Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Wonderful Witch Of Oz

When I was 9 and marginalised by popular girls in my class, I liked to visualise myself as a powerful white witch that could turn them into friendly girls with a twitch of my nose.

Whenever I am unhappy, I wish a broom would materialise at my very eyes and fly me up into the blue,blue sky.

I have a big green broom that I kept next to the file cabinet in my office.

I am most comfortable in my pink stilettos.

I am mesmerised with Bewitched, Mary Poppins, Kiki's Delivery Service and of course Harry Potter.

I have a deck of tarot cards and irrationally use it to solve my relationship dilemma.

Every now and then, I believe I have pink aura and I have GWP ie. Great Witch Power.

The sky is blue, the grass is green and please let us have our Halloween or else I will start ramble again ... haha. Trick or Treat, Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Virtual Panopticon Vs Fish Tank

I have over-reacted to the term technology a week after I have read John Twelve Hawks's (pseudonym) book called The Traveller 3 weeks ago. The Traveller is a cautionary tale about the pervasiveness of surveillance and intrusions on privacy. In fact, Twelve Hawks claims to live "off the grid," avoiding contact with the "Vast Machine" ie. the worldwide system of computer systems and cameras that track our daily lives. So, no one (including her/his publisher) has ever seen Twelve Hawks in person. They only speak by satellite phone. The Traveller is the first book of Twelve Hawks's trilogy.

The world of The Traveller consists basically of four groups: the Brethren (they control the computer systems and surveillance cameras); the Travellers (individuals with the ability to have their inner "Light" leave their body and travel to different realms); the Harlequins protect the Travellers from harm and combat the Brethren and the last group is a citizen ie. those who go about about their lives ignorant of the "true" state of affairs.

Twelve Hawks bases the good vs. evil story on a confrontation between an amalgam of ideas and modern technology. The Brethren are generally patterned on the Illuminati (see Dan Brown's Angels and Demons) and seek to render society a "virtual Panopticon" through the use of Radio Frequnecy Identification (RFID) tags and the "Carnivore" software to track electronic communications. The Panopticon was a prison designed by 18th-century philosopher/economist Jeremy Bentham, in which every inmate could be under continuous surveillance with a minimum of guards or effort, without the inmates knowing if they were currently being observed. Due to the "virtual Panopticon" mentioned in the book, many of my actions were slightly overboard 2 weeks ago ;p

For example:
(1) I have made a hand gesture to my Mama not to speak when we are near the ATM.

Mama: Why can't we talk?
pancake Queen: Because someone will tape our voice and use it to access our bank account.

(2) I had limited my phone conversation to just "Yes, true. No, that's not true".

Friend asked: Are you having a sore throat?
pancake Queen: No, just that we'd better be careful because there might be a "Carnivore" to scrutinise our words.

Also, I scanned at every face when I entered a restaurant, worrying that the chopstick at the next table might any minute turn into a weapon. HaHa. I am returning to my normal self this week. The "Vast Machine" is acceptable as long as it doesn't start processing all my details and sending me an e-mail on a Monday morning saying:

"From you shopping habit gathered from your credit card swipes, we have observed that you have eaten too much carbohydrate. It's high time you switch to a low fat diet or else the first date with the guy that you talked on the phone last night will also be the last date".

Friday, October 27, 2006

That's How Love Should Be

This used to be one of my favourite songs many years ago when I still believed in love and marriage ...

Monday, October 23, 2006


My sister Woofhams bought three movie posters yesterday, and she asked if there was any particular movie poster that I wanted to buy. When I replied to her sms, I was looking at the one and only movie poster that I have: Keeping The Faith.

Keeping The Faith poster has an intrinsic value to me. On 8th February 2006 posting I wrote:

a 1/4 page of Pancakeism dedicated to mr Scorpio who took the trouble to change 3 buses with me so we wouldn't miss watching Keeping The Faith together ...

"Blame it on time, space or distance factor ...
Many times we go round and round searching for the right person,
without realising that the person we've just rejected might be the right person afterall ...

Anyway, two other movies popped up my mind a while ago to reassure me that letting mr Scorpio go is indeed a blessing in disguise: The Next Best Thing (tagline: Best Friends Make Best Mistakes) and One True Thing (tagline: Love What You Have).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ace Your Very First Date

I laughed when I read an article in today's msn.com - Dating & Personals column.

