Sunday, May 31, 2009

Terminator Salvation

A rare instance of a blog entry featuring frank, unfettered, politically incorrect raving

There was a rare class gathering involving a heftier portion of 06s6E (not HCAEP batch 3, who so far has been gathering on weekdays to tekan the stay-in people) at Cineleisure. I had always regarded Cineleisure as some kind of prison, owing to its fetteringly-designed interior of winding passages and oddly-placed elevators, not mentioning the cubicles of glassy-eyed gamers in the upper stories and the delusional atmosphere thanks to neon lights. This feeling of repulsion is weaker now, for some strange reason.

I have never seen people like the girls and Gooi Khai Shin and Singhwa for exactly 9 months. I have, however, met up with Jedi quite often. And my sister got to know Lisheng and Zichun meanwhile. So it's still OK.

Not everyone was invited through calling. Excluding now those who're studying overseas, the remainder suspiciously rather neatly corresponds to the nerd quartet of Damien, Yixiong, Jedi and myself. This is not cool. I made a mental note of holding our own outing in the future which is now, of course, no longer mental. By the way, DOTA must fit in here somehwere!

I have to admit that I resented a shift in dress sense observed in an exclassmate but was too polite to point out to her. And I am still too polite to point out, even though it is now 12:23 AM. And I had better finish this before I turn impolite. So

We watched Terminator Salvation, starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, who looked so much like Christian Bale I confused one for the other for the first 1/2 hour. (A bow to our class spirit, of course, because if I came alone I would have picked the movie with the cute Chinese vampireslaying ckick donning school uniform and pulling off Zhang Yimou special effects.) It was not a good film, but I enjoyed watching it for the sheer joy of discovery, namely of atrocious breaches of logic, physics, and military science.

Christian Bale is an idiot: how many choppers he must have crashed! And most glaringly detonated the nuclear energy thingimmabobs right when the chopper was flying over HQ Skynet! And the ammunition is like free, like they're still the United States Army! And the robots are harder to kill than zombies- well, not even molten metal would melt their metal. Hells bells, must be bloody kryptonite, or a metastable isotope of element 287, say I! Do have some more cake

There was also this racist and inflammatory scene of a resistance army angmoh kao-pehing the Chinese woman next to him: Shut up! Shut up! Can't you speak some English? Ach, would someone please bother to kick him in the face.

Dinner came mercifully as soon as possible afterwards. Guys of the table talked cock that night as virulently as my dad would do with a similar bunch of fellow Xiamen University alumni. Ohgods, what did we talk about? Well, what did we not? Ach, and the Xiao Long Bao has scarce lost its taste, many thanks be to God!

Took a bus home reading an exposition by Noam Chomsky entitled Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, which I think is true reason behind my being so rude with the keyboard. Good night, America! Good night, United States Army! I sure hope you run out of ammunition pretty damn soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Tjandrapoera Inscription

I. Java: Java is really quite big for an island, one of the biggest in the world. The slides also told us that Indonesia is the 4th largest country, which is bullcrap.

II. Banten province: Is recently separated from the province of West Java, and occupies the western tip of the island. Across the Sunda straits from Banten is the province of Lampung in Sumatera. In the straits of Sunda lie the remnants of Gunung Krakatau, the site of THE most hiong volcanic eruption in recorded history. This is one tidbit they never granted us so that we may sleep in peace.

III. Serang and vincinity: Serang is 2~3 hours west of Jakarta, and is the main town of the province. Campsite is ~20 minutes northwest. The town of Cilegon is ~2 hours west from thence, and the town Anyer on the Sunda straits is still further.
Relax. There's none too much tourissy places to be seen apart from the malls. Oh, and Anyer's beach.

IV. The Kopassvs: The Kopassvs were our hosts for our stay in Serang. Warmhearted and polite as hosts, they assuaged our frustrations whenever something went wrong in the programme. "We apologise for any inconvenience you have met. Please, take away only the good memories, leave the bad ones behind!" This has happened 3~4 times.

V. Form: footdrill commands are screamed, and usually (if not always) end with a crisp "gerak", and differ quite a lot from the Malay commands used in Singapore. The first step of a quick march is made by chopping your left heel onto the ground. In parades, commanders hopped back and forth the parade stand. You acknowledged an order to spread, squeeze and hop around by slapping your tum. And then there were other oddities.

VI. Getting around town: The bumpers of Kopassvs tonners are painted red. Why's that so? It's for intimidating the civilians who clog up the streets, and to hell with camouflage! And we've got metal rams up front, in case you're not intimidated. And we've got sirens as well, in case you don't know that we're nearby.
There was once a random car was mauled just for fun. The victimised driver pulled obligingly to the shoulder, and didn't raise anything more than murmured incomprehension.

We were discouraged from leaving our assigned mall and roaming the streets outside, and for good reason.

