Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dukun...Coming Soon

Based on the true story of Mona Fandey; if you still remember the popular case of a lady with black magic powers who actually murdered a politician, this story actually was about that....adaptation.
I watched the was pretty scary ooooo......with all those murmurings and chantings of the spells and jampi-style.....
Another mega Malaysian production....looking forward to see how this movie will impress and bring Malaysia to yet another round of the International Film festival...crossing my fingers *scared too* :P

Susuk -2006 Movie???

Susuk...I didn't know that this local horror movie was already released???
Perhaps it has been some time since I last watched horror movies guaaa.....
Anyway, Susuk is actually about a methodology used by the Malay community in which the women; for the sake of beauty, will invest in black magic or sorcery whereby they place those gold, metal, silver objects into the skin beneath the face. These; in modern science and also in the practice of sorcery, can lead to disastrous side effects which can be damaging.
There were a couple of video trailers on this movie as well.....
The story actually revolves around 2 different ladies with different personalities and character whereby one of them Soraya is a nurse who was starting to get bored of her mundane life and also the ordinary looks which she had which could deter her form pursuing something she wanted; modelling and celebrity status. Susuk was a way out for her but is she ready for something which goes against her religion?
Another lady character was this girl who was the opposite of Soraya and seeks the bold and challenges to achieve what she wants in every imaginable way.
I am not sure as I have yet to watch the trailer.....
Frankly speaking, Malaysian movies are improving in the quality; in fact I think our Malay and Chinese local productions were pretty impressive so far.....
If you are looking for interesting and good storylines; you should go for the Malay ones...but if you want mysterious and dark ones; go for the Chinese horror movies....they are both good and continuously improving.
I am pretty proud of that; one of the first I watched and was impressed:
1. Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam (didn't catch the Part 2 though)
2. The Eye

Those Japanese horror movies and Western horror should really learn something from our local talents who thought of the assimilation and the advantage of the diversity in the local culture which gave us that Malaysian and yet unique and outstanding in its own way.
I guess that was our pride and trademark....and I really liked the way they always bring in the local culture and reality which makes it so much closer to home and at the same time, promoting the country to the world (with people all over the world knowing about Malaysia and also showcasing our talents).
So, let me try to wait to watch this movie; or hopefully the local TV station will show money:p
At the same time, I will be doing more research to share with you on this local custom of the Malay community for Susuk........

Seed of Darkness...Coming soon...

Whoooo.....yet another Asian horror movie....wonder why all of a sudden so many of them came?
Probably due to year end holidays?
Anyway, you will be proud to know that this is one local movie; our very own Malaysian production - brainchild and direction of our local talent. In fact, the whole cast also comprised of all our local fresh stars; featuring names such as the comedic Alvin Wong, Wong Sze Zen (Miss Malaysia/World 2003/2004), Amber Chia(not a strange name to commercials and modelling and also the spokesperson for Guess, Dutch Lady and Loreal) and also, surprise, Vick Teo ( the 2nd runner up for Malaysian Idol).
From the trailer, it looked pretty impressive and somehow dark and mysterious.
In fact, it even reminded me of the Pang Brothers' The Eye....intriguing trailer and the storyline was actually not too bad.....
It is about this lady Yan, who became a single mother by choice when she went through the in-vitro fertilization 7 years ago and gave birth to a girl, Ying Ying.
Seven years later, she moved to a new apartment and that was when her daughter started to behave strangely as she starts to talk to an imaginary figure. Initially the young mother invented a imaginary father to overcome the child's feeling of loneliness but her fears heighten when she noticed the daughter seemed too absorbed in the imaginary father whom she now claims was her biological father.
In the trailer, Yan tried to trace back to the donor of the sperm for her in-vitro process.
I read in another site that the child was experiencing ADC; After Death Communication....hmmmm, this sounds pretty familiar? Rings a bell.....White Noise.....haaha....
Anyway, the interesting part was that Amber Chia played a psychiatrist in this movie......and she wears specs....intellectual role...
Another thing that we should be proud of was that this movie; along with another Malay horror movie was selected by Columbia Tristar productions for distribution.....*claps hands*
I believe it was also already nominated for a couple of awards already ^^
These are the stills from the movie (taken from the official movie site;

Anyway, it will be released 3 days after Christmas; hope I will be able to catch this interesting movie....:)

Disclaimer: The pictures here were given due credit to the original site. Please kindly let me know if you want me to remove it.

Haunted Apartments- is it GOOD?

