1-10 September 2002
|2 Sep||More Yupgi! & how the Censors watch out for us|
|2 Sep||A New Month|
8 September 2002 9:43 PM SGT
I once responded to someone's question (I can't remember who) by saying that I didn't waste my time daydreaming, fantasising, whatever you call it. Well I thought about it after that & realised that I wasn't being very honest. Right now I'm flipping through the Ikea catalogue (valid up to August 2003). For these recent years it has been my habit to go through everything & picture in my mind the perfect home. Of course, the perfect home would not only have things that Ikea sells, but you get the idea - furniture in the living room, bedroom, kitchen etc. Ideally you also need to have an unlimited budget, sigh...
Although a week has passed since I raved about the MSG soundtrack (see previous post) I find that nothing much changes in a week for me. Of significance:
- Star Trek: No Enterprise this week, so nothing about that. The TNG episode "Phantasms", about Data having surrealistic nightmares that ultimately prove to be subconscious prompting & allow him to save his fellow crew from alien creatures that were feeding on their cellular peptides. Although the subject matter is grim - a possessed Data even stabs Troi - the episode was quite humourous at times, like Data's consultation with a holographic Sigmund Freud.
- Computer troubleshooting: Spent some time over the weekend trying to fix my cousin's computer - they couldn't go online even though, as my tests proved later, there was nothing wrong with SCV's network, the cable modem, the Ethernet cables or the network card. Heck according to ipconfig there was even an IP assigned to the computer, so it should be on the network & hence able to connect, but both ping and IE couldn't. & today we all got a shock when the system couldn't detect a hard disk, but I think it was just a loose cable inside (phew!). In the end I had to reinstall Windows, since I think you'll need to be well-versed in Windows networking to understand just how all the hardware can be working well & it looks OK on ipconfig but the damn connection is still down. At least I didn't waste too much time on this - I think in the future reinstalling your OS will be as ridiculous as rebooting a fridge is to us now.
- National Identity: Was very impressed by the essay "Cultivating Citizenship and National Identity" by Kwok Kian Woon and Mariam Ali, both professors of sociology at NUS, in the volume Singapore: Re-Engineering Success, edited by Arun Mahizhnan & Lee Tsao Yuan. It expressed something I have began to doubt in a very clear and "intentionally provocative" way:
Singapore was never meant to be a nation, does not have to function as a nation, and might function more efficiently and dynamically if it does not have the ambition of becoming a nation. There can be a Singapore without Singaporeans.
Its main thrust is that in Singapore the government can be regarded as more like a monarch or a employer because of its heavy role in managing the human resources and deciding the economic programme the country is to follow. I have myself been disgusted at times with the way the population is addressed as economic resources, or the assumption is made that everything we do should be for the furtherance of our economic prosperity. After expanding on the proposition, with a discussion of sojourner-citizens who are highly mobile & treat Singapore as a temporary stop on their quest for wealth, employee-citizens who fill the middle- and lower-level jobs, non-citizens who do the menial work & are not here to stay, and tourists/tourist-citizens who are sold on a story of modernity-with-Asian-values. Presumably positions in this ultracapitalist state (NOT nation) including the military and government can be offered to the most capable. In the end, backing off from this "caricature", the authors assert that a Singapore nation cannot be built on practical or utilitarian foundations and has to involve the people's opinions & views, because it is the people that make up the nation.
It is an extremely persuasive piece; in fact I don't think it's a caricature for the most part. More people should read it.
- History book club: Had an idea when talking with Marx to create a book club, of sorts, where we would each read a book on a particular subject and then review the book and also give our inputs on it. I wanted to do it first for Singapore history (the general-sweep kind) because it's been a while since I've paid any attention to it (secondary school I guess) and because it can be the introduction to more in-depth topics like the economics or politics or sociology of Singapore. Besides Marx, I have also asked Eugene & Wilson. I wonder if anyone else is interested - most of the people I know are engrossed in their studies or too busy doing NS. I have also prepared a list of books about Singapore that I think are worth reading (to Marx, Eugene & Wilson: I left out a great book, for some reason, in the list I gave you all earlier: Singapore: The Air-Conditioned Nation: Essays on the Politics of Comfort and Control, by Cherian George).
