I Wax Lyrical About Felicia Yap’s “Yesterday”

Note: Here’s a spoiler free review of Felicia Yap’s “Yesterday”.

What did you have for dinner yesterday?

Two days ago?

Now, do you remember dinner three days ago? (I had pepperoni pizza with watermelon. Simultaneously. So it’s more like pepperoni-watermelon pizza)

Imagine

A world where everybody remembers yesterday’s dinner, some remember dinner the day before, and absolutely nobody remembers dinner two days ago. Except the odd psychopath, that is, who will eventually end up in a mental asylum on a deserted island.

Those who remember only yesterday are “Monos“, “Duos” remember up to two days; and this memory disparity is the gaping abyss that separate class- a system that favours Duos over Monos, may it be career opportunities or social dogma.

So when a steaming hot chick washes up dead from England’s River Cam, how does one solve the murder, if only yesterday’s memories remain?

Felicia’s story unfolds in first-person narrative from four different perspectives (hence breaking her teacher’s max three first-person voices rule). These four characters are Duo Mark, a successful novelist and aspiring politician; his Mono wife- housewife Claire; vengeful but dead Sophia; and detective Mark, the case’s assigned investigator.

The dead girl is identified. Her name is Sophia Alyssa Ayling. And she’s been sleeping with Mark. How does Claire feel about this? And does detective Mark have what it takes to solve this murder?

This is more than a murder mystery. The tale also explores a realistic view of love and marriage. How does memory affect one’s ability to love? In fact, without the lucid recollection of falling in love, can one remain in love?

In this fictional world, people record their lives with an iDiary every night (rendering Steve Jobs richer than ever). And before this technological advancement, people scrawled their lives on paper diaries. These written information is then reviewed the following morning and committed to long term memory, hence morphing the writen accounts into vacant, cold hard facts.

This novel is a blatant page turner. Humour your cognitive mind and forge theories along the way. Its plot resemble a spaghetti of climbing rope- a tangle of enigma. But as the book progress, we tug one end of the dynamic line, and the narrative untwine smoothly into a chain of seamless answers.

The reading journey is like a roller coaster, with penned up suspensions, a couple of emotional loops, followed by a majestic unveiling. This series of manoeuvres lead to the divulgent of who killed Sophia Alyssa Ayling.

Dear friends, I urge you- run, not walk, to your neighbouring bookshop and snag yourself a copy of Felicia Yap’s Yesterday. Claim for yourself the book 8 publishers relished a bidding war to print, the book now translated into 13 different languages.

The book written by a Malaysian!

Photo credit: www.feliciayap.com

Felicia Yap hails from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur with modest beginnings. Her father’s car had holes in its base so water spills in each time he drives through a puddle. According to Felicia’s blog, her parents lack funds to send her abroad, a feat she achieved purely through scholarships and sponsorships. Her less privilege background led her to understand the disadvantage monetary woes may present, and hence was born the Yesterday Scholarship.

Frankly, her personal story tears me up. I love a good underdog success story, and tangible proof that Malaysians have what it has to kick ass in an international arena. She is living proof that hard work pays of, that we reap what we sow. She is my inspiration.

Once again, run- no, sprint! Sprint to the nearest bookstore for a copy of Yesterday. Do it! And do it yesterday.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The Analysis

Warning: Spoilers, spoilers, and more spoilers.

Oops… I did it again. I binge watched nearly 3 seasons of chick flicks … got lost in the show… 

The case in point is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a musical series, and here’s a rapid fire about our heroine, Rebecca Bunch:

“She was working hard at a New York job making dough but it made her blue, one day she was crying a lot and so she decided to move to… West Covina, California! Brand-new pals and new career. It happens to be where Josh lives, but that’s not why she’s here…”

The adulteress

Rebecca moves to West Covina, home of her childhood sweetheart- Josh Chan– that cruelly dump her last day of summer camp many years ago. Despite her initial denial, we all know the truth- she’s in West Covina for Josh.

Not long later, she discovers that Josh has a girlfriend- Valentia. However, this plays no deterrence to her affection and constant seduction of Josh. This flagrant dismissal of Valentia as Josh’s girlfriend leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, much like Emily Griffin’s book Something Borrowed, where the heroine (?) shamelessly steals her best friend’s fiancé. Of course, Emily portrays the best friend as “manipulative”, and the supposing antagonist. But perspective is a powerful fulcrum, and protagonist is just one viewpoint tweak away from antagonist.

Photo credit: www.imdb.com

Similarly, Valentia is painted as mean, and unappreciative of Josh, as if that somehow justifies Rebecca’s pursuance of a taken man (although it is interesting to note that Rebecca and Valentia eventually become good friends). Some, in the spirit of hedonism, might applaud Rebecca’s pursuit for love and happiness, but I am substantially troubled. I consider Valentia the victim.

Anyway, Rebecca eventually realise the err in her ways, which she express through the song I’m the Villian in My Own Story:

But even after her warm for Josh is over, her man-stealing days aren’t. She had a committed relationship with Nathaniel, her boss-turns-enemy-turns-boyfriend-turns-ex-turns-co-boss-turns-F-buddy, that she eventually breaks off for mental health reasons. He gets a new girlfriend, but Rebecca and Nathaniel continue to bone… and bone… and bone for another 8 months. At one point, she even laments that this affair is the healthiest relationship she ever had, an attestation that she harbours no remorse about banging another girl’s man. But does her unstable mental state give her a free pass? I don’t know.

The narrative doesn’t frown on infidelity. I love Rebecca and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but this element is questionable.

“I’m just a girl in love, I can’t be held responsible for my actions… I have no underlying issues to address, I’m certifiably cute and adorably obsessed… they say love makes you crazy, therefore you can’t call her crazy… when you call her crazy, you’re just calling her in love!”

The feminist factor

Rebecca Bunch is a feminist, there’s no question about that, and the show has an underlying feminism theme.

What? The girl who ditched her lucrative city job, zapped across the country, relocates herself, purely for a guy, is an advocate for female empowerment??

Yes.

Feminism has been redefined over the years, the by-product when scores of opinionated women roar (I am woman, hear me roar!). Humour my brand of feminism, when I say it’s one’s freedom to choose. The power to marry or not, have kids or not, cook or not, wear yoga pants or not.

To phrase it differently, a woman may say “I choose to be a stay-home mum, not because of society’s definition of woman, but because of my personal decision to concentrate on my family,” which is worlds apart from “women should stay home to clean, cook and care for the kids on pure virtue of their gender”. Also, “I need a man to provide for me” is vastly different from “we have our individual role to play in this relationship, independent of our respective gender”.

Therefore, I support, applaud, even, Rebecca’s right to, yes, bolt across the country, desert her conventionally-defined success, in hopes of reigniting the spark she once shared with her ex-boyfrined from 10 years ago.

On a side note, there is nothing weak or antifeminist about loving someone who doesn’t love you back. I adore how Louise Brealey blunts it out. After backlash on her character, Molly Hooper‘s unrequited love for Sherlock Holmes on Sherlock, she tweets:

Photo credit: Louise Brealey and twitter

“Loving someone after years is not reductive, retrograde, antifeminist or weak. Fight the patriarchy, not me, and read some f****** Chekhov”.

Not that Rebecca is not madly in love with Josh Chan, of course, more like passionately obsessed. But her mental health is not the point here (important issue as it is), rather we emphasise on women’s journey for the sweet spot.

