tale as old as time

“There must be something there that wasn’t there before.”

** SPOILER ALERT FOR DISNEY’S LIVE ADAPTATION OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST **

I had a lot of fun watching Disney’s live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast! Now, I’ll admit that I had my reservations and I was pretty adamant that the live action could not be as wonderful as the animated version. Even if it is Emma Watson playing Belle, the best actress choice for the role, nothing beats the original movie. Or so I thought. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the original movie. However, I think there are some parts where the live adaptation has a slight edge. For one, the characters are played by real humans and as such, their expressions carry more weight. I must say that having real human faces conveying emotions is more effective in tugging at the heart strings. It can’t be helped since the movie has such a brilliant cast.

It’s funny how watching the movie when you are older reveals so much more. There are quite a few light bulb moments as I watched. The brightest one is probably how Beauty and the Beast is really, an actual love story among the Disney stories. In most Disney fairy tales, the Prince always emerges at the end of the movie and then they end up happily ever after. Not really credible especially if you have only meet this stranger for the first time. And you want kids to believe that they will be living happily ever after? I think this is why,  the other Disney fairy tales ( with Prince Charming ) never really appeal to me. Even Elsa disapproves and chides Anna for agreeing to marry someone that she has only just met. 😀

Can you imagine the Beast telling his kids ‘how I met your mother’?

“I locked your grandfather in the dungeon and she came to rescue him. When our eyes first met, it was under the light of the candelabra.” Horror romance, right there. :p

Continuing on with this love story topic, it is really quite weird in some sense. So, the entire Beast household is cheering for him to woo her with the hope of finally breaking the spell. Now, imagine how would it feel when your entire family is watching and trying to help by welcoming your girl. Wouldn’t it be awkward to have their eyes on you as you try to have a proper date, already feeling super embarrassed yourself? Anyway, it was really delightful to watch their chemistry develop. The Beast already scored a lot of points for #1, knowing which author / book Belle is referencing and #2, owning a library. Way to go! It only occurred to me after the movie that the tune for two songs which Belle sings are the same. It is as if it is a foreshadow of her own tale.

First song:

Oh, isn't this amazing?
It's my fav'rite part because you'll see
Here's where she meets Prince Charming
But she won't discover that it's him 'til chapter three

Second song:

New and a bit alarming
Who'd have ever thought that this could be?
True that he's no Prince Charming
But there's something in him that I simply didn't see

They even rhyme at the same lines!!! Now, I’m hoping that they will create a modern beauty and the beast drama. The Beast can be used to represent one of the social stigmas. Just saying.

Okay, back to the live adaptation version. This can also be a Father’s Day movie. Belle and Maurice have such an excellent father-daughter relationship. Although at times, it feels like it’s a little forced. I’m disappointed that they did not include the scene where Gaston fell into the pond. That was one of my favorite scenes! I used to rewind to the scene where Belle secretly opens the door and lets harasser Gaston falls right into the pond. In addition, the scene where the Beast transforms into his former state was too short. I always enjoy watching his transformation and it felt a little too fast in this live adaptation. It is the most magical moment in the entire movie. The rain drops, the lights that shine out from his fingers and toes and his neck as he transforms within the white light, it was all so captivating, so fascinating!!! The steam after the transformation make it all the more surreal! Why didn’t they focus more on this scene? *cries* I’m glad they reuse the same music score, though. Oh, well!

Besides that, I was looking forward to the dance scenes. Alas, it is also a little too short. I wanted them to dance longer. More feet action, please! I meant, the pivoting of the leg. It is intriguing to watch people dance. Random thought: An alternate ending where the Beast survives but remains a Beast for the rest of his life. I like to think that Belle would still live happily ever after. Would their kids have horns as well? =)

All in all, the movie elicits tears of joy at the end. The reunion scene was executed delightfully as the ‘objects’ reunite with their families. As I watched familiar ‘old friends’ such as Emma Thompson and Ian McKellen playing their roles, I can’t help but think of Alan Rickman. If he is still alive, I believe he would probably have a role in this too. Ahhh did I just get a little sentimental? :’)

In short, Beauty and the Beast is and will always be my favorite Disney fairy tale of all time. It is, after all, a tale as old as time.

the good, the bad and the ugly

What do you do when you feel down?

a. Listen to emo songs.
b. Go through all the unpleasant stuff that happened in your mind again and again.
c. Make definitive conclusions about how terrible you are and how you appear terrible to others.
d. All of the above.

