Random Movie Review – Logan

Hey everybody! Time for something random – a movie review!

Longan Logan Bikelah
Wait a minute…

So after some deliberation I decided to hit the cinemas to witness the final (although it seems nothing is ever final in Hollywood or the Marvel universe) installment of a legend.

The previous few installments heavily featuring Hugh Jackman’s claim to fame left a rather insipid taste in my mouth. Not to say I didn’t enjoy them, it was just getting a little…trite. The scowling, the growling, the singlets.

It was going the way of Christian Bale as Batman, where I found myself not really entertained by Bruce Wayne or his raspy leather-clad alter ego. Not because Mr. Bale isn’t a great actor, but because his character was becoming so unrelatable and one-dimensional. I’d say every other character had more opportunity to shine in those films – Caine almost had me tearing up in Dark Knight Rises during his confession.

Wolverine was becoming another Hollywood ragdoll that could take more than your standard beating because he was invincible so yay let’s throw more harmful shit at him! Explosive shit! Bullet train shit! Laser beam shooting shit!

Let’s be honest: Wolverine in Japan was just an excuse to have Hugh Jackman fight ninjas.

wolverine-ninja

You know you remember this.

[SPOILER ALERT!]

So seeing Logan in a more…relatable light was somewhat refreshing. Gone was the perky, horny hairdo; no cigar chewing; and certainly much less topless time.

Here we see a wisened, fatigued, grumpier but still equally angry Wolverine. Like most who go through a tough life, it certainly seems to have beat even the great Wolverine into submission.

I thoroughly enjoyed the starting pace and mood of the film. It was what I had hoped Hancock could have been. A dark, gritty, dusty dystopian world with a sarcastic comedian of a main character.

Everyone loves the dynamic combination of the old bitter guardian and the brave but reluctant VIP target. I really enjoyed the Naughty Dog game The Last of Us, with its immersive blend of picturesque post-apocalyptic scenery and lighthearted glimmers of hope in between mad scrambling for resources and amazing storytelling.

And that’s exactly what Logan turned out to be – a bitter old remnant of a dying breed clinging to what few strands of the past he has, who becomes burdened with protecting a young thing that he neither cares for nor can communicate with. And together they embark on a heartwarming journey into the sunset.

However, to put it bluntly – the film started out as an adaptation of The Last of Us, but ended up like a Marvel version of Spy Kids.

They spent most of the movie building up the main villain, only to have him upstaged…by Hugh Jackman himself! And some random doctor that popped out of the woodworks. Yeah yeah you’re related to General Stryker, it all makes so much more sense now! Seriously?

I’m not sure if they were trying to be faithful or pay homage to some nerdy fan crowd, but this movie was nothing at all like the comic books. Or maybe they just wanted to give it all closure, so they axed off every character they could think of.

The ending became a lot less believable and less well-thought-out compared to the more cohesive first half. Logan chugging some temporary miracle cure for the final battle? Hardened military men fumbling to grab a bunch of kids when they could just shoot or taser them? Kids raised in a lab surviving in the wild on their own for weeks on end? Preposterous!

Surely they didn’t need Logan to be in a sleep coma for his brief stay in Lord of the Flies. What could he have done? Talked the kids out of making a run for Paradise? At least they could have had more meaningful conversations if he wasn’t drooling in every scene. I bet it was just so they could shave him.

Anyway, that’s enough spoilers for one night.

Let me know what you thought of the movie!

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To Be Noticed

Bikelah Bunny Webcomic

You could say it is ego or vanity or narcissism that fuels the pursuit of recognition.

But deep down, if we are honest with ourselves, we all yearn for attention. It may not be much, yet it is an undeniable part of what makes us human.

Of course fame is not for everyone. However, it is safe to say that most would desire some form of recognition for their contributions to the things they put their time and energy into. Or sometimes things that they don’t really put that much time and energy into.

Sometimes it’s nice to have someone’s attention, even if it is just for a brief, fleeting, mortal moment. Perhaps that’s why people like dogs; most of them can give you relatively undivided attention almost unconditionally. And they don’t judge you.

But every once in a while, people need something more. Something they feel they need to share with the world – the love of a hobby or a really cool thing they created or an amazing hidden talent they have.

And amidst all that is some desire for fame and praise, and the fortune that follows according to what society has us believe. Despite the negative connotations that society seems to place on aiming for fame, it’s more than happy to dish it out in truckloads to its chosen ones, regardless of whether or not they are deserving of it.

However, at the core of it all, I’d like to believe that we humans simply feel the need to share; to bond with others on a deeper level; to identify kindred spirits that take interest in the same thing or admire similar traits and patterns. To revel in the intriguing and endless layers that our world has unleashed upon us.