Consistent with a woman’s right to decide, is her journey in search for her individual ideal. We don’t want armies of empty-headed feminine warriors. Instead, we yearn for platoons of strong, independent women, whose decisions are made from rationalisation, and not directly influenced by society’s expectations. For the ability to think, rationalise and make decisions, are the foundation that will prop up the feminist movement.

And to arrive there, one must journey, search, make mistakes.

To quote Huffington Post, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is doing something far more complicated than simply ironically reclaiming, or accidentally reinforcing, a sexist insult: It’s limning the gap between how far women have come in our ideals and expectations, and how far society has actually progressed. Rebecca is a bad feminist, in the Roxane Gay sense; she holds feminist beliefs, and can easily articulate them, but her entire social self is at war with her ideals. She wants things she knows a feminist “shouldn’t,” and she admires qualities she knows define traditional femininity.” (Or as Holly Bourne calls it- cognitive dissonance)

And one has the right to be a bad feminist, because that is what feminism is all about, once again- the right to choose. And as Roxane Gay said, “I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”- Let women think.

The RELATIONSHIPS

I’ll spare the Megillah and lay it down: I ship #grebecca (Greg and Rebecca) so hard, sigh- shit show though, their relationship was. First, she “whores” (her words, not mine) herself to him at Bean’s party, in an attempt to locate Josh.

Then, she proceeds to brush off his advances, over and over again. Ever felt like sticking your hands through the laptop screen to give a movie character a dire shake? Wake up, you blind chick! It’s the best friend! It’s the best friend! (Greg is Josh’s best friend)

Finally, she offers him a pitiful minute and agrees to a date, after this very sexy rendition of Settle for Me:

The date is great, so swell (even if not perfect) so she HAD to wreck it by claiming banging rights with another guy. Get this right: she ditched Greg during their date, and brought home another guy to screw.

Uhuh, chicks’ got issues.

But Greg eventually forgives her- speak of amazing in a flannel shirt.

Later, she discovers how much he cares about her, and hence began a series of marathon sex. So much sex, actually, that she contracts a UTI (Urinary Track Infection):

And because people in general suck at keeping sex and love separate, she (alas) falls for him!

And then complications knock. Josh and Valentia break up, and Rebecca gets a bite of the forbidden fruit- Josh.

Greg. Josh. Greg, Josh. Greg… Josh… Greg? Josh?

What’s a girl to do when she’s stuck in between men?:

But he producers intend to write Greg off, and they do- he hops on a plane for Evory. When Santino Fontana (actor that portrays Greg) left Crazy Ex, I was miserable. Crushed. Dejected. Grief-stricken.

Life lost meaning.

So now, Greg is gone, and only Josh remains- convenient for the producers’ plan to rid all love triangles.

Please, anybody but Josh, I pray (my personal opinion, which is surprising, given my staunch support for Asians in Hollywood). It’s nothing personal, only that Rebecca needs a man with backbone, which Josh seems to pathetically lack- partially due to his pattern of serial monogamy.

Oh, what does the future hold?

… And then they spring Nathaniel on us. (He’s the one in the middle.)

P.S.: I don’t blame you for watching that video on repeat. Not that I did. Ahem.

But can six packs extinguish the Greg torch?

The Appeal: Ugly Tentacles of Corporate Tyranny

    “A blatant page-turner… I guarantee you will hate reaching the end.” – Sunday Express
    What should a company’s billionaire owner do when ordered by court to pay a grieving widow $41 million in damages? Why, buy over the juridical system, of course.
Meme caption: www.memes.com

The jury finds Krane Chemical Corporation guilty of water contamination that allegedly caused the death of Chad and Pete Baker, husband and son of plaintiff Jeanette Baker.

Not just the death of this father and son pair, we learn. As the story progress, we discover that the fictional Cary County is cleverly nicknamed “Cancer County”, and not for lack of substantiation. In fact, the cancer rate in Bowmore of Cary County is 15 times the national average. (Pg 32)

In light of that startling revelation, the people of Bowmore, Cary County blame Krane Chemical Corporation. They attribute the abnormal cancer rate to the illegal chemical dumping that polluted their water, and ultimately, killed countless innocent lives.

And we learn that Krane Chemical is indeed guilty on all counts.

“Ratzlaff had a memo under lock and key. It was eight years old and had been prepared under his supervision. It ran for a hundred pages and described in gruesome detail the company’s illegal dumping of toxic waste at the Bowmore plant. It summarised the company’s elaborate efforts to hide the dumping, to dupe the Environmental Protection Agency, and to buy off the politicians at the local, state, and federal level. It recommended a clandestine but effective cleanup of the waste site, at a cost of some $50 million. It begged anyone who read it to stop the dumping.” (Pg 25)

In other words, shameless and calculated abuse- blatant negligence.

And yet, Mr. Trudeau, billionaire owner of Krane Chemical Corporation, vowed that “not a dime of (their) hard-earned profits will ever get into the hands of those trailer park peasants (residents of Bowmore and casualties of the irresponsible chemical dumping).” (Pg 26)

    This fictional tale is a reflection of real world events, or so I gather, reestablishing my suspicions about this wicked and crooked world.

 

THE RICH AND POWERFUL EXPLOIT THE POOR AND HELPLESS

Photo credit: www.wikipedia.org
    Mr. Trudeau’s driver, Toliver, chauffeurs Trudeau’s black Bently to his Central Park penthouse worth $28 million, $38 million if you include the additional interior work.

His trophy wife is perched in her dressing room of the master suite while hairdressers fix her $1000 hairdo.

Draped on her size 2 physique (achieved with a daily routine of an hour with a trainer- $300 per, private yoga- $300 per and nutritionist- $200 per) is a $25,000 Valentino dress. (Pg 33-36)

Oh, and she’s eyeing Abused Imelda, an intriguing piece of “art” that Mr. Trudeau eventually does purchase for $18 million (Pg 63).

    In other words, the Trudeaus are not exactly lacking financially.
    On the other hand, the Paytons- a husband and wife lawyer team that dare sue Krane Chemical Corporation- live in a 3 bedroom apartment of an old complex, and are at least 4 months behind with rent (Pg 46-47). They own a “battered Ford Taurus with a million miles, at least one low tire, and constant click of a sticking valve” (Pg 19). Life was once financially liberating, but then this Baker case with Krane Chemicals sucked away their BMW, the Jaguar, the credit cards, their house… Eventually they took a bank loan of $400,000 to finance the case.
    For the Paytons, money is tight, and every dollar matters.
    And legal battles require money.
    So when the Paytons manage an impressive win over Krane Chemicals, Trudeau appeals to the Supreme Court, then pull every dirty trick in the book to ensure a heavy tip in his favour.
    Firstly, he’s aware of the Paytons’ fragile monetary position, that a slight jolt will send them down bankrupt-street. And push, he does, buying over the Paytons’ bank- with his mountain of cash.
    Next, why take a chance with wild cards like random Supreme Court judges, when you can rig the judicial election, strategically place a friendly judge, then sway the final verdict to your advantage, all for only $8 million.

Money talks.

Photo credit: www.dreamstime.com

 

RELIGION IS A CONVENIENT POLITICAL MANIPULATION TOOL

Ron Fisk is a small town lawyer from Brookhaven, Mississippi. Fits the good Christian mould perfectly, we gather, and ideal choice for Supreme Court judge candidate in conservative Mississippi.

