Embed Instagram Post Code Generator

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fragments from the last few days of 2014

I'm flying to Tokyo soon. I intend to end 2014 there, just like how I've been doing it from 2008 to 2012. But for now, I'm just going to post up Facebook posts, instagram photos from me, about me, etc. On how I spent the last few days of 2014. Just so I can remember.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Because of my love for the Lord of the Rings trilogy (to me, it was the Star Wars of my generation), and the conclusion of The Hobbit has marked the end of a particular moviegoing chapter of my life (... unless The Silmarillion gets adapted too), I decided to post my thoughts on The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies on Facebook.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

WATCH THIS: 3 DOORS OF HORRORS 2014, three microbudget horror short films

A couple of days ago, I attended the premiere of the 2014 edition of 3 DOORS OF HORRORS held at the MBO Cinemas in Citta Mall.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I've been back from Cambodia for nearly a week, but due to a ghastly (and HUGE) blister on my foot, it was nigh impossible to calm myself down enough to do some writing!

Anyway, the doctor has popped the blister three nights ago, and I can finally continue writing again, especially about a particular film I caught at the Cambodia International Film Festival.

One of the gems of the festival, to me, was John Pirozzi's documentary, DON'T THINK I'VE FORGOTTEN: CAMBODIA'S LOST ROCK AND ROLL. A very comprehensive, feature-length documentary that the director spent nearly a year on. It's about a "golden period" from Cambodia's independence, to just before the country was rocked by civil war and the murderous Khmer Rouge regime.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Films directed by Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk

Yesterday, I caught the screening of a documentary called DON'T THINK I'VE FORGOTTEN: CAMBODIA'S LOST ROCK AND ROLL by John Pirozzi (I'll write more on the film in another post). And through this film, I became very intrigued by the late King Norodom Sihanouk, whose love for music helped create the golden rock & roll era in Cambodia. Yes, he played the saxophone and the piano.

There are lots of videos of the King, on Youtube, singing. Here's an entire playlist of videos. Of the king. Singing.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS 1st screening @ Cambodia International Film Festival + Nguyễn Võ Nghiêm Minh's NUOC 2030

(Screenshot of NUOC 2030, NOT River of Exploding Durians!)

Yesterday was the Cambodian premiere of RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS.

I took the Tuk Tuk to the Platinum Cinema in Sorya Shopping Center. Taking a Tuk Tuk to a film festival screening? I don't think I've ever done it before. What an interesting experience!

Sadly, these were the only photos I took that are related to the screening. :(

Saturday, December 06, 2014

RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS @ Cambodia International Film Festival + Kulikar Sotho's THE LAST REEL + Opening Ceremony

I'm currently hanging out at my hotel room in Phnom Penh. In a few hours, RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS will be screening. Technically, this is the first film festival for DURIANS after Tokyo International Film Festival, I'm pretty thrilled, this is my first time in Cambodia.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Photos (and videos) from the MASYA ALISYA shoot

Two days after I came back from Copenhagen, I immediately headed off to a TV movie shoot that I was co-directing. Here are some photos from the Masya Alisya set.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy 10th Anniversary, Blog

Yesterday, I realized that this blog has existed for more than 10 years.

In an era of social media sites, the idea of keeping a blog is so passé, yet it remains.

And so, this blog has accompanied me for a decade, from my time as a directionless university student in Perth, to the gradual realization of my childhood dreams of becoming a filmmaker.

In truth, I cannot really remember how did I end up starting this blog. The first ever post of this blog was me giving a progress update on a novel that I was working on. But who was I addressing? I can't remember anymore. Perhaps the blog was started so that I could update a small circle of friends about what I was doing in Perth.

The first blog post was, in fact, pretty much what would have been a Facebook status update, or a Tweet. My oft-used online pseudonym then was "Swifty", I wanted to update people about my "writings", so the original URL of this blog was swiftywriting.blogspot.com

In 2005, I would then start writing about things I liked, video games, the latest films I saw, the latest books I read etc. Armed with a camcorder, I started making "films" with friends in university, I posted photos of these shoots, writing my thoughts about the experience, proclaiming my excitement and love for doing what I've been dreaming of doing. While making allusions to events of an unrequited love that until today, never had any closure.

