First, the office had some symposium on heritage tourism last week and obviously I was away from my desk for a few days (arrrghhhh... soooo missed reading blogs and checking Milan fashion week!).
I met my good friend Heidi who spoke at the conference. I'm talking about the real Heidi from Cagayan de Oro (see her blog here) and we used to work in the same circle in Mindanao three years ago.
The symposium went quite well and now that it's over I wonder what I'm doing at the office for the coming weeks. How about checking more blogs?
Despite the tight schedule, I still managed to squeeze a few films in the ongoing Bangkok International Film Festival.
Bitch here got lucky to get a guest pass, using my charms and my sexual prowess (I wish!), so I had two free tickets each day. Friday afternoon, I watched three films, one after another, until my eyes bled!
I caught a Singaporean film, Money No Enough 2, which is a satire of present-day life in the island state. The obsessive control of the government over the people's lives was obviously one of the main themes of the films, together with how the citizens are grappling with making more money and meeting family obligations. However, the script was a very cheesy and obvious, it ended up looking like a messy soap opera.
I also caught Elite Squad from Brazil. I can only describe it as City of God from the police's perspective. And just like City of God, this movie about Rio's slums and its drug trade is very violent and raw.
One of the best films I saw lately is this documentary called Up the Yangtze about the impact of the Three Gorges Dam on the ordinary Chinese. The last minutes of the film shows the river slowly swallowing the house and farm of a poor family. The story is so engaging and heart-wrenching that after the screening I wished I had someone to discuss the film with.
A number of Filipino films, I'm happy to report, are in the film festival as well. I think there should be at least five of them. Even Lav Diaz, who I saw a couple of times inside the cinema, is one of the jurors this year. I managed to catch a couple of Pinoy films.
Tirador is about the inter-connected lives of the slum dwellers near Quiapo. The film opens with an earsplitting night-time raid of the slum. This gritty and chaotic opening sequence is pretty much carried throughout the movie. People screaming, fighting, crying, laughing, arguing... this cacophony of emotions was the single element that tied the numerous characters together.
Of course, the hardship of poverty, and the odds one has to take because of it, is presented with amazing sensitivity, without justifying any of the crimes many of the characters participate in. The film does succeed in giving us a good sense of what Manila is all about.
I also caught Jay by Francis Xavier Pasion (who was present for a Q&A during the screening yesterday). Basically, the movie is a satirical presentation of "journalism" back in Las Islas Filipinas.
Despite the technical problems during the screening (there was no sound for minutes on end in some sections of the film), the audience, which has a sizeable Filipino composition, was still laughing on the right spots.
The film, by the way, is in competition for this festival. I wish the it gets some credit somehow coz it's honestly one of the best Filipino films I've seen recently.
I wish I can still catch a few films until the festival closes on Tuesday. My goal really is to watch as much Southeast Asian Films as I could but there were just too many good films for such a short festival.
Ok, on with the hedonistic pursuits this week... oh dear, where do I start? Last Thursday, I dragged Bubbles to Club Culture for the Donna Summer night. I was expecting lots of gay men in the club but it turned out rather empty, except for my friend Martha Graham, who is in every BKK party anyway.
Bubbles and I decided to head over to Silom, which I haven't visited in probably three months already. I thought I'd miss the place as Bubbles and I used to go there every weekend. But then I was honestly indifferent to the club already. It's the same bloody music and same sleazy crowd.
The next evening, Bubbles and I went to the party of Martha Graham's friend near Khao San Road. There we met a few gay men who then dragged Bubbles and me back to Silom (ugh).
Well, things went to a naughty direction with this guy who calls me moi cheri (the bayot from Surigao pukes) and one thing led to another... and I will stop right here.
My Saturday schedule was ruined when it was not until one in the afternoon when my "guest" decided he should leave already (is it not a rule that you should leave as soon as you can?).
I rushed to Central World to catch Jay, after which I had to attend the Thailand Tourism Awards (zzzzz...). I sneaked out of it after a few minutes and had a haircut.
Dead tired, I went home early only to be invited by Bubbles to a party in Central World (again!). We met up with his yoga instructor and rushed to some Heineken party. Some free beer and lots of gorgeous people.
Bubbles then dragged me to faraway Otokor, that popular strip of gay bars near Chatuchak market to meet yet one of his friends (the bitch has lots!). The last time I was in Otokor was a year ago and I thought it was a good time to once again visit this all-Thai gay hang out.
Fuck, I felt so old in the company of them young, stunning kids.
I wish the social welfare department would not arrest me for doing some quick, naughty stuff in the toilet with this kid who practically looked fourteen!
Today, Bubbles and I went to Chatuchak to do some shopping. I got three shirts, a pair of trousers, second-hand jeans, and a vest.
Will werk them in the streets of BKK soon.
I was hoping I still had energy to catch a few films at the film festival after Chatuchak but I was seriously exhausted from this weekend of debauchery so I decided to have a quiet evening at home.