December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

Posted in General at 11:59 pm by ryushin

It is the time of the year again, a subtle transition into the new year, although nothing much has changed. I’m still the same old me, nonchalant, lazy bum. I forgot what kind of New Year resolutions I had set for 2008, if I ever did. They are probably all unaccomplished anyway 😀

I should record down a foolish attempt here for the new year for future reference!
1) I wish/want/intend/need to pull up my CAP
2) I wish/want/intend/need to improve my physique
3) I wish/want/intend/need to enjoy the finer aspects of life
4) I wish/want/intend/need to improve my financial position

What a set of unspecific goals. Hah, but it doesn’t really matter since I believe I shouldn’t really go far. I think it can be summarised by the happenings in 2008 anyway. I saw a gradual decline in my grades semester after semester and that doesn’t bodes well. Need to spend alot more effort in academics I guess. I need to be less complacent, I need to be less conceited, I need to be less arrogant, I need to be less egoistic, I need to be less smug. FOCUS!

It is worth a mention how a slacker like me actually went to work, hohum. At least it increased my assets by a worth of 4-digits. But looking at the way the company functions, and the way some of the work are done, I really think there are lots of scope for improvements. Of course I’m not in much of a position to comment on that.


December 26, 2008

《少林僧兵》 (2008)

Posted in Drama, Entertainment at 2:47 pm by ryushin

shaolinsengbing洪天照 饰 月空
崔林 饰 月文
李铭顺 饰 戚继光
李曼 饰 秀子
刘莹 饰 李若兰
欧萱 饰 孙海清
洪金宝 饰 大脚僧
崔鹏 饰 风语

This is a rather emotional and touching tale set in the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century. The emperor indulged in pursuits of immortality and material pleasures, and the entire powers of the court was basically grasped in the hands of Yan Song, the corrupted prime minister, and his son, Yan Shi Fan, who colluded with Japanese pirates. It was a dark dark period in history as corruption ran abound at all levels of government. Loyal officers were usually dismissed or executed. Without support from the central government, it represented a harsh reality for devoted generals in curbing the rampant piracy. To complicate things further, because of the severity of piracy, there is a ban on private maritime activities. It affected the livelihood of many people, and ironically, forced them into piracy. All these were rather accurately depicted in the drama.

There is a major focus on character developments particularly for the 6 main characters. Themes include brotherhood, nationalistic spirit, and moral integrity. Multiple conflicts erupting between the 3 male leads eventually ended in mutual respect for one another. I do not know what to say much except that it is very human, seemingly like tugging a string attached to my heart. That, alongside the real display of martial arts (especially from the 少林武僧), makes it a worthwhile drama to spend your time on.

Allow me to now talk about abit of history. I am rather ashamed to have not even heard about the name 戚继光 prior to watching this. This guy was one of the most brilliant general in the long history of Ancient China. True enough, his largest achievements lie in the realm of eradicating pirates along the coast of China. Some brief facts about him are as follows. Age 17, he took over commandership of a garrison. Age 22, he took part in martial arts section of the imperial examination. Mongolian troops began laying siege on Beijing, and even the candidates were mobilized to defend their capital. He displayed extraordinary talents in helping push back the invaders. After that, most of his life was spent laying waste to the pirates, making a name for himself as a national hero. After quelling the piracy problems, he was dispatched to the northern frontier. Supposedly, in his sixteen years there, not a single mongolian raider managed to cross over the Great Wall.

The portrayal of 戚继光 in the show is exactly that of a brilliant general. In fact, it is almost what a model of an ultimate general should be like. There is no question of his bravery, loyalty, discipline and righteousness (though abit rash at times). I wonder how many people have the balls to do what he did in the drama, hahaha.

About 月空 and 月文, they are two of the 武僧 aiding in the piracy resistance. The 僧兵 is a great significance in the show. Due to the nature of government corruption in the period, military fees were often siphoned off by greedy officials. The lack of support also meant poor fortifications, lack of war equipment, weapons and armors, as well as an ill-disciplined military force consisting mostly of elderly or the weak (salaries often withheld or delayed resulted in desertions or able-bodied men looking for other jobs). In this aspect, the 僧兵 eventually became an important part in the army. They are disciplined, mobile (without need the use of war horses), yet stealthy enough to be used as a tactical unit. Furthermore, there is not much need for equipment, as they relied upon their iron poles as weapons. But the greatest respect coming from me is the selfless spirit.

A little bit of poking around suggests that 月空 was a real person. Didn’t do much research so don’t quote me, but apparently there were records in Shaolin affirming the truth of their 武僧 playing a role in the piracy resistance, and it seems that 月空 was a relatively pivotal character, that the 方丈 personally led a force down the mountain after hearing of his demise. Shrugs to that, but probably true about the 武僧 part, gaining a reputation as fearsome warriors.


