Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Steam from the Top

Lately I have been less into blogging for some reasons or the other that makes me somewhat into a wandering state. My mind moves so much faster than my own pace which most often makes it difficult for me to sleep most nights. Lots of thoughts are coming and going. At one time I want to write a story, then at another I want to start a new blog on cooking and some other random musings. But there are so many thoughts that I have become a little uncomfortable. I need to organize them. After much of contemplation, finally I have decided on making a notebook and jotting down all my thoughts, and maybe I will have to start my next chapter that is related to food. First thing I need is to start cooking for friends and make lovely food shots for the recipe collection. Cooking has been a passion since young when I watched my mom busy preparing food from the kitchen.

I often love to cook a spread and entertain friends to my home. Since arriving in China, I do not have the luxury of inviting friends over to wine and dine due to the limited space in my studio apartment. The absence of my favorites that were left behind; mainly the cutleries and dining set that makes me proud when I display them with envy. The plates, the bowls and everything on the dining table are specially selected with the food served. Even the napkin, the tablecloth and the wine glass have to match with the food theme. That shows how meticulous and painstaking to prepare for my guests which I usually enjoy. Cooking is my passion and I love to entertain. I often divert my work stress towards preparing the food. Planning the menu usually makes me run wild since I have loads and loads of my favourite recipes that I can showcase. Maybe, one day my friends will ask me to cater for their private dining parties. One of my wishful dreams and just like anyone’s wish of marrying a Prince, mine is to cook and cater for private dining at home.

The highest climax one can steam

Possibilities or even a dream, why not. Probably then I will be able to reach a sense of stability and knowing that I love what I am doing. The pleasure of eating and the passion to cook is one of my favourite things. I am eager to return home and enjoy the art of cooking; to slap the dough around, massage the chicken with spices, grill the vegetables with a drizzle of virgin olive oil, and roast the garlic and set the oven temperature on high. I love to think how delicious egg plants or tomatoes are pan fried with duck fat; pure, unadulterated fat that gives it the real flavour.

Julia Child described the signs of doneness in a roast chicken as “a sudden rain of splatters in the oven, a swelling of the breast, and a light puff of the skin, and the drumstick is tender when pressed and can be moved in its socket”.

Well just as it is, my 6-inch iron will not fit the whole roast. I prefer the breast or the leg whichever that suits my taste of the day. Thrusting the bird with the 6-inch is not what Jamie Oliver of the Naked Chef will use for his roast. The shallow iron skillet is one that is handy for an all-in-one dinner dish. Start with quick searing to lock the taste and let it rest in the bed of greens before it is left to grill in the oven. I prefer cooking for many like a wishful list of orgies that one can’t imagine the numbers but to some, they prefer the simple pleasures of cooking for one. The kitchen can be a lonely place without stimulation and knowing that I am preparing a food orgy for my guests make the difference which is more pleasurable than the highest climax one can steam from the top. And to write about such pleasures with joy which is one of my talents of evocative writing, then flaunt with experiences and spice it with other flavours.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Learn To Dance In The Rain

I just wrote a note to Vinny sharing with her of my experience and I thought I should share this same note with you.

To my dear friend Vinny,
Let me share this personal note of experience with you. When I was reflecting back the year 2008 and this was what I noted back then:

It was the year of fire
The year of destruction
Blizzards that hit many cities last winter
The year of great sadness
The May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province
And a year of joy
The Beijing Olympic Games
The year of pain
The tainted milk scandal
An eventful year
There are still people dying
People in the world suffering
From war, poverty, illness and natural calamities
They say it will get worse before it gets better
I hope we saw the worst
that the year of uncertainty is now clearing
To a Happy New Year.

Thinking back, I got to appreciate the journey that I’m going through.

Some asked me on my birthday, “What makes me happy?” and I honestly said I know when I’m not happy and it’s been these recent years that I realized that I’ve been truly happy. Could it be the sign of ageing or the sign of prosperity that’s making me happy? I guess being happy is when I’m like my work, I do not have to worry about my expenses and that I’m financially sound, and most importantly I have friends who cares a lot for me.

