I am not afriad of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today~William Allen White

Wha is in a “Race”

Last night over some easy conversations, my friends were teasing me over my detailed description about prostitutes in Amsterdam and Singapore, and they told me I should come up with an analysis paper on this topic.  However, I think I want to share 3 instances in Europe that left an impression on me and how it tied to where I am in Asia. 

 

The first instance was walking along the Amstel in Amsterdam and there was a Vietnamese tour group in front of us.  There was a middle aged man who looked super excited taking in the surroundings.  As he walked by a building that shows his reflection, I saw him fixing the blazer he has on to make sure it is neatly framed.  Then he quickly pulled out a comb and ran it through his hair before putting a huge smile on his face as he continues walking.  I find this so endearing because I understand he probably worked really hard his whole life and is excited to be on a trip to Europe. He is making sure he is properly attired and groomed because he wants to give a great image of the country he represents.  However, as the tour group continues down the street, I picked up on a group of teens looking at them in annoyance and as he walked by smiling, the response he got was “Go back to your country”.  Obviously, he doesn’t understand and continues smiling, but I understand that perfectly. 

 

The second instance was walking along the tourist street in Santorini Greece.  There was a glassware shop that sells more higher end products, but many tourists might not necessary understand why their glass pieces might be unique compared to factory batch souvenirs.  By the cash register, there was a sign written in English that says “We do not sell fake LV and knock offs here, if you are looking for those stuff, go next door.  We do not sell to Chinese”. It was a sign with quite a number of sentences, but what I quoted was pretty much the essence.  I remembered there was a group of 3 people sitting at a table near the cashier with no customers in the shop.  I think they realized I was reading the sign since I actually stood there frowning, and one of them hesitantly asked me if I wanted anything.  I was about to form a speech to lambast them of their overt racism, but the embarrassing and dumbstruck look on their faces to my remark of “Wwow, I didn’t know you can choose who you serve when your economy is suffering so horribly” is enough to satisfy me and save them from my monologue.  On a side note, I really want to say to them, if you are targeting a specific race, perhaps write in the language they can read and own up to your racism, then you don’t have to worry about any more Chinese coming to your store.  You are just missing out on one fifth of the world population, that’s all, but you don’t need them, all three of you are doing just fine sitting around a table staring out the window.

 

The third instance was walking into Cartier in Munich Germany. Upon walking into the shop, I saw a German lady speaking Mandarin and serving a bunch of enraptured Chinese men.  I was quite entertained and stood around her counter to catch the conversation between the sale and the customers.  I cannot help noticing that there are 3 to 4 sales in the shop, aside from this German sales who speaks Mandarin, there is also another sales that is Asian, and I am pretty sure she speaks Mandarin.  Aside from these 2 sales busy at work, the other 2 are just standing and looking, just like what I was doing.  I cannot help thinking how smart the German lady is for taking up a second language and how it is completely benefiting her pockets in terms of commission.  Clearly, this also indicate how many Chinese tourists with high purchasing power are touring and spending in Europe. 

 

I am really thankful for my upbringing and I really embrace diversity and multiculturalism.  As with any other human beings, I too, would place people based on ethnicity and race, but I would never form an impression or dislike based on race, it is usually based on personality or the lack of it.  As a child, I grew up in Calgary Alberta, where the popular is predominantly Caucasian. I don’t think I have yet to understand my black hair is different than people with brown hair or blonde hair.  My memories are building snowmen and running around playing tag during recess or all of us scooping up clean snow and eating them with maple syrup.  At that age, I haven’t yet feel the sting or know what racism is.  During my teen years when my family moved to Vancouver British Columbia, there are many Asians in the community and I am pretty much ignorant to racism.  Of course racism exist in Vancouver, but I can safely say that it is not as overt compared to what I experienced during my two and a half weeks in Europe.  Also, I think I embraced my Chinese Canadian identity quite well.  I am actually very proud to be Chinese, and the fact that I let my parents put me into both Cantonese and Mandarin school every Saturday for two years confirm that fact. 

