Saturday, July 30, 2005

Born Into Brothels

Saw this Oscar winning documentary during the Indigo film festival at the Singapore History Museum. The story is about a group of children living in the red light district of
Kolkatta. This is narrated by Zana, a photographer who gave them lessons on photography and one camera each to practice.

The children shot many nice photographs! I could tell how enthusiastic they are about this new found hobby! The film focusses on one children at a time to understand their background and why they are passionate about photography. The format of the film reminds me a little bit of "Spellbound" that is about a group of children preparing for the National Spelling Bee competition. The living environment in India is very poor as shown in the photographs and it help me understand why Indians work so hard in their studies and do so well in the Spelling Bee competitions.

BIB also explain how Zana help the children to get into a boarding school. There are lots of paper work to be done, much like what one episode of "The Amazing Race" described!

More details about the film can be found at

P.S. Just realised that two of the children have names that are valid Scrabble words (SOWPODS) while another two can be anagrammed to be one. See if you can guess who they are without the help of LexPert!

The children's names are: Avijit, Gour, Kochi, Manik, Puja, Shanti, Suchitra and Tapasi

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Singapore Scrabble National Championship 2005 (Day Two)

Game 5: Peter Tay Yap Tong
I was leading with a RATLINe (66) bingo until Peter bingoed with SEASING (92) by front hooking to my CRY. Then I had EINSUV? that I could back hook to M. Didn’t manage to think of the two common anagrams and was hoping to form a word with UN?IVES. I went through all the alphabets in my head and was deciding between D, G, H, L or W for the blank. In the end, I chose UNhIVES (72) and it happened to be good when challenged! Peter replied with WINER* O1 to form MUR* but I thought it was valid and did not challenge it.

Final score: 385 to 412. 1-4, -61 cumulative spread.

Game 6: Teo Teow Koon
Both of us had one bingo each. I had ENTERED (65) while Teow Koon had SNoRING (85). Won by getting away with IFFS* and scoring well with the Q, X and Z.

Final score: 442 to 329. 2-4, +52 cumulative spread,

Game 7: Aaron Lee Kin
After I bingoed with EtESiAN (85), we began an exchange of challenges. I challenged his STUNGED*, GLITE*, WER*, SCADE* and MER*. He challenged my VOR and RAXES. I missed his HAX* for 47 points though.

Final score: 378 to 310. 3-4, +120 cumulative spread,

Game 8: Peter Yu
Peter bingoed with NAILERS (83) and could have two more if he knew the right anagram. He put down NATTIES* instead of SATINET and BUILtER* instead of BUILdER. Managed to capitalize on the Z with ZEINS for 87 points but still lost in the end.

Final score: 345 to 430. 3-5, +35 cumulative spread,

Game 9: Tan Yao Zhong
I made a very silly mistake when my opponent put down DEAlTING* (lower case L to represent the blank). Not only did I fail to challenge it, I also mistook the total score that my opponent announced to be the word score. Instead of 72 points, I recorded that turn as 98 points! Gave away 26 points for no reason at all! Yao Zhong could have another bingo with AEIFNST but he chose to back hook to an existing NE with NAIFEST to form NEN* which was challenged off.

Final score: 387 to 297. 4-5, +125 cumulative spread,

Game 10: Valliammah Thambiayah
I bingoed with TOASTER (66) and OTARInE (75) while Valliammah bingoed with SPELLING (86). She scored high with the Q and Z, while I scored high with the J. Our score was dead even at some point in time. I think she got impatient and tried to score high with SHINTED* but it was challenged off. I learnt a new word from her later when she back hooked FUND with SHINE to form FUNDI.

Final score: 445 to 404. 5-5, +166 cumulative spread,

Game 11: Serene Ngu
Serene bingoed on her very first turn with UNOILED (75). I tried TORRIED* in the middle of the game but it was challenged off. The board was quite closed and I had a bingo on my rack at one point in time but had no place to play it. In the end, I got thrashed by Serene for almost 180 points.

Final score: 258 to 424. 5-6, +0 cumulative spread,

Game 12: S. Shanthikumar
Challenged off BEGINING* at the start but Shanthikumar got another bingo with INSpIRE (73) through my CRY. I played badly in the end game when I allowed my opponent to score high with his C, V and X left on his rack and lost by over 100 points.

Final score: 294 to 397. 5-7, -103 cumulative spread.

In the end, I won 5 games and got 13th position out of 18 for the individual event. I also took part in the team event representing DSTA together with my team mates, Jiang Pern and Chew Chuah. We managed to get 3rd position with Jiang Pern winning the division A and Chew Chuah also getting 13th position in division C.

I was happy to have the chance to play against masters players like Peter Tay Yap Tong, Serene Ngu and M. Ganapathy. It is a pity that I didn’t have the chance to engage in a battle of wits against up-and-coming players like Kian Boon, Zi Peng, Victor and Marcus. Hopefully, I could play with them in the future!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Singapore Scrabble National Championship 2005 (Day One)

The Singapore Scrabble National Championship 2005 was held at SAFRA Toa Payoh from 23rd to 24th July. It was my first time taking part and I was quite excited to be able to play in division B!

I came quite early and saw two end games of division A. Jiang Pern finished with a PORKIEST bingo and Tony Sim finished with a KAISERIN bingo. Learnt two more new words! I also saw the poster girl featured on the front page of our newsletter, Sarah Law, who is also playing in division A! Maybe I could ask her to autograph for me the next time we meet.

Soon after coming back from lunch with Kian Boon, Li Wei and Zi Peng at Toa Payoh Central, the division B competition started.

