Brunei Darussalam – From Constitution to National Day

In between watching the teaser for Chris Nolan’s Interstellar and participating in the Brunei National Day celebration, I had an idea for this little video in my head where we would go on a quick journey from the old days to the present time where we celebrate our national day every year.

So I grabbed whatever clips/footage/videos that I can quickly find online and edited this short video. If only I could access the treasure trove of historical footage in the archives of RTB.

Music: Interstellar Teaser Trailer – Hans Zimmer(?)

Footage:

Brunei Celebrates – Malay Film Unit (1958)
youtube.com/watch?v=_xH3J8yQBPE

50 Years Brunei’s Written Constitution – Balai Berita RTB (2009)
youtube.com/watch?v=6x4ToNExtac

BRUNEI – 29th National Day Film – Reza, Arif Sablee, Ajek30, Adi A Sarbini (2013)
youtube.com/watch?v=s9KUgY-9RHg

Brunei Tourism Promotional Video – Brunei Tourism (2012)
youtube.com/watch?v=2uDtmtGtjBY

Giant national flag rises 110 feet above the capital – Rudolf Portillo & Saiful Omar, Brunei Times (2014)
youtube.com/watch?v=fm7WKtjq_HY

***

Inspiration/based on the brilliant Interstellar teaser trailer

Advertisements

New chapter to my Brunei superhero saga

A bit overdue but the NEW CHAPTER to my superhero story is here!

Set in a heightened reality/fictional/alternate version of Brunei, GUARDIANS OF DARUSSALAM is a story of an ordinary boy named ADAM who gained super strength after an encounter with a magical giant archer fish – just like the legend of Brunei’s mythical hero, Awang Semaun. Initially reluctant, Adam soon finds the hero within him and set out to become a superhero known as CAPTAIN BRUNEI.

Together with his allies, they plan to stop criminal forces and uphold DARUSSALAM – the Abode of Peace

This latest chapter is the sixth entry in a still on-going story.

Guardiansofdarussalamnisa

Titled ‘NISA‘, it is set four months after the previous chapter.

A rape case involving a young girl sets off a chain of events that led our heroes – the two local superheroes (Captain Brunei & Balau Man), the police and others – to uncover an underground criminal operation.

Rated Mature for violence, profanities and theme

You can read the chapter by clicking HERE or the image above.

***

NOTE: This is the Sixth Chapter of an ongoing story with many characters and events. It would be useful to read the previous chapters. Don’t worry, the first four chapters are really short.

You can find more on the Guardians of Darussalam site.

Bringing Sexy (Debatable) Back

I’ve been semi-neglecting this blog for years by posting once every few months. I believe that I’m not the only one who can admit that with the rise of all these ‘Microblog’ services like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr (you can even add Facebook to the list), there are just many easier and simpler options than a blog to express your thoughts.

But I’ve always had a soft spot for the idea of having a personal site or blog. So I want to liven things up here again.

Don’t expect daily updates or anything. What I’m trying to do is post more than the usual ‘once in a few months’. My previous problem was that I tend to be a bit ambitious and try to post something lengthy- only to get bored of it and leave them as drafts. So expect a lot of shorter posts from now on.

Few new things:

– Changed the layout theme to make it look fresh

Changed the About page. There is even a list of my past posts to get an idea of what the kind stuff I liked to put on the blog.

There is a Videos page. While I was semi-neglecting the site, I was a uploading random videos on Youtube and Vimeo.

Cleaned up the Links. I used to have a list of Links consisting of sites ranging from personal blogs of my friends to general news sites that I liked. Some of the blogs listed are not active anymore. So I just list down my other sites/accounts.

**

So just like Justin Timberlake, I’m Back! Or at least try to be Back

My Top 10 Movies – 2012

For those of you who’ve seen my previous lists, you would probably know it’s mostly made up ‘blockbusters’/action type of movies.

Here’s my previous lists:

2011 – 1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2) Warrior 3) Super 8 4) Kung Fu Panda 2 5) X-Men First Class 6) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 7) 50/50 8) Rise of the Planet of The Apes 9) Captain America 10) Fast Five

2010 – 1) Inception 2) Toy Story 3  3) Social Network 4) Scott Pilgrim vs the World 5) Tron Legacy 6) Kick Ass 7) The Karate Kid 8) RED 9) The Expendables 10) The A-Team

2009 – 1) Avatar 2) District 9 3) Star Trek 4) Up 5) 500 Days of Summer 6) Inglourious Basterds 7) Watchmen 8) Hangover 9) GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra 10) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

2008 – 1) The Dark Knight 2) Kung Fu Panda 3) Wall-E 4) Hellboy II: The Golden Army 5) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull 6) Wanted 7) Iron Man 8) Rambo 9) JCVD 10) Tropic Thunder

Now on to the list!

Continue reading

Guardians of Darussalam

WHAT IF SUPERMAN AND BATMAN WERE BRUNEIANS?

dotzauer-parliament-brunei-03

That was the question that I’ve asked myself when I was a kid and I’ve pondered with the possible answers ever since.

