Monday, August 29, 2005

Sam Kee (Dessert place- at 1am where I had yummy almond dessert soup)

A book for me perhaps

I across a book called 'being vegan in a non vegan world' from vegan momma's blog

From chapter one:

All of us who are vegan have at some time or another just felt like absolute outsiders in the places that we’re supposed to be the most comfortable… our homes, our jobs, and with our friends and families. Though most vegans are likely not any “freakier” than your average person, the simple and compassionate act of denying animal products for ethical reasons can literally make you into the weirdo at the dinner table, or in other social and personal contexts.

I haven't got it YET but judging by that quote alone I want to. Perhaps the hardest part about being a vegan isn't the food, or the shoe shopping (although at times that part is tricky) but attitudes from others.

As argumentative and passionate as I might be, I don't preach, well certainly not to acquaintances anyway. In fact I've even learned that when someone asks you why you are vegan at a meal time to simply reply with 'if you really want to know ask me at a time when your not eating'.

I've learned lot alot about people since becoming vegan. Things that I would never have imagined. The word vegan is simply said (often by other people) and I don't even have to say another word without assumptions being made, and defensiveness, anger, frustration, someone wanting an argument, or to get a rise out of me. Someone proclaiming that it is a faze, or that i will get sick, or that it is crazy or god knows what else but you can be sure I have heard it all before. One guy even told me that his idea of hell was discovering that he couldn't eat meat. A certain ex boyfriend had this whole idea that my veganism (and my concern for anything he disagreed with-womens rights, the environment) was just a way for me to isolate myself and so that I could feel different. Because being different is so much fun (idiot!). Everyone also has a story of someone they knew who was vegetarian once and went back (many who suprise suprise got sick as a result of a french fries diet). Somehow I'm also made out to be this extremist animal rights activist who is yelling murder at the top of my lungs when I'm just sitting there eating my food and wanting to be left alone. Answers are demanded from me-why? (its all in the way you say why, its a dead give away) and a thousand others. You can also be sure that I know my nutrition back to front (a lot of people seem to get their nutrition advice from tv ads- the dairy corporation has done very well for itself in that respect), and I won't even honour a response to the 'but plants have feelings too'-pllllllease stop wasting my time and my energy.

I should probably say that its all in the tone, I have plently of meat eating friends who I never have these conversations with, and plently who ask out of genuine curiosity. I don't mind answering and explaining to them. I was certainly one of those people prior to being a vegan and I guess thats why I was suprised by others reactions towards it. My family is perhaps the worst, you would think I would have created a crime the way my grandmother goes on about it.

Mr T is vegan too but has a very different approach. In fact quite often he will tell me not hide the fact that I'm vegan which I must admit I do at times just to avoid confrontation (see above), sometimes I just want to be without having to explain my lifestyle choices. In a similar way I don’t throw around the f word (yes feminist). Both words create a lot of feelings in people and its not nice to be the person on the receiving end all the friggin time.

He on the other hand will proudly tell everyone he meets and explain it with patience. I have a few theories on this. One i've been a vegan slightly longer than him and therefore have learned my lesson, or otherwise exhausted from explaining/defending my choice within my life whereas it just hasn't got to him YET (pessimistic i admit). Two, different cultures perhaps chinese are more open minded to veganism and not quite as defensive as Australians are (although doesn't quite sound right). Three, he is simply more patient and pessimistic (he thinks that they everyone will be open minded).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

HK Fashion (slowly fazing out all my HK pics)

I love the fashion extremes In HK.

It is so hard taking pics of people without them noticing it. Especially when they are walking, and the camera settings need to be adjusted. So I handed it over to Mr T for a few of these shots.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Five songs I’m loving right now As requested by Erin.

1. I'm Sleeping In A Submarine- Arcade Fire. (i loveeeeeeee their album- its quite diverse-thanks Claire!).
2. Haligh Haligh- Bright Eyes.
3. Do The Whirlwind- Architecture in Helsinki (so much more more respect now that I have seen them live).
4. Positive Tension- Bloc Party (yes very similar to banquet but so catchy and always wants to make me dance).
5. Not a pretty girl- Ani Difranco (had to include one of her songs but choosing just one was like picking children...)

The list was suprisingly hard to make. I don't really think in terms of individual songs rather albums. So I choose my fav song at the moment on each album. But even now I want to keep changing it.

Anyhoo now tagging Emma, Vera and Mr T (sorry) and anyone else who wants to join in.

