April 2006 Archives

The Battle of Whatever

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On a much lighter note, I've been slightly obsessed with the idea of having 1- the Canadiens advance and play the Senators in a Battle of the Outaouais River (or Battle of highway 417, named after the Ontarian portion of the automotive link between Mtl and Ott), and 2- that the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames simulataneously advance (and, if Colorado doesn't collapse after taking the lead 3-0 -now 3-1- in its series against Dallas) and play a Battle of Alberta in the conference semi-finals.

If a series between Montreal and a team nobody cares (the Hurricanes) draws so much emotion out in this city, I can't imagine what it would be against a team people actually cares for (and which has numerous fans in this city, and throughout the province - especially in the Outaouais, duh). It's the sort of alignment of planets that drives me nuts, you know.

Upon looking up the Battle of Alberta, I found a blog freshly created for the purpose (top Google hit, no less), to prove that this country is simply crack-pot for its national winter sport (what, we have a national summer sport?).

I also found, linked from that page, an NHL playoff odds calculation site, which, as of April 29th, hands Montreal the top probability of winning the cup of all the teams still alive. A whooping 15.7%! rofl!

So I went to the Montreal consultation for the head tax issue this afternoon, at the new Chinese community centre in Chinatown. The room was packed with victims of the Head Tax and Exclusion Act. The head tax was a tax imposed on every immigrant of Chinese origin starting in 1885, and until 1947. In the meanwhile, the Chinese Immigration Act was adopted by the House of Commons in 1923 to limit Chinese immigration to 50 per year (link). I've never heard of the head tax or exclusion act until the last federal election campaign, nor did my direct family on both sides been affected by it.

The consultation was hosted by Heritage Canada, and the minister herself, The Honourable Bev Oda was present. It was said that the venue held about 300 people, most of whom were elderly citizens of Chinese origin, and at most 20 people of my age or younger.

Hah, I don't know what it's supposed to mean, but I had a part of this song in my head for a few days already, without even knowing how I got it. In fact, I thought it was a song I downloaded myself (even if downloading hasn't been as heavy as it used to be), but it came from a mix entitled "Secretely Smitten" that I got from moderntime. The part that stuck to my nearest memory cache level was the "I woken up on one too many floors // But my favourite was yours". My favourite was yours. From The Lucksmiths, an Australian indie band:

The Lucksmiths - There is a Boy That Never Goes Out

Habless

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Habless (adj):

1. Luckless; unfortunate.

2. Team captain gets hit in the eye by opponent's stick during game 3 of a best-of-seven series and is out for at least the series (potentially career-threatening). Team goes on to lose that game, and the next, such that that the series is now tied after winning two first games away.

3. :(

Re-posting from an Angry Asian Man news story of yesterday, because the thing actually happened in the Montreal suburban area where I live: A Filipino second-grader in Canada has been repeatedly punished by his school for eating with a spoon and fork (link). A stab at my wronged belief that differences would be understood and accepted. Some things like these push me out of me. To a lesser extent, people who think that manga/anime is a marginalized sub-culture. Cultural misunderstandings take a pinch at my arm skin and twists it 360 degrees x 10. I guess it's because of how something so anodine as eating the way your ancestors have always eaten was singled out by a near-sighted educational system tool as a deviant behaviour, even after adults have been involved. >:O

Wong Kar-wai jewels

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Had a nth rewatch of Chungking Express last night. This time without the subtitles, since by now I know the story by heart, I can pretend to understand Takeshi Kaneshiro's bits of monologue in Mandarin. I guess that this time, I really made an effort to see all the inconsistencies that were so apparent from the fact that the movie was shot in about less than a month in the middle of shooting another movie (a wkw thing - see In The Mood For Love), like the chef pretending to cut an apple, people obviously not extras looking into the camera, and the *up* the mid-levels escalator to get to the airport ('cause, as far as I know, to get to the old Kai Tak airport from mid-levels, you take the MTR at Central or a taxi, but down the stairs). Chungking Express is by far the favourite of all wkw movies, b/c it is so feel-good and populated with delusional characters. The critics here mostly remember In The Mood For Love, and as far as I was concerned, it would seem that the foreign press just shrugged off 2046 (maybe it was because I wasn't "here" for the whole time 2046 was up and running).

And since I had so much time between ridding our stairs of its carpet (all the nails and staples...) and doing nothing at all, I also went for a re-watch of 2046 on Monday.

Smething I can't fully realize is that CE is alredy 10 years old (12 years old, if you take into account that it was shot in 1994). HK didn't change very much - eventually, I made the link between the mid-levels escalator and the old police station in Central, and pinpointed the location of agent 633's (663?) flat, which I think now houses a Pacific Coffee on the ground floor.

I was told by relatives that 2046 was partly shot in Causeway Bay, in a flat near Lee Gardens, where the minibuses stop. That's probably unverifiable; unlike in CE, nothing currently existing is shown in 2046. As I watch 2046, I also get it more as a well-grounded movie. From reviews, and previews, I was expecting some sort of very unreal film like Fallen Angels (cold-blooded shootings out of nothing in small sleazy HK eateries...), but that wasn't it at all. Except for Chow Mo-wan's realizations at the end that were open and obscure (as you would want to be, for sake of preciousness), it was a quite normal, err, succession of sexloverelationships, where all the restraint found in In The Mood For Love suddenly gets loose in a fiesta of colors.

It's also interesting how wkw managed his cut with Takuya Kimura having left the set midway through the century-long shooting. Having Tony Leung voiceover repeated shots of Faye+Takuya while pretending to be her Japanese boyfriend, clever! Could wkw even have not "planned", if there's such thing as artistic planning in wkw's work, the late Faye-Tony flirt?

A film review on The Hand.

(While I bought the DVD of Chungking Express in HK (at HMV, shame on me), it would seem to be the American release, which is slightly different from the VCD HK version - there are deleted scenes added back in the American version, notably a longer sequence in the drug-hiding operation at the beginning of the movie.)

McGill "censorship"

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Hmm, in some countries, censorship is certainly a more serious issue than this.

But one of the more famous profs we have at the School of Computer Science, Luc Devroye, (if you went font-hunting one day, you'd end up googling him out) posted a page to scans of the Playboy feature on best party school involving McGill (so that we all finally get to see it for ourselves), and ended up getting his page at McGill yanked out from the domain completely by university authorities and forced to relocate to Carleton (not him, just the page, less the Playboy stuff - see explanation [link removed]). And as my former schoolmate says, "McGill, one of the top ten party schools in North America, and one of the least human administration." It turned out that a PGSS exec (perhaps through a student contact?) initially got wind of the page, and created the situation by asking the dean who asked the dept chair to take down the page.