The idea of running for judge is pitched to him by a low profile yet highly effective firm called Troy-Hogan, who are in the business of “reforming courts”.

“… That’s what we do, and we do it very quietly. When our clients need help, we target a supreme court justice who is not particularly friendly, and we take him, or her, out of the picture.” (Pg 117)

In the case of Krane Chemicals, at a price of $8 million, they place in the supreme court a judge that is willing to protect corporate liability at all cost. One that would vote in favour of overturning the $41 million dollar jury verdict, freeing Krane Chemicals of their lawsuit.

They already have a target- Judge Sheila McCarthy. They will replace her on the supreme court with one of their own. All they need now is a candidate.

And an angle of attack- religious values.

Unaware that he was meant as a pawn in a bigger game, Ron bites the bait. “… change the judicial landscape of this country. And if we do that, we can protect the rights of the unborn, restrict the cultural barrage that is consumed by our children, honour the sanctity of marriage, keep homosexuals out of our classrooms, fight off the gun-control advocates, seal our borders, and protect the true American way of life,” (Pg 152). In other words, a series of religious-aligned jargon.

Ron is convinced. He will run for supreme court member to uphold Christian values at the juridical level.

And play the religious cards, he does, with his campaign manager as a conductor.  He kicks off his campaign at the pulpit of the church he worships. “I seek to serve on the supreme court because I cherish the values that we share. Values based on the bible and our faith in Christ. The sanctity of the family- man and woman. The sanctity of life… I am frustrated by the erosion of our values. They are under attack by our society, by our depraved culture, and… by our courts. I offer my candidacy as one man’s fight against liberal judges…” (Pg 277)

Of course they advertise his opponent, Judge Sheila McCarthy as a liberal (although she is not).

And the churches rally firmly behind him, completely oblivious to the corporate interest of Ron’s puppet masters.

The Christian support is obvious. At a political rally, his supporters hang huge ‘Save The Family’ banners, an attestation to Ron’s primary selling point.

The event begins with a prayer (religious), followed by gospel songs (also religious), and more sermons (very religious). And repeat. (Pg 421-422)

Photo credit: www.dailyherald.com

Pastor Denny Ott (pastor to many of the cancer victims) tries to warn Pastor Ted of the danger of endorsing a political candidate, given their status as a non-profit organisation (church). “Mr. Fisk is being used by a conspiracy of big business interests to stack our supreme court with judges who will protect corporate wrongdoers by limiting their liability,” he writes in a letter. (Pg 414)

Yet, blinded by religious convictions, they are unable to see past the marketed package (Christian judge) to the manipulative forces behind. They are unable to separate church and state.

Picture credit: www.reddit.com

 

GOOD DOES NOT ALWAYS OVERCOME EVIL

    This book has one certainty- the good and evil.
    Unlike books that reveal both the light and dark of its characters, John Grisham’s figures belong to either extremes of the good vs. evil spectrum.

The Paytons are good; Mr Trudeau and Krane Chemicals are evil.

Pastor Denny Ott is good; Pastor Ted is evil.

The people of Bowmore are good; The employees of Troy-Hogan are evil.

Other than Ron Fisk, who has pure intentions, but plays devil’s advocate to the evil Trudeau’s cause, the antagonists of the story are obvious.

The Paytons (good) fought with everything they had, putting at stake their finances, their firm, their family, their reputation, in an effort to liberate the oppressed people of Bowmore (good).

But Krane Chemicals (bad) couldn’t care less about the cancer clusters, the dying people, the pain, the suffering… all that matters is money.

And fight justice with money, they do.

And succeed.

Good loses. Evil wins.

    Mr. Trudeau gets his wish. Not a cent is paid to lawyer or plaintiff.

Quintis: A Scorpion Love Story

P.S: Based on CBS’s Scorpion.

P.P.S: Brimming with spoilers.

P.P.P.S: Consider yourself warned!

Photo credit: www.pinterest.com

Like soya and cincau.

Roti and dhal.

Chocolate and peanut butter.

Behaviourist and mechanical prodigy.

Toby and Happy.

Who knew romantic endeavours of the emotionally stunted could be so strangely entertaining.

“People only let you down,” says Happy. “You put a quarter-inch wrench on a quarter-inch bolt, it works. Tools don’t let you down.” Toby replies, “spending your life scared to connect to anyone isn’t any way to live.” (S1E2)

The couple go way back as friends. They regularly make bets, mostly at Slyvester’s expense; or exchange witty banter, at mutual expense.

Toby’s affection for Happy is painfully patent. When former colleague turned psychotic enemy- Mark Collins takes a swipe at Happy for a supposing mistake, Toby jumps in like the freaking Calvary in a fedora. “Hey, Collins, you lay off her or we have an issue.” Dayyuum, sister. (S1E5)

Towards the end of that episode, Walter (head genius) playfully tease her. “Toby going after Collins to protect your honour… what was that all about?” She shrug and responds. “The shrinks’ crazier than all of us. What a surprise.”

But her silent afterthought suggest more. She steals a peep across the room where Toby is reading two books simultaneously- because, genius, duh- and he catches her eye. They share a wordless tender moment, free of intellectual jargon and facetious insults.

Swoon-ville, guys!

Gif credit: www.scorpionedit.tunblr.com

The inappropriate wisecracks doesn’t stop though- “Dear Lord, thank you for this gift.” Gift: Happy’s ass. (S1E9)

Nor does his thoughtful yet arguably misguided tactics to please Happy- like hacking into social services for her family records, painful nerve that it is to her. (S1E7)

will toby grow a pair and ask happy out?

Then he finally musters the courage to ask her out. He scores 2 tickets to a monster truck show, because where else would you take a machine-obsessed mechanical whizz?

But Freudian displacement, a.k.a. being a first class chicken render the dude a tad bit slow. As he turns away to retrieve the prized ducats, Happy is distracted by the shiny new musician- Peyton Temple.

“Can I ask you something crazy… you’ve got plans tonight?” Peyton fix Happy with hopeful eyes. An eavesdropping Toby is evidently dejected.

“Are you into drag races?” Happy ask cautiously. “… There’s a rally in Pomona…”

“Wanna go?” ask Peyton.

“Yeah, why not?”

You know what they say, Toby? Chics dig musicians. (S1E8)

Gif credit: www.scorpionedit.tumblr.com
declaration of love

But ego maniac psychiatrists don’t give up.

-Because Season 1 Episode 10 brings Toby’s first vocal declaration of his feelings for Happy.

During a mission, they are separated from the group with no food, water, or idea where they are. Happy injures her leg during a tumble into strategically-located ravine.

Toby finally convince her to let him check out her injury, being a M.D. and all (note: psychiatrists, not to be confused with psychologist, ARE medical doctors).

He pulls off her boot and gives her feet a worried look. This is the realest we’ve seen Toby to date. He even ignores Happy’s foot fetish remark.

“…Why are you a shrink?” Asked Happy.

“If you must know,  my mother was nuts. She was clinically bipolar. And I watched my dad struggle to manage her illness, so I became a shrink to try to help them both.” Toby replies quietly.

And then, because he’s Toby, adds, “Geez, Happy, you know that there are whole sections of the internet that would pay top dollar for a peek at those toes.”

Appalled, Happy spits, “Why do you do that? As soon as you become human, you switch to wise-ass.”

Eyes still focused on dressing her wound, Toby says, “it’s a textbook defence mechanism to hide how I feel.” He finally raises his gaze to meet hers, but only for a second. “…Especially around you… I say stupid things to hide feelings that you already know I have. And we got no food, water, or idea where we are, so if we’re gonna die, I might as well say some stuff, so there.”