So I have decided to try to write a SUPERHERO STORY SET IN BRUNEI.

guardiansofdarussalam.wordpress.com/chapters/

The aim is to take elements of the classic superhero myth – whether it be the Superman or Batman mythos – and try to fit it in a Bruneian setting. To me, a story about a Bruneian superhero should have elements from major superheroes such as Spiderman, Batman, Superman while tackling social themes relevant to Brunei (eg. sense of community, the power of media, social harmony vs individualism)

brunei superhero

Set in a heightened reality/fictional/alternate version of Brunei, GUARDIANS OF DARUSSALAM is a story of an ordinary boy named ADAM who gained super strength after an encounter with a magical giant archer fish – just like the legend of Brunei’s mythical hero, Awang Semaun. Initially reluctant, Adam soon finds the hero within him and set out to become a superhero known as CAPTAIN BRUNEI.

However, an ancient evil spirit and his forces rises and threatens the peace in Brunei. It is up to Adam and his allies – including RIDZUAN, son of wealthy family turned crime fighter; AKMAL, a young detective; the tough police officer RAHMAN and his daughter LIZA; VIVIAN, the journalist; ALI, the comic book geek – to stop it and uphold DARUSSALAM – the Abode of Peace

I’ve only written 5 Chapters and a prologue so far….I am planning on doing more (The whole story is probably 40% planned out…60% made up as I go along but that’s part of the fun).

3391811517_e41a73871e

Aside from the chapters, you can find written commentaries about the chapters on the main page:  guardiansofdarussalam.wordpress.com/

And a ‘database/reference’ page where I dumped few background info regarding the world and mythology of the story: guardiansofdarussalam.wordpress.com/database/

guardiansofdarussalam.wordpress.com/chapters/

Hope you’ll enjoy it and feel free to share it if you liked it. I accept any feedback or suggestions

My Top 10 Movies – 2011

This is a bit late but that doesn’t matter because I say that EVERY YEAR anyway. For those of you who’ve seen my previous lists, you would probably know it’s mostly made up ‘blockbusters’ type of movies.

For me it was a year filled with sequels/remakes that took me by surprise.

Another year, another countdown. Let’s go!

See previous list: 2010 (Inception, Toy Story 3, The Social Network, etc) ; 2009 (Avatar, District 9, Star Trek, etc) ; 2008 (The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda, Wall E, etc).

***SPOILER WARNING***

10. Fast Five

I’ve always enjoyed the Fast and the Furious franchise for what it was. By the time they reached the 4th movie (which, aside from the whole Walker/Diesel reunion thing, wasn’t that good for me) I thought that any further sequels would be pushing it and they’ll end up in the Freddy/Jason territory. But Fast Five blew me away and it set the bar high for any ‘Fivequel’ – not that it was high in the first place.

Hollywood these days are crazy about ‘reboot’ after the success of Batman Begins. Since then, they’ve rebooted James Bond, Star Trek and now Spiderman with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire. But Fast Five wasn’t a complete reboot – they still have the same actors, still on the same continuity, still have fast cars. What they did was they shifted gear (Pun shamelessly intended!) and moved the focus away from street racing and towards the heist-action movie elements. Throw in just about everyone from the previous movies, raise the stakes (the characters are on the run), smack some insane set pieces and BAM! you have one of the best action movie in recent years.

Highlight: A good story needs a good villain – It’s a simple rule. The Fast and Furious movies never had any memorable villains (maybe except for the one in Tokyo Drift) and this one is no exception. Yup, they’re going against another drug lord. But there is another cool ‘antagonist’ and it’s played by the Rock! Like many others, I’ve always thought that Vin Diesel and the Rock are the new Stallone and Arnold so seeing these two actors finally squaring it off in the big screen was great. And Holy Crap! The Rock really turned into the Hulk for this movie didn’t he.

9. Captain America

Continue reading

Creating The ‘Brunei’ Film – A Trilogy Based on ‘Melayu Islam Beraja’

I like movies. Even more, I like wasting my time coming up with movie ideas. I write them down in my spare time (I have a few saved in my computer) but there is one idea that I like to share with everyone particularly with my fellow Bruneians.

But let’s start with a little background:

At HMV, I spotted ‘The Three Colors Trilogy’, a series of films directed by  Krzysztof Kieślowski with each story loosely representing the three ideals of France (Liberty, Equality and Fraternity) and the three colours of the French flag (Blue, White and Red). I felt inspired by the cool concept and immediately thought about the ideals of my own country, Brunei Darussalam. Our national ideology is ‘Melayu Islam Beraja’ (MIB) or in English, ‘Malay Islamic Monarchy’. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if they make a trilogy with each film focusing on each of the components of that philosophy.”

That idea stuck and grew on me because of several things that happened such as the recent visit of the Sultan of Brunei to London and all the Bruneian students in UK (there are A LOT of us) gathered together at Hilton hotel; the fact that I’m graduating in the next few weeks and start thinking about my future.

Why this project?

So here’s my idea for this so-called ‘trilogy’ and I’m leaving it to anyone in Brunei to develop it. I also think that this could be the perfect time for this type of project because:

– There is a rising number of movie fans in Brunei now. The Cineplex at the Mall and the Empire have made Bruneians more savvy with films. Cinema-going have also become a popular leisure activity for Bruneians. Most young Bruneians are now reviewing films (Recently, I was surprised at how a lot of Bruneians criticized the poor plot of Transformers 3. I was like “WOAH! Since when Bruneians give a damn about depth? They are now trying to be proper movie critics now?!?!”). In short, Bruneians LOVE and KNOW movies.

– However, local film industry in Brunei is almost non-existent. I’m pretty sure there are many talented filmmakers in Brunei and all we have to do is give these talented people the right push.

