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Imported from my blogger dating from August 2005 to June 2010

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Wednesday
Jun162010

Moment of silence

Tomorrow I'm out of here kitties. My nails are painted and ready to go with a glaring shade of ruby red. Jag-U-Are. That is actually what it is called. It's the first time I can paint my nails for a long while, they wanted to come out and say hi. Since I'd be meeting people of a more upstanding calibre than usual it was probably best that the colour was something that was more within the accepted range of normality. I'll save the harlequin checks for after I get back.

Two weeks absence, give or...give two days. My level of readiness at what is now roughly 14 hours away from takeoff is tip off to how I feel about the whole skipping town situation. That is to say, not ready at all. At least it won't be the all nighter ordeal that was the 48 hours before my flight back to Australia back in December.

I am feeling somewhat optimistic though. Finally leaving would also mean that I'll finally be on the last legs of being in such close proximity to the giver of my lifeblood, the lioness to my cub, the cause of all this buzzing in my head that I spend all my life trying to get rid of. The last three weeks has not been easy. I was kept sane by occupying what little space between us with things. Filling up all the time with anything but silence, or the promotion of conversation. Movies, mostly. Movies I knew would offer the least amount of argument, mostly Oscar winners and nominees of the past year that I didn't deem to be required viewing at the time of release.

But this post is not about that. This post is about the sunnier, sparkier, sweatier future awaiting my return. It would be July, and it would be glorious. This Summer break has not been much of a break yet, for a lot of people, but July would eventually come and lift the straps off our heavy heavy hearts, expertly running its fingers over our back finding every knot and kneading it back into submission. I intend on not doing very much in July. It would be the long refreshing nap that gets you ready. The one that's full of promise. Reader, we're going to love July.

Sunday
May302010

***
Accompanying material:

Metropolis Unbound - David Bordwell

Observations on Film Art
***

I'm not too ashamed to admit that I've never seen more than 25 minutes of Metropolis. I've tried, 7 times in total, to sit through it but I always seem to fall asleep at about the same 10 minute mark into the film and wake up at around the same final 1/3rd before calling it a day and taking it back to the Video Ezy at which point the old man with the blue glasses that owns the place would again, laugh at me.

I don't think it's a silent film thing, I've begrudgingly sat through a back to back presentation of Battleship Potemkin and Oktyabr, which would arguably kill most people. Individually of course they're both worthwhile and thrilling and game changing as far as cinema goes (please don't shoot me Felicity!), but a double bill, well that's just a torture device.

And I'd be the first to admit. I've slept through a lot of films at uni. I don't know, once you start watching 4 prerequisite films a week in lecture halls that promote drowsiness it doesn't matter if you're watching Battle of Algiers (which you know is "important"), you will start nodding off (which I did). But that's not it either. I have tried to watch Metropolis in a variety of settings, with a variety of different soundtrack versions, at different times of the day, all to no avail.

Mr. Bordwell's article has ignited a renewed spark. Perhaps with all these gleaming new insights in mind I can give it a final college try.

***

Reading back on what I wrote last night, I must apologise for the lack of focus, structure, or anything really. I was trying to think while maintaining a conversation with my mother and the Quantum of Solace was also competing for my attention in the background. A lot of things, other than my thoughts, were happening.

I guess what I ended up concluding is that, I tend to glorify "real life". Something inside me obviously feels that I would never actually live that life. Man, woman, house, home, children, animal. I'm sure it's somehow Jungian, that it has something to do with the fact that I never grew up having all that. I'm also sure that some overpaid shrink would be able to trace my dramatic aspirations to this "lacking" childhood. It's simpler than that. I like to play house, because I am a child. For a period last year I had a brief go at domesticity. The relationship itself was a bit of a joke, neither one of us gave enough of ourselves for it to be in any way real but you know what my favourite moment was? That first day I stayed at his apartment for the whole day by myself without him, I made sure I cleaned, and had dinner in the oven by the time he stepped in the door. As he ate what I had prepared for us, he told me that was his favourite meal. That moment, like some stepford wife, was probably the highlight of the entire 8 month period I spent with that boy. The feminist inside me is rearing to have a right thrashing of that version of me.

