Friday, December 29, 2006

7 Virtues of Blogging

BLOG v. a Thai plumber, called in to fix our toilet, mispronouncing the English word
adj. Hokkien for "blog"

This is a good year for blogging. made it so easy for us to post our daily thoughts online. I strongly recommend that you start one, if you haven't already done so. It's the best way to leave behind a legacy, an electronic sort of legacy.

You can treat it as your "thoughts" archives. You'll be amazed when you look back at your past writings; how you evolve and grow as a person, and how many friends you make along that journey. I can say this from experience, you would also realise how fickle we are as opinionated people. How we constantly change our thinking to fit in (or to distant ourselves) with the world and people around us. One thing for sure... it is seriously more amusing, and more entertaining than reading someone else's autobiography.

Blogging is also one of the most honest forms of modern day communication. We are our own editors. We write and blog without the need to impress. We don't seek job promotion from it. It's just us and our thoughts alone. And remember, there aren't that many things in life that could provide us with such pleasurable autonomy.

you don't need pills, you need a blog

Blogging in not a one way street. It invites discussion from anyone, everyone, from all walks of life. Occasionally you'd get nasty criticisms. They are usually pretty harmless. Best to ignore them, unless of course you are Mr Perfect. Then you shouldn't be writing a blog.

life's complicated enough without enemies

Non-blogging people often think bloggers are ego-centric people. Definitely some truth in this. We post pictures of ourselves, we bitch about things like we are always right. But we are also the most charitable, non-selfish people around: we simply love sharing our thoughts and experience with the outside world... (even if nobody is reading it!).

Maybe we are just chinna-eng people who spend too much time on computers... for me, it keeps me busy, and helps me stay away from many modern day, (almost always) money-wasting vices. This is another reason to start blogging. A well-kept blog definitely instils the 7 traditional virtues:

(1) CHASTITY: A little sacrifice and self-discipline to keep on improving. Always self-educate to "stay popular". A blog is meant to be read by many.

(2) LIBERALITY: Strength of will, knowing your own mind and sticking to your opinion, erm... until a better one comes along.

(3) ABSTINENCE: Restraint and self-control, knowing when to "stop" is essential to keep your reputation (and blog) alive. There is no need to start petty arguments with spammers. So what if they call you a STAR newspaper reader...

(4) DILIGENCE: Keep on writing, and ensuring your blog is interesting. Keep it regularly updated. Blog readers generally have poor attention span, and they get bored pretty easily.

(5) PATIENCE: You need this in abundance. Try keeping a blog running for months with only two readers: you and your pet nyiaw.

(6) KINDNESS: Be good to your readers. You need good networking if you want your entries read. Link like mad. And don't follow my footsteps.

(7) HUMILITY: Be respectful. Not everyone shares the same opinion (or humour); you don't need to make enemies just because people disagree with your ideas. For eg. we don't have to call them kwai-lan just because the Island government don't want a crooked bridge... And you must never, never patronise your readers. Treat them as equal "intelligent human beings", if not more. Oh, and by the way, eg. is short for egg-jumpel, serious.

End of sermon.

Now start blogging and tell us your story...

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Random holiday snap...

KHANG-KO adj. difficult, complicated

A tough day for the guys... how do you approach a group of bikini-clad Japanese girls?

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Moral Matters: Vietnamese Brides

BO n. wife

'Son, if you really want something in life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers.'

Pluck that one from the Simpsons. Don't you just love Homer? There is indeed a "homer" in each and everyone of us... how many times do we give advice and then do exactly the opposite?

Ok, now to a slightly more serious point. Something that annoys me. How often do you read or hear comments from someone older, perhaps from a politician, that is hardly applicable in real life? An advice given without properly going through the details?

Let me elaborate. Have you read about Star's Men 'buy' Viet wives off bridal parades in small-town coffeeshops?

MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau head Datuk Michael Chong was quick to condemn the practice of marrying Vietnamese girl "on-the-spot", he called it a “sickening and immoral” practice.

Apparently, so I was told by the Star, you do not need to go through the hassle of selecting the girl from the photos, flying to Vietnam to meet her and flying back to Malaysia to register the marriage.

You can now ‘buy’ your Vietnamese wives directly from coffeeshops. The benefits are obvious, this is faster and the potential buyers get to have a first-hand look at the girls.

First, I must confess this is a strange practice. But strange things do happen... I watch a lot of AXN and Discovery Channel, so I know what I am talking about. Secondly, I cannot condemn it. Eating live squid is normal in some parts of Asia, I don't do it... but I don't call it sickening. Thirdly, if a guy desperately wants a Vietnamese wife... why pretend that selecting from brochures, then going to Vietnam and then back again to Malaysia with a wife, is any better than getting your wife "on-the-spot"?

Who set the standards here?

