Does Berjaya HVN Really Have Rights Reproducing Thomas & Friends?

My son’s current favorite series are Special Agent OSO and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He sometimes still watches Thomas & Friends. He can recognize Thomas in Toys ‘R’ Us even from the entrance a hundred meters away.

I’ve been looking high and low for high quality, and updated DVDs for him to watch in the car. Yes, it’s how we keep him relaxed inside the car instead of running around dangerously in a moving vehicle.

A few months ago, I bought original DVDs with KPDN & HEP sticker on it. They are made by Berjaya HVN. I was, however very disappointed with the quality. The DVDs contained antique videos.

Take Thomas, for example the videos are from before the intro was changed:

Disappointed, I tried downloading the videos from the Internet but I ended up being warned for downloading copyrighted materials.

For those who are observant, you will see that in the earlier seasons of Thomas & Friends the characters are non-moving dolls (only their eyes move). In newer pictures, the characters are free moving characters. An obvious observation is the kid waving to Thomas on the bridge, with a bicycle next to him.

Very Old:


Old: (more rounded edges)


New: (the kid waves, and notice the quality of props)


For those who are not familiar with Thomas, here’s a newer intro but not the latest (notice the kid on the bridge still doesn’t wave – it’s from Season 8 while current season is 13):

Here is a DVD I bought a few weeks ago, look at the year printed on the sleeve.


Looking at this you probably think the DVD contains the latest series! But no it doesn’t.


Now, HiT Entertainment’s website contains no email so I have to blog about it and hope someone will be able to discover this post.

With the bad quality of DVDs I am seriously wondering whether Berjaya HVN is really licensed to reproduce the DVDs. They are DVDs, but the quality is VCD quality.


I am disappointed. And you blame me for downloading pirated videos?

I know that I can tell whether the DVD contains the latest series but right now it’s impossible to bring along the complete printout of the list of production every time I go out. Maybe when I get an iPhone, but that’s a whole different story not for today.

And this problem is not only for Thomas & Friends. It’s the same for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Tigger & Pooh. So I haven’t been able to find any Special Agent OSO DVD locally. All of them are by Berjaya HVN – not only their own opening montage looks bad, the whole disc contains blurred videos and some even with embedded subtitles.

Or is it just because Malaysia is just behind in a few years? I find this unacceptable in the information age.

I probably should mention that the videos and images above are all copyright of Gullane (Thomas) Limited.

Zee Avi

A friend posted a link in Facebook to Zee’s video on YouTube, and I started to look for her songs. I really love her music and voice, as there is a certain old feeling to it, not quite the same but I can relate her to Norah Jones. And I commented on that Facebook link: “I like her music so much I’m gonna buy her album“. The reply I received was that I shouldn’t buy but simply download the music. Since I am very particular about music quality and I am happy to see a Malaysian artist making a name Internationally, I said I want to support Malaysian artists. That’s also a reason why I am broke almost all the time.

When I went to The Curve on Sunday with my family, we went to Rock Corner to look for some Mozart CDs. Lazy to look, I asked the guy there whether Zee’s album has arrived in Malaysia (who knows it might arrive late since it was released in US in May). And there it was, at the front counter along with all the new arrivals. To my surprise it was cheap… I was prepared to pay ~RM50 for an imported CD. I like Rock Corner because the guy over there is knowledgeable and helpful.


As usual, I made a backup copy of the CD for the car and ripped it to FLAC for my computer. To my friends, go buy one yourself if you want to listen. I don’t support piracy.

The best music is the music you buy. I kept my promise by actually buying the album.

Here’s Kantoi with the full English translations:

SpongeBob SquarePants

I have been working from home for almost a month now, and to cope with loneliness from the lack of company and with the noise produced by the work next door I always have my TV turned on while working. I used to hear about SpongeBob and I know what he is but never bothered to watch it. I stumbled upon the cartoon series once in a while at 5.00pm at TV9 (dubbed version) so I decided to watch it. Although I usually hate dubbed versions I have to say that for this series they did it pretty well.


And now, I have learned to love Spongebob. If I have nothing important to do at 5pm everyday I will switch on TV9 and watch the yellow little guy with his friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, his colleague Squidward Tentacles, his boss Eugene Krabs, his pet Gary the Snail, and the unsuccessful rival of Eugene Krabs’ – Sheldon Plankton.

SpongeBob cartoon series is fun to watch, as the funny elements are intelligent enough in contrary to some cartoons (local and international).

And yes, in history it will be known that my first post for 2009 is about SpongeBob. SpongeBob is my hero, he made me laugh and this suppresses my desire to commit any kind of crime.

