May 09, 2006

Hey,Hay!

Writing about web page http://www.hayfestival.com/hayfestival/programme.asp

Thanks Lulu for the link.

I really want to go to a bookworm festival like this, to see all these writers (of course the handsome ones that I want to keep as my lover). But I have the very unromantic exams due, so I guess I should romantise my tutors during this time instead.

O Wales….... O Hanif Kureishi…. see you some other time!


April 30, 2006

Affection 2

Writing about web page http://spaces.msn.com/lazyologist/PersonalSpace.aspx?_c11_PhotoAlbum_spaHandler=TWljcm9zb2Z0LlNwYWNlcy5XZWIuUGFydHMuUGhvdG9BbGJ1bS5GdWxsTW9kZUNvbnRyb2xsZXI%24&_c11_PhotoAlbum_spaFolderID=cns!D43C9516521A7E28!113&_c=PhotoAlbum&_c02_owner=1

It's the same Coventry. Her lover used to live there. It is a bright Coventry.

Affection

Today I was out in Middlesex University taking IELTs. From a certain moment on, I found myself growing some affection to this city (London) and Britain, after all.

Perhaps it is because the university is middle–sex so everything around it was uni–sexual, and hence not getting the usual worldly problems of sexuality, and hence everything was less confused and nicer? And I was affected by that?

I said to Niamh on our way back, totally out of blue:

I think I like Britain.

—————————————–

Weird….

(Perhaps I was still in the mood to practise my English, damnnit….)


April 27, 2006

Would democracy do the favor?

If we look at the Chinese translation of democracy 民主 (the people master), it comes from old confucius ideas which has had a great deal of application in old Dynastic systems. Li Shimin, the much praised emperor of early Tang Dynasty, which is the most prosperous time in Chinese history, left a famous saying on this: the people are like water, they can bear the boat, but they can also overflow the boat. They boat here denote the one in power. Such is different from the modern western understanding of democracy – normally simplified as 'more than two political parties' 'elections' and 'freedom of speech'.

It is true that people in the west now enjoy more material wealth and transquibility, less fear of insecure and risk. But haven't they just give too much account for the so–called democracy? Isn't it also because the accumulation of wealth from the old imperial time, the rich nature given by the geographic position, the good climate, the much smaller population concentration that have made people living more comfortably.

In contrast, if this kind of modern western democracy would do no good towards the living and psychological condition to the people – which is true in some cases, that it hasn't even improve the economic status of the country and increases the crime rate etc. would democracy still do the favor?

What do we want democracy for if it doesn't bring peace, if it only expands people's ambitions and already endless desires?

Same to equity, it is never gonna be equal unless you amend your attitude towards it. For example, you are uglier than your neighbour. The creator (if there is one) has been unfair. Now you can have plastic surgery and going to the gym three times a day, but still, you make more effort to be beautiful than your neighbour. It is unfair in the beginning, and it never gonna end. Unless, you don't concern about it in the beginning, it won't bother you whether she is more beautiful or not. Same applies to the common discourse in a society, if one doesn't concern on certain things and so does another person, if no one concerns of beauty of ugliness, there isn't a thing about equity in this issue. However, I have to admit that this is a very weak example…....................................................

And I have troubles with identities too…. why we care so much about who we are? We are essentially the persons how the society, our relationships with other people, and at most our gene shaped. It is kinda pointless to figure out who we are by putting on customised costumes, following some cultural specific conventions or speaking in a certain way. Because we are after all just what we are permeated or up to change…. you know…. making effort in there doesn't help us to know the world more…......

anyway…................ enough rambling….... bye…..


April 24, 2006

My arrogance

Writing about web page http://www.boingboing.net/2006/04/23/nepali_photoblog_wit.html

Look, when there is chaos and trouble, the word 'democracy' is always at present. Isn't it one of the source of violence?

Maybe people think of this word as a slogan a little bit too casually. Hmmm…


My new diet is to put on weight!

We had a desert feast today, including:

  • Niamh's Rhubarb stew with cream
  • Simone's Brizilian kids' food – chocolate truffle. (See picture: they are real, taken freshly from our kitchen… copyrights belongs to Miss Asako Murako, lol)
    truffles
  • And my caramel Lotus Root with dates. (See picture, copyrights belong to Ms P Zou, lol)
    yummy
    yummy2

Before that we had a three course dinner with spiced rice, the courses are:

  • Stir fried sliced boiled eggs with green chilli, leek, garlic and black bean paste
  • Roasted vegetables flavored with lemon
  • Vegetable salad in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Recipes of my dishes:(the student flat version)

Caramel lotus root

Ingredients:

Lotus root
sticky rice
Chinese dry dates
loads of sugar
cornflour (or anything that would make the caramel sticky without being too sweet)
wooden tooth picks (lol, important!!!)
sour dried Chinese plums

Preparation:
Soak the sticky rice for a while (if you have a high-pressure steamer you don't have to do so), and then drain it and let it dry off a little bit
Peel the lotus root, cut one side of the top off.
Stuff the sticky-rice inside those lotus holes, until full
Use the tooth pick to reunion the lotus cap and the stuffed lotus root
soak the sour Chinese plums in a tiny bowl of water

CooK
Put the lotus root in a microwavable container (I used a microwave steamer, but I guess other containers would do to… better if there is a hole to let some of the steam off, or use a steamer…), cover it with water (the water should be covering over the lotus root), put a good handful of the dry dates in, and a one fiveth of a small pack of white cane sugar (other sugars can be used as well, the amount should be referred to this one), cover the container, and put the microwave on full power, give it a good 40 minutes or 50 minutes (if your microwave is not a strong character).

When it is ready, drain the lotus root out, uncap it, and slice it into elegant pieces, and let it cool of a bit

prepare a pan, full heat on the cooker, pour about one eighths of the sugary water with all the dates in the pan and the sour plum water in, let it cook for a while, if it doesnt sticken, pour more sugar in, and pour some of that flour in, stir stir stir, bring it to a sticky caramel, and now the lotus root should be properly cooled, and you can top it with this nice caramel
————————————————————————————————————————-

Stir fried sliced boiled eggs with green chilli, leek, garlic and black

(This is one of the good and exotic way to deal with your left-over easter eggs – not the creme eggs….. I probably mean the East European orthodoxy boilded ones with beautiful paints on the shell, like the one you see on the picture below, again copyrights belongs to Ms. P Zou. It takes literally 5 minutes to make, and it goes very well with rice, tastes a bit chilly)

Easter Eggs

Ingredients:
Boiled eggs X 6 (this is for about 3 to 5 people, depends on their appetite)
Leek X 1
Garlic 3 cloves, 4 cloves for the tesco value ones
Green chillis X 3 to 5 (NB, this is the amount for the slender Chinese chillies you get in Chinese supermarket, it depends on how much you like hot stuff, but it does not refer to the Thai ones, if determined to use the Thai ones, put no more than three)
Some black bean chilli sauce if you have some, otherwise thick soy sauce
salt

Preparation:
Peel the eggs, slice them in good-looking slices, best result look like the yolk is still with the whites, although it doesnt normally end up like that

wash the leeks carefully, and sort of chop them

cut the chillies in sort of triangle shape (it doesnt really matter, dont make it too small tho)

Slice the garlic

now you can cook

CooK:

put some vegetable oil in a wok, heat it a bit
put the garlic, chillies and garlic in, cook for a while till you can smell the deliciousness
put the eggs in
stir stir stir stir, don't break the shape!!!!
put some soy sauce, salt and chilli black bean sauce in stir till it gets evenly distributed
before put it in the plate, you can consider to but a tiny bit of vegetable or chicken stock in… just a weeny bit…..

and that's it… the most delicious egg dish ever!!!


April 23, 2006

Are you a virgin?

Ok, if your 13 year-old students starting to ask you questions like this in the middle of the class, how would you respond?

Why should the library dress code be 'SEXY'?

  • Library is always too warm, dressing little is to adapt to the temperature
  • We sometimes go to the library as if we are going to the prison. It is necessary to add more fresh element to this April&May routine everyday. And changing the way you dress is the least time consuming one.
  • The majority of people in the library are like us – getting bored constantly and in need of some stimulation to keep going. The sexy dressed library users are the most efficient eye stimulator.
  • When one person start to dress summery and sexy, the others all look too bookish, (in LSE library around one tenth has started being sexy) so in order to get rid of negtive self-image, dress sexy!
  • Library is the place where you are most likely to gain a date when you are dedicated to prepare your exams.

NB. The suggestion above is suitable for men AND women!

