Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Digital Voyeurism

One of my favourite passtimes growing up in Sydney was to sit on the Town Hall steps or pick an elevated vantage point on Pitt Street Mall as watch the world go by. Specifically I used to watch people. Look at how they were dressed, the expression on their face. Observing and enjoying raw human emotion. I would watch couples stroll arm in arm and theorise about how long they had been a couple, whether they were married or if they would marry. This voyeuristic pass time also included ogling pretty girls that went by, critiquing the way people were dressed and when I was in the mood I would invent entire stories about these stranger based purely on their appearance and body language.

That was about a decade ago when I had the time just to sit and do nothing. Now with work, wife & 2 kids, I scarcely have time to watch my own family let alone watch perfect strangers. Enter Social Media.

I started using twitter not too long ago and quickly discovered an entire universe of people who are willing to provide a running commentary on their life. Granted that most of the people who tweet are geek bloggers of some kind, some twiiterers genuinely provide a good commentary on what they are doing on an almost minute by minute basis. Take @DavidFeng for instance. I know he is documenting the beijing subway for a That's Beijing project. I know his opinions about a range of subjects, I know where he works, what he does and as you read this there is a high probability that I know where he is exactly. Another example is @ChristineLu who, although does not tell you what she is doing as much as David, she is a wealth of information if you need it
and if she doesn't know the answer about something that is China or Social Networking related, she will most likely be following someone who does.

So you can see that I have simple replaced my people watching to digital form of watching however, however in real life my voyeurism was contained to public places. I didn't peek into peoples windows, I didn't chat randomly to strangers and I certainly was not aware of what people were really thinking. Most people I see have not only a twitter profile, but a facebook or a myspace profile, a personal blog, possibly contribute to community blog sites, a flickr account as well as a youtube page. Not that I complain because I am able to create real personality profiles of the people I am following but is it beginning to border on being a peeping tom? When does following become stalking? When does a twitter friend become a real one?

Now as I like to theorise about the future? If twitter actually gets more funding given the absense of an obvious revenue model, what will be the next step. Voice recognition tweets? Thought recognition twitter? How far are we really to becoming one global organism?

Friday, 25 April 2008

Spare Parts

Korean BBQ's are the greatest. Gizzards & Ox Tongue. Make you wonder what bovine cunnilingus looks like.

Hmmm.... I think I'm not getting enough carbs in my diet & probably a little too much organ.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Shanghai WTC Progress

Seems the new World Trade Center is coming along quite nicely.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The Lighter Side of Chinese

With all this seriousness going around I felt it was my duty to lighten things up a bit. Hopeful? Yes! Inappropriate? Probably! But without humour folks are we all not just animals with a vocabulary?

PS: You'll need sound for this slide show to make sense.

Anti-Anti-Anti China Back Backlash?

It's like watching a tennis match. ( This article seems to illustrate that the anti-anti-China sentiment is picking up some steam but the underlying tone of this article, and the numerous other articles about the Boycott of Carrefour and French people across China, seems somewhat critical of these Chinese protesters.

Brace yourself for the anti-anti-anti-China backlash. I wonder how far it will go back and forth before the opening ceremony?

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Blood & Guts

I was just finishing off my lunch today and on the last spoonful I stopped to look at what I was eating. A combination of Chinese vermicelli, coagulated pigs blood, bits of pig intestine and either duck or chicken gizzards. All served in a plastic bag in a paper bowl.

Sometimes it amazes me what I put in my mouth.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Dead Lamb

I know this may not look like much, but I must say the my Wife does the best Lamb Chop you are ever likely to have!!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Fatty Rice

Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken, Egg Plant and Beans. mmmmmmmmm

Monday, 14 April 2008

Clinic - Clarke Quay

Caught up with Nick tonight for a couple of drinks at Clarke Quay. We came across this fantastic theme bar called Clinic. Hospital themed complete with "Sex on a drip" and other cocktails in syringes and baby bottles and wheel chairs.

Seated outside in something that looked like a cross between a hospital bed and a couch, Nick and I became an instant tourist attraction, as tourists and backpackers stopped to take photos with two guys sucking a green liquid from a blood bag.


Saturday, 12 April 2008

Dinner in a Warehouse.

So today we had an early dinner. My Brother in Law took me to what looked like a industrial area. Factories, Shipping containers and lo and behold in one of the warehouses is a Chinese restaurant. Directly translated it is a "Dai Chow" or Big Stir Fry, which basically specializes in Cantonese style Malaysianized dishes.

First came the Sweet and Sour Pork, which although is not exotic is a good way to guage the skill of the kitchen. S&S Pork can be made well and can be thoroughly screwed up simply because of the number of steps that need to be taken to prepare the dish. First the pork needs to be deep fried. If the pork pieces are too big it gets chewy, if it is too small it loses it's flavour. If it is underfried it gets soggy under the sauce and if it is overfried it gets a burnt flavour to it. The sauce itself is a challenge to balance the sweet and the sour. On a scale of one to ten, I'd give this place a seven because the sauce was a little too runny and I prefer my pork in slices than pieces.

The second dish is their signature dish wish is steamed fish head with minced ginger (top left). This was great. Perfectly steamed and of course there is nothing like sucking the fat off a fish's lips. Third was the spinach... the arbitrary vege dish to balance the meal.
Deep fried Squid was brilliant!
Next came the Kong Po Toad. The sauce was ok, but the frog/toad was a bit chewy.

All in all it was a great meal but as usual I ate too much and now I am stuffed.

