Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

The Cusp...

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Partying with the "boys" and Ka Cheh... ;-)

It's been an eventful year!

We've been on TV. The biz is trundling along, and we think the time has finally come to give it a bit of a push. Yes, that word...expansion.

God has been very kind to us and although some people might say we're lucky, we prefer to think of ourselves as being blessed in more ways than we could ever have imagined.

I don't necessarily believe in coincidences. I do believe that when there is guidance from the divine and you choose to listen to that guidance, the path does become easier. And signposts appear in all sorts of forms to tell you that "this is the path you need to be on at this point in time."

So, blessings to all as father time marches out of 2005 and get's reborn into 2006. To all my friends and family, thank you for your love and support that you have extended to both of us.

Allan and I wish you all the joy, love, peace, happiness and prosperity that you think you can handle AND MORE! I hope that your cup overflows.

Russell Watson

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Went to a Master Class conducted by Russell Watson yesterday with Jeremy and Mimi. Met with him and he seems a very nice and personable chap. Someone you could have a beer with.

He was very very nice and encouraging with regard to all the singers. Some of them were very good but we, and I think Cindy would have preferred more critique.

In any case, it was very inspiring and makes me want to rehearse more. ;-)

There once was a guy named Chris (Yes, Martens, this is about you!)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

There once was a guy named Chris
Who was very much given to diss
He disappeared to Tuck
To earn more of the bucks
And now has gone amiss

Continued here

The Girl From Ipoh

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

I feel like such a culture vulture.

First, Jose Carreras on Tuesday, then The Song Company on Saturday, and tonight, "The Girl From Ipoh."

The Song Company was polished, fun, a tight blend, and something that The Wicked Pitches aspire to be. Enough Said.

The Girl From Ipoh, directed by Low Ngai Yuen, starring Carmen Soo, Lee Swee Keong, Tony Eusoff, Season Chee, and the girls of LIT.

Ostensibly a story of about being Chinese and the crossover from the traditional to the modern and how both are still clashing in Malaysia. Loved it.

One could nitpick and say that some of the harmonies could be lusher and tighter but basically, the girls and Ngai Yuen stick to what they do best. Simple 1,3,5 stacked harmonies with a backbeat, LIT made the story into simple but effective Musical Theatre. They have improved tremendously and their blend is far tighter than when Allan and I saw them a couple of years ago.

Special mention needs to be mentioned of Lee Swee Keong who was powerful as Carmen Soo's Dad. Carmen was perfect in the role of chinese challenged banana. And Season Chee...I'm not certain if he has performed before but he played the role with some panache and daring. Especially the condom scene. Tony Eusoff and his usual ebullient characterisation was a treat to watch.

All in all, a very entertaining show and it was obvious that the producers had the audience in mind when they did this! More please!

Jose Carreras in Concert

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy



I was not about to pay a minimum of RM280 to sit in the Gods to watch Jose Carreras sing.

I felt the ticket prices were very expensive and something I did not value enough to plonk for.

Then on Sunday, I get this message from a very good friend that she had scored 2 extra tickets for the concert on Tuesday night. Would we like to go? And oh yes...they're complimentary.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance. Its one thing to pay RM280 but another entirely to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Allan and I donned our suits and made our way to the venue and met up with our friends.

Jose was in fine voice and yes, you could nit pick and say that he's past his prime, but all in all, I felt that his technique was as good as ever and I learnt a lot just from watching him.

I even got to shake his hand and get his autograph. Fabulous.

All in all, a very fun and fine evening.

Did I mention we also had champagne at a post concert party?

Hellomoto

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Hellomoto!

After 4 years of faithful service, my Nokia 5210 is being given a well deserved break. It’s still in good working order (more than can be said of Allan’s new Nokia which pretty much started giving trouble on the 3rd day of use) but I felt that a change would be nice. Brought on of course, by the fact that Allan had to get a new phone because HIS 4 year old Nokia 3310 decided to call it quits.

