Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Wind - by Dani

My son Dani never ceases to blow me away with his random writings. He's no avid reader by any calculation, so I don't know where the words come from. This is a piece of his homework I found on my laptop:

The Wind

The wind was a haunting ghost,

It comes and goes and comes again,

It races past you and you get a spine tingling shiver down your back.

It flaps its wings and sends a giant gush of air against you,

Suddenly there is an epic battle

between you and the violent wind,

A god gives out a powerful blow.

Gods start to fight,

Dead autumn leaves scatter,

And they collapse gently on the hard, dusty pavement.

It was a blowing fan,

Increasing speed at a deadly rate,

It gets faster, and faster, and faster…

Do you have to die before you are recognised?

The late Yasmin Ahmad made history for Malaysia as she was posthumously awarded Best Director at last night's Asia Pacific film festival in Taipei for the film Muallaf. Way to go, sistah, you showed 'em.

Sheila Majid said in a recent "10 Questions" interview with The Star, do we have to wait til we die, in order for our country to recognise us?

When you come to think of it.. Bila kita dah tak ada,sibuklah nak bagi title itu ini,tribute lah,documentary lah,award lah. Happened during P. Ramlee's time and sadly is still happening today.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Let out the artist in you!

Painting and photography are 2 hobbies my 2 kids and I enjoy, as our non-sporting, time-out activity together. I find it really therapeutic and painting and photography have taught me to really stop and smell the roses, not rush through and miss out on all the most beautiful things that are all around us.

The beauty is, EVERYONE is an artist. Every child has been taught to draw and express from when they were at playschool, but as adults we doubt or don't trust ourselves to draw and paint as we did in our childhood.

I read a book by @DannyGregory several years ago called The Creative License which just got me back into sketching and painting. You will get hooked if you just allow yourself to get started, and you might end up like me, I pack my sketchbooks and watercolors and brushes 1st thing whenever I pack to travel.

Art doesn't discriminate and there is no right or wrong with art, you make your own rules, that's the best thing about it. I hope some of you will make that first move soon, and we can share our art here on this page! :-)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Pushing our Malaysian Brand (from Star e-browse)

One of my wonderful fans sent me this through FB, a much more exciting look at the actual article itself. I thought I'd post this here for the record, and for posterity. Thank you Zazu Azan ;-)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pushing Our Malaysian Brand: Big Hits - Made In Malaysia, for the World!

The Star Online

Sunday October 17, 2010

Pushing our Malaysian brand


Under Budget 2011, the creative industry has been allocated the same amount as last year. The way forward is a new creative industry that will be able to produce ‘BIG HITS – Made in Malaysia, for the World’.

I’M glad that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has acknowledged in his Budget speech that “the creative industry has great potential for further development to generate national income” and that “the Government will develop a creative industry policy in an integrated manner”.

This time, RM200mil has been allocated for this industry, the same amount as last year.

It’s natural that everybody wants more for his sector and I wish the creative industry had been given more too. Nevertheless, we should accept this gracefully with thanks and work on a plan on how best to use this fund and move forward.

I suggest we follow our PM’s lead. It cannot be business as usual any more for us. In his Budget speech, he said, “Success demands drastic changes, not incremental. It requires a quantum leap.”

Just as the PM introduced the NEM (New Economic Model) as a new approach to drive national transformation, I propose that the way forward for the creative industry is a New Creative Industry Model (NCIM) or, as I referred to it during a recent Budget discussion on TV3’s Soal Jawab, Model Industri Kreatif Baru (MIKB).

The NCIM must be radical and dramatic to deliver high impact results. It must look at new ways on how we can use the same amount this year more strategically, with greater focus, to take the industry to a new level.

We need BIG HITS!

In today’s competitive global scenario, the country that wins is the one that’s able to grab world recognition and world headlines.

We need to grab the attention of the world, like India did with Lagaan and Slumdog Millionaire; or China with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We need TV serials that can hit the world like the Korean wave. We need our own international superstar ambassadors like Rain, Aishwarya Rai and Jackie Chan.

All of these brands heighten consciousness and awareness of the products of those nations.

Here’s my own personal experience trying to promote the stage musical version of Puteri Gunung Ledang (PGL).

In June this year, we were invited to showcase the “international” version of our show to agents and promoters at an international arts conference called Live! Singapore. This was a wonderful opportunity to promote a Malaysian cultural product to the world.

We tried, but we could not get any support from the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry.

We were told there was no special grant or funding support scheme for promotion of Malaysian products to the world. We couldn’t get any support from the private sector either. We ended up funding this venture ourselves.

Putting together a musical production incurs hefty costs, whether it is for a 15-minute or a two-hour show.

A production company has to bear the cost of writers, directors, choreographers, musicians, actors, wardrobe staff, projection design, crew, technical costs, travel, accommodation and food.

That’s a big deal for a small company like ours, especially when there is no tangible promise of any immediate returns.

Anyway, PGL shone as the most outstanding product presented throughout the event. Many commented that the story line was fresh and unique, yet the themes easily resonate with a world audience.

But here was the cruncher: It would still be a hard sell. Why? The average American or Englishman who has a choice of what show he or she would buy a ticket for doesn’t know enough about Malaysia.

Malaysia who?

We had a similar experience when the movie version of PGL was shortlisted as Malaysia’s first Academy Award nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

We were invited to the Palm Springs film festival, and our film was also screened in Los Angeles with the hope that we would catch the attention, and subsequently the vote, of a few members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

This was when PGL director Saw Teong Hin and I first realised that the world at large really knew so little about our existence, geographically, far less of our culture, to even make any sort of connection.

The Malay proverb “Tak kenal maka tak cinta (You do not know, so you do not love)” rings so true in this case.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cost US$17mil to make and its returns in the United States alone in 2004 reached US$150mil, making it the most profitable foreign film ever in the US.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Taiwan and three other Academy Awards. It was also nominated for six other Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The success of Crouching Tiger is the result of a carefully marketed campaign that started with a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.

