Wednesday, 29 April 2009
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

This movie is basically about how Wolverine lost his memory and became the mutant he is in the 3 X-Men movies.

The movie started off by showing how Logan and his brother Victor fought in wars. They were close to each other as any pair of brothers can get, and as both of them can't die, they're an invaluable asset to the army.

However, they were recruited into an elite group of mutants who do whatever this man, William Stryker asked them to. And that really put a lot of strain on their relationship, and finally led to them parting ways.

There definitely were a few surprises in store which I didn't expect, but the main thing that amused me was the villain, William Stryker or something like that. If you remember X2, he looked like this:

And now, he looks like:

He looked so familiar before I realized that he's actually the lead vampire in 30 Days of Night.

Those years must've been harsh on him!

The last fighting scene was definitely awesome, but you'll have to watch it to see how awesome it is.

As I never read the comics and have no idea why Wolverine lost his memory and have claws, I think this movie was rather 'educational' and really explained a lot. Now I want to rewatch the 3 X-Men movies!

At the end of the movie, Professor X can be seen escorting the gifted youngsters to his school, which I think is meant to invoke the memories of X3, where he died. And perhaps hopes of X4? The leakage of this movie into the Internet definitely meant that the movie will not earn as much money as they could have had it not leaked. So maybe there won't be an X4 after all.

Although, if this X-Men Origins turns out to be a series, I must say I look forward to seeing Jean Grey's and Storm's pasts!
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Sunday, 26 April 2009
I Don't Remember Coaxing Him

EL, remember when I asked you whether a friend of ours had a blog?

You were right then, but you're not now. He started one few days ago.

To the rest of our friends who're clueless, before I continue I must say that I do not remember persuading him to start blogging. I think it's more of... peer pressure?

Anyway, here comes the latest addition to our circle of friends who blog:

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Yes, Leong Yi Xian started a blog!
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Generally when I tell people how I fared in SPM there's 2 reactions:

1) "Wow! Good job! Congratulations! You must be very happy!"

2) "Aiyah! Short of one only!"

Today was Hari Kecemerlangan. I saw former school mates, teachers, friends.

And I'm thankful most people go for the first reaction. I was exceptionally pleased that my Moral teacher said that! Well because she seemed really strict in school and I hadn't expected her to remember me, but that's for another time.

Anyway, after Hari Kecemerlangan we went to Pyramid for a movie, Paul Blart something. And since I'm supposed to be critical, here goes.

I think one of the main messages sent out to the audience is that being overweight doesn't mean you're useless.

However, I really didn't find the movie comedic at all. It's supposed to be FUNNY, and I can only recall laughing ONCE in the entire movie. Few times I even felt like sleeping. Or maybe it's just the expectation.

Anyway, these days people really need to achieve a lot to be praised, don't they? I mean, few years back if you missed out on an A you wouldn't be hearing anyone saying that just one more thing. It could be the half empty half full theory, that different people see different situations in different ways.
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Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Rascals

To distract myself I browsed through the pictures I have and I saw this.

That's the the temple camp that I helped facilitate in a year or two ago.

Although I liked the experience, I remember it was horrible. My team comprised of young kids. Only one in lower secondary. I remember I had a hard time. We facilitators were expected to play a very active role in the camp, and hence we have to watch our teams closely.

I remember running around as well, chasing after the rascals. They never seemed to understand how to stay still. If they're not running around during tasks, they're not helping by doing other things. Just look at the pic. I was busy controlling the little boy in yellow who can't stop running, the 3 girls at the side just seemed content with doing whatever they wanted, the guy in blue was arguing with the team leader in red and the final rugrat, I have no idea what was he doing. And if I remember correctly some other members were not in the pic because they decided other groups seemed to have greener grasses or they just wandered around.

Were we facilitators cruel? I don't think so. I think we were quite nice to them. You see, there were 2 groups of facilitators, one group from the organizer who had nothing to do with the temple, and us, facilitators who are from the temple. We temple facis were nicer than them. And at the end of the camp, the ungrateful rascals accused us of power abuse T.T


AND rated us poorly =(
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Friday, 17 April 2009
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Warner Bros yesterday released yet another Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailer.

Here's a synopsis of the movie:

Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates! And then there’s Hermione, simmering with jealousy but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.




If you click on the link and watch it in HD instead the quality is amazing.

I used to really enjoy Harry Potter movies, but interest in it lessened as I grew up, or perhaps the movies just became less interesting than what I expected from reading the books.

Although it started out as a movie for children (just look back and watch The Philosopher's Stone!) this movie is rated PG. The movie's definitely darker and more epic this time, but I'm not complaining. They need to do something to bring the audience back.

According to the GSC website, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is due to be released on 16 July 2009.
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Thursday, 16 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
Movies

During my 4 week break till now, I must say I've watched many movies. I mean, it's not really a lot, but it's more than what I normally watch. Some movies I really wanted to watch and asked my friends to join in, and some they wanted to watch and I joined.

First, Jack Neo's Love Matters, a movie about husband-wife relationships in marriage ( I think).

Then there's Dragonball and Street Fighter, both of cartoon / anime origins (I think). I've not watched the Dragonball cartoons, nor have I played the Street Fighter games, so I really don't know how it's supposed to be like. But I hear it didn't live up to expectations.


Race to Witch Mountain is about alien children who came to Earth in search of something that will save their dying planet and people with the help of a taxi driver and a UFO expert. Sounds childish, but I think it was pretty good.

Next, The International, about an Interpol agent trying to nail a criminal organization.

I also watched Confessions of a Shopaholic, about a person who can't stop shopping.

There's also Fast & Furious 4. I don't really know about the past of this franchise, and I think the plot was really ordinary with nothing special about it. But of course, the cars are the main attraction.

