October 2005 Archives
I love myself, so have syndicated this blog over both Livejournal and one of its clones, Greatestjournal.
But anyways, I've read from the Livejournal flist, that you HTML takes heart characters! & + hearts + ; = ♥ (if you are dim-witted, see source code for entire explanation).
The 1995 referendum on Quebec independence from Canada was some 10 years ago. Extremely entertaining documentary produced by Radio-Canada (our state broadcasting corporation) is currently airing. You can even buy the DVD, woaw. I was obviously too young to remember most of what preceded the climax of the campaign. But it appears clearly to me that back then I would've thought it "cool" if Quebec voted Yes, just b/c I was a teenager looking for a thrill similar to government change. Point de rupture, documentary in two parts, first aired and September, and now on re-run, as we hit the 10th anniversary tonight.
The documentary really comes across with the sense of theatrical drama. The strange bedfellows (competing interest groups in Quebec under the same banner), the near-death experiences (Lucien Bouchard and the flesh-eating bacteria), the all-mighty God looking upon the characters (showed by unclassified confidential communication between the American consul in Quebec City and Bill Clinton), and a fantastic open-ending (the No wins by a margin of about 0.1%, while it was thought to defeat the Yes by at least 10 points). *That's* a great show!
You will often hear me complain on this blog and in real-life about the lack of anything Asian in Montreal, starting with the food. But one fine to excellent thing about Montreal is its variety (on the cheap side) in various other things, including Meditteranean stuff.
This afternoon after sweeping the leaves in the backyard (you could go out w/o wearing a winter coat, isn't this super?), I followed my mother to Marché Adonis on Des Sources Boulevard, to what I had in mind as small nowhere ethnic grocery store. Turned out to be a renovated version of it, in its suburban largeness (not as large and mainstream-ish as Canadian-Chinese grocery stores, like T&T in every major Canadian market besides Montreal, can be - even though Montreal is by far the second largest city in Canada, the Chinese, usually English-leaning HKers, have deserted the city b/c of Quebec sovereigntist French-isation movement - a nonsensical reason I think).
We went for fruits, but you could order shish kebabs for takeout, houmous in the refrigerated counter, and a whole row of just with bags of beans. There's even that weird salted yogurt drink I had the other night at the Persian restaurant... And I found an Arabic-branded ("Phoenicia", locally-produced, I don't think one can find imported dairy products in this country). I assume it's middle-eastern style, and middle-eastern yogurt was a food discovery of the Egypt trip. It's chunkier and plain-er than the plain-est North American-style yogurt. The best during breakfast was always to add a spoonful of fig jam or honey to a cup of yogurt (we also purchased a small jar of fig jam for 99 cents! A produce of Egypt!).
I had this idea on Friday while reading on food, that I would actually love to go on a food trip to France. My cousin from France (most of my dad family's living happily in France) throws the yearly invitation to visit the country, and perhaps the rest of Europe, but I always refuse b/c of my secret love affair with Asia (to be discussed furtherly around some hot cups of hk-style milk tea). But this time, I used food as a motivation, and thought, hey, I'd like to waste a few euros on food? WASTE EUROS FOR FOOD! (Besides, they're useless in North America, Asia, anywhere besides the Euro zone)
What eh. I have a father who cooks better French food than Chinese food (our weird way out of Guangzhou/China made both sides of family pass by former French possessions), so let me be, and raid that Parisian fromagerie! Or perhaps the whole market, while we're at it. And an hour later, you will see me in Bois de Boulogne chomping my bread with cheese, and wine bottle (in its paper bag).
The only restaurant I remember from my first and only trip to France when I was 12, was Le Pied de Cochon near Les Halles (and as I check their website, am proud I remember that detail!). Of course, I can't eat pig feet, just like I still dare not eat fong tsao (chicken feet). "But the delicious gelatin and crunchy cartillage!" Yes I know... :/
Wine and cheese, yes yes, that's right...
My current work's to convert some program from a language (PHP) to another (Java). I hit a bump however the other day (Thursday) when I needed to re-generate the code for the mapping between relational database tables to Java objects, after updating the config files to fit (my mood) the new requirements. But it didn't work smoothly b/c of my user environment and stuff. It had to do with my classpath. So what do I do? Edit the classpath? The solution eventually appeared when I scraped the whole classpath!
