Monthly Archives: September 2009

When Giants Fart

Ok, well, I could have used a less offensive word but I can’t think of one that has the punch. Anyways, sorry if you find it offensive, although it is funny if anyone would have found something that we do perhaps everyday offensive. Something like digging nose. Okay okay. Let’s move on.

Nowadays I am getting more and more aware of the environment, not that I am not previously especially after Al Gore’s excellent awareness generating campaign. This is because I am now (well, actually since April) the champion (the term is EMR) for our company’s ISO140001 :2004 Environmental Management System program. We should get certified by November 2009, which is soon and thereafter we are targeting a Green Certification either from the New Zealand Ecolabel or the LEED from the US.

Enormous amount of work! We have to look at each and every aspect of our raw materials and processes and each one of them must meet stringent green criteria.

I feel really great about this actually although this is an extra project that I have got to take on besides other stuffs I have to do. It gives me a feeling that I am contributing to something important.

Anyways, the thought of China and India and Brazil etc. coming out as upcoming economic super power is one of happiness but is also something that is of concern. Happy because we need a multipolar world. A world dominated by only one superpower is not going to be good. But above all, the thought of millions and millions of people is going to come out of “poverty” and have the opportunity to live a better life is very good.

But with all these there is a price to be paid especially the damage that is to be done to the environment (not only the damage to Man’s soul). Development eats natural resources. Lots and lots of them, from oil to aluminum, steel, coal, etc. And the burning of fuel contaminates the environment badly, especially from the burning of coal.

The thing is countries must grow but how to grow intelligently without great damage to the environment is the way forward. The old way of burning ourselves to death does not work. We need to work out new and better ways of doing things, use clean and renewable energy, etc. China contributes a lot to the world’s CO2 emission but China is also at the forefront in spending on new environmentally friendly energy. In fact China is focusing a lot on environmental issues as seen in the new laws that is being passed, as well as it is number one in the world in terms of green spending.

One of the nice thing I observed was when you buy books in Beijing, they wrap it in paper and tie it with strings. If you want a plastic bag, you have to pay more. This kind of practices is really good and I hope to see this happening in Malaysia as well. Also, architects have a great responsibility in designing houses or offices or factories that is environmentally friendly, by using natural lighting, solar and wind power, intelligent power management systems, natural air-ventilation systems, etc. We are already seeing a lot of these in new buildings in China.

After all, we have to take care of our house. But we also have to grow and make our people live a better life, lead a better quality life. But we can do it much more intelligently, with our new technologies and insights, our new understanding of science and engineering. If we continue to grow using the Industrial-Age methods, we will burn ourselves to death.

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Vengeance

Finally managed to find some time to go and watch VENGEANCE, the new Johnnie To movie. One could not but think of Park Chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, OLD BOY and SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE) and make mental notes.

However, I feel that Johnnie To’s motive is not the same as Park’s also touching on the same subject. Johnnie To is more inclined to make visually stunning movies, cool movies. Watch SPARROW. What a cool movie it is. Johnnie’s movies are more about brotherhood and honour, about being cool, about “Yi Hei”, which reminds one of John Woo’s brotherhood movies such as A BETTER TOMORROW, only that Johnnie’s films are more extravagantly cool looking (the killer’s black raincoat uniform even though it was not raining, the cigarette smoking scene in SPARROW, the umbrella scenes in both SPARROW and VENGEANCE, the bicycle shooting scene in VENGEANCE, etc. etc.)

In fact, Johnnie’s films has always been cool. The scenes always so idiosyncratic and memorable (remember the shopping complex shoot-out scene in THE MISSION?).

So what is this VENGEANCE movie about? The plot is simple. Everything is in the execution. The topic of vengeance was not touched upon the way Park Chan-wook did. The movie is just about a family got killed by some killers and the wife’s father came and wanted revenge. And he himself hired killers to hunt his enemies down. That’s all. But go watch and see for yourself how the film was shot.

By the way, Wong Kar Wai’s ASHES OF TIME REDUX is now showing in the GSC International screens.

Also, I watched UP and love it! Don’t miss UP.

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A Vow re Go

Here is something that I have been thinking about. I think I haven’t really put enough seriousness in playing Go. I mean I do play very serious games which all that is in my mind is to find a way to win, and win I must but a lot of my games are not serious at all. I noticed that all the strong players treat each game seriously, and they play to win. That mindset is the mindset to getting stronger. And I believe it and must now try to think that way too.

I am actually quite sick of having to say, “oh it’s just a teaching game, so the moves are to prompt the student”, or, “oh, I was just playing there to see if the ‘student’ replies correctly or not”, or “I was just testing my moves”, or “I ‘let water’ only”. I am truly getting quite sick of this and I think this is a major roadblock to anyone wanting to improve Go. I don’t think any good and strong Go player thinks like this. To improve Go, there is only one way. To play seriously together with a desire to win, or at least this is what I believe now.

Come to think of it, it really makes no sense to lose and then give excuses. Why not win first then only talk? Why must one lose to teach or experiment? Why not win first then teach the student what he played wrong or win first then only say you could have ‘let water’? I think it is all excuses and to cheat oneself, to want to believe one is actually strong but could not take the fact that one is actually not as strong as one would like to believe. And thus the masking and the excuses.

This whole idea is wrong. It feels wrong.

Anyways, from now on, I vow to treat every game seriously. Played seriously with a desire to win. So if I lose, there shall be no excuses. There is only one reason why I lose. I am weaker than my opponent. At least for the game that has just concluded. And this shall be admitted. Only then will there be a path to become stronger.

And of course, if I win, I will refuse all the excuses my opponent gives me. I will just think he or she is weaker than me. At least for the game that we just played. I will assume he or she played seriously. If not playing seriously, why waste time and play at all? Better go to a movie?

Remember: If you lose, YOU are weaker. No excuses. Just go and study and practice more instead of giving excuses why you “could” have won. Face the fact. Face reality.

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” -Calvin and Hobbes

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