Saturday, 10 February 2018

Our Endless Numbered Days | Thoughts

Image: Goodreads
This pastel yellow and girl in dress and brown leaves cover? Do not let it fool you. The story, while having the tendency to be slightly boring in the beginning has a very dark and disturbing ending. Nothing like what the pastel cover and innocent-sounding title seem to project. I think this is one of the uncommon times where 'do not judge a book by its cover' literally applies.

Story in short: Peggy Hillcoat, 8, was taken to the forest by her father, James and was told that the other parts of the world had been destroyed. They lived in the forest for 9 years. When Peggy was 17, she met Reuben, laid with him and then attempted an escape feat after Reuben hit her father's head with an axe thus killing him. She lost Reuben while trying to cross a river and later ended up in a hospital. The police came in to investigate before she was sent home to her mother Ute and younger brother Oskar.

Spoiler 1: Peggy was whisked away by her father because he was mad at Ute, thinking that Oskar, the child Ute was pregnant with, belonged to Oliver Hannington. The child was indeed James' son but heck, Ute initially wasn't sure who fathered the child! The question that was not cleared: Did she cheat on James or was she raped?

Spoiler 2: Peggy, now pregnant, in the end was told that Reuben never existed and her fingerprints were found on the axe. That would meant she was raped by her father and she was the one who slashed James' head. Reuben was just a character conjured in her head as a defense mechanism to cope with the trauma she experienced.

I think it's pretty smart that readers were informed that Peggy got home safely from the get go. The story was told with chapters of flashbacks between chapters of the present. Each time I reach a chapter of the present, I became more curious of how she returned and that made me continue reading. The description of Peggy's life in the forest were rather long though and I admit I skipped some parts. I read a review on Goodreads and it mentioned that readers have to remember that Peggy spent 9 years in the forest so the story had to be stretched out. That made me slightly forgiving on the boring parts.

I kinda regret reading the ending at 2 am. It's too disturbing.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Very Thought of You | Thoughts

Image: Goodreads

If this book needs to be described in one word, it's infidelity. Too much cheating going on in a book that was praised as 'a love story at its heart'. I thought I was getting a story of World War 2 life from a little girl's perspective, instead I got

1. Elizabeth Ashton cheating on Thomas Ashton
2. Thomas Ashton cheating on Elizabeth Ashton
3. Roberta Sands cheating on Lewis Sands
4. Anna cheating on Jamie
5. Jamie cheating on Anna

End Bonus: Anna realised she was in love with Thomas Ashton all this while, a man nearly 30 years older than her.

Whatever love-knows-no-age-gap logic, 30 years is too much. This is absurd. Almost farcical.

An easy read. Nothing life-changing. The characters weren't malicious, 黑心 or anything like that. In fact, they all seem to be brimming with love actually, be it faded or not. The gist of this book is just that, infidelity. Infidelity is wrong and it's making this book a sore.

A love story at it's heart? Now that's cheating my feelings and my heart.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Stranger (Secret Forest) | Thoughts

Yet another drama to succumb to the structure of having intriguing expositions but the rest of the plot were way too lengthy. Sigh. I have such high hopes for this one.

Stranger features protagonist Hwang Shi Mok, a prosecutor who due to a history of lobotomy became apathetic but has increased cognitive function. He was able to notice small details during his investigation which gave him leads to move forward. It was nice to watch him work with Han Yeo Jin and a twist at the third quarter of the plot was commendable.

Image: asianwiki

My other thoughts in break down:

  • Young Eun Soo was kinda annoying to watch after a few times. Knowing what Seo Dong Jae might be capable of, wasn't it a rather stupid move to meet him alone, at night at that, at the street of Kim Ga Young's house where Kim Ga Young was abducted? He nearly choked her to death! For a second there, I thought she died. I really thought she DIED, then she spluttered into consciousness not long after, but the whole thing was, I don't know. It was just a herring being thrown around to let viewers think Young Eun Soo was fishy. Ironically, she died in a later episode. How? Murdered.
  • Seo Dong Jae's eyes, my oh my, couldn't his eyes open any bigger. *chuckles* His wide eyed expression had been consistent throughout the show. One can't help but wonder does he not have other expressions. Anyway, Seo Dong Jae was a character that I cannot be bothered with. He was a prosecutor but he seemed to be forever under the control of someone higher. Did he not have a backbone? *opens eyes like Seo Dong Jae and rolls them* Also, it was not like he had such bad luck that he kept falling under the hands of the 'mighty ones', rather he willingly seeks them for refuge!
  • Han Yeo Jin's hair might be unique, characteristic, you name it, but I cannot accept it. It added years to her look.
  • I was so sure that Lee Chang Jun was the culprit to many things, or at least something major, but he turned out to be a 'hero' by involving himself in the corrupt world so that he could collect evidence and expose them later. When he jumped to his death. I didn't know what to think of that though I admit I wasn't ready to acknowledge him as a hero of any sort.
  • In every Korean drama so far that I've watched, there would be at least one scene where one character would break down and cry so hard. (Sometimes you might get misty eyed too depending on how good the actor/actress is.) Because this scene was late to appear in Stranger, I initially thought I wouldn't have to endure the tear drama and that would be something nice to comment about. Wronggg. Guess it's not a Korean drama without a minute of let-it-all-out hard crying. The person who broke down was Young Eun Soo by the way.
  • Respect is known to be a very important aspect in the Korean culture but say if Stranger depicts the culture accurately, it is slightly painful to watch. I'm talking about the part where there was evidence of chief policeman Kim Woo Kyun committing a crime (not murder if you're wondering) but the police could not arrest him until Han Yeo Jin persisted and showed to the big team, like a really big team, of men at that, that he was guilty. It was as if they were paralysed out of their immense respect for Kim Woo Kyun who was someone of a higher rank. It was even absurd to them to suspect him in the first place. 
  • I like how five promotional posters were released for the show. They added personality to the drama and gave more hype.