Monday, November 24, 2014

3rd screening of RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS 破裂するドリアンの河の記憶 @ Tokyo International Film Festival

So, here I am, a weeks since I have returned from Copenhagen, and 5 days into a TV movie shoot.

It's been a month since the world premiere of RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS at the Tokyo International Film Festival. And three weeks since the third (last) screening of the film at the festival.

I have written about the first screening and the second screening of the film, so I figured I'll wrap things up. I'm writing all these mostly to help myself remember.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

THE 3 ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA is devastatingly beautiful

Pirjo Honkasalo's THE 3 ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA (2004) is one of the few films I caught in CPH:DOX at Copenhagen last week.

I walked into the cinema with high expectations, since the CPH:LAB booklet I was given had recommended us lab people to go to the film, calling it one of the greatest documentaries ever made.

Despite the expectations, I was indeed mesmerized by what I saw, with numerous images haunting me long after I left the theaters. The film reminded me that non-fiction cinema can indeed be made with sheer artistry and poetry. I was reminded of Tarkovskian films of yore, even assuming that it was a film made in that time period. I was surprised that it was done merely a decade ago. Perhaps it was shocking to me, to see such things happening so recently.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My photos of Copenhagen during the CPH:LAB and CPH:DOX

Nyhavn at Copenhagen.

The CPH:DOX international documentary film festival, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of the most prestigious and well-known documentary festivals around.

Every year, as part of the festival, the CPH:LAB (formerly known as DOX:LAB) is held where 20 directors around the world are invited to attend workshops and classes. These 20 directors are paired up so that they can make an audiovisual project together, it can be a feature-length film, a short film, a documentary, a video installation etc.

This year, I was one of the 20 directors who was given the opportunity to participate in this. (and I'm paired up with the Croatian director Sonja Tarokic)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sunday, November 02, 2014

RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS 破裂するドリアンの河の記憶 red carpet and world premiere @ Tokyo International Film Festival

I finally got back from Tokyo.

The Tokyo International Film Festival in the past 10 days had been absolutely emotional, and inspiring. I will now take the time to update the blog with Facebook posts (not just mine, but others too) of the wondrous journey RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS had taken during its world premiere in this grand, prestigious festival. It all felt like a dream.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014


Ever since the announcement of its nomination in the Main Competition section of Tokyo International Film Festival late last month, the local media had been very generous with their coverage of RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS. For that, I am very grateful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I was on TV to talk about RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS (Agenda Awani)

A week from now, I'll be flying off to Tokyo for the Tokyo Film Festival, where RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS will be making its world premiere.

Two weeks ago, before going off to Busan, I was on Agenda Awani to talk about my film. It was a great chat with host Kamarul Bahrin Haron. Thanks for having me there, Astro Awani.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness video I made

Two weeks ago, I posted about shooting a Breast Cancer Awareness video for Pink October, it featured the interviews with breast cancer survivors like my friend Claire Khoo, and family or friends of those who were touched by breast cancer.

The video was uploaded a couple of days ago while I was in Busan. Please please share this around.

THE SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES at Busan International Film Festival 2014

Just got back from Busan.

Ming Jin's new film SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES, which I produced, co-wrote and edited, had its world premiere at the Busan Film Fest.

I was there from Oct 5 to Oct 10.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS in Tokyo International Film Fest main competition

The Tokyo International Film Festival announced its line-up yesterday. So it's official, RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS is going to the main competition section. (In fact, I already received the messages from friends at the moment of the press conference, the age of social media is awesome. And so fast!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Photos from a breast cancer awareness video shoot

I was in Bangkok doing the post-production for RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS when I saw an old acquaintance of mine, Claire Khoo, asking on Facebook whether anyone would be able to help her do a video about breast cancer awareness.

Claire, of course, was known as Minishorts back in the day and had a very popular blog. I've even done some guest posts for her. Those were almost 9 years ago. An eternity.

She is a breast cancer survivor too.

I decided to join the cause. Assembled a team to do a video where breast cancer survivors like Claire and many others, along with their friends and family, could share their stories. There are those who didn't survive, so their family members could tell their stories too.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Promotional short film for GST Expo 'IN TIME OF TEST'

Joseph Germani staring at the sun, contemplating.

Sarah Lian contemplates too.

Last month, I wrote about doing a promotional short film for October's GST Expo.

