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Showing posts from September, 2007

REVIEW: LUST, CAUTION: The Story, the Screenplay, and the Making of the Film

This book review was published in The Star on 30 September 2007 . Th e print version comes with a 25% discount voucher for the book which can be us ed at Kinokuniya KLCC. Authors: Eileen Chang, Wang Hui Ling and James Schamus Publisher: Pantheon Books Hardcover: 311 pages ISBN: 978-0375425240 WHEN I read a while back that Taiwanese director Ang Lee was making a movie that had some of its scenes shot in Penang and Ipoh (and being an Ipoh guy myself), I made a mental note to find out exactly what movie he was making – then, like the forgetful dolt I am, I proceeded to forget all about it. Much later, I chanced upon the movie trailer online, and realised this must be the movie that Lee had shot on our shores. The trailer looked interesting, promising an intriguing cinema experience and it played to my fancy with its period setting and sensuous scenes. The movie, Lust, Caution, stars Tony Leung, Joan Chen and Wang Leehom and features the debut of mainland China actress Tang Wei. Based


Yes! I've got my mits on these two awesome newly-released books: Looks like I'll be overdosing myself on fantasy these coming weeks. Plus! You might want to check out tomorrow's StarMag ;)

REVIEW: Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things by Amir Muhammad

I'm not sure if this book even needs an introduction. With all the fanfare the book's been getting, I think anyone with a decent Internet connection and/or reads Off the Edge should know what this book's all about. Heck, even the title's a dead giveaway. But here I go anyway. Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things presents to its readers various quotes by Malaysian politicians that were said between the late 70s to earlier this year. Compiled by the incomparable Amir Muhammad, director of the infamous Last Communist that got banned last year, the quotes obviously aren't just any old random quote but are what Amir calls "Outrageous Quotes". Amir describes the Outrageous Quote as " something undiplomatic about gender or race, or it might smack of a certain ignorance of due process and rule of law. It would get civil libertarians in a twist, or a funk, or some other dance music-like word. Outrage would be expressed; a befitting response, you wo

Neil Gaiman Calls Authors "Otters".

From the Guardian : "Otters are not trainable," [Gaiman] explains. "Dogs are trainable - if you want them to sit you train them and give them rewards and they sit each time. But otters... if they do something cool and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do something even cooler. Or they'll try to do something completely different. I think that most writers - or at least a lot of us - are otters."

Facing Mecca From Space.

Now that we're sending Muslims up into space, the West seems to be amused with the fact that our very own Muslim scientists have drafted up guides on worshipping procedures in space. Wired's got an article worth reading about the problems in facing the kiblat and how to find Mecca from space: Dr. Kamal Abdali, a cartographer who is also Muslim and who has written (.pdf) extensively on determining the qibla, favors the great circle route, but adds, "Prayer is not supposed to be a gymnastic exercise. One is supposed to concentrate on the prayer rather the exact orientation." He points out that in a train or plane, it's customary to start in the qibla direction but then continue the prayer without worrying about possible changes in position. But how does that work in space? Mathematically, Shukor would need to place both ISS and Mecca on the same imaginary sphere -- by either comparing the place on Earth directly beneath ISS with the real Ka'aba, or by project

Robert Jordan Passes Away.

It's old news now, but I guess I was a little shocked that Robert Jordan passed away. I'm not even a fan but I do have friends who are, and I empathise. It sure would suck being a fan, knowing he was already writing the final book of an already too drawn out fantasy epic, but didn't manage to finish. The best write-up I've seen online on all this has to be on The Wertzone .

Chandler's Writing Process.

Mark Coggins takes a look at Raymond Chandler's writing process for The Long Goodbye : Chandler’s method of rewriting was radical. Rather than keeping most of what was in his current draft and making accretive changes to it, he started nearly from scratch, saving only the few words or phrases that resonated from the previous draft. Returning to the movie making metaphor, Chandler’s rewrites were truly more akin to alternative takes where the director encouraged the actors to take a different line through the scene.

Happy Belated Roald Dahl Day!

Gah! I actually missed Roald Dahl Day yesterday! I think it's high time I got around to using Google Calendar... or any calendar for that matter. Anyway! To mark Roald Dahl Day this year, I thought I'd show you a book of his which has special meaning to me-- Rhyme Stew . Long-time readers of my blog would know why this particular Roald Dahl book is special (though of course all Dahl books are equally special to me, Rhyme Stew being a little more equal than the others); I have a first edition of the book which was personally signed by the man himself, as detailed in last year's Roald Dahl Day post . Here is the state of the cover as it is now: And if you take a peek inside, you'll see Roald Dahl's scrawl in black marker pen: He almost misspelled my name!

Swirling Clouds of Jupiter.

This picture was taken by the Voyager I spacecraft on 5 March 1979. It reminds me very much of Van Gogh's Starry Night . I'm still in a bit of a daze but if I wasn't in the cloud I am in right now, I'd probably right a quirky little story inspired by it. Via Wired .

Hang On.

I'm sure there are some of you dying to know what happened at the wedding, and want to see some pics of the event, but I'll have to leave you hanging for a little while longer. I might be able to post up some pics on Flickr tomorrow. Perhaps. In the meantime, enjoy this writerly video from The Family Guy :