Showing posts from December, 2007

One Summer's Day

Insects, we travel along the freeway, numerous members of the insect kingdom hurl themselves on to the front of the all-wheel drive, splattering their bits and limbs on the bonnet, the grill and the windscreen mirror. We as humans head in one direction in speeds faster than we can physically manage ourselves, and we meet against these flying creatures also moving in a hurry through the air - except that they are in the opposite direction, and they collide not with us, but with our metal, glass and plastic structures that we protect ourselves in.

Insects also come out in colony groups in this warm season - whether they be scrambling on our ceilings, walls and shelves, or weaving sticky webs that are as strong as Velcro - as we humans congregate into shopping centres for the sales or in front of strangers' houses to admire their Christmas lights. If one were an insect, then one could have an overview of the endless line of vehicles along the major highways of the nati…

Happy Holidays!

Every year, when I get my new manual diary, I cannot wait to browse through the information section of public holidays declared in various countries of the world. Globalization has dictated that we share so many common, international holidays, perhaps set in place by history and domination of some cultures over others. What are more fascinating are the unique holidays that distinguish specific countries and regions.

It is interesting that what is mostly accepted as the universal New Year’s Day is actually called the Gregorian New Year in the Indian sub-continent. Even Orthodox Christian countries like Greece and Russia, utilizing a separate calendar for religious purposes, join in the 1 January celebrations. The Lunar New Year in east and south-east Asia provides a minimum of two government-recognized holidays, if not more.

It is natural that festive seasons and holidays reflect the requirements of the contemporary majority and dominant ruling groups. Catholic significant days are dec…

KL in Parramatta

A close family friend had organised and shouted a sumptuous dinner last night in a quiet corner of one of Sydney's booming and growing shires, Parramatta. Bordering the now famous Bennelong electoral constituency which recently cost a long standing Australian Prime Minister his seat, Parramatta is the fifth largest growing urban concentration in the Australian economy - after Sydney, Melbourne,Brisbane and Newcastle, and churning a GDP by itself faster than Adelaide,Cairns, Hobart and Darwin.

The day had been dry hot, averaging thirty degrees Celsius and I had been looking forward to some spicy-kick food. A new set-up called Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Cuisine had been established near a primary entrance/exit of the rail station, with a menu that reflects the multi-cultures of the homeland of most of the diners. Cooked by ethnic Chinese, my group of 13 persons could sample the variety of dishes offered, including Penang char koay teow; chicken rendang; bean sprouts stir-fried with salte…

Ridges Street

In the dusk hours, it had a certain charm, especially when the harsh light of direct sunlight had ceased. Walking in the grey blueness of this short road, we felt the peculiar attraction of Ridges Street. It was a quiet enclave and refuge from the hustle and bustle of surrounding roads and suburbs. Here one can find solace in an old but well maintained church or find delight in the hundreds of photos plastered on the walls of a modest old-styled barbershop operated by George who emphasised his Italian heritage.

Dining at one end of Ridges, we dabbled in Armenian-Lebanese cuisine. The place was full with customers on this weekend evening, with tables laid out in small shop lot reminiscent of the European quarter of Istanbul, rather than North Sydney. The clientele was more Anglo-Celtic than in ethnic Arab Punchbowl of multi-racial greater Sydney. The food was thoughtfully prepared at Safi's. Delicate dips made of chilli, walnut and pinenuts or mild eggplant were a good way of famil…

Is The Grass Greener?

Latest statistics on legal migration numbers to European countries reveal 125000 persons moving from Poland to Germany, 89500 individuals leaving Romania for Spain, 62300 persons leaving Romania for Italy and 33,500 former Australians settling in the United Kingdom. 9500 Algerians moved to France, 2500 Brazilians relocated from the tropics to Portugal and 1300 persons came from China to Denmark. Some migration movements seem natural as they involved neighboring countries, like from Sweden to Norway, Ukraine to Poland, Russia to Finland, Germany to Austria and France to Belgium.

Do people move because of the search of a better life, better jobs or returning to similar shared cultures? Romania is the single country in the European Continent with the largest emigration. The destination countries for Romanian immigrants all have a better economic and social quality of life. Does the high value of the British pound induce Australians to forsake blue skies and better meat to come to the i…

Return to Goulburn

For a regional town that has experienced the Biblical seven years of drought,Goulburn was blustery shiny on this Sunday morning. More shops were open for business when they were not a few years back. There were the under thirties and a spattering of teenagers walking out and about which is vital to the demographics of any urban concentration. Businesses like Harvey Norman had taken a vote of confidence in Goulburn by occupying that vital corner store location along the main road - when others like Harris Scarfe were before. There was even a spanking new Asian food outlet.

The icon of Goulburn - the Big Merino - had been moved to nearer the Hume highway to Canberra. The other icon of the town - Bryants Pieshop - has steadfastly maintained its two outlets, one in its original shop and a branch at the shopping centre only a block away. The pie varieties remain the same good consistency and in taste. An outlet selling casual wear to Gen Y had a hive of activity near Sunday lunchtime. The …