Friday, April 24, 2020

End of globalisation


Exactly a 100 years after the 1918 flu pandemic, the wheels of the world have reached a near stop as countries battle covid-19. Some countries are struggling to contain the disease, while some countries moved into lockdown, restricting movement when numbers were still in hundreds and are just about managing to manage the pandemic. Flattening curves and social distancing will be the phrases we remember 2020 for.

For countries like Malaysia, this week people have been looking at the numbers and celebrating the thought of breaking the Movement Control Order (MCO) (or lockdown as it’s called elsewhere) and returning to normal. Don’t celebrate too soon, we have a newly discovered breakout to deal with, just like Singapore.

But we will be going back to normal soon right?

There is no going back to normal. Not even after MCO is lifted. Not in another 3 or 6 months, definitely not in 2020. There is no going back to normal until a vaccine is discovered, tested and administrated to a high percentage of the community. For a highly contagious disease like measles, a high percentage of 93-95 % of people need to be vaccinated for it to work. That should be where covid-19 will need to be at. It takes about 1.5 years for a vaccine to reach distribution point after its been produced. We’re nearing the end of April, 4 months since the news of the pandemic first began, and yet to hear of a valid vaccine. While some countries are using antibodies to treat patients, we are also hearing of recovered patients getting re-infected. So testing everyone will not ensure people will remain safe.

So will we remain locked till then?

I believe countries will start releasing its people in green or yellow zones in stages but with many restrictions in place. Basically we will still need to maintain social distancing just like what we’ve been doing at the grocery. The long queues will be something we will need to get used to. 

Temperature checks simply make you feel good and are not enough to stop infectious spread as we’ve seen many patients remain asymptomatic for weeks. 

Shopping malls need to rethink their spaces, theatres will need to see if its viable to run on half-filled social distanced halls (which means movie ticket prices may increase, lowering number of people willing to spend). Saw someone suggested drive through cinemas – might be a thing but in a country with only two weathers – rain, hot, unpredictable rain – it’s going to be tough.

Concerts/ comedy/ theatre may never be held in even socially distanced venues as we have seen cases where live singing in closed areas led to higher percentage of infection. Can the artistic community survive socially distanced events? Perhaps a permanent move to online concerts will become the best method in the next two years.

The visual arts industry has already switched to online exhibition openings. While many are waiting to attend an opening. Unfortunately, that’s going to have to stop as well especially in small galleries. My suggestion would be to hold online live openings with the artist in attendance without guests to introduce the works. Visitors can still visit the exhibitions but there should be less than 5 people indoors at any given time. Artist talks and workshops will need to be held online.  

Pubs/ restaurants will need to rethink spacing and socially distance dine-in customers but will that be viable in the long run with high rental charges will be something they will need to figure out.
Social parties, relative visits weddings, engagements and so forth will need to be limited to less than 10 - 20 guests. The good thing is you’ll be saving cost. Unfortunately, you’ll need to say goodbye to your big wedding plans and that honeymoon in Maldives.

Religious festivals/ daily prayers will need to start implementing social distancing. Perhaps we can all learn from Kerala priests who have mastered how to throw sandalwood paste into people’s hands from a metre away with super accuracy and efficiency (they will need to re-cleanse themselves if someone accidentally touches them).

Hugging and handshakes will now need to be replaced with hand gestures like the Indian Vanakkam, or hand to heart. I for one am glad that I will no longer have to wonder how many times do you exchange cheek hugs with my Malay friends. Gal is always confused ;p

Companies need to rethink the necessity of a physical office space. We’ve been in MCO for more than a month and most companies would have realised that business is per usual in non-face to face and physical jobs. Basically companies need to start looking at cutting down the cost of renting an office space. Instead provide call and printing allowance for your staff. For businesses that need face to face interaction, look into measures in place at restaurants and the post office currently. That’s the measures you will need to start bringing in. If the full staff force does not need to work from the office every day, these employees can work from home. Companies need to start segregating their workforce into groups to avoid the whole company needing to be quarantine in case someone gets infected for business continuity.

Also if there’s less physical offices, it means less people will be driving, less CO2 and as we’ve already seen that means blue skies and cleaner waters.

Schools, hostels, and nurseries are places where kids are packed into tight spaces. How will distancing be implemented?  We’ve seen both kids and parents becoming carriers that went on to infect big number of populations. My suggestion based on a Tamil school headmasters’ suggestion was to have Tv channels dedicated by year of class. Kids send their homework to existing teachers based on social structure. Online for those who can and books collection for kids without internet connection.

Another issue that will arise is where do parents who need to go to their working places leave their kids? Existing nurseries may no longer be an option if they house more than 5 kids. However, this could be a job opportunity for those who have lost their current source of income.

Borders now have walls
Trump may have just gotten his 4-year wish – borders with walls. This is going to be really tricky for a country like ours that is surrounded by sea for its borders. But let’s look at something we have all taken for granted – international travel.

Until a vaccine is found, we can all forget about travelling for pleasure or short work trips. We already see countries like China and South Korea opening its doors to international long term travellers with the condition that they must quarantine themselves for 2 weeks. This will be a rule that countries will stick to until a vaccine is administered successfully.

