Monthly Archives: December 2005

thank you, 2005.

there’s no easy way to describe in words the journey of the past year.

for sure, it began with feats after feats, glory after glory, all of which had brightened my days, and all of which had given promising signals to the year.

yet, when the year marred with series of unfortunate events that rival lemony snicket’s right at the tip of the year, i couldn’t help but taking a reflective retreat to spend my new year’s eve this time around.

if my 2005 began with bright lights despite continuous natural disasters, then 2006 looks uncertain from here, not even a guiding light can reveal what’s ahead.

wait. my guiding light is only a flickering light from my mobile. i’ve nothing left.

may yours be brighter, everyone 🙂

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Posted by on 12/31/2005 in English


green branches of trees

referring to the title, that’s the view i’ve got from the windows in my room here. sometimes i find myself staring at them for minutes that would drag into hours, while i stroke my fingers along the keyboard in my laptop or while i simply sip a cuppa and sit in my yellow chair.

i am back in my comfort zone.

and the most rejuvenating experience one can get is to have a deep sleep for hours, without any interruption or intrusion of any kind.

looking back at the past seventeen days that i describe as a whirlwind experience, all of a sudden i felt tired when i stepped my feet on the airport, and took a train home last nite. all looking familiar, yet it’s not close enough to call it home.

but no matter what, this is a comfort zone when one can feel relaxed, as what i am now.

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Posted by on 12/28/2005 in English


circling life

it was one rainy afternoon when i received a message from my dad, asking for a meet-up over tea.
he told me it was purely to discuss about his upcoming overseas trips, although i know that he meant something else.

something that had been longing to complete when i had visited my hometown earlier last week, i.e. a heart-to-heart talk between a father and his son.

having undergone some misery, i expected that the talk basically would revolve around consolation over the incident and how i needed to pull myself through. of course, my expectation was met, yet what was given to me was more than that.

far from being lectured, he stroke my mind with a thought on life and its destiny, that some kind of great creator has arranged the life as the way it is meant to be, yet we need not to be succumbed to its trap, leaving us beguiled on spoiled facilities.
because when we fall, we’ve always got backups to lean ourselves to.
the God, your parents, your siblings, your beloved one, and your friends.
those are your life support systems that you have to maintain throughout your life, and you have to nurture them well so that it grows on you.

it was on one rainy afternoon where i did not hesitant in dropping a little of my precious tears.

and as if life does circle on its own, last weekend faith seemed to find me again when miraculously i spotted haruki murakami’s “kafka on the shore” on a local bookshop, slightly cheaper than what was lost on that fateful bag.

and as if to echo my dad’s words that the greatest loss one could ever experience is when his beloved one departs from the world for good, IU has to bid an eternal goodbye to her beloved brother, right on a christmas eve that surely will leave a mark on the rest of her life.

and now, here i am, sitting in an internet cafe, thinking that i will return to my comfort zone tomorrow, meeting my housemate who sets himself more than merely being so, and finding my room in its empty state.

i guess when we have finished circling our life and everything on it, the life will make a new start on its own.


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Posted by on 12/24/2005 in English


within a few days

Mom: “So you said that you have been stressed out for the whole past year?”
Me: “That’s pretty much it.”
Mom: “It’s not being ‘stressed out’ anymore. You have been depressed.”

And I looked at her in bewilderment, partly disbelieving her sharp intuition.

I could only nod, sigh, and hope she would say another of her trademark: spontaneous one-line notes that often hit my mind at unexpected times.
But as usual, she does not speak any further, a wise move to suggest that it is entirely up to me to make my own way.

However, the way I’ve chosen remains to be a deadlock far from satisfying, let alone fulfilling my quench over certainties and some clarity issues.

It has been a few days after I came back from my hometown, and exactly within these few days, I have felt crippled.
I could not bring my mind forward to come up with any writing ideas, and reviewing films seems like an ancient penchant of mine long to be buried under a treasure chest. The plan I had constructed prior to my departure was brutally scraped out and butchered since my bag was stolen exactly ten days ago, barely reaching the second day I stepped my feet on this mind-puzzling city.

What I did not realize was how much impact the incident affected my life, until now.

The seemingly perfect mapped-out plans did not work out at all, and I am still stranded homeless and jobless in this city. My savings were gone along with the bag, and the precious notebook which had become my faithful companion for the past few months has been missing its real owner, without having any idea about its whereabout.
Each and every single day, I had to occupy myself with some made-up activities which still translate as the unproductive kind.

I hit my own rock bottom.

