Monday, January 31, 2011
我初次会見灰先生是在渥太華市中位於 Laurier Avenue 的某居屋合作社,那時我們幾個年青男女為了減輕經濟負擔,决定自組私人不牟利的 housing coop,登報尋求合伙人,灰先生是其中一個应徵者。
灰先生告訢我們說,他是在滿地可教書出生,來渥太華是想轉換環境,現受聘在本地教育部 school board 做候補敎師 supply teacher,九月開學上工云云。合作社各人見灰先生溫文有禮,又有固定收入,也就接受他成為合伙成員。
(下續 to be continued ... Part 2)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
我為了要重振雄風,避免沾上 muffin man 闊腰圍的形像,所以特往加拿大健康部網站查究有關身體質量指數Body Mass Index BMI 的資料。原來以我的高度計,我還有12磅才会被列線图fail「肥佬」... phew !!
Body Mass Index (BMI) Nomogram
Source: Health Canada. Canadian Guidelines for Body Weight Classification in Adults. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada; 2003.
This BMI nomogram is not intended for use with:
•those under 18 years of age,
•and pregnant and lactating women.
Visit the Health Canada Question and Answer (Q & A) section for more information about weight classification and answers to questions about weight and health.
To estimate BMI, locate the point on the chart where height and weight intersect. Read the number on the dashed line closest to this point. For example, if you weigh 69 kg and are 173 cm tall, you have a BMI of approximately 23, which is in Normal Weight.
You can also calculate your BMI using this formula:
BMI = weight(kg)/height(m)2
Health Risk Classification According to Body Mass Index (BMI):
Classification BMI Category (kg/m2) Risk of developing health problems
Underweight <>= 40.0 Extremely high
Important: To clarify risk for each individual, other factors such as lifestyle habits, fitness level, and presence or absence of other health risk conditions also need to be considered.
Note: For persons 65 years and older the 'normal' range may begin slightly above BMI 18.5 and extend into the 'overweight' range.
* Health Canada: Body Mass Index (BMI) Nomogram
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this blog article is NOT to provide readers with any medical advice, implied or otherwise. Please consult your family doctor and other professionals on issues concerning your health and well-being.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
From Hoi An, K and I rode the bus which went over the mountain, down the other side and ended up in Hue. According to Wikipedia
".... Huế (in chữ Nôm) is the capital city of Thừa Thiên - Huế province, Vietnam. Between 1802 and 1945, it was the imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty. It is well known for its monuments and architecture. Its population stands at about 340,000 people.
Huế originally rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyễn Lords, a feudal dynasty which dominated much of southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. In 1775 when Trịnh Sâm captured it, it was known as Phú Xuân. In 1802, Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (later Emperor Gia Long) succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam, thereby making Huế the national capital.
Huế was the national capital until 1945, when Emperor Bảo Đại abdicated and a communist government was established in Hà Nội (Hanoi), in the north. While Bảo Đại was briefly proclaimed "Head of State" with the help of the returning French colonialists in 1949 (although not with recognition from the communists and the full acceptance of the Vietnamese people), his new capital was Sài Gòn (Saigon), in the south.
In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam; however, the city was located in South Vietnam. In the Tết Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Huế, the city suffered considerable damage not only to its physical features, but its reputation as well, most of it from American firepower and bombings on the historical buildings as well as the massacre at Huế committed by the communist forces. After the war’s conclusion, many of the historic features of Huế were neglected because they were seen by the victorious regime and some other Vietnamese as "relics from the feudal regime"; the Vietnamese Communist Party doctrine officially described the Nguyễn Dynasty as "feudal" and "reactionary." There has since been a change of policy, however, and many historical areas of the city are currently being restored ...."
It is unfortunate that wars often cause irreversible damages and destroy the historical past of many civilizations, and Vietnam is no exception.