And yesterday, I watched He's Just Not That Into You. I think the movie's just about people who are desperate to get into a relationship. For an all star cast, the movie ain't that good, and the plot was even worse.

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Sunday, 5 April 2009
Qing Ming

Like Sebastian said, today's Qing Ming, the Chinese All Souls' Day.

When I was a young kid, I was fascinated by the whole thing. It took some time for me to understand that it's the day where souls should return from wherever they're supposed to be.

And while I understand why people want to have this festival to remember their dearly departed relatives and ancestors, I don't see the the point of the belief of bringing food and burning items.

Remembering your relatives is a good thing, but Qing Ming isn't all about that.

People bring food to the tombs to allow the spirits to 'feast' on it, and they burn items so the spirits of their relatives can receive it. Sometimes, they even set off firecrackers to alert their departed relatives. I don't see how can the food be eaten. If you leave it there nothing would happen. If you return and find that the food's missing, would you think the spirits ate it? No. You would immediately understand that the graveyard workers took it away, and probably ate it themselves.

And burning things! Isn't the world polluted enough already? I remember once I had to help lay down the 'money' on the graveyard. I was probably in primary school or lower secondary then, but what I saw really shocked me. The writing on the notes was 'HELL BANK NOTE'. Why in the world would you want your relative to receive a bank note for HELL? Don't you wish they're in HEAVEN? And burning things like paper clothes! The most amusing thing I've heard is that my aunts said you have to write the name of the person you're burning it for, so that they can receive it. My mum said that my grandmother's illiterate so how can she know it's hers?

My paternal grandmother passed away unexpectedly few years back. I'm sure that there would be so many things she would want to say. So why can't we burn a one day pass? Let her come back for 24 hours. Everyone seems content with the 'fact' that when you burn those items, your relatives will receive them.

I went back for Qing Ming last week. My grandfather told me not to forget to mention that I got good results in my exam. But actually I just wished her all the best wherever she is, and that she's happy, then placed the joss sticks. Another aunt told her to "eat more". I really don't see the whole point of it. Nor do I see the point of praying to long dead ancestors whom I've never met, and rarely heard about.

Yes, I'm a bad descendant. But why should I pray to someone I don't know? Or burn beautiful paper clothes and hell notes to a departed relative?
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Thursday, 2 April 2009
Tuition

When I was in primary school, tuition classes were very normal for my classmates, but not for me.

That, is one of the perks of being a teacher's child. You get things normal students can't get. OTHER TEACHERS PAY YOU MORE ATTENTION.

My sister and I never attended any of those after school hours tuition classes, except for 2 cases that I remember. First, my sister. I remember once her teacher asked her to attend one subject's tuition class, and my mum agreed. When I was in standard 6, my apparent weakness in the chinese language and maths caused my teacher to ask me to attend tuition too.

I admit, I did get pretty good results (BUT NOT FOR THE SCHOOL) for chinese and maths for UPSR.

But I still question the relevance of the amount of tuition classes.

If I remember correctly there were tuition classes since standard ONE. Not every day, but around 2-3 days a week. Of course, I never stayed back for them. Towards the end of standard 5, when the s6 students have completed UPSR, then the s5 students would be required to attend tuition classes every day of the week, excluding Sunday.

Is it really, really relevant? Although the trend is you can't survive without tuition, these are just kids! Till today I do not regret going home at 1 to complete my homework, sleep and enjoy my childhood. On the other hand, my classmates sit in class till like 4 in the evening. Goodness knows how in the world they finished their homework in time.

I just don't understand why parents and teachers are getting more and more kiasu these days. A UPSR cert won't get you anywhere. These days, even an SPM cert does not guarantee you a job. And it's supposed to be SIJIL PELAJARAN MALAYSIA, proof that a person has studied till form 5.

Anyway, what's the obsession with UPSR?

A CERTAIN PK1 IN MY PRIMARY SCHOOL USED TO BE OBSSESSED WITH TUITION. She made the schedules and everyone has to suffer. Even when I was a kid I pitied her kids. Imagine what they go through every day. It's a wonder she didn't send them for night time tuition. Then again, maybe she did. The school and every other school was always trying to produce straight A students. Staying back makes them restless, and by the end of the day they're exhausted.

When you think of it, why can't this be a cause for disciplinary problems? Students who don't get good results are looked down upon. Who can they turn to? Classmates who have a string of As? Or those people who sell drugs? Or gangsters? And kids have lots of energy. They need to run wild in a field every now and then. The sad thing is PE lessons have been replaced by 'more important' lessons. And they are jailed for another 3 extra hours. That's their playing time chopped. Now I understand why I once saw form 1 students running around playing Fire And Ice or whatever it's called.

In my own defence, I never had any interest in chinese. Maths... well I didn't like it at first, but I liked it later because I did well in practice tests. In subjects like English and BM, I would still get better results than my classmates most of the time. I remember this one time when my sexist and prejudiced english teacher just asked me to go do the tuition english exam paper. There and then. No preparations whatsoever. As it turned out, nobody had a higher mark than mine. Yeah I was bragging but then again, if I had interest in chinese, I'm sure I could've done well too. My sister certainly did.

So the whole point of this long winded post is, I think for primary schools, teachers shouldn't just hammer information into the kids' heads like that. They should grab the interest of the young, shouldn't they? Otherwise the kids'll just flunk out in secondary school.

Primary schools don't realise that their job is not just to ensure their students do well in UPSR, but in life. As they say, they're laying a concrete foundation. But you can't just keep hammering concrete in. You need trees. You need their roots to grow and spread, and hold the concrete in place. Otherwise, it'll just come crashing down one day.
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