Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Donnie Yen's latest Kungfu Jungle (一个人的武林) Review and #migupsg!

Had the chance to attend the premiere screening of Donnie Yen's (Ip Man) latest movie today, Kungfu Jungle  (一个人的武林), courtesy of the generous people from Mig.Me. MigMe is a social entertainment platform with 70 million users across Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, were you can discover like minded communities and share interests together. It's also an awesome place where you can get to stalk your favourite celebrities as well!


posing with the premiere ticket like the vain blogger I am


Anyways, back to Kungfu Jungle. After the last Donnie Yen movie that I watched, which was Special ID if I am not mistaken, I was kinda afraid to have any expectations towards the movie. While Ip Man and Ip Man 2 was not bad, Special ID was just horrible. Absolutely horrible. So I went in to the movie theater, hoping to expect nothing but awesome fight scenes.




To be honest, the movie was way more better than what I had expected. While the plot is not perfect, and somewhat cliche, Kungfu Jungle managed to compensate for that with beautiful cinematography, fight scenes and realism. The story tells of the main character who wants to redeem himself by helping the police to catch a serial killer who has been murdering top martial artists. It somewhat reminds me of the storyline in Ip Man , where a dude goes around defeating martial artists and only Ip Man can stop him. The film was also set in Fo Shan as well, a location also used in this film.

What makes this film different, however, was the intensity and suspense elements used in it. From the start of the movie when the first murder is announced, up until the climax where the showdown between the police and the killer happens. details of the story were shown bit by bit through flashbacks. I liked the use of flashbacks to add depth to the story, where the audiences get to see more of the characters motives and development through it, and get to understand the story better. Sadly it was just limited to the main characters though.




The fight scenes themselves were also intense, and brutal, yes brutal, as the film sought to highlight the main theme of killing with martial arts versus restraint in the movie. There are scenes where you can see bones getting broken and necks getting slashed, which can get quite painful to watch if you are not used to it. There's a decent amount of blood as well during the fights.

But I guess what I liked about them was the realism of it, in which the fights had you sitting on the edge of your seats, biting your fingers. As the fights involves different martial artists, you could see a variety of techniques being used as well, in addition to the different settings, which makes each of the fight sequence unique and stands out on its own. My only complaint is how the fight sequences with the other masters seem a little tad short, and the killer seemed to be way overpowered as compared to them. I mean I would have expected the best to put up a little more fight though.




Nevertheless, the film is still quite entertaining to watch if you're a fan of kungfu action movies and not too picky with storyline and character development. The fight scenes are varied, fast paced and intense, with the setting of the different fights make you feel like you're playing Tekken or Street Fighter. There's also a good use of storytelling techniques that leaves the story in suspense, though the character development and plot could be a little better. I'll give it a 7/10.

Many thanks to Mig.Me again for the invite!


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Three Pictures



Was browsing Facebook today, until I saw a link that appeared on my newsfeed on top. While Holly tried to sound nice by clarifying that not all Pinoys are like that, you can't help but to feel that deep down inside, she already has this stereotype that Pinoys have no social graces. I mean when you group hundreds of people together, how can you expect them not to be noisy? She didn't even bothered to think about why the Pinoys are hanging out there, and automatically equate loud to mean lacking in social grace. How do you even begin to define obnoxiously loud, anyway? Are we only allowed to be loud in places like Hong Lim park, for example, with permit from the police?

Not to mention that the Real Singapore author, who claimed to be a Filipino despite being raised in Singapore is being a downright racist himself. Maybe trying hard to appeal to his Singaporean identity. Hello, you're raised in Singapore of course you will be assimilated into the culture right? And heck, you're raised first world country environment, where you don't have to travel to a foreign land to slave it away. You don't have the rights to complain.

*****



You know Dota 2's matchmaking system is spoiled when you end up with a 10 consecutive losing streak. Not to mention that traumatizing experience of losing ten times with the same hero. I guess those Pinoys were correct after all, that I am a noob and they had sex with my mum. Oh wait, those were the guys from COD.