I have to come up alone, and the path up is too steep to climb.

Still, mom does not talk about it any further, and prefers to concentrate on her son gaining more weight.

Mom, I need a weighty life.

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Posted by on 12/21/2005 in English


there’s no conclusion …

… to my holiday, this unexpected trip here.

how does one detach from a comfort of holiday? he’ll surely be holding on to the grip of the fun tightly, and when it’s time to hit the reality again, one can only remember the happiness.

as spoken in the film thank god he met lizzie, which happens to be one of my favorite quotes:

“the trouble with happiness is that you don’t realize it when it’s there. you remember it.”

and i will remember and cherish these three fulfilling days i had here.

it is far from thrift spending except for necessities such as a new flash disk, which has nothing to do with the holiday itself.
no culinary trip taken as i indulged more on my mum’s cooking.
no trying out of new public transport destination as i prefer to hide inside the car.

yet this is a holiday i’ve longed to have, the moments when i could take my mind off the matters been hanging on for the past few months.

i could rely myself on the literary selection belongs to my sister, which mostly comprise of works by brits author.
i could be at peace with myself when i took one book, sat down on a sofa amidst heavy rain pouring outside in one cold afternoon.
i could take a walk along kayutangan area which now remains one of the few places appropriate for pedestrians use.
i could be mesmerized by the line of palm trees on ijen boulevard.

and this is it.

embrace the future.

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Posted by on 12/17/2005 in English


following the follow-up, …

after slightly less than 48 hours retreating myself to a sanctuary here, i begin to slowly enjoy the ethereal beauty of this hometown.

for a start, the weather has been accomodative enough that i do not even mind to drive in the morning, unlike three months ago when i had to park my car under shades of trees, just to avoid the unbearable heat.
but these days, the mere presence of the weather alone could bring back the memories of my childhood, when i often jogged in the morning against the wind, the chilling air, the clouds that seem to be hanging right above our head.

the grey-ish misty look from the air that i breathe, and at times, the fog that i exhale, coming out from the mouth.

add that with a plate of spicy nasi pecel, tempe, bakwan jagung, and a cup of tea to let the fluid flowing inside my digestive system to make it warm, then this is what i call a heavenly peace.

after all, a holiday is the time we’re supposed to take matters off of our mind.

and i could not be more thankful to that thief who robbed my bag 😉

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Posted by on 12/16/2005 in English


the follow-up

as i am sitting here in (supposedly) my ex-study table which has been neglected for quite some time due to a reason that my younger sis thinks it being not ‘girly’ enough, i.e. her table is filled with Taiwanese boyband pictures, i can’t believe what i can indulge myself in this unplanned trip.

yes, folks, after my recent “tragedy”, i decided to recuperate myself by storming back to my parents’ house, to this little hometown i always have my respect on. yet, the feeling of being a washed-out could not be denied, when i took a walk on a street filled with bursting motorcars and bicycles, drizzle poured in to wet my shoes, the girl i used to have a chat with whenever i needed to make copies of my notes is still working in the same place, i wonder if she will ever quit.

no one stared, yet everyone saw how weird my shaved head matched the tiny figure i have maintained ever since i decided that size S stands for “sexy”. everyone thought i must be crazy then for i have an L size for my caps.

here i am, surviving the first 24 hour of this unexpected holiday.

everyone deserves a holiday, even for one who has just committed a failure of himself.

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Posted by on 12/15/2005 in English


losing few, gaining many

what have i lost today?

– the precious tool as my primary means of living and earning staple of food, my iBook
– passport
– return airplane ticket
– hundreds of dollars
– a jacket bought with the companion of rio and bowo
– haruki mirakami’s kafka on the shore
– john irving’s my movie business
– my small notebook containing my written ideas
– my mp3 player
– stack of name cards belong to some highly respected and reputable people

in short, a defining part of my life has gone, or rather, been taken away.

but let’s check what i have gained today:

good, comforting, assuring words from friends, in both countries.

numerous supportive messages and calls that gave me a good reason to let my teardrops flowing hard.

an unexpected karaoke session.

my understanding parents.


twinnie, the greatest one can be.

in short, i’m still feeling truly blessed to know that i can succeed walking through this demeaning line safely.

and happily.

i’m truly the richest man in the world.

— dedicated to the one sitting next to me not just at this exact hour fighting against the cold air, but simply for being the one, and only —

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Posted by on 12/13/2005 in English


(un) surprising (un) familiarity

of all the heavily densed populated areas in such a big, crowded, hectic city,

of all the tall skyscraper buildings filled with a number of people passing by,

unknowingly, indifferently, yet pretentiously,

and of all the places to see and to inhabit,

i guess the last person on earth that you want to meet in front of your close friend and a possible landlord is your ex.

add the fact that soon you two will live side by side is, simply, mind challenging.

welcome to the city!

