How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

A bit more on Downton Abbey

I must admit I have not read the book nor visited Highclere Castle, which is near Newbury in Berkshire...

As I watched the serial on Astro Diva, sometimes repeated, I began to like it. I am particularly fond of the way the upper class British insult others with their well chosen words. What was shown (repeatedly) during the past two days was 'Behind the drama' which gave us an insight on how the popular period drama was filmed on location at Highclere Castle and Ealing Studio. I have taken notes (cannot be relied for accuracy and definitely not in any particular order) for my own reference.

'Most successful period drama in over a decade'; '12 million viewers in UK alone';
Behind the scenes, 6 full-time staff looked after costumes of the Edwardian period. There was a piece 'inspired by early Chanel of 1919'.
Over 100 days filming the upstairs scenes in Highclere Castle.
War scenes were filmed in Suffolk.
Pre-war era, domestic servants outnumbered miners.
Hierarchy was even stricter in servant quarters, with Butler, Carson, looking authoritative; eg. Daisy Robinson, as Kitchen/Scullery Maid, was the lowest ranking, was not allowed upstairs; Tom Branson, chauffeur, who was involved with Lady Sybil, should not be in the house too, but had to, in a scene when he was called in to explain his involvement with Sybil.
In 1914 WWI had turned the world of elegance upside down and which saw the class divide under threat. It transformed Britain, and Downton Abbey was no exception.
Over the next 50 years saw the rise of trade union movement, Karl Marx and women's rights;
Matthew volunteered to serve the army and was involved in the Battle of the Somme where over 20,000 men were killed on the first day alone; footman William was with him, and he saved his life from an explosion;
A Turk, Kamel Pamuk stayed and Mary was 'swept away' by him. He seduced the inexperienced Mary, who became 'damaged goods' as a result; He died while in the house and they had to think of a way to get rid of his body. It seems it was a true story, based on a diary.
Highclere Castle
Earl and Duchess of Carnavon
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham and Lady Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
Daughters: Lady Mary, Lady Edith and Lady Sybil
Sibling rivalry and they were wicked with each other; Mary discovered both Edith and Sybil had a crush on Matthew; both had on occasions attempted to seduce him when Mary was not around;
Mary and Matthew
Mary was bitter, irritated and frustrated because women then had no rights at all, when she realized she lost her inheritance right being a daughter;
When the lone heir was lost in The Titanic, the nearest male descendant, Matthew Crawley succeeded him; When he first arrived, household staff stood in a row and curtsied; After formal introduction, his mother Isobel asked Countess Violet how they should call each other, and she replied, 'We can always start with Mrs. Crawley and Lady Grantham!'
Mary was due to marry Sir Richard Carlisle, a newspaper proprietor with new riches;
He bought Haxby Park without furniture, paintings and so on; when asked said 'What does everyone do? it!' and Mary retorted 'Your lot buy it, my lot inherit it.'
Sir Richard was tough and ruthless. He warned Mary, 'I want to be a good husband...for you to be happy... but don't ever cross me'.
Matthew was injured at war and was paralyzed and impotent, the latter fact was of vital importance being the only heir; Lavinia Swire promised to marry him and look after him for life;
Matthew had a surprisingly miraculous recovery and everybody was excited and joyful when Lord Grantham announced the news. It drew him to Mary, his old flame;
Lavinia saw Matthew and Mary dancing and kissing passionately and was devastated; she was down with Spanish flu and lost her will to live; she gave her blessings to Matthew and wished him, 'be happy...for my sake' before she died.
Matthew Crawley became heir when the original heir gone down with the Titanic
Someone who was disfigured beyond recognition came and claimed he was Peter, the heir. Only Edith believed his descriptions of childhood while the rest of the family expressed disbelief which drove him away.
Like other country houses, part of Downton Abbey was converted to take in injured soldiers. Lady Sybil joined other nurses in nursing soldiers back to health. The taste of freedom had far-reaching consequences. She fell in love with their chauffeur, Tom Branson. It was difficult to pursue love across the class divide and she stands to lose security and family. They tried to elope in Sybil's car to Gretna Green, but they were found by Mary and Edith in a hotel where they stayed the night. She followed them back reluctantly but was adamant that she would follow him later, with or without her father's blessings. She warned her father ' can hardly lock me up until I die'. Sensing her stubbornness, Lord Grantham finally gave his blessings, much to Sybil's relief and happiness.
Lord Grantham announced the great news from the War Office, 'that the war is over' to his household and everybody expressed relief and happiness. The euphoria was shortlived when some of them were infected with Spanish flu. Lady Cora and Lavinia were among those infected, the latter died. This pandemic at the time actually claimed some 50 million people worldwide.
John Bates was Lord Grantham's valet; but his wife, Vera lived in London; He had an affair with Anna Smith, Head Housemaid;
Vera had a big quarrel with Bates. To Vera, it was bad enough he won't come back but 'intolerable that he is happy with someone elsewhere'. She died of poisoning soon after: was it suicide or murder?
In the shadow of Vera's death, John and Anna were married formally and allowed a one night stay in a proper bedroom. Actually, it was a bedroom built on the sound stage at Ealing Studio! The actor recalled the most intimate bedroom scene as 'costume drama without the costumes on'!
Mrs. Patmore, was cook; the actress who acted the role said she called Lady Cora 'Your Majesty' by mistake 3 times... because there was 'no rapport' between them;
Second Footman, William Mason, was with Matthew during the war, and had in fact saved his life from an explosion. He was seriously injured and asked to see Daisy; said he has always admired her and wanted to marry her; she was very reluctant to do so, kept saying it was wrong, knowing that William was going to die and the marriage was to enable her to claim state benefits as a war widow.

Characters in Downton Abbey:

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern)
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith)
Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)
Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael)
Lady Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown-Findlay)
Mrs. Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton)
Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens)
Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glenn)
Lavinia Swire (Zoe Boyle)
Lady Rosamund Painswick (Samantha Bond)
Dr. Clarkson (David Robb)
Andrew Lang (Cal Macaninch)
Charles Carson, Butler (Jim Carter)
John Bates, Lord Grantham's valet (Brendan Coyle)
John Barrow, First Footman (Rob James-Collier)
Mrs. Elsie Hughes, Housekeeper (Phyllis Logan)
Sarah O'Brien, Lady Grantham's Lady's Maid (Siobhan Finneran)
William Mason, Second Footman (Thomas Howes)
Anna Smith, Head Housemaid (Joanne Froggatt)
Ethel Parks, Housemaid (Amy Nuttall)
Mrs. Patmore, Cook (Lesley Nicol)
Daisy Robinson, Kitchen/Scullery Maid (Sophie McShera)
Mrs. Vera Bates (Maria Doyle Kennedy)
Molesley, Matthew's Valet (Kevin Doyle)
Tom Branson, Chauffeur (Allen Leech)

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