GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

08 December, 2014

Has Hollywood finally run out of ideas?

Once in a while there will be a release of an original idea that is amazing, so amazing that Hollywood executives think that a simple idea can be exploited into a franchise. In recent years, there are so many new terms coined to describe this phenomenon, let me list them out:

Parody/ Compilation
Sure there are some original blockbusters here and there, but have you noticed that most blockbusters this years are categorized into one of these... As I mentioned in my previous post for Remakesploitation, the key is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Seriously, what happened to originality? It's the end of 2014 now, most of the blockbusters of the year are out by now, so here are my short reviews of them.

22 Jump Street (June 2014)
Sequel of the 2012 film adaptation of a 1987-1991 TV series 21 Jump Street. Not many people went in to the cinema to watch the 2012 movie expecting a masterpiece, so it was a pleasant surprise. When the sequel came along, those people who saw the first one would have high expectations and I would say that it does not disappoint.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (November 2014)
Second sequel to a 2012 film adaptation of a 2008 New York Times Best Seller The Hunger Games. I have mentioned this before and I will say it again, splitting a novel into two films is a very bad idea. Don't get me wrong, it is an awesome idea for film executives. Splitting a book into two movies doubles the opportunity for profit and increases the time for hype for film merchandising. But if as a movie goer, you would have to go through what I call the "Deathly Hallows syndrome". This is when the first part is the build-up portion that may be slightly boring and stretched, then we have to wait a year or more for the second part that actually shows the climax and ending of the book. It worked so well for Harry Potter and Twilight before it, why not The Hunger Games?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (February 2014)
Sequel to the 2012 reboot of a 2002-2007 film franchise adaptation of a Marvel comics superhero created in 1962. There were so many adaptations of Spiderman after 52 years since it was created and the most successful so far is still the 2002 film series. A lot of people might disagree with me but I still think that Tobey Maguire was perfect as Peter Parker. My question is "Why bother to make another film franchise after ending the previous one a mere 5 years prior?". The answer is simple... Money. Enough said.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 2014)
Sequel to the 2011 re-reboot of a 1968-1973 film franchise adaptation of a French novel published in 1963.  The 1968 masterpiece and it's sequels have always amazed me for their fantastic atmosphere and storytelling. The 2001 reboot was disappointing to say the least. But since the 2011 re-reboot, I had my reservations to this franchise. With the current state of CGI and jaw-dropping motion capture acting by Andy Serkis, Rise and Dawn were both very good movies. I'm looking forward to see where this goes. Thumbs up to Dawn.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 2014)
Third sequel of 2007 film adaptation of a 1984-1993 animated TV series based upon Hasbro's 1984 toyline. I watched this movie late at night, probably the worst time to watch such a long and boring movie. It's interesting how an action movie with transforming cars and tonnes of explosions can be boring but Michael Bay did the impossible. When I watched the first movie I was at awe with the extensive use of CGI and explosions but now that it has taken over the plot, taken over logic, I am convinced that explosions is Michael Bay's way of communicating with his audience. However I must admit, seeing Mark Wahlberg as the lead instead of Shia LeBeouf is a breath of fresh air.
Godzilla (May 2014)
Hollywood re-reboot of a 1954 Japanese film and subsequent franchise. Remember Hollywood's previous failed attempt to make a Godzilla film in 1998? I certainly didn't. Not that it was unmemorable, I just had the desire to erase it from my memory. Godzilla is the king of monsters and will always be a symbol of nuclear devastation made by the country that experienced it first hand. The new movie definitely brings back the nostalgia of seeing gigantic monsters fight while buildings collapse around them. Too bad there is hardly any in it, instead we are left seeing some pathetic human characters most of the time, making some silly decisions along the way. Sure, the effects were impressive and the atmosphere made the monsters menacing, but wouldn't it be better if we could see more Godzilla doing Godzilla things in a Godzilla movie?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (March 2014)
Sequel to a 2011 film adaptation (the 3rd live action adaptation) of a Marvel comic superhero created in 1941 and part of an ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe started in 2008. First thing I must clarify, I prefer this movie to the first one. Being the last movie with SHIELD playing the huge part before the highly anticipated Avengers sequel, this movie needed to set-up the foundations with an entertaining plot. The Winter Soldier certainly delivers all of that. I shall not spoil the movie here, just get it on bluray and watch it!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (September 2014)
Re-reboot of a 1990-1993 live action film series adaptation of a 1987-1996 animated series adaptation of a Mirage comic book started in 1984. My oh my it is another Michael Bay production, but fortunately he is not at the helm directing the movie. This is a good example of current CGI movies making everything too clean and pleasing to look at but still failing to capture the fun vibe of the 1990 film and the animated series. There are times in the movie that I think to myself, what would the movie like if it was made independently with a low budget like the 1990 film. Would it look cheap and ugly or still as entertaining as it was back then?
The Expendables 3 (August 2014)
Second sequel of a 2010 film homage to blockbuster action films from 1980's and 1990s. Have anyone actually counted the number of characters in the poster? Don't bother, there are 16. Having an ensemble cast of classic action stars has always been the key in the first two movies, so why bring in a bunch of unknown kids into the gang of old man? At some point of the movie, it felt like watching one of those Youtube clips where some fan of old school action movies stitched a bunch of old clips into a film. Would be fun to count exactly how long each character actually appear on screen, poor Jet Li didn't get to do anything.
X-Men: Days of Future Part (May 2014)
Direct sequel to a 2011 reboot film and a 2013 character film, based upon a 1981 comic book storyline and the seventh sequel of a film franchise started in 2000 based upon a Marvel comic book franchise created in 1963. This is one movie that has that amazing cool factor to it. Bringing Bryan Singer back to the helm was the best thing about the movie because he knew the X-Men films too well. As most other critics say, in order to make this movie as good as it is, huge sacrifices had to be made. In this case, the plots and story of all other X-Men movies other than the 2011 reboot X-Men: First Class. Time travel is such an old cliche used in film to undo what other movies have done, but none as elegant as this. Never knew I would be excited for the next X-Men movie again as I was after the end credits of 2013's The Wolverine.

