Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taiwan's Chen Shui Bian Sentenced to Life Imprisonment..

If any of you have been following, Taiwan's Ex-President Chen Shui Bian has been sentenced to life imprisonment along with his wife on several corruption charges. His son-in-law and daughter have also been found guilty on several counts of money laundery and fined millions. He has also been fined millions along with his wife ON TOP of the life sentence.

This could possibly be the only case in Asia where an ex-President has been found guilty of corruption charges and actually been imprisoned and forced to serve a life imprisonment sentence. Quite frankly, I think its extremely naive for those whom support this decision as a sign of Taiwan's mature democracy as i think the decision is extremely politically-motivated. I mean anyone knows that all of Taiwan's ex-leaders have been corrupt and way more corrupt than Chen esp during the pre-1987 era under KMT dictatorial rule but no one then nor has any KMT president ever been found guilty of corruption, much less prosecuted or even a life sentence! But once a DPP leader comes, the KMT wasted no time at all in prosecuting Chen once Ma got elected and the Prosecution kept leaking information to the press and the mainstream media in Taiwan (which is extremely pro-KMT) kept their one-sided reportage of the ongoing trial of Chen such that he could not get a fair trial. Even the original presiding Judge of the case was swapped when he decided to grant bail to Chen and threatened with treason, how fair can Chen's trial be?!! Then another judge came in and decided to refuse Chen's bail application meaning Taiwan's Ex-President was and is still forced to sit in prison awaiting his trial..and there's no good reason for that! Like how in the world do they think Chen can escape Taiwan if let out on bail? It's simply a tactic by the KMT and pan-blue supporters to humiliate him...There's seriously no credible reason to continue to detain Chen in such an undignified manner..and you know what? The media in Taiwan even decided Chen was given too much 'preferential treatment' in prison, analysing and scrutinising what he got to eat for Chinese New Year in prison...i mean WTF?!!! He's an Ex-President, putting him in prison whilst awaiting trial is totally an abuse of judicial power in the first place with a strong hint of interference with the judicial system by the ruling KMT party, and he can't even get a lil' better prison food??!! Heck, he's spending CNY in prison ppl, give him a break!

The Taiwanese mainstream media and newspapers are mainly pro-China and pro-reunification with China and thus spare no opportunity in degrading Chen and pan-Green Independence supporters at any cost..for instance, Sisy Chen's news program (she's one of the more popular tv hosts in Taiwan) shows her bias against the DPP when she repeatedly wondered aloud what the point of anti-Ma anti-China bias demonstrations were for earlier in the year despite there being real concerns over Ma's current extremely pro-China stance and policies which seek to threaten Taiwan's national security and sovereignty. The fact they were held peacefully (which is a rare occurence) was something to be celebrated but all Sisy could talk about was what the point was, how tourism went down during the demos,etc..yea bla bla bla, and no one in the mainstream media bothered to criticise the huge anti-Chen demos in 2004 and in 2007 (i think) where the pan-Blue camp refused to accept Chen's mandate to rule and refused to accept election riots (despite the narrow margin) and continued to riot ceaselessly for his resignation..back then the likes of Sisy would go on their shows saying how 'shameless' Chen was, etc, see how many ppl didn't support his govt, how he should resign, etc...not a mention of the 'effect of tourism' or 'what lousy losers the pan-blue camp supporters were for not accepting election riots and committee official conclusions' but it was spinned as 'democracy at work'!

Even when Chen was in office, many ppl and mainstream media refused to call him 'President Chen' saying he wasn't the president as the 2004 election results were scammed and that the attempted assasination of Chen and Lu then was a Chen-preplanned hoax (despite all investigations coming with inconclusive evidence linking the assasination attempt to Chen himself)...this shows how disrespectful many pan-blue Taiwanese are of the democratic system in Taiwan. Many said that the election in 2004 was 'one of the biggest joke in the world' . NOPE. The biggest shameful joke was actually the ensuing refusal to accept Chen as the democratically elected President of Taiwan and holding massive ongoing demonstrations calling for his resignation, basically SORE LOSERS..thank god the Court back then decided the results was constitutional and thus, the power of hooligans did not overcome reason.

