What a beautiful film!

Ayumi Hamasaki - Secret

For me, the height of Ayumi Hamasaki's career was the 2002/2003 Rainbow / I Am... era. On those two albums, Ayu and Max Matsuura forged an original and intensely modern sound, one that combined the futuristic gloss and production of electronic dance music with the grind and guitar base of hard rock, all leavened with strong pop flourishes that somehow sounded more ambitious than any of Ayu's previous material (which had been good, to be honest, if a bit sugary and conventional). Appellations like 'dancy metal-pop' or 'club-core with solos' sound ridiculous, but accurately describe the albums' innovative fusions. And they were albums, too, with transitions and spaced-out interludes to bridge the more disparate songs. Because of the unified production, a straight up club track like 'Connected' could segue easily into the driving rock of 'Evolution', and the whole thing felt seamless. For a while, Ayumi Hamasaki really did feel like the

VIDEO: Weekend In Ipoh 2: Unlocking My Mother's Past

My father, my cousin and I went on a road trip to uncover my mother's past This is the second and last video of my weekend in Ipoh (first one is here , my mother's hometown. Shot on the 10th of December. Shot mostly when I was in my cousin, Hing Yip's car, as we all went for a brief tour through the city, trying to find the schools my mom had attended during her teenage days. (my mom was at my grandmother's place back then, and we were desperate for some fresh air) Unlike most of my previous videos, you'll actually get to see a few glimpses of me... doing random stuff and making weird expressions. To overseas readers, well, now you get to see another part of Malaysia you've rarely seen before, and have I mentioned that Ipoh is also film star Michelle Yeoh's hometown? The music I used is 'Doot' from, once again, Adrianna Krikl . Tell me what you think after you've watched it.


I woke up from my beauty nap yesterday and saw messages on MSN from Suanie asking whether I would like to attend the preview of Love Conquers All , the feature-length debut of Malaysian female director Tan Chui Mui, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last year when she was at a seminar with director James Lee and my dad in the Sin Chew Jit Poh (the country's leading Chinese newspaper) discussion about the Malaysian indie filmmaking scene.

Yasunari Kawabata - The Master of Go

Yasunari Kawabata is a writer I admire immensely. Although perhaps slightly limited in his range of themes and stories, he has a truly world-class sense of technical perfection and stylistic beauty, and the best of his novels and stories ( Snow Country and Beauty and Sadness are my favorites, with the excellent Palm of the Hand Stories perhaps being his masterwork) are so satisfying and haunting as to make him unquestionably deserving of his Nobel Prize. Someone (can't remember the source) compared reading a Kurt Vonnegut book to eating an ice cream cone, and if that's true, then a Kawabata book is more like a high-quality Italian gelato - cold, perhaps, but exquisite, and best when served in small portions. At one point I pretty much blindly accepted him as a god; and while after much consideration I've decided Mishima at least equals him, he's still up there for me as one of the masters.


I had no high hopes for Eragon . All I've hoped for was some campy, silly fun where the filmmakers would choose not to be too faithful to its source material, after all, the source material, the first book of a fantasy trilogy published when author Christopher Paolini was 19 (back in 2003), isn't Lord of the Rings nor Narnia, just a work of a fantasy fan that happened to appeal to many other fantasy fans due to the popular, conventional fantasy elements he had used in his book. In my opinion, it's much better for a filmmaker to not view a source material with so much reverence that he would end up not being able to take the necessary creative liberties that could optimize the quality of the film, we know what might have worked on paper wouldn't have worked onscreen.

VIDEO: KL's Writer's Circle: Meeting 15-Year-Old Novelist Lim May Zhee And Bibliobibuli Sharon Bakar.

Video of Swifty at KL's Writer's Circle, Meeting Author Lim May Zhee and Sharon Bakar I attended the KL's Writer's Circle today that was held at the MPH bookshop in 1-Utama shopping mall. I learnt about this event from the blog of Lim May Zhee , a 15-year-old girl who self-published her novel, Vanity Bee this year and made some news. However, as I was still in Perth back then, I was entirely unaware of her until I recently detected a link to this blog from this entry of hers after I came back, where I was credited for inspiring her to make this wacky little webcomic. So, that was how I found out about her, who apparently, is becoming a rising star in both the literary scene and the blogosphere since dear old Kenny Sia himself had mentioned her in one of his magazine columns, calling her, I paraphrase 'Malaysia's answer to (Singapore blog queen) Xiaxue (it's all right, Dawn , you're still my queen), but without broccoli for brains'.

VIDEO: Weekend In Ipoh Part 1: Day And Night In Ipoh

Weekend In Ipoh Part 1: Day And Night In Ipoh I'm going to be doing a 2-part video of my stay in Ipoh last weekend. (from the 9th to the 11th of December, I posted my entry about the badminton craze in my country during this period) Ipoh is a city in Malaysia that's the capital of the state of Perak, just a 2-3 hours away from Kuala Lumpur (it really depends on how fast you drive :D). It's the hometown of my mom, and also international movie star Michelle Yeoh (of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Memoirs of a Geisha fame). YES, to the uninitiated, Michelle Yeoh is MALAYSIAN, she's not from Hong Kong, nor China, nor Taiwan.

Justin Reviews 'Sukeban Deka: Kôdo nêmu = Asamiya Saki'

Sukeban Deka スケバン刑事 コードネーム=麻宮サキ , I'm disappointed in you.

[Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2006] Arrivederci amore, ciao' and 'Mio miglior nemico, Il (My Best Enemy)'

The Italian Film Festival 2006 was held during my last two weeks in Perth at the Luna theaters (a chain of theaters in Perth that specializes in arthouse fare, or local Aussie films). I've long made my decision to catch some of the movies they were showing since attending the same festival the year before. After all, it's not really that easy to see an Italian film anywhere. Last year, I had the pleasure of watching Manuale D'Amore (Manual Of Love) , a wondrous romantic comedy I loved so much that I rated it alongside Fellini's 8 1/2 as one of the greatest Italian films I've ever seen! Unfortunately, during the same festival, I also saw the indescribably agonizing Cantando Dietroi i Paraventi (Singing Behind Screens) ... a film that scarred me until this very day, you can check out my really brief and not entirely comprehensible reviews of both films here . Anyway, like last year, I saw two films in this year's Festival.

D.B. Weiss - Lucky Wander Boy

I picked up Lucky Wander Boy (Swifty: Official website of the book here ) on a recent trip, mainly on the strength of its premise but without any real expectations, since the book is about, among other things, video games. A 'gaming novel' is not a prospect that would seem especially earmarked for greatness, and so D.B. Weiss's debut came as a welcome surprise: while perhaps not great in any real sense, this is certainly a very good book*, with more-than-capable prose and much trenchant humor.