanding an answer as to whom she will marry, she declares that she will begin weaving a tapestry, and when that is finished, will announce her suitor. Not believing their insistence that Odysseus has died or forgotten her, Penelope weaves by day and undoes her work at night, so as to delay the time to make a decision.

But I digress. The reason I am writing about a man's desire to come back home is because my man has gone away for a week. Everybody say, awwww. Although I am man-less, I am home and with our children. He on the other hand, is in a strange-ish land with friends, though for professional reasons. So it isn't an escape, nor is it a rest.

The Greeks have a culture infused with this preoccupation with returning to the fatherland. Their songs are melancholy paeans to Hellas, they dance away their blues by emulating the flight of the soaring eagle.

The ancient pathos is evident even in the way they speak now, full of emotion, and loving those depths.

So for his sake, some pictures of his girls which he may not yet have seen. Though he may only dream, this Penelope knows he will be home soon.

Lovey, C

Seezer Rools!!!

I went to see The Actors Studio production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar last Friday night and it rawked!!

If you want to see some great dramatic acting, lots of spectacle, and amazing production design (the sound is to die for) - then go check it out asap because the last day is this coming sunday!!

Tickets are RM60 and RM40 which is very reasonable. Go to the toilet before the show because there is no intermission (90minutes long)

And check out my review on - hopefully it will be published Tuesday 6th

Lovey, c

the water and the light

If you've ever read Henry Miller's "The Colossus of Marroussi" you will understand my fascination with the Greek landscape and the sunlight. Miller's loveletter to the hot Hellenic stone beaten down upon by this heavenly light...

Although my pictures are of rather foggy wintry days, you see how crisply illuminated the landscape is.

The water takes on mythical proportions - it tastes almost creamy, like how a vinaigrette is oil and vinegar combined to make this kind of lemak feel in the gullet. The nearest I've tasted was here in Malaysia. No, not the drain water we call our drinking water (is it even fluoridated? my kid has caries though I suspect the guiltily-glugged-behind-mama's-back cola could be the culprit). It was from a green plastic bottle-full of zam zam water brought back from Mecca by a friend of ours recently.

So, like, I'm having problems uploading? So... you'll just have to wait for my next round in the ring with the jpegs from hell.

Lovey, C

Monday, December 5, 2005

the games we play

If you're wondering what on earth Edwin is talking about, here it all is.

Every year I produce a few runs of "Actorlympics!" for our production company. Actorlympics! is the name we have given our production of theatresports games. If you don't know what theatresports games are, you are probably the majority of the Malaysian public.

It's quite an institution in the Commonwealth countries (Canada, UK and Australia) and involves a set of four people playing games that are used in the theatre to teach skills such as timing, blocking, status and lots lots more - and are a great way to hone your improvisational instincts.

I've explained this so many times in a gazillion press releases and interviews and I still get blank looks. Now I just say "google it, if you really wana know!"

And we get a loyal set of regulars on whose gorgeous, lickable back we have been riding a wave of momentum. However, truth be known, I can no longer hope for the audience I really want to come see it - local theatre students.

Response is poor, and I suspect language is a problem, although I haven't made a concerted effort to reel in the school crowds (too much potential for the need for damage control, what with hernias--in-my-intestinal-wall like Jit Murad and Edwin Sumun threatening to offend the teachers and parents of young minds...

But in all honesty I can say Actorlympics! boasts the most Malaysian comedians and improv aficionados on one stage at any one time - bar the Instant Cafe Theatre Company (but they rarely do theatresports, hee, hee).

So if you want to see HARITH ISKANDER... AFDLIN SHAUKI... JIT MURAD... EDWIN SUMUN... RASHID SALLEH... NELL NG... IDA NERINA... GAVIN YAP... and NA'A MURAD ripping up a roarin' time on stage - then Actorlympics! is where you want to be!!!

Also I have decided to forget about pushing the whole this-is-how-you-learn-improv-skills angle. Instead I'm gonna sock it to 'em with a double-header:



So check out the actors' fabuloso looks, courtesy of the wonderful Isma for TASDesign.

Hope to see you there in December...

Lovey, C

Sunday, December 4, 2005

testing testing

A picture of the main monastery at Meteora in Greece. Thanks to edwin for the heads up on what seems to be an idiotically easy task. They were built ages agop, maybe medieval times, I'm not sure. How they did it, having no machinery and now way up the mountain except on foot and by a crude pulley system (yes, little black-shrouded monks would be hauled up like so much shopping from the foot of each promontory), is beyond me. But it is a sight to behold. I have other pictures which show deep gouges in the mountain sides, probably from Ice Ages past.

This is the same Meteora that inspired the name of Linkin Park's album. On the day we went it was so foggy we had trouble driving up the mountainside. But as we reached the top it cleared enough to give us some good shots.

If this works, I foresee myself getting very upload-happy, so look out for more pictures soon!


Saturday, December 3, 2005

eblibody's bloody blogging!

I've been reading a few blogs recently - Afdlin Shauki's Inside My Head, Patrick Teoh's Tokkok and Edwin Sumun's Diva Series, thinking, man, I'm in the swing of things, not only am i a reader, i'm a blogger too! Then I noticed all the links everyone had to women further up the evolution line than me, who had gotten it together to get blog-savvy MONTHS ago, despite having kids and proper non-butt-dependent jobs (min and junji can thank me later).

The shame! I can't even give you (so far zero) readers a link to any of the blogs above... and I really think that's pathetic and sad. I'm still trying to decipher the "how do I create links?" most-popularly asked question on the blogspot dashboard.

Maybe I should think up something to make my blog just that little bit more widdit. And phat.

If only I could master the technique of posting pictures...

lovey, C

making moolah on my ass

Yesterday I went to a chiropractor who cricked me into place and temporarily cured my lower back ache - god it was good! And why am i suffering this malaise? Months and months of sitting on my dimpled butt making money with my fingers and brain.

How? Writing! Finally, after years of calling myself a writer, I am churning out the pages and raking in the dough for real! A glorious feeling to have gotten over what was either laziness or writer's block, I don't know which.

I used to write mini-harlequi romance-type pieces for my friends to read while at boarding school. Then doco scripts, totally dry. A stint at music magazine writing for a local mag, then a long break to offload a couple of sprogs. Finally, now that the kids are old enough to enjoy my company without needing my constant attention, I have the opportunity to write at home - and the jobs are pouring in!

So as my derriere expands to accommodate the weight of my genius, the pressure on my spine has been taking its toll on my lower back.

Lack of exercise, a bad chair and bad posture were the causes, my chiro said. I already knew that I think, but what a way to validate my existence as a writer!!




Related Posts with Thumbnails