Little Nyonya | A Touching Peranakan Story of Baba Nyonya Heritage

After watching the Singapore blockbuster drama Little Nyonya, all I can tell to myself is I am indeed very LUCKY! If I were to be one of the Nyonyas born during or before the World War II, will my fate be similar as Juxiang? Women at that time did not go to school. The most important skills they had to have was to be a good Peranakan cook and at the same time good at sewing, embroidery and making beaded shoes!

Or will I choose to live like Yueniang whose character was admired by many? Yueniang lost both her parents at the age of 8. One of the most touching scenes that girl had portrayed was to persistently request for her father’s body from Japanese soldiers. She kept repeating ‘Please return my father to me!’ so that she could buried both her parents together. Kudos to the Little Nyonya team for coming up with such a fantastic story line, selection of characters, shooting locations and most importantly incorporating the rich Peranakan culture.
Young Yueniang with her Mother
Picture: Courtesy of Singapore Media Corp TV

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The beautiful movie of Australia (2008 Film)

Australian Promotional Poster - Courtesy of image from Wikipedia To welcome the new year of 2009, we reserved two seats in advance a few days early (which was last year) to watch ‘Australia‘ on 1 Jan. And the movie ‘Australia’ turned out to be a beautiful beginning for our new year! 

I love the story very much. Perhaps I’d say the movie ‘Australia’ directed by Bax Luhrmann set on the Australia’s outback is beyond my expectation. Filmed at a few locations in Australia (Kimberley region, Kununurra, Bowen and Sydney), this touching epic brings us to rejoice equality and kindness over prejudice and pride. In this movie, it also exposed me to ‘Stolen Generations’ and of course the amazing cultures of the Australian Aboriginal like walkabout and songlines.

If you have watched ‘Australia’, you definitely will agree with me that it is a huge story. I was fascinated by various beautiful themes behind it without realizing that I had seated for a solid 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Love transcends all.

It began with the love of a half-caste Aboriginal boy called Nullah played by Brandon Walters for his mother. He is aware that Neil Fletcher(David Wenham) is a bad guy and always bully his mother despite they have had the ‘thing wrong’ together. With his bravery to reveal the truth to Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) when she arrived at Faraway Down station, he managed to kick Fletcher from the cattle farm.

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Revamp Malaysian Education – Unified System for Nation Building

Recently, there were many remarks made on Malaysian education system from politicians to historian as reported in Malaysiakini. Yes, we are still struggling to find our identity! Nevertheless, some said our education was gambled for the benefits of political agenda. I tend see it differently, as part and parcel of the process towards building a single nation.

Fair enough, nobody can change their origin, skin color or outlook. But, we can change our thoughts, the way we think and eventually leads to the way we react.
Graduates
I guess when I decided to write this article, I am ready to be called as ‘disgraceful’ or ‘kurang ajar’ by my own ethnic when I say ‘I support the abolishment of vernacular schools’. I am a Malaysian with Chinese parentage. I was born and grew up here. In fact, I went to national school since my elementary study (primary school) and I liked to visit my Cikgu’s open house during Hari Raya (‘Cikgu’ means teacher in Malay language or ‘Bahasa Malaysia’). I loved to eat their cookies, ‘satay’, ‘ketupat‘ and of course getting the ‘duit raya’(token sums of money). I still remember, there was once I fell sick in school and my Cikgu sent me home with his own car. He took care of me like his own children. I was then offered a place in a boarding school owing to my flying colors result in national examination. Yes, it was an elite school whereby we had the best group of teachers, five meals a day were served on time in the dining hall, laundry service was fixed and taken good care of. Despite the fact that I belonged to the 10% of non-Bumiputeras there, I got the support and earned the respect from all the people in our community ranging from dedicated teachers, dear friends, lovely seniors/juniors and caring wardens. We were like a one big happy family.

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The wonderful Mamma Mia – Hottest Movie in Town!

Courtesy of WikipediaAfter being told that Mamma Mia is more like a musical show than just the movie, I decided to drag my hubby along to the theatre. After all, both of us are ABBA fan.

Well, although we missed the first 10 minutes of this movie, we could sense the fun and high spirit in the beginning of the movie itself.  

No doubt it is the songs that bring out the character of the movie, but the fun part is really about ‘seeing’ the songs come alive Smile. If you could agree with me, it is the songs and the acting that move us… As the movie unfolds itself, I was amazed by how the plot is written to suit the songs. Most of the time, it is the lyrics of the song that do the talking!

I especially like the scene when Sophie’s mother, Donna (Meryl Steep) entertained their guest (the night before Sophie’s wedding) with their nostalgic band, ‘Donna and the Dynamos’, singing the song Super Trouper. Then, the three ‘fathers’ appeared from nowhere and ended up being pulled by the girls and then … come the song ‘Gimme, Gimme (a man after midnight)’.  

