Monthly Archives: March 2006

Berbagi Suami

With a string of successive records of introductory lessons, Nia DiNata starts to establish her own place among the commonality of other directors in the industry.

Why introductory?

First, she initiates. In Ca-Bau Kan, she brought the unseen historical tale of Chinese heritage to the public for the first time. In Arisan!, she touched the surface of homosexuality to the public unaware of the issue.
The similar pattern continues in her latest effort, Berbagi Suami (literally translated as “Sharing A Husband”, although the official English title is “Love for Share”), and as the title suggests, the film talks about polygamy.

But does the film talk?

Here comes the second point of her directorial trends. She spreads the subject being highlighted, and by doing so, she puts her thoughtful effort to give a politically-correct objective point of view, without necessarily putting in her own belief. Thus, she does not wish to be judgmental or siding to one faith, unlike Oliver Stone in his political series of JFK or Nixon, but rather, she goes for the way Jafar Panahi does The Circle, accommodating as many possible angles as possible, while a little distance away from the likes of, say, The Laramie Project.

It works well, it works not.

The division of the storyline into three (almost) parallel stories, contrasting the risk-and-consequences of polygamy life to one another, gives the audience multiple views of polygamy, leaving the audience choosing on their own. Whether polygamy works by suppressing jealousy, or by leaving the husband for good, or by exploiting every possible chance to make one’s own satisfaction, the effect could not be more satisfying the way a kid is given choices of many flavors in a box of chocolate instead of sticking to one particular flavor.

However, the spread may backlash as it results in the lack of thorough explanation for the subject in focus. This could not be more apparent in the talk-show scene where Salma (played with a great degree of subtlety by Jajang C. Noer) defends her support towards polygamy against her opponent who despises the concept. As the raging discussion continues, while it is still going circle on the facade, DiNata does deus-ex-machina by abruptly inserting the news on tsunami disaster to hijack the whole film throughout, bringing it to another direction.

Which direction will it take then?

The final introductory pattern of DiNata is to leave the audience on their own best to perceive and receive what they see, and perhaps bringing it with them to do any necessary follow-ups on their lives. Certainly Arisan! does not simply end with the two guys embarking on a relationship, and polygamy does not stop when two of four wives leave the man for good.
And maybe this is what DiNata excels best, that in tradition of storyteller, she does not necessarily give the whole story in details. Rather, she tickles her listener by giving a little to think about.

It is understood then that she deserves her own place here.


Posted by on 03/26/2006 in English, Film


all i know of love.

Like all of you reading this blog, I was born to this world from the womb of my beloved mother, as a result from my parents’ act of love.

Throughout the years of my upbringing, I felt blessed that I grew up in what you may consider a perfectly normal, if not ordinary, household, where me and my sisters experienced what it was like to have our own jackfruit tree we were so very proud of, and that old red ‘80s Honda Civic taking us to our late grandmother’s place in other province.

Those were the days when we were often encouraged by our parents to show the world what we had. Shamelessly and tirelessly, both of them always stood by my side whenever I turned up in any talent contests, be them from singing or modeling ones. You are reading the words of an ex-model now!

Little would I know that behind the supportive acts, they had personal problems on their own, like any normal married couples do. It took me a while to understand that my mother often felt frustrated not to meet her husband who was away for work in a long time, or the times when my dad went out for fresh air to clearly avoid heated debates at home which I never heard directly on the first place.

But look what he brought home a few hours later? A packet of martabak for all of us!

The phone did not ring, no words were spoken, and it was hardly the time mobile phones existed. Yet, in what seemed like a silent agreement, they made up. He washed his hands in our small kitchen, she set the table, and we had supper. Life has gone on.

And a good 32 years later from the day they exchanged vows, they continued to love each other, setting an example for me to follow.

Or so they wish me to.

For almost 27 years of my existence in this world, I always yearn for having a companion by my side, simply longing to love and be loved in return, like anyone would wish to.
When I could no longer deny my likings on different kind of love to embark on, I could not find any proper guidance or direction telling me how I should behave and place myself in this kind of relationship. Except one.

I have the example as set by my parents.

Thus, despite the difference, all I know about love and relationship is mirrored what my parents have done for a good three decades. They love each other without asking much, or telling much. They love each other in silence, they love each other in unspoken rages that fades quickly. They love each other in sharing a common space without complaining much, or praising much. They love each other by sticking to each other, be it on the lowest level of degradation, or at the highest euphoria.