The short film "In Time of Test", which stars popular Youtuber Joseph Germani and renowned TV personality Sarah Lian, was uploaded last week. You can watch it here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Finishing up the RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS post-production in Bangkok

Teacher Lim (Zhu Zhi-Ying) and her merry band of student protesters

I have spent the last 12 days in Bangkok for the post-production of both films, Woo Ming Jin's SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES (which I produced and co-wrote) and RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS (which I directed), at White Light Post.

I wrote about the experience with SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES here.

Once Ming Jin left, they started work on RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

10 books that stayed with me in some way


Posted this on Facebook a few days ago.

(So I will post it here too, but with amendments. And links to previous blog posts related to these books. To help me remember.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

15 movies that will always stay with me


Recently, there had been a couple of memes spreading around on Facebook where people challenge one another to name 15 films that will always stay with them, within 15 minutes. (other iterations of this meme include literature, video games etc. which I will post some other time)

For now, I will elaborate upon the 15 films that I named off the top of my head.

Finishing up the SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES post-production in Bangkok

I came to Bangkok almost a week ago to finish up the post-production for both SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES (which I produced, co-wrote and edited) and RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS (which I directed).

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Woo Ming Jin's SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES (I co-wrote and produced) is going to Busan International Film Festival 2014

The Busan International Film Fest lineup came out yesterday. So I can announce it now. Woo Ming Jin's new film SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES, which I co-wrote and produced (and, of course, edited) will be having its world premiere there. Quite an honour, being one of the three Malaysian films there. The others being Liew Seng Tat's LELAKI HARAPAN DUNIA (which just premiered in Locarno and will go to Toronto in a few days) and Bradley Liew's (no relation) short film XING.


由本地导演胡明进执导, 杨毅恒(我)编剧/制片,本资深演员钟国强,联同李承运Berg Lee、陈美君MayJune Tan、林佩琦Emily Lim Pey Chi、丁仕匀JiYun Teng、叶良财Steve Yap主演的剧情片 Second Life of Thieves《偷.情》 成功入围第19届釜山影展“亚洲电影之窗”( A Window on Asian Cinema)观摩单元。


Friday, August 29, 2014

Photos from a promo short film I was shooting

Two weeks ago, I got a sudden phone call from an old high schoolmate (primary school as well), asking me to help shoot a little promotional short film for an event his company is organizing in October.

I swiftly put together the production, the short film stars Joseph Germani and Sarah Lian and it's tentatively titled THE WAY OF THE FUTURE.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"... And to all Malaysians, welcome home."

Today is national mourning day for the victims of the ill-fated MH17. Their remains have been brought back to Malaysia. The country is united in grief.

A friend of mine, Shuba, was on the plane, with her husband and her young daughter. Back in May, when we ended our last conversation on Facebook, we spoke about meeting up for coffee after her return from her Europe trip (and I from Tokyo).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rest in peace, Robin Williams

I woke up this morning at 8am and realized that my mother has forwarded the news of Robin Williams' death to my phone.

Suffering from severe depression, he had taken his own life.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Goldfrapp's TALES OF US short films

Recently, I was asked to make a music video.

Although nothing's really confirmed, I had been watching quite a number of other music videos for inspiration.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Remembering the greatness of Philip Seymour Hoffman

It's still quite saddening to remember that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died earlier this year in February.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

(Wrote my thoughts on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Facebook just now, I'll post it here too, with slight revisions)

The Kirishima Thing (桐島部活やめるってよ)

Once in a while, when I have witnessed something brilliant, I need to post it on this blog just to help myself remember.

THE KIRISHIMA THING (桐島部活やめるってよ) is a film that I've been curious about for a rather long time. Last year, my professor, Ando-sensei, told me that this was one of his favourite Japanese films of the year. It ended up winning both the Best Director and Best Film awards at the Japan Academy Awards.

After missing its screening at last September's Japanese Film Festival (a festival for Japanese films had been held annually in Malaysia for the past decade), I finally got to watch the film yesterday.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

反堕胎短片 (a list of anti-abortion short films to cheer myself up...?)

(This post will be in Chinese. Many friends of mine in the industry had been making anti-abortion short films in the last few weeks for a competition, I'm sharing some of their works, but there are no English subtitles. Though I think some films below CAN be watched without subtitles...)