My shipping heart is palpitating like crazy!

But because this is clever television, the heartstring-manipulation ends there, but not before the episode finale:

Gif credit: www.scorpionedit.tumblr.com

And Toby always has a felicitous reply:

Gif credit: www.scorpionedit.tumblr.com
How does happy feel about toby?

As the series progress, we note that Toby’s feelings are finally requited, or is it? When Slyvester gets seriously injured during a case, Toby is unfocused and distracted. He rushes out the garage in a flush of frustration… with Happy on his heels. (S1E11)

She is genuinely concerned… But no romantic development…

… Until Season 1 Episode 16. While offering Ralph romantic advice (because 10 year olds need those), Toby says “… some girls don’t know a good thing when it’s right in front of them, no matter how many times it has been offered.” How convenient that Happy happens to be working right there.

She shoots him a sidewards glance, holding some form of handheld metal structure over a bunsen burner. A burst of flame, followed by a cloud of smoke shoots up.

“Maybe she doesn’t want to jeopardise your friendship. Maybe she’s never had a best friend like you before and that probably means a lot to her… You just have to be patient.” She delivers another look in Toby’s direction.

Obviously we’re not talking about Ralph anymore. Poor Ralph.

Gif credit: www.scorpionedit.tumblr.com

They decide to seal the deal for Ralph in the romance department by displaying a radiant show of fireworks for his special lady. And as we all know, when there is pyrotechnics, there is brewing love.

Photo credit: www.happy-x-toby.tumblr.com

Yup, that happened! Oooooooo…

Followed by…

Photo credit: www.spoitlertv.com

Just as Toby leans in to steal a smooch from his special lady, they are interrupted by upset lady teacher screaming about the danger of fireworks on school grounds. Rude!

But then 2 episodes, later…

“Doc! Come here a minute,” calls Happy.

He saunters over. “What’s up?”…

… She grabs him…

… THEN PLANTS ON HIM A GINORMOUS SNOG!!

Oh, be still my fluttering heart! (S1E18)

 

ask her out already, will you?

So what do you do after a beautiful woman kisses you?

Ask her out, abuden.

Happy bets she can fly her paper airplane “down the telephone wires, straight at ground level, across the street, and through a window.” (S1E19)

So the gambling addict (Toby) says, “you’re on. If I win, dinner date. If you win, I’ll do your laundry for a  month.” Win-win for you, huh, Toby?

Photo credit: www.spoilertv.siteblogs.com

Happy will win. I can see it in her eyes. The paper plane drifts down the balcony, rides the breeze, across the street…

… Where a truck materialises out of nowhere and giveth her flight path an abrupt end.

“… We be dating…” Toby says with raised eyebrows.

Photo caption: www.weheartit.com

But the end of the episode brings a new wager. Toby says,”If I win, you take me to dinner. And if (you win), I take you.”

Happy toss the paper airplane across the road, and neither of them even looked.

Imma dying!

So the dinner date is set in stone. Dream come true for Toby, right?

Then he HAD to oversleep and miss the date. (S1E20)

To do list after standing up a girl with abandonment issues:

  1. Bring her “wrench” bouquet and box of “nuts”
  2. Grovel
  3. Grovel on repeat

Things to expect after standing up a girl with abandonment issues:

  1. Forgiveness Eternal rage

Well, hell hath no furry like a woman’s wrath.

But love stricken shrinks don’t give up, do they?

No, they don’t. They persist through snarky swipes and blatant rejection.

And then in Season 2, we hear a name drop- Chet.

Happy chatting on the phone with Chet.

Happy going to the club to meet with Chet.

Happy ridding into the garage on the back of a motorcycle with Chet.

Happy sure is spending a chunky amount of time with Chet.

Gif credit: www.scorpionedit.tumblr.com

Toby drown his pain in bouts of physically punishing boxing routines. That is, punishing to watch.

OOOfff….

To be fair, he’s not that bad. Yours truly has been on the receiving end of numerous jabs. That ringing that last for ages, the inability to open one’s mouth past a conservative 30 degrees, the inner lip cuts from, you know, boxing with teeth braces.

I learnt my lessons- keep hands up. Toby learnt his lesson too…

… that the “more manly, less academic” strategy doesn’t work with Happy?

But first, he is determined to trail her to a club. Because “I just needs to see Happy happy with Chet, and then… I can move on.” (S2E8)

I’m gearing myself up for another boxing match. This time, Toby vs. Chet, when they (Toby, Walter, Sylvester and Cabe) walk into… a comedy club? And this…

What?! That was actually more painful to watch than Toby’s boxing match.

But his black eye from earlier that day gives him clarity, because he says “Chet isn’t her boyfriend. He’s her comedy coach… You know, all this time, Happy and I were doing the same thing. We were subconsciously replacing the risk our relationship represented. I got into a ring, where I had no business being. And Happy, the world’s unfunniest person, tried to make strangers laugh. We were replacing what we lost when we lost each other. That excitement of risk. This means that deep inside her there is a seedling of regret”.

Gif credit: www.sporpionedit.tumblr.com

And give her space, he does. Finally. Imagine my surprise.

But the feelings game is still strong

In Season 2 Episode 12, they share a dance so sweet, my heart melted, and I had to gather the liquified remains in a glass jar.

During an assignment, the team returns to college, where Toby is determined to have the ultimate college experience this time. But, as usual, events go south, leaving him disappointed.

So Happy beefs up some tunes from her car, and tells him, “you can check one thing off your college bucket list… the dance.” They link hands, and after a couple of awkward-ish steps, she leans against his shoulders.

“What are you doing?” He’s pleasantly surprised.

“Letting my guard down.”

Screams!

Things are really starting to pick up pace here. In the very next episode (S2E13), Happy nearly drowns. Toby wants to jump in after her, but Cabe “don’t be an idiot” him. When they finally pull her suffocated and shivering body from the water, Toby is stricken with worry. There, soaking wet, they share wordless-tender-moment 2.0.

But the best is yet to come, guys, because after 17 whole episodes, they finally share steamy kiss, part 2!

“plausible deniability” ends now

The team is roped into a mission in the heart of Antartica (S2E14). Fix antenna, connect to satellite and get out of there in 2 minutes, right? Wrong.

And the wrong turns wrong-er when Happy is separated from the group in the mother of blizzards.

Guess what did Toby do? Correct- he advanced like a mad man into the -40 degrees cold and dancing ice in search for the love of his life.

“Happy!” he calls. “Happy!”

“Toby! Doc!” she screams. No answer. But yes- ravine that she tumbles into like a snooker ball into billiard table hole.

Not good.

In a fit of rage, she throws her “saying yes to life” book by Quincy Berkstead (Toby’s nemesis) out of the hole. As probability have it, Toby stumbles upon the strangely dry reading material, which lead him to the popsicle-equivalent happy, sitting there unconscious and motionless.

He jumps down the ravine like bat man minus the grace.

In an attempt to warm her up, he makes history- by getting naked with Happy Quinn in a sleeping bag.

Oooolalahh..

so what do we know so far?

We know that Toby is head over heels in love with Happy. No points for that answer.

We know that he will do anything for her, which includes, but is not limited to, defending her against a crazy lunatic, voluntarily getting sucked into a turbine despite the 100% chance of being cut to pieces, and freezing to death in Antartica.