Last night I was listening to a three week old podcast of LNL with Phil Adams. They were talking about the massacre in Congo and how rape has now turned in a weapon of war. The statistics are not shocking, though alarming. The UN estimates that over 200,000 girls and women has been raped during the extent of the civil war, and growing. With the youngest victims being about 3, and the oldest being 75. A vast majority of these rape cases are perpetrated against teens 12-17 years old, and an even more disturbingly large majority being gang rape of up to 7 armed soldiers on one girl in public. It's actually more shocking how unsurprising these horrific stats are, but the most interesting thing to have come out of these events is this women's movement that's starting to happen. Because of the public nature of these crimes, it's allowed for these victims, these women, to have conversations, march the streets even. It's prompted them to want change, to have women in positions of power. It's kind of exciting, to have a renewed surge in a women's movement, as opposed to the three steps back we're taking in our more developed worlds, and in my own world.

We're going to watch Mao's Last Dancer now, so that'll do for tonight before I get too distracted again.

Saturday
May292010

The Glorious Mundane

When I think about all the stories I've been drawn to, had affected me in some way, they all seem to follow a similar tangent. Intimate stories mostly in search of home, trying to find some kind of purpose other than the tedious to family, proving to myself that there is art to heart. There's comfort in knowing that remarkable people, people I admire would be as interested in a small and insignificant life as I am. I don't think I'm supposed to want that, as an actor I mean. I didn't think I ever would either, but here I am, looking on longingly at the final shot of Away We Go as some kind of final reward -- uncomplicated bliss. I know that a lot of my friends, people I thought I was much more alike, still find that ghastly, many of them find Away We Go ghastly dull. Perhaps this is some passing phase.

A recurring theme of the past few years of my life has been this fort building game of mine. Finding out what I need, and discarding what I don't. Learning to live out of boxes and scuttle everything that constitutes a home with me. I had a hermit crab when I was younger, it never got a name, it didn't feel right to name something that carried its whole existence on its own back. Like any egotistical child who read too much and had too much time on her hands, I found great poetry in my hermit crab. I took pride in my ability to adapt, falling into new homes, new friendship circles, new living situations so easily. I guess I still am like that.

The pursuit of my perfect world becomes harder when each move puts more distance between the where I am now and where I was. I wish I could pack people and relationships up in boxes like my books. That would be the major shift from when I was young I guess, when friends became what they were meant to be, my lifeblood. If I had to put a finger on why this sudden wanting of the small life came about, it would simply be because of the fact that I finally found the the joy of something like family through my clinging onto to people I want to keep in my life, and now there's a growing urgency because it's becoming clear that I would never have everything I want in this utopia of mine. Who cares about all the new forms of communication in this world, for all your skypes and facebooks and emails, best they can do is maintain an ebbing stream of consciousness. As my roots in New York plant itself more firmly, I feel a pull from everyone back home. All the people who helped me find my feet, made a woman out of me, if you will, people who knew every embarrassing minute detail of my life, why aren't you here already? 2012 couldn't come any sooner, and when the moment arrives, you'd all better live up to your word. 'sall I'm saying.

With growing intensity, I've been wanting to do what we've always talked about, to drop everything and move to Oaxaca together for a month or two, or three. That would be enough for me, a small piece of my perfect small life. Soon, my kitties, soon.

Tuesday
May252010

Home Song Stories

It's time to plan another trip to China. It's been 3 years since the last time I visited. Last time, that happened.

No more week long death rituals this time, for which I'm thankful. No more monasteries either, which is a bit of a shame. China is always one of those place I reluctantly go because I have to, to visit people I feel a vague connection to, eat, sleep, and shop because there's nothing else to do. It's always a good time to catch up on some reading, and to catch a glimpse of teen Asia that which I so despise through hours upon hours of Chinese channel [V].

