Your Ad Here

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Headband: Red or Blue?

Gossip Girl hasn't even started this season, but my obsession with headbands persist. The other day while I was buying a simple clip for my hair (it is way too big by the way), I came across this Cara headband and fell in love with it.
It's just so simple and understated, with a feminine but elegant bow on the side that doesn't make me look like a little girl. The subtle shiny navy blue color subtly contrasts with my black hair, making it appear even more black, which effectively is the effect I aim for. It's the perfect headband to carry me into fall, since it's so subtle I can probably wear it with everything.

The problem of course is that it comes in a variety of colors and I'm wavering between the navy blue and the deep maroon red color. My first instinct was to pick up the blue, but then I caught sight of the red and the red is so nice too. It also contrasts with my dark hair beautifully, but while the navy blue is subtly elegant, the red pops and makes a statement. It won't be as versatile as the navy blue, but it'll definitely be special.

So if you were me, which one would you pick? Or is it nothing special at all (and that I was only in love with it because it happened to match the outfit I was wearing that day) and I'm better off without it?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

08 Trend: Braided Hair

Braided hair has been one of the most obvious beauty trends this year. People seem to have a love-hate relationship with it -some people think it's pretty and some think it's just too cutesy. For most part, I think braids is a cute way to add some girliness to ones hairstyle, but it really depends on how you do it and whether it suits the rest of your look.

The celebrity that has been sporting braids the most seems to be Lauren Conrad. And if you know Lauren's usual style (-very girly,) then you would probably agree that the braids really suit Lauren.
The basic way seems to be braiding the front bit of your hair and pull the briad to one side, and tie all your hair up into a pony tail. Look how well the braid goes with Lauren's style!
And she even manages to use the braid to glam up her whole hairstlye and look.
Nicole Richie uses the braids to complement her boho, LA style.
Then there's the braided up-do.
I have to admit I think this hairstyle really doesn't suit Gwen Stefani. It looks so complicated and just... weird on her.
I love the way Rachel wore the braid. She manages to wear the braid without looking overly girly, keeping her casual and trendy look.
Despite how cute I think the braid is, I still haven't tried it out yet. It's probably because I don't want to look like I'm 14, but mostly because it requires some effort to pull together (as opposed to doing nothing.) What do you think of the braid trend? Have you tried it?

Food Stylings: Gansito Marinela

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Washington Post Hands Spike “Asshat” Mendelsohn His Ass, Hat

Politely, of course, possums, this being The Washington Post and all. Still, the Post’s review has some cherce bits. While praising the bacon (presumably not Spike’s doing) and the strawberry milkshake, the reviewer singled out the “tough” burgers, the fries that were not crispy “despite having been fried twice,” and the onion rings described as “lumps of mushed-together fried onions that resembled a run-over baby octopus.” WaPo definitely brought the meow, and then some.

The review also mentions that the restaurant’s décor includes “oversize photos of the fedora-wearing Spike.” We don’t know about you, possums, but that would definitely put us off our feed.

The Masland Church Bell

This very church bell was placed on the bell tower on top of the original Masland Church which faced the Island Road in this 50's black and white photo. The bell was in this church for more than 50 years! The original Masland Church was built of the best belian wood that Hoover himself selected.

This is Sibu's beloved Masland Church Bell measuring 26" in height with a diameter of 30" at the rim. Its thickness is 3 " . It was made by McShane and Co in 1883!! The photo is taken by Rev Kong Chiong Ling and posted by Wong Meng Lei in his blog, Rejang Basin. Meng Lei wrote " before the renovation, the bell rang true at six on every Sunday." However I remember, perhaps wrongly that in the early 60's it rang at eight for the 8 o'clock service too.

On the bell is this inscription "The voice of one is crying out in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord." Indeed many elders of yesteryears and believers of recent times have been preparing all for the way of the Lord.

These Three Bells of Tuscon Church remind me of the many church bells I used to admire when I was a student. My classmates and I used to look up books for pictures of church steeples and church bells,after we had a special History of English Literature lessons with Mr. KV Wiltshire. He impressed us with a true demonstration of how bell ringing was like in England.

Most young girls then had all those romantic ideas of marrying in a church with all the church bells ringing. Furthermore as we looked at those pictures we would build up our hopes of marrying well too. I suppose that was part of growing up. But by the time we planned our own wedding the traditional ringing of church bells for a wedding had gone out of fashion in Sibu.

And here I am wishing that all young ladies could have a beautiful wedding with real church bells ringing.

One of the oldest church bells in the world. The Saleby Church Bell in Sweden.

The resounding Masland church bell ringing on Sundays at six and again at 8 a.m. was a call to worship and a gentle reminder to all the Methodists in Sibu. They Foochows probably made up three-quarters of the religious Methodist citizenry of that time. For years from the time of the Hoovers who received the donation of the bell, until very recently the Masland Church bell rang true and clear.

When the church bell rang we felt the pull to go to church. Many motor launches reached Sibu just in time for church going, cheerful women would walk towards the Masland Church. Family bonds were re-established and old friendships renewed at the church. Sunday morning was always so wonderful.

