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Showing posts from December, 2010

Green Post: Appreciate the Trees and Grasses

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Don't underestimate trees or grasses. An acre of trees is said to be capable of absorbing 67 kilogram of carbon dioxide each day and 22 to 60 tons of dust each month. It also releases 49 kilogram of oxygen to sustain 65 people. As for grasses, 25 square feet of actively growing grass can convert enough carbon dioxide into oxygen for each of us daily. That is a lot to do each day. Appreciate our trees and grasses!

Mere Mention

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Someone pointed out not too long ago that the Form 2 history textbook in Malaysian schools had only one sentence on Yap Ah Loy ( 葉亞來)(inset). Otherwise known as Yap Tet Loy or Yap Mao Lan, this Hakka man of the Fui Chiu clan had left China for Malaya via Macau for Malaya in 1854. On arriving, he had found the place fascinating and different, what with tall coconut and betel palms and small Malay houses with atap roofs. Yap Ah Loy had a road in the heart of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown named after him and it was no wonder - He was a Chinese Capitan and the headman of the Chinese there. Chinese Capitan was a Portuguese title for the representative of a Chinese enclave. In the 16th century, the Portuguese ruled the Chinese in Malacca indirectly by appointing a capitan and this administrative method was also adopted by the English when they colonised Malaya. Yap Ah Loy was said to have given Kuala Lumpur, the present capital city of Malaysia its name and it was during his tenure as the ca…

News!

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What is news in Hokkien? Sin Boon. What is news in Japanese? Shinbun. What is news in Korean? Sin Mun. News in Hokkien, Japanese and Korean sound rather alike and many other words in these three languages sound rather similar too that it leads some people to come to the conclusion that Hokkien is but the ancient imperial language used a couple of thousand of years ago in China. Hokkien or rather Fujian or Minnan Hua, now a dialect spoken widely in Fujian and Taiwan and by a big portion of oversea Chinese in South East Asia, was said to be the official language of the powerful Tang Dynasty and just like Latin, which influenced English, French and Italian languages, Hokkien is said to have influenced the Japanese and Korean languages. There are of course other reasons for the conclusion, like it having 8 tones and being an ancient language, is more complex compared to Mandarin. Mandarin is also said to be probably originally spoken by the Northern Jurchen, Mongols and Manchu minority an…

Lucky Moon Gate

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You'd probably seen a Moon Gate (before. If you have been to a a Chinese garden, perhaps you may have seen this circular opening that acts as a pedestrian passageway. This is the moon gate (inset) which is but a traditional architectural element in Chinese gardens. The gate was originally only found in the gardens of wealthy Chinese nobles but nowadays, it is featured in temples and monasteries and elsewhere too. In the late 19th century, it is even incorporated in the architecture of Bermuda where newlyweds step through the gate for good luck!

King's Movies

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It must be in the 70s when I first read about King Hu's movie A Touch of Zen in The Times magazine but it was only recently that I got fortunate enough to watch the movie which reputedly won the Technical Prize in the 1975 Cannes Film Festival and that was all thanks to the DVD which I happened to pick up from a vendor and which, much to my delight, contains some of King Hu's better films like Dragon Gate Inn and Raining in the Mountain. King Hu (胡金铨) by the way, was a Hong Kong and Taiwan-based film director who directed Come Drink with Me in 1966 and Dragon Gate Inn in 1967 and brought Chinese cinema to new technical and artistic heights. A Touch of Zen is regarded as King Hu's masterpiece and together with Raining in the Mountains and Legend of the Mountains, all of which being loosely based on Pu Songling's Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, blend Chan Buddhism and unique Chinese aesthetics. King Hu said to have passed away in Taipei of complications from angio…