Sunday, 27 December 2015

On the issue of greeting "Merry/Happy Christmas" by Muslims in Malaysia - 2015

I finally got the light bulb moment on this issue. I finally know why God allows this issue to not die. It is so that I, and Christians in Malaysia, will VISCERALLY understand Islamophobia and the hurt Muslims feel whenever a sick mad person calling himself/herself a Muslim blows up/shoots at/kills civilians and the entire Muslim community is looked upon suspiciously. 

I find it annoying and hurtful that there are people who see kristianisasi (the supposedly overt and covert efforts by Christians to convert Muslims to Christianity) everywhere, some bordering on the paranoid delusions of a conspiracy theorist. 

But in that annoyance and hurt, I forget that there are also many many Muslims (usually minorities in non-Muslim countries) who live under the daily suspicious stares and accusations by their less-enlightened non-Muslim neighbours and fellow citizens just because they wear a hijab, or grow a beard, or pray in a mosque. That must hurt. That must be frustrating. And now I know how it feels. Deep in my heart, I now know how it feels. How it hurts. And an inkling of how scary it can be - I'm speaking generally and painting with a broad brush.

It's not easy being a minority. You never have as many supporters/friends as those in the majority. 

To those who wished me "Merry Christmas" or a variant of it, I thank you. You have no idea how much it means to me this year. 

To those who didn't, it's ok. No hard feelings. We are all busy people. I myself usually don't send out holiday/birthday greetings (unless I have time, or the particular mood strikes). 

But to those who actively tell Muslims to not wish Christians "Merry Christmas" or a variant of it, I say this to you: I wish that one day you will understand how hurtful you have been, and when that day comes, I hope you will believe that I have forgiven you on this day, 26th of December 2015. Because I have. 

An early "Happy New Year 2016" to all. 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

What annoyed me about STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - yes, there are minor [[[SPOILERS]]]

I went as early as I could because I didn't want to get it spoiled for me. Not that the spoiler was anything big. Any viewer who has seen the 6 movies could see the twist coming. It wasn't anything big, just "oh c'mon" moment. Nowhere near the gravitas of the reveal at the end of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. 

What annoyed me the most about this movie (no. 7 in the saga that would have 9 in total) is the [[[LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY BEFORE I SPOIL]]] fact that the 2 main characters know how to use a lightsaber almost as soon as they pick it up. 

That goes against the logic of the saga. Luke had to learn a bit under Obi-Wan, then a bit more under Yoda (training not completed, that's why he lost to Vader in the first fight); and only after further training by Yoda did he manage to properly fight and defeat Vader. Anakin's story was the same. He had lots and lots of midi-cholrians, but that only allowed him to pilot the pod-racer well (like how Luke could pilot and shoot from an X-Wing well). Anakin had to learn (from Obi-Wan) lightsaber skills between episodes 1 and 2. That took time. 

But our new heroes, Finn and Rey - all they had to do was pick up a lightsaber, and voila, they can hold their own when taking on Kylo Ren (the bad guy who was obviously trained for some time, and who has considerable control of the Force - he could stop a blaster fire mid-blast, something no one else could do before in the saga). Yeah, this annoyed me a LOT. Finn and Rey should have been cut to pieces by Kylo Ren in seconds. 

JJ Abrams started this whole "change the logic of the saga" thing with STAR TREK. There, it was the transporter. In the series (and movies before he took over), transporter technology only worked within a reasonable distance (planet to starship, or starship to starship). Not during warp. But we forgave that change because he rebooted the series and made it abundantly clear that it's a different universe in the opening sequence when Kirk's father died. Ok, so that change of saga logic can be swallowed. 

But Star Wars 7 is not a reboot. You can't just explain away Finn and Rey's lightsaber skills by implying that purely by having a lot of midi-chlorians they immediately know how to use a lightsaber. It does not gel.

And this is what annoyed me the MOST about the movie.

As a movie, it works - I'll give you that. It brought in key elements from episodes 4, 5, and 6 and nicely packaged them together. 
BB-8, the robot, is brilliant. 
Rey is an amazing character. She is played marvellously. 
Finn, not so much, but good enough. 

So that's my rant. 
I guess I'm a Trekkar. Always will be.