To Kill A Mockingbird

Taking a break from my past few emo entries.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a highly acclaimed classic novel, and one of the books studied as part of most grade-schools’ syllabus in the US. It deals with serious issues like racial inequality, class segregation and rape, but from the narrator, Jean Louis Finch (Scout)’s perspective and observations growing up, injecting some light-hearted humour and child-like banter with her elder brother Jem and their friend Dill to keep the story from being too dry.

This has been on my mental reading list for years, but I kept getting distracted by other more relatable literature. Once I finally started on it, I got hooked to the storyline. Being a child at heart, I love books that involved children’s woes and adventures, bonus if food is featured (read: Lane Cake and many other cake references).

It is not all rainbows and puppies though. Racial slurs and discrimination are the main premises of the story. Scout’s widowed father, Atticus Finch, was rudely called a Nigger-lover for taking on a case to defend a black man, Tom Robinson accused of raping a young, white woman, Mayella Ewell from the notoriously crass and uneducated Ewell family. I won’t be going into a full summary of the story as most people would have already read this or its elaborate Wikipedia entry. All I can say is, I was upset that Tom died trying to escape from jail. I was hoping for some justice to give a happy ending. I kept forgetting that not all novels are fairytales.

That’s about it. I know I barely described the story, but I’m not here to write a full synopsis. Just glad that I can tick this off my reading list and move on. I have hundreds of books that I have re-read several times, but great as it was, To Kill A Mockingbird is quite depressing and most probably won’t be on my Read Again list.

Are you…still mine?

Don’t know why I am suddenly filled with doubts and uncertainties these past few days. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened, yet something inside me just bubbled up.

I want to go back to the past and do everything differently. The impossibility of it upsets me tremendously. I’m being ridiculous. But it seems like I can’t let go.

Time is running out.

If we were to start all over again…would you be here?

Don’t disturb me when I’m eating.

I used to love eating at my desk, because it is that 1-2 hours a day that I could have some time for a breather while everyone else is out. However, I don’t know what is becoming of this world nowadays. People are not lunching when they are supposed to, so on the unfortunate days that my lunch group is unavailable and I have to endure lunch at the desk, I get hounded between each spoonful, and even in the midst of one. Don’t people have ANY consideration at all?? Can’t they see I am eating? It shouldn’t matter whether I’m out for lunch or eating in. It is MY time, and whatever it is that you need could wait till I’m done. I eat fast anyway, mainly because I don’t have the leisure to savour my food.

I’ve always wanted to put a sign at my desk that says “Lunch. Please Do Not Disturb” but I thought it would seem too aggressive. Wish I had an office where I could just close the door and shut everyone out.

I’m eating. Leave me alone. ROARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Movie: Big Hero 6

Movie outings are becoming less frequent for us of late, mainly because there were no movies that really piqued both our interests enough to part with $20. However, I was tickled by the trailer for Big Hero 6 sometime back, so yesterday, A surprised me with tickets. We had dinner at Tim Ho Wan, JEM before the movie.

At first, I vaguely wondered why a movie about a boy (Hiro Hamada) and his balloon robot (Baymax) was called Big Hero 6, because I didn’t notice any other main characters in the trailer. Even halfway into the movie, there were no other heroes. But of course, it picked up from there when Hiro’s friends (GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred) were “upgraded” with awesome abilities. Together with Baymax, they became six heroes.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Plot synopsis (with some references from Wikipedia):

Hiro is a young robotics prodigy who lives in San Fransokyo with his elder bro Tadashi and their Aunt Cass. Tadashi attends university at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology under the mentorship of robotics professor, Robert Callaghan. Tadashi did not want Hiro wasting his talent building little robots for illegal robot fighting and getting into trouble around town, so he brought him to the university to meet Callaghan. There, Hiro also met Tadashi’s mates, GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred, as well as a robot he had built, a personal healthcare companion called Baymax, who could detect when someone is in pain, do a split second body scan and execute treatment. Inspired, Hiro worked hard on a microbot that, when linked up to other microbots of its kind, could form any structure imaginable by the one in control using telepathy. He presented this at the university’s annual robotics exhibition and impressed Callaghan enough to give Hiro a spot at the university. The microbots also gained keen interest from Alistair Krei, the president of Krei Tech, who wanted to buy this technology. However, Callaghan, who seemed to have a bad history with Krei, stepped in an warned Hiro against selling his invention.

As soon as they left the exhibition hall, the place caught fire. On hearing that Callaghan was still inside, Tadashi went back to save him despite Hiro’s protests. The place exploded and it is next shown that Tadashi and Callaghan had perished. Devastated, Hiro secluded himself and did not attend classes.

One day, Hiro found one of his microbots but it was behaving strangely as though trying to go somewhere. He accidentally activated Baymax, which had been left in Tadashi’s room. Baymax sensed Hiro’s mood swings and concluded it was due to puberty. It asked if finding out where the microbot was trying to go would make Hiro feel better, and proceeded to leave the house with the microbot in its hand, leading the way. Hiro chased Baymax all around town, and they ended up an abandoned warehouse where they discovered barrels and barrels of the same microbots, and saw a masked man who activated all the microbots to go after Hiro and Baymax. This brought them to the police station attempting to report the attack (which is the scene of the movie’s trailer) but of course their story was too absurd to be believed, so they left.