It’s been said that the movie was part of a cleverly crafted tactic to sell China to an international audience – China’s answer to globalisation using mass culture as a vehicle.

And why ever not? Since then, Chinese brands like Jackie Chan, Zhang Ziyi, Ang Lee and even our own Michelle Yeoh, and even Haier, Lenovo and HuaWei are now well within the world’s consciousness, and “Made In China” no longer resonates as cheap or poor quality.

The lesson here, therefore, is to make our own big hits and get noticed by the world.

We need to focus on how a Malaysian wave can take Broadway, the West End, and Hollywood by storm. Malaysia needs to be seen, heard, smelt, felt and tasted everywhere!

Matching the best

Let’s look at musical theatre for a moment. I have watched almost every musical in London, Australia and New York and I know in my heart that whatever they can do, we can do as well, if not better.

We have produced quality films that have been sold internationally, made on budgets of between US$2.5mil and US$5mil, which is still considered extremely modest by international standards.

KRU Berhad’s upcoming epic Merong Mahawangsa, as well as U-Wei’s period film Hanyut, certainly hold a lot of promise.

We have a wealth of stories that are fresh and unique; our culture, values, music, costumes as well as our people’s pan-Asian look are our most precious unique selling points.

Imagine all these combined with the best resources in the world in terms of writing, story editing, directing, marketing and publicity; the best experts in production, set building, technical, lighting and sound design; and the latest and best audio-visual technology and expertise – Malaysia can take on the world any time!

But to do that, we need to be bold enough to make the investment. The handful of serious content providers like KRU, Tall Order Productions, U-Wei Shaari and Enfiniti cannot do this on our own.

Even in the case of the golden boys of Malaysian films today, Ahmad Idham and Mamat Khalid, imagine how much better the quality of their unique brand of films could be with additional backing.

Speaking about his latest movie Hanyut, in an article in The Star, U-Wei said he has spent RM11mil so far but “needs RM7mil more” to finish the film. “If you want to make a film of international standards, then you need a big budget to do it.”

The creative industry needs support in the form of grants and financing in order to play on a more even field.

We will need substantial investment to tap into the latest technology, work with the best experts, create original works, hire the best marketers and publicists, and engage the best talents in the world.

To achieve this, we need a joint effort and commitment by the government, private sector and the industry. Only by doing it this way can we mobilise the substantial amount and resources required.

Every bit of support will make a difference – from government policies and government to government initiatives, to high profile international networking that can open doors and make things happen.

Corporations and individuals could be given tax incentives to help fund creative initiatives.

Of course, the other possible pay-off for these corporations would be the opportunity of international branding and positioning of their products and services.

Producers, who up till now bear the biggest risks, could be encouraged by a rebate scheme or stimulus package, something that has been successfully introduced in other countries.

Creative Industries Development Agency

If we adopt the premise of the NCIM, a Creative Industries Development Agency (CIDA) should be set up to appoint a panel of experts, local and foreign, to prepare a blueprint and strategies on how this industry can make its quantum leap within the next three to five years.

One of the most important outputs of this blueprint is also the mechanism to ensure proper management and effective use of the funds, so that funds are disbursed in the most transparent and accountable manner.

This blueprint is crucial if we are to attract the private sector conglomerates, as these commercial organisations will only lend support if they see a clear plan and strategy to succeed.

CIDA doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. We should be big and open-minded enough to study other successful models such as Korea’s and Singapore’s transformation plans, and adopt what is applicable to us.

Korea, one of the world’s top 10 cultural exporters today, through the KOCCA (Korea Culture and Contents Agency), had a business plan in 2003 titled, “Remaking Korea as the Creative Star of the World Stage”.

The phenomenal Korean wave was a product of major conglomerates, venture capital and the Korean government all coming together to play an important part in how their cultural products are financed, produced, distributed, promoted and screened to local and foreign viewers.

Singapore has a 15-year Renaissance City Plan initiated in 2000 led by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts.

The Renaissance City Plan is being carried out in three phases:

> Phase 1 in 2000: Development of cultural software, capabilities and audiences.

> Phase 2 in 2005: Further developing new arts and culture capabilities, build more arts/culture-business partnerships, and to internationalise Singapore Arts.

> Phase 3 – by 2015: Singapore plans to be a vibrant magnet for international talent and be the best home to an all-inclusive and cohesive population that’s proud of its national identity.

Our neighbouring country down south has been transformed from a “barren wasteland” into an exciting and culturally vibrant, lively destination, and is internationally ranked as one of the most liveable cities. Singapore’s arts and culture are today a source of national pride.

Different times call for a different way of playing the game. Worldwide, the industrial economy is giving way to the creative economy, and corporations are having to re-think their attributes.

Digital media and convergence are the new catchwords; ideas and intellectual property are fast becoming the precious new commodities of our times; and even the giants of the world such as Sony are shifting gear from their traditional core business to entertainment and mobile games.

A re-energised creative industry can be a new source of high income for our country. Let’s be radical and dramatic. Let’s produce these “BIG HITS – Made in Malaysia, for the World”, and let’s start now while we still believe we can.

> Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina is an award-winning producer, actress and passionate arts activist.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

One of Her World's 50 Most Inspiring Women!

I can't explain this, but every birthday presents a turn of luck and fortune for me, sometimes for the better and some years not as good as the ones before. I didn't really give much thought to the year that was for me, as this year has been dedicated to developing various projects, anyway, so I've been lying low, barely within milimetres of the radar. Something happened though, this recent "28th" birthday (LOL,yeah). I felt something was changing on a universal level, or on a level I definitely had no control over. The planets must be suddenly aligning in my favor, and everything's happening for me all of a sudden. Well, I'm gonna enjoy this ride for as long and as far as this wave will take me.

Her World has featured me as 1 of 50 most inspiring Malaysian women in their 50th anniversary issue. I'm most humbled to be mentioned alongside some of the most inspiring women I know like Dato' Dr. Mazlan Othman, Madeleine Yong and Dato' Faridah Merican. Happy 50th birthday Her World, may you continue to inspire and energize the women of our time.

