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23 October 2009 @ 10:43 pm
I am currently very, very strangely addicted to this... song.

In 1973, an Italian entertainer recorded a song in a pseudo-English language. This may well be the forefather of rap... or house... something. Whatever it is, it just about floored me. And the hip thing the guy does? Hypnotic. Move over Elvis.

(In the beginning the girl says: "Professor, why did you write a song with strange words that don't mean anything?" It's taken from the original version of the music video where the professor explains that "prisencolinensinainciusol" means "universal love".)
21 June 2009 @ 08:36 pm
In honour of the hopefully impending release of The Marionette, I present to you.... lots of cool Youtube videos of marionettes!

First off: a video set to the tune of Jackie Cheung's 你好毒 (You're So Toxic). The subtitles are a little obscure so I won't try to translate them with my limited Mandarin, but it's basically a comedy sketch parodying period dramas. As far as I could tell, it's about a king's failed love life. Anyway, even if you don't understand Chinese, the marionettes are pure eye candy.

Of course, having posted that I must also post the original music video. The original vid also featured marionettes of the same style, also parodying period movies.

The little girl giant... an oldie but a goodie.

Did you know she also has an uncle?
"Nantes is the home town of Jules Verne, is situated in western France. Here, near the river Loire a giant deep-sea diver sleeps gently, waiting for his task to begin. Sadness marks his face even as he sleeps. He has been searching the world over for his missing niece and although he may not know it, the end of his search is coming. The diver or scaphandrier as he is known in French will be paraded through the streets of this historic city at the arts festival."

Bonus: apparently the first video above is from an entire SERIES of videos. I have no idea what this show is besides the fact that it has some of the prettiest marionettes I've ever seen, as well as some of the coolest fight scenes and special effects I've ever seen. Also some of the weirdest Hokkien I've ever heard. Anyway, prepare to be blown away! (Warning: slight puppetly gore towards the end of the video; a couple of them get decapitated in the most exaggerated way)

edit: it's a Taiwanese puppet company, and those aren't even marionettes - they're HAND GLOVES. Yes, you read that right. No, I can't believe it either. Here's their site in English for more info: http://www.pili.com.tw/en/ They've been making period martial arts dramas since 1985(!!!!!) and this is the newest one: http://blog.pili.com.tw/apocalypse/articles/2512
The concert was fantastic. Much, much much better than the PLAY! concert a couple years back - not because of Arnie Roth, who was charming as always, but because of the orchestra. AND add the fact that NOBUO UEMATSU WAS IN THE HOUSE. I am eternally kicking myself for not having been fast enough to get his signature - but enough of that. I attended the last performance, on the evening of exactly one month after my 9th anniversary of having met my husband (yes, we celebrate every month).

1) Liberi Fatali, the opening piece. Although it was a little shaky, the nostalgia drove me to tears. ;_; The choir (consisting of alumni from a rival college *shakes fist*) was pretty good, but I maintain that the soprano section was a little lacking in terms of volume.
2) To Zanarkand - always a good tune.
3) Love Grows - if only to see my favourite scene of Laguna on a giant screen :D There's the guy that got me my husband. Yup.
4) Swing de Chocobo - CHOCOBO LOVE
5) Nobuo Uematsu finally taking the stage and saying "Ni hao! (Hello!) I can speak Chinese. :D (reads from notes) Wo hen xi huan pi jiu (I like beer very much)." XDDD
6) The "scientific poll" for the next two pieces of battle music to be included in the future programme :D
7) Arnie Roth: "Nobu-san said he wanted to sing for us! Solo!" Nobuo Uematsu: "Estuans interius ira vehementi... ahaha!"
8) AND THEN HE WENT ON TO JOIN THE CHOIR TO SING ONE WINGED ANGEL. OMG. The sight of him in his bandana bouncing along to One Winged Angel is just too much.

Video taken by someone else of the performance of One-Winged Angel. No view of the choir unfortunately.
21 May 2009 @ 07:01 am
I'm leaving this public because I'd like some answers if anyone from PayPal ever stumbles upon this.

Yesterday one of my Malay co-workers got an email from PayPal asking him to prove that he is a Singaporean citizen by sending them copies of his identification card and bank statement/credit card statement/utilities bill. At first I thought it might be a phishing scam, but then the email knew his real full name, knew that he's from Singapore and there was a security icon next to the PayPal address on the sender line (this was in Yahoo email).

AND the email made reference to something about an anti-terrorism funding act or something. Basically, that it's acting under a policy not to fund terrorists. Which is fine, except that you know... not everyone with an Arab/Muslim-sounding name is a terrorist. My co-worker asked around and discovered that several of his Malay friends had received the same email. His non-Malay friends (including myself) who use PayPal have not received anything.