But at least I'm done with it, and I can move on with my life. Much thanks to Dawn and the band of pro/funny friends that finally helped me cleared it. Never imagined how Dota 2 can be so stressful in life, especially when you're so desperate to clear a hero. I hate you, All Hero Dota Challenge.


*****



So apparently I searched on gothere.sg on how to get to Pulau Ubin today, and the website recommended me to be Jesus. At least Google told me to take a boat.


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

At the End of Everything #3

A guy….

No. Too unimaginative. A boring way to start the introduction. Maybe I should put in something that portrays that I’m not that too eager to show off. That I am just like everyone else. To seem normal. After all, I am normal right?

Just an ordinary guy…

Urgh. No too. The whole point of this thing is to stand out, not to be ordinary. I need something that makes me unique. My brain struggled to come up with something funny. Nothing. All my thoughts were of how pointless all these seemed.

It was the second day that I am using the dating app, and Lucas told me that as a guy, what you write in your profile description has to be an eye catcher. Looks were important, he said, but no girls would like an empty or a half filled profile. I agreed with Lucas, because the both of us had this idea that girls are attracted to more than looks. At least the good girls are. So there I was, sitting in my room for the past half an hour, trying to describe myself in the best way possible.

The sheer effort of it reminded me of the time when I first wrote my resume. I diverted my attention back to the screen and my fingers went back to work on the keyboard.

A witty guy who enjoys making friends laugh…

Surely that was a good sentence. Everybody loves a person with a good sense of humour. At least that was what I saw from most girls’ profiles out there. I thought about that for a while, before deciding that it was probably not a good idea. I hit backspace key and returned to an empty textbox. Trying to sell yourself off as something would just introduce an expectation that you will need to fill later. Besides self-praise, especially online, comes of a narcissistic. I felt as if I was bragging. And I hated bragging.

A few more minutes passed without me being able to churn out any words, so I decided to take a break. I opened my door and walked out to the living room, hoping to talk to my housemates. There was no one at home. The house was empty, with only my roommate’s pet cat, Meowy, to greet me. Right. It was a Friday night, and most of them would be out with either friends or colleagues. Meowy stared at me disinterestedly, probably wondering why I am the only human left in the house.

“That’s right, Meowy, I am a lonely guy with no life.” Not to mention that I was also talking to a cat.

I walked back into my room, and sat dejectedly back on my chair. Friday nights used not to be like this, I thought, as a pang of loneliness began to set in. It was always spent with her, every Friday without fail, since I started working. We would watch movies, go out for dinners, take a walk at the park or just snuggle up together. It was our ritual. I missed her. I wondered if she was thinking the same too. Mostly probably not. She was most likely with him, the new guy in her life. I let out a sigh.

Why all the self-pity, I could almost hear Lucas saying. Yes, why indeed. I had promised myself that I would start meeting new people, to move on in life, and yet here I was, beating myself up again. This has got to stop, I tell myself. No matter how much I whine, life is not going to change for the better. The onus is up to me to improve. My fingers went to the keyboard, and slowly I began to type.

“I am guy who believes in second chances, that we all make mistakes in our life. I am on this website precisely because of that. That life deserves a second chance. I am here to meet new people, to see what life has to offer. Life to me is like a mysterious but wondrous journey, where you will never know what awaits you. Loves a lot of things in life, from the small stuff like a good ol’ iced coffee to the bigger stuff like the beautiful places on Earth.”

I read and re-read the entire thing and decided that one paragraph would be enough for the time being. Next I moved on to the subsequent sections, filling up my interests, typical Friday night and whom do I want to meet. I answered the match questions, about a hundred of them in one sitting. The questions were intended as a sort of personality filter, where you get to see how similar you are to others. At the end of it, I looked at my profile. satisfied that I had at least done something rather than mope around all night. Following Lucas’s earlier idea, I even set up a TInder account.

