Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let's talk about running...

A runner friend mentioned this book to me earlier...and the other day while wasting time at the bookstore waiting for movie to start...came across the book...


few reasons I bought it almost immediately...
1) its not a book about running...but a memoir of someone who runs
2) its not by a runner...but an acclaimed writer I know (not in person ofcos)
3) its not thick...less than 180 pages
4) its not expensive...around rm30 with member's discount

First of all...I do run a bit...by Mr. Murakami's definition, I'm not a serious runner...as mentioned in the book, he considered someone who run an average 60km a week as serious runner...I do about 30km a week...so maybe I'm semi-serious...

I'd read running books by runners before...they are very good guide book...good reference for beginners...based on experience, backed by facts and knowledge...

Instead of insight into running...this book provides insight into the runner himself...not a professional full time competitive runner...but an amateur runner...someone I can identify with, in terms of running, much closer than a marathon winner who are like miles ahead of me...in races, the winner always crosses the finish line before I cross the halfway line...

This is also a memoir that offers a lil peek through the window into his life...not just at his running...but also his career...his philosophy

And what makes this book really attractive to me is the fact that this is not a book by a sportsman or an editor narrating on behalf...but by the man himself an established writer...

I can't say I'm a fan of Mr. Murakami, maybe not yet. I have to admit his books are not easy to read...maybe thats why my bookmark got stuck somewhere in the first quarter of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle for so long...but  if you spend time and read patiently...it will slowly lead your imagination into its world...
the same goes with this book...as he described his training and races...I can almost picture I was there...and feel the soreness in my calf...ok that's due to my running

I think readers who run will enjoy the book with the many "Oh...I've been through that too" or "Hahaha...that also happened to me before" moments...and the many motivational quotes...it is like a book of motivational quotes for runners...I wish I can list them all here but that would be very inappropriate...can I at least share one...my favourite...for lazy runner like myself...

"I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished."

For non-runners...I think you will also enjoy it because it's not just about running but more about the runner himself...how he sees running...his views...his philosophy...quite interesting man...
because it is not too long, this may be a good introduction to this painful and torturous yet addictive hobby...so, want to go shopping for running shoes?


Monday, April 16, 2012

Clean sweep at Hong Kong Film Award...not quite unexpected

Last night was the Hong Kong Film Award (HKFA)...dubbed the Academy Award of the Hong Kong film industry.

As mentioned in previous entry...A Simple Life (桃姐) is expected to win big...and they did...the film took home all 5 major awards...Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress...the last movie that had the same record was in 1996...Summer Snow (女人四十)...also directed by Ann Hui
(story in detail http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2012-04/16/content_25155661.htm)

This cover photo at www.cfp.cn tells it all
  
Out of the 5 nominees for Best Film...I've only watched 2...A Simple Life and Overheard 2...
I really enjoyed Overheard 2...I think it is better than the first Overheard...but between the two I know the more compelling story of A Simple Life would win...

Besides the major awards...I'm always interested in the nominations for supporting roles...while the lead roles tell the story...good supporting actor/actress make the film much more entertaining to watch...
this year, I'm more interested in the supporting actors...4 veterans and 1 young man who got the Best Actor award just last year...I watched Jimmy Wang in Wu Xia, Kenneth Tsang in Overheard 2 and Paul Chun Pui in A Simple Life...I love them all, very solid veterans...but my fav. is Chun Pui in A Simple Life...I always enjoy watching him on screen...
The award goes to Lo Hoi Pang for Life Without Principle...and the film also gave So Hang Shuen the Best Supporting Actress award...and some say the best actor also should have gone to Sean Lau for his lead role in this film...hmmm...sounds like a good film...must put this on top of my to-watch list

I was actually looking out for Wu Xia...one of the Hong Kong movie I enjoyed the most last year...most of its nominations were for technical merits...although it didn't win in most of the categories it was nominated, not even Donnie Yen's choreography...I'm quite happy that at least it won the Best Cinematography because I think it was beautifully filmed...with twisty interesting plot...I even thought it would at least get nominated for best film...but then what do I know about film...I'm just a cinema-goer...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

So I'm not the only one who's worried...

An article was published in the newspaper today (http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/4/15/nation/11106782&sec=nation)

Unlike my previous kampung writing...this is a well researched article with opinion from engineering experts on the ability of our buildings to stand earthquakes.

