October 2014 Archives

in eating and drinking |


I saw diced lamb flap at the supermarket the other day. Lamb flap is belly, or sometimes called breast. It’s not a cut of meat I see very often—lamb comes in leg, shank or shoulder, occasionally neck fillet. Looks very much like any other belly cut—layers of meat and fat with some bones. Cheaper than shank and looks perfect for braising.

I used the standard braising method and ingredients. Brown the meat, remove. Sweat mirepoix in browning juices, return meat to pan. Add chopped tomatoes, red wine and seasoning. I splashed out and got fresh rosemary this time.

Instead of braising for 3hrs in the oven, I used my dad’s thermal pot. This is a device that is made up of an inner cooking pot and an outer insulated container. The idea is a vacuum is created around the cooking pot, keeping it hot and the food slow cooking for a long time. Apart from the initial heating no other energy source is needed. A good video demo by one of the manufacturers showing how to cook lamb shanks:

I brought everything to a rolling boil for 20mins. Then it was simply a matter of leaving the stew overnight, total around 15hrs. It was still hot when I took it out, apparently the food can be kept at around 60˚C for 12hrs. I returned it to the hob, brought it to boiling for about 10mins to reduce the gravy a little. Cooking in a sealed device meant no evaporation.

Served the braised lamb flap with grilled okra and rosemary flatbread. Everything homemade and economical. Success all round.

in 101.1001 , eating and drinking |


Tasks #49-58 of 101 in 1001 are 10 new recipes. This is #9, and the first bread recipe.

I’ve been baking since I was 11 or 12, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve made bread. I’ve been watching too many GBBO and masterchef episodes and I want to have a bread recipe I can master and keep in my back pocket. This is based on a jamie recipe.

500g strong bread flour
15g (or 1.5 packet) yeast
1/2 tbsp salt
1tbsp sugar
300ml water

Mix the dry ingredients with about half the water, add more water to get to a sticky consistency. Knead until a silky, elastic dough is formed. Leave in a covered bowl for 30mins to prove, until doubled in size.

Knock the air out and knead a little more. Tear off chunks of the dough, add fresh rosemary leaves and roll into small balls. Pat between palms into flat shapes about 0.5cm thick.

Pan fry in olive oil until golden. Sprinkle sea salt and drizzle rosemary & oil.

I’m very pleased with the results. A little yeasty, I think I added too much yeast. They fluffed up nicely during cooking and had a wonderful golden brown colour. Slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I’ll definitely make them again.

in in the news |


This week marks one month since police threw 87 cannisters of tear gas at unarmed people who were fighting for something quite fundamental: a say in the way their city is governed. The background and development of how #occupycentral turned into #occupyhk and #umbrellarevolution have been well documented and analysed. Here are some personal thoughts, observations and pictures.

in eating and drinking |


The whole family went for curry buffet at the yacht club. It’s very hard to take a picture of curry, and of buffet dishes so I won’t even try. My niece didn’t have the curry, instead she ordered spag bol and ice cream. The ice cream was mint choc and topped with chocolate soil, served in a flower pot. Looks great! The soil was broken up oreos. How a little creativity and artistic presentation gave additional wow factor to a good dessert.

in outside interests |


A fb friend asked me to get a couple of pairs of these converse 2014 holiday chuck taylor star collection color weave sneakers because apparently they are limited edition APAC only. I went over to sneaker street to see if I can get them. The first shop was sold out of all but the smallest sizes but luckily the second store had them. I got the last pair in the larger size and there were only about 3 left of the smaller size. The sales associate told me they are Japanese limited edition, but I can’t find any reference to Japan online. Ah well.

I guess if I were a die hard converse fan I’d get a pair for myself too, but I decided against it. They’re equivalent to USD110, and I can get 2 pairs of Nike Airs at the outlet for that price. Guess I’m not a die hard converse fan.

in eating and drinking |


My scales broke, or rather, the scales I had at parents’ place broke and I can’t be bothered to a) go get the ones at my place or b) go buy new ones. Sales start in november, so I want to wait a few weeks. That said, for some reason I felt like making chocolate cake. So I did some random googling and found a recipe that uses cup measurements.

