Sunday, September 6, 2015


It wasn't too long ago when I realised that I had developed a habit. The habit of not finishing something I started. Now, this doesn't really apply to all areas of my life. If it did, I'd probably lose my job by now. No, this relates to other things I had done, be it small or something a little more important.

For example, films. There are many films I'm unable to procure on DVD on this side of the planet, so Youtube becomes a solution somewhat. So I manage to find some of the films I'd been looking for on Youtube. I start watching but somehow I am never able to find the time to finish it. Either something important comes up or I just get too lazy to make the time to finish it. Then I try to find time to do it later but it just keeps getting delayed.

There was something else I tried to do but never finish: learn Mandarin. Due to my job I don't think I'll ever find the time for night classes or things like that, so I thought I could just learn myself and practise. So I went online, found a site and started learning the steps and words. I even printed some of the stuff for future studying, but haven't followed up on it. Considering I'm a banana (i.e. Chinese that doesn't speak Chinese), learning Mandarin would go a long way in helping me communicate with people. And yet, I dragged my feet on this too.

It kinda makes me wonder if I have a problem with how my life turned out. I know, I'm a sucker for looking over my shoulder and it's a bad thing. But when I look back, I know I should have done so many things I didn't do. Like choosing the right course to pursue after graduation. Like telling a certain girl how I felt about her. Like being more assertive in many things I'm not good at. Heck, I haven't even properly learnt how to look at people in the eye when speaking to them. I guess I just wasn't much of a risk taker. I played it too safe. And there's also my habit of sticking to routine. I can't forget that.

So what can I do? Guess the only thing I can do is try harder. An old friend once told me it's never too late to do something, and maybe it's time I took her advice. I don't know how much I can do at this stage of my life, but perhaps all it takes is persistence and starting with a few baby steps. I'll start with the Mandarin.   

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The First Of Many

As you can see, it's been a year since my last post. I wanted to keep this place alive as best I can, but every time I came up with an idea, I'd spend too much time playing around with it in my head until something more important to do came up, and I would abandon the idea altogether. It happened so often that so much time has passed.

The thing is, times have changed. I had quite a handful of readers when I first started out. Not enough to be called popular, but enough to know someone cared to know what I was thinking. Now, most of these people have left the blogging world completely. They have moved on to bigger things, pursuing what they perceive to be more important, or just wanting to leave their past behind. The problem is, everyone else changed, but I didn't.

I am pretty much the same person now as I was when I started blogging, save for the fact I added two more blogs to FR to address my passion for film watching. I'm still the same guy who ponders too much about the things that shouldn't matter while peering oh so often into the past, when he should know very well that it's the wrong thing to do. Perhaps in the last few years, I'm just not too keen on talking about myself anymore.

Well, I'm hoping to change that now.

The truth is, there's always a lot going on in my life, but I don't really know how to talk about it, or I do my best to fool myself into thinking that my resistance to change meant that everything is still the same and I just carry on day by day, only being concerned about the next day and so forth. That last part about me is true, because I've been through enough shit to know that planning for the future is just not for me. I've got enough to think about as far as figuring out what to do the next day or week is concerned, so I leave it at that and deal with each matter every day as it comes. Makes it easier.

But keeping all my thoughts in and pretending I'm happy with the world, while occasionally giving Facebook status updates on my business and well being isn't really healthy or progressive either. There has to be more. I'd like to think there's still someone out there who might take a minute or two to come back here and see if I'm okay. Or just catch up with what I'm up to, or what's bugging me lately. Or whatever.

Considering the fact that I'm still not that good a writer (don't let the fact that I have three blogs fool you), I don't know how often I'll be in here, how well I'll write, how much I'll say to you or even what I'm gonna talk about. But I do know that I want to start sharing again, even if there is only one person I know who may come in here to see what it is.

So let this entry be the first of many to come, hopefully. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Guide On How To Write A Movie Review

First, a disclaimer: I don't perceive myself to be the grand master of writing movie reviews, so you shouldn't consider me as such. But I've written quite a number of them, and though I don't feel like I'm the best writer out there, I certainly think I'm better than some people I've come across online. (And a lot of them are simply bad writers)

With that in mind, I've come up with some tips on how to properly write a review on a film you've watched. It's just a list of stuff, I'm not going to tell you how to structure your little opinion, but I will tell you what to do or not to do, and some things you'll need.

1. Have a good command of the language you're using
If you're going to write in English, then you better damn well have good command of it. I don't expect you to write like a professor, but you should have good grammar at least. I've come across reviews that were obviously written by people who don't speak English in their everyday lives. I don't mean to pigeonhole or be a racist or anything, but some of these people are usually referred to as 'Ah Beng' or 'Ah Lian' based on their grammar skills. If THAT'S how you're going to write, better for you to write in your mother tongue. (I know your teacher probably told you that practising your writing will help you improve, but if you're going to put your writing on display to the public, best not to do so)

2. Don't post so many pictures
Many online reviewers like to post pictures of the films in between paragraphs of their article. Two things: One, these pictures were most likely already posted by the film's marketing team earlier, so you're just showing what most of your readers have already seen. Two, your pictures are just making your article seem longer, and if your article isn't that long to begin with, it's going to look obvious that you're not that good a writer. Stick to two pictures per writing, and not more.

