Saturday, December 30, 2006
I've always liked Singaporean dramas given their emphasis on family, their similar culture to Malaysians, something which strikes a chord with me and their cute guys and girls...and this one was simply superb:)
It had the perfect formula: Three guys, Three Girls whom are sisters....with the focus on the girls and their romances with each guy....each sister represents a type of modern woman....the eldest Meiman is the modern career woman, someone who aims high in her career, won't take shit from men, dresses stylishly and enjoys the good life. The youngest is Meide, someone is young and vivacious, doesn't think too much about men, sexy and very strong willed, thoroughly representative of the young Singapore girl...and also just as stubborn and selfish as some of her singaporean sisters in real life are....the middle one is Meili whom is a plain jane, flat chested and thin, dark skinned, talks like a guy and shakes her legs constantly, she is traditional at heart and wants to get married as soon as possible and become a 'virtuous' mother.
I grew to like Meili alot as she is the plain jane in everyone of us....someone whom is unattractive and been on over 30 blind dates but with no success....she is the most kind-hearted and nicest of the 3 sisters but is often treated poorly by men because of her looks....in the end, she ends up with Christopher Lee, the hunkiest of the guys...thats y i love this drama, for once the ugly girl gets the cute guy and not the ugly aging man getting the pretty young girl as is so often the case.....haha...
I also fell in love with actor Chor Chew Meng, playing Raymond, the arch rival of Meiman, and i just loved their bickering....he is soooooo handsome and manly and boyish...i am actually abit ashamed i could be attracted to him....cos when i went to research on him thru the net, i found out he has been in the industry for over 10 yrs now and is over 35 pushing 40...how can i like and find a guy cute MORE THAN 10 YEARS OLDER THAN ME?!!!! Gosh.....and i look with distaste at women who go out with elderly men...but he does look only like in his late 20s or early 30s....
Also, in showing how popular the Korean wave is, one of the main male characters is a Korean who speaks Mandarin living with his mum in Singapore as the executive managing director of a big multinational firm....they live in a huge bungalow and it is obvious that the drama was playing to the korean drama craze with the perfect korean guy, rich, handsome, and gentlemanly......
I loved the scenes b/w Lu Hui and Mei Li as they were just hilarious!! Another reason i love this drama is because they portray not only romance but also friendship...in the form of Lu Hui and Mei Li....the scene where Lu Hui is smitten with the 'Korean ginseng' (they call Zheng Xi that in the show!!) is soooo funny esp when she mistakenly calls out his mother as her 'omma' her pronunciation is so funny lar...haha...and they were very detailed in their script even managing to find out the word 'shagua' in korean for apple is similar to the chinese word 'shagua' for dumb and using it in the drama...for those who get the chance to either review or see for the first time, be sure to look out for Episode 10 where Lu Hui is totally embarassed when her 'padding' to enhance her bust peeks out from her breast and Zheng Xi sees it....i laughed SO HARD WHEN I SAW THIS.....ahhahah.....
This drama had all the elements i liked...firstly it was about romance, which is by far my fav genre (y i like korean dramas) , it had feminist ideas and themes which anyone would know can satisfy a truly feminist person like me....it had some gay( and in gay i mean GAY not happy la...duh..) parts too which is another of my interest...and further it showed friendship and brotherhood and family....and also the importance of the Chinese language and Mandarin....
Now, to explain why i said it had all of the above....the romance bit is obvious and central given that this drama was timed for Valentine's Day 2005...feminist theme is the fact that the female characters were central in the storyline and not the male ones....further the elder sister Meiman and youngest sister Meili are very career minded and independent which is what i like...Meiman also repeats a couple of times that women no longer are satisfied with a 'long-term rice ticket' or a man whom can support merely their material needs such as clothing, housing, food,etc but want a spiritual and understanding partner too...Further, the story shows Raymond changing from an utter chauvinistic pig to someone whom actually respects women...he doesn't mind Meiman becoming his superior and will try to adjust his mentality and will also do the housework, take care of the children so that Meiman can have her private space if she has his children....this is a good role model for the guys i would say:)
It has included homosexuality in it too...i was abit taken abck that the 'gay part' went on for a couple of episodes and was not a passing thing...basically Raymond and his brother Simon were mistaken by Meiman and Meide to be 'gay partners'....it was so funny...there were scenes of Simon searching for keys in Raymonds pocket and Raymond asking him to be careful not to touch...err....( u know what) Meiman bumps into them and thinks its disgusting....there were really alot of scenes like that, one was funny cos Meide saw a Men's Health mag on Raymond's desk and thinks why that kind of mag is on his desk when its for girls cos it had a hunky upper bare-bodied guy on its cover...and i was like HUH>??! its a guys health mag, not a gay porn mag? Then there was the time when Simon tells Meide, whom he likes, that he is Ximen and Raymond is Reimen in Chinese, Raymond is the 'qian men' and he is the 'hou men' ...now, in Chinese 'men' means door...so his name is 'xi door' whilst raymond's name is 'lei door' and when he is refering to qian men(front door) he really means raymond is the elder brother and he is the hou men (back door) younger one...but when Meide hears it, she laughs out loud...i was like omg....this was so obviously a BIG GAY HINT that Meide takes it to mean that Raymond is....well.....errrr.....the front door and Simon is the back door....u know WHAT I MEAN...hehe
The drama was very homophobic though in that despite the irony of Meiman and Meide both working in the advertising industry (which is supposed to have many a gay man and supposed to hold a liberal atmosphere) they react very adversely to the fact the Raymond and Simon are gay ( in their eyes)...though this is compensated somewhat when Meiman later says they dun mind and are very open-minded about gay issues when she and Raymond's relationship take a turn for the better....
The importance of Mandarin and knowing Chinese was reinforced throughout with Simon being ur typical younger generation westernised Singaporean whom can't speak Mandarin properly and can hardly read Chinese....the drama uses quite a fair bit of difficult Chinese words which is good learning...and also, he doesn't get Meide also bcos she thinks his Mandarin is appalling...thus encouraging viewers to realise the importance of Mandarin and improve their Chinese level.
This drama made me like Singaporean Dramas even more. Frankly, i've been watching HK dramas and their quality has dropped significantly. Singaporean dramas are just much more appealing and higher in quality as compared to HK ones...i mean HK ones are so popular in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and a host of countries but i dun understand y....i find singaporean dramas even better than taiwanese ones despite the fact that Taiwanese dramas again are more popular...and the drama has also definitely improved my image of Singaporean men...i find them attractive now...hehe....i simply like Raymond....he is just so down to earth, ur quissential boy next door..someone whom likes family, treats older ppl with respect, very boyish, invests money, not good at romance but very practical and thinks practically...very thrifty....my kind of guy.....haha....i like family and conservative type of guys more i must admit...prefer them more to the metrosexual, stylish hip guy type....more stable, gives me more security....
Further, the lyrics of the Chinese theme song and the English ending title by Redwan Ali is great (esp the English one by Redwan Ali)
【1/2缘分】 插曲－You make me feel brand new
I am but a foolish man with only love in his heart
The rain may come, the sun may set, but I'll never let you go
All I need is your love, to hear you say that I am your man
So tell me now and show me how I could be your better man*
And I'll surrender everything just to be with you
There is no one in the world like you You make me real*
And I'll cross every ocean just to be with you
Baby you're my dream and you're my soul
You make me real
副歌：Just like a flame You're burning in my soul
You wake me from the cold You make me real
And like a flame You brighten up my world
Every corner bears a print of you
You really make me feel brand new
Like a flame You glow within my heart forever more
You make me feel brand new (重复 *, 紧接 '副歌'部分)
主唱：Redwan Ali作词：Ken Chong作曲：Redwan Ali
Official Chinese Site including cast, pics, storyline,etc:
Official English Site including cast, pics, storyline:
Please do try to watch this drama if u are able to obtain it....its well worth ur time given that its one of my all-time favourite Chinese dramas now:)
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sydney is pretty cold which is great as it gives Christmas a more festive feel...hehe...took some photos which i will upload later...
Merry Christmas 2006 Everybody!!!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Japanese Films 日電影推介 日本の映画お勧め：
I attended the 10th Japanese Film Festival in Sydney about some weeks back and saw 3 films: The Face of Jiｚo, Forget me Not, and The Stars Converge....They were all pretty good...
The Face of Jizo (2005): 父と暮らせば （I actually really like the Japanese film title which translates as 'If I were living with my father' . Jizo referred to in the English version of the title is the buddha that consoles parents who have lost their children. In the film, its the exact opposite with the child having lost a parent.)
