Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Merdeka Day, Malaysia!: 52 yrs of Independence...马来西亚独立纪念日52周年。...マレーシヤ独立記念日52周年...

Today marks Malaysia's 52nd Birthday:-) Actually, in 1957, peninsular Malaysia obtained independence from the United Kingdom but Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia's East Coast) were not part of that union yet. They remained separately governed (together with Singapore) until 1963 when the Union of Malaysia was formed. So modern Malaysia as we know it now was in fact formed in 1965, when Singapore was removed from the union. (So its not entirely accurate to say that we Malaysians gained independence in 1957!)
I'd recommend everyone to visit Malaysia for a's a nice tropical destination to escape for rest and fact, Malaysia is now one of the world's most visited tourist destination! I checked the statistics, its like in the Top 20 Most visited Tourist Countries. However, it offers a less packed and well known holiday destination compared to neighbouring Thailand which is so well-known and visited already and very packed with tourists. Places recommended would be Penang (my hometown!!!!!) for its World Heritage Site Georgetown of Pre-WW2 enclaves of architecture and splendid Malaysian hawker food (most famous foodie destination within Malaysia and all Malaysians know and visit Penang for its food!!), Langkawi, for its pristine less packed beaches compared to the tourist jammed Phuket and Koh Samui found in Thailand, Melaka for its Straits culinary delights and Nyonya heritage and culture (also a WHS)..Kuala Lumpur for the magnificent Twin Towers one of THE most amazing structures in the world and also for good food in the Klang Valley and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah for the Mount Kinabalu summit and exploration of East Coast Malaysian adventures such as scuba diving (voted by worldwide magazines as one of the most fantastic diving and deep water activity locations in the world for its relatively unspoiled and undiscovered nature) or visit any of the towns and villages along the coast in Sabah and Sarawak for a fun escapade!....
Malaysian Tourism Ad Campaign 2007:
Malaysia, Truly Asia Ad Campaign English:
For those wondering whether to visit Singapore or Malaysia, visit both if you can, but if choosing one, definitely skip Singapore, and come to Malaysia! Singapore, despite possessing one of the highest living standards in the world and being the richest n most famous country in the world (yes, Singapore is the richest most well-known country in the world surpassing America, Japan, UK,etc in per capita GDP terms) it isn't a good tourism destination in my opinion, as it has basically nothing to offer in terms of authencity or variety (limited by its sterile environment and small size/population). You can get everything you want in Singapore in Malaysia but even better, cheaper, and way more authentic.

This yr's Malaysia Festival 2009 shall be held again at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour on 27 September 2009 from 10am to 5pm. So be sure to get there and taste all the lovely food, dance n culture Malaysia has to Sydney!

Checkout the Official Website:

Below are some photos taken at the Malaysia Fest' 2008 last year:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Winter in Sydney '09 -Royal Botanical Gardens, Bondi-Coogee Beach Coastal Walk, Manly Beach Ferry+ Bavarian Bier Cafe,.. 悉尼冬09..冬のシドニー09..

There are 3 things and places you must visit whilst in Sydney. I visited all three during this winter which is a good weather to do anything in Sydney as its not too hot in winter to be outdoors and yet during daytime, its not too cold as well as winters in Sydney are very mild.

I've been to these places often and so i shall introduce them to my fellow readers living in Sydney whom may not have gone before or those whom may want to consider visiting them if ever in Sydney.

Below are as follows, in no particular order:

1) Royal Botanical Gardens.

This is quite possibly the best garden and quaint area in the Sydney CBD area which has the best vantage point for taking the backdrop of the Opera House. I love this place as its quite big and tranquil (unlike Hyde Park which is much smaller and always pretty busy with people, although i love Hyde Park too!) and also you can walk along the waterfront with the Sydney Harbour waterfront on one side and the Royal Botanic Gardens on the other side. So you can get both water and land sceneries whilst walking. Also, it has arguably the best vantage point for taking photos of you/friends/relatives with the Sydney Opera House as a backdrop. Its superb and free really! There are two suggested routes. You can either walk from the Wooloomooloo Wharf area with all the high-end restaurants and walk over to the RBG and then follow the path towards the Sydney Opera House exit and then have a nice dinner over at the Rocks or you can walk from the Sydney Opera House entrance, and head towards the Wooloomooloo Wharf area for a nice expensive dinner. Along the way from Sydney Opera House entrance/exit to Wooloomooloo Wharf area, be sure to stop by Mrs Macquarie's Chair as well as the Sydney Conservatorium of Music which are wonderful places to stop by.
Above: View of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the Royal Botanical Gardens.

2) Bondi-Coogee Beach Coastal Walk.

