of Life Filled with Movies

Hello peeps. Singapore's very hot these days and I feel like dying :( It's crazy, I can't really deal with it. I have a feeling I fare better with colder weather than a hot one. So anyway, what have I been doing in Singapore these days? Well what do I do in Singapore usually? It's pretty much always filled with movies and let me just tell you about the movies that I managed to watch since the last time I wrote.

I watched Dark Shadows with la Gioia last week. I wouldn't have watched the movie if not for Johnny Depp. I didn't find the trailer to be interesting and indeed I think it's not a very entertaining movie. I think Johnny Depp is a good actor as usual. He's pretty weird especially with all the roles he's been chosing. I wish he would do something normal like a romantic comedy. Just to see him normal, you know. I thought Eva Green was gorgeous. Her witch-vampire sex scene with Johnny Depp was weird :P I really can't say much about the movie. I didn't like it much. I guess it's just not really in my area of interest. The climax reminded me of Bruce Willis' dark comedy long ago, Death Becomes Her.

Next was 21 Jump Street. This one was really really good. It got me laughing a lot and it made me feel so good watching it. Jonah Hill really lost a lot of weight. If you compare him in this movie and Moneyball, the change in his body is so crazy. Channing Tatum was actually funny. I was thinking it's a good thing that he did G.I Joe before this, lest people think he can't be serious and always goofs around. The cast were great, their captain in 21 Jump Street was really funny. There's James Franco's brother there as well and he's also handsome. Their parents must have some amazing genes. I think the story was well written. It's really funny. Johnny Depp was here as well and it really showed how great of an actor he was because he's on the screen for like 5 minutes and in that 5 minutes, he really commanded the screen. They killed his character thus closing his 21 Jump Street story. I want to see a sequel but normally it's hard to make a sequel that can top the first one because what else there is to explore which can bring something totally new and different? I hope if they do it, they'll do it good.

Then on Friday, I went to watch The Raid. Alright, if you wanna follow the international title (the title that Hollywood wants it to use), it's The Raid: Redemption or in the Indonesian title, Serbuan Maut. I've been so excited about this movie when I found out about it and was wishing that it would be released commercially in Singapore. It took longer to arrive in Singapore than some other parts of the world but then it's finally out this week. It was very coincidental how I found out about this movie. If you read my posts before, you'll perhaps remember that I talked about watching the Indonesian movie, Sang Penari. I like that movie and it got me googling about Indonesian movies and I stumbled into The Raid and its raving reviews from everywhere (though Roger Ebert hates it). It came from the same people who did Merantau which was the first Indonesian movie I've ever paid money for to watch in a cinema and I watched that here in Singapore. Merantau was pretty cool but the story was pretty much in an Indonesian style, which made me roll my eyes sometime with the "sinetron" dialogs. Anyways, I still thought that that movie's actions were awesome and it's remarkable that Indonesian talents can produce that. Yeah the writer and director is not an Indonesian but considering it's made in Indonesia with Indonesian casts and crews, it's still an awesome thing. So when I heard about the The Raid being made with the same team of people, I was excited to see what they came up with and with the great reviews it's been having, I was even more excited about it.

