New-Age Bond


Written on 11/24/2008 11:53:00 pm by sikapitan

Last weekend I managed to catch the much-talked about (I’ll get to that later) latest James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. Surprisingly, it was pretty empty at Pyramid (relatively speaking – I still had to park at the upper-most level) for a Saturday afternoon. See, since I got married, every free time is just a moment for me to catch my breath. It’s not that easy balancing all our needs. So a movie on a weekend is something of a rarity these days (comparatively, of course).

Anyway, I just had to get this out of my chest – who the hell planned the number of parking bays in Shopping Malls? It pisses me off every time I see these big developers raking in profits while we circle around for ½ hour trying to find an empty spot.

Back to Bond, James Bond. I guess after the brilliant Casino Royale, a lot of people had higher expectations from QOS and especially Daniel Craig. I’ve been hearing a lot of grouses from people who, while not exactly disappointed, complained that this is not a James Bond film.

I’m not a Bond aficionado, but I can differentiate Goldfinger and Goldeneye, so I’m not a complete idiot. I was exposed to Bond films when I was just a little kid, through videos of Sean Connery’s From Russia With Love and my personal favourite (of him) so far, Goldfinger. Who could forget one of the funniest Bond-girl names ever created – Pussy Galore?

A lot of us grew up in the era of Pierce Brosnan – charming, witty, tough but not scary and dashingly handsome. All that changed since Daniel Craig took on the mantle.

QOS didn't even bother with the customary "Bond, James Bond" introduction

I guess what they meant was that QOS totally dismisses most of the identifiers we commonly see in Bond films. There was no fancy gadget, the wit was kept to the minimal, and Craig’s Bond, well, he didn’t even bother being charming.

Frankly, I don’t know why people are complaining. Things change. People change. This is a different era. Most importantly, this new direction reflects who we are as a society – cold, calculating, brutal and effective. Even the courtship reflects this mood – invite into room, have sex, encore, and then leave for a mission. If that’s not the 21st century, I don’t know what is.

Despite the obviously flawed action scenes (too disjointed), I like QOS. It’s edgy, it’s realistic (as realistic as Bond could ever be) and it clearly shows that the world is not just black and white. Time and time again the script kind of apologetically reminds us that governments don’t just “work with good people”. It’s the kind of subtle ode to the current political climate that I enjoy.

Do I miss the funny names and clever one-liners? Of course. Do I wish for the customary “gadget-showing scene”? Yes. But as we keep on comparing the present to the past, we tend to forget that we’ve changed too. If you open your eyes to the new possibilities out there, and still find it unattractive, then I’m cool with that.

But don’t dismiss the present simply because it doesn’t conform to your idea from the past.

Interesting question: Now that the new James Bond is more and more akin to super-CIA-agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), who do you prefer more? Honestly, although a lot of people don’t like the whole Bourne series, I quite like it simply because it feels real (and the hand-to-hand combat scenes are a joy to watch).

What about Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) of Mission Impossible series? Or was his antics in Oprah disqualify him from this contest? Go figure.

Duit Kecik Ada Tak?


Written on 11/04/2008 05:59:00 pm by sikapitan

You’ve all experienced it before, that moment when as a customer you get this “What the hell is going on here” feeling. We Malaysians are a bit more tolerant than others I guess, because ever since I started being reasonably conscious of customer experience, the level of service have not improved one-bit.

This list of things that pisses me off about our customer service experience is not exhaustive, but after one too many bad experiences, I really need to take this down, in random order of “annoying-ness”:

  • “Sir, let me just connect you to him,” then…Tut-tut-tut. Nothing. What the hell?
  • Waiters that hang around talking while obviously ignoring your call for service. This is most common in mamaks. What the hell?
  • Store assistants that follow you 3 meters away. Maybe I missed this during Sales training but I guess its essential – Treat All Customers Like Potential Thieves 101. What the hell?
  • Assistants that try to tell you what size you should get. Most of the time it’ll be off-the-mark because they’re from a different generation where wearing shirts one-size too big is the trend. Screw them, I wear mine fitted. What the hell?
  • Store assistants that assume they’re smarter than you or you’re ignorant. This happen sometimes when you’re purchasing high-end products like TV sets, radio…it’s great if they offer advice, but please don’t patronize. What the hell?
  • People that offer unwanted and unsolicited advice. “Eh, if you’re getting married, you should go to Bukit Merah Laketown for your honeymoon…,” Thanks, piss off. What the hell?
  • Foreign workers that can’t understand what I’m trying to say. “Teh O Limau Suam satu” Nods. Then returns with Sirap Bandung Ais with Extra Red Beans. What the hell?
  • “Ada duit kecik tak?” I feel like smacking these guys sometimes. I understand if you do it out of necessity, but I can see that small change in your teller, you jackass. What the hell?

Sigh. Love this world.