"Life's not about waiting for the storms to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivian Greene ~

This beautiful quote gives me inspiration and it’s the power of thought that changes the way I see and feel the happenings around me, the challenges and the downturns of my life. Struggles with my personal life, no, but it’s more of a struggle at work and with my team. We all face adversity at work and how we address the challenges and the way we react to it that will determine the comfort and learning curves that makes work interesting. During tough times, it challenges me to feel with utmost regrets for making the wrong choices, feeling sorry for the misfit. Then I came across a reading that lifted my soul in knowing that with gratitude…. I should learn to dance in the rain.

It almost sounds too simple to feel important, but one word...gratitude, can change your attitude, and thus, your life forever. An excerpt taken from my reading would describe best..."When we choose not to focus on what's missing from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that's present...we experience heaven on earth."

Read this sharing:


"Any day I'm vertical is a good day"
...that's what I always say.
If you ask me, "How are you?"
I'll answer, "GREAT!"
because in saying so, I make it so.
When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture that brings a soft curl to my hair.
When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up to feel its warmth on my cheeks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Murakami's Colorful Dreamscape

"Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they're also what tear you apart." — Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore is a story about a fifteen-year-old bookworm who calls himself Kafka and runs away from home, partly to look for his long-missing mother and sister, but mostly to get away from his horrible father, whose crimes against him are never fully explained. Fate draws him to a town where, among other things, he meets two women who may well be his mother and sister, which doesn't prevent him from having sex with them. His story, which is as Oedipal as they come, is intersected with that of Nakata, a sixty-year-old simpleton who speaks kindly and politely to everyone he meets. A pleasant old man, who never recovered from a wartime affliction, a bizarre childhood accident left him learning-disabled, and unable to read or write. His needs, like his thoughts, are simple. Nakata now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events that transpires both Kafka's and Nakata's lives are interconnected, but exactly how this is doesn't become clear until the end, if indeed it does then.

It's one of the most engaging and magical pieces of literature I've read. Reality is unclear. The book presses the boundaries of what exists around the characters versus what exists in their minds. Powerful forces guide the characters with some known, some unknown. Odd things happen within the context of everyday Japan. A beautiful weave of metaphysical, philosophy, and wonderful characters that is both 'global' and 'Japanese'. Oedipal theory put to music, Hegelian subject given a body, Beethoven symphonies come to life. What I do admire about ‘Kafka on the Shore’ is its dichotomous structure and the way the two stories are intertwined and brought together towards the end. Not surprisingly, parallel worlds begin to intersect; the real world and the other side get all mixed up.

Murakami is obviously someone who thought deeply and originally about his world and theories he comes in contact with. Much like Kafka and Nakata and many of those they meet including some of the kitties. Only in a Murakami novel would you find raining fish, ghosts, people who are able to talk to cats, and Colonel Saunders (yes, of KFC) popping up as if it's completely the norm. This was one of those books that totally engulfed me. It was a trial having to put it down to go to work or sleep.

In all Murakami novels I have read so far, there were always some strong themes that stood out even in wild, mind-bending storylines. I loved his simple and trusting mind. One of my favorite parts of the novel was the way Beethoven's music struck a chord with him and stirred something inside him. I wish there was a bit more about how music brought about some kind of transformation of his persona. I also feel a lot of sympathy for Nakata. Due to a strange accident during the WWII he lost his ability to have feelings and memories. Imagine what living like that would be!

Haruki Murakami (村上春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as "easily accessible, yet profoundly complex." Critics suggest his work draws from film noir and contains elements of magical realism.

Most of the things which I love about Murakami's writing are his completely ordinary characters which usually find themselves in completely extraordinary circumstances, and still rise to the occasion without batting an eye. I enjoyed ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ is the endearing humor. I missed the music of the words which brought to life the prose of ‘Norwegian Wood’. I missed the splendid descriptions of scenes which made ‘Wild Sheep Chase’ so memorable. I loved ‘Kafka on the Shore’ although it lacks the emotional resonance of ‘Norwegian Wood’ (my favorite Murakami book so far) and because Philip Gabriel's translation is a little too American for my taste.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CONFUSION from the heart

See my footprints. I have moved on. A victim of a raped soul. I’m just running, I’m only human.

Edison Chen is now making his comeback with a new album ‘Confusion’.