So after a bit of shopping, I plonked for a Motorola E398 with as many bells and whistles as anyone could hope for. At a price which definitely represents better value than the 2nd Nokia that Allan bought in as many weeks. I also decided to go with a Bluetooth earpiece for those pesky times when I have to avoid being seen talking on the phone…like when I’m driving. ;-)

I used to try and hide the phone and make it look like I was resting my head in my hands when I was driving around. I’m not certain how successful I was in actually duping the cops but I must say that I haven’t been stopped for chatting on the phone while driving for some time.

Here’s a pic of it;



Critique, review and personal happiness

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

It’s amazing how most people look at life.

It’s almost like our happiness is predicated on someone else’s actions. If someone says or does something wrong (wrong in our eyes) we feel unhappy/cheated/hurt/disappointed etc.

Why is this?

I mean, we all subscribe to the notion that we are individuals in charge of our own destiny (by the grace of God). So why is it that we ALLOW other people to have this power over us?

For example, I wrote the critique/review of “Pygmalion.” (See post dated 23 Oct 2005).

I also posted it on Kakiseni (http:/www.kakiseni.com) under my own name of course. I feel that the opinion is pretty much worthless if you don’t back it up with your own name. That of course, is a whole other issue.

Anyways, the “review” got a stinging reply from someone by the given name of “NUMS.” To all intents and purposes he/she sounded very defensive and hurt.

The question is, why did they allow me (a solitary audience member who feels that if I sit in that seat that I have the right  of comment) to get to them like that. They sounded like they took it very personally and that meant they must have been close to the play/musical somehow.

In any case, I need to do what I feel is right (according to my conscience) and them feeling defensive or taking it personally is not going to stop me from saying my piece. I feel I phrased the review very politely and civilly. In a very balanced manner. But yet, he/she took offence. And he/she will probably continue doing so.

He/she MUST realise that they cannot stop people having their own opinion so why even waste energy by taking it personally and being defensive against something that is inevitable. People will have their own thoughts and comments.

I agree people should learn to phrase reviews nicely because at the end of the day, bitchy and caustic reviews do not pass on the message that they espouse. People’s defensive walls come up and that’s it! But on the other side, people need to learn how accept critique which is uncomfortable as well.

Otherwise how do we improve as people or as performers?

Pygmalion - After

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

George Bernard Shaw meets Phua Chu Kang.

But with none of the soul of either.

I have friends in this production. But I have decided that I need to be honest and compassionate with how I review this. As I am going to do from now on for any show I write about here. I have no wish to offend. However, I feel if I, as an audience member do not speak up about what I might not like, then I should just shut up and not say anything at all rather than bitch off the record.

I tried to go into this production with an open mind. However, I feel that when a writer chooses to rewrite or to base his play/musical on such a famous subject, it is going to be inevitable that comparisons are drawn. I will try and steer away from that as I don't feel it's fair to do so. But being human, I have "My Fair Lady" and the book "Pygmalion" in my mind.

This rewrite of a much beloved musical opened promisingly enough. The audience were greeted by the flower girls in the theatre itself. The costumes were pleasingly eccentric and added a new dimension to what is, arguably, one of the most famous plays/musicals in the world.

Michelle Quah is possessed of a beautiful voice and very good technique. On top of that, she is a fine performer. One who makes lemonade out of lemons. To a large extent, the music, while charitably passable, was at times, at odds with the tone and the lyrics of the entire show.

Harith and Indi. Fine performers. Fantastic comedians. Unfortunately, in this particular instance, lacking in chemistry. There was none of that casual bonhomie between Pickering and Higgins which made them such an unlikely pair. Instead, it was a stilted relationship. One which I, as an audience member, found hard to relate to.

