Showing posts from January, 2010

Metal Cutlery @ KFC

The other day, after a job interview, I went to KFC and had chicken rice. It's mainly two pieces of chicken, a bowl of rice, three slices of cucumber, and a small bowl of soup with a couple of meatballs in it. It was quite delicious, because a) our chicken generally tastes better (I suspect it is due to the halal state of the meat), b) it's been localized, what with the rice and all, and c) you gotta have soup to finish off the meal, you just gotta.

One of the things that's always frustrated me about the Canadian KFC franchise, besides the general disgustingness of the chicken that I will consume anyway (hey, low bars and all), is the lack of metal cutlery. What we get are plastic forks and knives, maybe spoons. And we're supposed to use these on paper plates.
I hate this concept. I hate using plastic cutlery. No, I don't care about your excuses, Canadian KFC. I don't care that it's cheaper, because buying a set amount of metal cutlery that can be re-used ove…

Some Thoughts on Avatar: The Last Airbender

- Aang is not white. Nothing about him codes as white. Maybe he has peachy skin which looks white to some folks, but that doesn't mean anything, since a lot of us Asians have somewhat peachy skin too. Nonetheless, I can see how some people can code him as white, because of his bald head. Yes, I said it: his bald head makes it easy to code him as white. A kid can easily imagine him with blond or light brown or red hair then. 
I do not know any reason to code Aang as white unless you're that kind of kid who wants to pretend he's the hero, and you're white. Which is completely understandable.
- King Bumi and many other Earth Kingdom characters really strongly code as South-East Asian to me. Haru, for example, I first took for a Malay boy. He could also be Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, but to me, I coded him as Malay. It also helps that the Earth Kingdom colour is green. Green is the color of Islam, you know. Not only that, but the hats they wear look like songkoks…

Malaysiana: the DiGi Man

A few years ago, DiGi Malaysia, a mobile phone service, had an ad campaign. DiGi's best known for its prepaid service, which in North America is called pay-as-you-go, which I think is silly. Anyway, DiGi's signal mascot in this campaign was the Yellow Man. Despite being an anthropomorphism of telephonic coverage, Digi Yellow Man has some personality to him, although in the first ad, those aren't much more than loyalty, a somewhat cheery disposition, curiousity in both what you do and the world around him, and a dogged determination to follow you everywhere you go, even to the bathroom:

He will be available at your disposal even out in the middle of nowhere, and will be your constant companion wherever you go:

Even on your wedding day:

Digi Yellow Man always wants to be the first to serve, and will fight to be of service:

But DiGi Yellow Man is under no obligation to never be embarrassed about you when you decide to be a rude obnoxious jerk in a cinema:

Nor does he appreciate be…

I Write: On Dragons

So the other day, the following chain of events happened: 1) Lavie Tidhar revealed to us the new cover of the Dragon and the Star anthology, of fiction by ethnic Chinese writers all over the world. 2) The cover looks awful, and my friend Joyce asked, why is it a Western dragon, not an Oriental dragon? Because, after all, this is an anthology of Chinese writers writing specifically Chinese-inspired fiction. The cover looks like an average dragon fantasy anthology, which isn't what the anthology is about. Anyway, 3) while we studied the features of the dragon closely to see what coded it as suitable for this anthology, I suggested, maybe it's a mixed-race dragon, because, even though Asian parents' genes will dominate over European-Caucasian genes, there's always that possibility, and 4) clearly, someone needed to write a story about that. Joyce did. I tried, but I ended up writing a story about an exchange student dragon. (Her situation is significantly more angsty than…

The Power of Silence

So the last while I've been feeling like, really awful. I'm at home, typing on my new laptop, the keys of which I'm still not used to, and trying to keep abreast of the blogosphere. I've been having a lot of thoughts in my head, but it's like, one ear in, the other ear out, and moreover, the longer I stay in Malaysia, the more I think in short sentences, none of which are useful for very long blog posts like this one.

The other day, while making name cards for myself (another project which isn't going too well, seeing as my Photoshop skills are set at Basic), I thought it would be nice to have in the background, "Silence may be golden, but diverse voices make a symphony."

Oddly enough, just a few days after I thought this up, this feature on gold came up on The Big Picture, which solidified a few things I was thinking about the saying, "silence is golden."

Gold, being a limited resource and, well, very shiny, is valued. I like gold, particula…

Blog for Choice 2010!

Today is NARAL's Blog for Choice Day, and its theme is on Dr. Tiller and on trusting women. 

I never met the man, and I wasn't even aware of what he did until he was killed. What I did know was that sometimes, for whatever reason, wanted babies cannot be carried to full-term. Whether it's due to complications, or danger of the mother's, or the baby was already dead in the womb - late-term abortions don't usually occur for shits and giggles, especially if they happen practically weeks away from the actual birthdate. 
I can't even begin to imagine how devastating that must be, to learn that for whatever reason, I won't be able to carry my baby to full-term, even though I'm almost there. It would be even worse to know it's already dead inside me, and needs to be removed or else I will die. 
But the last thing I would want happen to me is to be told I can't get the safest option possible for a late-term abortion, that I am required to put myself in fur…

Malaysiana: Shifting Goal-Posts

In high school, I was asked, "[Jha], are you a Christian?" and I would say, no, why? "Because you speak such good English."

In Canada, I was frequently mistaken for a Canadian local, or an American.

I was told, however, on a trip to England, with a few other students on a course on Shakespeare (wherein we had two weeks of seminars on Shakespearean plays which we would then watch in Stratford-on-Avon, and every day was a flurry of lectures, discussion groups, and plays, with afternoons off), that my Malaysian accent came out once in a while, "whenever [I] discuss difficult concepts".

I didn't know I even had a Malaysian accent. It's very slight, my professor told me, but it's there, because otherwise I have a rather powerful command of English (which only makes sense, seeing as it's the only language I have so I really ought to make the best of it).

But there are other things I hide when I'm among Canadians, just as there are things I hide …

Review: Soulless, by Gail Carriger

The blurb on the back of Soulless reads thusly: 

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.  
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. 

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Little did I know that the action really delves into this within the first chapter itself. I'm not used to this. I'm used to s…