Saturday, 29 July 2017


In waiting listlessly for my phone to charge before I try to go to sleep for a nice day tomorrow, I went back to read posts from when my blog was slowing down to its current pace. If I didn't know any better just from reading some of them during the beginning of army, I should think I was actually going through some high-functioning depression, Man, really throws a wrench into when people ask me how army was, and usually I just start reminiscing about the end days and not basic training, when it was really quite... lonely.

Holy crap, I wrote that in a now deleted draft titled 'Montréal'. I wanted to switch my title to what my post is going to be about more... which meant I could actually just have changed the title oops. Ah well I think there is a different feeling (completely irrational of course) of changing to a 'new post', which in the interests of time I won't finish tonight, but maybe on the bus tomorrow...
Don't want to forget about this so I'll insert some placeholder text but keep it... so I guess it's not...
There is a very specific feeling when you end a novel. When you read... the epilogue. I'm on said bus right now and just like the showing, I'm going to finish this post. I'm first going to say a few more words on Chester Bennington's death, starting with what I wrote on facebook:
actually placeholder text? Anyway, Samurai Jack has become my number 1 favourite cartoon, over
I know this random longass post is abit bourgeois melodramatic, but "Linkin Park and its lead singer were especially popular in South-east Asia..." - BBC; so write abit... Singlish abit.
When I was 10, P4, was when Linkin Park was blaring in my classroom's radio/CD-player, actually supposed to be for Chinese listening compre. I think 'was Numb or Faint. Anyway teacher not happy when me and Darren Chong ++ sing their songs, so kena. That's when I shy abit, start to don't like all this nonsense 'angsty satanic shit'. In P5 got singing competition, end up 2 teams, me and Charlie Zhao and my 2 friends Alfred Ang and Dennis Tohin finals. They sang 'In the End', 'Numb' (we sang Where is the Love by Black Eyed Peas). I still listened to their songs, but I felt repulsed because I thought it was 'bad music' for all the angsty guailan kids, so I listened to other stuff more. That was me being angsty and guailan.
"Despite the cascades of distorted guitars that surround him, there are moments in Linkin Park’s discography where Bennington sings as though he’s one-fifth of a boy band or like he’s whispering over the top of an acoustic guitar at a Midwestern coffee shop...It’s like he’s telling a secret to you and only you, never mind the half-dozen other kids still on the bus." - Consequence of Sound
The article I reference above uses Crawling as the example, for me, it was Waiting for the End. This was 2010, after Metallica was blasting in the media lab played by Yeo Tze Yang, appreciated by Marcus Liu. That's when I changed my mind, stopped being a prick about music (and then stopped being a prick much later) I bought Hybrid Theory Meteora and Minutes to Midnight when HMV had a sale and after a nostalgia sesh convo with Rifdi Bin Rosly .
It's a different feeling, honestly kind of stupidly hipster, to listen to old music that people have 'moved past from' etc, made me feel more special lor. Edgy af, then I decided, nvm other people la, liked the sound, liked the clear lyrics, liked to smile when listening to angsty shit, so let yourself have fun. I listened to them in the army, alongside Paramore and Muse. I never properly listened to their later things, but I might soon. I want to say to folks, don't be embarassed about your angsty, edgy, teenage music, some people might give you shit about it, and maybe they don't like it, that's fine. Everyone has their own taste, own problems. There's nothing wrong with having a phase, nor having 'the phase' your whole life, even if it changes from really feeling it to laughing at yourself, and getting the meaning without feeling in real dire straits anymore.
Fast forward, and I find random pockets of people at NU who listen to or 'used to listen in middle school' (I mean more than Numb and In the End) always with that nervous laughter or sheepish grin. Have even jammed a few tunes with Mike Pitorak. Fair enough, it can even come off as angsty white people music sometimes (mental health is not a joke). But it means something important to some people, and that's good enough for me. The magic might have been lost to some when it turned out Linkin Park was listened by so many and not just you, but that also became the point for me and for many - it seems like you were alone with the music, but in fact many people might empathize. For me, it's a whole lot of nostalgia, with a spoonful of eternity, and good friends along the way. For others, the music was welcome sincerity from a lead vocalist with a range and a backstory. K, finish my rant liao. RIP Chester Bennington.
the last airbender and Korra, although they are close 2nd and 3rd. I'd go into full detail, but I don't
Linkin Park is really, in a true sense of the word, cathartic. I gave the 3 albums I had + Waiting for the End another go on the flight from Kansas City to DC, and it was, cathartic closure, something you only feel with a band you grew up with.
think I have the space. Metaphorically, it's like your favourite simple/local/mother's dish over the
Similarly, the end of a movie, this time an indie film set in Thailand, directed by a Singaporean. As one writer put it, paraphrased, it was a conventional 'quirky till redemption' road trip sort of deal but for me was nonetheless wholesome and very charming. Melancholic old men always get to me. It reminded me of Logan, and even though it's concept was unoriginal, the details were fresh, kind of like an extended short film.
technically expert, culinary masterpiece. Avatar was almost too perfect, and the ending too grand.
And then what I wanted to write about most at this moment was the finale of Samurai Jack, in all regards, magnificently noble, if short. A really well-crafted and fitting end that the artistic cartoon deserves in a bittersweet wholesome epilogue - the feeling you get when getting to the end of a long novel, the indescribable, often described anyway as 'bittersweet' - after everything, it ends. After all this time? Always. I want to point out how well done this final season and season finale towards a longtime fan of the show, a show I grew up with and whose philosophy I hold close. Spoilers ahead (don't think anyone who reads my blog watches anyway!)