My relationship with twinnie has somewhat become static recently. Gone are the days of exchanging mushy entries in both our blogs, and if you happen to see any in mine, well, what can I say? My blog is my home where I have all the endless privileges to decorate it any way I want.
I cannot stop lamenting through some thoughtful process often filled with temptation to lure myself to others. After all, it is not easy to pass through the time without intimacy to satisfy my ego being a lustful human. Yet, what constantly slips through mind telling me of something else.

I want to stick with twinnie for good.

The hard and harsh times may be tough to get through, and writing this entry against the rain in the wee hours of the morning leaving me shedding some good tears. The tears that I often saw when I sit next to my mum who missed her man when she had not met him for months. The tears that I am now having because I miss him.

I know I do.

Does he?

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Posted by on 03/25/2006 in English, Personal



In the days of successive mindless films only highlighting sophisticated use of advanced technology bombarding the cinemas recently, it is more than welcome to have a film that could transport us back to good old times, when a simple story can be told in a very plain, straightforward manner, yet it leaves us yearning for more.

Even the story is the kind of tale often heard in numerous times. It has been repeated in many versions and many interpretations, yet the way the story is brought to life is sometimes what amazes us, while setting aside the fact we have grown familiar with how the story might end.

It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey taken, and how we experience it.

Thus, Ruang gives us the chance to embark on an almost breathless journey from many breathtaking looks displayed on the big screen right in front of our very eyes against the darkened surrounding in a cinema hall. The continuous smooth editing allows us to capture the nuanced atmosphere of the nameless island where the story is set, along with the score, despite often being overplayed, does not glorify or hyperbole the natural beauty to become larger-than-life, but enough to make us feel being taken back to the nostalgia of the past.

The nostalgia theme might be something Teddy Soeriaatmadja has an eye for, as what he previously touched on his previous work, Banyu Biru. But this time, rather than challenging us into the world of surrealism to a raging effect, he wisely penned the script together with Adi Nugroho, making a linear storyline with a crystal clear narrative plot which in turns work pleasantly for us, the audience, and leaving us in amazement. Amazed that only in his second directorial debut, Soeriaatmadja manages to make a successful marriage of filmmaking elements: the technology does not overwhelm the film, but rather, it gives support to a story he has his faith and belief in.

Alas, the story itself does not offer anything new. How many times have we heard and seen a man, in love with a girl he would never be able to have, has to settle for another girl faithfully accompanying him from the beginning without ever asking for anything in return? Such a story does not have any spoilers or twists overtly used in recent films, but to absorb the thematic line, we are not asked to raise our eyebrows to decipher the film.

Because for once, Ruang successfully puts the old-fashioned romance back in a dramatic film we have missed for so long.

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Posted by on 03/25/2006 in English, Film


Ekspedisi Madewa

If one starts feeling uncomfortable watching actors in a big screen uncomfortably playing their roles in a film, then the film viewed is in a serious trouble.

Add that with the lack of adequate technical supremacy, something considered vital for the execution of the film here, what do we have then?

We have Ekspedisi Madewa.

The reason why it fails to spark the hysteria of Indiana Jones, as clearly the film is modeled on, can be pointed to many elements. Referring to my point earlier, the star-gazing treatment of a supposedly blockbuster film means that the film is determinedly be carried by a star, or two, as the main attraction. Seeing Tora Sudiro in his static expression throughout many action sequences, as if not sure if he believes in the script that asks him to pull a gun or to climb up, leaves us thinking if he actually screams for help to get him out of the film. Worse, the presence of Arie Dagienkz as the sidekick intended to give the film a fresh air from his humor, falls flat as his joke often seems tepid and unfunny, and not a single scene is able to make him established a character on his own.

Another point to sanctify in this film is its failure to present itself as an action adventure film, to the very least point of getting a proper look. The genre, which relies heavily on the existence of good editing, both in visual and sound department, seems to neglect the crucial technical qualities here. Some unthinkable fatal mistakes, as apparent in shooting the film in a digital camera then blowing it to the big screen, only make us wondering if the experiment of making the film is really disheartening.

Perhaps, the expedition on the subject needs to turn the direction to expedite a proper filmmaking that serves any intended genre, without leaving its audience in unintended confusion.

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Posted by on 03/24/2006 in English, Film


Jatuh Cinta Lagi.

Now, let’s play a game of “what-if”.

If Krisdayanti is not a spokesperson for a household product like a washing cream-soap and instead, she goes for, let’s say, a shampoo, will we see a scene filled with nothing but her hair most of the time to state that she is the face of the product and the product is happily inserted on the film?