———————————
Sexy library look! _

library_look


April 20, 2006

My music album to take to the Neverland (or whateverland)

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
As I am gradually approaching Australia, the chances of me visiting those mysterious pacific little islands are drastically increasing. Therefore it is worth to give it a good think of what should I take with me to there. The principle is – the less the better, less in a ubiquitous sense, not just as lighter or less quantity. For example, an ipod is less than a bunch of CDs and a disk-man. It is nevertheless unqualified because it stores a lot more songs than that I am willing to carry with the same amount of CDs, also it takes a lot more time to consume. So I am making myself to think of one album that I wish to take with me and that will do the job for the music part. It wasn’t too much of a dilemma. I will take Bjork’s first album Debut with me. I enjoyed a lot of music, from the punky Pixies to trip-hop to the cheesiest Chinese music in the world. Music carries memories and put forward dreams, so much so that sometimes it doesn’t matters too much with what form they are presented. For example Faye Wong’s songs have definitely borrowed a lot of elements you can name from other people, and they are not half as clever and sophisticated as Schoenberg’s masterpieces. I nonetheless like them mostly because they reminded me a lot people I encountered in a certain time. They are rich in the information of personal memories. While going to an island that brings about the possibility of isolation, my consideration of music is primarily on its richness – in a broad memorial sense, in the challenge of the ear, in distortion of the conventions, in reminder of the mundane-ness of the humanely world, in wisdom, in insights, in sarcasm, etc. etc. All that, I think, are embedded in this Bjork album. It carries a strong scent of the early 90s – a full series of bands at that time can be sensed in the composition of the music. It can be dance music, full of pleasing rhythms. But it is no less than any other Bjork albums in the distortion of conventions. If taking successfully adapting to Bjork’s way of singing, the lyrics are very insightful. It is one of the albums that even you only get to listen to music once in a while when you are too busy for the landscapes you still feel it worth the time spending. It is also one of the albums if unfortunately enough you have nothing to do but listen to music to spend your time, you can hardly get tired of it, because it keeps bringing up memories but nevertheless challenges your ear. I may not like it as much as I like Belle and Sebastian, not as provoked as when I listen to Chopin’s, not being disturbed as much as when I listen to Aphix Twin, not as stimulated as when I listen to someone else’s, but I think it’s the only choice for the Neverland – a mixture of mundane human music but the alienated version.

April 19, 2006

Game playing and domestic violence

By interviewing some of my research subject, one question interestingly arises is the link between game playing and domestic violence. The girl I interviewed in the afternoon seems to be quite confirmed that her boyfriend's violent behaviour during their fightings is more or less caused by his obsessive playing of computer games. I have overheard from another friend about his Japanese flatmate being violently treated by her boyfriend who also happen to be a game addict. Although I see it more caused by social isolation and stupidity which can be caused by other things as well, but there is a role of computer/video games in the development of such situation. Nevertheless, it is also arguable that certain people would react differently towards technologies. So I tend not to draw a generalised analysis. I only want to look at the cases that I am dealing with.

Of course it's unfair to draw a conclusion that computer gamers has a tendency to commit domestic violence to their girlfriends – I know quite a few really really nice and positive game addicts as well. But it is also necessary to draw attention to this group of game addicts (though due to the limitation of data collected only confined to the group of 20 something Chinese oversea students). As this girl described, he has nothing else to look for in his dull life so that he stays at home and plays games all the time. He got so involved in games that he is as arogant as the Generation Xbox Erin Biba described that believes in – 'killing the bad guys and saving the universe…'. He believed a solution to everything – climbed the window of his girlfriend's room while she went away with another guy, he kneel down and cried in front of her house, he posted their stories on populous online forums with real pictures and explicit contents … He believed himself to be very mature and seldom communicate with his girlfriend because she knows nothing.

At this point it is promptly enough to raise the question that why the consoles dumping down some while helping the others to develop their life ambition and getting sociable. To some, their social world only confined in the virtual world – like this girl's ex, he only talks to people who plays game with him; for others the social world elsewhere is more important. And why is that? All those varieties of game relating behaviours and disvision of social spaces? The girlfriend gave some interesting insight to this question: her ex is a second and youngest son of the family, the elder sister is over 4 years older than him. In a family values the boy baby very preciously (as the Chinese saying goes 重男轻女 weigh the boy and lighten the girl), he is much spoiled and developed a selfish personality. This explanation, though a bit too obvious, is often neglected as well. In China, there is a huge gaming population. Time to time I even overheard advices from young mothers that to avoid marrying the new male generation – 'they are the only child, not knowing how to take care of themselves let alone you'. The Chinese women's mentality of being taken care of in a relationship, socially and mentally, is also one problematic area, which can be one of the reasons the gradual isolation from the bigger social context after the couple getting together.

The more research done, the less I believe the social constructionists' theories that everything can be socially constructed. This only apply to certain extent, in other circumstances, if comparing two socially identical subjects, I guess the answer might only lies in the genes. It is perhaps inevitable to accept the proposition that everything is decided when it starts.

——
Why I interview the girlfriends – obviously, they are the real experts of these gamers, they have more expertise on aspects in their daily life than the gamers themselves. The latters has too little time to spare to observe these. I found this sort of secondary interviews more informative than first person interviews.


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