Monthly Archives: February 2009

Bombay, Hong Kong, KL – Movies Movies Movies

Ah, here is another movie related post.

So the Astro Kirana Short Film Awards is happening on the 27th Feb night. I am elated that this is happening since I was responsible in putting up the first one, from proposing it to seeing it happen. It is a very good initiative from Astro to help aspiring filmmakers by giving them a platform to exhibit their work and to give an opportunity, via Tayangan Unggul, to further their career in film making.

Next on my “To Blog” list is the Hong Kong International Film Festival. YTSL alerted me that the programme is out and I immediately checked out the programme. Oh my goodness! Just look at the list of films, especially so the tribute to the 25th anniversary of Film Workshop where such great movies like SHANGHAI BLUES, PEKING OPERA BLUES, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA, SWORDSMAN etc. are featured.

Also, look at the other programming, the tributes to Bergman, Antinioni etc. and the variety of films by new talents. It is an amazing festival, and needless to say, our Yasmin Ahmad’s TALENTIME will also be shown, despite the fact that the film is not yet shown in Malaysian cinemas, a huge shame.

I have written about SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and since it really won so many awards at the Oscars, this film became ever more hot. However, I still do maintain my position that this film feels “fake” to me, despite the fact that I do like this movie in general. I have compared it with Mira Nair’s SALAAM BOMBAY! and I maintain that SALAAM BOMBAY! is a far superior movie.

SALAAM BOMBAY!, which is in my top 100 movies of all time (item number 10 in the top 100 movies list), is about a child that has to go through the difficult life in Bombay in order to make Rs500 so that he can go home to his village and see his family. In his quest to save the Rs500, he works as a tea delivery boy, amongst others, and met many other kids around the block. With them, he encountered prostitution, drugs, deceits and lies. He also found friendship and some happiness along the way.

The way SALAAM BOMBAY! is told is so much more solid in that one can really feel for the children and from the little things they do to each other (for example when the little girl gave the hard-earned money after a hard day’s work to the boy because she knows that he needs it) and the occasional joy such as the dancing sequence to the scene where the little girl pretends to talk to the boy over the phone up to the final scene there the little boy sat on the pavement alone, missing his home, his family and friends and while playing with his top (gasing), started crying. We FEEL every moment of it. What a heart wrenching movie this is!!

For those who has not seen SALAAM BOMBAY!, I will say forget SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and watch SALAAM BOMBAY! instead.

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Filed under Movie Awards, Movies, Movies (Highly Recommended)

Slumdogs are not Dogs

Well, for a start, the previous post is supposed to be a movie post as YTSL has pointed out but alas! I am too much into Go nowadays ;-) Anyways, I have managed to publish the Introduction to Go in pdf format and as such have mitigated the problem of formatting for different machines. If you are interested, please download it here (Introduction to Go – Malaysia Weiqi Association Study Pack Module A. Just right-click the link and choose “Save as”.

Now, for movies. I think what one indulges in really depends on the people that one mixes most with. It provides the environment for mutual support and encouragement. When I was in the movie and entertainment business, I was very much into watching movies and was really, really serious about it. It is not that my Go friends were lesser then, it was about the same, but my passion for movies exceeded Go at that time.

Now that I am in the furniture business, I do miss my movie buddies but because they are not really “around” me like they used to be, my passion for Go took over. Add to this the fact that we have much more Go activities in the association recently and the brutal fact that I have no interests at all in the furniture industry, it is not surprising that Go became the main focal point for me to spend my hard-earned free time.

Now, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is all the rage now. It is now shown in the GSC International Screen and last checked, it was very much full house despite the fact that the pirated copies are everywhere. Indeed SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a very engaging and interesting story, not one of those common run of the mill movies that is littering our cinemas nowadays, especially those junks that are coming out of Hong Kong (but recently watched BEAST STALKER starring Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung and it is a really good movie, so please do watch it if you can).

I like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE but being the counter-pop person that I am, I am going to write about what I dislike about it. First of all, it gives me a feeling of fakeness. Of course it is fake because it is fiction, you might think. Not really that. I mean, for those who has some experience of India, you will know that the slums depicted there and the children’s suffering there is not fake at all.