Spongebob names in other languages:

  • Спондж Боб (Spondzh Bob) (Bulgarian)
  • SvampeBob Firkant (Danish)
  • SpongeBob Schwammkopf (German)
  • Μπομπ Σφουγγαράκης Τετραγωνοπαντελονής (Mpomp Spouggarakhc Tetragonopantelonhc) (Greek)
  • Bob Esponja (Spanish)
  • SpongaBobo (Esperanto)
  • Bob l’éponge (Bob the Sponge) (French)
  • 네모네모 스펀지 송 (Ne-mo Ne-mo Seupeonji Song) (Korean)
  • Svampur Sveinsson (Icelandic)
  • スポンジ・ボブ (SuponjiBobu) (Japanese)
  • SvampeBob Firkant (Norwegian)
  • SpongeBob Kanciastoporty (Polish)
  • Bob Esponja Calça Quadrada (Portuguese)
  • Губка Боб Квадратные Штаны (Gubka Bob Kvadratnye Shtany) or simply “Спанч Боб” (Russian)
  • Paavo Pesusieni (Finnish)
  • SvampBob Fyrkant (Swedish)
  • Sünger Bob (Turkish)
  • 海綿寶寶 (Mian Qiu Fang Kuai) (Mandarin)
  • BobSfoge Michnas Meruba (Hebrew)

So in Malay language he should be “SpanBob SeluarSegiempat” ?

Memoirs of A Geisha

I watched the movie Memoirs of A Geisha last Saturday. As always, I was quite reluctant to watch it at first. This is due to the fact that the main characters of Sayuri and Mameha are played by Chinese instead of Japanese (Sayuri – Zhang Ziyi, Mameha – Michelle Yeoh). I have nothing again Chinese but I just prefer the original nationalities to play. It’s like how anime fans prefer Japanese audio tracks instead of dubbed (English or Chinese). Luckily the Chairman was played by Ken Watanabe.

Anyway, the movie was great. The movie was accurate word by word as I remembered from the book (which I read in 1999) written by Arthur Golden in 1997.

The story starts from an old Japanese village where a poor family had to give out their children. Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo) and her older sister Satsu (Samantha Futerman) were brought to Gion; Chiyo was sold to an okiya (Geisha house) while her sister was sold to a brothel (prostitute house).

The ending? Well you have to go and see it for yourself. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but if you really want to know just go to this page on wikipedia: Memoirs of A Geisha.

As the movie progressed forward, I can recall what I have read in the book. One significant thing that’s missing is when she sold her mizuage (virginity) to Doctor Crab (Randall Duk Kim) – Keymaker in the Matrix. In the book, Doctor Crab actually keeps the virgin blood in a case as souvenir. Kind of sick, but it was explained in the book. Apparently Doctor Crab is a wealthy man who likes to bid on mizuage.

On the language used, some people mentioned that it is quite difficult to understand what they are saying. I agree with that. However I also realize the intentions of the director to make it sound like Japanese. One amusing thing is that the character Pumpkin’s (Youki Kudoh) drastically changed – I guess because she has been around US soldiers a lot, towards the end of the movie.

By the way, in the movie, Sayuri = Chiyo’s new name when she ‘graduated’ as a Geisha.

From my readings, I found that this is not a true story, but rather a fiction created by the author. This movie was banned from being released in China – I don’t want to elaborate.

Golden was actually sued by Mineko Iwasaki – the Geisha he interviewed to get contents for his book. According to Mineko Iwasaki, there was a lot of manipulation in the book, and Golden’s act for putting her name in the book’s acknowledgement is in fact a breach of trust since he promised total anonimity.

Mineko Iwasaki later published her own autobiography, Geisha of Gion. It’s a bestseller worldwide. I haven’t read it yet but am planning to 🙂 This is her attempt to tell her own side of the story.


Narnia II – Prince Caspian is in the making. I was skeptical about Narnia until I really watched it. It was good. At least now I have an alternative to Harry Potter (which is going to have only one last instalment after The Goblet of Fire).

The next big screen instalment from the books of CS Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – has been announced with the return of the four young stars who play the Narnia children.

British actors Georgie Henley, 10, Skandar Keynes, 14, Anna Popplewell, 17, and William Moseley, 18, will reprise their roles as the Pevensies.

Andrew Adamson is back as director following the New Zealander’s success with the first film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Production is set to begin later this year for the movie to be released during Christmas 2007.

Read the full, original news here:

I love to watch movies, especially those based on books as I rarely have the time to read. The last 3 books I’ve read was The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Digital Fortress – all by Dan Brown. I am still finding time to finish the 4th book – Deception Point.

In another development, The Da Vinci Code (the movie) is going to be released this year. Tom Hanks is playing Robert Langdon, the professor (main character in the story). Click here to see the casts in IMDB.

Tom Hanks is a damn good actor and so far I liked all of his movies I’ve seen. However one exception is The Ladykillers which has been awarded a place in my list of dumb movies.

For this movie, I think there can be a more suitable actor to play Robert Langdon, but Hanks’ talent makes it difficult to say. Let’s just see.