a K h o

Archive for February 2008

finally! i finished reading A Storm of Swords, book three of George R. R. Martin’s excellent epic fantasy series. took me long enough. lol. just started on the first chapter of the fourth book, A Feast for Crows.

this series is packed with so many players that till now, i’ve yet to assimilate myself with all of them. most times, i would find myself able to imagine what the characters would look like as i get to know them better. not so here, some i may have a vague idea, but most are just another name with an intriguing story to tell.

big reason why i enjoy George R. R. Martin’s work is that he’s not afraid to kill of key players and weave an intricate plot for every single character in his stories, be them a low born nobody to a high born king. i’ll admit his stories continue to surpise me – chapter by chapter, as an unexpected twist takes place or a plot is revealed somewhat.

it’s just refreshing to read these books at my own pace, a chapter a day rather than from one sit through. that’s probably why i’m so slow in finishing the books in the first place. however, reading them slowly can be rewarding as it feels like i’m also growing up along with the characters.

expect half a year before i finish this one. maybe.

Chap Goh Meh translated from hokkien as the 15th night signifies the closure of another Chinese New Year celebration. *burp* no reunion dinner this year. just had a quiet dinner with dad. mom’s on a trip, bro is back in singapore and little sister still in russia. still have leftover cookies, cakes and keropoks.

interesting thing happened this morning. i awoke suddenly at 7.00am today from a brushing sensation on my right thigh. my heart was beating profusely as if i just had a nightmare. the moment i opened my eyes when i sat up on my bed i caught of glimpse of something that flew away from my vision. the best i could describe it is that it was an outline of a human figure.

what’s more, it’s Chap Goh Meh and my dad was going to do some offerings to my late grandfather in like two hours time. the whole thing spooked me for a bit.

anyway, i finally got some photos from my outing on the 3rd day of CNY from Samuel. better late than never! a day for outing with friends on CNY has become a common yearly practice. i’m just glad Ian (the dependable organizer) is always up to it. unfortunately, the group has thinned down this year with only 7 of us including myself. usually we have a bigger crowd and like parasites, we would venture to each house causing a jolly good commotion and devouring the festive foods within reach.

here are belated pictures!


ah dak’s “tousen” (God of Gamblers) pose.


Ian, holding up a $100 bill at gelek’s house.


this is Grace @ gelek. i’ve not seen gelek for more than erm…5-6 years i think. notice the faint gleam in her eyes when presented with $$$.


at Bert’s place. Bert’s the guy in red on the far right. his house is decorated with beautiful family portraits, wall to wall. felt like an art gallery.


we all at 10’s place. 10’s the gal sitting in the middle. her house has this javanese theme to it. pretty cool decos.


taken at 1386’s (Isabella – get it?) place. she’s ex-informatics and currently working in singapore. she’s not in this pic thought. scroll up to Bert’s group photo and you’ll see her – the first gal on the left.

i think we managed to cram in 10 houses for the day. even with such small members this year, i still had a blast. an overall enjoyable visitation day.

Good Charlotte – Victims of Love.

last night ate out with dad and on the way back home, caught a track on the radio that was so catchy i had to download it right away. the starting sounded a bit familiar, like a song taken from t.A.T.u.

fireworks starting already outside. guess everyone more or less has finished their dinner. Happy Chap Goh Meh!

Yuki Makishima – Yokan (opening song)

yay! for sappy love stories. i can’t help it. i’m just so into high school life themed animes right now. the latest one which i just finish watching is called Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~. it’s 25 episodes long but only started getting dramatic nearing the end. the rest of the time it’s just try-hard comedy.


essentially a romance comedy anime where a lot of unbelievable circumstances is thrown at Riku Aoba, our male protagonist when he recently transfered over to Tsumugi Private High School. due to events organized by a crafty student council, his fame rose exponentially as he gets involved with three beautiful students at the academy.


Riku Aoba, a soft-spoken second year student who comes across as a kind individual. always willing to lend a hand and go out of his way to help others (not just girls!).