The supporting cast supported with two notable standouts. Mrs Pearce (Sarah Shahrum) and Ms Eynsford-Hill (Elaine Pedley). Mrs Pearce was in this instance possessively exhibitionistic and sycophantic to the clueless Professor Higgins and Ms Eynsford-Hill, who was blessed with a voice only dogs and cheating husbands could hear, both did a refreshingly comic turn.

Besides Michelle and the chorus girls (who did a fine job) it was difficult to find anything to like about this version of George Bernard Shaw's play or for that matter, the musical.

The sets were well designed and the costumes bear another mention. The sound was, except for one or two glitches at the beginning, very good. The orchestration was workmanlike.

But here I must congratulate Llewelyn Marsh for the dual role he played. I know how tough it is to maintain a character throughout a show. But to do it while conducting as well is an achievement. I do hope that in the future, he will concentrate on one or the other because I feel it detracts from the best I know he can offer.

My greatest complaint however, was the wholesale venacularisation of this "Pygmalion." It was as if it went too far without going far enough. What immediately sprang to my notice was that the "manglish" used was of the variety that expats try and learn but come off sounding somewhat stilted. Which is comical in its own way. But absolutely annoying when you have to listen to it through half the play/musical. Insertion of Malay or Chinese words in various conversations which substituted directly for the meanings of the words came off sounding...odd.

The context, I can only suppose for artistic reasons, was not changed. So that the class war that is part of the original play felt strangely British but not quite. And Malaysian...but again, not quite. I don't feel that to change the language is sufficient to vernacularise a play. Like "Rent" which borrowed from "La Boheme" the context, needs to be revised.

All in all, it was a very brave effort. One which obviously took a lot of time and energy to put on. The performers are to be commended for their hard work. The polish of the production was evident. The performers themselves are seasoned professionals, and I believe, made the most of what they had to work with.

But I cannot in good conscience recommend that you view this. If you wish to support it as a means to further Malaysian theatre, then by all means, but please keep that in mind when you watch it. But if you want an afternoon or evening of enjoyment, then rent/buy the DVD with Audrey & Rex instead!

Pygmalion - Before

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Am going to watch Pygmalion tomorrow. I have a few friends who are in the play.

I've also read some of the reviews. While some were caustically anonymous, I felt that most of the reviews really seemed to have genuine critique in mind rather than just an exercise in being bitchy.

Having said that, I've always tried to be balanced about how I write my own reviews and this may have contributed to self-censorship of things which I felt may offend friends. I've wrestled with that in recent years and come to the conclusion that I should be upfront and honest, in a compassionate way, whether good or bad.

So...

Watch this space for a review. ;-)

Time Flies

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

2 months to Christmas.

There is much to report. Much to say. But not enough time or energy to say it in! ;-)

Watching the rain slant down from my office window is invigorating in its own way. Perpetual sunshine gets me irritable. I actually miss the 4 seasons. Watching leaves phase to gold and fall and even the cold of winter is...change. The one constant.

And of course someone with my span of attention needs visual stimulation of all sorts at some point.

Raya is literally round the corner and is shaping up to be a decent in terms of business though I believe there were missed opportunities. Must learn to write ideas down and implement for next year.

I'm quite happy about my life at present. When a man has health, a companion to share his life with, family, friends, and the ability to enjoy life without CHOOSING to worry too much, what more can you ask for.

Bali

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy



Surreal.

Don't get me wrong.

It's been a long time since I've had that much fun. Especially with Allan. When you work together and see each other 24/7 it can get trying at times.

But Bali was...reviving.

And then we heard about the bombs. Anger, frustration, sadness.

When we first heard about it, I remember joking about going back and this was the time to go and then when I got into the car I almost cried.

Needless to say, parents were worried, some frantic phone calls resulted in relieved "Thank Gods."

I have such mixed feelings at this point.

It was a wonderful holiday. Frankly, if I had the opportunity I would have stayed for another week.



Tulamben, as a dive site, was not as immediately stunning as Sipadan but it grew on you. The smaller creatures were absolutely amazing to behold. And nudibranch's everywhere, were getting it on...both ways. They're hemaphrodites!

