The Movie, “Dan in Real Life”

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‘Plan to be surprised.’

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Dan in Real Life

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I didn’t expect this movie to be any good at all when I picked it up among the other comedy drama movies that I decided to digest over the past couple of days. Yes, I am a movie junkie who just wanted to tune it for a simple laugh or some easy-going movie that doesn’t make you think much which is the point when you are trying to escape from all the brainstorming sessions for the dreaded research. Anyway, as I have said, I never did expect the movie to turn out to be any good and indeed, it was more than I expected. The simplicity of the movie was the catch. Yes, very predictable stuff but that’s the beauty about the movie. The following could be a spoiler so just ignore this if you have any plans to watch it.

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The American comedian, Steve Carell, played the lead role, Dan Burns, who is an advice columnist who is supposed to be an expert in relationships but somehow struggles to succeed as a brother, a son and a single parent. Throughout the whole movie, he was pathetic. The whole family even the little kids were teasing him, jeering him as if he’s like a nobody but though being treated so, he resisted it all until the day he met Marie, a “hottie” that is being played by the lovely actress, Juliette Binoche. Yes, obviously, he fell in love with her after 4 dreadful years being a widower. For a moment, he thought he wouldn’t find love anymore after losing his wife but somehow the lovestruck was beyond his control and in just merely 3 days, the love forced him to break many rules that he had been trying to abide to all these years for his 3 daughters’ sake.

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I really liked the last part, a voice-over in which Dan narrates his column to the readers, indicating that he was chosen by the newspaper media company to have his column nationally syndicated. It goes something like this, “Dear readers, for most of you, this is my first column in your paper. In the future, I will be answering your questions but today, I want to break from my usual format and talk to you about the subject of plans. Not so much my plan for this column, more like, life plans. How we all make them and how we hope our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we are really honest with ourselves, most of the time our plans don’t work out as we hoped. So, instead of asking our young people, “What are your plans ?”, “What do you plan to do with your life ?”, maybe we should tell them this. Plan to be surprised.”

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I have always been the boring type person who asks those silly questions to others about their future plans and had been judgmental when someone answers they don’t have anything particular in mind. And, of course, biased in many ways accordingly to my sets of values. I guess I am the type of person who gets weary about the idea of not planning. Plans are good, (since there’s the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”) I still believe but we must always remember there’s a possibility that certain plans may not turn out as how we hoped, the main message that this movie wanted to convey. Life is filled with randomness and we, human, tend to want to be in control all the time and definitely, it could be easier for ourselves to ‘plan to be surprised’. Anyway, there’s quite a few cute scenes especially the quarrels between Dan and his 2nd daughter, Cara, who’s in a rebellious teenage phase who’s deeply in love with a young boy. The keyword, “murderer of love”. *hehe* When you find time and want an easy-going movie like how I did, this could just be that movie.

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Lifehouse: You and Me

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Lifehouse: “You and Me”

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In Malay, I think this is what we refer as a “lagu jiwang“.

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What day is it? And in what month?
This clock never seemed so alive
I can’t keep up and I can’t back down
I’ve been losing so much time

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‘Cause it’s you and me and all of the people with nothing to do
Nothing to lose
And it’s you and me and all other people
And I don’t know why, I can’t keep my eyes off of you

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One of the things that I want to say just aren’t coming out right
I’m tripping on words
You’ve got my head spinning
I don’t know where to go from here

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‘Cause it’s you and me and all of the people with nothing to do
Nothing to prove
And it’s you and me and all other people
And I don’t know why, I can’t keep my eyes off of you

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There’s something about you now
I can’t quite figure out
Everything she does is beautiful
Everything she does is right

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‘Cause it’s you and me and all of the people with nothing to do
Nothing to lose
And it’s you and me and all other people
And I don’t know why, I can’t keep my eyes off of you
and me and all other people with nothing to do
Nothing to prove
And it’s you and me and all other people
And I don’t know why, I can’t keep my eyes off of you