If the presence of a coffee shop here is replaced by, let’s say, a warung pecel or a hawker centre, will we get to see the women preparing pecel or an uncle bringing us our drinks for a good scene or two, the way we get to see some baristas preparing coffee here in some unrelated scenes?

If Gary Iskak starts acting normally, and understands that being goofy is not the same as being over-the-top annoying, will we ever see the subtlety of playing a male-lead in a romantic comedy the way Hugh Grant or John Cusack easily slip in?

These are merely a few questions flashing through my mind upon watching Jatuh Cinta Lagi, a romantic comedy debut from Rizal Mantovani who revives the horror genre with Jelangkung, but unable to deliver the same revival process to the film here.

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The magic does not happen twice in a lifetime, but to think that blatant product placement gets continually annoying our film-watching experience is the least we expect for a prominent director with extensive video-music making background as of him.

Thus, when we start to look for something else to satisfy our thirst of the genre, again the mission is aborted by the unconvincing turns of the leads. As a female lead, Krisdayanti does not have enough potent to be kooky and smart at the same time as required by her character as a lawyer her, and she has to settle for the former quality which does not work all the time. Iskak has an aforementioned problem which suspiciously rooted from his own misconception of acting in a comedy film, instead of a romantic comedy one. Endhita as the female lead’s best friend, a possible side-kick that could have stolen the film, instead got stolen by the lines she had to utter. Her delivery of dialogues lacks the wit much needed in her presence, thus leaving her smart lines as prepared by the scriptwriter, Ve Handojo, gone off in the dust.

The only revelation is seeing Cornelia Agatha, fresh from her depressive performance in Detik Terakhir. Her kooky turn as an attention-seeker dangdut singer is exhilarating, thanks to her ability in maintaining her comic timing in place, and despite having to act against the leads, Agatha could hijack the film at any given time.

Thankfully, Mantovani keeps her in tact, leaving Agatha’s scenes short but memorable enough to leave us thinking about the film with a smile.

Just don’t get start on that little thing called BuKrim here …

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Posted by on 03/23/2006 in English, Film



(For the purpose of any non-Indonesian speakers out there, the title can be loosely translated as a singleton, and the word applies to both sexes, although the film largely focuses on the single guys.)

Ooppss! Have I said too much above?

I can’t help it, as much as I can’t help laughing, smiling, smirking, thinking, wondering, and other activities done by a film audience who is fully amused with a film that, despite some bumpy rides towards the end, is consistently entertaining.

Jomblo, with a line-up of four straight single guys desperately wanting to get girlfriends by their sides, may tempt a comparison being a male version of Sex and the City, and make the setting changed from Manhattan to some fictional universities in Bandung instead. No famous clothing line flashing on the screen, but we settle for a staple of T-shirt and jeans, emphasizing the look of regular college guys who less bother about their looks.

That’s why, the move of Hanung Bramantyo, the director, to cast the lead in relatively unknown newcomer, Ringgo Agus Rahman, is something worth a praise on its own, as Ringgo carries his role as Agus, the guy who walks away with his wrongdoings, in a relaxed manner, unpretentious that we enjoy his quirky acts without having to laugh at him. Instead, we laugh with him when he appears in his chicken costume, or when he reaches his peak of desperation to get a strap of condoms.

Such a joke which often being banally used in many slapstick comedies of Warkop DKI in late 1980s works pleasantly well under a script which seems to be carefully written by the director himself, along with Adhitya Mulya who also pens Jomblo, the novel, in which the film is based from.

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If anything bugs me most, is none other than the stoic presence of Rizky Hanggono, somewhat often stumbling down amidst his fellow members of this ensemble cast that comprises of Ringgo, Dennis Adhiswara who shamelessly goes to extra length in making a fun of himself, and Christian Sugiono. The latter himself is suspiciously cast to the credit of his good look, but even so, the quality fits his role as a playboy nicely, thus his presence is a far cry from being an annoyance likely found in many other flicks.

With clean slate of humor, often teasing with sex subject without being gross, and the characters Indonesians could easily relate to, it is hardly any doubt that the film is as a complete as what a good, entertaining Indonesian teen-flick should look like.

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Posted by on 03/22/2006 in English, Film


Match Point.

What can we say of Woody Allen who does London?

What I can say about him and his latest film here is to imagine him in his reclusive semi-retirement in a countryside of London, enjoying his fine wine while recalling the good old memories of his glory, and when he does that, he really picks up the good ones to be assembled in a collective work of art. A piece that is worth of an appreciation on its own.