We also know that Happy is falling for Toby. Wait… what?

Yup, right out of the horse’s mouth. (S2E15)

We know that he launched into a series of petty fights with Walter, which landed the duo in “couples therapy” (S2E17).

We know that Walter showed up at Toby’s doorstep to apologise.

We know Toby admitted to his tendency to self-destruct when the going is smooth for him. “… I’ve never been happier in my life, I don’t know how to handle that, so I become a pain in the tuchas.”

We know the two made up.

We know Toby turned down Walter’s offer to hang out at Kovelsky’s on account of needing rest.

We know that as he closed the door of his apartment, a feminine voice said, “Really doc? You’ve really never been happier?”- Happy! Actually, Happy in a bathrobe, in what is clearly post coitus bliss.

He walks over to her, huge smile plastered across his face. “God as my witness, I’m not gonna do anything to ruin this.”

Gentle acoustic melody plays as they wrap their arms around each other and engage in a sweet lip-lock.

We know that IT finally happened.

We know that Quintis (Quinn and Curtis) has come to pass!

It Only Happens In The Movies: Love- A Feeling Or A Choice?

Photo credit: www.usborne.com

P.S.: Contains spoilers, fury, blatant honesty and slight profanity.

P.P.S.: If you’re here but resent my rambling, note only this: READ. THE. BOOK.

the book

I’m a chick lit junkie. Despite my resident identity as a feminist, I swoon like a fan girl at the cliches: (1) the rain kiss. (2) The airport kiss (3) The I-screwed-up kiss. And my personal favourite, (4)  the will-they-won’t-they-they-will! kiss.

I was genuinely upset finishing It Only Happens In The Movies. Not at the ending, because that was marvellous on multiple tiers.

Despite his (male love interest) Hollywood-worthy grand apology (for cheating on her), Audrey walks away. She made a choice. She can NOT be with somebody who could hurt her the way he did. The couple does NOT end up together.

And yet, it was a happy ending. Once again, Holly Bourne hits home with a pleasantly felicious finale.

No, the sorrow came latched onto the anticlimactic surge that ensue the flip of the last page; because with that bolded “THE END” concludes my journey with Audrey Winters.

The journey that had me laughing, hurting and fuming to various degrees.

Yet, I have an ugly confession: I wish Audrey’s father a gnarlier fate.

In fact, I wish I could put him in a body suit of red ants, tie him with up with ropes soaked in rat’s urine, then dye his hair green, place him in front of a starving horse, and watch as said horse take big chunks off his grassy-looking locks. I will then gift him nose hair extensions and coat his feet with black tar so every heavy-footed step he takes brings a risk of tripping over his flowing nose hair.

I cruised through the book brimming with anger at that fictional character that is a perfect personification of so many real life men in our world today.

In fewer words, I’m legit pissed at Audrey’s dad and his bitchy new wife, Jessie.

After years and years of marriage, Audrey’s ass hole dad leaves her mom for a wife “upgrade”. He discards them like yesterday’s rubbish. During the first half of the book, he convince Audrey that one “couldn’t help falling in love”. Apparently, “it’s not something you have control over” (Bourne, 2017, p131). Later, he adds salt to the wound by selling the house they live in, only because his bitchy new wife demands so.

Towards the end, Audrey’s mom end up in the hospital. In a flight of rage, she marches over to the house of the man that calls himself her dad yet really is nothing more than a sperm donor her dad’s house.

I’m cheering her on with every fibre in my being. Go, Audrey, go!

She starts by yelling at bitchy new wife. “Are you happy now, you HOME WRECKING WHORE?” (Bourne, 2017, p360)

Yes! Finally! I’ve waited 360 pages for this moment!

Bitchy New wife has the audacity to say “isn’t she (Audrey’s mum) pathetic? Hasn’t she let herself go? I’ll never let myself get like that. No wonder he left her.”

Sperm donor Audrey’s dad walks out and interrupts. So Audrey says, “I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU, I’M TALKING TO YOUR SLUT OF A WIFE.”

DOUBLE YES!!

Bitchy New wife just stands there, “vacant, placid, and passive”. Apparently how sperm donor Audrey’s dad likes his women. (Bourne, 2017, p361)

The exchange continues, and then my favourite part. “…How can you love her, dad? A woman who doesn’t mind breaking up a marriage? Who then tries to strip that family for everything she can get?” (Bourne, 2017, p362)

BINGO.

… “I’M STILL YOUR DAUGHTER, DAD, DON’T TAKE THE HOUSE. DON’T DO THIS. DON’T CHOOSE THAT BITCH OVER US.” (Bourne, 2017, p363)

And then sperm donor says, “Don’t ask me to choose between you and Jessie. Because I’ll choose her.”

He chose.

He could sell his affair as an eclipse of the heart- because love is a feeling- and “you can’t help your feelings” (Bourne, 2017, p315). Here’s news, old man: you sure as rain can “choose what to do about them”.

And “he chose. He chose to let them overwhelm him. He chose to leave (Audrey’s) Mum. He chose to leave (Audrey and her brother Dougie)”. (Bourne, 2017, p315)

He choose to forsake his marriage. To pull the rug that is stability from under two teenagers. Because, love is “a feeling and not a choice”.

on love as a choice and “the one”

Despite my love for ships and chick lit, I consider myself relatively realistic about love. I’ve never subscribed to the Disney version of relationships.

My first boyfriend donned a suit and ran through a mall with a bouquet of flowers for me. Obviously, I was touched, but “touched” summed it all. From my point of view, gestures like that were reserved for the big screen (or iPad screen)- and extremely awkward to live in real life. I know “awkward” was 90% of my inner turmoil when he scampered into TGIF, panting like a mad dog, flowers missing a petal or two. A scene like this would pen out perfectly in a Reese Witherspoon movie with I’ve Had The Time of My Life blasting in the background. But in reality, he looked so out of place in the penguin suit, I had to feign captivation.

In fact, on a later date when I received a loooong out of the blue sms (no WhatsApp then) informing me that he won’t always manage such over the top gestures- no doubt the aftereffect of his overthinking, I secretly sighted with relief. What, no more pretending to love every moment of slow dancing with you while hundreds of people stare and snicker behind our backs?

I now realise that he moulded our time to fit some cooked up fantasy, making assumptions about my love languages- forgivable since it was, after all, young love.

Yet, history repeats itself in the love language department when a later boyfriend march on with blatant disregard for mine. Ironically, one of the first things he said when we started dating was, “我知道女孩子要的是什么” (loose translation: I understand every woman’s desire).

He went on to carry all 6 shopping bags, leaving me none, despite my constant pleas- “just give me something to carry”.

“你的责任是牵我的手。” (Translation: your sole duty is to hold my hand), he replied.

Meme credit: www.pinterest.com

Sorry, was the eye roll too obvious? Oh, I didn’t mean to shoot that boogie in an attempt to mute my snort either, I apologise.

And after a bad breakup, he tried to win me back by cleaning my apartment- completely against my will. “Don’t do it,” I said. “I’ll clean myself.”

If he knew the first thing about me, he’ll know NOT to carry all 6 bags and NOT to clean my apartment- because it makes me feel useless.

And if you want good in my books, you do NOT make me feel useless.

So what he really did, was seal his fate and proved to me that he’s NOT the one.

Which is also how I realised that Dickson was the one (do you believe in the one?). At the yardstick 2 years mark- for the sake of a tangible timeline- he knew NOT allow me any feeling of uselessness.