My diaspora exists somewhere within the collective unconscious of expats who grew up to run away. My memories of 'home' are happy and few, and of a place that is no longer there. I have no allegiance with the murky cosmopolitanism clouding those cities I'm supposed to call my own. Most of my mothers friends who have not let go of their motherland think I'm some kind of haughty, rejecting my traditions and culture. They think they understand on some primitive way, treating me like a rebellious teenager, "Westernised". What they couldn't understand is that this could never be some cookie cutter rebellion. Away with everything Chinese and long live the Queen! The traditions I remember are my own. Making wontons with my mother and grandmother. The music, my mother's performances. The dances I led in primary school. All the things that belong to the "New China" movement while it was still in its infancy. I embrace all of these. The bubbling motion happening now within a certain sect of Chinese intellectuals creating new art forms is incredibly exciting to me.

What I absolutely despise is the mass whoring out of that particular brand of "Chinese Culture", the kind that's meaningless. The kind you wear to show off the past you do not part take in. Someone once said of me in a somewhat dissenting tone, that apart from speaking in Chinese with my mother I may as well be white. Well, what should I do to satisfy your objectification of Chinese? Does it have to be specifically regional, or would anything that could be generally considered exotic to you be enough? My grasp of the language is very much the defining streak of my Asian identity. It's my only key to all the nuances of the culture that does not make me nauseous.

I'm hoping that my upcoming trip would consist solely of meeting interesting, like minded people, and a minimal of having to look at that which I hate. I know it's an annoying tendency that I have, my absolute refusal of having anything I don't like in my world. But it makes my world better, and until something happens that would make me feel different I don't see why I should be the one to change.

Thursday
May202010

sonatine

I still remember the last time my fingers traced over a piano knowing that the keys under them were still in my command. I remember all those performances at random society ladies homes for the Musical Society of Victoria where I had just phoned it in. Like that one time, when my mind was elsewhere when I was playing that Beethoven sonata, and I skipped the development altogether and jumped from exposition straight to the recapitulation. That entire musical chapter of my life, I just completely glossed over. The fact that I had a fucking grand piano in my house since the age of 12 apparently never phased me. Or the fact that my piano teacher's whole family became family friends who, if you can believe it, we had traveled Europe with. Or even the fact that despite my obvious deficiencies, the Music Society ladies kept calling me month after month requesting performances during their recitals, an honour which a more diligent student would have killed for, but I merely winced in annoyance at. The amazing concerts I went to and yawned at. I knew people with far more talent than I, who started playing at a far younger age, and I knew I was never going to be a pianist, for that reason alone it became just child's play. Did I at any stage realise how amazing it was that I had that amount of serious musical education?

I've been thinking about this for a while now. Every time I hear classical music, I realise again and again how charmed my upbringing was in relations to music. It takes a lot of virtuosity to impress my privileged mind. It was not until Elianto, that phenomenal little string quintet I heard in the goddamn subway station that stayed my foot for almost half an hour that I noticed the pain of something missing in my life. I have not touched a piano in a serious way now for about 8 years. Two more and that's about how long I played it altogether. In terms of childhood memories, the piano was a source of pain, even in the later years when I tried to alter my relationship with this instrument I had to strap myself to 2 hours a day, sometimes a lot more, it was too late. Like a bad romance novel, the negative habits had already set their form.

I'd give anything to have a chance to play again, but there really isn't a solution to this problem. Yes there are pianos at studio, but to practice something that's 8 years stale in such a public space horrifies me. Besides, I need to play about 48 hours worth of scales before my fingers would work the way I'd want them to again, and that is just not something that anybody wants to hear. Keyboards are....keyboards. I like a synthesizer as much as the next person but in terms of piano pieces, they take all the musicality out and replace it with a throbbing dance beat.

O woe is me.


A particular favourite of mine to play back in day. And, if I may be as bold to say, I would have kicked the shit out of this guy. (only this piece though, because I loved it so much.)