Once in a while you’ll put on a sharply coloured shirt; or show off a cool move or two while you’re out in public; or pretend not to look at the cute girl facing your way and hope that she’ll see you and think to herself how dashing you look and imagine the rest of her life in your embrace (but of course that only happens in those silly Hollywood romcoms).

And all for what? That tiny glimmer of hope that someone, somewhere out there catches you in that moment where you’re having fun being comfortable in your own skin, that brief flicker where you feel at your best, at the top of the world. They may not know you or care all that much, but they bore witness to a moment in humanity that may very well never occur again for millennia to come.

Sometimes it’s nice to be noticed.

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The Imperfect Creation

Bikelah Bunny Comic

Sometimes amidst our busy lives we pause for a moment and allow the pervasive existential angst at the back of our minds to surface, to join us in our brief and bleak perception of our minute fragment of reality.

Day after day we go about our daily tasks, our duties, our lives. Yes, we are living, and not a moment too soon. We must continue living, continue toiling upon this mortal coil that brings us happiness and sorrow.

Once in a while we allow ourselves to ask: is there a purpose to it all?

Like this carelessly outlined rabbit, are we created to have reason and meaning? Or is it on a whim? A fluke of brushstrokes and a triumph of probability, never again to occur?

Are we but an imperfect creation? Are we destined for greatness? Or do we exist simply to provide for our cats?

Cat Existential Crisis

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Penang’s Special Champions

Penang’s Special Champions

Did you know that Penang recently came in third place in a national Malaysian tournament?

We won a total of three gold, one silver and four bronze medals!

Malaysia Chess Championships Bikelah

Do you know which tournament I’m referring to?

Most people haven’t heard of the Malaysia OKU Chess Championships, which is a chess tournament for people with disabilities. OKU stands for orang kurang upaya, which is the Malaysian term for the disabled and the less fortunate.

And you wouldn’t be faulted for not hearing about this event, since the inception of the Malaysia OKU Chess Championships only occurred this year in 2017.

Blind Chess Tournament

Team Penang & Their Story

Penang and the other fourteen states (including federal territories – can you name them all?) of Malaysia were invited to send teams of special players to compete in this brand new national tournament.

Swarn Singh of the Persatuan Tongkat Putih took up the challenge and assembled a team of players from all the different disciplines and categories of OKU.

There are four categories in the Malaysia OKU Chess Championships: fully blind, partially blind (B2 and B3), deaf & dumb, and physically disabled. Each of these are then separated by gender.

Penang Special Chess Champions Bikelah
Team Penang (or most of it)

Team Penang consisted of thirteen Penangite players from a range of backgrounds and representing different societies – there were five in the partially blind, three in the fully blind, three under deaf & dumb, and two in the physically disabled category. Out of the thirteen players, only one was female.

Given short notice, Swarn had to quickly put his team together, and arrange for transport for all the players down to KL, as well as meals and accommodation, which were sponsored by the Persatuan Tongkat Putih and Dato’ Mah Hassan of KL. Various authorities in Penang, such as DCM Dato’ Haji Mohd Rashid bin Hasnon, DCM Ramasamy Palanisamy, YB Puan Chong Eng, and Chow Kon Yeow all contributed to support this team.

With barely any time for coordination and virtually no time for training, Swarn brought his stalwart band of chess champions down to KL to duke it out against the best and brightest of the OKU chess world. Swarn relished the opportunity to show off the outstanding talent that resides in Penang, and he remarked that his only disappointment was the lack of female chess players in his team.

With two female players pulling out due to unforeseen circumstances, Team Penang was down to a single girl player, thereby limiting the number of medals that could be achieved in the championships.

However, everyone did their best and brought home a total of eight medals! An amazing effort considering there was little time for training or formulating strategy.

Congratulations to Penang’s special champions!

Congratulations to Penang’s special champions!

The Malaysia OKU Chess Championships

Dato Mah Hassan Chess

An official nationwide chess tournament has long been the dream of Dato’ Mah Hassan and many others who have not had the chance to showcase their intellectual prowess on the wooden battlefield.

Dato’ Mah Hassan is the president of OKU Chess Society of Malaysia (Persatuan Catur Orang Kurang Upaya Malaysia) and Malaysia’s first blind lawyer. He is instrumental in championing for OKU rights and privileges in Malaysia.

Dato’ Mah Hassan was also involved in organising the Malaysia OKU Chess Championships, which took place on the 17th until 19th of February 2017 at the Paralympic Sports Centre (Pusat Kecermelangan Sukan Paralimpik) in KL.

This is the first time an OKU chess championship has been introduced at the national level, and it is planned to be an annual event from here on out. The response was very good, with every state readily participating.

Malaysia Chess Championships Bikelah

The winning team was Selangor with a total of nineteen players, bringing home eight gold, three silver and seven bronze medals. Second place went to Johor, another strong competitor.