MISI RAHSIA TIARA by Abie Abdullah for Metro Ahad

This journalist was right, I usually stay away from the spotlight and publicity whenever I'm not in "publicity and promotion" mode. Fortunately for me, my friends in the media understand and fully respect the way I like to do things. It hasn't been easy avoiding conversation with my media friends, especially over Hari Raya, but everyone understands my "modus operandi" by now, ha ha. Shout only when I have something substantial to shout about.

Thanks Abie for publishing my thoughts whilst not saying too much either! ;-)

You'll be hearing from me when the time is right...

Harian Metro

Misi rahsia Tiara

E-mel Artikel Cetak Artikel Tanda Artikel Besarkan Saiz Teks Kecilkan Saiz Teks Komen Artikel

AGAK lama juga Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina ‘berdiam’ dan dia punya alasan tersendiri. Malah ketika ditanya pun, pejuang seni ini mengambil masa untuk memberi jawapan yang bukan saja tepat, malah tidak mahu ada yang terasa. Pun begitu, di kalangan rakan media, dia turut dikenali sebagai perahsia, terutama yang membabitkan perancangan seninya. Takkan akan dicakapkan kalau belum masanya.

Inilah ketegasannya tetapi wanita cantik ini pasti mengotakan janji. Dan itulah juga yang membuat pihak media menghormati ‘misi rahsia’ Tiara dalam setiap perhitungan kariernya.

Beberapa projek sedang dipertimbangkan oleh syarikatnya, Enfiniti Productions dan seringnya dinantikan pengikutnya selepas melihat hasil yang menjadi tanda aras karya seni seperti muzikal Puteri Gunung Ledang (PGL) dan P Ramlee yang dipentaskan bukan semusim dua. Pastinya ada yang mengharap lagi dan meletakkan harapan yang lebih besar.

Sedikit menggusarkan tetapi Tiara faham dengan citarasanya mempersembahkan sesuatu. SELEBRITI menghubunginya Rabu lalu untuk lebih lanjut.

Agak lama juga menyepi. Ke mana menghilang?

Bukan lama menyepi, tetapi saya mengambil masa lama untuk membuat perancangan. Berbulan-bulan hingga ia menjadi dalam keadaan yang sahih untuk dikongsikan. Insya-Allah hujung tahun ini saya umumkan projek baru. Ada beberapa dalam pelan itu, semuanya berkaitan dengan apa yang saya ingin buat. Mungkin muzikal, mungkin juga filem atau apa saja yang berkaitan dengan industri seni. Sesuatu yang saya mahu buat, sesuatu yang bagus untuk industri. Memang tidak boleh beritahu lagi. Memang ada projek tetapi belum tentu formatnya. Sepanjang Hari Raya, saya terpaksa zipkan mulut walaupun puas teman bertanya.

Mungkinkah muzikal lagi selepas PGL dan P Ramlee?

Saya sasarkan dua tahun selepas setiap pementasan tak akan ada ‘show’, pembangunan saja. Kalau nak buat, memang boleh sebab kita ada macam-macam skrip dan Istana Budaya (IB) pun sediakan slot. Tapi saya bukan begitu, mesti buat betul-betul bukannya tangkap muat. Biasanya bertahun masa diambil untuk sebuah pementasan atau sesebuah projek. Mustahil bagi saya buat sesuatu projek seni dalam masa dua tiga bulan persediaan. Bukan saya. Ramai ingat senang nak buat muzikal. Ia lain dengan pementasan biasa.

Kalau skrip saja perlu ambil masa tiga tahun, tiga tahunlah saya tunggu biar betul-betul puas. Macam PGL, dua tahun lebih selepas puluhan olahan. Selepas PGL dan P Ramlee, saya tak boleh buat sambil lewa. Perancangan struktur muzikal sebenar amat berbeza, bukan cincai sesuka hati.

Apa pandangan Tiara mengenai perkembangan muzikal tempatan sekarang?

Pada 2006, ketika awal-awal PGL bermula, ramai yang skeptikal. Kononnya siapalah nak tengok muzikal Melayu, penaja pun belum tentu berani nak masuk. Lebih lawak ketika itu ada yang tanya, nak pentaskan di mana? Mereka tidak tahu yang kita ada IB. Namun selepas PGL, ramai pula yang semakin berani untuk mementaskan muzikal.

Baguslah, dari satu sudut, lebih ramai audiens didedahkan dengan muzikal. Pelbagai peringkat umur dan bangsa mula kenal IB, apa itu teater yang pada sesetengah mereka teater itu macam tengok wayang di panggung. Untuk industri, ia satu perkembangan yang baik terutama mengajak anak muda mengenali teater dan muzikal.

Cuma dalam masa sama, penggiat yang terbabit seperti produser dan pengarah muzikal harus ada tanggungjawab untuk mengekalkan standard kualiti tertentu agar mereka yang pertama kali datang, akan kembali menonton pementasan lain pula. Jangan bunuh keinginan yang baru berputik itu dengan persembahan yang tidak setimpal dengan usaha mereka untuk ke IB. Malah, bimbang juga kalau penaja yang kecewa untuk menaja pementasan lain yang mungkin lebih baik daripada yang ditajanya itu.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Interview with 16-year old Anesha G. Kumar for NST's Niexter


Victoria from my office emailed me a request from NST's Niexter desk, for me to give an interview to a 16-year old. I have always liked the idea of kids learning and seeing the world from different perspectives, and I definitely welcomed the idea of engaging with the younger generations to see what exactly they might find interesting about "my world". Here's the article Anesha wrote, and a photo of her and me before I changed into a slightly more traditional gear to attend NSTP's Open House right after that. (Thanks a million Anesha, I really enjoyed our chat last week!)