This film details the post-atomic bombing effect on survivors of the Hiroshima Atomic Bombing. The film starts in 1948, three years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the female character miraculously sees her father again. (He died in the atomic bombing three yrs back) The film chronicles the one week of conversations she has with him and her guilt with being the only one alive amongst her family and friends. Quite a haunting film about the Atomic Bombing.
Official Website in Japanese: http://www.pal-ep.com/father/
Note: I didn't realise the actress Miyazawa Rie was so pretty and elegant until i saw this film...wow she looked stunning....she's extremely famous in Japan..
The Stars Converge/Chilsok Summer (2003): チルソクの夏
A Japanese-Korean love story set in 1977 which chronicles the love relationship between a Korean highschool boy and a Japanese highschool girl during the friendship games held between Shimonoseki and Pusan every year. The story is relating to the Chinese/Japanese/Korean 'Valentine's Day' (七夕)called Qixi in Chinese, Tanabata in Japanese and Chilsok in Korean whereby the two lovers can meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month when the stars are said to converge. Very nice and romantic as well as dealing with the deep rooted prejudices between the two sides back then (and to an extent even now)
Official Website in Japanese: http://www.chirusoku.jp/
Note: The Japanese name is 'Chilsok Summer' and the use of the Korean pronunciation instead of the Japanese one is again an indication of the growing trend in Japan of goodwill feelings towards Korea and the use of korean words for japanese films (remember my earlier film recomm. called Pacchigi? That's a korean word too) I initially was attempting to work out what 'Chilsok' meant in Japanese and was glad that it wasn't my lack of understanding of Japanese..
Korean Films 韓電影推介 韓国映画お薦め：
If You Were Me 2 (2006) :
This is an omnibus film consisting of 5 short films all revolving around the theme of discrimination and the less priviledged in Korea. Its directed by famous korean directors, and produced by the National Korean Human Rights Commission. It is the second instalment of If You Were Me, which was a critical success and was screened at film festivals, like the current instalment, worldwide ( i actually saw the first instalment at the Melbourne International Film Festival). It is very unique and you get to see the various social issues faced by modern day South Korea.
In this instalment, there is one short each about a down syndrome girl, the life of contract workers, chinese-koreans and their plight in South Korea (note there are around 1.3 million koreans living in China, mainly in north-eastern China, whom have chinese citizenship and are chinese for all purposes except their ethnicity. They however retain their cultural traditions and language like the Chinese of Singapore and Malaysia), illegal North Korean defectors in South Korea and korean masculinity and its suffocating and negative impact on society and human relationships at large.
I personally liked the Chinese-Korean, contract workers, and korean masculinity sections better....especially the korean masculinity one as it dealt with a host of perceived problems inherent in some korean men, namely, sexism (this occurs at the very beginning when the main character bumps into a group of girls drinking at the table and curses them to his friends asking 'why the bitches are out so late at night?), racism (the main person bumps into a foreign worker and again curses them for taking away korean jobs), homophobia (i was very surprised at the inclusion of this cos they made quite a fair bit of emphasis on the issue of gay discrimination in korea cos one of the main character's best friend turns out to be gay, and the friend's also the most masculine one too...the guy then starts saying they've been friends for over 20 yrs...how he could have caught a disease from the other guy...blah..blah..blah...i laughed out when he said the disease part...at first i thought he was a closeted gay too and had sex with the other guy thats y he was worried about getting a disease, but then i realise it was just pure ignorance on his part....thinking that having a homosexual friend would give someone AIDS or something...)....watching this film will definitely provide audiences with an insight into the issues of discrimination affecting South Korea now....highly recommended.
My Crazy Girlfriend (2006) :
This is one of the best and most innovative film i've ever seen. It blends a commercial film with an independent art house film and produces something uniquely spectacular! It has a low budget and only so-so stars cast but managed to break into the top 10 grossing Korean films of the yr 2006 (last time i checked was in August) Recommended....GO WATCH IT.
The story is about a guy who has been hard on luck with love...he has a monotanous and boring life everyday repeating the same routine a zillion times all the time, is suffering from depression and watches porn and wanks when he feels horny...then he meets what seems to be the perfect girl...they start a passionate relationship and he throws out all his porn collection,etc...they seem like your average loving couple....but what he doesn't realise is that his average looking girlfriend is actually a killer! The film is really well worth your time...i highly recommend this!!
Over the Border (2006):
A film about a North Korean man and how he escapes to South Korea with his family. The film focuses on how they resettle and get accustomed to their new life in South Korea as well as his love relationship with a North Korean girl whom later escapes to South Korea as well. I especially liked the beginning where they show you what life is like in the closeted North Korea, in Pyongyang, at least from the eyes of S. Koreans. I also like the actor Cha Seong Won alot cos he is really cute and manly and i watch alot of his films...AND there is a scene where he is in a white brief so you get to see his 'package' also....hehe.....you get to see alot of male nudity in Korean films...i've seen Yu ji-tae and Cho Seung Woo's butt in films before....they seem to have no problems at all....overall a nice film:)
frankly, the past 3 months has been difficult for me...extremely....alot of incidences have occurred which have thoroughly crippled and broken my spirit, my hopes, my self-worth....
I am recovering...... I lost hope, the most precious thing in life....but i will find it back...somehow.
Don't treat me like i am worthless cos i am not. Being treated like i am worthless doesn't mean treating me like i am worth nothing but instead, being worth LESS than other people which is where the word got its origins. Cos i am worth something. Or at least that's what i keep telling myself...I have no idea at all how in the world people can justify their unfair and heartless treatment, where is there conscience?? Perhaps they do not realise it, but thats no excuse. Cos if they were to truly care and treat me like other people, they would have realised.....
I've had to bear the unbearable and accept the unacceptable....but i will survive...:(
我一向问心无愧. 可为何有人能如此的绝情. 我真的很痛嘚：（
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Anyways, BEST THING is its so cheap my rent...the cheapest i've lived in since coming to Oz....And i am moving to a bigger room with a view of the city on Jan 1st 2007 in the same apartment cos my housemate is moving out and i like her room better...its more expensive but the rent will be the same as the one i paid in the suburb so its ok...which means my current room rent is even CHEAPER than my suburban room in Artarmon!! Great deal heh?!! hahaha...
Anyways, my very 1st day of working life in a law firm starts next week Monday....it will last 3.5 mths in satisfaction of my legal work requirements for admission to practice on the bar but hope i get retained or am able to obtain another permanent job on completion. Going to court to present my plea for a client next week as part of my criminal law assessment...looking forward to the experience:):)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
List of Nanking Massacre Victim Names
PLA Soldiers present wreaths of flowers in memory of the massacre victims at a ceremony in front of the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall.
Today marks the 69th anniversary of the 'Rape of Nanking'. This refers to the Dec 1937 to Jan 1938 massacre of chinese civilians and soldiers in the former capital of China, Nanjing. About 300,000 Chinese and around 20,000-80,000 Chinese women were raped by invading Japanese forces. This massacre continues to remain a thorny issue between China and Japan, with the Chinese emphasizing it whenever the issue of Japanese invasion of China comes along and the Japanese seeking to downplay or some right-wing Japanese elements even seeking to deny it.
Below are some websites and articles related to the massacre. There are currently plans on a documentary and films commemorating the 'Rape' in time for the 70th Anniversary next year in 2007.
http://firstname.lastname@example.org (Nanking Massacre 69th anniversary)
http://nanking-bearing-witness.blogspot.com/ (nanking massacre blog) http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200612/14/eng20061214_332363.html (69th Nanking Massacre Anniversary)
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200612/13/eng20061213_332172.html (Nanking Massacre) http://www.nj1937.org/english/
http://www.nj1937.org/ (Official Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall website in English and Chinese)
http://www.nankingthefilm.com/ (AOL Vice-President-funded Documentary accepted for Sundance Film festival screening in Jan 2007)
Pic projects revisit Nanking massacre
Produce Green's $50 mil pic based on Chang's tome
By CLIFFORD COONAN
NANJING -- The 1937 invasion by Japanese troops of the city that was then China's capital was dubbed "The Rape of Nanking," with memories of that massacre still causing anguish to many Chinese. Now a slew of films will revisit the trauma.
The most high-profile is a $50 million-$60 million project being put together by producer Gerald Green's Viridian Entertainment and by the Jiangsu provincial government.
Based on Iris Chang's bestselling book "The Rape of Nanking," the pic is being penned by William Macdonald, creator of the epic HBO skein "Rome."