Hue, Southern Vietnam
2011-01-26 18h00 local time
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
According to Wikipedia:
".... During the Vietnam War, the city was home to a major air base that wasused by both the South Vietnamese and United States air forces. The base was considered one of the world's busiest airports during the war, reaching an average of 2,595 air traffic operations daily, more than any airport in the world at that time. The final U.S. ground combat operations in Vietnam ceased on 13 August 1972, when a residual force of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade stood down in Đà Nang. B Battery 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment fired the final U.S. artillery round and the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment finished their final patrols. This residual force was known as Operation Gimlet ...."Wow!! What a difference btwn Hanoi which is the crowded but down-to-earth capital city in the north and this crowded but very westernized city in the south !!! There are casinos with bright flashing lights and expensive looking spa and resort hotels along the way!!! I guess open economy has that kind of "side effects" even on a communist country !!! Anyway, we didn't stay at Da Nang but took a bus to our hotel in Hoi An, an old historical coastal town that is 27 km away.
Unlike Da Nang, this old town called Hoi An is like China back in the 1920 to 1930's. The presence of Chinese influence, language and symbols are everywhere. There are so many historical old buildings that I thought I was going back to pre-world war II Hong Kong. We will be staying in Hoi An for three days, two nights before moving on.
According to Wikipedia:
“.... Hoi An is a city on the coast of the South China Sea in the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is located in Quang Nam province and is home to approximately 120,000 inhabitants. The city possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and was known as Lâm Ap Pho (Champa City). Between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Cham (people of Champa) controlled the strategic spice trae and with this came tremendous wealth. The boats still used today in Hoi An probably have the same hull shape as those used by the Champas for ocean voyages. The former harbour town of the Cham at the estuary of the Thu Bon River was an important Vietnamese trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled. During this period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Seaside Town) in Vietnamese. ...”Haricot
Hoi An, Southern Vietnam
2011-01-25 15h07 local time
* Wikipedia: 峴港（Đà Nẵng／沱灢），位於越南中部，古都順化的附近，區屬中南沿海地區。此地瀕臨南中國海、下轄五區兩島；距離北方的河內764公里、南方的胡志明市964公里。
* Wikipedia: 會安（Hội An）是位於越南中部濱臨南中國海的一座小市鎮。它隸屬於廣南省，居民有88,000 多人。這座城市在公元第1世紀時即擁有東南亞最大的港口，以Lâm Ấp Phố（占城）知名。
Monday, January 24, 2011
“... For the colonial French government, Dien Bien Phu was the Waterloo of France against the Vietnamese ppl. With their superior war machine and better trained soldiers, the French Govt chose Dien Bien Phu to be their command central to control colonial Indo-China. They set up their military HQ in the valley and figured that the Vietnamese with their poor artillery, will not be able to shell them from the surrounding mountains.
But the French general at DBP underestimated the number of peasants turned underground supporters and the sheer number of the latter (human-wave strategy) who were hauling their artillery and digging tunnels to within striking distance of the French. Further more, the Vietnamese took advantage of the rainy seasons which rendered the French air force enormous scheduling and navigational difficulties.
Against all odds, the Vietnamese surrounded the valley from all sides and eventually overran the strategic gun hills of the French. Dien Bien Phu fell and thousands of French soldiers were captured. Even with severe casualties on the side of the Vietnamese, the battle of DBP was both a moral and military victory for the people of Vietnam. ...”
I have taken quite a few pictures of the area, including those taken in the underground bunker of the French commanders. Stay turned and I will post some of them upon my return to Canada.
(in Hoi An, abt 25 min by car from the Da Nang Airport, Southern Vietnam)
Jan 24, 2011 18h50 local time
Friday, January 21, 2011
附註: 愛丁堡藝穗節 Edingburgh Fringe Festival是全世界數一數二丶最成功的非主流藝術運營組織,主辦人本著開放及創作自由的原則,讓覌众體驗新興藝術家以不同形式所創做的新天地。
2011-02-07 Update: Photo #2717 taken in Edinburgh on Sept 15, 2010 08h46 (Ottawa date/time) was reloaded successfully.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Compared to Laso, this place is chaos. There are gazillion motor cycles all over the place, going every each way. Even when the traffic light turns red, ppl are still trying to rush across the intersections and the traffic cop could do nothing to stop the tide of vehicles.