This is a good walk to do and a must for all Sydney tourists and residents alike! I did this walk for the first time with my cousin whom visited in August last yr (as i went online to research where to take him, haha, funny how as residents, we may not know so many places to go within your city or town until you need to take someone to visit right??) and loved it...i revisited again one year later this month as well..after one yr, it was still such a great experience with the ocean, and the deep blue sea seemingly like it wasn't Sydney i was in, but some far-away coastal town in Europe...haha..i love this walk..highly can stop by Bronte or Tamarama Beach on the way for a cuppa tea or snacks,etc..reaching Coogee, there are an array of restaurants/cafes to choose from for dinner/lunch. Time for Walk: Approx 2. hrs. 6-7km.

Above: Bondi Beach and the Ice-Bergs Restaurant/Bar at Bondi can see a guy sun-tanning there..haha...usually that pose is reserved for women but he's doing it too...
Above; Scenery along the way of the coastal walk including interesting architecture and the foodie pic below is Spanish rice with shrimps along with iced-lemon tea along the Coogee beachfront restaurants..

3) Manly Beach Ferry.

Below: Bavarian Bier Cafe Tasting Platter at BBC Manly Branch. Love the German sausages. Tasty!

This is simply one of the best experiences of living in Sydney and a MUST-DO for ALL TOURISTS to Sydney. Its quite a famous experience i believe and many tourists do take the ferry to Manly. Unlike the Bondi-Coogee walk which requires one to walk for 2 hours, the Manly Ferry taken from Circular Quay to Manly Beach only takes 30 minutes one way and you can enjoy the amazing view to and from Manly Beach. It should be taken at dawn around 5pm before sunset so you get a view of Sydney Harbour/CBD during sunlight hours and you arrive at around 5 30pm. One can then wander around and explore Manly Beach and take a walk,etc...have dinner at any of the plentiful restaurants in the area such as thai, japanese, western, brazilian,chinese,etc. and then take the ferry back. By then it would have been dark already after your dinner at Manly and so you can see an AMAZING SIGHT as Sydney Opera House and CBD citylights come into view on your way bck. I love visiting/taking the ferry during winter time as i love the cold wind brushing against my face and one should always visit Sydney during winter...i think taking the ferry during summer is just not as nice due to the lack of coldness at night..also you should definitely sit on the deck area on the second level..never sit inside the ferry (theres' a deck outside on 2nd level) as you get a poor always rem to sit outside on deck on 2nd level..
Another nice ferry ride is from Circular Quay to Parramatta along the Parramatta river as this is another unique experience:-)

Anyone have their own suggestions for their favourite or recommended places to visit in Sydney, for residents and tourists alike? Do share; I'd love to know:-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The 64th Anniversary of the End of WW2: Annual Aug 15th Remembrance Post.終戦64週年記念...终战64周年記念....

Above: Map of the Largest Extent of Japanese Invasion and Expansion circa 1895-1945.

Today marks the 64th Anniversary of the End of WW2 in Asia and throughout the world. The Pacific War began on July 7th 1937 (some would argue it began with Japan's invasion of northern China in 1931, setting up puppet Manchuria)and ended with Emperor Hirohito's pronouncement of unconditional surrender on August 15th 1945, following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early Aug.

As in the tradition of my blog since it began way back in '05, I have written a remembrance post on every Aug 15th commemorating that fateful day when the horrific war in Asia ended, leaving millions dead, wounded, raped, and traumatised. It has been always a tremendous interest of mine in researching,archiving, and collecting materials, books, and personal accounts and eyewitness stories of the war in Asia and how the war affected the occupied territories of Asia, which included what is now called modern day Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Burma, East Timor, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and many other nations. Yes, indeed, the Imperial Japanese Forces invaded all the above places, which may surprise many given how little is still known by the general public, even within Asia itself, much less, people residing outside of Asia in Europe, America, or the Middle East and India about WW2 in Asia.

Much attention has focused on China and Korea, whom are great economic powers now and make the most noise about Japan's wartime record, whilst the suffering of people's of other Japanese occupied nations such as Philippines and Vietnam is rarely known outside of those countries. (Yes, i was surprised myself when i started learning about South East Asia under Japanese rule and didn't even realise Vietnam had been occupied by Japan before during the war, or that Japanese atrocities in the Philippines equalled those committed in China...heck, with all the attention given to the Vietcong and the American involvement in the Vietnam War in the 60s/70s, who'd have known about the WW2 period and the Japanese involvement in Vietnam bck in WW2??!! Certainly not me!)

I've been involved in the Demand for Full Japanese Redress and Compensation Movement of sorts since around '05 when i went over to Tokyo for my exchange program. n i first met former Imperial Japanese vets whom spoke about their atrocities in China, and attended even Court Hearings and even a Judgement Hearing (i was lucky! these judgements usually take yrs to hand down, and i happened to be in Tokyo, when i could attend) on WW2 compensation cases in Japan's courts. I have been passionate about this issue since 14 yrs old or thereabouts when i first chanced upon this film starring Chingmy Yau and Veronica Yip Yuk Hing (two of my fav HK stars of the 90s) called 'Hong Kong on Fire 1941'.