"Bells toll to signal, warn, celebrate". To me when the bell tolled I felt all at once comforted that I was home in Sibu. And the week had started as Sunday was considered the first day of the week.

Perhaps many young people do not appreciate a church bell or do not even know that once Sibu had a remarkable church bell and it should be of great historical value.

According to Wikipedia, a church bell is a bell which is rung in a (especially Christian) church either to signify the hour or the time for worshippers to go to church, perhaps to attend a wedding, funeral, or other service. Before mass communication they were the only way to gather a village together, so they evolved secular functions also.

European Christian church bells typically have the form of a cup-shaped cast metal resonator with a flared thickened rim, and a pivoted metal striker or clapper hanging from its center inside. It is usually mounted high in a bell tower on top of the church, so it can be heard by the surrounding community. The bell is suspended at its apex from a horizontal axle, so it can swing from side to side. A rope is tied to a pulley or lever on the axle, and hangs down to ground level. To ring the bell, the bell ringer pulls on the rope, swinging the bell. The motion causes the clapper to hit the inside rim of the bell as it swings, making the sound. Alternatively, the bell may be suspended from a stationary support, and the bell rung by pulling a rope attached to the clapper to one side.

Some church bells are very old indeed. A bell, from Saleby, Västergötland, Sweden contains an inscription from 1228 in the Runic alphabet!

In many Catholic churches, the ringing of a church bell for the Angelus prayer, in the morning, at midday and in the evening, is called the Angelus bell.

Some church bells are electronically timed to chime automatically. Clocks generally automatically strike, but in the United Kingdom, bells for services, etc., are still almost always rung by people. Some churches use recorded or digitally synthesised bells.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church there is a long and complex history of bell ringing, with particular bells being rung in particular ways to signify different parts of the divine services, Funeral tolls, etc. This custom is particularly sophisticated in the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian bells are usually fixed, and are tolled by pulling on a rope that is attached to the clapper so that it will strike the side of the bell.

Church bells became common in Europe in the early Middle Ages. They were first common in northern Europe, reflecting Celtic influence, especially that of Irish missionaries. Before the use of church bells, Greek monasteries would ring a flat metal plate to announce services. The signa and companae used to announce services before Irish influence may have been flat plates like the semantron rather than bells.

In World War Two in Great Britain, all church bells were silenced, to ring only to inform of an invasion by enemy troops. The episode "The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage" of the BBC sitcom Dad's Army included a scene where the church bells rang by mistake, leading the Home Guard to believe that an invasion was taking place.

The practice and hobby of bell-ringing is known as campanology. Change ringing is a particular facet of campanology where bells are rung in mathematical sequence. Wedding cards commonly show bells: this is founded on the tradition of ringing changes as the wedding couple leave the church.
A simple instrument, the bell has been used to signal, warn, announce, celebrate and mourn for thousands of years. There are examples of primitive bells made out of wood, shell and other materials. The Chinese used bells as long ago as 800 B.C. The Old Testament recounts that the high priests of the Israelites wore bells as protection against evil spirits. In ancient Greece, bells were rung to announce that freshly caught fish had arrived at market; the early Romans used them to call the faithful to worship. Celtic tribes, famous for their bell-making, brought the instrument to northern Europe in the fourth century.

The subject of legends, bells have been empowered to induce rain or ward off storms, protect against demons and to cast and remove spells. As a hallmark of resistance, they are a patriotic symbol throughout the world.

Religions of the world have bestowed upon them special significance. the Buddhists ring bells to communicate with spirits, the Russian Orthodox Church holds that they directly address the deity; Roman Catholics believe they symbolize the voice of God and paradise. The tolling of a bell also holds nostalgic value. The clanging of the bell on a slow-moving steam locomotive is a reminder of a simpler, gentler time. The rejoicing sound of church bells on Easter morning or the melodic klingle of the Salvation Army’s bells during the Christmas season prompt us to remember, relish and celebrate. The melodic jangle of the school bell is indeed a reminder of an innocent, enthusiastic youth.

Vigo County Historical Museum.

Source: The Web site:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Fashion 2008

So last week, I did a prelude to the Olympic fashion this year. Now let's take a quick look at reality. Most teams weren't very exciting and the whole parade dragged, but here are a few of my highlights:
The much hyped up uniform of the US team by Ralph Lauren did not disappoint expectations. It was elegant, smart and clean cut, a very good representation of the US team.
Definitely not as bad and commercialized and humiliating as American Politics made it sound and appear (above right) like. The logos, even of the Olympics were discrete and appropriately sized. And as for the cutting, I cannot quite tell from the pictures, but they appear fine to me. Granted I wouldn't really wear this uniform out in public (being hip and fashionable obviously is not a priority), but given the occasion and how they had to design it for both sex, I thought it was really well done.
Another country I rather liked was Britain. I thought the uniform for women was much more feminine, with the navy dress, white blazer and belt, that gives it more shape. Though I must say, I think the over all look is compromised by the fact that so many of them are wearing the same thing. I know that is the idea of uniform, but... I guess that's why people don't like it when they clash clothes!
A few more examples of potentially cute looking outfits being compromised by replication: France (left) and Romania (right). The French looked simple yet chic (maybe minus the bag though...). The color of the Romanian team's outfit also looks very pretty (though I probably wouldn't wear it quite so matchy matchy). And check out those pumps!

