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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ola Bola, and why every Malaysian should watch it - Lingghezhi rating 8/10

First things first, watch the trailer. This one is safe to watch without spoiling too much, don't worry. The target audience seems to be Malaysians above 30. You do not need to know much about football.

The Malaysian film industry generally has most of its best stuff come from independent film makers who release their material on social media, as opposed to the watery material that ends up on the big screen every festive season that do not speak greatly of the average Malaysian movie-goer's maturity. The last notable Malaysian movie for me was  Yasmin Ahmad's Sepet, and that was 2004!

It's such pleasure when a historic gem like Ola Bola comes around.

Why should you, the above-average, educated, football-loving or otherwise, Malaysian watch it?

Because it reminds us that despite the current state of Malaysian football, we have potential.
We had a strong team, the then Harimau Malaya. We may not have one now, but this sport is our national passion, second to only maybe badminton.

Because of all the 1980s memorabilia and artifacts of the time, from the light lamps to the sewing machines, from the latex processing method to the chicken essence boiling. These are things slowly lost to time, as each generation passes. I was only recently pleasantly surprised to find the old made-in-China hand towels still available for sale, albeit not as cheaply as before.

This film, despite being half fiction, has made itself part of Malaysian history, and is definitely a good candidate for future literature studies many decades from now.

The various hurdles and judgements passed by the families of players and the expectations placed on them can hit home to a lot of us, and the simple ride back home on an empty village road surrounded by greenery reminds us of a simpler life people once lead. Contrast this to the time one spends now on the LDP and Federal highways every day, running in the rat race to our own little goals.

After the movie ended (note: you need to watch the credits), as I shuffled out of the cinema alongside other moviegoers, it is obvious the Malaysia potrayed that most senior citizens of Kuala Lumpur remember, no longer exists. The crowd in today's globalised Kuala Lumpur no longer matches the demographic or the spirit of the people in the movie.

It is a world that will disappear with the generation who lived it, making the value of this movie immeasurable as it captures so much of that life.

The only weak points would be the hints of amateur acting showing through. Marienne Tan's beginning and ending scenes unfortunately would flicker me out of the zone, mostly because I had expected better in a film that spent so much care on the details.

The placement of the senior Balak Eric and Marienne in the midst of a tale being told of the past however was seamless, and the many sentimental little pieces of Malaysian life in the 80's will make many of us smile.

TLDR : Lingghezhi rating 8/10. Must watch for Malaysians.

Worthy reads:


Sunday, August 18, 2013

truly live

It's been 2 years since the last post, such that I'm genuinely surprised this blog still has visitors. Much has changed since then, but all that is for another time, in another post.

Was checking facebook right before driving home from work, when I saw one of those status updates that moved me to think about a whole lot of things on the drive back.

A friend's life partner had passed away, due to an unfortunate postoperative complication. I imagined what it must feel like to be her right now, and honestly, I wanted to text her or post something on her facebook wall that could make this scar less painful, but there isn't anything one can say that would make such an experience bearable. In the end, there will be these words of mine, existing here, marking the suffering of a friend who has lost the most important thing in her life at such a young age.

Just take a brief moment to imagine yourself in her shoes.

Not everyone will realise how brief this life is. Not till they are on their own deathbeds. Not everyone is willing to stop what they're doing and wonder, when my time comes, will I have truly lived? What would I do if I had one more day of my youth?

Those of us willing to face our own eventual mortality, willing to realise that this may well be our brief chance at life before the great unknown, we must live differently.

As I turn to look back on my life when I am 40, I want to see that I have truly lived.
And as the gentlemen says, to have laughed more, danced more, played more.

And above all, loved more.


Sunday, December 18, 2011


In between the last post and this, has implemented some changes, one of which is the regression of the template feature a step backwards. No longer can the template's raw html be freely modified. Now one picks from a collection of designs.