December 24, 2008

《葉問》 (2008)

Posted in Entertainment, Movie at 10:02 pm by ryushin

甄子丹 饰 叶问
池內博之 饰 三蒲将军
熊黛林 饰 张永成
仁达华 饰 周清泉
樊少皇 饰 金山找
黄又南 饰 沙胆袁
林家栋 饰 李钊

The martial arts master of Bruce Lee. Perhaps that is what most people know of Ip Man, (that was afterall the strategy adopted to penetrate the market). In fact, that was probably what most people only knew about Ip Man before watching the show, aside from the fact that he practises the martial arts form known as Wing Chun (咏春).

Well, Ip Man was in fact a Grandmaster of Wing Chun, and the man who popularized it. Prior to his open teachings, Wing Chun was primarily taught only to blood relatives or extremely rich people, and rarely to other outsiders. (Those who had watched the show would have realised how rich Ip Man was at the start) Most Wing Chun practitioners today can trace their lineage back to Ip Man. So how good was Ip Man? And indeed, how good was Wing Chun compared to other martial arts? In the show, his level of skill was so proficient that he literally dominates his opponents, even against multiple oppositions, even against masters of other martial arts forms. So you can judge for yourself. Going further back 2 generations, the Grand-Master of Ip Man, Leung Jan, supposedly never lost in over 300 challenges with his Wing Chun skills.

Back to the show, the portrayal of Ip Man as a martial arts addict (before the turning point) but being compassionate, humble and non-competitive would probably be spot on. It is alot about inner cultivation than seeking to win, and you can see this a few times in the show. Though when the need arises, you can witness the raw power of the deadly chain punches. Speaking of that, the action scenes were very well done, and near the start of the show, the uber portrayal of Ip Man makes people think when will he suffer a hit. Well, watch and find out.

For me, I enjoyed this show. And once again, it left me truly in awe of Wing Chun. In the hands of a devoted practitioner with the right spirit and physique, it is just so… pwnage! Afterall, it is a combination of the strengths of hard styles and soft styles  to combat hard styles and soft styles… Until next time, expecting a sequel to the show which will touch on the relation between Ip Man and Bruce Lee.

December 23, 2008

Outing Day Update

Posted in General at 11:06 am by ryushin

Woot, quite alot happened yesterday. First up was movie outing with moi inner circle buddies, watching none other than Ip Man. rofl… its quite hilarious many ppl fumbled and used “eye pea man”. It is pronounced Yip Mun, which is the cantonese name of a Wing Chun grandmaster. Yup, more commonly known as the master of Bruce Lee. While Bruce Lee is more famous, it may take a while to digest that almost all the practitioners of wing chun can trace their roots to Ip Man. I will probably have a more detailed post about that in future.

Lets move on! It was a lil surprising to see mediacorp filming outside Jean Yip at PS. Haha but there were only 洪慧芳 & 向云, didn’t see any bigger shots. But that was not the point anyway. Spent some time loitering in arcade with my clique while waiting for something else.

And then the moment of truth at parkmall. It was a whole decade past graduation. What graduation? Da primary school graduation, lol. How time flies. Some ppl change totally and others are just mega versions of the mini us back then. But its really a wonderful reunion considering some of us had not seen one another for the whole decade… a whole decade. Oh how the memories flowed back.

December 18, 2008

《鹿鼎记》 (2008)

Posted in Drama, Entertainment at 10:40 pm by ryushin

黄晓明 饰 韦小宝
钟汉良 饰 康熙
王刚 饰 索额图
徐锦江 饰 鳌拜
宁静 饰 陈圆圆
应采儿 饰 阿珂
何琢言 饰 双儿
舒畅 饰 建宁
刘孜 饰 方怡
刘芸 饰 沐剑屏
胡可 饰 苏荃
李菲 饰 曾柔
祝延平 饰 陈近男
何佳怡 饰 九难
乔振宇 饰 郑克爽
景岗山 饰 风际中
TAE 饰 刘一舟
钟亮 饰 吴应熊

Hmm that’s a long cast list, and it covers mostly only the important characters. Actually there are still plenty of important ppl unlisted, there are just that many ppl in the show, of course borrowed nicely from jinyong novel. Now I didn’t actually read the novel before, so I can’t say whether the drama deviates from it, but the general plot is there.

What is more interesting is the fact that this is the only protagonist (韦小宝) in jinyong that is well… a total failure in martial arts. We see a very much more human hero anti-hero in him rather than the self-righteous heroes in other wuxia stories. So in the instances where our poor friggin’ rich hero finds himself with opposition, we can see how he utilises his intelligence, glib tongue, loads of silver, position of authority, or his legs (36计, 走为上计) to get out of the situation. Plenty of comedic elements in many cases to have a good chuckle.

