Temp report from Korea...

So far so good in Korea... quick thoughts:
  • The entire country could use some hygienic education: like covering your mouths when you cough or sneeze
  • Public trash cans can eliminate privately "built" ones
  • Love the small dishes - hundred of them
  • Real kimchi is much better
  • BBQ is good anywhere in the world, but especially in Korea
  • Unfortunately, there's only Korean food in Korea...
  • Reminds me of Japan and China... I guess the influences never stop
  • King tombs are quite a sight... endless temples and palaces are fun since you can actually tour them all given their smaller sizes!
  • Student protests (witnessed one today, no idea what they are protesting for)
  • SM games... don't know why teenagers like to slap each other on the wrists so much
Share some pics: kalbi, traditional Korean ceremony (King's birthday), all those small dishes, and a temple.


Inside that stall...

I don't care what you do inside... but... when you are inside the stall:
  • don't use your laptop
  • don't use your blackberry
  • don't talk on the phone
  • don't tap your feet
  • don't snap your knuckles
  • don't make any sounds
I'm just saying.


The Savages

Long overdue movie review on The Savages. Seems like I've been watching many similar independent movies: Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. LMS was a dark comedy masked by an innocent premise. Juno was a serious topic masked by a light comedy. Both had the same message: be who you are... and people will love you for that.

The Savages is the story about a dying father. Brother and sister come together to deal with the inevitable. The stress and pressures build and both of them learn more about themselves. Even though they didn't care too much about their father, his death ultimately struck them into caring more about others.

Typical indie movie, I guess. Recommended.



Here's a link to all those maps... forwarded to me by a colleague a day after I hawked it off a former friend's blog. Quite interesting. Reminds me of GSB classes on the reasons and dangers of stereotyping.

Watching the news coverage on the Sichuan earthquake somewhat reminds me of watching the tele after 911. 7 years ago, EVERY channel had the same news going. It was mildly disturbing that there was so much desperation surrounding every media all the time.

Well, one reason why 911 isn't quite reminiscent of the earthquakes is that in 911, there was no hope for survivors and there wasn't even a body to be found. Meanwhile, people's bodies are being pulled out of the rubble all over an area that is similar in size to California. In Hong Kong, doctors are starting to advice people to see the psychiatrist if they feel uncomfortable watching earthquake news.

I have to admit, there's a certain devastation and negative energy if you watch too much news on survivors... oh well. The tremendous outpour of support serves as some good and positive energy to negate the bad. I'll take both.


Pictures from Outward Bound

Before heading out to sea... still fresh. Ah On is our leader in front

Parking attendants assist canoe coming ashore

Daryl and I need to figure out where we are rowing to
Back at base camp, we're all cleaned up. Behind the group is the storage room which has everything we needed for the kayaking

"Graduation" is great...


Trail of thoughts...

Reading a former friends' blog and found this link that is quite funny if you can read Chinese... its a "The World According to Taiwan" map. I followed another link to find some hilarious "The World According to..." maps.

Anyway, I was typing to above paragraph when I subconsciously noted that I used "former friend" to address my former friend. We were friends once. Something happened and we were no longer friends. While I regret some of the circumstances and also the result, I don't regret what I did. Perhaps I could have handled it better; nonetheless, I think I did my best.

It did get me thinking though... how many "former friends" do I have? Friendships diluted by time don't count. Girlfriends and boyfriends don't count. Wives and husbands don't count. I might just have only one former friend. How many do you have?


More Media Comments

Fascinating responses from my last post. I wonder where all those people (same one?) picked up my blog post and then left so many "anti-CNN"/"support China" comments. A Google person has been consulted.

Would these people who leave comments be offended when I once chastised Chinese who cannot open an ear to anti-China voices?

Anyway, noticed some differences in media trends on their coverage of the earthquake:
  • CNN headlines usually involve "Death toll exceeds xxxx, state media says"
  • BBC headlines is the same: "Death toll exceeed xxxx, state media says"
  • Hong Kong headlines try to create a sense of desperation... something like "Region devastated"
  • China headlines are much more positive: "PLA reaches epicenter", "1 Survivor pulled from school rubble", etc
(I don't think this post will get much comments... Shmoo?)



"You should not be so CNN..." is a popular phrase that ironically has its roots in "You should not be so CCTV..." (CCTV being the Communist media mouthpiece). CNN replaced CCTV after its reporting on the Tibet riots.

Anyway, here's some irresponsible reporting that touches my heart. Headlined as "Parents' losses compounded by China's one-child policy," this news (Main page, main news, with pictures and all) seems to attribute compounded pain to China's policy. Fine, let's look at those two components then:

Now... I'm no expert on measuring pain, but I have experienced it first hand. I promise you that the loss of a family member cannot be compounded. The pain is already maxed out. Losing one is same as losing two is same as losing one of two. Perhaps there's some study that shows more pain is suffered... though the report doesn't mention such studies.

Did the Chinese policy cause this loss as implied by the headline? Well, not quite. First of all, I think the earthquake is the main culprit." Losses compounded by China policy"? Really? There are parents who would have had one child anyway... in fact, given China's much improved life expectancy, studies (from Freakenomics!) have shown the parents will choose to have less offsprings since the success rate of raising a child is high. What about the parents who have lost two children in the earthquake? Three children? Are their pains not compounded then, Ms. CNN reporter?

Such personal/political agendas that get worked into the frontpage of a major media outlet is ridiculous. Yet so little of it gets scrutinized (Oh, yeah, if I did the same on HK or Chinese media, it would be just as bad).

What happens when the horse dies?

Well, you walk. 马死落地行. The Chinese proverb is meant to describe that people can always find a way. It may not be as great or as efficient, but you can still reach the destination.

And that's the lesson I learned from watching my teammates in Outward Bound. To me, it wasn't that challenging physically. Don't get me wrong, the kayaking is still exhausting... it's just not extreme exhaust, like I've experienced hiking in Tibet or towards the end of the Green Power 50km hike. Anyway, even though some of my teammates claimed to be unable to continue, after a little rest, they can still re-engage. Whatever the so called limits are, you can always break them and establish another limit.



Part of being good at what you do is having the instincts, the nose for value, the gut, the sixth sense, the seventh sense of what the future holds with respect to what you do. Blink author Malcolm Gladwell and the scientists that he has interviewed would call that "thin sliced experience". I happen to like "instincts" better.

About two months ago, I was in the lowest point of my professional career (no, it's not that long of a career; yes, I do expect that an even lower point to occur in the future). Think... Murphy's Law. It was a bit of TARFU but not quite FUBAB.

Anyway, my instincts kicked in. There were a million things that were going wrong, but I locked into one of them: "O" If I were to come out of the spiral, I would have to fix "O".

Well, as the story goes, I never could quite fix "O," which led to the lowest point of my professional career. haha. But in a very Ah Q way, I've determined that I have the instincts to survive this business.

Couple of updates:
  • I'm taking photography lessons... improving just a little bit though, so I may stop those $70 a pop lessons
  • Instead of many poker games, I'm doing more sports for the weekend. It makes me sore. But it really makes me feel better the next few days
  • In fact, I'm doing a 3-day Outwardbound outing starting tomorrow
  • I'm looking for any travel to Korea tips (end of month)


The Good News is...

In a speech, GW Bush says "The economy is not as robust..."

"But the good news is... we anticipated it!"

Great, GW, thanks for the prediction earlier.