I knew that the movie was gonna be violent. At the beginning of it, I was actually covering my eyes during the execution scene by the bad guy. I was sitting next to 2 guys and I think they may wonder why the hell I was there if I was going to cover my eyes. Seriously though, if it hasn't been an Indonesian movie, I wouldn't have gone to watch a movie in this genre with a lot of brutal fighting scenes. So anyway, I got rather desensitized as the movie went on that I didn't cover my eyes anymore. It was pretty gory at times but I do have to say it wasn't something which was given a lot of emphasis in. Well at least that's how I felt or perhaps as I said I was desensitized as the movie progressed. I thought the movie was good. It wasn't as fast moving as I expected it to be and in fact there were more dialog than I imagined to be. I guess from reading the so many reviews, I was building how the movie was going to be in my head. I didn't really get the story actually, it's weird :D Being in Singapore, I had the movie with an english subtitle but the subtitle didn't really match the Indonesian dialog. It was useful though because sometime I felt they spoke really fast or were kinda mumbling that I didn't really get what they're saying. Yeah, I know it's a worrying sign being Indonesian and not getting Indonesian completely. By the way my thought was proven true that Indonesian by nature don't really curse. We don't have a particular word to curse, as such for every "fuck" in the english subtitle, it was normally replaced with "anjing" which means dog. I guess even to curse in Indonesian, we go pretty mild. There are other things that Indonesian don't really say, for example hearing the Indonesian translation for "I love you" sounded really weird :P I'm really not sure Indonesian would seriously say "aku cinta kamu" for "I love you" :P Regardless, the movie was pretty cool, I actually want to watch it again to watch the action scenes again. They were fast and cool. I thought the best one was between the main villain fighter, Mad Dog, and the Sergeant, Jaka. I like Jaka actually because he was this nice decent leader. He reminded me of Daniel Mananta but too bad his character had to die :( Oh seeing him in the squad made me think of one thing that's not really Indonesian. I think it's pretty much non-existent to see Indonesian chinese in the army or any defence squad. I wonder if there are really Indonesian chinese in this position. I can talk about the whole cultural political reasoning behind it but I don't really want to go into that now. Back to the movie, I thought the fight scene was very cool because Mad Dog was much smaller than Jaka and so for me it was an impressive fight. Oh one thing that was true to Indonesian were the thugs. They could really come in small size and wield machetes crazily :P They're scary that way. It was well made and I wonder how they're going to top this in the sequel, especially with many of the people dead. I am looking forward for the sequel. There's news about a Hollywood remake and I hope it really happens. I will look forward to watching that one too :P

Today I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the elderly and beautiful) and I like it. The premise of the movie was very interesting and the actors were of course these experienced wonderful famous British actors and they're amazing. I think Judi Dench was great and cute in her own way :) There's something about the travelling and the adventure that these people were having and the uncertainty they're feeling especially when they left England for India that was very relatable to me. Travelling to new places and to the unknown is always scary and it was really commendable and an inspiration that these people were brave enough to just go out and leave their world and explore a new world 'cause when you're in their age, you are perhaps longing for stability and predictable and relaxing things more than ever :P Well doesn't that what retirement mean? Anyway I think it's a nice movie. I like it though I have a feeling it's not for everyone. Some people may find it boring. I guess it's a matter of taste. I found Dark Shadows rather boring myself. Watching the movie, it kinda emphasizes my suspicion that I think India is more chaotic and crazier than Indonesia. Anyways, there was one part in the movie which I wonder if it reflects what it's like really in India. Dev Patel's character was shown making out with his girlfriend in the public and even having sex. I'm not saying that all Indians do not have sex outside marriage but I felt it's not as common and as easy as the movie made it appear to be. Well perhaps I'm too critical in this. I also wonder if the Indians really speak English that way, putting "most" before everything, like most definitely, most beautifully, most wonderfully :P One line that caught my attention ever since from the trailer was, everything will be all right in the end ... if it's not all right then it's not the end. It's like something that we have to keep on telling ourselves, isn't it? To keep the faith strong that all will be alright and fine.

So that's the movies I've watched recently. Except for Dark Shadows, I watched the rest of the movies on my own. I'm just in a real anti social mood now. I really don't feel like watching the movies with people though perhaps there are some in my world who are interested. I also don't feel like being asked for a movie and in the end having to be the one booking the tickets. I guess I find people to be quite boring these days. None really can come up with interesting conversation. So I would rather not spend some hours of my life wasting away hearing to boring stuff though of course as life is, I cannot help it many of the time :( These days, I am really most calm when I am in my room alone and be able to do my own things and not having to listen or answer to anyone. Life is not really a happy one for me right now and it's very hard for me to deal with it or to be more correct live in it. So as much as I can, I would just want to remove all unnecessary things which do not add to my happiness. None of this people actually bring something interesting or at least intellectual to my brain. If you argue, how about the comfort of friendship? Well yeah, not feeling that much as well. At the very least, I would appreciate intellectual, mind enlightening conversation but all I often got are people and their self centered issue :( I have issue too you know and did you hear me talk about it? No, because you are so absorbed in all the unimportant things in your life, even the tiny things. Ah I get all negative now. So I guess I'm gonna stop. Hope you guys have a great week ahead. Take care peeps!

