Wednesday, September 28, 2005


going on holiday so the world'll have a temporary break from the embittered grouchy femmie, talk in a month's time mebbe?

some random blogs

saw some blogs on the random blog list - rattyworld's not bad, mattalicious is for the foodie - impulse to visit melbourne ?!

Life as a movie

okie, so the titles were depressing and mercenary but hey, as most smart asses like to say: it's better to be miserable with $ than to be miserable without $

redeeming future title? so lange das traum gelebt - is that even grammatically correct?

Modern conservatives, modern Shylock

20th century readings of Merchant of Venice (MOV) have highlighted the fear of difference and fear of the other as a major theme in this play. Not surprising considering the element of post - Holocaust sentiment. How about more recent events? The wave of conservatism and xenophobia that followed 9/11 eerily echoes sentiments in this play and perhaps an understanding of these fears might prove to be a key to starting to resolve this frightening wave of xenophobia

  • Cultural fear

In Act 2 Scene 5, Shylock, upon hearing of masques, instructs his daughter to ' stop my house's ears, I mean my casements/ Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter/ My sober house'

This might well be a summary of fears of less dominant cultures that a more dominant culture (perhaps, based on population size) would swamp, corrupt and cause the demise or degeneration of their culture. These aren't even the exclusive sentiments of fanatics or extremists, we can see shades of these sentiments in progressive societies which have protectionist policies with regards to language, the entertainment industry and the awe-inspiring but ill-defined term "tradition" . Whilst some actively export pop culture, they distinguish sharply between export culture and tradition much like the differences between export porcelain and porcelain meant for the domestic market of ages past. Others reject foreign cultural waves by emphasising their native cultures with varying levels of success. Extremists prefer to be isolated islands culturally, a feat quite impossible in this wired age, yet ironically and comically reminiscent of Shylock in this aspect

  • The religious divide

Conflict between those of different religions litter the pages of history and Shylock's pragmatic response is

Iwill buy with you, sell with you, talk with you,walk with you,

and so following, but I will not eatwith you, drink with you,

nor pray with you

Furthermore, he attributes his hatred of Antonio partly to religious differences (Act 1 Scene 3 ) .

The prejudices simmering throughout the play culminate in the trial scene with that pointed question "who the merchant and who the jew?" . Even in this modern age, misconceptions about different religions have merely fostered prejudices and animosity . It is good to be fervent about religion but when that becomes fanaticism and a willingness to condemn others with religion as justification - that's when it's scary.

  • Fear of the young

Shylock's instructions in Act2 Scene 5 to Jessica, his daughter , to guard his house and possessions and the eventual betrayal of those instructions culminates in the "dispossessing" of Shylock in the trial scene. This is a mirror of modern fundamentalists and conservatives who fear an eventual betrayal by the young, and the ignomious fate of being forgotten and fading away much like the shylock of the trial scene. After all, it's the young who will eventually control the direction of society . This would explain the redoubled efforts to spread extremist propaganda amongst the young and counter efforts to disseminate correct thought amongst/ re-educate them .

hodgepodge conclusion:

The solution?? Well, the author doesn't fancy winning the Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon but a first step would be to re-orientate social perceptions to recognize that difference is good, not a threat. Even though difference and the other will inevitably be disconcerting (those who expect more academically challenging discussions should just read the theorists) , but recognizing and accepting difference is a sign of maturity, not political correctness. The melting pot notion seeks notional integration but ignores the instinct to assert differences and this merely leaves tensions to simmer dangerously. Besides, homogeneity is overrated, who wants to be the same as every other being ?

If this sounds suspiciously familiar, it's a composite of sentiments expressed in the months and years after 9/11 in academia, magazines and editorials. Besides, this is the 4th/5th version of the original essays written in the mid 90s and late 90s when yours truly was a student and the 2nd version of the essay written 2001/2002 (which was never published) - enough of the past . Freaky how ideas from when Clinton was in office and liberalism was on a roll resonate till the present .

Tuesday, September 27, 2005



erm, of course you have to sweeten the choc if the cooking choc is non-sweetened - it's just easier to ensure the choc's level of mindnumbing sweetness is to your preference if it's not pre-determined by the manufacturer

Cruel compliments

sorry, angie, the funky date problem meant a double posting, as for the potential insult - well, being told you've potential at 20 and at 30 is very different

at least that's what friends have said?!