So how do we push the local film industry and appeal to Bruneian movie lovers? By making our own movie that are relevant enough for Bruneians. Hence why I think a series of movies revolving around the theme of MIB and its relations to modernization would be a good idea.

So here’s a rough idea of this ‘trilogy’. These are just ideas that could just start things up and lead to better ideas.

***

PART I : ‘MELAYU’

There are several ideas that could be spun out of ‘Malay’ as a theme. You could do a family drama focusing on the relationship between a young Bruneian and his father; two people from different generations with different mentality. You could also do something on racial theme about the relation between Malay, Chinese and Indians.

What I have is a story idea that focuses on the social divide among the young Bruneian population between the Western oriented and Malay oriented youngsters. Here’s a possible storyline:

A young Malay man returns to Brunei after staying overseas for quite a while. Full of ideas and energy, he attempts to open a Centre of sort to promote the Arts (art, music, drama, etc). He found success among the upper middle class and their more western oriented children. However, he could not reach out to the lower middle class Malay oriented masses that he’s simply out of touch with.

One day, he sees a performance of a traditional Malay dance by a group of girls. Feeling really inspired, he embarks on a journey to discover the rich Malay traditions that he sadly didn’t know much about. In the end, he holds a special showcase at the Arts centre with the main theme being a fusion of modern and traditional arts.

You don’t have to follow this exact plot but the social theme it touches upon is personal for me. As someone who had spent a considerable amount of his childhood overseas and met young Bruneians from both social sides, I just think that this is a story idea with a message that will resonate with a lot of young Bruneians. The protagonist’s journey of re-discovery of the Malay traditions is the perfect opportunity to showcase the rich Malay Bruneian traditions.

The moral of the story is – It’s good to be open to new and modern ideas but never forget your roots.

PART II: ‘ISLAM’

Here’s what I came up with but I’m sure this would be a bit controversial:

It’s about three close friends whose friendship is torn apart due to the different paths they took in their lives. One is exposed to Western philosophy which led him to question his Islamic faith. The other is into the dangerous extremist views of Islam. And the one is in the middle and tries to keep their friendship together. As both men became more convinced that they are correct, only their third friend can see how so far lost those two have become.

The story could have a happy ending where they both see the errors of their way and be friends again. BUT I prefer to have a downer ending where they both have an empty life because of the respective path they chose in their lives.

Moral of the story – It’s ok to open to new ideas but don’t get easily influence by it. Being ultra conservative may not necessarily make you a better Muslim.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with deepening your knowledge and practices in Islam, as a matter of fact it is GREATLY encouraged to do that (Alhamdulilah). But we need to know the difference between what is correct and what is extremist ideas especially in today’s world. And I see these thing happening to a lot to people especially those who stay abroad. It’s not about being liberal or not….it’s about being sensible and knowing to use your conscience.

Like I said, this would be a bit controversial. There are several possible ideas that are less controversial. Again, you could do a family drama about a father who tries to instill Islamic values on his family. A story focusing on the journey of a person towards the Khatam of the Quran would be interesting as well.

Perhaps a more relevant story could focus on a Sekolah Ugama/Religious School. I’ve always have the feeling that these Sekolah Ugama get sidelined by the more regular schools. It would be a nice and interesting change from what would be a typical plot setting of a normal secondary/highschool.

PART III: ‘BERAJA’

It gets trickier now. I don’t have any concrete plot ideas for this one. But if we like to follow a ‘political’ theme, something that touches on the LegCo would be interesting. I have to say that I’ve been impressed with how far our parliament have gone so far since its reinstatement  in 2004. When I say ‘Political’ theme, people would immediately assume something negative. No, I always see ‘politics’ in Brunei as much more about the relation between the community and the government; the LegCo is the center and the embodiment of that.

Here’s one suggestion:

Have a story revolving around an issue or a problem. Then focus on a few characters ranging from someone working in the ministry to someone on a village level eg. Ketua Kampung. We would then see the issue from different perspectives and the whole story would be about them working together to solve it. The LegCo could be involved in the middle of the story perhaps. In the end, the issue/problem is solved thanks to a cooperation between the community and the government.

You could even throw in a character representing the country’s media as the main character who could serve as an anchor to the various story threads.

***

There are tons of story ideas that can utilise the themes of Melayu, Islam and Beraja. But the main point that I want to put across is that the story(ies) that we should make must touch on a topic that is both contemporary and relevant to Bruneians. If we want to start some sort of Brunei film industry then we must simply start with a bang:

  • It may not have to be high standard but definitely don’t aim for a low one
  • Must appeal to Bruneians from various age groups
  • Most importantly, a movie that actually MATTERS. We can’t make a mark with our film industry by producing superficial films. It must at least have some depth/thought to it.
  • It must be Bruneian. So that means it’s about Bruneians, deals with Brunei and is intended for Bruneians. And other people that would watch this movie would know it as a ‘Bruneian movie’.

***

If all of this doesn’t appeal to you….then we could always fall back on my TV series idea or my ‘Bruneian Superhero Idea’ 😉

But that’s for another post if anybody wants to hear it.