Amamiya Sayuri, his classmate. considered the most popular in school, she has legions of male fans watching out for her. Sayuri-chan is dedicated and hardworking, a model student. her biggest flaw is that she is really a coward deep down inside as she dares not reveal her true feelings to anyone. this is sometimes frustrating to watch…as she carries on this attitude till the last episode.


Kasuga Tsukasa, who falls for Riku from bumping into him accidentally, believing that it is destiny. she is emotionally aggressive, declaring her love at first encounter and later on being like a typical clingy girlfriend towards Riku. i was actually rooting for her till the end, as among the three girls, she seems to be the bravest of them all when it comes to expressing and understanding her true feelings towards Riku.


finally, there is the shy first year student Yayoi Mina, who started developing feelings for Riku when he helped her out with her swimming practices. she has trouble confessing to Riku on how she feels for him. i notice they both seem to be the only pair that shares a lot of sweet tender moments together, which is kinda nice. they would’ve made a cute couple.


i had mixed feelings with this series as there are good moments and erm…wacky moments to it. wacky as in weird. for example, some of the teachers are over the top crazy. that aside, the series is watchable. get past the insanity to episode 19 onwards, and you’ll be treated to tear-jerking moments that will tug at your heartstrings.


something bugs me thought. all Riku really needed to do was to be a kind and helpful person to obtain the girls affections. is it really that simple? perhaps maybe, all the other guys in that school view those popular girls as just another pretty face to ogle and get worked up over? it just confounds me to think that girls can easily be swayed like that. neh?


there was an awkward moment when 3 of the girls came to visit him after the new year when they heard that he would be home alone. now, that episode was fun to watch (i can never understand how girls can get worked up over a guy’s bedroom and cooking!).


it took Riku 19 episodes to finally realize how 2 of the girls really felt for him, too bad the one he obviously had feelings for was still giving him the cold shoulder (due to him being routinely interrupted by his friends when he tries to have a deep conversation with her). so, he was in conflict with himself and had to do some soul searching instead. thus, he sends a “call for time-out” sms to the fearful 2 girls in waiting.


it was only when Riku found out almost to the end of the series that he will be moving away with his parents that the 3 girls finally took it upon themselves to confess to him and wait for his answer on the last day. from a nobody to becoming the most popular guy in school, Riku had to break some hearts in the end and be brave enough to do a little confession himself…at least, before he leaves the school for good.

i realize a lot of my time back in high-school are wasted away doing nothing productive. sad to say, i find Malaysia’s education level lacking back then. why invest my time in studying nonsense (when it’s hardly ever applied in the real world) when i could have developed my social skills instead?

i could have been more popular. i could have made myself stand out more. i could have opted to being the class clown. i should have been more outspoken, challenging myself to be someone much much much better.

why should there be shyness instead of confidence? what is there to fear from failure? i can imagine taking myself out of the norm, going against the expected compliance of school rules and making a name of myself. it would have been fun to challenge the teachers more, to get to know my classmates more intimately, to build everlasting bonds with everyone. i want a fun school life. i want to be infectious. i want everyone to enjoy coming to school. wouldn’t that be ideal?

i think i would’ve liked to be the guy that organize events and school trips, to get the quiet and soft-spoken ones to speak up, to play matchmaker with friends. if i realized it sooner, i would’ve gone to a mixed school instead. too bad i can’t go back to those times. a big regret.

well, i’m not saying my high school life didn’t have it’s share of dramas. i think i did pretty well actually, considering i was sorta a teacher’s pet (really due to having a number of auntie’s being teachers themselves – connection!), i did get along with form 6 girls (when i was in form 5, unfortunately at the expense of not knowing my peers as well as i should have) and developed my first relationship (which lasted 2 years *sniff*) then. i could say i was really an individual, the odd one out – for a time. BUT, the experience could’ve have been different on a whole bigger scale. i’m just not satisfied for having not being a better me.

well, at least i’m enjoying myself now. doing what i like, realizing that i can never come back to this moment again. that’s important is it not? to really find a compromise to what you immerse yourself with in your day to day activities, with no regrets to look back on.

however much i miss high school life, i pray i will come out of my shell and not fumble up the precious time i have now. there’s no way of going back, i wish there was, thought.


