Sunday, 29 August 2010

To all you ignorant HK people, wake up.

You can never imagine such a thing could happen to you. You think it only happens in the movies. You see it in the news and you go, oh my God, then you change the channel to something less sad. But when it happens to you, paralysis sets in quick, your heart stops and your mouth is wide open in disbelief. You just can't believe what you are seeing on the television screen. The feeling spectrum runs its gamut in you; fear, sadness, anger, vengeance. You pray and pray that things will get better. Then the rescue mission commences and you freeze in your tracks. Oh God, please save them, please.

The dust settles. Smoke is everywhere. Glass shards can be seen. When the smoke clears, you see a body lying on the ground. Lifeless. Police race towards the scene, frantic and hopeful. They quickly survey the scene, making sure that it is safe to board the vehicle. People can be seen standing up, then impatiently pushing each other to get off. Nations breathe a sigh of relief, the nightmare is over. Tears of joy run freely down reddened cheeks.

But not for you. You've just lost your loved one. Forever.

The recent tragic events of last week which occured in the Philippines has triggered an avalanche of critiques and whatnot, from the way the police handled the whole situation to how Jackie Chan is now a leper in his own country.

Yes, the Filipino police were inept. They made a lot of mistakes. This could have been prevented if only things were done properly. But this is hindsight talking and it is extremely easy to sit behind a computer typing out things like, "They should have done this. Wait, they should have done that." But to vilify and denigrate an entire nation is beyond absurd. It is embarrassing and morally wrong.

Before any of you start to conjure up ways up of disemboweling my already bloated stomach, hear this: I can't fathom what the family of the victims went through. I can only imagine and even then I would have barely skimmed the surface of your grief. However, wanting to cause harm upon innocent Filipinos for this tragedy will not bring back the dead. You are besmirching their legacy by pointing your accusatory finger when you should honour their deaths by cherishing the times they were alive.This could have happened to any a nation's people. It just so happened to be a bus full of Hong Kong tourists who came to the Philippines to have a great time yet found disaster. Do you, HK person, would give a shit if it happened to a, say, Japanese?

My sincerest condolences go out to the families who lost their kin. May they rest in peace.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. I support you Jackie Chan even if your movies have been crappy lately. 

Sunday, 22 August 2010

When you pick up a can of tuna, spare a thought to the British girl who cleaned it.

Grocery shopping is an art.

And like art, sometimes it looks like a beautiful sunset on a beautiful mountain with a beautiful significant other. Or it could look like Sarah Jessica Parker. Some people take ages thinking and slow picking the stuff they need yet end up with nothing at all. There are some who go in, know which shelves hold their fave items, take what's needed, pay and head home. Others pore over every nutritional fact of a product (that would be me) but will take the cheaper yet nutritionally suspicious alternative because it is, well, cheaper. But how many of you actually care about the product you choose to purchase, for yourself, to feed your family? Care in the sense of where it came from, how it was produced, how did it get to the supermarket. Do you take the time to research on the things you need from there?

Most of you couldn't care less even if you cared at all. And I'm just as culpable.

There's a show called Blood, Sweat and Takeaways that was shown on the Asian Food Channel not too long ago. It followed the lives of six British young 'uns who traded their comfy cushions for damp cold floor. The whole premise was simple, take six Brits with diverse backgrounds, dump them in the unsavoury areas of South-East Asia, make them go through what the locals go through just to survive and hopefully when they get back they'll be able to tell the difference between an Indonesian and a Thai. Never seen dead fish before? Here's one, go and gut it. In 5 seconds. How about decapitating prawns (shrimps for you Yanks out there)? Decapitate 100 of the little blighters in 5 minutes, don't talk while you're at it. All for a daily pay that is enough for no one let alone a family of 6.

The six have different personalities since having all six with the same characteristics would just be ennui. There's farmer boy who dives into any work with nary a complaint. Killing a chicken was as easy as lifting mud cakes weighing 20kgs. Did you say brunette? Yes, there's one. I don't remember what she does. There's the token Asian who's forgotten his roots and loves fried chicken. The necessary blonde in the show is atypical of her upbringing; that of a snooty princess who eats more processed food than my family does in a year. What's a show without a kind-hearted portly fellow who complains about complaints yet does his darndest best. Lastly, the participant that wants to change the world whilst wearing a thin blouse. Of course, there'll be one that feels the need to change the world and she'll do it. Believe me, she will and she'll make you believe in wanting to do better for the people who put rice on your plate.