While some countries stick to WHO recommended 14 days’ quarantine, Kerala a state in India practices 28 days’ quarantine period.

So unless you can quarantine yourself for 2 weeks overseas, travel and then quarantine yourself for another two weeks once you are back, international tourism or short business travels is something we will all have to forget. This applies to kids and parents with children studying overseas and those in long distance relationships. Unfortunately, now not everyone can fly.

Luckily for us, we live in a beautiful country with so much to see. And travelling locally will boost our domestic tourism which has taken the biggest hit in this pandemic. That brings us to jobs.

Was your job MCO proof?

If your industry or business is suffering, it’s time you rethink your career.

We’ve been seeing high number of citizens returning to their country of origin as they lose their jobs. We’re going to see more of this in the coming months. Like I said it’s the end of globalisation and the beginning of domestic business growth. Unless we start increasing domestic business growth, our economy will worsen. So we need to start thinking of business within the country.

International travel is dead. Which means ticket prices will go back to pre-budget airline days with less flights, bad customer service and so forth for people who work in different countries. 

Government officials will need to rethink their travel plans or risk re-infecting people. We already politicians think MCO rules don’t apply to them. Airports will need to cut staff numbers and look at long term housing of planes. Domestic flights too will need to implement social distancing. So countries looking at bailing out airlines, you really should think twice. The best thing you can offer is free parking space till this is over.

The film/ serial industry too is hotbed industry for high density of people. Productions can no longer travel overseas unless they are willing to do the 1-month long quarantine. Can a set have less than 10 people at all times? Productions will need to figure this out and ensure that at the end they quarantine for 2 weeks to avoid spreading any possible infection to their families.

Property prices will drop as many will be trying to get rid of their rental places, Airbnb homes due to decrease in demand, offices will be vacated. So those of you forcing your tenants to pay full price despite the moratorium offered by banks, paybacks coming your way. Malls, office buildings are going to see a mandatory decrease in the number of visitors. My suggestions, office buildings and empty malls should start offering their places as rental homes instead. People will be looking to relocate into cheaper places as they have lost their income. So either you compromise now or risk losing even that.

Tech industry and tech related jobs seem to have adapted the fastest. However, we will see less investments going towards start-ups as other money rich industries have already started seeing loss of profit. Tech is however one of the most important needs in this crisis. Companies that can innovate and provide innovations that are critical to these times will rise.

The gig economy is 50/50. While we’ve seen a rise in delivery riders, online shopping (but not all platforms), online food orders via existing apps has probably taken a seat back. Not everyone can afford them and the cuts to restaurant profits is quite big. We’ve seen restaurants hiring independent delivery companies or their own riders. Grab drivers have had to either stop driving or face very little customers.

With less people on the roads and a really dumb global oil production fight, the oil and gas industry has taken a massive hit. So that will be more jobs lost.

Entertainers, musicians, performers need to start rethinking how they earn money. With uncertainty in the film industry, people will start looking for new content. We’ve already seen podcasts, YouTube channels, online concerts take off in this period. But in the long run people will want more interesting content. My suggestion is for performers to offer paid online shows. Paid small production online shows. I’m not talking about typical influencer content of looking pretty on screen or short comedy videos. I’m talking about real plays, real serials with limited crews. If you’ve always wanted to direct, act and never got the chance. Here’s your chance.

If you’ve always wanted to be a farmer, well here’s your chance. But do remember to figure out logistics and online sales. We’ve seen how our Cameron highlands farmers scrambled at the start of MCO but eventually adapted to online sales.

Stores and physical businesses who cannot live on less footpath will need to rethink their businesses and find new means of cheaper storage.

Cheaper storage warehouses will be in demand as businesses should abandon their big showrooms.
Manufacturers will need to either invest in ppe suits for all their staff or cut down and enforce social distancing at factories and increase automation. Companies like gardenia already have a working method and should be used as guidelines.

We’ve already seen garment factories in Malaysia and overseas closing down as big giants cancelled orders. Consumption should return but with massive job loss, the average consumers buying power has decreased.

Micro SMEs used to attracting customers through bazaars/ pop up shops and event organisers will need to rethink their marketing strategy. The point of bazaars have always been about attracting a pool of buyers, social distancing will limit that and make these bazaars not worth the time.

I’m sure by now you can see the pattern. It’s time to reinvent yourself. Rethink the essentiality of your job. Times will be tough but we don’t really have a choice.

Until a vaccine is found this will be our new normal.



V-Eyez Imagery My photography blog V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Monday, May 07, 2018

GE 14

When Trump first put in his nominations to stand for President, I was amused. Seeing a Bush name on the list, I figured votes would go towards another Bush and left it off.

Weeks later I started hearing Trumps name being written more often for the outlandish things he was saying. So I did what I always do, I started analysing pro and anti-trump sites. I watched a dozen videos of gatherings where Trump spoke. That’s the point where I started seeing the change and how support for him was growing at a fanatical pace. I watched and read more sites and comments, and eventually came to the conclusion Trump would win.