Chick Flicks that I’m not bothered by

I don’t hate romantic movies/chick flick, I just don’t prefer it. I do watch them and I’ll usually end up enjoying them but I’m not dying to see any of them immediately. You can bet that I can tell you about the many major movies coming out this year or next year but I’ll definitely be clueless if you mention a new Kate Hudson/Katherine Heigl romantic comedy or something (they all look the same anyway)

However, I’m definitely not a cynical bastard and there are few romantic movies/chick flick that I do love. Since Valentine is coming up, here’s some of my favourite romantic movies that I can think of on top of my head. Open the gates!! Let out my softer side!!! 😛

NOTE: ‘The Notebook’ isn’t one of them, sorry.

500 Days of Summer

The tagline for the movie sums it up perfectly: This is not love story, this is a story about love. I see it as the story about Life. There may be some heartbreaking moments but it is not a heartbreaking story. As a matter of fact I see it as an uplifting movie where the main character has a moment of reflection and finally saw the moments where the relationship soured. The climatic scene where they meet at the park rarely happens in real life but they should. Every person deserves a sense of closure – leaving someone emotionally/mentally hanging after a break up is not recommended despite it being really easy to blame others for everything that went wrong.

http://vimeo.com/9443097

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

A guy and girl met at Vienna by chance and decided to spend the rest of the day in the city just before they had to go their separate ways. All day, they talked about life, love, regrets and everything. ‘Before Sunrise’ is about taking a leap of faith in bonding with a someone you just met (even if it’s a creepy looking Ethan Hawke). Life is measured by the people you meet so don’t take people for granted…you may never know how special that person might be. But how do I know for sure? You don’t and that’s why it’s a leap of faith…you won’t know until you take that leap.

Before Sunset is set 9 years after the first movie where the same characters met and spend a day in Paris. The sequel has better dialogues and also much more depressing as they face the harsh reality of life.

Continue reading

A Half Remembered Dream

You can read my previous posts on dreams:
I Have A Dream –  Outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
A Dream Within A Dream – Exploration on the dreams that I’ve had. I attempt to define several properties of my dreams.
Dreaming The Inception –  My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’

***

Never intended to write another post on dreams but after the release of the movie ‘Inception’ and it’s surprising commercial success (and the fact that it is probably the most talked about movie right now), I couldn’t resist not writing one more thing on the subject. I’ve written down what I dreamt about the night after I saw Inception over my Tumblr blog. However, for this post I’ll be talking more in depth about dreams and I’ll also be referring to things from the movie so I advise you to stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

Construct of dreams

One of the main criticisms of Inception was that people were screaming “Hey that’s not an exact portrayal of dreams! It’s too formulaic and too restraint! It’s not surreal! It’s not weird! What about the sexual elements?! Where are the boobies?! We entered four guys head and no boobies?!!” I think those criticisms weren’t fair because:

  • These are lucid dreamers. They have a certain level of control in their dreams. They are not dreamers who are passively experiencing crazy surreal images/narratives when they are dreaming. Like I’ve said before, I tend to like the latter way of dreaming.
  • The dream worlds in the movie were constructed by the Architect. They were grounded in realistic way in order to fool the subject that he’s not in a dream. It’s like a mouse trap with the illusion of reality being the cheese.

So it’s not an accurate portrayal of dreams because those dream worlds were constructed for the purpose of the mission.

Levels of Dreaming

I’ve talked quite a bit about my experiences of “dreaming within a dream” Of course, there is a difference between how ‘dream within a dream’ (DWD) worked in the movie and how I’ve experienced it. In the movie, the concept of DWD is related to the technology of dream sharing where a group of people is connected through some wires which enables them to share a dream space. A DWD occurs when the procedure is repeated within a dream therefore entering a deeper level of the subconscious. The dreamers take turns in ‘hosting’ the dream space they enter. For example, in the early sequence of the movie, Leo and Saito were in Joseph Gordon’s Levitt dream WITHIN the first architect guy’s dream!

For the last sequence please refer to this nice diagram from http://dehahs.deviantart.com

So in the end, Juno was in Leo’s dream within Tom Hardy’s dream within Joseph Gordon Levitt’s dream within Yusuf the chemist’s dream! Here are several interesting comparative points between my own experiences and Inception’s rules on DWD:

1) I’m experiencing it myself so I’m not jumping into other people’s dream while I’m in a dream. I don’t have a dream sharing technology (If such thing even exists!)

2) I always start on ‘Level 2’ (although I don’t really prefer it but I’ll just use the terminology from the movie to make things clearer) and then wake up to ‘Level 1’. Never have I dream about going to sleep except for maybe this one time:

I woke up and I looked at the clock on the wall of my room. It’s still early so I went back to sleep. I woke up and it’s 6pm!! I’ve missed or am late for whatever it was that I was planning to do that day! I went out my house and I’m suddenly in a parking lot. It’s night time and raining. I saw a group of actors gathering around the parking lot and shooting a scene. HOLY SHIT! IT’S THE CAST OF ‘LOST’!! They greeted as if they know me and asked why I was late. Turned out I’m supposed to be in that scene they were shooting! The rain stopped and it’s suddenly a beautiful sunny day. I hung out with Henry Ian Cusick and Daniel Dae Kim (actors who played Desmond and Jin respectively). We went to a parked double decker bus that was actually an ice cream restaurant in disguised. I was talking to this cute lady who was behind the counter and taking my order. I woke up…and looked at the clock on my wall of my room. It’s STILL early so I went back to sleep.

