Japanese kids

It’s trufax.

Japanese children, by virtue of being able to speak Japanese, are twenty thousand times cuter than the average child.

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Thoughts on today

Sometimes the world moves so fast, the world spins so fast that I don’t know if I could stop and take a breath, look around and calm down.

What if I die if I stop moving? So move I must.

***

For some bizarre reason, I started to feel all nostalgic and started to look through pictures of some of my friends when they got married, one of the couples I know (well, actually ALL of them are) is expecting a baby now.

And the scary thing is that I realize that I could actually one day tell their kids, “Well, listen kid. I’ve know nyour parents since before they got married. Your dad over there, he’s not as macho as he looks. He used to sing Justin Timberlake. Before he turned all Timbaland on us.”

To which, in my dismay, the future kid would reply, “Eeew! Dad! I can’t believed you used to listen to Justin Timberlake. Only OLD people listen to Justin Timberlake.”

Sob.

***

Never mind. I figured the best way to traumatize my friends’ children would be to actually tell them, for them to actually exist, my friends HAD TO HAVE SEX.

Which actually, thinking about my friends having sex is a traumatising thought in itself. I’ll shut up now.

Syiok Sendiri Productions

“Putting up plays in Malaysia, you’re really mostly putting up plays for your friends. It’s a syiok sendiri* production.”

syiok sendiri – full of it…more like, pleasing yourself.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

But so true. I’ve been thinking about it for the past few weeks and even voicing out my concern to one of my family members. My aunt shrugged, she said that it’s typical of new productions. Build a reputation for themselves and then you’ll get somewhere.

Thing is, the more I go forward the less I’m sure that this is what I want. Honestly, when I started this production, I really had one goal in my mind. I wanted to encourage people who don’t usually go to theatre, people who find it either too intimidating and too boring to come. I wanted to find people like me, who want to have a good time at the theatre, and not to learn something.

There’s a reason why I like Phantom of The Opera and read trashy novels about an alternate world where Harry Potter gets kicked out of school and becomes a PI. They don’t try and teach me anything. The Phantom is not about to spout long speeches on how race relations in Malaysia is fraught. “Come Christine, let me explain to you how music can unite the races of Malaysia and how we should all learn that we’re bangsa Malaysia.”

“But gee, Monsieur Phantom, all I really want to do is learn to sing. You’re the Angel of Music. You’re not really working with PKR are you? If you are, I should just go. I really couldn’t be arsed to vote this year.”

“Child! It is statements like these that merely serves to highlight the abominable state our country is in! Learning to sing, such trivialities! Song and dance on its own without a cause is like cake without frosting. Irrelevant.”

Sheila pointed out that my aim, noble as it may seem (alright, I added in the nobility bit on my own), it’s like hitting your head against a brick wall (an analogy that I tend to associate with producing a play), ”
Your problem is that you’re trying to convert people who don’t read,” Sheila pointed out. “Look around us,” she said, her arms sweeping across Starbucks. “How many people are reading?”

I pointed out the man behind her was sitting down and patiently perusing through a property magazine. Somehow it doesn’t count. 

Sheila shrugged. “It’s not just their fault you know. A trashy novel is RM 30. That’s a lot of money for people. When people have to choose between books and food, what do you think they’re going to pick?”

Is it really? Are plays something so elitist that the average person out there finds it too pretentious and boring to attend? That maybe our shows don’t relate to the masses. The kids who watch films at the cinema, they’re the same kids I want to try and win over. Let them see that theatre, film, TV, they’re all just mediums for a good story. And that people should be able to come and watch anything that is just good without feeling intimidated. That we as producers of theatre, TV or films, we respect the audience and that we want to tell a good story to entertain.

Or am I being too naive in hoping for something like this?

Looking for a Patron

A few weeks ago, one of my dear sponsors called and asked me for a wish list on what I would like and they’d get back to us. But of course, since then, they’ve disappeared of the face of the planet and our kooky production team of five has been struggling blindly in the dark and surprisingly, hey, we haven’t fallen into a river yet and drowned. So there is some hope for all of us yet!

There are though, moments of darkness that passes through my soul occassionally and this morning I got up, feeling wistful and a little sad about some of the things that we’ve had to do. We’ve done plays in the UK and I think in terms of difficulty, I think Malaysia ranks as one of the most difficult for independent productions.

MORE DIFFICULT THAN INDIA.

Ahem.

Anyway, so this morning, I was sitting down and watching Sabrina, the one with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn (yes, ENVY ME PEOPLE, I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR WITH MY OWN TIME AND I BOW TO NO OFFICE TIME, MUAHAHAHAHAHA…ahem) and I was thinking, how incredibly, incredibly wonderful if I had a Linus Larabee who could easily lend his name to our production to make it more “credible”. Ah, well. Shame on me for not kissing ass, sucking up, make nice to all the big-wigs in the country earlier. Do I sound bitter? No, no, not at all. Not bitter at all.

I suppose if you could look at it from differing points of view, I am inevitably, arrogant and full of pride. I’m like Darcy from Pride and Prejudice…save for the wealth and not being a man and not bearing any resemblance to Colin Firth at all. I should have been able to consort (or at least scrabbled my way and tried) with the upper echelons of society and therefore making it very easy on me to be “known”.

On the other hand, considering that I did not choose my parents very well, and that they are merely hardworking yet very unknown business people, I’m still back to square one. I’ve nothing to offer them and therefore, they have nothing to offer me. Actually, now that I put that way, my greatest error is dating Eizwan who is also from a family of hardworking yet very unknown business people. See, I can’t choose my parents but I can choose who I choose to date. Damn me for falling in love with a good yet unknown person.

