Watching Lions and Tigers at play…

Watching Lions and Tigers at play…

The last time I watched the Malaysia cup final was in 1991, when we visited Malaysia Uni, and decided to watch Kedah versus Singapore at the Merdeka stadium. It was a memorable experience, with the deafening roar, the palpable passion and finally the disappointment, when we were defeated 1-3. It didn't help that a friend led me to sit amongst the Kedah fans...

I missed the earlier tie when Singapore beat Malaysia 5-3 and by all accounts that was a sensational tie. So when I found out that it was to be telecast, and I have an evening that wasn’t bogged down by work, so I grabbed a soft drink, some chips and turned on the telly.

Now after watching years of poor soccer, lack of motivation and the will to run, I wasn’t expecting much for this match. Bribes, boring S-league matches and a copious use of foreign but second rate talent talent has also dilated my interest in this match.

However, it got off to a good start, with plenty of hard running and industry by our Lions, and this coupled with some tentative playing by the Tigers, made us look a lot better than we really were. The pitch was also lumpy, with more in common with the moon surface than a playing field.

That also meant more injuries, and twisted ankles with everyone running hard to get the ball, and aggressive tackles flying in all over. No one was giving any quarter and players were also making the most of it, twisting and moaning on the pitch, with performances equally the best porn stars…

The Lions were rewarded with four yellow cards for their fierce tackling, although the Malaysians also had a man sent off for two bookable offences. Everyone knew the importance of this match, and the Tigers knew that they had to overturn a two goal deficit.

We got off to a good start, creating plenty of chances, but we found a wall of a man in their defence….

The main person that stood between us and Lion’s victory was the Malaysian custodian, Khairul, who was a fearsome creature with his spike hair combed back and upwards, and a glare that helped to make him look much bigger than his 5 foot 7 frame could.

He leapt, dived, punched and jumped to turn away so many strikes, that it was looking like a goalless night for Singapore. This man did his darnest best to prevent us from scoring…

He was my man of the match, and did not deserve to be on the losing side. We shot at him from close range, twice, and then swerved a wonderful curler of a free kick and he tipped it over with a tremendous leap. He was determined to help the Tigers overcome the deficit singlehanded. 

Our finishing by the rather rotund striker imported from PRC, was not incisive, and with the Malaysian custodian in fine form, we were headed for a goalless halftime score line. This was not a bad thing, since all we had to do was to hang onto a 5-3 victory from the first encounter. And since we were playing in a 90 000 strong vociferous crowd, who were clearly rooting for their home team.

The Tigers started the second half far more aggressively, and their probing was rewarded when everyone froze for a moment, when a foul seemed to have occurred, the Tigers reacted the quickest, and they set their deadliest striker free and he does not make mistakes with such gifts. A beautiful cross goal effort, and our goalie had no chance.

This made the whole stadium come alive and even louder than before, as the Malaysian fans screamed, yelled and cheered their players to get one more and kick the “reviled” Singaporeans out of the world cup.

But sometimes strange things happen, and in a completely surprising moment, against the flwo of the game, a ball was punted up to Aleksander Duric, our tall 40 year old striker, and he headed down perfectly into the path of our PRC import, and he calmly slotted the ball past the despairing right hand of the Malaysian keeper.

The entire stadium fell silent, and you can see multitudes of dropped jaws and faces of anguish. The small Singaporean crowd of 600 then came to life, and they knew at 73 minutes into the game, this was a pivotal moment. Even though it was theoretically possibly to salvage and come back, the Malaysians had a tall order, and the complexion was totally different from a goal down. Now they were back to square one, and time was not on their hands.

But now fatigue was setting in on both sides, and in particular our strike force looked weary, and some of our team members were reduced to walking pace. This does not bode well for future matches where we are asked to fight to the end.

The lack of match fitness showed, and we almost finished them off later on but again, the Malaysian custodian was ever alert. Between him and their striker, they worked tirelessly to try and win the fight back.

We had our own heroes too, with Harun working like a young Tigana to chase down every ball, and maintain possession in midfield. Kudos too, to our young keeper, who did well and kept his nerves, earning his spurs deservedly.

As the minutes wore down, there was a sense of futility as the Tigers fought on valiantly, but they wore the look of a team who knew they were going down. The fans began leaving, others became frustrated and stared menacingly at the small band of Singapore fans who were singing and waving triumphantly.