This Japanese horror movie is now showing in cinemas but sad to say, I have not watched it yet.I guess I kinda cut down a lot on horror movies since I moved to my current residence; it's probably not such a bad thing as well since I am protecting my cardiovascular health as well...haha:)Anyway, I have always been skeptical of Japanese genre of horror movies as I find that they always tend to take after the blockbuster horror movie; The Ring and only dwells on the elements that they do not look into the main element of the story which is the story itself.To be horrifying, there should first be a good foundation and skeleton and yet at the same time, maintain the mystery in the story.I was planning to catch this story; if I can.....

The following is the sypnosis from the websites and newspapers:

The story centers on Aimi, a 17 year old young school girl who, after the death of her mother, moved into a new home in an apartment along with her distraught dad.She sensed something funny in the new place (pretty generic) and it was even obvious when the neighbours moved out all at the same time.
Actually, again, this story sounds pretty familiar - sort of those stories which always have that same style...but then again, there are really lots of spooky encounters with those other kind in places and though they may center on the same theme; apartments, houses, schools, hospitals, camps, etc....they each have their own individual story.
I don't know whether this is good or not; any of you who has watched it and wanna share with me what you think of this?

This is the main actress; Aimi ..hmmmm,let's see whether I managed to catch this and I can review the movie and my views....:)

The True Meaning of Christmas

Just wanted to share something on Christmas as well since all my other blogs are already in Christmassy mood:)
Well, I wrote a quick and short (concise) article on Christmas in the festivity mode to be published to my whole department yesterday and I just wanted to take this out and share it here as well:

December 25th marks Christmas Day which celebrates the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ in the context of Christianity.
Observed by Christians all over the world, it is a celebration of joy to welcome their Savior.
Originally religious in nature, it is an important and traditional occasion in the Church calendar to celebrate with the other Christians worldwide. However, the colors of Christmas and the influence of other traditions and ancient winter festivals such as Yule and Saturnalia has assimilated the commercialization along with the festivity which typically centers on the themes of family time, compassion, spirit of giving and of goodwill.
Today, Christmas day is celebrated worldwide regardless of race, religion and nationality. Traditions and customs which are practised in the celebration include Christmas trees, exchange and giving of gifts and also the popular Santa Claus appearance which has paved the path for commercialization whereby year end sales, winter and Christmas promotions start to make way a month ahead to usher in the Christmas celebrations.
From the religious standpoint, Christians typically prepare for the family dinner and presents for their family and friends. Preparations begin approximately a month ahead whereby the plans for Christmas reunion dinners, shopping for presents, decorating the house which includes setting up the lights and Christmas trees, sending out Christmas cards, etc. Christmas parties are also thrown for gatherings and also the popular trend of presents exchange. Christmas Eve will be the time for family reunion dinners and also Christians will attend Church services or masses for the midnight Christmas vigil.
Christmas generally themes on the colors of red, white and green if you observe from the designs and decorations which include the mythical Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, candy sticks, winter, etc.
Christmas is also typically associated along with the ushering of the new year in the Julian calendar as it is approaching the year end. 1st of January ignites the new start of a new year which today, also has been commercialized in the trend of partying and countdown celebrations with the inclusion of fireworks and street parties.
So, you can pretty much see the orthodox of Christmas practically revolves around that same line. However, I did come across this article in Wikipedia that mentioned the birthdate of Christ was not on 25th December; rather this was a date selected as a customization according to the influence of the various cultures and winter festivals as mentioned above.
I was aware of that when I was still in school as U used to attend the Sunday School classes( catechism aka religious classes for the Catholic children which will be conducted in the Church) as my Sunday School teacher once mentioned that before.
I am not sure of the exact birthdate of Christ but to me, what matters most is the faith that we have when we practise our religion is that HE exists...and he is there to save us from our sins. He has been a very noble person and I used to like listening to my Sunday School teacher's stories on the life of Christ and what he has done throughout his life.
I find it noble and really touched to the core that there is such a good man. But the other part I liked that one of my teachers described and portrayed Jesus Christ in such a manly and down-to-earth person. He said that Jesus Christ, although was the Son of God, but he was sent down to earth as man; and to experience the sufferings and the same ordeal man go through in their lives.
For that, our teacher actually told us that Jesus too, had feelings and emotions and react accordingly. For instance, he showed his anger when at 12, he destroyed all the pagan statues in the temple as he felt that they insulted the house of God.
Then he also can feel the hurt and pain of betrayal when one of his disciples betrayed him.
The most amazing part was when he went through the agony of the crucifixion...I cried when I read the Bible about that.....although I was only very young and furthermore, I was even just reading a Children's bible which was colorful and pictorial. But I could feel the wound through those descriptive words such as placing a crown of thorns on his head...OUCHH!!!! That was inhumane!!!!
And you will already squirm and shed endless tears when it comes to the nailing to the Cross....I mean, how painful and how could anyone felt it that way?
It came to your mind in an instant; all those normal questions:
1. WHY didn't GOD save his own son?
2. WHY didn't GOD stop those people?
3. WHY did GOD torture his own son?
4. WHY didn't GOD hear his own son's cries?
I was just very young but I wondered on this matter. Then I came to understand that when GOD created man, he wanted to create us in his own image. However, the serpent which worked the ways of the evil start to influence men; God's people to learn the bad side of the world and turn against the Word of God.
Successfully influenced Eve to take that Forbidden Apple and further influenced Adam to take it too. They then start to feel ashamed of themselves and also their own nakedness which thus acknowledged that they had taken the apple against God; their Creator's will.
Due to that as well, the serpents were punished to only crawl on the floor and to not possess beauty and to be hated by all living....which they now (as according to the stories) are reptiles; snakes, crocodiles, iguanas, etc...which are scorned upon by human beings.
Eve was also punished to suffer the pain of childbirth while Adam had to bear the weight of the apple stuck in his throat to remind them of their disobedience.
And that was the start.....God knew that with this incident, man can and will be easily influenced by other forces of evil to have that little devil within themselves which can lead them to do things which are frowned upon and not encouraged by GOD......
Furthermore, the devil is always the worst foe of GOD and always wanted to do the exact opposite of GOD to spite the GREAT ONE. In fact, the Devil continuously challenges GOD in all his good ways and therefore GOD knows that all God's creations will be his target.
True to that, human start to develop all the mortal sins and also the gravely commits....which include greed, envy, lust, etc and they became so evil that God decided to destroy all of them rather than have a world full of evil...and that was the story of the Noah's Ark.
Then God decided to send HIS Son to save the world and redeem human's sin...but first, before he can work through his son, he needs his Son to go down as man to experience what a man goes through and how they perceive the world.
Thus, God sent his son to save his people from committing more sins on Earth.
Jesus Christ was born to Mary (today known as Mother Mary or the Virgin Mary) ; a young peasant girl and also Joseph the carpenter.
Now, Mary and Joseph were not a couple nor were they lovers; in fact Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Christ.
She was enlightened by the Angel who acted as a messenger to notify her of her important task to bear a child; no ordinary child but the Son of God in her womb.
Initially shocked and confused as to how she can perform the task as she was a virgin; but she did it for GOD; same goes for Joseph; which is why until today we worship Mary and Joseph who are now saints in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
Jesus was born in a stable in a small town of Bethlehem...nothing spectacular thought he was the son of our Creator but something very close to home:)
However, his birth was the time of the redemption where he came to save us and his dying on the Cross was to cleanse mankind of all their sins and I would say, wake us up on the cruelty of human beings.
As such, Easter is also another important occasion marked in the Church calendar.
Back to Christmas, that was his birth in that little town of would know of the famous carol "O, little town of Bethlehem" and also Away in a manger.....everywhere was full that night...and they couldn't find a place for the birth of Christ.
The 3 wise kings also came to pay their respects to the Son of God and even gave him gifts.
Thus was the story of Christ......
I attended mass last Sunday and the priest brought up the topic of the true meaning of Christmas. Contemporary people are more excited about the physical preparation for Christmas as they go shopping for new clothes, presents, decorating their homes, travelling to winter countries to experience snowy Christmas, etc. But Christmas is all about being prepared to welcome the coming of Christ to mankind.
We should be prepared mentally as well to cleanse ourselves and be ashamed of our own sins which is why we also go for confessiong prior to Christmas.
In fact, that was one of the reason why I mentioned that Christmas is getting way too commercialized that we are blinded by all the materials to truly see and understand the meaning of Christmas.
Is Christmas all about presents?
Is it about nice decorations?
Is it about parties and having a good time?
Worse still, ask the kids, is it all about Santa Claus aka Father Christmas?
Christmas is; yes indeed, a time of celebration as it is a great joy to us that our Saviour has been born:)
BUT, go more in depth, what do we do when our Saviour is born?
Celebrate and party hard like there's no tomorrow?
Did we ever stop and think whether are we ready or worthy to be God's people if we are full of sins; selfishness, greed, lust, envy, anger, hatred?
What difference are we from God's enemies?
People do presents exchange during Christmas, BUT do they really understand why did this tradition or practice even came about?
The presents during Christmas is actually to remind us the joy of giving and sharing and not about comparing and remembering what kind of presents people give us and also in terms of effort.
The point is, giving presents is not just about materials; although humans are materialistic but it is about understanding the giving and actually links to forgiving and putting the past behind us.
What is the point of giving when in your heart, you hoped that you will get something in return when you give someone a present and you get disappointed when they don't??
If that is the case, you can stop giving presents....
Giving is just like that; learning to forgive and forget and bury all those hatred and grudge against people.....that is the true art of giving...means you are ready to be more like Christ.
Also, why Santa Claus, etc?
Just think along those lines; and trust me, you will really enjoy Christmas and the true happiness of the festival as well.
With that, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry and blessed Christmas!! May you and your family experience the joy and magic of Christmas:)

Monday, December 11, 2006

African Fertility Statues

My first encounter with these statues was when I visited the Ripley's Believe it or not in Genting Highlands...
They are known as the fertility statues.

