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Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Woes of One Man in Sibu-

This is about modern day Sibu my hometown. And for this interesting situation to occur one has to really study it carefully. Perhaps some public opinion from a far away city needs to be aired too.

So just my two sens --

This is worst than a prison cell in terms of size. But How Sing can have his afternoon siesta al fresco.

Dinner time! How Sing eats his meal in his trailer. He has has utensils and crockery all neatly arranged in this mini trailer.

At night the mini trailer is found in a five foot way. May be he needs some mosquito coils to keep the moskies away.

Sarawak has a huge landmass of 4825 sq.miles as compared to Singapore's 120 sq miles. Sarawak has about 3 million people and this means that an average Sarawakian can get about 0.2 sq mile of land .

In India according to the latest Indian government figures, people in its cities have just 5.5 sq m (59 sq ft) per person - the minimum specified for US prisons.

According to the country's 63rd national survey, 55% of the country's urban population live, sleep, cook and wash in a space no bigger 5.5 sq m. The comparable figure for the average American is 83.6 sq m per person.

How Sing here has a nice cosy little self made wooden trailer measuring 2'x3'. It height is about 3.5 feet.

He sleeps and eats in the trailer. In the day time he moves his trailer to the central market place where he does odd jobs and at night he parks his "home" on a five foot way.

It must be uncomfortable for him to say the least. But he seems to be fairly at home and at ease without a care in the world. Or if he is uncomfortable he is not telling.

My blogger friends from Sibu (Steve Ling and Philip Hii have been very gracious in their communication with me. In what ways can we help a man like How Sing?

What is the social responsibility of a government when faced with such an unusual "situation"? Is it a case by case situation for the Social Welfare Department? Or should How Sing be just allowed to have his free will to live as well as he can?

But at least he does not have to worry about Municipal Assessment Rates and Lease Renewal. He can always use the Public toilets and save on water bills. Electricity? The street lamps are better than kerosene lamps.

There may be more than meet the eye.

Photos : Steve Ling and Philip Hii
Statistics Source :

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Ctrl BG: A Shortcut to Financial News 11/29

Hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend and got some great bargains yesterday! With the official start of the holiday season, the markets are also looking a bit brighter. Kind of.

On Monday, Citigroup was bailed out from its recent troubles, with a $20 billion capital injection from TARP in exchange for preferred shares and a government agreement to guarantee over $300 billion of their troubled assets. The shares went from $3.77 last Friday (as I remember, but could be a bit off) to $8.29 yesterday. It would've been an easy way to double your money quick! Citi was simply too big and international to be allowed to fail.

On Tuesday, the latest economic data were released, citing a 0.5% decline in GDP from July-September, more than the 0.3% announced a month ago. Home prices also dropped a whooping 17.4% from a year ago, a record decline. Along with this bad economic data however, the Fed also announced a new $800 billion program to support asset-backed securities including consumer loans and mortgage-backed securities:
  • $100 billion to buy up debt issued by government-sponsored mortgage enterprises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks
  • $500 billion to buy up mortgage securities backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae
  • $200 billion facility to support consumer finance, including student, auto, and credit card loans and loans backed by the federal Small Business Administration
Designed as a life line for consumers, it is supposed to help consumers get home, car and credit card loans easier. I haven't figured out all the implications of this program is. I am still astounded by the sudden $800 billion splurge. Last time they announced a splurged $700 billion, there were long congress hearings and deliberations for at least a week. Where was the hearing and deliberation here (or have I just been unaware of the politics?)? Regardless, this has run the financial crisis tab to $7.36 trillion- double what was spent on WW2 adjusted for inflation!

Overseas, the latest headline to up the pirate fiasco last week (not that it has gone away), is the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. I thought that Mumbai and Delhi were pretty civilized and safe these days with their strong economic growth and development. That is why I was so shocked to hear that the city was attacked by terrorists who randomly shot at people on the streets and hijacked 2 of the most luxurious hotels there, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, and a Jewish center, taking and killing many hostages! The latest death toll as of Saturday evening was at least 183. The terrorists, were well trained and in their 20s. They arrived in Mumbai by boat and the whole thing appeared to be very well planned. They suspect that the gunmen are from Pakistan and that this may have something to do with the dispute in Kashmir.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Old Oil Drum

The oil drum has always been on my mind as a good memory trigger.

It was a very important receptacle for rain water when I was young. A home in the Foochow villages would never be without one in the 50's and 60's before the diesel run water pump was invented and water was then piped into homes. Pipes then were heavy lead pipes and not the PVC pipes which we know now.

At the bottom of a staircase one could always find an oil drum full of rain water ready for feet washing before a person could come upstairs. This washing of feet was important because in those long ago days many would have been barefoot so before entering any one's home they had to wash their feet.

