Paradise on earth

The more islands we visit, the more we are in love with the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia.

Are you part of a distributed team?

Team activities, courses and guides for companies with virtual teams!

Vietnamese Art

Propaganda posters, paintings and sculptures.

Happy Wesak

Procesión budista en Malasia

On how Asia reminds me of my childhood

Flowers, construction, poorly paved roads,...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What do Only Lovers Left Alive and The Great Beauty have in common?

Tired of the unstopable references and felling like I had already seen La grande bellezza before, I decided to push myself, not to turn off the movie and find some entertainment so watching it I wrote down the similitudes between the italian movie and Only lovers left alive by Jim Jarmusch. Here we go:

 

 

 

 

The search for beauty

  •  All the characters are looking for beauty.
  • They are positive people, they realize they are surrounded by things that don't interest them but they stick to the world and enjoy what they find beautiful.
  • They are all very educaded.
  • They all adore, respect and recognize powerful art and culture.
  • They can access forbiden places.
  • They have powerful and influencial friends.
  • Death has an important role in both movies.
  • The characters share a great obsession for life and death, being beauty and pleasure the only reason they stay alive. 
  • For them the most important thing is the creation of beauty through their work or the work of other. They are all artist in search of beauty in art and they stay sane thanks to the search of beauty.

In the way they see the mundane

  • They live very far from the "zombies" (Only lovers left alive) and the "mundane" (The great beauty). Even if the main character in The great beauty says he wanted to be the king of the mundane, that was his goal at 26, now he has higher goals.
  • All the characters feel superior to the mundane.
  • None of the movies talk about what the zombies consume for art.

In the way they live

  • They live surrounded by beauty and books.
  • They live during the night, they are sticktly nocturnal.
  • They move around their cities, either walking of driving at night.
  • They live in memorable places: the Tangier forever portraited by Paul Bowles, the broken-down Rome and of course the even more decrepit Detroit, the city in ruins of a fallen empire.

 Needless to say I recommend watching Only lovers left alive and any movie by Fellini.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Female roles: Lana del Rey and Maleficent

Recently I saw Lana del Rey live and I got very upset with the way she was portraying herself as a woman. I would like to talk about her role opposed to the one played by Angelina Jolie in Maleficent.

You might say that I shouldn't compare a real person with a Disney character. After seeing del Rey's show I can say that she is an invented product, as much as Maleficent. The images projected during the show, the good looking band members, the omniprensence of the american flag and the thousands of teenagers singing her name allows me to treat them as fictional characters.
 
That being said, lets see what a Femme Fatale is according to  Film Noir Studies: "The femme fatale represents the most direct attack on traditional womanhood and the nuclear family. She refuses to play the role of devoted wife and loving mother that mainstream society prescribes for women. She finds marriage to be confining, loveless, sexless, and dull, and she uses all of her cunning and sexual attractiveness
to gain her independence."

Poor little rich girl


In Lana del Rey I saw a young woman in the 1950s that just got married, a little bit of a caricature of the lady in The bridges of Madison County. A woman that is beautiful and has followed what society was expecting and now is not happy. Like a good Femme Fatale she doesn't want to play the role of devoted wife and loving mother but Lana doesn't have enough skills to fight that properly, at least not yet. So she just sits at home, smokes, swears and paints her nails red to mean "Danger". Cry wolf. Perro ladrador, poco mordedor.

She portraits herself as a stupid woman, most of the lyrics of her album "Born to die" refer to a man, either describing him or begging him for something. "Everytime I close my eyes / It's like a dark paradise / No one compares to you / I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side". She presents her character like a helpless, submissive and careless woman, a female that is trapped inside the American Dream, a victim with no skills, intelligence or will to exit that situation.

A powerful woman


On the other hand Maleficent is an intelligent, courageous and powerful woman. A woman that is strong and defends her world against the enemies. Maleficent has no problem living without the man she loves. Like Lana del Rey she also has long nails, but hers have a clear color, she doesn't need her nails to pretend, they don't represent her, she can use her hands to act and doesn't need to paint them every day. Maleficient has red sensual lips like Lana del Rey but she uses them to communicate, to learn, to make mistakes and to grow.