The following are my "encouraging" feedbacks to the four suggestions provided by msn.com on What men want women to do on first date:

msn: Tell him where you want to go
pancake Queen: He said I made all decisions and made him feel useless in the courtship.

msn: Don't stress if the meal is not right
pancake Queen: He tried a spoonful of food on my plate and complaint the food tasted synthetic and he said I have poor taste in food because I didn't make a sound on the awful food.

msn: Make a genuine offer to pay
pancake Queen: He said "Since you insist to pay, I won't stop you".

msn: Be courteous
pancake Queen: I said to him "It was a great meal". He replied "Yeah, chat was good and meal was paid for".

ps: Don't laugh. I'll write about What women want men to do on first
date in my next week's posting.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Take Hart

Take Hart is a continuation of Vision On (BBC, 1964-76) that retained Tony Hart's art and craft ideas and its creative, wacky animations but dropped the sign language elements aimed at hearing-impaired viewers. Morph is an animated plasticine stop-motion character who appeared in Take Hart. Morph appeared mainly in one minute "shorts" interspersed throughout the show. These were connected to the main show by having Hart delivered a line or two to Morph who would reply in gobbledygook but with meaningful gestures. Later on, Morph was joined by cream-coloured Chas. Morph lived in the artist's wooden pencil box. Morph was produced for the BBC by Aardman Animations (later famous for Oscar winning animations such as Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run).

Take Hart also retained Vision On's 'The Gallery' feature for viewers' paintings and borrowed the famous 'Left Bank 2' gallery music for Take Hart's first theme tune.

Vision On

Vision On was a children tv show that intended mainly - but not exclusively - for hearing-impaired children initially. The spoken dialogue was kept to minimal to dispense with the conflicting need for close-up shots for lid-readers and mid-shots for Pat Keysell's sign language. The host for the entire run was Pat Keysell, a mime and dance teacher for the Royal National Institute for the Deaf. Magicians, jugglers and mime artists accompanied Keyshell for the first series. Quirky music filled the silence for hearing viewers.

I like the second series and after for Vision On where artist Tony Hart joined as co-host with all sorts of painting ideas. Viewers were encouraged to send their pictures to The Gallery. I discussed with an old friend yesterday and recalled how happy one could be when you saw Tony could effortlessly paint grassland into an oak tree in just an instant.

I like that in the later series there was a Prof, a funny man in a lab coat, who enjoyed adventures in silent movie style (made me think of Dr Who and his TARDIS). Hart also created a new insect-like logo (see picture) by reflecting the programme's title in a mirror. Unfortunately, this programme was dropped in 1976. Hart and Dowling continued with wacky animations and art ideas in Take Hart (BBC 1977-83), while Clive Doig created puzzle show Jigsaw (BBC 1979-84). Both series owed much to Vision On's freewheeling invention.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mitsubishi's Holiday

I love this advertisement - it reminds me of my carefree life in Brisbane. I particularly like the girl in black shouting TWO in the advertisement.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Family Treasures

Ally ...

Bobby ...

Hagrid-JiJi (left) ... & Princess Geri (right)
Coffee ...

Monday, October 16, 2006

How Deep Is Your Love?

Shtefano, Shtefano, you mustn't break this woman's heart because no other woman in this world would want to be a bride who looks 20 pounds heavier on her wedding day.

According to msn.com, this edible wedding gown, made of 1,500 cream puffs and weighing in at 20 pounds (ie. 9 kilograms), took the 28-year-old Ukrainian baker two months to make. Two months, still edible??

Creativity Rules

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fear Factory

Guess what's the name of phobia for people who are afraid of Friday the 13th?
Answer: paraskevidekatriaphobia! (sounds so Harry-Pottery, I like the name!) ...

Psychologists believe fear developed to keep us alive. A report in medical journal once mentioned that phobic people may be exaggerating fears programmed into the human mind way back when we lived in caves. I do not buy the idea because to me fear inhibits happiness and might shorten one's life if s/he is contantly living in an environment constrained by her/his fear. I do not think we should let fear runs its own course, I believe we should conquer our own fear a
nd lead a life that's free from fear and other forms of unnecessary hindrance.

Guess what are the three most common phobias?
According to research, the three most common phobias are: (1) Fear of animals (zoophobia); (2) Fear of heights (acrophobia) and (3) Fear of flying (aviophobia). One person's phobia could be another person's hobby (Fear Factor meets Guiness World Record).

According to Oxford's dictionary, phobia is essentially an irrational fear. So, may be the first thing we should conquer is phobophobia ie. the fear of developing a fear.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Laugh With Humour

For those of us old enough to remember there’s a great line from a song in a Disney movie about Mary Poppins that goes, “I love to laugh, loud and long and clear. I love to laugh, so everybody can hear!”. The singer is simply full of appreciation for life — a good place for anyone to be. I believe in the magic power of laughing, but I don't understand the New Age workshops calling themselves "Laugh to your Health". What is the meaning of a laugh if it was without humour ...

Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking - Mary Poppins

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Make A Child Smile

I always believe in the concept that if everyone contributed a little, together we could improve the world to be a better place.

