Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cantopop with a twist

This Halloween post is dedicated to Mari-An, who loves Andy Lau despite the gender issue most appropriately highlighted by this bizaare music video.

Rediscovered Chinese Odyssey 2002. If you're a fan of Tony Leung's serious films, give his comedies a try. He can do just about any genre, including spoofs (of himself!).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The terrible thespians

Withnail & I (1986) is a British cult classic that's amazingly watchable. Twenty years later, it still works. Richard Griffiths, Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant turn in great performances. Did I say terrible?

Monday, October 29, 2007


I first heard of Joost from my Collaborative Communication teacher early this year. I've tried, unsuccessfully, to ask fellow bloggers for invites. Nestles Poell was kind enough to send one my way some months back. Now it's been officially launched and anyone can get it. "15,000+ TV shows, 250+ Channels."

I like...
good quality
a cool interface

the interface, though slick, can sometimes be unfriendly
I haven't figured out how to skip episodes I've already seen

With the broadband at Filosofparken, I experienced no waiting-to-load delays, but with the wi-fi at Ashwell, Joost can be unwatchable. Oh well.

If I had time...

I'd learn a language. Other than Filipino (Tagalog) and English, all I know are some French, a bit of Danish and Chinese (Mandarin), and a few random Korean and Japanese words. I envy polyglots.

Ma reported that notre professeur won't teach at her office anymore because she gets tired. I wish Madame all the best. Here's a shot of the despedida, courtesy of V.

I was invited by Wendy,'s Community Manager, to try out their site and I must say it's impressive. They're well-rounded in the sense that you have set goals and there are different ways of learning and practicing. Now if only I could find time...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chichi's 21st

at OXO tower toast

Our girl Fidelia a.k.a. Chisom celebrated at the 8th floor bar of the OXO Tower. Six cakes in 48 hours. That's way over quota.

Now I know how to make your blog look like the society pages--photos of people holding drinks.

with and without glasses three continents with rachel

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Serious stuff

Sometime the other week, the temps dropped. The single digits are back and it's time to get the woolens out. Tonight we are reverting back to GMT, meaning days will start and end earlier. And here I am, holed up in my room on a weekend, reading.

Wanted to share this excerpt from one of my readings for class (emphases mine). Wiko, if you're reading this, I'd like to know your reaction.
Peasants - that ‘specific group of people’ which is in reality the majority of the Third World - are seen in purely economic terms, not as trying to make viable a whole way of life. That their ‘rate of transfer into more rewarding pursuits’ had to be accelerated, on the other hand, assumes that their lives are not satisfying - after all, they live in ‘traditional isolation’, even if surrounded by their communities and those they love. The approach also regards peasants as suitable for moving around like cattle or commodities. Since their labour has to be ‘mobilized’, they must surely have just been sitting about idly (subsistence farming does not involve ‘labour’ in this view), or perhaps having too many babies. All of these rhetorical devices that reflect the ‘normal’ perceptions of the planner contribute to obscure the fact that it is precisely the peasants’ increasing integration into the modern economy that is at the root of many of their problems. Even more fundamentally, these statements, which become translated into reality through planning, reproduce the world as the developers know it - a world composed of production and markets, of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ or developed and underdeveloped sectors, of the need for aid and investment by multinationals, of capitalism versus communism, of material progress as happiness, and so forth. Here we have a prime example of the link between representation and power, and of the violence of seemingly neutral modes of representation.

[...]In its rural development discourse, the World Bank represents the lives of peasants in such a way that awareness of the mediation and history inevitably implicated in this construction is excluded from the consciousness of its economists and from that of many important actors - planners, Western readers, Third World elites, scientists, etc. This particular narrative of planning and development, deeply grounded in the post-World War II global political economy and cultural order, becomes essential to those actors. It actually becomes an important element in their insular construction as a developed, modern, civilized ‘we’, the ‘we’ of Western man. In this narrative, too, peasants, and Third World people generally, appear as the half-human, half-cultured benchmark against which the Euro-American world measures its own achievements.
Escobar, A. (1996). 'Planning'. In W. Sachs (ed) The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power. London: Zed. pp 146-157.

Finally, this quote forms the basis of my unexpressed response to the Erap pardon: "forgetting . . . is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation" (Renan 1882)

[Update 10/28/07] Fr. Bernas' analysis of the pardon sheds some light on the matter. Read it here.

Social or anti-social?

Swimming with your school or flying your own way? Ok, I give in. Ladies and gents, I'm joining Facebook. After my dissertation. In March. Mwahahaha!

Figured I've made so many friends here in Europe it would be such a shame to lose touch. But knowing myself, I have to focus on what I have to finish, hence the timeframe.

Read about anti-social networking sites from Malene Larsen's PhD blog. Now it gets more interesting.

Took these shots after going the wrong way in Angel. Don't you just love what you discover when you get lost?


C, one of the permanent residents, turned the big four-oh the other day. There was a fundraising dinner at the hall last night, with a concert by M and A.

girls with big hair before the guests arrived sheepish or impish? chichi

girls in white speech the audience mini-concert

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dancing ghosts in the hall

dancing ghosts

No actual ghosts, but most of my photos of the photos I took last night look ghostly.

name in lights sakhee
The quadruple birthday celebration was a night of dances. Mexico, Venezuela, Scotland, Austria-Germany. I teamed up with the Viet girls for something utterly American (talk about shared histories): What Time Is It? from High School Musical 2. There's a word for it: regressing.
celebrants mexicanas team HSM

Thursday, October 25, 2007

MA dissertation update #1: let's go!

senate house

University of London Senate House
(aka Gotham in Batman Begins)

Just to let you know that yes, I am doing some work here. Got the green light from my supervisor to contact participants so I will do just that soon.