First of, I know many, many, many bakers use cup measurements — all American recipes are in cups as well as some NZ and Aussie recipes. But I’m uncomfortable with it, as we can see from the results. The recipe didn’t specify what type of cup so I used a proper ones from a professional cooking shop.

3 cups SR flour — that looked like A LOT! Must be something like 300-400g
2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar — I used less, about 1.75 cups
3/4 cup cocoa powder — I used a combo of cocoa powder and chocolate pieces
2 eggs — didn’t seem enough
1 cup oil — I used a combo of soft butter and canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup hot water

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix well.

That’s it. No creaming, no beating, no getting lots of air into the mixture.

Bake at 180˚C for 45mins. The recipe said 200˚C but I was slow cooking ribs in the oven so I couldn’t bring the temp that high. The rib roasting tray also meant I had room for a rectangular cake tin as opposed to a regular round cake tin. I had enough mixture for 2 cakes—I thought that was a lot of flour and sugar.

The result was, surprisingly, good. We liked the reduced sugar, so it’s not sickly sweet. Light and fluffy inside (bicarb+SR flour?), perhaps a tad too crumbly and a really nice crust outside. I normally don’t go for the end bits but this time I was super glad I did.

So, using a cup to gram conversion table:
350g SR flour
2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
350g sugar
75g cocoa
2 eggs — I still think it’s not enough, may be increase to 3 eggs
250g butter
250ml milk
250ml hot water

Or half for just one cake.

in eating and drinking , workstuff |


This was on fb. It is a sort of dream job, if I had some training. A few years ago I looked into culinary schools, they are expensive. I know that lots of people dream about cooking jobs, when in reality it’s tough, low paid and with little career progression. Stil, a little café or a catering business is a sort of dream.

in techtalk |

I joined twitter in 2007 so a bit earlier than many people I know. I don’t post a lot though, for the longest time I used it only to keep track of #running and #weights workouts. Been including tweetdeck as one of my startup tabs recently, where else but at twitter can I keep track of important news and movements like #occupyhk and the fight against #gamergate.

I have around 200 followers, most of whom are inactive. I mentioned before that I get some @mentions in Indonesian or Malay:

Some are wrong tweets, probably for @wattpad:

I decided to have some fun with the most recent wrong number tweet:

Why? Because I couldn’t make any sense of the post. Was it suggestive? Sarcastic? Derogatory? I know the wearing of Birkenstocks equates to being nerds or hippies. I was tempted to reply with an image of crocs. Even better, I found a pic of Buzz Lightyear crocs:


The problem was, humour never comes across well on the internet, especially with people you don’t know and a conversation thread you’re clueless about. So I kept it simple:

> p.s. @macy_merritt and I now follow each other.

in eating and drinking |

simplylife01salad simplylife02bfast
simplylife03barra simplylife04cake

Met mm for lunch at a bakery/restaurant called simply life that was all about simple food. Set lunch included salad with a nice balsamic dressing. For mains mm had full english breakfast and I had almond crusted barramundi with organic brown rice. The fry-up was good, I ended up trying all the items. The fish was nicely cooked but I was disappointed at the small portion that was sitting on a huge amount of rice.

We shared a dessert of raspberry cheesecake that was again tiny. Could taste the fruit but the cheesecake was more like a mousse cake. Some hit and some misses, decent value for money.

in eating and drinking |


When I was still working and living on my own, my staple was roast chicken. Usually thighs or legs. I’d roast a batch at the weekend and it’d be my lunch for 2-3 days. For some reason, parents don’t roast chicken a lot — questionable quality of chicken? Or they prefer lamb.

Well, I felt like roast chicken, so I dragged mum to the market and bought a fresh chicken and some vegetables. Spatchcocked and seasoned with lemon zest, italian seasoning and butter rubbed between the skin and the meat. 40mins at 180ºC roasted British style with carrots in the tray (we forgot potatoes).

