A rare movie review: ‘The Giver’

Metacritic gave it a score of 47% while Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 33%.

I however… Well, let’s just say I was left there in the theatre, stunned, unable to move, my thumb and index finger touching my pursed lips. I was in awe at just what I watched.

Those scores were a sham, I thought to myself. SHAM! However, I told myself, “To each is their own”. I for one, LOVED IT.

When the credits were rolling, I was still digesting what I just watched. It was hard to digest a movie like this. It wasn’t a blockbuster movie; there were no explosions nor sex, no sexy or hot actors and actresses, rather, it was a movie that requires you to open your mind up and think; to step back for awhile and re-look at the world around you and the society you are a part of.

The Wikipedia page of ‘The Giver’ stated that the movie is a “social science fiction” and social science fiction, Wikipedia stated (though kids, do not quote Wikipedia in your essays, blogs are still okay):

Social Science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, usually soft science fiction, concerned less with technology and space opera and more with speculation about human society. In other words, it “absorbs and discusses anthropology”, and speculates about human behavior and interactions.

There, ‘anthropology’. There!

And suddenly, it all makes sense. Anthropology, the study of societies, of people. That was what I learned in university and have been ever so passionate about. No wonder I feel strongly about the movie; from the beginning until the end. My passion for learning about people and societies left a big mark on me during the movie and more so now.

I love how they incorporate real (and staged) videos of societies. I love that. The emotions that they talked about, the HUMAN emotions. Those, those I like. I especially like the part where he ‘saw’ strength, prior to continuing his journey to Elsewhere. That was my favourite. I guess these videos of societies and emotions made The Giver different from other dystopian teen movies.

Many of the critics say that the plot for The Giver is just like any other dystopian teen movies such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Ender’s Game and I have to say, I do agree with that. Even so, I feel that movie genre such as these are fairly new and I can say that I am not sick of it just yet. Anything that is different from movies which only talks of beefed up hot guys saving (and shagging) overtly sexy girl in a very sexualized and masculine movie is obviously way interesting to me.

But like I said, to each is their own!

I am waiting or another Yasmin Ahmad-type movie to come out from Malaysia and fortunately, they are booming(!) – thank you indie filmmakers! I think it’s about time we step away from funny horror movies, stories about rempits, the ‘glamorous’ lives of polygamous marriages, and about kampung women who need men to ‘straighten’ them out because they do not know any better.

Travel Photos: Dedication to my role as a Big Blog Exchange contestant!

YOU CAN STILL VOTE FOR ME WHILE THERE IS TIME AS CLOSING DATE FOR VOTING IS TODAY!

VOTE FOR ME HERE! 

As you may or may not know, I am joining a wonderful, once in a lifetime competition called the ‘Big Blog Exchange‘ where 16 bloggers from all around the world get to swap places with each other for 10 days, all paid for!

I have even written a post about my reasons to why I want to be a part of this competition which you can read HERE.

This post however will be a compilation of photos that I have taken during my travels which I wish to share it with all of you :) Hope you’ll enjoy it!

One thing I like about backpacking and staying in hostels is that I get to meet lifelong friends along the way! Rachel and I met Gime and Tamara from Argentina when we were visiting Vang Vieng and clicked instantly! – Vang Vieng, Laos (2013)

Admiring our shadows as we walked and posed on a suspension bridge. That’s me on the right, holding my hand out. – Penampang, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo)

The crowning of the new 2007 Unduk Ngadau winner, Jo-Anna Henley Rampas. Unduk Ngadau pageants feature young ladies from the various districts in Sabah, Malaysia. This pageant is to celebrate the beauty of the ladies from the 30 or so indigenous tribes in Sabah and it is a yearly event which falls during the Harvest Festival (Kaamatan Festival) on 30th and 31st August.

My collection of postcards which I have collected over the years. To date, I have about 300 or so postcards from various parts of the world; either bought by me during my travels or given by friends and family who traveled overseas.