For an afficionado of his works from the days of Take The Money and Run to the recent years of Small Time Crooks, we hardly hold any surprise to what Match Point offers.
But for those less familiar with his past days, seeing the film is still a pleasure very likely to bring them to understand Allen’s stature position in cinematic world, and that position reflects his wit and philosophical mind-games that most of the time would surely jolt us, shaking our heads in disbelief over seeing an otherwise illicit soap-opera drama into a highly praised thriller which goes deeper as a study of human behavior in general.

The object of the study lies on the presence of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as a tennis pro has-been who chameleons himself as a desperate social climber, only to hit the jackpot when he strikes a winning game by marrying Emily Mortimer of a reputable family. Thus, begins the question of morale Allen starts asking us: for a climber to reach the top of his destination, is there any limit to the ladder he climbs?

Apparently, the answer points to an indefinite limit of the ladder, as now the climb is heading towards the sultry Scarlett Johansson, a deadly viper, femme fatale, who, in the tradition of Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity or Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice, is able to mastermind and take over the control from the hapless guy now being a victim himself.

Or is he?

Allen has done this earlier in his Crimes and Misdemeanors, to a much more mind-blowing result, yet that does not mean leaving Match… in a pale comparison, for this London film has its own sleek look, suspiciously resulted from Allen’s shift in his musical score from the usual old-school jazz to classical opera, something to enhance the elegance of the upper-class society portrayed here.
But above all, what distinguishes the film from Allen’s recent works is his ability to leave out his ego completely on the screen, leaving the film with a fresh feeling, as if, hyperbolically, Allen is reborn in the film world. Hardly any single character in this film that we could say, “That’s so Woody!”, unlike, say, Anything Else in which Jason Biggs does Allen at his younger days (to a horrifying effect, Allen himself appears in that film!), and even Crimes… featured Allen in one of the main roles.

Perhaps London air does him good, leaving the spotlight to the beaming greatness of the cast, in particular Johansson who dons her sexy persona to the role she carries and continues haunting the film even when her character rarely presents in the film. Allen himself orchestrates them from behind, giving them deft direction from the clearly-twisted script he pens.

Thus, if London does muse him this well, we look forward to having more of it.

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Posted by on 03/21/2006 in English, Film


Good Night, and Good Luck.

I wonder if there is any film in recent years that beguile you from the start, and in reflect you give a thunderous clap after every single speech delivered by the main character.

If a statement above seems hyperbolic, then perhaps because the title film on our subject is. Or rather, it is larger than life.

The sophomore directorial debut of George Clooney exactly mirrors his own persona: charming, suave and contented. Thus, when he delivers the subject of television journalism serving as a merciless attack towards the communist witch-hunt initiated by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1950s, Clooney shows that such a resilient persistence has to be done in a grand manner.

The manner is apparent enough through the, literally, smoky screen as we see the main characters continue puffing their way through cigarettes, perhaps symbolizing the perceived image of gentlemen of that era. The backdrop jazz soundtrack provided by Dianne Reeves remind us the insert of Vonda Shepard in Ally McBeal series, that although the presence is considered a background prop, no scenes are wasted whenever they are in.
The combination of the two leads to the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography of Robert Elswit, a deserving Oscar-nominee for his work here, providing illuminous look against the constant terror in the television studio as told to us through a compelling screenplay.

The words as spoken in attention-grabbing style of David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow are indeed echoing the importance of a goggle box called television. Thus, towards the end of the film, after showcasing his star persona in every single scene, Murrow closes his exhibition by giving a toned-down speech, indicating that it is not the television that stupefying us, but rather, how we treat the box as a tool to enhance our mind and our knowledge towards life.

It is by then, a suaver-than-suave persuasion from a person like Clooney can pull it off nicely in this best journalism drama in recent years.

Alas, a film as good as this will leave you wanting for more, long after the closing speech ends with:

Good Night, and Good Luck..

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Posted by on 03/20/2006 in English, Film


on a certain sappy song.

For those surviving the horrible hairdos of 80s in Indonesia, and I don’t hesitant in pointing this to people like Rio, Pram, Qyu, Irvan, or the likes of them, they surely remember one unthinkable event, if not unpredictable, coming from one of the ministers known for his famous trademark: waiting for a further guidance from Mr. President.

It happened that during a ceremony held in his office, suddenly he began singing a verse from this song, Hati Yang Luka (A Tormented Heart), one of the iconic Indonesian songs of the era. He continued singing the song in full to the amazement of the participants. When he finished, they burst into laughter and clapped their hands, only to have their moods changed within seconds as the minister declared such sappy and tear-jerking songs were deemed inappropriate for the development of youth in this country.