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Posted by on 12/11/2005 in English


here i am, there i’ll be

look, the title could not be more tacky, yet pardon it for being so.

after all, what can you expect from a pre-paid internet surfing with extremely slow connection in otherwise arguably the best airport in the world?

i shall not complain, for what i am experiencing right now, will happen in a very near future.

yes, here i am, the border of my comfort zone that i have been inhabiting for more than half a decade, quite an ample of time that pretty much has affected my way of thinking and behaving.

and there i’ll be, the supposedly home country which feels like an alien to me.

at least at this exact tickling of sound, and i will remain hopeful for a new horizon to come.

as much as i am keeping my green passport, i have invested on taxes and stocks and bonds and emotions to other land.

and quoting my conversation with IU over mobile phones a few weeks ago:

“bukan masalah gelambir nya dari mana, marketing nya harus jalan”
“mungkin gelambir jawa rasa singapura lebih laku disana, babe! :D”

love you, all.

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Posted by on 12/10/2005 in English


let’s do quickie!

a quick round-up of film reviews before i … well … oh, here goes!


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Indeed, the film works like a lesson to learn as we trace how a state of being violent comes up and grows within unexpected circumstances. Throughout the learning process, the story will grip and hold us tight, forcing us to digest the overblown gory scenes that actually ring true to the nature of violence itself: merciless, yet forgiving and compromising towards the kind gestures. Like any medicine, the film might be painful to swallow, yet the effect is relieving.

LOVE IN THOUGHTS (2004) – German

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It could have been more engaging had the director chosen his poetic point of view from Daniel Bruhl’s character. Alas, the breathtaking cinematography is more than enough to redeem the almost unbearable pace in seeing youngster of 1920s play around with their boredom.


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Surprisingly easy to follow, the film marvels in its straight-narrative story telling, which makes the film may look conventional, and in pale comparison to Polanski’s other previous works. I still resist to categorize the film as having ‘a faithful adaptation’ since the meaning might vary among different audience, yet the film still barely manages to escape the standard Hallmark’s fare.

THE EDUKATORS (2004) – German

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The film’s social commentary might be the main highlight of the film, and actually, there’s nothing much to offer apart from that. However, the film has a compelling way to play around with the youth’s naughtiness that in turn, makes the film a compelling to watch as well.

PERHAPS LOVE (2005) – China/HK

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The musical scenes are amazing, if not tribute to Hollywood’s majestic beauty of the genre, so much so that even tribute to musical-tribute “Moulin Rouge” is obvious enough in one of Jacky Cheung’s numbers. Yet, it proves to be the major highlight of the film, since only Cheung who seems to be at utmost ease in conveying his role. Life imitates art, I suppose, as how the story goes, and as what is seen on the big screen.

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Posted by on 12/09/2005 in English


on jiffest.

apparently, quite a number of people asked me over emails and YM about what i should recommend to watch during jiffest.

all i can say is, up to you, since it’s your call. i know it’s not a satisfying answer, but then, i didn’t watch that many films as listed on jiffest’s schedule, but from what i saw, here goes:

any killer combination of christopher doyle’s lush cinematography and WKW’s deft direction in depicting stylish ’60s is always worth watching on a big screen. watch out how zhang ziyi rises above all other regular staples of WKW.

think of a love story with memento style. of course it’s nothing new, the story of break-up, make-up, infidelity has been told many times, yet what saddens me is, despite the unusual way of telling the story makes the film compelling to watch, the film falls short compared to other more intriguing francois ozon’s works. after his swimming pool, i expect something more, not a somber work like this.

Beautiful Boxer
i’ve been quite familar with the director’s (ekachai uekrongtam) works on theater, particularly autumn tom yam which still gives me a pleasant memory to date. yet, being brought up on stage, it may be difficult for him to translate a supposedly touching screenplay to a silver screen, as what we finally see on the big screen is mere glamorized treatment of a true story.

Buongiorno, Notte
for some, the film might change their perception towards terrorists. for me, it is interesting to see opressed italians featured in a film, as opposed to the miscommon perception of all-italians-carefree. and the heavy atmosphere of cold 70s gives the film a chilling look, that by the end of the film, we will long for more.