Well those are almost all the movies I've watched this year. Ten movies that are among the highest grossing of the year and all are either remakes, sequels or a mixture of both. Then again there are movies like Interstellar, Nightcrawler, Birdman and John Wick that are great movies that stand apart from the rest. Maybe there is still some creativity and innovation in Hollywood, just unfortunate that most of them don't sell as many tickets as those above.


30 November, 2014

My OnePlus One #3

The Malaysian OnePlus One Club is among the most active OnePlus communities in their forum. There are members from the forum who were there since even before the phone was officially release and are still active in distributing and moderating invites to other fellow Malaysian fans. I am truly amazed by their enthusiasm and I really wanted to meet up with them, especially the Boss @Jevoly. I guess it is very rare to see a group of people who support not just the phone company but the sense of community that I have only seen once with the Xiaomi Fan Club. OnePlus organized their first official Malaysian fan gathering on November 8, 2014 and I was happy to join, greet and thank he/she/them in person. *your secret is safe with me*
Malaysian Invite System (MIS) moderators and forum members at the Fan Gathering
Anyway, back to the steps:

4. Courier service
Here is where the OPO gets to travel around the world! When both boxes have arrived at the postal address and are ready to be shipped, I chose to ship via DHL. There is really nothing to do at this point other than spamming the tracking button until it breaks. My OPO took the standard route to Hong Kong and straight to Malaysia, but I have heard that some others took longer routes to Korea, Taiwan and even Singapore. Overall it takes roughly 3-5 days from day of shipping, to reach Malaysian customs.
5. Custom Clearance
This is when the parcel gets touchy, and by touchy I mean potentially getting the parcel stripped open for inspection. Some people at the forum mentioned that they avoided SIRIM and customs tax all together. However those are the minority, most of our OPO had to go through proper SIRIM checks and obtain permits, mine was no exception. Around a day before the parcel reached Malaysia, I received a call from DHL asking me to apply for customs clearance so that the parcel would not be delayed.

