23 January 2010

Jealousy and Insecurity - Malena

I was talking to a friend the other day about the film, Malena.

I love this movie. Malena is the story of a beautiful woman living in a village in Sicily. It is WWII and her husband is away at war. She lives alone in a remote house outside the village. At night, she abandons herself to her fantasies and longings, dancing and dreaming in privacy...well, not so private since her young admirers are often lurking in the darkness stealing glances at her in a nightgown.
During the day she walks quietly to the village where she is ritually subjected to blatant gawking by youths and aged alike, lewd remarks and the cruel gossip of both spiteful jealous women and lustful, yet self-preserving, men. Malena is so judged and hated because of her beauty that village people project onto her all sorts of fabrications about her character and morality.

Halfway through the film, as a side effect of war, Malena becomes destitute. No one will help her except a lustful judge who will only help her at...a price. Things become worse for Malena. She has no food, is hungry and becomes desperate to do anything for food. Soon after, she becomes a prostitute, not only to survive, but as a self-fulfilling prophecy following the way she is seen and regarded by the people in the village.

The scene where Malena publicly emerges into her role as prostitute is one of my favourites. Where once she walked gracefully with her head lowered, in this scene, she pounds the ground with her heels strutting her wasp silhouette and sits provocatively right in the middle of the city square where ironically, the men have been gossiping about her questionable morality for years. Malena sits there among the men that she previously avoided and never frequented. The once shy Malena, in a gesture of worldly sophistication, takes out a cigarette and raises it to her bright red lips...And what do you think happens? Well, the hypocritical men all reach out with their lighter.

It is a disturbing scene for me. It speaks volume about some men's behaviour. I feel so much sympathy for Malena.

Following this, Malena entertains German soldiers much to the rage of the village women. While they go on suffering in the last months of the war, Malena, who has been pushed into becoming the very vain, self-interested woman they judged her to be, is sleeping with Germans, is well clothed, well fed and is able to survive. But the war ends and those who are embittered by it will soon seek revenge...

And so it happens that the women of the village, fueled by their long standing jealousy for Malena, drag her out savagely into the city square. There, they furiously stab, stone, punch, shave and beat her under the silent, watchful eye of the men. In this scene, the indignance that these self-righteous, shrieking women supposedly feel towards a traitor is but a sham. It is a pretext for their jealousy and their deep-seated need to destroy someone they have always seen as a threat.

They do destroy her. When they are done with her, she wails like a broken animal, glaring her sad, reproachful eyes at everyone around her. In her tears she finally expresses years of resentment and hurt so that the entire market square stands in stone, shocked by her outburst.
I'll leave it at that but that's the gist of the film.

What Malena means to me and why some insecure people are pathetic
I think insecure people can act mean a lot. From what I've learnt or observed, they will strategically say certain things to devalue what you have whenever it threatens them. By dismissing you, it allows them to feel better about themselves. What else...if they happen to value popularity, then they slander you to ruin your relationship/reputation with others.
They also, like in Malena, will apply all sorts of moral judgments on you to justify their ill feelings towards you, ill feelings which in the first place result from their jealousy and not from some deep-seated moral belief as they like to tell themselves and others.

What I don't like about these people is that if you were to confront them about their behaviour, they would be in denial. So you can't get them to admit their insecurities, you can't help them change or grow. They are stuck unless they learn to make themselves feel good intrinsically and develop some confidence without trashing that of others. And since in the meantime, they are stuck, you end up stuck with their negativity. And no one should have to put up with that.

Another thought...you want to soar, learn more or try something daring but insecure people will want to keep you in your designated little box so that they can avoid feeling threatened by your potential success.

Or else...they will resent you for trying what they dared not and wish you to fail so that it justifies their own decision to Not-try.

Really life is too short for this kind of thinking.

18 January 2010


Creativity is not a fad that one adopts and wears as a status symbol. No. It is grimy and self-sacrificing. It locks itself in isolation for days and emerges at whim. In a conversation, it embraces all possibilities, eluding the facts and the established knowledge du jour. It is often showered in ridicule. Often imprisoned.

Creativity is immersion in activities and products that most people can not understand. It is doing something that will often take the non-creative mind months, years, perhaps decades, to appreciate. It is often visionary.

True creativity transcends the current fashions and their popular appeal. True creativity does not cater for the masses. It is beyond the masses.

Creativity in no way seeks to make one cool or popular.
Popularity often results in the propagation of ideas and behaviours that echo established opinions and ideological desires or strategically rebels against them.
Fuck popularity.

