Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lego for Going Places Magazine

I haven't been writing for magazines AT ALL  this whole year. This weekend I head off to Tasik Bera to cover it for Going Places, the Malaysian Airlines inflight magazine.

V, the editor is the most patient editor I have and teaches me the value of structure after years of writing for the rock and roll editing style of Bart August and his various stints at FHM and New Man. Bart is still the only editor I know who allows me the occasional 'bastard', 'shit' and 'ass wipe' to be published material.

Below is a short piece I did for Going Places last year writing as 'Jim Brickman'. As you can see it's very controlled for the genteel patrons of one of the world's best airlines.

Here goes:

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with Lego building blocks as a child. I loved them because of the amazing amount of objects and worlds I could build but I simply hated them as well because for my parents, Legos were a clever substitute to not buying a never ending stream of new toys for their children. 

A standard request for a die-cast metal Star Wars X-wing fighter would be thrown back at me by my parents with a “Go make one with your Legos!”. Parent’s don’t get it do they? It’s not cool when a sleek X-wing looks like a mutated brick or that graceful World War 2 Corsair looked like a brick tooth paste tube with brick propellers. It also didn’t help that every tire and wind shield/cockpit hybrid was recycled from the Lego cement truck.

Age and the real world enveloped me with more mundane concerns than building entire universes from my secret lair under my bed. As the daily 9-5 grind took over my life, Lego blocks were only a distant memory, only to resurface occasionally when I would stumble on a chewed up brick in old cupboards during spring cleaning.

And then George Lucas and his Star Wars licensing juggernaut came ambling along trying to squeeze every penny from a new demographic, long the captured audience of Sesame Street and the Power Rangers - The 6-12 year olds. Funnily enough this describes the mind of most grown men. Hence my downfall…

So when on that fateful day I walked into a toy store in Bangsar and a collection of extremely cute Lego Darth Vader and Storm troopers caught my eye, the Lego bug had me at “Now Star Wars Reimagined!”

It started quietly enough with just that one set of little figurines, a purchase based on sentimentality but I had no idea that Lego blocks had come so far! There were more varieties to the building bricks. Where in the past Lego bricks came in the exciting shapes of square, rectangular and square, NOW they came with sculpted shapes for specific parts. Airplane cockpits were shaped, engines and turbines were included with swivels and pivots, the figures had their own little guns where in the past my Lego police man would try to fight crime with what looked like a cheer leader’s baton.

It didn’t end there! Lego now had evolved into a hobby and a sophisticated kit building medium. I could now build cranes and even a basic working robot! They came with micro processors, servo motors and touch sensors! Lego had grown up!

I wisely stuck to the basic Lego models of my favorite movies like Star Wars, Batman and Indiana Jones. But I always had an eye for the more sophisticated technical kits, seeking to satisfy my macho need to conquer the pinnacle of a children’s plaything.

I decided to take up the challenge of buying and assembling one of them. I picked out one of the Lego Mindstorms kit. I wanted to build my own working robot. Images of my little Lego man picking up my football socks made me smile with glee. I looked at the instructions again and again. It was taking a bit too long for my own mind to process. Then, a slow realization dawned on me. For all my guilt at indulging in a children’s plaything, it was the humble Lego brick that had grown up and moved on without me!

Now I stick to variations of Lego vehicles that that don’t exceed the complexity of my old Lego cement truck.

6 comments:

ahchan said...

diana, your new wallpaper is manyak the changgihs

C. Andres Alderete said...

Hey at least you had Legos. We couldn't afford them and as a result, I can't solve complex problems in my life. I, too, have Star Wars Legos. I bought them for the figurines in my villains collection and glue super strong magnets for the ol' fridge. Nice piece, sir.

Chindiana said...

Ah Chan! Saya tahu! Dah boring dengan corak yang lama tu. Ini saya jumpa dalam blog templates. Sangat 'ngam' saya sebab saya jantan alpha! :P

Thanks Carlos, it's an honor coming from Austin's best undiscovered writer, artist and future hobbit bar owner! That's another thing we have in common - I've got a Yoda, clone trooper, an anakin Lego on my fridge!

ahchan said...

hmmm... memang sungguh the jantan... walaupun bekgraun tu blur sikit saya rasa ia itu gunung everest yang kau nak kongker dalam laiftaim mu.

kongkerlah anda sebelum anda dikongkerkan.

btw, word verification: hystefic. Hysteria + Terrific???

Chindiana said...

Umur saya telah over limit nak coba macho nak daki gunong yang sejuk keterlaluan tu. Takut dua biji ciku saya berkecut permanent akibat dari kesejukan terlampau tu.

Terrific Hysteria - nama album baru Mawi? Memang bes seller kat semua sekolah sekolah boarding di Malaysia.

Shit I just gave myself a headache trying to type this in Malay...

Nex said...

At least you didn't say that the Kadazans of Sarawak has to offer highly sought after limited edition Star Wars Lego sets as dowries to win the would-be bride's parents' favour ...