I turned off the set at the final whistle, with a certain sense of satisfaction, firstly for not wasting time watching a poor skilled match, secondly for bearing witness to a valiant fight by our Lions, and finally grateful that I could relive some of the excitement I felt in the old days watching the Malaysia Cup, and our victory over Pahang which served to avenge our defeat at the hands of Kedah in KL the year before.


Given Singapore’s penchant for buying instead of developing talent, we should offer citizenship and buy the Malaysian striker and definitely their goalie!  

Getting the best out of your speakers - positioning

Speaker placement is one very important aspect which can be overlooked, as we pursue the best, baddest, biggest speakers. Somethings using the right location, and implementing basic room acoustic treatment will yield better results, than buying an expensive but wrong-sized speaker for the room and then placing it in a less than ideal position.

A couple of friends came over last night, and we watched "Reign of Assassins", which has quite a bit of rain, and thunder. If done nicely you should be able to hear the rain falling from above you, and the peals of thunder from above as well, and then radiating to the surroundings immersing you in the centre.

Start with the suggested positions that Dolby has posted in their website for 5.1, 7.1 etc speakers, and for monopoles and dipoles etc.

The hard truth is that, if aesthetics come first, and you are stuck for position of your speakers, no amount of auto-EQ will make up for this and you will miss that surround effect.

If you can, position the speakers roughly where you will mount them, then calibrate once, hear it and decide if it sounds good BEFORE you fix it permanently.

OR accept that your system will be compromised, especially those who use a living room.

Then treat the room to reduce ambient noise levels. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many more effects you can hear, and the level of immersion you can achieve without having to turn up the volume to hurtful levels and yet get more out of the sound system. Even if you cannot set up your system in a HT dedicated room, try the same disc in the still of the night, you will understand what I mean, and hear so much more. That may be the push factor to isolate the listening environment somehow and get more out of the same sound system.

The Marquis (2010) movie review

The Marquis (2010) movie review

This is a French production, with English subtitles. 

The French have a flair for the zany, and even if you don't understand the language, their sense of timing and combination of physical comedy and witty dialogue (courtesy of subtitles for those who don't understand French) can make for an alternative source of entertaining movies.

This story uses a well tried theme of mistaken identity, where a small time criminal mistakes a silly salesman who is in jail for a moment of greed for the infamous Marquis, a big time thief.  The rest of the show is about these unlikely duo teaming up to pull of a large caper and outwit the cops, the big baddie behind the caper and save their loved ones.

This movie does not have big action sequences, explosions of note, but instead uses the physical expressions, the banter between the two leads, who have an exquisite chemistry to make it work.

Not a lot of eye candy, except a seriously dumb blond…

Will you rent/buy/forget this?
I reckon that if you liked the Taxi series, you will also enjoy this and it is worth a rental at least .

Let the Bullets Fly - movie review

Let the Bullets Fly - movie review

If China were to make a their own version of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, then this would be the closest to it. Directed and acted by Jiang Wen, along with other heavyweights like Chow Yunn Fatt, and interestingly, Feng Xiao Gang as an actor instead of the director, this show has action, comedy and a real boiler of a plot.

However those expecting a shootfest will be disappointed. The tilte is a misnomer really. Sure there are the obligatory showdowns, but the words and dialogue are were the jousting occurs, and it comes fast and furious, whereas the action comes along like a leaking facet, giving us just enough to prevent the action from going totally dry.

However the heavyweights employed didn't just come to collect their paychecks, and it is especially gratifying for me to see Chow Yunn Fatt back to top form, giving us the magical sparkle we last saw in his hits from the 90s. Its been a while and his co-actors keep up and seeing him play a baddie against the more straight-laced Jiang Wen was interesting.

So a bandit decides to pretend to be the incoming governor, and intend of doing the usual thing i.e. milking the town dry of money, he pits his wits, skills, courage and brawn against the town mobster. However if you are looking for the John Woo type gun play thinking this is merely a mobster movie, then you will walk away with the wrong impression. There are no pigeons in slow mo flying across the screen, no long coats flying in the wind. But you get plenty of sharp dialogue and it is more than enough entertainment to make up for the shortage of bullets flying. If comprehension of the language proves to be an issue and you need to rely on the subtitles, then you will lost more than 50% of the plot immediately. That is the only caveat in the whole show.

You do get the obviously eye candy/chick factor, with Zhou Yun lighting up the stage with her vivacious personality, and Carina Lau trying her best to look sultry in her 40s… I I wonder what Tony Leung has to say about Jiang Wen putting his hands on her boobs for so long in a bedroom scene…)

There are also a few newcomers, and they make the best of their limited screen time, and all in all, this movie will be worth a rental and if you like Mr Chow, probably a keeper too.