最近, 好多电影圈里的朋友们都参与了这个以“选择; 生命”为主题的华语微电影比赛, 主要都是拍一些反堕胎的短片。


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lost a friend on MH17

Yesterday, a Malaysian Airlines plane crashed in Ukraine. It was shot by a missile.

298 people were killed.

Just now, I found out that I someone I know was actually on the plane.

Her full name was Shubashini Jeyaratnam, but I knew her only as Shuba (Shuba Jaya was her stage name). She was on the plane with her husband Paul and her baby daughter Kaela.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My memories of World Cup matches

The World Cup finals ended two days ago, and I finally got a good night's sleep. I can finally say goodbye to the days when I have to wake up at 4am with dad to catch a match, and go back to my normal routine (... of sleeping at 4am instead)

After a nice World Cup-less night of sleep, I woke up and read some articles on Grantland (it's one of my favourite daily reads these days). Ever since my mom discontinued subscription to The Star newspapers earlier this year, the internet became my replacement for "things to read while having breakfast", after all, it's hard to kick off a routine that I had for more than twenty years.

What caught my eye today was Brian Phillips' article, Full Time: Fading Images of the World Cup, which has one of the most beautiful paragraphs ever about sports-watching.

Watching sports is, among other things, a special way of experiencing time. Sport is like music or fiction or film in that, for a predetermined duration, it asks you to give it control over your emotions, to feel what it makes you feel. Unlike (most) forms of art, though, a game has no foreordained plan or plot or intention. The rules of a game impose a certain kind of order, but it’s different from the order of an artwork. A movie knows where it wants to take you; no one can say in advance where a game will go. All of its beauty, ugliness, boredom, and excitement, all of its rage and sadness emerge spontaneously out of the players’ competing desires to win. For however long the clock runs, your feelings are at the mercy of chance. This happens and then this happens and then this happens. You’re experiencing, in a contained and intensified way, something like the everyday movement of life.

I guess this is one of the main reasons I have been following the NBA for more than two decades, the relationship with time is apparent, watching players arrive, grow and then retire, being replaced by other younger players, it's a cycle that is both beautiful and horrifying, just like life. As a child, these NBA players are larger-than-life Greek gods, performing superheroic feats in a battle for eternal glory, as I grow older, I started noticing that the players are becoming younger and younger, and players I have watched in my teens are gone, one by one, some disappearing, some becoming coaches, I recognize some names, either from memories of watching them in rare telecasts during weekends, or through the NBA Live games that I used to play on the Playstation.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rediscovering productions photos from CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, my first ever short film in 2008

Kimmy Kiew in Chicken Rice Mystery

In the last few months when I worked on my debut feature RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS, I couldn't help but remember my own experiences of six years ago, when I was shooting my first ever short film, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, in 2008.

It's been six years, and I've done countless projects since then. But the fresh feeling of working with a professional cast and crew for the very first time continues to linger in my mind. Nothing makes me feel more excited than a film shoot, and it's a good thing that nothing has changed in these six years.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Yangsze Choo's THE GHOST BRIDE

Last July, my friend Lydia sent me an article about a US-based Malaysian author Yangsze Choo, whose debut novel THE GHOST BRIDE had just been released.

The author was a family friend from Lydia's childhood.

In the book, its protagonist Li Lan receives a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Lim Tian Ching, a young man who died of fever a few months earlier.

My Instagram photos from RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS

Patriotic intellectuals having philosophical discussion while looking after a pile of durians #riverofexplodingdurians

Over the past half a year since I was location scouting for my film RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS, or during its production, I had taken quite a lot of photos. Some were uploaded immediately, some I uploaded only recently.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Doghouse 73 Pictures - James Lee's attempt to bring Malaysian independent cinema to all

A few days ago, filmmaker and pal James Lee won an award for Best Content at the DiGi WWWOW Awards with his brainchild, Doghouse 73 Pictures.

This is quite a big deal because the WWWOW Awards is the Malaysian equivalent of the Webbies, and it is recognising James' efforts in the last year and a half to bring Malaysian independent cinema to the internet for everyone.