Another thing abt Vietnam: The population here is really young, with million of youngsters less than 18 and a large proportion of the population below age 35. Finding a job is becoming more and more difficult, even when the economy is growing. Everyone is trying to make money from the tourists, from street vendors hawking T-shirts and fruit, to the three-wheel rickshaw drivers who try to ask for more tips. In hanoi and the country side surrounding the capital, there are lots of infrastructure constuction - bridges, fly-overs, railways, etc.
I guess feeding the population and finding jobs for the young will be the priorities of Vietnam for the next while !!!
According to Wikipedia:
"... 下龍灣（喃字：泳下龍）是位於越南東北部，靠近中國邊境的一片面積為1,500平方千米的水域，海岸線長120千米，屬於北部灣的一部份，河內以東。按照越南語的語序習慣，被稱為「Vịnh Hạ Long（泳下龍）」。 這個海灣中密集地分佈着1,969座石灰岩島嶼，矗立在海中，蔚為壯觀。每個島嶼都覆蓋著濃密的叢林植被。其中一些島嶼擁有巨大的洞穴。木樁洞是下龍灣區域最大的洞穴。19世紀末，法國遊客來此遊覽，命名該洞 Grotte des Merveilles。它的3個大型空間包括了無數的鐘乳石和石筍（以及19世紀法國graffiti）。這裡有2個較大的島嶼，Tuan Chau 和 Cat Ba，上面有永久居民。那裡擁有旅遊設施，包括旅館和海灘。在這些小島上擁有無數的令人驚奇的海灘。其中一些島嶼上有流動的漁村，漁民，他們在這淺水區辛勤的工作，捕捉200種魚類和450種軟體動物。許多島嶼的得名是由於對它們特別形狀的解釋，例如大象、好鬥的公雞、屋頂。這些島嶼中有989個已經命名。這些島嶼上還生活着矮腳雞、羚羊、猴子和鬣蜥等鳥類和動物。
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
By the way, we passed by West Lake where John McCain was shot down during his bombing mission to Hanoi.
07h44 local time
According to Wikipedia:
河內市（越：Thành phố Hà Nội／城舖河內*?，￼ 越南語發音（說明·資訊））是越南社會主義共和國的首都，位於越南北部，紅河三角洲西北部，紅河右岸和紅河與墩河的匯流處，因處紅河三角洲之內而得名「河內」。四周分別與北江省、北寧省、北𣴓省、永富省接壤。河內是越南的工業、文化中心，同時也是越南歷史古都，其擁有1000多年歷史，從西元11世紀起就是越南政治、經濟和文化中心，市區歷史文物豐富，名勝古跡遍佈，市內古跡眾多。人口約為620萬，多為京族。
Monday, January 17, 2011
According to our tour guide, who has lots of experience in dealing with tourists of all kinds good and bad, there are several main types:
* The hippy-trippy type who come to SE Asia for enlightenment and other spiritual reasons.
* The mostly young ppl who come here to party and get drunk.
* The mostly male customers looking for sexual gratifications and exploitations.
* The eco-tourists who come here to hike, bike and enjoy nature.
* There are those who simply want to "bag" and brag abt their visits (e.g. checking off the 100 must-see places on their list)
* The type that Space has mentioned: The tourists who come here mainly for their own fun and self-gratifications. They have very little interest and respect toward the local ppl and their culture. To these tourists, visiting a developing country is like, as Space put it, visiting a zoo and looking at exotic animals.
* And then there are the so-called cultural/educational tourists who truly want to learn and interact with the local ppl (as opposed to following the beaten-path and visiting all the touristy hot-spots).