It may sound like a normal ‘one level dream’ but I began to doubt that I even wake up in the beginning.  Although I’m really sure that I really did wake up the moment after I ordered my ice cream, I’m still a really hazy with the first moment when ‘I wake up’. Is this an example of me dreaming about going to sleep and dream about something else? A ‘Level 1’ ->‘Level 2’ -> ‘Wake up’ scenario as opposed to my usual ‘Level 2’ -> ‘Level 1’ -> ‘Wake up’ experiences?? I HAVE NO IDEA!!

3) I don’t think this is intentional on Christopher Nolan’s part but I notice that the further down the dream level you are in, the further it gets from the realm of reality. For example, Level 1 was constructed to be close to reality with its urban setting. While Level 3 was a hospital that looked like a fort in the middle of nowhere!! I’ve noticed the same thing with my DWDs:

  • Level 2 – A character dies in one of my favourite TV shows.
    Level 1 –  Woke up and I saw the same character die on TV and I told my brother that I dreamt it!
    Reality – Woke up.
  • Level 2 – A wrestling match between Shane McMahon, Goldberg and Peter Petrelli from Heroes.
    Level 1: woke up to write it down in my dream journal.
    Reality: Woke up to find out that I DIDN’T WRITE IT DOWN BECAUSE IT WAS JUST ANOTHER DREAM!!
  • Level 2 – A road trip on New York with friends.
    Level 1 – Woke up and writing down my dreams while in McDonalds with my friends.
    Reality – Woke up.

You can see how Level 1 reality is more realistic/believable than Level 2 dreams in terms of the settings (eg. Wrestling ring/bedroom, New York/McDonalds) and the people (eg. TV characters/my brother).

4) I’ve never experienced a more than 2 Levels of dreaming. Hell, I don’t think it’s possible!!! Unless you watch too much TV/movies or play too much video games! That is how I always like to explain the cause of DWD…because I watch too much TV and movies.

Cinematic dreams

“You have very….adventurous dreams” “That’s because my life isn’t that adventurous!” That may be true but I tend to think that it’s because I watch too much TV and movies. So certain aspects of movies and TV shows gets deeply ingrained into my subconscious to the point where my dreams tend to follow movie formulas. The following example is one of most memorable dreams I had when I was a young:

My friend’s little brother has been kidnapped by a group of mafia/gangsters. Nobody dared to volunteer for a rescue mission except for me (don’t know why I volunteered…probably because I was a bad ass!). CUT TO – Another friend of mine getting stalked by some perverted guy. She tries to escape from her stalkers so she volunteered to join me on my mission. CUT TO – We arrived at a lavish party hosted by the evil mafia. I stood up and shouted at the head mafia boss. I demanded that he release my friend’s little brother or else he will pay the price! The mafia boss laughed and ordered his men to kill us. Crazy gun fight!! I gave my friend a gun but she said she didn’t know how to shoot. “Then what the hell are you doing here?!” “I was just finding a way to escape from my perverted stalker!!” I gave her a quick lesson on how to shoot. She managed to kill a few bad guys. I continued dodging bullets and killing few men. BULLETS FLYING! GLASS SHATTERING! PEOPLE SCREAMING! I woke up….checked the time, still early in the morning. Got back to sleep but I couldn’t continue my kick ass dream.

That dream had a typical action movie written all over it! A rescue mission? Check! A bad ass hero? Check! Evil gangsters? Check! Crazy gun fights? Check! A female partner? Check! Hero’s love interest? That girl was someone I had a crush on so that’s a Check! The way it was sequenced also felt cinematic with scenes suddenly cutting into another scene.

Another interesting dream I had recently borrowed one particular cinematic technique. There were three ‘scenes’:

1) My mom asked me about whether I went to eat at this restaurant with my friends. I didn’t go but I decided to lie at my mom. With every question she asked, I made up some story to answer it.

2) Its raining hard and there is a flood. Water started to violently flood the restaurant that was referred in the previous ‘scene’.

3) A Voyager space probe flying past the planets with me narrating my intention of creating an exciting fantastical account of the Voyager space probe into a Sci fi tv show

Those three ‘scenes’ were intercutting between each other in my dream! The relation between the first two ‘scenes’ were obvious: I was lying to my mom and it is evident that I was lying because that restaurant was actually flooded. As for the third ‘scene’….that’s an idea I had when back when I was 3rd grade or something. It also proved that an old idea is never gone but just got lost somewhere deep within your mind waiting for it to resurface.

“You Never Really Remember the Beginning of a Dream”

That was a line from Inception where Cobb made Ariadne realize that she was in a dream. It’s a common thing for dreams to start abruptly and drop you in a middle of things. And usually within a dream, you just assume that you know the situation, the people and the backstories related to the situation in the dream.

One notable dream that I had when I was kid involved me saying farewell to all these wonderful animal characters that I’ve had many adventures with. It was a tearful farewell and I got so emotional about it. The funny thing is that I never remembered any of my adventures with them…I never had any dreams about them before! The dream abruptly started with a farewell to these animals that I was supposedly having many adventures with without actually knowing what those adventures were exactly. It’s like watching an emotional ending of a TV show without watching the whole series.

Here’s another and more recent example of a random non-beginning dream that I had:

I’m in a hotel room with three other people: two guys and a girl. We’ve been staying in the hotel for a while and we’re waiting to go another city. On each city that we’ll visit in our road trip, we get to stay on one of our friend’s house. I told the others that it’s impossible for me because “I have no friends.” One of the guys took pity and said “don’t worry, we’re your friends.”