"Rape of Nanking" will look at the experiences of a Chinese family during the massacre. Green says preproduction is due to start in November, shooting in March and the planned release date is December 2007, the 70th anniversary of the invasion.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong director Stanley Tong, best known for his work on action movies with Jackie Chan, is working on "The Diary," which would also be released by the Dec. 13 anniversary of the invasion. Tong says the $40 million project, by his China Intl. Media Group, has received approval from Chinese film authorities and adds that coin would come from Germany, the U.S., Japan and China.
A documentary is also in the works. AOL vice prexy Ted Leonsis is reportedly taking more of a backseat role at his company to concentrate on "Nanking." The docu has already sold Chinese TV rights, and although he has yet to find a distributor in the U.S., Leonsis is getting it ready for Sundance.
Two other projects are in early planning stages. Transworld Pictures in London has been working on a project for three years, and executive producer Chris Stewart says it would be filmed in China with post-production in London, using a British writer.
Another project based on the novel "Nanking" by Kevin Kent is being developed.
Local media is buzzing with rumors about who will star in Gerald Green's version. Though everyone from Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh to Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep are being mentioned, Green insists that casting (either in China or the United States) has not started yet.
Tong told local media he has been gearing up for his project for five years and he wants Chow Yun-Fat, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau and Norika Fujiwara to star.
The massacre remains a major obstacle to healthy relations with Japan. China says 300,000 Chinese people were slaughtered by invading Japanese soldiers in Nanjing; the 1948 Tokyo war crimes tribunal found Japanese troops killed 155,000 people. Beijing believes Japan has not done enough to atone for the invasion, while the Japanese are increasingly tired of being harangued over their wartime past.
With political relations between China and Japan still tense, the Chinese government is not averse to exploiting the propaganda value of the incident. One of the top films in China this year is "Tokyo Trials," about the post-war tribunals investigating Japanese war crimes.
Monkey Peaches Exclusive 14 Dec 2006:
Yesterday is the 69th anniversary of the fall of Nanking/Nanjing, then capital of China and the beginning of a weeks long massacre carried out by the Japanese force, which took the life of hundreds thousands of civilians and prisons of war. A ceremony was hold outside the city to mark the beginning of the set construction for The Rape of Nanking, based on the same title book by late author Iris Chang..The near US$40 million project is jointly produced by China's Jiangsu Cultural Industry Group and US-based Viridian Entertainment, with partial funding from the UK. The film will focus on how a group of foreign nationals helped protecting thousands of civilians during the massacre. The script is written by William J. MacDonald (Rome the TV series), who also serves as one of the project?s producers. The project is helmed by Simon West (Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, When a Stranger Calls). The cast list has not been finalized but the producers have hope Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi to sign on. The set, which will occupy an area equal to about 7 and a half football fields, will include replicated buildings of the Nanjing City from the 1930s, including a city gate, a harbor, an embassy district, a women's school, residential houses and several major intersections. Shooting will start in spring next year and wrap by July. The release is aimed at December 2007.
Chinese director Lu Chuan (Kekexili: The Mountain Patrol, The Missing Gun), works as a consultant of The Rape of Nanking, is also planning his own Nanjing Massacre project, titled Nanjing! Nanjing!, which is also in serious pre-production. It is budgeted to cost about US$26 millions, which will be shared by China Film Group Corp., Beijing-based Stellar MegaMedia and Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures. The story will follow a Chinese soldier and a Japanese soldier?s stories during the massacre. A set, occupying an area equal to almost 28 football fields, will be constructed in Sichuan Province, near 800 miles west of Nanjing. Shooting is scheduled to begin next Spring and the release is also planned for December.
The third project, titled The Diary, is pushed by Hong Kong director Stanley Tong (The Myth, First Strike, Rumble in Bronx.). The story will begin in 1937, when Japan launched the full scale invasion against China and will end by 1946, the year dozens of Japanese war criminals were trialed in Tokyo. The investment, almost US$40 millions, will come from China, the US, Germany and Japan. Shooting is set to start by next March.
The Manila Massacres:
I didn't know about this horrendous massacre until very recently and was horrified to know about it. It is a pity that not more publicity is given to this horrendous episode in Phillipine history and that many people including a Japan and Ww2 historian like myself didn't know about it until recently.
The Manila Massacre refers to the 100,000 filipino civilians killed by retreating Japanese troops as the Americans sought to recapture the capital in Feb 1945. The month long massacre by Japanese troops of filipino civilians was as a result of venting out demoralised attitudes and feelings as well as an attempt to use the filipinos as a human shield against the Americans.
Below is a Wikipedia page giving more detail on the massacre:
The Singapore 'Sook Ching' (Purge thru Purification):
This is a reference to the Feb- March 1942 massacre of around 50,000 Chinese men in Singapore when the Japanese occupying forces conducted a whole island screening when they took over Singapore officially on 15 feb 1942 to root out anti-japanese elements. Many men were simply driven off and shot at the beaches on mere suspicion of being anti-japanese with no concrete evidence whatsoever. The ex-PM of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew also records in his memoirs how he narrowly escaped them. The massacre was uncovered only after the war when war memoirs of many people corresponded and mass grave sites were uncovered revealing the horrible incident.
Below is a Wikipedia site giving more detail on the massacre:
Japanese War Orphans Left in China:
At the end of WW2, 1 million Japanese people were residing in Northeast China (previously known as Manchuria) as part of the then Japanese government's plan of populating the area with their own nationals so as to consolidate their control over it. At the end of the war in August 1945, when the Soviet troops invaded and occupied Manchuria, many Japanese were stranded and chaos reigned. About more than 500,000 Japanese soldiers were taken to Siberia to work in labour camps by the Soviets and Japanese civilians tried to make their way back home to Japan in the chaos. However, at that time, about 10,000 or so children and infants were abandoned by their japanese parents or were separated in the ensuing chaotic period or were simply handed over to Chinese adoptive parents by their Japanese parents whom thought that they would have a better chance of surviving if they were left with Chinese people. Their parents didn't even know if they could survive themselves even less so if their children would be able to and thus left them to Chinese adoptive parents. Thus, when China closed to the outside world with the Communist takeover in 1949, all hopes of recovering their children was lost. In the 80s, these parents and their children left behind in China made attempts to reestablish contact and many were successful. Many of these 'war orphans' were able to reunite with their biological parents. However, they have been experiencing difficulties with fitting in Japanese society given that they did not speak any Japanese and were brought up Chinese.
Below is an article on the 'Japanese War Orphan' issue.
EDITORIAL/ War-displaced Japanese 12/04/2006 (Asahi Shimbun)
Japanese abandoned as children in China at the end of World War II had long yearned to live in their home country with dignity. However, foot-dragging by the Japanese government delayed their return home. Not only that, the government was deficient in providing assistance so that these war-displaced Japanese could live independently since they settled here. The Kobe District Court recognized these facts in a group lawsuit filed by war-displaced Japanese and ordered the central government to pay more than 460 million yen in total compensation. This is the first victory for the plaintiffs among suits filed in 15 areas across the country. The plaintiffs are all advanced in years and anxious about their futures. We urge the government to accept the ruling and not appeal it. The lawsuit in question concerns Japanese who were left behind in Northeast China (former Manchuria) and raised by Chinese. The Japanese government finally began inviting them back to Japan in 1981 for identity verification, opening the path for them to return home. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs slammed the government for not fulfilling its responsibility to protect its citizens. The Kobe District Court ruling squarely addressed that issue. The court said that Japanese who journeyed to the former Manchuria as farmers were not properly apprised of the war situation and were left unprotected in the postwar chaos. Thus, the court ruled, the postwar government had a political responsibility to provide relief to those war-displaced citizens. The court also pointed out that the government could have offered assistance by taking advantage of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China in 1972. However, the Japanese government did not acknowledge the war-displaced Japanese as its own citizens, treating them as non-Japanese and even requiring their relatives in Japan to act as guarantors if they wished to return to Japan. This caused the extensive delays in allowing them to permanently resettle here. The Kobe District Court determined that it was illegal to place restrictions on their return to Japan, and ordered the government to pay compensation of 100,000 yen for each month of delay. In addition, the court said the plaintiffs should be paid 6 million yen per person based on the fact that governmental financial support was less than the program for citizens abducted by North Korea. Of approximately 2,500 people who have returned to Japan, about 2,200 joined in the series of group lawsuits. Most cannot speak Japanese fluently due to a lack of government assistance, which has limited their job opportunities. The fact that more than 80 percent of those who returned have resorted to legal suits reflects how impoverished they are. Nearly 70 percent of all war-displaced Japanese who returned to Japan are living on welfare. They are eligible for a part of national pension payments, yet the amount they receive is only slightly more than 20,000 yen each month. The sum is deducted from their livelihood subsidies. The court ruling says the government must establish separate benefit and pension systems from the subsidy system so that these people have a means of support. We wholeheartedly agree with this decision. Diet members in the ruling coalition have set up a project team to study a benefit plan, but it has not made much progress. New legislation is needed to set up a program quickly. For those orphans who feel they were abandoned by their country twice--when Japan lost the war and then again after they returned home--the lawsuit has been a battle to regain their dignity as human beings. They are now happy to say that they have finally become Japanese again, and the government must not trample upon their sentiments. --The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 2(IHT/Asahi: December 4,2006)
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Today has got to be the coldest summer day in Sydney.....actually it has been alot colder than usual for this time of the year....usually it is supposed to be hot or at least warm by November...but since i moved here...the weather has been hot cold hot cold all the time and just when i think summer has come, the temperature drops again and i find myself inappropriately dressed to handle the cold....i don't know about Sydney, but in Melbourne, it is usual that the weather turns completely warm by early November with no cold days anymore and Sydney is supposed to be hotter than Melbourne BUT it is SO COLD right NOW....i heard from people who watch the news that it even snowed in some parts of New South Wales, near Canberra ...snow in late spring?!! The temperature is currently 15 C.....when its supposed to be 20-25 C by now...