 

Shockingly, I actually struggle with my identity the most living in Singapore, because my English and Mandarin sound different compared with Singaporeans, and they would immediately ask me where I am from.  Sometimes when I order at hawker centres, I would be lazy and speak in words instead of complete sentences in Mandarin, then the owners would love asking me if I am Korean or Japanese.  If I decide to speak in English, they would also ask me if I am Korean or Japanese, and when I say I am Chinese, they would ask me why I cannot speak Mandarin. I will then switch to Mandarin, and they would ask me where I am from.  Usually when I say I am from Canada, they would smile and start talking to me about the weather and how cold Canada is.  But I remember one time I was having dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant and the owner is Egyptian.  After we placed our orders, he decided he wants to know where I am from as well.  I remember this exchange very clearly because it bugs the heck out of me.  I told him I am from Canada and he said, “No, where are you REALLY from”.  I know what he wants to know; he doesn’t want to know WHERE I am from, he wants to know my race.  I think I started annoying him by not giving him the satisfaction, so he finally said to me “Because you know, all people in Canada are white”.  I finally snapped and I said to him in rapid English for him to catch up, “So if you have a son in the USA and he spends his life there and he was educated there, is he Egyptian?”  Right away, he said “My son is AMERICAN”!  So I said, “Thank-you, you have answered your own question”. 

 

Moving to Hong Kong, I will face a different set of identity issue, which is HK Chinese vs Mainland Chinese.  Since the 1997 handover of HK to China, there have been many identity issues for people in Hong Kong.  I am aware there is a lot of ill-will towards people from Mainland China, and there have certainly been endless amount of cultural clashes and dissatisfaction where the behaviour, practices, and cultural norms annoy people in Hong Kong.  Social issues such as people in China buying up all the daily commodities from baby formula to cooking oil to yakult and even toilet paper can understandably leave a sour taste in the mouths of people in HK, because they affect people’s daily lives.  I understand and I am aware there are many social issues between Chinese from HK and from China, but I would not say I hate people from China or that Hong Kong should remain a colony of Britain.  Unless you are super isloated you must have met or have friends from different countries, including from China.  Instead of saying those friends from China are an exception to the rest of China, maybe think of the a million or so that annoy you in Hong Kong as the exception to the 1.5 billion in China.  As with anyone living in Hong Kong, I will place the blame of all the social issues and dissents between Chinese from HK and Chinese from China on the government.  I like people from China, I will not “hate” everyone from China just because of some that bother or annoy me.  Honestly, if you travel overseas, do you think foreigners can really distinguish you are Chinese from China or Chinese from elsewhere?  So I conclude that Chinese people is an extremely complex race and while l am “Chinese”, it does not necessarily mean I associate myself as part of “China”.  I feel proud to be “Chinese”, but it does not mean I am happy with China.  It is ok for us Chinese people to diss China, but when other nationalities start making rude remarks, you would see my patriotism surfacing. 

 

被愛比愛人幸福嗎?

“被一個自己不愛的人所愛,是痛苦的¤你不愛他,但是你愛的那個人不愛你¤

有人說,愛情就等於思念¤只要一天你仍想念一個人,那麽,你仍然是愛他日子¤

思念一個人,不必天天見面,不必互相擁有,不是朝思暮想,而是一天總會想念他好幾幾遍¤”

What is Beauty?

The Beauty series uses the wounded faces and bodies of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery to show the physical cost of adhering to social pressure in Korea. Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as a integral step in the in self improvement process. Going under the knife, enduring bruises, scars, and being under general anesthetic several times are no longer considered risky or extravagant. They have all had multiple procedures and have plans for future augmentation. The photos were taken directly after their operation while they were resting and waiting to be healed.

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The latest raw data compiled from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2010, confirms that South Korea is indeed the country with the world’s highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery. It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women by their beauty. The male-dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the ideal woman. As a result of these cultural forces Korea has become a beauty-oriented society where people are judged more for their appearance than their character. Korean women, often fall into the trap of trying to live up to the ideal personified in the media. The combination of these factors has dramatically increased the burgeoning plastic surgery industry while creating another set of standards for women to adhere to.

The following link shows a series of photography taken by Ji Yeo of women after plastic surgery
http://agonistica.com/beauty-recovery-room-by-ji-yeo/

 

After 3 weeks away, I dread opening the mail box since I know it’ll be piled with bills an junk.  As I was sorting through the load, I stumbled upon this little slip of paper and I started getting so curious!  Wow, do people really do that?  I am so curious, I want to find out more about this person, who I supposed is quite “brave” for sending this bulk note to all the mail boxes?

I realized I am curious because I do not know anything behind the writer of this little memo, but it has set my imagination crunching and curiosity piqued.

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Animal Cruelty

I cannot say i am an absolute animal lover but i respect all living things and feel absolutely outraged whenever i hear of animal abuse.  I feel so disgusted and pained to hear of the brutal death of a stray cat in hong kong. The way the cat was cruelly and brutally abused absolutely makes my stomach turned. Some psychotic person grabbed onto the tail of a stray cat and keep flinging him so hard until he smashed into the wall. it was so violent the tail of the cat was brutally ripped off. Still breathing the cat scampered into the back of a staircase and suffered massive pain before dying. I am redundant with my feeling of absolute digust and horror, it is so hard for me to comprehend how someone can inflict such pain and cruelty on another living breathing creature. This is not a lack of education but the need of a person’s dominance on another. Why do humans do such evil things? This is one question i can never get an answer to because I also can’t understand how soldiers can inflict such pain and cruelty to other human beings during war. It is so painul and so sad to know there is this evil seed inside each one of us…

Are politicians evil?