Image Source: American Politics and Yahoo News

Chung Cheng Secondary School, Sibu

Chung Cheng Secondary School, Sibu is one of the few schools in Sarawak which still has a bell tower and a bell that is still functional.

Founded by Lau Kah Tii, the second Kang Chu of the Foochows,in 1916,it became one of the biggest secondary schools built by the Foochows with rubber money.

It was first called Kwong Nang Primary School and its first headmaster was Rev Yao Siaw King, the father of Dato Yao Ping Hua. In 1934 the school started its secondary school. It was closed for a short period during the Japanese Occupation.

It's name was changed from Kwang Nang Secondary school to Chung Cheng Secondary school in 1946.

Look at some photos below taken by Philip Hii very recently. The black and white effect is striking. They remind us of the 60's when most photos were black and white!

And the answer to why Chung Cheng school has this name.

Lau Kah Tii, a very loyal and patriotic man who loved China, helped raised a large sum of money to liberate China from the Japanese and to help the British cause as well.

When Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek drove out the Japanese in 1946 Lau Kah Tii and many of the Foochows in Sibu were elated. They decided to rename their school after Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, whose other name was Chiang Chung Cheng.

The name also means very bi partisan, ethical, correct and upright. The school continued to be run by very good Foochow scholars like Lau Hieng Ying,Lau Kieng Sing etc. Teachers were paid very low salaries but they were very dedicated and upright. Students who graduated from the school became peaceloving and useful citizens who served Sarawak well. One of the best Chung Cheng School graduates is none other than Dr. Tie King Tai, the Principal of the Methodist Theological College,Sibu. The school board of directors has always had the development of the school and the welfare of the students at heart.

In 1946 the Chung cheng school hostel was completed and ready for students from all around the Rejang Basin. This enabled many girls especially to be educated up to Senior Middle Three.

In 1956 the government decided to standardize education in Sarawak and the Chung Cheng School was converted to a Government Aided School. In 1963 the school became an English medium school, with transition classes to start with.

Source : Lau Tze Cheng,"My Seven Years as a teacher in Chung Cheng School",p.262-286 from Lau Kah Tii, A Commemorative Album. Private Publication.

Please correct me if I am wrong. Your comments are very welcome.

There are several blogs manned by Chung Cheng School graduates.

V-Neck Shirt By American Apparel

Remember how I did a post of the American Apparel Reglan shirt awhile ago, basically professing my love for them and acknoledging that I had worn them almost everyday last winter and realising I should probably buy new shirts? Well, now that it's summer, I can't really go around wearing the Reglan shirt -it's simply too hot. So not surprisingly, I decided to try out one of AA's oh-so-popular V-neck tees.

We all know that AA is really popular for it's deep V tee, but seriously, the V is so deep that I can't say I actually understand why people even feel comfortable wearing it casually (or not casually.) What's the point of a basic, boring tee if it's not comfortable and I have to spend the whole day pulling my shirt up?

So I stuck to the basic V-neck tee. Before trying on the tee, I imagined that an AA V-neck tee would magically transform my outfit to look cool and all, like you know how it always looks cool on whoever's wearing it in the photos you see in paparazzi or candid fashion photos? Alas, from what I could see in the AA changing room mirror, the tee totally did not make me look any cooler (not surprisingly I suppose.)
The coolest way to wear the AA tee is probably with skinny jeans or denim shorts -they really create a more unisex, effortless feel. Although admittedly, I've been wearing the tee with a denim skirt. And after wearing this outfit a few times, I'm really appreciating how brainless the combination is! (Brainless-ness is clearly one of the key factors to my favourite outfits.)

And yes, I realise the AA tee is totally last year's news, (or maybe even news from the year before,) but hey, at least I'm learning to appreciate this boring (but very useful) basic tee now.

Image Credit:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pineapple Express

David Gordon Green is one of the best filmmakers working today who some have even compared to the visual poet and master Terrence Malick. Would you have ever guessed that him and his friends that met at North Carolina Film School (his DP Tim Orr and the actor Danny McBride) wold collaborate with the Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen on a pot comedy? Yeah, it's a little surreal, but when I saw the red-band trailer for this movie months ago, I knew that these two camps couldn't miss if they were to collaborate. Pineapple Express is a perfect example of a visual poet adding his touches to a commercial Judd Apatow produced "bro-romance" . It's a film filled with surprises and the usual pot-fueled comedy routines, but it is all done with such visual beauty, a fresh take on things like car chases and people sitting around smoking pot, and it all ends with a subtle joke that seems to have been missed by many.


Jim Emerson on his scanners blog hit the nail right on the head with his analysis of the film. Check it out after you see the movie.  The reason I bring it up is because I am surprised by how many critics missed the joke of the film. The film itself is about as simple as you can get, and that's mainly because the joke of the movie is that this is exactly the type of movie that these two stoners would conjure up on their stained couches.

