Sunday, November 26, 2006

Puteri Gunung Ledang

Went to see the musical, Puteri Gunung Ledang [PGL] yesterday with M and some friends. I've done quite a bit of watching musicals, not an expert, just a discerning theatre goer, and this production just did what it intend to do - preserve the mystique of the legend, the romance of its rich cultural and historical settings and last but not least showcase to the rest of the world what a world class theater production the Malaysians have in them.

As a theater goer I always have a high regard and the greatest respect for it and all who give their life and love to the betterment of theater... Eh... macam [like a] snob right?... Lol. But its true lar... I honestly went in the show underestimating it. But I changed my mind now.

If any parents out there intend to wean their child on musicals, lupakan sajalah [forget about] si Andrew Llyod Webber tu or The Phantom of the Opera or Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Raincoat, or all that ad nauseum jazz... begin your child's theatre appreciation with PGL or The Lion King if you have the opportunity... lol.

Go, go immerse yourself in the tale of the two yearning lovers, torn between wanting to follow their hearts, and wanting to be loyal to king and country. This musical is indeed a collaboration of great minds and talents, with Dick Lee as the composer, Zahim Albakri as the director, Adlin Aman Ramlie as the scriptwriter and co-director, and Roslan Aziz as musical director, and of course, Tiara Jacquelina holding court in the titular leading role as well as the freaking Executive Producer for the project! Good job!

Stephen Rahman-Hughes is really good in this. Lots of naysayers croaked, "Bolehke this mat salleh celup nyani?" lol... Back off kamu semua Melayu dengkis & sceptics... He earned that samping and tanjak! All that West End pedigree in Stephen Rahman showed. But my favourite is Adlin Aman Ramlie as the Sultan of Melaka. Haha... I'm not sure if that's how he meant it... but there is a scene where he celebrates His "Kedaulataness" [Royalty] with so much panache. It was a break-out performance.

All in all it was a visually and orally sublimed production. But things they could improve or avoid; mic lapses, the music at times drowned the singing voices and even Hang Tuah played by Stephen Rahman finds himself competing with the sound. I find the ending a bit rushed, especially the part where the 7 demands of the Princess were made known. That storyline maybe lost on foreigners who don't know a thing about Hang Tuah let alone some Mount Ledang facts.

The whole PGL structure is a bit formulaic I have to admit, but that is a safe decision to go for mass appeal, which is a good thing these days. Some strings in the sound department should be explored as that can typically go well with the human voice. There was none. There was a flautist, nevertheless and that alone added some haunting qualities to the score but not enough. I remember a kerocong-like number, and that was good. And finally it doesn't take one to be a critic to know or to tell the good from the bad , the wannabes from the truly great. In short, I left the theater hall of the beautiful Esplanade with a good cathartic feeling, which is all that matters.

Take a bow, folks. Well done!

Pic courtesy of M.

Monday, November 20, 2006


This latest film by Almodovar has been making quite a buzz. I chanced upon Almodovar's Talk To Her a few years ago and I have been a fan since then. Any treatment of surrealistic naturalism and magical realism -- be it in films or novels; I like. And judging from the reviews I've read so far, this is The Movie to watch this year -- if you're into non-English films that is. I just hope I don't have to wait too long for it to be shown in Singapore before I got the itch to buy the DVD at Johor! And any movie that has Denzel in it makes a decent movie outing!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sleep Magnate

I've been waiting for something worthwhile to start an entry and today, I got that impetus.

I knew I was asleep but somehow I couldn't wake up. It's that awful, uncanny feeling to WANT to get up but I just couldn't do it. A few times, I thought I could muster enough movement to kickstart my body to move, and I believe there were indeed some body movements, at least a muscle twitch or limb, but I just couldn't do it -- wake up. And this isn't the first time I've experienced such inability to severe arousal from sleep and it freaks me everytime this happens!

I'm not sure what realm that was but I just knew that I was conscious NOT dreaming. To attempt to define consciousness would be to risk displeasure of philosophers. I am no philosopher. However I would know what I mean when I say that I am conscious of, or aware of, something whether outside or within myself.

Today it happened around after midnight, twice. This giant sleep magnate pulled me back from waking up -- and the more I fought to release myself from this realm, the more of a grip, it held onto me. The second time I woke up at about 12.05am -- at least that's what my wristwatch told me. I didn't hesitate this time around. I got off the bed, went to the toilet, took ablution, got back in my bedroom and performed the sembahyang tahajud -- night prayers.

I had a good chat about this with my father during dinner just now. He smiled and nodded when I recounted my 'struggle' to wake up. My old man offered some advice and he put things into perspective. All I can say now is that it assuaged my nerve and rekindled a kind of resolution in me to not take things for granted.


Ayat Al-Kursi - the Verse of the Throne

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Allah! There is no God but He,

the Living, the Self-subsisting, the Eternal.

No slumber can seize Him, nor sleep.

All things in heaven and earth are His.

Who could intercede in His presence without His permission?

He knows what appears in front of and behind His creatures.

Nor can they encompass any knowledge of Him except what he wills.

His throne extends over the heavens and the earth,

and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them,

for He is the Highest and Most Exalted.

Allah, the Most High, speaks the truth.