Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Vanity Affairs

Imagine a room full of those poster-model bodies. For a moment, I couldn't believe I was one of them, rubbing oil on my naked body with suntan lotion in a skimpy bikini-swimming trunks. You know how we average joes used to wonder what sort of lives these so-called "supermodels" are like, and now I can tell you. It is filled with body-parading pageants, shouts from an adoring crowd, wine, beautiful clothes, some famous people who came in to inspect your body and more flesh flashing. Here lies the problem, I don't have that killer abs, yet I was invited for this pageant. So I thought, what the heck, it could be an eye-opening experience since I've never enter such vanity affairs before. At first, I received a call from the coordinator, instructing me to wait for him so he can view me at the preliminary rounds. To my surprise, our first meeting went straight to the judging finals. The pageant coordinator was responsible in gathering all the male contestants. He took us to a small boutique where we get our measurements and clothes fitting. Some other contestants came in late. I was glad that I befriended another contestant who is also a first-timer in such event. Both of us began to wonder our dwindling chances of winning any titles when more beefcakes entered into the fitting room.

Then comes the choreography. The stage for the catwalk was very narrow. The walls on the side is covered with empty compact discs as decorations, where the lights are reflected from the disco ball above the ceiling. After some catwalk lessons, the coordinator directed us to the make-up room to do our make-up and hair. Some of us, even myself need the make-up artist to paint some powder and foundation on certain parts of our bodies that looks unsightly because of the swimming wear round. I must compliment the hair and make-up artistes for they are extremely attentive to my wants and wishes, especially covering up my upper left should and more colour on my hair (knowing my hair is the only competitive advantage I got, and not my body). The funny thing is, we all have our make-up and hair done before we even put on the clothes. This will risk having our make-up and hair being distorted from the shoving and putting on the fabric of the clothes. The changing of outfits are one of the most revealing part, when some of these designers would come in, at least in my case, almost demanded to see me totally naked. There was an instant when I was putting on my blue with yellow polka-dots bikini trunks on, when suddenly the door of the dressing cubicle open, and I reacted by stopping the door. The person opening the door was one of the swimwear designers, who happened to be one of the judges. There goes my chance of winning the Mr. Sexy Swimwear title, ta-ta....

My walking down the runway caused quite an uproar from the crowd. I felt just so exhilarated and excited when my every move and turn just caused some reaction, aaaas, ooos, gosh...the feeling was very addictive! Cameras were clicking at every turn, and I had to do some poses that I don't quite remember now, probably resulted from the daze of the dizzying camera flashes and smokes on the dancefloor. I fear somehow those photos might appear somewhere in the internet, and my God, I hope it turned out good. A person tends to become vain when partake in such pageants. When guys are gathered in one place almost naked, a few surprising sights can be found. My new friend who was also a first-timer, was enquired by another guy about his painted toe nails, which looks girlish in a room full of macho men. Most of the guys in the changing room would look at their bodies, or compliment each others' bodies or enquire about a certain muscle group that looks good or bad. I am definitely not spared from this fellowship of the bodies, when one of the guys enquired about the lines behind my waist. I never have any knowledge about the lines behind my waist, until another guy said it's probably leftover skin from where my fat was. The guy thought I have lost weight, and all the time I was thinking that I was overweight! Thanks, chap.

The contestants came from other countries too, like Pakistan and Iran, so it gives a sort of international flavour to the pageant. The Pakistani has an erotic fascination towards my left nipple, and rubbed it just to make a point, and a joke. When he got thirsty and couldn't find water while waiting for our turns for the catwalk in the dressing room, I told him he could drink milk by pressing here, pointing at my left nipple where he gently caressed earlier to catch my reaction from his homoerotic gesture. Meanwhile, the Iranian contestant has the most well-defined muscles among us, and also an attitude to match. I asked him him how he got those well-defined pecs politely, and he said he bought it at the 7 Eleven shop nearby. He then poked at my abs and said he saw mine at the local Giant hypermarket. When the Chinese emcee announced the number of the next contestant, and the Iranian asked me to translate because he couldn't understand Chinese, I told him the emcee was just announcing the discount sales of pecs implants at the nearby 7 Eleven.

Friday, August 31, 2007

My wish for this Independence Day > I wish more Malaysians could laugh at themselves more

I was at KL Sentral, a highly modern architectural building that boasts world-class transportational commuting services from air to land travel. As I was coming down in the escalator, i heard shouts from these group of salespeople bidding the passers-by to board their shuttle buses to the airport. Since it was our 50th year National Day celebration, to my own surprise the shout of "Merdeka" rings a different kind of bell as compared to these maniac fellas shouting about their services extremely bluntly without any realiasation of what marketing is all about. Is it wrong for other countries to label us Malaysians as one of the world's rudest people? I mean, if you want me to buy something, don't force it down my throat or threatens me the consequences of not buying it. I think it is true that a majority of us still has that 3rd world mentality even though our infrastructure is all 1st class.