Let the game begin.

(to be continued...)

*****

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The Dota All Hero Challenge #Day 41: I am gonna uninstall Dota 2 after this



It's 5.36 am, 4 hours past my original intended sleeping time. My mind is blank, only the light from my screen glowed in the dark. The logical part of me had already asked me to stop 4 hours ago, but the primitive part of my brain urged me on, telling me that perhaps the next match may just be the match that I will finally clear Magnus. It didn't. 

I feel like screaming, feeling completely like a fool how I have been duped by Steam to continue playing game after game, hoping for a win. Perhaps this is what addicted gamblers and those who played computer games until they drop dead literally experience. Keep on going until they reach that "high" of theirs. The fact that I already had one game where I actually won with Magnus, and therefore technically cleared the hero, was not counted because Steam servers were busy at the moment and messed up the mechanics.

If anything, the whole experience has left me hating Steam even more. It's scary how one more game became five more games, as I told myself that winning is only a matter of eventuality. Sooner or later, there will be a match where the opponents can't play for nuts if I kept losing. That's how Steam normally works, but not tonight. Match after match, the same thing happened. We would always start out good early in the game, but as the game drags on, the whole thing only became from bad to worst. I would have lots of kills from ganks, but as team fights increased, so did my deaths too.

I guess this is just a sign that either Steam hates me so much that it keeps giving me bad matchmaking, or I'm just bad at Dota. Either way, I have decided that once I complete this all hero challenge, I am just going to quit Dota. The pain is just not worth it. I may be better off playing singple player games, where at least you won't feel like pulling your hair when you're dumped into a losing streak.

Screw you, Steam and screw your matchmaking algorithm. And most importantly, screw your servers and your nonchalant attitude towards us players. I'm out.


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

At the End of Everything #2

Join the world’s best free dating site. I laughed when I first saw the first line that greeted me on the dating website that Lucas asked me to join. I told him how ridiculous it sounded, and how people who claim that they are the best are not usually so.

“Come on, stop being a whiny kid and just try it,” came his curt reply.

Aside from the cheesy tagline, the site looked slick to me and I did promise Lucas to at least use it for a couple of weeks. Two other drop down boxes hung directly below the tagline, asking me to state why I was there. One let me chose my gender, the other the gender that I am looking for.

“I am a male… looking for a female,” I clicked the options, and pressed enter.

Before I knew it, I was looking at an empty profile of myself, along with the username that I had chosen. A pop up on the right encouraged me to fill my profile in, saying something along the line of a filled in profile would have a higher chance of getting a match. There were a few different sections for me to describe myself, ranging from a self-summary to personal interests, as well as other interesting sections that asked me to define the perfect Friday night and who do I want to message me. Of course, there was the picture section as well, placed right on top of the profile, where I could upload up to five different pictures of myself.

Seems like looks is still the most important factor after all, I thought.

I didn’t have any idea of what to put in to my profile yet, so I wandered to the section where the site displayed the potential matches that were available to me. As the page loaded and coughed out the results, I found myself staring at rows upon rows of different girls, their photos smiling back at me. Their screen name, age and location were displayed below the photo, and up above the results I could customize the different search options that I wanted. It was like Google, only that I was now searching for potential mates. No wonder Lucas was so hyped up about it.

I clicked on the picture of a fairly decent looking girl, whom had a face closely resembling a Korean superstar. Might as well start now, I guess. I was then brought to her profile page, with two other photos of herself. Both of them were selfies too, one with her back facing a river and the other of her lying on a bed, winking towards the camera. Just like her main picture, she looked pretty in both the pictures, with her fair skin, sharp chin and a pair of mesmerizing eyes. My heart gave an excited squeal in response.

Under her self-summary however, there was only a one liner introduction of herself. “Just a simple girl,” was all it had to say. Looking at her pictures on the other hand, made my heart race. My mouse hovered to the button that read “Message Her”, and lingered there for a moment. It was funny how the prospect of sending a virtual message to a girl suddenly made me nervous. I clicked on it, and an empty text box popped up next to her pictures.