Since Otar Left
hold your patience, i know the pace is moderately slow. but one particular scene involving a grandmother searching for her granddaughter in which the camera zooms in very closely (and intimately) to reveal every single line of the grandma’s expression, is worth the admission alone.

like it or not, hitler is a human being after all, with all his ups and downs, his stuttered hands, his tender care towards the people and things that he adores, and he is simply a man trying to regain his dignity.

Far Side of the Moon

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refer to my blog entries on SIFFest earlier this year, the film highlighted the fest’s journey, and it received a warm applause from the typical cold audience here. it didn’t take a genius to find out why, for the genius on this film himself has proved his ability to transform his one-man play into a world of dreams and illusions, while he is trying to cope with the harshness of the real world. oh, he does all that while he juggles playing both main characters, directing, and writing the script!

watch at your own risk! saw the film at BKIFF this year, i was blown away with the film’s fast-paced editing and loud rock music on the background. yet, as i thought it over, the film’s many plotholes are hard to escape from our notion.

if you miss it this time, then you’ll miss the experience of being transported to the world of child-like innocence that, admit it, has been long gone from our emotional minds. the most touching film of the year, simply said.

The Motorcycle Diaries
i remember watching this film with my friend, zefri, and we ended up praising the film while commenting on one particular scene where the film goes black-and-white, and montages of pictures are shown on the screen. both of us disliked, not to the extent of ‘hate’ though, the scene, yet we couldn’t think of any better ways to resolve the problem. it’s there, we don’t like it, yet it doesn’t disrupt the film in general.

The Return
one of the best foreign language films ever nominated in Academy Awards, the film marvels on its no-holds-barred view on adolescence. the bleak look supports the story well, and the film’s shocking ending is not prolonged to become sappy. in other words: a satisfying experience.

The Saddest Music in The World
if you are into playful, absurd black comedy, then you’re in for a treat. what drew me to the film was seeing isabella rossellini as a legless diva, and seeing how my favorite author, kazuo ishiguro, pens a film and having it translated on the big screen. seems that kazuo was very much in the mood of the unconsoled rather than when we were orphans, thus explains the absurdity. i’ll just put the film as something to watch at your own risk.

The Sea Inside
javier bardem is one reliable actor who dares to venture into many territories of acting skills, and alejandro almenabar is one terrific director whose sensitive penchant over dramatic stories is applaudable. together, they make the sweeping look of the main character’s dream looks breathtakingly gorgeous on the screen, and if you are not moved by this, you may have your heart checked, it may be stopped.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring Again
i don’t care if you accuse me for spoiling the story, but the title can be taken literally, and at the same time, it also refers to the circle of life on one human being. see? that ain’t much to spoil!
and if you’re already used to watching any kim ki duk’s films, you may understand that not many words are spoken among the characters, and perhaps kim is one of the rare directors who understands the narrative quality of still pictures. thus, we all are in for a treat.

The Weather Underground
best seen by historians, students of political science, and many aspiring protestors, all of whom might be inspired from this oscar-nominated documentary.


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how boredom, oppressed feelings and static routine of life can be hilarious and funny, that’s beyond our common understanding. thus, making the film a pleasant to watch.

i’ve got a sense that the film may provoke a certain reaction (i won’t tell what it is) among many religious-based organizations. but i plea, watch the film with open-mindedness, and do not get over-reacted towards the film’s many counter-attack scenes. that’s all.

there, i’ve said my piece, and i applaud jiffest for having such a fabulous premise to look forward to.

have a film-fest season, everyone!

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Posted by on 12/08/2005 in English, Film


i know,

… you’re not going to be there.

and while i’ll be surrounded, you may be even grounded.

to what you’ve become,

to what you’ve chosen to become.

you’re not gonna witness my failure and my triumph anymore,

because what will be relied are mere words made-up of defiant existence,

and denying your truest sense, instead preferring to get covered up in hideous masks.

you’re not gonna miss my stoic presence,

yet i’m gonna miss your antics.

life’s about a choice,

allow me to make one, and welcome me with your widest open arms,

for every return, you are more than pleased.

and i’m not gonna be here to tread through the line of static days.

i can see the horizon, though.

but i won’t stay longer to witness it.

after all,

i’ve done my share.

and i dwell on the memories.

i’ll cherish the time when half-bbq chicken was our staple,
i’ll cherish the time when bruises on hips seemed to be an okay thing to experience,
i’ll cherish the time when dreams were sweet enough to hold,

i miss you, my sources of strength.