I couldn’t really recall if there were further bans to those kind of songs from being played in radios or broadcasted on television, but it created quite a fuss among people involved in music industry, and these people objected his one-sided statement by continued creating those melodramatic tunes. For once, such a bravura act of democracy really started that early.

Now, looking back to the event, I could only wonder what would happen if the ban was applied, and no one bothered to protest about it.

Maybe every single guy were forced to listen only to macho group like KISS, Metallica, AC/DC, but not TOTO, especially with the songs like I’ll Be Over You, that’s considered haram maybe. The girls would tie their hair like a ponytail while humming traditional folk song like Ampar-ampar Pisang, but not the love-themed song like, well, can anyone care to mention any traditional songs with mellow themes? I run out of any example here.

Maybe I would never follow the step of my sister who used to be so crazy over New Kids on the Block and Tommy Page, and maybe I would never be able to memorize any Debbie Gibson’s songs. And maybe I would never hear about many more heart-rending songs in many years to come, just like the one I listened to this morning, the kind of song that affected my mind in coming to terms with whatever I am having right now.

These are the songs that, magically, translate whatever we may wish to say to whomever we want these songs to be dedicated to. It does not take a radio to filter my wish, for I only wish the song below to tell my twinnie, who almost never read my blog these days, about my wish.

If that unfortunate minister shall rise again, perhaps I let an orchestra playing that tacky song he condemned on whatever future ceremonies he might carry.

Anyway, nyot, here’s to you.

I thought sometime alone / was what we really needed
You said this time would hurt more than it helps / but I couldn’t see that
I thought it was the end of a beautiful story
And so I left the one I loved at home to be alone
And I tried to find out this one thing is true / that I’m nothing without you
I know better now / and I’ve had a change of heart

I’d rather have bad times with you / than good times with someone else
I’d rather be beside you in a storm / than safe and warm by myself
I’d rather have hard times together than to have it easy apart
I’d rather have the one who holds my heart


I can’t blame you if you turn away from me like I’ve done to you
I can only prove the things I say with time
Please be mine

I’d rather have bad times with you (please be mine) / than good times with someone else (I know that)
I’d rather be beside you in a storm (anytime) / than safe and warm by myself
I’d rather have hard times together than to have it easy apart
I’d rather have the one who holds my heart

I’d rather have bad times with you (surely) / than good times with someone else (surely)
I’d rather be beside you in a storm / than safe and warm by myself
I’d rather have hard times together than to have it easy apart
I’d rather have the one who holds my heart

I’d rather have the one who holds my heart

(luther vandrossi’d rather)

I’d like to think it as thoughtfully and creatively corny.

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Posted by on 03/18/2006 in English, Personal


on driving while lying.

Here’s the thing. I miss driving.

The sheer sensation of behind the steering wheel, the wind blowing your hair rising to the air …

OK, it only happens in lame music videos of ‘80s.

But in reality, I don’t get that much opportunity to drive a car, especially not in my previous comfort zone where having a car is a very distant dream, and simply I don’t find it necessary to rent one since the public transportation system there is highly reliable. Why not make use of it then? And even after I leave the zone for good, I haven’t decided whether I should register for a driving license there or not.

Whereas in this chaotic city, it’s my own conscience of choice to opt for not driving. The horrendous traffic jam where crimes might happen within seconds, in addition to not knowing the road system, somehow discourage me to do my own driving here.

Thus, the only time for me to drive a car is when I am in my hometown, a newly-developed city which still has the atmosphere of an old town, where you can drive with the sight of greenery mountain within your horizons. It couldn’t be more perfect when I went there at the tip of last year, as I drove this old car every morning against the misty air with breezing winds, and for once, I did not bother to turn the air conditioner inside the car.

Perhaps such a pleasant experience is what drives me to do my own driving at this time around. But more than that, everytime I start hitting the road while changing gears, my mind would start wandering to any thoughtful thoughts. From thinking about what to have for dinner to whether I can get a call back from my last night’s date, thankfully I never hit another car until now, and let’s hope so for the rest of my life.

But one thing I’d like to think about shall I drive a car right now is the fact that our lives are surrounded with lies.

Lies are what bring life to our lives, as what I’d like to believe so.

