Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The end was in sight

As I sat watching the epic final battle between Harry and Voldemort inside a cold, dark theater, a single thought kept repeating in my head.

Please don't disintegrate, Voldemort.

He disintegrated. Typical Hollywood bullpoop.

Prior to the movie's release, fans of the franchise were getting all teary-eyed and sentimental. They said that it was finally all over.

For me, it was all over in 2007 with the release of the final book. The movies mean nothing to me. I did watch all the movies of course. More in hope than expectation.

Like me, those who bothered to read all the books would say that the Harry Potter series was something unique. I was first introduced to the books by a cousin of mine, and read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when I was eleven. I loved it, as not only was Harry eleven years old throughout the book, but he had so many traits that were similar to mine. He was short for his age, bespectacled, knobbly-kneed and rather quite. Not to mention he had a tendency of looking at everything with awe and wonder.

In a sense, the books were a part of me growing up. I remember when the rest of the world began to get caught up with the series. There were those midnight releases, where thousands of fans queued up to get their hands on the latest book. Of course, I had to wait till the next morning to get my copy. But as soon as I did, I would read for hours on end, until an eyestrain-induced headache would force me to stop. I would take meticulous care in making sure that I read every detail and looked down at the "speed readers" who would read the book in one go just so that they could brag about it.

So as you may have guessed by now, I loved the books. But I never had the same affection for the movies. You can say that that's because I've always been a bit of a bookworm. Ever since I learned how to read, it remained my hobby.

Which reminds me of something a lecturer of mine told us recently.

"People get so caught up with all the technology that they've forgotten the importance of reading. No one bothers to read anything these days. It's all about skimming and scanning."

And I wholeheartedly agree with him. In an age where speed and efficiently counts for everything, we've been reduced to one-line-spouting machines. Where we once used to pour our emotions into handwritten letters, we now Tweet. We could easily look at the Harry Potter franchise for proof.

The books had everything. It portrayed the emotions of the characters in a most marvelous fashion and described the environment perfectly. In short, you really felt as though you were part of the world described in the books. They tested your imagination in ways you would never think were possible.

However, you don't need to use your imagination while watching the movies. Everything was provided on a silver platter. Or perhaps everything is the wrong word.

Harry Potter was portrayed as a Gary Stu. His best friend Ron merely came off as a less intelligent sidekick who occasionally spouted comic relief moments. Hermione's actress had the annoying knack of using her eyebrows to do all the acting. Many of the major characters were reduced to 30 second roles. There were uncountable out-of-character moments and major scenes in the books were omitted with the excuse that they would "make the movie too long", which fails explain why numerous scenes which were not in the books, and completely irrelevant to the movies plot made it. Basically, it was yell, crash, burn, lots of bright colours and special effects and- huh? The movie's over already?

For me, I'll always remember the literature. The movies, their actors, actresses, produces and directors can go stuff themselves, without sounding too rude.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The tourist abuse scandal and shoddy journalism

As a Maldivian living abroad, I try to keep up with all the happenings back home as much as I can. It got a little boring after a few months since nothing has really changed. The political scene is still a giant comedy festival and the recently-concluded Dhivehi League was like watching paint dry. So monotonous. Well, I was expecting another slow news day when I saw it. The oh-so popular video that has been making headlines all over the world. As a result, we Maldivians are now stuck in a very uncompromising, extremely uncomfortable and a very unfamiliar position. We're like a deer caught in headlights.

It was bad enough that the idiots who caused all this trouble were Maldivian, born and bred in Maldives, you know, "Paradise on Earth", "The sunny side of life". I mean, people who live there aren't even supposed to have the capability of such heinous acts, aren't they?

What upset me most was the crappy and utterly BS journalism which followed. And for once, the journalists are not Maldivian. Pieces like this one, published by AFP news, and this one by a poor excuse of a journalist from The Guardian. Yay, let's not blame the foul-mouthed cretins! They were squeaky clean innocent!

If you bothered to follow the links, you may have able to decipher a disturbing pattern; the journalists have made it a meal of highlighting the fact that Maldives is an Islamic country. Eh? Just read some of the comments for the article from my second link. The general consensus is that "The Muslims are at it again!". Much emphasis is also made on the fact that the perpetrators called the Swiss tourists "infidels". Really now, any Maldivian who watched the video would tell you that that was probably the least offensive term used against the unsuspecting couple. The idiots spewed much worse, I assure you!

The worst thing about this fiasco is that, somehow, they've turned this into a religious thing. The perpetrators weren't religious, neither by their appearance nor language. Practicing Muslims would never use such foul language since we're prohibited from doing so, we aren't allowed to speak behind people's back either. They even mocked the Islamic religious rituals, for God's sake! 

But of course, why let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh? It's so much easier to remain as bigots, reveling in the fact that we're threatened by global warming, calling us "Saudi on sea". Some of the comments on The Guardian's article are so laden with ignorance that I wonder how they manage to walk and breath at the same time. What a sad, pathetic bunch of losers. Here's a suggestion; stop talking about things you've no clue about. You sound ignorant enough already.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ramadan Mubarak!

Without getting to anything else, I would like to wish Ramadan Mubarak to all the Muslim visitors to my blog. Let's all learn from the Sahabah and make the best use of this month.

Since my last post, I've gone through a lot of changes. For one thing, I've left my country to pursue a degree and am now enrolled at a university. This also happens to be the first Ramadan that I'm going to be spending away from my family. So of course, it's a big challenge for me and I did find it a bit strange during the first couple of days (I really missed my Mom's cooking, for an instance) but as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. There's a strong, close-knit Muslim "community" where I live, and they've all been conducting themselves brilliantly so far in this blessed month. It's an amazing feeling when we line up for prayers; the congregation is as multinational as it gets, consisting of students from all over the world. People from Nigeria to Russia, Arabs, South, Central and East Asians all prostrating down to the same Lord.

It's not easy having to mix classes and assignments with the month, I'm going to admit that. I've had to shorten my sleeping hours during weekdays which left me running on empty last Friday (although I did manage to steal some of those hours during the weekend). But hey, sometimes you have to choose between what is right and what is easy! And I thank Allah for showing me the right path.

I've also found the change of scenery rather refreshing in a way. It's nice to be away from those Maldivians who treat the month like a giant food festival. Instead, I'm happy that none of my colleagues over here waste their time on the "Roadha kurukurun" nonsense. Shame on them, especially considering the fact that many of the earliest generations of Muslims actually prayed to Allah to allow them to experience Ramadan 6 months prior to the beginning of the month.

Anyway, I'm also painfully aware of the fact that my last post was 6 months ago. I will, insha Allah, try to upload new posts more frequently. I've honestly been buried up to my neck with over the past few months with assignments and also getting myself adjusted to a new environment.

Alright then, I've got to run to catch a bus. Stay tuned!