If you are interested in finding the place the restaurant is called F4 Fish Head and is located at Lot 776, Sub Lot 3, Jalan Subang 4, Subang Jaya Industries Park, Subang Jaya, Selangor. I suggest you call first though. Their business card has 2 mobile numbers Desmond Chin 012 315 3891 and Yap Lik King on 012 325 9111.

Friday, 11 April 2008

More of my favourite South East Asian Food

Breakfast today was Roti Canai with Daal Sambal and Fish Curry sauces. Simple but the best way to start the day, from The Taj Curry House in Subang Jaya. I used to have this every morning before work. This place also does a good & cheap tandoori chicken and mutton curry but it was a bit to early for that.

I then went to see some properties in Bangsar and then stopped for lunch at Lucky Garden in Bangsar for Pan Mee. Hand made flat noodles in a fried anchovie soup and mince beef with a plate of Pork, chicken and some sort of pig organ (might be liver?!?). This is also one of my favourite dishes in Malaysia however there used to be a better one behind Menara HSBC on Jalan Sultan Ismail, but I am not sure if it is still there.

Food Republic Vivo City

Curry Laksa with Hainan Chicken followed by "oil fried ghosts? In a food court! I think the air conditioning made everything taste better.

Wat u lookin @

I wonder if I can blog from my PDA?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Flaming the Flame

Earlier this week I got another facebook invitation to join a group called "Disrupting the torch relay is a great way to tell China to get out Tibet!". Following the news on London, Paris and now the San Fran leg of the relay begs the question of whether this is still an issue about Tibet or is this an issue about China?

Danwei tweeted a site that provides a style commentary on the hoo hah about the upcoming Beijing games. Somewhat of an anti-anti-Beijing-Olympics standpoint, while the China Daily (with falls under the Ministry of Propaganda in China) has been
writing about pre 1956 Tibet and comparing the Tibetan Monks to the Taliban.

Do you think things will calm down before the games? It looks like the early adopters that were originally pro-Independance are now becoming almost comical. Are people joining the protests because they really care about Tibet or has it become an international game of "catch the flag". With 2 months to go until the opening ceremony will this issue lose steam?

I hope so, because it seems that of all the things that the Olympics could or should stand for, the one thing that that the media seemed to have not covered is that the Olympics is about COMPETITIVE SPORT! Hopefully the athletes who have trained their entire life to compete in
this event don't have their limelight stolen by rioters.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Shades of Grey (My Personal Environmental Backlash)

In recent years (and probably more so since the "Former Next President of the United States of America" got his Noble Prize and Academy Award) the environmental movement seems to have taken a shot of nitro. Everywhere I look I see the movement towards green solutions. To the point where the BP (which British Petroleum for those who have forgotten that KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken) have on their website a "Carbon Calculator" to calculate your very own impact on the hole in the ozone layer ( Similar to Alcohol companies advising their customers to drink responsibly and Tobacco companies self restricting the sale of their product to minors, most - if not all - of the petroleum companies are taking a stand to improve the environment.

I have often pondered if the environmental trend is real or whether it is something that is orchestrated to keep idle minds busy. Is there really an environmental crisis and are we really making a difference? At a micro level, I read this interesting and somewhat amusing article in
the NY Times that looked at this issue from a neighborhood perspective. Should we be cutting down trees to use less electricity or should we be planting more trees to clean the air? These questions keep coming up. Should we use hydrogen if the production of hydrogen causes pollution? Should we use nuclear energy given the dangers of disposing of nuclear waste? Should we build hydro-electric dams given the destructive impact on the surrounding environment? Should we have that second muffin and third cup of coffee if it is going to make me crack the toilet bowl? All important and relevant questions that have no answer! So why are we wasting so much effort on it when there are problems that have real and tangible solutions.

Seriously folks, at the risk of preaching. If you are willing to give up an hour worth of electricity, what else are you going give up? Your car for a bike? Are you going to really buy solar panels instead of plugging into your city's power grid? Do you know how much energy is expended to create those panels? Are you willing to give up refrigeration for your TV dinners? are you going to give up your TV? your Internet connection? your Walmart? Because if you really want to make a difference, it will require sacrifice. Not just for Lent, but forever.

I hate to sound like an environmental atheist but environmental preservation is not for the common person. I can almost hear you hurling abuse at me as you read this blog from your 17 inch eco-friendly flat screen monitor, but for those who do not have the luxuries you and I take for granted... well lets just say, they are not going to go out and buy a Prius. In fact they will be going to work as normal in their 3-wheeled, lead-fueled, smog-mobiles in the outskirts of Mumbai or taking a sweaty smelly bus that probably has the carbon footprint of a gated community in Orange County. It is these people that make up the bulk of the human race outside the eco-bubble of Western civilization that aren't going to give a hoot about how much of Greenland is actually becoming green and won't be too upset if a species of monkey become extinct due to deforestation. They are concerned about getting to their low paying jobs on time so that they do not lose their means of feeding themselves and their family of twelve.

I know that the environment is a ticking time bomb but honestly folks, if you want to save mankind by giving something up. Start by saving people. The environment might be an inconvenient truth but it is an extremely convenient political tool to keep us preoccupied with
something that we cannot scientifically change. It is a diversion!

A diversion for what I hear you ask?

From the one thing that we can change. That /one thing/ is the exploitation of people. The disparity between the wealthy and the destitute. The exploitation of children. The prohibitive cost of providing education to those who would use it improve their communities. If we can fix these problems then perhaps we can all have the luxury of of worrying about the colour of Google.