Especially in a relationship, couples lie, cheat, and hide what’s needed to hide all the time, while they are faithfully holding their loves to their respective partners. It may be sad to come to the realization of such a fact, but some people choose to go on with these lies, and presuming the other parties being naïve or innocent.

Maybe our beloved ones know, so we think. But then maybe they have their own dirty laundries as well, so we assume.

The circle would go on, and so is the relationship itself, that takes two to keep each of their own secrets carefully.

Just like driving, sometimes you cheat, by not obeying what street signs telling you, and when you get caught by the police, you utter some excuses while wishing for the police to let you off with your little trick. And while you say that you will not do it anymore, who knows what the future brings? As long as the destination is reached, any roads can be taken, no matter what.

As long as the relationship is kept, sometimes, make it most of the time, we play ignorant to what our partners are doing. I am not in a good position to tell you if this is healthy or not, although you cannot hide that look of being depressed, but whatever state your mind is, be sure to keep your friends and diaries around, to let your feelings out.

Just like what Sheryl Crow says,
“Lie to me / I promise / I believe / Lie to me / But please / Don’t leave”
(Strong Enough – 1994)

And it took me a good twelve years to finally understand the consequences of the lies while painfully accepting them as what they are. At least, it takes me to lie as well when I claim, “I’m fine!”

I guess I really need that driving license next time I pay a visit to my comfort zone. It’s meant to make you feel comfortable, and for certain times like these, I couldn’t agree more.

Happy driving, while lie yourself to relax.

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Posted by on 03/16/2006 in English, Personal


a song for my ex-es.

Acay, my dearly beloved housemate, once, in a slightly blatant manner, gave this horrifying statement about me:

“you’re such a romantic!”

Immediately I looked at him in return, somewhat confirming while disbelieving at the same time to what the effect the words might bring.

The very notion of being romantic as applied in a person would lead me thinking about how one responds to every single occurrence in his life. I imagine that he breaks down to sing while he complains about his boring life, the way Audrey Hepburn belts How Long Has This Been Going On? in the film Funny Face. He might also boast off his macho quality, only to turn meek within minutes the way John Travolta shifts from Summer Loving to Sandy in Grease. Or simply mimicking Gene Kelly when we fall in love by Singin’ In The Rain. Talk about suffering (from flu) for love!

As you see, there are always songs to sing in every mood we unexpectedly encounter within ourselves in every day basis, or even every minute when one falls in love.

I certainly give my wholehearted vote for such a spontaneous activity.

When I set my heart on someone, my mind turns into a number of songs before I go to sleep while thinking about what the future might bring, and when I wake up in the morning, I will hum my way to the shower and to the kitchen for breakfast, and all the way while sitting on a bus, on the way to the office.

I told Kenny once that I always made a love-song compilation CD to all my ex-es, something I used to consider as a must when I began to embark on new relationships with them. The early euphoria stage of just-the-two-of-us-in-the-world, ah …!

Yet, the flame started fading away as the relationships began to dim, and the CD was hardly played anymore, or not even being mentioned towards the break-ups. What I just realized this morning is the fact that I seldom have a break-up song when the relationships ended.

I wonder if this is derived from the fact that, aptly enough, I don’t do ex-es in general? Or actually the very hard-pressed mental-block in me preventing my mind to come up with any romantic treatment towards my ex-es?

As much as I began with songs, I would love to end with songs as well.

Thus, at the wee hours of this morning, I set my ears on this beautiful song that has been my favorite for quite some time now, in particular to the version as sung by Lisa Ono. Little I realized then that the mere mention of the title can be applied as a bidding goodbye while wishing continuous prosperity of love to these dearly ex-es.

Thus, I wish them love.

To the one who has settled for good.

To the one who went on to become a lecturer, a story-teller, and now, an emerging filmmaker. Wow! I wonder if I did contribute a tiny weeny influence to your fulfilling life here.

To the bastard (hey, I’m only a human being!) who has been immortalized in my life as the single inspiration of my long-delayed book called How To Survive A Travelling Trip With Your Ex.

To the one who … I don’t know, somehow the existence of any adjectives, both good and bad, quickly diminish when I begin thinking of you. It was sweet all along, although hardly memorable. That’s the undeniable fact, dear, which I’m sure you understand more than I do.

But it seems that this song is best given to you, and I wish you endless happiness in return. Stay focused.

I Wish You Love

I wish you blue birds
In the spring
To give your heart
A song to sing
And then a kiss
But more than this
I wish you love

And in July
A lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade
I wish you health
And more than wealth
I wish you love

My breaking heart and I agree
That you and I
Could never be
So with my best
My very best
I set you free

I wish you shelter
From the storm
A cosy fire
To keep you warm
But most of all
When snow-flakes fall
I wish you love

All kinds of love
I wish you love

Now, Komang-ers, you may explode in laughter. I’m done here.