Tiara for a Princess

Anesha G. Kumar, 16, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
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WHEN I stepped into the room, I prepared myself for a more than an interesting interview with Tiara Jacquelina, who was Gusti Putri in 4 sold-out seasons of Puteri Gunung Ledang, The Musical including one in Singapore. I must admit I was a teensy bit nervous meeting someone like her, well-known for her fame in both the film and musical. But the moment she stepped into the room, she brought warmth and a sense of ease with her dazzling smile. It was overwhelmingly awesome!

Putting aside her unique and beautiful Burmese-Indonesian-Chinese looks, her down-to-earth personality was what shone the brightest. Now, it’s easy to understand why she stands out in the crowd, with a colourful aura surrounding her.

Tiara’s passion in the arts started during her schooling days. She was always so active as a producer, director, choreographer, dancer, singer, actor in the school annual musical productions, concerts and the cheerleading team that she said it’s a wonder she managed to get decent grades!

“We went to other schools including our rivals, promoting our plays. I spoke to the students before their class,” says Tiara who got her early education at SMK St. Mary.

“You can see how my formative years at school have definitely led me here. Students were always encouraged to explore and develop their creativity and leadership skills out of the classroom. We had a fantastic bunch of very supportive teachers, who believed that creative and artistic development of a child was just as important as scoring 17 A1s.”

Even being the captain of her cheerleading squad in school has helped build her to be who she is today. Tiara says, “Cheerleading is great. It’s all about encouraging that person across the finish line, motivating them all the way.

And in the end, it’s not only that person who is happy but the whole sports house shares the joy. She applies that same concept even today in her life.

She was very sure about one thing right from the onset in her career-to lead every project she undertook. In her mind, she had a clear idea of the outcome of every project and she could only achieve this if she was in the driver’s seat.

As a college student in KDU she started her first venture as an entrepreneur by setting up one of the country’s first talent casting and management agencies, then called Jacquie Eu Productions, with her best friend and college mate Jennifer Ong. They discovered talents like Sofia Jane, Linda Hashim, Sasha Bashir, Nasha Aziz, Maria Faridah, even Meer Habib, as well as many others, during this time.

In 1987, her agency was approached by Bustal Nawawi, Indonesia’s most well-respected film producer, to cast Malaysian actors for the first Malaysia-Indonesia joint venture movie called Irisan-irisan Hati. They auditioned everybody in the business – actors, models, singers, even TV newscasters, but the producer wasn’t happy.

“He finally asked me to audition, and I did so quite reluctantly. He apparently liked what he saw and offered me the role, but I turned him down, saying I had no intention of being an actor, that I was happier to run a business.

He then promised me that if I signed on to do four films under his company, he would teach me the business of film production as well. That did it for me – the chance to learn from the best, first hand as well. I signed on and never looked back as an actor and producer”, says Tiara.

Tiara Jacquelina was also the soulful voice behind the hit song Asmaradana from the soundtrack of Puteri Gunung Ledang. Tiara says she had always wanted to change the music landscape in Malaysia and so they tried out a more ethnic fusion. They also experimented a lot with dance form to add more funk but still keep its traditional vibe to it.

She is also a diligent (producer). She’s always on the go and wants to explore what has never been done before. She saw the opportunity for a magical story in Puteri Gunung Ledang, and even while the movie was being filmed, the version had its own parallel journey. “There wasn’t an industry as such when we first announced we wanted to put a musical version of PGL on stage”.

“To be quite honest, it seemed like the odds were dead against us – we couldn’t find performers who could act, sing AND dance, nobody had the experience to put on a large-scale production, but most worrying of all was that nobody went to the theatre in Malaysia – people didn’t even know WHERE Istana Budaya was, or that we even have one,” she says.

According to Tiara, her favourite aspect of being a part of a musical would definitely be the magic of being able to share it with the audience. “It’s an experience that money can’t buy,” she says. “You always know the applause or standing ovation at the end of it all is genuine because it comes from the heart of the audience.”

As for advice for aspiring musical actors, Tiara says that you always have to be prepared mentally and physically because nothing is going to be easy. She says, “I had to sing day and night as well as learn how to dance for the Puteri Gunung Ledang role”.

Tiara Jacquelina who is also the managing director of Enfiniti Vision Media, says that in her eyes, working with young and dynamic people is always important as you need people around you to be hungry for work. “Having the right spirit and personality is important,“ she says.

From experience, coming into the entertainment business cold, she is currently working on a variety of short courses catering to all ages; children, youths and working adults through Enfiniti Academy.

“We hope to nurture the talents early in children and youths but we also understand that there are many out there holding stable jobs and yet have a stifled love for musical theatre. Our courses will allow them to juggle their passion and responsibilities. In fact, some corporate seminars will teach them how to get the best of both worlds by incorporating musical theatre theories into their everyday lives,” she says.

And of course, I couldn’t leave without finding out her favourite musical of all time. “Oh, Miss Saigon of course, that’s my favourite,” she says with a huge smile sprawled across her face. “When I saw Lea Salonga on stage, I said, ‘If she can do it, I can do it too!’,” she says. She also admires Andrew Lloyd Webber because “he’s a genius” and I couldn’t help but agree.

I must say now that I have been very fortunate to have met someone like Tiara, who has been gracing the stage for years with her vibrant persona. To sum her up in a word would be hard because words cannot define what an amazing and remarkable individual she is. All I can say is that she is definitely a ‘Puteri’ of the musical scene.

Her last words, “Think big, think (like) Obama! Do what you’ve never dreamt of. You have to lead to determine the outcome, be it in life or in a performance”.

Read more: Tiara for a Princess

Saturday, 18 September 2010

CEOs- Here's One 4-Letter Word You Need to Start Using

Ok, so we know by now that Indian astrologer was wrong about the World Cup. It was an interesting concept though, you must agree.

Hi everyone... I haven’t posted anything for a while, been too distracted by FB and Twitter lately... but I thought this was an interesting read my girlfriend sent me that was definitely worth sharing, since most of us are or will be leading in some way or another.