See the problem with most people is that they only read sites that are based on their personal views and are unwilling to even listen to the other side. And then you start eliminating everyone who doesn’t support your view. Eventually all you see and read is the same clouded judgement.

So why am I bringing up Trump on the eve of Malaysia’s #ge14?

Last year, I came to the conclusion that BN will win this GE after monitoring both sides for the last 5 years. But in the last 1 month, every time someone asked me what was my conclusion, I said I’m not sure. One of the main reasons for this was because of the comments on TMJs post and a quickly removed poll on Siakap Keli. Yes, I read Siakap Keli to understand how the average Malay community thinks. I also regularly search around for Chinese/ Indian FB postings and translate the Chinese ones (thanks Google) to understand what’s going on. Comments section differ according to the medium and language of the main site.

In the last few weeks I’ve been monitoring nominated candidates’ postings and realised a few things.

• The incident at the Cheras market was staged by a DAP supporter. While it wasn’t bullying it was staged. So Harapan is not so different as they claimed. Anyway there is no way BN can win that long time DAP stronghold.

• What I learnt from Pro Malay sites and TMJs post comments was that, the hate for Najib was nationwide on all class and belief levels. However, the preference to vote was towards PAS instead of BN simply for being an Islamic party.

• Pakatan supporters are quite kurang ajar. The words and names they call people who do not subscribe to their beliefs are racists, gender bias and pretty degrading. These comments are going to push on-the-fence supporters from supporting Pakatan. Doesn’t help that not a single Pakatan candidate has come out to tell their supporters to not be exactly like the people they despise.

• The big crowds you see at Pakatan Ceramahs? Most are not voters from that location and are repeat ceramah attendees. There seems to be a need to be at places where they hear words that sound like their thoughts.

• Harapans candidate infighting has led to some really good candidates being removed or placed in DUNs. For example Siti Mariah gave up her Kora Raja Parliament seat to let Amanah president stand there. I am really upset about this particular change as she was an outspoken MP who spoke and raised important issues.

• I started looking at small town ceramahs where the BN candidates were locals vs Harapan candidates that were placed in locations they have never been to.

• The crowds at local ceramahs with actual Pakatan candidates are small if they don’t know the candidate or the locals have lost confidence on them. Same goes for BN candidates who mushroomed from nowhere. Those are the guys talking to no one in those viraled videos.

• However in some locations BN has corrected seat infighting problems they had from GE13 and put back winning candidates who were actually from the area. For example the BN candidate that’s standing in my DUN. He has gone to temples, Chinese Kopitiams, Suraus, Houses, and more and has been welcomed at every place. Coz people know this guy, they have seen him work for them and continue to do things for the area even when he was not nominated. Unlike the PAS candidate that won GE13, and disappeared from FB and reappeared in February this year. However, I am not sure he will win there as mine is a liberal area but they have all been burnt by the current Pakatan candidates in the area.

• The current Harapan candidate, as much as I like her, has no idea where to go (the DAP MP despite being the MP for the last 2 terms, doesn’t know where to go as he only turns up during elections). Imagine she went to a kindergarden, had a ceramah after Friday prayers (most ppl in my town don’t work in the town) and all I learnt (from the fb live video) was she has 6 kids and 18 grandchildren. Also the moment she was nominated I asked them for the ceramah schedule and never got a thing. Unfortunately, it’s not her fault as she was basically thrown there at the last minute.

• There are many Pakatan candidates that have been thrown into different areas and no one knows who they are. They may have performed previously in another area but have no clue of the issues in the place they are standing in. Now you are going to say that shouldn’t matter but it does. We small town folks, will always put our towns needs ahead of anything else.

Basically Harapan’s constant seat infighting has already caused them the elections.

5 years ago, the day after GE13, I wrote about how it’s Time to listen. Today, 2 days before the eve of GE14, every single word still rings true.

You and I are not the WHOLE nation. What happened to the rural folks wants and needs?
Your needs are not the same as them.
Your concerns are not the same as them.

Besides name calling, nothing was actually done to address PAS leaving Pakatan. Amanah should have been pushed forward more to assure voters that the gap was more than enough to be filled. You had since 2016 to rebuild the confidence of PAS voters. Losing Sarawak DUN elections should have been enough a lesson to learn on what needs to be done. Instead you have Mr sex addict helming Amanah.

PAS has actual supporters. You may not think they matter but these voters would rather vote for PAS than Pakatan or anyone in BN. The one point that may sway votes is Nik Omar’s presence. And what is with candidates who write in Chinese without any translation in the same post? How hard is it to ensure all Chinese posts have translation?

You had 5 years to win the rural folks, you had 5 years to build candidates for each area and make them accessible to the local folks. You had 5 years to think about how small town folks think and behave. Sure some inroads have been done but did you do enough everywhere? Everywhere matters if you want to win a nation.

Both BN and Pakatan will see vote changes and smaller majority’s. On one side Pakatan can expect to lose some seats and their majority win difference. This will happen even in Penang and Selangor.

Anyway I truly hope I am wrong just for the sanity of Malaysians. Whatever it is, it is entirely important BN is at least denied a simple majority.

