Wednesday, 30 September 2009


A good movie should do one of three (or in the rare occasion, all three) things:

- Entertain by providing a form of escapism
- Demonstrate an innovative and creative way of telling a story
- Educate, inform and provoke

Balibo has not achieved all three, but only because the issue of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975 is neither entertaining nor a period in history that someone would want to escape to.

What Balibo succeeded in however, is telling a story that left me wanting to research more on an invasion that happened before I was born and determined to share the message that justice and the respect of human rights must prevail.

The last movie that had such an impact on me was more than four years ago.

For the first 20 minutes of the show, the narrative was somewhat confusing, jumping from present day to the past and the not too distant past. But the pace picked up when Roger East (Anthony LaPaglia) started his investigations in East Timor and by then, it was easy to differentiate the narrative that mainly toggled between Roger's story and that of the Balibo Five.

It's a gripping storyline, not least because it is based on a true story, but also because it tells of a journalist's thirst for The Story and a commitment to tell a story to the rest of the world in the hopes of spurring positive action and reaction.

The Balibo Five are five news journalists from two competing Australian television channels who went missing in Balibo, an East Timor town close to the Indonesian border, days before the invasion.

Their story is one of courage and of the desire to communicate to the global community just what is happening in a part of the world that even the United Nations had chosen to ignore.

Three weeks later, Roger arrives in East Timor, tracing the footsteps of the Balibo Five, in an attempt to find out what exactly happened to them.

His story changed his life, and probably mine, forever.

There were intense moments, scary moments and emotional moments. But most of all, it was a provocative moment. A moment that made you want to shake the international community for making the mistakes in East Timor, in Rwanda, in Darfur and never learning from them. A moment that made you recognise the simple power of words, the responsibility we have to tell a story worth telling and the world's apathetic state.

You see the brutality of mankind. You see how the rest of the world turned a blind eye. You see the sacrifice made by those who wanted to tell the truth.

And you tell yourself, human rights atrocities should never happen again.

Want to do something about this?

Find out more about the movie or how to protect human rights.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Twisted faggot

You thought this post would be about something else didn't you?

The reason for this scarf's rather unfortunate name has nothing to do with my sick sense of humour.

The scarf is a combination of a twisted dropped stitch and a faggot stitch. Hence its name. And besides, in its original form, faggot simply means:
a bundle of sticks, twigs, or branches bound together and used as fuel, a fascine, a torch, etc.

And that's what the stitch looks like:

Knitted this with my favourite type of yarn - alpaca. Although, I wasn't too sure about the mohair texture initially, but the whole thing is still incredibly soft and non-itchy.

I love how light the scarf weighs and feels, and how cosy it is around my neck. And it hardly used any yarn at all, which means I have enough left over to make another!

I combined two stitch patterns designed this scarf for a lady who has a stall at The Rocks markets, so maybe, just maybe, you'll see this scarf for sale very soon!

You can own this scarf!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Spring refresh

I knew I had to do something about this graphic when I first saw it, it was simply too gorgeous to pass up.

A quick look around and it was obvious my pin board needed a sprucing.

So four A3 printed copies later:

A new happy beautiful pin board for spring!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Excellence in mediocrity

This is a typical day on the ski fields for me:

No, I am not exhausted from carving white powder all day.

I'm just pretty much passed out from all the contact my bottom has made with the snow. In the last hour.

I took my first snowboard lesson back in 2006 and I'm proud to say that I have managed to return home after almost every single snowboard outing with strange bruises in strange places.

In 2006, I got hit on the back of my head by the chairlift after I ungracefully fell when trying to get off.

In 2008, I mysteriously managed to sprain my ankle despite wearing solid snowboard boots that are meant to protect one's ankles from that precise injury.

This year, I could not even remember how I ended up where I did because I took a tumble so fast I'm sure I blacked out for a few mircro-seconds (I also had really bad whiplash the next day). I also amazingly bruised my spine with my board when I did a face plant.

I still cannot go up a J-bar and T-bars are only possible when I can cling on to D for balance.

This is unlike my friend J who took a morning, yes, one morning, to learn how to snowboard. He did not take lessons. He taught himself. And he's good - the morning I went boarding with him, I'm sure I fell at least 10 times compared to his, well, he didn't fall.

Maybe it's because he's an accomplished skier. Or maybe it's because I suck.

Oh, I can get off a chairlift now without losing balance and I can go down a slope without falling. But I'm not the fastest boarder on the slopes and give me an icy patch and you'll have a really enjoyable time seeing my fall over again and again. I don't do S-turns very well and I hate going down a slope backwards.

I guess I'm what you call mediocre.

I'm mediocre at snowboarding, I'm mediocre at touch football, I'm mediocre at driving, I'm mediocre at knitting, I'm mediocre at my job....heck, I'm medicore in the way I look and the way I dress too.

And when I think about just how mediocre I am, my self-esteem takes a big hit.

But what is it about us and society that we only celebrate the biggest, the fastest and the best? We have Olympic records, we have the Guinness book of records, we have all sorts of records to recognise excellence in (insert appropriate category here).

The problem with wanting to be the best/biggest/fastest is that somewhere and some time down the line, someone will beat you at it. And then what?