That last part of the dream is really interesting because they claim to be my friends yet I DON’T REALLY EVEN KNOW WHO THOSE THREE PEOPLE WERE IN REAL LIFE!!! They weren’t friends that I know nor fictional characters from TV or movies. They were just three random people (a guy in red shirt, a girl in green shirt, a guy in black shirt). But I seemed to be fine and have some “unseen backstories” with them in my dreams. Although, I do think they were mash ups of different people I know but that would still make them a bunch of random strangers!

Dream Time vs Real time

According to the movie, Dream time is slower than real time (eg. sleeping for 5 minutes feels like an hour in the dream world, which feels like a week in a dream world within the dream, etc). Is there any difference? Yes. Is there a specific time difference? I don’t think so. Normally, I wake up and check the time to see that it’s still early in the morning so I go back to sleep. I would have some elaborate dream that feels long only to later wake up again, check the time, ONLY 5 MINUTES JUST PASSED!

Here’s a recent example:

– I wake up, check the time, still early, go back to sleep.

– I have a conversation with a friend

– **more dreams but I couldn’t recall it clearly**

– I’m a soldier in a computer game going around shooting opponents. It’s a fast paced FPS Counter Strike/Battlefield/COD type of game. The ‘map’ is Machu Picchu, a famous archaeological site in Peru.

– I have a restaurant by the seaside. It’s late and I’m closing it down. Strangely, I strap a balloon around my waist and I was floating around.

– I wake up, check the time, WTF?! ONLY around 15 minutes?! All those dreams felt longer!!!

***

Well that’s it for now! Inception is definitely the most talked about movie this year and if you haven’t seen the movie yet then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! GO WATCH IT NOW! And if you have….GO WATCH IT AGAIN!! Honestly, I’ve only seen it once and I’ve been talking about it for a few weeks now!

To close it off, I’ll leave you with this weird ‘dream’ that happened to me just few days ago:

It was a sunny day and I was walking with my friend in the middle of a road. It was crazy with cars, parades and marching bands yet we didn’t have any problem because they always gave us space to walk. We were having a conversation about last night (thus giving this dream some sort of time frame) UNTIL…..

*my phone vibrates*

Woke up and that same friend is calling. She asked if I could join her for lunch. I barely opened my one eye to peek at the clock on my wall. I closed my eyes again and said that I’m not coming but I’ll probably meet them at a later time.

She said, “Ok! Sorry to wake you up”

I said, “What if I’m still asleep?”

She said: “Hahaha!”

I said: “What if I’m in a dream within a dream?”

“HAHAHA YOU NEED A TOTEM!!”

“You could be my totem”

ummm..ok, how?

If you call me and say ‘I love you’ then I know it’s fake and that it’s all a dream

errmm…ok…..

if you call me and say ‘get up, go take a shower, you smell’ then it’s reality

ermm…i think you should go back to sleep…i’ll see you later ok, BYE!

*hangs up*

I didn’t even say bye and slept for a few more hours…..

Or was I asleep all that time?! Obviously, I wasn’t fully conscious when I say those things….or maybe I was?! so was that real? Or was that a dream?

***

***

Read my previous writings on my dreams:

Here’s one where I outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/i-have-a-dream/

This one is a much more elaborate exploration on the dreams that I’ve had. I attempt to define several properties of my dreams.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/a-dream-within-a-dream/

My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’
http://trylobyte.tumblr.com/post/827995205/dreaming-the-inception

A Dream Within A Dream

UPDATE 12/8/2010

You can read my more recent posts on dreams:

Dreaming The Inception
My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’

A Half Remembered Dream
A more recent posts on my dreams plus with references to the movie, Inception

I have always been fascinated with dreams. Anything can happen in dreams and for most people they are beyond their control. It can be exciting or frightening but most of all, it is mind-boggling. It is a place where you experience your heightened fantasies and fears that you most probably don’t know you even have. I believe that the best way to understand your own mind is to dive directly into your subconscious part of the mind and dreams are the easiest place to do it. Some seek to fully control their dreams but I prefer not to. I want them to surprise me…I want to see what kinda of stuff my mind can create.

Most of the time, I tried to mentally recall my dreams as soon as I wake up but recently I’ve scribbled down notes every time I have a chance to wake up (Nov 1 – 11 2009; May 11 – June 2 2010). The fun part begins when you are fully awake and you start reading the stuff you wrote. Some of them actually create a coherent narrative:

May 14

Group of students in a theatre with an empty stage – trying to create a play but there is no script – a teacher shows up warning us to leave if we don’t have anything to show – the scriptwriter (a white girl) and her friend (a black girl with curly hair) wrote the first scene – a casual talk between characters at a dining table and they find a mysterious origami – they asked us for suggestion on the next scene – my friend, Ida stood up and start giving some elaborate suggestion – I disagree and suggest another scene – we argued

Some of them are randomly funny:

May 23

Watching TV – saw a music video of a new catchy song by Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan – titled “Candy Time” – lyric – “wake up, it’s the morning, It’s Candy TIME!”

And some are just…it made me pause and say WTF? because it seemed to be gibberish:

May 17

The city got its ‘Voice’ back. I told Joan that I’ll be the new voice of Amy’s town.

