Nuffnang Ads

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sarawak's Hidden Treasure: Tan Wei Kheng

A very long time ago, & I mean a very long time, before there was any internet I think, my Dad showed me this Chinese newspaper article about this young fella from Sarawak who painted all these wonderfully realistic paintings.

I didn't catch his name, & I didn't pay much attention then, being more interested in JPOP than anything else in our own backyard. Yesterday, as I scour the internet for some pictures of Kenyah & Kayan art, I came across the same fella once again. This time, I made a point to remember his name. Who wouldn't if you saw his paintings.

Not much is known about this guy, except that the photorealism of his paintings blows peoples brains out of their heads.

All we know is that he is from Marudi, & he travels into the deep remote interiors of the Sarawakian rainforest to be with the people there, to capture their lives.

I would like to say that his paintings inspire me to do the same, but I can't, cos I don't know how he did it.

Being self taught, he has amassed himself great skills which surpasses all. I have to admit that with great humility & disgrace.

O great artist, I am humbled by your paintings.

And you know what, this guy is the same age me. But unfortunately, that's where the similarities end. His skill is light speed years ahead. He makes my artwork look like primary school crayon colouring.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wolverine from Oz

Who knew that a virtually unknown wild animal like the wolverine could one day be elevated to cult status.

Eversince my comic book collection days, Wolverine had always stood out amongst the rest of the X-men. Always the odd one, the loner, I think he embodied the many silent nerds out there who felt that they did not fit into society but believed that they would one day become as strong as their idol. See this dude here. You can tell that he badly wants to be Wolverine. In fact, he probably believes that he is.

And this dude here. Well, I think he's bringing the whole thing to a different level... I really don't know what to make of it. It seems like it's becoming a fashion accessory.

All this hype, all this cult popularity is building up in anticipation of the new Wolverine movie coming up soon.

I bet you've seen the trailer. For others more fortunate, or unfortunate, you might also have caught the unfinished version of the film.

Hugh Jackman has carved out a fantastic career for himself playing this Wolverine character. He has done it so well that his name is now synonymous with Wolverine. Hugh Jackman, one of the most sexiest man alive. Hugh Jackman, the Wolverine, always in angst, always constipated.

As I ponder on his sexiness, I came across this clip recently of Hugh Jackman performing a musical number from his hit musical The Boy from Oz. Take it all in, as I did.

Mr. Hugh Jackman, you are starting to worry me. I have placed such high hopes on you. You have been the salvation for all nerds out there who needed an ultra macho male ego to be their beacon of light, to guide them into manhood-dom. Now look what you've done to Wolverine!

Somehow I have a feeling that Mr. Bryan Singer had something to do with this. Something must have rubbed off onto Mr. Wolverine.

Now, I am not only waiting in anticipation for the new Wolverine movie. I am also waiting in fear, praying that the new Wolverine will not change from his white Ah Pek Teck Kong singlet into leotards.

What have you all done?!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Benyamin S: The King of Comedy from Betawi

If you are as ancient as I am, you'd probably grew up in the late 70s watching those Indonesian movies recycled on Malaysian TV. I remember staying up late watching them with my mom cos they only start at about 10pm or so. I don't know if RTM really wanted to show them cos at that time slot, nobody's awake in those days when people slept much earlier.

Most of the time, these Indonesian melodramas were tragic love stories which would make Arnold Schwarzeneggar cry, or at other times, they were social dramas about children losing their parents & having to live on the streets, etc. They weren't happy films & I didn't know why I was attracted to them. Maybe there wasn't anything else worth watching on Malaysian TV in those days.

And almost all of the time I had to fight to stay awake to watch them deep into the night. I don't know how my mom did it, but I was usually gone by half-time.

But besides these hopeless tragedies, there were also comedies, strange ones bordering on silly slapstick, but really funny. In particular, I looked forward to the films of Benyamin S. who became a cowboy, Tarzan & Samson in his comedies.

I didn't know who he really was, but I just thought that his films were cool, much like Mat Sentul's, or even P.Ramlee's. Much as I was a fan of Benyamin S. films, they slowly faded away from my memory as I grew up.

Then, of all places, I rediscovered him in Melbourne. There was this paper presentation about him at the conference in Monash & it brought back all the silly things that I learnt from his films which unfortunately didn't really help me in my life pursuits. But all the same, I still enjoy his slapstick antics & I hope that you would too.

What I didn't know about him, I knew now. He started out as a very famous folk singer who later went into films. During his lifetime, he produced 75 albums & 53 films & he died in 1995 at the age of 56 while playing football. His songs & films have a lot of cultural references which appealed to the grassroots.

This is his Superman song in Tom Jones style.

Koboi Ngungsi is my favourite Benyamin S film. I never got to watch the whole movie unfortunately.

Anybody knows whether they sell this movie DVD in Malaysia?

P/S: I think that as successful as he was, my parents were probably thankful that I didn't turn out to be like him.

Sunday, April 19, 2009