In this step, declaration of shipment is very important since it determines the amount of tax it would attract. Declaration of the OPO as a cellphone will have no duty tax while declaration as an electronic appliance might attract a 10% tax. Obviously I declared the OPO as a cellphone! For the SIRIM E-permit, please refer to this LINK, it is quite delicate since there are many forms to submit. The DHL officer who called me requested for my e-mail address so that she could send me certain documents that were needed for the application. Assuming everything goes well, the whole process will probably take less than 24 hours and cost RM100. I submitted all my documents at 5pm and it was ready at 11am the next day. So after I received my E-permit, I just forwarded it to DHL and it was done. Then all I can do is wait again.
6. Delivery in Malaysia
For most people staying in bigger cities or towns that has complete international courier coverage, this step does not concern you as DHL or whichever courier you chose could send it to your doorstep in 1-2 days after clearance. But since my place did not have DHL coverage, they transferred my parcel to Poslaju *to my annoyance*. If you noticed in the tracking note above, the final step says "Delivery arranged, no details expected", that's a sign that they have transferred to another courier. Nevertheless it took 4 days including the weekend to arrive at my doorstep, not too bad at all.

Voila! I was ready for my unboxing pleasure. The entire process from placing the order till getting it in my hand took around 2 weeks including weekends, not too long considering all that it has been through.
Trust me, when I first heard of this procedure I was totally flabbergasted too. I think the question for most people who read all the way up to this point would be "Why go through all the hassle?". As a OPO user who has been using it for over a month now, I have to say that it was totally worth it. It ticked all the points on my smartphone checklist and also introduced me to a community online. The most important thing to note before getting the phone is to get to know it well, if possible go to a shop to try out a Chinese edition. As the fellow forum members mentioned to me before, it was a totally new experience, to buy my first smartphone from overseas instead of a shop down the street.


My OnePlus One #2

Before actually purchasing this phone or any other item that is not officially distributed in Malaysia, it's important to note that they will not send it to us directly. The OPO is currently only available officially in 17 countries and for now, Malaysia is not one of them yet. Of course there is the Chinese edition which comes slightly more expensive with Oppo's ColorOS instead of the standard Cyanogenmod 11S. If you want an easier way to purchase the OPO without all the steps listed below, there are a bunch of phone shops already stocked with AP China edition OPOs readily available right now.

What if I want to get the Global edition? Do I have to smuggle it in to Malaysia! Not exactly smuggle actually considering the import clearance fee I paid. I got mine legally and officially. Here are the steps I took for my Global edition OnePlus One:

1. Buy the OnePlus One
At this point, you should already have an invite and you are ready to purchase the device. As I mentioned earlier OnePlus does not send the phone to Malaysia, so if you have friends or family living in any of the 17 countries who can help to ship the phone back to you, you shouldn't need to continue reading this. All you need is to direct the delivery to their postal address, make payment and your phone will arrive at their address within a week. Then after that you will owe them a favour to send the phone to you anyway you want. But for people like me without a contact in those 17 countries, I hired a parcel forwarding service, which brings me to number 2.
2. Forwarding address
Before purchasing the OPO, I have not heard of a Parcel Forwarding Service at all. Now that I'm familiar with the system, let me describe it in simple words. These companies do exactly the same thing as your friends or family I described earlier. They receive your parcel and forward the parcel to you via whichever courier you choose. One important service they provide is allocating a physical postal address that is mandatory when directing the delivery. In my case, I registered an account with Comgateway which gave me a postal address. Then I made my payment at OnePlus US, directing the delivery to said address. My parcel was shipped by USPS from Rosemead, California and took 6 days from day of purchase, to arrive at my postal address at Portland, Oregon.
3. Forwarding service
As I mentioned before, the main service these companies provide is forwarding parcels via courier. However they do have additional services such as repacking that consolidates unnecessary bulk of certain parcels to save space and shipping fee. This is especially useful if you are purchasing other items from Amazon or EBay and are shipping together with the OPO to Malaysia. For me, it was just the OPO, which came in two boxes, one with the phone and another with the charger. It is important to note that sometimes those boxes don't get delivered in the same parcel, so it is better to check with the forwarding service before shipping. When the parcels arrived at my postal address, Comgateway immediately sent an e-mail to request for further instructions, repacking, continue waiting for other items to arrive or proceed with shipping.
Now that I'm looking back at the steps I took to get the phone, I feel totally overwhelmed. I am really amazed by the number of new things I have learnt along the way. There are a couple of steps to go, so stay tuned for the continuation.