Ubud - Tranquil, blessed by the Gods with a serenity, peace, and calm that is very rare in any place on this little blue ball of ours. Great shopping.

Seminyak - Friendly, peaceful, smiling, very loving and gentle people.

Bali as an island is large. Tulamben is all the way at the Eastern tip of the island while, Ubud is central and Seminyak and Kuta all the way to the south. There are 8 districts based, I'm told, on the old sultanates of Bali, all of which have a capital.

The people are beautiful, though maybe to my biased eyes, the women got the short end of the stick. The men were dusky, wide of mouth, sturdy of frame, and with soft dark brown eyes framed with long lashes which seemed sometimes more appropriate on the girls. But wherever you went, they always had a ready smile for you. Children smiled at you on beaches, hotel clerks, receptionists, were very quick to grin at you and essentially welcome you into their "home."

Allan and I are planning on returning and by the looks of things it won't be too long. Part of it is that we had a gorgeous time in that blessed isle but also just to show in our little way that these terrorists/maniacs cannot be feared. Because if you allow that to govern what you do, they've won!

Photos - http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/nigelskelchy/album?.dir=/b6e9

Significance & Merdeka

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Many years ago, about 20 in fact, I met a man by the name of Cecil T. (Name has been changed)

He was even at the time just somewhat younger than my grandfather. Well...actually he's at least 20 years younger than my Grandpa Ambrose but anyone older than Dad was...well, old!

If you met him today you'd never know that he was in his 80s. He doesn't look it.

In any case, through those 20 years I've known him and spoken to him as one would a friend. He's always been kind, solicitous, and has given me very gentle guidance as one would, if not a son, at least the son of a close friend.

He is now in his 80s and he still swims every day. He owns a fantastically successful PR firm and when I asked Dad what he used to do, he said "oh, he was with The Straits Times (as it was known then before it becames The NEW Straits Times.)"

What's the point of this entry, you might be asking at this time.

I just read today's newspaper, The NEW Straits Times. The Merdeka edition. Oh, did I mention it's Independence Day for Malaysia?

In it, in a supplemental section, I saw his name to an article. It was dated June 1966. And the characters mentioned in it were people who are legends and who have the capacity to be part of the mythology of my young country. People like our first Prime Minister, who, in that article, were discussing ways to end the communist threat and Indonesian confrontation - a war by any other name. Events which moulded and defined our country, much like the war of independence the Americans always go on about.

And my friend wrote that article.

He was there. He watched, listened, and recorded these events for posterity.

For the Americans, it would be like someone you knew watching George Washington or John Adams negotiating (or not,as you please) with the British.

I'm truly proud of my country. Not for all the rah-rah that they always put on at this time. But it's people like my friend who live lives of significance. And it's people like him who throw this into focus for me. I've always wondered what living a life of significance meant.

Now I know.

Penang for 2 nights & 3 days

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Lone Pine Hotel
Penang Bridge
My room and courtyard

Went to "The Pearl of the Orient" for a couple of days. Allan had toddled to Langkawi for a mini reunion with his classmates, so I decided to take the opportunity to go somewhere too. Loved being by myself for a bit. Read, lazed, gymed and lazed. Met up with a couple of friends, had dinner, nice chats, and a bottle of wine. ;-)

All in all, the holiday allowed me to think about how much I missed Allan and also how much I want to be with him. But it was a nice break from each other too. So might make this a tradition.

Garden Flowers

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Fatt Choy Tree (Prosperity Tree

Sunflowers

Lotus Lily

No idea what this is called

No idea what this is called


Some garden flowers at our place in Bangsar.

Haze update

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy




Haze update. These are 2 photos taken from our house looking out at Gasing Hill. Those condos are just over the hill from where we are. The first photo was taken 2 days ago. The second one, just this morning at about 10am.

