Author: joyce

Movie Review: The Kingmaker

I love the Philippines. But I know so little about the turbulent history of the Marcos era until I watched The Kingmaker. The film by Lauren Greenfield presents a caricature of Imelda Marcos, ex-First Lady of Philippines, wife of Ferdinand Marcos who was President from 1965-86. The last 8 years of his rule were marred with violence and oppression under martial law. Imelda Marcos is the Rosmah Mansor (ex-Malaysian PM’s Najib’s wife) of her time. An ex-beauty queen from humble beginnings, who caught the eye of a charismatic politician, their love story is as clichéd as can be. Except this story isn’t about love. It is about power and how a family’s insatiable greed for hedonistic pleasures (cue long shots of her 3000 pairs of designer shoes) and a life of decadence led to extreme means for political dominance. “Perception is reality, the truth is not,” states Imeda, midway through the film. The belief is repeatedly demonstrated with the director’s juxtaposition of Imelda Marcos’s personal narration of life events with contrasting witness accounts. From her …

Book Notes: The Gifts of Imperfection

After much prodding by my friend Val to read this book, I finally got down to it. She recommended it so much that she almost shoved it into my bag until I promised that I would head to the nearest Kinokuniya to get a copy for myself and text her when I did. And I did. It’s not a difficult read, the language is simple and peppered with lots of personal stories, but it was still hard because at so many points I put it down and went, “Oh shit, that’s me.” She titled her book as “The Gifts of Imperfection – A Guide To a Wholehearted Life” and how to “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are”. I was skeptical. I can’t tell you how hard that is to do, particularly in a collective Asian society. Sometimes the expectations of family, friends, teachers and coworkers drown out your own voice. So much so that we turn to addiction, be it gambling, alcoholism, more bags, bigger houses, …

Little Forest Movie Review

On the flight back from Japan I scrolled past the usual blockbusters and settled upon the this Korean film. “Little Forest” is adapted from a Japanese slice of life manga series written and illustrated by Daisuke Igarashi. The story follows Hye-won, a recent graduate who fails her final teaching examinations in Seoul and returns to her childhood home, in a traditional Korean village. Hye-won finds solace in the “Little Forest” or the loving home created by her single mother, who is no longer there but has given her a happy childhood. Through the seasons she reflects upon her experiences in big city life that drove her home and navigates through her journey of self-discovery with the help of her childhood friends. The theme for this movie is nourishment. With her roots in the country, Hye-won is hungry for nature, home-cooked meals, genuine human connection and a slower pace of life. The movie is filled with gorgeous cinematography of country life and delicious Korean dishes from each season, reminding us of life’s simple joys. There are …

Book Notes: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

Marie Kondo is a polarizing figure. Like many, I binge-watched her series on Netflix and soon found myself folding shirts so that they could stand by themselves and wondered if the ripped pair of shorts I couldn’t bear to throw were still ‘sparking joy’ by collecting dust in my wardrobe. (Later on, I realised the real reason. I was hoping I would one day fit into them again). Her sweet Japanese demeanour, unusual way of ‘greeting houses’ by kneeling down to show gratitude and ‘waking up books’ by knocking them gently has left some skeptical about her ‘KonMarie’ method. It’s quite funny to see her American clients flash quizzical looks when she first asks them to thank their houses before they start tidying. My husband rolled his eyes a little too. I skipped some of these ‘unnecessary’ steps. But after watching her interview with Stephen Colbert, her response to why people love her philosophy convinced me to read her book! Stephen: “Why do Americans love your philosophy and your cleaning up so much?” Marie: “Of course we all have problems tidying up our homes, but …

How Slow Motion Multi-tasking Can Be Good For Us

I have a serious problem with multi-tasking. But maybe its not so bad. I came across a talk today and this economist, Tim Harford,  talks about the benefits of “Slow Motion Multi-tasking”. He argues that working on multiple projects at once, can do more good for our creativity than we realise. I’m constantly working on multiple projects and then feeling overwhelmed, gave up and felt too guilty to get back into it because “What is the point?”. Yes, throughout my life, I’ve started and stopped learning multiple things. It started with the guitar when I was 12, then different types of sports (netball, basketball, handball, running and yoga), picking up different languages with varying levels of proficiency since university (German – semi fluent, Spanish – can order in a restaurant, Korean – can read hangeul and Japanese – N5 or the most basic level). Oh did I mention, baking, drawing and ukelele classes too? Clearly I have a lot of interests and I love all of them. But I hate the way I feel when I feel stuck and want …