James, as some of you might know, is one of the pioneers of local independent films, having made his own self-financed films in the early 2000s when digital filmmaking technology started becoming attainable for the public. What he did then would lead to the attention of international film festivals, and a movement that was then known as the "Malaysian New Wave" with other filmmakers like Tan Chui Mui, Liew Seng Tat, Yasmin Ahmad, Ho Yuhang and my regular collaborator Woo Ming Jin. Regardless of what people in the country would think, James' place in the history of Malaysian Cinema is more or less assured.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Me vs Malaysian Moviegoers

I go to the movies almost every week, and had dealt with my share of unruly moviegoers in the cinema. I had a particularly annoying experience yesterday when I went to THE ROVER (the Australian film by David Michod that stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson), but more on that later.

I decided to compile the tweets or FB statuses I have posted this year which I bitch about people lacked cinema manners.


Ever since I finished the principal photography for RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS in early March, I have been spending my time editing and then tinkering with it. It's actually a habit of mine, that I'm never satisfied with the editing of my works until it has finally premiered somewhere, and I know that I can't touch it anymore.

I spent the whole first week of June doing the reshoots for Ming Jin's SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES, then I shot an extra sequence for RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS with almost the same skeletal crew.

The new sequence involved the lead actress Daphne, and a child actress Zoe, who was supposed to play the child version of the protagonist.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

培才华小的杰出校友? Notable alumni in Puay Chai primary school?

A profile of me as one of the notable alumni in Puay Chai primary school

去年十月, 我母校培才华小欢庆建校90周年, 出版了纪念特刊。 很荣幸被列为培才杰出校友校友之一。 感恩。


Saturday, June 07, 2014


Sandy (played by @mayjuneshines ) ponders about life in #secondlifeofthieves (also a character in #riverofexplodingdurians )

Immediately after I returned from Tokyo, I headed off to do the reshoots for Woo Ming Jin's SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES (which I co-wrote, produced and edited).

Sunday, June 01, 2014

A farewell to my second home in Tokyo, a revisiting of memories.

I have finally returned to Malaysia today after taking a 10-week sabbatical in Tokyo (needed to recuperate from the RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS shoot, while enjoying the cherry blossoms season).

During the last few weeks, I have been cleaning up my room in Tokyo, the same dorm room that I've been staying at since 2008. Even though I finished my doctorate last March, I had yet to officially check out from this room because I had so many things in it. This time, I was supposed to put an end to this chapter of my life.

In 2008 to 2010, my wall was covered with film flyers that I collected from cinemas and film festivals, and also photos of nice celebrities. Since I was going to live such a solitary life, I figured that having some happy-looking faces around me would lighten up the atmosphere.

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Thomas Cup Finals 2014 commentary

So, the Thomas Cup Finals had just ended. Malaysia made the finals after a 12-year-drought, but lost, which continues a 22-year-drought. No big deal, when more than two thirds of my life had been filled with disappointment, the pain just becomes a sort of numbness. Am I right? Right?

Friday, May 23, 2014

WATCH: James Lee's new short film ALL FOR LOVE 为了爱 starring Daphne Low

Oh goody, Malaysian independent film pioneer James Lee (and producer of my last short film FLOATING SUN) has just uploaded his new short film ALL FOR LOVE.

Here's the mysterious synopsis:

A girl sends her old SLR camera to a reclusive camera repair master. In the course of getting the camera fixed, the girl develops a special relationship with the master.

Of course, you have to watch the 12-minute short film yourself to know the nature of this special relationship.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The beautiful visuals of THE CRANES ARE FLYING and I AM CUBA

Last week, when the Cannes Film Festival was about to begin, many film sites that I've been following started publishing their lists of best Palme d'Or winners. I figured it would be a good time to catch up with some of them, especially the older ones.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

In Praise of Shiina Ringo's Music Videos

Last month, after getting hold of her two albums UKINA 浮き名 and MITSUGETSU-SHO 蜜月抄 (both albums were released to commemorate her 15th anniversary in the music industry), I became addicted to the songs of Shiina Ringo 椎名林檎 again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Edward Yang

(I posted this on Facebook in December 9, 2014. I'm going to expand upon it.)

Last December, it started out as a Hou Hsiao-Hsien marathon. The original intention was to watch films directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, but I ended up watching the film which featured his one and only starring role. Edward Yang's TAIPEI STORY (Hou was also the producer).

And because of this, I finally completed every single Edward Yang film in his oeuvre. Unintentionally. Because I didn't want it to end so early.