But what is a 3rd world mentality? I think it's quite a harsh term, but rather accurate one if one exudes such behavior so explicitly, isn't it? It's sad to know that many people are afraid of making mistakes. But again, who is that person who determines what is wrong? How can you have the correct all the time, without at least considering the incorrect? I believe a majority of the people are fearful of doing anything, for the fear of being labelled as incorrect. When that happens, no one dares to venture beyond, thus staying always within the status quo. Hence the inner frustration could cause someone to be condemning and blameful causing a vicious cycle of some sort among a society, resulting in shouting in marketing your services..

I believe all the argument above can be condensed into a case of outward appearances versus the inward self. I can't speak from a political point of view, but as a Working Artiste, I can at least give some opinions about the film aspect. I know there has been a lot of people crying that the local films have no quality and such, but really, it is not the films' quality that we should blame. If it's not the films to be blamed, then we should talk about the censors and strict guidelines put upon by the board of censors. Incredibly, I find they too are not to be placed upon the blame. Here comes the ultimate frustration, "who is it to be blamed for all these 3rd class mess" you may asked. Well, all I can say is go listen to Kylie Minogue's song "Spinning Around".

If you really listen to the lyrics of that song, which I happen to love, you'll hear about the philosophy of turning on a new leaf in your life and focusing back on yourself as an individual. What glorious truth to a wounding mind and soul. That's it! We can all sing about the nation's strength and glorious past history and patriotism, and we can still go back to our shouting habits on the streets. Or perhaps we can change a new tune this Merdeka, and take a good look at ourselves. It's like the proverbial mouse in the maze, where the scientists placed them in for their experiements. Perhaps our minds and behaviors has been conditioned to think like the mouse. But when you listen to Spinning Around, you'll realised that your life can be turned around and you are actually free to love whomever you want and achieve your dreams whatever it may be when it is simpliedfied to just the very individual. I know it may seems a bit naive, but really I think everyone should let their new national anthem be about freedom within themselves to be whoever they want to be, despite your colour, age, gender and religion. So go on, mouse, run wild! It's an open field.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Misadventures on a Ski Bike (I write because my butt hurts)

Just came back from an extremely tiring shoot. The TV commercial was shot at the park: Taman Tasik Perdana, sandwiched between Parliament and Carcosa hotel. I was on the Ski Bike, pedalling on water, with the camera crew in a boat attached. It was an extremely hot afternoon and I have to sing with all the silly and exaggerated actions as required by the director. He asked me to move my body and shake my hips, which is not a problem for me but NOT while pedalling on water! It was crazy, and really tiring because the song came in 3 languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin!

I have to squeeze in (as if my butt isn't tight enough already rubbing away the hard rubber seat) all the actions and exact timing of receiving the handphone at a certain angle, then acted surprised to see the handphone appeared, acknowledged the guy passing me the handphone, then start singing the jingle (which is really a catchy tune and lasted like 5 seconds for my part), then moved my shoulders exaggeratedly front and back, shake my already aching hips on the bicycle seat which combs painfully in between my anus, remember the lyrics and exact moment to return the phone back in the second last part (or the first part alternately) of my part of the jingle. During that time my mind was like a train track with too many trains at its crossroads, further compounded by thirst but none of the production crew could come to us and give me water (so they have to throw cans of beverage at us like some pariahs on a raft escaping from angry villagers but I was too busy remembering my actions and couldn't get out from my seat to grab the flying beverages because the pain sort of glued me in) and ironically we were in the middle of the water!

There were many takes and retakes, while we on the Ski Bikes were being maneuvered by the engine boat, sometimes uncontrollably by two ropes anchored by two pullies at the bay as intructed by this peculiarly critical giant of a man that gives harsh directions, whom already sank one of the Ski Bikes with his heavy weight and threatens to bring all of us down with him. There was a water fountain that spouts plenty of water at our backs, endangering the camera circuits whenever we are near it, then we have to stop what we were doing and wait for the cameraman to wipe the lenses carefully like an eye doctor treating a patient. Overall, the director complimented on my efforts and secretly took out a small camera from his pocket and snapped a picture of me, already exhausted on the Ski Bike, not knowing that my butt is still on fire.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Now I know why Ms.Ursula Andress is highly misunderstood

"This bikini made me a success."

In the mythic scene when a woman rises out from the water of the Carribean Sea in a bikini (reminiscent of my Yellow Shorts performance that got me noticed), the world finally has a new sex symbol. She was only 26 (same age as me when the hype of my Yellow Shorts started) when the world got a glimpse of this raw talent. It is also one of her legendary moments being copied the most the world over. Her affair with many men only adds the negativity surrounding her. But behind all these sexy and scandalous smokes and mirrors, I could feel that Ursula Andress is also one of the world's most misunderstood human being.