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Posted by on 12/06/2005 in English



what have taxes got to do with life, actually?

as i walked along the shady boulevard of bussorah/kampong glam area after spending some time with the lady of broadcasting here, i began to think that taxes are not merely sacrificing our paychecks regularly.

we invest our emotions.

when we agree to partake in the development process of a country, we expect something in return for our contribution. if what we expect has not come up yet, we tend to wait a little longer, and along the waiting period, we involve our thoughts to some other concerns that, like it or not, have begun shaping our lives to behave exactly like anybody else we often loathe in the first place.

the latter is more likely to happen if you are not a citizen.

a foreign worker and/or inhabitant like me, who has sucked out all of the land’s enjoyment and now left with some dreariest parts, keeps on demanding more and more when we start contributing these little amount of money in. eventually, we demand our own lives, the way we want it.

we may gruntle, we may complain, yet we’ve got to compromise and start accepting the way things work in the foreign land.

whoever thinks that tax-ing gives you so much headache?

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Posted by on 12/05/2005 in English


long time no curhat …

you couldn’t be more right saying that my life has been on a roller-coaster ride, eventhough i haven’t spilled any unnecessary spoilers here.

ever since i came back from the post-iaf holiday, my life has been quite interesting. not that i want to boast, but i truly feel what i have gained has placed certain marks on my memory that i hope i’ll be able to cherish ’em in my life.
and who says it’s all about the pleasant parts?

in fact, couple of times i did cry, silently though, or perhaps in front of some people(‘s ears), i did not mind sobbing a little. talk about the spice of life in love!

but the most important thing lies on the fact that i did not feel hesitant anymore in saying:

“hi, i’m nauval, i’m a freelance writer, and i’m interested in doing a story about you/your work/your performance”

and the jovial excitement flows right through my mind!

it was indeed quite an experience, although not all of my writings were published. some of them got rejected, some of them were still on pending status, some of them are still on the way, some of them were already out there, some of them will be talked about and getting some brainstorming process.

that’s why, my financial issue has been under red-alert notice.

due to the constraint, i had to limit my spending on cinema goings, and indulge myself more on dvds i borrowed from esplanade library. quite an amusing though, since i managed to get my hands on the great powell & pressburger, or to dig some classic hitchcock, wyler, wilder, and foreign cults as well.

but, despite all these constraints, i could still pull myself off in constantly writing film reviews, writing in this blog for sure, creating some ideas for articles, and along the way, i brought my friends to wherever i went to for covering stories, or simply to enjoy free art performances on esplanade or anywhere else. or simply indulging in good talks over meals with them.

and for the first time, i did what i’ve never thought i’ll do in my life: taking a good care of my savings.
i decided to make an investment out of my retirement fund (cpf), thus i could be in peace over the secured sense that the fund will still be intact, at least for the next three years down the road.

sounds good?

it couldn’t be more true as i started packing my stuff, particularly books, and have them shipped to my friends’ places. i started selling some of the stuff i will not bring with me later, and talked about spring cleaning, it’s already on the way. some of them have been completed, including breaking my piggy banks to pieces, and deposited all the coins to my saving account in the bank.

you wanna know how much i’ve saved on those piggy banks?
let’s just say i could manage to travel singapore-jakarta on a return ticket, in style 😉

sounds too good to be true?

i can’t be more thankful for all these opportunities that have come to me recently. new faces, new days, new ideas, new experience.

yet, one thing still prevails.

the frightening part of stepping my feet to my homeland.

after all these years, i’ve decided to give my home country a chance again, and it has not been easy to move from one country to another.

yet, i feel that somehow, it has not been easy to talk over about this to some people back home, as most of them have never experienced living in a foreign country for more than half-a-decade.

the conformity we have created at our own will unknowingly, the emotional baggage we have carried throughout, and the bleak of the future, they look terrifying, even to think about it.

i could keep telling myself to embrace many new opportunities to come, yet at the same time, i couldn’t deny myself over the fact that this home land is not a home. it’s a completely new land.

when i reach there, i will not be seen as the guy who returns home.

i will be seen merely as a kampung boy who can easily get lost over the crowded traffic jam, who are enchanted with the bright, dazzling lights of a big city, who at times can be ‘kampungan’ because he does not know how to behave properly.

the fact that he gets an arts degree from some university whose penchant in good films are worth looking at, may not be seen.

and sometimes, i feel that i’ve to face this alone.

i still have my permanent resident (PR) status here until 4 years later, i still keep my savings, my mobile numbers, …

i have nothing to lose.

i’m just afraid, and i’ve to fight my fear alone.

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Posted by on 12/04/2005 in English