La La Land. #projectmovie

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I just finished watching La La Land so disclaimer: this post might not be entirely coherent. I left the movie FEELING SO MUCH LOVE. AND TEARS. But mostly love.

The whole world probably knows the plot by now (cos I’m late to the hype train – but omg the hype is worth it) so I won’t get into that but I just have so much feelings over this movie. Right from the get go, I knew I would love it. I was a goner by the first song on that expressway. There’s a reason I loved Glee. I love musicals – it’s such a shame I don’t know more. Halfway through the movie, I already knew I’ll keep it (I tend to delete movies off my laptop once I’m done watching) because I’ll rewatch it numerous times.

Right now, everything about this movie was perfect. The cast was brilliant (Ryan Gosling I want your talent with the piano), the cinematography was really nice (at first I thought this movie wasn’t set in present time cos the colouring makes it seem vintage), I loved the music (the non-jazzy music seems straight out of a 1950s Disney classic movie and it reminded me so much of Sleeping Beauty – one of my ultimate favourites growing up), and the set design need not be said. Stunning.

I couldn’t keep track the number of times I cried. The beautiful dance scene in the observatory where they floated and it looked so damn magical. That scene when he was persuading her to go for that big audition after calling it quits and going back to her hometown. The scene in the park where she asked where they were and deciding to take a break. 5 years later, when she was married to another person and already having a child. THAT ENDING IN SEB’S. He practically declared his love for her through that song, their song, still, after all these years, in front of everyone including the husband and no one knew except both of them. The montage of what could have been. That last shot of him smiling at her, and her smiling back. No hard feelings. Life is unexpected. They still love each other and it’s so pure I couldn’t help my tears.

And at its essence, I think that’s really what I love about this movie the most. It’s about life and its ups and downs. There were times when Seb was more successful than Mia, other times when it was the other way round. But they were still there for each other, sometimes it was harder to be there but they still go back to each other in the end. Until that end. GAH. It’s making me want to write fanfiction and rewrite the ending but I can’t do that. I loved the ending, no matter how bittersweet it was.

I’ll leave you with this gem of a song. The first thing that struck me when I first heard it was this song sounds so sad. I guess I should have taken that as a clue and braced myself.

The Olympics and patriotism.

I woke up this morning at 9 to watch Joseph Schooling swim in the 100m Butterfly Finals at the Rio Olympics (link here, for copyright reasons). This was already a momentous moment since it’s the first time that a Singaporean or a Southeast Asian earned their place in an Olympic swimming final.

And it was such a great race! Schooling was leading from the get-go and maintained his position throughout the race. WE WON GOLD. We, a nation, that haven’t won any gold medals before in our 51 years as an independent nation. It was such a great feeling.

It’s funny how international events like these make us feel so patriotic and proud to be citizens of a country. I teared up during the Medal Ceremony; hearing Majulah Singapura for the first time in the Summer Olympics. My Facebook feed is full of posts congratulating Schooling and #TeamSG on this great win.

Some cynics might be like oh you weren’t there from the start why are you congratulating him now and I just think that’s the wrong way to go about it here. Why is it wrong to congratulate someone on their win and feel so happy for them and the country at large? I believe these instances of patriotism are good for everyone. Schooling managed to unite the whole country with his win – no matter how long this may last. For a moment, we took our minds off our personal problems and just celebrated as a nation. Isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t it be encouraged?

Schooling’s win is already inspiring other young Singaporeans to take up the sport, or any other sport, as it shows that even if you don’t have the height or build of other international athletes, if you put in the effort and believe in your dreams (no matter how cheesy that sounds cos it’s true), you can achieve great things.

Congrats Schooling. Enjoy today; it’s yours.

Re: Orientation camps.

Recently, I can’t go on Facebook without seeing posts or be asked in real life by family and friends about the whole sexualised/risque nature of NUS uni camps. (For more info: see here).

Now, while I don’t agree with the blanket ban on all orientation activities – I think it sets a dangerous precedent but hey this is Singapore – I find it troubling to see numerous posts on Facebook from acquaintances defending these camps to the core. You would think it was their religion or something when you read some of them. I know standing up for your beliefs is important and all but guys, pick your battles. Life is too short to be arguing constantly. Most of these posts are saying oh these things didn’t happen in MY camp in which I was part of the ExCo so of course it doesn’t happen in the whole of NUS (which consists of numerous departments and faculties). Just because it didn’t happen in your camp doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen at all. This all feels eerily similar to victim-blaming of those that were sexually assaulted or harassed tbh. It’s not helping to solve the problem of sexualised forfeits in camps.

