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Showing posts from 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…

Ten Nations, Ten Economies

China, USA, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, India and Indonesia - these forecasted biggest economies by 2050, in no particular order, as predicted by PwC, seem to have the largest populations as well, apart from the UK and Germany.
Three of them - USA, Russia and China - also have sizeable warfare capability.
At the same time, the current USA administration views China as a competitive threat in various fields, whether they be high tech, trading, political systems, economic capacity and more.
The USA has a strong network of military bases around the world but domestically its people deserve renewal and expansion of public infrastructure. China has currently only one military base on foreign soil and within and without China itself, has built up impressive transport links, including High Speed Rail links, contemporary bridges and new highways.
China spends much effort and funding on improving itself, thrives on its Confucian based educational system and emphasis…

European Impact

Euopean states have often been ravaged by war, with national boundaries changing, religious allegiances enforced, new generations adapting to learn different languages and political systems transforming in constant flux. Although most of these states can be small in size, there are a few large players - Germany, France and Russia - that have exerted their cultural, economic and political clout on the landscape of Europe in different centuries.
The stress and dislocation caused to civil populations in the last century had made many Europeans emigrate to new opportunities in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. The constant scenarios of instability, military conquest and economic uncertainty had encouraged the several cantons of the Swiss Federation to declare a strong political neutrality.
The Roman Empire set the tone early more then 2000 years ago in its drive for territory expansion, control of trade routes and increasing its brand of Greek based civilisatio…

Walls

Walls are not just physical structures, but also represent mindsets, preservations of what seems to have worked in the past and a telling inability to effectively embrace and utilise the best of changes.
Walls made of stone, metal or earth can only last as long as the materials offered by Nature and human handiwork. Nature is forever transforming. Humankind has progressed because of the evolving brain of Homo Sapiens to make the most of volatility, observe what is more stable and reliable and adapt better than others. Other related species have found limitations without embracing this significant ability, despite having larger sizes, apparently better physical prowesss and a longer track record of survival.
So when particular human tribes or cultures revert strongly to the circle of bandwagons mentality, it can be a decidedly portent sign of negativity and decline. The actual act of erecting walls, in the broadest sense of the word, has historically been more of a disadvantage than a be…

Not Too Long Ago

As the year 2018 came to a close, there were many reflections by the media.
I absolutely love history and how it has shaped our present and future. 
In 1978, the Lunar Year of the Fire Snake, Deng Xiao Ping commenced the liberalisation of the economy for the common man and woman in China. Forty years on, the transformation of the world's most populous country in many aspects of life, business, infrastructure, trade, technology and nation building, has astounded Western societies.
In February that year, the Sydney Hilton was bombed involving violent terrorism, a rather rare event for an Australian city, when compared with our current decade.   The iconic Mardi Gras began as a protest march on the streets of Sydney.
Grease, the dance movie starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, was released in June to a raptious audience.
Robert Menzies passed on, marking an end to a significant political era.
Refugee boats from Vietnam floundered off the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, whic…

Where Christmas Can Be Not A Holiday

The other day I wanted to Facetime with a nephew in Bangkok, but I did not realise that Christmas is not a public holiday in Thailand, the only Asian nation not occupied by foreign powers in the 19th and 20th centuries.
I then checked that Christmas is a public holiday, still, in all the Asian nations which were colonised by the British a century or more ago, apart from Brunei, which has recently banned any celebrations of Christmas, and Pakistan, which was a nation created for Indian Muslims in 1947 when the British colonials left. 
China, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea and Burma had varying degrees of Western colonial rule, either in parts of or the whole of their country, but do not recognise Christmas as a official holiday, except in the SARs of Macau and Hong Kong.
You may have noticed the much more impressive commercially sponsored lights for Christmas in places such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Saigon, Seoul, Taipei, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur when compared with Australian cit…

Matters that are Still A Bother

So I sit with a group of mates overlooking the beach, somewhere on the South Coast of NSW. It seems to me a most familiar scene, its peacefulness taken for granted, with the fresh breeze much appreciated after another rather humid summer's day. What has not changed can be something we can be much grateful for. At the same time, there are less desired aspects of matters that remain the same, or have grown worse. Venezuelans remain trapped in economic despair as a country rich in petroleum resources continue to spiral in negativity under the dictatorship that seems to be a South American affliction. An infectious disease like Ebola resurfaces in central Africa, adding to a heady mix of socio-political issues. An African swine disease out break is being managed in southern China, with the dry winter air increasing health risks.  Guns under personal ownership and military weapons of bigger destruction continue to wreck havoc, grief and damage. Individuals continue to have a strong urge to m…

To be Grateful For

When we have it, it is easy to take many things for granted.
Take a moment to think about it. The level of prosperity and quality of life has reached more individuals than ever in the history of the planet Earth. Give a thought to those who have less, and not just in terms of material things. Give a thought to those caught up in the materialistic warp, do they have true wealth?
For 2018, do give a thanks of prayer for the following in your life.
To have access to fresh air, clean water, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and what seems to be complimentary from Nature.
To get an honest smile and hello from a neighbour or stranger.
To feel safe in your neighbourhood or workplace.
To have the ability to responsibly express your opinion.
To experience the adrenalin rush that comes from exercise and mobility of travel.
To have an unexpected hello, because the caller is thinking of you, even if both parties have been busy.
To work towards truly meaningful goals with benefits that last instead of …

Lunar New Year - Symbolic Meanings and Good Omens

Lunar New Year of the EARTH PIG 5 Feb 2019 to 24 Jan 2020

Note: Lunar New Years usually start any date between the 19th of January and the 19th of February of any Gregorian calendar year.

Rat 2008 – Ox 2009 – Tiger 2010 - Rabbit 2011 – Dragon 2012 – Snake 2013– Horse 2014 – Goat or Sheep 2015 – Monkey 2016 – Rooster 2017 –Dog 2018 – Pig 2019.Apply multiples of 12 to identify past and future years.

No sweeping of the broom or cleaning the house or doing laundry for at least the first 3 days of the Lunar New Year, lest good luck is inadvertently lost. Get a haircut before New Year's Eve and avoid doing so in the first lunar month.
The Yee Sang is a raw fish salad that nurtures the stirring of positive vibes.Banquet dishes are chosen carefully to be consumed for positive vibes and play on Chinese language pronunciation: Lively prawns Prawns or Ha sound like laughter!Steamed fish is served whole, for its connotation is to be well off.Chicken sounds like luck.Lettuce, or Sang Choy in Cantone…