Image: soompi
This story would probably be better with fewer episodes instead of 16. Once too often, the protagonists would be thinking about something they've heard or seen, and most of the time, really, these scenes doesn't add to the story. I usually just skipped them all away. Ironically, the final episode which is the longest (1.5 hours long) had me skipping scenes the most. The first few episodes had much potential. Too much talking in the plot climb and finale was where Secret Forest lost me.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Bits: TV

When I watch my TV shows, sometimes I take screenshots of when something/someone looks good, cute, funny, good, GORGEOUS? (Do I have the tendency to take screenshots of gorgeous actors rather than actresses, cough, I do not know.) Thought I share five pictures today. Random stuff. I've been binge watching 2 Broke Girls lately, hence explaining the three pictures out of five.

1. Four happy faces in one picture, my heart, my heart! (2 Broke Girls Season 3)

2. Sho kiut. Nuff said. (2 Broke Girls Season 3)

3. Score. (2 Broke Girls Season 3)

4. Sheldon and Amy dancing. This is precious. (The Big Bang Theory Season 4)

5. Because Lee Dong Jun is kind of handsome. (Whisper)

Monday, 26 June 2017

Minions on the Wall

Despicable 3 couldn't have a more perfect timing to be released in Malaysia! I see it as a personal reward after a harrowing exam period. Dad took a bit more convincing to come along while Mum enjoyed the movie a lot; she laughed throughout the movie. Yes, it was good time indeed.

There were three murals on the way out and they were quite impressive I'd say. Most of the minions look closely to the original creations while Ironman and Ghost in the Shell were almost flawless. The usual boring nothing-much walk out of the cinema became not so boring after all.

These were spotted in GSC Aeon Bandaraya Melaka on 19th June 2017. May more appear in the future.

Front view Ironman 

Full view of the curved mural


Ghost in the Shell

Monday, 29 May 2017

Pretty Business Cards

'Beatrice' is my favourite. Because her cards are self painted/written, every single card is slightly different and that meant whoever has her card has only one of a kind.

On the 12th of May (Friday), three course mates of mine and I went to Lima Pulo at The Row, Jalan Doraisamy for lunch, which was an unwise decision that I made at that time because
1. The roads were rather congested and it took us more than the time needed to get there
2. Meals were priced at a higher range and spending there meant that I sidetracked from my mission to save up

While waiting for the food to arrive, I visited the art market next door with hopes of finding something nice for mum given that mother's day was coming. Besides the many artsy things, there were also cookies and facial products. After looking at a few stores without looking at the price of things, I came upon a very artsy apron and thought that would make a lovely gift. Despite knowing the high probability of it being out of my purchasing ability and I should smile, say "It's okay," and walk away when the stall owner spotted me and asked "How may I help you?", I asked for the price anyway. Brace yourself, it was RM 125. The bag on display next to it was Rm 90.
"Wow, price, a bit high huh?" *Smiles*
"Yeah, these are self designed and handmade and they are from the USA..." (In an accent that sounded kinda dubious.)
*It was as if life hit you hard, and a realisation dawned upon you, you realised that everything in the market were out of your league, you said thanks and went on looking from stall to stall until you exited the market with only artsy business cards in your hands.*

In the end what I could have and relish were their business cards. They were all very pretty and I wished I had one from every store but alas the ones in the picture above were the ones I managed to get. A lady store owner was eyeing me suspiciously when I had several in my hands, on the way for more. I had to abort my mission then.

Sorry guys I didn't get anything from your stalls but I do appreciate your art. I think these cards are proof that business cards have evolved very well and one can incorporate art even in small things like these.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Tunnel | Thoughts

Tunnel could be THE drama whose level is on par with Signal but it is a pity (slightly) that the time travel plot hole in the final few episodes took that impression away. Plot holes often happen in time travelling stories though so I guess we more often than not flashed some ignorance or else we wouldn't be left with much to enjoy at all. (Also because we are just audience and we can't really do anything but to take what has been served by the screen.)