With regard the one, I once grasp fervently to the notion that love is a choice and not a feeling. The one is a myth fit for fairytales, I insisted. Feelings fade, but a choice endures. When I was young, mama said: “don’t fall in love. Instead, grow in love- for you may fall out of love, yet to grow out of love is an improbable feat.”

When stuck in a love triangle with that mindset, I played the familiar cards- opting choice over feeling. Today, I readily admit there were more feelings for the guy I didn’t choose (Guy 1), not because I discerned him to be the one. Rather, he (Guy 1) hit the right buttons in degrees that exceed the guy I did choose (Guy 2). He (Guy 1) fed my narcissistic complex with words and ego-boosting praises: my love language. On the other hand, “chosen guy” (Guy 2) insisted on “chivalry acts” like opening car doors, completely oblivious to the dreaded feeling of uselessness it cause me.

Yet, I picked him (Guy 2). The guy who looked better on paper- because I convinced myself that love is a choice and not a feeling. So choose the one with better terms, right?- A blunder of epic proportions.

As events have it, neither guy was right for me- my greatest mistake is the failure to recognise it. Turns out, there IS a limit when choosing to love a guy whose core personality disgust you.

Then I met Dickson.

And I didn’t need a conscious effort to fall in love, because I just did.

But despite my exciting depiction of our relationship, there ARE boring days. Here’s a snippet from my wedding speech:

Racing heartbeats, sweaty palms… I remember this warm fuzzy feeling that saturated me. I won’t lie: I fell in love. Over time, the excitement reduced, but in its place: familiarity, security and comfort. Infatuation became deliberate love. The initial high kicks in every now and then, but other than that, boring monotonous love. And I surprised myself: I adore this boring monotonous love. I WANT boring monotonous love.

Is my want for boring monotonous love with him a testament that he is the one?

I don’t know.

What I do know, is the ease in which our conversations flow; that natural sync. The mutual familiarity with body language, and how effortless we read between the other’s lines.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a previous post said “I once described our chemistry as proteins that fit perfectly with specific substrates. These proteins are called enzymes. We are enzyme and substrate. The key and lock fit perfectly. The two jigsaw puzzle pieces are apt”. Like the slices fell into place and everything just made sense.

There is a difference between a clash in opinions vs. personality. I may not agree with all his opinions, but I have zero issue with his character*. It is my personal theory that to qualify as the one, harmonious personalities are required, opinions and interest being secondary.

*I understand the difference between personality and character too. But in this context, I refer to the traits that makes him, him.

Of course, there is no perfect the one. When two individuals merge lives into one, work is inevitable- a controlled variable. The independent variable is the suitability of characters; and the dependant variable? – The amount of work required for a successful** relationship.

**Success is subjective, but for the sake of this relationship- a functional and relatively happy union.

SO MOVIES- YAY OR NAY?

The theme of the book is that movies are not realistic.

For a school project, Audrey interviews Jane, a relationship counsellor about her views on romance films.

The problem with romance films, she explained, is that they always finish premature. Drag it on and you will see the fights, the discontent, the jealousy, the unfaithfulness.

“The movie either ends when the couple gets together, or someone dies before you can see the relationship develop. So you only see this perfect idea of this couple. You don’t see the niggles that can become cracks and how those can become giant crevices over time” (Bourne, 2017, p312). At this point, I figured out why show ratings drop when popular ships finally transpire.

And then she addresses the trillion dollar question: is love a feeling or a choice?

“A feeling,” says Audrey- spoken like a woman in love.

Then Jane replies, “… ask any couple who’ve been married a few decades the same question? They all say it’s a choice. Every last one of them.”

“… They get up every single morning and make a conscious decision to stay with the person they’re with. On the good days, that choice is easier. On the bad days, they really have to fight the feeling in them to make the opposite choice. To leave. To find someone else. To walk away***.” (Bourne, 2017, p314)

Photo credit: www.lifehack.org

*** In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed (sequel to famed Eat, Pray, Love), she presented an analogy of Greeks vs Romans. “The perfect Greek lover is erotic; the perfect Hebrew lover is faithful. Passion is Greek; fidelity is Hebrew” (Gilbert, 2010, p306). A Greek remains in a marriage for love, a Hebrew stays out of duty and religious/moral convictions. With that in mind, 2 people remaining in marriage might not be a sufficient datum as to the health of their relationship.

20 years old Chow Ping insisted that love is a choice. 27 years old Chow Ping says, love is a Kit Kat ice cream. Eat through the sweet, fluffy joy to meet the cold hard centre- the Kit Kat chocolate wafer. Yet, the chocolate wafer’s texture does nothing to cheat its taste- more sweetness.

Different textures, same sweetness.

Love- a choice AND a feeling- both equally sweet.

Photo credit: www.osem.co.il

Reference:

Bourne, H. (2017). It only happens in the movies. London, UK: Usborne Publishing Ltd.

Gilbert, E. (2010). New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Jane the Virgin: Genre Statutes

 

Photo credit: www.tvline.com

There are rules to the genre.

Life is ridden with monotone, tears and pain. In fact, these very realities accentuate the appeal of television; the option to subscribe to a desired tone of mood. To escape reality. The freedom to choose if you want to pee in your pants (horror), grip the sofa till it rips (thriller), choke on your saliva in fits of laughter (comedy), plant your heart on a roller coaster (drama)…

Photo credit: sarahnealphotography1

… or swoon like a diabetic patient from hypoglycaemia as the hero and heroine (or heroes/ heroines- sexuality is fluid*) ride off into the sunset. Birds are chirping, a light breeze tease their perfectly trimmed bangs. The temperature is a perfect 22 degrees celsius as they gallop past the luminous glittering blue lake under the falling dusk, and romantic melody pipes in the background. And they live HEA (happily ever after)- Romance.

*topic we will explore in the near future.

Photo credit: www.spoilertv.com

“There ARE rules to the genre,” young Jane insist on Jane The Virgin Chapter 54. The flashback features an adolescent Jane at the reading of romance novel The Last Song in Avalon.

As always, Jane comes bearing a list. In this case, a list of points she intend to air with the author. She questions, “I would like to know why Noelle and Jean Luc don’t get together at the end.”

“Well, love doesn’t always work out,” the writer responds with a smile.

“Yeah, in real life. But this is a romance novel. In a romance novel, they get a happily ever after…” Jane is adamant.

“Some romances don’t end happily,” the author’s explains patiently. “Think of Romeo and Juliet.”

“But that’s one of Shakespeare’s tragedies…” Jane continues. “… In tragedies they end up dead; in comedies, they end up happy; and in romance novels, they end up together… You need an HEA” She’s agitated. I don’t blame her. I’m beyond agitated.

There ARE rules to a genre. For example, the love interest does not, after 2 seasons of heart wrenching will-they-won’t-they, a broken engagement, a complicated love triangle, relentless pursuing, selfless friendship, a second engagement, the “Super Bowl of weddings”, get shot by his detective partner, who turns out to be a notorious crime lord in a rubber mask. And just minutes before their much anticipated pilot coitus debut (Jane the virgin finally losing her virginity on her wedding night!). But Michael survives the gunshot to the heart!!

Photo credit: www.tvguide.com

And then, 10 episodes later, he croaks. Cease to exist. Returns to the earth.

Dies.

An unspeakable act that violates every aspect of the romance genre law.