You simply can't riot until you get the result and party you want just bcos you are a sore loser...
Unlike America which has a mature democracy, and where Americans by and large accept election results, even in similarly marginal instances such as Taiwan's 2004 results (the 2000 elections between Al Gore and Bush had a similar result with Bush only winning narrowly) and where ppl still call Bush, President Bush even if they dislike him, and where Obama has decided not to go after former Republicans or Republican policies, in Taiwan, you see ppl rioting when they dislike the result, insult their President and decide he should get life imprisonment and crappy prison food, not call him 'President' when he was still in office and even decide to go for all-out 'revenge time' once the new KMT govt comes into power, immediately arresting Chen and other DPP leaders....

and of note, I do not even fall into the usual 'category' of ppl whom support the DPP and pro-independence, in fact, given my socio-economic-geographical background, being 'mainlander', 'middle-class', and living in Taipei's Daan District ( Taiwan's wealthiest and coincidentally also the district with the most 'mainlander heritage' residents in Taiwan) you'd think i'd be very pro-KMT and demographic surveys have shown that those with 'mainlander' heritage and living in northern and mid-Taiwan including especially Taipei City, tend to vote overwhelmingly for pro-China KMT. I simply believe the KMT and their 'Republic of China' illusion carry too much historical baggage and belong to another era and another time.

Note: For those readers unfamiliar with Taiwan's history, the term 'mainlander' or Waishenren, refers to those Taiwanese with grandparents or ancestors came over to Taiwan post-1945. This means those whom do not usually have roots in Taiwan pre-1945 and came over after KMT rule from the Japanese after 1945. Usually it means either both their grandparents or parents are from China or one is from China and the other is local-born Taiwanese.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sydney Food Recommendations..介绍悉尼的私房饮食..シドニーの好きな食べ物所..

Above: Indonesia in Harmony Festival, Entertainment Quarters Fox Studios.. my first time to Fox Studios/Ent' Quarters..pretty cool place i reckon..but tad lil' out of the way..

Above; Fishmarket, Sydney..a place for good sashimi..most importantly, cheap sashimi..hehe,...

Above and Below: Royal National Park in Sydney, The World's Second Oldest National Park and Australia's Oldest National place..amazing experience n good camping/BBQ area..went during august/winter 1st time...

I'd like to recommend some foodie places I enjoy in Sydney and visit on a regular basis, or try to visit on a regular basis....they're all cheap places and so-called 'food haunt's' of mine in this city..hehe..
1) Full House Korean and Japanese restaurant, CBD
This Korean restaurant located at Level 1, 238 Pitt Street, Sydney CBD right across the Galleries Victoria shopping centre serves cheap affordable reasonable korean cuisine with Japanese cuisine such as teppanyaki and sushi as well...what i love about this place is the balcony it has which is overlooking Pitt street busy scenes below....sit outside on the balcony for great views below..and also my favourite kimchi chigae can be ordered here...unlike many kimchi hotpot served in other korean rest. which try to save costs and give you only kimchi and some pork meat pieces, the kimchi tuna hotpot here has kimchi with tuna fish boiled in it which is heavenly..its the tuna pieces which are essential in making this the best kimchi chigae so far for me experienced in Sydney which is at once delicious and affordable..something like $13 altogether with rice and for lunch and dinner.

2) Joy Cafe, Prince Centre, Haymarket.

This is located on the Quay St side of Prince Centre in Haymarket. I only order the Bakmi Gila here which is superb as its the best indo noodle i've eaten so far...i don't know where they order the noodles from but it's so qq..very bouncy...i usually ask for without the meat and replace the chicken meat they serve on top with plain veges and a fried egg..its a dry kind of noodles usually with dark soy-like sauce with chicken..costs less than $9 from memory..comes with soup as well..
3) Baba Laksa House, Grace Hotel, CBD.

Within the Grace Hotel in the Sydney CBD is this little Malaysian gem. It serves malaysian fare such as laksa, hainan chicken rice, fried rice, siam mee, etc. It is one of the more authentic places for Malaysian fare in Sydney. It opens from 11 30am-3pm i think mon-fri only. It is always busy with the CBD lunch crowd and with limited seating, be sure to arrive either before 12pm or after 2pm for good seats. Prices range from $9 to $13 per dish i think..

4) Ramenkan, Haymarket.
This is literally the best place of ramen in my humble opinion in Sydney in terms of price and authencity and deliciousness. It is located at Level 1, 90 Hay St, Haymarket on the 1st have to take a lift up and the entrance is very obscure...actually the japanese restaurant Wagaya besides on the same street also serves delicious ramen but it only opens at 5pm daily doing the dinner/supper section so ramenkan is a better option for i'd recommend wagaya as well for its authentic ramen and izakaya delicacies! Anyways, bck to ramenkan, anything ramen is good here...i like the miso butter corn ramen and negi miso ramen...