:) eKa @ 9:27:00 PM • 0 comments

Turkey & Personal Reflection

As promised, I will write about my reflection of my trip to Turkey. This will also be the last post about the trip. For a complete collection of the photo, you can go here. I am sure there's some sort of saying that you should go out and see the world and expand your horizon and learn more about you and the world. You know something along that line. Well my trip to Turkey had been one that was akin to having my system shocked, especially in how muslims can be. As mentioned before, I didn't know much about this country before I left. I couldn't even point it in a map. I didn't have any expectation about the country in relation to that being a country with the majority of muslim population. I guess coming from Indonesia, it's not a big deal. It wasn't even something that registered in my head, that I was going to a country where the majority of the population is muslims. It only somewhat came to me when I was on the plane from Istanbul to Kayseri. The plane was still at a low altitute that I could see the city and the things that stood out was the minarets. They really stood out amidst all the concretes and high buildings and it dawned on me that yes this is a country where Islam has a great influence on the life of the people. It wasn't a cause for worry or anything. If there's anything, perhaps there's a feeling that I'm going somewhere where I will be familiar with some things. That thought proved to be kinda wrong.

What happened was many moments of being shocked, flabbergasted, stunned, and at lost of words with how Islam is in Turkey. What with the vineyards, the presence of alcohol everywhere, and the lax rule in the mosque. Some of the words that came to my mind that an Indonesian would use to express the shock were: ya Allah, Masha'Allah, and Astaghfirullah :P By the way, I felt that Indonesian would often say Masha'Allah when they want to say Oh my God for something that is shocking even for a rather negative situation but from my googling, I'm not sure if it's the right usage. Back to the topic, if one would say the Islam in Indonesia is a moderate Islam then I would say the Islam in Turkey is a liberal Islam. It was something totally unexpected for me. Not that I was expecting a strict country but I didn't expect to see this. Take the drinking part for example. There are Indonesian muslims who drink but I believe only a small percentage would do it openly. In Turkey, it was like the norm. You go to a restaurant and you'll see people having wine or raki with their meal. By the way raki and the Efes beer are 2 things which I was really curious about but I didn't try any of them :( Back in Indonesia for Chinese New Year this year, I was surprised that the Padang restaurant, which Dewi took us to, sell beer. I wondered if there were muslims who would openly order that and drink it in the restaurant. When I told my cousin about this, she said perhaps it's only haram when people get drunk. I told mom about it and she said something along the line, oh it's good that they're not fanatic. The hotel guy I talked to said, it's because Turkey is a secular country so noone can force anyone to be religious. Well I don't find that argument to be satisfying. In Indonesia too, noone can force you to be religious though there is the annoying anarchist Islamic Defender Front (FPI) who's very judgemental and intolerant about eveything. Even them is not actually reflective or supported by the majority of Indonesian muslims. Oh just in case you don't know, Indonesia is not a muslim country. Islam does not dictate our law. We are the country with the biggest muslim population. So even though it takes me longer time to type that than to just say a muslim country, I do it because I think it's imperative to get this correct. It's important for me because I'm not a muslim and obviously I don't want to live in a country where the law is based on Islam. I just don't think that's fair for the non-muslims and I am thankful that Indonesia's foundation states clearly that we believe in God, not just a particular God.

Anyway, my point is, muslims all over the world follow the same teaching right so why does the Islam in Turkey seem so different. I know that I only spent 1 week plus there so my perception of it is totally not deep. However, from the general view that I got it just seemed so liberal. I actually had something like a faith crisis eventhough I'm not a muslim :P It's just like my whole understanding about what being a muslim is was turned upside down by seeing the muslim Turks. I wonder if among the country with a lot muslims, they see Turkey as some sort of pariah. I was thinking that if an Indonesian girl says to her Haji parents that she has a Turkish boyfriend, will the parents actually be worried thinking they're not true muslims? Anyway, at first it felt really refreshing and liberating for me. I like the fact that people don't get judged for what they do. In Indonesia, it often gets pretty suffocating, example: an Indonesian celebrity in a bikini in Bali was in the news and be judged for revealing her body. I don't believe in forcing people to be religious. I don't believe in removing all temptation so that people can be religious. I think people with a strong faith will keep their faith even when all around them are against it. So for organization like FPI to come off so strong in removing things they feel is un-Islamic feels so wrong for me. Even if they can make a pious muslim out of it but it may not be effective when the person is somewhere out there where there are more temptations. The world is not small and if we're going to close ourselves and be against everyone who's not in the same faith as us, what would we be, North Korea?