(Vientiane LAO PDR)
17h55 local time
Saturday, January 15, 2011
According to the film, betwn 1964 and 1973, more than two million tons of bombs were dropped in Laos in a war that was in contravention of the Geneva Convention. The war was "secret" cuz Laos was a neutral country even tho both the Vietnamese and US were fighting on its soil.
After the Vietnam war, there were still million of UXOs, including the tennis ball size cluster bombs that children often pick up. There are also huge unexploded bombs under the soil. Farmers are killed or injured when they are working in the field and hit a UXO.
It is so sad to see the legacy of war still hurting the people of this country !!!
in the town of Luong Probang, Laos
19h31 local time
Friday, January 14, 2011
As fate would have it, I did meet them and gave away the food that I had purchased from the street hawkers (sticky rice contained in a straw container, a basket of baby bananas, and a basket of local food wrapped in lotus leaves).
Anyway, it was quite an experience as the "givers/donors" must either kneeled or sit on a mat with their shoes off and they must not touch neither the monks, their robes, or the basket they were holding.
My food ran out after the abt the 15th monk and there must be another 15 behind him. Anyway, there were other donors who had purchased more food and I was glad those monks at the back of the line would not have to starve !!!
All Ni Tall Fat !!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
According to YouTube: ".... This song is actually in 2 parts. The first 2/3 is from opera, Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti. It's known as the "Mad Scene", and there are many versions of this complete scene here by many singers. The last part is called the "Diva Dance" and it's written specifically for this movie ....."
Source: YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MR6D7tL38U&feature=related
* Over sixty percent of Lao ppl believe in Buddhism who are pacifists by nature.
* Most of their ancestors were from the Yunnan province of China long time ago escaping wars.
* They had founded the country of a million elephants, which was later divided by into three kingdom, then became part of the French protecting territory.
* Eventually, part of the kingdom was taken over by Siam/Thailand.
The Laotians do look like the minority ppl I saw in Yunnan and yes they are really friendly and peaceful !!! I really enjoy my stay here in Laos, a country that has not yet been invaded by MacDonald, KFC, etc !!!!!
Gotta go !!!
19h00 local time
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
* With over 4 million ppl, Bangkok is a populated city with lots of hawkers and SMEs fueling the economy.
* The air is quite smoggy and the water in the canal is murky (altho I saw a guy submerging himself there fishing or whatever)
* All the ppl we have met are really friendly and polite even tho we can't communicate that well.
* There must be lots of rich ppl around with all the expensive looking penthouse apartments.
Gotta go !!!
To Space, Fresh Designers, and other blogger friends: I would not be able to visit your blogs while I am on the go. I promise you I will do so when I have an opportunity. Meanwhile, I am enjoying all the comments you have posted !!!
Monday, January 10, 2011
According to YouTube, here are the translated lyrics:
We always want more than we have
We always want more than we have
And anguish grasps our hearts
We stagger in an autumn wind
We are filled up with someone else's joy
Inflamed by someone else's feasts
Like sunshine on a glade We draw our heads nearer over the tables
I'll embrace you, tipsy like separation
And take you in my arms
I won't share you, wild like abuse
Either with an enemy or a friend
It rarely happens to me like this
Below are more songs from Vitas. Enjoy !!!!
Here are some comments on YouTube:
"..... The thing is, on his highest notes, he's not using falsetto. He's forcing them out. If it was falsetto, his facial expressions would be more calm and relaxed. Some of the other high notes are falsetto, just not the highest ones. Like at 3:21, he's forcing it ...."
The next one by Vitas is called "Songbird from the Gods":
The song below is called "opera", also "Dedication of Love":
Below is another one by Vitas "Opera #2" (俄文+中文字幕)
Below is Vitas singing Lucia Di Lammermoorr (il dolce suono)
Here is the song "Mama":
Below is "Ave Maria":
Here is the song "The Star":
Below is Vitas singing "Opera N1":
To see new photos and text, please click my new Feb 10, 2011 blog article here: "旅遊泰國: 在曼谷市中心的民宿店 / Travel to Thailand: Bed and Breakfast Place in Downtown Bangkok"
Back in Ottawa, K spent a lot of time researching a good place to stay in Bangkok. We both like friendly Bed & Breakfast (B&B) accommodations as opposed to some high-rise starred hotels. So, this unpretentious little Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel hiding on a side-street just off the busy Krung Kasem Road suits us just fine.