BN won 198 seats in 2004, 140 in 2008 and 133 in 2013. The simple majority is won at 112 seats. This needs to be denied and I hope that happens.

Regardless of it, do go out and vote. It is your right and duty as a citizen to vote. For no matter what our differences are, we are all Malaysians who truly love this country.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Thaipusam starts tonight





Thaipusam celebrations officially starts tonight as the chariot will leave kl for batu caves tonight at 10pm. This year there's an additional golden chariot bearing #kottumalaipillayar
#temple #ganesha who will join the procession only for this year. 

Like I said I've been photographing the whole celebration for the last 12 years and here's how the chariots looked since 2006. Look out for the 2016 chariot. Most people didn't realize there was a change on the way back. 

That's coz there are enthusiastic people like me who will go and mumble to the youth group about the decoration. I love the big Om and I'm glad it was retained. I remember one year I had a serious discussion with one of the Annes against using long tubelights and to stick to white or gold colour. The next year I got my wish of white colour bulbs and no tube lights again. Yes a lot of thought goes in to the decorations and preparation for the festival. 

So to those enthusiasts like me, let's hope we get the chariot in the colours we like. :) 😍😍 we will know in less than 4 hours 

By the way you can check out V-eyez for a glimpse of past years Thaipusam photos which are now in a photobook



Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vikram Vedha

#vikramvedha #pushkargayathri #visreviews #madhavan #vijaysethupathi
Do not read - SPOILERS ahead
Around 30 minutes into the movie, Vijay sethupathis awesome intro scene starts and at that point you will realise this is no ordinary cop and thief movie. What a scene it was. If you are a fan of the actor (which I am), you would recognize him from his trademark lazy stroll.
But it is #madhavan that makes the first entry as Vikram the cop in a brilliant shoot out. The first scene is important, for there are many clues in that scene which finally helps solve the story.
Vedha is the story telling ghost in the movie. And the first story is the most important one.
The movie follows the concept of the #vikramadithyan and the vetaal ghost stories. Those who have read Amar Chitra Katha books will know the story of the king who captures a ghost for a sorcerer. The ghost tells him a story and asks him a question. Everytime the king breaks his silence and answers, the ghost escapes.
His first act as a rowdy is such a psychological game play. And that is who vedha is, he is always the mastermind and instigator. Like the devil who whispers in your ears, creating doubt and making you question things. But is the devil wrong to make you question things that are not as black and white as you assume it is?
Refusing to talk to anyone, vedha only opens up to Vikram, planting the first seeds of doubt on what is good and bad through a flashback story with hidden clues and riddles for Vikram to solve. His first story spans 13 years and talks about him and his brother - pulli.
The movie has been brilliantly written and directed by the husband and wife team of Pushkar And Gayathri who have only 3 movies to their credit in 10 years! (need to go watch them!). On one hand you have this awesome thriller unfolding and then you have the brilliant crisp script with catchy phrases wrote perfectly for each character. Characters both actors have lived as. Actually everyone has done a great job in their respective characters. Everyone had a role to play, including the parotha and athu Kari.
Vikram continues till the very end to be the weapon by first his commending officer and finally by vedha. Yes he too becomes Vedha weapon, sprouting his lines from the first story at the climax. But it's not that Vikram isn't smart (he uncovers missing parts of the plot for vedha), he just isn't diabolically brilliant. Every story Vedha tells has clues in it and surprising twists. Including how vedha hires Vikrams wife as his lawyer. Vedha tells 3 stories that go 13 years back, then 2 years and finally 6 months.
One of my favourite scenes is neither of theirs though. It is when, Chandra, pullis girlfriend slaps him back for slapping him. What a character she was and unapologetically so. Played by Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, she does brilliantly even to her end. Watch her eyes in the last scene, there are clues even there. That girl deserves a movie of her own.
You will laugh and clap at the script in a story that didn't need a comedian to add irrelevant jokes. You sit there gripped to your seat, playing back parts of the previous scene in your mind while enthralled in the current frame. And you will have to go back many more times to piece the broken puzzle that shapes the movie. The clue to the climax was scattered around the film right from the beginning. Vikram remains true to his character till the very end, the honest cop but who now sees the shades of grey between both worlds. The women are strong and not hidden in the background or mere smiling, hip swaying props that kollywood loves. Vikrams wife Priya stands out as a brilliant lawyer refusing to given up her career for her husbands case and thus ensues a dilemma between husband and wife on where home and work ends.
The ending was a cliffhanger that had me go nooooo. I really hate cliffhangers but perhaps this will be the opening for a second movie so poor old vedha can finally tell his love story that no one wants to hear. Also there's a gap of 11 years between the first and second story. Much story to tell there.
Even their catchy item song tasukku by Sam C, didn't need an item girl to have us tapping our feet as vedha dances with Cheta. 😂 I loved the music especially Karupu vellai. Each song and lyrics was apt to the movie. There were many misleading details added in to confuse the audience. Like the use of goons from kerala puts in the assumption that they were hired by Cheta but that's not it. The weapon that vedha nurtured in Madhavan explodes precisely in clarity at the climax as he spews the same lines Vedha told him in his first story. The transformation was now complete.
And so I can happily quote Vijay sethupathis with a line from another movie of his - kumutha happy anachi, kumutha happy. 😀

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dunkirk



Watched #dunkirk the #ww2 movie yesterday #visreviews 

Now go watch it if you enjoy ww2 related movies. don't go coz its a christopher nolan movie coz it isn't his usual kind. its pretty straight forward but interestingly you wont see a single nazi in the movie. and this movie looks at the failure of the Allied army at that time and how they were saved by fishermen from britain. the movie doesnt have big war scenes but focuses on the soldiers struggle to survive. Also pilots get a more significant role in this movie. 