One of my favourite directors ever. And, in my opinion, one of the greatest. His works had influenced me a lot. I wrote more about my own experiences with the works of Edward Yang in June 29, 2012, marking the 5th anniversary of his death. That was before I watched MAHJONG and the first two films of this career, THAT DAY ON THE BEACH and TAIPEI STORY (I watched both in 2013, on Youtube, because both films are notoriously difficult to find).

The first Edward Yang film I saw was YI YI, that was 2007, shortly after his death. I was mesmerized by his brilliance. YI YI would become my main influence when it came to editing Ming Jin's films telemovie DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY (2007), because its ending, where the protagonist summarized his thoughts on CATCHER IN THE RYE, was a homage to YI YI's ending.

Found some long-lost photos from a 2005 trip in China!

Selfie, 2005

My time in Tokyo is coming to an end.

After my graduation last March, I was supposed to leave the Wakeijuku Dormitory that I had been staying since 2008. (Haruki Murakami used to stay here too!) After all, the place was meant only for students.

Clean up and clear my room. Then return to Malaysia.

But that turned out to be too difficult. Many things were left in the room before I left.

I promised them that I would come back "in a few months" to clean everything up. I came back almost a year later. The folks in the dorm were kind enough to leave my room vacant for this whole period of time.

So, right now, I am trying to put an absolute end to a chapter of my life, even though it really should have ended last year.

Spent the last few days clearing things up, throwing a lot of old stuff which, as expected, left me a little nostalgic.

I used keep many of my data in blank DVDs, I decided to get rid of this whole pile of them by transferring most of the data into a new hard disk I bought.

I was surprised that many of the data dated from 2004 to 2006, during my time in Perth. My music and movie collection. Those were the times when those films I had were in .mpg or .rmvb formats. Very low resolution. It was amusing.

My music collection surprised me a little, when it dawned upon me that I have been listening to such bands like Ego-Wrappin', Deerhoof, Arcade Fire for nearly a decade.

A few hours ago, I went through a data disc and found only photos in it. They were actually photos taken during a family trip in China around December 2005. This blog has already existed then, in fact, some of my earliest Youtube videos posted in this blog were videos of this particular trip. There were even a few heavily photoshopped photos here and here.

But why did I choose only those few photos to upload? What about the rest?

For nearly 9 years, I thought I've lost these photos!

Looking at them now, even though my photography skills then weren't as good, and I was using only a cheap Canon Powershot camera, I don't think they were that bad at all!

More and more, this blog has become a place to help me remember things. Therefore I decided to upload all those remaining photos on Facebook, and also put them here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Finished Charles Yu's THIRD CLASS SUPERHERO in a day. Loved it.

I bought this book at least 2-3 years ago. (Probably closer to 3 than 2, I am not sure) It was an accident, I was ordering a graphic novel on Amazon, this book was recommended to me, I figured it was another graphic novel (by an Asian American artist? okay!), so I bought it too.

The next day, when the books arrived, I was surprised that Charles Yu's THIRD CLASS SUPERHERO turned out to be a collection of short stories, and not a graphic novel ("whaaat? no pictures?" I whined to myself, becoming a parody of people I despised)

Because I had so many other books to read then, I put it aside. Years passed. It was then left in a box at the corner of a room in Tokyo that I left vacant for ten months. I found it again only a few days ago, in the almost-forgotten box with my almost-forgotten stuff that I left here.

Having spent the entire week working on the music of RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS with my composer, I finally got to rest. Yesterday evening I was supposed to go to Ogikubo. A train ride there would take 16 minutes, return trip would be 32 minutes. So I took the book along with me and spent the whole time reading. In that amount of time, I managed to finish 2-3 of the 11 short stories in the book. I was intrigued.

After a night and a day, I finally finished the book. There are some stories that stood out to me:

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

WATCH: GIRL IN THE WATER short film by Jeppe Ronde and Woo Ming Jin that I produced

Hm, the short film's been online since early last year but I've never posted about it. Speaks a lot about how low-profile I am, yeah?

Anyway, this is GIRL IN THE WATER, a 2011 short film co-directed by Ming Jin and Danish director Jeppe Ronde as part of a collaborative project set up by CPH: DOX (that's the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival), I was one of the producers and editors.

