Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kung Fu Dunk

Jay Chou plays Fang Shi-Jie, a martial art prodigy who is transformed into a basketball hero. Found abandoned near a basketball court when he was a baby, Shi-Jie was brought up in kung fu school and taught martial arts by his instructors. Having a secret interest in basketball, Shi-Jie discovered that he has the incredible talent of being perfectly accurate in his shots.

One day he was spotted by a businessman Wang-Li who decided to exploit his special talent by signing him up for the First University basketball team with the excuse of searching for his long-lost parents as publicity. After joining the team, Shi-Jie became famous overnight as the media reported on his extraordinary shooting accuracy. Shi-Jie also has a crush on Li-Li, the sister of Ting-Wei, First University basketball team's captain but Li-Li admires another star player Xiao-Lan instead.

As the team progresses further in the competition, Shi-Jie and Xiao-Lan manage to put aside their differences and work together to help the team win game after game, under the impressive leadership of Ting-Wei. Shi-Jie also learnt to assimilate his kung fu skills into his basketball techniques and soon became a slam dunk hero in addition to his sharp shooter reputation.

The championship culminates into the final match when the First University team meets an unscrupulous rival team, led by Lee Tien, which resorts to using underhand tactics such as bribing the referee and physically injuring their opponents. With both key players Ting-Wei and Xiao-Lan seriously injured and First University team falling far behind in terms of points, Wang-Li managed to persuade four grand masters from Shi-Jie's kung fu school to assist the team. The grand masters used their magical powers to heal the injuries of Ting-Wei and Xiao-Lan and allowed the First University team to make a miraculous comeback.

In the final seconds of the match, when the First University team was lagging behind the rival team by just one point, Shi-Jie attempts a beautiful three point shot that appears to be going into the rim until the referee tips it out illegally. The organiser then declared that the referee has broken the rules and will be suspended but the First University team still lost the match in the end. As the rival players celebrate their undeserved victory, the movie zooms in on the disillusioned faces of Shi-Jie, Ting-Wei and Xiao-Lan which were filled with injustice and disbelief.


The story takes on an astonishing twist when Shi-Jie suddenly remembered an ancient skill that his late master in kung fu school taught him when he was a child. This skill named Heaven And Earth Great Reversal is believed to be able to freeze time and reverse it. He proceeded to execute the special skill and succeeded in reversing the time back to the final seconds of the game.

Given a second chance, Shi-Jie fakes a three point shot but makes a long pass instead. His brilliant move was well-anticipated by Ting-Wei who outjumps Lee Tien and slam-dunks the ball into the rim to give First University its much awaited victory.

The movie would have been perfect if it had ended here. Unfortunately the rest of the movie meanders around a series of redundant subplots from Shi-Jie mistaking Xiao-Lan's parents for his own to Shi-Jie finally finding his long lost father who is a millionaire.

Overall I must admit that I was still quite impressed with the spectacular computer generated effects, the unexpected twist near the end and the inspirational message that it is not the talents and skills of individual players that count but teamwork that is most important in the game of basketball.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Social Stigma Of Mental Illness

A schizophrenic man who was earlier talking to himself at a coffee shop, suddenly started shouting and scolding the people around him. One thought invariably comes into the minds of bystanders, "Why isn't this person institutionalised in a mental hospital?" Even as a healthcare provider, I have to shamefully admit that I sometimes feel the same way too.

Mental illness is so different from medical illness. While people with medical illness like diabetes, heart disease and cancer receive empathy and compassion from others, people with mental illness, on the other hand, are sadly ostracized by society. While people with medical illness tend to recover and resume their daily activities, people with mental illness are mostly unable to return their original level of functioning and often go into acute relapses when they do not take their medication. Even when they are stabilised, they may not behave like normal people. They may exhibit residual symptoms of their illness, as what the layman describes as, behaving in a weird manner. They often talk and gesticulate to themselves, oblivious to what people around them think of them. This is because their perception of reality has been impaired by their illness and they become less aware of their surroundings. Living in a society with emphasis on normality, their unusual behaviour is often ridiculed and criticised by passers-by, causing them to be socially withdrawn over time. Their family and caregivers also face tremendous stress as they are more likely to be embarrassed in public.