In terms of japanese food, and ramen in particular, Sydney serves quite alot of good ramen, unlike melbourne, which has quite crappy japanese food options in terms of affordability (obviously, if you're willing to pay high-end prices, you can still find good japanese cuisine in melb) and authentic least this was the case pre-2006 when i was still in melbourne..another good sydney ramen place besides wagaya and ramenkan is menya...

5) Mother Chu Vegetarian and Cho's Dumpling Taiwanese Cuisine, CBD

For Taiwanese cuisine, i personally like Cho's at Prince Centre, Haymarket. It serves pretty authentic Taiwanese street food (well, can never compare with the real deal served in Taiwan of course, but close enough i reckon)....i love the 'xiao chai' (taiwanese side cold dishes similar to korean panchai) which you can order to compliment your meal..i think they're the real scene can take them away as well which many ppl do to accompany their home-cooked meals..i also like to order the zha jiang mian...delicious..they also have a counter at hurstville shopping mall which is even better than the haymarket original shop (surprising, i know!!) as at the hurstville counter, you can order a cheap $6.50 'xiao bian tang' which is a taiwanese style-small bento box of rice and two choices of dishes and the variety is very authentic taiwanese food and cheap too..

Mother Chu serves Taiwanese vegetarian and I love ordering the Hong Shao Tofu..which is braised beancurd...absolutely delicious..and it doesn't come cheap too!'s like at least $16 for the tofu alone..located at 367 Pitt Street...

6) Chat Thai and Thainatown, CBD
For Thai food, i personally like Chat Thai on 20 Campbell Street in the heart of 'Thainatown' in Sydney serves delicious thai food in a good atmosphere and more importantly, has an opening hr until 2am at night every night ( i think!) so its a good supper place as they have a separate supper menu from the dinner menu! Website:

I also like Thainatown on Goulburn Street..always order their Pad Kapraw with pork and kai down (thai style egg) and boat noodle soup with egg noodles replacing the thin white noodles usually put (my personal preference)...located on 91 Goulburn Street..
There's more places i like such as Kawa cafe on Crown Street in Darlinghurst and many others but too many for me to list here...hahaha..i do like my food/drinks..and so been to quite a few places...anyways, above are a sample..anyone have their own favourite places to recommend in Sydney? Do tell..

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

As Fate Would Have It...缘分这东西..’縁’ということ

Above: Hong Kong...where the fellow Penangite whom i mention in my little encounter story below is heading to, for a new job and a new life...

Ever wondered whether 'fate' really exists? What makes us keeping bumping into someone, sometimes we know them and sometimes they may be total strangers?I've always believed in what we Chinese call 'Yuan Fen', which can be roughly translated into English as 'Fate'.

I have bumped into people i know sometimes 2-3 times within 3 months on the streets and have heard similar stories from friends of bumping on the streets ppl they seldom keep in touch with or even lost contact for years on the streets...the funny thing is i've even manage to bump into strangers (whom for some reason, i can remember their faces) like 2-3 times on the streets...there's like this girl whom was showing her apartment for lease and after that i managed to bump into her 2-3 times within a month! All in and around the city area...what a coincidence to meet someone randomly 3 times a month heh?

Then there's this person whom advertised his apartment on for lease and I assumed he was from China as most Chinese ppl here are...and then when i arrived i found out he was a fellow Malaysian too!!! Omg! What a coincidence right? A fellow Malaysian in Sydney..there's not that many in Sydney..not that I know of anyway, China,Taiwan,HK,Indonesians,Thais,Koreans, and Japanese make up more of the Asian population than Malaysians I think...that wasn't the only coincidence..I asked which part of Malaysia he was from, and would you believe it? He said Penang too!!! I almost jaw-dropped given that he could have been from any of the 13 states of Malaysia, but he was from my hometown of Penang (ok, so technically he was from the mainland, being Bukit Mertajam, but thats still part of Penang state, right???)!! I was overjoyed given that i never expected to meet a fellow Penangite in these circumstances...what's more, he was very Westernised and had very little Malaysian accent..most of the Penangite ppl i've known in Australia still retain a strong Malaysian-style accent in their English..he's been here 9 yrs, almost a decade...isn't that fate??