Up until then, my image of the Japanese was one of refinement, of upper-class, prim and proper, polite Japanese ladies and mothers and their advanced nation of high-tech stuff, of Japanese being rich and cultured at the same time...this was, after all, the 90s...Japan led the way in Asia even despite the burst of the bubble economy as South Korea and China were still not in the world scene so-to-speak yet...i hadn't known about Japanese wartime atrocities AT ALL since it wasn't taught in schools and in the media, it wasn't such a big issue at the time, well it was, but it wasn't like it was headline news or anything like that..that single movie, changed me. It remains one of my fav movies depicting the Japanese atrocities committed during WW2.

Below: The film which forever changed my impression of the Japanese and where I first learnt about Japan and WW2 atrocities; called 'Hong Kong on Fire 1941'...

Since 2000, much has changed. In 1997, Iris Chang's book on the 'Rape of Nanking' came out, also the first time i heard about Nanking and what occurred there. China made little to no noise over the issue of wartime atrocities and indeed throughout the 80s/90s, it actively sought to restrict and ban any attempts by activists to highlight the issue or publicise compensation demands ( PRC relinquished the right to official compensation from Japan as a gesture of goodwill in 1972 when it re-established diplomatic ties with Japan). However, from 2001, when Koizumi (the Ex-PM of Japan) began his annual high-level official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, China began protesting in a loud manner and since then, the government and the media in China have been highlighting the issue very prominently. In fact, WW2 dramas are prob the MOST popular genre when it comes to war dramas nowadays, and even my mainland Chinese apartment sharemate is watching them now, que all the patriotic scenes of PLA soldiers killing Japanese soldiers and gory scenes of Japanese rampages..i'm glad actually...i mean many commentators say this is propaganda and brain-washing..etc..all that anti-commie crap as usual...i distinctly remember feeling so angry that no one seemed to bother during the 90s including China when the issue of Japanese warcrimes came up...with the strong exception of South Korea,and i NEVER heard people or commentators back then argue about the lack of justice for Asian victims of Japanese atrocity or howl over the Chinese government's ACTIVE PROHIBITION on activists seeking to gain attention to this issue, as it wasn't and still isn't 'convenient' ....and nowadays you get these (mainly western observers) saying these highly condescending and patronising statements like 'China and Japan should just grow up..' 'Korea should stop whining over the colonial issues lest it be viewed as not international enough, jeopardising its aspirations to becoming a first world country' ...' and I'm like 'what total nonsense!!!!!'...imagine what it'd be like if Germany behaved like Japan today, the western world would be up in arms...

I'd just like to ask which part of Chinese textbooks is 'propaganda'?? Is it the mention of rapes of women? The figures stated as killed? The emphasis of Japanese warcrimes?

I don't see any problems with them...Indeed, I never went through ANY education on those topics and yet you find me still feeling very strongly about it...I think people need to understand that this is a very sensitive topic and that if people cannot be sympathetic nor understanding over the issue, they should just BUTT OUT and not contribute pathetic racist patronising comments about how China and Korea and Japan are acting like children, or how Korea is not acting like a first-world power by wallowing in self-victimhood. Cos it is EXACTLY a FIRST WORLD NATION such as Korea or China (whom has many characteristics of a first world major power now) that would make a big fuss about stuff like see, poorer and weaker nations such as Vietnam and Indonesia are not 'more mature', they're simply poorer, and have too many domestic problems to worry about historical issues like this, its only the stronger and richer nations which can afford to call out Japan for its atrocities. So please try and understand that....just like how in richer countries you have 'post-traumatic stress disorder' whereas in poor African nations, you just have to live with it and not worry about how traumas affect you...which doesn't mean its a healthy thing:-)

As for movies made on the WW2 issue in Asia, contrary to popular belief, there's been VERY LITLE made on Japanese atrocities in Asia...many films simply touch on it or its the setup but not the focus, such as Ang Lee's 'Lust, Caution' which dealt very briefly and hinted on Japanese terror during WW2. Two recent Chinese films on Nanking came out this yr, one being 'Nanking! Nanking!' and the other being 'John Rabe', a German-PRC Co-production. Although i lamented on the lack of good well publicised films back in the 80s and 90s on the topic of Japanese invasion/atrocities in Asia...i must say now that despite all the attention that the Rape of Nanking is getting now, all the films made in the past 10 yrs are pretty much crap compared to the ones made during the era when the issue wasn't as prominent!!!