Even as a meat eater, I love their organic vegetarian food, the ingredients of which are either grown on the roof-top or purchased from local farmers. Presently, as I am surfing on the Internet, K is lying on a mat 10 feet away having a Thai massage.
Earlier this afternoon, we and a couple from Germany hired a local guide to take us walking around the Bangkok neighbourhood (as opposed to all the so-called must-see tourist traps) and we went visiting local markets and sampled fish balls and other Thai/Chinese foods at eateries where local workers frequent.
Unlike Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of SE Asia where ethnic disharmony often leads to riots, Chinese merchants still have a strong presence in the local economy, the root of which stretches back several hundred years. Many of the old shops would have a Chinese name and its equivalent Thai names side by side and integration appears to work fairly well in the community. Perhaps, religion has a major influence in bringing peace to the community as many locals are devout Buddhists.
K just finished her Thai massage and is coming over here with a cup of hot ginger tea in her hand. I better sign off and prepare to share some of her good karma :O
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Looking outside, I can see high peaks against the sunset clouds. Is it Tai Mo Shan that I climbed many years ago? And, where is HK Island itself? I feel like a total stranger even tho this is my birth-place.
So close, and yet so far !!!
Hong Kong International Airport HKG
Jan 9, 2011
17h11 local time
(updated Feb 9, 2011)
Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Hong Kong International Airport HKG
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Friday, January 07, 2011
When K asked me to go see The Black Swan, I thought it would be just another chick flick. Sure I enjoy ballet performance on a stage, but on the silver screen? Beside, how many ways can you tell the same white swan, black swan story?
However, I was pleasantly surprised. The story captured my attention right from the beginning. At the end, with the loud applause of the (artificial) cheerful and jubilant audience on the silver screen, I found myself among the (real) stunned and silent audience in the theatre.
Some parting thoughts:
1. Transformation can be painful.
2. There may be a hefty price to pay.
3. Are you willing to take the risk?
4. Are "you" still "you" after?
(Sent via BlackBerry BB)
Thursday, January 06, 2011
With a lead of 3-0 entering the 3rd period, the Canadians would have secured their championship just by holding on. But the Russians came back with a vengeance and Team Canada just crumbled under pressure. The game changed and the Russians scored 5 goals and won 5-3!!!
The rest of the world is just as stunned. What has happened? As ppl in professional sport say: It's not over till it's over. Oh, Canada !!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
The new logo will retain the siren but will delete the name "Starbucks" and the word "coffee", plus some minor modifications. The change is part of the company's strategy to diversify its product lines beyond just coffee. “Even though we have been and always will be a coffee company and retailer, it's possible we'll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it,” explained CEO Howard Schultz during the Jan 5, 2011 webcast.
Starbucks' road to diversification should not come as a surprise to consumers living in Ottawa where one can buy drugs in a grocery store, and groceries in a drug store, and to top it all, groceries from Canadian Tire stores.
"Sir, would you like a tire to go with your chai latte today?"
* Toronto Star "Starbucks keeps siren, cuts name"
* Wikipedia: "星巴克"
"..... 第一家星巴克的商標: 星巴克的商標有2種版本，第一種版本的棕色的商標由來是由一幅16世紀斯堪地那維亞的雙尾美人魚（希臘神話中的塞壬）木雕圖案， 她有赤裸乳房和一條充分地可看見的雙重魚尾巴。後來星巴克被霍華•蕭茲所創立的每日咖啡合併，所以換了新的商標，第二版之商標，沿用了原本的美人魚圖案，但做了少許的修改，她沒有赤裸乳房，並把商標顏色改成代表每日咖啡的綠色，就這樣融合了原始星巴克與每日咖啡的特色的商標就誕生了。在2006年的9月，星巴克又重新讓棕色的商標復活，不過只限於熱飲的紙杯上。星巴克指出，公司是為了慶祝35週年紀念，並且象徵其商標來自美國西北部太平洋沿岸地區的傳承。但這個活動會在9月底結束，而且只限美國。...."