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What day is it?
And in what month?
This clock never seemed so alive

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Dear Woman

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Dear Woman

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A sudden urge builds up in me
To simply scribble out these words
Words … yes, words prancing around in my mind
All about you, all the illustrative details about you

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The moment my eyes laid on you
Your existence played that song
The song I’ve been looking for, high and low
The song that satisfies everything … simply everything

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Every moment spent together was of distinctive meaning
You gleam before me, even from a distance away
The idea of being acquainted to you is enough to give me a sense of pride
A reminder of how much I’m fond of you

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What I was and what I am to your eyes
That is what I wonder
No, that is what I fear … out of choking
Each moment my mind enters the labyrinth that says your name

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“Time passes when you are not looking”
Those aren’t my words
But they hit the right notes
When my ears picked them up from a moving picture

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Have I scared you with the scale of my unfulfilled dreams?
Do I not portray what you have in mind as a partner in life?
Questions are all I have on where I stand
Answers, what I don’t possess, lies there in you

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Courage was what I had in the past
Courage is what I don’t in the present
Now, to even face you, I shiver shamefully
Timidness … nothing else compares to this invicible barrier I face

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To utter those pure, honest words … how much courage must I gather?
You moved on and on, my heart hurts as you do
I’m stuck, stalled as how you last seen me
Foolish, one may say … yes, I am a fool in love with you.

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It’s been a year …

Ah Ma, everyone’s fine

In remembrance of Tan Gey, 1st November 2007

Red Packet: The final gift from Ah Ma

Today, my sister reminded me through her e-mail (an e-mail to ask for my help to check her Japanese essay for the coming final term exams this week) that it has been a year since my grandma from Dad’s side had passed away. I recall vividly of the whole dramatic year I had in 2007 for certain parts of it still lingers around up to now. It started off with me not doing well with my final year project back in degree but I eventually got through it, somehow graduated and continued on with my masters. Before beginning my masters, I was having a tough time securing a scholarship to support my 2 years tuition fees and daily life expenses since my contract with the government scholarship had ended in March, 2007.

It was then when I got to know about Ah Ma’s situation. (That is how I call my grandma from Dad’s side) Pancreas cancer, final stage and the doctor confirmed that she would only last for about half a year for the cancerous cells are spreading rapidly to her other internal organs. I was shattered to know the fact that she’d be leaving us soon and since life wasn’t at the right beat that time, feeling helpless for I was miles away from Ah Ma here in Japan and filled with anxiety after being rejected by a few scholarship foundations, simply put I was not enjoying life at all. Again, somehow I persisted and the current scholarship foundation supporting me found me to be suitable to be one of their 26 scholars of the year which I am real thankful for without it, I guess I would’ve decided to quit masters and return home for good.

Well, soon after that, I decided to make a trip back home to visit Ah Ma, after a few times that I thought I could not see her anymore before she leaves us. She was being hospitalized when I was back home. The last thing she gave me was a red packet with a RM50 note in it. I understood and felt the love so much and I still keep the red packet in my wallet even right to now. While I was back home, many incidents happened which includes a serious brother fight between my youngest uncle and my Dad. I can’t help myself being all softy at that time, tears were running out of control and that is when my heart ached the most that despite being the eldest grandson of Ah Ma’s, I couldn’t do anything to make things better. I still feel the same up till now.

Anyway, I was reluctant to return to Japan but my stay back then was only for 10 days. I had to come back to Japan because I had another challenge that I had in my mind that needed to be solved as well because it was regarding my future; yes, the dreadful job hunting. Actually, at the same time, my grandparents from Mom’s side weren’t doing well too. Grandma with a bad heart and had a small heart-attack then, but she’s fine now. Grandpa had a mini stroke that had made him bed-ridden and he too left us last June this year. So, the trip home was to see my dear grandparents from both sides. On my flight back to Japan, I was devastated.