The story is about Dale Denton (Rogen) a process server who witnesses a murder. He leaves a joint behind and that's how Ted (the always brilliant Gary Cole) can trace the weed back to Dale's supplier Saul Silver who is the only person who has the particular type of weed that Dale was smoking (called pineapple express). This all leads to a horribly convoluted buddy chase movie in the vein of 70's movies like What's Up Doc? or anything by Cheech and Chong. But really the fact the story is so convoluted is irrelevant, because well, that's point. When the film stops being a pot movie and turns into a full blown action film from the 80's -- that's your sign to stop taking the film at face value.

Now it's not irreverent or obviously winking at the camera like the old Abrahms and Zucker Brothers movies, but if you understand what is being done in the final moments of the film, it makes the movie so much more enjoyable. Sitting there in the theater I couldn't stop laughing as Green and Apatow (and screenwriter Rogen) riffed on the conventional car chase ("just kick it with your foot, isn't that what they do in the movies?" "But how do you drive with only one foot?") or other exchanges like the morning after the big final showdown with all the drug dealers. They sit around eating a greasy breakfast and discussing how awesome everything was and who did what and how great it was when they did this...and you get the point.

Let's talk about that ending: for me it was one of the greatest things I have seen in a comedy in a long time. Better than the Michael Bay-parodied Hot Fuzz, the end of Pineapple Express is an olio of ever 1980's and early 90's action film I grew up watching. In this final scene, which takes place in an abandon barn complete with multiple levels and secret doors, I was reminded of the first two Lethal Weapon films (someone gets shot as they stand on a metal grate and then fall over and get their leg caught in a chain and swing from side to side, but sadly James Franco doesn't tell anyone to "go spit"), Double Impact or any Jean-Claude Van Damme movie for that matter (Seth Rogen and Gary Cole have an incredibly long fight scene plus there are barrels! If you've seen those movies, you know what I mean), any thing made by John Woo, I saw some Predator, some Commando, anything with Segal or Chuck Norris, any straight to video movie with ninjas or Billy Blanks, and I could go on...

The point is that these are all references that Rogen and Apatow and Green wanted to install into their film because this is how they think these two characters Dale and Saul would expereicne something like this. There is no reveal at the end of the movie that lets you know it was all a hazy brainstorm while they sat on the couch and smoked Saul's innovative "cross doobie" or that they were just dreaming this thing up all along in some passed out reverie. That's what makes the joke so great, because there is no way that one can watch this film with a straight face. I was surprised to hear Michael Philips and Richard Roeper the other night talking about how they were disappointed in the film and how ugly and violent it was at the end, and how it didn't match the tone. I was surprised they missed the joke, especially Roeper seeing how later in the show he recommended the brutally violent and gratuitous Hell Ride. I think they wanted the film to be something it was never intended to be, and Philips got it right when he said that the filmmakers are not at all interested in the commercial appeal of the film. It's all an in-joke, and I for one found it hilarious.

It's almost impossible to conventionally review this film (which I am not trying to do), but it all works if you find the references funny. It also works if you just like stoner comedies; the character of Red (Danny McBride) is bound to get some laughs, as well as Gary Cole asking "has anyone seen my big knife" as he holds a giant machete. But the finest joke is the fact that David Gordon Green directed this film, and the way he has cinematogrpaher Tim Orr shoots the final action scene (he shoots it in a style that is a straight throwback to 80's action movies, everything from the two main characters splitting up so they can have their own final showdowns with the villains they match up with, to the scene where someone rolls on the ground shooting a bunch of people and said shot people keep shooting their guns in the air.) is one of the best jokes in movies this summer, and one of the best comedies that Apatow and Rogen have collaborated on.

Oh yeah, and James Franco steals the movie...every scene belongs to him.

In Bruges

Man I love being surprised by movies.  Sometimes a movie just looks terrible, but then enough people start discussing how good the film is, and well, it's only a matter of time before you break down and watch the movie.  This is the case with In Bruges, a film that was marketed horribly with its awful trailers making the film look like just another Pulp Fiction wannabe (is that even possible 10+ years later?) -- Things to in Denver When You're Dead and 2 Days in the Valley sprang to mind when I saw the trailer, and if you remember those films, then you can see why I was less than enthusiastic about giving the film a shot.  Boy was I wrong.  In Bruges is a great film full of surprises; a film that is one of those rare experiences where you feel as if you don't know what's going to happen next.  It's vulgar and violent, beautifully juxtaposed by the main character of the film, the city of Bruges, with its historic architecture and beautiful art galleries.  It's a near brilliant film with a few odd detours that derail the films momentum, but it is brilliant if not for the sole reason that I was surprised how good the film was.

The film written and directed by the playwright Martin McDonagh (his first feature) is not so much quirky as it is distinct; a unique blend of vulgarity and contemplative moments about heaven and hell.  It stars Colin Farrell and the always great Brendan Gleeson as two hit men who are told to take two weeks off in the historic Belgium city Bruges.  The reason for the sabbatical is because of Ray (Farrell), who was asked to kill a priest, but when he shot the priest he accidentally shot a little kid praying (sounds implausible, but the way McDonagh sets you up for this scene is masterful).  This bit of collateral damage is made all the sadder when Ray sees a small piece of paper that has what the kid was praying about -- this moment is rare in that it evokes both poignancy and laughter, something that McDonagh and especially his actors pull off extremely well throughout out the film.

