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Showing posts from March, 2009

Riding Along and Taking In the View

We may only recognise the full value of appreciated things until we no longer have it. I remind myself to take ten minutes a day to realise what went right and what was achieved each day. The proportion of problems to achievements usually fall into
5 and 95 percent respectively. And then - aren't problems also opportunities?

Ninety days have passed through in the so-called new year. I have had reunions, catch-ups and meetings with people I think really matter. I also acknowledge that I should see other people dear to my heart as well - and have not. Summer this time had not been intense. The mint in my back yard has revitalised these hot autumn days coupled with its coolish nights. The icebergs and yellow bush roses are starting to bloom. Every time I go into a department store or hotel, I want to re-organise my home. When I put my mind to it, I rediscover the joys of cooking.

I have kept on pursuing some things important to me, but there has been no tangible result. At the same tim…

Return to Brisbane

Brisbane Revisited

Singapore noodles (char bee hoon) at 20 Aussie dollars a plate? I could get that for half the price even in downtown Sydney. And a quarter of that price in Singapore itself. Maybe I was at a touristy place, a food joint in the middle of Queen Street Mall. Couple that with a huge glass of fat yak, teenagers hanging around as in any cbd and a lively air unexpected of a Tuesday night. Welcome to Brisbane.

The evening before, there were a fair share of fitness-conscious runners and group barbies humming along the South Bank. When Shane arrived from Adelaide late at night, we had gone over for a quick drink - and chose to have it in an unusual combination of a a liquor shop with a serving bar. I had never seen one like that in other parts of Oz, but I do not exactly hold a good record of pub-hopping. Welcome to Brisbane.

Queen Street Mall has always fascinated me, whether after a State of Origin NRL game between NSW and Queensland, or on an unassuming evening after a whole day of conferenc…

Cracks on the Business Wall

What makes a reputable business fall on its feet? Perhaps not having the courage and culture to continually change. Maybe in having a narrow vision of near term returns to the detriment of missing out on having both stakeholder financial and customer satisfaction viability in the long run. It is also possible that staff, especially those dealing with clients, are not well trained.

On a recent flight on Qantas from Sydney to Brisbane last Sunday night, the food provided to economy class passengers was dismal - exactly four chips, an avocado-based dip and a token biscuit. This is not a budget airline, nor do passengers are expected to tighten their belts. It was apparently a classic case of the business only considering its short-sighted perspectives. No orange juice was available when requested, and the shared video system had also seemingly broken down by nightfall, after it was assured to us that it had been working all right all day long. Not good enough. We do not want expensive ad…

Shanghai Revisited

On a Saturday evening on the autumn equinox,there was a festive air in Sydney's little Shanghai. I had not been there for months, and yet it was all familiar to me, the parade of brightly lit restaurants and cafes packed with engaged diners and busy staff. Lunar New Year and Valentines were over, but Ching Ming, a day of ancestral worship, was coming in two weeks' time. The night air was not cold and the day had been hot.

We expected, and looked forward to, the dumplings with hot soup steamed inside with pork meat balls. This time the pastry was thin and melted nicely into the inner ingredients. The cook must have been happy that day making these - it showed in the results. Prawns lightly sauteed and eaten with a dash of chili oil turned out to be appetising. We did not order noodles but relied on the basics - steamed white rice. The rice blended better with the plain looking salted duck cuts, a speciality of the central Chinese coast.

Alex remarked that the better ingredients…

Alessandro and the Ricotta Cheesecake

It was a feast not just for the palate, but also for the eyes. I could sense the texture of freshly made Peppes pasta, be it chili linguine or spinach flavoured. The range of biscottis, formaggis and hand made Colefax chocolates overwhelmed my attention. Easter is coming - and there were giant bunnies, lolly eggshells and hot cross buns. The rich aroma of freshly baked stuff from ovens reminded me of continental holidays. The collective feel of Saturday morning groups shopping and sharing similar passions brought me home to what is meant as one family and village.

I had previously frequented Haberfield only for dinner evenings, often wondering what was behind the closed doors of cafes, grocery outlets and fruit shops. Having the opportunity to visit it in the daytime was an eye opener. Fresh green olives beamed in their colour. The vodka laced pasta at La Grotta offered an agreeable orange coloured sauce that hinted of rose and savoury delight. We did not go check out the butcher Mario…