I had par boiled the carrots before hand so the water together with pan juices made a simple gravy. I was well impressed, the breast was soft and juicy and not dry at all. I don’t eat chicken breast when I’m eating out because of dryness, this time I preferred the breast.

in eating and drinking |


250g dark chocolate
250ml double cream
knob of butter

Break chocolate into small pieces in a bowl. Heat cream and butter until almost boiling, then pour onto the chocolate pieces. Stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Leave in fridge overnight to set.

Use a small spoon and hands to shape gently then roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts. I also made a small batch that had a splash of highland park added. It was quite strong. Made around 30 truffles in total.

in outside interests |


She’s right, that Sylvia Plath, bless her. Yes, I established that one paragraph or one pic or whatever I like constitutes a blog post, but that’s everyday writing. Non-fiction. Doesn’t apply to fiction. That’s pretty much why I don’t write fiction as easily anymore, except for the annual nano-hand-wringing-exercise. Or why I only take pictures of food and travelling. My niece has started instagramming her sketches, and they are good. Reminds me of how I absolutely cannot draw. Or appreciate music, and forget about playing it.


So as my 10th nano approaches, I tell myself, this is the year. This is the novel that can be polished up to a real book. I’ve outlined, and broke the rules by writing the first few thousand words, and gotten a bunch of research saved in evernote.

Let’s see. Come back at the end of november and see how I feel about the end result. I’ll complete nano, I usually do but as ever, I’ll probably end up doubting and disparaging those 50k words. And then it’ll sit in its neatly archived folder doing nothing.

How to get out of the self-doubt hole? Loads of advice, like getting support from others, finding a creative zone and just going for it. Others describe how to banish distractions and overcome imposter syndrome. All sounds a little dubious to me. Or may be my right brain is the one that needs fixing.

Apparently, the secret to creative success is to leave out brain cell hogging stuff like deciding on what to wear:

decision fatigue or making a bunch of small decisions like what to wear and what to eat wears out your brain and saps your mental power for more pressing matters

I could have told the author that doesn’t work. I pretty much wear the same hard rock café shirts all the time, and I don’t feel I have that much more mental power.


I know what the answer is of course. It’s so obvious. Shut down parts of the brain that thinks logically and pays attention. Blur your eyes. Get into a state of sleepiness or drunkenness. Drink beer. Look at the number of alcoholic writers, there probably is truth to the saying

there are famous drunk artists, but no famous drunk accountants

Hmm, how much whisky will it take?

Then again, just cut the bullshit and make time to write, it’s that simple.

in techtalk |


Culture, fashion, trends. They all seem to go through cycles, don’t they. People left right and centre are declaring that they are getting back to blogging. Matt Haughey (mefi founder), Andy Baio (XOXO co-founder), Gina Trapani (lifehacker founder) are all doing it. I feel like it’s like something that was old-fashioned one minute is suddenly the cool thing to do again.

Except I never stopped. And neither did a bunch of others like Jason Kottke, John Gruber and all the people I follow on feedly, so back is neither here nor there, really.

People abandoned blogging for twitter, facebook, tumblr, youtube, instagram, snapchat and all that. Then came medium and everyone was excited again. Yet medium is considered longer, more journalistic writing. (Or so I wanted to believe, until it slammed its doors in my face.)

A lot of emphasis on simplicity lately. With so many outlets, it does become a personal choice on which platform(s) to use and what to write about. Most of my posts fall under the definition of short- or mid-length. Taking a note of Gina Trapani’s new rules for blogging, with one or two exceptions:

  • if it’s a paragraph, it’s a post — thank you, thank you, thank you. Sometimes I find it hard to write more than a few sentences, so it’s validation of sorts. I’ll even go as far as saying, if it’s just one photograph, it’s a post
  • negotiate a comfort zone on two axes — tech/personal, travel/running something like that. I really have to tighten up my topics
  • traffic is irrelevant, don’t even measure it — my traffic has always been depressing, so let’s give up on monitoring it
  • simplify, simplify — she suggested no comments (yep), no categories, tags, footnotes, special post styles, pages (categories and tags are habit I’ll keep though), default wordpress template (does it mean I don’t need to redesign the site? that’s good news)
  • ask for trusted collaborator feedback — I dunno, I never had collaborators or guest bloggers, I can’t see it happening
  • have fun — I like this one