While in Bruges the characters are established.  You have Ray the young and brash hitman, suffering from his mistake on his last hit, and bored to tears in Bruges, where all he wants to do is drink and hang around a film set that has set up shop in the city.  Ken (Gleeson) is the veteran who is interested in getting Ray to put the incident of the kid behind him and focus more on sight-seeing and what the historic city has to offer.  One of the best scenes between these two in the city is when they are in an art gallery.  The images of the art contrasted with the face of Farrell (who has great facial expressions throughout) are wonderful and are a perfect example of the uniqueness of the film.

While in Bruges things happen (odd things involving racist dwarves and crazy canadians) that are hit and miss, but the heart of the story is what happens between Ken and Ray and how Ken so badly wants to help Ray get over his mistake and move on.  There is a scene of tremendous, surprising power on a park bench when Ray is trying to talk to Ken about what happened that day.  It's a great scene and shows that when Farrell is comfortable (usually when he can just be himself and talk in his native tongue) he can be a great actor.   I wouldn't dare reveal how the film unfolds (which is half the fun of the movie) but things happen and information is gathered, all resulting in the appearance of Ralph Fiennes as Harry who is their boss.  Fiennes is wonderful, having a lot of fun overacting and doing his best Ben Kingsley impersonation (I'm thinking of the Sexy Beast Kingsley, not the Gandhi Kingsley).  All of this culminates in a final 30 minutes that is just absolutely brilliant with visual nods to films like Touch of Evil and The Third Man and some truly inspired dialogue (especially how the dialogue reveals these three hitmen as having ethics and how they adhere to these ethics).

In Bruges is a film for anyone despite the way the trailer advertises it; it's a film for anyone who loves movies.  As mentioned earlier the movie does get sidetracked with a drug induced conversation between Ken and Ray, a movie star dwarf, and some hookers.  This scene tries a little too hard I think to be "edgy" or whatever, and it just falls flat.  It just doesn't belong in this movie, there was really no need for it considering the first half of the film was vulgar and un-PC enough.  However, it's a rare kind of film that Roger Ebert described as good a debut as Mamet's House of Games, and I think that's a good comparison.  With it's vulgar dialogue, sudden bursts of bloody (McDonaugh likes to use the color red) violence, it's beautiful on location cinematography, and its wonderful acting it's one of the better and most surprising movies of 2008.

Foto Cewek Cakep Bugil

Foto Cewek Cakep Bugil

Foto Cewek Cakep Bugil

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Design a Coach Tote

Over at Coach, they are having a design a Coach tote competition where the winner gets their tote made and win a shopping spree of $2500 along with many other Coach goodies. Talk about a great opportunity!
These two designs are currently ranked the top two. Personally, I think it's been rigged. Because I don't see the appeal. The Penguin design, Born with Style, is cute and I like how they put the Coach C's. But the penguin print just seems kind of random. It's not exactly what I'd say very cutesy, but at the same time it is definitely not serious. It's just somewhere in the middle. And the purple bag, Hot Pink Summer... I think it's fairly obvious why I wouldn't be caught wearing that.
I admit, I didn't personally go through all 3279 entries, but here are a few of my personal favourites. You can never go wrong with black and white, and I think these two, Classic B&W and Skyline Inverted, are no exception. They are both classic and chic. Obviously I have very consistent taste since both are really similar, but the black and the white and the bow just goes so well together! The one with the silhouette of the Coach is more distinct, but then the city skyline, while a bit too bunched together, appeals to my city girl side.
Of course, it is not lost on me that they're looking for a 'truly inspired and unique' design and even I know that those are not. Other bags that caught my eye were these two, Chic in Pink and Falling Leaves. I love the pink stripes and the color combination, it is all very sharp and bold. Falling Leaves on the other hand is simple and subtle. But then doesn't both of these remind you a bit of Anya Hindmarch designs? No?
I also rather like these two here, Munchkin and Swirl Pattern. They are both just so.... pretty! With their quiet and feminine color palette and elegant design, I'd definitely consider wearing these two.
And that is high compliment indeed, because designing a tote is not just about splattering on a pretty designs. Witness these two here Dark and Coach with a Twist.The designs by itself are really quite pretty.But in reality, it doesn't really translate well. The fading silver is a good concept in 2D, but in 3D I think it'll be a bit too much. And while the swirly idea is good and simple, I just don't it'll look really classy in real life.This is why this Classic Black and White is my absolute favourite. Fine it is not exactly that far off from the first two I posted, but I think the huge sunflower print over the subtle Coach prints and the 'Coach' squiggle makes all the difference. It is different, unique and yet still very Coach. And I'd definitely wear it! Pink Lilies is also not bad. On first glance, it looks like just another bag with a pretty print. But then the designer has cleverly put in the Coach element on the butterfly and I think that's really cool.
Then there are the super cutesy totes. Clearly these are meant to be cutesy. But there is a fine line between looking cheap and cutesy. But I think these two designers have achieved the right balance. The Juicy and the Bunny tote are just adorable. The first one is completely unique, with the bold graphic print of the cartoon, but the over cutesiness is countered by the subtle Coach prints in the background, which is very neat. The bunny cartoon on the other hand is just the perfect compliment to the Coach print. The silhouettes is simple and not very colorful, so it is not over the top. And yet it is still very cute. Juicy is a little too bold for me, but I'd definitely carry the Bunny. It's cute without being too immature and kidlike (at least not matched with the classic print!).