However do note that ww2 movies might give you a glimpse of a story but is not an actual representation of history. in this case Nolan as well as with most hollywood directors, the contribution of indian soldiers are not even portrayed. historically indians fought on both sides in ww2 - as soldiers under the raj and as rebel soldiers under #ina - the independence movement led by subash chandra bose. INA fought alongside the japanese against the white mans colonisation. 

Unfortunately the same japanese sent to their death, millions of indians who worked to build the death railway. their names, numbers and even death were never recorded by the japanese nor are there memorials for them at ww2 sites. 

Indians fought at Monte Cassino. They were there at Bir Hachiem, Tobruk, El Alamein, Singapore, Hong Kong. And they were there from where it all began -Dunkirk. 

So if you do watch it, come back and read up on the actual history and articles talking about it. 

more photos at my Instagram 
V-Eyez Imagery My photography blog V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Wonder Woman


#wonderwoman #kualalumpur

#visreviews 
Have you watched #wonderwoman - i hope you managed to catch it

i had been waiting for the movie so long - i went and watched it on the very first day. and it was omg so good - the photo you see above is my favourite scene.

one of the things i realised from watching the movie was - this is who you become if you grew up in a gender biasless world. A world where you are not told - you are a women you cant do that. you are a women you are weaker than men, you are a woman, so you must behave like one, you are a women, know your place.

because she grew up in such an environment, it doesnt even occur to her that the men are shocked that she dared to walk into the ww1 meeting. her confidence shines throughout the movie.

this was one movie where any girl or women will come out feeling empowered.

So do bring your daughters or the women in your life to watch the movie. let them feel empowered too

V-Eyez Imagery My photography blog V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Bahuballi 2


#bahubali2 #visreviews

I hope you got to watch the movie of the week. I ended up going on a crazy goose chase trying to get tickets at the last minute on Saturday. Most of the shows were sold out in my usual theatres of choice in the Klang Valley. Luckily good old #pjstate came to the rescue and we got tickets.

The movie was epic, loved so many things about it minus some funny unbelievable stunts at the end. (insert laugh at that flying of the Palm tree scene). The storyline was brilliant, I loved the sneaky mind tricks of #palavadevan Rana Daggubati. It was like watching him play chess, as each of his moves pushed him to the desired check mate - to be crowned king. The brilliance of his mind and his practiced patience was so well portrayed.

#ramyakrishnan as Sivagami shines in her role right from the first movie. Despite the storyline she continued to be an amazing character in this epic series.

Every character from Satyraj to Nasser stood out in their respective roles. I did feel that the movie was a bit rushed but there was just so much that needed to be told without having a plot hole so it is unfortunately an edit that was needed.

To be honest I would love to see more epic warrior fight dance scenes between Prabas and Anushka.
The songs were pretty disappointing though, nothing left a lasting impression. What I loved was that Swan ship and the mammoth castles - one Swan like n the other a majestic elephant.

I must mention the spectacular jewelry and costumes in the movie. I had earlier read articles on how the sarees were custom made for the movie. But I thought those jewellery outshined the costumes. So much attention has gone to details. The graphics were pretty good as well, and might I say one of the best I've seen in an Indian movie. Anyone who is sitting and criticising them must have some hell of a standard.

But most of all I loved both the two strong female portrayals in the movie. Anushka #anushkashetty was just brilliant as the female warrior princess. Her never-ending passion to better herself was inspiring. She didn't need saving and was instead more concerned on saving others. Hers was a character... (cont in comments)

Hers was a character role female actresses rarely get in this industry. She didn't need to be demure and docile nor limited to singing (though she does that too). I am so glad the director #ssrajamouli made such strong female characters.

And then he crafts a hero that is so rare in indian cinema. I loved Bahubali. Here was this talented, people loving hero who was humble and dutiful but most of all who respected and treated women as equals.

The photo I've shared is from the scene where he finally reveals himself to Devasena as a warrior and teaches her to shoot more than one arrow at a time. The choreography of that scene is amazing as they both get in sync and start fighting together. Just as he is in sync with kattapa.

Instead of being intimidated by the strong, smart and talented woman that #devasena was, Baahubali instead saw her as an equal and wanted her to grow in strength with him. That scene was a perfect example of what equal partnership between genders are and how mutual respect only benefits each other.