Image: asianwiki
A string of murders occurred in 1985 and all the victims who were ladies in their 20s had dot markings on their heels; they were choked to death with stockings. No traces were left behind after each murder rendering the serious crime unit clueless. Nothing. Nada. Jung Ho Yung was brought in for questioning once but was released due to an alibi provided by his mother. Park Kwang Ho of serious crime unit finally managed to chase down the culprit but he was brought to the future/present (2017) when struggling with the culprit in a tunnel. AKA time traveled. Hence the title. He had no choice but to work with the current unit and he believed that his time travel had to do something with this murder case. Guess who were in the team? Sung Shik who was Kwang Ho's junior in 1985 and Kim Sun Jae, son of one of the murder victims. Yep, can see the comic relief between Kwang Ho and Sung Shik coming. The team also had Min Ha, Tae Hee, and an external Professor Shin Jae Yi who contributed her analysis of criminal behaviour. And... Shin Jae Yi was revealed later to be Park Kwang Ho's daughter.

While some of the murders were indeed done by Jung Ho Yung, it turned out that Mok Jin Woo was the culprit behind the murders 30 years ago plus two recent ones. Mok Jin Woo's madness had come from the love hate relationship he had for his mother. On the outside he grew up to be quite a fine man, working as a forensic pathologist, but on the inside, he firmly believed that he was a killer with a purpose. Sidetracking a bit with this purpose issue because it disappointed me. When he mentioned that he finished off Kim Sun Jae's mother, Seo Yi Soo, because she wasn't all that innocent, I began to believe that a good twist would be coming in. That Seo Yi Soo really wasn't all that innocent. That maybe she did had an affair or she was abusive. That Kim Sun Jae's image of his perfect mother would crumble down. Alas, the victims were all murdered for petty reasons; Seo Yi Soo's perfectly harmless smiling to a man on a bus was seen as flirtatious by Mok Jin Woo. He punished the 'dirty' ladies by killing them off, then they can be reborn again to start anew and the world would be cleaner. Mok Jin Woo was able to blend in with the society very well because he was a sociopath unlike Jung Ho Yung who was a psychopath. This showed us how criminals could hide so well in the community and often people could not imagine them to be cruel. Park Kwang Ho managed to shake his faith of being a 'killer with a purpose' that we last saw him teetering on the brink of going crazy attempting to convince himself of his long held lunatic belief and that he wasn't trash like Jung Ho Yung. Am I sadistic to say that his beginning of breakdown was somewhat satisfying to watch? I personally would like to see more of his breakdown upon realising that he was trash since he had been keeping up his smiles for too long. Ugh.

There were two individual cases in Tunnel as well which I thought was not a bad move because it relieved some of the serial murder stress and brought some freshness to the show. While one case was rather common, a murder out of revenge, the other case was something different and often not featured in crime shows because, I don't know, maybe it wasn't as heavy or intriguing as a murder? Whatever it is, serial arson is still a crime and if it involves the death of people, that is arson-turn-murder now eh, buddy.

It might be prejudice but I can't deny that I felt a repel from adult Kim Sun Jae the moment I laid eyes on him. His annoying shouting at Park Kwang Ho who was still new in 2017 certainly did not help to reduce my dislike. Also, I simply cannot be calm with the fact that Shin Jae Yi despite being a professor, decided to lure Jung Ho Yung out all by herself without any plan. I thought her stupid actions were going to be at least justified after the ordeal but nothing came except for the fact that she was right about Jung Ho Yung needing to be lured out. Did she really not have a plan of rescuers watching her of some sort? What was she thinking?! (She was strangled thrice though, poor thing, as if one wasn't traumatic enough.)

As for the major plot hole, I wonder myself if this what I call a major plot hole, is legit. Do let me know. :) When Park Kwang Ho returned to the past, he brought Mok Jin Woo's Noel fountain pen with him. It was left there when Park Kwang Ho came to the future again and flashbacks of Shin Jae Yi's told us that it was hidden in  her plushie bear. Fortunately, Shin Jae Yi remembered correctly; the pen was there and she retrieved it. It still existed. Okay. That would meant that the pen was hidden for 30 years and if it was hidden for 30 years, that meant it wasn't in Mok Jin Woo's possession since 30 years ago. Mok Jin Woo wouldn't have that pen for 30 years and therefore, he wouldn't be able to mark the heels of the two victims that he murdered in 2017. Because ya know, changing the past meant changing the future. Therefore, the DNA of the two recent victims couldn't have been on the pen. If I were to ignore this hole and there was still DNA on it, wouldn't the DNA be too old (30 years)?

I really like the part where the team personally went to the victims' family and told them that their daughter's or wife's murderer had been apprehended. It was touching to see them break down in tears as this news meant closure for them. A long awaited closure after 30 long years.

Finally Park Kwang Ho decided to return to where he belonged but viewers were not told if he caught Mok Jin Woo in the past. No closure. Ugh. He was now seen with his wife, baby daughter and a boy Sun Jae. Seems like the future was going to be somewhat different after all. Nice twist though for how the future detective Park Kwang Ho got his name; adult Park Kwang Ho saved baby Park Kwang Ho's mother who decided to name her infant Park Kwang Ho after asking adult Park Kwang Ho for his name. (I hope you are not confused with the amount of 'Park Kwang Ho's I used in one sentence.)

It should be comparable to Signal given how good it was in the first 3 quarters before just falling short of my high expectation due to the time travel plot hole. I would still recommend it after Signal.