And it's our innate need to constantly compare ourselves to others that will invariably let us down. When we see how well others perform, our mediocrity becomes even more glaring.

But is being mediocre all that bad?

I still like to snowboard, particularly when I start gaining speed down the slopes and know that I'm still in full control.

I still enjoy touch football, if only because I get to laugh and have fun with friends.

I still drive a car that I can actually afford and have not been the cause of any accidents.

I still love knitting because it gives me an avenue to explore my creativity.

So what if I'm mediocre in everything I do?

I may not win awards, prizes or commendation for my efforts, but I know how good it feels to laugh, to feel your cheeks flushed from running and to truly experience life.

And if that's not enough, I know I excel in mediocrity and my mum is still my biggest fan.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


I suppose this can be considered a follow-up post to the one on nit-picking.

As mentioned, letters that are written simply to point out a mistake that cannot be rectified annoy me. They serve no purpose but to hurt, criticise and condemn.

But then, an epiphany from someone else whose life is probably spent on the firing line more than myself.

"All the hate mail and sarcastic mail I receive keeps me humble and remind me that we're broken people."

And it's true. I get annoyed because of the pride I have in myself, in my work. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have a reaction.

But this is not about not being proud of what you have achieved.

It's simply a reminder to extend grace and patience and that as a Christian, my mission is to reach out to these broken humans and place them in the hands of God.

Thursday, 3 September 2009


When you read a typo or a mistake in an email or a published article, do you feel an insatiable need to send a letter to the writer, telling them that they've done something wrong?

I'm not talking about factual mistakes that determines the tone/bias/information of an article. I'm talking about simple things, like a bracket that shouldn't have been in a hyperlinked URL, or a slight grammatical mistake that has no impact on the sentence whatsoever because it still gets the message across.

What do you do?

Do you ignore the problem? Do you laugh it off? Do you take five minutes out of your life to write a non-constructive critical letter to the writer telling them their mistake? A mistake that they literally cannot rectify? This is not about an online article that can be easily edited, this is about either a printed article or an email that has been sent and can no longer be retrieved.

It's a phenomena that interests me. Why people feel the need to point out someone's mistakes, even after knowing full well that it's happened and that nothing can be done. And it reeks strongly of condemnation, not constructive criticism.

But that's just like human nature isn't it? We're often quick to accuse and slow to forgive.

Nevermind that the only thing you'd achieve is absolutely annoying the writer, you just have to do something to prove that you're someone that's much better, or more perfect than them.

And it happens in our relationships as well. If someone has offended us or said the wrong thing to us, we delight in telling them exactly what they should not have done, even after they've apologised and sought forgiveness.

We can't seem to simply move on.

No wonder we find it so hard to accept the fact that God's grace is all encompassing, that God is not going to rub our sins in our faces and that God will readily forgive us with no remembrance of the past.

We can't see past the examples that we are, and the behaviour of others.

What are your reactions when someone makes a mistake?

The follow-up

Sleeves part deux

I've blogged about my snazzy new knitted sleeves before, but I just found out that the designer likes what I did with her pattern!

Always feels good to know that the creator didn't think you've made an absolute mockery of her work...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Banana neckwarmer

Knitted this up using banana silk yarn, which was the most interesting experience.

The yarn goes thick and thin without warning - it actually goes really really thin, almost to breaking point. Very soft and drape-y though. Certainly doesn't feel like any other yarn I've worked with.

The project itself was a quick knit, like most other neckwarmers and really easy to memorise the stitch patterns. Love the pattern, it's kind of like a stockinette stitch, without the curl. It also uses a very small amount of yarn.

Button was an eBay purchase. Supposed vintage bakelite buttons.

It's not the kind of colours I would choose for myself, which works well since it isn't for me!

Pattern here (Ravelry link).

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Men at Arms play review

Disclosure: I do actually personally know the director and some of the actors of the play

For an amateur production, it's hard to imagine that most, if not all, of the actors have day jobs that have nothing to do with acting or drama.

Done on low budget, this play was actually quite impressive with its mechanical talking gargoyles, interesting props and imaginative use of sound effects.

It's usually hard to enjoy a real life production of a well-loved book with characters that have already been firmly established in one's imagination, but Men at Arms mostly succeeds in its casting. Certain characters were not dark and sinister enough, while some came across as merely repeating lines, but overall, the spirit of Discworld manages to seep through and one could actually imagine the characters looking like the actors.

Most delightful to watch were the bumbling Nobby, a brief cameo from Death and a topless Captain Vimes singing his heart out. Special mention needed to be made of the actor who played the sadly murdered Beano as well as countless other characters, who successfully managed to make each one slightly different and most certainly unique.

The use of the various stage entrance and exits were clever, as were the various sound effects. The costuming was perfect, especially for the troll, and one actually felt they were seeing real Discworld characters. The props were so well done, a real life pie fight complete with real whip cream was amazingly successfully pulled off.

Unfortunately, somewhat disconcerting for the production was the fact that lines were often obviously forgotten (then again, as mentioned, being in plays were not the actors' main profession) , actors sometimes struggled to find their place on stage (which meant spotlighting sometimes failed) and sound effects were occasionally mistimed.

However, for a mere $21, Men at Arms was real value for money and a great evening entertainment.

I would watch another play by the director, and not only because I know her.
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