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

Archive for April, 2011

Shanghainese Cuisines

It is very unfair to use the term “Chinese food” and lumps all the different cuisines and delicacies that are offered across China. There are so many different types of cuisines and so many ways of cooking them, to use the word “Chinese food” when you see a steam fish or a plate of sweet and sour pork is doing the chefs no justice.

 My hungry stomach leads me to enjoy a variety of Shanghai cuisines in the past week, and of course the “xiao lung bao”–meat dumpling is one of the most famous dishes in Shanghai cuisines. In Shanghai cuisines, people lover ordering multiple plates of cold appetizers, emphasis is placed more on these appetizers than main dishes.

sweet glutinous rice stuffed into slices of boiled lotus

 

known as drunken chicken-chicken is cooked and brasied in Chinese wine

eating smoked duck breasts with a small slice of sweet ginger brings out the smokiness of the meat

marinated slices of beef

 

famous xia lung bao (pork dumplings) from Michelin star restaurant Ding Tai Fung

 

 
 

another variety of pork dumpling with spicy red oil chili sauce pan fried seasame green onion bread

 

braised duck with special sacha sauce

 

i love this fish, espeically the pine sauce, very addictive sweety with a bit of tang

 

a type of cold noodles blended with peanut sauce and sliced cucumbers

 

pan fried pork dumplings

 

fragrant diced vegetable with tofu

 

pan fried seasame green onion bread

 

this is a pan fried red bean paste dessert

 

Carefree Life 今朝醉明日愁

今朝有酒今朝醉 明日愁來明日愁

I really like this Chinese saying, roughly translated as “when you have wine today, get drunk today; worries of tomorrow, leave it for tomorrow”.  Don’t know if it’s because I am getting older, but I see myself worrying about this, stressing over that, slowly evolving into a worry wart.  But come on!  Who can honestly and really live by that saying and completely ignore everything that make us frown…this saying is borderline on irresponsible living.  However, I love the saying, I like to mumble it every once in awhile and just go to sleep, muhaha.

So, let’s wash away all the troubles by going to the casinos in Macau!  Lol, I hereby post a water performance to a lovely rendition of “money money”  at where else but outside the Wynn Casino.

Bunga Bunga

 

Let’s take a look at how women are portrayed on Italy TV. These shows occur on prime time TV, not late night shows. Italy Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi owns and controls over 90% of the media and TV, and he is famous for his “bunga bunga parties”. Is he a good Prime Minister? I don’t know, but he is definitely not a good role model.

front clevage is not enough!
need back cleavage too!

let’s reveal all to the world…let’s have a man come in!

yes, that’s a boob, just hanging out, this is Italy
seriously, this is uncensored TV in Italy

Prime Minister  Silvio Berlusconi has a message for everyone:

“The human face holds a message:  total vulnerability.  That is why we hide it, change it, embellish or modify it even with surgery.  This explains why it is so hard to accept one’s own face: it is like looking at an image of total vulnerability.  How can we remain vulnerable and ourselves, in a world where you can only win if you are thoroughly invulnerable?  This is a tough choice for women!  Invincible amongst the winners or vulnerable and forgotten?  Vulnerability, however, is the most fascinating aspect of a face.

Best lunch on weekends

Over the weekend, the restaurants in Causeway Bay or anywhere for that matter are usually jam-packed with people, waiting for a table can be frustrating.  The best lunch is the “not so healthy” lunch of street snacks!  I am super happy with a skewer of meatballs and a bubble tea to quickly charge me up, and both items cost me less than $3USD!  The best part is, I feel like I had a complete meal, because I am full, so  happy happy! 

I have mentioned this before and I’ll do it again.  What makes me happy about living in Asia is the selection of cheap street snacks available that can fill my stomach!  When I was visiting my sister in Canada, I got a bit hungry in the middle of the day, so I started looking left and right in Downtown Vancouver for a cheap snack to munch on.  OMG!!!  THe cheapest thing I can find is like $8USD, NOT ME!  Though I must admit I love buying hot dogs in Downtown, they’re so good!  But $5CAD for a hot dog is super-duper expensive for someone living in Asia!  That’s like a 3-course set lunch with a free drink!

the most expensive snack this stand sells (street snacks w/ noodles) is no more than $2USD, but I wouldn’t be surprsied if it makes over 5 digits a day
i personally find this skewer of meatballs oh so yummy, i love how the shop lightly grilled it so it’s crispy on the outside
these yummy street snacks have taken so many allowances of elementary and high school students
threre are a lot of bubble tea stands all over HK, this chain is my favorite because of its wide selections that appeal to me and the staff are very friendly

taro slush bubble tea & original bubble tea

Sofa cushions Photo Session

shhh...napping peacefully

 The little guy actually spend quite a bit of time on the sofa, and he’ll always plop himself onto the cushion.  Whenever I am watching TV, he’ll definitely be on the cushion, anything soft to chill on

wuzzdat?! Someone calling me?
taking a brief nap
addicted to towels, cushions, anything soft for the tushies
ack! looks so naked in his normal skin
didn’t know his head can tilt and pose like that…hair around ears too long, looks like a girrrrrrlllll
that mickey PJ vest actually belongs to me from 10 years ago, yes…i still wear it once in awhile
huh?
a pretzel sandwich

a little bit forlorn looking

looking alert~sounds at the door

A Rap of Hong Kong

Even if you have not been to HK, you would probably crack a smile at this video, it’s created by students as a grad project at an international high school and I think it introduces HK in a nutshell.