Anyways, take this as the latest of a number of funny/embarassing anecdotes on McGill...

Broken Social Scene

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Broken Social Scene. Man it's good. To give myself some credit (as always), I heard about how good this collective is; but have not realized it myself until I "borrowed" this CD left behind by a coworker in the eMac at work yesterday. This music rocks!

Hmmm

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Hmmm. (A pensive "Hmmm", that is).

INVITATION

The Chinese community is invited to a consultation on redress for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act this Saturday April 29 at the Cultural Centre on Clark street in Chinatown, beginning at 13:30. Bev Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Jason Kenney, special assistant to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will be here to listen to what the Chinese community in Montreal want in terms of redress.

Prime Minister Harper announced in the Throne Speech on April 4 that this year, we will finally receive an apology. However, the government would also like to hear what the community would like in terms of a full redress.

Please come in great numbers to show that the community supports full redress, especially for the direct victims of these racist immigration laws, and please come out to support the families as they tell their stories to the government for the first time!

Thank you!

May Chiu

More on the head tax issue:
- http://www.headtaxredress.org/
- http://www.ccnc.ca/redress/

Re: Food cravings

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I found some cheap lamb meat (so, mutton meat is inexistent, but cheap lamb is cheap enough :D) at Adonis, on Des Sources, that UFO-like supermarket in the middle of West Island. I'll be making couscous during the week, and I've figured that turmeric was one of the key spices to add (too expensive in bottle format, and sold-out/inexistent in other formats at regular supermarkets, as I still haven't listed it down prior to visit to Adonis), and that the stew part should include carrots, an eggplant, onions and chick pea (despite being a hater of the latter - I try it in the name of change; so I'm also wearing blue jeans today?).

I was going to make the lamb tonight (four leg parts), but my mother "convinced" me to make the French rack of pork. We usually cook it with any given type of squash or autumn fruits, but this time went for random assortment of what's-in-the-fridge (she obsesses about emptying the fridge before buying new food - no half measures), which was not even in the fridge as originally thought and had to be bought (russet potato). Hum. So, a frenched rack of pork, soaked in red wine, ceres vinegar, onions, garlic, olive oil and the remainder of fresh thyme from making last week's beef stew à la boring. Turned out fine, but way too much food. The problem with pork is that it is dry - reason why my brother hates it, and why I would usually hate it, if dry didn't mean that it is also (maybe) healthier. In any case, that pork cut is not dry at all. The meat closest to the bone is wet, juicy and greasy (that's what they use to make baby pork ribs after all), and the rest, well, is not dry unless you overcook it.

The thyme, I think, gave the nice taste to the potatoes (cooked along the pork rack, along with juice). Gave me a nice food coma (half-dead-looking, as I'm assured that I look like my father when passing out on couch) during the second period of the Calgary-Anaheim game, waking up right on time for Iginla's short-handed goal. But that Canadian team lost, so did Ottawa. The good thing is that Edmonton won. Also looking forward to tomorrow's Habs game.

I'll be laying tiles, and fixing gyproc tomorrow. Wuzzah.

[music: Yoko Kanno - Gotta knock a little harder]

Google's China Problem

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A very interesting article in tomorrow's NYT magazine, in very nice reporting style about the woes of Google in China. I share the views of Google, and people in China: it's better to have a bit of Google than no Google at all (but it's a whole different thing when there's active collaboration, like in many cases where dissident e-mails have been exposed, etc).

I think that most people are aware of the censorship, but live with it. My political history prof in cegep used to tell us how the youth became desensitized to the business of politics after 1989. If I am correct, people simply focus on economic growth with little or no democracy - just like HK in the 60s-90s, Taiwan of the Kuomingtang, and South Korea of the not-so-distant dictatorship, or hey, Singapore of today (or the quasi single-party Malaysia). There's something I can't grasp. I tried reading up on Taoism and Confucianism. Let there be economic growth, and some level of democracy will appear. If it's not "democracy" with western-style institutions, then at least let it be transparency in the affairs of the Party. In the very end, the people who govern seek the good for their country (if not, some way or another, there will be unrest).

Food cravings

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Paella, or some sort of bean-based dish. Perhaps even a couscous (if I can find mutton-not-lamb meat in Montreal - I probably should try my luck at that shop that sells merguez sandwiches outside its doors at Marché Jean-Talon). Makes me hungry, but cannot eat, or else won't be able to sleep; and I need to sleep, b/c the construction people are coming back at 8AM. >_>

Hung out downtown for most of the afternoon. Got a different haircut from this winter's trend of going longer. Walked from McGill to Concordia, and in circles until I bussed to Chinatown to get some siu lap for dinner tonight (one of those perfect cantonese meal: siu yok, char siu, oil/garlic sauteed bok choy quarters, and white rice).

Part of the second-floor hallway has been taken up by our new bathroom, but has overall been enlarged. I can now walk straight to the toilet w/o having to make a turn! Anyways - for now, looking out from my room, all there is to see are the house's frame, naked floors, and trash, in a way somewhat reminiscent of Labyrinth. But soon, I'm going to learn how to lay ceramic tiles, and stick new carpet (so I can do it myself, for my potential room renovation).

Allergies have started, soon after Wee mentionned he was currently being incapacitated by pollen & dust. It doesn't usually start before mid-May, but the weather in Mtl has been exceptionally warm (usually we even expect it to snow at this time of the year!).

Real hockey has also started. Exciting games all over the league, and I've predictably been glued to the TV screen all evening (the emotionally important series only starts tomorrow). What a shame that the Oilers lost that way after Roloson's performance. The Ducks-Flames game is tied, and will probably last all night for overtime (as we remember Anaheim's 2003 run to the Cup finals).

Been exercising, reading, and have felt very relaxed for the past month or so. The university pool has been closed for repairs during the finals stretch (until end of the month, that is), and looking forward to extend those arms into cool clear chlorinated water. Got to work on not dying after a single pool length. :\

Murakami's On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning is candy for idealists (and another sappy love song for anyone else). It's exactly like Miss Saeki and the dead boy in Kafka on the Shore, and Naoko and that other dead boy in Norwegian Wood. I guess that to be perfect, it had to be tragic; and b/c it was so perfect, it became a tragedy (the good old celestial order theory); which makes Murakami a God for idealistic people. The protagonists of 'On seeing the 100% perfect girl' lost memory of each other (as fictionalized in the fiction); and both Miss Saeki and Naoko lost their minds and died, while their former boyfriends had become reincarnated memories, or worn by the narrator (who was the best friend of the boyfriend, and who always had a crush on Naoko - eventually acting on it, provoking the chain of events that is the story, or part of it, b/c the part with Midori is really really the pop sweet). Anyways, why do I suddenly see some connection with that novel yesterday? :\

Edit: And I also found out that the New Yorker in fact regularly publishes some Murakami in its pages (Google). The Folklore of our Times relates to current discussion.

