Well, I was actually more curious than just "copy" n "paste" like everyone else on Facebook.. So I checked and realised there was a bug that changed all the countries' names to translate into "Malaysia".. I wonder which smart guy did that.... Great bug...
No, his work has so much more complexity to it, that his take on certain characters and message that he implies often arose controversies, like his writing of "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" and "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder". His comics often has a "darker side", dealing with deeper political and social issues, which is possibly why it really attracts adult audience and not just simple minded kids. I mean if you read some (if not most) comic books on the market, you probably can flip through the book in a matter of minutes, quick browse at the cheesy content and the photoshop-coloured pictures that all look so similar. Fast-food type of stuff.
Frank Miller's stories? A totally different story. He is the type of comic book writer that will make you think you are really reading mainstream literature. Serious literature. The suspense in the story line, the dialogues, the building up of the characters, the depth in the background story, the not-so-happy endings etc. Great stories that will leave you thinking, not just waiting for the next issue.
Move on about his drawing, his drawing style is so distinctively different from other artists that I can spot his work right among other artists' artwork. I think he is really good with lines and shadows, which is great for black and white comics, or just with simpler colours. Not those photoshop stuff you see everyday. Real art, real drawing. His style also gives a darker feeling to the tone, which suits his story really really well.
I mean think about it, how many good comic book writers these days can draw? Great and good writers like Alan Moore, Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Brian Vaughan, Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison all don't draw their own comic books. Even Stan Lee doesn't draw his own comics. I can only think of Frank Miller and Mike Mignola (Hellboy writer-artist) and maybe a couple few more in this era that can both write and draw very very well. (Lets not include Japanese writers/artists in this discussion.) With all due respect, I am too young to appreciate the works of Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, which is why I said in this era, this unique talent is really really rare.
By the way I really like the movies 300 and Sin City. Did real justice to the original work. Its like watching a story in a story. His comic book is like a movie. His movie is like a comic book.
I think there are two types of people in this world. People who loves Frank Miller's work, or people who have yet to grab a copy of Frank Miller's work. Go grab your copy of Ronin, 300, Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns now! Haha!
His artwork is really breathtaking, which is why I decided to share a few of my favourites here with you.
Taken from 300. Like I said, good with the simple lines and shadows, along with the simple colours, just great stuff.
Cover art for Batman Black and White.
Taken from The Dark Knight Returns. Notice how he draws the shape of the cape without really drawing a cape.
Artwork for Hellboy. Though he never draws for Hellboy, but his gritty style seems to fit with the Hellboy's mood and image very well.
From Sin City. Look at the four faces. Same face, same position, but the different shades of shadow seems to animate the face with a grim expression.
From Sin City as well. This is his typical style in the Sin City series, the art style is dark and strong. So distinctive. It is really amazing how he seems to put so much "motion" in a figure that is preparing to leap out from the dark with such simple lines of black and white.
Oh this is simply my favourite. The silhouette of Marv in the rain. Just a lot of white lines in a black background. The way the rain drops hit his coat makes him look so lonely. Like a warrior heading to his death. Lonely and sad.
Come on, just admit it. Did anyone of us ever really get anything out of democracy, perhaps except the brief moment of joy when you see the candidate that you liked (hated) won (lost) the election?
Look at Taiwan, before all this mess about Chen Shui Bian, his alleged self-directed shooting act as well as the more recent corruption charges, could you remember why he was voted into power in the first place? Everyone complains about the eight years of Democratic Progressive Party rule, but they were in power in the first place because people were dissatisfied with the KMT. Eight years have passed, and people forgot why they voted out the KMT in the first place, and voted them in again. Now let me ask you, what real change did you think that has been put forward through this 3 presidential elections? I really don't know.
Well I know some of you are probably going to say that Taiwan is still a young and immature democratic society, we should perhaps look at other countries, like the US instead. Since I was a kid, US presidents went from Bush, Clinton, Bush jr. and Obama, or Republican, Democrat, Republican and Democrat. Their policy debates included budget surplus/deficit, military spending, gun control, social security, foreign policy, blah blah blah... Obama says, "Change! Yes, we can!" That's a real catchy slogan man! But what has really been achieved by the system of democracy itself?