GIRL IN THE WATER stars the Thai actress Sajee Apiwong and chronicles the plight of a young Thai woman who got washed upon the shores of Malaysia.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The passing trains of Hou Hsiao Hsien's Café Lumière

A few days ago I decided to catch The Amazing Spider-man 2 in Shinjuku. The only available ticket was the 10pm show at night, I bought it and went to Akihabara for a walk.

Wandering aimlessly, I found myself at an area that I've never been to before.

Friday, May 02, 2014

李安对话张艺谋 Dialogue Between Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou

听了两位大导演的话, 有很大的感触和启发。

的确, 很多时候, 也觉得自己不是在导电影, 而是电影在导我。

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Obama in Malaysia

U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Malaysia last weekend was quite a big deal to many in the country because it was the first time in 48 years when the president of United States came to visit us small Malaysians. (last one was Lyndon B. Johnson) That's why I have to post this for remembrance.

A few days before that, he was in Tokyo.

I didn't know about it until I was in Ginza, where the entire place was swarmed with police, roads were blocked, and lots of news team around.


A few days ago, Malaysian independent film pioneer James Lee (and also producer of my last short film FLOATING SUN :D ) uploaded his entire 2007 TV movie BERNAFAS DALAM LUMPUR (English title: BREATHING IN MUD) online.

I remember catching this on TV the day it was aired seven years ago. The film starred numerous actors whom I have collaborated with a few months earlier in the TV films I produced, KURUS (English title: DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY): Nam Ron, Mislina Mustaffa, Mohammad Hariry, Azman Hassan etc.

It tells the story of a man, Meor (Hariry) long thought to be dead, returning to his wife (Mislina), who has now remarried his best friend Din (Nam Ron).

Yes, like KURUS, this was a TV movie commissioned by NTV7. If this is online, I wonder whether it's possible for me to upload KURUS in its entirety as well?

Here's the film:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finishing Roberto Bolano's THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES in Bali

I discovered Roberto Bolano during my 2007 trip in Chile. That was my first ever trip to a film festival as an invited filmmaker (went there as producer for ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, which was in competition), and also a prelude of the many solo travelings that I would do after that.

My routine in these (film festival) trips has remained mostly the same. When I'm not attending the film festival, I would be taking solitary walks around recommended places, snapping photos, and then taking a break somewhere for food or coffee, in which I would take out a book to read. Otherwise, I would just head into a nearby bookstore to look through the books.

On the day that I was about to leave Santiago, I decided that I had a few hours to kill, so I went to the shopping mall next to my hotel and hung out at the bookshop. A few days earlier, someone had recommended Bolano's works to me, so I was curious to read them. There was a bookshelf full of his works, and I decided to check out his short story collection LAST EVENINGS ON EARTH, because it sounded like a science fiction novel (it really sounded like A. A. Attanasio's underrated sci-fi epic novel THE LAST LEGENDS OF EARTH, right?)

Of course, when I went through the short stories, I realized there was nothing remotely science fictionish about them at all. They were all stories narrated by struggling writers living at the margins. I think I only got through a 2-3 stories before I had to rush to the airport, but he left an impression.

In the few years since then, I have bought 2666 at a bookshop in Roppongi, which I have yet to read because I wanted to read THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES first.

I started THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES early last year. I went through the first section (book is divided into 3 sections) very swiftly. It's narrated by a 17-year-old aspiring poet named Juan Garcia Madero and chronicles his encounters with a group of poets who call themselves the "Visceral Realists", and also his string of love affairs.

The second section (which is two thirds of the novel's entire length) is a sudden shift in style and is the centerpiece of the novel. Spanning twenty years with dozens of narrators, it is a series of interviews with people (around the world) who had contact with the two leaders of the Visceral Realists, Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima. The book becomes as much about the two as it is about the narrators, and also the time and place around them.

Due to the density of the novel, and also because the novel I read before this was Gao Xingjian's SOUL MOUNTAIN, I was too mentally exhausted. So I took a break from it after reaching the 200 page-mark. That was around May 2013.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Kecak Dance in Uluwatu, Bali

Kecak Dance at Uluwatu, Bali. It depicts a battle from the epic, Ramayana.

The night before I left Bali, I managed to watch the famous Kecak Dance in Uluwatu. It was an experience unlike any other.