Sunday, June 17, 2018

The expanding mind

With globalization,we strive to reach the understanding that beneath the different clothes,languages and lifestyles,we share common feelings and expectations of life .So viewing foreign language movies offer us a window into other cultures and mindset that may lead us to be more accepting of others and more open minded to differences.I'm now hoping to have a chance to see more indie movies and not only mainstream cinema.It's long been acknowledged that Japanese movies offer a different cinematic experience from Kurosawa's to anime by Studio Gibli.Now I'm into Naomi Kawase's movies that show the quirky frailty of the individuals.I'm seeking a chance to view Radiance,Vision and Sweet Bean.I've bought the novel by Durian Suguwa on Sweet Bean and hope the movie will do justice to the interpretation of the characters in the novel.I'm also hoping some cinema would release French movie starring Juliette Binoche Un Soleil Interieur that won her a Cannes award.Someone should make a movie of the feminist Simone De Beauvoir.
    The other movies by Italian auteur is also touching especially the movie Life is Beautiful  and The tiger and the snow.But I'm glad that movie audience are now starting to appreciate  Bollywood movies by Amir Khan like PK,Dangal,Three Idiots and my favourite The Lunch Box-very heart wrenching tales of ordinary people made by creative directors and scriptwriters.Korean movies are also getting more acceptance by international audience like the tale of Okja or the snowpiercer.
Foreign movies offer us a new way of looking at the  world
   Just as I'm moving to the third and final part of Homo Deus by Noah Harari,I reflect on the myriad new ideas that this book offers-it's literally mind blowing as it offers me a new outlook at issues I've thought about and didn't really understand until I came across his interpretation of it. I agree that we have the experiential self that undergoes the whole gamut of emotions and the narrating self which reinterprets it".Most of us identify with our narrating self.When we say"I",we mean the story in our head,not the onrushing stream of experiences we undergo"WOW Harari is a DEEP thinker,and I'm so reluctant to see the book coming to its end.It's like saying goodbye to the one who has shone a new light into my mind and illuminated the dark corners and swept away the cobwebs that blur.The problem with me is all this existential angst bull shit is getting me nowhere.Must get outta head and more into the experiential self -to feel more,to eat more,to see more and to think less
     

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Asian Future Dialogues for Change

China reversed its closed door policy to trade and years of isolation from the foreign trading and financial system of multilateralism and this opening up saw it leapfrog its technological innovation and export policy to penetrate third world countries,and emerging economies.Thus the benefits saw an uplifting of the living standards of the average houusehold and the rising of a large group of middleclass consumers.
        It has also seen how it powered export of innovative products from low end agricultural products to high tech comsummables from tv,appliances,air cond to high tech drones,solar panels,smartphones,deep sea submersibles and etc.
          With the rise of economic might,it might be tempted to extend its power into foreign territories to protect its access to trade routes and passageway to natural resources.How would we handle this elephant in the room?
       The lesson learned from foreign proxy war waged in Vietnam should prompt stronger alliance between Asean plus three to present a united front not to let the rights of smaller mousedeers be trampled to death caught in the crossfires between two lumbering gigantic elephants.ASEAN was founded to avoid the spillover from Cold War conflict from disturbing the peaceful sovereignity of smaller states.It should be reminded of the principle of the founding fathers of ZOPFAN.When all the hype was played out to stoke tension and fear about the DOMINO theory,and the collapse of SEA into the RED sea,such mass media hysteria were like the Y2K panic theory and the weapons of mass destruction pretexts for preemptive strikes.So ASEAN has to take a common stance that incursion on one member state's territory is an incursion on ASEAN solidarity.Claims on rights based on dubious borders would mean Tibet,Mongolia or XinJiang would have right to claim autonomous self rule because historically and ethnically they were occupied by non Hans.
             Is it a sign of peaceful intention when military high tech surveillance are installed at the gateway of South China Sea? Perhaps if the intention was peaceful policing of waterway from piracy,then ASEAN should do more for ensuring safe passage of goods through its water by establishing a joint MARINE CORP with participation of all forces from ASEAN member countries to deter piracy or even more importantly ISIS terrorists with highly skilled militants.EU had the forces of NATO so ASEAN should set up joint peacekeeping force to tackle illegal human traffickers,drug traffickers etc
             Air Asia has done a wonderful job at transport interconnectivity between ASEAN member states but how about ease of banking systems so that with an ASEAN member bank card or app system,tourists and businessmen do not need to tt money and migrant workers send money home with ease.
       The Asian economies should learn from the fast paced economic development of first world nations and the ecological destruction and loss of cultural traditions.
In The Asian Futures -Dialogues for Change edited by Pracha Hutanuwatr,Ranu Manivannan and Jane Rasbash ,leading SEA sian intellectuals look at the long term effect of globalization and the economic and social impact of industrialization on loss of cultural diversity and ecological impact.With intellectuals likeVandana Shiva andSulak Sivarasa,the impact of consumerism and its impact on the lifestyle and value system and social structure of the family and community is discussed and ASEAN would not achieve solidarity without setting up of a common cultural platform and an Asean tv channel showcasing documentary of the history,economy and geography of the ASEAN region ,all which has experienced colonialism in common.
 With the Silk route ,China had maritime and land linkages to enhance trading but in SEA it was the Spice route. Can we have mini markets and cafes with ASEAN products ,music that showcases different languages and clothing that uses the fine textiles so a kimono made from batik print or athleisure wear that uses lyra and batik design would be reflective of our common identity.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The time to live