In other news, i am currently doing Civil Litigation Practice and i'm learning alot of practical stuff useful for the workplace which weren't taught in university....done most of the subjects now and so its more relax....also class is from 10am-3pm reduced from the start when it was 9 15-4 then 9 30 -3 30....
Watching alot of taiwanese variety shows and studying..gosh...i've no social life since moving to Sydney, guess its cos of the busy study schedule....but i'm glad its almost over....the course starts in Sept and ends in Dec so its really very very short but there is a compulsory work component at a law firm which is to last almost 4 mths....
Anyways, back to study:)
Saturday, November 11, 2006
世界は愛で変えられる...The World Can be Changed by Love...世界能因愛而改變 ...
It only takes me about 1 min to get to the next station for classes and its one station to Chatswood(the largest suburban 'city-area' like melbourne boxhill) the other direction which i frequent regularly for shopping,food, and Chinese and Korean dvd rental...hehe....
Well, living in Artarmon is a refreshing change from my Melbourne life....for a start, in all my 5 1/2 years in Melbourne, i have ALWAYS lived in the downtown area and so i have never experienced living in the suburbs in Australia AT ALL...and so living in Artarmon is a good change for me....it allows me to experience suburban Australia first-hand and enjoy taking the train...which i previously never needed to do.....Artarmon is like Little Tokyo as there are so many japanese restaurants near the station and two japanese groceries and one japanese video store (of which i am a member)...
Further, as i live on the northern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, i have to take the train across the Sydney Harbour Bridge every time i go to the city area which means i get to pass by the Sydney Opera House at least twice a week which is a breathtaking sight...
Well, i find Sydney a much bigger and cosmopolitan city as compared to Melbourne...i mean i was amazed at how much bigger the city area was and the main street George St is like SO MUCH bigger compared to Melbourne's Swanston St...and the Chinatown is definitely better too...more choices in terms of shops and restaurants...and i find the food in Sydney, the Asian food on offer MUCH BETTER....i mean i thought Australia didn't have nice authentic Taiwanese and Japanese food but boy was i wrong....i definitely like Sydney's food choices compared to Melbourne, i have found some places serving cheap and yet VERY authentic Asian places in a mere 2 months of being here as compared to not having found a single authentic Taiwanese place in Melbourne in yrs living there. I mean there are nice places but nothing compared to this place called 'CHO Dumpling King' (糕 家 餃 子 館 )which serves one of the most authentic Taiwanese fare in Oz and it wins definitely cos of its super duper authentic Taiwanese side dishes 小菜 which is not found in Melbourne Taiwanese rests....the ones i tried all had side dishes but none were really up to the mark except this one in Sydney which is located in Prince Centre, 8 Quay Street, Chinatown...so Sydneysiders, do go try if u haven't already....another 2 places I would recommend is Ramenkan (ラーメン館)and Menya( メン屋) which serve like extremely authentic ramen that is cheap...again u can't find good ramen eateries in Melb that is also cheap...at least i haven't found any in all my yrs of living in Melbourne although good ramen
is definitely obtainable in Melbourne for a hefty price such as Chocolate Buddha at Fed Square. In case anyone is wondering how i would be able to judge whats authentic and whats not, well in terms of Taiwanese and Japanese food i can, given that i have lived in both Taipei and Tokyo before....
I like Sydney alot as i like the busier and cosmo quality that it has....however i do miss melb too....been to many places when i 1st arrived in Syd cos my parent's friend who is the head chef at one of the classy Malaysian restaurants at Cockle Bay Wharf in Darling Harbor brought us around in his car...and so i have been to a whole host of places already...here goes the rough list: Darling Harbour(of cos duh...), Hurstville, Beverly Hills (not the one in LA, ) had a sumptious Chinese course here with lobster noodle and oysters,etc...yummmm..alot of Chinese seafood restaurants here), Botany Bay, Manly Beach (which means i've been to the northern and southern edges of Sydney...took the ferry across to Manly on a stormy rainy night...it was soooo cold that night but the experience was great, took tons of pics of Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour. Bridge,Sydney City nightview..), Bondi beach, King's Cross, and some other places which i can't remember....
Been really busy the whole time cos this course is intensive...i have to go to college every weekday from 9 30am to around 3 30pm....but now its relaxing abit more cos most of the difficult subjects are finished already.....and we get to leave on Fri at 1pm usually so its basically Fri whole day free....managed to go to the Japan Festival at Darling Harbour and it was fantastic!! So many japanese girls in yukata..for a moment i thought i was back in Tokyo for the summer festival (natsu matsuri) with so many japanese people walking around...it was nice seeing all these japanese people having a good time listening to the taiko performance as well as the Sydney skyline behind.....
Planning to go to the Thai Food Festival tomorrow(which means today given that it's midnite now) which is also going to be held at the same place in Darling harbour....i absolutely LOVE and let me repeat that, LOVE Thai food festivals....given that i simply adore Thai food, i seldom miss Thai foodie fests...been to the one in Melbourne earlier this year, went to the Thai Food Festival held in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo last yr and so i'm not gonna miss the one in Sydney!! (For those who live in Tokyo and am viewing my blog, like Kaneko san, be sure to go and enjoy the Thai Fest. held annually as the food and live music is superb...the one in Tokyo is definitely way better than the one in Melbourne which is alot smaller in scale...)
Phew...what an update, also i have bought tickets to the Japanese Film Festival (the 10th Anniv this year) and wondering if anyone wants to go watch with me...so if u live in Syd and am interested leave a comment on my blog and i will get back to u...i have tickets to 'The face of Jizo' 'Hayazakanohana' and 'When the stars converge'..
Finally, i am still looking to make new friends in Sydney so if u do read my blog and am interested in being friends, do leave ur contacts and blog in my comment section and i will definitely reply EVERY SINGLE person....
徵 友 :如 有 興 趣 與 我 做 朋 友 的 話 ﹐ 敬 請 留 言 留 下 聯 絡 方 式 與 部 落 格 ﹐ 謝 謝﹗
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I like this drama cos firstly, Lee Dong Gun's character is not the typical korean drama male lead of being rich and kind hearted...he is actually poor and more importantly a manipulative person whom survives through conning and using other people....i also like it cos the characters all have problems and it is quite realistic...Lee and his friend both come from troubled families or have no family and the drama shows the sad reality that not everyone is born with the same opportunities in life and how circumstances shape a person such as in Lee's case forcing him to forgo an opportunity for further education and forcing him to use people....cos sometimes being nice to people and trying as hard as u can to achieve something doesn't always lead to the consequences u want...i can understand this and thats why i really liked this drama. Further, Kim Heesun looks as young as ever and is sooooo pretty in the drama i seriously don't know how she manages to remain this youthful looking after all these years....its as if time had stopped...i mean the first time i saw Kim was in 1999 in the Korean drama 'Tomato' and she actually looks even younger now than then!! Also i like this drama cos there is this new actor whom plays the rich man's son whom is SOOOOOO SUPER CUTE k...i mean he is just so handsome that u can't not like him,a girl or otherwise...the title 'Smile Again' is definitely something i shall remember now as a motto...it truly reflects the theme of this drama...which is to persevere thru the tough times and, even if u turn bad and evil due to circumstances, it is never too late to change and become good again, like Lee in the drama, and there is always hope for success and happiness in the end ....so that anyone, including those hurting or whom have not been blessed with the same opportunities to excel or be happy in life....to SMILE AGAIN 再 次 微 笑 :):):)
It is called 'Eternal Summer' 盛夏光年 and it was just released on 13th Oct....i read in the newspapers that the box office has been very good....i found out about the movie when i was reading the Taiwanese newspapers and was brilliantly surprised....cos both the actors are so cute...eee...and one of them is one of my fav actors Zhang Xiao Quan 張孝全 when he was in 孽子 Crystal Boys (the 1st and only Taiwanese TV drama with a 100% gay theme which dealt with a group of young gay men in 1970s Taiwan)..i couldn't believe he was acting in another gay film again and this time as the main character and the guy he is acting with is sooo cute too...i mean he actually looks gay and is very believable......i am so damn excited man....i wanna see this!!!