I’m trying to extend it to an

e. Reflect on the good that happens and focus on learning from the unpleasant stuff.

This takes up quite a lot of willpower and energy not to go back to d. *muscle emoji*

Let’s start with the good stuff. It is kind of unplanned but I went out of my comfort zone.
Firstly, I organized an event which I have never done before for people that I am not really close with. Upon hindsight, I came to the conclusion that I never consider it properly beforehand. For some reason, I just went ahead and regret later. Again and again. Oh, well. This experience taught me a lot and I gained invaluable knowledge. So, Y to the E to the S!
In fact, this “went out of my comfort zone” was the sole positive reason I can think of not to let myself slip into the darkest corner of my weary mind.

Next, I tried GrabShare, a feature where you can share a ride with other passengers in a cab for a cheaper fare. Again, without thinking much, I went ahead and took my chance. It turned out that the other passengers are two friendly girls and together with the driver, the four of us chatted happily. It was an awesome experience and made my morning!

The biggest step I took out of my comfort zone was probably deciding to try out as a Scrum Master. This is a departure from my usual job role and it is the first role of its kind within my department. Thankfully, I have a mentor who loaded me with lots of study materials and is willing to provide advice and guidance whenever I need it. Turns out, the most challenging aspect of being a Scrum Master is the ability to facilitate and to remove impediments to the team. It sounds so easy in writing but it is super difficult. I often find myself either tongue-tied or stuck thinking of what I need to do. It comes with experience and I for sure do not have many. At the moment, I am just doing my best to remain composed and not break out into a panic attack whenever I feel discouraged. However, I also got started in resolving a crucial impediment to the team and hopefully, this can be the best gift for them ( the team )..

Besides that, I recently completed a Japanese drama series titled ‘My Boss My Hero’. It turned out to be my favorite Japanese drama for its super awesome life lessons. When I first started, I didn’t find it really engaging but from episode 3 onwards, I was hooked. It just gets better with every episode and I was completely rooting for the lead character. In a nutshell, it is about this Yakuza ( Japanese gangster ) who has to pose as a 3rd year high school student and passed all the exams in order to succeed his father as the Yakuza’s leader. Being very ignorant and stupid, he initially failed every paper. The delightful aspect of the drama is his journey in learning to love, learning to learn, learning to reach out to others and learning about the beauty of life while struggling to keep his identity a secret. It is really hilarious and engaging at the same time. While he is uncouth as a Yakuza, his ‘high school’ personality is what drew me to him. Although he was ‘forced’ to be polite and humble at first, his inner goodness finally has a chance to develop and he became genuinely wonderful. He may revert to some of his short-tempered and uncouth speech when he is caught in an unpleasant situation ( old habits die hard ) but he is generally just a lost boy. It is interesting to observe him discovering the simple joys in life – such as when he chastised his underling that there is no fun in cheating to get what you want ( his favorite pudding ). Or the way he suddenly asked ‘profound’ questions such as ‘Why is the sky blue?’ when he started liking a fellow classmate. Most importantly, he does what he thinks is right even when it is not the right thing to do under circumstances. For all that, he earns my greatest admiration and also the adjective of being super manly! That’s a first! Have my preferences changed? :p

Inspired by his high school experience and his love for learning, I see my Scrum Master studies as something similar. He has to learn and study quite a number of subjects to pass high school. I don’t have to but I wanted to study and learn something new too. So, I find myself enrolling in two online courses: ‘Buddhism and Modern Psychology’ offered by Princeton University and ‘Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills’ offered by University of Michigan via Coursera. I will do my best to complete the course and pass, hopefully. 😀

One more thing! This is a humbling experience and it made me re-evaluate myself. So, I was chatting with one of my colleagues. He is very young with a friendly smile. We were talking for a bit and I was trying to guess which of the girls in the office that he might like. And I narrowed it down to a specific department, simply because it has the most suitable age appropriate ladies for him ( as mentioned, he is very young ). His question then caught me by surprise. “Why do you think I will only like <race> girls?” Honestly, I felt really humbled. I always considered myself to be very open but I realized then that I just made a racist analysis. It is not the first time anyway ( with him, but it was another convo ) but this time it struck me hard. Luckily, he is very nice and proceeded to share some of his cool personal experiences which made me go wow!

