28 November 2009

Radio call

[Embedded video of Night on Earth trailer - click on original post to view]

I love the crackling sound of the radio call that was so common in cabs 20 years ago.

It took me a while to recall my father's radio call code name when I was watching the film, but I finally did. It was 42. As he was often late in picking me up when I was a child, I used to make many a calls to the radio call station from a public phone, asking the operator to transmit a message for 42 to hurry. I remember the operators' voices - there were a few of them, nearly all women except for the boss, who occasionally helped out during peak hours - and the anticipation in guessing their faces when my father took me to the radio station during Chinese New Year period one time.

A very well-done film by the way. The »soundtrack is by Tom Waits. I've just entered a contest for opening tickets to »Jarmusch's latest film. I hope I win it.

21 November 2009

Getting along quite fine indeed

The scene is this: It is dark and drizzling outside, an unusually comfortable 15ºC. I am in a Uniqlo ribboned top in plum and über-slim-leg H&M jeans (both being what the fall season dictates). My window is half-open, so my basil plant and me are getting a nice stream of cool air to counter the heater who's permanently on prozac. »Classic FM is playing on my »digital radio which I won from a Sudoku game in »Big Issue, I have cleared all my books and notes off the table and made myself a cup of hot chocolate (Clipper™ Organic Drinking Chocolate - "Just add hot milk" - preferably organic too, I might add). I am sitting down to go through my to-do list, when it dawned on me that today marks the start of my third month in London.

Salut to the two lions who are getting along quite fine indeed.

lion at kensington park

Classical Spectacular, Royal Albert Hall

Just back, courtesy of free tickets from Goodenough College where I live. Some good soul must have donated a large sum of money and we now have access to a stall-level loggia at the Royal Albert Hall.

Classical Spectacular is held twice a year in spring and autumn and I absolutely insist that you must schedule your trips to London around these (or the BBC Proms in Summer). There are very few things in life as moving as seeing a packed Royal Albert Hall singing in chorus, with hundreds of union jacks fluttering to »Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March.

P.S. The British do mean it when they say 'spectacular'. We are talking here about a philharmonic orchestra, a philharmonic choir, a military band, an opera duo and a piano all together on stage, replete with muskets, canons and fireworks. Yes, it's a bit OTT, but it's not called pomp and ceremony for nothing.

This is from the spring Classical Spectacular, but it is a pale shadow of what it is like live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWBowv4hjLo

Maybe Ms L will send me some of her photos and videos just now...

19 November 2009

London is leonine

So am I :)

Now I have to go see that toe in the Natural History Museum.

18 November 2009


Today I received a petition in my inbox calling for support against the building of a needle exchange centre in my neighbourhood. My neighbourhood is pretty bourgeois, and it will be next to a school, so I can see where the reaction is coming from.

Yet on second thought, I wondered if the reaction would be any different if it were built beside a community centre, a hospital, a provision shop... Poll someone on the street whether it is a good idea to tackle HIV and substance abuse through needle exchange centres and the answer will likely be yes. But ask them where it should be located and the answer will be invariably be, 'Not in my backyard.'

Over the past couple of years, I have more or less lost faith in human beings as a collective (anonymity is truly lethal) to care about a greater good. But even worse than that is the hypocrisy of it all.

Maybe I've just become more socialist.

15 November 2009


"Mukashi no okashi" - Candies from once upon a time






Last leaf standing

We don't use little boys nowadays

Did you know that little boys were also used (in conjunction with feather dusters) to beat down the bubbles in a brewery?

Memento mori

Tewkesbury Abbey

M25 Club roadtrip to one of Britain's largest churches (they are being humble when they say 'abbey') with Norman architecture.

08 November 2009


Do you suppose it is possible to walk to the end of a rainbow, to be bathed in all that light? Or is it like a mirage that you can always walk towards, but never reach?

I suppose it is the latter, much like many objects of desire.

But still, it is nice to dream about being bathed in a fine mist of rainbow light.

Today is Remembrance Sunday

From the Tewkesbury Abbey yesterday.

03 November 2009

Christmas lightup at St Paul's

Hairspray, the 900-year-old St Paul's Cathedral choir and Faryl Smith (Britain's Got Talent).

Accompanied by wry British humour from Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and Colin Firth ("Well I think it's all a bit tacky and over the top quite frankly, but why not? That's what Christmas is all about.").

Alright, here's the low-down: there was no lightup at St Paul's. Their idea of a lightup was to simply shine colourful spotlights on the Cathedral! The upside was that it was really easy to get home after holding out the notes of Siiiilent Night with Andrea Bocelli and a few hundred people - unlike the tremendous mess at Oxford Circus. I was even on time for yoga.

Fall is here

02 November 2009

Burning krathong

This body, bhikkhus, is perishable, consciousness is of a nature to dissolve, and all objects of clinging are impermanent, suffering and subject to change.
-Itivuttaka Sutta

Thailand, thy name is intricate

Happy Loy Krathong

My first loy krathong festival, thanks to my hospitable Thai classmates.

Aside: The Thai fish cakes taste sooo good.