Thursday, May 29, 2008

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Peruvians are upset over the mistakes in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Frankly speaking, here in Singapore, or even in the most part of Asia for that matter. For people who are unfamiliar with the geography and the various languages used in Latin America, we wouldn’t even know the mistakes at all when we watch the movie.

Americans have been perceived as being ignorant of the rest of the world. If they view different countries in Latin America like Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru as being the same, they probably may also have difficulties differentiating one country from another in Asia.

Thursday, 29th May, 2008 (AFP)

Indiana Jones and the Movie Mistakes of Doom

LIMA (AFP) - - Most of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" takes place in Peru, but many Peruvians are suffering heartburn after seeing the movie's many clumsy -- and often insulting -- mistakes about their country.

Viewers here cringed when the world's most famous fictional archaeologist arrives in Peru and announces that he learned to speak Quechua, the language of indigenous people across the Andes, when he was captured by Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.

Villa and his revolutionaries raided the US town of Columbus, New Mexico in 1916 -- and in an episode of the 1990s TV show, "The Young Indiana Jones," the young Jones is kidnapped.

But Villa's men spoke Spanish, not Quechua, which is spoken by some 10 million people in places like Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

"This is outrageous," said Hugo Neyra, who heads Peru's National Library.

Neyra and others are also angry at seeing Maya warriors from Central America speaking Quechua in the Peruvian jungle, where hundreds of native languages, but not Quechua, are spoken.

The movie also shows quicksand, man-eating ants and enormous Hawaiian waterfalls, all of which do not exist in the Peruvian Amazonia.

In what is perhaps the biggest insult, director Steven Spielberg and writer George Lucas place the Maya pyramid of Chichen Itza, located in Mexico, in the Peruvian jungle.

Another mistake: the location of the Nazca lines -- which give clues to Jones in the movie -- created by the Nazca culture sometime between 200 BC and 700 AD.

Visible only from aircraft, the lines representing stylized animals are etched on a patch of coastal desert some 370 kilometers (230 miles) south of Lima -- and not next to the Incan capital of Cuzco, smack in the southern Peruvian Andes.

The Maya civilization thrived in southern Mexico and northern Central America between 250 and 900, while the Quechua-speaking Incas thrived across the Andes from 1200 to the 1533.

Historian Manuel Burga, the former head of the University of San Marcos, said that Spielberg and Lucas were given bad advice.

"Even if it is fiction there are many incorrect facts," Burga said. "This is going to be damaging to many people who do not know our country, because it shows a Peruvian landscape that is not real.

"It is not possible to mistake the Amazon region with the Yucatan jungle in Mexico."

Neyra said that many informed Americans and Europeans will realize that it is "an aberration" to mix Maya and Inca archaeology. "They know that Machu Picchu is in Cuzco, and that Chichen Itza is in Mexico," he said.

Historian Teodoro Hampe is scathing in his view of they way Americans view the geography of Latin America: "For them Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia or Peru are all the same."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No More Petrol In JB for Singapore cars

Malaysia has declared it will ban the sale of petrol at petrol stations in Johor within 50km of its borders, to Singapore-plated cars with effect from Friday, 30th May, 2008.

Petrol stations there are lamenting that they will lose a lot of business because a huge chunk of their business (as much as 90%) come from foreigners. Many are worried they might have to close down eventually since they would not be able to survive the ban.

I think if the Malaysian government wants to prevent foreign vehicles from benefitting from their heavily-subsidised fuel, which costed the government a whopping RM40b in 2007, they should impose a surcharge on Singapore-plated cars of maybe RM20 to RM50 instead, to alleviate the subsidy expenditure.

I believe with such a surcharge, there will still be Singaporeans who will drive up to JB to top up petrol for their cars, albeit fewer ones.

Heads Have Rolled

Now that heads have rolled after the investigation and inquiry into Mas Selamat's escape is over. Those who have been fired, demoted, had their pay reduced would have a very good reason to hate the JI leader.