A 25-year old mystery solved

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As we do renovations on the second floor of our house, it was uncovered that the conduit (going towards my room) for heating was semi-detached. Which explains why when comes the great winter cold, I get the impression that I am freezing my ass off every single morning for as long as I've existed (a deadly combination with the winds blowing on my side, the sun *not* -and never would- shining from the north).

We're done destroying walls that needed to be destroyed. Breaking the tiles (with a pike-like weapon) in my parents' bathroom is the most rewarding thing ever. Now we're in the process of reconstructing. Our new bathroom is still at the skeleton stage, but should be ready by Monday or Tuesday. Cannot wait to have at least that done; we've been affected in our daily routine and everything.

Books and ice cream

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So I forced myself downtown to attend my boss' husband's novel launch (he's an U Ottawa academician), in a chic biblio cafe on the Plateau called "Salon B" on St-Laurent (just past the Parc des Amériques, corner Rachel). The right choice: perfect blue skies, and somewhat warm in the dark white-stripped zipper sweater I wore. I strolled from the McGill campus through the ghetto, stopped at the Metro in the Galeries du Parc to get myself some healthier snacks (sultana raisins, roasted corn kernels), and then at my grandma's who lives nearby. Then I bussed up, and got there right on time, stood there for a few long minutes (my boss + colleagues weren't there yet) watching the crowd of lit people happily chat in the white-walled small room with hardwood floors that is the upper section of Salon B (we never saw the footbridge they said they would deploy).

They served a delicious bruschetta with a vertically-aligned thin crisp piece of bacon, and pita bread with a hummus dip. After the presentations, they served panini bread with brie cheese and mango or apple, and two simple salads, one Greek (cubes of feta, red onions, tomatoes, the usual), and the other Italian (basalmic vinegar, what seemed to be dried game meat).

The underlying themes of the novel remind me a lot of Murakami's latest. Oedipian thematic (in this novel, father and son also don't get along, father dies -the premise to story-, and he ends up sleeping with his mistress), and general exploration of death (characters dying, finding their "spirit"/influence passed on through other characters).

Finished the evening walking down St-Laurent, getting a green tea + ginger ice cream from Ripples (which just reopened for the summer) - and I quickly note that ginger in ice cream is such a delight, gently spicy as it melts on your tongue - and hung out at Wee's for 30 mins, and finally walked back down on Parc, and commuted back home hard asleep, masterfully waking up at the right moments.

Basically, through the Mind of the Hive (or its particular entry on American Chinese cuisine, full of answers to my identity-related questions spilling over to the topic of food - and it plants a dagger firmly over the fact that GENERAL TAO'S CHICKEN DOES NOT EXIST IN CHINA - that's productive North American Asian activism in action).

Through that, I got info about Chinese spices. It comes intuitively, that for any sort of food to have its distinctive taste, it starts with spices. So I went to get "Arabic spices" in order to make Arabic food - which was as simple as cinnamon, nutmeg and other things like that, but I didn't know that. I want to get cumin, eventually if I also find that low-grade greasy unexpensive mutton meat for cooking northern Chinese and more generally central Asian cuisine that requires it (all the mutton meat I find in regular supermarkets is super-expensive lamb from Quebec farms (in Charlevoix, available at public markets - they even make merguez!), and from Down There. We have star anise at home, I think, and put it in the curry, I guess.

But there's something called Sichuan pepper, which is not black pepper, and which could be that strange spice that was in my lamb stir-fry or fried spinach taken at Niu Kee, or made into a fine powder in its Japanese variety (to be sprinkled on ramen? is it this one?). The Chinese name of the stuff is 花椒 (huajiao/fatsiew?), and sounds familiar. This is something I definitely should ask any of the grandmothers one day - too much of basil/thyme in what we cook. -_-;

Playoffs, etc

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Yeah, ok. We're in the playoffs. Rabid hockey fan ritual:

Ottawa b. Tampa Bay in 5 (Sean Burke is no Khabibulin)
Montreal b. Carolina in 6 (Whatever)
New Jersey b. New York in 7 (NY has Jagr, but NJ has Deviled Egg)
Buffalo b. Philadelphia in 6 (Buffalo hasn't finished 4th in East for nothing)

Edmonton b. Detroit in 7 (from my dream partition)
Dallas b. Colorado in 6 (Theo sucks)
Calgary b. Anaheim in 5 (Kiprusoff rules :D)
San Jose b Nashville in 4 (Thornton-Cheechoo == bulldozer)

I'm getting 6 for Game 3. And then 6 other for Game 6 (with someone else's card). Details here.

(Edit: I don't know what sort of wild luck I had to get *four* of the cheapest tickets at 4PM, but this time, the ticks were sold out at 1:30. >_>)

Banana Boys

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Banana Boys by Terry Woo.

I can't describe what made that book so extremely entertaining to read. Was it the fact that it was about twenty-something Canadian-Chinese (or Chinese-Canadian?), or was it b/c their drama was so ordinary-seeming that it felt so interestingly refreshing?

The experiences related in the novel seemed so normal that one could probably deduce that it was an autobiography with a multiple personality disorder (the novel was told from the five "Banana Boys'" perspective). By chance, I came by an award-winning essay on responsability written by the author of the book, where he mentionned his life in small town Ontario, and which was a starter for two of his main characters. But an autobiography is probably too simplified of a conclusion. The experiences of the Banana Boys at times seemed so similar to mine and of other banana kids around. Growing up not knowing whether you're Chinese or Canadian - whether you can identify as both, or neither (the latter probably being the closest to a real answer, says one of the characters).

I've not read the last chapter of the book yet (more an epilogue). It's a book I prescribe to all Canadian-Chinese (or Chinese-Canadians, w/ or w/o the hyphen, etc), b/c it's not everyday that you find a Canadian-Chinese writing about Canadian-Chinese, especially Canadian-Chinese who *love* drinking hole talk.

I just heard now that one of my friends/colleague had an operation for a peritonitis this weekend. Yikes!