I am much more excited over this film than the other popular Taiwanese gay film released in 2004 called 十七歲的天空 'Formula 17' as the main characters in there weren't really my kind of guys, i mean don't get me wrong....i like them and i am sure many other gay men (and girls) love them too but they were just not the kind of guys i like that much...whereas this one BOTH the actors i REALLY like so it should be good.....and furthermore...the tone of this one, as opposed to the romantic comedy of 'Formula 17' is much more serious and romantic....something i like better...AND THE BEST THING OF ALL is that i've seen the trailer and its similar to a Korean love story...i've always wanted to see a gay version of a romantic korean love story....and i never thought anyone would make one but now there is one!!!! Now﹐for those whom aren't sure of what i mean by a typical 'korean love story'...i shall explain....as any korean drama lover or korean person will be able to tell u, the ultimate korean love story is invariably about this guy and girl whom knew each other since childhood and they already were best friends then, then they move through to highschool or to work and fall in love...its always about when they were still young children as if it was fated that they would end up together....examples are Autumn Tale by Song Hye Gyo where it starts with when she was still young with her 'brother' or the Lee Young Ae film 'Last Present' in which she finds out that her husband was this boy whom she knew and loved her in primary school....
Eternal Summer has a similar storyline but obviously involving two guys....
Further, there is a girl in the movie whom is one of the main characters and i just like a female lead in gay films too, makes it all interesting.. !! The film apparently also has a daring gay sex scene too though i dun know how thats going to fit into the story cos as far as i know, one of the guys in the film is NOT gay...only one of them is gay and has a crush on the other one...the other just treats him as his best friend ever but is straight..or may be bi??....the film also touches on the 921 Great Earthquake which occurred in Taiwan a few years ago...i think it should be a fantastic film portraying a very realistic period which most gay guys go thru...falling for ur straight friend..and in this case, the straight/bi bestfriend....sigh....
我想 每個人 生來就不應該孤獨！ 正行和守恆是鎮上小學裡的同班同學，正行是班長，但守恆卻是令人頭痛的壞小孩，一天到晚惹麻煩。某天，到台北市立天文館戶外教學，也同時轉來一位女同學──佳慧。佳慧爸媽離婚，跟著媽媽不情不願轉學到鄉下，心情已經夠糟，卻又在參觀途中，因為守恆的惡作劇，而撲倒、弄壞了天文館裡的模型。出了這麼大的糗，讓她中途從參觀途中離開，再也不肯回到班上。佳慧也就因此只做了正行和守恆一天的同學。然而，這件事卻從深深烙印在他們三人心裡。 因為這件事，守恆被醫生判定為過動兒。在深入了解守恆調皮搗蛋的原因其來有自後，老師派正行去幫忙守恆適應校園生活。正行原本不情不願，但在幫助守恆走進學習正軌的過程中，卻開啟了兩個陌生心靈、兩個差異極大的世界的交流，正行反而因此更加了解守恆稀奇古怪的世界，打開他本來被規範得好好的乖寶寶世界，一個好學生和一個壞孩子，成了好朋友。 高中時代，在正行的影響之下，加上體育成績優異，守恆也考上跟正行一樣的高中，並且度過了令人頭痛的階段，長成一個帥氣的青少年。正行仍是那麼優異斯文，在校刊社還認識了一個女性的好朋友──惠嘉，兩人間似乎有著淡淡的情愫。但也就在此同時，正行發現他自己對守恆，也開始有了超越好朋友的情份。在一次正行與惠嘉相約上台北西門町玩的過程中，惠嘉發現了正行的秘密，但她也答應幫正行保守，永不洩露出去。 正行害怕面對自己身體裡可能的真相，於是開始躲著守恆，再也不去籃球場上看守恆打球了。守恆遍尋不著正行，卻發現惠嘉出現在球場上。惠嘉因為發現正行的秘密，也對正行喜歡的對象，產生了無限好奇。三個人之間微妙的友情、愛情關係，開始產生微妙的傾斜。
English Story Outline: Zhen Xing and Shou Heng are two boys at a primary school in a coastal country town in Taiwan....one is a bad boy Shou Heng whom is isolated and the other is a good boy Zhen Xing. One day, the teacher asks the good boy Zhen Xing to be Shou Heng's friend in the hopes that SH will change to become a good boy. A girl Jia Hui moves to their school but they are only classmates for a day as for some unknown reason, JH leaves the school after just a day......thus starts the friendship and bond between ZX and SH as they become the best of friends....time passes and in the flash of an eye, both ZX and SH become handsome , young and energetic highschool boys whom both study at the same highschool...they remain the best of friends after all these years and always fool around and hang out in school....one day, ZX meets a girl in the school magazine society and the three of them become friends....one day when ZX and the girl went out to Ximenting (a young popular place hip with teens in Taipei), the girl discovers ZX secret....and a curiousity arouses within her towards the person he secretly loves....she promises to keep his secret.....
There is one scene in the trailer which i found totally romantic...its the scene when one of them calls out the other's name when he goes to pick him up for school on the bicycle...i just thought this was such a romantic scene.....(i think if any homophobic person was reading this post of mine, they would be horrified and find me perverse for thinking that a korean drama-like love story between two men was romantic!! hehehehe)...
I am always VERY proud when gay films or events come out of Asia....as it is essential to show the Western world and to give Asian gay men and lesbians an Asian Gay and Lesbian popular culture such that there is no impression that being gay is a 'Western thing'..which some Asians continue to believe regrettably.....Taiwan is one of the most progressive countries in Asia when it comes to gay and lesbian issues and rights....the Western world may only just be discovering mainstream gay film in Brokeback Mountain but Taiwan and HK have been producing MAINSTREAM gay films for a decade now....the difference b/w the West and Chinese media is that up till 'Brokebck Mountain', America only produced gay films which were known amongst the gay and lesbian community with mainstream America not having any knowledge of them. In contrast, Taiwan and HK have been producing MAINSTREAM gay themed films since 1997 and watched by the average person with mainstream actors in them...examples are Bishonen (1998), Crystal Boys(2004) [which caused quite a stir when it came out with wide media coverage in Taiwan as it was broadcast on TV and had a storyline completely focused on homosexuality], LanYu (2001) [which won the Taiwanese equivalent to the Academy Awards and widely known by everyone in Chinese speaking areas], etc...
For those unfamiliar with Taiwan or Asia, i hope the above have changed their outdated views that Asian countries are still very backwards when it comes to homosexuality cos i know just in terms of the media, the Chinese media has always been much more progressive than their Western counterparts....i mean i heard Ang Lee (again it took a Taiwanese to make America's first gay mainstream film) had difficulty finding actors for Brokeback Mountain when in HK and Taiwan many and i mean MANY mainstream actors have taken on gay roles without much controversy...examples include the cute Daniel Wu who has a strong female and gay male following in China,Taiwan and HK.He has acted as a gay man in at least 4 HK films at last count one of which included some steamy scenes....another is Zhang Xiao Quan, the guy in 'Eternal Summer' whom acted as a gay character in 2 TV dramas and now this film...or Edison Chen, a well-known HK heart-throb whom openly said in a magazine interview that he wants to act a gay character as it is challenging without any fear of being attacked as being 'gay' himself...
further, though Brokeback didn't manage to get an Oscar for Best Picture due to a conservative panel of voters...one Chinese picture managed to clinch the top prize at the Taiwanese Academy waaay bck in 2001 and there was no controversy at all that the top prize was given to a gay film .......of cos i know in Asia, really only the Chinese media is that open and can offer gay and lesb Chinese an alternative to Western gay culture (believe me u can actually ignore all gay films and culture that come from the West as there are just so many Chinese gay ones for u to pick from)....other places like Indonesia and the Phillipines dun seem to have much mainstream gay media....Korea is improving with the 'King's Man' which became one of the highest grossing Korean films of all time and became very popular amongst other gay asian men too (i know many Chinese gay friends whom have seen it or want to see it)...but it has one drawback which also reflects the backwardness of Koreans when it comes to gay and lesbian issues....the Koreans still continue to believe that gay men are effeminate and the love story in the 'King's Man' reflected this misguided belief....one of the men is very effeminate and really no different from a woman....Lee Joon Ki became popular after this role.......they are like what Taiwan and HK was like 10..15 yrs ago...nowadays, in Taiwan and HK, like in 'Eternal Summer' homosexual love and gay men are portrayed much more accurately with both men being extremely 'normal-looking' and manly...this is something koreans may wish to aim for...but it will take many more yrs i would think.