To start, the very clever writing trick - using the opening of the first 4 season, including the late voice actor Mako's voice to in fact be Aku's propaganda was a rare example of appropriate fan-service. The audience, instead of cringing, feels almost outsmarted in a way and enjoys it thoroughly, like a friend telling a witty inside joke to a friend joke. What follows pretty much follows the same formula in my books - tons of shoutouts/fanservice that at its worst felt only slightly shoehorned and fleeting. They were all mini-flashbacks of the grand adventure, except that instead of being the final 30 minutes of a 2 and a half hour movie, it was the last episode of 5 seasons of masterful storytelling. There's no 'I'm doing this for my friends!!!' type deal here, (cept maybe the love interest Ashi); because 50 years has passed, and Genndy took that plot device seriously. The way Jack finally manages to go back in time is exactly how the 5th season plays out - with the fruits of his struggle playing out and returned by the people he has saved - although it is cheesy, it's written in an artful storytelling genre that feels ok - even the abruptness of his escape, without saying a word to his friends in the future feels realistic to me because other shows might play it out with sorrow, sentimentality, and slow-motion. This is how he was meant to go back to where he really belongs, despite his adventures. This is how he receives peace. While a heroic new beginning in the future is possible and acceptable, I find this outcome much more in line with the show's philosophy of classical endurance.

But it's really the ending that's so great - because of how much it captures the cartoon in real-life, watched by an audience that has grown up. As I've said above, it was poetic, it was bittersweet, it was appropriate and emphatically understood it's audience - probably adults now, watching an old show. Many 'revivals' and 'reincarnations' either change too much or don't change, but Samurai Jack has truly hit the sweet spot with me - by not pretending, and by understanding what watching an old cartoon must feel like. To me, the final episode is a grand allegory - the opening starts with... the opening, the center reminds us of all his adventures and allies, the wedding and Ashi's disappearance, the abruptness and sadness and frustration of not finishing, the gray forest - the absence of the show, so vivid and full with no closure with the young audience growing up in a perhaps dreary world where Samurai Jack and other old cartoons have ran out of time - and the epilogue.

The epilogue is where a colorful ladybug, reminding Jack of Ashi, lands on his hands, and Jack is reminded of a great lesson, the running philosophy of the show, that Robert Frost puts as 'life goes on'. In my opinion, whether intentional or not, this scene evokes a calm feeling of nostalgia and joy - the same that the long-time fan, who has grown up with the show, watched Jack, and Genndy by extension, in their glory, and the final season, while being super important, is also a reflection and epilogue in its fullest. The lesson the ladybug helps Jack to realize is that Ashi may be gone, but his experiences and memories have been lived and created; season 5 may have been but a short and sweet adventure down memory lane, but despite its end, despite any favourite novel or TV show or movies end, the story has been told, and we have been lucky to always hold it in our hearts. The final scene in other words, is one of the most masterfully done epilogues that breaks the fourth wall in an emotionally emphatic way, and could only have been done because of the time jump, both in the show and in real life for the final season. It almost looks intentional, goddamit I'm not supposed to be crying. So many parts of this final scene is reminiscent, classic, nostalgic, wordless, subtle but in full-view... indescribable. It reminds me of how many prior samurai jack episodes end, with the melancholic Shakuhachi (Japanese flute) playing that says 'life must go on'. Jack's quest has reached its noble end, and now our lives must go on - yet it does so in a soft breeze and soft pink of cherry blossoms, not in melodrama or delusions of grandeur.

Didn't manage to finish again so I'm finishing it now, a little tipsy.

#79 Good Endings
Instead of explaining, I'll maybe list examples. They need not be 'satisfying' endings if that wasn't the point.
Samurai Jack
Harry Potter
American Gods
Brave New World
Witcher 3

There are too many to recall comprehensively. The obvious trend being that all of these have been great stories and storytelling, but not all great stories and storytelling have significantly standout good endings in my books.

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