Lifting on ban of Haze

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy




The photos above were taken during the day time on 2 different days obviously. But they were taken about 18 of my strides (approx 18m) from Just Heavenly. Basically I walked accross the street and took the pics.

The air smells smoky even within an air conditioned room. It's as if, ALL the neighbours up and down the street have taken to burning their rubbish in front of their houses at the same time. The smoke stings the eyes, burns the throat, and wearing some sort of a mask has become de rigeur fashion these last 2 days.

The amazing thing is, you drive around and you still see people smoking. Go figure! Just take deep breaths, that should calm your nerves shouldn't it? ;-)

As usual, we just have to sit tight and ride this out.

Our English dailies have both reported on the extent of the haze and in some places within the Klang Valley, the air is hazardous.

I'll say this though; the government has lifted an 8 year ban on the publishing of the figures of the Air Pollutant Index and that is definitely a plus. I feel that even if the info is bad, tell people, then the rumour mill doesn't go wild.

Singapore & Uncle's 70th birthday

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy





Took a trip down to Singapore at the end of July to celebrate my Uncle's 70th birthday. Had mucho fun with them.The cake A made was pretty much the hit of the party. It melded tradition and some tongue in cheek humour.

Managed to meet up with our "kids" a couple of times as well. Just in case anyone misunderstands, these boys have decided that A & I are their godpas and call us such. At some point in your life you will be faced with a situation where you realise "hey, I'm pretty much old enough to be someone's father" and come to be grateful that great boys like this want to acknowledge you as their friend and guide, so to speak. It's an honour, privilege and a responsibility I don't take lightly. I hope I can live up to the title.

Unfortunately the pic of JC and myself came up a cropper. Meaning I don't look good at all so I decided not to put it up. But the pic of JH and Da A look really nice. :-)

AC took us to this GREAT all you can eat sushi place as well. YUM! Not a bad price either. Had lots of fun with them that day!

Criticism and Malaysia

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

I have sometimes found it hard to adjust the way I say and do things to the "Asian" way.

I find that at times, when people disagree with something, they do not necessarily say so. They would far rather keep their own counsel and go off and do their own thing than offend you with their disagreement. You have to adjust and become rather adept at reading between the lines.

This of course, opens up all sorts of mischievous ways in which misunderstandings occur.

The flip side is that I am rather blunt in how I put things. So much so, that I feel that due to this inherent reticence they don't bother to tell me that they disagree with me and I go off on my own merry way thinking "great, the matter is solved and they actually came round to my way of thinking."

That brings me to Marina's article.

______________________________________________

MUSINGS by MARINA MAHATHIR (From The Star, Wednesday 1 June 2005)

Some people may recall a column of mine which gained some infamy because I
talked about how while Malaysians are misinterpreting what Malaysia Boleh means,
they are also not paying attention to what they tak boleh. I gave examples of
Malaysians running around trying to make the biggest this or the longest that,
none of which enhances anybody’s life, while at the same time ignoring the very
many things we cannot do, mostly think and speak.

Well, guess what? In the time since then (not that long ago), not only have
people stopped trying to paint the biggest batik sarong or sew the longest
selendang, which is a blessed relief, but the list of things that we cannot do
has expanded. Now we possibly cannot go to the movies with male relatives or
friends unless we put up with them sitting separately from us; we have to freeze
every time the call to prayer is heard; we can barely watch any live
entertainment at all; there are more and more states where some of us cannot get
married unless we submit to a test that we don’t understand and will bring us
any amount of grief. The list, as I said, is only getting longer.

What happened? Did we take our eyes off the ball for a second and someone
swatted it away? Or did we purposely choose to ignore what was happening, or
just chose not to say anything? We’ll pay dearly for it some day.

We have to be aware that the country which we love is changing, and not in a
good way. There are more and more un-elected people making policies in this
country, few of which are any good to most of us, and we are letting them do it.
Why then do we have elections every five years?