If they ever get to lay their hands on him, they would stab him 1,000 times, chop him up into 1,000 pieces, cook curry and serve to the other detainees.


Monday, May 26, 2008

In The Valley Of Elah

I just watched In The Valley Of Elah starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron.

It’s about a Vietnam war veteran who went searching for his son, who’s an army regular, who came back from an attachment to Iraq but was reported missing.

Tommy Lee Jones acted as Hank Deerfield. His son was Michael Deerfield.

To cut the long story short, after some initial denial by Michael’s platoon mates over his actual whereabouts. Near the end of the movie, one of them, called Bonner, finally confessed to stabbing (over 40 times) Michael to death. Michael’s platoon mates also chopped up his body and burned his body parts.

Originally, they wanted to bury the burnt body parts. But they were overwhelmed by hunger and used Michael’s credit card to buy themselves 3 chicken meals and forged Michael’s signature to sign on the bill. This just showed how numb and unfeeling they had grown to become. A very sick, sure and serious symptom of what psychologists call “post-traumatic stress disorder”.

This movie illustrated how sick some of these army regulars have become. They have totally lost their conscience after being subject to senseless bloody, gory violence day in day out in Iraq.

So much to the extent they don’t even feel the slightest sense of guilt and remorse over the killing and eventual cover-up of one of their platoon mates.

Michael, was very much affected by the violence in Iraq too. There was once, (before he died, of course) he was driving a Humvee along the streets of Fallujah and he literally ran down an Iraqi kid. As there was a rule that they were not supposed to stop at all when they were passing thru any town. He felt bad about it at first. He even called his father in America and cried that he wanted desperately to get out of Iraq right there and then. Hank thought that Michael was just experiencing typical emotions associated with a tour of duty.

After some time, not only did Michael seem to get over the guilt, he even enjoyed torturing a haji prisoner. There was a haji man who was shot in the arm, and as they were on their way to the hospital, Michael kept pressing his finger into the haji’s arm where the bullet wound was. Michael asked, “Does this hurt?” The poor haji man screamed “YES!” in agony but Michael relished in tormenting the haji and kept pressing his finger into the wound repeatedly.

At the end of the movie, Hank hung outside a school, a tattered American flag sent by his son before coming back to America, upside down to signal that everything was not all right and the country was in distress. He duct-taped the ropes of the flag staff and instructed the school's custodian to leave it like that, even at night.

Pedra Branca Goes To Singapore

Finally, after so many donkey years of dispute which formally started way back in 1979 and submitting the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for hearing, ICT has decided that Pedra Branca's sovereignty belongs to Singapore.

It's a good thing Singapore has won. I only wonder how much money has the government spent on this case over the decades to finally get this favorable verdict.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't Understand Chinese

Chinese who can’t speak Mandarin are either known as a banana or a potato. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

Even though we are Singaporean Chinese, not all of us know how to speak Mandarin, let alone reading and writing Chinese characters.

So when this bunch of us who only know English, gets served at retail outlets, restaurants and petrol kiosks by China nationals who speak Mandarin, a situation of chicken and duck talk arises.

Here we are, we can only understand and speak English. We might also understand a bit of simple spoken Mandarin, provided it’s uttered by a fellow-Singaporean. But throw at us some heavy China-accented Mandarin, and we go utterly baffled.

So some among this bunch of us writes to the press to complain about being served by China nationals who speak incomprehensible Mandarin. Some even up their unreasonable stance by demanding that such service personnel should only use English and not Mandarin.

While this bunch of English-spewing yaya papayas complain about China nationals who can't speak English, the latter also deride and look down upon Singaporean Chinese who can’t speak Mandarin for nuts.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hot Day

Moses Lim:
When the day is hot
When you sweat a lot
Ice-kachang will make you
Feel like sitting on the top

Mocking Bird:
When the day is hot
You don’t even want to set foot out of your home
When the day is hot
I will only leave my home after the sun has set
When the day is hot
The only place I will go to is a big mall where the air-con is strong
When the day is hot
The usually unbearably super-cold air-con of Ang Mo Kio Hub does seem very appealing after all
When the day is hot
Take the MRT to Changi Airport and hang out there the whole day

Car Parked In The Sun

What do you do when you see your car parked in the sun and you need to go some place?