Game 1: Aloysius Conzaga
I bingoed with STEAMEr (74) and scored high with the X and with the triple word score cells. My favorite moves are: a front hook to RIPE with CUZ and a back hook to ANTS with COY down the triple-word-score line. Aloysius tried to bingo with UNFARTs* towards the end but it was challenged off. Had a very good start for my opening game!

Final score: 434 to 258. 1-0, +176 cumulative spread,

Game 2: Valliammah Thambiayah
Valliammah bingoed with DESiGNS (73) and scored high with the K and the X. The last time I played with her, she scored very well with the power tiles as well! Hmm, I must position my words such that she cannot score so high the next time we meet.

Final score: 320 to 385. 1-1, +111 cumulative spread,

Game 3: Lim Li Wei
Li Wei bingoed with PRETeND (70) and DOSAGES (77). I scored well with the J and the Z but still lost out in the end.

Final score: 326 to 386. 1-2, +51 cumulative spread,

Game 4: M. Ganapathy
Ganapathy bingoed with OUTLOVE (72) and sPORTIER (70). I had a chance to bingo with AILTSS? on my rack and ZING N2, QI 3M, TIN 4L on the board but couldn’t find the corresponding anagrams.

Final score: 318 to 403. 1-3, -34 cumulative spread,

End of Day One: Had only two blanks out of eight and was out-bingoed five to one. Hope I would be luckier the next day. One complaint about the competition is that no drinks were provided! I was especially thirsty in the afternoon but could only go to the toilet to quench my thirst. Where did our registration fee go to?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fantastic Four

I have been watching many comic book adapted films lately, from Batman Begins, Initial D to Sin City. FF is yet another one. The story is about how four people gained special powers after being exposed to cosmic radiation and how they used it to help people and fight bad guys.

Reed Richards is Mr Fantastic. He can stretch any part of his body like rubber. Sue Storm who is Reed's ex-girl friend is Invisible Girl. She can become invisible or create a force field around her. Johnny Storm who is Sue's brother is Human Torch. He can fly and set himself to flames. Ben Grimm who is Reed's friend is The Thing. He is very strong and tough like rock but has very fat fingers.

The special effects are pretty well done and it is interesting to see how the four friends/sibling interact with each other and how they complement each other in time of crisis! The film also has witty dialogue and is quite educational. The scene at the bridge with The Thing spotting somebody he knew is very well done and it made me feel very sad for him.


Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sin City

SC is a comic book adaption about a city that is full of corruption. The bad guys are in power and ordinary citizens have to find ways to protect their self interest.

What an exciting film! I like the black and white cinematography, the action scenes and the narration that tells us what the characters are thinking about! I am also very impressed with Miho's fighting skills! Although I am happy to see so many beautiful actresses in the film, the film also has many really ugly looking villains that make me lose my appetite. One example is Elijah Woods who looks really creepy!

Highly recommended!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Three Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Saw the following films at the Singapore History Museum for free!

The Tinderbox
Hans The Clodhopper
The Snow Queen

Liked the plasticine animation in TT and HTC! The story is nicely told too although I am surprised by the violence depicted in TT. TSQ is interesting too and beautifully drawn!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Resurrection of the Little Match Girl

The Korean film ROTLMG by Jang Sun Woo was shown in Singapore during the Hans Christian Anderson Film Festival and I love it! It is a remake of the story of the "Little Match Girl" with a science fiction / video game twist. The Little Match Girl is a computer character and to win the game, a player has to ensure that she freezes to death and die thinking about him / her.

I like the beginning that summarised the original story with a nice song in the background! The video game analogy is cool! There are lots of exciting gun fights, car chases, amazing martial arts stunt and special effects! I also like the intense training that the male lead has to go through to hone his concentration and the cute looking weapon that he uses in the end.

The actress who play the LMG is very versatile! She looks convincing both as the depressed little match girl and the resourceful expert fighter!

Highly recommended!

Internet Moview Database Link
Korean Film Review

Green Chair

GC is about the relationship of a couple that has been condemned by society. The girl is a divorcee in the thirties and the guy is a minor in high school. The film describes what happens to them when the girl gets arrested and sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

I like how GC shows the everyday life of the couple and how their age difference does not affect them loving each other at all! The couple continues to find ways to express their love to each other despite other people's views! It is also very interesting to hear the views of their friends towards them at the end of the film.

Internet Movie Database Link
Korean Film Review

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wuthering Heights

Just finished reading "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and I think it is a very good read! The story is quite similar to the movie "Batman Begins" with the dark and gloomy setting, the theme on revenge and the presence of a loyal servant. WH does not have such cool gadgets like BB though.

I like how well the author describe the psychology of each character and the elaborate plot that spans across a few generations! Some of the dialogue is beautifully written! One minus point about the novel is the heavy accent that one of the old servant speaks in that makes it hard to understand what he is talking about.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Young Anderson

Saw this film at the opening of the Hans Christian Andersen film festival. The film shows what Hans Christian Andersen was like before he became famous and his school life. We see how creative Andersen is and how the principal has a great influence on his life.

Not too bad but a bit too sentimental at times. Would like to hear more of his fairytales in the film but there isn't many of them.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Initial D

ID is a comic book adaptation about a kid who becomes a skilled driver after delivering tofu for his father on the same mountain route for the past five years. The film depicts his interaction with his friends as well as his competition against fellow race car drivers.

I like the exciting car chases down the hill! His love interest, Anne Suzuki, looks quite cute too!

Internet Movie Database Link