Moral of the story: trust your instincts. When you think your desk is a mess, makes you uncomfortable, then maybe it's time to make clean [slate] (in this case, ant clean *g*).
Programming makes so much sense. It's like building a machine out of words, grammar, in place of nuts and bolts. There is beauty in elegant (or less elegant) programming style. Ever heard of obfuscated code-writing contests?
One of the albums I didn't listen to as a kid. We had one of the early albums (It had twist and shout?), the Red Album, the Blue Album, Seargent Pepper's, Let It Be? What the one between SP and LIB, perhaps Yellow Submarine? But one of the albums we never had, or didn't have, was the White Album. It has obviously familiar songs, like the one I'm having a virtual hash trip on, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, or Back in the USSR. Eh.
The best songs are those one wasn't brainwashed with during childhood. And it would be fantastic stuff like Glass Onion, or hey, hot shit, Happiness Is A Warm Gun (which not only has a cool title, but is a really really fuckinstasic song! MOTHER SUPERIOR JUMPED THE GUN!). Revolution 1, and Revolution 9. The Continuing Story. It's two CDs, as anyone 40 years old or above can attest. The Beatles, and I don't know what's on Wikipedia, were, and you can tell, at their peak with Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and were their slightly more decadent self on The White Album. It's usually the best you get from a band. Further away from the pop of the early years, and right in the period where they start becoming truly arrogant with their style. Not actually as depressing as chant du cygne albums Let it be & Abbey Road, so that makes the White Album a favourite (besides the tracks-never-heard-before factor).
(Watch out below)
I've been listening to Belle and Sebastian, on top of everything else. Their new album, a double CD that goes by the charming moniker of "Push Barman to Open Old Wounds" (cleverly, the album cover shows a black and white picture of a barman next to a poster saying "Push bar to open", with "Man" and "Old Wounds" sprayed in black to complete the message). It's absolutely fabulous, especially as I listened to the duo of "Belle & Sebastian" (eponymous song, eh) and "Lazy Line Painter Jane" (maybe you will have a boy tonight! on the last bus out of town! maybe you will even have a girl tonight!).
I like it when the girls call us boys, rather than guys. It's got some sort of retro charm to it. Like when in French, one would say "ces garçons-là", instead of just the "ces gars-là". Tous les garçons et les filles de mon âge, eh!
[music: Color Filter - Regret]
It's the ending song to moderntime's Secretly Smitten mix CD (something that arrived in the mail the other day).
A few notes. I immediately recognized the band as having a song on some movie I saw related or made in Japan. So I initially thought Lost in Translation - but it was in fact related to that Ping Pong movie based on a manga, and which had lots of cool Japanese techno music, including three Supercar tracks (and it contributed to make me buy the Supercar album when in Japan).
Color Filter doesn't have a song on the Ping Pong OST. But someone who does, and who I am fond of, sugar plant, remixed a composition by Color Filter called Sad Grey Sky.
But Regret is not an original song, I thought. Why would a Japanese band sing an English song with lyrics that sound so un-Engrish? Well, there's the mystery, and only the Back-Of-My-Head can figure it, but I thought, well, isn't that like a New Order song? And S confirms that she probably put it up at some point, and I either listened to the original or the remix (and more likely the original - since what I remember as an original is most probably that remixed version of Color Filter).
In any case, this episode opens up new musical potentialities! :D While S seems to be in a mood for more of that techno (which my amp is bringing me to now: Superpitcher - Baby's on Fire (Club Mix)), I believe the trend's for some indie muse moogle-dance-able at 2AM of my hypothetical wine and stay up all night and go to the park to smell dew parties (but then we'd have to bring portable music players, *and* synchronize the songs?).
Montreal dominates the East! And it looks much less pretty when you merge the two conferences. Speedy team, new rules: everyone seems to agree on that to explain how well our usually-mediocre Habs have been doing this past three weeks. 1/10th of all games played, so, alright, we will calm down. Our base are belong to you (or the other way around?). Oh yeah, all games except the defeat vs Ottawa, and the shutout vs Atlanta were won/lost by a single goal.
There's a Uighur restaurant in Montreal that opened October 15th, in case you're fed up with Cantonese and "Szechuan" Chinese cuisine when dining in Chinatown. It's on East side of St-Laurent, slightly south of De La Gauchetière, where there used to be "Asie Moderne", and which was a prosperous dim sum / Cantonese 酒樓, of what I gather from my child memories.
