Genocide or Hobbes?

Before I continue writing this blog, let me take this liberty to make my fellow Totoro fans drool:

Bought just a few hours ago at Low Yat Plaza. RM44.90. Desktop O-Totoro and gang, complete with cool calendar cubes ;)

A friend who is also a fellow Mahlerite called today and we chatted about the coming Mahler 6 performance by the MPO, led by the great Mahlerian, Kees Bakels, towards the end of this month. Despite a recent eye operation, he is as enthusiastic as ever, about music, about society, about his family and friends. Recently, in response to a report in The Star, he wrote a letter to the editor which was subsequently published. He sent me a copy of the letter, unedited, and I have made that available online. If you are interested in his passionate and reasoned arguments, please click here to read it.

The Japanese officials’ visit to the Yasukuni Shrine which commemorates the Japanese who died during WWII, including those convicted war criminals, have stirred huge protests, particularly in China and Korea. A lot of people that I know, particularly younger ones who were born after the war, said that the past should be the past and we shall not evoke it and make life miserable now. Afterall, the Japanese have already apologised for what they have done. Although this is true, the Japanese’s attempt to justify and re-writing history in their school textbook cannot be considered right. I can somehow understand the fact that the Japanese insisted in paying respects to those war criminals. As compared to the Germans, the idea of paying respects to Hitler and his gang is unheard of. Mere mention by association with Hitler will generally send a German fuming. This, however, is not the case in Japan, mostly. I was trying to understand why.

What I think is that Japan has always been ruled by a royal family and the fact that Japan participated in the war can be taken as a direct decision made by this family. The soldiers who died in the war were actually doing a service to the Emperor and they laid their life for a national cause. War is ugly. And the animalistic behaviour cannot be forgiven, but in the Japanese point of view, they have served. Meanwhile, Hitler is a dictator. He is solely responsible for what he has done. The Germans do not look at Hitler the same way the Japanese look at their emperor. The Germans can be detached and can say that they have nothing to do with Hitler. It is just a mistake that Hitler is a German. They just compensated the victims, regreting the fact that Germany has such a child, and wanted to get this over with as soon as they can and start anew. I don’t think the Japanese can assume the same position.

That said, the Japanese can be forgiven, but not forgotten. Attempts to change history is a terrible mistake. Japan should, as Sylvester said, do more to redeem and acknowledge the suffering that they have created during their wild rampage. War criminals who have acted like animals should be expelled from the shrine, leaving only those genuine, respectable soldiers who I think do exist. When you make a mistake, first, acknowledge it. Then make good. And then never do it again.

Indians Read the Most:

“We always suspected it, but a new survey confirms that Indians are the world’s biggest bookworms, reading on average 10.7 hours a week, twice as long as Americans (5.7 hours a week). Worse are the Brits (5.3 hours a week) who are fifth from the bottom in the list. The NOP World Culture Score Index surveyed 30,000 people in 30 countries from December 2004 to February 2005 (Malaysia and Singapore were spared the embarrassment by not being included in the list.) Indians were the fourth lowest TV watchers (despite cricket and 100 other channels) and radio listeners.” – From Silverfishbooks. Read the whole article here.

I have finally watched “Initial D”. I like it very much despite its many defects. Short notes on what I feel:

1. The storyline is vague.
2. Chapman To was superb! That guy is gifted to act in roles like this. A joy to watch.
3. Jordan Chan’s appearance was really like a cameo. That character was not well developed.
4. Edison Chen’s acting needs to be polished. He is supposed to be the brains, but he does not look like one.
5. Jay Chou’s acting was so-so, but his laid back, innocent look, can be quite charming in a way.
6. Anthony Wong and Kenny Bee were superb! Joy to watch!
7. Compared to the anime, the strategy of the race did not come through much. Perhaps the filmakers thought that too much strategy talking will bore the uninitiated audience. But I enjoyed those parts the most in the anime.
8. The drifting sequences were well done.
9. The Jay Chou love part can be omitted. No chemistry at all. Doesn’t add to the development of the story also.
10. The movie inspired enough interest in me to buy the anime.
11. Will watch it a second time in the cinema when the crowd is less packed.
12. Shawn Yue’s acting is also improving. I have just bought the “Colour of Loyalty” DVD. Looking forward to watch him perform there.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with the movie but with the venue. About 1 hour into the movie, the sound system started to give loud bursts of sound, like those you get when you play an LP record. That was really annoying. TGV should really look into upgrading their cinemas. And the furniture is also bad, broken cup holders and all.

As a bonus to the readers of my very poorly written blog, download the cool “Initial D” song, complete with dialogs from the movie here. If you are using Windows, right click on the link and then choose “Save Target As”.

Have also watched “Postmen in the Mountain”. Superb movie about a father and his son. The son is to take over his father’s job as a postman in a remote mountain settlement in China. Fearing that his son will get into trouble, the father accompanies the son on his first day at work. The movie is just about this one trip, and how father and son reconciled the misunderstandings they have in the past and reminds them how much they love each other. The scene where the son carries the father across the river is particularly touching. The actors, including the dog, did superbly well. The father was played by Ten Rujun (seen in “Red Shorgum”) and the son was played by Liu Ye, the actor whom I have just watched in “Lan Yu”. Liu Ye is really talented. He is just so good. The movie was directed by Huo Jianqi. Great scenery as well. I strongly recommend watching this movie.

Oh, and before I end this post, here’s a picture of the tiger, Charlie (charlie, charlie, chit boom boom) my colleague’s desktop pet, that has not been given a bath for a long, long time now, as far as the colour of the fur can tell.

Doesn’t it reminds you of Hobbes, as in the tiger in Calvin and Hobbes, not Hobbes as in the philosopher Hobbes, whose ideas I think are also quite cool….. ;) my blog seems to be littered with soft toys now….. haih….. i hope I don’t look and sound like a sissy…..

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