Below are links to pics from the Taiwan Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade 2006 which has been held for four yrs already i think and always gets massive media attention in Taiwan given that they parade thru the main streets of Taipei City and furthermore, the Taipei Mayor officially attended the Parade and flew the rainbow flag.....the Taipei City Council also appropriates funds towards the Taipei Pride Festival annually showing government support for it.......also posted are articles from the Taiwanese newspaper with regards to gays and the media...
Anyways, hope that those unfamiliar with gay and lesbian issues in Chinese speaking areas, specifically, Taiwan, have gained a deeper understanding of gay and lesbian issues in Asia now.....
To end, i shall quote from 'Eternal Summer'... a line which i think is meaningful...
沒 有 人 是 應 該 孤 獨 的 ﹐ 你 還 是 這 樣 相 信 嗎 ﹖ ....No one deserves to be lonely... Do you still hold on to this belief?
Taiwanese Newspaper Articles on Gay issues:
〔 2006.09.30 中國時報 〕
English Summary: Hit Radio station in Taiwan, in celebration of Taiwan Pride Festival 2006 held an online vote on which two male celebrities that listeners wished to see in gay kiss scene and no1 was Takeshi Kaneshiro and Daniel Wu, no2 the male leads of 'Eternal Summer', no3 Fan zhi Wei and Yang Yue Ning of Crystal Boys gay tv drama, no4 is Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung whom acted in the well known Wong Kar Wai gay film in 1997 and no5 is Daniel Wu and Edison Chen...for those unfamiliar with what these actors look like, do a google search of their names...
In another news article, it is reported that famous singer Coco lee wants to perform at the famous Taipei gay club 'Funky'...many Taiwanese singers perform at this gay club which is widely known in Taipei amongst even straight Taipei residents...there seems to be no stigma at performing at a gay club and indeed many female singers WANT to perform there to get the gay consumer market...recently even male singers go there, incl. Zhao Ge 曹 格 a Malaysian singer (but i seriously suspect he is gay...has anyone seen his album cover? topless with a sexy look on his face..definitely aiming for the gay crowd...haha)
Official Website of 'Eternal Summer' at:
Pics including pics of the cast at the Taipei Gay&Lesbian Pride Parade 2006 as well as clips from the film at:
Official Trailer of 'Eternal Summer' at You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ajwB34Ryuo
Taiwan Pride Parade 2006: http://twpride.net (includes photos of the parade under the 'Gallery' section)
Archive posts on issues regarding Gays and Lesbians: go to my Sept 2005 archive as well as http://chinesechic.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_chinesechic_archive.html for a list of past Taiwanese gay and lesbian tv dramas n films.
I will update on what has been happening with my life since the last post....i wanted to include tons of pics of my graduation and the flowers and presents i received from friends as well as pics of the places i went to before i left Melbourne BUT for some reason the pics i uploaded to my laptop have all miraculously dissapeared!!!!!!!! ARRGHHHHH!!!!! Well, this means all the photos i took are now gone save the ones taken with my dad's camera (thankfully!!)...so this shall be a post without photos...
My family came to Melbourne and i took them around to places such as Crown Casino,Lygon St, Chapel St, St Kilda,Bourke St, and Mount Dandenongs had lunch at one of the nice teahouses there...had scones,etc....We also visited my ex-guardian and her family whom is my mother's friend's sister who immigrated to Melbourne after her studies here more than 20 years ago...i needed a guardian in my first yr here as i was only 17 when i arrived in Australia.......
My ex-guardian took us to Mount Dandenongs as well as the Brighton Beach Houses which was my first time despite having been in Melbourne for 5 1/2 years already!!!! Also had this superb lunch at St Kilda beach which is well worth it...they have a set lunch including oysters,etc which is well worth your money!! Forgot its name but its located by St Kilda Beach....:)
Anyways, my graduation came and i was extremely proud of myself that i managed to finish my law degree/arts degree after 4 1/2 years...i did summer school which meant i finished 6mths earlier than expected which saves me both time and money to do my admissions course....the whole graduation ceremony went without much fanfare and the ceremony itself was pretty boring actually...took photos with friends and family, received a bouquet of flowers and a present from friends....after the ceremony, went to have dinner with family and a family friend's daughter from Penang whom is also my friend now since she moved to Melb from adelaide earlier this year.....took my parents to the chocolate place at QV as it is where a mutual friend of mine n my mother's Penang fren's daughter works...she gave us discounts.....yeahhh.....
Anyways, i would like to recommend some restaurants and cafes i grew to like throughout the 5 1/2 years i was living in Melbourne...
(1) Great Space Cafe: Nice cafe and my favourite place for bacon and eggs on toast and also the BEST place for iced-chocolate without cream...i've tried many places and this has got to be my fav place for iced-chocolate...do give it a try if u live in Melbourne...its at Collins Place, Collins Street in the plaza where the Sofitel Hotel is located.....
(2) Don Don: Nice cheap Japanese gyudon and sashimi place.....i'm sure everyone who lives in Melbourne would know this place so no need for intros..
(3) Yong Kei Vietnamese Noodle Place: Located on Victoria Street, Richmond serving delicious Vietnamese Beef noodles soup....
(4) Kokoro Japanese Cafe: Located on Smith St, Richmond serving nice Japanese izakaya-style side dishes with a variety of Japanese cocktails,desserts and etc...
(5) Pacific Ocean House: Hong Kong style seafood restaurant at Victoria Street, Richmond and Chapel St. Nice place and i always order Pi-pa tofu there which is quite nice so do have a try Melburnians....
There are more places which i can't think off the top of my head but yeah...i shall dearly miss these places...
Flew off on Virgin Blue with my family on Sept 2nd for Sydney.....thus beginning a whole new chapter in life...having passed the studying period of my life (well...almost....the practical legal training that i am doing now is similar to uni in some ways but very different in terms of it being more hands-on and structured very differently...u have more freedom too)....
i shall post on my new Sydney life soon, i know its loooong overdue given that i've already moved to Sydney for almost 2 months now...
goodbye Melbourne, Goodbye:)
Sunday, August 20, 2006
I am however leaving for Sydney!!!!!! I think it is time to move on...5 1/2yrs in Melbourne is enough i think, i would like to change an environment and experience a different city...i had originally planned that i would come to Melbourne for 1 yr VCE (highschool) and then move to Sydney for university...who knew, i changed my mind and stayed on for 4 1/2 yrs more....
so i am busy trying to find accomodation in Sydney which is no easy task...given that i don't know the city very well....so anyone who reads my blog and whom is from Sydney DO leave a comment!!!! I am VERY EAGER to know u given that i don't know that many ppl in Sydney so i am very happy to get to know more Sydney people... Hahaha....I am moving there to get admitted to practice (in case u r wondering, this means get ur lawyer's licence ; a law graduate from uni is not sufficient to become a lawyer, u need to get practical legal training and pass the course before u can be admitted;become qualified to work as a lawyer)...
Past few days, I have been busy packing up , cleaning the room,watching Korean and Chinese drama DVDS, and meeting up with friends before i leave.... 其 實 有 些 東 西 令 我 非 常 不 開 心 ﹐ 難 過 。 。 。 。 但 是 竟 然 要 離 開 了 就 得 開 開 心 心 得 離 開 。 。 。 。 至 少 想 開 點 。 。 。 。 開 心 點 。
The good news is i got to bump into this cute guy i used to see in law library last semester who is like suppppper handsome!!!It was actually so embarassing...i was with my friend's friends and we were walking and i noticed him, i was like isn't that him? It looked like him and as i was looking (more like admiring him, *blushing*) the friend was like do u know him, is he ur friend...i was like gosh i have to make an excuse, can't very well tell her that i was checking out this guy can I?!! So i just said i was looking at the bread on sale inside the restaurant he was in and went in to buy....got more time to look at him, well going to be last time...sniff,sniff*....