Indeed, people with mental illness do require more empathy and compassion from the public yet they are sadly treated otherwise. Although the government has been actively educating the public on mental illness, our perspective of people with mental illness still remained unchanged. Even as healthcare providers who are equipped with the knowledge and experience of treating people with mental illness, the majority of us are still very reluctant to acquiant and associate with them outside the hospital. Maybe it's time we approach them with an understanding that it is not their choice to be inflicted with mental illness and that they should be given an equal chance to live like the rest of us. Maybe if we take the first step and show the public that it is possible, they will have a higher chance of recovery and a brighter tomorrow.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Gift

When you hold her hand
Feel the sorrow and the pain
When she feels that life has no more meaning
You give her hope again

When you hear him cry
See the sadness in his eyes
Nothing else can make him so disheartened
But you give him comfort
And the courage to live his dreams

You give everyone
Who’s feeling down
A chance to be loved
You were there when he was crying
Hold her hand when she was cold

You give everyone
Who’s giving up
A reason to live
Even though the world is changing
But your love will never fade away

Someday he will learn to fly
You are the wind beneath his wings
Someday she will find her heaven
Where all her dreams come true

You give everyone
Who’s feeling down
A chance to be loved
You were there when he was crying
Hold her hand when she was cold

You give everyone
Who’s giving up
A reason to live
Even though the world is changing
But your love will never fade away

Even though the world is changing
But your love will never fade away

I composed this song recently to commemorate a special occasion. I dedicate it to everyone whose work involves interacting with people. May you continue to touch the hearts of the people you meet and make a significant difference to their lives.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Corrinne May

Everytime I listen to her songs, I can't help feeling that Corrinne May is God's gift to the world.

Blessed with an excellent voice and a wonderful talent for songwriting and composing, her songs are always filled with love, peace and joy.

The beautifully written lyrics convey the message of hope, optimism and compassion that each of us is special and can make a significant difference to the people around us if we try.

When I first listened to her song, Same Side Of The Moon, I was mesmerised by her flawless voice that is so soothing to the heart and soul. "I know I can't be so far from you, if we're both looking on the same side of the moon." Indeed even though we are living in different parts of the world, we share the same spiritual and emotional needs for love and companionship.

In her song, Angel In Disguise, Corrinne tells the story of ordinary people like you and me and how our little acts of love can touch the hearts of others around us. "Take a look at the ordinary, don't need to look for paradise. You could be next to an angel in disguise." Living in a world where people focus on materialism and tangibility, this song serves as a timely reminder for us to cherish our loved ones and to constantly shower them with care and concern.

In her new song, Five Loaves And Three Fishes, Corrinne shares with us a biblical story about a little boy who gave his small portion of lunch to Jesus with the faith that He can use it to feed thousands of people. "Take my five loaves and two fishes, do with it as you will, I surrender. Take my fears and my inhibitions, all my burdens, my ambitions, you can use it all, to feed them all." It tells us that no matter how small our offering may be in the eyes of man, it is recognised and appreciated by our Heavenly Father and we will be rewarded accordingly. It also reinforces the notion that our little gifts of love may appear insignificant on the surface but cumulatively they have the powerful ability to change the lives of others.

Indeed every song by Corrinne May teaches a priceless lesson that inspires me to self-reflect every time after listening. In our endless search for identity and meaning, we often get disheartened by uncertainty and disillusioned by failure. But Corrinne encourages us to be patient and to persevere in our faith even when the world thinks otherwise. Someday the long wait will be over and we will find it all worthwhile.

If you are nursing a broken heart, fighting a troubled mind or living a shattered life, head down to the major music stores and purchase Corrinne May's albums today. Her beautiful songs, delivered by her crystal-clear voice and her most sincere sentiments, is the perfect therapeutic remedy for heartache.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shenton Way

kensongs 7/10/2001

The lights were beautiful
Like scintillating stars
Descended from heaven
Onto Christmas trees
It must be God’s work
To transform Shenton Way
Into a paradise
What a masterpiece
Its painter, our Creator

What a pity,
You weren’t here with me
You would otherwise marvel
At this enchanting scenery
Or would you?
You were here every morning
And stayed till evening
The monotony of the workplace
Has long replaced
Its uniqueness in your heart

When I saw your weary eyes
The numbers you had to analyze
I could feel the stress you did
But I know it’s all worthwhile inside

The world’s just the way it is
It never stops turning
For those who are lost
You can either choose
To spend the evening
Staring at numbers
Searching for trends
Or stroll down Singapore River
Appreciating its beauty
But do u have a choice
Like I do?