I must say, I'm very impressed with the selection. What computer program did everyone use to create these really real looking bags? (seriously, they look like photographs!). Which ones did everyone else liked best?

The competition is now closed, but you can still support your favourite design by voting for them on the site (I think you have to sign up for Brickfish though...)!

Image Source: Coach

Nasi Lemak Arriving in Sibu

I cannot remember when Nasi Lemak arrived in Sibu. Probably it was introduced by the hotels which needed to cater to the tastes of West Malaysian government officers and tourists as late as 1980!! Or it was introduced by the Malaysian Army personnel who were posted to Sibu?

And only as late as 1984 did I notice several shops offering this special West Malaysian delicacy wrapped traditionally in triangular cones with brown paper. The rice is usually cold but the sambal interestingly apetitising. They came in small portions in the stalls and were only available in the morning.

During many of the food sales later in Sibu I also noticed that the creative Sibu Foochow housewives cooked their own style of nasi lemak with less chillies, to add to the long lists of delicacies available. When one wanders around a food sale one can see that women in Sibu do appreciate the cuisine of their fellow women. Many Foochow women serve curry rice and even satay. But I have not found one who can make roti canai for food sale yet. The time will definitely come I am sure.

I cannot remember when was the first time I ordered nasi lemak in Sibu. But I can still remember that I first started to cook nasi lemak in my own kitchen in 1975 when I learned more about the excellent breakfast dish from a colleague of mine in school. thanks to the Cikgu Z who shared the house with us.

Here is my own less spicy nasi lemak.

Recipe for 8 persons

A. Prepare Rice :
l packet of coconut (powder or cream form)
3 tins/cups of fragrant Thai rice (well washed)- this is for big boys
2 pandan leaves,knotted
some salt
adequate water

B. Prepare other ingredients :
1. one Chinese soup bowl of fried peanuts or more
2 two Chinese soup bowls of fried ikan bilis
3. 4 eggs -hard boiled and halved
4. 2 bombay onions - quartered
5. some acar or pickles
6. slices of cucumber

C. Sauce / sambal

Grind together : 1 teaspoon of belacan,6 small onions,a knob of ginger,4 pips of garlic,1 inch of lengkuas,l piece of lemon grass, and 4 dried chillies (more if you wish)
Heat up a kuali and add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.
Sautee the ground ingredients until cooked through.
Add two pieces of assam keping,l tablespoon of sugar (more if you like),(you can use tamarind sauce from the bottle too),some water
Simmer for about 8 minutes over low fire until the oil surfaces.

Garnish as desired.

You can try to serve your nasi lemak on banana leaves over your plates to make dish washing easier later.

Note : you can make more sambal and keep different portions of it in the freezer for later use. In the same way you can keep other ingredients in the freezer too. This is assuming that you are a busy person.


The lalang grass is a pest or weed to the indigenous people.

When the Foochows first arrived in Sibu they saw a huge jungle with big trees and after burning their newly acquired land they had to fight against this fast growing weed on their newly burnt soil if they did not work hard and fast enough. So it left a very strong mark on their minds that it was a fight against them.

When the Foochows said "huong" they would mean that their land had been left untaken care of. Huong Chou or grass of huong would refer to lalang.

Even to us , the third generation Foochow and Sarawak born, we would still say the same thing and have images of abandonment, derelict, uncared for, and wasteland whenever we think of lalang.

Lalang can thus be seen easily in cemeteries which have not been cared for , rice fields which have not been worked on for many years and even houses which have been left unattended.

It is a weed that is hard to get rid of because it propagates very well and it can grow just anywhere, very often unexpectedly.

Lalang is often used to bathe babies to ward off evil spirits. During confinement period grandmothers would go out to the fields to find some lalang to take home to bathe their new grandchildren or even to place some lalang leaves on the doorway.

Another aunty swore that whenever she put seven leaves of lalang under her hat whenever she went to the graveyards of her beloved she would be protected.

If you happen to walk in the early morning alone for your daily routine, put seven lalang leaves in your pocket and no harm will come to you. The Foochows reckon that the lalang is very Piah Reh (ward off eveil spirits) and so it is very useful that way.

I am not sure if you can believe in this sort of age old aunty stories. But it is very interesting to me and there is no harm putting some leaves in your pocket. But be careful the leaves can cut our skin easily. Very sharp.

Today scientists have attempted to extract medicine out of its roots in particular.

Please read the following with care.

Basic Botanical Data and Identification of Lalang Grass Rhizome:

source :

Origin of Lalang Grass Rhizome:

The root of Imperata cylindrica var. major (Nees) C. E. Hubb., a perennial herb, of the Gramineae family. The white segmented root of the plant is rich in water and the juice is sweet.
Produced in most areas of China, cogongrass root is harvested in spring and autumn. Wash the root clean, dry in the sun, remove fibrous roots and membranous leaf sheaths and cut into lengths for use when raw or after being parched.