I recall that in the last elections, most of us chose a government that promised
us more tolerance, more openness and more freedom. We gave a clear mandate to
them to do all that they promised because we wanted to be able to express
ourselves more, have more opportunities in life, which necessitates more
openness and choices.

But we are not getting it. Or at least some of us are getting choked even more
while the rest of us are simply ignored. The lovely multiethnic, multicultural
Malaysia that is our pride and joy is simply crumbling because, and I have heard
some people openly say it, there are people who would like to make it
mono-ethnic, monocultural and mono-religious. That’s not the Malaysia I grew up
in, not the Malaysia I want my children to live in. Not the Malaysia I love.

What is next? Is there absolutely nothing that cannot be thought of entirely in
terms of religion, morals and sex? (As I’ve said before, people who are so
obsessed with sex can’t be getting much of it, or have too much of the wrong
kind. We should ask for public audits of politicians’ sex lives. That might
explain some of the idiocies). Next, we have to have separate compartments in
public transport facilities. Airlines will be obliged to have curtained off
separate seating for male and female passengers. Or there has to be male-only
and female-only buses and train carriages. (I can see them nodding in
agreement). Or how about Muslim-only and non-Muslim-only transport?
Since everyone likes to fuss about entertainment, what about sports? What about
football? With large crowds of people getting highly emotional about men in
shorts, surely this is cause for concern. How about making footballers wear
trackpants? How about banning women from going to watch football? But that would
mean all-male crowds that may also lead to bad things. How about banning
football altogether?

People may say I’m getting hysterical about this. But what’s the difference
between these examples and all those people who said that those who don’t
believe the state should interfere in our private lives are asking for people to
parade in bikinis in Parliament? (If you ask me, the mostly male MPs would love
it.) Why is it that only some people are allowed to make giant logistical leaps?
At least my leaps in logic are a lot more feasible.

Wake up everybody! If we don’t watch out, this country that we have given so
much to, and which has given us so much, will be gone. We have a democracy and
we have to hold on to it. Let’s stop allowing people we did not elect make the
rules that govern our lives.
_______________________________________

Monday with Paul Newman

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Monday blues have been banished!

And Monday afternoon with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in "A New Kind of Love."

Watching this movie reminds me of Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock. Paul and Brad both have this laid back easy sensuality that is the genuine article. You can't fake that sort of ease. The way they hold themselves, the way they walk, and the way they act is uncannily alike. There is not movie that Paul Newman is in that you don't know it's Paul Newman. Similarly with Brad Pitt.

And Joanne Woodward and Sandra Bullock? That same spunkiness. And the same elfin boyishness. Check it out!

Which reminds me...Tom Cruise reminds me of Rock Hudson. A shorter version. What think you?

Star Wars; Revenge of the Sith (SW;ROTS)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Star Wars; Revenge of the Sith Posted by Hello

Cheesy. Corny. Over the top. No character development. Bad acting. Clumsy script.

I have seen, read, and heard all these comments regarding SW;ROTS.

Loved it anyway, I did!

Precisely because it carried on the tradition of the Star Wars genre. It is a B movie script and acting garbed in A list movie production values.

Sratch that.

Quintuple A-list production values.

Visually, it is by far the most stunning film I have ever seen. Bar none. I’m sorry Legolas. But even your fleet of foot feat in Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring can’t take on the sheer virtuosity of the experience of SW; ROTS.

It is a movie made to be seen twice, thrice…ah what the heck, as many times as you can cram it into a day.

For that very reason, I felt overwhelmed when I left the cinema and found that I cannot remember much of it. You are so inundated with visual information in every scene that you need to suspend thought and channel the force just to process it all in one sitting.

George Lucas certainly does not like having his actors act a role if he could put words in their mouths instead. C3PO, after Anakin leaves Padme who’s looking distraught; “oh dear, I feel so helpless.” Really now! Or Anakin’s “if you’re not with me, you’re my enemy!” Really?!