In a nutshell, for those who never had Uighur food, it's the perfect fusion of Chinese and Arabic cuisine. The menu will have fried Shanghai noodles, or mutton and bok choi stir fry; but as well as fried kebab. Wee also points out that as a Japanese restaurant will serve seafood in everything, at the Uighur restaurant, you better be a fan of mutton. Had that cabbage & mutton stir-fry, mutton skewers (giant, compared with those at the dumplings place), a Shanghai noodles (拉麵) fried Uighur-style (with bits of mutton), and dumplings with cumin-seasoned meat (which I could almost bet is, or has a bit of mutton).
This manifesto for a lucid Quebec was published last Wednesday by a group of well-known personalities from many backgrounds (including political bg - an exceptional thing to obtain, where the federalist<->sovereigntist divide remains). A former Prime Minister, a few former Ministers, a movie producer, a design firm president, a former UdeM rector, a La Presse editorialist; you get it, some twelve members of the Quebec elite.
I unfortunately do not love Quebec, but I am very fond of it, for having lived here all my life. If I loved Quebec, then I'd embrace this manifesto for change. It's one from what seem to be well-read and well-travelled people. The impression I had from travelling to Asia was that, Quebec, Canada, forget it, you have no chance against China - just give up. A society would be doomed if it is indulgent and wasting. (Former Quebec PM) Lucien Bouchard probably draws from his personal experience as negociator for the govt part in the SAQ labour dispute. I saw him talk on Radio-Canada, the French-language national media network, and he was absolutely passionate about defending politicians... I don't think politicians are all bad. I think the perception that people have for their leaders is closely conditionned by their treatment in the media, which is probably in turn a result of the popularity of their policy decisions (which comes to say: we mistrust our leaders b/c they don't do what we want them to do - and in other words, the population immaturity/irresponsible attitude in a relationship similar to a parent vs teenager one).
"Unprecedented competition from Asian countries" sums up what I think is by large the motivation of this manifesto. The document seems to embody the reaction of my so-called latent love/fondness for Quebec/Canada, after seeing first-hand the China-bulldozer. You don't understand the extent of China's potential until you've been there and lived there for a while (HK probably counts too - you see it just by travelling across to Shenzhen, or by reading the SCMP). So, does it concern me? It would be high-treason in certain countries if I said I didn't. Hah!
Probably the harshest party that I've been to (I was going to say "for the knees", but somehow it just wouldn't sound right...). Currently at the Café Dépôt on Ste-Cath, Sabs napping in the sofa-chair nearby. I just had an apple-cranberries cider.
Six hours of moving to the rhythm of something that I like. Besides the fact that there are no Asian pop stars giving shows in this city, I am quite satisfied with the variety of musical night life in Montreal. The venue was not filled to capacity - this Salle S.A.T. (for Society for Arts and Technology - which is rather "Society for Technological Arts" in French) was previously a supermarket, if my memories are correct (and they shall be), and you can tell, as it is a large open area with high ceilings and white-painted walls. There's a clock on the wall, but it goes backwards at an accelerated rate. We stood right in front of the stage, two metres away from the performers.
I think I like partying. I have not historically been a party-goer, nor do I make a fine client of parties (therefore the dwindling - or rather constant low - rate of party-going). I do hold parties at home; but it doesn't quite reach my ideal of a fine party... Ok, there are probably two types of parties I'd still like to have. I had garden parties, and cooking parties - usually annual feats at the Sam's domain. But others would be the "fancy-themed" party, and the "lounging-until-dawn" party. Fancy-themed: the tea party or the wine and cheese party. Lounging-etc-etc: have people bring in their MP3s, and plug them in my hypothetical then-Powerbook (equipped w/ then-Intel chip).
Gosh, I'm feeling teh tired. My knees are really indeed hurting...