29 November, 2014

My OnePlus One #1

Question: What do you get when 1 + 1? 2? Wrong! *sorry, lame joke*
I think as of now, many people who are surveying smartphones have heard of this brand. Since Chinese brands are selling well these days, the competition might be bad for individual companies but fantastic for consumers who want to get the best value. Brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Lenovo and Vivo are sold almost everywhere in Malaysia. But one brand is emerging from this cluttered saturated market, One... Plus? *pun intended*
With all the hype their flagship killer, OnePlus have been criticized a lot, not for the product itself, not for software. Some say they made "The best phone that nobody has" since it is almost impossible to purchase the phone when it was released back in April 2014. I totally agree that the invite system is not a very good way to sell a product no matter how good it actually is. It is really too bad since they probably lost many potential customers who were interested but couldn't get any invites. Most praises come from the specs: price ratio since this phone costs only $299 for the 16Gb and $349 for the 64Gb model.
OK, enough of the introduction. Let me start recollecting my journey to get this rare piece of art. It all started with MKBHD. I am a big fan and watched all his videos on Youtube. So when he praised this phone and went on about how great it is, I was interested in knowing more. Then I registered myself into the OnePlus forum to find that I was not alone, there was already a Malaysian OPO Fan Club there, now even has a regional forum despite not distributed officially.
I went on to read a bunch of reviews from other websites and also had fun chatting with a bunch of people at the fan club. Then one fine day, must have been my lucky day, I received a message at the forum offering an invite. I immediately got familiar with the procedures and purchased the item. Then comes the difficult part, getting the phone to my hands. If you are getting this phone the most important thing you must know by now is that it is not officially available in Malaysia, at least not yet. This means that in order to obtain the phone, the phone had to be flown half way around the world to me.

Stay tuned for the next post as I explain each step in detail.


05 November, 2014

R&R in nature

There are many types of travelling. There are those where you go to a huge city and strut along the streets taking beautiful pictures of architectural marvels. There are also those where you go to famous tourist attractions and try to straighten the Leaning tower of Pisa. But most of these can sometimes be hectic and fast paced. How about a long weekend relaxing in a villa surrounded by greenery to rejuvenate and revitalise our weak stressed out bodies? Yes, we have these in Malaysia too.

Sekeping Serendah
The Dusun
Normally I would bore you with lots of words about my trip and how fun it must have been, but this time I'll just put it straight and clear... R&R in nature is probably the best trip any working adult would ever want. And now here are 3 reasons why...

1. No phone signal
OK, not exactly zero signal, but that is the whole reason for going far far away from civilization, away from reality. Being away gives a sense of freedom in that you know your boss wouldn't be able to call you back to work any time. It's sad that in most other trips, even overseas, we never really get far from anything that reminds us about our jobs. So being in the woods is definitely refreshing, to be able to turn off the phone and silent those annoying notification ringtones. Remember a time when there were no mobile networking?

