Firdaus Tarmizi

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Hills are Alive! (Part 4)

In Musical Films, Reviews on August 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Note:  This is the fourth installment of the 7-part series.  You can read the rest of the series here.

Movie:  Chicago

Chicago Poster - from wikipedia

Be infamous!


The movie “Chicago” is one of the few modern musical films that I actually like, the other being “Rent”, which I will write about in another entry.  Other films such as Hairspray, Moulin Rouge and High School Musical might be OK, but they didn’t have that extra factor that managed to get them into my list of 7.  The factor that I’m talking about is simple:  catchy, memorable songs (yes, yes I know, it’s totally subjective, but I can totally back up my claims)


Favorite Song: We Both Reached for the Gun

It’s a close tie between this, and Cell Block Tango, but I simply have to give it to We Both Reached for the Gun, if only because it is so fun to sing along to.


I remembered when my wife and I went on our 9 hour long road trip from Illinois to Pennsylvania, and we repeated this song again and again and again, while trying to learn the chorus part:  “oh yes oh yes oh yes we both oh yes we both oh yes we both reached for the gun the gun the gun the gun oh yes we both reached for the gun, for the gun!”.  Suffice to say, we didn’t get bored the whole length of the trip.

I love how the songs in Chicago is intertwined with the story-telling and of course, the puppet sequence is totally noteworthy.  Described perfectly the “court of public opinion” scenario happening in Malaysia: how a sensational  story and the media can sway public opinion even before a case is heard in court.


Special mention:  Mr Cellophane

This might be the only song that injected the needed sad/heartbreak emotion into the otherwise fun movie.  The scene might be seen as comedic, but the lyrics, John C. Reilly’s great acting and lastly, the pain in Amos’ voice (check out his face at 5:00), totally made me feel like giving him a hug.  This song also showed how emotional, soulful singing is always better than technical, screamy and diva-like over-singing (I’m looking at you, Celine Dion).




The Star Spangled Banner

In Confessions on August 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm

1.  Now here’s the thing about writing confessions.  There are always possibilities that it will make you unpopular.  After all, that’s the meaning of confessing in reality: it means you are telling people something you’d rather keep to yourself.  In this particular entry, I could even be arrested and be put in jail, if I am not careful.  But then again, some things just need to be said.

So, here goes nothing.

2.  My confession: one of the things that easily affect me emotionally is a soulful performance of a song.  And there are few songs that can move me to tears than a powerful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner (SSB).  In my opinion, the US has, if not THE most, then one of the most beautiful national anthem in the world.  And trust me, I’ve done my homework by listening to nearly 20 national anthems.  Funnily enough, perhaps the only one that comes close, for me, to the awesomeness of Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the former Soviet Russia.  National anthem cold war, perhaps?

3.  The reason I appreciate SSB is not just the melody and the lyrics, but more due to the freedom in which you can express the song.  Of course, there’s always the possibility of total devastation of the song, but when done perfectly, nothing comes close to SSB in stirring one’s patriotism.  High risk, high return, I would say.

Case in point:  this one here is the best version of SSB I’ve heard so far.  The best thing, of course, is how it was sung,  in their own way, by little girls with big hearts.  These girls can make a grown man cry, seriously.


4.  Closer to home, we have the Negaraku.  A song said to be taken from Terang Bulan (wrong), which controversially was said to copy Mamula Moon (it is actually the other way round).  It was stated in Malaysian constitution (Akta Lagu Kebangsaan 1968) that you can’t mock, revise, or change the rhythm of the song.  In other words, you can only sing the official version of the song.

Oddly enough, I’ve never really felt any emotional upheaval when I sing Negaraku.

You make your own conclusion, OK?

22 November 2010 – In Retrospect

In Parenthood on August 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm

1.  22 November 2010, at 1:12pm, was the moment Hamzah was born.  I don’t know about other guys, but I didn’t feel any fear or worries at all at that point of time.  I did feel some concern for the condition of the mother, that’s true, but I felt none of the panicky, not-so-hilarious exaggeration of chaos you sometimes could see in the TVs or movies.

laborpanic - from

Hilarious Panicking -not in real life


2.  Don’t get me wrong.  This is not a symptom of uncaring or selfishness.  I think it’s more of a function of me not getting more than 2 hours of sleep in 48 hours ( and my wife getting none, bless her soul) since her contractions started.  Also, during the actual labor, I was too caught up with a lot of things: holding her hands, fighting away drowsiness, giving encouraging words to the groaning woman, and not to mention witnessing various horrors perpetrated to her nether regions.  With that many things going on, fear didn’t get to join in the party.

3.  On D-Day minus 1, we wanted to expedite the process and decided to take a long walk inside Subang Parade.  We went round and round and round the mall, stopping once in  a while to let her Braxton Hicks contractions subside.  That night was the night I first witnessed the true meaning of someone enduring pain, when her contractions got hellishly stronger.  She started groaning and tossing around in pain.  In a state of restlessness, she was unable to lie down or sit for too long and had to resort to standing halfway up while hanging on to my shoulders.  We went through this cycle of lying down, sitting and crouching until midnight, when we decided that it was time to rush to the hospital.  To keep things short, it turned out that the pain she endured the night before seemed nothing compared to the few hours before true labor.  She then decided to have an epidural.

How I saw my wife on that day: My personal Santa bringing me an early Christmas gift!


4.  Now, let me take a step back here to talk about decision-making during these crucial times.  I’ve discussed this with quite a lot of guys, and I heard lots of macho talks like “There’s no way I’ll let my wife give birth by C-section.  I want my child to be stronger through normal delivery”, or, “I don’t want my wife to take the epidural.  I don’t believe in drugs and I think she should be able to stand the pain”.

To which I say (now that I know better): “Well, excuuuuuuse me!”.  All these talks of husbandly wants and rights are making me first-trimester-like nauseous.  This is because unless these men started to develop the ability to pass a small apple through their penis, they have only one right:  to remain silent.

5.  You just need to keep it in perspective.  The only person who would know whether she can stand the pain would be the person going through the pain herself, and usually they won’t know what to decide until the point of the most extreme pain anyway.  And the C-sections?  That’s the province of professional doctors, not husbands who are allergic to technology and modern medical practices.

6.  Although I was also a bit weak at this, but I feel that the main function of the husband is to fully educate himself with all possible topics related to the before, during and after the childbirth.  It’s his job to keep his schedule open for any contingencies, and to do the best he can to show up at that moment.  He’s got to make sure the hospital bag is ready and complete with everything both of them might need for the up to one week of stay in the hospital.  Perhaps, also things for the little one when he/she comes along.


"What an ugly little thing" was my first thought.


It’s his job to let his hands be squeezed by his delirious wife, and his eardrums shattered by her shrill screams.  To counsel and advice her about all the possibilities and options at a point when she can’t make even the simplest decision.  Most importantly, to support her on any decision she wants to make, and, unless expressly asked to, I think the decision should ultimately be hers to make.

Small Hamzah

Me, the happy customer, with the 1-week old now OK-looking Hamzah. Believe it or not, this is my first picture with him.


7.  As for me, I’m sure I’ll be readier and will try to be more useful the next time around.  I recalled how as soon as Hamzah’s head popped out, covered with blood from my wife’s (at that point) vast-gina, I vowed that come the next children, I’ll make sure that the only thing she needs to worry about is to vaginally deliver the child out into this world.

Or, if she decides to or have to, deliver through the Caesarean section incision on her tummy.

Me and Hamzah

Me and Hamzah (8 months), saying thanks to Hamzah's brave mama, and to all other awesome mommies out there.