Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Shaolin Monkey

We had just ended a 90-minute session. Some of the ladies wanted a group photo with the dance instructor, as he was nicely in "costume". We lined ourselves up in a neat little row behind him as the cameras got ready. 

"What - just like that?" he exclaimed, seeing how plain boring we looked. "Pose, everyone, pose!"

The picture was sent to him several days later and today, he shared it with me. 

"All of you can't pose at all!" he complained. "Look at how weird and funny you all look!" and he proceeded to describe each one.

The ladies, according to him, from left to right:

#1 - Is this even a pose?
#2 - Ms Universe contestant
#3 - Another Ms Universe contestant
#4 - About to slap him?
#5 - I want to hide behind the Monkey
#6 - The Shaolin Monkey
#7 - The Crab Walk

He can't believe we can't pose, he continued grumbling. He'll have to teach us to pose properly the next time. He can't even publish these photos anywhere with us looking like that. And I'd better not post this photo anywhere too, he warned me. Too shameful, he said.

Hee heee... I think my Readers would enjoy the amusement, though. I'll post the better one when we succeed in getting it =D

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Boyfriend

It was dark when I reached home. As I stepped out of my car, my mother walked up from inside the house to the main door and started unlocking the metal gate.

"Your boyfriend came by earlier..." she said, in a tone apparent of how she disliked the visitation.

I have a boyfriend? Really? It took me a few seconds to remember Flapper - the cute, furry, little bat that visits every now and then. Awww... I missed him! My mother complained that after flying around the living room a bit, he "disappeared". She didn't know if he's left, or was hiding in some dark corners.

He must've gone, I said, since he's my boyfriend, and so he must obviously be disappointed that I wasn't home when he dropped by.

Maybe he'll come again tomorrow... (this, I did not say out loud) =P

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Journey Home

After an hour of particularly satisfying yoga practice (in which I believe I achieved new depth in the standing forward bend... yes, it is a big deal!) I left the gym anticipating a blissful, relaxed night. It almost didn't happen.

My gym is approximately 15 minutes' drive from my home - under normal traffic conditions - so in a way, the distance is not that much. In that, however, I encountered:

1. At least 20 vehicles illegally parked and double-parked, resulting in horribly obstructed paths requiring complicated maneuvers to get through.

2. A huge "vintage" Mercedes going against rightful traffic on a one-way-street. With illegally parked cars on one side, the road meant to accommodate the width of a single vehicle now has to fit THREE. As it was happening, I thought to myself - if my car didn't get out unscratched, I'd totally confront the man driving the offending one with "Uncle, did you notice this sign which says "Jalan Sehala" (one-way-street)? That big arrow pointing that way means you can only drive in that direction..." I'm too polite, I know.

3. A horrible excuse of a human being doing this:

(original image from here)

The thing with bad road users is, they're so common I've become very skilled at not getting mad encountering them. For all I know, little irritants like these contribute to functional dyspepsia and seriously, they're not worth it.

So, yea - in spite of everything, I got home and enjoyed my blissful, relaxed night, like I intended to.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Saving General Yang

*Spoilers Alert*
Reader, if you have not watched the movie, please do not proceed to read this post. It isn't a review... I'd like to think of it as a general discussion of the aspects of this movie that I liked. Of course, if you are already familiar with the famous Yang family legends, I suppose there is nothing much I could spoil for you. 

So, there are many versions of the story, but the gist is that the Yang family, led by patriarch General Yang Ye were a brave and loyal clan who fought wars defending the Song dynasty. The antagonist invaders were the Liao dynasty army whereas the antagonist rival was a fellow Song general, Pan Renmei. General Yang died as a result of being betrayed by Pan Renmei and after most of his seven sons died in later battles, their womenfolk took up arms and continued fighting.

In this particular version, General Yang, after being betrayed, retreated with a handful of surviving warriors to Two Wolves Mountain, to which the Liao army immediately laid siege. It was revealed that this was a deliberate set-up by the leader of the Liao army, Yelu Yuan. The obvious reason - to lure his sons in so he could kill them all.

At home, the general's wife, Madam Yang, had a premonition and proceeded to consult a sage. He told her nothing, but gave her a slip of paper upon which a prediction was written. As the brothers put together a plan to rescue their trapped father, the prediction was revealed to the eldest son -

Translated literally, it says seven sons leave, six sons return. The implication is that one of them will die in the mission. Naturally, the eldest son promised his mother that he will sacrifice himself to ensure that his father and his younger brothers may return home safely.

The audience will be led the wonder which unfortunate brother will not make it.

The seven of them, with a small group of soldiers, went forth, clashed with the Liao soldiers and broke through a battalion of two hundred men. All reached the fort at Two Wolves Mountain unharmed, to General Yang. The pained countenance of the general upon beholding his sons was noteworthy. As he had anticipated, the Liao army soon launched a full-force attack. The Yangs, though battered and wounded, managed to escape.

It was just the beginning. Yelu Yuan, bent on killing them, pursued the family with a hundred of his men.

*Serious Spoilers Alert*

The audience continued to wonder which unfortunate brother will not make it.

The first death, when it came, to be honest, caught me by surprise, for it was far less heroic that I expected. Yes, it was emotional, but it was over almost before it's begun.

The second death, when it became imminent, caught me by surprise again, for I thought it wasn't supposed to happen. But it did. The eldest Yang son died fighting tens of Liao warriors in a bid to buy more time for his brothers to escape, as he promised his mother he would. He couldn't have known that he wasn't the first to fall, nor would he be the last.

The prophecy?

It was misinterpreted. The second part didn't mean that six will return. It meant the sixth.

The correct literal translation: seven sons leave, sixth son returns.

All, except one, will perish. The audience, now stupefied, continued in trepidation, wondering how each will meet his end. This, for me, is the most profoundly affective aspect of the entire film. Of course, in addition, I noted the rather well choreographed battle scenes and bloody aftermaths, good CGIs and the above average acting capabilities of the star-studded cast.

It probably will be mind-boggling to many, how much sacrifice was made by these men. Seven sons risked their lives to save their elderly father; the father, gravely injured, gave up his life to free his sons of the burden that was him; five brothers fighting to their deaths so that one of them could successfully bring the body of their father back home to their mother.

Mind-boggling... but that's how warriors were in ancient times - with such seemingly senseless acts of loyalty and piety.

I really enjoyed watching it. Hope you did too, Reader.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


It's the middle of the night and I just did a load of laundry. I told my bestfriend that when my laundry basket is more than half-full, I get this really, I mean really, uneasy feeling. And, I have to do something about it... she said that when their laundry basket gets more than half-full, her husband starts nagging and she will have to do something about it.

I know what the problem is - she is attracted to people who are OCD about clearing laundry (and a bunch of other crazy stuff)

Hey, I love you too! :X

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Journey to Competency

It wasn't hard... just extremely tedious, and so strenuous on the last day that at the end of it, I slept for 11 hours straight!

Or maybe I just like sleeping. *oink!*

I've never doubted my competency in lesson delivery and presentation - even when I first started teaching - but there are some things for which the world simply wants proof in black and white. The actual worth of paper qualifications is always something I can't quite make up my mind about. A certified person is not necessarily absolutely competent, and a non-certified professional may very well be more than adequately competent.

Anyhow, I know I am competent in teaching / training, but now I also have (or will have, depending on how long shipping takes) the paper to prove it.

I should go back to bed.... *oink!*