Nanking! Nanking! was highly anticipated and is arguably the most high-profile Chinese film to have been made on the Nanking Massacre in history. It did massively well in the Chinese box-office but i suspect that's bcos there's just been such a lack of films on the Nanking Massacre that mainland Chinese audiences simply bought tickets to watch what was available. 2 stars out of 5. Miss it. It is one of the worst films i've watched on the Nanjing Massacre...despite all the supposedly research done, it was totally historically inaccurate, very much a work of the director's 'imagination' of what happened, totally incoherent storyline to the point of it being more suited as a play than a movie, and having wrong casting decisions putting japanese actors whom look like 21st century actors from tokyo playing 30s rough and rugged japanese soldiers..

The other film, 'John Rabe' fared better, and i'd recommend it if only cos there's no other films on the Nanking Massacre for the past few is also quite inaccurate in its portrayals, and miss out huge chunks on atrocities, shying completely away from depicting any rape scenes...

I still think of all the tv dramas and movies on Japanese wartime atrocities, 1 tv drama and 4 films come to mind in terms of what i'd recommend (despite them having some flaws as well).

The tv drama would be Singapore's 'The Price of Peace' in 1997 which dealt with the Japanese invasion and occupation of Singapore 1942-1945. I cried countless times when i saw this on video yrs later..i get very emotional when i see media on this period..i don't know why, but i cry easily on depictions of especially the bombings and raping by the Japanese.

The films i'd recommend would be 1) Aishiteimasu (Mahal Kita) 1941 dealing with the Filipino experience of WW2 which was produced in 2004. 2)屠城血证 A mainland chinese film which was the first Chinese production on the Rape of Nanking bck in 1987. Yes, despite the PRC been found in 1949, no movie was ever made on the Nanking Massacre from 1949-1987! Almost 4 decades! Even with this film, the director reported restrictions from the govt not to portray japanese atrocities such as would 'harm' sino-japanese relations at a time when China was still in deep need of Japanese economic assistance. 3) 南京1937. This Taiwanese-HK coproduction was produced by John Woo and came out in 1995 on the 50th Anniversary of the End of WW2. It is the best film i've seen (so far) on the Nanking Massacre and highly recommended. 4) 香港沦陷1941 HK on Fire 1941. Mentioned above, by Wong Jing in 1994 which is good despite it being essentially a typical 1990s wartime hk sex-ploitation film.

Try to watch any of the above, they're all pretty good..Google for more info on these films...

Don't Cry, Nanking 1937 南京1937 (1995) Extra Review:

I'd like to elaborate more on Don't Cry, Nanking 1937. Which is the No.3 film above...I like this film the best and would DEFINITELY RECOMMEND it for people interested in a fair, unbiased, and most importantly, historically accurate film on what happened during the Nanking Massacre. It takes you on a coherent, dramatic storyline focusing on a Chinese-Japanese family during the Nanking Massacre and gives the proper introduction on the days leading up to the massacre, the bombing of the city, the mass killings, and of course, did a marvellous job of not shying away from depicting one of THE worst MASS RAPE SCENES I've ever scene on film, in a way not tiltillating, but extremely raw and poignantly horrifying. I salute the chinese extras whom were willing to sacrifice their bodies for this historically important film on a historically important event. Compared to Nanking! Nanking! this yr, the actors all looked the part unlike the former, and the Japanese actors looked like they were from 1930s Japan and spoke in such a manner, unlike the former film...the japanese daughter was actually played by a chinese teenage girl judging from her title credits name and the way she spoke japanese was very accurate and she looked just the part, not just a japanese girl of the 90s (the movie was made then) but a japanese girl of 1937!.. and it dealt with possible reasons for the massacre, the inherent racism of the massacre and how soldiers felt they could do anything during war.

Two scenes illustrate (without giving too much away) the above themes perfectly. One scene had the two jap soldiers telling the (very) frightened Japanese wife she wouldn't be so nice to them if they were in Japan in peacetime, would she? It also illustrated perfectly subtly that most soldiers then were from the countryside as it showed them being wowed by the fact that she was a 'woman from tokyo'....

Another scene had a soldier attempting to rape the japanese daughter as they were living in the chinese refugee camp and the wife said 'この子は日本人です、コノ子はニッポン人デス!’(This girl is Japanese! THIS girl is Japanese!) And that showed perfectly how racism was entrenched in that war as the soldier backed off and looked ashamed..cos Japanese girls n women were off-limits and they only raped 'enemy women (chinese women/girls)'..

There's also a reason for the English title 'Don't Cry, Nanking.' which besides being a metaphor for the city of Nanking during those dark days of winter 1937...also has a more literal meaning..its revealed subtly towards the end of the film...but watch the movie, i shouldn't spoil it!..
I liked the opening scene as well, where they show you an empty rail track and the haunting background score, and for almost 20 secs you don't see anyone, and slowly the symbolic Chinese-Japanese family escaping from war-torn Shanghai, of a Chinese father and his son from a previous marriage,and the Japanese wife and her daugther from a previous marriage slowly emerge from the distance, following the railway tracks towards the city of Nanking...all of a sudden, they hear Japanese fighterplanes flying overhead, prob towards bombing the city...she says:

アナタ、南京は本当に安全なの?(Dear, is Nanking safe?)
He replies:
不会有问题的,南京是中国的首都,如果我们连这里也守不住,我们也没有地方可以逃了。(There will be no problem. Nanking is China's Capital. If the Chinese can't even defend this, we'll have no where to run....)