In sort of related news, I see someone I follow on social media referring to updated posts on livejournal. I’m trying not to roll my eyes here. I think that’s taking simplify and back-to-basics a bit too far. Then again, George R.R. Martin still updates his livejournal. I don’t know what to say.

in going places |

kor070door kor123bukdoor

The good thing about having decent hotel connection is I managed to write up the trip daily, just like when we went to Tokyo. So the experience feels fresher. The trip summary merges all the daily posts.

kor177bukframe kor207hanokcafe

The slight negative is I had to pick just a few daily pics to upload and post. The entire set of 521 pics and videos didn’t take long to sort and rename, but I forgot to upload them when I was at home and using mum’s slow internet it’s taken almost a week to upload since I had to do them in batches of no more than 30 at a time, and when no one else is using the internet. Anyway, set 1 and set 2.

kor443ihwamural kor545ihwamural

Some more that didn’t make it into the daily posts. Doors at bukchon, decorations and from ihwa wall mural art village. We were there almost 5 full days and didn’t make it to any of the palaces, world heritage sites, parks, river walks and a few areas like itawon and gangnam. I like our new style of travelling, not in as much hurry as before, trying to fit everything in. Because you can’t. We’d wake up whenever, have brunch, walk around our destination of the day, stop for coffee tea and take our time.

in being healthy |

running man

Surreal past few days, with acute allergy attack and medicine that made me extremely drowsy. Will probably take the last of the piriton tonight, get lots of sleep and then try to get back on track tomorrow. Or rest another day then start week 2 on monday. Luckily it’s the beginning of the training and missing a week is insignificant. I still can’t figure out what caused the allergy attack. I’m a little scared of eating shellfish or nuts or even wheat that past few days, although I’ve never had any food allergies. Most likely it was an airborne allergen or I got bitten by something.

in being healthy |

Slept almost 12hrs, with itchiness throughout the night. The angriest red patches have gone, just lighter patches remain. The redness and itchiness are moving to the extremities — both hands are swollen, both feet very red and even the scalp is irritated. I guess it’s like poison moving away so it dissolves. One would hope.

in being healthy |


Really bad day. Rash has spread everywhere, feels hot and itchy. So much so that I sat in the bathtub with cold water to cool down. Then after dinner I may have developed a fever, so time to break out the cold towel. Going to bed early, piriton makes me drowsy.

in being healthy |


All of a sudden I’m itchy all over and I have red splotches everywhere, like multiple mosquito bites. Allergy attack but I can’t think of a trigger. Food? I was sitting on mum’s armchair, may be got bitten? Went to the outpatient’s clinic and got some medicine. They gave me a piriton shot too. Feeling miserable.

in being healthy |


New article 4 actionable ways to start improving your running. Makes sense.

1. strides

run at an easy pace, and then gradually get faster until you’re at about 95% of your maximum effort. Hold that for about 2-3 seconds, and then gradually slow to a stop

Another type of intervals, a bit like sprints. The advice is to start with 4 strides, then increase to 6-8.

2. balanced strength training

There are 3 types of workouts: front & back, lateral, and rotational. Running is front & back, so to balance, do exercises that are lateral and rotational like side lunges and hay bales. Hay bales are like goblet squats with rotation.

3. negative splits are good

Some trainers say negative split means not enough effort has been put in the first half of a race. This advice says it improves endurance.

4. different long runs

Accepting that long runs are boring, it’s good to add some variety and fun. Hills, farteks, progressions.

in being healthy |


The 52 week marathon training program I found calls itself couch to marathon. I’m not a big fan of the name couch-to-[distance] but I guess I have to accept that this is exactly what it is. It doesn’t make any fancy claims:

You won’t break any records by following this plan, but it will get you to the point where you can finish a marathon with periodic walking breaks in a year’s time

It starts off really easy, and builds up distance. There are a lot of walk and rest breaks. For example week 10 mid-week 3 miles come with the instruction to run 1 mile, rest 3 mins then repeat. By the time we get to week 40 mid-week 8 miles, it’s run 4 miles then rest for 3 mins. The weekend long runs, which get up to 24 miles in week 49, tells us to run 1 mile then rest for 1 min. Honestly week 49 is the last week before taper and I should think that by then I can run more than 1 mile before resting.