“Building a dream from your memory is the easiest way to lose your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream”

But as strange these dreams may sound like, they can be dissected and explained. The first dream is just an alternative representation of a real life situation between me and my friend (in this case, arguing about direction of a script we’re working on). Furthermore, the origami is a reference to the game ‘Heavy Rain’.

The second one is strange because as far as I know Mischa Barton is not a singer. But I could tell that the ‘Candy Time’ lyrics have its basis from Robin Thicke’s ‘It’s in the Morning’ song. As for the third dream, the only image that I remember from that dream was an animated city from the Facebook game, ‘Social City’. As for the inclusion of my friends and the whole business of ‘Voice’…that I have no clue.

Therefore, a dream will always have its basis from aspects of your memory. But can it have a basis from things that hasn’t happen yet?

Dreams as prophecy

Throughout history, some people have associated dreams with predicting the future. I lost a comic book once and I dreamed that I would find it in a drawer. I woke up the next day and guided by my dream, I found the comic on that very same drawer. A divine message? Or was I just thinking about the possible areas where the comic is and the dream was just a mental representation of my thought process?

Let’s take another recent example. I dreamt about me and my brother trying to climb over a fence. My brother climbed first and when he did, I noticed a big centipede on his back and then I woke up. Later that day, me and my brother were watching Bear Gryll’s Man vs Wild and there is a scene where he encounters a big centipede! Was my dream predicting this? Or was it just my mind taking something from my memory (a movie called ‘Human Centipede’) and it manifest itself in the dream? Back in November, I tried to not only write down what I dreamt about but also what happens during the day just to see if there is any connection.

I found out that there is a connection between what goes on in your day with what you dream about later that night. Here’s one notable example where on Nov 4, one of the things I noted that happened that day was “Laptop got fucked up” and this is what I strangely dreamt about that night:

Nov 4

I was walking on the street – my laptop was in the middle of the street – went to plug it out and shut it down – three kids/siblings (a girl, a boy and an older brother) starts stepping on my laptop intentionally – I pleaded them to stop – they refused to stop – I got furious – I punched the little girl and choked the little boy to the ground and threaten him – the older brother was standing up and too scared to do anything – they all fled. I met them later – they were scared – smiled at me – one shook my hand

And all of that was created by my mind only because I was frustrated with how my laptop got fucked up earlier in that day. Now it is really an interesting exercise to keep a record on your dreams however I stopped doing it mainly because it got more difficult to keep up especially when you encounter this situation….

Dream within a dream (DWD)

On May 16, I dreamt about a wrestling match involving Shane McMahon and another wrestler beating up Goldberg. Peter Petrelli, from the TV show Heroes, later arrive at the ring to assist Goldberg. I ‘woke up’ and wrote about the dream in my notebook and then I went back to sleep. A few hours later, I woke up again and was eager to re-read what I wrote. BLANK. I didn’t write anything and never did!! because it was a dream!! A Dream within a Dream! My plan has backfired! This went on several times where I started having dreams of writing about my dreams!!

“This can’t be done. Dreams within dreams is too unstable.”

My method was to write when I’m in a half-awake state because I believe that’s the best time to get a more accurate recollection of your dreams. What I didn’t take into account is I can easily drift back into a dream state OR be deceived into believing that I’m actually awake! Hence, the occasional occurrence of ‘dream within a dream’ (DWD) situation whenever I tried writing in my journal.

But DWD isn’t anything new to me. The first DWD that I remember was when I was kid, I dreamt about watching a cartoon where one of the main characters died. I ‘woke up’ and watched the same cartoon only to see that very same character die. I told my brother that I actually dreamt about it!!! THEN I woke up again….for real this time.

Here’s another more recent DWD:

I took a bath in this large expensive bathroom. Then suddenly a lot of people (from both gender) came in. I was embarrassed and asked one of them “What the hell are you people doing here?!”They said that this was a public place and we are all sharing it. I ‘woke up’. I met three of my friends and told them about my dream. They started debating  about it and came up with ridiculous explanation.  Later, I was in Starbucks and I was discussing about my dream to my classmates and the subsequent debate among my friends. When I left Starbucks, I couldn’t find my car on the street and started searching for it at a mall (why? Don’t ask). This is where the logical part of my brain kicks in and I said “My car is not here because it’s back at the garage in Brunei”. I woke up for real.

The thing that I noticed in this dream is the amount of time jumps. One moment I’m debating with friends and instantly the next moment I’m at Starbucks. Later, the streets where I lost my car was instantly transformed into a mall. That is entirely illogical and it should’ve been an obvious sign that I was in a dream. But it didn’t wake me up because I haven’t reached that level where I could logically grasp the concept of time and space when I’m in a dream state. Then how could I finally put some logical thinking at the end of the dream?

Wake up call

I’ve noticed that I can only wake up from a dream when I’m in trouble or in fear. I couldn’t find my car so my logical thinking kicks in to escape from the nightmare. I got chased by a monster and force myself to wake up. I had to do an examination and my logical part of the brain instantly creeps up to tell me that I don’t need to because I’ve already sat through it and I passed! I used to think that these are evidence that I’m capable of controlling my dream but I now think I’m merely just reacting than controlling.