Hm….they have to be shrewd, cunning, manipulative to a certain degree to succeed. All candidates have platforms and millions of amazing and impressive goals and promises for the voters, but what is the truth behind the million dollar smile we see on tv and across different social media?

Sometimes, I feel that the political world is a dirty and filthy place, it is a place filled with backstabbing, underhanded exchanges, and more personal favors and scheming for self interest. If you want to seek justice and seek help, well, approaching the politician might not be the smartest move. Why? Because a person who only wants to help other people without any vested interest will not be a politician, as simple as that.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise when I say that we can only depend on selfish people to help the weak and the powerless, but only when these selfish people gain what they have set out to gain. When their goals are achieved, then these politicians will stand up and speak for your rights, your demands, your justice.

If you step back and think, this is really what the world honestly is, isn’t it? Glommy and depressing? But this is our world; we are all selfish, we will only help others after our wants and our needs have been satisfied. Businesses with charity donations, students volunteering, we all have a hidden agenda when we “give”.

It is just a realization when watching tv this evening; but there is a little bright light, because there really are good Sarmatians in this world who selflessly help others. But I just realized the world we live in tend to be more selfish than we like to believe.

I am so confused about the infant formula shortage, it’s such a weird HK issue. I really feel sorry for the mothers in HK, of all things to have to stress over! But if we are to seriously analyze the problem, there are so many parties to blame. How do I feel about水貨客? I find them just completely annoying because what they do are doing, pushing carts and boxes of heavy products in and out of public transportation are completely annoying and affecting our daily lives, but they are not to be blamed. These 水貨客 appear because these is such a large gap between HKD & RMB in regards to the exchange rate and to the fact there is no taxes in Hong Hong but taxes in China. Generally speaking, these gaps are not an issue if HK and China are two separate entities; however, nowadays, access between HK and China are so easy, of course the industry of水貨客 appear! We should applaud the business venture spirit of Chinese people and blame the government for their uselessness. If goods entering China are to be taxed as they are supposed to, than millions of people are breaking the law, so why are they not caught? Throw a few in jail, there should be a decrease # in this industry. People that “pull” frozen beef into China from HK actually tell 水貨客 to keep “pulling” these beef into China because they know the freezers at the immigration office are full so their items will not be taken away! If the government really wants to solve the水貨客 problem, it is possible! Don’t airplanes limit passengers to the amount of luggage they are allowed onto planes? Why can’t there be immigration officers at the HK/China check points performing the same function? People entering China/HK—consider them going overseas or whatever, they need to show arrival and departure cards and are limited to 20kg per person. Sorry, you cannot pay for additional carry on—all overweight luggage will be thrown away. Similarly, people that cross the border between HK/China that are not staying overnight might only be allowed 7kg per crossing and any 2nd, 3rd, or additional crossing on the same day are not allowed any additional luggage. Seriously, just issuing this luggage policy will stop 水貨客—if not 100%, at least 80%! If the government really want to stop this problem, they can! I mean, if I can think of it, why are people paid millions of dollars a year not able to? For me, I actually don’t give a crap who is the chief executive of HK, and I really think since CY Leung is now the chief executive, let’s just all shut up and let him do his job, because protesting and screaming every day and wanting to pull him down…what does that do? Like seriously, what does that do? Is there another person the people want? If not, let’s just give him some time and do what he’s supposed to do just because he is already at that post. I don’t know, I think instead of screaming and protesting “down with CY”, maybe the screaming and protesting should be on implementing these suitcase restrictions to be implemented to at least give the people in HK a little ease of mind. I too, find it appalling to see people wheeling cartons after cartons of toilet paper, yakult, chocolate across the border, sigh, WTF. If I go a step further, you can’t blame the consumers in China for buying infant formula in HK because they too don’t trust “made in China”, that’s the ultimate problem! Maybe shoot all the evil business enterprises with no ethics, that might solve the remaining 20% the luggage restriction might not solve haha. So the conclusion is…the problem rest with all evil enterprises in China that scared off all the consumers in China. Guys! HK is like a freaking dot on the map! All these PRC customers running to HK hoarding the goods, seriously, imagine the scenario, how can HK sustain? You have a mountain running to the needle, OMG! I talked too much again with my 5 cents.

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