Wah, it appears that the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season will have exhausted the list of available names (and there's still officially a month and 10 days to go - 'til November 30th, that is). So, we're likely to see Hurricane Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc... (we're not going to reach Omega this year, phew!) And in the meanwhile, Wilma (where's Fred?) is passing in between Cuba and Yucatan, and heading straight for Florida, or for the very least, US territory. So, who's not going to ratify Kyoto, now? *g*
I cut through working hours to go see Lie with Me, one of those artistic porn flicks you might want to see to rinse your eyes on what hot-looking people do during their free times. In the end, it was quite stupid, and totally simplistic, happy-ending whatever. So much appeal in the feminity/masculinity contrast though, that I don't get why people like yaoi so much. That is all for today.
There were a lot of Leafs fan, and each of their goals was greeted by loud cheers. I was seated in the "Family Zone" behind the net against the wall of the Bell Centre, but had the chance to sneak in the Red's, and get near the ice during the warm-up.
And as I walked around the building, I also encountered Ron MacLean, host of HNIC, starting the intro on the live coverage of this Toronto-Montreal classic on national television.
The Canadiens lost 3-2.
It's sort of worth mentionning, that one of her single was "First Love". In fact, the one most people not into her music, might remember as that pan-Asian tube of around the year 2000 - I can tell it was my first encounter with Asian pop, when my brother was sort of into Japanese pop and rock, and had me mix up Namie Amuro with Utada Hikaru over who was indeed singing "First Love".
Well, "Hikki", like all people, has matured, and I will probably be more eager to associate the "Utada" nickname to her. No more hip-hop from the Automatic-era at least.
The music video for "Be My Last" was shot in Prague; the protagonists of the video had this slavic look, but I probably wouldn't have known if it weren't for that "Vychod" sign right before the third minute of the video. A vastly bizarre video where Utada Hikaru plays a ghost while singing stuff in Japanese which I still need to get someone to translate for me...
I don't know much about Eastern Europe. I'm not aware if the cities of EE enjoyed some sort of prosperity before the 19th Century. I suppose it's because these countries are land-locked and probably did not enjoy that sort of prosperity countries like England, France; or even Spain at some point enjoyed at some point. My guess is that anything beautiful has been built mid-18th to early 20th, during the Prussian or Austro-Hungarian era (and then destroyed by two wars, and the better parts put in the chloroform by Communists who cared a bit more for historical heritage).
It's an eerie song (until the lyrics translation tells me it's not a love-turned-sour song but about Utada Hikaru's last meal taking a life of its own during the night, hah!) whose video didn't exactly fit what I had prepared myself mentally for. Well, the actual video could be for a Western goth rock song, if it weren't for Hik's or the fact she sang in English.
Was told it was on the soundtrack of the film adaptation of Yukio Mishima's Haru no Yuki, which I quickly went through. I'll have to look into this...
Wooh, after a dip in the low 96's last week, it's now closing on the 98 yen per dollar mark. I'm buying a ticket for the 2006 sakura viewing if it goes above 100.
The current look of my dual monitor system. My favourite clouds picture so far.
It was my first real day at work today. Not the most productive one yet I think, but it's about long as I wished them to be (9 to 7, and I've actually been downtown for 11 hours!). I've been given sudo root, and access to all the code. I can really work now.
[music: Superpitcher - Happiness (M Mayer Mix)]
I can see clearly underwater (b/c they have a prescription). So many details you may fail to notice, such as the way the bottom of the pool goes from shallow to deep. And I don't get red eyes anymore (while I still smell chlorine and have hair that feels like gweilo's for the rest of the day... aiya).
(I assure you, when my HK aunt was speaking with my mother about buying a few of those prescription swimming goggles, they kept on calling 'em 'googles'. In ten years, noone' going to bat an eyelid at it.)
This is an old picture taken in August, but I've moved back to that same bg image (and my camera broke - and my mom took back her camera). A gray ceiling, puffy clouds, and a great blue sea, taken in the half-hour after leaving HK for Tokyo. Beauty, harmony, serenity. And I cannot write full sentences tonight / this morning.
When stressed, this is what I do.
(And it's funny they put "sugarless" between quotation marks. It's sweet alright, but unlike aspartame-sweet. Pleasantly sweet, but it lasts for only a 3-5 minutes. The overall taste of the "fresh mint" amounts to the taste of ordinary mint, but also, when you take your first bite in one piece, that weird taste of the banana-flavoured antibiotic I had when I was a child -and which I used to adore too-. All good-weird in a goodly-weirdly way.)