Morphing location

Let’s go back to the concept of space in a dream. For me, it is rare for a dream to take place in a single location. I usually end up in an environment that is radically different from where the dream started. Look no further than the dreams that I’ve managed to record:

Nov 1 – Walking on a brick road at night – hallway with red carpet – a shopping mall

Nov 3 – climb a steep green hill – climb down – reach a muddy lake and could only be crossed with the floating logs – entering a club with changing coloured floors

Nov 6 – shopping mall full of people – went upstairs to a casino – went down and the mall was dark and empty – walked further and end up at an airport

Nov 11 – in a ‘Counter Strike’ map (CS assault) – parking lot – swamp – residential area

What was amazing is that these locations morphed in a seamless way that you don’t even realize it.

Here’s an example of one of my recorded dream that seemed to combine all of the major aspects that I’ve mentioned so far (Real life basis, Dream within Dream & Morphing location) plus a surprising twist at the end that I will get to later:

May 29

It started with me and my friends on a road trip around New York. We didn’t have any maps so we followed our guts (real life basis: we recently did a road trip). We eventually end up at a shopping mall that was about to close. The girls rushed around and shop a lot while I only bought one shirt.

I woke up and I wrote down what I dreamt about (‘Dream within a dream’).  I was suddenly at McDonald’s, writing in my dream journal (‘Morphing location’). I was surrounded by my friends who wanted to see what I wrote but I refused to show it them.  A guy walked past with three dogs. The three dogs started fighting with a cat and another dog. One of the three dogs was a bulldog who starts spitting his saliva all over the place. A lot of the saliva washed over my burger and I got furious at the dog!

It was suddenly night-time and McDonald’s was no longer located in town but beside a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. My friends and I followed the dirt road and found ourselves at a quiet abandoned resort. We came upon a swimming pool. I recognized the place and told my friend that this was a place where we had a New Year party. She didn’t recall that party.

Now this is where things got interesting. The reason why she didn’t recall that party was because she wasn’t there….actually, NO ONE WAS THERE! IT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN….at least in real life. I was actually referring to another dream!!

Memory of other dreams/de javu

I’ve visited the resort many times in my dreams. Of course in another dream, it was full of people and joy (certainly not abandoned). There are many places that I’ve visited many times (creating a sense of de ja vu within a dream) and the most notable one was the fountain room. I’ve talked about this place in my blog few years ago and you can click here to read it. One possible explanation for why I seemed to recognized places that I’ve dreamed  before is because these places, just like a lot of things in dreams, have their real life counterparts. I admit that the ‘Fountain’ that I usually come across in my dreams is just a supersized exaggerated version of a fountain at Glorietta shopping mall in The Philippines. Yet, it doesn’t explain one particular dream: My friend and I found a secret passage at our Elementary school that leads us to a magical place with dancing fountains. Years later, I dreamt about returning to that place and actively seeking the very same secret passage (and successfully found it too!).

***

And that was my weird account on dreams and I’m not sure if other people share similar experiences. But what I do know is that there is an upcoming movie that I’m REALLY excited to see!! From the director of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan…

…directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible—inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime.

Things I noticed:

– a mention about creating a dreamworld not based from your memory. I find that almost impossible (“You gotta draw from something right” said Ellen Paige’s character)
– A mention on ‘Dream within a dream’
– A ‘Kick’ – sense of falling that snaps the person out of his dreams. ‘Falling’ in a dream tend to wake you up.

Inception – July 16 2010

**

Well I’m off to bed now! Let’s see what’s in store for me tonight! 🙂

***

UPDATE 24/06/2010

My dream the night after I posted this entry. Enjoy

– Made my way to an old run down hospital located somewhere at a backalley of futuristic industrial Blade Runner-esque city

– Met a Chinese doctor and nurse. I needed an special medical treatment to prevent myself from being infected with a new disease.

– The treatment involved making a minor incision on my shoulder. Then they heat up this small but thick disc shape object – place that on the area of my shoulder that has been cut – the object sticks to my skin and eventually gets absorb

– the doctor even introduced to me another procedure where several of these heated disc shaped object gets put on people’s head to increase their memories

– went out of the hospital – Walked through the rainy and dark city – had to pass through a chocolate cake factory – managed to steal one too – arrived at a toy shop but it was closed – I was disappointed but a security guard lady came to me and told me that I will get a discount on my next visit

– I was watching TV and it was showing a documentary on ghosts. The show depicted a scene where a guy was sleeping and his laptop automatically switched on – showed some scary but blurry images – the images seems to be showing a particular room

– next thing I know, I was no longer watching the TV show BUT was part of it! I was part of a team who are experts on the paranormal. My speciality was that I study the connection between ghosts and electrical energy (thus explaining how the guy’s laptop got messed up) – we arrived at an abandoned hospital and there is a dark room – some entered the room (a cop and a scientist) – we suddenly hear a scream and two fingers flung out of the room and hit one of the cameraman!! The cop and the scientist got out of the room – the scientist were screaming and showing his bloody hands (missing fingers!) – the rest of us were closing the door and try hard to prevent whatever is inside the room from getting out – THEN a head pops out of the door – A PALE FACE WITH WHITE BLANK EYES!!! – EVERYONE SCREAMED! – I shouted MOTHERFUCKER!

– I woke up.

***

Read my other writings on my dreams:

Here’s one where I outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/i-have-a-dream/

My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’
http://trylobyte.tumblr.com/post/827995205/dreaming-the-inception

A more recent posts on my dreams plus with references to the movie, Inception
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/a-half-remembered-dream/