Tragedy averted

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There will be a many lot of hockey-related post in the next few weeks.

The Thrashers have lost, and the Canadiens have qualified (un-glamourously) for the playoffs. Yay.

I'm going to buy some of the cheapest tickets available (if I obtain the same luck as 2004), which come to about 40-45$ with all taxes, service charges.

It's better than Slashdot

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Digg.

Marché Hawai

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marche.hawai.sign.jpg

(Edited pic: the previous was a bit crappy, I realize.)

Went with parents to Fu Kam Hua for a late lunch, which reminded me how generally much better Chinese food can be (b/c we were also discussing how both of them, plus brother, would be spending time in HK/Asia this summer...). Still, I tried some new way of serving congee ("three eggs", ie preserved, fresh, steamed), and stuffed my face with better-than-Montreal-average xiao long bao (still not worth going out of your way for).

And the real purpose of this trip was to pass by Marché Hawai, a real Asian supermarket (not the small crowded sorts found in Chinatown), and the largest I know in Greater Montreal. My parents heard about it a few months ago, and wanted to bring me there ever since, knowing that I would be delighted upon seeing the rows of frozen products, the refrigerated counter of weird meats only Asian people eat, and the walls of noodle products. It must be a reference for Asian food (at least for people with cars...). On our way out, we even bumped into my own grandmother, who was shopping with friends/relatives!

A Radio-Canada story on Marché Hawai indicates that they've been open since 2001 or 2002 already. The most remarkable thing wasn't that you could find everything in one single place, but that you could (also) find things you couldn't find anywhere else in Montreal (like, I think, frozen yellow-skin chicken). The store also feels much less ghetto than other Asian stores I've been to (Ying, in C-d-N; Kim Phat, South Shore flavour). The alleys are wide, and the counters, well-kept - there is even a stand in the middle of the vegetables & fruits where people unpack Chinese veggies from boxes and pack them back in bags in front of you! Not as large as T&T (now, why are they in Calgary, Edmonton, but *not* in Montreal), and didn't seem to have a fresh pastries, or Cantonese deli counter.

I am a supermarket tourist, so here's the Flickr set of today's trip.

Manual work chronicles

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My dad strongly insisted that I pass the spray on the cars, and help with a bit of the construction work at home. What do I want to say... Car-washing is an interesting activity. It's basically taking care of something very very expensive completely surrendering itself to you. Hum. And you wash: throw some soap water with a slow spray, on the windshield, the sides, the top, the behind; and rinse.

Also manipulated a mechanical screwdriver for the first time. Emm, the satisfaction of piercing through a resilient chunk of wood serving to hold planks together and reduce the cracking noise of floor surfaces.

So many unobvious psychoanalytical inferences.

Anyways, we're also changing the carpet for all of the second floor, except in my room and my brother's. But I might do it too, if I decide to repaint my room, and don't move out this summer. I wanted sunshine yellow, but b/c of the lighting, it always came out as lemon yellow. I definitely need something warm, to get me through these winters.

Yeah, alright

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I spent the day semi-sleeping, but not quite. Woke at (actually, I don't think it counts as "woke up") at around 10-11PM, but went back for a late afternoon nap. The night before, I stayed up until 5, 6 or 7 again. In fact, I lost track of the time I slept at - I just know I didn't get much sleep, from the caffeine superdose I took the night before (caffeine has that effect b/c I seldom drink coffee, or at least didn't drink that much, until I started "working" - speaking of which, the job hunt is on hold, 'cause of the house).

It felt terrifying. For about three good weeks, I have felt absolutely neutral, and even silently optimistic, if those meant the same thing. One's state of mind is like inflation, or the economy - it's always evolving upwards, but you don't feel truly satisfied unless the rate at which it evolves also increases - that didn't make sense wrt inflation, but oh well.

I start to understand that life is best lived when you make choices - no matter how anodine they might be. Choices, or perhaps according to some philosophical mode of the past, fulfilling your destiny. I had a lot of free time during cegep, and because it was such a small place (and b/c I wasn't inhibited by classmates, the environment - surely not b/c I was particularly cultivated), I liked to pick up private discussions usually not for schoolwork with some of the profs, usually the social sciences ones. It's an obscure memory of my past - and they were mostly philosophy or political science profs (both who were specialized in China stuff, and also lectured at local universities-not-McGill). It was a funny period, b/c I don't think it brought me anything that lasted (I didn't have the background), and I stopped doing it as soon as I hit a semester in university. It was prolly a different Ced, who was even more naive, even more "arrogant" (real-life friends cannot describe me as particularly arrogant, but I'm sure it's existent - but not quite, if I can admit to it? ...).

One of the ideas that circulated in these informal discussion was that of choice. What if choice is just an illusion created by the circuitry of our brains? How can I actually know that my "choices" are not defined by a series of binary switches? There's the idea that neurons take input from various sources and that there is a probabilistic game being run to decide of the output. But who knows. We're (the living things of this Earth) all part of the system, and it seems to me that unless we stand outside of this system (ha-ha, outside of this Universe - here comes the existential paradox), we won't be able to examine the mechanism of choice. Animals don't choose - nematodes don't choose, when it swims towards the nutrients; they merely react to stimuli, etc, etc. The philosophy prof (who I was conversing with after class) was nice enough to listen to my insanities (we went as far as suggesting, what if some sort of transcending -alien?- being created us) and suggested a few paths to explore.

Years after, "we don't know" is really an acceptable answer. Thank you, Greek philosophers (although I'm sure alternate societies could think of that w/o your help). My view of the world is now mixed with elements of biochemistry and computer science, of which I retain, respectively, the topics of genomes and proteomes, and that of the theory of information. I guess that it could also relate to the string theory, in physics. Yeah, alright.

F****** HABS STILL NEED ONE POINT TO QUALIFY FOR PLAYOFFS OR BE ELIMINATED BY TWO TEAMS PLAYING SOUTH OF THE MASON-DIXON LINE.

Edit: Ok, I've calmed down. Even the news people are neurotic (see scenarios). And, man, I love the Instigator.

Surely, I hope we don't have to resort to this after Tuesday.

Who said it was going to rain?

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Environment Canada was forecasting rain for tonight. But the skies were baby blue all of this afternoon, and even so until sunset. So, as far as I'm concerned, the people at the weather station just left their machines running on auto mode for the long weekend.

