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Showing posts from 2019

Da Orlando Italian, Wollongong NSW

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The owner's name is Orlando.  The restaurant has a family like setting in a light industrial area along an extended Keira Street just maybe ten to 15 minutes stroll south of Wollongong City Centre and its main rail station.  Nearby are Delaney's , an institution of a cake shop for the region, a BP station and Europa, a reliable supplier of eastern European groceries that I use.


Is the cooking style from Rome?    The popular item is freshly fired pizza, with toppings from Margarita to veg to meat, attracting many take aways and delivery runs.  One can see the wood fired stove immediately in front of the entrance.  The venue provides some outdoor seating, but the internal tables are often packed at every meal time.  DaOrlando is open every day now, after a few years of operations.  Vehicle parking is street side, with the restaurant a hub of lit buzz on evenings when the neighbours only open for the day, due to the inherent nature of their businesses.







It is a pleasure to see anoth…

Vinh Phat Restaurant, Cantonese Yum Cha, Cabramatta NSW

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Preceding my recent visit to Vinh Phat, I had my imagination and expectations already fired up for a few months  by now.


The restaurant, located in the heart of Cabramatta, south-west of Sydney CBD, had been recommended and occupies an upper floor, not far from the traditional Chinese gates of the nearby mall.  I had seen queues of more than hundred individuals line up patiently at lunch time on weekends, the eager customers spilling out definitely on to the outside 
pavement and then up the stairs.


So what was it that created this demand for the cooking here?


At this stage I have not had a dinner at this venue, but at one lunch time, I did flip through the menu, which emphasised on lots of seafood cooked Southern Chinese style and on duck, all icons of a sumptuous dinner.  Here I offer my reflections of this Yum Cha session with two mates, one who only restricts his consumption of exotic East Asian to prawns and chicken, while the other friend has a more eclectic taste.




The two types of d…

Europe Through The Centuries

Europe has always been a hotbed of conflict, opportunity and new ideas in history.
Feudal age saw the conflict within Christianity itself, amongst Catholics, Orthodoxy and Protestants and involving royalty, the military and Machiavellian politicians.
After that, the rise of the Ottoman Empire threatened Christian Europe with territorial and cultural conquests - but this interface also brought new learning and influences in science and mathematics from the Arabs and Persians to the continent.
Discovery of the compass and how to harness winds for long distance sailing offered several European powers the opportunity to enhance trade, discover cultures not hitherto known to them and exploit the economies of other lands through colonisation.
The relatively stronger technology, military capability and political strategies of these European colonials made them eventually control and subjugate other populations, except in old Siam.
The negatives and positives of European rule is etched across the …

The Things You Used To Do

This may sound like a love story, but maybe it is not.


On a welcomed weekend, can you recall what your routine was many years ago?   We change our life, career and social status as we go through the phases of growing up, building a career and enhancing a network of family and close mates.  Such changes have been wrought because of our own reckoning, imposed on us and gradually as a result of world wide or local trends.

Do you still tend a garden?  Many Millennials live in bricked up, artificial spaces high up above the local street.  The greenery around more often than not belongs to Council, the body corporate or a neighbour.   The twenty somethings thrive on minimalising possessions even before the Marie Kondo lessons, keeping themselves nimble for travel, transfer to another country or to elope with the love of their lives on a moment's notice.

Oh yes, what about the sports and activity routine?  For parents  with young kids, it is de rigour on a Saturday morning to join the traff…

Blocked Number, Forwarded, Dissemination and Not Picking Up

With a smart phone, there are so many ways to connect and communicate with.
Examples are text, WhatsApp, Facebook, Email, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, Twitter, Line, Messenger, voice call and voice message. The last two means are increasingly in disfavour or less used, especially with those under 40 years old. Every individual can be contacted in all these separate ways - and may inadvertently miss important communication simply because he or she had no time to or simply does not check every such channel on a regular basis.
Many have turned off audio or visual notifications as their regularity can raise our stress levels, due to the sheer volume of messages, mostly unimportant, received.
Twitter encourages wording a short message quickly, perhaps with not much forethought and with a risk of messaging in the heat of the moment. Traditional letter writing may be passe but usually allows our minds and emotions to have sufficient time to settle down first.
Snapchat allows you to display image…