Le temps de vivre  (The time to live)
Nous prendrons le temps de vivre
D'être libres, mon amour
Sans projets et sans habitudes
Nous pourrons rêver notre vie

Viens, je suis là, je n'attends que toi
Tout est possible, tout est permis

Viens, écoute ces mots qui vibrent
Sur les murs du mois de mai
Ils nous disent la certitude
Que tout peut changer un jour

Viens, je suis là, je n'attends que toi
Tout est possible, tout est permis

Nous prendrons le temps de vivre
D'être libres, mon amour
Sans projets et sans habitudes
Nous pourrons rêver notre vie

Singer George Mostaki

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Music

I'm quite proud that Jun has inherited my flair for words.He just wrote the lyrics of a ballad for a Thai indie alt rock band called Running wild.It has reached the top 4 of Thai charts and his flair for languages is there as he's creative with words.The music video the band did was so cheapskate as they were on a tight budget .It was super cheesy as they used their dad's car and they showed mainly the driver and a love sick passenger singing at the back seat or in the toilet looking at photos of his ex girlfriend.Super awful cheesy.No imagination.
        I'm now into the singing of strong,authentic women singers like Paloma Faith -Love always hurts ,a British singer songwriter and Aussie singer Grace 's song You don't own me.Powerful lyrics that have a punch.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cities with a past and a unique culture

I loved exploring cities with its historical past and architecture well preserved.the culture is palpable in the museum and art galleries so I'm attracted to European cities with well preserved architecture,galleries,opera houses and etc.I'm debating on saving for a trip to Spain,its oozing with avant garde ideas in art of Picasso 's cubicnism,Salvador Dali's surrealism and Antoni gaudi's organic architecture.The dances oozes with seduction and flirtatiousness of flamencco .I would pick traditional artistic culture over any hypermodern soulless cities that has erased its past.The infusion of Moorish influence would make it Pan Asian like Istanbul.
              Let's see how the economy and global economy goes.There's a hint of unpredictability in the way trade wars and tariffs are playing out among the superpowers and this may impact into aftereffects on world economy.
            Are we seeing the End of History or the End of Multilateralism?What would lack of a rules bound trade have on the economic stability?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to tell an Asian from a Caucasian or an Easterner from a Westerner

There are some quirky idiosyncrasies to distinguish the Easterner from the Westerner(tongue in cheek)

Cultural Fusion or Confusion????????
1. You know if it is an Asian or a Caucasian if they take along an umbrella when they leave the house and open it when the sun is blazing hot while the other when it is raining cats and dogs

2.You know if it is an Asian or a Caucasian if at the beach,they wear long sleeved shirt to cover their arms and huge floppy hats while the other strips down to the bare minimum level of  acceptable decency to sun bathe by slapping tons of oil on their body

3.You know if it is Asian or a Caucasian if one looks at a frog,deer,snake,monkey,monitor lizard,crocodile,chicken feet and thinks of delicacy meals whereas the other thinks of protected species and dog food.