Despite being the crown prince of a much bigger empire, he listens to her concerns and promises to guard her dignity and her right to choose and defends it to his mother - the powerful and brilliant #Sivagami

I read a review that the movie gave an Amar Chitra Katha feel. I don't know why that sounds like an insult because it is time that those legends, stories and epic stories of Indias past are made into movies. India is so rich with stories and history that is barely touched on screen. I hope Bahubalis success will see more south Indian cinema makers taking the stories of Hoysala, Kalinga, Cheran , Chola, Pandiyan, Chalukya and many more to the Silver screen. Hollywood keeps remaking King Arthur and we keep celebrating it. Shouldn't we be tapping into our history for much more dramatic untold stories?

So do go watch the movie. I am dying to find the first movie, so I can watch that and this back to back again.

The review can also be found here 

V-Eyez Imagery My photography blog V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Monday, April 10, 2017

Katru velliyidai – what an anti climax


Ps: spoiler alert review – don’t read if you haven’t watched


I was excited that Maniratnam was back with a movie. The trailers showed that it was a love story. The songs didn’t make sense but I figured Mani would know where to insert them. Unless for Kadal, there has never been a movie I did not like (though I have yet to watch Ok Kanmani).

But towards the end there were reports that Karthi was playing the role of an abusive boyfriend. I was a bit hesitant of watching the movie simply because Mani loves a good love story and his lovers always reunited no matter if the ending was happy or not. There was also the fact that the plot was pretty obvious. Set during the kargil war, I was sure he would be captured by the enemy. I wanted to see whether he would make it back (though again Mani’s formula always reunites lovers).

And as expected the songs made sense, the movie, cinematography was brilliant. Kashmir is just so stunning in the lens of the camera. There were so many scenes that are still in my mind – right from how brilliantly they were framed even in an action moment to the vibrant colours. Both their actings and the very minor roles of the other actors were great as well. But I’m not here to talk about that but about the storyline itself.

And I was happy that she stood up for herself. Though refusing to leave as a snow storm was forming was pretty stupid. Common sense would have made anyone run for the lives so that scene made her an educated doctor look stupid. But then again common sense is not so common after all.

I love that she questions him on why her opinions didn’t matter – was it coz she was a woman or a civilian. Karti replied in the latter eventually – men are hunters, we are not same physically.

The argument (quiet in Mani’s style) ends with him pushing her and she walks away.

As with the characteristics of all abusive people (men or women) – sorry slips through his lips as easy as a and b and his apologies tend to come with elaborate romantic gestures. Phrases like “we are not equal, you are much superior than me” “I need you, I am nothing without you” – are spoken so easily and so emotionally manipulative. Karthi has done a brilliant job acting as the abusive boyfriend Varun @ VC with sparks of craziness often showing in stills, right from the start. The only problem with that is, mentally abusive (which is much worse than physically abusive people) people rarely show craziness to anyone around them. They most you would see a sparks of anger and instant seeking of forgiveness especially when it happens in a public setting.

Which is why victims tend to rarely actually leave. They are wrapped up in conflicting emotions of anger, guilt and love that they are sucked back in everytime. Yet deep down they know, the person hasn’t changed. That was brilliantly etched in Leela’s expression when she forgives him, thinking he truly means it when it was all a means to win a bet and save face with his mates – and he declares to them - MY WOMAN would listen to me, and you can all dream of getting a woman like this.

Interestingly Mani doesn’t show him hitting her – despite the threat and shove. What he did was show the kind of abusive people that often goes unnoticed. Everytime they argue, he grabs her forcefully but not in an abrupt manner but rather in a subtle manner. This is the kind of abuse that goes unnoticed (but he didn’t hit her, it was just verbal arguments) and women are often told to give in. And he is abusive even to her family – theres a scene where he is asked to leave from the colonels funeral and he returns in the evening (after everyone has left) to abuse her family who don’t respond to him at all. He gets angered that he is ignored and not a word is said and lashes out at them (case of feeling unrespected).

It’s not that VC doesn’t know he is abusive, he knows that he is similar to his own abusive father but he thinks he isn’t as bad. There’s a scene where he stands up for his mother and disabled brother but at the very same time attacks Leela. That’s a classic example of kids who grew up in abusive environments who tend to be protective to ones they have seen being abused but are unable to correlate their own abusive nature.

She finally walks away and doesn’t divulge her whereabouts to her friends. In that time VC is captured by the Enemy and rots in a jail in Pakistan. The movie was set around the Kargil war ( I must say I was hoping for a proper tribute to the war but this wasn’t that). In that time he is filled with remorse, seemingly showing signs of remorse, and that it is thoughts of Leela that is keeping him alive. He escapes, returns and starts searching for her.

This is the part that I am unable to accept. Right up to this point Mani has created a strong woman who stands up and eventually walks away. He has also tackled a few other social policing in this movie. Leela left VC despite being 3 months pregnant, and that is one of the strongest moments in this movie – done very subtly (again a Mani trademark), that it doesn’t hit you that she left while being pregnant till you sit down and contemplate the movie. There’s also a wedding scene (loved the cinematography there btw) where the bride is 9 months pregnant and is rushed to the hospital in labour on her wedding day. So up till the ending, Mani has done a movie that shows characters that defy social stigma, social expectations on what is expected of a woman.  