Take a book, for example. The masses will make a book popular by consuming and devouring it.
If it is published, it will be to cater for the whims of the masses with the very purpose of making $$$money$$$.

Fuck the masses.

6 January 2010

My Delicious Holidays

After finishing my degree on 20 November, I had planned to work on my novel and get it to the completion stage. The good news is that I did manage to write a fair bit before the Christmas period so that I have about 9 days of writing to go before starting the editing process. The bad news, is that recently, I have been distracted by far too many social events...my alibi for not yet having completed my novel's 1st draft.

So here is a snippet of the fun I have been up to.

On 12 December, I attended a lovely housewarming at a friend's place. She lives in Newfarm and her riverside apartment offers gorgeous views of the Story Bridge. Again, it made me seriously consider moving to Newfarm.

Over Christmas, I stayed at my boyfriend's place in Teneriffe. For three days, he cooked delicious food for me and we saw Lovely Bones and Sherlock Holmes at the cinema on Boxing Day.

Apart from the wonderful sets, costumes and witty screenplay, one aspect I most preferred in Sherlock Holmes was Hans Zimmer's playfully engaging soundtrack. It is now one of my favourite soundtracks. I interrupt this post to share with you my top favourite film tracks of all time:

1. Hans Zimmer- The Might of Rome for Gladiator

especially from 1:21 onwards

2. Vangelis - End Titles for Blanderunner

3. Lisa Gerrard - Whale Rider

4. Hans Zimmer - Discombobulate for Sherlock Holmes

5. Mark Isham - Flames for Crash

especially from 2:18 onwards

Now, where were we???

During the new year period, I tried three Brisbane restaurants with a good reputation.

The first one was Belle Epoque at Emporium.
I would have liked this restaurant more if the chef had not chosen to share his fastidious aversion to cooking a well done steak.
I would also have liked it more if the Steak and Frites had arrived heaped up on a plate as in most parts of France, rather than as it did, bite size with the fries served separately in what looked suspiciously like an ashtray.
I lament that this restaurant served to reinforce negative French stereotypes. I can assure you that eating out in places like Lyon, Corsica and Marseilles, is a casual and generous affair. None of this attitude.
I ordered the Bouillabaise. It was delicious with generous portions of fresh seafood. But the saffron aroma was more voluptuous in Bistro Vite's Bouillabaise which I had in Melbourne three years ago.
Overall, lovely rustic decor.

On New Year's Eve, I booked in for a celebratory night at the Hilton. Shane and I had dinner at the Hilton's Atrium buffet restaurant. All the meat dishes were exquisite and I loved the baby bocconcini & tomato salad. My favourite dessert was the cheesecake although I was disappointed with the spongy pavlova.
Breakfast was also fantastic!

Finally yesterday, Shane took me to Garuva in the Valley. This was by far my favourite place this summer. So three cheers for Garuva!

I had not been there for almost five years. I still adore the jungle feel in their lounge with its large animal print cushions laid out all over the floor and the green palms glowing under dim lights. When we arrived, the cocktail lounge was conveniently empty so after one eager sip of my juicy Garuva Ecstasy, I proceeded to crawl onto the stage and do a seductive dance before realising I hated the song. Oh, I forgot to mention that while crawling onto the stage, I was giggling so hard that I choked and began to cough furiously. Basically, Laura and alcohol do not mix.
Anyway, we were then escorted to our draped enclosure in the dark dining area.

Now if you haven't been to Garuva, the dining area consists of low, Asian style tables flanked by couches. Each table area is enclosed by white silky looking drapes suspended from the ceiling. Overall you could be forgiven for imagining that you are in a Japanese gothic story and that the drapes are floating in mid air swaying under ghostly breezes.

Oh dear, I have been distracted by the ambient decor and have not given due attention to the food. Absolutely fantastic. The Baha Beef was tasty and tender, coconut prawns were delicious, I could barely finish the bountiful tempura vegetables and the BBQ fish was one of the best fish I ever had. Overall, 11 out of 10 for meal size, flavour and quality.
Now the only thing I would have liked more of in Garuva, is privacy...

So that's for my dining experiences this summer. If that wasn't enough, I am heading to a film screening/pool party at a friend's place on Friday night. I am very much looking forward to it, everyone is so nice and so positive. I love creative and positive people who are not concerned with matters of consequences. They truly are amazing. Oh, wait, it's not the end. The day after that, I have to submit myself to a photoshoot which I admit I have organised for my vain self. But it will be lots of fun.

I may just be able to write this week but for now, I am still enjoying my delicious holidays.