Applications of Lalang Grass Rhizome:

1. To treat bleeding syndromes due to invasion of pathogenic heat into the blood:
This food-herb can clear heat from the lung, stomach and urinary-bladder channels and remove heat from the blood to stop bleeding, so it is used for bleeding syndromes due to invasion of pathogenic heat into the blood, such as hemoptysis (expectoration of blood from some part of the respiratory tract), hematemesis (vomiting blood), epistaxis (nosebleed), hematuria (blood in urine), etc.
It can be used alone or in combination with other blood-cooling hemostats.

2. To treat strangury (slow and painful spasmodic discharge of urine drop by drop) caused by pathogenic heat, edema, etc.:
a) Strangury caused by pathogenic heat:
It is used in combination with fiveleaf akebia stem (Caulis Akebiae), talcum, etc., e.g., Maogen Yin in the book "General Collection for Holy Relief".
b) Edema and dysuria:
It is used together with Asiatic plantain seed (Semen Plantaginis), etc.

3. Miscellaneous:
This food-herb can also be used for the treatment of excessive thirst due to pathogenic warmth or heat, vomiting due to stomach-heat, coughing due to lung-heat, jaundice due to damp-heat, etc.

Dosage and Administration:

Dosage: 9~30grams for grade type;30~60 grams for fresh type.
15-30 g., decoct for oral administration.
The dose of the fresh food-herb should be doubled; it is better for use and can be blended into juice for drinking. This food-herb is mostly used when raw but can also be used after being parched to arrest bleeding.

Taro or Yam and its impact on Foochow Life in Sibu

The humble taro or yam has helped many Foochow pioneers of Sibu pass their initial days. Many yam plants were found growing wild in the early 1900's around Sibu. The Foochows then grew their own in their vegetable patches.

Although taro or yam has been a familiar plant in Southern China, there are more varieties of this food crop in Sarawak. they come in different shapes, sizes and even colour. The best type being the bilong type in the Foochow dialect. It has a lot of purple streaks and its skin is thinner than the others. It has a gentle and crunchy feel. All others belong to the "indigenous type" and are therefore less valued. They are harder to cook too.

The yam is a very humble root crop. However in recent years when the world is facing a food crisis every food crop is in the lime light. The yam is now a much sought after food in the market. And in fact it can be found as part of some food supplements. However it remains a delightful occasional food item on the table of the Foochows.

How do the Foochows value this food?

First of all it is a good supplementary food item besides rice. The Foochows have created a few signature dishes out of the yam which is grown on sides of fish ponds, in the main vegetable patch or even on road sides. The best yam is grown on well drained and fertile hillslopes.

The best dish is the Foochow yam cake, followed by mixed vegetables in yam ring, deep fried yam balls (dim sum) and Abacus Yam Balls. The Foochows have a fantastic savoury yam porridge or paste made out of yam, dried shrimps and pork fat with lots of fried onions. Yam has also found its way into cold desserts recently . Bubur char char, halo halo and ice cream now contain yam.

There is a very strong Foochow belief that yam helps in digestion. Hence a good meal with some mashed yam seems to be more complete than others. Perhaps it is because yam is fairly fibrous.

And here is a simple recipe from my grandmother, Tiong Lien Tie.

One fairly big yam, skinned and cut into small pieces. Steamed until soft.

Deep fry chopped small onions.

Add a few table spoons of pork fat into a heated kuali. Saute until the oil comes out and the fat is crispy.

Add 2 tablespoons of pounded dried prawns. Fry until fragrant.

Add a few slices of lean pork.

Add the onions and the mashed yam.

Add water and cook until a paste is formed. This takes a good hour of slow cooking. Finally add salt, pepper, chillies to taste.

Enjoy the simple but tasty Foochow yam dish with rice and kang kong soup.

You cannot get this dish in a restaurant. It is what we always humour ourselves with - our village Foochow food - but it is always our dream food. I believe that if we remember our roots in the villages, we will remember our ROOT food too.

We call it Wow Neh or Yam Paste.

Pigs' Heads of Sibu and Around the World

The images used in this posting are not intended to offend any of my readers.

I must include this delightful picture,full of nostalgia, in my posting as I think and rethink about pig's heads. "The Lord of Flies"was very much part of our secondary school education in English. It introduced us to boys' world and struggles of the human society e.g. civilised behaviour as against savagery, systematic government as against chaos,apart from other themes. The pig's head was very impactful and sent a strong message to us. However we did not have the opportunity to see this movie . Perhaps I will get a DVD and have my children watch it this coming Christmas.

This photo is from of the Flies Reunion (1996) / Time Flies

Remembering the pig's head.. Vieques, Puerto Rico 1996
The Lord of the Flies boys return to Vieques after 35 years, August 1996. The BBC director Richard Dale produced "Time Flies", a 50 minute documentary. Whatever happened to the boys who were in Peter Brook's 1963 film "Lord of the Flies", a classic film of William Golding's 1954 novel of the same name.