It talks about leading a team/organisation/project using a 4-letter word called LOVE, and uses the analogy of bringing up children, which I agreed with for the most part.

However, I always feel that even with children, or rather ESPECIALLY with children, you need to use "strong love" rather than "soft love" (learnt this from attending a parenting talk with Steve Biddulph, author of Raising Boys, years ago), so they know you mean business when you do, but they know they're always cared for and loved, and that security always acts as a buffer for the times you may have to reprimand them for not doing the right thing.

In any case, it’s the weekend, and I'm still celebrating Malaysia day. Malaysia needs to cheer up, to loosen up, smile a little and embrace life a bit more. Stop and smell the roses. Not take everything TOO seriously that we forget to live a little in between.

Here's to the leaders and CEOs of tomorrow, lets make Malaysia a better place for all of us.


CEOs: Here's One 4-Letter Word You Need to Start Using

From :

And that four-letter word is LOVE. Love is the value proposition most CEOs still don't get. ROL (Return on Love) will radically and rapidly increase your ROI (Return on Investment). When CEOs the world over take the word love out of their closet and use it as their primary driver for success, businesses will experience unprecedented creativity, unprecedented profitability, as well as unprecedented human happiness.

Here's why.

At our core, all human beings want the same thing: to be loved (def: cared for, nurtured, and protected). We also want to give love. On top of that we want to avoid the absence of love, to protect ourselves from being hurt.

When you stop and take a look, the desire for love is all around us. The world's greatest religious and spiritual leaders have preached about the power of love for centuries, we have written more songs about love than any other subject, and we've developed a thriving therapeutic industry to help people successfully navigate their need for love.

Yet in our quest to conquer the business world, we too often disassociate ourselves from love, one of the most important aspects of who we are. We live by the credo "the business of business is business." Guess that's why 75 percent of all Americans say they're unhappy with their jobs.

Consequently, they take their upset home to (and out on) their spouse, life partners, children, family members, friends, neighbors, pets, vendors, and the cable TV repair person.

The modern day plague that impacts every one of us isn't a physical illness like typhoid or polio. It's an emotional disease -- unhappiness -- being fueled in large part by our mismanaged work environments.

However, the companies that have awakened to human capital as their organization's greatest asset are raking it in, for example, Whole Foods, Google, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, Organic Valley, Ben and Jerry's and Timberland. They have discovered how to capitalize on our human need for love by creating caring cultures that reap extraordinary innovation and profitability while simultaneously adding value to our society.

According to published data, by 2007, the "best places to work" companies were creating twice the wealth of the S &P 500 Index! If you don't believe me, read Jeffrey Hollender (co-founder of Seventh Generation) and Bill Breen's new book: The Responsibility Revolution -- How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win. If you are in business and authentically care about your world, this is a MUST READ. Fear based, top down cultures aren't going to cut it anymore. People want to connect. They want to be a part of a community. They want to feel loved.

Here's what is known about the value of love.


Gives you self confidence
Motivates you to overcome your challenges
Helps you accomplish your goals
Provides emotional and intellectual strength
Energizes you to uncover, ideate and surface new ideas, approaches, solutions
Enforces integrity - greater truth, transparency and moral choices
Makes you feel more optimistic about living - ignites a sense of possibility
Makes you more tolerant
Makes you want to align with others - perform as a team/unit/family
Makes you more inclined to help someone else
Makes you more open to sharing your experiences
Makes you more patient
Makes you more willing to sacrifice for an important goal
Engenders more loyalty
Creates a positive energy that can be infectious/viral
Injects endurance when a goal has to be accomplished over time
Provides peace of mind - calmness in the face of adversity
Is a great equalizer, connects you to something universal
Provides a sense of meaning and purpose
Engenders more laughter
Generates more fun

Sounds to me like the necessary conditions for companies to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. Aren't confident, motivated, strong, innovative, honest, positive, tolerant, problem solving, purposeful, happy, determined people who want to play together to win and to do it with integrity what you, as a leader, want?

If your answer is yes, then it's time to take the word LOVE out of your CEO closet, dust it off, and put it to work. Here's what love looks like (behaviors) in the workplace.

Behaviors of Love Leadership:

Asking questions
Feed forward (different than feedback!)
Sharing information
Being transparent
Prizing - finding what's right first, then suggesting what can be improved
Reframing challenges as learning opportunities
Supporting others
Using humor in a positive way
Engaging others opinions
Communicating in a clear and caring way
Taking accountability
Encouraging top down innovation
Investing in growing others
Celebrating wins together
Cheering on personal growth
Setting clear boundaries
Presenting challenges
Encouraging self care

Countless studies show that babies who are insufficiently loved and nurtured are impaired in their social development. Presently, 70 percent of a person's life is spent at work; thinking about work, preparing for work and trying to get over the toxic effects of work. When insufficient caring is present in our work life, our mental, emotional and physical health is impaired too.

CEOs: to whom much is given, much is expected. It's time to end this terrible trend of placing financial capital ahead of human capital. Don't make money less important than people. Simply make your people as important as your profitability. That shift, in and of itself, will radically change our world.

When human beings feel loved, all aspects of their psyche are primed for peak performance. Unshackle the human spirit. End CEO-centric organizations. Broaden the distribution of strategic innovation. Move towards love leadership. Embrace the responsibility you have to positively impact the world.

Debbie Robins
Named one of the top executive coaches in the country by Marshall Goldsmith
Executive, leadership, career coach, Huffington Post blogger, best-selling author

* images from, and

Monday, 5 July 2010

Astrology and The World Cup?

My girlfriend Noren sent me this, I think it's worth pondering:

Some Indian astrologer has come up, once again with some interesting numerology!!

This world cup is already determined by the numbers....