VII. Outfield: Camouflage is not needed at night, and neither are helmets and all those stuff kiasu Singaporeans bring outfield. No way! All you will ever need for 3 days is a groundsheet and a week's supply of instant noodles.
Sleep like a log in the night! Make the jungle your home; build your basha with foundations, lay out your sleeping mats, take out your shirt and jungle hat! Hells bells, go ahead and lepas your senjata as well if you like, but only when komandan is not looking.
Keep your spirits high; cheer at the enemy when contacted! WHOO

VIII: Jungle survival: You could cook with a hole in the ground, a few tiers separated by banana leaves, and rocks heated by fire or sunlight. Tapioca is decent if prepared thus, and the daging is quite damn heavenly.
Daging babi is also good for eating, said my Indonesian friend. If one is desperate, perhaps.

We were also shown vicious booby traps of the sort reminiscent of Chinese/Korean historical dramas and the Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto.

IX. The Indonesian language: Have a basic grasp of key words and learn the rest of it as it comes. Carefully introduce a foreign accent if you are not confident or they will mistake you for a native speaker and you will be bound invariantly for malu-ness.

The soldierly lexicon used in the past fortnight prominently included--
Averse elements: nyamuk - mosquito; panas - hot (weather); hujan - rain
Everyday stuff: makan - eat; tidur - sleep; kencing - piss
Military terminology: senapan - rifle; latihan - exercise; upachara - ceremony
Other soldierly terms: cewek - girl; berapa - how much?

Note that the following kinds words are not easily learnt through the usual method of hand signals, and need to be picked up by the learner himself. e.g.
Expressing time: besok - tomorrow; kemudian - afterwards; kadang-kadang - sometimes
Linking words: kalau - if; untuk - for; tetapi - but
Prepositions: dekat - near; sampai - until; sejak - since
and so on.

X: Parachuting: The jump sites were accessible to visitors from around the area. On the day we landed in Gorda cross, the spectators helped to pack the chutes for the newly-landed. It was quite hard to refuse, because they insisted on doing so vehemently. And then they waited vehemently for the tip.

When Dom landed, he was swamped with a throng of tip-hopeful children. I landed in padi, and so was spared much of the swamping. Winston landed in the swamp.
A story goes that Cliff took out 30.000 rupiahs and asked the guy who helped him "You want berapa?" and had it all snatched from him, no answers needed.

XI: Malls in Jakarta:
Come all ye to Mangga Dua Square, for here be all the clothes at dirt-cheap prices.
Come all ye to Pondok Indah- well, it's rather more like a Singapore mall, except that its scale is American.

Postscript: Consolidation of the Mother's Day present:
For Mom's coin and notes collections-
5 Rp, 25 Rp, 50 Rp with image of Komodo dragon - rare coins I got for doing a social suicide stunt
Current 50 Rp with image of a bird named Kepodang
Current 100 Rp with image of a cockatoo
1978-minted 100 Rp with image of house on stilts
Current 200 Rp with image of a Bali mynah
Current 500 Rp with image of a plant named Bunga Melati
Recently obsolete 500 Rp with a different design and yellow tint
Notes of 1000, 5000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000 and 100.000 Rp

Postscript 2:
See earlier post.

Les Filles de Java

Les filles d'Anyer ont le goût du miel,
La peau sucrée comme guigne au soleil,
Au soleil, au soleil,
Les filles d'Anyer ont le goût du miel,
Les filles d'Anyer ont le goût du miel.

Les filles de Serang faut voir quand elles dansent,
Les anges du ciel frappent la cadence,
Quand elles dansent, quand elles dansent,
Les anges du ciel frappent la cadence,
Les anges du ciel frappent la cadence.

Les filles de Bandung ont le teint si pâle
Que claire est la pluie et clair le cristal,
Teint si pâle, teint si pâle,
Que claire est la pluie et clair le cristal,
Que claire est la pluie et clair le cristal.

Les filles de Jakarta ont le diable au corps,
Tu vendrais ton âme pour qu’elles t’aiment encore,
Diable au corps, diable au corps,
Tu vendrais ton âme pour qu’elles t’aiment encore,
Tu vendrais ton âme pour qu’elles t’aiment encore.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Another note before I fly

2009/5/4: I've packed, Bahasa Indonesia textbook and thermometer and all. I've rehearsed my presentation; a short one, but hell-stressful to pull off. I have a reasonable command of an Indonesian-Malaysian-Singlish-mixed pidgin, hopefully good enough to draw knowing smiles more than it draws incomprehending laughter.

I enjoyed laughing incomprehendingly at Kazuki Tomokawa's singing. The tune and the poetry and the singing are all marvellously mismatched. This Japanese acid-folk artist does more than just sing; he howls, he wails, he sputters and coughs, to plaintive chords that prove all too painful to listen to after a while. I guess it's his poems that make him popular in Japan. It's a howling tragedy that I couldn't read Japanese.