Funnily though, they started off not as fertility statues when they were were first brought into the Ripley's headquarters office in Orlando, Florida 1995. Flown in from Africa, these statues were merely for the sake of decoration in the office place.
However, most of the female workers who came in contact with these statues ended up being pregnant!~
These statues originate from a certain Baule tribe in the African Ivory Coast and costs approximately $1,000 each.
In the first year alone, 8 out of 20 staff became parents.

Even one staff who was on birth control pills, claimed to be pregnant and gave birth nine months later upon bumping into the statues.
Due to the fame of this statues, it has spurned interests among women across the world who faxed photocopies of their hands, clothings, items in body contact to the office to be rubbed on the statues to promote the fertility.
Amazing huh?

Temple of the Heavenly Mother

During mom's birthday a few months ago, we made a visit to the famous and old time temple of the Heavenly Mother (aka Thean Hou Miu) which is located on top of Robson Hill off Jalan Syed Putra.
It is one of the largest Chinese temples in South East Asia and boasts of a magnificent combination of the modern twist in the Chinese traditional architectural structures in the building.
This temple; dates back to almost 100 years of history; with its first site being reputed to be built in Jalan Sultan.
The Thean Hou temple was built by the Hainanese community in KL then and is now run by the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association. Since the opening, the temple has since been endorsed as the true representation and symbolic mean of the Malaysian Chinese in promoting it as a Malaysian tourist destination by the local Tourism Development Council.

The visiting of this temple consciously brought back lots of nostalgic childhood memories to me as we used to frequent this place as the main tourist destination to bring our relatives each time they visit us in KL.
Thus, my bro and me will always remember this temple. Furthermore, this temple is also famous as they were often the selected locations for all the Chinese New Year music videos. Therefore, this temple really house the feel of familiarity to all of us:)
There are 4 levels in the temple; the lowest level houses the vegetarian restaurants, food courts and souvenir shops. The first level has all the halls which often hosts all the cultural activities and external functions run by organizations/parties.
The marriage resgistration office is located on the 2nd level and needless to say, the temple shrine and prayer halls/altars are on the 3rd floor.
There will be these staircase leading you up to the devotees' hall on the 3rd level.
Once you reach the temple shrine, you will marvel at the serenity of the surroundings and also the amazing dragon and pagoda embellished structures which hold the fort of the temple.
In fact, this place is really well kept and always projects a clean and noble image to the visitors. I never once saw this place dirty each time I was here and I think they have done a great job in the maintenance of the temple:)

This is the front of the temple leading into the prayers hall.
Once you step into the hall, you will find yourself looking at the Heavenly Mother herself who sits in the centre of the temple with Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) on the right and also the Waterfront Goddess (Sui Wei Niang Niang) on the left.
Goddess of Mercy
Waterfront Goddess
Look at the architecture embedded in the temple's ceiling
This is the another architecture which always warrants camera's attention:)
There is also another site shrine of the Goddess of Mercy where the goddess's statue holds a sprinkler-like fountain in the form of her blessing bottle. For those who kneel down on the pad, the water will sprinkle on them and also this is where you can make your wishes and throw in a dime or two for the old-wishing well type of concept:)
Used to do this when I was younger...:P
This place is also famous for those auspicious marriage ceremonies; usually those mass weddings on the Chinese auspicious dates...
Now on the story of Thean Hou (The Heavenly Mother); I often mistook her for the Heavenly Queen of Heaven (Wang Mou Niang Niang) who presides as the mother of the powerful Jade Emperor.
Thean Hou; is actually Matsu Po (or known as Mar Cho Po in Hokkien) and is actually the protector and goddess for the seafarers. She is typically worshipped by fishermen and also sailors and most of the time, her shrines are located near the sea.
Thean Hou was born to a fishermen family and was given her birth name of Beok Niu; which means Silent Girl as she was an infant who was born without crying.
Since young, she possess amazing swimming abilities despite starting out late in learning out on swimming. By the age of 15, she was already an excellent swimmer. She often wore red and stood up high on the rocks of the shores to guide those who were out at the sea back to safety in spite of the condition of the weather.
For more information on Matsu Po/Heavenly Mother, you can go to