Having said that, special kudos to Ian Mcdiarmid as the Emperor. No one on SW;ROTS rolls his ‘Rs’ more effectively or has such screen presence. Chilling!

Cool, detached, and practically devoid of emotion, Yoda was. But that fight scene…wow!


Ewan Posted by Hello

Ewan…how can you not love Ewan. Noble, flawed, not the strongest Jedi around, nor the wisest, but he played it with his usual nuanced elegance. I have a feeling that George reined in his acting instincts and got him to flatten out any 3 dimensionality that he might have invested in Obi-wan.

And Hayden…little Hayden has grown up. What a rippling torso you have… All the better to smother you with…oops, sorry, where was I?...oh yes. Acting. For all that he was supposed to be this indie film actor plucked from obscurity, there is still a very vague quality about his acting. He spent most of the time sulking. His expressions seemed to range from almost sulking to incredible sulk to pouting with intent to sulk!

And unfortunately, Natalie Portman’s Padme, who had more balls than most of the Jedi, throughout SW1 & 2, has had them surgically retracted back into her body and fed egregious amounts of oestrogen so that she plays the “Damsel In Distress” to the hilt.

Sam Jackson as Mace Windu. In a word. Cool! But then he’s Samuel Jackson.

Cliched. Corny. Call it what you will But SW;ROTS is in the best operatic tradition of extremes without the singing but with all the lush sets and conflicted emotional content. Love, lust, greed, anger moving to rage, crushing sadness, simpering ineffectual women, simpering effete men, caricatures of creatures, heroic larger than life heroes, the ideal man (complete with noble and regal bearing and obviously large penises – Go Ewan!), the ideal woman (complete with perky breasts).

Add towering sets to the mix, special effects which immerse you more fully than full body baptism, intricately choreographed fight cum dance scenes, light saber duels of monolithic proportions…nothing is left to chance or the imagination. It’s as if George Lucas intended to reach inside peoples heads, yank out their imagination, and translate that visually into film.

The rise and swell of John William’s score adds to that experience. The heroic but ominous march of Darth Vader, the fiendish deviousness of the Emperors score, the chaotic but heroic themes of the fledgling (say it with me) RrrreBelllion!

George Lucas has kept the faith and the force was with him!

Nathan Gunn - Opera gets fit

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Nathan Gunn 1 Posted by Hello

Woo hoo!

Opera truly gets fit with this man!

First Il Divo then Nathan Gunn. Check him out! There are even sound samples of his singing on that website.

What with people like Nathan Gunn, Juan Diego Florez, Opera is getting a bunch of hunks AND singers!


Nathan Gunn 2 Posted by Hello

Our very own Pin up

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


YKH Posted by Hello

On rereading the post about the Vatican Pinups I realised that we had a bona fide pinup who I never wrote about.

Our gorgeous friend YKH was entered into the Cleo Bachelors of the Year 2005 and he actually agreed to go through with it; something that we're proud of him for doing. YKH is the sort of guy any right minded girl would be happy to take home to Mum and Dad. Kind, generous, sincere, big-hearted, AND good looking, you couldn't ask for a better friend.

Sometimes I just don't understand women. A real gem like this on the market and then you get all sorts of girls going "aiyo, no guys in KL lah. All so Ah beng/ah kow/mat rock/kutu/you name it." Then there are those who date men who are...you know...of the questionable sort. The ones who think "cool" is leering at every set of boobs like they have a separate zip code.

It just seems to me that the men some of you girls fall for are such sleaze bags that it just begs the question, are you a glutton for punishment?

The million dollar question becomes, "who is going to be the luckiest girl in the world to find our KH?"

So girls (the REAL ones) what are you waiting for?

Vatican Pinups?

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Our July Poster Boy Posted by Hello

What won't they think of next?

Seminarians and altar boys as calendar pinups?

http://www.calendarioromano.co.uk/

A photographer by the name of Pierro Pazzi came up with the idea and is marketing it at http://www.calendarioromano.org/.