Before I wrap up this post (which has gotten pretty long), I’d like to bring up some random thoughts. One of our colleagues was away on holiday and I asked another co-worker if she misses him. Her pointed reply was: “He is coming back, right? So, there is no need to miss him.” That got me thinking and reflecting. It really fits in with the phrase, you will only appreciate something when it is gone. Or you know that it is going to be gone.

Is it legit to be mad at someone who only (openly) appreciates you upon knowing that you will be gone? Or should you have felt happy instead because that shows that the person finally realizes the importance of your presence? I would say, it doesn’t matter because it will not matter in 10 years. Take that from someone who has been there, done that. *hits chest with right fist twice*

she will be loved

WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD FOR SHERLOCK HOLMES SEASON 4 EPISODE 3 THE FINAL PROBLEM

I am lost. Help me, brother.
Save my life before my doom.
I am lost without your love.
Save my soul. Seek my room.

The answer to Eurus’s riddle and also the complete change in heart.

Sherlock ran to his sister’s room to find her sitting on the floor hugging her knees. He crouched down and reached out to her, acknowledging her confusion and distress. Being the kind brother, he gave her the attention she was so desperately seeking for.

Somehow, this scene was the most compelling scene in Season 4. Not even Mary’s death has this great an impact. It feels really heart-breaking to see the hell she created just because she wanted to play with her brother. And after all these years, she still longs for her favorite brother to shower her with some affection and attention. How lonely can you get?

Even though this episode has a lot of missing gaps, it is justified by rounding up Sherlock’s character, allowing us viewers to see why he became who he is today. As much as he dismisses feelings, he is still the most emotional one among his siblings ( hahahaha )! Maybe that’s what makes him lovable and the favorite among the Holmes siblings.

p/s: I know this isn’t really a review, more like a rant. Thanks for reading anyways! =p

the first step

Christmas is coming soon and I’ve started listening to Christmas songs again. As usual, Silent Night’s my favorite! I’m really looking forward to my office’s Christmas party where we’ll feast on delicious food and (hopefully) play games ( Mafia )!  =)

Coincidentally, I also got the chance to help out in a church event. Actually, it just so happened that the program that I wanted volunteer in was taking part in the church event so I ended up attending the Christmas Carnival. Short story: One day I was feeling really down and I was pouring my heart out to DCSY and by the end of the long rant, she suggested that I try out volunteering. I am open to that idea and thus, she recommended me to a fellow friend who is running a volunteer program under Malaysian Care – Bumblebee.

Volunteering in this event is like my first official move in getting out of my comfort zone. I was thinking, for 2017 – my theme will be ‘Getting Out of My Comfort Zone’. One of my plan is to do volunteer work. Therefore, by a stroke of luck, this volunteer event became the first volunteer work – and it is not even 2017 yet! It’s a great warm up activity!  =p

The church location is about 25 mins drive from where I stay and it is in a totally new environment with people I have never met before. This really fits the theme of getting out of my comfort zone. So, initially, I did not know that the Bumblee program was taking part in the church event. I just assumed that it was a church event and someone should know my supervisor. Hence, it came as a surprised when nobody knew who my supervisor was. Fortunately, someone knew what was going on, and my supervisor came with his truck of books and games! I met 2 other Malaysian Care people who welcomed me and made me feel that I am really in the right place.They were mostly Mandarin speaking which struck me. What if I can’t get along?  This language issue has somewhat consistently bug me ( especially when I am in a new situation ) but I just went along. It all went well in the end though, with me speaking in Mandarin and occasional English words to fill in.