Maleficent is a real victim, her wings were cut off but she doesn't act like a victim, she is a warrior. She is in a true cage because she cannot fly but she find other ways to move around and act. Maleficent is action, Lana is passivity.

Maleficent doesn't need to be a femme fatale, she is so beyond that point that it wouldn't make sense for her to be upset or attack what the tradition stated. She is so confident that instead of crying and swearing, she wants to built, she wants to forgive and she wants to fight for what she things is the right thing. The femme fatale makes no sense anymore!

After reading this post, you can imagine my surprise when I heard Lana del Rey sing the song during the credits! :-D I hope Lana del Rey will surprise us and in the future will leave this outdated role and present herself as an intelligent and powerful woman that I am sure she is!



Sunday, July 06, 2014

Walking around a city during summer nights

Pepa in Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown has insomnia and she walks the deserted streets of Madrid during the month of August looking at the people inside their flats, imagining their lives and trying to find answers to her situation.







Jep in La grande bellezza spends his nights listening to Rome sing to him and reminding him why he lives there and why she is beautiful.









There are many movies where the main character spends the night walking in a deserted and this is one of my favourite activities to do during the summer, I love walking late at night looking through the open windows, listen to the loud TV, love talks or angry arguments. Can you think of other movies where the main character walks around the city at night with no particular direction? Help me made the list!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

SPOILER Game of thrones of Season 7 Episode 8. Why does it hurt so much?


*Spoiler. Enjoy the show and the books. Spoiler*

The images of Tyrion Lannister with his jaw dropped where just a mere reflection of ourselves looking at the screen. These are some reasons why Orberyn Martell death hurt more than The Red Wedding. The scene was brutal and extremely violent but we are used to seeing violence on TV every day. I just got done re-watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine and there is more blood on that movie than in episode 8 of season 7, then why did Orberyn’s death hurt us so much?

  • Fighting for the good guy. Half of the impact the scene had was because he was defending the most clever and honest character. We do not want him dead and this is why that scene hurts so much, because of the death of Martell means the evils victory.
  • Courageous. Orberyn is the only one with enough courage to fight the Mountain, and just for that we like him. It is the old David vs Goliat story. We sympathize with him just for that reason.
  • Revenge. He gets his strength from revenge, the most common reason in fiction and in real life. We can easily relate to him because revenge is something we can all understand, because can feel it and because fiction has fed us with so many revenge stories that we believe them.
  • Pure victim. Would it have hurt so much if instead of him it would have been Jamie Lannister? I think it would have not had the same impact, Jamie is still the stupid one that pushed Bran Stark, he has changed over the seasons but still. Martell is a victim and has done nothing wrong.
  • Hedonism and ideal life. Is Orberyn Martell the image of a perfect life? Does that idea die with him? Why do I say he has the perfect life? Well, he is passionate, his society is more equal than others, he’s built a perfect body by training, he drinks and eats as he pleases, he is loved and loves back both man and women, he has respect for others and he is hyper confident. If we could live in a world full of Martells and turn ourselves into one of them, would we go there? I would! This is why I think his death hurts more than if would have been another character; he symbolized the hope of a better world. 
Can you think of other reasons why his death hurt so much? Leave a comment!

If you haven’t seen it yet don’t miss this video with some of the reactions ordinary people have when watching this episode. Since my classmate recorded his nephews watching TV for a uni project, I find it fascinating to watch and analize people watching TV . Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sostenibilitat


Predicant amb l'exemple
Avui dins un butlletí d'ex-alumnes he rebut aquesta notificació a on es veu el cap del gabinet del conseller de Territori i Sostenibilitat. M'ha fet molta gràcia, potser que deixin d'imprimir els del departament de sostenibilitat, no?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Missing Malaysia Flight MH370, what are they thinking?

I love this picture because it shows the exact opposite of what I say in my posts, it shows a muslim lady enjoying a Chinese budist celebration. She was having fun, taking pictures and smiling! Thanks!
Malaysian Airlines sends an SMS to the families of the victims, that are mostly chinese, it seems very cold, but this is how chinese are treated every day in this country. If you want to learn more about the relation between the Chinese population in Malaysia and the people in power, mostly Malay, you can read some of these posts:

What is going on in Malaysia? An explanaition of the different ethnic groups that coexist in this country. With links to my posts about the Chinese, the Muslim and the Indian communities and what they have in common.