Hiro deduced that the masked man who stole his project must be Krei, who was probably the one who started the fire that killed his brother, and decided to take revenge. Baymax contacted the group of friends from the university, and together they hatched a plan and Hiro made upgrades to give special abilities to all of them. Baymax tracked Krei to a remote, quarantined island and they found remnants of Krei’s lab in which Krei’s team had attempted and failed a human teleportation, with the victim vanishing without a trace.

The masked villain, Yokai, appeared and attacked them. After a battle with the Heroes uncovered his mask and revealed him to be Callaghan, he explained that he had started the fire to steal Hiro’s microbots. Furious that his brother had died in vain, Hiro removed the healthcare (nice robot) chip from Baymax, leaving only the battle (killer robot) chip. and ordered it to take out the professor. However the rest of the Heroes restrained them as they did not sign up to take lives. Honey managed to slot the healthcare chip back into Baymax, and Yokai escaped.

Filled with anger, Hiro flew off on Baymax, leaving the Heroes behind. Back home, Hiro broke down. Baymax asked if killing the professor would make him feel better, and cheered him up by showing him funny clips of Tadashi running tests on Baymax during the early stages. Hiro realized Tadashi’s goal was to save lives, and would not have wanted the professor killed. He reunited with the other Heroes and made amends.

Still determined to catch Yokai, they went back to the drawing board. The Heroes found out that the victim, Abigail’s last name was Callaghan, and realized she was Callaghan’s daughter and that he had been seeking revenge on Krei. They saved Krei in the nick of time, but the unstable portal was still active. Baymax detected life in the portal, and entered it with Hiro to save Abigail. On the way back out, the portal waves damaged Baymax’s armour, leaving it unable to thrust. It got an idea to save Hiro and Abigail by ejecting his armour fist, hence catapulting them out of the portal, but in doing so, it would sacrifice itself. Hiro refused to leave Baymax behind, but eventually relented upon its insistence, and together with Abigail, exited the portal to safety. Professor Callaghan got arrested for his crimes.

Sometime later, when Hiro’s life had returned to normal, he discovered Baymax’s healthcare chip held by the armour fist that saved him. As the chip was programmed with Baymax’s personality, Hiro was able to rebuild it and was thus reunited with his beloved companion. The six Heroes continued their adventures around the city, fulfilling Tadashi’s dream of helping others.

There is also a post-credit scene (sadly I did not know about it and thus left the cinema as soon as the credits rolled). As described in Wikipedia:
“Fred talks to a photo of his father in the family mansion, telling him he would be proud of him. Fred accidentally opens a secret door and, upon entering, finds superhero gear. His father arrives and states they have a lot to talk about as they embrace.”

Although there were sad moments like when Tadashi died and when Baymax sacrificed itself, there were many, many hilarious moments which had me in laughing fits and tears.

That said, I still enjoyed the movie thoroughly, and although I’m not usually a fan of comic-based superhero movies and rarely ever re-watch them voluntarily, I would not mind watching this one again.

Sleepless in Singapore

Quick update from my last post – we have decided to rent a master bedroom in Sembawang. The place belongs to Jenny, a part-timer working under A, and she only goes back once a while as she is staying with her aunt in Toa Payoh. We viewed it last Monday and made the decision on the spot. The rate she quoted was kinda steep, so I had to bargain a little.

So anyway, that’s settled. We’d be moving in on 1 Dec.

Mixed feelings. I’ve never had a roommate before. When I was born, right up till the age of 8, My family of 4 lived in a “studio” room, annexed from my grandfather’s bungalow. It’s not as fancy as it sounds. But it was cozy, and I loved growing up there. But after that we had shifted to our own place and I had my own room. When I was in college, I took a single room as well because I was paranoid about people touching my stuff. Then I came to Singapore for university, and had my own room at aunt’s apartment till now.

So yeah, I had sleepless nights thinking how I would cope. While I am excited to finally live with A, I also need my private space and I’m not sure if I could deal with someone snoring and tossing about (and omg.. farting!) next to me. Vacation’s fine – a few days, a week, I could handle. But this is long term.

But I’m determined to make this work. After all, it was because of me that he had to get up and out of his current place. I just have to look forward to the future when we have our own house, and then I would allocate one room for my respite.

Packing’s 90% done. The main concern is to get movers. My colleague had very enthusiastically offered to help with all aspects of the move, but after another few days of packing, I realized his SUV would need to take at least 3 trips to get all my stuff to the new place. Still he said it was no problem. I am really touched to have such unconditional help. Perhaps I was the world’s best friend in my past life. Anyway, I won’t take it for free. I will gradually repay him with food treats!

Back to my sleepless nights… I think I’m averaging on 4 hours of sleep per night these past 2 weeks. Crankiness and random bursts of rage may occur. You’ve been warned…….