Zen-ing out in Hyde Park back in 2009. I was fortunate enough to attend an international conference in Oxfordshire and decided to visit London while I’m at it. – London, United Kingdom (2010)

Enjoying the sunset by the Mekong River after an evening of enjoying street foods and exploring historical Vientiane! – Vientiane, Laos (2013)

Goofing around in Kellie’s Castle! – Perak (2012)

A regular view from a coffee shop in Ipoh, Perak. This is an old coffee shop, we were told. Probably since the 60’s! (Though, please correct me if I’m wrong!) – Ipoh, Perak (2012)

Locals are definitely the best tour guides to have! This is my classmate Wei Chien and her dad who were incredibly hospitable during my friend, Jayson and my stay in Ipoh. Both father and daughter were born and raised in Ipoh all their lives. Here they are saying goodbye to us as we board our train back to KL. – Ipoh, Perak (2012)

A monk seen on the streets of Vientiane waiting to for the light to change so that he can cross the road. – Vientiane, Laos (2013)

Me posing in front of one of the cool traditional houses (which also happens to be the place where I stayed for 2 nights!) in the Sarawak Cultural Village during the 2012 Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Sarawak! I had such a fun time when I was there and I even blogged about it! Read about my post here! – Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo (2012)

My guide during my travels in Laos. It was such a helpful book and one that practically every tourists have on their hands as they visit Laos! LOL! Here I am posing while waiting for my food to arrive! – Vientiane, Laos (2013)

When in Penang, hunt for Ernest Zacharevic’s famous street arts; this being the most iconic of them all – Penang, Malaysia (2013)

The best way to get to know a city is through their street food! – Manila, Philippines (2014)

A monkey who only came to me when I gave it food. Cheeky! – A’famosa Resort, Melaka (2014)

Beautiful view of the sea from a family-owned chalet in Kinarut, Sabah called ‘Seaside Travelers Inn’ – Kinarut, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo)

A clear image of the suspension bridge (picture in Image 2) with the village in the background – Penampang, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo)

A perfectly captured image of the sunset slowly setting down in between the Petronas Twin Towers. In this picture alone, you can also see another iconic tower; the KL Tower. – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2014)

Don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME HERE! I’m counting on you to help me represent Malaysia!!

This is not your ordinary make-up post.

I love Make Up. Not because it makes me feel like a million bucks (or ringgit, if you’re into specifics) but mostly, it empowers me to seize my day.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

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All of us have different views on make-up. Some may say it’s necessary to look presentable, nice and approachable, less tired perhaps. Others may say that it ‘takes away’ the natural beauty of a person, making them dependent on make-up which will destroy every bit of their confidence without it.

No matter what your view is, it is hard to ignore the fact that make-up empowers its users, making them more confident of themselves than ever before, which for me is a positive thing.

I for one opt for a more natural make-up look as my day-to-day look – days when I have to meet people, not for a quick run to the kedai runcit. I’d put on minimal eyeshadows (natural tones or a faint black), just a tiny winged liner, mascara, eyebrows on and some colours on the lips.

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Make-up is meant to enhance your features, not hide it.

Sometimes, I’d go wild and put on a bright-coloured lipstick when I feel least excited about my day because I know that it’s not how I feel about myself that changes my mood, but how others feel of me upon seeing me. Somehow or rather, putting on a bright-coloured lipstick on myself changes the mood that I surround myself in. I get positive vibes from people, which in turn, made me feel positive too. It’s like one of those colour therapy thing, I think.

Granted, not many women feel the need to wear make-up all the time seeing that they could use their precious time to do other more useful things. Fair enough. Count me in. I’m not crazy about make-up, but I do love me some make-up to play with!

Plus, it saves me a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY when it comes to events.

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My make up during the masquerade ball back in college: I did this myself and saved RM50! (Bonus: That mask is only RM5.00 from Daiso!)

Did my own make-up for the character that I was playing during a musical that I performed in. I played the evil yet sexy Ursula.

Did my own make-up for the character that I was playing during my university-produced musical that I performed in. I played the evil yet sexy Ursula.

