When post-its are not enough

A South Korean flick entitled “A Moment to Remember” has been the subject of interest for quite sometime in our office. I immediately watched this 2004 movie the night I got hold of the DVD copy which was passed around in the office. The story involves a young lady named Su Jin (Ye-jin Son) who is suffering Alzheimer’s disease. Su Jin falls in love with Chul Soo (Jung Woo-sung) after several accidental meetings and romantic coincidences.

This movie is a certified tear-jerker. The romantic scenes are stringed together to stir the emotions of the viewers. The beginning of the movie is a long scene showing Su Jin and Chul Soo’s first meeting. A can of Coke (my favorite softdrink) has been the center of their first moment together. Then the movie goes on like a typical romantic story. The main story begins as Su Jin and Chool Soo live together as a married couple. Aware that Su Jin is diagnosed with Alzheimers, Chool Soo does everything he can to remind Su Jin how much he loves her (a serious version of 50 First Dates). Su Jin, on the other hand, forces herself to remember everything she can but soon, the disease consumed her.

Here’s one advice for those who want to watch this movie: have rolls of tissue paper beside you. You’ll surely end up crying several times because of the romantic scenes and the way the couple showed their love for each other. Their love was a race against time. Post-its are not enough to battle Alzheimer’s, but the story proved that LOVE can!

You’ll definitely grasp the movie’s essence without being so immersed with the lines. One doesn’t have to strictly follow the subtitles. Personally, I was carried away by the excellent acting skills of the characters. The movie boasts of outstanding cinematography as well.

“A Moment to Remember” takes its viewers to an unusual love story that is open-ended.

Four out of five stars for this Asian masterpiece that made my eyes swell.

There’s a place for West Side in Manila

Manila’s version of West Side Story was fantastic. I witnessed the final show of this production at the Meralco Theater last October 13 and I felt lucky because West End’s Joanna Ampil was the one playing Maria for the night. This production by Stages made “my date with mom” a remarkable experience.

Awesome Audie
I believe Audie Gemora has a reason why he revived West Side Story, and whatever his reason was, I’m sure it was good. And the result was astonishing. Last year, Gemora pulled off a version of High School Musical on stage and it was impressive. This time, he and Mechu Lauchengco-Yulo, were able to restore the glory of a 50-year-old Broadway musical. The whole production ended up looking very well-planned.

Not so bad at all
Christian Bautista may not be the perfect Tony but at least, he was able to sustain his voice quality until the end of the run. Bautista’s inability to dance was not a problem because his voice became his edge. As a pop singer, Bautista deserves a round of applause. On stage, Bautista is not that good but he blended well. I love the part when he sang “Maria” and everyone was in awe (including the foreigners beside me) when Bautista was able to sustain the last note for several seconds.

Joanna Ampil, on the other hand, deserves a bouquet of flowers and a standing ovation. She is now one of the reasons why I am proud to be a Filipino. Her powerful voice was stunning. Her role as a Puerto Rican was very convincing, plus, she never slipped a change in her accent throughout the presentation. Bravo!

The moves of the dancers were very graceful and the choreography was simple but clean, thanks to James Laforteza. For the supporting characters, Gian Carlo Magdangal (Riff) stood out among the rest.

Good mix
The voice qualities of some characters were not that far from what is expected of a singer. Felix Rivera may not be able to transfer his “Avenue Q” know-how to all the characters but he was notably a good vocal coach. The music (with Gerard Salonga as Musical Director) was comparable to the original production.

Overall, I give a score of 7 ½ out of 10 for this local musical. Truly, there’s a place for West Side Story in Manila! Here’s a very memorable line from the song “Somewhere” – “There’s a place for us, a time and place for us. Hold my hand and we’re halfway there; hold my hand and I’ll take you there… somehow, someday, somewhere.”

What’s up (or down) with the Chinese?

After showing off during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese citizens are in the news again. The recent ‘melamine’ scare has been so sensationalized that whatever chocolate, milk, or food product that has a Chinese encryption on it is considered as poison. Two weeks ago, just before the melamine outbreak, I bought a lot of Chinese stuff from Divisoria and Chinatown. Does this mean I am contaminated?

For people from the world of Science (ooh, I remember my college days), melamine’s IUPAC name is 1,3,5-Triazine-2,4,6-triamine. According to my personal research through the Internet, melamine is toxic (when used in large amounts) and is combined with other substances to produce resin, cement mixture, or colorant. Excessive ingestion can lead to reproductive damage or bladder cancer.

So some Chinese products were proven to be contaminated with this toxic substance that is why everyone has been over-patriotic creating a demand on Filipino products. Aside from increasing sales of local chocolates, milk, and anything that isn’t “Made in China,” melamine has been a word of mouth. Whenever I take something inside my mouth my officemates would burst and say “Hoy, baka may melamine ‘yan!” (Hey, maybe that has melamine in it!) Precautions are enough. I think others are overreacting.

China already said “sorry.” Alright, that may not be enough and we think they are so pathetic for endangering billions of lives around the world. But hey, they’ve been battered too much and they are just paying for what they have done to their reputation. China should redeem its name clouded with issues on toys with lead content, flimsy products, and now, melamine-rich food!

I have nothing against the people of China. In fact, I am proud that most of my close friends are Chinese. I love their food, their way of life, and their customs. I learn from them. I just hope that someday, their entire population (which is enormous) will work together to reclaim their glory.