1. Brazil won the World Cup in 1994; before that they also won in 1970. Adding 1970 + 1994= 3964

2. Argentina won its last World Cup in 1986; before that they also won in 1978. Adding 1978 + 1986= 3964

3. Germany won its last World Cup in 1990; before that they also won in 1974. Adding 1974 + 1990= 3964

4. Brazil also won the World Cup in 2002; before that they also won in 1962. Adding 1962+ 2002= 3964

5. Therefore if you want to know what nation is going to win the World Cup in 2010, you only have to subtract 2010 from the magic number that we have determined: 3964.
3964 minus 2010 = 1954... In 1954 the World Cup was won by Germany!!!

Probably not scientific... but pretty interesting..

Friday, 21 May 2010

West Side Story at Istana Budaya

I was invited to watch West Side Story last night at Istana Budaya. Had seats with a fabulous view, thanks to Joe and Zubaidah (thank you!), and it’s always such a pleasure for me to “return” to IB, ESPECIALLY when I’m in the stalls instead of up onstage.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this staging of West Side Story mostly because the traveling productions that have previously come our way really left much to be desired.

I also never watched the movie in full before this and never got the chance to watch West Side on stage anywhere in the world.

I spent Sunday evening watching the movie (with my kids too, as I wanted to prepare them mentally before I decide if it could even be a good idea to bring them to IB). I must say Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer will always be a hard act to follow. Their performances of Tony and Maria were just so engaging, riveting and believable, you really want to see them run away and be together forever.

The production that came our way, the one I watched at IB last night, was probably the best of the “From Broadway” offerings to Malaysian audiences so far.

Putting on a show of ANY kind is a huge challenge in itself, with logistics, talent, preparation and set-up to figure out amongst so many other things. I always take my producer’s hat off to anyone who gets a show ON stage.

If anyone asked what I loved BEST about WSS, I’d say the music was really tight considering most of the musicians were assembled locally.

The choreography deserves 2 thumbs way up too, as well as the dancers. Pat Ibrahim was right, “makan hati” is the right term to describe it. He would DIE to have an ensemble of dancers trained so well and able to execute moves to perfection. We have a long, long way to go in this area but we’ll get there.

What did I LEAST like about the show? Hmmm…

The leads who played Tony and Maria had fabulous singing voices, and Maria put in special effort to adopt a Puerto Rican accent. The other actors had trouble hiding their accents though, I could tell they had trouble pulling off a New York accent without their native accents that sounded Scottish or Irish coming through. That’s not major though, and it shouldn’t put anyone off watching the show because of it.
What was a put off for me though was the acting. When I read that the show was directed by Joey McKneely who was also the choreographer of the show, I imagined 80% of the preparation for the show would definitely have been in the choreography and not in directing the actors or working on characterization or the actor’s emotional preparation. I didn’t feel for the two lovers, so I didn’t root for them and didn’t care for them much.

It's not easy for me as part of audience investing 2-3 hours in a captive space when you're not emotionally involved in the journey of who's on stage.

Still, just for the experience of watching a classic Broadway musical, since it's so rare an opportunity for us to enjoy such productions here anyway, I'd say go catch it, if you can afford to pay almost rm600 for a ticket.

I came across a website offering tickets at 15%, here it is:

Enjoy 15% off your tickets to the West Side Story - The Original Broadway Musical from New York at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur from 12th till 24th May 2010 with your HSBC Credit Card.

Ticket prices (before discount):
RM590, RM490, RM390, RM290, RM190 (excludes RM3 ticketing fee)

Call Tickets People at 03-2287 2727 or visit website to book.

Offer valid for HSBC Credit Cardmembers only.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

What I Want in a Man - have a good laugh!

My girlfriend Malina sent this to me this morning - it's come around before, but I don't remember ever not laughing out loud every time. Thought it deserved to be archived for whenever anyone needed a good laugh. I had fun adding cartoon pictures to it too. Enjoy!

What I Want In a Man, Original List
1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)
1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 42)
1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)
1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
5. Doesn't re-tell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off the couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 62)
1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5.. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)
1. Breathing.
2. Doesn't miss the toilet.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

FAME - I'm gonna live forever, Baby remember my name...

I HAVE to blog this... I've been searching for this song high and low for DECADES! "STARMAKER" -

I was maybe 13 or 14 when the movie came out, and 16 when the TV series finally screened in Malaysia, and I remember how FAME did it all for me back then. Besides he fantastic dancing and acting, I remember being moved and inspired by Irene Cara's soulful rendition of "Out Here On My Own". Not many songs those days were written as "performance" songs, most were just run of the mill pop songs, but Irene Cara's singing was packed with emotion without going over the top, and I told myself, ONE DAY, I WANNA SING AND DANCE AND ACT LIKE THAT TOO.

FAME - the movie and TV series, was the Glee of yesteryear. It's themes are still as relevant today as they were 25 years ago, quite amazing.

This is the movie that did it for me, and the theme song became my anthem throughout my teenage years, and had stayed with me even today.

Lyrics to Fame (Tiara's teen anthem!)

Baby look at me
And tell me what you see
You ain't seen the best of me yet
Give me time I'll make you forget the rest

I got more in me
And you can set it free
I can catch the moon in my hands
Don't you know who I am

Remember my name

I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly

I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry


I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame

I'm gonna live forever
Baby remember my name


Baby hold me tight
Cause you can make it right
You can shoot me straight to the top
Give me love and take all I've got to give

Baby I'll be tough
Too much is not enough
I can ride your heart til it breaks
Ooh I got what it takes

I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly

I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry

I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame

I'm gonna live forever
Baby remember my name

From Wikipedia:
Fame is an American television series originally produced between 1982 and 1987. The show was based on the 1980 motion picture of the same name and was hugely popular during its first few seasons. Using a mixture of drama and music, it followed the lives of the students and faculty at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. Although fictional, it was based heavily on the actual Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York. Most interior scenes were filmed in Hollywood, California. In Seasons 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 the show filmed several exterior scenes on location in New York City.

The popularity of the series, particularly in the UK, led to several hit records and live concert tours by the cast. Despite its success, very few of the actors maintained high-profile careers after the series was cancelled. A number of the cast members were seen again briefly in a reunion programme made for UK television in 2008.

The Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning TV series portrays the lives of a diverse group of talented high school students at new York's School of the Arts. Training hard for careers onstage, the young performers face tough competition and even rejection, along with all the normal teenage dramas. Debbie Allen, the series' star and choreographer, heads a dynamic ensemble cast: Lee Curreri, Erica Gimpel, Albert Hague, Carlo Imperato, Carol Mayo Jenkins, Valerie Landsburg, P.R.Paul, Gene Anthony Ray (as dance sensation Leroy), and Lori Singer.

The cast

* Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant
* Albert Hague as Benjamin Shorofsky
* Carol Mayo Jenkins as Elizabeth Sherwood (seasons 1-5)
* Ann Nelson as Mrs. Gertrude Berg (Seasons 4-6, recurring previously)
* Ken Swofford as Quentin Morloch (Seasons 3- 5.09)
* Graham Jarvis as Principal Bob Dyrenforth (Seasons 5.10- 6)
* Morgan Stevens as David Reardon (season 2, recurring seasons 3 & 4)
* Eric Pierpoint as Paul Seeger (Season 6.03)
* Michael Thoma as Greg Crandall (recurring season 1)


* Gene Anthony Ray as Leroy Johnson
* Carlo Imperato as Danny Amatullo
* Billy Hufsey as Christopher Donlon (seasons 3-6)
* Valerie Landsburg as Doris Schwartz (seasons 1-4)
* Jesse Borrego as Jesse Velasquez (seasons 4-6)
* Lee Curreri as Bruno Martelli (seasons 1-3)
* Cynthia Gibb as Holly Laird (seasons 3-5.10)
* Nia Peeples as Nicole Chapman (seasons 4-6)
* Erica Gimpel as Coco Hernandez (seasons 1-3.08,recurring Seasons 4-6)
* Loretta Chandler as Dusty Tyler (seasons 5-6)
* Lori Singer as Julie Miller (seasons 1-2)
* Carrie Hamilton as Reggie Higgins (seasons 5-6)
* Janet Jackson as Cleo Hewitt (season 4)
* Michael Cerveris as Ian Ware (season 6)
* Elisa Heinsohn as Jillian Beckett (season 6)
* P.R. Paul as Montgomery MacNeil (season 1)
* Page Hannah as Kate Riley (seasons 5)
* Olivia Barash as Maxie Sharp (season 6)

Watching this video brings back fond memories of school, and performing this with my posse on Teachers' Day. I cannot watch this without crying buckets.You see, in school, I wasn't one of the academic achievers. I could have been if I had bothered, and I was always amongst the top 7 or so, and sometimes even top, but school was more about fun to me - it was about sports day, cheerleading, acting in the school musical productions, about singing in the Form Four Variety show, ie. performing at every opportunity.

I loved Art and Literature and History though. And in Form 5 I came to love Maths, thanks to my tuition teacher Mr. Foo, bless him. But I used to frustrate every one of my teachers, as well as my headmistress. It used to rile them that I was one of the smartest kids who just wasn't bothered to try. I just wasn't fond of the way they tried to straighten me up when I wasn't ready for it, I guess. Because of that, I became such a rebel, a likeable, loveable one if that makes any sense. I used to annoy my teachers yet I'd tease them and make them laugh as well, so there was a good sense of balance.

When my friends and I performed this song and dedicated it to the teachers who shaped our lives, it was a huge emotional moment for both students as well as teachers. I remember how I barely made it to the end of the song, fighting back tears and choking so much all the way. Some of the teachers came up to us and hugged us, and it was a nice moment where misunderstood teen students and well-meaning teachers reconciled.

I want to particularly dedicate this blog entry to 2 of my teachers who encouraged me to be who I was and follow my dream - Mrs. Sekaran, my Art and Music teacher, and Mrs. Noreen Kannabhiran, my Form Mistress and 4 Arts One, English Teacher and the absolute most stylish teacher that ever walked the grounds of St. Mary's. She was the teacher in charge of The Form Four Variety Show and if I remember correctly, she was also in charge of the school Cheerleading squad.

Anyway. Here's a YouTube video recording of "STARMAKER". Dedicated to the followers of my blog from the same vintage!

Lyrics here so you can sing along:
Here as I watch the ships go by
I'm rooted to my shore
I keep asking myself why
And if there's more on the other side
Here as I see the friends I thought I made
A little bit crazed and knowing now
We've outgrown one another

Star maker
Dream breaker
Soul taker
We're happy now

Now when I see the things I want
I can take the things I see
But I keep asking myself why
And if there ain't just a little bit more for me
Here when it's time to count the cost
I keep measuring what I've lost
And wondering if you knew
It would all end up with you

Star maker
Dream breaker
Soul taker
We're happy now
Here as I watch the time go by
How I'd like to sail away
Leaving all my past behind
But I know I'd only last for a couple of days
Here stands everything I thought I made
It's the only life I know
And I can't even call it my own
I've got no hope, I belong to you

My star maker
Dream breaker
Soul taker
We're happy now
We're so happy now

And here's another classic! Irene Cara singing "Out Here On My Own". She starred in the Film version of "Fame".

Out Here On My Own lyrics:
Sometimes I wonder
Where I've been
Who I am, do I fit in?
Make-believing is hard alone
Out here, on my own

We're always proving
Who we are
Always reaching
For that rising star
To guide me far
And shine me home
Out here on my own

When I'm down and feeling blue
I close my eyes so I can be with you
Oh, baby, be strong for me
Baby, belong to me
Help me through
Help me need you

Until the morning sun appears
Making light of all my fears
I dry the tears I've never shown
out here on my own

But when I'm down and feeling blue
I close my eyes so I can be with you
Oh, baby, be strong for me
Baby, belong to me
Help me through
Help me need you

Sometimes I wonder
Where I've been
Who I am, do I fit in?
I may not win
But I can't be thrown
Out here on my own
On my own

And it looks like FAME has come full circle, 25 years later! The re-make came out last year but I missed it.