2. Bonding
I have been to many trips with friends and as usual they take place in either historical cities like Edinburgh or super long trip like mine in Italy. Although it is fun fumbling with maps when everyone explore foreign lands together, nothing brings a group of friends together better than a long quiet dinner under the stars. There will always have ample time to relax and chat for as long as we want while waiting for food to cook in a steamboat. We even had time for a groupie!
3. Fresh air and clean water
I know it's really cliche to say this, but 'when was the last time you took a deep breath that made you feel great?'. It is easily the simplest point I can make... the air and water in any city will most certainly be polluted, so why not consider going for a fresh air therapy and have a dip in cool clean water from the upstream. Nothing much to add to the awesomeness, just close your eyes and imagine how amazing it must have felt...
*Honestly, I have been writing and re-writing this blog post many times over the past few months because I have no idea what to write. I went for a trip to Shorea with a bunch of friends almost a year ago and had a great time there. I miss that feeling so much! I never knew how much I miss the peace and quiet moments until I experienced it first hand, in the arms of mother nature.


03 November, 2014

Fire Power: Nostromo

In the 1970s and 1980s, action movies were all about big buff men showing huge biceps holding an unlimited supply of ammo, charging towards enemies as if they were just target practice... you know, the Rambo stereotype. But not all action movies were like that before, some were slow and creepy, capitalizing on the atmosphere that makes the action scenes in the movie all the more satisfying. Another thing is that not all action movies starred muscular men, some of them, like the one I am featuring here, puts a seemingly weak female officer on board a big spacecraft with an unstoppable alien.

A long time in the future, in a solar system far far away..... There was a spaceship on its way home that gets ordered to answer a distress call on an uncharted planet when all hell breaks loose. Sound familiar? It's like a typical Star Trek episode from the 1960s. But director Ridley Scott created a visually stunning horror action movie out of that simple premise, amplifying the claustrophobic environment of a spacecraft since "In space no one can hear you scream". Most women in horror movies would be portrayed as the stereotypical damsel in distress, and would normally be the first few to get killed off, but Sigourney Weaver who played Ellen Ripley was different. *Spoiler alert: like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the female protagonist survives.*

Sigourney Weaver is 5 ft 11.5 in and as Ridley Scott mentioned, she is masculine but very female, has the authority of a male and not just a junior officer. As the movie progresses, her character evolves not only on her own but affecting all the other characters around her. Therefore it makes perfect sense that her character would have the courage and strength to face the Xenomorph at the end. Nowadays we see strong female characters in an action movies all the time, but back in 1979 this was ground breaking.
7 years later, she played her character again in the sequel Aliens (1986). That movie further cemented her status as a strong heroine when she is faced with not one but a nest of Xenomorphs. She really made an impact at the final showdown with the alien queen, one of the most iconic battle scenes in film history. Weaver starred in 2 more Alien sequels and a variety of roles in other movies like Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest and recently Avatar. But for me, she will always be the strong pilot of the Nostromo, Ellen Ripley.

This is a tribute to Ellen Ripley, the great Sigourney Weaver.


13 October, 2014

Fire Power: 三毛 (Three Hairs)

In certain cases, fire power could come just from brute force, no guns, no tanks, just the power of the fist. During the 1970s, martial artists like the late Bruce Lee brought Chinese martial arts to the world. But after his passing in 1973, many others tried to ride on the success and continue making Kung Fu action films till the late 1970s when things started to get stale. A new wave of Hong Kong action stars made their entrance to the big screen, among them was Sammo Hung 洪金宝.