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Posted by on 03/16/2006 in English, Personal


is this it?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When two souls decided to throw a dime,
And have their lives carried away
In every single day?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When the silence begins with mimes,
Soon to be followed by awkward gestures,
Those do not get any better with hardly trained postures?

(still a little bit of your taste in my mouth)

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When behaviors find their rhymes,
To indicate that acceptance begins to rise,
Hiding a trace of unspoken hatred lines?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When the clock ticking at nine,
And you begin to wonder,
Of his untold wander?

(still a little hard to say, what’s going on?)

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When boredom becomes a doom,
Finding yourself alone in a room,
While crying over Fly Me To The Moon?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When you start taking me for granted?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When the tree tender words becoming an automated saying?

(still a little bit of your face, I haven’t kissed)

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When ignorance is finally a bliss?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime,
When we begin to feel frightened to hurt each other?

Is this the beginning of a lifetime?
When we are able not to let each other know of our misfits?

(still a little bit of your songs in my ear)

Is this a lifetime sentence?

(still a little bit of your words I long to hear)

Is this a lifetime destiny?

(step a little closer to me, so close that I can see what’s going on)

Is this a lifetime miracle?

Is this a lifetime love?

(love taught me to lie)

Is this a lifetime happiness?

Is this final?

(when you flow like a cannonball)

– with excerpts of cannonball by damien rice

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Posted by on 03/15/2006 in English, Personal


a tale of two singles.

It happens that these two singletons are both the only children in their respective families.

It happens that both of them, in their own different timings, miraculously decided to touch the keypads on their cellphones, to be connected to my mobile number, and the chats could not be more different from one another.

It happened not a long time ago, in one of the nights where I could not be more thankful of any companion, yet the memories of them could go as far as my existence began to, gramatically shameful, exist.

Especially with the first one, my one old friend who came to prominence ever since my tender youth of teen life started.
He is the kind of guy you could envy a lot. Charming, good-looking, well-mannered, acutely active listener, any mothers would surely push their daughters to poison him to unconscious sleep, so that he can father many children later. Yes, I am influenced by those highly imaginative soap operas, something that I used to watch together with his mum whenever we had to wait for him while he had to give his girlfriend a ride home.
Make that ex-girlfriend though.

Three years apart, three changes of email addresses, three times of many unfortunate events both of us failed to witness, three hundreds of messages in both online messenger services and cellphones which only consisted of an icon or simple words such as “I am stressed out”, we will finally meet again.

I don’t want to think how it is going to be, nor I don’t wanna drown myself in mindless panic of what-should-I-wear madness. Whatever happens, a rare moment of finding something in common rose that night.

People change, and for once, we do.

Within a short time, the line worked like a mantra spoken over and over again, and you don’t keep a mantra in your memory. You say it out loud, you blurt it out if you have a tendency to be repetitive, and the best thing is to keep telling it to yourself.

People change. So do I.

And that’s exactly what I am going to tell him.

Just like how I am going to tell to my second single friend on the spotlight here, one special guy who deserves royal treatment, as credited to his penchant for what I always yearn for in life.

To love, and be loved.

The passion for such an affectionate activity is what led him in living a courageous life I wouldn’t think of in the first place. Imagine sacrificing yourself to worthless someone for a great deal of your life and despite the harsh, painful and aching treatment in return, you bravely walk away with a smile, and even a wider smile to embrace the uncertainty ahead.
Perhaps, what he faced is nothing compared to what I did to him.
Who would’ve thought that I could take a tourist to his native country’s embassy?
Yet, he gladly accepted that while I was busy with some vanity project in the embassy, making him the very first friend-as-a-tourist that I brought to, again, his native country’s embassy. A very important tourism object, indeed.

The tale could go on and on, but as each day is limited to 24 hours, it has to stop somewhere, at a certain point that may not satisfy both, or at least, one of us.

But despite the change, the tale would be marked with another chapters ahead, and to have an endless tale that works way much better than those choose-your-own-adventure books is a gift I wouldn’t trade with any.

And I am thankful for that.

(actually, if any of them would really care about me, they should know that I am in a very desperate need of furniture for my new flat, shouldn’t they?)

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Posted by on 03/14/2006 in English, Personal


lamenting (whose?) lush love life.