Lyrics:

Yeah I’m out in Central

Now I’m down in Times Square
Right next to Victoria Park
But I’ll be local forever
I’m the new Donald Tsang
And since I made it here
I can make it anywhere
Yeah they love me everywhere

I used to club at Prive
Go with all my banker friends
Right there off of Lan-Kwai
Brought me back to that McDonalds
Then off to Tsui Wah
Se-ven-E-le-ven
Mixing cheap whisky with coke straight ballin’
Cruising down Queen’s road
Silver Mercedes
Driving so slow
But Fei Jai we call it “Ben-ze”

Me I’m out in Wan Chai
Home of them hookers
Got some Ebeneezer’s
Then drop by at Carnegie’s
Say what up to the Guai Los
Still sipping bubble tea
Sitting in a tram
Amy Chua give me high-fives
Teacher, I be gettin’ A’s
Gonna pass my CFA
Tell by my attitude that I’m most definitely from

Chorus
In Hong Kong
Concrete jungle where we eat dim sum
Special admin region
Now you’re in Hong Kong
The shops will make you feel brand new
The sales will inspire you
Let’s hear it for Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Roll up to the Jockey Club
Bettin’ on some horses
Sippin’ on the cheap beer
Ain’t no better place to play
I think I have swine flu
Hand me a tissue
It don’t stop me chilling on the street, eating great food
Welcome to the finance hub
Every corner selling grub
Chung King Mansion curry spot
Home of the shark fin
Red cab, green cab, blue cab, holla back
At Yung Kee like a tourist eating roast duck
7 million shopping malls, everyday they get packed
City it’s amusing half of y’all speak Engrish
Me I gotta plug a special and I got it made
Citi never sleeps, Merrill Lynch B of A
J P Morgan, HSBC, Chinese New Year, rest in peace Bruce Lee
Wan Chai Convention Centre, long live the Star Ferry
Long live the king yo, I’m from the S-A-R that’s

[Chorus]

Work is tiring
Homes need helpers
They come out on a Sunday
Hang out at the Jollibee’s
The tutor comes in with formalities
Who teach the math casually
Then maybe some science
Don’t skip the violin
Caught up in the in crowd
Now you’re white-washed
The winter gets mild, en vogue with your Uggs out
The colony passed back to the main-land
My boss is an expat, the city’s filled with them
Mommy sent the kids to an international school
Now they can’t read Chinese, less employable
Hail main-land to the city they buy LV
Gucci, Prada, we got everything they need
Came here high school, graduated elsewhere
Medicine, finance, engineering or law
Openrice.com got you feeling like a champion
The city never sleeps, gonna make my first billion

[Chorus]

Hands up in the air for the big city
Neon lights, big banks all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your iPhones in the air, everybody say yeaaahh, yeaaahh

[Chorus]

Credits: Soo Jin Koh, Shao Ong, Charity Battad for her excellent singing, Brandon Koh, and Simon Li

Little Phillipines, Little Indonesia

Phillipino helpers tend to choose Central as their gathering place--this is HSBC HQ in Central

Comes Sunday or holidays, the streets in Causeway Bay and Central are transformed into live street parties congested with foreign domestic helpers from Indonesia and Philippines.  Over 3% of the population (approx 300,000) is made up with this group of house-maid/nanny and it is easy to spot them chilling and relaxing on their day off every Sunday on the streets laughing, mingling, singing, and dancing. 

Unlike Singapore, there really isn’t any designated shopping mall or indoor venue for the helpers to entertain themselves on their day off, so they usually sit around on the streets in groups every Sunday.  While they do clog up specific streets and cause a bit of a nuisance for the rest of us trying to walk by, I think we should all keep an open mind that aside from mingling on the streets, they really don’t have any place for recreation amongst themselves on their day off.  To a certain degree, I do understand they are really clogging up the streets on Sunday, but instead of giving them dirty looks or frowning at them, I think the government should offer them a venue to chill and relax.  I am actually cool with seeing these helpers mingling every Sunday, I find the atmosphere so vibrant, since they usually sit in large groups singing, playing cards, enjoying food together, I love that camaraderie.  Since Indonesia is a muslim country, on Sunday, the streets are filled with girls with colorful head scarves and I think it is a very beautiful sight.

i love her smile

I can read in Chinese (full articles!)