Bill Roger Elwin (in Australia December 1999)

All information on this site copyright ©1999 by East-West Forestry Associates
All Rights Reserved (3/10/99)

From New Zealand we have this photo of Anthony Bourdain Chef Extraordinaire who went pig hunting in Kiwi land. He came back with one and cooked it. Wonder who ate most of the head.

Ref : ;photo credit : Anna Shutz

Would you fly all the way to Bali just to eat "everything from a pig" at Bu Oka? ref:

Here's a photo from This is from an English Butcher's shop.

If you wish to read about how the French prepare their dish of pig's head you can read it at This photo is from her blog.

There is a hotel called Boar's Head in Harrogate , England.

This photo is from The Slat Rat Chronicles and yes in parts of Canada,England, and the USA you can have these kinds of roasted pig head for snacks!! So check out special web blogs where different corners of the world can offer you inspiring comfort food.

The last photo is a recent one by Sarawakiana.

I caught this photo recently to remind myself that in the years to come less and less butchers would be allowed to sell their meat openly in this age old traditional manner.

Also,I am wondering if the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would consider taking measures to raise the awareness of local people on more humane ways of displaying their meat. Our normal ways of dispalying meat have been unchanged for centuries so to speak. And few people have ever thought of changing the ways of hanging meat,etc. But I still think that there are better ways.

Buying meat that is hung is alright by Foochow standard but somehow the heads look a wee bit too sad when hung upside down. Amy way most consumers think nothing about it. Just buy the head if you want one. It is hanging there.

On a lighter note, we Foochows can eat almost every part of the pig. And there are hundreds of recipes for the cook to follow. Top of the range is the suckling pig of course. And at the bottom would be the cheap trotters which can now be even offered at restaurants. offals continue to be special to the chinese. My children love the brains which may upset you. They think that eating pigs' brains make them a little more brainy. (I can still hear their laughter....)

Pigs' heads used to be very cheap but today with prices going sky high a good pig's head cost about 30 ringgit and may be beyond the means of many salary earner. There is not much meat on the head but according to a frequent pig's head eater , it is the fun of "attacking" a pig head,slicing off the crispy skin, and toasting wine or beer to the pig. Besides cooking the head over the open fire is often a delightful experience according to another courageous gourmet (who eats worms, snakes and beetles). He said that taking in the aroma of a roasting head is similar to having a thrilling exotic adventure. And often he would meditate before the head for good measure.

And I would like to wish all who love this meat(and especially the head) great eating adventures in the future!!

Here's a delightful article to share with you:

China, a Nation of Pork Eaters


Throughout history, Chinese have been dedicated eaters of swine. Pigs were among the first animals domesticated for food in ancient China. Excavations of the Zengpiyan Cave in Guilin, Guangxi

turned up remains of what is believed to be the earliest evidence of the domesticated pig in the world. Today 10,000 years later, China still consumes far more pork than any other country, and not surprisingly, has the world's largest pig population (800 million head says one source). While other meat types are rapidly gaining in popularity, consumption of pork still accounts for a whopping 70 percent of all meat eaten in China. Although these figures sound impressive, it is worth remembering that until recent, relatively more affluent times, the average individual never got to eat much meat of any kind.

The importance of the pig in the Chinese diet is reflected strongly in language. In days past, and still today, to some extent, any family home of the slightest substance would quarter at least one animal. The pig was such an integral part of normal family life that writing the Chinese character for roof written above the one for pig, creates the word meaning home or family.

Compared to grazing animals like sheep or cattle, the omnivorous pig is a super-efficient meat producer, one that can be tethered in a small space or left to scavenge by itself. In a crowded environment the pig is perfectly suited to life among a rural family. Pigs eat nearly anything remotely resembling food, including stuff that humans choose not to ingest or cannot digest – picture the classic image of the slop bucket and you get the basic idea. They can even derive nutrition from human excrement, eliminating a sanitary problem for their masters in the process (the pig's own manure is quickly turned into fertiliser for the vegetable garden).

The character for meat is a synonym for pork. In other words, when the meat of a dish is not specified, you can be almost certain that it is pork. As an example, let's take a dish everyone knows: fried rice. Pork fried rice in Chinese would read meat fried rice, with everyone understanding that meat refers to pork. All other meats, being less common are always identified clearly. Thus we get chicken fried rice or beef fried rice.

Almost all parts of the pig are used for food and any reasonably comprehensive list of dishes would be vast. Liver, kidney, and intestines are all commonly used, as is skin. Lard is still used as a cooking oil in some regions. Chinese produce ham, turn pork into sausages, and preserved pork belly has a bacon-like taste. Braised pig's trotters and knuckles are popular dishes. Slabs of congealed pig's blood are cut into cubes and used like tofu in soup. The pig is a symbol of virility, and so pork is used as a strengthening food for pregnant woman and new mothers.

For an interesting appetiser, try pig's ear. The ear is cooked, then sliced very thinly, and perhaps served with slivers of young ginger and soy sauce. The texture is a slightly gnarly combination of skin and cartilage.

Despite its great usefulness to humans, the Chinese pig like its European cousin is often denigrated as lazy, greedy, dirty and stupid. In China, if you wish to question somebody's intellectual capacity you would call the person a pig head.

Source : | Copyright © 2004–08 Stephen Jack updated: 21-May-2008
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...