He was leaving for a new job in Hong Kong and was leasing his apart out to someone..he must be pretty rich and upmarket given the ability to buy his own apart at such a young age (he's prob in his mid 20s) and that apartment is at one of the most upmarket locations so its v.expensive..and the job in HK definitely means he's from a big firm bckground...he's an architect someone! omg, faint, THE top occupation and MOST IDEAL occupation I've preferred my future husband to have has ALWAYS been an Architect!!! Hahahaha..i'm these are usually creative types but yet hold solid, well-paid (v.important point!!) publicly respected jobs (unlike artists,advertising executives,etc) and he's from the mainland and I'm from the island, so if we were to get together, it'd be like a Union Across the Straits..hahahaha..jokin lah!! He definitely meets many of my criteria's in a partner though, being relatively wealthy, having been here for over 8 yrs, like me, cosmopolitan, from Penang, having boy-next-door looks ( i cannot imagine living my life with someone with stunning good looks and so am always drawn to those good-behaved clean-cut boy-next-door types,hehehe..)...OMG, what am I saying?!?!!?! Clearly, I'm indulging in silly lil' fantasies over here...and he kept saying 'we', when referring to what 'they' were looking for in a tenant, indicating he lives with someone, and owned the apartment with that given it couldn't be family as he said he goes bck to Penang every yr, (his family must be there then) it is usually a girlfriend..but the thing is I didn't see any female items in the apartment..and i opened the wardrobe, all men's who's the 'we'? And the apartment is all decorated like in a 'guy's style' and when we were leaving he bumped into this other Asian guy in a suit and they obviously knew each other as he said to speak to him later..could they be living together and own the apartment together then as friends? But isn't that weird, to buy an apartment with your friend? Or maybe a gay couple?? Hahahaha..possible, given that he definitely lives with a guy (lack of female items evidence..u can always tell if a woman lives in an apartment/house) and you wouldn't buy an apartment with a male friend right? Or would you??

Anywys, that was a fate encounter of mine with a fellow Penang person in Sydney whilst apartment hunting, so...anyone have their own 'fate stories', of how they got to meet friends or even their current girlfriends, wives, husbands, boyfriends,etc?? You know, in those only-in-the-movies type of scenarios??

PS: If he ever stumbled upon this post, he'd definitely know who I am, hahaha..from all my in-detail descriptions...but then again, out of the thousands upon hundreds of blogs and millions of blog posts out there in the blogosphere, if he ever came across this particular one of mine, then we'd be fated to be together, no??? ('s a joke k, not serious, but that'd seriously mean we were at least fated to be friends at least right?)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Penang: Foodie's Paradise!!!:-)..... 槟城:马来西亚之美食天堂....ペナン:マレーシヤの美食首都....

Penang is well known for being Malaysia's Culinary Capital. It is the most visited place for domestic tourists and is most well-known for its food. Penang street 'hawker food' is touted as one of the best in South East Asia and Asia. In fact, I grew up being spoiled for choice and being so used to the standard of Penang food that i never understood why Malaysians from other states always praised Penang street food, as i had grown up on this kind type of food and it was normal for me. Nothing particularly 'fantastic' about it. Of Course, now having visited other places in Malaysia such as KL and Melaka, I must say although the food is very good in KL and Melaka as well ( i love Melaka Nyonya Laksa!!) but Penang definitely has much more variety and choices of dishes and culinary delicacies compared to KL or Melaka. So although they each have their own unique dishes as well, Penang simply has more and in much more variety and choices.:-)

Anyways, my favourite Penang hawker food is Penang Curry Mee, Penang Hokkien Mee, Penang Assam Laksa, Mamak Stall Curry Sotong with Rice and other dishes, Char Koay Kak, Fried Beancurd adorned with Chilli sauce, and Chilled Soybean Milk with brown sugar syrup. Hhhmmmm....almost all of this gotten from Penang's most famous hawker centre, Gurney Drive hawker centre and also surrounding areas such as Pulau Tikus Market area and Tanjung Tokong/Bungah Area...I live 5 mins walk to Gurney Drive actually its actually very convenient for me to eat all the delicious food at the Malaysia-famous Gurney Drive hawker street..hehe....

A food program on Penang 'Street Food'; check it out!:

Almost feel like going home right now..*salivating*, i really can't get used to the food options in Australia sometimes despite living here for so many yrs actually..i dun know why, maybe i am very biased but i feel Sydney and Melbourne both lack good Asian food and more importantly, good authentic Malaysian food..there's actually plenty of authentic asian food nowadays, just not malaysian, and definitely NOT cheap malaysian food, everything here is soooo freakin expensive when converted bck into ringgit, i mean, how can you even enjoy a meal even if its good when thinking about how not worth it for the price..that applies for everything here actually, everything is not cheap , thus i always do my shopping (most of the time i try to) bck in Asia, cos there's more variety for a cheaper price and of the exact same quality as bck in Australia! Damn, i hate expensive and limited dining choices in Sydney....can't wait to head bck to Asia again..haha..