To better explain what I mean by the feeling of fakeness, let’s compare this to Mira Nair’s SALAAM BOMBAY! which was also nominated for an Oscar but for the Best Foreign Language Film category back in 1989 and not the main Best Film category as is SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

The thing is that after watching SALAAM BOMBAY!, there is a very real feeling that emerges for the kids, of their plight and suffering, and the little joys of their life. One does not feel that the story is made-up at all but it is as if one is a voyeur, peeping into other people’s life, and feels for the people that we are peeping, sometimes even sharing some of their feelings and pain. But I don’t seem to be able to find this feeling in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

The kids in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE are really great. I love to watch them. But the grown up kids are so NOT slum-like products. I don’t know but from whatever observations I made from my 6-month stay in India, those poor kids won’t turn out to be like the grown up guy in the movie. Neither will the girl, both in terms of looks and temperament. I don’t recall, just for example and am not saying that they are from the slums, our office chaiwalla and driver being anything remotely resembling those two fellow, both in terms of looks, thoughts, temperament, etc.

So in the end, although an interesting story well executed, there is a feeling of fakeness around it. But I do hope that it wins the Oscar though, although I thought THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is a better movie. I have not watched MILK and NIXON.

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Filed under Movie Awards, Movies

Reflections and Changes to Go Routine

After one week following my own program, I am happy that I have kept to the program. I have solved all the problems in Lee Changho’s first two books on tesuji, 123 problems per book, so 246 problems plus I solved 20 more of volume 3 yesterday, so total 266 tesuji problems solved. That averaged out to about 30 problems a day. I have solved about 230 life and death problems in the chinese L&D book. Have reviewed about 10 LCH games. Etc. etc. So I felt like a 7 dan until I was brought back to reality on Saturday when I lost both my league games :(

Anyways, thanks to ixiaolu’s suggestion in my previous post, I realized that what he said is really true. After going through the program for one week, this is what I have realized and I will change my program accordingly.

1. Reviewing games is really excellent but the idea of studying the joseki chapters is really not working. What I will do is I will study the joseki that is found in the game I am reviewing plus to also study a bit on the opening. That way, I can link the game study with more detailed joseki studies and don’t have to do separate joseki studies.

2. I need to incorporate endgame studies in the program and for now I will solve at least two endgame problems everyday, using the Train Like A Pro book.

3. I will maintain solving tesuji and life and death problems. I feel a lot more confident in my own reading after just one week and 500+ problems. In fact, it shows in my games now.

I think this is working and I believe if I keep at it for 3 months, I can probably improve half to one stone. Plus we are now getting a professional from Singapore to give us a workshop. So my Go life is getting more and more interesting ;-)

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Daily Go Routine

Yeah, another post on Go but one post on movie is coming up and brewing ;-)

My current intensity with Go has several origins, firstly, the increase in the number of tournaments that I am participating in, as I have promised myself earlier to take part in every tournament that I can and have time for. The World Mind Sports Games in Beijing is a major fuel for me. Secondly, the gang at the Malaysian Weiqi Association, namely Mr. Tiong, Billy, Zaid, Alex, Philip, Xinwen, Dennis, et al has been really great and I enjoy their company a lot, and their enthusiasm for Go encouraged me to become better at Go (and to beat them too). Thirdly, we now have a league system and I have participated. I don’t want to lose all my games and I want to emerge as one of the top players there. Fourth, playing Go calms me and is a good antidote to all the crazy things that is happening in the office.

So I have now devised a plan which I am determined to focus and execute for the coming 3 months. It is going to be strenous and demanding but what the heck! I have gone through much tougher times, I have been through much more extreme situations and have survived and emerged better, so I believe this regime is going to do me good. Here is the plan:

1. 60 minutes in the review of one Lee Changho game using the very nice book that I recently bought in Kinokuniya.

2. 25 minutes spent to solve 24 basic life and death problems using the L&D book I bought in China. These problems are not very tough questions but is good training.

3. 25 minutes spent to solve 20 Tesuji problems in the Tesuji problem book composed by Lee Changho.

4. 10 minutes spent to study one problem in the Chinese book entitled Connecting and Cutting. This is a very advanced problem book on connecting and cutting, using real professional games and full board situations.

5. 30 minutes to study one chapter/section of the Ishida joseki dictionary.

In total, 2.5hours a day which is manageable.

The above are mainly aimed to strengthen my reading and fighting skills and to develop a better full board vision for the game, thus executing better strategy.

The above is going to last 3 months and with the team study and the league, let’s see if I can get to 3 dan soon.

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What a blog!

Reading Go Discussions.com, I was led to the Dullest Blog in the World. Wow, what a magnificent blog this is! I am totally hooked.

“I was reading the forum and saw the link. I clicked on the link and find the blog to be interesting. I continued to read it for some time.”

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Study Pack

After 10 hours of work, the first complete study pack for Module A is ready: Module A Study Pack

Please comment. All feedback is highly appreciated.

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