More Yupgi! & how the Censors watch out for us
2 September 2002 11:50 PM SGT
Yesterday I bought the soundtrack to My Sassy Girl at Sembawang Music Centre at CineLeisure (digression: don't you think they need a change of name, because it's quite obvious that they've moved beyond Sembawang Shopping Centre & are competing with the middle-sized to big boys now, but never mind):
AC+E No. 2: Kim Hyung-Suk's 2nd Project Album (a.k.a. My Sassy Girl O.S.T.)
|Cover front||Cover back||Record front||Record back|
- My goodness isn't she gorgeous... OK never mind.
- The song to listen is undoubtedly "I Believe" (Track 2, instrumental version with piano at Track 20 too). But everything else is nice too. Interestingly, they use dialogue from the movie as introductions to the music (Track 1: Kyun-Woo's voiceover explaining the time capsule, & Track 14: Yupgi Girl's shouted apology to Kyun-Woo).
- In case you've noticed too, I also wonder why the Board of Film Censors slapped a PG sticker on the cover. The movie was rated PG - for the Yupgi Girl's heavy drinking, I guess. Or else, vomiting instant noodles & beer on a person definitely isn't in accordance with our society's ideals and values, to say the least. But I don't really understand why the soundtrack also required it, because as far as I can tell, there's nothing even in the "I Believe" MTV to suggest anything offensive (except maybe the part where she steps too close to the incoming train, but certainly they can't be as prudish as the movie reviewers at ScreenIt.com, for instance). Which brings me to...
- The bonus "track": actually the MTV to "I Believe", which is a montage of scenes from the movie, except that they've only included the sappy melodramatic boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-for-girl, they-part, they-get-together? scenes. You wouldn't have a clue why the girl is termed sassy, for instance. So I guess I'm just preparing anyone who wants to listen/buy the OST, that only the sentimental stuff is retained - the music is just so. I suppose that can be considered my review of the OST, although I maintain that most of the time OSTs sound good only when you've watched the TV series/movie so that you can relate to the music.
The issue of censorship again: I visited the Films & Publications Department website in my mini-quest to find out why the soundtrack is rated PG. It's very nicely done, & after some exploring I found the (very) rough guidelines they have for deciding what deems a movie G, PG, NC16 or R(A), as well as the vetting process. It's worth mirroring here:
Film Classification Process
- Distributors indicate preferred rating during submission.
- FPD assesses if the film is suitable for the requested rating. If not, FPD will indicate the cuts required under the requested rating or suggest an alternative rating if the cuts are excessive or disrupt the continuity of the film.
- For controversial films, FPD will hold a board meeting among its officers and consult its citizen body, the Films Advisory Panel for inputs before making a decision.
- If the distributor is not satisfied with FPD's decision, he may appeal to the Films Appeal Committee which comprises 15 citizens from all walks of life. The decision of the FAC is final.
& if you follow the links above, you can see lists of the members on the Films Advisory Panel and Films Appeal Committee, so don't go around saying that you don't know who they are (*wags finger*). Still I guess the hierarchy still puts the anonymous, & undoubtedly of high moral stature, FPD personnel on top. All in all a pretty fascinating, if brief, read. It doesn't go into enough details to explain how an innocuous (IMO) soundtrack can be rated PG.
- Yeah I know, the ScreenIt.com people and other reviewers like them are doing a public service: parents might just want to know exactly how many scenes of violence, sex, vulgarities or even alcoholism ("some people are seen drinking. Mr A. was sipping champagne etc.") they should be expecting before they bring their kids to watch it. So as a guide it's cool, if a little Victorian, but to actually base movie-going decisions on it is taking it a bit too far.
- This should be the last time I mention anything regarding My Sassy Girl (see my last post on it, and also here), so for those who are sick of me recommending it or proclaiming how good it is, take heart.
- Hmm on second thought, this could be my second last post, because I've yet to get the DVD in Korean. Hahaha...
A New Month
2 September 2002 10:50 PM SGT
I was planning to write this "new month" post yesterday, but didn't make the "deadline" - heh guess I can't be a journalist or somebody like that. Anyway it is now 10 months less 3 days to my ORD, so I thought it's about time I appraise my life, so to speak - draw up a list of what I've achieved since I was enlisted (29 December 2000), and what I still have to do (this list is VERY long, unfortunately). One of my aims for this NS liability was not to let my brain atrophy, & I wonder whether how far I've gone beyond letting that unpleasant event happen. (Another was not to try too hard at my own expense - check!) But of course I won't be laying out my whole life here, because well, it's my life, & besides it's not very interesting.