So Vc finds the camp where Leela works but he doesn’t approach it and instead sits and waits in the sand. Leela spots him and rushes to him. The scene is similar to that moment in Alaypayudhe when Shalini rushes to Madhavan and professes her love. Only the moments in the relationship is different. There, they were at the beginning of the courtship. Here we are at the reuniting moment of lovers who are no longer together.

That strong women we saw in the last 2hours and 15 minutes is gone. Instead this woman is gushing in happiness, wants to hug him, wants him back. VC asks – did they say I was dead – missing in action (probably wondering why she is happy to see him) but she says no, I knew you were back, I saw it on tv. She then introduces their daughter Ro (yes she kept the baby – another social stigma addressed – unmarried mother). And the next thing we know, in the shortest Mani climax ever, they are hugging and back together. And VC asks why didn’t you call and she says – I didn’t know if you will accept Ro and me.

I’m all for forgiveness but at no point does she question whether he has changed. They barely met for a few minutes. Seriously this was the shortest and what felt like a rushed climax I have seen in a Mani movie. Instead she was worried that he wouldn’t accept her. Hello what happened to that strong women who walked away while being 3 months pregnant? Who tells VC that she doesn’t care about marriage or having a baby – she just wants him – where’s that liberal woman?    

I was just sitting in disbelief at that scene and mumbling when my friend says – dai why you hating on her getting sex after three years? As funny as that is, lets take sex into equation, Leela had no qualms of sleeping with VC, in that three years if sex was the issue, it could have been with anyone else. To suddenly show that she was a traditional woman who only slept with one man would make the whole character build-up of Leela mean nothing!

Or was it that society got to her? Did the last three years of being a single mother make her feel it was better to be with an abusive man than be alone? That will be contradictory to the fact that she was travelling in remote places in India with the Red Cross together with her child. That’s a woman who refused to abandon the kid she decided to have out of wedlock nor her passion to serve where medical help was much needed.

So how did that women, accept VC without even asking him – how do I know you have actually changed?

Or did his being a captive prisoner, make her forget all the bad memories and remember only the jaded good moments in their relationship that seeing him was actually seeing that jaded vision of him built in her mind?

Or was Mani just showing that as with many abused victims, the victim often goes back at the first sight of remorse?

Tragic isn’t it if that was the case?

#kaatruveliyidai #maniratnam


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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Adiwiraku


#adiwiraku #cherylannfernando
#teachformalaysia #malaysia 
Adiwiraku - my superheroes

Yesterday I watched the #malaysianmovie#adiwiraku - wanted to catch it on another day until i realised yesterday was the last day the movie was showing in most theaters. today onwards theres only about 5 theatres showing it.

I roughly knew the story as its based on the true life story of Cheryl Ann Fernando who left her job to join #teachformalaysia and become a teacher. i had briefly followed her story earlier. 
now the movie will touch your hearts. you will love the kids, you will love the two teachers, you will cry, you will be sad, you will laugh. 

iqbal, khairi and imran were my favourites. 

there was just a few people in the theatre but we all ended up just sitting there and watching the credits. we were moved by the movie, saddened and probably reflecting on our own privileged lives. 

yes we are very privileged. these kids like many poor rural kids, have very little money, food or even support and most of all people who believe in them. i have written on this many times. while our education system has its issues, what we are not taking into account is that just attending school doesn't create students. its much more complicated then that. you have kids that can barely read.

which is why i get upset with people who put down others for bad english. that person might not have had the same priviliges that you did. there is no need to mock someones language, instead if you are that concerned, help them privately. 

poverty, family situations, hunger eventually leads to kids dropping out of schools at 14/15. some work, some end up in a life of crime. 

Please go watch the movie, its a simple well taken #Malaysian story with a very deep meaning.

its still playing in midvalley. please do support such beautiful local movies. 


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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Goodbye JJ



It was 1994, we were in Chennai for my father's upcoming surgery. My first trip to India.

We were staying at Poes Garden Road where both Jayalalithaa and Rajnikanth lived.

One evening as we were walking back from Sangeetha after dinner, the roads were cordoned off from people, no one could cross or drive past. Amma was on her way.

My karunanithi and MGR loving father wasn't amused (yes apparently they could love both). I was amused we couldn't even cross the road. 30 minutes later, sirens blarred and I had my first and only glimpse of the first female CM of Tamilnadu.

I laughed out loud coz she was sitting in between 2 black cats jutting out of the window with their behinds facing her.

She lost the next term and after another trip in 1995, we never returned to India till she was back in power. Funnily we seemed to be in Chennai only with Jayalalitha as a CM. I don't think my father was amused with that.

While politics was a staple conversation at home, my political views had only began forming in the last few years.

But it was in the last decade that I began admiring her. Here was a woman, who had stormed her male dominated party, and made them declare her as their leader. That too in a country and state where the female goddesses were revered and women treated as second class citizens.

She had balls. No matter what was thrown at her, she always never gave up and pushed to rise above. And she spoke eloquently in Tamil and English.

The musical political chair AIADMK and DMK used to play came to end when she won 2 consecutive terms and became the CM for a third time.