I was deposited at a farther northwest end of the subway system, and made it all the way to Mont-Royal, which was at the commercial center of the Plateau, Montreal's gentrified artsy neighborhood. People spilled all over the sidewalks and happily sipped their beers on open-air terasses or tapas-serving and other conceptual drinking holes which had their windows open for the second Friday this season (the first being two Fridays ago). I tried looking for one of those specialized music shops carrying rare discs, but could only find three or four used CD/DVD shops on the same block (there must be some sort of scam-trend going on).

Couldn't be tempted by anything exotic enough to try in terms of food, so instead took the next metro back to more familiar spaces, such as the stretch of Ste-Cath between McGill and Concordia. The initial trip from one end of the orange line to the other (it's a big U dipping into downtown, with both ends stretched towards mid-to-uptown) reminded me of trips in foreign cities on various subway lines. For the unadventurous, subway lines ensure that you don't get lost, but it also ensures you the Teleporter Effect (of not seeing the gradually changing cityscape as you travel from point A to point B, blabla). It's not annoying, b/c Montreal has always been my city, but it's weird, b/c I am not supposed to feel like a tourist in my own city.

Besides, I take the bus in foreign cities. 2 yuan a ride. Octopus, beep. SMRT card, beep.

I spent the next two hours at the busiest Starbucks of this town, on Ste-Cath and Crescent. Probably one of the worst managed ones - on both occasions I've been this week, they either didn't have straws the right size (stuck with a pole-size straw for my tiny mezzo iced americano), or the right lids (stuck with a hemispherical lid, when there was no whipped cream to go around). Busiest one; surely your chance of making mistakes when calculating for cafe furniture increases proportionately.

After a stint on the side of the Starbucks (off an opened glass vitrine - slightly chilly from the occasional breeze), I finally got the Corner Seats. Or just one of the two, because immediately after getting It, a middle-aged Southeast Asian couple came to sit on the facing seat, and the adjacent chair that was left by the former tenants and completing the semicircle around the glass-bayed corner of the establishment. The Corner Seat was quite a special one, b/c it gives you an open view on the Ste-Cath/Crescent corner, a strategic location in the dynamics of humanflow of the great city of Montreal. It is at the confluence of two streams, one made up primarily of students from Concordia University (towards the East), and the other made up of Ontarian or American tourists (towards the West). In fact, the customership of that particular Starbucks would surely include a mixture containing a larger-than-average proportion of both.

The middle-aged couple must be about 10 years younger than my parents (maybe they weren't even a couple at all), but my parents wouldn't hang out at a vulgar Starbucks, unless they're in a foreign city (and then, who doesn't hang out in Starbucks in foreign cities? :D). Trading seats between the cushioned one-seat sofa and the wooden chair (the man eventually settled for the sofa), they sat there for the whole time I was there, quietly chatting on in a foreign language (sounded like Vietnamese, but not quite?) mixed with hints of English, as they stared towards the outside, neither of them very interested in the view. It, of course, reminded me of the first time I went to that particular coffeeshop, where another middle-aged couple occupied the two seats, quietly talking, looking out, not quite as if they were waiting for their potential children to finish some social activity (it was ~11PM, one Saturday night, as I killed time before my last time clubbing, waiting for my friends who were customarily late).

I'm still not done with my book, but it's very very entertaining, and I retract whatever I said about it not being well-written (becoz I am no book critic). The characters are quirky, and the way that the prose is always interspersed with a variety of diagrams and figures just cracks me open. I figured it might be a very Asian thing to have - in books, but especially in movies, tv shows - these comical interludes where the protagonists might come out of character, or bring up some sort of transcending opinion about the drama unravelled in their narrated stories. I like it very much how each character gets a chance at the mic, for about 20 pages, until you move on to the next. It reminds me of (while I haven't read one myself) those novels where you simply have the same scene described by the 120 characters present. Anyways, it's not worth "discussing" in depth until it's finished reading.

Stumbled on an "Asian Heritage Month Across Canada" info website from a related news post off Angry Asian Man, and found out there were going to be activities in every major Canadian city regarding it during the whole month of May.

In Montreal, the program [pdf] includes a multimedia exhibit at the Salle SAT, a photo exhibition in the Plateau, and, man, the premiere of a film by Canadian-Chinese film director Cheuk Kwan called Chinese Restaurants (in fact a series)!

(I might've participated to an Accès Asie activity, almost ten years ago, when starting college. It's a different perspective in life when you start thinking back to things you have done "Ten Years Ago".)

I made lasagna

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So I made a four-layer lasagna. The bottommost was tomato meat sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese. The next one was ricotta cheese exclusively (I ought to replace it with a bechamel before the end of this life). Then the top two layers were sauce with a three cheese cheese mix. All of it, topped with a thick layer of the latter cheese.

I don't know whether the Three Cheese was a good choice of topping, because it gave a strange smell during broil, and didn't brown as much as I would expect a cheese to do. Perhaps pure mozzarella would've been better.

I selected leaner ingredients: ricotta with 50% the normal fat contents (didn't notice the taste diff) and extra lean ground beef - I bet the thick layer of Three Cheese cancelled the effect. Before I forget, I saw a news story about cottage cheese on L'Épicerie, probably the best "reporting-style" show about food that there is on Canadian TV (I now also get the science of cooking potatoes). The result was judged to be "better than usual", by the non-lasagna-lovers of this household, and could've been helped with adding even more salt, and perhaps a variety of veggies, like mushrooms, or black olives (still leftover from the Spanish-style chicken).

The science of gratin... Surely has to do with the contents in carbohydrates, lipids or proteins, but which is it?

As I write this, the Canucks have eliminated themselves from the race to the playoffs. Last week, everyone would've thought instead that the race in the West would be settled only on the last game - now that the eight teams are known (so it's Edmonton, not Vancouver), all that remains to be seen is what position they'll be in. In the East, the Habs can still be out of it, if they lose all, and Atlanta and Tampa Bay win all, but they're playing ok-to-well against good teams, or at least better as a team than the Canucks. Toronto can still make it, and play, ha-ha, the Sens in first round. And then, we pray for both the Leafs and Habs to win their series and meet in the East Conference finals. :D

And btw, there's quite a bit of lasagna left over, because my brother skipped from coming home after work. :O I ate a food-coma-inducing third of the lasagna plate (covering about the surface of a legal-size sheet, and a good 10cm of depth). So, yeah, I know I am mostly conversing with myself ...but still making a realistic offer here!