Based on physical appearance, nobody would expect him to be a martial arts expert. However despite being plump unlike most other martial artists, he exhibits superior agility, strength and creativity in mixing humor with martial arts. Sammo Hung is the eldest member of the Seven Little Fortunes 七小福, a performance group of the best students from the China Drama Academy guided and selected by martial arts master trainer Yu Jim-Yuen 于占元 in the 1960s. Among other members of the group are actors Jackie Chan 成龙, Yuen Biao 元彪 and action choreographer Corey Yuen 元奎.
Hung (right) in his directorial debut, 三德和尚与舂米六 (1977)
Since the 1970s, Sammo Hung has been making many martial arts comedies under his and actor Karl Maka 麦嘉's production company Gar-Bo 嘉宝 (subsidiary of Golden Harvest 嘉禾) until 1980 when he decided to start his own company Bo Ho 寶禾, co-founded Duk-Bo 德寶 in 1983 and founded another company BoJon 寶祥 for movies that he acted in. Thus far he has produced a total of 124 films in Hong Kong, many of which are action comedies he also acted and directed.
Winners and Sinners 奇謀妙計五福星 1983, directed and starred Sammo Hung (third from right).
Over the years, he has participated in many films as an actor, director, producer and most notably action choreographer. When his fellow martial arts colleagues Jackie Chan and Jet Li gained popularity in the western world during the late 1990s, US network CBS approached him to make a Saturday night TV series with Sammo as the lead role playing a Chinese police in LA. That series was called Martial Law and aired from 1998 to 2000 for two seasons. The series was successful as a prime time series but Sammo chose to leave after the second season because he felt that he was made into a fighting machine with little else to do. I remember watching this series on TV after dinner and it was so awesome. I think it was facinating to see my favourite action star back then speaking English on an American show and defeating all those bad guys with martial arts instead of guns.

After Martial Law, he returned to Hong Kong and had on and off successes throughout the years. He had another breakthrough in Ip Man (2008) as the action director and in its sequel Ip Man 2 (2010) where he also stars as the opponent to the title character.
Bonus trivia: Hung was nicknamed "Sammo" due to his resemblance to a famous Chinese comic character 三毛 (cantonese: Sam Mou).

This is a tribute to the Fat Dragon, the great Sammo Hung.


04 October, 2014

Fire Power: The Third Fist

This superstar does not need a gun to have fire power, he makes fire by rubbing to ice cubes together! He is Colt, McQuade and Walker, and he is one of the most famous martial artist alive. Just how did a man who won Black Belt Magazine's Fighter of the Year award in 1969 and black belts in 5 different martial art styles not be immortal?
The first time I ever seen Mr Carlos Ray Norris was in one of his first few movies, the Bruce Lee film Way of the Dragon 猛龙过江(1972). Most people may not have seen the movie in its entirety but definitely know the most famous scene in the movie, the final showdown between Bruce Lee's character 唐龍 and Chuck Norris's character 柯尔特 (Colt), a hired Karate fighter at the Colosseum.
Although Colt was not the main villain of the movie, his fight with Bruce Lee was the highlight of the movie, showing off both their talents in the classic setting of a typical Golden Harvest style duel. At least we know one of Chuck Norris's weakness after watching this scene, chest hair!
In the 80's, Norris gained prominence as Cannon Film's top action star in many Rambo-styled films. He also starred in a long running TV series Walker, Texas Ranger which put him in the spotlight as one of the greatest martial artist turn actor alongside Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme. In recent years, he gained popularity with Conan O'Brien showing Walker clips on his show, spawning the Chuck Norris Facts craze.

How can I write a Chuck Norris without featuring a few famous facts... hahaha!

Chuck Norris was bitten by a cobra, and after five days of excruciating pain... the cobra died (Norris said it himself in The Expendables 2).

This is a tribute to the Lone Wolf, the great Chuck Norris.


01 October, 2014

Happy Sweet 16, IMU Buddhist Society!