I think I speak for myself, and myself only: I won't want someone I have JUST MET in a coffeeshop or even in a library to be my wife... I want to know her better, and I need to make sure we're both comfortable with each other. But this is ME. (I think arranged marriage can be a beautiful or an evil thing, depending on the individuals getting married, if both consent to it and happy about the idea... why condemn it?)

But, I also accept that some men do have different views on the method of wife-choosing. I don't think I can call my method of wife-choosing any more superior than the "alternatives". Shocking or not, choosing a consenting adult who willingly parades herself in kopitiam to be a stranger's wife is an alternative. Furthermore, there is no civil law broken here.

If I am wheelchair-bound, divorced, in my late 70s, ill, and still collecting a healthy-size pension.... and I wanted a Vietnamese wife, I would dread boarding that AirAsia (or MAS, or SIA) flight to Hanoi just for that purpose. If I knew my local coffeeshop tauke is offering "bride on the spot" service.... it would make less sense for me to decline that and say getting a flight to Vietnam is morally more correct than going to the kopitiam.

By the way, that's just a hypothetical situation.

Seiously, isn't it much better to look into the situation properly before making such comments? I am sure there are good and poor husband-and-wife matches from this, like any other "more morally correct" methods of wife-choosing.

So why be a moral judge before understanding the facts?

You see, sometimes an advice is not really an advice. Especially the ones coming from politicians on (allegedly) moral mission.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Wagyu beef in Kuching

GOO-BAK n. beef

To all meat-loving residents of Kuching, there is now a genuine reason to celebrate...

Wagyu beef have reached our shores!

Unashamedly copied and pasted straight from Wikipedia...

"Wagyu ("和牛" in Japanese Kanji characters) refers to several beef breeds of cattle genetically predisposed to intense marbling, and produces a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat."

You might be asking, what is marbling? Here, it refers to the rich fat content between the muscle layers of red meat. It renders the meat juicier, more tender and literally, more mouth-watering. I cannot begin to describe the stark difference between our Sarawakian beef and this wagyu meat. Our Sarawak beef standard tu-si-a-nay only, this wagyu bak really up the ante in your beef-eating experience.

Now a little history lesson...

Japanese Wagyu derive from native Asian cattle, which were genetically infused with British and European breeds in the late 1800's. The breed was closed to outside breed lines in the early 1900s. Regional isolation has produced a number of different lines with varying conformation over time. Just like we have Ibans, Bidayuhs, Melanaus... or Hakkas, Teochews, Foochows... you get my meaning.

It is critical for Wagyu breeders to understand the characteristics of each line when cross breeding to produce higher quality Wagyu beef. The production of Wagyu beef in Japan is highly regulated and progeny testing is mandatory. Cannot pian chiak.

Only the very best proven genetics are kept for breeding. The Japanese Government banned the export of Wagyu and declared them a national treasure. Just like we consider ourselves, Kuchingites, a national treasure... but sadly we are free to export ourselves to other cultural and international breed.

In 1976, four Wagyu-breed bulls were exported to the United States in mysterious circumstances. And a few escaped to Australia, via the United States. Yeah, you can say cows can fly and swim.

(Caught on camera! Cow evaded US Immigration officer en route to Australia.)

The Australians can actually identify their wagyu cattle by names; don't be surprised if they told you... "you are now eating Hazuno, son of Haruki and Suzutani".

Thanks to a few food-loving citizens and our Australian counterparts, Kuching people can now enjoy this wonderful meat. The beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, teppanyaki. You can find them in Kuching top hotels and a Japanese restaurant.

Wagyu beef is fairly easy to prepare. Throw them in a hot pan and the meat will gently melt before your eyes. To enjoy its natural si-bay-nap flavour, I suggest you get them fresh from the butcher* as soon as they arrived from Australia...

* Choice Daily, Stutong. Now please form an orderly queue. Or else...

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Peninsula Bangkok

PHOK adj. skint, finished

You know you are staying in a premium 5-star hotel when...

the sumptous panaromic views of Bangkok city and the Chao Phraya river greet you as the automatic curtain drew open...en...

you can watch Pussycat Dolls on MTV in the bath-tub... all day.

you are staying in one of Southeast Asia tallest hotel buildings...

you have the choice of hotel food or the real world food...

you are only minutes away from Khao San Road (and drink Chang beers with skint Farangs)...

You really know you are staying in a premium 5-star hotel when...

you have infinite free shuttle service across the river...

you stay in a hotel that makes you think you are floating on a river...

your hotel provides you a 24-hour doctor and nurse service if needed.

Best of all, if you ever get bored with the city, you can even escape in a helicopter!

But really, really... you know you are staying in a premium 5-star hotel when...

you are struck with USD$450 bill the next morning!

Ouch. (Not so smug now)

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