Well, to continue on with the story, Ah Ma left us for good on November 1st, 2007. No one can tell how hurt it felt to be here all alone, it did felt like the end of the world. The very next day, I went to a seminar of company with heavy legs and continued to put on a smile throughout the whole thing. I did informed the fact to the HR representative who was touched that I came after all. Anyway, this was one of the 3 job offers I got. On that weekend, I was scheduled for a Tohoku Trip and I was going to cancel it and find ways to go back home for Ah Ma’s funeral but everyone at home said it was okay. My good friends were kind enough to cheer me up and of course, we had a good time but my heart was thinking about home all the time.

After coming back from the trip, I stayed over at my good friends’ place for I really needed company and that is when I called home to ask about the funeral and to talk to everyone back home. After the call, I was so depressed that I had to just take it out. The two good friends were kind enough to comfort me and you know who you are and thanks. Overall, it was good friendship that has taken me through all the hardships. Friendship can sometimes provide more than what family can. Life’s always been challenging for myself as much as it has been a great one for me. It just makes feel that I should appreciate more of the people who are acquainted to me through blood or even through any type of relationship.

A message for Ah Ma

Ah Ma, it’s been a year already.
Life’s going on fine for me right now and
I must say for the rest of our Soh family as well.
it must be for all the prayers and blessings you’ve showered us with.

Visited Gong-gong this year, he’s healthy but of course, he misses you dearly.
Tina just got married and the rest of the cousins seem to be doing real good.
I’ve secured a job for myself already and trying to enjoy what’s left of my student life.

I still have your red packet and it always reminds me of you.
Love you and missing you, home in Muar was different without you
but I can hear you say, “Life must go on”.
Ah Ma, please continue to shower us with your love and blessings.

Your eldest grandson,
Ren-ren

P.S. That is how my family calls me by my Chinese name taken from the last character “仁” repeated.

Grandpa, don’t leave us yet …

Hear my prayers, Lord

This obvious physical change was definitely a sign …

I saw this coming. I’ve been telling people how tough it is to receive calls from home especially when the calls are to inform you about family getting sick or going away for good. It is really tough for you when you are miles away in a foreign land and you’ll always get that not being able to do anything feeling which really sucks. My sister rang me up a while ago to inform me that Grandpa’s been admitted to hospital, moreover, in the emergency ward. Am not sure whether it is the ICU or not, but what I know it is not good and according to the doctor, it could be life threatening. Aunties has rushed to the hospital and Mom is all worried with Grandma (maternal side) at my home waiting for somebody to fetch them over to the hospital to see him.

Meeting him this time during my trip back home, I was shocked to see how much he has changed. His face, his body and especially his legs were all so swollen and he’s turned into a total different person from the aspect of his looks. Knew then that he’s not in a good condition already but never to expect that I would receive such news after one week I am back here to Japan. Grandpa is diabetic and he had a mini stroke last year which made him could not walk another step anymore but only to stay in bed or use the wheel chair when traveling. He was real thin last year when I went back to visit my belated grandma who passed away of cancer last November. May she rest in peace. It is tough enough to lose my grandma (paternal side) lately and I don’t want to lose you grandpa (maternal side). I really hope you’ll get better soon and I will make sure your kids have a thorough check up on your condition and we’ll do our best to make you feel better, grandpa. Just hang in there, please.

Hear me, Grandpa

Grandpa, I know you are going through rough sea now

but don’t you dare leave us now, fisherman.

I’m proud to know how good a fisherman you were on the sea,

on how hard you strife to support your big family and indeed,

you’ve done a great wonderful job and you will get through this rough sea once again.

Stay strong, my dear grandpa, for you deserve more than what you’re receiving now

for all the great things you’ve brought to our family.

Love you and stay strong though I can’t be by your side now.

Here in my home

Here in my home

Lyrics: Here in my home

Hold on brother hold on
The road is long. We’re on stony ground
But I’m strong. You ain’t heavy

Oh there’s a misspoken truth that lies
Colors don’t bind, oh no.
What do they know? They speak falsely.