I bawled my eyeballs out silly. More tears were shed than that at the ending of certain BGRs. I waddled in disbelief** and conjured up a dream where Michael lives- a literal dream in between REM cycles.

** Despite the many hints and ground work the writers lay, I stubbornly remained in my state of acute denial.

Photo credit: www.theodysseyonline.com

Of course, the problem arise when the show’s genre is unclear. According to the ever-reliable wikipedia (my entitled opinion), Jane the Virgin is a drama, romantic comedy, telenovela and satire.

Which is a licence to break every rule in the book, right?

NOO, duh!! There are rules in this universe. A nature order of things. Imagine the wrecked havoc if show writers decide to do as they please, like, say, kill Michael off?! What kind of dimwit move is that?!!! Have you no heart? Have you no empathy for your viewers? Don’t you care about ratings???!!

I guess, the nature of their mixed genre grants them creative liberty.

Some fans hold on to the hope that Michael is not really dead. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that doesn’t seem like the direction the writers are heading. But then again, it is a Telenovela, right? You never know.

Till then, I have resolved to boycott the show, and take everybody with me. Nobody can replace Michael. Nobody! And absolutely no-freaking-body can fit the void his death has drilled in my heart…

Somehow, I’m just not as emotionally invested in the show anymore. Even with Tyler Posey’s Adam (#TeamAdam) new appearance, whom I loved on Teen Wolf. 

Then again, this is purely the perspective of a loyal member of #TeamMichael. #TeamRafael is probably having a field day. Mountains of popped champagne cork, I imagine.

And, just for the sake of a stroll down memory lane, here are 107 reasons to ship Jane and Michael:

Because snow makes everything more romantic:

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how I wish Jane the Virgin ends:

On the same note, How I Met Your Mother is a tragedy, NOT a comedy.

#HellHathNoFurryLikeATeamMichaelfan

What’s a Girl Gotta Do?: My Favourite Moments

 

Picture credit: www.goodreads.com

Because revolutions don’t launch themselves, let alone feminist ones in this patriarchal world.

In Holly Bourne’s What’s a girl gotta do?, Lottie is determined to succeed where NATO (no action talk only) feminist like yours truly, fail. She wants to change the world. Our fearless activist reasons that society’s treatment of women can be allegorised into a pyramid.

Photo credit: www.britannica.com
Here’s a random picture of pyramids.

At the tip of the condensed structure are “honour killings, FGM, women dying in illegal abortions, worldwide structural inequalities…” (Pg 79). Happenings that make us wanna scream foul and punch the perpetrators in the gut.

However, we fail to realise at the base of this pyramid, are layers and layers of seemingly unimportant mindsets and habits. “Silly sexism”, if you will. Things like slut-shaming, or misogynistic lyrics of a rap song (Pg 79). These unknowingly set a foundation for practices that violate women rights to the very core.

In an effort to combat this tendency, Lottie and gang sets afloat a month long Project #vagilante to call out every act of sexism or gender inequality that surfaces.

Below are my favourite moments from What’s a girl gotta do?:

a) Showing male scum who’s boss.

The story kickstarts with a couple of blue collared workers. Lottie is dressed in jeans and a modest jumper (note 1). Her sole mistake? Red lipstick. *gasp*

These men harass her. They corner her so she’s wedged between two hormonal males. “Shy, are you? Shy girls don’t wear lipstick like that.”

The encounter shakes her. She runs aways silently, at first…

… But later returns dressed as a “child prostitute” (not the wisest, I admit. But my fictional heroine, nevertheless).

The perverted male scum naturally took the bait. So she reports them to their superiors, and threatens to call the police. “(What you did) was sexual harassment. I should be allowed to walk down a road without some men… letting me know I’m attractive… to wear whatever I want and walk wherever I want without being threatened or objectified, or even bothered.” (Pg 56)

You go, sista!

Note 1: Her outfit, although irrelevant to the subject at hand, is mentioned because of the public notion that a girl’s dressing is to blame for any bad thing that happens to her. Fun fact: It. Does. Not.

A micro-mini that screams “check out my butt cheeks!” might warrant a couple of glances, but is absolutely NOT a harassment invitation. And unless she literally verbalises “please rape me”, NOTHING else, certainly not her choice of attire or red lipstick, is an “invitation to rape”.

b) Lottie stops shaving.

Photo credit: www.smartfem.com

Cognitive dissonance, she explains. For example, liking cute piglet pictures on Instagram but eating bacon; or rushing to yoga class.

In line with that, why watch rom coms yet shun the idea of Prince Charming? Or wear make up, when we girls rely on substance rather than sheer looks?

“Wearing makeup,” Lottie concludes, “don’t make me feel oppressed.” She doesn’t wear it to up attractiveness points with the guys. She just simply, well, love makeup.

Shaving, on the other hand, makes her feel like a hypocrite. Which is how the decision was made to lay off the shaver for a whole month. (Pg 152-156).

Salute, salute, salute.

I have ALOT of body hair for an ethnic Chinese girl. As a kid, it was the constant focal point of my self-consciousness. There came a point when I wore stockings to school in the intense Malaysian heat, just to hide my leg hair.

The public’s concept of how a woman (or man) should look is the culprit here. If I were a boy, even just for a day, I probably wouldn’t give two hoots about all that unshaven glory (lack of, maybe).

Do we allow society’s perception to shape our actions? Furthermore, ones based on a mere social construct like gender (story for another day)?

c) My pubes are cheaper than yours.

Or maybe, it’s marketing. Marketing that exploits the public’s willingness to pay more for products *dramatic pause* in pink.

Today I Found Out compared men and women’s shaving utensils. They concluded that besides slight design features, there is virtually no difference between the two. Other than the colour, of course.

Lottie and friends will have no such thing. They marched into a local drugstore (pharmacy) and created a diversion while the rest of the gang stick posters on the razor shelf. These posters say “identical cheaper razors that way- just be a man”. The sign is complete with a cartoon dick and speech bubble: “my pubes are cheaper than yours” (Pg 190).

Poor minimum wage drugstore employees though.

d) I’m too thin to menstruate.

Once again, public perception is king.

“Not on our watch,” says Lottie and friends. They dress skinny mannequins at the clothes store in T-shirts that say “#vagilante” and “I’m too thin to menstruate” (Pg 193).

The unhealthy body image media and culture shaft down our throats is disgusting, to say the least. Size negative (because zero doesn’t cut it) models plastered all over magazines and billboards. And apparently, the antonym to “hot” is “fat”. True story.

What’s even more revolting, is the young age when brain washing begins.

Fun fact: it is anatomically impossible for a woman with Barbie’s proportions to walk on two limbs or carry anything heavy. In fact, she is so tragically underweight, that she can’t menstruate. *a million shudders*

Girls, muscles are the new sexy.

e) Lottie and Will’s first kiss. (Pg 233)

Because, I live for ships.

And also, cognitive dissonance.

 

Reference:

Bourne, H. (2016). What’s a girl gotta do? London: Usborne Publishing Ltd.

Behind Wonder Woman is a Man

Photo credit: www.batman-news.com

P.S. Potential spoilers ahead (limited but palpable).

Wonder Woman is an integral picture of girl power and female empowerment, with legs that go on forever, and a smile that could melt the polar ice caps. She is the epitome of feminism, intrinsicly everything I expected from double W- Wonder Woman.

However, today, I break my own mold. Rather than rave about Diana (Wonder Woman)’s mean round horse kick and fearless demeanour, I urge the limelight unto the man behind the heroine: Steve Trevor.