Partitioning

Partitioning involves moving populations, dividing and conquering human beings.
The governments of the USA, Canada and Australia historically moved indigenous peoples into reservations, in a version of containing and corralling groups, minimising their cultures and not allowing them to fully participate in the fabric of the nation.
This involved not only physical partitioning, but emotional, social and economic alienation.
During World War 2, Americans of Japanese and German ancestry were interned in specially set up camps, after they were forcibly removed from their homes.
The human pysche of nations can go to extremes in times of war, religious divide or when there is competition for resources.
Partitioning was both a strategy and solution deployed when decolonisation swept the world in the mid 20th century. The worst consequences of such political and socio- religious partitioning was experienced in south Asia in 1947, when the Mountbatten Plan gave rise to the modern nations of India a…

Social Media Messages and News - Stop First to Think

It is usually in our human nature to share experiences, knowledge, news and information.
One may expect human beings to gather around physically and face each other to do so, but this is no longer necessary.
They come in various forms in our contemporary world. We need not even speak to each other, but transmit almost instantaneously what we share in graphics, videos, pictures, text and more. Such startlingly efficient sharing communication is enabled by code, artificial intelligence, analytical cookies, wi-fi, gateways and monitored channels.
We do so with rising expectations of the quick and easy. The convenience can come with a cost.
We learn to lower our trust levels when messages in whatever format can be tampered with an intent to manipulate.
Racial, religious and political matters are especially vulnerable to be disseminated with an intent to arouse our deep set emotions, stir our beliefs and shake our convictions.
Hence the rise of the risks in whether things shared are authentic…

Haphazard and Hopeless in Haymarket

Rough edges, sudden bumps, grey blotches.
Unfriendly fences, bored workers, negative vibes.
Paths keep changing, dust in the air and no one cares.
There is a warzone for quiet battles, long delays in completion and accumulating hidden costs.
The character of a once vibrant place has been degraded.
Its denizens wander like zombies, the throbbing soul of the earth beneath scarred.
The promise, the beauty and the delivery as seemingly hopeless now as snow on Sydney streets. "Haphazard and Hopeless in Haymarket"
Laying new tram tracks, Sydney 2017-2019

When You Next Eat Out

It is lovely when a food outlet has a staff member asking you how the meal went. This has been the practice in many mainstream establishments in the greater Sydney basin, but to observe it being carried out in a Chinese Malaysian culinary outlet recently was most welcome. 
On the other end of the spectrum is the increasing tendency of Chinese restaurants, whether for dinner or yum cha, to ask for tips when a customer pays the bill at the counter. The staff member unabashedly asks the customer in the face. We are not the USA. Customers are willing to pay tips but not when pressured. Tips given are a voluntary token of appreciation for good service, not to burden customers who already pay a higher average cost for dining or lunching in Australia.
Are the tips collected shared amongst all staff members working that day or evening, or are they scooped up by the boss owner?
And then there are now tips asked for in Uber services - are these for the driver with still a percentage cut for th…

Wi-Fi Rules the World

How do you envisage an experience of a Wi-fi supply breakdown?
These seemingly invisible facilitators, as opposed to a more tangible scenario of water not coming out of taps or electricity cut off after a destructive storm, can provide frustration in every stage of a daily routine........especially if we have taken it for granted.
In a contemporary world where there are expectations of faster downloads, more dependencies on the internet of things and an overwhelming linkage of private lives to Wi-fi, it can be a truly felt personal shock when the Wi-fi supply is hijacked, not available or sold to you at monopolistic prices.
We have been gradually, relentlessly and unashamedly been nurtured to depend on Wi-fi as part of our lifestyle and aspirations.
Alarms, weather forecasts, home security, private viewing entertainment, operation of white goods like fridges and printers, information searches, education delivery, investment algorithms, news dissemination, communication channels and travel…