My mum as a young woman used to carry tins of water with her pian dan or bamboo pole to fill up one or two oil drums. Those water carrier tins were recycled from the huge cooking oil tins. My mother's family had always been frugal and innovative in every way. Thinking of this simply warms my heart.

Later on in my life I would always be on the look out to see how people use the oil drums. Those oil drums were free from Hock Chu Huo. Mr. Wong Liong Dick is still around to tell tales of oil drums and their usefulness. Do visit his petrol station near the Sarawak House.

Today we even have to buy an empty oil drum should we want to recycle it for our personal use. Of course different people have different perception of the ubiquitous empty oil drum.

This used to be a common scene in Sarawak. Floating jetties were ubiquitous before the fast river express boats swept them away in the 70's and road transportation became the common mode. These days you will see this in small rivers where people still need to berth their little long boats and bring home their purchases. Here use see oil drums as part of the floating jetty. Nice platform for river fishing. I was very happy to be able to capture this photo.

This is a photo I took recently of an oil drum used as water container like what I remember of the old days of Sibu riverside lifestyle. The oil drum had been used to collect rain water now it is a charcoal stove / oven for his roasted chicken and pork. Many coffee shops in Sibu have some of these drums standing at the back . This is a frugal way of saving rainwater for incidental washing of the drains etc. This would save on water bill which can be exorbitant at times. Sarawak is a land of rivers. Yet our water supply is one of the most expensive in Asia.

According to the shop owner once the oil drum started to leak he turned it into a fire place to cook his roasted chickens and pork. So in a way he will definitely make full use of the drum until it literally disintegrate with rust. No wastage at all.


Oil drum used to make briquettes from ground nuts . Source : Jakarta Post. This is a very interesting concept which is popular in Indonesia where many recycle the oil drum and use ground nut shells to make briquettes.

A bitter sweet beach scene - a rusty oil drum left on the shores. I have often seen oil drums floating in rivers and the sea but never took any photo.

Photo by Steve Ling of Sibu - a Sibu hawker selling chicken wings - roasted over a fire in a half oil drum!!

An ingenious Chinese in Beijing fashioned a stove out of an oil drum. He adds a bike to the stove and has a mobile kitchen in mid winter!!

source: - these oil drums are used to keep seeds and other stuff. A wood in England.

Although the world sees the oil drum as a serious pollutant many good people will continue to use it in as many different ways as possible.

Too Hoot To Handle

Another tattoist submission, Cody Collins sent in this owl and umbrella-ella-ella-ey-ey-ey-ey. Ahem.

A Hoot Full Of Love

This time, a tattoist submission, from Kristin Young of Majestik Tattoo, Tucson, AZ.

Central Hooter

Another reader submission, this from Chris Flynn, done at Divine Line, San Antonio.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mail Bombs Lite: Rocsi's 106 & Park Heels, Rihanna's Gucci Dress, and Keri's Military Coat!

Thanksgiving is over, but Mail Bombs are still poppin!
I know most of y'all are already AT the mall, so I'll keep this short and sweet!
First Mhel was wondering about Rocsi's hot heels:
She says, "Can you tell me who they are by and where I can buy them??"
Rocsi is wearing these Balenciaga Fall 2008 d’Orsay stilettos:
Seems this collection was quite popular amongst Fashion Bomb fashionistas, as Ciara was identified wearing their Escarpin Booties in this Mail Bombs Post. Find your pair at
Next Megan says, "I wanted to know if you could find the designer of this dress??"
Of course at her Unicef Gucci event, Ri Ri is wearing Gucci...
The Spring 2009 gown was first modeled by Chanel Iman no less! Who rocked it better?
Alexis B from Washington D.C. says, "I wanted to know where I could find a coat like the one Keri Hilson wore to the Dirty Awards..."
"... It looks great and perfect for the brisk DC weather!"
It does! Reader Myranda wrote in and informed me that Keri is in fact wearing this Soldier Girl Coat in Grey:
...get it for only $83 at Fashion Bomb sponsor!
Next, in a Male Mail Bomb, Hajah says, "I was wondering if you could PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me. Lance Gross did a photoshoot with Derek Blanks and he has on a brown leather jacket..."
"...He looks great and I want to send this jacket to my brother for Christmas who is actually in the army in Iraq. Please help!"
Lance's stylist Staci wrote in saying, "His Jacket is Dolce & Gabanna. Lance told me several people have been in search for it. Lance had me do a search on the D&G website and that particular jacket is no longer available!" Lance is looking out!!! Anyway, try these jackets for a similar look:
1. 7 For All Mankind Men's Leather Bomber Jacket, $675. 2. Daniele Alessandrini Dark Brown Leather Jacket, $945. 3. Guess Payant Leather Jacket, $298. 4. Collection Privee Leather Outerwear, $944. 5. Benjamin Bixby Leather Varsity Jacket, $959.
Lastly, in an addendum to this Look for Less post, we found that Regina Hall is wearing these Sam Edelman $135 Whitely Ankle Boots in Pewter...

