Monday, March 31, 2008

mao: the unknown story

Mao: The Unknown Story first impression: a whole new perspective on the infamous dictator of the world biggest nation in mankind history, but not without a hint of biasness against mao. this book is more than just about mao tse tung, it is the history of communism, it is the history of modern China up till 1976, abeit a brief one.

i have read one dual biography of mao tse tung and deng xiao ping previously, called 'The New Emperors' by Harrison E. Salisbury (1993). While the Harrison's work was widely aclaimed, it did what a typical biography does - i.e. basically, chronicles a person's life through publicly available materials or information that the subject wants the author to convey in his or her book. i guess it was due to the fact that when Harrison's work were formulated, China wasn't all that open about their 'internal affairs', especially on their 'revered' leader. i wouldn't say 'MAO: The Unknown Story' is a better read or neither would i say it is an accurate read, but rather this book is a league on its own. the book gives the reader a whole new insight into the world of the famous dictator - a person who managed to unite the world biggest nation through false pretext, fear and anxiety. instead of an age by age detail chronicle of mao's life from what we already known, this book dig deep into the unknown through extensive interviews from the surviving people in and around mao's circle, and those whom are closely involved in the mao's political maneuver during his 29 years in power. the book dwells into what made the man ticked.

reading the book, is like walking through part of China's modern history. it takes reader through mao's political journey (i.e. scheming and ego-driven personal vendettas) and exposed the myth about what really happened then. granted, the book may 'sounded' a little too biased against mao. all blames such the extreme poverty and famine, was on him but then again, he has been dead for decades and only mao himself knew why he did what he has done (or did not?). the authors dwell into mao's inner most thought rather vividly, as though they were there before. personally, i thought it was rather unfair. therefore i thought it was more of an 'assumed thoughts' by the author(s). there is no deny that China had suffered through unstable political situations when the dynasty was overturned, plagued by corruptions, civil wars, sino-japan war, then civil again. it is also no deny that extreme poverty and famine had befell on China through the earlier time of the start of the modern China. but to say that it was the doing of one man, i will take it with a pinch of salt. i wasn't there to experience it, thus it is beyond my comprehension that one man could held such an influence and cult following during that era, therefore i could not say if this book really chronicles the true life of mao. however it does provide an interesting, fast pace reading that gives me an better understanding of this country.

all in all this book do provide an interesting perspective to an intriguing character and a good book on history of the becoming of a modern China.

mikethropology rating for this book:
mikethropology 4-STARS

Monday, March 17, 2008

items for sales!

i have some items for local sales only. check it out below...

i posted them on yahoo! singapore auction, but for some weird reasons, the listings doesn't appear in the auction listing when i do a search but its there when do a direct link (for me; from my 'my auction' page). do check out my auctions by following these direct links and if you are keen, do follow the instruction in my posting to contact me. cheers!

Fashion & Accessories
a. Aeromatic 1912 Military NAVI Flight Computer Chronograph Watch

Computer Hardware & Parts
a. Wacom Intuos 2 Intelligent Graphics Tablet System
b. Motorola SURFboard Cable Modem (for StarHub Cable)

Electronics Stuff
a. Sony 21" Trinitron Flatscreen CRT Television
b. Samsung DVD Player (DVD-P148)

Toys & Games
a. PS3 Tom Clancy's GHOST RECON Advance Warfighter
b. Hotwheels Japan Collectors Anglia Panel Extremely rare!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

past works: concept sketches

from 1995 & 2006 (yellowing of paper is a true testament to their ages)
copyright 1995, 2008. mike chua.
[above] original comic concept sketch c. 1995

copyright 2006, 2008. mike chua.
[above] original concept art of 'men with tv head'

copyright 2006, 2008. mike chua.
[above] original concept background for 'men with tv head'

Monday, February 11, 2008

the autobiography - richard branson

just completed (about a couple of months ago) richard branson's updated edition of the autobiography published by fittingly, the virgin books. i have this [deep-rooted] stereotyping of any biography - that is, the autobiography has to be always told in the perspective of another writer, writing about some prolific, or famous people. this is partly due to the fact that the past bio that i had read in the past were people of history or of sort. therefore its kinda of strange when i started off reading from the mouth of the people themselves, so to speak.

nevertheless, richard branson's autobiography is a highly entertaining book which unravels the mystery surrounding this high profile billionaire and adventurer. the earlier chapters were clear classic of most autobiographies, where branson detailed his beginning (i.e childhood and his first business plan) and how 'the student' has paved the way for the beginning of virgin brand, and from there on things began to move ever faster. i guess his success story wasn't meant to be told in a single book but reading through, the reader will know how fast things were going in his life, and together how strong his drive was - even for writing this autobiography.