Edited to add: Claire.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

There are quieter places in HK, like Sha Tin (New Terriorties)where I stayed and where the pic was taken.

How to choose a wing chun class if your a woman...

Visit them with a male friend and notice if they pay you any attention at all.

It took me three before I found one.

Considering that this particular style of kung fu was created by a woman you would think that instructors would see women as clients too but apparently not.

Last night though I went with a male friend and the sifu (instructor)actually spoke to me too. Not only did he speak to me, he also made eye contact with me and asked me if I had any martial arts experience and why I wanted to do it? and various other questions and provided me with information and get this-he even asked if I had any questions. About half of the attention went my way. Yayyyyy!

In previous classes I was literally ignored.

Considering that not only am i being ignored but that my male friend knows very little about wing chun or kung fu in general it gets pretty damn frustrating quite quickly.

I was starting to think that wing chun instructors belonged to the same category as car salesmen, mechanics and IT salesman. All of which which tend to assume that women know nothing and therefore why bother paying them any attention, well at least if they are accompanied by a male.

Thankfully I was wrong well at least there is one instructor. Now all i need to do is save a little money so I can start the lessons.


On the bonds note.

I got my reply from the advertising standards board. yes I complained and am in training to be that annoying old women who writes into the paper.

Apparently I'm not the only one to complain. They listed some of the previous comments most of which likened the ad to porn and others spoke about the inappropriateness of the time (during the day).

The complaint/s were dismissed however bonds have agreed to show the ads only after 8.30pm.

In their arguments they stated that it was created as 'spoof of advertising by Calvin Kleins...'

They also admitted that the ad was 'certainly more sensuous than previous bonds ads but ....'

I've noticed there recent ads are a huge improvement. So there is some hope (a tiny bit) after all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Is anyone else annoyed with the new bonds ads? Click on the link to view one (although its not the same one i watched- no butt close ups).

I generally love bonds. So much so that I have been known to ask at times 'what did we ever do before bonds?'.

This ad gets me so frustrated though.

The new ad features the very frustrating body fragmentation technique. As if the male gaze in general is not bad enough, its always great to be reduced to a pair of breasts, or a butt!

Its amazes me how someone can made an ad that is supposed to appeal to women which actually creates all sorts of problems for women. For example: it's certainly not helping with body image issues and also attempts to reinforce the women as posessions idea at the same time.

Nice one bonds!
Food food and more food in HK

The last time I was in HK I discovered some new foods which I love. The picture above shows the very last turnip cake (white-ish rectangle) on top of all the other yam cakes (which are nice but not as good as turnip cake). They are called cakes but really they are savory slices. I've told Mr T it would be much appreciated if he learned how to make it because I can't find a vegetarian recipe online. I'm not sure how I lived in HK without trying it but now I feel like i was missing out all along. Mmmm i love vegetarian dim sum. There is some thing extremely comforting about eating lots of little dishes.

I didn't actually eat this one but the sign is funny.

Dried mango and all sorts of other yummy things sold on the street.

Ja-ja (sp?). I love HKs dessert soups. I thought red bean or the almond one was my fav til I tried this one!

Speaking of food, MR T informed me when I was there that a tomato tofu dish that i was fond of was made mostly from ketchup/tomato sauce. I did some googling and found a recipe that sounded like it here. I tried it a few weeks ago and again last night and sure enough it tastes very similar to the same dish i had in HK. Who would have thought I could make a delicious sauce out of tomato sauce, soy sauce, ginger and not much else?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A bar called 'Phonograph' in Hong Kong after the pillable show (with what appears to be a ghost).  Posted by Picasa

Lecturing has been a strange experience so far.

They say that people fear public speaking more than death and I am beginning to really understand why.

This week was my second week and I'm still incredibly nervous and I have to admit the experience has been far from enjoyable. In fact I'm quite certain that I have asked myself on at least a dozen occasions: what have I got myself into? I guess its a learning experience. So far I've already discovered a few lessons.

One: when you are teaching a difficult subject you need to be careful not to get lost in students confusion.

Two: Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more as you never know what questions may be asked and it certainly doesn't look good when the lecturer is unsure.

Three: do not expect students (except for wonderful mature age students) to answer questions you ask, or actually ask questions either.

Four: do not question the staff member who made the lecture notes. Even if you are quite certain that they are wrong, it's not good to make enemies with such people.

Five: Don't take the students whispering personally-they are not necessarily whispering about you.

Six: Accept that you will make mistakes and that it might add to the embarrassment from time to time.