Men and size

There was a vote regarding eligible men and somehow the conversations focussed on puerile issues like whether there was correlation between the size of men's feet, noses and hands and their , erm , appendages - oh please, it's like those locker /gym comparisons , besides what if the gorilla vs chimp phenomena applies to humans?! Anyway, who cares!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cruel compliments

Ever thought about it? some compliments are worse than insults - for instance; you've got great personality or you've got great potential

If your life were a movie

A movie title summary of life as it has been :

  1. Woman Interrupted (by depression)
  2. What could go wrong usually does go wrong
  3. Quiet Desperation (think arthouse!)
  4. Portrait of the dosser as a nutter (think cartoon)
  5. Woman on the edge (can she get any nuttier?)
  6. Speed: crash and burn
  7. 20,000 leagues at the bottom of the ocean (thanks to deb's joke)

forthcoming titles:

  1. Show me the $
  2. Material Woman
  3. It's raining $

heehee, so what are your titles?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Recipes for sweetness

Ok, sharing recipes as previously requested by friends

Actually both the recipes are reinventions of popular treats and include versions for 2 very good friends who ironically haven't tasted either of these desserts (sorry Jo and Stef!)

1) Spanish chocolate heaven

The original was a x'mas treat that included amaretto and marzipan and was a cake - didn't quite like that combination

The new version calls for hazelnut cream , chocolate (non sweetened , no milk and melted via bain marie, add cream to form ganache - less cream means more melty choc to some extent) , ice cream wafers (or french style feuilles , not too sure about the spelling but they are crunchy thin biscuits, ask at your fav french bakery ) and pecan/almonds/marshmallows - bake with filo pastry till the pastry's crisp .

Just remember - avoid glazing the pastry with butter or egg, a syrup glaze achieves the same results but doesn't make the pastry too heavy AND don't be like that smartass who substituted the hazelnut cream and chocolate with nutella unless you want to end up with a brownie

As for the name it's the result of a joke about the Spanish language .

A special version for Jo : substitute the chocolate with choc ice cream and you'll have an eskimo pie!

2) Flaming Bananas

Not to be sexist but most men are crap cooks so this is a relatively fail safe recipe

Fry up some crepes (not pancakes - unless you're having breakfast with your partner, heehee!) Toast the banana slices with a little butter , flambe with Grand Marnier or rum. Serve warm.

Some matters to note :
- some recipes call for vanilla pods erm, might taste a little weird
- it's still not acceptable to set your date on fire - avoid blowtorches and don't throw the matchstick into the bananas - it's not flavoring!

The special Stef version: add some peach schnapps and flambe with rum - the rum smoothens the sharp vodka (and to think the only dish you've offered to cook was sauerkraut)

Have fun!

Who is

Can someone please help - just who the hell is Hrothgar? Know that irritating feeling that you should recognize a name but don't? arrghh!

Not quite lost in translation

A video code mistake resulted in the taping of a marvellous movie " Tortilla Soup", the deja vu was confirmed by the name Lee Ang (or Ang Lee) in the screenplay credits - it's a translation of "Eat Drink Man Woman", though the story is mostly a carbon copy of the original, the latin context gives new zest to familiar plots - great if you like bossa nova and nuevo latino food - want those recipes!

Can't quite say the same for Once a thief - a John Woo translation of the original Chinese movie of the same name starring Chow YunFatt , Leslie Cheung and Cherie Chung, what the hollywood version has in terms of eye candy can't make up for the humour and the action of the original. Despite the lack of technology, the idea of a chunky hero performing the stunts that are the precursor of Tom Cruise's stunts in Mission Impossible's good that it's an action comedy.

Chinese versions of hollywood movies are on the whole tacky except for a version of "My Fair Lady" - the Higgins character is played by the late Anita Mui , a social etiquette instructor and Eliza is played by Chow Yun Fatt as an illegal immigrant from China. Ironically, the songs of the original have become ditties like "Char Shao Bao" (yummy!) and proved to be as popular as the hollywood musical!

can't wait for the next translation!

