National Gallery Singapore

My husband and I visited the National Gallery.

We went through DBS Singapore Galleries 1, 2, and 3 on Level 2. We saw the Chief Justice’s Chamber and Office, as well as UOB Southeast Asia Galleries 1, 2 and 3 on Level 3. We’ll have to go back another time and see galleries 4 to 15 and the Wu Guanzhong Gallery.

I especially liked:

After visiting the gallery, my husband and I crossed Anderson Bridge, where this photo was taken, and got drinks at Starbucks at the Fullerton Waterboat House.

The round, spiny buildings are the famous Esplanade Theatres.

Calvin and Hobbes in Translation

This collection of translations of Bill Watterson’s The Revenge of the Baby- Sat probably got started when I went to Italy in 2002 and chanced upon a copy of the Italian translation.

Undoubtedly I bought the Portuguese one in Portugal in 2004 and the German one in Germany in 2008. My husband fetched me the French one from France at some point or other, having somehow determined that the contents were the same even though the cover was different. A neighbor kindly brought back the Chinese version for me when she went to visit family in Beijing recently.

Seeing Calvin’s words in other languages that use the Roman alphabet is one thing; seeing them in Chinese characters is quite strange.

Below are images of the six different book covers: French, Italian, Portuguese, German, English, and Chinese.

There are translations available in other languages, including Spanish (ISBN 9786075271170), Dutch (ISBN 97890542562), and Czech (ISBN 9788074490798), as well…

Continue reading Calvin and Hobbes in Translation

Coco (2017)

I thought I disliked Olaf the snowman because he falls apart all the time, but I didn’t dislike Miguel’s skeleton ancestors in Coco when they fell apart (over and over again) in the oddly godless land of the dead, so it must be something else about Olaf that rubs me the wrong way. Sadly, the creators of Frozen made him the central character in the animated short Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, which played before Coco.

Coco was totally worth the wait, however. The storytelling was crystal clear, emotional, and well-structured, with appropriate foreshadowing, lots of call-backs, and some stunning visuals. I couldn’t believe that a couple of adults next to me in the theater found it hard to stay awake; I found it hard not to cry.

Coco is the story of Miguel, the youngest in a long line of Mexican shoemakers. Coco is Miguel’s ancient great-grandmother. Coco and her mother were abandoned by an aspiring music man, so no one in the family is allowed to sing or play an instrument. They’re all fine with that… except Miguel. He wants nothing more than to be allowed to develop his musical talent. Eager to prove himself, he tries to steal the guitar from the tomb of a famous local musician so he can enter a competition being held as part of the town’s Day of the Dead celebrations. The theft doesn’t go as planned, and Miguel finds himself on a quest that teaches him about the dangers of ambition and the value of family.

See below for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Coco (2017)

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

It was pretty weird seeing a story about European winter traditions in a theater in tropical Southeast Asia, where Chinese New Year is a more important family holiday than Christmas. Here, if Christmas is commercialized, it’s at least partly because many people aren’t actually Christian.

This Christmas featurette stars Olaf, who I never liked, being just as annoying as ever. His broken-fourth-wall deadpan comments failed to amuse. Meanwhile, Anna and Elsa were so perfect as to be utterly boring, and Christoff was milked for awkward gross-out humor. I didn’t like the feature film Frozen much to begin with, but Olaf’s Frozen Adventure was terrible.

I’m not the only one who didn’t like the short. The reasons mostly seem to be that Pixar usually produces shorts that are surprising, cute, and clever, whereas this one was dull and obviously commercially motivated, and not even all that short.

I did catch Elsa saying “I’m sorry”—which she never does in the entire movie where she’s kinda (but not really) the villain. So there’s that.

Old Singapore coin: It’s a lucky day when you find one of these!

Singapore has only been a country since 1965. It has only had its own coins since 1967. This ten-cent coin is from 1968, and belongs to the first series of Singapore, which coins featured sea animals.

The second series (introduced in 1985) featured flowers. There were two versions of the coat of arms, one with the banner bowed upwards and one with the banner hanging down. Supposedly the coat of arms was changed for better feng shui, because when the banner is hanging down, it looks like a smile rather than a frown. The octagon inscribed in the circular one-dollar coin is thought to be lucky.

The third series of coins (introduced in 2013, after I came to Singapore) involved changes in the metal composition and size of the coins as well as the designs, which are now more architectural.

The new coins have mostly displaced both second series designs, though I still get some mixed in with my change. It is quite rare to see a first series coin in circulation now.

Learn more about Singapore’s coins:

Asian Civilisations Museum

My husband and I went to the Asian Civilisations Museum.

We walked through all the exhibits that were open. We saw the Tang shipwreck exhibit, the Chinese scholar exhibit, the Chinese ceramics exhibit, the performing arts exhibit, the trade exhibit, the Islamic foyer, and the ancient religions exhibit.

Below are notes on a couple of the things we saw.

Continue reading Asian Civilisations Museum

Paycheck (2003)

I think this sci-fi action movie directed by John Woo (who also made Red Cliff) deserves a better reputation than it has. I like it better than all the other movies that were made from Philip K. Dick stories that I’ve seen so far (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Impostor), except for maybe The Adjustment Bureau. The premise is memorably fascinating (thanks, Phil) and the rest of the movie holds up reasonably well if you’re not expecting a cinematic masterpiece. (Yes, yes, you love Blade Runner. Fine. But I don’t, and at any rate Blade Runner isn’t fun, it’s grim.)

In Paycheck, Michael Jennings is a smart but lonely guy who gets paid to reverse-engineer (and improve) high-tech products. After each short-term contract job is completed, his memory is wiped of the work he did. What if, during the longest, highest-paid stint of his career, he learned that his boss had some kind of terrible plan? He’d still have to have his memory erased at the end of the job, but he’d need a way to tell himself how to escape the trap he was in while preventing his boss from carrying out the plan…

How does he escape, what is the plan, and how does he stop his boss? Watch the movie!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/paycheck/id550804986

Or see below for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Paycheck (2003)

Predestination (2014)

It’s impossible to talk about Predestination without giving away important surprises. If you’ve read the Robert E. Heinlein story All You Zombies, although I gather the story is a bit different, you more or less know how the story goes and can proceed to the plot summary. If not, go watch the movie! It’s a very clever retro-futuristic sci-fi thriller, and has nothing to do with actual zombies.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/predestination/id912751334

See below for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Predestination (2014)