The answer is not easy. This is because democracy was never meant to be there to achieve something. Instead, it is there to make sure the other guy doesn't achieve anything, or better known as "checks and balances". It is a system designed to prevent one side having too much power to do whatever they want, at least not without punishment, or facing the fear of being voted out of office on your next term. It is also about the idea that every one will be represented, along with their views and beliefs, even if they are minorities, or more ideally, especially if they are minorities. At least that's the definition on paper.
Don't get me wrong. I did not for an instance said that I am against democracy. It is just maybe that there will never be true democracy in the world. And maybe that's why it sucks. People are just deceived time and time again to believe in some faint hope that seemingly will never come true. You can call me a cynic or a pessimist, but I think most people are too naive or optimistic. I see myself as a realist, just driven by facts and truth.
Why am I writing all this? Its just that with all this heat going on due to the anticipation of the upcoming Singapore and Malaysia elections, I would just like to reflect on what democracy means to me, and maybe you and the society. Just my two cents' worth.
And please, don't even for a second that you think I am a fan of dictators. Even though democracy has its flaws, one would definitely like to live in a democratic country instead of under a dictatorship of the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim, or Castro. "The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting", said Charles Bukowski. (I don't really know who this guy is but I really like this quote.)
In a democracy, candidates voted into the government are given the power to rule, but they also face the possibility that this power will be striped by the people when voting comes. This is the real difference between democracy and dictatorship. Now comes my real question. What happens in the 4 to 5 years between the elections?
Back to reality, voters don't get any say on the policies once the elections are over. Once the candidates are voted into power, they are given the right and power to decide for the greater benefit of the people, or so they claim to be. The people couldn't even make sure the politicians will hold on to their promises.
The hope of the people lies in that a democracy also usually means more than one party in the parliament, not-including self-declared democratic socialist countries, which means there will be some form of checks and balances in play. Yet the way I see it, the democracy systems in the world seems to resemble more of an oligarchy, where a small group of people holds all the power, with both elitism and nepotism often in play. Ask yourself, is democracy really fair? Does all the different needs and views of the people from different social groups represented and cared for? I seriously doubt so. Yet perhaps it is as fair as a system can be.
So basically, summarising my chain of thoughts,
1) You can't really change anything by voting. Sorry to break it to you. If you really want to change, be a politician and let others vote you into the system.
2) When the elections are near, the politicians will promise you a lot of things that you will like to hear. (Maybe along with some threats)
3) Once the elections are over, the politicians will have all the power to do all they want.
4) Opposing parties/candidates in the government are the real people with any form of power to affect the decision making process.
So maybe you don't agree with me, but actually consciously or subconsciously, we all know these. We are taught to believe that voting is both a right and a duty, and as such we are to choose as carefully as we might, and then leave it to them. Once they are in power, it is really nothing much we can do.
But that is perhaps the real reason everyone is so hyped up during this pre-election period. Even friends who are genuinely ignorant and disinterested about social issues want to engage in pre-election discussions and share their views, just to be part of this process. This is the only time that the people feel that they are involved, and their views are deemed important. This is the time when the voices of the people can be heard and not ignored. This is the time when the editorial pages and political blog posts are really read and spread around. This is the only time, that the politicians will not seemed so high up and unreachable, and instead will try to act like grassroots and go door to door in order to shake your hands.
The people go to political rallies not to listen to what the candidates have to say, but hoping to hear what they already have in mind, to come out from the mouths of the candidates. They are not there to be enlightened, but to be heard.
This is what democracy is really about. The campaigns. Rallies. Elections. Voting. And the power that comes with it. So enjoy it while it last. Savour whatever glory that you might feel the moment the results are announced. And life moves on.
Democracy sucks. It really does. But after all it is still the best in the world. (Sounds like a sad world eh?)
As Thomas Jefferson once said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." The way I see it, democracy gives people liberty, once every five years. That's it. But still, its better than none at all. At the end of the day, having that silver lining is perhaps not too bad after all.
Camera: Sony DSC-T10
I wondered if anyone noticed this last time.. 3 different names for 1 bus stop.. very confusing if you think you can still take bus 95 to sheares hall.. well at least now they have already changed and standardised it..
Since one of my new year resolutions is to keep my blog alive, I shall start by writing about why Hard Rock Hotel Penang sucks and I wouldn't recommend anyone (sane) to go there.