If only they knew...:-(

Links to Entire Movie here (with Eng Subs!, simply click part a,b,c,d, etc in that order to complete film): (But be forewarned, it's extremely heartwrenching to watch!)
Above: I volunteered with Amnesty International NSW on their Comfort Women Butterfly Campaign at the National Rally for Same-Sex Marriage on Aug 1 at Darling Harbour. Kinda a way for me to show support for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbians too; that's what i call killing two birds with one stone! PS: Also participated in their final campaign event in front of Customs House Circular Quay which was quite a success in terms of the no of butterfly signature cards we managed to collect:-)

Previous Posts on WW2 and Asia:

Lest We Forget....a moment of silence for the at least 30 million Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Vietnamese, Filipinos, East Timorese, Hong Kongers, Indonesians, Taiwanese, and others as well as the Japanese civilians at home whom perished in that immensely devastating war.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Malaysian Chinese Dramas-I Love Them, The New Fad:-)..马来西亚华语电视剧-我的新潮流最爱....マレーシア中国系のドラマ-新トレンド...

Above and Below: Pics of Kuala Lumpur (KL) skyline and the map of Malaysia. Most Malaysians live in West Malaysia which is also where the big cities and major industrialisation are. The population is one of the rare places in the world where its truly multicultural with a long history of races mixing together, with Malays and Indigenous people making up 60%, Chinese 24%, Indians 7% and the remaining being made up of other races such as Eurasians, Sri Lankans, Portuguese,etc.

I love Malaysian Chinese Dramas! They seem to be a new fad with NTV 7's (a Malaysian channel) collaboration with Mediacorp (a Singaporean channel) in recent yrs becoming increasingly popular. To be sure, Malaysian Chinese dramas were always around by the terrestrial tv stations in Malaysia but they were never really popular with competition from the immensely popular Hong Kong TVB dramas and Taiwanese dramas as well as later on, Mediacorp dramas from Singapore shown on Astro. I first discovered Malaysian Chinese dramas with this drama:

I was surprised at how good it was! Cos I never watched Malaysian Chinese dramas and always thought they were crappy...i simply didn't believe Malaysian dramas could be any good...boy was i wrong, when i happened to chance upon this late night drama whilst accidentally switching channels one nite and came across this channel during one of the long vacations bck in Malaysia
whilst still a student at Melbourne University. I seldom watch (almost never) the local free-to-air channels like TV 1,2,3, or even NTV7 or Channel 8, but i don't know why i happened to switch to that channel 2 i think and thought it looked pretty interesting..i became hooked and came bck for more every night until the ending...i loved it!!

Then, I forgot all about Malaysian Chinese dramas until early this year when i came upon a clip on youtube and immediately fell in love with it, it's called 'Love is All Around' and the stars were so good-looking!! I loved the Malaysian 'feel' to it and it was nice for a change to watch something local and not Singaporean, HK, Korean, or Taiwanese dramas...i like all the Malaysian Chinese stars like Apple Hong and Melvin Sia and Huang Qiming..its nice to actually have local idols (local means Malaysian for me) instead of the well-known China, HK, Taiwanese (ok, this is local for me too cos i'm half-taiwanese), Singaporean, Japanese, and Korean stars which are popular across Asia.

Anyways, below are some of the dramas I'm currently watching (via Mainland China online video-sharing sites) or will plan to watch once they became available on the super-great mainland Chinese video-sharing sites such as or :

Age of Glory 情牵南苑 (2008):
This is another mega NTV 7 production, this time set in the 1960s in the cabarets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (this is Malaysia's capital for those unfamiliar with Malaysia). I love the actress, so pretty again, and the retro feel looks good and interesting but i prob won't be watching this drama cos its too 40 episodes i think?...

Love is All Around 爱在你左右 (2007):

This drama is soo great...i love apple hong,she's so pretty man...hehe..and Qiming is soo handsome! Makes me SO PROUD to be Malaysian with such good looking people being born in Malaysia..haha..and then there's Melvin Sia and Eunice Ng too! I love them too...i'm still watching it online..i love the theme song, it's sung by the main lead actor whom's also a professional singer...this song is soo romantic..haha..