Dylan E. is 5 years old, and he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia last year. According to his mother, Diane, so far everything has gone well for his treatment. He had a couple ER runs because of fevers, but they were taken care of quickly. There was no infections. Dylan has gone through most of the difficult chemotherapy and has been delayed a few times due to low counts. He will be starting maintenance chemotherapy soon and will be doing that for the next 2 ½ years. I strongly believe our encouraging words could give Dylan a wider smile and also make his treatment less painful (remember how happy we were when we received homemade get well cards from classmates when we were on sick leave).

Your greetings card doesn't have to be expensive or fancy. Diane would appreciate if we could send simple, meaningful words (Dylan is learning to read now) to motivate Dylan. Dylan address is:
Dylan E.
P.O. Box 1833
Buckley, WA98321

When life's problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more blessed than you imagined - The Make A Child Smile Organization

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday I looked back at my past relationship failures, and did a summary before I chucked all of them into a metaphorical Memory Shredder:

"A wise woman should know when to try harder and when to walk away".

The "Memory Shredder" is an idea that I've borrowed from the "Memory Library" in Stephen King's (2003) Dreamcatcher.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us - Helen Keller

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Triumph In The Skies

Probably this was the TV drama I had a few good glimpse the first week after I've completed my thesis, so I feel very happy, relaxed and confident every time I hear this song playing.

I like the character of Zoe in the drama. She is a strong, young woman. She was courageous to declare her love to the lead actor. She never regreted her decision and she was determined in the direction of her relationship. I admire her courage and decisiveness. Carrie Bradshaw in SATC doesn't even have half her courage. Remember the estranged love between Carrie and Aidan? Carrie's dilemma stemmed from her fear of commitment and true love that allowed her to let the best thing in her life, Aidan, go. She argued that it was a case in which the love is too much to take (a strange but a common excuse from silly people these days).

Aidan did everything right. He is everything all women dream of. Carrie, to her own detriment, was so wrapped up in her vain bachelorette lifestyle that she couldn't stand to sacrifice it for a man who would have done anything for her. He truly exemplified unconditional love. In the decision she was remiss; because of it, he deserved better and she simply didn't deserve him. Although Carrie's forced politeness prevented her from the proper ecstatic reaction in recognition of Aidan's good fortune, it was that very happiness from love that diminished and destroyed her happiness, in the end. Aidan wanted that level of happiness with Carrie, but she let him go. Aidan finally got what he deserved, he got married with a beautiful woman and they have a beautiful son. In that street facing Aidan and his new family, Carrie realised how much good things she had let go of. She was heart broken and alone.

Love is a funny thing. It plays with our minds; it makes us miserable; makes us do silly things; it makes us inebriated with happiness; it is the reason we feel at all. Although Carrie was stupid to reject Aidan, they have had many special memories that both might not have with their new respective partner. The old aphorism remains true. It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved before - above discussion on Carrie and Aidan was cited from Melissa Fusi, Both Sides Now, The Prometheus Institute.

Although the above discussion on Carrie and Aidan was cited from The Prometheus Institute, I must declare that I do not necessarily agree with all concepts and arguments discussed by the institute.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Say Cheese

Don't call me jumping on bandwagon! I really have the enthusiasm to (1) hold a photography exhibition before I turn 40; (2) publish a coffee table book on the same theme by 42 and (3) produce mechandise items to promote Brunei tourism on the same theme by 44. The subject is on "Smile". Life in the past 3 years has been very stagnant, and I have spent too much time on Economics that it starts to worry me that I might turn into a schizophrenic without a beautiful mind haha. We all need a balanced lifestyle, like the Positive Economics joke I always tell my students in the first lecture of my Labour Economics class: 8 hours of work + 8 hours of recreational activities + 8 hoours of sleep = 24 hours of "living" your life (antonym = "leaving").

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence - Helen Keller

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mona Lisa Smile

Yesterday when I was colouring my hair in a salon, I was shocked to hear of a comment from an Iranian woman (in her early 20s) to her hairstylist. She told the hairstylist that she found Bruneian women ugly. She commented that we are shorter, have flatter features and have bad dressing sense compared to Iranian women especially the part of the town where she came from. I can't deny the fact that at 5'7", she is really a beauty with deep set eyes, cherry tone pout and porcelain skin. The DKNY black dress on her really has given Aishwarya Rai a good run for her money. However, her beauty doesn't give her the liberty to criticise me and my fellow Bruneian women. So, I turned to face her and her hairstylist: We Bruneians have a beautiful mind and a beautiful heart - we think before we speak.

She didn't respond.

At first, I thought she is such clever to play dimwit by avoiding conflicts. I found out later from my hairstylist's text message: After u left, dat dumb woman said to me Brunei is beautiful only 1 wk in a yr ie. only when she's around ...

No worries. One day she will grow up and learn to respect others and by that time she will really be a true beauty.