After all the hours I had put into learning html and css almost 10 years ago, then drafting and remastering the template for this blog, it feels a little sad to see my little handiwork be wiped clean. Instead of a bland background, I went ahead with the options available and picked what you see now. Considering how rarely I blog these days, I guess the background is not too important anymore.

Between June this year (the last post) and now, I've completed a lot of stuff on life's to-do list. I am trying to make the most of the little time I have to the next major examination, with the major task at hand being the ultimate finals.

Favourite time of the year is coming up in a week, and I've yet to make plans..


Saturday, June 25, 2011


Up to a mere five months ago, there was this inner drive to learn as much as possible in this brief time. Sigh, so much has passed between now and then. And I'm not sure whether its the drudgery of routine or one too many lapses in judgement that has brought things to this point.

The last weekend was probably the lowest my inner drive, my motivation, and as a result, my honour has ever gone. I could not even bring myself to get out of bed on Saturday morning after going through a nightmare-sequence of failures and disappointments.

Was surgery department this draining for everyone? Why couldn't I face that table of books these past few weeks?

I need to breathe.

I gave in and had chocolates with a mug of coffee for breakfast. While the monologue in my head continued.

I turned to the laptop.
Facebook, the usual updates. Boring.
Email. the usual updates. Boring.
Japanese tracks playlist. Yeah, that sounds right.

The sun warmed up the room, and I opened a window to take in some fresh air. Air-conditioning was always second best.

And there it is. The day in front of me. And me, at what seems to be the lowest point of the parabolic curve one could possibly send their despondent souls to.

I decided to walk down my memories with the warm coffee mug for company. And among the many things I relived in my mind, I remembered why I needed to do this.

Teachers I met in those last few months of my stay in India who have made that lasting mark on me, believed in me, taught me to never give up, and shown me the way forward.

They may never know how much they have changed the course of my life. But everyday, I promise to honour them.

Today, I reclaim my 名誉


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I read a non-textbook recently, 'Better', by Atul Gawande.

And the book had me pondering over a lot of things that doctors do in a new light. And the book is an awesome read. A must-have for all medical students. (alas, I doubt those not in the field will find interest and fathom the weight of the things the writes about.) Gawande touches very specific situations and presents these as impetus for medical students and doctors to be better doctors, and not just a masked face who prescribes medication.

But I didn't start this post to review or recommend 'Better', which I probably would if a hundred other sites hadn't already.

I'm here to say something that is a bit more closer to heart, and at times, irks me so much so that I wonder at times about the sort of people that are becoming doctors.

What does it mean to try to become a 'Better' doctor?

It means a lot of things. Among those things should be the desire to learn. To improve. To grasp every moment that this brief life offers you to become that Better doctor.

Imagine my disgust when I have to deal with less than eager medical students. People who desire nothing more than to end classes early to go back to the room and park their lazy bottom on a chair and watch drama series and soaps. Granted, we all get tired at times. But is that reason enough to dismiss opportunities? Is it even remotely reasonable to grumble about those who do desire to be Better? Despicable, the attitude of some people. Downright criminal.

I generally ignore those who choose to behave like swine-sloth hybrids and continue my own path in my own way. In most circumstances, I shrug it off as a mild case of laziness and account it as their loss. Other times I attribute it to a transient psychologically based predisposition to favour ass-warming over learning due to a primary event (i.e leaving India to return to Malaysia for good).

It does however make me want to ask some of my contemporaries one single question:

What the hell are you in medical school for?


Sunday, January 03, 2010


New year's eve was a pretty quiet event this year in Manipal. Having an 8a.m. class the next day is a total buzzkill.

All aside, looking back on the year that was, it was a pretty good one. At times I feel like like a wanderer, biding his time to return to a homeland, and in a strange way, it was for the best. So many things I've observed and learnt, not just medicine, but of human nature as well.

An old friend told me of a book, which I'd like to quote here:

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."
-You Can't Go Home Again,Thomas Wolfe