Monday, February 21, 2011

The Best In Us, Teohlogy and Junior Masterchef

Finally laid my hands on Patrick's book. Somehow things seem more official in a book than just an article in the papers, or a blog for that matters. Maybe one day some articles in my blog can be in a book as well, lol, and if that happens, I will call it "How To Lose Your Money Wisely".

Patrick and I go a long way back, though he would probably have zero recollection. I was the Vice President of my Interact Club then (which was a big deal for me as I was in Form 5 only and usually only Lower/Upper Sixers get the Vice President and President positions) and the Interact Club was "the" club to be in if you are from Ipoh. We had the best fund raisers and charity projects. One of our yearly highlights was Beatnite which was a big event (ala American Idol) where only students from Ipoh were encouraged to compete. It was a big charity event as well. We have sellouts for heats and the finals was at Town Hall in Ipoh which would sellout close to 2,000 seats. Every year we managed to raise between RM10,000 to RM20,000 which was a really big sum back then.

That year I was organising and we managed to get "for free" Alleycats (gawd, they were so big even then when they did immaculate versions of all Bee Gees disco hits), the then popular Jennifer Yen and Patrick Teoh as guest judge. I remembered that that was before the time when stand up comedy was the norm, but I insisted that he speak for 5-10 minutes, being supremely confident that he will be well received with his #1 radio show, and being an Ipoh boy and old Michaelian to boot. Hence to me, Patrick really had his first stand up stint back then.

I met him and his family members at the door, I remember chatting with him for a long while as sometimes the performances can be a bit dreary and he dragged me out for a smoke (not me, just him smoking as I was still in my uniform then). He came on and did 15 minutes, poking fun on everything, the school and life in Ipoh, his childhood and everything. I think it was a blast for him and his family, it sure was for the rest of us. He had to watch a bit what he was saying as Brother Ultan Paul was also in the audience, but it was a real gem of a time.

So that's my connection to Patrick. I like him a lot because he is who he is, says what he wants and is fair. His liberal use of swear words is absolutely fine and appropriate as I also believe appropriate swearing or the use of harsh language is for clarity and emphasis - as is in my blog.

I like that he still gets angry. Anger is not a sin, being grey is. You have to be angry at injustices, stupidity, ignorance, shallowness .... if you are like a monk who is calm and collected and consider all these things as trivialities of life, good for you. While the New Testament has been focused on love and redemption, anger is the underlying theme as well. Anger at sin, anger at unnecessary violence, anger at those who disregard the sanctity of human rights and the lack of generosity of the human spirit.

The book's title is brilliant and apt. You all should go and get it.

Below is the review by Malaysian Insider:

(Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from ZI Publications with no obligations to review it)

Hey, Patrick Teoh has a book out. That’s all you need to know.

Well, alright, some details. Teohlogy: The word according to Patrick Teoh is a compilation of his articles from The Edge and Off The Edge (OTE) magazines from 2005 to 2010 when the OTE sadly folded. So if you have been a regular reader and have in fact collected the issues than this book has nothing new for you (but if you have been a regular reader than OTE would still be in print today, wouldn’t it?)

His colums were acerbic then and still are now. Patrick comes off as grouchy but can anyone blame him? He writes about Malaysia and Malaysians and reserves his special sauce of vitriol for Malaysian politicians (and why not?), but others like mat rempit, public transport and even a marketing manager of a local film distributor receives sneers from him.

A bit of warning though. Witty he may be, but reading all 5-years worth of columns in one sitting (and it’s possible, they’re all quite short) and the giggles you get may be occasionally accompanied by abrupt silence when you realise that you are giggling at what’s wrong with this country. Because that’s what articles collected in Teohlogy are all about. They are musings of a grumpy old man who loves his nation but is sometimes frustrated with his fellow rakyat and especially with his largely incompetent elected leaders. We are essentially laughing at ourselves, which is always good, but then we realise that after a decade into the new millennium and half a decade of Patrick’s observations we still haven’t changed much. And that’s bad. Dang you, Patrick Teoh for making me sad while laughing. I’m so confused now.


The second part of my posting is on the brilliant TV reality show Junior Masterchef Australia. The Masterchef series was such a big hit in OZ land, it was much better produced than the ones you see on Astro from the US, UK and Canada for sure. It had spunk (please search OZ dictionary for the meaning).

Now Astro had just started to show the Junior Masterchef series, its incredible. 8-12 year olds going through the heats, elimination rounds and then the finale. It was gripping television. When I saw the title of the program, I though "oh no, they are going to exploit the kids, they are going to edit their words to make for gripping drama and tensed relations between the contestants, there are going to be the Simon Cowells to spice up things" ... but no, the entire thing was done so respectful to the kids. The kids were amazing, we are not talking about making pancakes or simple pasta dishes, they were cooking up dishes that can easily make the top restaurants in any country - simply unbelievable at their age.

What was more wonderful was how the judges and guest chefs treated the kids with respect, how they handle the elimiations without any hint of callousness, never to belittle or demean a kid ... it was such a wonderful sight to see supportive parents not mattering how well or badly they did, ... not the overbearing ones and certainly not those who worked (and living vicariously through) their kids to death to win the kiddie pageants types.

While I am amazed with their talents, I am more amazed with how well the producers crafted the show, the spirit in which it was made. You can catch the entire series on You Tube (before they take them down) if you don't want to slog through Astro's scheduling and ads.


cina.fong said...

Ok you have 'persuaded' me to read Teoh's book but what I worry is that even though if could be funny and i laugh just as I laughed at your posts and Articulations, I feel even more depressed with the shit that we have, pardon my language this morning

horrrny_duuude said...

Junior Masterchef living proof of the ever-widening gulf between First World Australia and Third World Malaysia.

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