Halloween 2011.

Halloween 2011: I was a geisha with a sugar skull head. Confused much?

I read in an article once about this lady who worked from home and still put on make-up and nice clothes. It makes her feel presentable and ready to start the day, even if it was only at home. I find it extremely interesting when she said that her whole reason why she made herself look presentable is not meant for others to see, because there was nobody to ‘see’ her at home, but it is for her to feel more alive and ready for her to start her day, even if it means being at home while she’s at it.

I liked that idea a lot, however odd it may sound.

Make-up is a personal bond between you and it. It allows you to feel however you want to feel during the times you wish to feel however you would like to feel. (tongue twister much? Lol!)

I think it’s kind of like writing or blogging in general. Your need to have comments or likes should never outweigh your passion for writing, although however nice it is to have that bit of feedback.

You don’t have to have crazy skills to put make-up on yourself. Basics, is what I always tell myself. Know the basics. More importantly, actually owning some make-up would be a good start too! ;)

Goodbye Mr. Williams, say hi to them for me.

Robin Williams’ death hits home. It seems all too familiar for me. A happy, funny guy turned out to be incredibly depressed. He had suicidal tendencies and finally, his demons got the best of him. When I knew about his death on how he was found hanging on a belt with cuts on his wrists, I froze.

This was all too familiar.

If you have followed my blog all these years, you know how strongly I feel about depression and suicides. Someone I looked up to took his own life. It was shocking to many of us – his family, peers, colleagues and students, especially his students, us. 

Mr. D was an incredible guy and I’m not just saying this because he has passed, but he genuinely is an incredible guy. He would always dance to Black Eyed Peas’ “I Got A Feeling” in class. We would all feel ashamed. It felt like our dad was trying to embarrass us by dancing the daddy dance, but it was one of the main thing that reminded me of him.

Me fooling around during our last day of school as Mr. D was explaining something to some of my classmates.

Mr. D was not the only person I know who took their lives. My sister’s friend killed herself during New Years’ Day this year, a schoolmate set himself on fire while my friend’s brother hung himself and was found out later on by his own grandmother. 

Depression is real and it’s deadly. It’s not something that you can just snap out of it and it’s definitely not a cry for attention. 

Robin Williams’ death has definitely brought forth the darkness of depression. In an article by Elite Daily, they reported that…

As a tragically misunderstood disease, depression gets thrown into everyday conversations without many people recognizing the seriousness in the word. When people use it in casual conversation, they are usually referring to something much less serious; the word itself serves as a synonym for mere sadness instead of its true meaning.

I wished it didn’t have to end like this for all these people, my lecturer and Robin Williams, but it did and that sucks so much. It’s such a sad and dark place to go into alone, feeling that the world is better off without you. It’s not, the world needs you, the world needs them.

I just wish that they’re not feeling pain any more now that they did what they think would end the pain. Sigh.

Well, rest in peace Mr. Williams, say hi to them for me.

THE BIG BLOG EXCHANGE 2014: Vote Jasmine for Malaysia!

This is a pinned post. For updated post, scroll below!


First of all, did you see that guy who is in first place for the Asia and Oceania region? He has over 1k votes! How can I top that off???

And then I thought, “What the hell! Let’s just do this!” So I did. I signed up and contemplated on various ways to have people vote for me. Should I bungee jump? Should I swim with the sharks? Should I give everyone some gummy bears as a thank you? (that could work actually!)

Hi! My name is Jasmine and I’ve no idea how to make you vote for me but I will tell you why I joined the Big Blog Exchange.

THREE REASONS

1) I want to show the beauty of Malaysia before it’s gone.

This is my grandmother’s backyard in our hometown of Penampang – located in Sabah, Malaysia (on the island of Borneo). Do you see the drastic change in just 10 years?