My task was to man one of the games booth – where we’ll play Angry Birds and Tic Tac Toe. Honestly, Angry Bird is a crowd-favorite of all time! Kids and adults alike find it interesting and addictive. We had an Angry Bird catapult( made from recycle items) where you put one of the ‘angry birds’ and then you try to flip it into one of the plastic pots. It was really creative. We set it up on the table with 3 Angry Bird soft toys as deco. It was an instant hit! The kids were all scrambling to play them and it was quite tough trying to get them to queue and to pick up the fallen Angry Birds. Then, I forgot to keep track of how many times they attempted because I need to tell them to stop and give way to the other kids waiting in line. Oh, the dilemma! Also, the kids come in groups. It’s either no one or they all come together! Time passes pretty fast and I had a lot of fun picking up the fallen Angry Birds and cheering for the kids who practiced persistently.

There was a time where I thought the proud daddy is trying to video his kid’s attempt and was disappointed when I realized he was just replying his texts. Bummer! I haven’t been around young children for a very long time so it was pretty refreshing. They are so innocent and have only one goal in mind, which is to play! There is a kid who takes her time choosing which Angry Bird to catapult and slowly experimenting using different forces. I can’t help but to think, maybe this kid will be a scientist some day.

Games aside, I tried out the other games as well and it is quite remarkable how one can make simple games using recycled stuff. There is one where two 1.5L bottles are taped together with small balls inserted inside. The goal is to make the balls flow from one bottle to the other in the fastest time. It looks really easy but it is in fact very tiring.  There is a technique to shaking the bottle so that the balls will fall out and my arms tired out after a while. Time passes by really fast and it is then lunch time! We had nasi lemak with spicy sambal sotong and delicious ayam kunyit. It was then time to go and I get to bring back the Christmas Santa Hat ( ho ho ho ). All in all, a great volunteer experience! =)

Notable November

And I did it again! Not writing for a month. Well, I like to write when I got the feels and the time is right. Just like now. I wanted to go somewhere but suddenly I just feel like I really need to pour my heart out.

November is beginning to stand out as one of the more memorable ( momentous ) months in the year. Ignoring other years, the past November has been nothing short of exceptional.

The first Sunday itself was life changing. I won’t say much except that, I begin to understand some life truths and empathize more. A lot of of the inspirational quotes we often read are merely sentences until we truly understand the depth of it. I really hope that I can internalize what I feel and live life with no regrets. As they said, everyone dies but not everyone truly live.

Moving on, I had an exciting Monday night where the moon was its largest. We celebrated our high school friend’s birthday at Naughty Nuri’s and it was fantastic! They have this mini dance/shake if you ordered a Martini and also for the birthday person. The energy level was high and I was really enjoying the vibe and the atmosphere. When I reflected back on the mini dance/shake, I will be filled with lots of fun energy and it is hard to control myself from not doing a mini shake myself. :p

My parents and aunt also came over and I finally, successfully brought them to Taman Botani Perdana. A win! It is a beautiful and well-kept garden where families and anyone can spend time together. It’s free and is huge, which can accommodate many people. My mom and aunt were excited to see the vegetables at the Edible Garden. That’s probably the only place la. We saw a squirrel too as well as beautiful orchids and not forgetting, the magnificent Sunken Garden. I got bitten by a few mosquitoes but it was worth it!

Something worth noting as well: I tried wearing something different! Discarding my usual T-Shirts and jeans, I tried on this different top and wore leggings with it. Luckily, the outcome looked okay and it felt comfortable too. Because I was shy, I might have said some rather not-s0-nice lines but I think that’s okay. Something to learn not to do the next round. After all, if I just kept to my normal routine, I will never learn.