As I thought about what message to send to her, my mind started to wander off by itself. It began to imagine how she would later turn out to be the one that I was waiting for, my soulmate all along. Hollywood like scenarios began to pop up in my mind, as I pictured us holding hands together, walking along a stretch of white sandy beach whilst the sun set behind us. I could hear the cries of all our cute children, three of them, calling us “Papa” and “Mama” happily. How great that love story would turn out to be.

Hastily, I typed out a message, saying “Hi” and “Nice to meet you” on the white text box. I even added in a little smiley at the end of it, just to appear friendly. And then I clicked send, wondering how she would reply. I was eager for it.

But the reply never came.

*****

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At The End of Everything #1

"How could you do this?"

She was standing there, her face red, sobbing hysterically.

"Why?!" she screamed again. Her eyes. They were full of hurt and confusion. I turned my head away, unable to look at them.

I could see her body trembling from the corner of my eyes. I didn't know what to do. She had every right to be angry, after all. And I have not the faintest idea on how to answer her. How does one answer in a situation like this anyway? I have already told her what I wanted, and she already knew why. There was really nothing to explain anymore. So I held my silence, and told myself that everything will be over after this. Just endure, I told myself.

"Tell me why!" In our time together, I have never heard her scream like this before. Still no answer from me. She ran towards me, pushed me towards the wall. Screamed again. Then she started to hit me on the chest, her hands pounding me repeatedly. I continued to stand there, still silent, looking away. I don't have to answer you, I thought. I don't need to. We're over. That was all on my mind. That was all that mattered. My fists were clenched by then, as anger began to build up in me. Why was she doing this, when she already knew that I would no longer change my mind?

I kept repeating to myself to be patient. If this is what it takes to end it, then let it be.

And then the slap came.

Her palm landed squarely on my left chin, It caught me off guard on how fast and powerful it was. The force from it send me stumbling a few steps. I could feel all the hurt, anger and disappointment channeled through her hands. It was something that I did not anticipate. The suddenness shocked me. A part of my body cried out that I should no longer tolerate this outburst of hers.

"Enough!" I yelled. "Which part of breaking up do you not understand?" The room fell silent. She was still standing there, her eyes wide in disbelief. The air was heavy with emotion, punctuated by her attempts to control her sobs. I glared at her, my chest rising up and down steadily. I was visibly angry. Annoyed. She continued to look at me, tears still flowing freely from her eyes.

"You're no longer the same," she whispered softly. She took a few steps back, slowly inching away from me. I could feel our distance slowly growing further with each step that she took, the memories that we built over eight years of our relationship slowly crumbling away. But I didn't cared back then. All I cared for during that moment was the end. The end of our relationship, so I could start another one. I was utterly convinced that I no longer love her back then, That I was no longer happy.

Standing there in the room, with the stinging sensation on my face, all I could feel was anger. And contempt. For someone who loved me for eight years. I thought of the happiness that awaited me once this was all over.

She slowly picked up her bag and jacket, letting out a whimper every now and then. As she headed for the door, she turned her slightly towards me, perhaps hoping that I would say something. But my resolve was firm, so I kept my silence. Sensing that I was not going to change my mind, she quietly opened the door.

"Goodbye," she said, and left. I could never forget her face when she said that. Wet from all the tears, and reeked of disappointment. And that was how it all ended.

*****

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

At the End of Everything #Prologue

"What?"

I stared at Lucas, trying to determine whether he was serious. He was flashing that cheeky grin of his, which usually happens when he has a crazy idea in his head. We were sitting in a busy cafe at Haji Lane, popular for its Spanish themed restaurants and unique cafes. The night sky hung above us, the moon barely visible behind some clouds.

"Why not? It's been like five months since you last broke up, and she already has a new boyfriend. You, on the other hand, is still too busy moping to move on with life." I glanced at our table, my attention caught momentarily by the puddle of water forming beneath our beer bottles. I find myself unable to disagree with Lucas.