Seven: If all else fails when you don't have the answers or are lost in their confusion tell the students to read the chapter (or re-read if necessary) and that we will go over it again next week. Then start to panic all over again.

Eight: Do not under any circumstances expect the office staff to assist you with any information about pay forms, or any other relevant office stuff. Their job is purely there to make new staff feel like shit for asking a simple question such as 'when do the pay forms go in?'.


In other news my bro is walking (properly walking) again finally!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mr Ts 'Lonely people in TST' picPosted by Picasa

Disparity in Asian-White Dating

I was reminded again after being reunited with Mr T in Hong Kong of our uniqueness as a mixed race couple. The stares we get when we are together are unbelievable and they are not stares like they are in melb where you catch someone out and they look away, no they are lingering stares.

I was so excited to see another couple 'like us' when i was there that i squeezed his hand and I smiled. Its refreshing to know there are others like us!

A little while back a friend of mine directed me to a website which discussed the 'Disparity in Asian-White Dating' as it is referred to.

As you have probably seen there are plenty of interracial couples the other way around: White males and Asian females. When i was in Hong Kong on my latest holiday there (11 days) I tried to count and come to about 40(WM-AF) to 1 (WF-AM not including us). Interesting though American marriage stats are actually not quite as extreme. Its about 3 to 1. However as Tanaka's notes:

People I've talked to in the various parts
of this country told me that these ratios seem too low.
That is, the observed ratio from real life is somewhere
between 10:1 and 20:1. We suspect two reasons for this
discrepancy: (i) Most of the A/W couples that we see are
casually dating, not married (and will not marry). Among
dating couples the ratio is somewhere between 10:1 and

Also factoring in the Gremlin to god syndrome it starts to make sense.

Tanaka attempts to explain why there is such a big difference. While I don't agree with all of his theories, two things stood out for me personally from his article. First he talks about pervasive media bias. Particularly the under representation of Asian men in American media and then the way they are portrayed within the media. He quotes Alan Hu [1994]:

[...] Asian men are portrayed as: asexual martial arts
masters, asexual viet cong guerrillas, asexual servants, and
asexual geeks.
Asian women get to be prostitutes, geisha,
emperors-(there's another male role)-waiting-to-be-sexually-
liberated-by-a-real-(white)-man, and recently, newscasters.
As another data point, look at the (infrequent) interracial
couples in films: the man is almost invariably white

Thinking about this on a personal level it makes sense. For me dating an Asian man was not something I thought about previously (this is something that appears to be very common amongst WM by the sounds of it). I'm sure I was surrounded by attractive asian men from time to time on the street not to mention some of my good AM friends in Melbourne but I wasn't really seeing them. In fact it wasn't really until I moved to Hong Kong that it started to see them in a slightly different light and I can't help but wonder if it was the affect of starting to watch more and more HK movies with some very nice looking actors. I would hate to think that it was that simple: that the media influences me that much, but I can't rule it out. I'm very much aware of the lack of good female roles within movies and the male gaze so i can't believe I never noticed this before.

The second thing was the height issue. I prefer taller guys than me (my one superficial requirement- i know i know ...), I'm 173cm tall and AM often struggle to meet that requirement. Little did I know that MR T (who is 6ft2) was out there.

My google searching also reveals results on an online quiz which asks both WF and AM what factor dissuades relations with the other and the majority (almost 75% for both WF & AM) marked that they don't think that the other will find them attractive. This might help to explain why MR T and I were very close and very flirty for so long before any move was made.

I would like to re-address this issue at another stage because it is a rather complex issue. In the meantime though I will leave it (like Tanaka) with Alan Hu's advice:

On a societal level, look around you and
look into yourself. Recognize media bias and attempt to
counteract it. If you see something egregious, point it out,
write a letter to the editor, do something. If you see
racism and prejudice in yourself, attempt to eliminate it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The stunning Chi Lin nunnery (pictures do not do the place justice).

This week is a big week for me. Well the start of it at least.

Last night I went and listened to Stephen Chow and a few of the actors from his latest film talk. So strange after only watching the film two days ago.

Today i went back to uni.

Tomorrow i start doing my placement

and wed i start lecturing.

I'm particuarly nervous about lecturing but keep telling myself if I can handle screaming bratty and unpredictable two and three years olds with their parents watching then maybe I can handle 20 yr olds.

When i first received the call, i hesitated in fact i was kind of convinced into it. It got worse though when I discovered that I wasn't actually taking tutorials but actual lectures and I saw the lecture hall and imagined 50 plus students in there. On the up side the money is good and it will be a good experience.