While the camps that I attended freshman year were not as horrible as those mentioned in the media or those that I heard stories of from my friends, I remember having a cultural shock when OGLs brief us the games and the possible forfeits that we have to go through. Even the most memorable and enjoyable one – Tembusu Orientation Camp – was not spared. There was a game where teams have to go through an obstacle course made of ropes where it inevitably ended in members being transported from one point to another by other members – basically strangers met just hours ago – and having no control over where they’re being touched. I was so nervous once I saw what I had to go through but I just kept quiet and braced myself. Looking back, I know I should have spoken up and said I was not comfortable but I guess I just wanted to fit in. Everything was so new to me back then and so different. There was also a Blind Date night game where everyone is blindfolded and the OGLs match us up and bring us to different parts of UTown. Thankfully, I was paired with someone nice (in fact, someone I was crushing on) but still.

Overseas readers might think, ah this sounds very tame actually, but you have to understand that Singapore is pretty conservative. Being brought up in such an environment, I consider myself pretty conservative as well. We didn’t have such games throughout our entire 18 years of education so seeing all these games once we entered uni, I can understand why many freshmen and parents were shocked.

Another thing I’d like to add before ending my response is that many posts I’ve seen have said how orientation camps were how they forged friendships. While that is true, the way they say it seems to imply that these camps are the only way to make friends in uni. That once school starts, it’s oops you missed your chance be a loner the next 4 years. That is just preposterous. Only 350+ FASS students out of an assumed 1000 attend such camps each year. Does that mean the majority of students go on their uni life without making friends? Please. Camps may be the stepping stone to creating friendships but taking similar classes and going through the struggle of studying and earning that degree is also another great way to make friends. In fact, most of my uni friendships were made with people I wasn’t close to/hadn’t met in camps. So please, stop the exaggeration. I know you’re upset with the blanket ban (and rightfully so) but do not make the situation worse with dramatic statements. It doesn’t help your cause nor the university’s.

Dreams.

Yesterday, I dreamt I was pregnant.

Like, full-blown-and-about-to-pop pregnant. And it was even stranger too cos it was from a third person POV. Like I could see, outside of my body, that I was sitting on a hospital bed being pregnant.

I searched it up and there’s some sites saying that it could mean an abundance of wealth is coming soon. Well, I truly hope so. Being unemployed with nothing urgent to do bores me. I guess I am a workaholic in that way. I need goals and tasks to do to make me feel purposeful in life.

Also, I know I promised a recap post about Tokyo and I’ll do it soon! I’m currently sorting which photos to post on Facebook first xD

Legacies.

Today, whilst in the shower, I got to thinking about how we humans are so very temporary in time and space. The shower is always the place where my thoughts endlessly wander, I realise. But yes, I thought about how in the big scheme of things, what we do don’t really matter.

Usually this brings me to a crippling existential crisis (ah what fun) but today I thought about how we humans, despite knowing this, do our very best to leave some mark or legacy on this world anyway. That’s why people write. Or make music. Or do any other thing. We try our best to leave our mark on the world, thinking that it’ll last forever or that it’ll stand out in the crowd. We’re leaving footprints in the sand, vulnerable to being washed away by the oncoming waves but we think we’re carving statues out of marble.

It’s incredible, really. How stubborn we can be. How we refuse to give up, even when everything’s against us. Instead of feeling pessimistic about this nature of man, I feel encouraged. Even though we’re footprints in the sand, at least we’re not alone.

We’re all struggling together. And that is rather beautiful, I’d say.

Ah I don’t know what brought this on – maybe it’s the non-stop academic writing I’ve been doing but I do enjoy when my mind wanders like this. Am I making any sense? Is there anyone out there that feels the same way I do?

Media bias.

The Brussels attacks were yesterday. It was very scary to see as it all unfold. Ironically, I was in my EU Foreign Policy class as it happened. ISIS has claimed credit for the event, in retaliation for the arrest of Saleh Abdesalam a couple of days ago. 30 people have died and several hundreds are injured. It is a tragic event, no doubt about that.

But what I can’t wrap my head around is the media coverage over it all. How the media is so biased towards Western/white countries. It happened in the Paris attacks, it’s happening again now. Literally days before Brussels, Turkey was also rocked by a series of explosions in its biggest cities – Ankara and Istanbul. But mainstream media barely covered it. No Instagram/insert-your-social-media posts offering solidarity and support. I think out of all the celebrities I follow on IG, only Mesut Ozil (the Arsenal footballer) posted something about it. And that’s because he is of Turkish descent (I’m not sure if he’s actually Turkish but I don’t think so).

I’m not saying that Turkey bears a heavier woe than Brussels. Both events are very tragic and shouldn’t have happened. It’s just that it’s very saddening and disappointing to see that even in the age of globalised networks and social media where news spreads quickly, we still see very apparent media bias.

I’m not sure what I can do to remove or alleviate this. I am, after all, just a single individual. But I felt like I had to write about this. It’s not just Western countries that’s being attacked for being unIslamic. Going by that logic, Turkey shouldn’t have been attacked at all. These extremists are clearly not Muslims as they are not following Islam – a religion that literally means peace. Media coverage is thus very important to remove any stereotype anyone might have about Islam. It goes a long way. And I hope that by writing this post, it’ll at least be one step in doing so.