[music: Fiona Apple - Oh Sailor (Jon Brion Version)]
In an effort to stir things up, I cooked Brussels sprouts. Must've been the first time I cook Brussels sprouts, for sure, and a while we had some on the dinner table. There was also a chicken stir-fry with yellow and red peppers and onions (with a sip of sesame oil and sesame seeds to top it off). Fantastic, and my mother yells to me that we have this hugeass cauliflower to finish by tomorrow. >_>
What an uneventful weekend plein de merde. The weather was prettier within the confines of my room. 70% cocoa chocolate is really the shit. And I <3 Struts. I hope work can me make forget about the things of life. And I hope the Ottawa Senators win the Battle of Ontario. And I want to watch the game tomorrow night...
[music: Belle and Sebastian - Belle & Sebastian] (huh? an eponymous song title? wtf)
To kill time, what I'd do would be to go to a local supermarket - they are themselves one of the deepest symbols of "everyday life". If one was a tourist like me, supermarkets had to be made sights of interest. Park N' Shop, Cold Storage, the unknown big Japanese supermarket chain (Jusco could sort of count).
(So I'm going to the supermarket)
[music: Yuki - JOY]
It's still a pretty sight (If you don't know what you're looking at, then the answer is: Montreal Canadiens are in first place of the whole freakin' league! OMG, the Habs' fandom is blowing blood vessels everywhere...)
The congee is almost right. I'll let it simmer for a bit and shut down the rice cooker for the night.
So that was a chicken broth-based rice congee. It's the first time I make one with care (I went to buy chicken bones on Thursday after work, looking for some in three different grocery shops...). A sweet smell is floating in the upper floors of our house (Chicken stock, but also of the garlic from my brother's instant noodles post-midnight snack). It's really dark outside, but then I'd rather not have to stay home another weekend evening ('cuz it's apparently
Labour Day Thanksgiving weekend - the non-work routine's put me off with all sort of public holidays).
[music: Faye Wong - 天空]
I haven't seen dinosaur fossils since I was a kid, and probably in Ottawa or Toronto, b/c I don't think we have a permanent dino expo going on here in this city. But then, there was this exhibit in the Old Port, in the Parc des Écluses running since June for until October 31st. They're fossils excavated from China, and the exhibit is organized by the Dalian Museum of Natural History, if I can recall what was written on the board, and certainly the same one that organized that dino bones exhibit in Taikoo Shing in Hong Kong, which people raved about in the press while I was there (I might be getting my numbers mixed up, but I thought I read a report saying there were going to be 4 million people visiting the exhibit in HK by the end of it - which is like half of HK population ^^;). But when we went, it was totally empty (a Tuesday evening, albeit warm for October)...
It's like the Pyramids, but all lot different category of old. Wut, these shapes existed 65 million years old? ... So much infinity, cannot grasp...
The neat thing were the pinyin names of the dinosaurs excavated in China (the mixture of English, and "Chinese" is bloody amusing).
I've been keen on getting congee right. For some reason, always felt like my parents' congee is a bit lacking. They themselves disagree on how it should be. My mother likes hers thick, while my father likes it thin ("...well, at least with thin, you can always make it thick again" Hmm, right.). Irreconcilable differences. I personally like mine in the middle. Not too thick, nor too thin.
I've been trying the following recipe, based on my grandmother's input on how to make a good chicken congee. Prepare a cup and half of rice by mixing with some vegetable oil and some coarse salt. Then, prepare chicken stock by boiling chicken bones for two hours. Add the stock to the rice/oil/salt mix. Let cook for a few hours.
As for the dumplings, am going to finish whatever filling left from a few weeks ago. But I need flour. Hmm...
Completing on yesterday's post. Umm, my mind wanders around. Cannot make a coherent post on a particular topic without diverging. Here we go, already I'm thinking of speeding on a 90 degrees turn.
I guess I haven't had a chance in real-life to discuss anecdotes, just because I haven't really done anything that wasn't logged and subsequently read by the friends I've seen and talked with (there are a number of people I have as friends who I didn't see yet in a conversation-enabled situation). Well, it happened last week, with old Taskforce colleagues, where I probably spoke non-stop about bits of my trip for 10 minutes. For the record, did not re-read my travel blog yet (you can though, see links on the right-hand side bar). Don't feel like having a conversation with the self of two to seven months ago, yet.
