Back Home With Hope

I’ve been busy catching up at work so it’s been a while but after 2 weeks in LA and an 18 hour flight, I’m finally home 🙂 It’s been a week now and I already miss the LA weather but it feels good to be back. I have to say, with the NBA game and being in the thick of the US election, this is going to be one of the more memorable trips.

So last Saturday when I caught up with a friend, although she understood why the NBA game would mean something out of the ordinary, she asked why Obama’s win meant so much to a Singaporean like me? Well, for one thing I’d be a tad naive if I didn’t think what happens to the US has no effect on our little red dot. The other thing is that I’m a total political junkie, I’d be equally excited if I was in KL and they were going to elect their first minority leader … actually, right now, I’d be pretty impress if a woman from the majority could actually be elected Prime Minister there too.  Heck, I even get excited at the Taiwanese parliament just coz they throw things at each other.

Like I’ll always remember what I was doing when Obama won, I remember the morning before going off to school and my Dad pointing out the article to me that Marcos’ reign is over and Asia sees her first female president, Ms Corazon Aquino. I was only 11 but old enough to be inspired with an ambition to dream whatever my heart desires.

And that’s why I was glad to have been in the US to see them at their best. With Obama’s win, comes hope and with it, anything is possible. Like my favourite bit from the Sandman series, when he had to fight the demon in hell for his helmet. They played a silly game of who could think up of things more powerful than the other.  In the end, Dreams win because hope trumps all.

That still doesn’t quite answer why a mixed heritage dude winning the presidential election for his country has an impact on the rest of us.  For me though, Obama’s win is pretty much history making because the whole world is watching.  Like someone once said to me, Hollywood doesn’t make the best films but they sure do have the best marketeers who make you think that they do.  It doesn’t make things right, it just is.  So as we go on in our daily lives fighting against the different prejudices we face and some fights are even bigger than Obama’s, the American media makes the audience believe that Obama’s fight is the one that counts.  So till the world sees another media power house, I hope this well marketed battle gives everyone the boost they need to keep fighting their own battles everyday.  That’s why it meant enough to me.

More than that, I’m really glad that Obama reveals a side of America that is a rarity in his country.  Think American and you would hardly think humble but Obama is just that.  So I do wish him all the best because as much as the media would like to portray him as the most powerful man in the world.  His daughters will soon find out that while he may still be able to be the boss of them, when it comes to cutting taxes or not; it doesn’t solely rests in his hands, which will be often tied but the senate and congress as he tries his darnest to right the wrongs that have nothing to do with him.  

In the meantime, despite the constant bad news with hope the rest of us, ordinary folk will be able to ride out the tough times as so many before us, have done 🙂

Kobe versus Yao Ming

It’s been a while since I was into the NBA and the players I really liked have all long retired but remember my cousin who’s living in SF? He decided to come down to LA for a quick family fix and told me that the Rockets are playing the Lakers while we’re both in town. So there we were in downtown LA, waiting in line at the Staples Centre to watch Yao Ming and Kobe live!!! We weren’t quite sure who to root for but were there to soak up a live game atmosphere 🙂

I’m not sure what to think about being in a country where I have to go through a metal detector at a basketball game but I guess at least I knew I’d be safe inside the stadium, which I have to say is really clean. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting :p My boss was nice enough to let me leave work a little early so that I could get to the game on time. We stood in line to make sure we weren’t carrying any weapons and the guy behind me said he had a pace maker and they took him through a regular door … go figure!!

We had a little trouble finding our seats but got there just in time for the singing of the USA national anthem. Couldn’t help wondering, is the US the only country that sings their national anthem like a pop song? So as I started to get comfy in my seat, it started to sink in that I was actually at a live NBA game.

The lights, the crowd, the sounds. Just like what I see on TV 🙂 And ask any guy, being at the Lakers game is all about the Laker girls. I wasn’t too enthralled with them but my cousin couldn’t take his eyes off them 😉 I don’t know if I’ll call them cheerleaders coz I didn’t really see them lead the crowd in cheering as much as dancers, prancing around.

More than cheerleaders though, is the celebrity sightings. My friend told me Jack Nicholson will be there for sure coz he had worked on a film that Mr Nicholson was starring in and they had to arrange the entire shoot schedule around the Laker’s games. So I was on the look out for him but nope, didn’t see him at all. Instead, I saw Sylvester Stallone and Danzel Washington, who didn’t look happy at the beginning of the game when the Lakers were losing but started getting all chatty when they picked up their game from the third quarter.

I digress. Back to the two reasons I wanted to watch the game, Kobe Bryant, possibly the MVP of this season and Yao Ming, the first and only Asian playing in the NBA.

It’s still early in the series so neither team seems to be giving their all. It was a pretty relaxed game, that or TV hypes up everything coz it felt like everyone was running slower than usual and the slam dunks not quite as impactful as when you get to watch a replay over and over again from every possible angle. Kobe had a couple of impressive moves and Yao Ming is just a giant. All he has to do is raise his arms and the basket is pretty much covered. All I can say about Yao Ming is that he’s huge!!