...get 'em at
That does it!
Hope you've all recovered from your turkey coma and are hitting the malls in style!
I've got a bit of work today, so let me get down to business.

Friday Video Fun

Do y'all have personal anthems? Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thing" has been one of mine for years.

The lyrics and video are hot, but the beat is just bananas. (Confession: I sometimes bump this when I'm trying on clothes at home or getting ready to go out. I think everyone has at least one of those jams!).
FYI: Q-Tip 's new album, The Renaissance, is a banger.
Hope you all had a fabulous, fashionable Thankgiving!

Dumex White Crockery Collectors' Items 1950's - 1960's

(This tea set is from my cousin's collection - she brought up her children on Dumex)

(Newest packing for Dumex follow up milk formula)

(Collector's item - a pitcher)

Before I write any further I would like to say that I am all for breast feeding and that my article today is not in any way promoting the benefits of any baby milk formula.

When my younger siblings were born my parents decided that they should be given Dumex milk powder instead of breast milk. And this started the family odyssey of our Dumex crockery collection.

My mother (now in her 80's) still has a large collection and for years our Chinese New Years were celebrated with a grand display of the Dumex plates and bowls.The white crockery against green table cloth made by my aunts for my father's 50th birthday were indeed beautiful and gave all of us a sense of deep joy.

It was heart warming for all of us siblings to enjoy watching mum's collection grow. And we were also very careful not to break any of her collection. The white procelain was beautiful. The only drawback was the fact that we never could afford to buy a glass cabinet to display her grand set. But it was a true journey of careful maternal spending and proper saving of the many tokens which were needed to exchange for the plates and bowls. My sisters and I spent a lot of time counting and recounting the tokens and reading the flyers to help mum get the best deal! Losing a token was like losing a large sum of money!

Here are some pictures to show you what mothers and daughters liked to get in exchange for their Dumex tokens. It was memorable indeed while the trend lasted. Or perhaps we did indeed outgrow the almost compulsive collection. Today women have different articles to collect be it Tupperware or AMC items. But nevertheless many families in Sibu would still have a large set of Dumex crockery. If not they would still have a few small pieces. And this little article would bring a smile to Dumex crockery collectors at least.

Enjoy the nostalgia!

And finally we would always remember how disappointed my mum was when my youngest brother was born 10 days earlier instead of being born on the Malaysia Formation Day of 31st August 1963. If he was born on Malaysia day my mum and he could have been awarded 12 large tins of Dumex Milk Powder and other gifts from the Borneo Company which was then the chief sponsor of Malaysia Day Babies.

And Then There Were 13: Bad News, Bear

Happy Thanksgiving!

I saw this image's slightly offensive, yet I can't help myself:
Enjoy the turkey, corn bread, mashed potatoes, lasagna, peas & rice, ham....oh my mouth is watering!
I'm grabbing dinner with a few expat friends.
The Fashion Bomb will be back in lite form on Friday, so you can all make time for Black Friday Shopping.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jourdan Dunn: Model of the Year

Jourdan Dunn took home the Model of the Year award last night at the British Fashion Council's Annual Ceremony:
At just 18, the young Brit has scored the cover of Italian Vogue, several print campaigns, and made news as the first black model to stomp for Prada since Naomi Campbell 15 years earlier! Snaps for bringing it home! Let's hope she continues skyward, and doesn't end up like her.
Psst In other model news, NY Mags whispers that lithe mannequin Sessilee Lopez is boo'ed up with style czar Kanye West! Kanye does have good taste...

Let Us Give Thanks: Previews, Foo Fighters

Grant Achatz, Tonight’s Thanksgiving Episode Guest Judge, Hates the “Emotional Touchstone” of Turkey

Happy Turkey Day

While you wait for Thanksgiving dinner, here is something to oogle over.....Happy Turkey day everyone!

Image Source: Net a Porter

Thanksgiving Week in Chic: Gabrielle, Christina, Meagan and more!

Hey Y'all,
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I'm sure a lot of you are heading home soon for the holidays (if you haven't already). I just moved to Paris, so I'm going to hang around here and eat an extra pain au chocolat for you! Since a lot of you won't be checking in, I'm giving you this week in chic a bit early:
Happy Turkey Day:)

Vanessa and Angela Simmons Bring Pastry to London

The Simmons sisters hit up a party on my side of the pond to celebrate their Pastry line:
The Simmons' style game is on point, but sneakers are just not my thing.
Do you rock Pastry kicks?

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