So? you might ask. If he's innocent he should have no problem sending off the relevant info. Well, here's why I'm all riled up over this:

1. Racial profiling has, time and again, been shown to be a weak, ineffective, lazy way of dealing with terrorism and other crimes. Look at this report from Amnesty and this one from the Progressive Policy Institute. I quote specifically from the latter (adapting slightly): "The problem with racial profiling is not that it targets 'dangerous people in dangerous places.' It is that it targets inaccurately and in ways that breed resentment and mistrust between the [majority] and [minority communities]."

2. Linked to the above point is the way that this specific example of racial profiling puts the onus on the customers to prove his innocence. In other words, contrary to the noble aims of Western law, customers are presumed guilty until proven otherwise.

3. PayPal has a Singapore HQ that supposedly deals with all accounts outside Europe and America. You'd think this would prevent such a scenario of blatant racial profiling to occur - either because it should be easier to prove one's citizenship here, or because we understand the sensitivity of racial issues, or - if you want to be really cynical - because we have been trained never to pick on one racial group, and to carry out the pretense of being fair to everyone even when targeting one racial group. In other words, if a Singaporean department were to carry this out, they'd send the email to everyone who has spent above a certain limit.

4. Events like this give a very bad impression of America to the rest of the world. It leads one to conclude that Americans see Muslims, Malays and Arabs as one common "other" to be targeted.

I'm very disappointed in PayPal's actions.
10 October 2008 @ 06:30 pm

Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole singing "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World". More about him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Kamakawiwo'ole . I was shocked to find that he died of weight-related respiratory problems at age 38. What a terrible waste. :(
02 August 2008 @ 12:10 am
DaShan (big mountain in Mandarin) is the stage name of Canadian entertainment Mark Rowswell. He is supposedly the most famous foreigner in China for his impeccable grasp of Mandarin and even Cantonese. He specialises in xiangsheng, a form of stand-up comedy usually done as a dialogue.

I found this xiangsheng particularly funny. It doesn't have subtitles, so I'll provide a rough translation under the cut for non-Mandarin speakers.

translationCollapse )
24 July 2008 @ 07:43 am
So, I've made many video game related posts but no one ever knows what I'm talking about unless you happen to be a gamer... right?

Well, I've discovered this wonderful phenomenon of video walkthroughs on Youtube where you can basically watch a playthrough of a game like it was a movie. I've been watching MGS1 to refresh my memory, and it's as captivating as ever.

I'm posting them here, in case anyone is interested to watch as well. Be warned that many games need about 3-5 hours free time to wade through.

Metal Gear Solid 1 (with the ending where Snake rides off with Otacon)
It's a stealth action game, but that's not the point. I love it for TEH DRAMA. Lots and lots of it. It's a 1998 game so watch out for oldie graphics.
Meryl ending:
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh03dvPpmuc
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6dFlHi-Lb4

Silent Hill
Needs no introduction. But to be clear, this is the original Silent Hill game.

Silent Hill 2
The second, and arguably the most popular in the series. The storyline is absolutely haunting.

Silent Hill 3
This is where Silent Hill is at its most awesomely scary, and the storyline is at its most confuzzling.

Silent Hill 4: The Room
Famously known as The Silent Hill That Wasn't Meant To Be Silent Hill So Has No Right To Be A Silent Hill Game. Or something. But still good.

Bonus: Final Fantasy 8
The game that got me my husband.
08 July 2008 @ 03:45 pm
And while I'm on the MGS4 kick, I give to you: the main theme from Metal Gear Solid 4.

08 July 2008 @ 07:17 am
Ok, I've been totally missing from life in general since I returned from the trip (thanks for your well-wishes, those who commented on my previous posts - I appreciate them muchly, I just haven't been online much at all!)

First there was the rush back to school (augh), and then - WE GOT A PS3.

Our very first PS3 game was Metal Gear Solid 4. And oh man, WHAT a game. WHAT a game. Although, it wasn't really a game so much as it was a 19-hour long movie to me - Fenglei was playing it all the time. Except for the last boss, which he spent 1.5 hours on and then threw down the controller in frustration. I picked up the controller for the first time, died once, and then beat the game. XD

MGS was a really epic series. I loved every minute of it. A bit iffy about some of the revelations in MGS4 (and some of the characters pair up! but there might be MGS players among you, so I'm not spoiling it) - but overall it was AWESOME.

Oh, and: this!

An older Duane, with glasses? XD

No, it's the brand new Otacon! The details of the hairstyle are exactly the same though. Right down to how the hair sweeps over the ears. It's amazing. I've seen lots of hairstyles that look like the one I created for Duane, but this is the first time I've seen the exact same hairstyle. Amazing. XD