Even compared to the African American players, he’s a whole head taller than them!! I don’t know what he drank as a kid in China but part of me suspects he could have been a genetic engineered foetus :p So it was surprising that the Rockets lost, part of me was rooting for them but the other part of me was glad that the Lakers won. I like Kobe and would rather be around happy fans rather than disappointed fans, even if they don’t have metal objects on them. At the end it was 111 to the Lakers and just 84 to the Rockets.

So it was all celebratory in the Staples Centre and I was glad to have been part of it all. Like my cousin said, he’s looking forward to reminiscing about this night 20 years from now. Here’s a couple more for the family album.

Half Way There

This time next week, I’ll be home already 🙂 Meanwhile, I’m hanging out at our stand with not much to do, it is really much quieter this year. Wonder if it’s the credit crunch that’s making the buyers stay at home.  Don’t people watch films even in the down time?  I am, however, being entertained by the security staff who has been endlessly flirting with each other since 9am this morning … for the record it’s 10:50am right now.

I do feel bad for them though. It’s pretty boring standing around where the only real threat is someone trying to sneak in without a badge.  If I were them, I’d probably be up to more mischief than just innocent flirting :p

But I am glad for the quiet moments to clear emails and paper work that have stacked up in the last 3 weeks.  I don’t feel that headless this week.  It’s also the beautiful weather 🙂  Nothing like sunshine and a cool breeze to put you in the right mood.

With rumours of restructuring and changes at work, this may be my last AFM, and just in time too.  I realise I’m about to outgrow Santa Monica, just as I had timely outgrown Cannes … maybe, just maybe I won’t even have to travel much any more 😛  As you can tell, I’m still on an optimistic high.  Have a beautiful weekend everyone!!

Just What I Needed

Being in an optimistic environment has a certain effect on you.  I’m walking around LA smiling coz everyone else is smiling and so hopeful now that Obama is the new president elect.  And this couldn’t be more true than being in one of the happiest place in the world, nope not Disneyland but the Walt Disney Studios.  Even though we were there for meetings, just walking on the grounds I felt like breaking into song.  I mean, how can you not feel happy when you’re walking along Mickey Avenue.

And what would I give to work in an office where you get to walk past The Seven Dwarfs on a daily basis?

There was even a little hummingbird fleeting around happily as we enjoyed our lattes before our meetings.  Where I work, we just hear the cawing of crows :p  While waiting for the elevators, I was standing next to the original multiplane camera used for Snow White and The Seven Drawfs!!

But I’m sure if I asked around, the people there probably take it all for granted and complain about the same things my friends and I do.  Maybe I should have asked anyway … and offered them a job swap.  Wishful thinking?  Like I say, it’s all optimistic here in LA 🙂

Day 1 at the AFM

It’s official, Obama will be the 44th President of the USA. It’s the day after the election and when I left my hotel room this morning, there were still a couple of states that hadn’t completed counting the votes but it doesn’t matter what the result is with them. Come January 20th, 2009, the new Obama administration will have their work cut out for them.

Can’t say the same for me today. In the democratic state of California, there must have been a lot of people out celebrating last night coz it’s really quiet at the American Film Market. I suspect it’ll pick up after lunch. So this is my office for the next 7 days:-

It’s a little bigger than what we have for the AFCI Location Trade Show and also 3 times as long a market. It’s only day 1 and I’m all ready to go home … wonder what that says about me :p Well, here’s the different views. Enjoy while I go clear more emails.

There is Hope Yet

Congratulations America!! And I take back most of the things I’ve said when George W. Bush was re-elected 🙂 Like other history changing moments, I won’t forget what I was doing when I first heard the news. As I mention in my last post, it is quite a cool time to be in the US and so I’ll always remember being in my pyjamas in the Doubletree Guest Suites Santa Monica’s amazing bed, cuddled with my laptop, clearing email and preparing filenotes … so needless to say I’m too terribly distracted to be working

I’m watching the events, not unlike I would be if I was at home (albeit from my desk at work) , on TV and am moved by the gracious McCain, filled with hope by the very charismatic Obama … I have to remind myself this is real unlike the last season of The West Wing. Sure, the bells and whistles of media tend to distract you but it truly is an evolution of human race when people make an effort to choose despite/in spite of the colour of our skins. Now I hope I live long enough to see women have the exact same opportunity.

And oh yah, I guess I don’t have any supernatural powers so I’m going back to my emails and filenotes … yuck … …

Good Morning America

It is really quite a privilege to be in the US at the moment.  I do not say this often … actually not at all.  For whatever it is worth, it is quite exciting to be right in the middle of a presidential election that is likely to change the way we look at the world.  While I busy myself with the set up of our stand at the American Film Market, Americans are standing in long lines, doing their part to make history.  I’m just keeping my fingers cross that enough of them come out so that my dreams do not come true.  And if it does, I’m in for a career switch 😉

Good luck America!!!