The championships were graced by the presence of Encik Nik Abd Kadir Bin Nik Mohammad, the Deputy Secretary General (Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha) as well as Encik Safrushahar Bin Yusoff, the Director of the National Paralympic Sports Council (Pengarah Bahagian Paralimpik Majlis Sukan Negara).

OKU Chess Tournament

Congratulations to all the champions and parties involved in the organisation of this wonderful event!

The World of Blind Chess

Have you ever wondered how blind and visually impaired people can play chess? Normally it would involve using sight to differentiate the pieces and the layout of the board.

This is what a chess board set for the blind looks like.

Blind Chess Board Bikelah
Like those sets you used to get on aeroplanes

The different sides and pieces and board positions can be determined by touch alone. And the pieces slot nicely into place to help with the movement of troops.

Swarn Singh has returned an inspired man, and his new goal is to set up a centre where the OKU of Penang can gather and learn and train in chess and other strategic games. He plans to register an OKU Chess Centre on Penang Island, and begin setting up a facility to help train and nurture the chess players of the future in order to gain glory for the state of Penang.

Swarn’s mission is to promote talent and excellence for those living with disabilities through sports such as chess. His hope is that this will help those with disabilities to contribute more to society, and to gain confidence and acceptance in their abilities and strengths.

Swarn hopes to see the establishment of the Penang OKU Chess Centre by late this year, which will raise awareness and create a hub for the disabled to come and master the art of chess.

Malaysia Chess Championships Bikelah

Swarn also hopes that chess will be integrated into the upcoming Paralympics and recognised as an event at other major sporting events. Although not traditionally classed as a sport, chess is an exercise of the mind and something that is enjoyed by scores of people worldwide.

Who is to say that the next Grandmaster won’t arise from Malaysia, from the ranks of the OKU?

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to lose your vision?

What if you woke up one day and you discovered that you could no longer see. Doesn’t the very thought just send shivers down your spine? We don’t know how precious it is until we lose it, and only then do we realise just how much we rely on our sense of sight for almost every aspect of our lives.

There are over 90,000 visually impaired people in Malaysia alone, and they may not want your pity, but they still need your help.

Malaysia Chess Championships Bikelah

The Persatuan Tongkat Putih may not be trying to find the cure for blindness, but their mission is a progressive and laudable one. By seeking to create sustainable living for the blind, they are empowering those who have been cast out by society and raising up those who have been cast down by circumstances.

Malaysia Chess Championships Bikelah

So come and give the Persatuan Tongkat Putih a helping hand today! All are welcome and you can call Swarn Singh at 016-488 7811 or contact Jas at 016-485 1745 or email blind_es@yahoo.com.

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Never Lose Sight

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lose your sight?

I don’t mean lose your way in life or something metaphorical like that. I mean literally losing your vision.

Scary thought, isn’t it?

Never Lose Sight

What comes to mind when you see a white cane?

The white cane has long been the symbol for the blind citizens in our society. To be fair it wasn’t always white, but the cane or staff has long been the trusty companion of many a visually impaired traveller.

It wasn’t until after World War I in 1921 that James Biggs, a photographer from England who became blind after an accident, painted his walking stick white to be more easily visible to motorists.

However it took another 10 years before the white cane established its presence in society. In February 1931, a scheme was launched for a national white stick movement for blind people in France. This led to a similar scheme being sponsored by rotary clubs throughout the United Kingdom. Shortly thereafter in May 1931 the BBC suggested in its radio broadcasts that blind individuals be provided with a white stick, which would become universally recognized as a symbol indicating that somebody was blind or visually impaired.

Fast forward to present day Malaysia, in a glorious mixture of modern and traditional, where dogs are nationally shunned (not because they aren’t cute, but because many are not allowed to touch them) and tactile paving is a rarity. One man who once saw and now could not decided to embark on a mission – a personal mission to provide for his visually impaired brethren.

Tongkat Putih Penang Bikelah

Swarn Singh and his lovely lady giving out food and gifts to the visually impaired

Swarn Singh started his charitable journey many years back, with the intention of providing necessary equipment to the visually impaired free of charge. However, he realised that handing out freebies alone was not a long term solution to the plight of his fellow unsighted friends. The blind needed a way to create a sustainable future, a way to earn their own keep and provide for themselves without resorting to grovelling upon the ragged earth.

And so in 2013 Swarn created the Blind Education Services to support the blind and help them to live independently with the right tools and training. On the 22nd of February 2014, the launch of the Persatuan Tongkat Putih was officially announced with the support of the local council and government.

