Thursday, May 21, 2009


Kris is the American Idol.

He was the better singer, especially when the song matched his voice. There were times however in the competition when he sounded pretty light weight. It was great however to see him crowned as the American Idol. His shy and retiring manner helped him connect with folks and maybepeople identified with his humble, down to earth folksy style.

Why the judges gushed in adulation over nearly all of Adam Lambert’s performances remain a mystery. Even Simon got carried away…describing one of his performances as immaculate! He was good but not immaculate.

Some of Adam’s performances were out of this world. His rendition of Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears was awesome. But flattery from the judges stroked his ego and clouded his judgment. Every song had to be a stellar, crowd pleasing performance; angst and desire to impress replaced the need to simply sing a song effectively. And the screaming just got in the way at times.

Was it a surprise therefore when he was at the bottom three in some of the previous episodes?

All of this should not detract us from recognizing Adam’s talent. The guy has an incredible voice range and charisma. He needs a good producer and a clever manager who can get him to focus on the basics and cut all the American Idol hype. Reduce the screaming, remove some of the poseur attitude and get back to the art of singing a song.

Congratulations Kris Allen! You deserved to win.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


C'mon... without Darth Vader the Star Wars mythology, as the Americans would say, aint worth a plug nickel!

George Lucas's 3 prequels The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith fell way short of expectations because Anakim Skywalker became Darth Vader only in the final hour of the 3rd movie!

We had to endure watching Anakim Skywalker as a kid and a teenager for 2 1/2 movies. What was the point? Anakim's a bore compared to Vader. Lucas should have turned Anakim to the dark side in the Phantom Menace and then showed Vader gradually slipping into his own personal hell in the next two movies. Now, that would have made the prequels a rip roaring success.

The Empire Strikes Back was the best Star Wars movie; the action was fast moving; it laid the groundwork for developing Vader into a tragic hero a la Shakespeare. Revenge of the Jedi, picked up the storyline and showcased Vader's final redemption from the dark side.

Forget Anakim. Bring on Vader!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Very rarely have the Singapore mainstream media gone after a story with such unbridled ferocious sharks thrashing about in a feeding frenzy!Yup, I'm referring to the controversy surrounding AWARE.

Unless you were on a holiday in Mars, you'd probably have read or heard about the AWARE saga. For the uninitiated AWARE is a civil organization dedicated to women's issues.

A few ladies, led by Josie Lau, took over the leadership of AWARE at the group’s annual AGM. This new team attempted to steer the organization back to its original purpose of only dealing with women’s issues. AWARE’s growing links with the gay lobby in Singapore were viewed as a distraction to the group's original purpose. A training manual, sponsored by AWARE, on sexuality which was used to prepare trainers for sex education in schools was found to encourage homosexual behavior.

The ousted old of guard of the organization hit back hard. They managed to convene an EGM and recaptured the reins of power at the meeting. The endless stream of stories and columns in the press further polarized the supporters of old guard from the new team. Much was made of the new team's church affiliation and christian background.

The Singapore mass media are a tame lot. They’re into nation building (euphemism for communicating government views) and normally avoid stories which portray Singapore as conflict ridden. Foreign investors dont like political instability. The appearance of a well run country is a central motif in newspaper reporting. If there was an academy award for self censorship, Singapore mainstream media would blow the competition away.

And so the sight of the media inciting rivalry between the two opposing groups was a bit of a shocker. Singapore media have learned a thing or two from their Western or Latin American colleagues.

Was I in Singapore? For a moment I thought I was in Bolivia. The Bolivian media, not unlike the media in freewheeling liberal democracies, are experts in playing up opposing viewpoints for the sake of sensationalism. And sensationalism sells newspapers; strong sales bring in advertising revenue.

Some of the reporting was balanced…but by and large the media-driven stereotype of the new team as narrow minded Christian Talibans sunk them.

Josie's team should have been given a chance, a year at least, to work at their plans and prove themselves to the AWARE members. A challenge to dismount her team could have been initiated at the following AGM. Unfortunately an EGM was convened by the older leadership to reverse the decisions of the AGM.

Hopefully the mainstream media would have learned a thing or two from this episode and refrain from one sided reporting.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Majadito de Pato is one of my favorite Bolivian dishes. The rice is mashed and mixed with what appears to be a curry paste; the result is porridge with slices of duck or chicken meat. An egg is fried and neatly placed on top of the rice. A slice of fried banana is neatly tucked away on the side of the plate.

Great stuff!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Time waits for no man (or person)!

Its hard to believe we're in the month of May 2009. Come June I would have served as Vicar of Christ Church for a year. The work at Christ Church is demanding but also fulfilling. Worshipping in Tamil is a great experience.

Elijah will be finishing his National Service commitments in 5 months. Michelle continues to enjoy her ministry in the creative arts.

We all miss Bolivia!