Kanon is a remake of the anime of the same name in 2002, dubbed 2006. a few differences to the two is that the first ran with 13 episodes while the second had 24 episodes. also, the characters all got a face lift, giving them a much more kawaii look.


this is the story of Aizawa Yuuichi, a 17 year old high school student who returns back to his home town with little to no memory of what happened 7 years before. as the story unfolds and pieces of Yuuichi’s memory is revealed, we realize that a significant lot had happened before the day he left.


one of the first thing i enjoyed about this show is the leading main character, Aizawa Yuuichi. unlike most romantic/comedy animes, the male character here is very outspoken and funny, a big reason why any anime girls would love him. that, and he’s pretty kind hearted as well.


then, there are the girls. most of them have some sort of childhood story that bonds them with Yuuichi, but unlike anything you would expect. there’s really no big shocking scenes of violence, girl fights, or even tragic death here, but expect a beautifully choreographed story of promises made, kept and remembered.


Ayu Tsukimiya is one of the main female characters with her adorable catch-phrase Uguu! which she mutters as an expression when caught in a pinch or lost for words. her’s is one of the final stories to be revealed to us at the end of the series.


Nayuki Minase is Yuuichi’s cousin, the first girl to be introduced to us upon Yuuichi’s return to his home town. she’s captain of the school’s female track team and a heavy sleeper. she is fond of animals and never misses an opportunity to pet one but unfortunately is allergic to cats.


we’re introduced to Makoto Sawatari as a girl who hates Yuuichi in the beginning, for reasons unbeknownst to herself as she is suffering from amnesia. Makato enjoys playing pranks on Yuuichi because of her strong dislike towards him. Yuuichi however, soon realize they shared a deeper bond in the past. Makoto’s story is pretty heart-warming to behold.


Shiori Misaka’s story is about a girl suffering from an illness and wanting nothing more than to experience the simple joys of life – namely spending time with friends and love ones. however, knowing her fatal affliction, her older sister refuses to acknowledge her existence. thus, Shiori avoids going to school, not wanting to hurt her sister anymore than necessary.


Mai Kawasumi is known as a quiet delinquent in school. but as Yuuichi soon realize, she is more than what she appears to be. Mai has very few friends due to her reputation, something that Yuuichi tries very hard to rectify.


there is so much to love about this anime. the subtle antics that goes on makes you want to laugh along with the characters and the sweet-pacing realization that you might be losing them makes you want to cry inside.


it took me 2 years to finally pick it up and watch it, and i wondered why i waited that long. i enjoyed the series from start to end. everything just fits into place nicely and i’m left with a feeling of happiness once the credits start rolling. truly a recommended watch.

*Myself, Yourself – Nanaka’s violin solo.

a knock at my door. my awakening.
eyes intensive red, signs of insufficient sleep.
it’s already past nine. something is not right.
expecting breakfast outing before the departure.

home was eerily quiet. everyone seems to be doing stuff.
a sense of uneasiness washes over me.
what has passed before nine? i can only speculate.
no point probing deeper. it will only provoke and hurt.

an old butcher’s knife lay outside by the porch.
somehow, experience tells me that is not a good sign.
i hide it inconspicuously. and i walked outside.
dad was mending the pavement.

in one simple gesture, the picture seems to fall into place.
in one simple act, the happiness is apparently shattered.

i realize it’s not about me. not this time anyway.
yet at the same time, it does involve me.
if not now, then perhaps another day.
and that is the truth of it.

i want to blame dad, but i’m sure he is hurting inside too.
i want to shout at mom, but she has her reasons.
i want to believe it’s you, but i think you understand.
i want to say it’s my fault, because i can’t be much better.

