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Showing posts from April, 2011

How to be a Billionaire

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You could be a billionaire if you please. Take for instance the 64-year-old stationary shop owner Cheng Ah Meng of Taman Johor Jaya, Johore Baru in Malaysia. The guy could have billions in hell currency since he has been collecting hell money as a hobby for the past 30 years.Hell money or hell bank notes are said to be a modern form of joss paper which are printed to resemble legal tender bank notes but are not an officially legal tender in our mortal world. Chinese burn them as offerings to the deceased. The notes come in big denominations, ranging from $10,000 to several billions, and would have an image of the Jade Emperor who is the presiding monarch of heaven in Taoism and would even have his signature and that of Yanluo, King of Hell (閻羅). Cheng had started collecting hell money when he found part of it in a pile that had been burnt for his late father. His mother wasn't very happy about it and his friends criticised his hobby since it was thought that it would bring bad luc…

Lucy and Kelly Who?

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Oh, besides Gong Li of Farewell to the Concubine'sand Raise the Red Lantern'sfameand James Bond's girl, Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Liu ( 劉玉玲) has been in the list of Hollywood's 15 Hottest Asian Actresses. Lucy was the vicious and ill-mannered Ling Woo in the 1998-2002 television series, Ally McBeal and one of the angels in the movie version of Charlie's Angels. Originally, she had auditioned for Portia de Rossi's role of Nelle Porter. The character Ling Woo, created specifically for her, was not meant to be a regular but became one because of the enthusiastic audience response. Martial Law'sand Scorpion King's Kelly Ann Hu (胡凯丽) was also in the list and that the two, Lucy and Kelly, were often touted as American actresses probably explains the confusion that Lucy had said about her background: When you grow up Asian American, it’s difficult because you don’t know if you’re Asian or you’re American. You get confused... You need to recognize where your backgrou…

Seeing Red

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In Bunol, Spain, people pelt each other with tomatoes during a festival called Tomatina (inset). Chinese grandmothers and mothers would probably see red in this. As a child, I remember Mother reminding the children to finish their food so that there is not a grain of rice left on the plate. Finish your rice or Lei Gong will get you! Lei Gong (雷公) is the Thunder God in Chinese mythology. Chinese children are traditionally taught that if a person waste his food, thunder will strike him. It does not have to work that way, don't you think?

Four Greatest Gems of Chinese Cuisine

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Historians often talk about the Four Greatest Mysteries of the Qing Dynasty, and here I am tempted to introduce the Four Greatest Gems of Chinese Cuisine - the char siew, siew yok, lap cheong and bakkwa, all pork dishes that could go fine with rice or would taste just yummy on its own. Char siu is meat, usually pork, seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented tofu, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce and barbequed unlike siew yok which is roasted. Lap Cheong is a Chinese sausage and I personally feel that it goes better with rice than with bread. Of the four, bakkwa, the flat thin sheets of salty-sweet dry meat said to resemble jerky is best taken on its own and it is no wonder that is a popular snack among Chinese in Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and even in the Riau Islands and the Philipines.Now, which is char siew, siew yok, lap cheong and bakkwa?




Something Wrong

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Someone once sent me a joke about a Chinese couple who got married and had a baby who had big blue eyes, curly blonde hair and brown skin. The baby was given the name Ting Long and since the family name was Sam, the baby's full name was Sam Ting Long. Sam probably is not an actual Chinese family name and if it is, then most definitely it must be a rare one. Anyway, the name Sam Ting Long rhymes with some thing wrong and therein lies the joke. Forget the Chinese eyes which are normally black and definitely not blue or their skin which is described as yellow - Chinese all the world over definitely are born with black hair. There is no blond Chinese around, save perhaps for Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee who had an American wife and maybe some other people who have mixed blood. The many Chinese with blond, red, blue or orange hair around definitely had their hair dyed, so, what's this about a Chinese baby with blue eyes and blond hair. There ought to be something wrong, oughtn…