So this morning, I started day-dreaming about the various people in Malaysia and otherwise that I admire ridiculously who I think I’d collapse from joy if they decide to “endorse” me. So on with the list:

1. David Tennant

Because he’s Doctor Who. If Doctor Who endorses me, I don’t care if the play doesn’t do well. Because dammit, I’ve been endorsed by the Doctor himself. I consider myself having been made.

2. Russell T Davies

I stopped writing creatively for ages until I started watching Doctor Who. And suddenly, it came back and I really have to say, it’s all due to this man. I admire Russell T Davies greatly. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his writing, he is the executive producer of Doctor Who and he wrote the critically acclaimed series: Queer as Folk.

3. Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham

Because I think these two come as a pair. Or at least I hope they do because they’re incredible together. Ashley Pharoah graduated from the school that I can only dare to dream about: NFTS. The two of them created and wrote Life on Mars and my current favourite: Ashes to Ashes, worked with the team at Kudos who created Spooks and Hustle.

Alexander McCall Smith

For writing the Number One Ladies’ Detective series.

Looking through my list, it looks awfully pretentious. It isn’t really. They’re all British. Unless liking British thing is all pretentious. And they’re all TV related. Would it be a horrible thing now to confess that I don’t really read that many plays? Yes, it would be. I’ll shut up now.

Ah well.

Anyway, I’m still looking for a patron. So, if you’re a great writer (playwright is a terrible bonus, actually writing skills isn’t that necesarry), terribly good looking (because I am terribly shallow) or you’re just famous for no apparent reason (this like Keanu Reeves, heck, if you’re Keanu Reeves, BE MY PATRON NOW!), please message me and I’ll make you my patron. You’re not going to make much money out of me but at least you’ll feel really good about yourself, helping a struggling theatre company in a third world country do well (alongside with your other various charity commitments). Now, imagine how good that sounds to your friends? I help poverty and art in the third world.

Change the World

During our production crew meeting today, our team listed all the odds and problems stacked against us. Well, not stacked against us, more like piled upon like concrete blocks. Problem after problem with the same complaint each time: “Why aren’t people being a little more supportive?” I surprised myself by being calm about the situation.

When I first started the project, I was so angry with the things going wrong that I wanted to write an expose. “I’m going to write a tell-all and I’m going to bitch out the entire industry!” I said. I’m going to humiliate everyone and tell everyone that, in the immortal words of Gwen Stefani, “This shit is bananas”. As time goes on however, that desire has lessened and I’m ust focused on getting the play up and I don’t really care if the world actually knows how difficult it is to do anything artistic in Malaysia.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve grown completely indifferent at a young age. Instead of feeling a fiery passion and anger when facing a grave injustice or hypocrisy that I would have felt when I was younger, I’m just a little annoyed. Unsurprised and perhaps a little disappointed. I bitch about it but I do feel nothing inside.

I lack the anger or the drive to write long blogs and campaign on how the world could be a better place. I should try and campaign to change things: the environment is awfully unfriendly and unwelcoming towards new acts. For our art scenes to thrive, there needs to be more nurturing. Fair enough, I’m new and I don’t expect people to bend over backwards to help us. However, our experience is akin to entering a new school whereby not only are the kids ragging on you for being a newbie, so are the teachers, the cleaners and the pakcik security guard.

I never really considered giving up however, despite how tough it can be. I wonder why at times. I reckon, one of the reasons is probably my pride. I find it incredibly embarrassing to give up on anything. But a bigger motivation is that I actually relish the challenge. I relish how difficult the problems are and I relish being able to stare down the impossible and succeed.

And when I succeed at something which was pretty difficult, I find that I want to challenge myself again and again.

Changing the environment to make things easier never even crosses my mind. Which begs the question: am I being selfish, in pursuing my dreams that I’m not doing my part to make a change?

At the risk at sounding patronising and possibly, lackadaisical, this addiction to challenges makes me dedicated to pushing myself as far as possible despite the insane obstacles ahead of me. It makes me so focused on me that the thought of raising awareness, changing things doesn’t even cross my mind. Life is tough here, but by God, despite how tough it is, I’m going to try and make it. It’s a strange way of being self-absorbed, that so focused are you on your dreams that you forget that you live in a society and that you have a duty to your fellow citizens to make the country/state you live in a better place.

Or optimistically, I’m changing things for the better by succeeding. I’m sure there’s a ton of scientists that have saved the world despite motivated primarily by their ego.

The other disturbing possibility is that I am neither optimistic nor ego-driven, but that I am deeply cynical about life here in Malaysia. I do not see the need to campaign and write about how things are or could be better. It’s been done to death. Why flog a dying horse? There are so many things in this world that needs to be done and it’s best to focus on yourself and getting what you want out of life based on your own values. At the very best, if you do things in a way that is morally acceptable to you and succeed, the world will change for the better in its own little way. At the very least, you’ve achieved what you wanted, in the way that is morally acceptable to you and you’re happy. And perhaps that’s all that matters for now.

Always Be My Baby

I’m not a big fan of David Cook, but his version of “Always Be My Baby” gave me goosebumps and I can’t stop listening to the song.

It’s an almost perfect arrangement. Paula was right, it was a soundtrack. I can see the scene already, it’s dark, preferably in a street, where it’s cold and you can see your breath in the air, and a man watches the woman he loves walk away. Hell, I want to write the movie for this song already, that’s how crazy I am over the interpretation.

God, it’s so good.

Point of View

There is nothing I hate more than authors (okay, fanfic writers, authors won’t do this) switching point-of-views halfway through a story. For me, it just screams laziness. And I get dizzy from sudden change in thoughts and voices. Bah humbug!

I have a new addiction, and that’s Ugly Betty fanfics. Specifically Betty/Daniel. An old too strange addiction since it’s been ages since I’ve seen an episode.

Doctor Who still kicks ass. Or arse as they say in Britain.