Sunday, 31 August 2008
Check out the website www.rawoysteralert.com. I was shocked to learn that several individuals die each year from the consumption of raw oysters that are contaminated with naturally occurring Vibrio bacteria. Some gulf states have chosen to not take action in order to make raw oysters safe for ALL consumers.
Several years ago, the state of California made a requirement that all imported raw oysters must be pasteurized and since that requirement was put into place there have been NO FURTHER DEATHS in that state.
In order to affect change, consumers need to only accept oysters that are SAFE through post harvest processing or through being cooked. Consumer demand drives the market and the industry would be forced to provide oysters that did not lead to unnecessary deaths.
The website www.rawoysteralert.com has a wealth of information available and also explains how you can help in making the consumption of oysters safe for everyone.
Friday, 29 August 2008
It is anybody's guess as to how much money is spent in buying hell money, giant joss-sticks to be burnt. It is definitely a thriving industry. Throw in the latest fad in providing the departed souls with paper mansions, plasma tvs, Mercedes Benzes, mobile phones, even laptops, and all the creature comforts of this world, and the wastage is colossal. In the name of preserving Chinese culture, the Chinese burn away millions of dollar every year. How many trees are cut down each year, just to pander to this cultural practice of the by-gone years?
Anyway, the month of August is an eventful one. There was a spate of arrests of high profile people over corruption: the arrest of the Director and Deputy Director General of Immigration for kickbacks for fast-track approvals of foreign workers, the continuing saga of Anwar Ibrahim and his accuser, Saiful, the victim who alleged that he was sodomized, the vociferous disruption by self-proclaimed champions of Islam of the Bar Council of Malaysia's forum on the attendant problems that come with the conversion of a spouse to Islam , Mara University College of Technology students staging a mass protest against the Selangor Chief Minister's suggestion to open up the university to non-Malay students by a mere 10%, the arrest of many officers in PUSPAKOM, centres for the inspection of road-worthiness of motor-vehicles, for corruption, and of course the latest by-election at Permatang Pauh, where Anwar Ibrahim won a thumping victory, despite the sodomy charge hanging over his head. There is even an attempt by religious hardliners to prevent the Canadian singer, Avril Lavigne from performing.
While on the international front, the Beijing Olympics kept everybody glued to their TVs; China displayed her superb organizational skills and flexed her athletic muscles; Phelps won a historic 8 gold medals, Bolt, the lightning achieved a triple first, and minion Malaysia could only manage a silver. It is hard to understand that small countries like Jamaica and Trinidad with small populations could achieve so much. It would do well for us to focus on sports that could win us medals instead of spreading our limited resources to train athletes that have little hope of winning. We have pumped millions into sports schools all over the country and yet we have not been able to nurture talents that can compete at international level. What is happening?
I was buying some apples when I stumbled upon stickers on some apples that got me puzzled; it used to be that fruits, particularly imported ones carry labels or stickers of their producers. However, this time I noticed some numbers on the label. A google search revealed that these numbers are codes assigned to the ways fruits are grown.
Here is the info:
- Conventional fruit labels: 4 digits and does not start with 9. They start mostly with the digit 4. The apple above is one conventionally grown with herbicides and fertilizers
- Organic fruit labels: five digits and start with the number 9, say for example 99222
- Genetically modified fruit: starts with the number 8, say for example 89222.
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Apart from the usual dishes that go with the steamboat, the restaurant also serves 'huitre' or fresh oysters at RM 6.00 a piece. I for one have never been into eating raw food, including sashimi, but obviously many would swear by their deliciousness. I watched fascinated as John Tan, biting and chewing the oyster with obvious relish, proclaimed in between mouthfuls, the excellent health promoting properties of raw oysters in boosting the libido. He proceeded happily to help himself to another when I refused to be drawn into taking my share.
Monday, 25 August 2008
It is going to be a difficult task for the London Olympics Committee to put up a good show, but who knows?
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Until last night, when I went to the Dragon Food Court where two Myanmarese work in the day time and serve as guards at night, sleeping in the restaurant under mosquito nets.
There we were sitting and talking in the empty restaurant when one of them, wearing his sarung put on a vcd on Myanmar popular music. Was I surprised. They are not as insulated as we would like to think. They are like youth the world over, modern, fun loving, vibrant, and how they love the rappers. It came as a surprise that the military government allows large-scale concerts to be held in enclosed premises as well as in the open. On second thought however, it would seem politically astute on its part to provide a safety valve for young people to let off steam. Not only were rapping popular; Chinese songs sung in the Myanmar language seem to be popular too, for instance "Xing Tai Luan" and "Wang Le Wo Si Shui", an indication of the influence China has long exerted on the country. English songs were sung too, in the Myanmar language. I heard one "When You Say Nothing At All" by Ronan Keating.
Truly, music is the universal language that they can relate to; it is the salve of the soul, a temporary respite, for a people that have lived a life of poverty, deprivation and isolation.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
It seems when times are bad, people still spend lavishly on food; rather it is a kind of madness that makes them spend even more. Maybe it is too strong a word to use, but it seems to me that they are obscenely unconcerned about how bad the economy is, that they should spend judiciously.
A couple of nights ago, I went there for some crab porridge (by invitation obviously, as I couldn't afford to feast on crabs, oysters and cray fish on my inadequate pension) and I can tell the bill came to be pretty heavy on the wallet.
Anyway, it was not only dining, but the wining too, as we had a 12 year one litre Old Parr whiskey to go with the food in addition to some beer which one of our friends preferred . I have made it a point not to step out of the house for the next few days just to avoid being invited. How long can you continue to eat without paying? It has become embarrassing to say the least although they keep assuring me that companionship is most important. I would sometimes go late explaining that I have to accompany my mom for dinner; thus skipping the food although being good friends that they are, they would continue to press me to eat something, which I would "reluctantly" do just to give them face. As far as the Chinese are concerned, 'face' is one commodity that cannot be compromised.
Friday, 22 August 2008
The completed chain of chalets remain empty of occupants. It is inconceivable that people would check into these chalets as there is little guests can do by way of recreation.