Many of you, even current IMU Buddhist Society members, probably do not know about this. IMU Buddhist Society is officially 16 years old!
Although it has only been 16 years, not much is known about the origin of the society. When I was in the committee, I got hold of some past documents that gave very little information that were vague. For one, the society was founded sometime around October 1998 by two medical students Tan Soon Kim(M1/97) and Chong Euming(M1/97), who should either be MOs, GPs or specialists by now. Back then IMU was still known as International Medical College and the Buddhist Society was known as Dharma Society. The person who might know more about this is Prof. Dr. Hla Yee Yee, who became the official advisor in September 1999 and is still the advisor until this day.
There is no doubt that IMU Buddhist Society has grown to be well established and isone of the most active societies in IMU. Throughout the years, more and more activities and programs were initiated such as regular Dharma talks/sharing sessions, meditation classes, educational trips and inter-religious forums. The blood and organ donation drive might be one of the most notable biannual events that was initiated by the society and since recent years has been jointly organized together with IMU SRC. Another activity would be the Friday Gathering, a concept conceived in 2009 that gathers members for short but meaningful activities together that fosters fellowship among all members.
the final printed newsletter published by IMUBS, September '09
My baby, the IMUBS blog is also turning 5 years old too. Not sure how many generations actually used it or whether it is still used today. I originally designed it as a medium to replace the monthly printed newsletter/bulletin. Back then as newsletter manager, I was tasked to generate monthly newsletters that was printed. There were only 2 other methods to publicize events and make announcements, SMS and the new social platform Facebook then. I ended up publishing only 2 printed issues and proceeded with multiple online-only newsletters accompanied with regular updates on the blog.
Committee members 09/10 and senior Ming Yi
It has been so many years since I last participated in an IMUBS activity and I really miss those precious moments. I sincerely hope IMUBS will continue to grow and continue to nurture more young aspiring healthcare professionals to achieve both intellectual and spiritual success in their future. May all be well and happy always.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


28 September, 2014

Fire Power: Make My Day!

Fire power is not just about bullet size, nor is it even about shooting, it is about the person holding the gun. In this case, a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver loaded with .44 Magnum that could blow anyone's head 'clean off'. So you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?

Remember this old man? When he was much younger, he had a thing for guns, starring in many famous spaghetti westerns in the 1960s, making a name for himself without an actual name in those movies. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, he played one of his most famous roles, a character nobody has ever seen before in films that has since been imitated so many times we forget how iconic it was at that time. Harry Callahan, more fondly known as Dirty Harry is now a term to describe reckless police officer who disregards conventional practices and policies, and it all started in Dirty Harry (1971), the first of five films in the series.
Harry and his friends Smith and Wesson doing what they do best in a diner

This character is at his best when he is faced with criminals who seem to get away from typical law enforcement. That's the main reason he is known as Dirty Harry, the guy who gets all the dirty job nobody else wants to do. However as reckless and crazy as he may seem, Harry has his principles. As seen in Magnum Force, he refuses to join the death squad when recruited by its leader because as he says "I hate the goddamn system, but until someone comes along with some changes that make sense I'll stick with it".
Over his film career, he has been nominated for many Oscars and won 5. This man is incredible in front as well as behind the camera and we should be glad that he just doesn't seem to stop making movies even in his 80s. Some say that even if he makes another Dirty Harry movie now, robbers and murderers won't stand a chance... he could deal with them with a walking frame if he has to.

This is a tribute to Inspector Harry Callahan, the great Clint Eastwood.


13 September, 2014

H&N: Bulan Kemerdekaan

Every year around late August and the first half of September we Malaysians will see a strange phenomena. Don't get me wrong, it is not strange to us, just observers who have no idea what is going on. There will be a bunch of drivers sticking one or more Jalur Gemilang (National flag) on their cars, Petronas and telcos come out with a variety of patriotic advertisements on the TV, Sudirman's voice singing the iconic Tanggal 31 Ogos song on the radio, TV and almost every departmental store! What in the world is going on?

Di sini lahirnya sebuah cinta
It's Bulan Kemerdekaan!!!

I am referring to roughly a month between 31 August (Merdeka day) and 16 September (Malaysia Day) every year. I personally am very excited and passionate about this month. Unfortunately after watching multiple videos and reading surveys online, I noticed there are still so many Malaysians who are... to put it bluntly, blind/deaf/disorientated (sorry for being insulting). It is actually very disappointing that there are many Malaysians out there who do not know the significance of Bulan Kemerdekaan.
I embrace this celebration as though it is my birthday. I have a little Malaysian flag at my desk, a row of flags at my pharmacy counter, sing Negaraku wholeheartedly during monthly assemblies and actually bother to remember all 6 Prime Ministers' full names. Anyway, why not try out the basic Namewee Merdeka quiz. These are questions that every Malaysian should be able to answer instinctively, even standard one students can. So if you cannot answer them, shame on you... hahaha... but seriously how can these REDpeople not get these right?