4.You know if it is Asian or a Caucasian when one goes to a scenic tourist spot like a mountain and while one takes endless photos ,the other tries to experience it by rockclimbing ,bungee jumping from it or skiing on the slopes.

5.You know if it is an Asian or Caucasian when one blasts LOUD music while hiking while the other soaks in the quietude and silence.

6.You know if it is an Asian Or  Caucasian when one decorates his house with the latest exotic Asian vase,mask or  woodcarving  and silk cushions while the other prefers Italian baroque,furnitureWestern impressionists and art deco furnishings  or marble sculptures of the Renaissance.

7.You know if it is Asian or Caucasian when one whispers at the fine dining whilst a live pianist plays in the background  but the other shouts at the top of his or her voice to drown out the loud karaoke singer or piped music in the background.

8. Skin whitening lotions are targetted at Asians while skin tanning lotions are targetted at Caucasians

9.Asians who want to be Caucasian wannabbes have blue,green or grey pupils and blonde,red,platinum,purplish or green hair but their skin or slant eyes and flat nose give them away  each time but Caucasians don't need to spend a single cent to achieve the look.It comes along with the birth certificate.Lifetime guarantee.

10.  Asians will work until all odd hours and is prepared to make the office my second home whereas Caucasians value work life balance and would rather make the pub my second home.

11.Asians live to eat whereas Caucasians eat  to live.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sweet tooth

I have a sweet tooth but I'm trying to control such unhealthy craving for sinfully rich desserts like cakes,muffins,tarts and puddings by eating fresh fruit like blueberry,dragonfruit,starfruit and mango.
  But to get a homebaked birthday cake is a wonderful treat but I'm an absolute failure at any thing that needs baking as those thingy that enter the oven hardly emerges looking like anything similar to the glossy picture of a recipe book-most probably what comes out looks hardly fit for human consumption. That glossy creamy moist chocolate cake I baked  turned out to look like the volcano with a sunken crater in the middle,oozing out hot lava from its sides or the coffee cake that looks like the ground split into deep chasms after an earthquake has split the earth and cracks appeared on the surface.Even the stray cat took a sniff at the BLOB and ran for its life despite my pathetic attempts to coax it to try a bite.
    But I'm an eternal optimist so I've found a recipe for a chocolate cake adapted from Nigella Lawson's book Feast.OMG trying to emulate the domestic Goddess at whose feet I worship.So when I googled "The Idiots Guide to Baking a Cake-fuss free and failure proof" the Google Artificial Intelligence took a long time to figure out this IDIOT's request and out pop "Recipe for a very simple chocolate cake" for simpletons ONLY.

    Now I'm scratching my head.What is " a stick of butter"? ,am I supposed to get a yardstick to measure the amount of butter.
 This is not rocket science but what the hell is the difference between to whisk the egg whites or do I whip the cream? Sounds very like some manual on dominatrix training on use of kitchen utensils to make cooking an instrument of torture,I have to beat the eggs ,crush the nuts and I give up- scorch my finger by dipping it in the milk to test the temperature.This freaks me out so I'll head to the nearest bakery to indulge in sinfully rich cakes.Forget about trying to be a wannabe domestic goddess- The proof of the pudding is in the eating- and who says you can't have your cake and eat it too.Second helpings anyone and smell the aroma of Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe steaming hot tea which I savour after giving up slaving over a hot oven.That's my cup of tea!