The finale to November has to be my friend’s wedding in Singapore. It is my second time as jimui ( bridesmaid ). It is not my wedding but I still feel anxious, mainly because I will be doing a lot of things outside of my comfort zone. I can now gladly say that I did it! Weddings have always been just a ceremony to me but this time, I think I am passed that phase. It was wonderful that I managed to catch up with some old friends, and also grabbed the chance to visit Gardens By the Bay at night as well as the Pokemon Exhibition at Sentosa and explore the S.E.A. Aquarium too! Sometimes,  I do wish that I reached this mental understanding earlier, preferably 10 years ago but as they say, better late than never. What I can do now is to be grateful for all the kind occurrences that have happened in my life and continue to strive to be the best that I can be.

Which includes taking more chances and getting out of my comfort zone! Time will continue to tick, even if I do nothing. With that, I welcome December, and hope to make the most of the remaining 2016 days. Aja aja fighting!!! XD

just like fire ( thoughts and rants )

Frankly speaking, these two months, August and September have been quite unusual. I attended Joomla Day on Aug 13, my high school reunion on Aug 20 and AWSome Day on Sept 20.

In the Joomla Day event, I went on behalf of my company as a Joomla plugin developer. Although most of the talks are for people who uses Joomla as their website, I did pick up quite a bit. It is refreshing to see how Joomla thrives only via dedicated volunteers. Joomla is an open source CMS so it is free. Every effort and time spent in developing and improving Joomla is credited to the Joomla community’s hard work. I attended the event with my colleagues and it is interesting to note how each behaves according to their roles. The business development manager and sales lady focused more on the company’s branding, aiming to increase the event’s speaker and attendee’s awareness of my company. Meanwhile, my other colleague from IT and I were more focused on picking up whatever is relevant in the tech side. Awesome!

The AWSome Day is basically a tutorial on some of Amazon Web Services’ offerings such as Amazon’s S3, EBS and EC2. The keynote speaker demonstration was pretty cool! Using just a ball, Intel’s Edison, an AWS IoT  SDK, an open source robot SDK and Raspberry PI SDK, he made the ball moved, produced sounds, and changed color all without connecting to a server. The rest of the talk felt like a university class lecture. It was interesting to observe how the speaker handled demo failures, energized the sleepy crowd and added enthusiasm in his speech. Overall, a very experienced speaker and I managed to go through the entire speech without falling asleep. This round, I took the opportunity to promote my company to the vendors at the exhibition area. Teehee.

Aside from that, there were quite a few revolutions in my head. I took a week off ( there were 2 public holidays that week, so I technically only took 3 days leave ) and spent them all back in my hometown. I thought of meeting my friends, but in the end, I didn’t. This time, I cleaned up my desk a bit and helped out more with the chores at home. I proved that I can still drive a manual car ( my dad’s car is manual ). Best of all, I controlled my emotions more and held my tongue back more often. Progress!

Morever, I started watching Cinderella and the Four Knights and read Scarlet Heart and Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds. I am not sure if it is some kind of addiction or distraction but I think it provides the same kind of relief as those who shopped or drank or smoke when they are stressed. I started reading the Time Quintet series, having completed A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door. The story is something different from the ordinary and gave me new ideas to think about. It also reminded me that I am just a tiny speck in the entire universe but to a component inside my body cell, I may be their entire galaxy. It’s humbling and at the same time, profound as it makes me wonder if there could be other better ways (sense) of exploring the world other than the 5 senses we are so used to.

The biggest challenge and also the one thing that provides the largest resistance to everything is my mind. It is truly unruly and I had a very hard time disciplining it. Actually, I failed more than I succeed. But with each success, I rejoice. I’m geared towards positivity and I would really like to be like others. As in, there are people who I greatly admire. Some people give me a very comfortable feeling. These are the people who I would like to talk to, to tease, to hang out with, to be around with. They may be very kind souls, know how to speak and behave, or maybe they are just kindred spirits. But I would very much like to embody these good qualities, or rather, these lovely traits which I find soothing. I would like to give the same feelings to the people I interact with too. As such, I try to note what makes me feel comfortable and hope to copy and project that to others too. They say fake it till you make it. One of the hardest act that I struggle with is smiling. Such an easy thing but yet so tough. There are times when my mind is smiling or is telling me that it is time to smile but the smile would not appear on my face. I would remain stony although my mind would be screaming SMILE SMILE SMILE. Here and there, some random revelations would reveal itself and I go ohhhhh. Like how the story of my life suddenly runs in my head. Or, the cause of separation. A fantastic self composed speech about this and that. I didn’t record all of that down. Sometimes, I tell some friends. I am not sure what they think. I try to be a good friend, a good listener, who listens without judging. Some friends reach out to me but I am afraid. Or I didn’t feel connected to them at that time. I can be very difficult at times and I am annoyed by it too. However, I have started crediting myself when I did something great or leveled up. Rare moments, but sometimes I see my own light.Even if no one sees it, I feel contented because I have reached new heights.