Starring: Asher Book, Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Kherington Payne, Collins Pennie, Paul McGill, Debbie Allen

A reinvention of the original Oscar®-winning hit film, Fame follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors, and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, a diverse, creative powerhouse where students from all walks of life are given a chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting famethe kind that comes only from talent, dedication, and hard work. In an incredibly competitive atmosphere, plagued by self-doubt, each students passion will be put to the test. In addition to their artistic goals, they have to deal with everything else that goes along with high school, a tumultuous time full of schoolwork, deep friendships, budding romance, and self-discovery. As each student strives for his or her moment in the spotlight, theyll discover who among them has the innate talent and necessary discipline to succeed. With the love and support of their friends and fellow artists, theyll find out who amongst them will achieve Fame.

And sometime this month, I'm looking forward to watching a really talented young cast from The Alice Smith School (particularly a talented young girl named Tengku Sofia Daud) perform FAME onstage, so I can once again re-live my memories through their eyes.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Boh Cameronian Arts Awards come to an end this year :_(

Thanks Sultan Muzaffar for the interview, and Raja Norashikin for posting it!

Tiara J:
"Saya rasa wajar sangat untuk awards event seperti ini diteruskan, kerana kita ada awards untuk penyanyi, filem, TV, so kenapa tidak untuk pelakon pentas, dan mereka yang perform on stage - dancers, singers, comedians and everyone else, kerana karyawan2 ini juga…they’ve contributed so much to the arts industry in their own way."

A quote by the honorable Minister of Culture:
"Sekiranya sambutan menggalakkan, kita tidak ada halangan untuk menilai semula dan mengadakannya pada perenggan yang lebih diterima masyarakat, ini semuanya bergantung kepada penerimaan masyarakat dan setakat mana ia betul2 popular, dikalangan khalayak kita. Soal teater adalah soal seni dan ia mencerminkan kehidupan kita.
Oleh itu kita harus mengambil berat tentang peranan yang dimainkan oleh seni teater, dalam memperkayakan budaya, seni serta tamaddun kita."

Monday, 22 February 2010

My one brush with Hollywood - Beyond Rangoon

I came across this on YouTube, a film a few Malaysian actor friends and I did around 1993, directed by John Boorman, best known for his feature films such as Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur, Hope and Glory, The General and Zardoz.

Beyond Rangoon is a 1995 drama film directed by John Boorman about Laura Bowman (played by Patricia Arquette), an American tourist who vacations in Burma (Myanmar) in 1988, the year in which the 8888 Uprising takes place. The film was mostly filmed in Malaysia, and, though a work of fiction, was inspired by real people and real events.

Bowman joins, albeit initially unintentionally, political rallies with university students protesting for democracy, and travels with the student leader U Aung Ko throughout Burma. There, they see the brutality of the military dictators of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), and attempt to escape to Thailand.

The film was an official selection at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, where it was one of the popular hits of the event.[1]


Beyond Rangoon opened my eyes to the way films SHOULD be made. I spent weeks on the set, roaming around the various departments in between filming, looking at how they made sets, organized the production of thousands of costumes, studied how the continuity sheets were so detailed compared to ours, studying how they organized production logistics etc which was such an eye-opener for me and interviewed a whole bunch of people who headed all the different departments so I'd understand how they all came together.

Since then, I dreamed of someday producing a film of a similiar-ish scale, that's how Puteri Gunung Ledang came about. I spent days talking to John Boorman about films and why he did the films he did. He wasn't the most chatty person, to be honest, and he seemed to be quite a headstrong type who only made films that he wanted to make, regardless of commercial value, but every bit of info was like pearls of wisdom for me and I absorbed what I could in the short time I had with John.

If you read the cast credit list, you will notice my name is credited as "desk clerk and San San". What happened is that, I was originally hired to play the role of the hotel desk clerk who tells Laura Bowman (Patricia Arquette) off for breaking curfew. Well, after I did my 2 days of shoot for the role, John Boorman asked me if I could audition for another role, the role of one of the university students, San San. I did, of course, and a few weeks later I found myself on set in Ipoh, my face painted dark brown with number 9 foundation so I wouldn't look like the hotel desk clerk, ha ha.

Teong Hin and I heard that John was in Venice when we were there with Puteri Gunung Ledang, and arranged to meet John for coffee and a catch up at his hotel, which was nice, some 10 years after Beyond Rangoon.


Boorman won the Best Director Award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for The General,[2] his black-and-white biopic of Martin Cahill. The film is about the somewhat glamorous, yet mysterious, criminal in Dublin who was killed, apparently by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

His most recent film, The Tiger's Tail, is set in contemporary Ireland.

Boorman's next project will be a fictional account of the life of Roman Emperor Hadrian (entitled Memoirs of Hadrian), written in the form of a letter from a dying Hadrian to his successor. The film is slated for a 2010 release. Antonio Banderas was initially in talks to be cast as Hadrian, but it is now believed that Daniel Craig will take on the role instead.

Beyond Rangoon - Part 12

This is the scene where I learn from the Professor that my husband, Min Han (John Cheah) was killed by the Burmese Army. It's somewhere towards the end of the clip. Look out for Hani Mohsin in his controversial role as a Burmese soldier in disguise as a Buddhist Monk at the beginning.

Beyond Rangoon part 5

Jit Murad, John Cheah, Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko and I in the scene where the Professor first brings Laura Bowman to where the students were hiding from the Burmese Army.

Beyond Rangoon - The ending

Watching this episode brings back memories of filming in the scorching sun on the Perak River, it might even have been during fasting month(?). You will see Jit Murad in the river crossing scene, he gets shot and dies, and you'll see Hani Mohsin whose role as a soldier who disguised as a Buddhist Monk to escape the army raised a ruckus back then. I'm in a blue top and pinkish sarong, somewhere in the river-crossing scene too.