Chorus:
Here in my home
I’ll tell you what its all about
There’s just one hope here in my heart
One Love undivided
That’s what it’s all about
Please won’t you fall in one by one by one [with me]?

Push back sister won’t you push back?
Love won’t wait. Just keep pushing on.
Yes I’m strong. You ain’t heavy.

Oh don’t you worry about that…
What we have the shadows can’t deny
Don’t you know it’s now or never?

Colors don’t bind, oh no.

Rap:
[Malay: TRANSLATED]

Years of fears and years of tribulation
The heart keeps searching for that endless devotion

[Chinese: TRANSLATED]
Hand in hand we’ll march like blood brothers
I speak for my people hope we’ll find peace forever

[Tamil: TRANSLATED]
May the road ahead quench my thirst for success
May the road behind echo a song of the blessed

[English]
So I will let it be known yes I feel it in my bones
No matter where I roam this is home sweet home
Sing!

– Words & Music by Pete Teo featuring rap by KLG Sqwad &
Altimet. copr Redbag Music 2008. All Rights Reserved –

A song that every citizen of Malaysia should support. Just got to know about this project from my junior Calvin’s blog and it gave me the shivers when I listened to the song created by the talented artistes we have back home. It is true that finally it lies in the hands of us, the “rakyat”, to decide what we can do for our motherland, a place where we call home. Fellow Malaysians, enjoy it and help to spread the word, the message of love for the unity of our people. The song and the video clip “Here in my home” is available here for download and visit the website to know more about the project.

Utada Hikaru: Prisoner of Love

Prisoner of Love

A snippet shot from her promotion video for this song

The promotion video from her latest released single

I’m a prisoner of love
Prisoner of love
Just a prisoner of love
I’m just a prisoner of love
A prisoner of love

平気な顔で嘘をついて
笑って 嫌気がさして
楽ばかりしようとしていた

ないものねだりブルース
皆安らぎを求めている
満ち足りてるのに奪い合う
愛の影を追っている

退屈な毎日が急に輝きだした
あなたが現れたあの日から
孤独でも辛くても平気だと思えた
I’m just a prisoner of love
Just a prisoner of love

病める時も健やかなる時も
嵐の日も晴れの日も共に歩もう

I’m gonna tell you the truth
人知れず辛い道を選ぶ
私を応援してくれる
あなただけを友と呼ぶ

強がりや欲張りが無意味になりました
あなたに愛されたあの日から
自由でもヨユウでも一人じゃ虚しいわ
I’m just a prisoner of love
Just a prisoner of love

Oh もう少しだよ
Don’t you give up
Oh 見捨てない 絶対に

残酷な現実が二人を引き裂けば
より一層強く惹かれ合う
いくらでもいくらでも頑張れる気がした
I’m just a prisoner of love
Just a prisoner of love

ありふれた日常が急に輝きだした
心を奪われたあの日から
孤独でも辛くても平気だと思えた
I’m just a prisoner of love
Just a prisoner of love

Stay with me, stay with me
My baby, say you love me
Stay with me, stay with me
一人にさせない

Drama “Last Friends”, on heavy topics like DV and GID

The song “Prisoner of Love” is currently the theme song for a new drama entitled “Last Friends” as you can see from the video above. Saw Hikki’s performance on SMAP x SMAP on TV today and she was singing this song and totally loved it. Will definitely get my hands on the single CD which is going to come along with a DVD (out in May). You can see the preview of the promotion video at her homepage right now. Love your song, Hikki ! Check the song out on my Music Box ! Anyway, I’ve just watched the 1st episode of “Last Friends” and it was definitely a good drama. A drama with heavy social topics like domestic violence (DV) and gender identity disorder (GID). Looking forward to the next episode very much and the song truly suited the drama very, very much. For those of you in Japan, be sure to check it out on Fuji Television, every Thursday 10 pm.