Tongkat Putih Penang Bikelah

Guess what the dots at the bottom are

Since then, Swarn has been relentlessly increasing awareness and raising support for the visually impaired all over Penang and Malaysia by hosting events and rallying support from kindred spirits across the nation. Through the Persatuan, Swarn has been providing not just white canes, but other unique tools for the visually impaired that most sighted folks (that’s what the rest of us are referred to) wouldn’t event recognise.

Braille Slate Bikelah

Behold the Braille slate – not a cheese grate

One such item is called the Braille slate – a handy little portable tool that lets a blind person write and take notes! It may not be the sleekest of devices, but there is beauty in simplicity, and the Braille slate is simple and convenient to use.

Swarn Braille Slate

Swarn Singh demonstrating how to use a Braille slate

The Persatuan Tongkat Putih also provides reading material in Braille to those who wish to further their studies, as well as necessary provisions on a regular basis to the visually impaired and their families through their Food Bank project.

Tongkat Putih Penang Bikelah

This is where food lives – get you one!  

Now handing out equipment is only half the battle for the Persatuan, which aims to not only enable the blind, but also to empower them to take their future into their own hands. And how do they achieve this? By providing the blind with employment opportunities and career choices!

The Persatuan trains and funds blind massage schools, and also seeks to give higher levels of education for those keen on management, so that the visually impaired will be able to operate their own businesses and contribute more readily to society.

Tongkat Putih Penang Massage Bikelah

Step right up for your massage! But watch your step please

But of course that is not all! The Persatuan also organises events to raise awareness and garner support for their worthy cause, like any other good community organisation. In 2015 they shoved an entire crowd of people into lime green shirts and paraded them across town in a fun little walk, so like St. Patrick’s Day except with regular coloured beer. I jest – don’t drink and walk, people!

White Cane Walk Bikelah

Are we there yet?

 

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to lose your vision?

What if you woke up one day and you discovered that you could no longer see. Doesn’t the very thought just send shivers down your spine? We don’t know how precious it is until we lose it, and only then do we realise just how much we rely on our sense of sight for almost every aspect of our lives.

There are over 90,000 visually impaired people in Malaysia alone, and they may not want your pity, but they still need your help.

The Persatuan may not be trying to find the cure for blindness, but their mission is a progressive and laudable one. By seeking to create sustainable living for the blind, they are empowering those who have been cast out by society and raising up those who have been cast down by circumstances.

So come and give the Persatuan Tongkat Putih a helping hand today! All are welcome and you can call Swarn Singh at 016-488 7811 or contact Jas at 016-485 1745 or email blind_es@yahoo.com.

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Chiang Rai Cycling

Chiang Rai Bikelah

Chiang Rai Bikelah Clock Tower
The clock tower of DOOM! Although it would seem everything is spiky in Thailand

Chiang Rai Bikelah Chiang Rai Bikelah

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chiang Rai Bikelah Chiang Rai Bikelah Chiang Rai Bikelah Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling

Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling
The endless road

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Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling
Doggy came to say hi
Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling
A man and his little pupper
Chiang Rai Elephant
The mighty Thai oliphaunt!

Chiang Rai Bikelah Food Chiang Rai Bikelah Food Chiang Rai Bikelah Girl Banana Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling

Chiang Rai Bikelah Coconut
The happiest coconut there ever was

Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling

Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling
The kids from the local orphanage came to greet us
Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling
It’s lean, it’s green and it’s spiky. Typical Thai
Chiang Rai Bikelah Cycling
Serrated spears that pierce the heavens
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Exploring Chiang Rai By Bike!

Chiang Rai Jackfruit Bikelah
The many faces of jackfruit

Chiang Rai Jackfruit Bikelah Chiang Rai Jackfruit Bikelah Chiang Rai Yellow Cotton Bikelah
Chiang Rai Yellow Cotton Bikelah Chiang Rai Yellow Cotton Bikelah Chiang Rai Cycling Bikelah Chiang Rai White Temple Bikelah

Chiang Rai White Temple Bikelah
I wonder what she’s thinking…
Chiang Rai White Temple Bikelah
So good people even take photos with your toilet signs

Chiang Rai White Temple Bikelah

Chiang Rai White Temple Bikelah
Glimpse into another world between the fabric of time

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Chiang Rai White Temple Bikelah
Press X to summon Ultima Weapon

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Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
Crooowdsurfing!


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Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
The golden gateway to an artist’s dream

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Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
Maybe a tad overburdened there

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Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
I wonder if they’ll notice…

Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah

Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
Eternally chasing the sun
Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
In English too!
Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
The green green grass of Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
The family tradition of coffee bean sorting
Chiang Rai Explore Bikelah
It seems Chewie’s girlfriend likes to shop in Chiang Rai

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Chiang Rai Medel Bikelah
Selling under a steel sky

Chiang Rai Medel Bikelah Chiang Rai Medel Bikelah Chiang Rai Medel Bikelah

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