Soon I’ll be like you
Stepping out of the freedom
Which I’ve embraced for years
Into a new world
Of deadlines and expectations
Where only the fittest survive
I wonder if I’ll die
From a dagger stabbed into the back
Or will I simply perish
From the face of this world
Onto the one above

Maybe it’s not that bad
The corporate world
That gives every professional
A reputation to be proud of
Then you wouldn’t ask me anymore
“U mean u haven’t graduated yet?”
But the price to pay
For this small moment of glory
Is too enormous to be true
Definitely not worthwhile

But do I have a choice?
No, I’m just like you
We’re born the way we are
Without silver spoons in our mouths
Just be glad
That we’ve got something to do
And do it well
Cause life could have been worse
We should cherish all we have
Before they are lost

I love you
Even though we’re never together
Shenton Way will forever be
A place of remembrance
In my heart
Because of you

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Coffee Bean

kensongs 03/11/2003

He came here alone
On a Monday afternoon
Seeping on his favorite Ice Mocha
Reminiscing on old memories
He would rather have forgotten
Yet replaying in his mind right now
He can never forget the ambience
Mixed with fragrance of coffee
Created the romantic experiences
He had with the people he loved

He didn’t plan to come alone
He had arranged to meet her
But she had to disappoint him
By changing her mind in the last minute
He was hurt by her rejection
Did she mean so much to him?
Or was it just bruised ego?
Seemed like as he grew older
He became more afraid of failure
More afraid of losing people he love
And everything he has now

He started thinking of Kim
It has been a few months
Since he first met her here
On 22nd March 2003, 945pm
She was glad to meet him
They started sharing about themselves
And soon found confidence in each other
It was the beginning of a special relationship
He didn’t think it will end so prematurely
He cherished their conversations
And every moment they spent together

But she’s no longer by his side
He had lost her from the moment
She told him to stop contacting her
And even though he still misses her
He knows he has to forget her
And move on with his life

He also thought of Kat
And the numerous afternoons they spent here together
She confided her problems in him
And he gave her a listening ear
He empathized with her
For the dilemmas she faced in her life
And the controversial decisions she has to make
He began to see the complexities of this world
And learnt to handle them with tact and wisdom
She inculcated in him a sense of independence & rebellion
To fight for his own happiness
Regardless of what others think
Now that she has left him too
He has to grow up on his own

An hour has passed just like that
Yet he’s still waiting for her sms
He knows she’ll never turn up
Yet he’s determined to wait for her
To show that he honored their appointment
He caught a glimpse of the two students beside him
Whispering sweet nothings to each other
Oblivious of the pressures of society
And the harshness of life
He would never admit that he love her
Until he knows how she feels
It’s his own self-defense mechanism
To protect his vulnerable heart from being broken

He knows it’s time to leave
This place of emotional catharsis
Where memories when rekindled
Burn with so much warmth & passion
He will come back here someday
And live his life once again

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Secret by Jay Chow

On his first day in college, inside an old music room, Jay met a mysterious classmate called Rain. Rain was playing a piece of music on the piano which Jay could not identify. And when he asked her for the name of the melody, she said it was a secret.

Indeed the movie revolves round this mysterious piano piece called Secret and how it binds Jay and Rain together.

As he spent more time with her, Jay found out that Rain has asthma and is frequently absent from class. But they still fell in love with each other. The old music room became the place of their rendezvous and Rain said that she felt sad that they are going to demolish this old campus building on their graduation day. As time passed by, Rain's asthma became worse and she had to stop school. One day Rain saw another female classmate kissing Jay and she became jealous. She stopped contacting Jay from then on. Come the much-awaited graduation day, Rain finally showed up and Jay was so happy to see her. But Rain saw a bracelet on Jay's wrist that was a gift from his female classmate. She became upset and left him again. Jay wanted to clear the misunderstanding, so he went to her house to look for her. But her mother told him that Rain has been missing. In her room, Jay found an old photograph of Rain with his father who is a music teacher in the university. How is Rain related to Jay's father? Will Jay and Rain end up together despite all the uncertainty? And how has the mysterious piano piece got to do with all these?

If this introduction interests you and you would like to catch the movie, STOP READING THIS POST. THE REST OF THE POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.

The story continues with Jay asking his classmates if they have seen Rain but surprisingly no one has ever seen her or know who she is. Jay soon recalled the times they were together and how Rain seemed invisible to everyone else except him. Jay then asked his father if he knew Rain. Jay's father told him that Rain was his student 20 years ago but she was schizophrenic. She told Jay's father that one day, when she was playing the piano in the music room, she found an old music score called Secret. And when she played the melody on the piano, she was transported to the future. She also said that she fell in love with a guy in the future but he broke her heart. She gave the music score to Jay's father and told him that she will not go to the future again. But soon Rain realised that no one believed her and that her mother has been spiking her food with medication from the psychiatrist. She became upset and transported herself to the future to meet Jay during his graduation day. Again she was disappointed by him and while she tried to return to her own time, she had a serious asthma attack and died in the music room. Upon discovering the truth, Jay immediately ran back to the old music room that was about to be demolished. It was at this time when Jay's father took out the old music score, saw Rain's entry about Jay and realised the truth. Jay managed to get into the music room and just as it was about to be demolished, he played the piece on the piano and was transported back to the past where Rain existed. He finally met Rain again and the ending scene was Jay together with Rain in her graduation photo of 1979.