Now, talking more about 韦小宝, its rather a miraculous adventure for him to the capital, an adventure that lasted over a decade, a period in which he found himself becoming from a little rascal to attaining a peerage of immense position. A specific thing to note though is that while he is mischievous, nonchalant, lustful,  and is a gambling addict and hordes money from corruption, there is a very heroic element in his character – the utmost loyalty to important people in his life. Torn between two conflicting sides, he is finally forced to make a decision.

Now about 康熙, a historical figure in chinese history. In fact, he was indeed one of the best emperor. Its always nice to see the battle of wits between master and subordinate. Who emerged victorious? I would say… it was all for naught, and turned out pretty ugly.

Oh wait, I haven’t mentioned this. If you didn’t already knew, 韦小宝 have SEVEN wives. I don’t like some of them, and actually 韦小宝 don’t either. 沐剑屏 and 曾柔 are the type of wonderful innocent softspoken personalities that naturally appeals. Then 阿珂 while gorgeous, turns out to be quite the tough nut to handle initially. But ultimately, I felt 双儿 is the best overall. I hereby award her the 最佳丫环奖. (The same actress is going to play 小昭 in the upcoming latest rendition of 倚天屠龙记)

Overall I was pleased with the drama, great entertainment value, though the episodes count is on the long side. One problem is somewhere towards the end it gets horribly boring for a number of eps. Then afterwards things happened too fast. Oh well…

December 12, 2008

《侠影仙踪》 (2005)

Posted in Drama, Entertainment at 11:35 pm by ryushin

周杰 饰 黄楚明
孙菲菲 饰 柳一夕
徐筠 饰 慕容砚
孙伟 饰 丁凯
狄龙 饰 王羲之
桥本丽香 饰 苏瞳
李庆祥 饰 曹安
谭俊彦 饰 曹骏
李雪松 饰 上官绝
李菲 饰 上官剑侍
宁静 饰 庾太后
于承惠 饰 赤松道长
计春华 饰 石空尘

Allrighty, another show off the blocks. Actually this is a rather old drama, in the late 04 and early 05 period I think. Due to certain circumstances, I wasn’t able to catch this drama, and didn’t noticed its existence even.

Well, its a bit of a historical period, a bit of a fantasy-ish story (revolving around the legendary couple swords 干将 莫邪), thrown in a bit of political scheming in a wuxia backdrop. Overall, even though its a bit of everything, this show is actually quite decent. I only have a few qualms that I wanted to nag about. (Lets come to that later)

Plot wise, its quite brilliant. Several twists along the way gave you the “omg I didn’t think of that” feeling. Some of it was easily anticipated, as enough foreshadowing and hints were dropped. Probably it was meant as a way to make the others more obscure and unpredictable. Oh, there are also some respectable fighting scenes.

Onto the bit of bad parts. First and foremost, the final battle was a total letdown… I was looking forward to an epic showdown which ended as soon as it started… Secondly, there seems to be a chrono-spatial mismatch in certain ways. For instance, the teleporting ability of a person to appear in another far away place in a short space of time. Then also the superb efficiency in tailing and tracking down people that puts our modern intelligence agencies to shame. Add to that the way they miraculously know about news of something which should never have been leaked (kudos also to their pigeons for transporting messages). Ignore these links, and its actually a great drama to spend some time on.

December 7, 2008

《绝对计划》/《天石传说》 (2003)

Posted in Drama, Entertainment at 2:09 pm by ryushin

胡兵 饰 沈聪
TAE 饰 铁雄
黄奕 饰 甄珍
巫迪文 饰 蓝野明
王驾麟 饰 云豹
马可 饰 阿丁
张庭 饰 凌灵/罗琳
韩晓 饰 罗丝
王海珍 饰 秦晴
翁家明 饰 蓝野城
寇振海 饰 铁森
戴军 饰 雷绍

Let’s talk about this show in general. Let’s just say that why didn’t I know about this show earlier? And why isn’t it better known? Haha… To be honest I found it (on the whole) quite nice. Perhaps not exactly entertaining in the commercial sense, its more of a suspenseful mystery, with heavy emphasis on schemes and tactical manoeuvres.

For the cast, its a mix of big name veterans and some unknowns. But more importantly, there are lots of pretty faces to look at (to divert your attention when the going gets boring). Heck, even the males look good.

On to a little sypnosis. This story takes place in modern era, and there are some high-tech (but rather unrealistic) stuffs that you can look at. Throw into that martial arts and some nice sparring scenes. The story revolves around 4 heavenly stones that supposedly holds a great deal of power, and with that, obviously an epic struggle between good and evil. There are many unexpected twists at various points of the show, and it serves only to spruce up the mind-boggling inter-connected events. However, I was a little disappointed by how it ended, and the way the show panned out towards the end. Fighting sequences became unrealistic, and ultimately, it gave me a feeling of “what the hell was that for?”…  Ignore that, and its actually a brilliant show on hand.

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