They are building a state-of-the-art convention centre there which will host offices, halls, hotel, restaurants etc. Sure, development is inevitable. However, in doing so, the locals, especially the indigenous communities such as my family and I, are in constant pressure to sell our ancestral lands to developers. The paddy field which was mended by my grandmother and her grandmother all their lives is now no more. Decades of hard work thrown away just like that. It must be traumatising for my grandmother and for many unfortunate indigenous communities.

I joined this competition because I want to show to the world the authentic and natural beauty of Malaysia. I want to show them the vibrant and rich culture that we have, the warm friendly faces of our people and the savory and exquisite taste of our local traditional foods. Malaysia today is known for our series of unfortunate tragedies, but what’s great to know that amidst all that surrounds Malaysia, there is still that bit of warmth and beauty that the country can offer to its visitors and boy, are excited to show you!


2) Culture, people and new places excite me!

Statues in Haw Phra Kaew temple - Vientiane, Laos

Statues in Haw Phra Kaew temple – Vientiane, Laos

I love to travel and have made a point to make it a yearly event which is often a challenge when you are on a student budget. Even so, my friends and I would without fail, still make a point to travel to somewhere new, even if it’s just a neighbouring country!

The country or place that I travel to does not matter much to me; whether in the streets of Bangkok or in the hills in Switzerland, as I feel privileged as it is to be able to travel and venture out in those countries. Everything is new, exciting and wonderful and I can’t wait to explore and be amazed by the beauty that the country and its people have shaped!


3) Hostels are great way to make new friends and learn new things!

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German friends that I made friends with while staying by myself in a hostel in Kuching, Sarawak for the Rainforest World Music Festival.

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While attending an international conference and staying in a hostel in London, I met Finnish singer/songwriter, Alba Sun, who was a few beds away from me!

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My Australian and German friends that I met in Sarawak came to visit my friends and I in Kuala Lumpur where we brought them to the most Malaysian place to chill – a mamak!

I love staying in hostels during my travels. It’s not only cheap but definitely an experience on its own! I cannot tell you how many long time friends I’ve met during my stay in hostels. I find that hostels are a great way to find new friends to explore new places with and what better way to go for an adventure with someone who you barely know and who barely knows you too! Not only are you able to share wonderful stories and experiences each other, but you also get to do fun exciting things together that your friends wouldn’t normally be game for! I.e., bungee jumping in New Zealand? Or going on a road trip in India!

I think that’s the best kind of companion during your travels and hostels are definitely the best kind of place to stay, meet and share histories and memories in ;)


Vote for me! Help me make my dreams come!!! Let me represent Malaysia!

Vote for me! Help me make my dreams come!!! Let me represent Malaysia!

I can’t wait to experience all these if I get the opportunity to be part of the Big Blog Exchange! I not only get to travel to a new place and live there for 10 days, but I also get to stay in hostels there where I get to meet fun and exciting people who are pumped up for an adventure as I am.

What a great opportunity and privilege to experience that!

Please VOTE FOR ME. It only takes less than 5 minutes!

How to vote?
1. Go to this link.
2. Click ‘VOTE FOR ME’.
3. Insert your email and click ‘OK’
4. Check your email to confirm your vote
5. Done! Thank you for your vote!
6. Share it with your friends and family on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even your blog!

* #6 is optional, but I would appreciate if you could help!
* One email = One vote; although if you have multiple emails, you can vote multiple times!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME AND SUPPORT!!! ♥


About the Big Blog Exchange 2014

The Big Blog Exchange is a global competition where it gives 16 lucky bloggers the opportunity of a lifetime to ‘swap countries’ with each other. During the swap, the bloggers will take over each other’s blogs and blog about their 10-day experience in each other’s countries. For example, if I am paired up with a blogger from Germany, then he/she will fly to Malaysia and I will go to Germany where we will live in hostels (as this competition is hosted by Hostelling International) and will record our travels in each other’s blogs.

ONE EMAIL, ONE VOTE. Hence, if you have more than one email, you have more than welcome to vote using those emails too as more votes means higher chance of me being in the lead! Please check your e-mails upon voting me as you need to ‘CONFIRM VOTE’ to be counted as a vote. It would mean the world to me too if you could kindly share this wonderful news to your friends and family.