Asian cinematic flavour

As many of you probably realise, some of Asian cinema's best loved actors are of the , er, chunky or short type - is this an asian phenomenon? After all, a certain plumpness of appearance is considered a sign of prosperity. Some examples include India's Johnny Lever (think indian danny devito), Sanjay Dutt; Korea's Zhang Dong Jian (chinese pronunciation) and HongKong's Chow Yun Fatt, Tony Leung (not chunky but rather short - hey , ever seen him beside taller leading ladies - quite comical) and Andy Lau (ditto) .

Of course there are younger and really good looking actors who make the ladies go ooh lala, like Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan (Indian cinematic idols) , Korea's Bae Jung Jun (erm , rather weedy) and Kwon Sang Woo ( the Stairway to Heaven guy, can't quite act, but hey with a build like that, who cares!) and HongKong's Stephen Fung, Alex Fong and Daniel Wu. Perhaps, the eye candy factor is a double edged sword !

Monday, September 19, 2005

slow bush

saw the jon stewart performance on the emmy's - probably the first time that he's so right - if anyone thought bush was just slow when it came to international aid relief (asian tsunami) just look at hurricane katrina. The lesson - unless the issues are war or oil, the guy's just slow

Saturday, September 17, 2005


good grief, some people misunderstood a previous email - no, there's no sexual content, the masochist comment referred to the bad writing, not any sexual material

this blog can't be any cleaner!

Modern conservatives, modern shylock

for no particular reason, thought about shylock's lines and suddenly echoes of modern day conservatives surfaced- freaky, talk about it another day

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Society through the movies3

Wham, bam, action movies

and no, not that kind of action

Action movies as a whole have not been exactly viewed as highbrow entertainment - which may be good, considering that people may be looking for a break from the overly serious arthouse fare that's the domain of serious movie / art critics. But what seems to be a trend globally is to combine the pure action movie with genres like comedy , sci fi etc. Probably the result of realising that most action movies have wafer thin plots, but may be the unintended result of action movies so bad that they've become tragically comical.

Not to criticise anyone (ha!) but movies like Speed have always baffled the author, hey less plot convolution and better actors would have produced a half way decent bus equivalent of Luc Besson's Taxi series. As a rule , sequels are bad ideas, to recreate an unintended hit film is even worse, the Terminator series is probably a rare exception , then again, arnie was a robot, what that says about his acting... How about the undying hero, think the acting equivalent of sonic the game , John McClane, the hero of Die Hard series- arrghhhh, even an exploding plane doesn't kill him. (can you blame demi?) Ironic references to the Christmas theme?

Just a quick glance at Asian action movies. Indian movies -hmm, the actors sometimes seem undecided about becoming lord of the dance or lord of the martial arts but entertaining nonetheless even if some are bad translations of hollywood movies. Korean action movies are by turns violent and comical particularly those featuring gangsters, kinda the asian equivalent of pulp fiction. Chinese action movies are split broadly into the kungfu ( gu zhuang) and the modern categories ; the former(after the success of Crouching tiger and Hidden Dragon ) has largely been too pretty and boring, the latter has been dominated by guns guns guns (John Woo style) and Jackie Chan - way overdue for a big wham !

Arrrggghhhh, spare some small budget, rational action movie for the entertainment of this planet - after all, the bigger the budget, the bigger the hype and the worse the movie

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mooncakes, anyone?

Ah, it's that time of the year again for most ethnic Chinese friends of yours to indulge in the adult version of trick or treat - ok, just the treat. Midautumn festival is where sweeter than honey and cholesterol enriched mooncakes are consumed vicariously whilst exchanging lines like " the moon is so round" and screaming kids run around with lanterns which may ironically feature both the mythical figures that populate the moon, mickey mouse and spaceships - so much for Armstrong

Mooncakes, anyone?

Ah, it's that time of the year again for most ethnic Chinese friends of yours to indulge in the adult version of trick or treat - ok, just the treat. Midautumn festival is where sweeter than honey and cholesterol enriched mooncakes are consumed vicariously whilst exchanging lines like " the moon is so round" and screaming kids run around with lanterns which may ironically feature both the mythical figures that populate the moon, mickey mouse and spaceships - so much for Armstrong