I had my churrascaria meal yesterday, and it was gruesome. With the income, I guess I'm once again up for travelling around the world on a stomach...
[music: Franz Ferdinand - Walk Away]
[music: NiNa - Old Delhi]
(When you don't think so much about, you figure that NiNa is such a delight. How to combine Japanese cute and American kitsch in a better way than putting their respecitve performers together in the same band?)
Currently at work. Would not hate to eat out somewhere (it *is* Friday night, after all). The weather is so... wet. Hurray to me for bringing my phat golf umbrella from Hell.
Google and Sun double-team Microsoft.
It's twofold. I've been feeling bad about pirating MS Office or anything for that matter (everything on this computer is free, besides what runs it :P). And I am a MS-Hater. So... The new OpenOffice 2 will be out in a matter of weeks, if not days, as it's at its "release candidate" stage. I'm not sure if it's superior or inferior to MS Office, but so far it has done perfectly what I wanted it to do (produce a ~100 pages book-like document) with a minimal amount of adaptation (more from writing in text-only to formatted text). It's free, and much prettier than OpenOffice 1.1. It's the shizzah. Go download! GO!
After exhausting jpop, indiepop, québécois pop, frenchpop, I've reverted to teary sappy Cantopop?! (I need new music)
[music: Fiona Sit - A boy like you]
Let's see... The Japanese yen is almost 1-to-1 with the Canadian dollar/cent?! o_O (a dollar is now worth 97¥, compared with 85-ish ¥ when I traded my dollars to go to Japan in March - and compared with the 75¥ I was getting in July 2002) You know where I'm planning my vacation... Hokkaido, that's right... ... But indeed I wanted to do Tokyo, b/c so many things missed - and perhaps some China on my own, versus the stupid organized tours from HK - Shanghai, or even Beijing, but most importantly the back-country: Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang... In my dreams.
And it's called L'Été des Indiens (Or Été Indien - Indian Summer). XD It's a climatic phenomenon affecting Northeastern North America every year except for once every four-five years or so, whereas, at varying intensity, after weeks of constant cooling off during September (not really this year), a sudden streak of hot days swings along so that one can mend broken hearts with beloved summer before it departs for good, FOREVER (until May, and June on some sucky years). Might be 26ºC tomorrow, and forecast to be 23ºC and then 26ºC again on the following days, but it's going DOWN to 14ºC on Friday and we're dying at 2ºC on Sunday. T_T
Pictures, while it lasts (requires Flickr registration for some pics). (First it was me hanging out by myself, downtown and McGill campus. Meeting S on St-Laurent at 5:30, then E at Metro Sherbrooke at 6:30, and T at 7. We had some Chinese Eatery food in Chinatown, and moved on for random fun at the Palais des Congrès, of all places, that esthetically drool-inducing retro-futuristic monster they built within these past five years. Finished it off at that fire-blowing water fountain / art object designed by Québec artist JP Riopelle).
Most probably un-screwed my sleeping hours... With the usual side effects of when I usually try: waking in the middle of the night. There was this time, a year or two ago when I'd constantly wake at 3-4AM no matter what, for like two weeks (my mother does wake up every night at 3-4AM-ish, I've noticed that during my past month or so!). It's 6:45-ish, and went to bed slightly after 1AM. Will read up on the stuff that drained my daytime energy (something on Wikipedia on Java Hibernate, ha-ha), and then wrap up this night of sleep for good. Today (Monday) is such another beautiful day: 26ºC, with the full sunshine. So expect me to be whizzing downtown as soon as possible!
Food-wise, I declare myself king of congee and bak choi (白菜) cooking in this household. Perfectly good congee should be smooth, and at least cooked overnight. Dip the rice in a oil, water and salt mixture (people say it shouldn't be water - but it has produced good things so far). Cook in the rice cooker for a few hours. (And have a parent add chicken for you to the soup ^^;). I called my grandmother up to ask about how she makes good congee (she lives nearby our house, so took the opportunity to have me over and dumped me some delicious beef backbone in a ginger and foo yu sauce, along with some of the fish meat - you know, whatever they use for stuffed Chinese/Cantonese peppers/foo gwa). So basically, for good chicken congee, prepare a chicken breast-based soup stock, and use it instead of water. And for good bak choi? Certainly use more garlic and don't cook it too much. Stir-fry it, don't boil it. (More to go below)