The Joe Thornton who single-handedly eliminated the Canucks is not the same Joe Thornton the Habs buried under the ice during the 2004 playoffs (0P, -5, 7GP). "Moments before setting up Carle's game-winner, Thornton nearly scored a short-handed goal in the third period with two Vancouver defenders hanging on his arms." Woaw man. My Vancouverite cousin at McGill is now cursing the Canucks live on MSN. The World Cup experience, etc, etc, did good to the man, and now I can even start cheering for him, since he isn't playing in our division anymore.

cedric.in.mask.jpg

Not evocative of SARS, *at all*. Demolition stage well underway. Apparently, there will be walls to hammer down tonight or tomorrow, so, avis aux intéressés.

At first, I thought it was an inconsequential Slashdot article (in fact, I omitted to read it on the first pass), so didn't comment on it, even if it underlined one of the stupidest case of technical incompetence to ever come out from a multinational corporation. But the news gathered strength (took a week?) and made it to the BBC tech section.

Basically, the engineers at D-Link, probably second or third brand name for routers and switches, in my mind-as-reference, hard-coded the server names of the main time servers in the world in order to perform whatever task (synchronize device's time, surely). It was probable that most owners of time servers did not care, or even saw the difference (b/c most are run by public institutions - Canada's NRC, for instance). But Denmark's was run by an individual, who made a deal with a local ISP to borrow bandwidth, etc, for free, and made to serve time to a select number (~2000, in article) of orgns only. That is, before those routers from D-Link came on the Internet and flowded the Denmark-based time server with requests; with the expected issues of "who's going to pay for that" with the ISP and the individual who volunteered to provide time.

The bad was probably to query non-D-Link servers for time. To the naive (me), it would've made very simple sense if the company set up some sort of middle-man server to get time from whatever official source, and then have its routers/switches query it. The ugly was surely to hard-code the list of time servers to query. And so, on top of the initial problem, you have the problem of having a problem that is not easily fixed (forcing a firmware upgrade on every single user of a faulty D-Link device).

Re: Home demolition

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A video of our semi-demolished home (QuickTime, 4.4Mb), after day three.

Visions of a Google future

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Two nights ago, when I was taking a leak, I thought that, hey, one day they'll standardize toilet flushing data and have RSS, or more generally some XML files to be served from the device's own network server.

EAST (qualified teams only)
1. Ottawa
2. Carolina
3. NY Rangers
4. Buffalo
5. New Jersey
6. Philadelphia
7. Montreal
8. Tampa Bay

WEST (qualified teams only)
1. Detroit
2. Dallas
3. Calgary
4. Anaheim
5. Nashville
6. Colorado
7. San Jose
8. Vancouver

Frankly, I would much prefer if Edmonton and Toronto could make it as well, but if it's not Tampa Bay, it would be Atlanta. I cheer for Canadian teams, b/c whole cities are moved by their teams making the playoffs. Seriously, when the Habs make the playoffs, every most non-hockey person starts inquiring about last night's game scores.

It will be either Edmonton or Vancouver, preferably both, but realistically just one of the two. Edmonton lost to Detroit tonight, and Vancouver was stopped by an outlandish goalie yesterday evening. I wish Colorado didn't make it, just b/c they've always made the playoffs, despite mid-season slumps in past years. In the east, New Jersey just came out of nowhere to secure a playoff spot tonight. The Habs need 3 points (either by winning them, or having the 9th position team to lose 'em) to clinch a playoff berth. Again, I wish the worse for Tampa Bay, b/c I am curious to see how, potentially either a high-octane offense in Atlanta, or a Toronto team revived by the addition of a goalie-not-Belfour-or-Tellqvist would do.

I would like it that the Habs make it to the 6th or even, hah, 5th position in the East, but that seems nearly impossible with four games remaining, and New Jersey now 4 points ahead (three games remaining), and Philly, 6 points ahead (four games remaining), and each team playing each other (so that the Habs would need to win their four last, and expect either Philly to win one or none versus New Jersey). Man, I can't wait for playoffs to start.

North American Asian movies

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One fourth into Banana Boys, a novel by Terry Woo on five Canadian-Chinese youths growing up. It is such an easy read: perhaps not the most well-written thing of all times, but the premise hits home, and the switching between points of view is an interesting literary device. Will be available for borrowing within a week's time, I think.

Isn't The Joy Luck Club such a hated movie. I saw the movie when it came out (I was 13). What I remembered the clearest from that movie was the portrayal of the Asian male player (the watermelon carving scene) and that of the unsensitive traditional Asian male (who was subsequently divorced by one of the young female protagonists). I either felt attacked in the portrayal of Asian males (we aren't paternalistically dominant in-that-way starting from my father's generation, but what society hasn't gone through an age of socio-economic austerity combined to patriarchal dominance? I tend to think that the first leads to the second - and am frequently told of China's Tang dynasty was a flourishing era for arts and gender-wise emancipation), or retained the idea that it was generally bad to be an paternalistic traditional asshole, therefore must be nice and thoughtful (and whether that is how Cedric really appears in RL is another barrel of oats), and that (et ce), even before ever hearing the assertive Banana let's-break-stereotypes (and bash on The Joy Luck Club, ironically written by a Chinese author, Amy Tan) argumentation.

What I really wanted to point out, were movies *worth* watching, and which I haven't had the chance to watch, or missed the chance to watch when they were actually in theatres. The first one is Better Luck Tomorrow, which came out in accessible and cheap cinemas in Montreal (Eaton Centre!) during the winter of 2003. John Cho, of Harold & Kumar fame (another movie that a certain friend of mine has), stars in that movie, telling the story of four young Asian males going from scam to scam until they reach the point of no return. It sounded like a hell of a movie, and a story that, as the director Justin Lin was saying, could've been told with non-Asian kids as well.

The other movie is Eve and the Fire Horse (corrected), a movie that was shown at Sundance this year, and which told the story of two sisters growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver in the 70s. I just hope it gets at least a local release in Canadian markets...

Another one would probably be Saving Face.

More suggestions? (Please don't say Charlie's Angel, or Shanghai Noon...)

Home demolition

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Wall is gone
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.

I realized that in fact getting half the upper floor of our house destroyed is not a mild thing, even if it wasn't my room, or even parts of the house where I spent a lot of time in.

I am guessing that my parents must feel it too, more intensely than me (it was their room after all), although it probably came as less of of a shock, because they had weeks to prepare for it by tearing the house down and rebuilding it again on paper make-believes (my contribution had been limited to choosing, not the tile motif, but rather just the *color* of the tiles to use in our bathroom).