Personally, I would rather either take a walk (if I’m going to a place within walking distance) or take MRT if it’s beyond walking distance.

That’s how much I utterly abhor and hate getting into a car that has been parked in the sun. It’s burning hot like hell. Of course, in reality, hell is definitely much hotter than the inside of a car that has been parked for hours under the blazing sun. Sitting inside such a hot car can sear your ass and give you fever.

Walking in the sun with an anti-UV umbrella or a cap is more tolerable than sitting inside a car that has been parked under the sun.

My wife complains that I frown all the time. In actual fact, I don’t frown all the time. I only frown when bright sunlight is shining on my eyes. Highly intolerable am I of bright sunlight. So much to the extent i have to bear in mind to avoid going to hot, sunny places like like Bangkok, Phuket, Langkawi, Pulau Redang, Tioman, etc. for my holidays. Going to such hot places send my body temperature soaring. Need to go to cool places like Genting Highland, Cameron Highland, Lake Toba where even though it may be sunny, at least the temperature is not as intolerably high. Going to hot, sunny holiday destinations begs the question, “Do you think Singapore is not already hot and sunny enough?”

Regardless of how dark the tint done to the windows of a car is, it can ever beat the shelter provided by a multi-storey car park.

That’s how much I hate parking my car in the sun. I would rather pay $25 more every month, just so I can park in the heavenly shade of a multi-storey car park. HDB charges $65 a month for season parking in an open car park and $90 a month in a multi-storey car park in a new town like Punggol and Sengkang.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Booking A New Flat For S$10

Why do people pay S$10 to book a new flat on HDB’s website, and then fail to show up after HDB sends them a letter asking them to go to HDB to select a flat of their choice for S$2,000?

One reason could be because people who book a new BTO flat on HDB’s website are pretty much put off by the long waiting time of at least 3 to 4 years before the new flat’s construction is completed.

Another reason could be: They don’t have S$2,000 to pay HDB to select a new flat of their choice.

Would increasing the booking fee to say S$100 help to deter these potential new flat buyers who are not exactly serious about committing to the actual purchase? Of course it would, but it might put off serious buyers of new flats too.

Those who are dead serious about committing to the purchase of a new HDB flat are upset with these non-serious and non-committal buyers for spoiling their chances of getting a flat of their choice.

Frankly speaking, I don’t think people who don’t turn up at HDB to choose a new flat on the appointment date are that much of a problem. Because even though non-committal buyers may have pushed the serious buyers further down the queue, serious buyers would automatically be moved up the queue once these non-serious buyers have been sifted out by their no show on the appointment date.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No Flat, No Marry

Men who propose to their girlfriends now are getting "No" for an answer as the woman would want to have their own flat to stay in, instead of having to put up with her in-laws. The expensive option of renting a flat to stay in is not quite feasible either. Buying a resale flat would mean forking out at least $15k to $30k cash on valuation (COV) to pay the seller. This is not a workable option either since many if not most courting couples in their early 20s up to their early 30s are usually quite cash-strapped. Not unless they are making big bucks like a combined income of over $10k a month.

For a married insurance manager with 2 kids and a BMW and a $680k 5-room flat in Mei Ling Street, his monthly expenses can easily exceed $10k a month.

Now all the new BTO flats from HDB need at least 3 years to construct. By then the cows would have gone home, and the woman whom the man wants to marry, might have left him for another man who can afford to buy either a resale HDB flat or new condo straight away.

No money, no honey. No flat, no marry.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Iron Man

Iron Man = Robocop + Rocketeer + Batman + James Bond