Thursday, September 25, 2008

2008年首屆 加拿大陸軍賽跑 (10公里, 半馬拉松) ∕ 2008 Inaugural Canada Army Run (10K, 1/2 marathon)

(Updated Sept 28, 2008) I just came back from a three-day trip to Toronto and would like to fill in the text of the draft article that I first posted three days ago.

The inaugural Canada Army Run took place on Sunday September 21st with over 7,000 military and civilian men/women participating in the 10 kilometres and half-marathon competitions. The temperature was in the mid to high teens which suited me just fine. Since the 21.1 km run was part of my training leading up to the full marathon in mid October, I did not go all out, but rather kept at an even pace throughout. Here are the highlights of the event:

* With the many young man and woman soldiers/cadets joining the races, the average age of the participants must be, according to my observation, in the 20-30 years range. As expected, there were more youths in the 10K run than the half-marathon race.

* At the 0.5 km mark, I passed by two army guys dressed in full body suits and face masks. Their lenses were already fogged up. So I assumed they had their gas filters installed inside the cartridges, as opposed to no filters which would have made breathing much easier but rendered the apparatus in malfunction mode. They seemed to have a great time and were waving to everybody!!

* All along the canal, supporters and volunteers were out in full force cheering the runners on. I gave high-fives to some of the kids and their parents on the side of the road.

* Unlike many marathon circuits, there were no big prizes. But the most rewarding for everyone was to see the soldiers with disabilities competing in wheel-chairs or artificial limbs and then being acknowledged on stage by the organizers and guest speakers.

The event was sold out before race day. Everyone agrees it was a complete success. The organizers are now thinking about adding a full marathon to the 2009 event !!

Note 1: I did not participate in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon earlier today because of time conflict.

Note 2: Many years ago, I was in an emergency response training course during which participants were required to play volleyball dressed in a
Level-A Hazmat suit with a self-contained breathing apparatus. I exercised with the suit on and was sweating and gasping for air after abt 20 minutes!!

攝影图片 Photo 1 : The statue of a soldier "overlooking" the headquarters of the Department of Defense in the nation's capital.

攝影图片 Photo 2: Two members of the federal RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and their male partners from the municipal police force.

攝影图片 Photo 3: Soldiers dressed up in traditional Scottish uniform.

攝影图片 Photo 4: Scottish bag pipers.

攝影图片 Photo 5: An armored vehicle with computerized navigation and firing systems inside.

攝影图片 Photo 6: Army personnel handling out medals at the finish line.

攝影图片 Photo 7: "Soldier On!" - Runners with disabilities being acknowledged on stage.

攝影图片 Photo 8: My 2008 Canada Army Run half-marathon medal on a chain.

(Posted Sept 25, 2008) My computer is still not 100%. So, I am posting this draft blog article with the hope that I will fill in the story/text next Monday. Enjoy the pics and send in your comments if you wish.

I will respond to all the comments here and those you left in earlier articles asap. I thank you for your patience !!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

電腦不靈 ∕ Two Computer Crashes

鳴呼哀哉!! Desktop 和 notebook 串謀,在一星期之內相繼「墜毀」,电腦不靈,人腦變豬腦,什么也寫不出來。昨晚趕忙買了兩個 5oo 和 75o G 的 external hard drives,亡羊補牢,未為晚也!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

資本主义: 老將与新兵 ∕ Matured Capitalists vs Capitalists Wannabes

Currently, two groups of capitalists are facing challenges in two parallel worlds.

In the US, the government has found out (since the Enron days), that the financial sector, driven by profit and their desire for freedom (i.e. minimum government regulations), has dug a hole so deep they cannot get out of. In the brink of systemic failure, these matured capitalists will receive, if approved by Congress, billion of dollars of taxpayers' rescue money to re-start business, albeit in a less reckless manner (we can only hope).

In China, the government has learnt (since the leaded toys, tainted toothpaste and other toxic stories), that even with a new regulatory regime in place (on paper at least), the Chinese dairy industry is not mature enough to self-police. In the wake of public condemnations, these capitalists wannabes instinctively deny and point fingers at others (see note 1 below). With mounting pressure, those that get caught will receive, if the government wants to contain public anger, severe punishments for their reckless behavior. No doubt, Chinese entrepreneurs under communist leadership will continue to propel the country's economy forward, albeit in a more responsible manner (we can only hope).


Note 1:

According to the CBC Canadian Broadcast Corporation's Sept 19, 2008 article entitled "Poisoned milk scandal widens in China, top dairies implicated"

"..... On Friday, about 10 per cent of liquid milk samples taken from China's two largest dairy producers — Mengniu Dairy Group Co. and Yili Industrial Group Co. — were found to contain melamine, according to the General Administration of Quality.

..... Yao Tongshan, the chief financial officer of Mengniu, apologized for the crisis, but insisted only a small portion of the company's inventory was contaminated. He blamed small dairy farmers for providing the tainted milk. "Large-scale milk farms are very disciplined. They won't take the risk of doing something like that," he told reporters in Hong Kong.