Help me represent Malaysia! Vote for me here!

Public harassment and cat calling, how I handle them.

Jasmine:

Here’s an oldie but a goodie! I wrote this post last year because I was beyond annoyed with sexual harassment. Coincidentally, I was invited to speak for a friend’s radio documentary tomorrow (Aug 13th) on sexual/street harassment where I will be highlighting experiences of harassment in the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

More on that once it’s out!

Originally posted on This Blog Sparkles:

My first initiation to womanhood was not a celebratory feast or squeals of excitement or an outpouring of congratulations. In fact, I ‘became’ a woman even before I got my period. The initiation, sadly, started when I experienced my first cat calls and flirty remarks from unknown men by the street as I walk pass them. I was puzzled by their sudden interest in me and little did I realized, those cat calls was just the beginning of many more (extremely unflattering and degrading) calls.

I was 11 when a group of men cat called me. My mom was holding my hand as we cross the road.

Going into adulthood is a beautiful thing, especially when you see yourself grow up from a child to a young lady with a deep feminine voice and a beautiful body. It does however, comes with a price. Not only do men now view and…

View original 1,166 more words

Why the word ‘fat’ will never be glamorous, to me at least.

I’m a big girl. I’ve been big all my life. The only time when I wasn’t big was when I was a thin, frail toddler who would constantly fall sick, as mom would remember.

You see, as a big girl, I refer to myself a lot of names; plus size, curvy, curvaceous, vivacious etc (why must we label ourselves? So annoying!). But if there is one word I will not call myself, it’s ‘fat’.

No, I am not in denial. I am well aware that I am indeed fat. I have no problems with people calling me that, although I will twitch and feel the need to punch the person in the face, but I will never call myself that. It’s derogatory and as much as my fellow plus size sisters make it seem glamorous, make those who hurt them eat their heart out by embracing this derogatory term with pride, I for one find it extremely hard to join them in their embrace of the word, although how much of a supporter I am in the cause.

Believe me, I tried. I TRIED to like that word. I TRIED to incorporate it in my mind set and use it as form of witty comebacks for unwanted, unsolicited and stupid comments from people about my body. I did, I tried.

I hate society’s representation and stereotype of what a big girl should be like; easily bullied, low self-esteem, not sexy, not witty bla bla bla hence why I fight to break that stereotype. However, I find it hard to fight this stereotype if my fellow sisters keep using ‘fat’ as part of the fight. I understand why they do that, but it’s just hard, you know. WE understand why we use it, but do they understand the irony behind it too?

What I am trying to say is that while I rejoice the fight that women make for all plus size women out there, proudly calling us fat is a cause that I unfortunately think would not be a smart move especially if you’re dealing with other people who often do not feel strongly about what we feel strongly about. I just feel that by calling ourselves ‘fat’, we are helping them to reinforce the negative stereotype to which they put on us and while we may feel empowered, they may ridicule us even more.

I remember the other day I saw a beauty pageant that proudly fights for plus size women, but shamelessly call their pageant somewhere along the lines of ‘Fatgent: Pageant For All You Beautiful Fat Girls Out There’. Okay, maybe not exactly that, but I would imagine instead of applauds, people would laugh instead. Or ‘fatkini’. I don’t know you guys, I don’t buy it even though I loveeeee the idea behind it (and the beautiful designs!). Even for guys man, I feel for them. I saw a store in Giant called, ‘XXXXXXXXXL Store’. As much as, and this is me stereotyping, forgive me, think that men do not care much about the name, I find it demeaning and insensitive.

But you know, that’s just me. At the end of the day, I support body positive and feel that everyone have different ways of fighting for their own cause. Although it may not work for me, if it works for them then hey, , who I am to say otherwise? That is something that many of us should learn to understand I guess, huh? It feels like post-feminism you know, where you celebrate women and sexuality and stuff and other feminists (non-feminists as well) think that that’s just wrong and pushing women backwards.