Because, every woman needs a Steve Trevor.

He is his own man

A spy, pilot, and pretty much all round bad-ass. Steve is not threatened by Diana’s competence. He is comfortable playing second fiddle to a woman. His confidence in his abilities let him recognise that a woman’s strength does not diminish his masculinity.

The public conception that strong woman seek weak man makes me ROFL (Roll On the Floor with Laughter). On the contrary, she is better matched with a man who finds validation in his own fortitude. One whose ego pay little regard to his partner’s caliber.

Let her shine

“I can save today, but you can save the world,” Steve croaked before his to-be suicide mission.

No need to play “big strong man” and save the world, because he is secure enough to take a step back for Diana’s home run. The iconic scene comes to mind when Diana bounds into a shower of bullets, shield in hand, fending off attacks with her bracelets of submission. Steve patiently waits behind while Diana shines in her moment.

A real man is contended cheering from the bleachers and recognise when it’s simply not about him. Although Steven was technically down and dirty all the way, he concedes when the spot light is not his to relish.

RESPECT and faith

If there is a sub-theme, it’s the brassy lack of respect the men in power have for their counterparts. When Steve and Diana barged into a military meeting, we note that the sight of a woman triggers a series of shocked expressions. This is followed by Steve’s superior officer urgently shoo-ing her out the door.

Steve’s respect for Diana is a stark contrast from his peers. His faith in her is set in stone. Although her naiveness draw out his frustration, he never belittles her wishes. He views her as an equal, an ally worthy of reverence.

some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this

But I lucked out (although I don’t believe in luck. I think every occurrence is merely an equal or opposite reaction to a string of consequences based on chances and probability and hence ending in results that is easily altered by any antecedent action).

So perhaps I’m simply attracted to the kind of man I desire (duh!).

What I’m trying to say is…

I found my Steve Trevor.

The Arrow’s Suicide

Ar.row 

[ar-oh]

Verb

  1. To destroy the credibility, quality and eliteness of one’s show.
  2. The act of destruction of one’s show by the introduction of a non ideal romantic couple.

Adjective

  1. The downward spiral of a show that was once great.
Photo credit: www.screenrant.com

Arrow was once the blood that course through my veins. Within 36 hours, I binge watched the entire Season 2 in a Japanese airport hotel room. Each episode had me clenching an iPad mini in one hand, cheese crackers in the other.

But those glory days were a Halley’s comet, came, gone, then lost from sight for 75 years. Come Season 3, the series hit a lamentable plateau, followed by a monstrous, humungous, and colossal plunge.

Over the next 2 season, they made tolerable blips on the rating graphs, sufficient to survive, but a far cry from yesteryear’s majestic splendour.

After careful thought and consideration, I have compiled the 3 ways Arrow shot an arrow into their right foot.

Killing Laurel Lance.

Photo credit: www.accesshollywood.com

R.I.P., Arrow. Congratulations on digging your own grave. After playing “guess the name on the tombstone?” for what feels like eternity, the mystery corpse was unraveled: Laurel Lance, a.k.a. The Black Canary.

Damien Darhk stabs Laurel during battle, she doubles over in pain, face cringed with shock. Later, she passes in a hospital bed. Among her last words to Oliver before she bites the dust are: “I’m really glad you found Felicity. And I hope you find your way back to her. Although I know I’m not the love of your life, you will always be the love of mine”.

Laurel’s last words.

If I may, Laurel is the single most unappreciated character on the show. She watched her father struggle with the bottle, beat alcoholism herself, mourned her sister’s brutal murder, then resurrected said sister. Also, she became the Black Canary. If this show has (had) a package of feminism, grit and strength, it’s Laurel Lance.

And then she went to meet her maker.

The internet exploded with endless opprobrium concerning Laurel’s death, my disgust amongst the many. Really, can you blame us?

Lack of crowd control.

Photo credit: www.moviepilot.com

Oliver, Felicity, John, Curtis, Rory, Wild Dog, Dinah… *pants*… Is that all? And that’s just Team Arrow. Wait till I start on the non team members.

Once, there was Roy Harper’s Arsenal, who was then replaced by Thea Queen. And then Thea quit team Arrow, and they were one man (woman) down.

When Laurel died, Madison McLaughlin’s Evelyn Sharp was introduced when she impersonated Laurel’s Black Canary. And she was there to stay.

Arrow is liken to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, whom is reported to have the highest turnover rate of all Fortune 500 companies. Ragman (Rory) came, then also left, and Dinah joined the team.

An overflowing cast could mean lost plot for certain characters, as we observed on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fortunately, they arrested the situation before it got out of hand.

Can Arrow arrest the “crowding” situation before it’s too late?

Olicity 

But she did it anyway.

Olicity, the double edge sword of Arrow’s very existence. A scroll through the comment section of Arrow’s Facebook page would reveal a nice split down the middle of the fan base: pro-Olicity, or anti-Olicity (me, not that I still identify as a fan. I’m just one of the many opinionated keyboard warriors determined to make my mark on the internet through my ferocious typing skills).

Some fans suspect that Laurel’s death was a result of the Olicity ship. Although I’m hesitant to place the entire blame on this single theory, I second that it plays a significant role in the decision.

A large portion of Arrow’s plot has been twisted and side tracked, just so to please the former group of fans. As one might have guess, I’m no Felicity fan. I understand her critical role of computer nerd and all round smarty-pants, but maintain that Oliver could seek a more suitable partner, and certainly not at the risk of a distorted storyline.

Sorry, Arrow.

You have failed this fan base.

 

Disclaimer: These claims are based the writer’s personal opinion.

 

Candy Andy: The One That Got Away

Why? Why? Why?!

Why poke the sleeping tiger? Why rock the boat on calm waters? Why stir the pot of settled porridge? Why throw marbles under the steady jogger?

Why bring Candy Andy back and upset the perfect balance of bliss, endearment and sweet kisses?

Photo credit: www.bedloo.com

My ship on 2 Broke Girls sailed in Season 2 when Caroline and Andy (nicknamed Candy Andy because of his candy store) got over themselves and started sucking faces. Andy was the perfect poster boyfriend. He made her laugh, forgave when she budged in to him on a toilet bowl, blah blah blah… And then they broke up. I slipped into a plane of melancholy and despair.

But my hope for a reunion never dwindled.

Then in Season 5, the flame of hope blazed into a bush fire of hope when he strolled passed the girls’ cupcake window and back on the show…

For one episode.

And then he was gone again. Like he never returned.

After two stages of grief: denial and depression, I decided it’s high time for stage 3: acceptance. Surely, there are other fishes in the sea.

And along came Bobby.

Photo credit: www.2paragraphs.com

He’s loving, understanding, and adores Caroline. So I thought, yeah, why not?

I’m starting to dig the chemistry. Maybe I could live with a Bobby and  Caroline junior, running around, eating nose poop, drooling buckets…

When Candy Andy materialises like a phoenix from the ashes in Season 6. Cute, broad shouldered, and SINGLE. And he wants Caroline back. But Caroline has a boyfriend, Bobby.

Problem.

The New Girl Jess-Sam nostalgia is thick in the air.

She choose Bobby.

A decision I do not condemn.

As the Season 6 finale played without a Candy Andy reappearance, I wonder if history will repeat itself. Will he fade into non-existence? Has he vanished within the same breath that he appeared, never to be seen again?

Is he the one that got away?