..... Earlier this week, Mengniu chief executive officer Niu Gensheng vowed to create a clean dairy product market, saying "if this thing cannot be properly dealt with, I'll resign," according to the financial magazine Caijing. ....."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

中國品牌: 前瞻与後顧 ∕ Brand China: Past and Future

有鑑於最近發生的「三鹿牌」有毒嬰兒奶粉事件,我用 Google 在網上查參有關中國品牌的評論文章和資料,選貼以下四篇的片斷,以供讀者參考:

(第一) 『中國 金字 招牌 - GOLDEN CHINA BRANDS

(Source: )

這是2008-09-15『中國 金字 招牌 - GOLDENCHINABRANDS』網上首頁的 mission statement:

『..... 我們致力於研究中國品牌,也將現存的深植人心的中國品牌帶給遍及全球的消費, 這也是我們可以做得最好並且也最樂意去做的事 .....』

"..... we are devoted to the world of Chinese Brands. we bring Chinese Brands alive in the hearts and minds of consumers worldwide. that’s what we can do best and love to do - everyday. ....."

(第二) "How Brand China Can Succeed" by John Quelch, Senior Associate Dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

(Source: )

這是2007-09-18 美國哈佛大學教授在網上登的一篇論文。

"..... China has become factory to the world. The Chinese are rightly proud of their achievements and the 2008 Olympics promise to be China's coming out party, ... However, a series of recent setbacks threaten China's new and improving image. As a result, China looks like a country that loves the world's markets but does not play by the world's rules. ... Not until recently has China's government given serious attention to the country's international image. Though the number of tourists and foreign investors grows apace, there is just not enough pre-existing brand equity among the world's consumers to inoculate Brand China against the current tide of negative publicity. What should China do?

(1) First, the central government must ensure that manufacturing quality standards and health and safety laws are tightened and enforced nationwide. Western multinationals have a role to play in ensuring their Chinese subcontractors deliver on quality, but Beijing must push provincial governments to upgrade and enforce existing laws. Tough sentences no doubt send a message of deterrence.

(2) Second, China must move towards an economy based on invention rather than imitation. Japan and Korea have made the transition. Brands like Sony and Samsung are now respected worldwide. The global aspirations of cutting-edge Chinese brands like Lenovo and Haier suffer when the misbehaviors of corrupt Chinese businessmen and government officials drag China's image down. .....

(3) Third, China must use the Olympics as an event for national progress, ... It is vital that, for 2008, all Chinese raise their game, not just in competitive sport but in commerce. It would be too bad if China is the largest medal winner in 2008 but remains an also-ran in business practices.

Do you think China will succeed in its effort to rehabilitate its brand? ....."

(第三) "Brothers charged over tainted baby milk" The Associate Press

(Source: )


"..... I picked up a frozen Salmon fillet in the supermarket last week, the label said "Made in China". I put it back in the freezer. I don't buy anything edible made in China. ....."

(第四) 『中國品牌爲何難入美國門』作者:姚定康, 來源:全球品牌網

(Source: )

這是2007-01-08 《中國品牌科學院》登貼在網上的一篇論文之片斷。

『..... 去年12月20日,中國發布的首個《中國名牌戰略發展報告》指出,國家将在“十一五”時期強勢推進品牌培育工程,要形成10個世界級品牌,培育100個向世界級品牌進軍的中國自主品牌。


(Photo credit 攝影图片 Associate Press: 武漢医院「三鹿牌」奶粉病人

Monday, September 15, 2008

臨老學吹打: 學鋼琴 / Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: The Piano

我從小对音樂就很有興趣,小學時參加香港廣播电臺的兒童合唱團,每星期都要去 soundroom 練習和錄音。在中學時,趙梅伯教授指揮我校和某女校的男女混声四重唱隊,在香港音樂節得到亞軍。來到加拿大後,我也有參加歌詠班練習唱男高音。

但在樂器方面,我卻是一窍不通。在香港家窮,父母那有閒錢;在大學畢業之後,我在 Flin Flon 做工,買了一個廉價結他,自學丶自彈丶自唱,聊以自慰。但多年來我念念不忘的,仍是那如流水一般清澈的鋼琴音響,和彈琴者自陶自醉的神情。

或許他人会笑我臨老學吹打,但我上星期在街坊社區中心報了名,由九月十三日開始上成人鋼琴班。雖然我永遠不会談到考什么証書文憑,但學会了基本的彈琴技巧,我到老時也可以回憶往事,彈一曲,唱一句:『Pour l'amour de la musique !!!』

攝影图片Photo Credit and reference article:

Architectural Piano (November 27, 2007 by Snell)

"... There was no way I was going to work out what this was until I was told: a piano. Yes, this is what happens when one of the world’s most famous architects is allowed to get their hands on a classic object. Daniel Liebskind has teamed up with piano maker Schimmel to create a five-metre long piano designed to complement the new addition to Toronoto’s Royal Ontario Museum, which was also designed by Liebskind. There is some resonance to this design in that Liebskind wanted to be a concert pianist when he was younger, but we do wonder about the acoustics this will produce ..."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