As the my trip continued, that feeling of wishing that the Islamic society in Indonesia could take the chill pill and be not so restrictive kinda tempered a bit. I don't know what it was, perhaps it's the fact that I am Asian (generally we're known to be more conservative, no?), the fact that I am Indonesian Chinese (with a family who's conservative), the fact that my 11-year Christian education successfully shaped my view on things, or the fact that I am an Indonesian. When I read about secular country, many of them try to ensure there's no excessive showing of religious belief by people. In getting to know more about secular countries, I googled here and there to get answers for some of my questions. I stumbled into Laïcité and I had a mix feeling about it. After around 11 years in a Christian school, I went to a government high school which accepts everyone. If Laïcité had been imposed then my life in that school wouldn't have been too hard for me on my first year. My first year, especially my first week was tough. I didn't know if I could survive my 3-year stay there. I went from a Christian school where we started our day with prayer, singing hymns, and reading the bible to a government school where Islam is everywhere. At the door of the classrooms and the whiteboard, there's arabic caligraphy with verses from the Quran. Some teachers come in to class and instead of saying good morning or so, they'll say "assalamualaikum" where the only response to that is the other arabic verse. Do they care that there are non-muslims in the class? No. Do they care if perhaps the non-muslims feel uncomfortable? No. Perhaps they secretly hope we see the light and convert. So that was hard for me to swallow and digest. My first year in my high school was rough but then I managed to deal with it and get to know my wonderful muslim classmates who I was able to talk to, who let me read their notes or books from the religion classes, and who are generally really nice people and do not like me less just because I am not a muslim. So when I think about them and I think about the other side of Laïcité, then I see the negative side of it. It it's imposed on the country, my school would be free of all religious items, we may not even have a musholla in the school, but it would also mean that my female classmates who would like to wear their headscarf to school would be denied of that. Then I think it's a violation of their human rights to exercise their belief. I'm also not sure I like the idea that sermons given in the mosques have to be approved by the government. While it's good that it can prevent extremism but it's also a form of censorship, isn't it? Especially if the sermons may criticize certain government's policy or officials. It just feels like instead of splitting the government and religion, it's like the government has a way in controlling the religion. So I am not sure if that kind of secularity is right.

Again I don't know, maybe it's all the facts that I mentioned earlier, but there's something about being religious in Indonesia that I treasure. Religion is infused in our lives in all aspects. We often start and end things with prayers. Religion is in the curriculum. It's everywhere though perhaps the most visible sign is Islam. As much as I do roll my eyes if some muslim organizations say something is bad or release a fatwa for something they think is bad, I do have to say some of them are not totally rejected by the non-muslims. Don't watch Lady Gaga's concert? Why, though the churches don't come out on tv to say it, I think it was perhaps mentioned during Sunday service. Even the South Korean Christians will agree with this. Stop all the raunchy songs with explicit lyrics for example. I do agree on this because imagine the horror if I have to explain the song "Jupe likes 69 the best" to ... my parents? Oh my God! So in a way, I agree with certain suggestion and advice on making our society morally sound. I just don't agree on it being too restrictive, suffocating, and most importantly have to be done in such a violent hostile way. Then of course the issue comes on who should be on the moral authority in the country and I guess that's the hard issue with the different groups. I guess for Indonesia, I just don't want Islam to be the only voice in the country, ignoring the minority. I am sure what the muslims clerics think as proper or not are the same sentiment shared by the priest and pastors in churches, the Budhist monks, and the Hindus leaders in Bali, so we are not so different.

I guess, at the end of my trip, I didn't come out of it thinking that secularity in Turkey is a totally awesome idea and Indonesia sucks. We're just different and I would like to know more about Islam in Turkey. There's so many questions that I want to ask and I would like to observe life there. I find it very very intriguing. Obviously Indonesian muslims are the not the holiest in the world but when I see the Turks, sometime it's like there's no trace in them that they're muslims. It sounds so bad writing that but really. I heard people saying this country is more Europe than Asia and it's so true. So I guess because it's not so visible, I would really like to know how it's really like behind the screen, for example what is it like in the family. Do they pray together? Are they okay with their kids marrying a non-muslim? So many questions to ask and it's very personal and so of course I can't just start shooting away on the Turks that I just met. I left the country with a lot of unsatisfied curiousity and the desire to know more. It's a country that I unexpectedly love. It is so different and yet there's a familiarity to it for me. There are things like the unexpected comfort I felt hearing adzan because it reminded me of home. Of course there's also the awesome experience. It's a country that I would really really love to visit again. I am thankful to God for this chance and I hope He'll be kind enough to grant me the chance again in the future :)