in a life where growing up meant not being outspoken.
the smallest issues lead to awkward silence, for days at time.
where the game we play, tend to hurt people around us.
and not just ourselves.

i have to keep telling myself to be strong.
that i have to be better. to break the expectations.
it is terribly hard. i succumb too easily to simple desires.
i guess life is but a game without a reset button.

these are things i can never say out, loud.
because i was raised that way. what an excuse.

today will be a long day for you and me.
it seems the morning has already ruin it.

i wanted to give you a hug before the departure.
to wish you well and not take it to heart.
to continue to do things your way.
as long as there are no regrets.

it’s not easy. but i promise to try harder.
and in ten years reap the rewards.
it would be all the more sweeter.
i can dream.

my head is reeling from the noon sun.
i want to seclude myself in the comforting coldness.
i want to immerse myself in another me.
a life i wish i could be. at least for today.

*Myself, Yourself, the violin tune by Nanaka from the anime of the same name is a poignant piece signifying the trials and tribulations the characters of the series went through and the culmination that takes place at their ending reunion.

bah. it’s 3 a.m. and i can’t seem to fall asleep. i’m on my last week of chinese new year holidays and i’m feeling restless. this whole week has been spent mostly on gaming and animes. i’ve soaked up so much knowledge on Japanese high schoolers slice of life that i’ve started to compare them with my school life experiences.

a part of me wished i had grown up in Japan. it would be much better if my local dialect was Japanese instead of Bahasa Malaysia. Ohaiyo~ sounds much cooler than Selamat Pagi anyway. i can imagine school life being really fun, with class field trips, school festivals – the kind where each class has to set up shop (usually a cosplay cafe or haunted house theme), going to hot springs, enjoying firework displays and girls in yukatas, sakura trees and bento lunches.

truth be told, my high school life was pretty ho-hum. i felt that i’ve missed out on some of the best experiences i could have back then. there’s always that if in the back of my mind. if i could turn back the clock, i would probably do things a lot differently knowing what i know now. if i was given a chance, i would have the grandest time ever. high school is definitely not just about studies and hanging out with friends.

why are animes so fascinating? how come Malaysia is not churning out it’s own brain-inducing cartoons that will capture the hearts of other countries? certainly we’re smart enough. storytelling wise we’re on par if not better. our culture itself is so rich, thanks to the multi-racial people we have here. i mean, where are the stories of lion-dances, hindu gods, and everything that is classified as haram by malays. i’m sure there is a story to be told there. just animate it with doe-eyed kawaii characters sporting colored hairdos.

with all the differing ethnic groups we have in Malaysia, it should have been us that came up with the unusual coloring of hairdos (red, green, blue, cyan!) for our cartoon characters. we should have developed anima, our very own Malaysian animation style. unfortunately, the only cartoon i can think of from us is Lat. did Lat ever had cartoons or were they just comics? not sure now. ugh…we suck.

i would if i could, i wish that i had. i would love to have done anima, if i could draw well enough (at least like StickGal). i wish that i’ve taken a serious interest in art and perhaps learn multimedia’s application in animation. i would probably be a master in Photoshopping and doing macromedia videos by now. if only.

getting back on track – i wish i had the opportunity to study in Japan. it would’ve been a life changing experience no doubt. why, even the short time-span i experienced doing my uni degree in Perth was emotionally eye-opening. again if. if i had known what i know now back then. boo. i’m just dwelling on a lot of what if’s at this moment.

no sense thinking about the past when i should be looking planning forward to the future. yet, i’m still not sleepy and pondering on. it’s almost 4 a.m. this makes it twice already this week. maybe i should start taking medication or something.


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disclaimer

u can regard everything here as fiction, or fanfiction (me being my own fan haha), or messed up ramblings from the deranged mind of a guy in his midlife crisis. whatever. comment as u see fit. the brainless ones go to /purgatory, not that i'm saying ur a zombie. then again seeing as i'm not getting much sleep lately, i probably am one. that said, u'll realise that u can't take legal action against a zombie. cause we've gots diplomatic immuniteh. rawr.

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