on the better part of the book, branson dwelve more into the beginning of his virgin brand, the contributions by the different people he met along the way, his boat house and branson even bared it out about his love life. i say it is a honest and straight-to-the-point autobiography with no trail of hypocrisy in it. this book is not about branson, it is a book of inspirations, it is about branson's entrepreneurial spirit, his adventures and his tenacity to succeed. reading through, you might get all lost and thought you are reading a 500+ pages business guide book! in the book, branson also touched on the biggest 'saga' that plagued Virgin Atlantic with British Airway - which i read about it as a case study during my uni days. it is good to read in more details from branson's side of the story on what really happened and how Virgin Atlantic won hands down eventually.

i can't write or review much about this book, as i thought this book is truly amazing and it is the book that once you started, you will not want to put it down. it is totally 100% inspirational, provides a good know-sir-richard-branson book and let the reader share branson's exciting life. branson share his philosophy in business, relationships and life with the reader. it is really amazing! a must read for all would-be entrepreneur, businessman, executive and everyone else would are hungry for knowledge.

mikethropology rating for this book:mikethropology 5-STARS

Thursday, February 7, 2008

latest work: 'wonder'

click to view larger image @ Photobucket
i call this piece 'wonder'. wonder because this is exactly how i feel now. wonder what will become of me after my impending case, wonder what will happen to my career, wonder what's going on with my life. looking up with muddled, confused head into the sky which was as confused. hopeful that the peeking sun will shed some hope. the flower is the one-person that always stood-by me all this time - my wife. this piece was drawn on B4 sketch book, added the color with Faber-Castell 'watercolour pencils'. with a brush & some water, i got myself a water-color painting. did some minor touch-up over the photoshop.

some previous works: 'portrait of wife' & 'men with t.v. heads'
click to view large image @ Photobucket click to view large image @ Photobucket
did these two pieces back in 2006. 'portrait of wife' was sketch on A4-size sketch book in just a couple of minutes. very impromptu. as with the 'wonder', color was added using Faber-Castell 'watercolour pencils', ran it with brush with some water and did some touching up (for the vintage look) over in photoshop. 'men with t.v. heads' - an act of hyprocrisy amongst us. double standards, insincerity. ever similar to switching tv channel. in the fight to climb the corporate ladder, do we not be hypocritical at times? i used photoshop add some dark appearance over the background - cos' in the world of viciousness and hypocrisy, the world seems rather gloomy.

it's chinese new year!

in a blink of an eye, 2 new year has passed us - first the english calendar and now, the lunar calendar. its now 12 minutes into the new year of the chinese calendar. i wasn't particularly excited about chinese new year other than it has a 2-day public holidays. however, with all the work that was going on, this holiday seems to be rather uncomfortable one. whichever new year it is, it's just another signal to a year passing. also another year of not knowing how the lunar or chinese calendar works. yet another excuse to make myself feel renewed, or to start things afresh.

chinese new year was indeed exciting when we were much younger, especially when we were staying in the rural area and even more exciting when the firecrackers were still available to us. firecrackers was banned some 30 years ago but despite the ban, it was still available during my childhood in the seventies. i was lucky enough to have experienced firing them off. aside from the usual firecrackers in their red dynamite-looking package, there were other sort of fireworks with fancy names such as 'flying swan', 'little bee' and 'the night traveller'. both 'flying swan' and 'the night traveller' were in fact rockets which, when lighted, shot up into the sky into a mini fireworks. some had fireworks that trailed after the rocket before exploding into flower of fireworks. 'the little bee' was a small gunpower-filled cylindrical item (of paper material), slighly bigger than a peanut. when lighted it would zoom upwards (with a whizzing sound) in a spiral pattern lasting for a few seconds. it was all fun & thrill which till today, i still not sure what gave the 'fun & thrill'. could it be the intoxicating gunpower smell that drove us? or the thrill of explosion so close to us?

well, its just another day but still wanted to wish (again) all chinese out there, a happy chinese new year!

chinese new year banner

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

another one small step

finally i did something! while trying to figure out how to customize this blog site, i thought i will just settle with the header-banner first. the idea for this banner is to induce a everyday-feel to it, with a little crumpled & worn look to top it up. well, i know, i know... kidnap-style title ain't your everyday kind of thing (thank goodness!). only the title & the design is copyrighted to me, the rest are just bits & pieces that i grabbed off the net. but hey, its the design idea that counts, right? and i have the penchant for post-it notes, even more so if it has the coffee cup ring on it. nasty. what's a note without a thumb tack to extra secure it to the board? so there we have it, a pink note with the blog's tag line 'the evolution of one man (& his nonsense)' is born.

lastly, why do i do it? maybe i just get the kick out of designing. creativity is only limited to my practical skills (rather than my imagination). in anyway, this was rather a rush job, so didn't really pay attention to lighting & shadowing details but i like what i have done, for now.

enjoy this nonsense and wishing all chinese a happy lunar new year! enjoy!