3. Use your own words
A lot of reviewers start their article with a synopsis i.e. a description of the film's plot in a nutshell. Most of these reviewers just copy it from the film's website or from Imdb. Again, two things: One, not using your own words makes you unoriginal and lacking creativity. Two, it makes you look lazy.

4. Don't post the film's trailer in your article
You know what's the best thing about the internet? You can find anything. Using Google and Youtube, anyone can find a trailer about any film they want to know about. So why do it for them? Again, this is yet another attempt to make your article look longer than it really is.

5. Be honest
This is quite hard to do actually. Even I had problems with this for the first few years I wrote reviews. There were times when I didn't have the heart to say that I was disappointed in a film I had high expectations for. Over the years, I got better and now I'm less afraid to speak my mind in my writings. Bottom line is, don't be afraid to say what you think.

6. Keep it real
Using humor to make your review more interesting is okay. A funny review is better than a boring one. But tone down the jokes. I've seen people make Instagrams and memes to make fun of the film they're talking about, and to me, that's too much. Even if you don't like the film, you should have some respect for it. Throwing a joke or two by referencing pop culture is fine, just don't overdo it.

7. Get your facts right
Somewhere along the way, you'll want to reference information in talking about your movie. It's vital that you get your facts straight. Make sure you know them and state them correctly, if you're uncertain, look it up. Imdb and Wikipedia are good sources of information to go to.

8. Use a rating system
This is arguably the best way to tell your readers if a movie is good or bad. It will also be useful for certain lazy people who don't want to read your supposedly lengthy article. Either use a 5 star rating or a 10 star rating to tell them where you stand.

9. No useless information please
There was this guy who posted his review on Facebook, in a movie review group no less. I read it, and it turned out to be a personal blog entry on how he spent his day, from how he met his friends and decided to go watch that movie, to meeting a girl along the way etc. And when he finally got to the part where he had to talk about the movie, he gave two sentences and a rating. And that was it. Aaaannnnnnnnddddddd this guy wants to post this to a movie review group's wall? Seriously? I bet you can tell that I don't give a damn about his extracurricular activities, and he just wasted my time. Guys, please stick to the point at all times.

10. Don't be biased
As far as possible, don't walk into a film with a pre-decided opinion on its quality due to who's directing or starring in it, or what genre the film is. If you do, you probably won't give it a fair shake. This is why I usually stay away from films that I know deep down I won't enjoy. Over the years I've developed a way to be as fair as possible to all films I watch, even if it was bad. This is reflected by my ratings, which is rarely extremely leaning in one direction.

Lastly, a piece of advice. Something every reviewer must have. Passion. All writers must have passion in their work, no matter what their subject is. So you, as a reviewer, must have passion to do what you do. I know what it's like to not want to write my opinion on a movie even when I have it in my head. It's the timing, or the mood, or something else. I have missed out on a handful of opinions in the past, something which I intend to get back to and write about at some point. The point is, if you have the will and passion to put your opinion out there, then do it. If you don't think you can do this over and over again, then don't do it.

And that's about all I can share. I'll still say I'm no expert, so don't take my words as law. But this is what I think you should do, and if you do it right, you'll be great in my book. Or better perhaps. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Noticing Things

As far as this year is concerned, I've noticed certain things about stuff. Stuff I do, observe, experience, or even stuff that has no real relation to me. You can call it stuff to put on a blog for all I care, but here goes:

1. My computer always slows down on Saturday night. It has a habit of slowing down a lot, but Saturday night is when it's at its worst. It probably has something to do with my anti-virus program and their update or scan settings. I have tried adjusting them before, but it's still like that. It's annoying to have your computer slow down so much you can't even click on something without having it stall.

2. I work better with music on. This is especially true when the task is simple but time consuming, like keying in entries on a computer. If there's one thing that can make tasks like that more difficult for me, it's noisy people, and it can get like that at the office. So one day, I put on my earphones, plugged it into my phone and played the tracks on it. I ended up finishing my work twice as fast than in the past when I didn't have music on.

3. I get nervous before going on vacation. Vacations should be relaxing, but I somehow always come close to losing my mind before it's time to go. Well, I usually hate the travelling part and going somewhere takes me out of my comfort zone i.e. familiarity. But I'm happy to report that my last vacation was good, and I usually am calmer by the time the vacation's over. (Note to self: never go to an island known for scuba diving because you can't swim)

4. Lots of people smoke in the morning. Why is that? I don't know, really. Why would people think about lighting up just hours after waking up? It's stupid. And where I work, and yeah, even live, every other person is a smoker. It still baffles me, why people are so eager to kill themselves and others around them.

5. People still bring kids to the cinema. And I mean kids who are too young to understand what's happening on screen. I mean, if your child still sits in a pram, do you really think it's a good idea to take him to watch a Spider-Man movie? Of course not. So when your kid starts crying over and over, take him/her outside and don't bring him back in. Ever.

6. People you thought you knew well don't really like you as much as you figured. I learned this one this week. But it's no big deal, I probably wouldn't have been excited about meeting this person anyway. But then, I kinda thought this person was cool with me. Guess not. 

That's all for now. I've got another list planned soon. Probably bigger than this.