On other personal reflection. Well there's the unimportant one like right now I can actually eat cereal with milk :P There's something about white milk that made me not be able to take it. So I never ate cereal but I started on this trip and I found myself not hating it. I actually think warm milk with cereal is really nice. I have even bought cereals here in Singapore and ate them. I still don't think I can drink a glass of white milk but I think this change in me is a good thing :) I also realize that I have awesome organizational skill. I will never doubt that I have it. Awesome is perhaps open to discussion but I realize I am so much better than some people. I realize that I can be a person someone can rely on but I found myself not being able to rely on anyone easily. It's a rather hard thing to do because I will always question the methods and not have much believe when someone's methods differ from mine. Perhaps it's an OCD thing, I don't know. I also realize that there can be someone messier than me, oh my! Then I guess most importantly, I realize what kind of characters I need in a person whom I want to spend my life with. Perhaps I haven't gotten the full picture but to be able to see certain details of it I guess is important and enlightening. I know what I can stand and cannot stand and I know how I am and what I need in a partner. Maybe when I can see more and more details in it, I will finally meet my guy? *fingers crossed* If there's one thing that doesn't change is patience. Even more so, I realize how it's very very hard for me to be sincere in doing things for a group when I feel the other group members are not as contributive. Perhaps it's selfishness, perhaps it's individuality, perhaps it's simply being a bad person. I just cannot be all sincere and happy about it. I keep on thinking if I have to do this on my own and can do this on my own, why do I need all these people? Maybe it's simply being a bad person, that I want someone who can bring something to the table to be in the team. It sounds so Singaporean actually. Darn this country has crept into me, aarrgggh!

On current life news. Life has started to go back to it's depressive state. I try not to think about it much. My dad is rather unwell now. I'm not sure if it's worse or actually better than what my family try it to make it sound. I get mix signals. Anyway dad is having some tests done and hopefully we'll get a definitive course of action soon. I have to say that for the first time, I feel that my safety net is going to disappear. Especially after hearing my brother talked about the uncertainty on his future plan since dad is unwell now. It brings another thought into my mind. Things that I should really see if it's feasible to do. Then this week, I had some sort of a clash with Max. It burdened my mind so and another enlightenment came that I have to have my kids be brought up in an environment where we believe in God and have the fear of God. I had been reprimanded for allegedly forcing my belief on other people but I am what I am, what I believe and I believe in living my life a certain way and I want this for my future generations. Anyway, let's just say I am very disappointed with Max and it perhaps changed our relationship a bit. I feel I've lost all ability to be all friendly with him. We'll see. I feel like arguing because I somehow care about him that I would like him to live his life in a good way. If I don't care, then I wouldn't care about what he does. All people can say, including him, is I'm not seeing that he has his freedom to choose how to live his life. You know it's like seeing someone going to the river with a boat with holes. We all know the boat have holes. Me, I will scream my best and try to not let that person go to the river with that boat. Some people argue it's their choice, so let it be. I can't do that. If I think someone (I care) is making a mistake, I tell them. Again people argue that my definition of a mistake is different, people have a right, etc. Whatever.

I've also done the normal stuff here in Singapore. Watched The Avengers with Ms. J yesterday. As a moral support for her, we watched it in 3D Imax. I wasn't as blown away as her. I guess it's just the mental state right now that I need more things to interest me. I like Robert Downey Jr a lot though. While the movie had some cheesy lines especially coming from Samuel L Jackson's character, it did have some funny moments. Who knew that the Hulk would actually be a very important character and one of the funniest? I also didn't expect that Captain America would be the one in a leader role. Well I didn't watch his movie. I didn't watch Thor either. I just reached the state where I kinda had enough of superheroes movie. I watched this because of how I like Robert Downey Jr :P Oh I have to say that the Robyn from How I Met Your Mother was so skinny in this movie, it's crazy. I also have to say that even with Captain America and Thor which Ms. J likes a lot, I am next drawn to Jeremy Renner. Perhaps it was also boosted by his Mission Impossible's performance but he just exuded coolness :P Well I guess that's it about life peeps. Hope you guys have a great life ahead :)

:) eKa @ 1:52:00 PM • 0 comments