First of all, the name of the hotel is just plain deceiving. I mean, “Hard Rock”, what would be the first thing that came to your mind? Rock music right? In order to make sure I am not sounding like I am persecuting the hotel unjustly, I searched for the definition of the phrase “hard rock”, which includes garage rock, punk rock, metal etc. with heavy use of electric guitars, bass and drums. (ie. not just any popular music). I myself would think of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Def Leppard, GnR etc. Then I searched for the theme of this “Hard Rock Cafe” chain, and I realised that it is a “rock and roll” theme, which is different form “hard rock”, which means it is deceiving from the start, if you know some rock and are following my string of thoughts. Alright, lets settle for rock and roll then. Then I started looking for anything associated with this theme, which baffles me.
Yes, there is a lot of guitars around. A huge guitar outside, guitars on display and guitars printed on the cushion cover, on the pillow case, on the blanket etc. Yes, there are some used guitars and clothes by famous musicians on display, as well as portraits of the Beatles (on top of your bed) and Elvis (in your bathroom). But it is going to take much more than some decoration to convince people that this is a rock-themed place. Where is the spirit man? It just ain't there. And whoever that did those decoration had no idea about rock. At all. There was this display near the entrance with portraits of Elvis surrounded by busts of two Beatles on each side. One would have thought the Beatles to be Elvis's band-member if they didn't know better. What is the rationale of that display? I would wonder. Another thing that makes me feel so disappointed to see a huge statue of Michael Jackson sitting outside the hotel's main entrance. Don't get me wrong, I love that guy! But he is the King of Pop. He really got nothing to do with “hard rock” or “rock and roll”. And that is the only statue in the hotel! Its like going to a “Football Hotel” to see a huge statue of Michael Jordan out there. As much as I like MJ (pun intended), I don't see any business of him being there. In other words, if you are a rock fan, you probably don't want to go there. It is meant for people who feels “shyiok” taking photos with famous musicians' guitars or portraits. That's all.
Such a luxurious hotel, you would probably think that even if you are not a rock fan, you can enjoy a good stay in a good hotel right? Nope, it just ain't worth it. The hotel's location is at Batu Ferringhi, which is kind of far from town and it is surrounded by fancy restaurants. So if you are in Penang looking for good signature hawker food like most Malaysians, you are in the wrong area. They do have a clean beach thanks to their effort of cleaning it up, but the sand isn't particularly fine for one to go there on purpose just because of the beach. The beach faces North, which means one can neither see sunrise nor sunset from the beach, which is another minus point if you are there for the beach. They also have a local band which performs live 6 nights a week. Yes, the same band which doesn't sound good at all. Sigh. The television in the room lags like crazy, due to their usage of a very laggy software. There isn't a bathtub in the bathroom, which is another surprise if you think luxurious hotel should have one without doubt. I would give compliments to their showers though, which is really strong and powerful and relaxing, which reminds me of Tune Hotels. (This is really a compliment. Tune Hotels' showers are really good.)
The buffet breakfast in the morning was totally chaotic, and horrible. There was no one at the counter to check whether you were a guest at the hotel or you just sneaked in for free food. It was totally messed up, as people would just walk in and try to find seats in a over-crowded place. The venue was a open area and smoking was allowed. I could accept separate smoking and non-smoking zones, but the whole area being a smoking area? Dude, you must be kidding me. I thought this is Malaysia we are talking about here. The food wise, is even worse. The choices were few. They have a tray labelled “scrambled eggs” which turns out to be hard-boiled eggs with sambal. The pastry was dry, cold and hard. The fruit juices taste like they are made from concentrates. Their hash browns made me miss Mc'Donalds. You get my point.
All in all, this is a hotel which is well known because of the famous chain of various “Hard Rock Cafe” in the world, but comparing the price and the experience overall, it is just plain not worth it. In other words, if you are going there for the hotel experience, don't go there. If you are going there for the music experience, don't go there. If you are going there for the food experience, don't go there. If you are going there for the beach experience, don't go there. So far the only reasons that I can think of to persuade anyone to go there is that they are a huge fan of branded hotel chains, not a fan of music, don't believe my taste and has tons of money to waste. Well, maybe then you should to go Hard Rock Hotel Penang.