Friday, 27 January 2012


恭喜發財!!! 祝大家龍馬精神, 身體健康!!!
Best wishes to everyone!!! What did you do? How did you celebrate this year?
I was at home for New Years day and also Year's opening (开年).  It is traditional for my family on New Years Day to abstain from eating meat with respect to it being a new year and a new start. Every meal prepared is completely vegan.  Mum always prepares a variety of dishes, including Chinese mushrooms (菇), satay bamboo shoots, and stir-fried vegetables.
  The most important dish however is the fish!  
Made from potato with black soya beans for eyes it is to be baked in the oven.  This is then always served with a spicy sauce made from tomato and peppers.   Mum used to make it by hand but then she got jealous of all the "professional" ones from HK, so she went out and bought a cast!
On the next day we have 盆菜 (pun choi)!  This is a traditional Hakka stew  that is especially cooked for celebratory events.  Everything is added here: pork, chicken, Chinese mushrooms, duck, prawns, squid, fish balls, Chinese radish and cleaned pork rind.  Everything is individually cooked and then added into a big pot in layers: the radish and the pork rind is added first to the bottom, then the meat, the fish, the duck and chicken and everything else.

In additional to all this, there is also dessert!!! Check these out!
紅豆糕, 橙汁年糕, 蘇角, 豆沙角,年年有餘, 和如意吉祥 (no English names for these, sorry!)
So there you go, a very yummy start to the New Year!
May it be a good one :D


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Jeremy Clarkson

While rushing around the shop today, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the newspaper stand by the till.  There on the front page of The Sun was a big picture of Jeremy Clarkson, the outspoken English broadcaster and motor journalist, with a short sentence next to it stating that he has poked fun about 'dead Chinese'.  The dead Chinese in question are the 23 Chinese workers who drowned while collecting cockles on Morecambe bay in 2004.  Giving his opinion about synchronised swimming Clarkson stated that is this nothing more than "Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water".  He added: "You can see that sort of thing on Morecambe beach.  For free".

Talk about hitting a nerve! Those people came to the UK in the belief that they were going to get a better life for themselves and their families.  But this was not to be: having been tricked out their money and passports they were forced by gangs into slave labour.  With very little pay they were being bungled around the country in vans to do back-breaking work.  Their presence in the UK only became known on that terrible night in Morecambe.  What is so funny about a vulnerable person's terrible suffering for some broken dream at the hands of their captors? What is so funny about drowning to death?

The backlash against Clarkson's comments has already begun: A representative of Morecambe's town council has described it as "beneath contempt".    A spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the UK has slammed it as being " insulting and show a woeful disrespect of decency and moral standards".

As usual in the aftermath of all his gaffes, Clarkson will be made to apologise, but what is the point? He has made so many crude and incredibly objectionable statements at people's expense, one wonders if the man has any empathy for anyone apart from himself, or feels any real remorse.

One also wonders if the man is actually unwell.

See also: Morecambe bay tragedy (Wikipedia)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Britain's Chinese Tiger Mums!

No messing now, do your homework! Picture from

A very Happy New Year to you all!!!

There was a very interesting programme on BBC2 today 'Meet Britain's Chinese Tiger Mums'.  The programme documents the lives of several Chinese mothers in the UK and how they bring up their young children.  Its all about work and little play; its all about discipline too.  Each mother believes in the mantra that where there is no pain there is no gain - education leads to a better life and in order to have a good, stable future their children have to exceed in their studies.  I am not surprised to see one mother having a timetable of study each day for her young son and another pushing her child to excel on the piano.

Is this wrong?  One only has to read about Amy Chua, the Yale Law professor and self-described "Tiger mother" to be instantly in the opinion that this method of parenting is cruel and senseless.   When I was young I found it very tough - but it was understood.  In order to have security in life you have to work hard, and since having a good education is the key to all this, you have to study hard - what is illogical about that?  Having said that, it wasn't just me doing all the work; Mum was working hard too! She even went back to college so that she could teach what she learnt to me. 

As I look back I don't think that I missed out on anything when I was a child. TV? There are re-runs to this day. Social skills? I, and I am sure everyone, is still having to learn these through every new person that they meet in their lives.  And having a life? I'm living it right now!

While watching that programme I realised that the major lesson during that tough period of our lives is still with me: that although it is hard you must never stop working and you must never stop learning.  Also you must always look for opportunities and grab them with both hands.  The world is changing all the time and life is getting tougher.  To compete and survive you have to be willing to sacrifice some freedoms and be disciplined in order to gain what you want.  Reality is tough, so it pays to have that lesson of tough love early on.

Thanks Mum! x       

PS  - My Mum says that she likes to snack on small children.  Haha.

Source: Wonderland: Meet Britain's Chinese Tiger Mums 

See also:  Times magazine: Amy Chua