Romantic Delicacies 美食厨师男(2009):

This is a new Malaysian Chinese drama, another NTV 7 and Mediacorp collaboration, and i simply love the actors in here!!!! There's my Melvin Sia and also Nick Shen (omg, i fell in love with his handsome good looks when i found out about this Singaporean gay-themed short film called 'Tanjung Rhu' : link here: which had him in it and couldn't believe he was in this drama..hehe) as well as discovering a new talent for me, her name is Luo Yi Si, and she looks so cute and bubbly..i like her personality from what i can tell from the video links posted up on youtube...well, anyways, shall be looking forward to watching this show when it becomes available online, any Malaysians wanna volunteer and upload the episodes on youtube or a chinese video site?? pretty pretty PLEASE?!! hehehe.. & I love this chinese version of Agnes Carlsson's original song with the Japanese version in the 2nd half being equally appealing)

Some good looking Malaysian actors and actresses links:

Check out this site!! It has tons of good-looking hunks in the Malaysian entertainment scene...i was googling for this post cos i needed to get some info on actors and chanced upon this usual maintained and patronised by gay men mainly..haha..i've noticed everytime i want to search for cute hunks/actors be it malaysian, or filipino, i always come across sites by and for gay men, come on girls, how come the total lack of straight female bloggers maintaining sites on hunks?? Not that i'm complaining, hehehe..but the interest of fairness and balance, particularly after my feminist rant the post before, i can't help but notice this trend of hunk websites being run by and for gay asian men...hehe..btw, I like Desmond Cheah, Rick Lee and Melvin Sia on the site..anyone have their own favourite male malaysian hunk??

Also, on a side note from Malaysian Chinese Tv dramas, although the Malaysian film industry is still in its infancy, there's one film which has caught my attention for its radical refreshing style, trailer here:

Anyways, hope to have introduced alittle something to my readers on Malaysia and the entertainment industry there...i have found particularly that Malaysian shows which were pretty much crap when i left in 2001 have come a long way and there are many surprisingly good shows whenever i return on TV...unlike the Australian tv and cable industry which is pretty much CRAP unlike our fantastic Astro cable network and NTV 7 and Channel 8, etc...however, the investigative journalism shows are pretty good in Australia like 'Four Corners' which is my perennial fav and also i did like Masterchef Australia and the Oh-Mighty-Poh...she did Malaysians and Malaysian-Australians living in Australia proud with her very Malaysian dishes which she cooked up and i loved the publicity she gave to malaysian dishes in Australia such as in the finale where she cooked Hainan Chicken Rice and Pandan cake....some of the contestants mistakenly thought it was a Chinese cake...which it isn't, mainland Chinese wouldn't even know what Pandan is! It's a South East Asian delicacy/ingredient only found in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore (i think!). Good on her for having the guts to use 'daring' and 'unique' Malaysian creations instead of playing it safe and going down the European/Western/Australian culinary path in her creations...

Anyways, thats' all for now!

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Status of Women (3)… 婦女的地位(三)… 婦女の地位(三)

Finally....a post on women's rights and status again...a passionate topic of mine which i try to keep off as i get sooooo heated and animated over it and it tends to be very controversial (in my mind) given the amount of man-hating it seems to come across as (which it ABSOLUTELY is not)...ok maybe just alittle..just a LITTLE...

Anyways, in case, anyone thinks that we no longer need feminism, as many people do nowadays and since the 90s actually, including ALOT of women themselves, i just need to remind everyone of a few really pisses me off when i hear men (and women!) say how we don't need feminism anymore, how feminist are so militant (i'm a PROUD militant feminist by the way), and all the other kind of bullshit, including jokes about how women are actually OVER men nowadays and men being in danger of being discriminated against in the 21st Century...let me just remind some (stupid ignorant) people of the following shocking facts about the state of our women around the world in the year 2009:

1) Women still make up less than 30% of boards, CEOs, management roles/positions in the private sector in almost every single country in the world today including the so-called 'advanced West' where i read somewhere that women in Britain made up only 20-30% of leadership management positions in the private sector in the late 2000s.

2) Women make up an average of ONLY 18% in all national parliaments around the world in the year 2009. Nope, not year 1909, not year 1959, BUT year 2009. That means men make up on average MORE than 80% MORE THAN 80%, MORE THAN 80% of parliament in all countries around the world on average. I just thought i had to keep repeating the above figure in case it doesn't shock u at first glance. Women make up roughly 50% of the world's population and yet in 2009, less than 20% of parliament and decision-making is in women's hands. The average for European countries is a mere 20% and Asia 18.3% and Arab states 9.7%. Shameful in a word.

Link to Women in Parliament Worldwide Statistics:

3) Crimes against women are still high, and sexual crimes are still committed overwhelmingly against women. Something like over 80% of sexual crimes are committed against women by men and the 20% of sexual crimes committed against mainly boys and some men are usually committed by other MEN as well, not women. And you see the media hype everytime there's some 'news' about a female teacher sleeping with an underage teenage male student as if its the worst thing in the world. I'm sorry, where's the headline news about the hundreds, if not, thousands of male teachers whom molest and rape female students?!!! In fact, they not only target the female students, it seems they also target trainee teacher students assigned to schools as part of their work experience...i read somewhere on one of the English language Korea blogs that there was a piece of news on four male teachers sexually harassing and groping female teacher trainees and forcing them to drink and entertain them at karaoke rooms after school...omg, if these are male teachers doing things to adult females, god knows what potential they have to do these things to female students...