Been to many places around Melbourne that i haven't been before like this really cool bistro/cafe/pub in the city called 'Cookies'. We sat outside on the veranda and the night scenery was nice, overlooking Swanston St.....quiet somemore as inside was very noisy,and the veranda is the kind u see in opera theatres where u have ur own and u don't share with others...like ur own little balcony where u can chat with friends, quite nice!!
Ate again at Hardware Lane, really nice place....love the outdoor dining atmosphere...
Had dinner with a friend who uses the word ‘ 朋 友 ’in a very ambiguous way....i learnt it from him and find it quite amusing....it is really very useful if u dun want other ppl to know what u guys are talking about...like '我 和 我 “朋 友 ”分 手 了’and the most interesting one '你 談 過 ‘朋 友’ 嗎 ﹖’They use it in China and i remember i heard it in the movie ‘藍 宇 ’and so the first time he told me he broke up with his '朋 友' i was kinda like....ok...thats weird...the thing is it can be quite confusing, so i have clarify whether i mean the normal kind or 'other' meaning kind in conversations....haha...but interesting...he did share with me some stuff about his current ‘朋 友 ’and i feel kinda bad i was too forward and unreserved...i should have controlled my real opinions as i feel i may have been abit too straight with my opinions 對 不 起 !!
Melbourne, a place that has definitely formed an important part of me, a place where i experienced alot, and leave a alot of memories with, the good times, the bad times, and the memorable times, good or bad, where i grew up and learnt to cope, to live...LIFE....
Farewell Melbourne, 再 見 了 墨 爾 本 :)
PS: If u r living in Melbourne and have been reading my blog but never left a comment and want to meet me, i would love to meet u too..NOW is your last opportunity...leave me a message and we can arrange to meet up... would like to see what my readers is like...and if you have been leaving comments n want to meet me, just call me...u should have my no...contact me soon though, leaving Aug 31st....busy from 28th onwards...
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Gaysorn in Bangkok City Area
The 'Yellow Shirt' Phenomena
Canal in Bangkok
Day 3 (24th July): Morning dropped off at Hotel Armada in the city by driver....booked city tour of grand palace...walked around city area of Bkk and had lunch at one of the nice restaurants in one of the malls...went to join the Grand Palace Tour at noon....nice place...really grand with fusion of Chinese, Thai, Indian and European influence and architecture as i find most palaces in Thailand to be....also toured Emerald Buddha Temple....in the bus, passed many places including the present Royal Residence and government ministries....Got bck to hotel...went to Sumkhumvit Road....nice place with quite a number of foreigners and there is this alley with alot of Japanese restaurants and a supermarket...reminded me of Tokyo.....had a walk of Emporium.....toured the alleys where u can find many nice restaurants...took taxi to MM's workplace and then went to Suan Lum Night Bazaar...bought a nice Chinese style top.....really nice place, highly recommended for the food and atmosphere....there is a huge ferris wheel there and amusement park as well as a stage where singers belt out songs whilst u eat...i ate the thai-style chicken rice there....came bck...chatted with MM's brother (who is reputedly a womaniser...well, he is indeed very handsome....though personality wise prob not a good husband or bf...or mayb he will tame down later when he gets older....) and MM's sister....watched more cool Thai MTV and slept...
Day 4( 25th July): Woke up really early and went to Hotel Armada Watergate again for the tour to Ayutthaya. Took a coach there which takes roughly 1.5 hrs from Bangkok...went to the Bang Pa In Palace which is absolutely beautiful...toured a few more places in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand and then took a cruise on the Chao Phraya River back to Bangkok which took around 3 hrs. The river cruise was fantastic!! It was actually my first time on a river cruise in a looong time and there was two decks to view the passing scenery....there was countless bungalows and replenished temples along the entire route which made me wonder where does the Thai government get the finances to maintain these temples?? I mean most of the temples were very well maintained... met a bunch of malaysians from KL on the trip and we chatted alot about how bad Malaysia's tourism industry is,etc,etc....got to know the tour guide and he is a friendly guy who is taking Chinese lessons now so he was telling me about how some words are similar b/w Thai and Chinese...we went to Chinatown and did some shopping then left to have dinner with MM at All Seasons Place....nice Thai cuisine....went bck home,watched the cute Toon V6 on Academy Fantasia...but he is abit boyish in character...not my type, i like someone more mature...but still super cute nevertheless..haha...
Day 5 (26th July): Went to Patpong area and had a look...alot of Japanese clubs and hostess clubs (which means sex entertainment venues) as well as visited Soi 4....some interesting stuff happened...Went to Bangkok City Centre again and shopped at Siam Paragon. Bought some thai movie dvds there. The cinema at the top level of Siam Paragon was really nice....had dinner with MM at Siam Central i think and the waiter was kinda cute...MM says i am being too obvious...gosh can i help it? I just find Thai guys so cute...i even find MM's houseboy (he is in his mid-20s think) quite cute...gosh...had an early night...so tired...
27th July, flew back to Penang on AirAsia, thank god no delay this time!! I gave MM's driver a angpao (Chinese Red Packet) which i had bought in Yaowarat, Chinatown....i thought it was appropriate given that he had taken me around the days that i was in Bkk and somemore waited for me and MM whilst we were shopping and eating at downtown Siam area for as much as 4 hrs...apparently this is very common for him to wait for up to 2 or 3 hrs...but it feels good to have a driver... i could tell ppl were looking at us like we were some rich ppl whenever we came out of the mall and the car was there waiting for us..(well MM IS rich, i am not) ....
A few thoughts, i noticed alot and i mean ALOT of tongzhi men in Bangkok, either that OR they are unusually metrosexual and touchy feely...like there were these highschool boys and one boy lay his head on another guy's shoulder in public....another two walking arm in arm shopping which ONLY women do...and then there are also SO MANY and i mean SO MANY transsexuals...i have never seen so many in my entire life!! I mean they are literally everywhere.....i saw at least one working at siam paragon and another at a cafe and so many ladyboys (still physically male or in the process of transition) everywhere and at chatuchak market as well....and they looked kinda pretty...it was the first time i could understand why some men would like these kind of effeminate looking boys cos they indeed had an indescribable feminine aura around them...thailand is quite liberal in terms of these people still being hired to places as high class as Siam Paragon, i mean in many other places in the world, even if there are no legal discriminations, social discrimination still exists and i am sure transsexuals would not be hired which is really sad...just an interesting observation i made...
So tired when i got bck to Penang....didn't sleep enough for the past few days cos everyday had to wake up early and toured Bangkok till night time...but i super enjoyed it and can't wait to go again:)
Monday, August 14, 2006
Some ppl mistake me as someone who loves Japan given that i have been learning Japanese since Form 1/Yr 7, been on exchange in Tokyo for 4 months, love Tokyo life and would like to return to Tokyo to work....however , i am soooo NOT Japan-crazy.....i admire modern Japanese urban life, admire the efficiency and technological advancement of Japan and the Japanese people alot and love the beauty of Japanese language.......BUT i cannot forget nor forgive what the Japanese did 61 yrs ago....it has left a scar so deep that it refuses to heal....ironic indeed given that i did not experience that tragic war...i have already posted before on why i feel so passionately about the issue, examples being: http://chinesechic.blogspot.com/2005_08_01_chinesechic_archive.html
I have heard arguements that the issue is long past and that it doesn't matter anymore what the Japanese did or did not do...i, however, would respectfully disagree...i just don't think it is acceptable that u can go out and kill millions of people, rape millions of women, torture thousands more,and then refuse to properly acknowledge or apologise for it....if that were so, it would be scary to think that a nation could now go invade another nation and kill and rape its civilians knowing full well that,like Japan, it can just ignore calls for apology and reparation and that decades down the road, all will be forgotten...this would simply encourage nations to just kill and rape as much as they want.....my anger at Japan is that it has never officially apologised...they do not want to even acknowledge the pain and suffering they caused as there has been no official apology passed by the cabinet with the sole exception of one in 1995 which did not specifically address individual countries....not a single cent has also been paid as official compensation to any of the Asian countries although they are to blame as well for willingly absolving Japan of any obligation to pay....(China and South Korea , as well as most other Asian countries have officially signed documents giving up their right for official compensation in exchange for unofficial aid)....