In this city, heartbreaks happen in every ticking of a clock.

Heartbreaks from settling debts of your car.
Heartbreaks from missing your bus to work.
Heartbreaks from watching a crippled beggar crossing a busy road.
Heartbreaks from not being able to say tender words to your loved ones.
Heartbreaks from realizing your foolishness in misguiding another clueless taxi drivers.
Heartbreaks from knowing that this will not be the only heartbreak you likely encounter.

As I sat on a bus from my sibling’s house in a suburban area officially put in a map as a city in another province to the heart of this chaotic city, I couldn’t help thinking while randomly looking at some passengers who drew certain expressive lines in their faces, mostly covered by thick particle of dust. These people have gone through every single painful heartbreak prior to hopping on this fated bus, yet they silently chose to seat themselves in the broken couches, and marched on with their lives.
An old saying of “life goes on” is the only saying they wholeheartedly apply in facing the toughness of their lives, thus another heartbreak of mine is considered a small, if not nothing, feast they can laugh at.

Maybe it is not even a heartbreak when it comes to a matter of hearts, and make that two of hearts.

A heart belongs to me, and another is twinnie’s.

My relationship with twinnie has been going on for a little more than a year by now, and the fact that I am living in the same city with him has opened a new chapter in my life, i.e. I finally embark in a short-distance relationship.
Being spoiled with a long-distance one, the adjustment has never been easy so far, with a few patches here and there that often almost bogged down the relationship itself.

Worse, being infamously, and some despise as notoriously, known with the reputation of twink-hunter who likes to cruise for young boys in many strategic places, at many times the intolerance took its toll upon me, leaving me feeling depressed and repressed, be them sexually or mentally, while I couldn’t bring the matters up to him.

Early diagnostic of my well-being would be easily concluded as that I am not mentally healthy. I am not raising any objections to the idea, while I still arrogantly keep my defense, a hapless one, by saying that: “I’m fine!”.

Right now, I’d like to keep that statement though.


Because I addictively love him.

Yes, the meandering activity goes on, the words have been off to the dust, the nights have gone to become meaningless passing of time, but sometimes, despite the heartbreaks, your heart inexplicably tells you to believe.

And I believe in him. And me.

Now, now. The heartbreak and its potential comeuppance really lead to having the fingers playing along in writing such a subjective entry, don’t they?

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Posted by on 03/13/2006 in English, Personal



As the song Seasons of Love literally opens the curtain, revealing lush spotlights highlighting a group of bohemians in New York dealing with their lives against AIDS and other social injustice, we are soon to be taken to a world of (another) disbelief: with such a promising material that makes the Broadway play in which the film is originated from is a hit, why the film goes downhill right after the compelling first 10 minutes?
Worse, having the original cast aboard, with the exception of Rosario Dawson, why the film seems a tad lengthy, and that’s not even compliment?

If we wish to draw the same line with the butchering treatment of The Phantom of the Opera last year, then we directly come to conclusion that it takes a specially gifted director to direct a musical adaptation, or it can also be said that those qualified to bring a stage musical into a big screen are the ones who are deft enough in understanding the complexity of stage, and able to bridge the gap of stage and screen.

In a snapshot, Rob Marshall and Baz Luhrmann fit the above description nicely, and so was Bob Fosse. On the other hand, Joel Schumacher failed to bring the magical quality of the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sacred opera, and this year, Chris Columbus follows in his step to the same miserable effect.

The problem Rent obviously has is that as a film, it does not give enough space to breathe. Similar to Evita where every single song is belting out one after another in many almost static scenes that may work on stage but definitely not on a big screen, we hardly relate to their yearnings despite desperately compelling performances from the cast. Whereas the concept might work for Umbrellas for Cherbrough, the effectiveness is largely credited to Jacques Demy’s adequateness in creating a pleasant-to-look-at atmosphere imbued in his colorful cinematography, something lacking in Columbus’s film which tends to focus on the slum side of New York.

Not that it bogs down the well-conceived story, but rather, the lack of rich variety in the look of the film is another questionable quality of Columbus who previously gained acclaims in giving birth to Harry Potter series in almost gothic presentation, which works surprisingly well.

Alas, despite the tear-jerker moments derived from the original stage plot, the film might pull a teardrop or two, yet by the time we leave the theater, we will be left with a vague reminiscent that within Seasons of Love, lies a passing train, too fast for us to even notice the train’s passengers, who are more than capable in giving us a ride of a lifetime. Too bad we do not hop on it.

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Posted by on 03/13/2006 in English, Film