The 'she' that he was mentioning was none other than my ex girlfriend, Elaine. We have been dating since we were both 19, back when we were still naive university students. We were planning to settle down eventually, but because of a stupid mistake I made, our plans came not to be. An eight year relationship, ruined over some misguided passion and lust. 

A few months after the breakup, she was already with someone new. It was not surprising, considering how popular she has been. Guys used to line up just for her, metaphorically speaking, of course. She got together with her hometown friend, who has been chasing her for like forever. Me, on the other hand, ended up in a worse position that I had initially hoped. It turns out that if a girl can cheat on her boyfriend for you, she can cheat on you too with another guy.

"I don't know man." I picked up the half empty bottle in front of me and took a sip of the remaining beer inside, considering what Lucas had said. Online dating? To meet new people? How could it not be a joke? Lucas knew how badly I viewed online dating. To me, the relationships from there seemed to lack the value of face to face interactions, and I doubted the sincerity and the durability of such relationships. Prejudiced, I know, but I cannot just seem to wrap idea of forming a relationship so quickly without first going through the traditional friendship.

Sensing my uncertainty, Lucas tried to reassure me. "Look I am only trying to help. You have been stuck in this self-pity shell for far too long. You complain about not having the chance to meet someone else, and yet everyday without fail you lock yourself at home like a hermit. So I'm merely suggesting the easiest way for you to meet new people."

In a way, Lucas does have a point. When you have already spent eight years with the same person, life would inevitably feel different when that person is no longer there. It was like a void suddenly opening up in the middle of your existence, and you are left wondering on how to live life as a single individual again. In my case, life became a dull routine of work and computer gaming, repeating itself in a monotonous cycle day after day. And it was Lucas who heard the most complaints.

"I... suppose I can." I looked at the people passing by us, wondering if I really could.

"That's good to hear. You should always be unafraid to try out new things, I tried it out and it worked great for me. Besides, what's the worst that can happen? Cheers man." Lucas raised his bottle to me, giving that grin of his again. 

I looked at Lucas, who always seemed to be cheerful. Sometimes it is hard not to admire his childlike optimism, though he may get outrageous ideas along the way. I reluctantly raised my bottle to his, forcing out a smile. "Cheers."

Perhaps Lucas was right. What could go wrong anyway?

*****

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NaNoWriMo Year Two

Source: http://jackiejonesblogs.com/


So I've decided to try out NaNoWriMo again this year. It will be the second time for me this time, after churning out a error filled zombie apocalypse story last year. Of course I don't foresee this year is gonna be any easier, with all the pure word vomit sessions that I had last year, but instead of just writing any garbage, my goal this year would be to actually send the manuscript to publishers. Yes, my aim this year would be to publish a novel (depending on whether the publisher accepts the story, that is, but at least I want to send it in).

Of course, the entire process would be tough and demanding. With 1666.7 words that one needs to write in a day, the entire process literally forces you to become a social recluse for a whole month. But I've told myself that I am going to do it, no matter how tough it takes this time. I even made two promises to myself, and they are 1.) I will post at least an update, no matter how long or short once per day and 2.) I would read each post at least once to check for error before posting it (because I don't wanna go through proof reading of an entire novel in one go)

And if you're someone who interested in something like this too, I'm looking for a writing buddy! Because it will be easier to write when you have someone pushing you forward. But I am going to cheat a little by starting to write the story from tomorrow onwards and if you're interested to join, do let me know!


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Dota All Hero Challenge #Day33: Am I there yet?



There have been ups, there have been downs. Mostly downs. When you're so close to winning a game, only to have it crumbled before your eyes over a silly mistake. Teammates whom from the start you know will only be a burden. Heroes whom you know makes you a burden to the team. Still, slowly but surely, you chip away at the number of remaining heroes. One game at a time. And now, I am finally past the middle mark. Who knew DOTA had so many heroes in it?