Strip her away from all the glamour and dazzling costumes, you get a girl who came from a poor background, a struggling actress trying to prove herself despite all the harsh criticisms and outcast treatment being thrown at her. She's not the conventional standards of Hollywood beauty and figure, since she possessed quite a proportionate body. Like any other person in this world, an artiste is just someone wanting to be recognised for his/her ability. And like any other human being in this world, an artiste needs to make a living. Maybe in her desperation and hunger, she succumbed herself to the vixen imagery in order to get the attention needed in a sea of conformity.

"If the role demands it, then naturally I will remove my clothes."
How can the arts/creative world be so restrictive in its view of people? Does death or any impactful statements need to be made in order to be recognised? How about pure talent and ability? Unfortunately, a scene needs to be created, no matter how "humiliating" or unconventional at that time. Maybe because each of us human being are afraid to recognise a talent, and seeks to fit into the mould. No one dares to question the current mindframe and stereotypes so rapidly being preached, for the misfortune of being labelled as unpopular. Perhaps everyone needs to understand this "fitting into the mould" mentality in order to appreciate a unique talent that is being labelled, laughed at and scorned....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where are all the fun-loving girls? They all came for StarCeleb audition...

More stories from StarCeleb audition: A crazy girl pushed me in a wheel chair while we were waiting for our turns to audition. You know how long the waiting period can be. And a majority of the people who came in for audition are beautiful girls. It surprises me that these girls are not the proper and composed sort ladies, but instead they are impatient and "wild"! They were chatty and many were practising the script for the hosting part (maybe the tension of waiting and memorising their lengthy script that cause their hormones to go mad). I was exhausted from looking at them, because that morning, I didn't have any breakfast! (only a can of Milo) and for vanity reasons that I might look puffy on screen if I eat anything. My exhaustion was later uplifted by this crazy girl who asked me to sit on the wheeling-chair so she can give me a nice push around the room.

Hehehe, she's crazy! You may wonder why a wheeling chair was there in the first place. Well, the male host of the show, it seems met an accident, and have to use the wheel-chair to enter into the hotel (that's the venue of the audition). During the shoot, he left the wheel-chair there and used the crutches. That crazy girl made such a fuss and noise with the other girls when they recognised me from my other shows, they conspired to make me lose my concentration. So she politely asked me if she can wheel me around. Oh, wheeled me around the room she did! (while the other girls were cheering) That daredevil-gone-mad girl sped me thru the room and halted right in front of a wall, just to scare me and see my reaction. Such fun....And of course, one production crew came into the room and shusssh her up. Thank goodness I was the "victim", so I pretended and responded with an angelic smile.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My fanbase don't even use the internet!

Even after the historic Malaysian Idol show, I never really knew who my real fans are, until now. I have been living in a daze, u can say, after that brief yellow moment. People don't actually recognise my face from that show, mind you. In fact, after much much hard work and plenty of castings, I finally managed to star in one Malay drama series "Seribu Erti", which is currently showing on TV1, every Sunday 10.30pm (I cannot star in Chinese drama because I cannot read chinese mandarin, yes, i am banana) Haaaah, from then on, I began to have fans coming up to me and say they recognised me. Maybe I am living in a cocoon or some small bubble, these fans of mine don't actually use the Internet. Seriously, I am not joking. My fame from Malaysian Idol only further helps my fans to really recognise my face again when they watched Seribu Erti, indirectly helping that TV series gain higher ratings.
My fans are very normal people I meet everyday around my neighbourhood. They don't wear fancy clothes, have fancy homes or anything fancy and expensive at all. You can say they are free from all the trappings and complications of life, very much like monks. They don't care how popular you are, or think they're better than you or how much money you make in a month, (there's no attitude or snobbishness) They don't even care what clothes you wear, as long as you have ample clothing for covering all your erogenous areas. On the other side of the coin, a lot of people either think themselves to be too clever to ever be humble to learn or simply too humble to be clever to ever speak out. Why such "unnatural"ness and crass hypocrisy? Why can't one be free to ever be themselves and have fun making a fool of themselves? That way, you won't view life so seriously and probably live longer.
Because of my fans' extreme informality and unsophisticated view of life, the expression of their adoration comes out to me me genuinely and my heart melts right that instant! Maybe that's also why I seem like such an out-of-this-world figure to them, for they've never known anyone who ever been on television before. From the small screen to real-life. Imagine their fascination and admiration on you when you are being approached. Argh, it gives me the tingling sensation.

But you know what? These are the fans I most appreciate. These are the people I met around my neighbourhood, serving me food and such. They are mostly blue-collared, and they were such sports. Once I entered the restaurant, one of the helpers screamed, and then followed by other smaller "screams" like a timebomb just being set my entrance. Gosh, the feeling and adoration I get. That's really something indescribable, even after a tiring day. The energy I got was simply electrifying. Isn't it better if you can have all your fans like that? I can be just myself and they'll love you anyway for who you are. That's what makes a fan, a true fan.