To me, everything had been more than a little sudden. I spent the evening before putting things in boxes to lessen the effects of the unavoidable dust-fest. After waking to hear the initial probing hits, I only heard the rest of the demolition work *during* the rest of my morning sleep (as I clung to my pillow, my head well into my down blanket) and by the time I woke up a few hours later, half of our house had already been literally gouged out.

The wall that used to separate the reading room from my parents' bedroom (usually connected by a sort of open round ark) was no more. The carpet has been skinned from the wooden floors, and the skeleton of the house, exposed where used to stand junctions of wall portions. The job was done so quickly that it felt as if some sort of wormhole teared up the fabric of space and swallowed the contents of the whole room.

Within two weeks time, both my parents' bathroom and the one I share with Bro-Dave, and then the wall facing out to the main entrance hall will go as well. Already, our bathroom has been stripped of its contents that usually bloats the noise you make and sounds "empty" like how it probably sounded like 28 years ago, when my parents bought this house.

The good thing is that despite all this 'house drama" (perhaps used differently by my brother), something really good (beautiful too, I trust, with the number of hours my parents put into this), something definitely new, will come out of all this self-destruction.

"BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM"

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SO IT'S STARTED. HOME RENOVATIONS. (War-like volumes from 7 to 5 every day, for three weeks, weekends included >_>)

Trouble in Disneyland

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hk.disneyland.entrance.jpg

Yeah, I don't know what's wrong with Disneyland HK. First, it was the announcement of a Disneyland in Shanghai (in like ten years, but still), before Disneyland HK was even close to be finished.

Then, last spring, when it was just a few months to opening date, came along the shark's fin drama. It wasn't so much that Disney was particularly evil b/c it served shark's fin soup at its hotel facilities; it's in fact a common thing to do in China (at least South China, 'cause, you know, it's such a large country that you can't assume what they do in your ancestors' region of origin that it's true for the rest of the country!), and if you're a HK hotel into the banquet industry, you can't afford not to serve shark's fin (customers potentially losing face == you not potentially getting their customership). Eventually, Disney backed off, probably after lots of focus group meetings, and banned shark's fin from the menu, not without trying to prance around with proposals such as getting shark's fins from "sustainable sources" (so, I remember this cartoon by Harry in the SCMP where Baby Shark comes back home with his dorsal sawed off, and Mommy Shark lecturing him not to play with the kids from the sustainable shoal - Mickey Mouse scuba-ing away with fins in hand).

It's not that the cause was unjust to defend - in fact, the way sharks have their fin sawed off and left adrift b/c shark's meat is teh suck (at least not the kind of shark I had the immense pleasure to eat at some Indian Ocean island food place XD), but Disney makes for the most excellent media attention-grabber evar. But that, everyone knew it.

Anyways, even more bad news (even stuff that I forgot about) from HK Disneyland, which would probably not help them recuperate of their faltering image in the HK press... Pitiful. The park is co-owned by the HK govt, and if the management keeps screwing up, it's the HK people who'll end up mopping up...

Link sticking

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McGill Off-Campus Housing Service. The actual listings seem to be down, but there a cool first-time apartment tenant's guide.

reinstated side links

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Yeah, I did. I disliked putting side links, b/c people in them usually didn't update for months (or never, sometimes). If not on there, it's b/c you're on some blogroll.

But that is irrelevant for most people getting this through syndication on LJ or GJ, and will be too in a near future when RSS is going to be integrated to Windows (or when usage of web-based software like Google Reader picks up). Here's my RSS feed.

Just heard over at Comfort Music. The song made me happy. It wasn't the lyrics (I have a problem remembering lyrics I hear for the first time), but more the melody (less of a problem - but after hearing it and loving it, I forgot what it was... maybe synthpop?).

Marinated for an hour time in vinegar, mustard and olive oil, seasoned with fresh (frozen) tarragon. Still cooking, more later. :D

Slippers

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Slippers
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
Picture my mom took. We're doing renovations at home, and throwing away (some of) the little suckers. Mine's the baby seals on the middle rack.

About to bloom

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When you go to the CBC Radio 3 page, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the whole background image before the content loads.

[music: The Stars - Heart]

Got a hold on the A Chink In The Armour documentary by Canadian-Chinese Baun Mah. Extremely clever but the guys serves using IIS and really worth-watching. Remember, "Don't Hit The Cone".

The idea came up when I was looking for statistics of how big Canadian cities were (I was thinking, well, except the cities currently with NHL teams, what other cities could sustain one, just based on population), and the wikipedia search for "Canadian cities" returns anything *but* the list of largest Canadian cities - rather a list of cities with the largest Chinese Canadian populations (of all things). Montreal scores a lowish 50,000 - I guess that you have to blame it on French, b/c most of the ethnic Chinese immigrants who speak a foreign language happen to speak English (if you're from HK or Taiwan or Singapore), even if that hasn't stopped anyone speaking anything but their mother tongue from immigrating to anywhere. *But*, it's common sense that places where a community has already been established will draw more fresh immigrants from that community. For instance, my dad is a Madagascar Chinese (my mom's a one-generation Vietnam Chinese), and while he came in the 70s, I noticed how starting in the 90s, we suddenly had many more (and larger) weddings to attend.

But there are still not a lot of Chinese people in Montreal. (Once in a while, you like being in Hong Kong, or the suburbs of Toronto, b/c it's a weird feeling to not be 'the Asian guy' but rather 'just another guy'. Not as if I don't get strange looks in China, let alone HK. ;D For more ongoing identity crisis, read on.)

omg, lol, playoffs!

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The Habs are 87 points in the east. The team in 9th are 77 points. 7-8 games remaining for most teams. The joy of PLAYOFFS SEASON in hockey country! (Haha, die, Vancouver) Man, I'm going to start babbling like every other Habs fan in this city - don't freakin' finish in 7th because we'd play against the Hurricanes in first round (b/c we've been owned 9-25 in goals for/against!). A series against the Rangers or Senators would be epic stuff to remember, like the two last Bruins series.

DJ Christelle

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...currently live on Bande a Part. For once, a DJ at Bandeapart is not electronica? At least from what's playing right now (I can't see the official site, b/c there's no Flash for native OSes for AMD64 architecture, and I'm too lazy to look into the suid root hack that would allow you to run it 32-bit?), seems to be some sort of jazzy, and then bossa nova, and then numerous sound bits, and then swing (but not electronica). She's resident at the Laika, a hipster electronica-jazz bar lounge with airs of coffeeshop up on the Main before Rachel, on my list of places to go to. It's *so* much easier to hang out at random places if you live downtown. Ah, now a conversation with a taxi driver with something that sounds like the start of a minimal techno portion... Well, interesting musical hour.