1. Which year did Malaysia/Malaya declare its independence?

2. Who is Malaysia's Father of Independence?

3. What is the capital city of Pahang?

4. What is the next sentence after "Raja Kita..." in Negaraku?

5. Which of the following famous people are not Malaysians?
P. Ramlee, David Arumugam, Muhammad Ali, Lim Lian Geok

On a lighter note, did you know that there are many Malaysians who made it big internationally and yet nobody seem to know that they are/were Malaysians? Some may surprise you, especially those of you who couldn't answer the questions above.
James Wan (top-left) is a Hollywood producer and director famous for directing Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring and Fast & Furious 7. Dato' Jimmy Choo (top-middle) and Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh (top-right) probably need no introduction as he is one of the most famous shoe designers in the world and she is a well known actress in both Hong Kong and Hollywood movies. Datuk Pua Khein Seng (bottom-left) may not be recognizable at first glance, but his invention of the USB flash drive has revolutionized the tech industry. Yuna (bottom-middle) is an up and coming singer who is currently making her name in MTV scene and had her album produced by Pharell Williams. Ling Tan (bottom-right) is arguably Malaysia's first supermodel, who made it big in international runway shows as the face of top designers around the world.
It has been very sad and unfortunate for Malaysia in the past year with the disappearance of MH370 and the tragedy of MH17. I hope Malaysians can continue to be strong and stay united to face challenges ahead. So before it is too late, remember to learn more about Malaysia, especially if you are Malaysian. Now is the best time to be patriotic and embrace the love for our country. Happy 57th Birthday Malaysia!


01 September, 2014

H&N: I'm a Loner

외톨이야 외톨이야 daridiridara du~
외톨이야 외톨이야 daridiridara du~
(oetoriya oetoriya daridiridara du~)

Sorry, I always wanted to put that at the beginning of a post, I like CN Blue very much! But seriously I read this article 23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert and it got me thinking, should I be proud of it? To be honest, sometimes it feels much better being by myself... How do everyone blend in to working environment so easily? How do everyone mix with roommates so easily? How do everyone travel in big groups so comfortably? Some people say I have the "talk to me" face but it is only because I don't know what to say.
I work in an environment where I am the odd one, the underdog trying relentlessly to blend in, at least for now. I don't know whether my staff and colleagues agree because I always enjoy working alone. The good news is that being head of my little unit forces me to learn to work with people and make decisions together with my staff instead of doing everything by myself. For many this may be a piece of cake, unfortunately it takes time for me to adjust... I am still working on it.
Guess what? I set my camera on timer to take this picture.
I have a little confession to make. *my parents must be mad if they know this* When I was still studying in secondary school, I used to have long study sessions at my table where I stared blankly at my reference books with my earphones on, listening to the radio I hid under the table. Music is like a really bad study friend, I lost so many precious study hours just because I was out of this world then... It has been 7 years since and I still have my MP3 player and earphones on whenever I am alone. I had a couple of posts about my solo trips to several places and I always had this same set of accessories on.
One thing I find when travelling in groups is that things always never go as planned... and it pisses me off. When I plan a solo trip, I get meticulous about everything like ticket prices, timing and routes. So before I even start my journey I always try my best to anticipate. Unfortunately there is this guy Murphy and his law that screws everything up. Years ago I used to think that going for any trip in a group of more than three people will definitely end with a screw-up somehow. Obviously that is rubbish... things go wrong even when I go for solo trips, click this LINK to find out why.

Is there a way out of this situation? Please do tell me, I'm an loner who wants to break out of my shell! Be kind and friendly to me, teach me how to blend in.