Friday, December 18, 2009

Movie Reflections: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

It is by pure chance that I managed to watch this show in Bali. Was supposed to watch this film for some pre-training program but couldn't get my hands on it before I left for my holidays.  It just so happens that the villa which my family were staying in had this title in their DVD collection! And so I watched it in Bali.

It is only after watching the show, did I realise this is a multiple Academy Award winner. This show is a adaptation of the same titled novel by Ken Kesey. 

This post is meant as a reflection rather than a review. For reviews, please google/yahoo/ping/whatever for the film title and there will be umpteen search results.

Nurse Ratched

It is tough to fathom the ultimate objective of Nurse Ratched's employment in the ward. It is easy to generalise that she wants the best for the patients but her actions speaks otherwise.  It is as though she wants to keep the absolute power and control over the ward, the patients (and the doctor). She has her own way of doing things and do not tolerate any changes to the "well thought-out routine".

In her many battles with McMurphy, she shown great flexibility in the verbal sparring and will always regain the authority and control of the setting. However her stubborness (or fear of loss of control) and lack of flexibility is starkly exhibited whenever a change of the routine is proposed, which is why I am suspicious of her intentions. You may argue that she has a well-formed outcome in mind (to maintain absolute control) and thus will not deviate or tolerate anything that will topple it.

I thought Ratched's lack of sensory acuity is the direct cause of Billy's death.  She did not notice the total change in Billy after his adventures with Candy and solely focused on her anger.

Take away: Be flexible, what works then may not work now. And always know what you want.


The main man in the story.  He showed tremendous ability in establishing rapport with the group in his ward, not showing any prejudice, even though some of them may be too (mentally) sick to understand him. The turning point had to be during the 2nd vote for the World Series to be shown on TV where he gained majority of the votes.

After he realised that the other male patients are more institutionalised than they are focused on becoming functional to face the outside world, he embarks on the road to help them, which brought on the many battles with Ratched. He showed great creativity (and a total disregard of the rules of the institution) and did things that were not usually done in the ward.  The activities sort of liberalised and energised the whole setting and the patients start to come out of the shells that they had been hiding in. (which Ratched didn't like and thought it was a disruption to the program.)

McMurphy got the rest of the patients excited when he claims that he could lift the stone fountain. When he failed and walked away with "Why? At least I tried.", to me, is the point where he won over many of his ward-mates and the little nudge that makes them agree to tag along with McMurphy with his crazy plans.

Takeawy: Do whatever it takes. Do not limit yourself to the 'rules' set by others or the environment.

Bromden (Chief)

Bromden acted deaf and dumb for decades to avoid attention. It can be inferred that he did not agree or like the way the ward is ran but chose to accept it rather than to take actions against it. The actions of McMurphy liberalised him and convinced him that he needs to stand by for what he believed in and go for his dreams (to go back to his homeland in Canada.) 

McMurphy made Bromden believe in himself, visualised the goal of "riding the plains" together in Canada and gave him a new leash of life.  

After McMurphy was lobotomised and (probably) will not recover back to his normal self again, Bromden decided to free McMurphy for his suffering rather than let McMurphy remain in his state.  It was also the final push for him to execute the plans to escape and to realise his dream of returning home.

Take-away: To feel big all the time. You have got whatever you need inside you. You just need to know how to access it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eulogy to my E51 (MIA)

Thank you for being so lovely.
I am sure I touched and pressed you more times than any other objects daily.

Always giving me the information that I need.
And somethings details that I rather not have.
Information to make big decisions,
Other stuff, just for the heck of it, you gave.

To convey my emotions and intentions
And to receive love, care and... instructions.

You are blessed with every function a man can wish for!
Except for the gadget his job prohibit.
Nevertheless you gave your due.
And revenge I will seek, to my last bit.

Rest in Peace my dear friend.

To cut the long story short, I absent-mindedly left my handphone on a rack and left the shop. 5-10mins later, I discovered the lost and immediately went searching for it.  Mrs Pancakes called through the phone but no one answered.  Hoping some good soul who find the phone will answer it and return it to me. She kept calling while I went around searching.  After a couple of minutes, the phone was switched off. *Liaoz....* So I immediately suspended my SIM card. Crap.

And for those who thought that I was joking.


As I was waiting there for the nice officer to complete my report. This man came in and said that he had been blackmailed.  Being the kay-poh me, I immediately tuned my attention to the conversation.  Apparently a Chinese national called this man and said his daughter is kidnapped and demanded $30,000 in ransom.  Being the typical father, this man immediately rushed down from his place of work and while trying to contact his daughter went to withdraw the money.  Lucky for him, he found his daughter safe and sound before the drop-off.  It was one of those scam.

Initially I felt super tiny at that point of time.  What is a lost handphone compared to this man's case?  I was a bit embarrassed actually.  But as I sat there waiting, hey, if we don't stop minor/trivial cases like a lost handphone, it might just encourage the f***er to go on to bigger things like this scam. Immediately I felt better. Seriously.

As I mourn for the lost of my phone and the data that went with it, I hope my friends' details are safe.
And yes, I take this as a message from above..... so I pre-ordered my iPhone. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Get that little involved.

Pancakes went to a seminar a few days ago. Although it was mainly a financial stuff, there are a few take-aways from it.

Be a little involved. No matter how bad you think things may be. Do not totally stay out of it. Maintain that little stake in it. That will force you to keep looking at it and updating yourself so that you won't be caught outdated. I guess this caught my eye as it is quite applicable to me!

I love my friends. And it is always sad to move on from one phase of your life to start another. It's sad, but it's necessary. You know deep down, some of the people that you are super close with, will slowly drift apart as you see each other less and less. (I am not referring to those special friends that you always feel close to. Those are a special breed. Treasure them.) I keep myself in touch with people that I seldom see by dropping a birthday note. This is no easy task, but I like to do it as it gives me a chance to exchange a few messages with them! (and thus catch up).