Argh, it's April!

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I can't believe it's already April. No backing off, and let's make it rain FROGS! And in actual fact, it's going to be the case for the rest of the week - if not frogs, leeches.

One and a half more month before the tree in front of our house starts blooming. In 2003, it practically failed to do so - I'm not sure of the reason: maybe a winter too cold, or, once-in-a-lifetime, a tree decides to skip a year? Anyhow, it bloomed in '04, and apparently too in '05. Nothing like watching the sakuras in a public park in Tokyo (it would've been nice if this year was last year - as the sakuras bloomed a week or so ahead of schedule!), but really looking forward to the Botanical Garden's o-hanami (this time, I will ensure to smuggle some sake in). Our crabapple tree in May 2002:

pink.tree.may2002.jpg

The weather in May (of which we seem to get an early mild preview of), leaving wet cement, greening grass in its midst, reminds me inexorably of the all-nighters I used to pull for math and language courses taken during the first summer session. You dare not do it, but once I did walk out at 5AM to get a newspaper. Days are warm, 19C-ish, but right before dawn, temperatures are very chill at 8C-ish, the air, heavy and dense. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't (usually) snow in May - but I've recorded a picture where everything was covered in thick snow on an April 29th (gone the next day):

snow.april2002.jpg

PS: Wah! And Pizzicato Five, soundtrack of 2002! It's already four years ago. -_-;

[music: Pizzicato Five - Groovy Is My Name]

Now for a little bit of China

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I've been in a relative down wrt China, Asia, and the rest of what I usually consumed. Quebec movies, Canadian music, live shows in French, European cuisine? So it's weird that I didn't actually have a tag for China or Asia on this blog, other than for the actual trip there last year.

A strange conjecture tipped the current equilibrium. First, it was astrael's post (and my subsequent comment post), and secondly, it was my grandparents coming back from their annual winter-long trip to HK.

I was even considering skipping family dinner tonight, but watching hockey is a really stupid excuse. And I really enjoy talking with relatives-not-in-household (not that I don't enjoy it with them too - simply that we live so closely to each other than there's not much space to talk about anything non utilitarian - but I venture the guess that when I move out, this will definitely change), especially my grandparents. I am not forced to speak in Cantonese to anyone in Canada unless I speak with them - and when I do, woaw do I feel invincible!

For about four months - since October/Novemberish, both of them went to HK, visited Shanghai, some other deeper places in Guangdong province I've never heard of (where my grandmother claims that there are natural hot springs?), and of course had many many trips across the border to Shenzhen (where she described those 2000-employee spa complexes). My aunt/uncle here are now thinking of bringing my two cousins back with them to HK in July (while my uncle lived in HK for a while, my CBC aunt never did). *Now*, the big news is that my mother also wants to go in July, and wants to take along my little brother, and hopefully my father as well.

Basically, I am not fighting the impossibility and irresponsibility of returning again, but am planning ahead to wildify my usual summer party(ies). :D

No joke though is that after the Habs beat the Bruins, I spent the next hour or two at the dinner table sipping cheap Chinese tea and eating Macanese almond candies with grandparents (especially my grandmother), mother, aunt, chatting away about HK (useless chattering, as I spend half a day just trying to express an idea). My grandmother gets the belief that HKers are a different kind from the ones living overseas. They are quick, and they know how to talk (and to what I've countered for years that anyone would behave that exact same way if living in any big cosmopolitan city). We also agree on how the food is so much better - how my cousins and brother need to see the world of variety in Chinese cuisine (the next person ordering General Tao chicken in front of me will know my impassionate hatred for pseudo-Chineseness). I wanted to get the point across that clothes are so much are easier to fetch, b/c THEY ARE THE RIGHT SIZE! :O (So I laughed in the face of my friend Sean who went to Beijing for a month and thought that everything was so... short)

But going back to the China to make my own life has always seemed like a counter-intuitive thing to do. It's irrational (why go back to a semi-developed country after all these efforts made to emigrate?) - with more than some element of an underlying quest for identity. I'm alright with "Canadian-born Chinese", and it hasn't always been the case, but do I want to move back to China to live, let alone Hong Kong? A year ago, I said, way to go, that is exactly possible, and what I've wanted to do since like I was 19. OTOH, now, I think I could be content with a life in a tranquil town, with little action, and perhaps fork out a few thousand bucks once every few years for a pilgrimage to HK.

As opposed to 2002, this time I had a month stretch where I *only* stayed in HK and South China - basically living the life of a HK tai gong. :D I nonetheless discovered the city for real, deviated from the obvious landmarks (the big Buddha on Lantau, which I still haven't seen - but the new cable car should help), and got to know some of the more remote areas of the SAR, as well as participating in local events / gatherings (although I regret not knowing about the indie scene earlier). This is my idea of a safe way to get a change of scenery.

The next time I go, I wouldn't want to go alone, again. I would, OTOH, want to make my way to Xinjiang and the mountainous southwest (Chongqing), not with a tour, but with my backpack... I looked into the prices for the train trip from HK to Shanghai with the KCR (came to about 100CAD one-way hard-sleeper) but didn't dare booking it and I was also already way over-budget and out of time. That's probably going to go for 2008. The "youth hostels" I looked for in SH are super affordable and well-located, and I hope they stay that way.

One of the most eye-opening portion of the trip was to Dongguan, to my uncles' factories. "If we didn't put capital in it, there wouldn't be a factory at all, and those people wouldn't have work at all", says my aunt. Canadianized thinking asks you to wonder if there is another way than Dickensian economic growth this country is seeing. My belief is that a one-party system is required to sustain the economic growth, and that only through this growth can the country sustain a more transparent government (whether it's one-party or not - as long as there's a forum for real debate - hasn't Japan been governed by the same govt since WWII, except for a short stint of a few months, and how about S'pore?).

I'm worried about the state of world affairs. Ok, Crash is an over-simplified exaggeration... but what is actually brewing in countries envying the prosperity of others? What's going to happen when exploited people really fight back against their oppressor? So far, phew, the Cold War didn't destroy us all - while causing a lot of pain to a lot of people all around the world nonetheless, but I tend to side with Stephen Hawking about the fate of the Earth (search earth/destroy).

It's not exactly where I thought that talking about China led me to. I guess I am more a gloomy person than a jovial one. Other than that, yes, the world is more than Montreal, and yes, I can be more interested in my roots, starting with travelling with the olfactory and the gustatory.

Let April begin...

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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