A calendar and yahoogroup dedicated to these men in robes, these boys in black, and rumours of women AND men falling for priests. On top of that, they're casting for 2007. I hesitate to call them competition for the Dieux Du Stade...but hey, each to their own!


Dieux du Stade Posted by Hello

Do you consider these Vatican cuties to be material for your fantasies?

Dinner

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


King Crab - 5kg Posted by Hello

Went to Unique Seafood with some family members last night.

We pigged!

And pigged and pigged and pigged!

King Crab, Bamboo Clams, Spotted Garoupa, Lobster Sashimi, King Crab Roe, Lobster soup, Fried Rice and Some vegetables to balance out the dinner.

As Maria says "Let's start from the very beginning."

Lobster sashimi - It was so fresh it practically walked off the plate, slapped you on the arse and winked at you! The feelers and tails were still twitching as the meat was served up in a bowl in front of you. And boy was it sweet! There were a few squirms of discomfort thinking about it at first but after that first mouthful it was like, gimme more! The head, legs, and tail were then chopped into large pieces and made into a soup. Delicioso!

Bamboo Clams - About 7 inches long and steamed with garlic, spring onions, and a little garlic oil. Say no more!

Spotted Garoupa - Think "Soon Hock" with firm flaky white flesh but the sweetness of a flat fish, steamed with spring onions, ginger, garlic, and some garlic oil.

And the piece de resistance, King Crab - This was a phenomenal preparation. The Crab was cracked open and fried with salted eggs, garlic, and ginger. The crab itself was insane! Pieces of meat the size of Chicken thighs. Even the thinnest legs had meat the size of my thumbs. Sweet, flavourful explosions of chunky crab meat you couldn't get enough of. The roe was served separately with steamed egg white in the shell as a broth. *swoon*

We practically rolled out of there. Allan had to have some antacid equivalent but it was all worth it. The company, the giggles, and the FOOD!

Cycle of Life

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Attended the funeral of a family friend yesterday. People seem to be dropping like flies. What is this?

But then again, got news from a friend yesterday that his baby was born? A bouncing baby boy.

It was amazing what that news did to me. It revitalised, reenergised and basically made me happy out of all proportion.

I'm wondering if my biological clock is ticking...

The cycle of life moves on...

Ephemeral

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

When you attend a funeral, especially of someone you don't expect to die, you realise how ephemeral life can be.

Ron was as close to an elder brother I'd ever have. In many ways he was what you might call the perfect elder sibling. He was never there to spoil the fun like many elder siblings I know, he was quiet, kind, never judgemental, but caring, generous of spirit and loving, in his own way.

His way of loving someone wasn't my overt demonstrative hugging/backslapping/telling style but it was him. And I didn't realise that I'd miss him this much.

I was very close to him but yet there was a wall that was difficult to breach. I always felt that time will allow us to get closer but that assumption is always a dangerous one as demonstrated by events.

During the whole of last week, I basically had something to do to take my mind off him. I kept an eye on Carol CC and the girls. I knew they'd need my support as his Mum had Y and Mum had Dad.

But now that we're back home and back to "real life" again, it's just weird how at the oddest moments I'm drawn back to memories of him and how it'll be impossible to create more new ones. And that saddens me. He had become such a fixture in such an unobtrusive way that it's hard to imagine odd weekends without him showing up at the house.

Ron had a tremendous instinctiveness to how he lived his life. He knew in his own quiet way the choices to make in treating people, in being his own person, and how to be a friend to others. Most of us rely on self help books but he was the living epitome of one.

I'll miss him.

See you Kor Kor.

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Oxford St, Darlinghurst Posted by Hello

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley Posted by Hello

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


View from Zanne & Hal's backyard Posted by Hello

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Dinner with Zanne & Hal at Sisco's in Hobart Harbour Posted by Hello

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Sunset in Grindenwald Posted by Hello

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Apples Posted by Hello