While making my timetable two weeks ago, I did not anticipate the amount of reading I have to do for my only class this term. Full-time students normally do their dissertation in the summer term and have no classes. The credit conversion to ECTS disadvantages IoE home students in my program (course) because we need to take an extra class to complete the credits. I actually have an extra 7.5 ECTS from Danish class at RUC, but I need 2.5 ECTS more.

I took a module (class) outside of my program, which is not directly related to my subject area, but is of interest to me personally. Who would have thought I'd end up in education and development?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Pasaway na talaga ako. Stargazing has become an addiction not even a pressing essay deadline can cure. Somebody save me.

Red carpet roundup
Number of LPG-powered lamps: 16
Leaf sweepers with broom and dustpan on the red carpet: 3 (+1 vacuum cleaner)
Hours standing with frozen hands and feet: 3 (front row!)
Big Brother winners: 3 (Posh wannabe Chantelle and the twins, again)
Oscar winners: 2

Who came for the UK premiere for the benefit of SolarAid? Everyone but Clive Owen. Heather Graham, Alan Cumming, Richard E. Grant, Eddie Redmayne, double Olympic gold medalist Kelly Holmes.

Four autographs
Cate Blanchett
was elegance personified. Director Shekhar Kapur (also of the first Elizabeth movie) did the rounds. Got Rhys Ifans' though I didn't know who he was at first. (Apparently most famous for being the guy in his underwear in Notting Hill.) And lastly, a man of his word, Geoffrey Rush, who was first on the red carpet and almost last to leave. He bypassed our area thrice, but kept his promise to return. Waiting an extra half-hour for a personalized signature and this photo was worth it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brillante and Tom, Cherry Pie and Myleene

Probably my only London Film Festival-related post.

Watched the lone Filipino film in this year's LFF, Foster Child, at the small ICA cinema. Wish director Brillante Mendoza didn't say (before it was shown) that it was not a documentary. That could have surprised the Brits. (I wonder if they had any reactions to Cherry Pie Picache's name.)

In my opinion, the film is very much like normal life in the slums. In fact, I was surprised that the extras were brought in and not the real residents of the place. At times, the pacing was slow, with the camera lingering, but it never romanticized the lives of the characters, for which I am grateful for. Scoring was sparse and limited to the bare minimum. No The Buzz-like cues to cry. But the subtitling could be improved; a lot of lines (which I didn't think were throwaways) were not translated.

The Q&A with the director was quite interesting. My question to Dante (the name I know him by) was how he got Robbie Tan (of Seiko Films) to produce the film. It turns out that Robbie Tan had seen Masahista (The Masseur) and approached him. Talked to Dante after the Q&A, and told him that we had worked before. He was my production designer for a couple of print ads three years ago, which makes me doubly proud of him.

Foster Child is the kind of thing that's too close to home to be a hit in the Philippines. It's good to know that the film has been picked up for theatrical and DVD distribution in the UK. Incidentally, there were more British people in the audience. Perhaps Pinoys didn't know about it or had gone to the first screening, which had a better schedule?

Dante has been prolific and has made a name for himself in the international film festival circuit. But I wish that one day he will be able to craft a film that will both achieve his expectations and become a box office hit. And that Robbie Tan will produce another film like this. ;)
It was nearly 630pm when Marian and I got to Leicester Square, so I could only see Tom Cruise from the screen of someone else's camera at The Times Gala of Lions for Lambs. This is the best I could manage, not counting a very grainy video, still of his back.Got squeezed in front of a ladder, whipped by the hair of the tall girls in front of me and hit on the head with an SLR. But Meryll Streep was a no-show and Robert Redford came through the back entrance. When people started leaving, I did get pictures... of Myleene Klaas, the presenter. She's in great shape considering she just gave birth a few months ago. And she's half-Filipino, if that's of interest to anyone.
she's got klaas myleene's autograph

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tea time + Pinoy UK get-together

Mozartkugel, anyone? Here are scenes from tea after Sunday lunch. D brought chocolate from Austria.

Most of the weekend was spent online, working on my dissertation.

On Saturday afternoon, I went with Ria to the Pinoy get-together where I met schoolmates past and present.

I was half-asleep on Sunday morning, so when A whispered "Fancy reading?" to me at the oratory, I barely processed what she said. My mind was still asleep that I didn't know what was coming out of my mouth. That was probably one of the few times I felt disconnected to my body. The eyes processed the text but the words went directly to the lips, bypassing the brain, resulting in a couple of booboos. That's what you get for having Mass before breakfast!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Childhood was different then

At the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, I remembered my toy cash register and dolls. The hands-on area pales in comparison to that of the Science Museum, but that's expected.

old skelly rolling green dog family the hall take me to your leader
Somehow I left feeling that there's something missing. There must be more to childhood than just toys. All the glass cases made me feel like an outsider.
dollhouses clothes make the child rocking horses wave machine panorama