Their mission was to live with the locals, do the work they do, get paid at the end of the day and ruminate on what transpired. Conditions were appalling, destitute and saddening. You really feel for the locals, not the participants, because they'll get to back whereas the locals would have to carry on. Did I feel pity for the Brits? Nope. Why should I? Did I feel bad for them? Yes. Even I wouldn't want to do what they did. What this show has also highlighted is the sheer horrid conditions the people from this part of the world are in. No proper sanitation, abominable work conditions and the lack of birth control. 

The show also highlighted the plight of prostitutes in Thailand. Since the show wasn't called Blood, Sweat, Takeaways and HIV, it was a short segment yet profound in its message. Though, I'm not sure it the Brits back in the motherland would care. After all, it is them and their continental cousins who keep the flesh trade alive.

In the end, the six Brits came back with a new-found perspective on life. They all are actively campaigning to their mates that, hey, did you know that South-East Asia is not just Singapore? Guess what, all our fast food and packaged stuff are from there! I commend them for wanting to help change the mindset of their fellows.

Unfortunately, the show didn't convert me to be another crusader. But that doesn't mean I'll piss on some poor person's luck whose job was to help me have my fried cod. That's how life is. If someone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth you'll think of them as spoilt and undeserving. If someone came from some afar village and has a small room to call home you will pity them till the cows come home (not likely since the cows would have been slaughtered for burgers). Life's not fair. People at the bottom of the food chain are an important part of everyone's life. I sound harsh, right? Holier than thou complex going on as well, yes? Well, that's how it is, bub. Again, life is not fair. Somebody has to get things done.

Just count your blessings that it isn't you.  

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. I would have made an awful participant. I'm sure of it.

Monday, 16 August 2010

We are all Expendable.

Ever get the feeling that you're just another fish in the sea? Ever felt like that the work you do every single day is only appreciated by you? Ever experienced the sensation where your mouth is going sideways and you start to sound like Sylvester Stallone?

Scrap the last one. The first two are felt by most sitting behind a computer, work 10-hour days and eat fried food of the unsavoury kind during tea-time. I've always maintained that it is the little people make a company. Without us, higher management and other ass-lickers would not be able to sign off on lucrative bonuses for themselves. But they're the same as us little people, expendable. This brilliantly segues into the next paragraph.

The Expendables is a throwback to a time where the action was bigger than Mexico and it reigned supreme above all. The action heroes had improbable physiques and had monikers only a B-movie actor would have. The women were eye candy and of the variety where they will kick a baddie in the balls in lace nighties that have slits up to their cheeks. The storyline goes from point A-to-Z by skipping the rest of the alphabets. The script is limited to snarls and one-liners that sound cool but leaves you thinking wtf did I just hear? after you've left the cinema. Its attempt at highlighting the exploitation of South America was feeble and one doesn't require a PhD in physics to understand (you don't even need a high school diploma even, just basic kindergarten will suffice). The exploited General was nothing more than a puppet in the grand scheme things devised by a devious American (who else?) that only Eric Roberts could play it without looking like a fool.

But we all knew that.  

I grew up on the 80's and 90's, man. Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, and all the guys in the movie were my action heroes (except for Jet Li, I'm more of a Jackie Chan fanboy). Whenever I think of big guns, bigger explosions and smarmy one-liners I think of these guys. The new generation can only name wimpy punks like Taylor Lautner and other children as they're action heroes. Just like Stallone and his ragtag team of golden oldies, we are all expendable. So let's just throw caution to the wind and let it burn. 

I love the movie.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. Darn, Stallone still looks solid at 64. 

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Happy 1st. :)

Happy 1st Anniversary to the greatest girl on the planet. And some other planets.

You have given me a renewed reason in wanting to be the best man I can be. Thank you for everything you have done. I will do the same for you.

Sincerely yours till the end of time. I love you.

This is Chris, signing off. 

PS: This was not sponsored by Hallmark.