So keep that little stake in your friends. Be it a festive greeting or a happy birthday. It goes a long way.

The art of communication. Well, you can be full of substance and your content is rich and totally make sense, BUT if you do not know how to deliver it, that's the end of the story. This is in comparison with someone who has average content and is one helluva of a presenter. Guess who will catch attention and be remembered better? Well, life's not fair. :)

A simple life? You need to be rich to lead a simple life? To be able to do whatever you want and not worry about making a living. And still being able to give back to society, be filial to your parents and make plans for your children. That takes a lot. Interesting concept to ponder about.

So what is it that you really want?

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."

Monday, November 2, 2009

My first post... This Is It!

Finally found time to go to a movie with Mr Pancakes on Saturday. Been so busy and caught up with work these couple of weeks. Not a fan of MJ myself, but grew up listening to his songs, witnessed his rise and his fall. Fond memories of performing one of his songs with my class back in the secondary school days. We even won the competition! :)

The show basically was a compilation of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of MJ as he prepared for his show in London. I remember expecting the show to just be a 112-minute concert, but as the show went on, I realised that it was a learning experience for me and it got me to do some self reflection. At the end of the show, I was convinced that MJ is deserving of his title as The King of Pop.

Definitely, the music was an important part of the show, as expected, there were his greatest hits and famous dance moves, but what made an impression was that throughout the show, when MJ was involved in the making of his concert, there was not a single sign of a man who was sick or dying. MJ was in top form. His passion for his music, his involvement in every detail of the production, high expectations of his band, his dancers and especially of himself. He is really a perfectionist. The special effects, the choreography, the sets, the dancers, he only expected the best and I must say, he did have the best. Despite this, he was a still a very humble man, never for once did he seem to lose his temper when things did not go the way he expected.

What amazed me was that even during rehearsals, once the music came on, he seemed to take on a totally different personality. He was electrifying on stage just as he was 20 years ago. There were no signs of exhaustion, illness, whatsoever. I was trying hard to find signs of his illness throughout the entire show, but saw none. Maybe its just very good editing, but if it were real, it was truly amazing. It then dawned on me that maybe, MJ's passion for performing and music had, for that period of time when he was totally immersed in his performance, transform him into a different person, such that he was so filled with energy, even in his 50s and going to die. A person's mind can sometimes be so powerful. You must really see it to believe it. The power we have when we love what we do, can change our entire being.

That got me thinking. Its about time that I give serious thought to what I want in life and where my passion lies. I want experience what MJ feels when he is on stage - that passion, that drive, that love for what he does.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Got myself involved a couple of months back in Hwachong JC (or HCI now) event. Thought after conceptualising and organising KR Alumni Sports Day (and amazingly not being to able to attend for the past 4 years, but that's another story), I could offer some help in this budding event and considering that the scale of the event is much much bigger than KR Alumni Sports day, I was hoping I can take something out of it too.

Oh man, did I learn more than what I thought I would.

Past vs Present (PvsP) is only in its second year following a very successful first year. I did not have the priviledge to join the team from the on set as I have previously committed to training the handball youth team.

Anyway, I opted to do publicity, something which I had never done before (ziying please don't kill me now. ha. ) and I had just picked up photoshop and wanted to put my skills to test. To stretch myself and of course to learn new things. Besides, I figured, in case I can't join the team for meetings and stuff, due to work, I can still work at home doing up the artwork.

After I realised I will be away longer than I would like to, I quickly rop in Weiliang, my brother of almost 13years now, to help with the stuff while I am away. What a great move it turned out to be! That bugger ended up designing the event t-shirt. Ha. Solid job. And we still make a good tag-team after so long.

#1: what we did for KR was like a small cousin of PvsP. But then again, the resources available is very different. even though they are similar events, but as you scale things up, the dynamism and things to consider is very different. It is not a linear expansion but a exponential one. and because of the scale of the event, KR seemed more family and personal as compared to PvsP which can stretch over a few generations. So i guess each to its own merits? Maybe (and hopefully) KR alumni sports day will one day grow to that of PvsP.

#2: The leadership in the committee shown was amazing. Especially ziying and gloria. I personally thought it wasn't easy to lead a group, negotiate with the school, the alumni office and main sponsors, and on top of that manage the committee which consisted of people older, in a very well balanced way. "Fearless Leadership" was what I wrote in my little notebook the first time I met up with the team. Incredible. I am not sure if I could have pulled off the whole thing at my age. Well done girls.

And ziying did exercise trust quite wonderfully. Trusted our (professional) decisions and last minute suggestions for the change of shirt colour and sizes. "Delegate tasks to people. And trust them to do their job."

#3: The decision to down-size the t-shirts ordering was done with good faith. But on hindsight, we could had maintained the sizes. What is worse? To end up with sizes that are too small or sizes that are too big? Well, the former happened during the event and many ended up without the correct sizes (and not very happy.)

#4: The canvassing team was the bomb too! How do you secure that kind of things in such a short time?!?!? And the pitch and organisation was top class.

#5: It is a pity that I could not get to know the full team but I had the chance to really see some of the team at work. Freddie, both kailings, davin, rachel and wang hao and some which I do not know their names (*sorry!) and of course the chairwomen were really into it. You can see it in their eyes and their actions. I have to admit the energy did rub off. "Take full ownership!" was what went into my notebook.

And of course there were things here and there that I picked up but the 5 above were essentially the main stuff.

And yah. It was a nice little dinner gathering that we just had. :)

Thank you Team. It had been great. Three cheers to us!

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