I think I will follow the plan with variation, the 4-times a week schedule I like, the distance progression makes sense too. I’ll use the plan as minimum and try to do more, better. For the mid-week runs the breaks can be used as interval training; for the long runs I will let myself walk or rest more. I think that in the past I’ve done too much boring useless steady-state running as opposed to intervals.

Every training plan tells us to cross train. I have at my weights, TRX and found a bunch of interestingly named bodyweight workouts. With names like mulan, hold my beer and sherlock workout, I’m sure I’ll find a fun one.

So today is week 01 day 01. The instruction is to jog (not run) 1 mile then walk 1 mile for a total of 2 miles. That’s it. And so I did my usual 5k run except I just ran around the flat instead of bothering to go outside.

in photography is life , techtalk |


Another #randomflickr, this one was taken in Prague oct-2011. Pretty autumn colours along the river vitava from the end of charles bridge.

An article on quartz talked about twitter bots. An interesting one is pixelsorter which

sorts the rows (or optionally columns) of an image according to a specific method like hue, red, brightness, luma, etc

Just tweet @pixelsorter and attach an image. It’s a bit like playing with the multitude of filters on photoshop.

There are also a few preset commands which give other results. This is the effect using preset[triphop]. Pretty cool. I love discovering quirky pointless stuff like this.

in going places |

hklym01typhoon hklym05house

We joke that one of the benefits of #occupycentral is the lower pollution level. We wish. Still, it’s been marginally less hot so it’s feasible to go outdoors without getting completely soaked or needing a ton of anti-histamines.

We met up at a fishing village called 三家村 (three families village) that is one of our favourite places to visit. I took the subway and mm took a ferry from near her place. There is still some fishing there, but mostly it’s tourism and seafood restaurants nowadays. We had lunch at a local diner then walked to the tip of the village. The stilted houses and narrow alleys are interesting and pleasant.

Afterwards we visited a shopping centre nearby and had tea/coffee. It’s a nice day out.

in being healthy , sports active , techtalk |


Four years ago today on 10-10-10, I ran my first marathon, Chicago, in 5:38. This coming Sunday, 45,000 people will race the course over 19 neighbourhoods. Next year, I hope to join them. I deferred my 2014 place so I basically have a guaranteed entry for 2015.

I’m both scared and excited. I have not been running as much for the past year or so. I found a 52 week training plan which includes runwalking and allows short breaks during longer runs. Towards the last 18 weeks, it puts in more mileage than the Higdon novice 2 plan and gets up to 24miles (vs 20 for Higdon). Sounds good.

Technology and theories have changed since 2010, the market is flooded with wearables and fitness trackers. I retired my garmin, because it’s too bulky, too limited, and takes too long to find a satellite signal. Saw a new sock sensor that does real-time analysis of foot-striking position and stride and gives feedback via an app. Not sure I want a voice shouting “you’re heel striking!” in my ears when I’m struggling in the middle of a run though.


Ah, heel striking. That’s me, 2011 chimarathon. Note the knee brace, the KT tape, the orange sauconys and the heel striking. I have repeatedly been told that heel striking is bad, it increases the chances of injury and all that. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to change to fore- or mid-foot striking, and whenever I manage it, I feel quicker. When I’m tired, I lapse back to my natural heel striking form.

Turns out, heel striking isn’t the enemy of good running form. Changing footstrike may reduce knee injuries, but it may also lead to other types of injuries. My takeaway from the article is, it’s okay to heel strike at slower paces, it seems that both stride and strike will change with faster speeds. Since I’m aiming for a 12:00/mile, it probably doesn’t matter that much.

in photography is life |

I’m trying to start a new trend on twitter, to post random flickr image. It’s a good way for me to look back at old pics. I used a random number generator to get a page number (I have a total of 239 pages) then I picked an image that I liked. This was during Taste of Chicago jul-2010, my parents were visiting and we were having a great time.