Triumphant general rouge

Triumphant general rouge 

Made a couple of years after the original Glorious Team Batista with taeguchi and hiroshi abe in the lead once more, this is a Japanese slow burner medical crime drama. 

And when I say slow it does tend to meander allowing for the usual Jap acting theatrics which may not appeal to the general or causal viewer Esp if they don't understand Jap. But you will gain insight into the Japanese healthcare system and I can affirm to its accuracy. 

This time the drama or action focuses around the Emergency department and the suspicion that the chief is on the take from a pharmaceutical rep. 

Our lovely heroine again comes to the forth and adds a vulnerable dimension as well some comic relief and serious eye candy. Staring at her too long runs the risk of giving you diabetes.  If only all our doctors look like her... Yuko Takeuchi rocks... 

Hiroshi Abe stands out literally at close to seven feet. He is the comic relief the annoying health ministry official with the dogged persistence to solve the crime. 

Together the duo brings us into an examination of the various personalities and the interactions within a Japanese hospital. Some are real and others are caricatures of classic blockheads we often encounter in our own workplace be it medical or otherwise. 

There is also a subplot of corporate greed which probably hits home and will be familiar in any society. 

The path does slow down in the middle and the twist or conclusion does not have the punch of the first but it was still a satisfying watch and for Jap movie fans, who want to watch a non horror tragedy movie then this will be at least a rental or keeper.  

Unknown movie review

Unknown movie review 

If there is a familiar feel to this show starring. Liam Neeson, January Jones and Diane Kruger it is probably because it is a mishmash of recent hits and in particular one with Liam Neeson - Taken. 

The plot is slower and plods along, perhaps because the actors all look tired and perhaps they are, there are recognizable old timers and they seem to be walking and dialing in a staid performance.   

Liam is now the go go person replacing Harrison Ford as the quiet senior hero who springs into action more reluctantly than the classic Rambo genre. 

Instead he thrives on being the underdog in trouble who overcomes the odds. 

The plot is reasonable and Liam is someone who gets into a accident and forgets who he is and he spend a good part of the middle section of the movie doing so. Herein lies the weakness of the movie in that the rediscovery process takes too long and he is like a runner  who breaks into his stride too late to save the movie. Most of the action and the Taken-esque types scenes happen in a final burst near the end and too quickly. 

This will be worth a rental perhaps but not a purchase. 

Adjustment Bureau movie review

Adjustment Bureau movie review

First I gotta attempt I liked the concept of it even though reality hit me like a pile-driver halfway.

Here is a quasi religious romantic scifi movie that talks about a Chairman, members of an Adjustment Bureau - who by the way curse and use 'son of a bitch' more often than hello. And they are out to stop Matt Damon falling in love with Emily Blunt.

It's sweet how these two hook up on a feeling and strive to undo what is written for their lives.

This movie would make for a classic study on Hollywood style love, where people hook up on a feeling, spend their lived looking for this someone and feel that moment of love / lust / passion will keep them together forever. Or at least the movie doesn't attempt to answer at all about what happens when the feelog goes away or how their fiancé feels to be left at the alter.

The ideal of chasing after love at all cost is the notion we observe and to some it will commensurate with this and you will also lose those where reality bites somewhere either in the midst of the cinema or moments soon after. That means the audience will be polarized into those who enjoyed the romantic escape and those who despise it for propagating more Hollywood fluff.

I will leave it to the reader to decide if they wish to indulge in such a fantasy.

Using doors seems to be  borrowed from Matrix and some parts are quite recognizable from other movies about God.

Shutter Island movie review

Shutter Island movie review 

This movie has so many apparent links to a later production called Inception that I had to do double take as to whether it was planned as a prequel to Inception and if Chris Nolan had a hand in it. 

Apart from having the same lead Actor, who also lost his loved one and some very serious concepts of layers of delusion and illusions. Check out the lake drowning scene and tell me it doesn't look like the same spot they used in Inception ?

We also see the concept of pretense mixed in with a bit of suspense and intrigue. 

It's a tad hard to follow and the kicker needs viewings to help you understand the plot. Even so once you get it, it its hardly the keeper like inception and will be fine for a rental on a night when you have enough patience to work out the plot. 

Not just another Sydney trip - food and more

So who has not been to Oz and in particular Sydney? Blue mountains? Harbor bridge? Koalas? I think most of us have seen them all .. How a...