One thing that I realized that when I told myself that I am going to complete the challenge is that how I completely underestimated the commitment required by the challenge. Even if you win one game for each hero, which is near impossible, it would still take 108 games to clear every single hero. And that's 54 hours gone if you assume that each game takes half an hour. But given how the average games completion is 216 games, that's already 108 hours there. Almost 5 days there. That long.

And now that I have started working, time is no longer a excess commodity, and the second thing that I quickly realized that telling yourself that you would complete a challenge like this is gonna make your life miserable, because when you have only two hours per night for yourself, it is SUPER hard to have enough time to clear this thing. And because I suddenly find myself in an obsession over this, other aspects of my life like blogging has taken a beating. But I just cannot stop D: 

I have you Valve.


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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Which God Do You Believe In?

God. Some of us believe in him, some of us don't. But for those of us who do, God can come in many shapes and forms too. Some of us believes that there are many of Him. Or Her. Some believe that there's just one God, almighty and omnipotent. Some believe that we can be Gods too, if we try.

Some claims that they believe in the same God, and thus organizes themselves into groups. Some of these groups in turn believe that their God is the real God, while all other Gods are fake. And out of these groups some believe that their "real" God needs to be the only known God in the world, and no other God should be allowed to be believed. And that's where the conflict arises. When my God is not your God. And you believe that your God is telling you to change my God.

But is there such thing as a universal God. Maybe there is. A God(s) who indeed created the world, or at least played a part in creating it. A God(s) who sits beyond of our realm of understanding. But can we really claim to know this God, as how some people do? Those who proclaim with fervor that their God wants a certain thing, and demands people to follow their God? The people who claim that they know exactly what God wants? Or in any case, can we truly understand God? Can the God you believe in be exactly the same as the God that I believe in?

To be honest, I don't think it can. I don't think that no matter what we proclaim, none of our God is the same, on the contrary. Everyone's God is different, I believe, even though we may know our God through the same name, even read from the same holy book. Perhaps our Gods may share the same similarities, perhaps even more than someone who knows their God by a different name, but at the end of the day, both of our Gods are still different.

It's no different than knowing a friend. Say John, Mike and Sally are friends. Best friends in fact. They grew up together, played together. And one day, out of the blue, you decided to ask John and Mike what do they think of Sally. Or rather what do they know of Sally. John, being the optimistic and cheerful guy that he is, thinks that Sally is a cheerful and bubbly girl, as she often smiles. Mike, on the other hand, thinks that Sally can be fake sometimes, because she smiles way to often. It's the same action, by the same person, but yet both John and Mike interpreted it differently.

The way Sally treated both of them could have affected how they viewed Sally too. Sally hung out with John more often, while she mostly met Mike briefly. The things they discussed were different too. Mike complained often, while John listened mostly. It's not only the person's personality that affected how they viewed Sally, but rather their experience with Sally too. Each of them have different experiences with Sally, different expectations, and even though they were all friends, they have differing viewpoints on Sally.

If we can't even agree on how our friend is, what more can we try to claim that our God's are the same?

The problem about religion is this: That it forces us all to believe in the same Sally. That Sally in fact encompasses a certain number of traits. Like she would get angry if we dress in a certain type of way, watched certain type of shows or used certain type of words. But more often than not its not always printed out in black and white. How Sally is may differ in each situation, depending on the context. More often than not, religion forces us to accept a certain thinking of Sally is because it wants to control the way we think. Sometimes, it becomes an issue of power.

Where am I trying to go with this article? I don't know. I am just trying to say that because each of us is different, and because each of our life experience varies, the God we come to believe (if we do), varies as well. And people who forces their God upon you, claiming that their God is the real God, is in fact not really reflecting THE real God, but rather their own personal God. Personal God. I like this term.

Perhaps God is a manifestation of our ideals, our world views. That how we see God depends on how we see the world too. Perhaps God does exists, but no longer in a way that we believe God to be.


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