This is my second attempt at #randomflickr. Let’s see if the trend picks up. Not harbouring a lot of hope. I did a quick count, even though I have 197 followers on twitter, only around 20 are active. There are about 100 real people who haven’t posted for ages, or have automatic feeds from their fb statuses. The rest are commercial or fake accounts, I also attract a fair number who probably wanted to follow @wattpad, and for some odd reason, a bunch of indonesian / filipino followers.

That said, I’m enjoying hanging out on twitter and instagram. Much more rewarding than fb, which has turned into a sad popularity contest.

in 101.1001 |


Task #10 of 101.1001 is to read 101 books.

I started 101.1001 on 01-dec-2013 and I finished reading the first book on 04-dec-2013. So it’s taken around 10 months. In other words 10 books a month or 2.5 books a week or around 3 days per book. Of course sometimes I finish a book in one day and some books take longer to read. I finally finished all Harry Potter books as well as one from the 2007 challenge, mythology for dummies. I would say 70:30 new vs re-reads; when I buy a new book from an author sometimes I go back and read all the previous books, especially if it is part of a series.

Book #101 was Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. It’s all because I was looking at sci-fi books for my niece and I’ve had the hardback since it was published.

The book is set in an alternate, steampunk, universe of WW1. The blurb:

It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

Marketed as a YA book, I must admit I really, really, really enjoyed it. The book had everything — smartly written story, fun main characters, realistic side characters, fantastic clanker machines, amazing darwinist beasties and great setting. There was a real sense of adventure and wonder, made me want to be Alek or Deryn. Barking spiders! Plus a side of history too, even though it only skirted with actual history. Unlike the other book I was reading for my niece, Death’s Daughter, I’m happy to recommend Leviathan. Not just for kids, adults too.

Since it’s #1 of a trilogy, I’m faced with the same dilemma as before. Complete the series by buying secondhand print books (under $10 for even hardbacks) or switch to ebooks ($30 for all three). Sigh, sigh, sigh.

So anyway, I’m already on books #102 and 103. I have a bunch of new books to read, and every month there are more new books. I sat on my sis’ armchair reading for a couple of hours the other day and she remarked that I could happily stay there for a long time. Absolutely true.

in techtalk |


Testing the IFTTT twitter to fb feed. This is #74 in the interestingness set, of a pretty rose at the portland experimental rose garden.

in techtalk |


Testing iFTTT again. A random number generator gave me #17 from my flickr interestingness set. A simple noodle dish with egg, sausages, chicken wings and pork chop at a local family place called happy diner, hence the dish’s name of happy noodles. High rent and poor economy means the place has been replaced by expensive faux hipster joints.

in in the news |

A potential diner rang a restaurant to order take-out, but the restaurant said they didn’t offer take-out, so the diner posted a poor review on yelp. The restaurant replied with a rather epic take-down. Read the eater article, it’s worth it.

Some restaurants offer take-out food, some don’t. Personally I won’t expect an upscale restaurant to, and if they don’t specify (or specifically say they don’t) I won’t expect them to change their policies for me. This is what the yelper did. Expected to be accommodated against the rules, and repeatedly tried to intimidate by saying that her husband was a lawyer. I suspect that if she had asked nicely, or asked about which menu item could possibly be boxed up, the restaurant would have considered her request.

I’m glad the restaurant wrote their reply, even though it was a little snarky. Far too often we see 1-star amazon reviews because the packaging was torn, or people with entitled attitudes thinking the world evolve around them. I remember asking a guy who brought his dog into my garage when I had a garage sale, and was met with snark. Every dog owner before him tied their dog outside before coming in, isn’t that common courtesy?

I don’t think I’ve ever left a review for anything. If I liked a restaurant I wouldn’t necessarily gush about it on yelp. What if their standards change or next time I go, I don’t enjoy it as much? I have been known to recommend Hawksmoor enthusiastically, by bringing friends there so they can experience it themselves. And if I didn’t like a restaurant, I just won’t go again. I tend to believe that if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it.

in in the news |

I cleaned out some old folders recently and found this video I took of the Chicago Apple Store in 2011; Steve Jobs died three years ago today.

