Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

Another Scandinavian nudist story

May 11, 2009

When it rains, it pours – another scandal related to Scandinavians going commando in the tropical climate of S.E. Asia.  First it was the Swede with his meatballs in Holland Village, now the Danish and their pastries in Johor.  From The New Paper:

PICTURES of men and women running naked through lush island greenery have sparked a furore in both Malaysia and Denmark.

They are screenshots from Robinson Ekspeditionen, the Danish version of popular reality programme Survivor.

The show involves a group of contestants who have to complete various mental and physical challenges to make it into the next round. It was broadcast on TV3 in Denmark.

News website ScandAsia.com reported that during the episode in question, which was shot on a Malaysian island, one of the challenges was for the contestants to race in the nude.

Durian tree murderer(s)???

March 25, 2009

From Newpaper: A white woman was found hanging from a 2m-tall durian tree in Selangor.  Sounds like a scene from a SAW movie:

The body was found at about 8am yesterday in an orchard near Serendah in Selangor.

The victim was in her 20s and is believed to be a foreigner. She was less than 1.5m tall and had fair skin and shoulder-length hair.

She was found in a white sports bra and dark-coloured panties.

Investigators could not immediately determine if she had been raped before her death.

Two wooden splinters, each about 5cm long, were found in her panties.

The body was in a kneeling position when it was found. The victim had marks on her neck and legs, and scratches on her right thigh. There were no other visible injuries.

Singapore/Malaysia’s Slumdog Millionaire?

January 13, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire grabbed headlines after its Golden Globe wins for best picture, best screenplay, best director and best soundtrack.  The country of India (and all my Indian friends) is staking a claim on the movie, despite its British director, British screenwriter and British production company.  I won’t be surprised if the Indian equivalent of British knighthood is conferred onto director Danny Boyle in the near future.

So is it Indian or not?  It’s a minor technicality that doesn’t warrant discussion – this is a beautiful story laden with universal themes of everlasting love, betrayal and redemption, compassion and justice, etc etc, set in the chaotic yet picturesque landscape of the Indian slums.  Great story + Exotic setting + Just enough English for American audiences to understand = Winner.

Enough good things have been said about the movie, so no point for me to wax lyrical about it.  I’m more interested in the ripple effects of this GG win for the rest of the world – does every country have its own Slumdog Millionaire breakout hit waiting in the wings?  Over the past 1-2 years, I’ve come across quite a bit of Singaporean/Malaysian literature that I can say MIGHT be potential Slumdogs (Slumdog was adapted from the book Q&A).  These are the two that were published fairly recently, and that I can picture being adapted as films:

Breaking The Tongue by Vyvyane Low
Set in pre-WWII Singapore, the story is about the coming-of-age of a naive Chinese boy in an anglophile family who is stirred from his sheltered existence by the threat of Japanese aggression.

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Set in pre-WWII Penang, the story is about a naive Eurasian boy who discovers aikido, the ancient Japanese martial art, through his mysterious Japanese neighbor, with whom he develops a close relationship.  Their relationship is  called into question when the Japanese army attacks Malaya and the neighbor is revealed to be a Japanese spy.

Some other fiction books based in pre-war colonial Malaya/Singapore, albeit with non-native protagonists:

The Singapore Grip by J.G. Farrell
Tanamera by Noel Barber

And some non-fiction books with intricate descriptions of pre-war Malaya/Singapore:

Singapore Goes Off The Air by Giles Playfair – Broadcast journalist for the Malayan Broadcasting Corp. details his arrival and evacuation from the island.
Malayan Postscript by Ian Morrison – The Australian war correspondent for The Times details life in Singapore, coining the infamous term “whisky-swilling planters” to describe the excesses of the British colonialists in the Malaya.
Blood On The Golden Sands by Lim Kean Siew – A Penang native’s account of the Japanese occupation in Penang.

Addendum (01/19/09):

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan slams Slumdog (VarietyAsia):

In his blog, Bachchan actually slams the Golden Globe winner.

“If ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ projects India as Third World dirty underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations,” he posted.

Addendum (01/24/09)

Critics rave over ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ Indian public mixed

The Times of India also gave 4.5 stars, brushing aside questions about whether it was a realistic portrayal of slum life and instead calling it “just a piece of riveting cinema.”

“Forget the Us versus Them debate. Just go for the pure cinema experience,” the newspaper said.

I’ve got a craving for some noodle soup!

January 8, 2009

Great article from NYT about laksa and its origins.  The pictures of the food made me steam.  It’s quite extensively researched – it even states the main difference between Singapore and Malaysian laksa:

Helen Thong, the restaurant’s co-owner and Mr. Thong’s wife, describes the Singaporean and Malaysian versions of curry laksa as completely different – “like New York and New Jersey,” she said.

In my mind, this analogy is useful when comparing pretty much anything Singaporean and Malaysian.  Haha.

Also saw this other mouthwatering video about Anthony Bourdain eating bak chor mee in Singapore.  I like the anthropological slant to his food review, tracing the DNA of Singaporean cuisine back to the chapalang language and culture of the region.