My Chinese reading skills have improve a lot and I started reading Chinese articles every once in awhile.  While it takes a lot longer to read an article, I am still very happy when I finish reading something that is wonderfully written.  Being able to read in Chinese brings me to another world of journalism and writing that is very different from English articles.  Living in Hong Kong, one can  easily get by  without the ability to read or speak Chinese.  However, as I slowly start recognizing more Chinese characters and sentences, my eyes are opened to another world of writing that is truly captivating.  When writing in English, sentences tend to be longer and more words are needed to explain and describe an emotion or an event.  In Chinese writing, a simple short sentence could easily translate the emotions and complexity of an issue.  That is one thing about Chinese that I am always in awe of.  Even when we are to fill out applications forms,   under the “description section, we are allowed to write 50 words in English, but the limit for Chinese is capped at 20. 

I am currently at the stage where I am fluent in Cantonese, I can write a bit of Chinese, and I happily announced I can officially read a full article in Chinese without too much glitches.  I am proud to say my Mandarin is improving (slowly) and I like to think it is better than Cantonese speaking counterparts in HK.  I should thank-you this “gwai lo”–white guy I met a few years ago when I was visiting China.  I was sitting at the hotel lobby waiting for my grandpa before lunch, there happened to be a Caucasian man siting at the couch next to me.  My grandpa wanted to me ask him in English how he’s enjoying his stay.  I was about to turn to the gentleman when he started speaking on the phone in fluent perfect mandarin.  That is when it hits me–if he can speak in perfect Mandarin, why can’t I?   After 3 years of learning, my Mandarin still has lots to desire, but I’ll take classes….

To end this blog, I need to point out actually, it is really not ALL THAT SPECIAL a Caucasian can speak Mandarin.  I mean, I can speak fluent English, so why aren’t the Caucasians in Canada in awe of my language skills?  Why does it take a white man to speak another language for others to be amazed at?  Yep, so I now usually don’t raise an eyebrow when I see Caucasians in Hong Kong speaking in Mandarin on the phone.  Eventually, I might even get to a point where I expect foreigners to speak to me in Mandarin or Cantonese…yep…, my expectations have been raised.  However, local Cantonese speakers in HK should be ashamed of themselves for not even trying to learn the dialect.  Oh, one more little pet peeves, I hate it when foreigners stop people on the street and talk loudly and slowly “CAN YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”.   It is so condescending!  If the person doesn’t know English, you just made him feel bad.  If he can speak English, you would look so stupid!

I remember watching an episode on the Amazing Race and the teams were in some Asian countries and one of the team was like “oh my gosh, why can’t people in Vietnam speak English?  Weren’t they colonized by Britain?  Maybe they are not colonized enough”.  Oh My Gawd!  I was beyond pissed off and annoyed by their ethnocentrism!  OK, ending this post below I turn this into a full fledge war with myself…

Maybe it’s just not meant to be…

Recently in China, a 29 years old  man went searching for his missing girlfriend online.  A good relationship for four years suddenly went the other way whereby she refused to answer his calls or speak with him.  This couple was at the stage of getting married and the man was prepared to go to the girl’s house to meet her parents.  However, the man decided to ask his brother to take his place to visit the girl’s family and ask for her hand in marriage.  It turned out the 29 years old is handicapped and is no taller than 1.4 meters, so he decided to send his brother instead.  When the girl opened the door and saw who was at the door, she decided to tell her parents the truth.  The parents absolutely refuse the marriage and forbid them from seeing each other again.  The girl was hurt to find another man at the door and told him if it is up to her, she would agree to the marriage.  However, she would only get married with her family’s blessings; it is very clear the family strongly oppose to the relationship.  Crying and in tears, the girl chose her family over love, and the relationship ended with the man kneeling on the floor begging the girl to accept the ring he should have handed her the first time.

It is not his fault to be born with a physical handicap, and rather than moping around everyday, he created something for himself.  He goes to work, he started dating, he plans for the future, he really is no different from other people.  However, he is fully aware of his physical handicap, so he has his brother go to the girl’s house in his place.

The family only wants what is best for their daughter, they want to make sure she is taken care of, not end up being the caretaker or have a husband that might die way earlier than her.  The family’s refusal to the marriage is their way of showing love for the daughter.

The girl loves the man because she sees past his physical disability and stayed with him for four years.  She has strong familial piety to her parents and only wish to marry with the blessings of her family.   However, she has to consider the fact when they get married, they have to take care of her parents and her two brothers who are not working yet.  The man has to also take care of his own parents, and the burden only increase when they have children.  When she refused to accept the ring and decided to leave with her family, she understands her parents worked work and spend their life raising her and only want what is best for her.  If it is up for her to decide, she would marry him, but she knows it is just not herself she has to think about. 

There is no right or wrong, maybe it is just not meant to be.

Deities at Wong Tai Sin Temple

As with all temples, the ground is home to honorable deities people worship and pay respect to.  I do not really know a lot of deities found in various Chinese religion, but common deities include the deity that look after the earth, the deity that give out red strings to allow couples to fall in love and live happily ever after.  Other divinations that I commonly see on TV is the generous “Guanyin” that spread kindness to mankind and “Guang Kong” that protects households from all bad things.

Below are some pictures of deities I took at Wong Tai Sin Temple:

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