Happy Wesak or how to forget to cut the traffic during the most important chinese religious celebration.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

Missing Asia with keys on our back



I made this project for my Coursera-CalArts class. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

10 influences

I am taking a Coursera class and they ask us our 10 most important influences, motors, builders and destroyers in my life. Here we go:

Tintin:


http://us.tintin.com/
The possibility to explore the world

Dr Slump anime:



From Arale I take the colours, the absurdity and the happiness.

Gilda:


From Gilda I take the capacity to dare to be different.

Jana Sterbak


http://www.janasterbak.com/
From her I take the boldness and the possibility of uglyness

Born to run:


I take the strenght to GO

Mies van der Rohe:



http://www.archdaily.com/59816/ad-classics-iit-master-plan-and-buildings-mies-van-der-rohe/
My notion of beauty

Jaume Plensa



http://jaumeplensa.com/
Power from the calm


Miquel Barceló

 Cap de peix by Miequle Barceló

How it is important to know one's nature and explore it so things come easier.

Maus by Art Spiegelman:

I haven't been able to put my jaw back in place since I read it.

South East Asia:

And how they make things look pretty.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Mercat d'artesania, tallers,... del Japó a Barcelona!

Del 6 al 28 de març a MITTE Barcelona (c/Bairèn 86) es celebra un any més Korekara Japon!
Hi haurà vàries activitats com mercat d'artesania japonesa, tallers, concerts, exposicions, etc...  Podeu trobar més informació info a la web de Korekara Japon.

La Yoko, una artista japonesa que fa uns dibuixos preciosos serà al mercat d'artesania (Koreichi) amb bosses estampades i també amb coses fetes a mà pels afectats del Tsunami. Ella hi serà el dia 6 i 15 a la tarda.
Horari del mercat d'artesania: dijous.divendres 17-21.30h i dissabte 10-21.30h. 
Us recomano que mireu el programa i us hi passeu!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Japan expensive?

When I said that I was going to Japan, most of my friends mentioned Fukushima and right after that they said that Japan was very expensive. Surprisingly eating and sleeping in Japan has been really cheap, making the opverall cost of my trip lower than I expected. Here's some ways to make your trip to Japan cheaper:

Transport

  • Fly to Japan is very cheap, if you are lucky you can find a ticket for less than 500€ or $600. I visited Japan in the winter and it was very cold. I would not recomment visiting in the winter time, better the spring and the autumn. Tickets before June and after September are still cheap.
  • Plan ahead and buy your JR train Pass in a way that makes sense, you can also buy passes for only certain regions.

Sightseeing

In Japan you don't have to pay to use the toilet but for the rest you have to pay. Research about the museums, shrines, palaces and gardens that interest you the most and visit only those.
Remember that there are alternative ways to get to know a country, rent a bicycle, go hiking or go for a walk around the city where the local older generation goes to exercise. Amazing things will happen to you when you get out of the beaten path, just don't forget to greet everybody along the way with a loud "Konichiwa!".

Eating

The food is amazing and really cheap. You can easily eat a full meal consisting of a main dish (rice or noodle soup) and gyoza for 5€ or $7, even in Tokyo. The drinks (water or tea) are on the house! This cheap food will save you so much money that you will be able to slurge in something more fancy every once in a while!
It is a little bit sad but I must admit that some of the best food I had was in train stations! Big  train stations like Kyoto or Tokyo have amazing and cheap food!
$7 or 5€ meal in super tourist town Nara, amazing, uh? The cold udon was yummy!

Sleeping 

Hotels and ryokans can be expensive, specially in the big cities. I have found that renting a studio is cheaper than staying in a hotel. So here's the alternatives:
  • Renting a studio for yourself, will come with kitchen and full bathroom. Not more than $40 or 30€/night.
  • Airbnb: Japan is slowly opening to Airbnb, stay with a local in their house and have a full cultural experience!
  • Capsule hotels: haven't tried them yet, so I can't say.
  • HelpX: for some days live with a Japanese family, pay no rent, eat for free and in exchange work with them on their business. Win-win!
Stay with a Japanese family and learn about their culture

Souvenirs

This is my weak point, I haven't been able to find cheap souvenirs... any ideas?