4) Around 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year and over 80% of these are women and girls. Its a despicable figure and most would presumably be traded as sex slaves. They're often raped first by the traffickers and then sold to brothels to be raped thousands of times again. Some are sold as 'wives' to rural communities or men in developed countries whom are socially or economically poor and can't get wives. Some re'sold again by these 'husbands' to other men after having been 'used sexually' or 'shared' with other menfolk in the family such as being forced to sleep with the brother or the uncle as well. I wanna puke as i'm writing this...despite being a feminist for yrs and being so used to such stories and tales of abuse, it never fails to sicken me...for those of us living a middle-class/upper-class lifestyle in relatively developed countries such as Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, etc, it may seem a world away but these things are happening RIGHT NOW in the 21st Century STILL. It's NOT a 20th Century problem. It's continued to become a 21st Century one.

5) Not only are women trafficked across international borders, they are also trafficked WITHIN the national borders of countries. For instance, in India, women and girls are often trafficked from the poor rural villages into the slums of the urban centres such as Mumbai and Bangalore.

The same occurs for many thousands of women and girls in Thailand and Burma, whom are often tricked into the sex trade with false promises to them or their families of well-paid jobs in the cities as waitresses or store clerks. In China in the 1980s and 1990s, women were also abducted from towns and cities and sold as 'brides' to rural communities and men whom couldn't obtain wives because of poverty, handicap, or other deficiencies as well as the gender imbalance in rural China. I watched this award-nominated film about these 'bride-nappings' in China which occured mainly in the 1980s.1990s in China called 'Blind Mountain' 盲山 and it was really a very informative and provoking film and highly recommended, the film trailer and webpage is here:

Nowadays, it tends not to be Chinese women abducted and sold into sexual and domestic slavery as 'wives' in rural China but North Korean women (and some Vietnamese women) in the thousands, if not hundred of thousands, whom are sold in China due to poverty and starvation in North Korea and being exploited as illegal refugees once they cross over the border into Northeast China. Link to more resources on North Korean women refugees in China:

6) Domestic violence is still overwhelmingly a problem faced disproportionately by women. With the Chris Brown-Rihanna episode this year, it shows that domestic violence happens across class lines with being wealthy and educated not being a barrier to it. Indeed it shows the severity of the situation if even Rihanna can get hit despite her fame and wealth, what average women have the potential to go through. It also shows you don't have to be married to get hit, even girlfriends get hit nowadays. It is a problem stemming from the male paranoia and superego which gets super-inflated, male lack of compassion and propensity for violence and control, and what some males view as a show of their 'masculinity' , of not being able to stand women/others seemingly threatening their ego or masculinity. I know personally of many domestic violence situations and these people seem outwardly happy and blessed but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. Further, many middle-aged couples would have experienced this 'phase' earlier on in their marriage in the 80s/90s and were it not for the perseverance of the wife, i can forsee many divorces would have occured by now. I mean just from growing up and hearing stories from around me, you have some husbands telling their wives that they have to accompany them on business trips or they don't know what could happen in terms of affairs happening..and these are considered 'honest' husbands...i mean if a wife told that to her husband, i can foresee she'd be considered a 'whore' etc...of course, these are women from my mother's generation in their 50s a different generation now...i can't imagine guys telling that to their young wives of this pampered generation.....
However, despite the above, there have been improvements in women's status around the globe with women accounting for half of the student population now in almost every country, some traditionally male-dominated occupations being more female than male nowadays such as law and public service with more law graduates being female than male in Australia in recent yrs ( i think) and the public service accepting more female new employees than male new employees in South Korea for the past 2 years.