It’s also really nice of Tim Cook to email apple staff with a tribute.

It just occured to me, how similar the tributes around Apple Stores around the world 3 years ago are to the message walls scattered all around #occupycentral protest sites this week.

SteveJobs8 oclp073msgwall
flickr / image on left via user morgan schmorgan, image on right is mine

Simple, elegant, heart-felt. That’s the power of a small post-it note and a pen.

in arts and media |

I’m so glad TAR is back. And the fan shout-outs celebrating 25 seasons. Phil in season 1, ex-racers at the starting line, re-visiting tasks. And at least a few racers who know the race, rather than generic YDC / models recruited by production.

I have pre-race love for the food scientists, the cyclists and the high school sweethearts. Looks like the dentists and surfers are strong racers who may go far. Let’s see how far they go.

Wow, 25 seasons. So many great memories. The slide in quality the middle seasons. The end of twop. Thank heavens for previously. I’ve decided to rewatch s1 on youtube. Sigh, so sad to see Nancy of Momily. RIP.

in how the day went |


My life is surreal. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at #occupycentral with thousands of students and protesters calling for democracy. Today I spent the late afternoon at a 5-star hotel within walking distance from the protest site, sipping red wine at an invitation-only contemporary art show.

The show was unusual in its location. They rented 4 floors of the hotel and each room was occupied by a different gallery. The art was displayed cleverly on the beds, the walls, propped on top of the tv cabinet and even in the bathroom. There were some really great pieces, even an art idiot like me appreciated it. I chatted with an Aussie artist who lived in Holland and really really loved her piece with a beautiful night sky, a bike and grassland. I was too busy talking with her that I forgot to take a picture. It was for sale at the equivalent to £1,000.

Another interesting work were these of Audrey Hepburn and a mashup of a dollar bill and a RMB bill. I was only at the show for about an hour, managed to see about a third of the exhibits.

Surrealness #2 was going to dinner with King’s friends. This is my group of friends, as opposed to joint friends with mm. We used to me very tight when we were undergraduates and some of them I hadn’t seen in 20+ years. But it was really great to see them and yes, we’re all much older, but nobody had changed too much.

in in the news |

oclp003central oclp013admiralty

Day 5 of #occupycentral started slowly, with only a few people at the main sites in the morning — 30 reported at TST and a handful at admilralty. I walked down after lunch, turned out that my black t-shirt fit in with the unofficial protester dress code. The bottom of garden road was deserted, ironically also the road outside the BoC building with its national day banner. Walked up the flyover towards admiralty and the scene was different — people milling around the nornally busy road, student protesters sitting at the side of the road and impromptu gatherings giving anyone and everyone their 3-minutes to address the crowd.

oclp022angrysign oclp046draw
oclp072msgwall oclp142cardsign

Lots of signs, almost all of them handmade. People could just grab a piece of cardboard, a post-it note or a blank sheet of paper and write or draw whatever was on their minds. The signs were then displayed at various locations — along the side of the concrete flyover, on the pavement, at the side of a building. Some signs were by and in different languages too, it was moving to see. It was, like the #occupycentral movement itself, ad hoc and free of rules or pretentions.

in going places |


We don’t know if it’s a blessing or curse, mm woke up with severe stomach pain and suffered the whole day with diahorrea. We stayed in our hotel room as long as we could, left at 11am. Got the airport bus, checked in and through immigration. By then it was past 1pm and I was really hungry, but she wasn’t. We found the food court, I wolfed down a beef bibimbap (stone pot mixed rice) and she went to the lounge to find something she could eat. The flight was very full, I watched Transformers 3, ate her portion of fish dinner. Luggage was out before us.

With #occupycentral blocking the main road, my taxi home was twice as long and double the normal price, but I don’t mind. It a small inconvenience for me, and it’s far more important to keep the big picture. Quite tired, need a shower and took me a while to unpack. Tempted to walk down to see what’s happening with the protests tonight, but decided against it.


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