There are also a few touching scenes like when Sam (Pierce Brosnan) persuaded Donna to accept him again. Then, Donna sang The Winner Takes it all… She then walked towards the church at the hilltop…Did you ever wonder why the wedding ceremony is taking place in the evening?

Throughout the movie, there are about 20 ABBA songs, among the famous one are – I have a dream, Honey Honey, Money Money Money (naturally, Honey attracts Money Tongue out), Chiquitita, Dancing Queen, Super Trouper, SOS, The Winner Takes it all and of course Mamma Mia (played twice).   

Personally, I feel this movie has the complete package of what an entertaining movie should be – humorous, scenic place, blue ocean (remember the church on the hilltop?) with the shooting scene is supposedly to resemble a remote island in Greek in the 1970s..  

Overall, I enjoyed myself very much and found myself singing along with most of the songs. Not to mention admiring the dashing Pierce Brosnan (his singing is so lousy, but who cares?). Of course, double thumbs up should be given to Meryl Steep who made most impactful acting (and singing). Full of emotion!

If you are an ABBA fan like me, you may consider watching Mamma Mia – The Smash Hit Musical (London’s West End version) in Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 17 December 2008 till 1 January 2009. I heard tickets are selling real fast, so better be quick! Either call AXCESS Hotline: +60-3-7711 5000, access online www.axcess.com.my or drop by at AXCESS ticket outlets..

26 August 2008 Permatang Pauh Parliamentary By-Election

August 26, 2008 is a Tuesday that will be remembered by many. The day that dictates our future. The day that Malaysians decide where do we go from here. From coffee shop to even board room, this is the hottest topic discussed among fellow Malaysians. We are indeed very concern on who will be the next Permatang Pauh MP (member of parliament). Arif Shah, Anwar Ibrahim or Hanafi Hamat. And why?

As a matured individual and a responsible citizen, firstly execute it by deciding to cast your ballot on 26 August 2008 if you are truly a legal voter for Permatang Pauh. Secondly, it is the choice for which party to vote for. Barisan Nasional (BN), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (AKIM)? It is not difficult at all, my dear friend! Think for a moment of truth.

This election is not as simple as deciding for the Permatang Pauh MP or who will be speaking on behalf of the ‘rakyat’ (‘rakyat’ means citizen in Malay language). It is about whether we want to have two equally dominance political parties in our country. Looking at the example of developed nations like United States or Sweden, it has been proven that two political parties with almost an equal force definitely provide an advantage to perform check and balance for the country and subsequently enable our nation to move forward in economics and social as well. The opposite is observed for those countries ruled by a dictatorship political party or government like Myanmar. A republic by name and nothing else. It was reported in their recent election, some villages authorities and polling station officials ticked the ballots themselves and did not let the voters to do anything. This could be an extreme case but if we do not stop this, we are getting there very soon. Studying carefully the political climate of most republics in Africa that are dominated by a single ruling party, it also shows there is a significant below par achievement in term of economy and social growth. If this simple analogy rings a bell, I believe you are wise to pick your choice.

On top of that, please do not be swayed by the threat of instability or inconveniences if there are two strong political parties. Yes, things may get slower to be approved but it also means that our ministers are more careful in their analysis and decision making as we leave them with no chance to make mistakes or being careless. This is the attitude we shall work towards to cultivate. And how to achieve? Think and cast your vote wiselyInnocent. Decide for our future and vote towards a two-party system!.

Dream versus Goal

DreamI like to dream, in fact I have been dreaming of big pay checks, big house, big car. Everything that is big is all my wants and I guess that this stuff will drop down from the sky especially for me. What a naive thoughts in the first phase of thinking process!

Fine, then if these stuff are not going to appear without a reason, then shall I just work hard to get it. Stretch my life, spending long hours at work, so that my boss will notice, get a promotion, get a better pay check. Is this about it? Oh no! What a boring life I am going to end-up with!
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Catastrophic versus Terrorism: Nargis Cyclone/Sichuan Earthquake versus Jaipur Bomb Blast

In less than two weeks as we begins new chapter in May 2008, two catastrophic hit Asia of one after another.

A basin called Sichuan in central China was struck by an earthquake of 7.9 Magnitude scale on May 12 Monday afternoon at local time. The death toll from this Sichuan massive earthquake has risen to almost 15,000 (when this article is written) and several thousands remain cut-off.

This tragedy can relate to me vividly as I was in Sichuan twice in the last five years. In year 2005, I visited Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou. Sichuan is a valley with several mountainous ranges surrounding it. When I was on the roads from Mianyang to Jiuzhaigou, it was only a narrow single winding lane of one way traffic by the cliff. I still recalled the incident whereby there was a misunderstanding of traffic direction in a tunnel about 1 km ahead of us. There was no way out, no overtaking was possible and no reversing as the vehicles queue was picking up in just a few minutes. It was a busy road then. While waiting in our coach, I just realized that the right side of our bus was ravine that went straight to the roaring strong current river.

 

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