* Wikipedia / "Starbucks"
"... In the second version, which was used from 1987–92, her breasts were covered by her flowing hair, but her navel was still visible, and the fish tail was cropped slightly. In the current version, used since 1992, her navel and breasts are not visible at all, and only vestiges remain of the fish tails ... In January 2011, Starbucks announced that they would make small changes to the company's logo, removing the Starbucks wordmark around the siren and enlarging the siren image itself ....."
* Washington Post "Starbucks gives logo a new look": Starbucks logo dated 1971, 1997, 1992, 2011
* Wikipedia / Canadian Tire
* CTV News "Canadian Tire becomes latest chain to roll out groceries"
* Serious Eats: "The Changing Face of Starbucks"
***Updated*** Related link to blogger friend Space:
* Mind Necessity's Oct 8, 2010 article: "星巴克 Starbucks"
Monday, January 03, 2011
I have been practising one form of martial-art exercise or another in Hong Kong & Canada (kick-boxing now :) but never have the urge to beat somebody up. I have come to learn that the ability to determine where one's fist ends and another person's nose begins depends very much on an individual's temperament and the circumstances of such an encounter.
The same applies to ice hockey as a sport. For neighbourhood kids practising ice-hockey on a patch of ice in a park with their friends, some youngsters might play rough and tough, but they don't usually try to provoke a fight or engage in bare-knuckle brawls.
However, their behaviours change dramatically once these kids enter the minor leagues. It is not unusual to see gloves coming off several times in a match btwn two grudge-holding rival teams. There are even reports of parents encouraging their kids to beat the sh*t out of the other kids and even getting involved in fights themselves.
At the professional level, these aggressive behaviours become codified. Checking is legitimate and is part of the game in North America, to the extent that even transplanted European players are now focusing more on body slamming than on foot work. It is standard these days to teach players to use different "legal" checking techniques in an offensive or a defensive manner. Even "illegal" checking and fist-fighting are tolerated in ice-hockey: a player may be penalized but is seldom rejected from a game, unless the act is considered "violent assault" in the eyes of the referee or the police.
Perhaps that is why there is such a fierce debate on fighting violence (pun intended) in ice-hockey. Is it all right to have a "code" that distinguishes btwn a face-to-face "fair" fight and a sucker punch from behind? Are we not endorsing violence all-the-same even if we call the former "tolerable" and the latter "illegal"? Where do you draw the line btwn a "violent" and a "non-violent" act on ice? And, why do so many teams have "enforcers" who are not valued for the skating techniques, but rather their abilities to intimidate and retaliate? Unlike the teaching of traditional martial art sifu師傅, the challenge on ice is not so much abt controlling one's flaring temper, but has more to do with winning the game within the rules of the games.
So, is fighting going to stay with the NHL? Yes, I would think so, as long as there is a demand from the audience who pay to be entertained. As part of the entertainment/sport industry, should the NHL continue to encourage violence in hockey? Of course not, but as long as there is a demand, and as long as the acts are considered within the boundary of "The Code", then the fighting is not going to disappear any time soon.
* Wikipedia: "Fighting in ice hockey"
* Wikipedia: "Violence in ice hockey"
* Wikipedia: "Enforcers in ice-hockey"
* Bernstein, Ross (2006), "The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL", Triumph Books, ISBN 1-57243-756-1.
* Wikipedia: "Fighting in ice hockey" - Shawn Thornton (left) fighting Wade Brookbank
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Some will graduate into playing for the minor leagues in community arenas, and only a few will end up with the National Hockey League (NHL) earning big money and fame across North America.
But this is where a kid's dream starts !!!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network