旅遊摩洛哥 / Vacation Travel to Morocco





Reference: 旅遊南美洲秘魯 (一) / Travel to Peru, South America (Part 1)

Friday, September 12, 2008

人命貴, 人命賤 ∕ Life is Cheap

最近媒界報導,加拿大人命價值,平均大約是每位四佰萬元加幣CAD$ 4 million,這金額是根據保險公司歷年車禍賠償報告而定斷出來的。四佰萬元一條命,說起來真是令人有點冷冰冰的感覺,但或許在保險業來說,賠償數字是和現實分不開。這新聞亦令我想到,人命有貴有賤,這個「時價」的高低,是会受地方丶時間丶和覌念等因素影響。

(1) 地方: 雖然人命是非賣品,但在保險業來說,賠償數字的高低,是在乎每一個國家的法律制度丶執行丶和前例。通常來說,歐美國家的人命「價值」(純粹以金錢衡量),是比第三世界的為高,難怪很多跨國企業選擇在落後國家或地區設廠,人命賤,資金低,賠償少,有數得計也!

(2) 時間: 商業貨物保險這個概念和制度可以追溯到公元前二至三千年的中國和巴比倫文化,但人命價值這個覌念,卻是工業革命之後才開始受重視。在奴隸買賣未被廢除之前,從非洲或其它貧苦國家丶部落丶地方來的人力供应源源不絕,統治階層的人命貴,做牛做馬的人命賤。在北美來說,有色人種是在50至70年代的民权運動之後,才開始有「升值」,在2008年競選美國總統的貝拉克·奧巴馬 Barack Obama 就是個好例子。

(3) 覌念: 每一個國家和社会的人命價值覌念,是很受本地的文化風俗影響。例如中國封建制度時代有重男輕女的覌念,女人生出來就是蝕本貨,這個落後的覌念產生了很多陋俗和歧視,令女人命賤。又例如最近巴基斯坦三個少女因堅持要自己選擇配偶,慘被親戚村民毒打活埋,另兩個想幫助她們的婦女亦遭殺害,雖然憲法是保護人权,但村民的覌念卻是本地政法執行失敗的主要原因。




Reference: Transport Canada study puts price tag on social costs of cars, planes, trains

Link: Please also visit

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

正面思想 ∕ A Positive Attitude

I like leafing through all kinds of magazines when I am exercising in the gym. Here is something from Readers Digest:

A PR/marketing consultant asked his client: "So, tell me what you do." The client said: "I sell mattresses." The consultant said: "No, you don't. You are selling Sweet Dreams and Good Sex !!"

Good spinning ;-)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008年秋季馬拉松賽訓練 ∕ Training for the Fall 2008 Running Marathon

I surprised even myself by running two half-marathons (about 13 miles each) in three days, with half a day of weight training in between. It seems that in the last couple of months, my body has built up a reasonably good aerobic base to sustain such an overload of physical activities. Actually, when I started my second 13-miler, the weather was abt 30 deg C and I was not sure whether I should push my luck. But once I got into the running pace and breathing rhythm, my body were sending me positive signal and I knew then I would be able to finish the second run. My current plan is to run a half-marathon race in late September and then a full running marathon 14 days later. Wish me luck :)


Note: The above is in response to Inner Space's comments to my blog article 加拿大的秋天來了 ∕ Here comes the Canadian Autumn . Here is his poem:


Friday, September 05, 2008

盲婚殺人陋俗 ∕ Five Pakistan Women Buried Alive in "Honour Killing"

In this day and age, one would think women will have the right to choose their future husbands without being murdered. So it comes as a shock to me when I heard on CBC Radio earlier this week that five Pakistan women had been buried alive in an "honour killing" committed by villagers. Three of the victims are teenagers who attempted to marry the men they had chosen. The other two are older relatives who had tried to intervene and were also killed.

Equally alarming is the statement made by Israrullah Zehri, a politician, who said publicly he would continue to defend such an old "tradition", a sentiment that perhaps explains why it takes so long for the local and even federal government to investigate the case. According to an interview report by CBC Radio several days ago, after much pressure from women's groups, an inquiry has now been called to look into this atrocity.

The incident again confirms the theory that values, beliefs, and principles are the main drivers of people's behaviours and that the society as a whole will have to collectively address the issue(s) of concern and implement changes for the better.

Related info: The Globe and Mail on-line September 1, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

加拿大的秋天來了 ∕ Here comes the Canadian Autumn

How I wish the warm weather would last longer here in Canada. I was hiking this afternoon in the Gatineau Park and Lord and Behold, I saw the first red maple leaf waving at me under the Labour Day sun. It is a sure sign of autumn and, barring an Indian summer, the days are going to get shorter and cooler. Already, the temperature at night has dipped into the teens and before you know it, the stores are going to haul out their winter coats and boots and put a Christmas Sale sign up !! As a skier, I don't mind the cold or the snow. It's just that we had a rather cool spring and a wet summer and I miss spending more time sunning on the beaches and swimming in the lakes. Oh well, it's time to start training for the ski marathon !!!
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