He’s grown, suffered and survived and now he’s ready to take the storm. Edison Chen aka EDC whose budding career went up in flames when he became a victim of stolen files that bared all, seen all and as he leaps from his chair and raises his voice, “I’m naked, man! I feel that way; do you understand what I mean? I’m stripped down to the bare. There’s nothing you haven’t seen. I’m good. I’m fine. I’ve let that all go. I’m not self-conscious anymore because I can’t be. There’s nothing left to be self-conscious about.” He was stripped down to the bare in many sense, he is now ready to uncover his past with renewed energies to his new album, ‘Confusion’. Some of his songs have already been released over the past few months and have been getting a lot of attention. Like “Mr. Sandman“, he got to do a collaborative version with Sammi Cheng and MC Hot Dog. The album took longer to create than any album he’s ever produced. It took him three years and he penned over 160 songs during the period when he left the entertainment industry. When he first started writing the songs, they were very angry, hateful and dark; a reminiscence of the past. A victim of an unfortunate raped soul, ignored by many whom he thought was his friends. All these painful experiences came from the scandal when he thought he had a group of close friends in Hong Kong but when shit hit the fan, these people pretended like they didn’t know him. Disappointing but yet it became crystal clear that as a person, he was nothing to them. Finding a bunch of real friends since then has really meant a lot to him.

Then his second batch of songs that he was writing was kind of lost with no hope and no feelings. His third batch came which was more like he was ready to come back with a positive note; the best lyrics and ideas condensed into a single album, his journey from his fallen world back to the studio for the recordings and came his most personal album ‘Confusion’. EDC is now back to show people through challenges and adversity. It is through perseverance and self-faith, there’s a light at the end of every tunnel.

Let’s not judge
Let’s not ridicule
Hold no grudge
Renew the fuel
Forgive and to forget, we are only human.

Hear the cry
Feel the pain
Leave the past
See my footprints
I have moved on, I am a victim of the past.

I’m dark with dirt
A victim of a raped soul
I have been in the cold
Hold my hand Mister Sandman
I’m just running, I’m only human.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life Map

Life innovation is hopeless without design, innovate and become permenantly intertwined.

When I decided to do a mapping of the years of work into 6 categories, I realized the colorful moments that makes my work life interesting. Multitasking is the key essence to my work and I play many roles in the activities I serve. I consider myself being a writer when I had to complete my research studies on clinical psychology; a subject that I had to complete while working on a post degree. At least now I’m still continuing to write in other areas to supplement my strong appetite for creativity. When I started with consumer engagement at retail, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but play the role as a consumer (aren’t we all consumers) and design the journey of experiences. As I worked more and got more projects to handle, my expertise broadens to other areas of creativity that caught my interest. I know my strengths as well as my own weaknesses and I am able to ride on people’s strengths to contribute to my journey of success. All these successes came as a surprise as they were evolved from the man in the suit to a path that wasn’t planned but I was willing to take on the challenges that make my work life journey interesting.

Spark tingles like sexual voyeurism

Recently, I have this fondness for Faye Wong’s music. When Faye Wong first launched her album, she was known as Shirley Wong and later on she took on the name, Faye Wong with many billboard hits that made her one of the heavenly queens in Hong Kong. At that time, I still could not connect with her songs or understand what she was rattling. I couldn’t even believe a song with no lyrics, basically noise and rhythm could hit top of the charts. I can still remember her with her signature make-up, like a Kabuki performer in concerts with packs of crowd following her. There was once when she was seated next to me at a dinner party in Hong Kong and we chatted, not knowing who she was. Obviously, I couldn’t recognize her without her colorful make-up till a friend from the next table asked how did I know her. I was even more uncomfortable when I realized who she was that was seated next to me and there goes my small talk with her that changes everything, from a stranger I met to a singer I know. Now having moved to China, winds of change after 10 years or more, I have been listening to Faye Wong's songs but sometimes not the words. I know, heresy. But it's the truth, I listen to her for the way she sounds and that includes the sound of the words. The literal meaning of the lyrics, or what people used to call the "message", is secondary, which is just one dimension of her art. In her folk-pop-culture ascendance, Wong's songs were scrutinized for coded messages; supposedly embedded "between the lines", its satirical ditty about the superficiality that makes her the Cold Queen as she is known. Her songs can be so cathartic that the spark tingle my bones like sexual voyeurism; songs too can stimulate us when it touches the soul or at least tacitly, if not often explicitly.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Start From The Top

Passion is the intensity of life, imagination the creativity and it will take you everywhere.