Every time the other side came to power, someone got arrested, education systems changed. She ever the advocate of English in public schools and he Tamil. Imagine books, syllabus all would be changed every time the other side took over.

The last decade has seen TN grow under her.

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to the news of her demise and couldn't go back to sleep. Today an era ends.

This was the female leader the world should be looking up to. For she had to rise and execute her plans in a male chauvinistic political scene. Things were not just given to her.

She didn't have a family name nor people backing her. Her rise as first an actor and then a politician was her own hardwork.

But rise she did.

Goodbye JJ. There may never be another like you.

ps: written early this morning

Monday, August 29, 2016

Man in the mirror

In 1988, Michael Jackson released - the man in the mirror. That wasn't the song that made me a fan. It was Beat It from Thriller in 1982. I still remember watching wide eyed as video with that parking lot scene unfolded in front of me. I don't remember how old I was but it is one of my earliest memories and have since been a fan of the pop king - Michael Jackson. But his song - man in the mirror. I have tried to live to those words all my life for I truly belive - change begins with the man in the mirror. Happy birthday MJ. Don't think I'll ever stop missing you. I'm gonna make a change For once in my life It's gonna feel real good Gonna make a difference Gonna make it right As I, turn up the collar on My favorite winter coat This wind is blowing my mind I see the kids in the streets With not enough to eat Who am I to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs A summer disregard, a broken bottle top And a one man soul They follow each other on the wind ya' know 'Cause they got nowhere to go That's why I want you to know I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change1 I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love It's time that I realize That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone? A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart And a washed-out dream They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see 'Cause they got no place to be That's why I'm starting with me I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make that Change! I'm starting with the man in the mirror (Oh yeah!) I'm asking him to change his ways (Better change!) No message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make the change) You gotta get it right, while you got the time You can't close your, your mind! (Then you close your, mind!) That man, that man, that man, that man With the man in the mirror (Man in the mirror, oh yeah!) That man, that man, that man I'm asking him to change his ways (Better change!) No message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make the change Oh no, no no I'm gonna make a change It's gonna feel real good! Chime on! (Change) Just lift yourself You know You've got to stop it Yourself! (Yeah! Make that change!) I've got to make that change, today! Hoo! (Man in the mirror) You got to You got to not let yourself Brother Hoo! (Yeah! Make that change!) You know, I've got to get That man, that man (Man in the mirror) You've got to move! Chime on! Chime on! You got to Stand up! Stand up! Stand up! (Yeah! Make that change) Stand up and lift yourself, now! (Man in the mirror) You know it! You know it! You know it! You know it (Change) Make that change


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Paal vadhiyum mugam

One of my favourite krishna songs. The thing with Krishna is, there is a song for every human emotion that relates back to him. Be it a mothers love for the little Krishna with milk flowing down his lips or for the Radhe in love with her Krishna. This song by Ootukadu Venkata Subbaiyer starts with a mothers love and rest can be interpreted as you want or your emotions then

paal vadiyum mugam ninainthu ninainthu en uLLam paravasam migavaaguthE kaNNaa - my heart leaps with joy as I see your beautiful face stained by milk neelak kadal pOlum niraththazhagaa - with skin as blue of the ocean, you are so beautiful enthan nenjam kudi koNda anRu mudhal inRum enthap poruL kaNdum sinthanai sellAdhozhiya - you rule my heart and nothing can move my thoughts away from you vaana mugattil saRRu manam vanthu nOkkinum un mona mugam vanthu thONudhE - in the nook of my heart, at a moments thought, your beautiful moon like face appears theLi vaana thaNNeer thadaththil en sinthanai maaRinum un siriththa mugam vanthu kaaNudhE saRRu - i see your beautiful smilling reflection in the clear pool of water gaanak kuyil kuralil karuththu amainthidinum angum un gaanak kuzhal Osai mayakkudhE - even as the birds sing, the beautiful sound of your flute, mesmerises me karutta kuzhalodu niRutta mayiliRag-iRukki amaitta tiRattilE - with a flute, and a peacock feather in your hair, gAna mayilADum mOnakkuyil pADum nIla nadiyOdum vanattilE - in a forest filled with dancing peacocks, singing birds, by the blue river kuzhal mudal ezhilisai kuzhaiya varum isaiyil kuzhlodu miLir iLang-karattilE - there in the midst of the forest music, your beautiful flute mesmerises us kadirum madiyum ena nayana vizhigal iru naLinamAna salanattilE - and your eyes dance to the tune of your music, as we stand mesmerised by the haunting music and your expressive eyes kaLinga sirattilE kaditta padittilE en manattai iruttik - There you are standing thriumphly on Kalingan's head, holding my breath and soul with it kanavu ninaivinodu piRavi piRavi tORum kaninduruga varam taruga param karuNai - i wish to be reborn in every birth with all these thoughts in my mind, oh please grant me this wish, oh kind benevolent one Ah what beautiful lyrics. Didn't post the song to translate this but as i was listening to it felt a need to translate the gem that it is. Btw there is an appropriate age for a dancer to do each Krishna. I find it very disconcerting to see a child dance and express radhes passionate love for Krishna. (yes it happens)