A photo from the article...Mass evacuation: Crowds moving out of Komtar in George Town, Penang, during the Indonesia quake on Wednesday


After reading the article, I feel less paranoid about my previous entry.
So there are experts who share my concern...and with good reasons for that.

One small info from the article...
"...currently, only KLCC and Penang Bridge are earthquake proof...the second Penang Bridge which is being constructed will also be earthquake proof."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

our country getting any safer...or not

Most of us were shocked yesterday...not just figuratively but literally...when a 8.6-magnitude quake hit 435km south west of Banda Aceh, Indonesia.


I see lots of my friends updating from Penang that they felt the tremors...When I look for the latest official report...I was quite worried because initially it was reported as 8.9...which is almost the same as the earthquake that causes the massive tsunami in Japan last year...tsunami alert was also issued, which was withdrawn later in the evening...this article explains why the quake did not cause a tsunami (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/sumatra-quake-it-took-30-minutes-to-establish-there-would-be-no-tsunami-so-the-alert-had-to-go-out-first-7639711.html)
Thankful that the earthquake didn't cause too major damage.

This event reminds me of my high school geography...Malaysia is relatively safer from earthquake and volcanoes because she is located outside the Pacific Ring of Fire...but I wonder...will we always be safe?

While the epicentre is still some distance away...it seems that recently we are feeling more of the aftershocks...and they seems to get more obvious...in 2004 when the earthquake happened off Sumatera I was resting on bed on the 2nd floor...and I felt a very slight vibration through my body...

From the stories I heard...this time we can even feel the floor really shaking and furnitures swaying...

So i wonder...is it possible that we are actually moving nearer and nearer to the Ring?...I'm no scientist but I just feel that it is possible...after all Mother Earth is not an old lady just sitting still doing nothing...she is forever dynamic...forever changing...and reacting to our every action...if got mosquito drill into your skin to extract your blood, you also will shake your body a bit lar...

I think we have to start answering some questions...

Are we prepared when disaster strikes?...the most common and severe disaster our country have to deal with is flood...which I think is a bit less acute compared to earthquake or tsunami
Are our buildings able to endure the aftershock?...mild nonetheless but still it is exerting stress to the buildings and structures...I hope they do consider that when they build

Not spreading rumours or causing panics...
I just hope we are not taking too much of "outside the Pacific Ring of Fire" for granted...
And of course I hope I'm wrong...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Simple Story...A Simple Life

It's been sometime since I last wrote...got distracted for far too long...recently reading a book that makes me want to write again...perhaps I will talk about the book later.

I'll start again with a movie I watched last week...a simple movie telling a simple story...A Simple Life

One of my favourite movie poster, simply captivated.

I first heard about this movie last Sept. when it was selected for the prestigious Venice International Film Fest. I got interested because it's not common a Hong Kong film got selected, not to mention the favourable comments. So I checked out the synopsis and trailer.



The line up itself tells a lot about the quality of the movie...Directed by Ann Hui, probably one of the best story teller in HK...Andy Lau, one of my all time fav. actor...and Deanie Yip, I won't say she is one of my all time fav. but I always enjoy her acting...Immediately I put this very high on my to-watch list. Knowing that the movie most probably will not be screened in Ipoh, I was prepared to watch on tv when they release the DVD later.

Last week while checking out cinema listing, saw this movie in the list...I was quite excited and surprised that they are screening the movie in Ipoh...it is quite rare for high quality award winner to be screened in Ipoh...the only award winners shown here are Kid's Choice Award winners (twilite alvin puss bla bla bla) and Golden Raspberry Award winners (Jack n Jill...the one and only movie that clean sweep all the golden raspberrys). It was indeed a rare threat for movie-goers in Ipoh...I won't want to miss this on the big screen...

I think it was very well done...simple yet beautiful...classic Ann Hui movie.
Its not the usual mainstream melodramatic tragic movie where they create scenes to squeeze you till you cry...the emotion is quite subtle...and lots of space for the audience to ponder...either you find it touching...or you don't...it's that simple

I seldom feel like watching a movie for a second time...especially not HK movie...but Deanie Yip played the character so well...I want to watch again just to see her act...
The chemistry between Deanie and Andy is really a joy to watch...
The string of cameos by remarkable and veteran actor/actress really spiced up the movie...
It is a 2 hour movie...which is quite long by HK movie standard...but it didn't feel long at all...
If it still screening at your local cinema, you may not want to miss this...

(By the way since Venice, this movie has been bagging all the major awards in Asia...the next one is HK Film Award where it is expected to take home all the major awards...)