It’s spring time again and I feel that there’s a lot of things going on in my head but yet I can’t think of anything that’s bothering me. Am I losing my passion over something or have I lost interest in everything that I have in life? At times like this, I would approach it with an open mind to avoid fighting with my own divided self and find the way out of this paradox. Or should I just opt for a hypnotic seduction and dwell into the question of who am I?

Often many people seem lost as to really who they are when being confronted. I am in transition from a pure imagination that flaunts and manipulate the realms of my imagination. Who am I is not as important as to what I am doing while in transition. I am an amateur writer of erotic fiction, and a hypnosis practitioner. Soon to be harvesting the sexual energies to include erotic hypnosis as one of my practices and to become a tantric guru to all those who have lost touch with their inner sensitivity of beauty and sex to distress. The beautiful part of being in trance is the ability to reach orgasm; the erotic seduction that captures the imagination yet controls the sexual energies. While I enjoy the moment of being in experience, I am also experiencing the escalating rise of energy from no excitement to a peak of excitement. It is a cascade effect like the waterfall; you start from the top as it goes down.

I have often been posted with this positioning question and it seems like a common interest to most people that I know in China. Whether it’s out of curiosity or a matter of being straight to the dash, I wish someone could tell me why. I hate being asked when confronted and most often my reply was, does it matter since I have neither preference nor interest in any way or position to the subject matter. I hate this subject, so I thought I would air it here. I have no problem telling people that my toilet paper rolls from the top. Does it have to be put on a specific way so it rolls off the top or from the bottom? It is really not important one way or another. I have not the slightest care which way it is, or even if it is on the spindle at all. All I care is if it’s there when I need it.

But it does matter when I bake cakes and I usually go for the top otherwise it could burn at the bottom. So move away from being stereotypes and frankly, being versatile would be the best as long as it is safe. So don’t get burn with issues that need to be confronted. One thing about me that has grown is the comfort in my own skin about who I am.

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Other pleasures

A simple meal on its own

I enjoy eating good foods and therefore I am critical on what is served on the table. I grew up hanging around the kitchen watching my mom preparing the meals for the day. At times I had to sneak into the kitchen to cook following recipes from my sister’s cook book from her cookery classes. I love to cook and create new flavours with my favourite ingredients. Cooking is one of my passions which helps me to channel my creative energies which I enjoy doing. It’s like an intimate act that uses my hand movements to touch and peel the vegetables; chop the garlic and squeeze the ginger, or pinch the salt, all these with my palm, fingers and thumb to get the right measurements. Dry or wet, it requires different amount of pressures. Then I use my hands to knead and roll the dough, roll and twist the pastries, then gentle tap my finger to press at the edge of the dough when it’s done.

I can’t stand lazy cooks that follow short-cuts or use left-over’s to prepare a lazy dish. Cooking is all about flair and flavour. A lazy cook is worst than somebody who simply cannot cook. A person who cannot cook can be trained, but a lazy cook knows exactly what they are doing. It's easy to spot a lazy cook. When was the last time you had a bad eating experience? It’s either the service or the restaurant having a lazy chef. Absurd owners with lazy chefs hide their sloppiness by going heavy on chili, garlic, or anything else with one distinct flavour that dominates attempt at delicacy. These lazy chefs supplement their non-efforts by putting out a basket of killers like salt, hot sauce and ketchup. Just trip into the kitchen and check for tell tale signs of their laziness. One of the things you should never see is a microwave in there. Microwaves should only be used to melt butter, chocolate or for defrosting and nothing else. There should not be pre-mixed powders that are used to make sauces. Good sauces are usually make from scratch and these takes hours to prepare, an honest to goodness way to make good sauces. There is no excuse for lazy cooking and don't let your meal be ruin by a lazy chef. Educate yourself and you will find it easier to avoid disappointment.

Making a meal and inviting friends over to wine and dine is an intimate act in itself, to share the food is even more pleasurable.