Of cos, i am not that angry at Japan for occupying and colonising neighbouring Asian countries...although very clearly colonisation and invasion is wrong, many other White Empires had already colonised large parts of the world at the time, and so its wrong to ask only Japan to apologise and compensate for its wartime colonisation of much of Asia....however, what differentiates Japan from the West was its conduct during the occupation and colonisation which warrant the call for Japan alone to apologise and make efforts to atone for its crimes....Unlike the West, Japan was exceptionally brutal and inhumane. The Western Nations did not massacre millions of people nor did they torture hundreds of thousands or engage in slave labour (ok they did do this and they should apologise with regards to the african slave trade) and they most certainly did not rape millions of Asian women to anywhere near the same extent as the barbaric Japanese soldiers. That is the reason why so many Asians, particularly Chinese and South Koreans, and me, are angry and demand justice...
And i have come to realise that its not only the Japanese who have alot to do in terms of commemorating and preserving the truth on the brutality and horror of the Japanese Imperial Forces before and during WW2, other Asian countries have alot of room for improvement as well....for example, as far as i know (pls correct me if i am wrong anyone) the issue of the comfort women (the thousands of Asian women and girls forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese forces during WW2) and wartime rape by Japanese soldiers is not mentioned at all in textbooks in Taiwan,Singapore and Hong Kong. This is not acceptable. I do not see why it is omitted when it is fact that many women were raped during the Japanese occupation (Hong Kong saw the rape of approx. 10,000 women within the first weeks of Japanese occupation according to esteemed historian Phillip Snow) ....it is as if these countries are helping Japan cover up its crimes by not teaching their children about this....which is obviously not the case.....i suspect it is cos there is shame associated with the sensitive topic of women of your own nation being raped by enemy soldiers. I would strongly advocate the teaching of wartime rape to secondary students as essential for any comprehensive and real understanding of the horrors of war...
Below are some films about Japan and WW2 which give a more interesting and in-depth knowledge on what happened and the roots of current resentment by many in Asia towards Japan and its utmost refusal to apologise nor teach its future generations what really happened in that tragic war, 61 yrs ago...( (anyone remember the S.Korean demonstrations last yr about the Dokdo Island dispute with Japan? It was actually just another small incident which exploded due to lingering resentment towards Japan as were the April 2005 anti-Japanese riots in Shanghai,Beijing, Shenzhen,etc in China where Japanese restaurants and billboards were smashed and there was a boycott called against Japanese brands like toyota and mitsubishi )
I myself, would encourage people to boycott certain Japanese corporations too....i myself try to boycott them although sometimes it can be difficult...now u may say i am a radical but if u spend time and really look into the history of these corporations, they were indeed despicable and horrendous in their usage of slave labour...unlike German corporations who have made compensation towards Jewish slave labour used during the war, Japanese ones have constantly stonewalled Asian slave labourer's claims for compensation with the assistance of their ever supportive Japanese government whom have refused to enact any laws guaranteeing state compensation for Asian victims of Japanese wartime atrocities...contrast this with Germany which has one....companies to boycott who used slave labour (2 million Koreans and 40,000 Chinese) : Mitsui and Mitsubishi...there are many more but these are the recognisable big ones which i am sure anyone would recognise....they do not produce much now except for cars i guess but i think mitsubishi does stationery also which i refuse to buy...of cos i wouldn't buy their cars too...of cos the employees now are not responsible for what the company did in the past but this is the small price they have to pay as employees of a wartime slave machine....for many of the labourers did not survive the horrid conditions and died without ever seeing their families...
I recommend films cos they are a more interesting way to learn about history instead of history books which may seem abit dry to some ppl....however please be warned that none of these films are for the faint hearted given that the Imperial Japanese Forces were absolute beast , no, WORST..and the films are not propaganda which some have labelled under the reason that they show the Japanese as one-dimensional wicked monsters.....i get VERY angry when some ppl label films 'propaganda' or 'anti-Japanese' just cos they show Japanese soldiers as evil beasts....i mean they were evil and cruel beyond belief, how else do u want the films to portray them? Showing some as kind and simply not showing some cruel scenes to be 'objective'?!! That would be called 'whitewashing' 'denial' and not 'objectivity'....which is one reason i hate japanese films about WW2 cos they inevitably show kind hearted young bright courageous japanese men off to fight for their country and how they must endure the tough conditions to survive the war...where in the world are the scenes of them slaughtering civilians like cattle?!! Or the scenes of them pack-raping Chinese and Filipino women?!! This all certainly occured and very frequently too....japanese ppl who grow up watching the japanese films about brave young courageous men are in for a BIG shock when they see the films below and realise their forefathers weren't exactly the heroes they are made out to be...
There are many films touching on the WW2 issue but surprisingly few which focus solely on the Japanese Occupation period....most Chinese films simply use it as a bckdrop or as one small part of the movie and so i shall not mention them...
Brief Mention: English and Korean Films ( i am not familiar)
(Eng)Women of the Courtyard -2003 ( the ending where the japanese invade the small town and kills the foreign teacher whom purposely took their attention away from a group of women and children hiding inside a room)
(Kor) Women Voluntary Corps-1980s movie (about the women voluntary corps which is the women's military brigade whereby during the later end of the war, many young unmarried korean women were forced by the Japanese military to volunteer for its war effort and a few were tricked into prostitution instead)
(Kor) Comfort Woman-1992/93 (A film about korean comfort women in south east asia)
(Kor) Comfort Women Trilogy-1999 (There is a fantastic and interesting three part documentary about the comfort women (sex slaves of the Japanese military during WW2) where the filmmaker spent 1 yr living with the now elderly women at a govt sponsored home for comfort women on the outskirts of Seoul)
(China) May and August五 月 ﹐ 八 月 -2004 (About 2 children and how they survive the Nanking Massacre in 1937)
The 2 photos are scenes from Black Sun (Nanking Massacre)
Black Sun (Nanking Massacre)南 京 大 屠 殺 : (1995)A docu-drama focusing on two extended families as they attempt to survive the horrendous Nanking Massacre committed by the Japanese army in the winter of 1937. The Nanking Massacre or 'Rape of Nanking' refers to the 8 week massacre of up to 300,000 Chinese civilians and surrendered soldiers and rape of up to 80,000 Chinese women and girls in the then-capital city of China, Nanking. Real footages included and extremely gruesome including one scene of a pregnant woman being bayonetted and her foetus taken out....this is the second film of the Black Sun series, the first being 'Black Sun: men behind the sun' produced in 1987 and now a classic in terms of gore...NOT recommended for faint hearted...i haven't seen both films...
Extensive pictures and commentary of 'Hong Kong on Fire 1941' at: http://chinesechic.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_chinesechic_archive.html (scroll down)
Hong Kong on Fire 1941 香 港 淪 陷 : (1994) My favourite film given its focus on women's suffering during the Japanese Occupation...a film by Wong Jing so obviously very commercialised film, in fact i think the whole focus on women was so that he could save alot on budget and not have to shoot battle scenes and cash in on the lust of some (sick disgusting) men who would want to see the main characters and women being raped by the Japanese...still touching film nevertheless on the story of two sisters whose lives are changed forever with the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong...recommended as not as real and horrifying as the other two films...well..except for the scene where one actress is gang raped and another scene where the elder sister sacrifices herself and is raped right on top of the underground shelter where her younger sister is hiding and witnesses the process...
Don't Cry Nanking 南 京 1937: (1995) film on Nanking massacre about a Chinese doctor, his pregnant Japanese wife and their two children and how they survive the Nanking Massacre....quite heart-wrenching as well...producer is John Woo (Face Off) and music by Tan Dum (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)....one of the most memorable scenes and which will forever haunt me is the last scene in the film which will make anyone and i mean literally ANYONE hate the evil japanese....i will not reveal it suffice to say that it involved a group of women and children and a pack of Japanese soldiers barging into the refugee camp ..the film was actually screened at the ACMI in Melbourne a few yrs ago and The Age reviewer also mentioned this final scene showing how much it affects people....gosh after the scene, i told myself i shall not eat japanese food for one week (anyone would feel extremely uncomfortable after seeing this scene...expecially women......BIG HINT)...but i ended up eating delicious sushi a few days after, haha, well..sushi didn't kill chinese ppl...so never mind...
A long post to make up for the long time i haven't posted about this issue and in commemoration of the 61st Anniversary of the end of WW2. One of my goals in life is to promote the education and remembrance of WW2 in Asia as well as for the campaign to obtain a long delayed official Japanese apology, compensation, as well as atonement for the atrocities committed on the Asian people during WW2....i shall NOT forget NOR forgive...for the Japanese have not and have never asked for forgiveness...how then can i, and others, forgive a nation which is not remorseful and does not seek forgiveness?