Wednesday, April 1, 2015

After The Shock

If you were one of those at risk of having brains turned into mush by the endless deluge of mindless docu-dramas broadcasted ad infinitum by the state media, an excellent counter measure would be to pick up a couple of titles at the nearest video rental.

Since working lachrymal glands will be the order of the day, start with the weepie "Aftershock" (Mandarin: Tángshān Dà Dìzhèn, Simplified: 唐山大地震). The 1976 Tangshan earthquake occurred between a series of political events involving the Communist Party of China, ultimately leading to the expulsion of the ruling Gang of Four. In traditional Chinese thought, natural disasters are seen as a precursor of dynastic change. We are situated in an earthquake-free zone, so we will have to settle for heavy thunderstorms on a Sunday afternoon.

"Aftershock" surpassed "The Founding of a Republic" (Chinese: 建国大业) as the highest-grossing locally-made film in China, earning RMB532 million. "Jian guo da ye" was made in honor of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The founding father here is none other than Mao, with some steps taken to humanize the dictator who severely damaged traditional Chinese culture, perpetrated systematic human rights abuses, and responsible for an estimated 40 to 70 million deaths through starvation. The film shows him passed out drunk while his comrades celebrate, and one sequence of a barely-awake Mao being carried out in pajamas during an air bombing reportedly almost got the film banned. Obvious ideological agendas prevent the filmmakers from lending the Communist characters any shades of gray.

If the glorification of Mao's exploits start to bore, Hitler's ranting in "Downfall" (German: Der Untergang) should jolt you like a bolt of lightning. The 2004 German war film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel depicts the final 10 days of Adolf Hitler's reign over Nazi Germany in 1945. The Führer acts real nice, handing out cyanide pills as going away presents. A few journalists in Germany wondered aloud whether the "human" treatment of Hitler might not inadvertently aid the neo-Nazi movement. Ngiam Tong Dow may have fretted about mini-LKYs, now the fear is about mini-Sturmabteilung (SA), the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. Keep your children locked indoors if you spot any SA men in "brownshirts".

Like Mao and Hitler, Kim Jong-un is shown in his soft side in "The Interview". During the climatic internationally televised interview, he gets to cry on air. These guys are not all that horrible, so give them a break. Especially when today happens to be April 1st.


  1. Yeah, a memorable quote by a very lucid viewer gave hint to the extent of the historic whitewashing there. "The movie is too positive, so positive that it feels like kissing somebody’s behind."

    Another lamented " What a b*s movie! During the Tangshan earthquake, PLA soldiers prioritized "protecting" state resources over rescuing trapped civilians. Because China also turned down all aid from foreign relief groups, what rescue efforts there were lacked the necessary technology that could have lifted up concrete slabs and saved many more lives".

    At least while he was busy reaching out for tissue paper for this tug-at-heartstings movie, he is no suffering fool when it comes to historical narrative.

  2. Haha......

    Reading the Thunderstorm as a Omen on the Day of His Funeral is a superstitious, but in a land filled with believers, readings are inevitable.

    The Atheistic me does feel the Gloominess of that particular day did reflect my experience at Orchard Road days before his demise. I spent one whole afternoon and night walking from Tanglin to Plaza Singapura and went into almost all the Major Shopping Centres along the Way. It was a sight of doom; most retail staff did not even have mozzies or flies to keep them occupied.

    I went on Saturday, having read that some huge stores were closing.
    Nothing like witnessing the Market Situation personally.

    My Blogger Friend Redbean at My Singapore News(Blogsite) had been greatly disappointed with his falling incomes as a Remisier. He had blogged much about the Shambles in the Stock Exchanges and their businesses.

    Base on what I had seen and read and watching the Goings , doom is not far away. Within the Next Five Years, there will be real hard times.


    1. My apology.

      'is a superstious' to be corrected to 'is superstitious'.


    2. I wonder if anything can happen when the money spigots keep delivering tons of printed money to the red dot? An over-financialized economy like what we have today will dance/drown in hot money. Instead of investing wisely in productive projects, the money is wasted building more malls, more useless bridges to no where, more monuments. Alot of hot money will be spent opening copy-cast shops. Red dot will dance until the music stops, then wake up with a big fat hangover. By then most of the leaders would be gone, leaving taxpayers to bail out the banks, TLCs and property companies.

    3. listen to the music...4/01/2015 1:28 PM

      Financial doom was predicted 8 years ago.
      the property market went bersek
      the STI shot up above 3,000
      the GDP went even higher

      The music will not stop for a long, long time if ever.

    4. /Financial doom was predicted 8 years ago/

      Can you provide the link to your statement ?

    5. 'This time its different!', heh heh, until it is not :) just look at this falling knife of property market in red dot, brokers keep calling me, got this 3000ft in xyz, 20% lower than 1 year ago and still can nego. What a 'bersek' market. Haha

    6. property agents aka brokers think that buying properties is like buying chicken & fish in wet market.

      Just take home, get the maid to clean, chop & cook.
      No problems.
      If that was truly the case, I would be buying properties every weekend.

      Anyway, this asset class has been engineered since 1956.. bukit Ho Swee fire to Ngee Ann Kongsi land at Orchard Road.

  3. We don't have natural disasters as precursors of dynastic change, but we do have man made ones. Think the 6.9 million PWP.

  4. The "death" was not a real shock. It was already bound to happen in some sense with the way the media covered it daily even before it happened. About what was asked concerning the money funneled into Singapore from overseas, some of it is actually blood money including the money from Burmese and even North African warlords as highlighted by international media. It is wrong to let people with such a background park their money here to evade laws in their own country or social uproar.

    1. I thot the death was real "shiok".

  5. Well, there is nothing quite like having our democratic Taiwan neighbor give the real fools an unvarnished history lesson on this day. Watch the full 4 episodes to anti-shock yourselves.


  7. Get a grip guys!
    Media/Advertising is a powerful tool to shape and influence our perception with the view of turning us into "tools" of our so called leaders. DONT be someone's TOOL. Before we think about erecting images be it in stone or on dollar bills perhaps we should chew on this: What is the definition of a great leader? And as such does he or she deserve such adoration?

    1. Did he or she inspire you to do things that is outside of your comfort zone or personal sphere?
    2. Did such leader make a huge sacrifice for his or her country? Mao/Washington/Deng etc endured persecution and a war and risk their and their families lives.
    3. Are we truly better off? Not just in narrow $ terms but more important, meaning measures such as happiness, security and freedom to be who we are?
    4. In the process of leading, did such leader bring the people closer as one or ruled by fear, creating classes or rewarding one group over the other?

  8. Not forgetting without Raffles...the real original founding father of Singapore...there will be no PAP or LKY...zzz.