No one can be just like me anyway.

p/s: I will probably mention my high school reunion in another post as I am quite done.

descendants of the sun

It’s been a long week.

After I completed Descendants of the Sun, I listened to the soundtracks and actually wrote a post and saved it in a draft. At least I thought I did. Sadly, when I came back to continue, the draft was missing. I felt annoyed and didn’t come back till today.

Still, I enjoyed the drama very much! It was a breath of fresh air from the usual Korean dramas. It made me think quite a bit,  reflect a little and laugh a LOT. I don’t know if I am inexperienced but there is a lot of creativity in the jokes and romance section.

Especially the famous “I don’t know if I should confess or apologize”, the copy-what-the-other-say-or-did and the “ghost-eating” scene. Even the “Music really changes everything” public confession scene had me grinning like a mad woman. =p

I enjoyed how the drama is deprived of common life dramas. Maybe because the premise is somewhat different, seeing as the main characters are soldiers and doctors, it became more philosophical. Each has their own core values regarding their profession and their own moral integrity. That’s where the conflict lies and it is wonderful to watch their willingness to evaluate, adapt and sometimes bend over in order to do what is right and honorable.

The acting was excellent and the chemistry among the characters delightful. Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

1. Big Boss aka Captain Yoo Shi Jin and Wolf aka Deputy Leader Sergeant Major Dae Seo Young
Their friendship is enviable and desirable. Mutual respect, loyalty and tender loving care for one another. Life is never dull whenever they are together. One of my favorite moments are when they are on a ‘double date’ with their plush toys. XD
I found this article which compiles most of their funny antics!
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2. Doctor Song Sang Hyun and Nurse Ha Ja Ae
I always knew something was up between the two. Although they constantly bicker, it was really because they are very close. They simply light up the screen whenever they are around. Goofy and endearing. My favorite moment has gotta be when he joined the soldiers’ morning jog. Ja Ae’s stunned expression is worth every sweat drop! =p
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3. Big Boss and Dr Kang
Since they are the main hero and heroines, they definitely have the best spark, right from the first episode. I love how they both grow and gravitate towards one another. Their relationship best exemplifies the phrase “Imitation is the best form of flattery”. One of my favorite moment is when her dying confession is broadcasted to the entire world. The horrified look on her face and the amused look on his face is worth rewatching over and over again! Also, the ghost scene was clever and wonderfully executed with perfect timing. Best of all, I like how they have sincere and honest discussions with one another. Not to mention, lots of compliments and flattery as well that can give you diabetes! ^^
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Aside from that, part of the drama feels a bit like a documentary too. The destruction and tension during a natural disaster, the challenging search and rescue efforts by volunteers, the diseases that followed after and the post traumatic stress disorder effects are covered pretty well. There are a few heart wrenching moments which made me feel really grateful for what I have. The scene where they all ducked and hid under the table upon the slightest tremor felt was a really good portrayal of how the earthquake affected them.

Last but not least, excellent soundtracks. I got myself acquainted with most of them, with my favorite being Once Again by Mad Clown and Kim Na Young. I really enjoyed listening to Kim’s voice and Mad Clown’s rap. So much pining, longing and regret. Maybe it reflects how I feel about some things, I suppose. Balancing up the emotional feelings is Talk Love by K. Will, a delightful song with memorable whistling which will surely lift anyone up. I found this great article which did a fantastic job in listing and describing each soundtrack. And I also found this youtube playlist of the soundtracks with lyrics in both Korean and English. Internet is really amazing!