Also, in the media, actresses's 'sellable' years have also increased to 40 and if possible, even over 40 now. It used to be the case that an actress's career would start to suffer after hitting 30., then it became after 35, then now it seems more like they have until 40 and even that seems to be changing with many continuing to be profitable and famous after becoming 40 yrs old with prime examples in the West being Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, and Sandra Bullock, and in the East being Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung and others. Of course, men still do get meatier roles and looked at as attractive symbols well past their 40s and even 50s with prime examples such as Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford and Tony Leung and Chow Yun Fatt but at least there's been improvement in expanding the 'beauty and marketable' age group for women to 40 years old now. It's a sign of the times when the latest blockbuster hit 'The Proposal' starring a 45 yr old Sandra Bullock and a 32 year old Ryan Reynolds puts an over 40 yr old actress as the leading romantic lead which is a break-through in itself (if you guys notice carefully, romantic comedies prior to this almost ALWAYS cast a female lead below 35 years old and usually below 30) but they topped that by putting her with a male lead 13 yrs her junior! Gosh, thats why i love this film, there's just something VERY liberating and not to mention refreshing about an older woman-younger man kinda romance, heck, i love it with the woman on top when it comes to sexual positions so i guess no surprises there...hahaha..even in Chinese/Asian dramas and movies, its quite common nowadays to see in a romantic setting for the females to be abit older than the guys as well such as 'A Thousand Tears' with Athena Chu (37 ) and Hawick Lau (34) fact, the age of actors/actresses in romances are increasing across the board!! 20 yrs back, romances usually portrayed teenagers and 20 somethings, but nowadays, 30 somethings are very common as well...another example is the Japanese drama back in 2005 with the female lead being 32 and the male lead being only 25 called 'Slow Dance' on Fuji TV.
I think its very dangerous to come to the conclusion that feminism is well and throughly passe now in the 21st century and that women have by and large become equal to men as my examples above are just SOME which goes to show that women are anything but even close to where men stand today. Its a misnomer to say that women in the West are already there as well as statistics have shown that whether in government or in the private sector, women are still less than 30% whether it be in the decision-making boardrooms of the private sector or the hallways of society-influencing government. Thus, all women, be it in the West or East, are still lagging far behind men, not just a few steps behind men. I have mellowed down in recent yrs and no longer feel that everything must be 50/50. However, i believe that a 60 (men) 40 (women) ratio is attainable, desirable, and mandatory. However, even after 100 yrs of female emancipation, this still seems like a far-away goal with countries like Australia only having a mere 18% or so women in parliament and the largest democracy in the world, India, having a shockingly low 10% only. And they're debating a Women's Reservation Bill in India now on whether to reserve 30% of parliament for women parliamentarians which is like hotly debated and having been proposed since 1996. I mean, hello, enough with the talking and bring it through...with only a 10% representation, they NEED this reservation bill...heck, if 60 yrs of democracy can't lift women up to even that figure (which is wholly unsatisfactory in my opinion as i said earlier it must be at LEAST 40%) then don't bs me about women being able to do it on their merits,etc without quotas...
This also brings me to the issue of male seems that whenever female quotas in anything is brought up, there's always heated debate..but whenever male quotas are brought up, especially in the education sector to ensure more male teachers as male role models in schools, almost everyone agrees, or at least, theres much less controversy...remember the 'crisis of masculinity' debate which came up in the mid-2000s in Australia anyone? It occured when 'family-values' Howard PM was concerned on the lack of male teachers in schools and suggested male quotas or better pay to attract men into the education sector. This debate has occured recently in South Korea as well where many, including women, agree on the need for quotas for men, to redress the lack of male role models in schools...i mean HELLO?!!! Am i the only one whom notices the double standard here? What we need is NOT male quotas for men, we need to address the root problem of why men are not getting into the teaching profession, which is the low pay and career advancement. So we should be raising the pay of teachers in Australia and South Korea similarly and not lowering standards to allow men in. Similarly, the more potent and glaringly obvious question, why are we as a society so concerned with the lack of male role models for children and teenagers? What is this thing of the fear of loss of masculinity? I mean do we get so riled up when there's loss of feminine qualities? Or is it a fear of male children turning 'soft' 'effeminate' or even worse...GAY without macho men in their lives?? This leads to sexism again and even alittle homophobia...

I mean i NEVER hear about the lack of FEMALE role models in the legal, government, architecture, mechanic, fashion, culinary, engineering, construction, ETC industries which are ALL male-majority industries..i mean do we EVER complain and talk about quotas in all the above industries for female due to the 'lack of female role models'?? The answer is a resounding NO, so why when in one of the FEW industries where women actually make up the majority (and you may think otherwise, but really women only make up the majority in nursing, teaching, sex industry, domestic work, and...hhhmmm..thats it??) we have a ruckus on how there's a 'crisis' of lack of men...blatantly DOUBLE STANDARDS! I'd love to hear the day when we decide to even discuss quotas for women in government, law, engineering, fashion( yes, even this industry is male-dominated, albeit more gay males than straight males but still men nevertheless!) , construction, and almost every industry i can think of and debate the crisis the lack of women role models at the top causes to young women and teenage girls of our communities.

I'd just like to end with a statement which I heard Gloria Steinem (my role model, one of them) make in an Oprah Show early this year: That what we have now is a dangerous throwback of the arguement that was used back in the 50s against feminism, that we didn't need it as it was women's 'natural role' to be where they were and performing what they were doing....however, nowadays, it becomes that yes we needed (notice the past tense) feminism but that now we no longer need feminism anymore as women have already 'made it' so to speak and thus once again, feminism is said to be unnececessary and 'outdated' when everything i've written above shows that women are still far from even my 60/40 ratio of equality...
Thus, at the end of the day, I'm still a militant and proud feminist working towards an acceptable, if not completely, equal society between the genders.
Earlier Posts on Women's Issues: