Tuesday, September 26, 2006

so long trev. i'll miss your soul nation

hi everyone,

a quick update for some big news

when you count all the big soul dawgs dats out there
you'll end up with a very very short list

you'll have dj jazzy jeff
you'll have giles peterson
and of cos you will have the great trevor nelson

this week, trevor nelson does his very
last Soul Nation episode over at bbc radio1

as usual the selection is smooth buttah
donnel jones (yeah), jon b, john legend, a little bit of kelis, aaliyah,
and of cos, the so so smooth anthony hamilton
yeah baby

been following the show for 4 years now.
every single episode is quality

i'll miss the soul nation

Monday, July 10, 2006

How now Mr Brown?

Strategic opportunities for contentious journalism on the internet

Hi everyone,

The world cup final is a coupla hours away, and since I have yet to watch a single WC match this year, I figured I should watch this one since the next one is 4 years away. Since I have time to kill, I figured I should drop a few words on THE hottest topic on the inter-net; Mr Brown getting dropped by Today.

And since I am really (un)excited by the coming match, I figured I should do this by the book.

The book I will be referencing from is Cherian George's Contentious Journalism and the Internet: Towards Democratic Discourse in Malaysia and Singapore

In both Malaysia and Singapore, the behind the scenes strings that tie the press to the government mean that the latter does not need to micromanage journalists by, for example, requiring articles to be submitted for vetting. The political leadership can instead count on editors to act in the interests of the nation, the state, the government, and the party (all of which in the politics of the two countries tend to get conflated). Editors do not always get it right, which is why the newspapers occasionally get in trouble with the government. Hegemonic control, after all, is not failsafe. The price of giving the dominated some choice in their domination is the risk that a few of these democratic decisions go astray. By and large, however, the mainstream press is ideologically aligned with the state, readily embracing their nation-building role, and recognizing the government of the day as the legitimate interpreter and trustee of the national interest. pg 49

The popularity of Mr Brown's writing lies in his uninhibited celebration of the yuppy lifestyle. He loves writing about the latest tech toys, playing computer games, checking out the newest dining spots, family life (concentrating on his children), and occasionally griping cynically about life in Singapore. In his latest article published in his Today Friday column, Mr Brown went on about the rising cost of living, ticking off a list of what he believes is wrong in today's society. It can be argued that by writing on something that is beyond his field of expertise, Mr Brown is approaching the realm of contentious journalism. Cherian offers this definition of contentious journalism.

Contentious journalism is the reporting and commenting on current events with at least some intention of serving a public purpose (the journalism half of the definition) and with the explicit purpose objective of challenging the authority of elites in setting the agenda and forging a national consensus (the contentious half of the definition). pg78

I'm not so interested in what has happened as I am to know, what will happen next? Mr Brown has several options. He can revert back to what he does best. He can review the upcoming Coldplay concert. He can fantasise about the next generation "wireless" iPod coming up in the last quarter 2006. He can do a podcast solely on Mavis Hee. He can get excited about the new Borat movie.

Mr Brown will suffer no fall in popular support, as it is in line with his previous writing history.


Mr Brown can continue with more exploratory writing online. He might wish to seek an external party to offer credibility to his arguments. Getting in touch with Think Centre is a start. Perhaps an economist with good data or projections to show. He might want to interview some people from the local think tank, Institute of Policy Studies. He can even get in touch with some of the members of the opposition party, perhaps some of the Workers Party committee members.

What he should do is to argue that what he wrote is not the isolated rantings of a typical cynical Singaporean. He needs hard facts, with credible data.

Unfortunately this is all hard work. You need contacts, coordination, scheduling, preparation. It is the work of a team. Mr Brown is one man, with a wife, kids and a full time job.


How now brown cow?


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

road to guantanamo

its my first movie in a cinema since SIFF
(hey I finally saw king kong last month),
so I though that that deserved a mini review.

hootie mini movie review
Road to Guantanamo is the new romantic comedy from UK director Michael Winterbottom. Follow the madcap misadventures of a bunch of English punks as they travel from Pakistan to Afghanistan in search of the biggest naan in Asia. Set against the biblical American bombardment of Kabul, the punks learn to speak Urdu, grow facial hair and fantasize of deep dish pizzas. Hilarity ensues when, through a comic series of mistaken identities, the group end up in exotic Cuba.

or not.

Monday, April 17, 2006

SIFF 2006: Singapore Shorts - my list

hi everyone

im back. for my report for the first quarter of 2006, I think i'll write about short films.


after 3 days of back to back SIFF shorts, after watching all the finalists, and as much of the non-finalists as I could, here's my 2 cents recommend list for 2006. as usual, the best shorts are not always in the official finalist list. these are, for various reasons, the short films that needs to be seen, by a bigger audience

you can get the full list here (pdf)
and this is the list of the finalists

Blinded - Brian L Tan
my favourite short. i've waited 10 years for someone to come up with all out action shoot em up short film, and its finally here. you want guns? you want them blazing? you want a swat sharpshooter? well, here's a whole tac team. they storm an abandoned warehouse (but of cos) and each one is downed like "lambs to a slaughter" (but of cos). brian l tan and his team must have sat down in a kopi tiam somewhere and collectively thought, now what would joel schumacher do to make this short film better?
more guns. more explosions. more smoke grenades. multiple camera units. action dialogue that's lifted straight from Counterstrike the game, eg "man down, man down". cheesy dialogue to supplement a plot that makes no logical sense. and everytime it starts to drag, there's blood. and more blood. lots and lots and lots of fake blood. absolutely brilliant lo budget effort.

Peter Ho - Yee Chang Kang
Peter Ho crackles with energy. despite its ending, I believe this is a love story dedicated to singapore. everytime we get to a scene in the tour agency, every time peter drags a bunch of tourists on a "Uniquely Singapore" tour, there is palpable energy on screen. the art direction is brilliant. I love the little touches on screen. ah neh's sagging name tag. the indonesian uncle's all batik shirt. the cowboy shaking the durian that's way too small for $5 a piece. the courier guy's ever present motorcycle helmet. the biggest jackfruit i've ever seen. the girl from katong who's off to milan for the fashion week. and the tour agency office set is a sight to behold.
but more work is needed in the pacing. the scenes of peter alone is unneccesarily draggy (do we really need to see peter's bare ass in the shower?), but that can be worked on with better editing. a worthy followup to last year's equally exuberant Da Bao (Big Bun)

untitled - Kan Lume, Loo Zihan
an unhurried short that packs a punch. that's fast becoming a kan lume trademark.

Rahim - Murni Mastan
its got so many things going against it. its in bahasa. its has an elleptical narrative. its got cheesy scenes of malay guys in drag throwing come hither looks to caucasian guys in muscle t shirts. and it is a full 20 mins long. but somehow murni mastan pulled it off. rahim is compact, lean with a powerful ending.

Dollhouse - Teo Eng Tiong
Aik Khoon - Chen Bang Jun
Di - Michael Kam

3 delightful feel good shorts. these will travel well.

Heave - Gek Li San
there was another multi threaded short in the finalist selection. while the other was unneccesarily angsty, Heave kept it tight and pulled it off. good concept, well executed.

Pontianak - Raihan Harun
another audience favourite. gene sharuddin absolutely chews scenery the moment he appears on screen. when the pontianak genre is done right, it can be a cracker.

Tee Please - Kelly Lim
lovely simple animated work. a joy to watch and (I believe) a joy to create.

Stuff I missed, would have loved to see:
Short - Tan Siang Yu
Girl in the Chute - Dave Chua
Zahari's 17 Years (l), Zahari's 17 Years (ll) - Martyn See