Published Sunday, 22 March, 2015
amusings , finance , linguistics
Have been reading about the US investment research firm Muddy Waters in the news lately (like here), and kept wondering why anyone would ever give their company such a name. ‘Muddy Waters’ 给人一种浑水摸鱼、同流合污的感觉! (Translation: ‘Muddy Waters’ gives one the feeling of hun shui mo yu [fishing in troubled, or muddied, waters] and tong liu he wu [evil flowing with evil]!)
So I went to check out its website, and realized with the greatest amusement, that it was indeed named after the Chinese idiom 浑水摸鱼 (hun shui mo yu). To quote:
The Chinese have an old proverb, “浑水摸鱼” (muddy waters make it easy to catch fish). In other words, opacity creates opportunities to make money. This way of thinking has unfortunately become endemic in global capital markets.
Published Thursday, 5 March, 2015
amusings , gastronomy , la famiglia , unorthodoxies
Today’s Yuanxiao Festival, which marks the 15th and last day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration period. It is a tradition to eat tangyuan on this day, I popped into the nearby Mr Bean outlet on my way home, and bought three bowls of tangyuan (only those with peanut filling were left) in soya bean milk home for the family. Everyone enjoyed the dessert tremendously! As did I! But most of all, I can’t believe CNY is over! Definitely need to find some other New Years to make a big fuss of!!! :D
Published Sunday, 15 February, 2015
amusings , gastronomy , la famiglia , ma maison
About three more days to Chinese New Year, but my family has nearly finished our entire stash of festive goodies: pineapple tarts, cookies and our aunt’s cashew nuts! Only two pineapple tarts, a handful of love letters, and an unopened container of cookies are left…… oh and some bak kwa hidden deep in the freezer and safely away from the very hungry caterpillars!!! :D
On 29 January, my friend K wrote this on his Facebook wall:
Nangka is jackfruit.
Chempedak is _________ ?
Naturally, I replied, ‘jillfruit!!! :P’
At least half of Hong Kong movies today are co-produced with mainland organizations, and screenwriters here are also having to toe the Beijing line. “That’s why we usually make ‘ancient swordsman’ films, or stories that happen in the period before the founding of the New China,” the Hong Kong screenwriter explained. He meant that you can show something negative in mainland China only so long as it happened before the Communist revolution in 1949 — but be careful not to portray that period as a golden era, because for that you might get censored.
Can a good story be written under such conditions? It’s difficult. Some screenwriters have managed through cunning: One director squeaked a crime movie set in Hong Kong past the censors after claiming the action took place before the transfer in 1997, while the territory was still under the rule of those evil Brits.
I found this article on the Middle Kingdom’s film industry both sad and amusing. Click here to read ‘China’s Crime-Free Crime Films’!
Published Sunday, 18 January, 2015
amusings , movies , overheard
Kang Hao, Ming Zhen and I decided to watch Into the Woods at Filmgarde in Bugis+ this afternoon. I volunteered to go slightly earlier to purchase tickets, but alas, when it was my turn, only front row seats were left.
So I quickly decided to switch to Birdman. However, it just so happened that it was rated M18, and the young Malay woman at the box office absolutely, obstinately and steadfastly refused to sell me the tickets until all my friends were present and could show her IDs. Goodness! In any case, we’re all almost a decade past 18! So I guess that’s saying something! :D
As for Birdman, I went into the cinema not knowing what to expect. The film was about a washed-up movie star who wanted to stage a comeback by directing and acting in a Broadway production, and he tensions between members of the crew. There were lighthearted moments, but it was not a comedy. To complicate matters, what was shown on screen was often not what it really seemed. Very postmodern and meta. Overall, I thought it was a bit too highbrow for my plebeian tastes, though I still can’t decide whether I like it or not!
One of my friends, B, who teaches at a top secondary school, posted this on Facebook on 6 January:
exasperatedly, I asked my class how come they’ve forgotten so many of the rhetorical devices we’ve taught them almost every year for three years now:
“Remember metaphors? Anaphora?”
Boy: “Huh? I only know Sephora.”
(Incidentally, while I did learn about metaphors in secondary school, I only learnt about anaphora in university……!)
Continue reading ‘aloha anaphora’
The more things change, the more they stay the same…… this Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! (14 December 2014) comic strip says it all……
Published Monday, 8 December, 2014
amusings , nine-to-five , science
After lunch this afternoon, while walking back to the office, I passed the swimming pool. Noticed four mynahs frolicking happily in the water at a corner, while a fifth remained a short distance away, on the tiled border, resolutely staying on dry ground.
Published Wednesday, 26 November, 2014
amusings , education , quoteworthy , school
So the annual Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results were released last Friday. As expected, there was an explosion of PSLE and secondary school selection threads on the KiasuParents forum. Read some of them today, and this really amused me……
Someone, on choosing between Dunman High and Raffles Girls':
This is an easy one to me.
Being a Rafflesian is one of the best things that you can get as a Singaporean student. The only other comparable one is to be a HwaChongian. They are like the Shaolin and Wudang in Singapore’s education system.
Published Saturday, 4 October, 2014
amusings , fashion , linguistics , school
Was at the MRT station near my house this afternoon, when I spotted a young man in a Tiffany blue tee emblazoned with these words in bold black:
Published Thursday, 21 August, 2014
adventures , amusings , beauty hall
Took the afternoon off to cut my hair. Went to my usual salon, the Kimage branch at Funan DigitaLife. The lady at the front counter asked me if I wanted a junior stylist ($23) or a senior one ($40). As I was feeling a bit broke, I naturally answered the former, but she informed me that there weren’t any available, and suggested I try the Kimage Hairdressing School a few floors above.
Continue reading ‘cheap and good hairstyling’
Published Sunday, 17 August, 2014
amusings , linguistics , school
Israel is 以色列 (Yiselie) in Chinese. 以 (yi) can mean ‘by'; 色 (se), ‘colour'; and 列 (lie), ‘arrange’.
The very first time I encountered the term ‘以色列’ was in a cloze passage from a Chinese exam paper in primary school. I did not realize that it referred to a country and simply thought that it meant ‘arrange by colour’. Which did puzzle me a little bit, as that intepretation did not seem to fit into the context of the entire sentence. I only found out what it was quite some time later. :)
Published Thursday, 14 August, 2014
amusings , linguistics , quoteworthy , sociopolitics
Hatred got his name the way millions of other children here have — as a means of recording an event, a circumstance or even the weather conditions that accompanied their births.
“For instance, if it was windy, the name may be Wind. If it was rainy, it may be Rain,” said Matole Motshekga, the founder of the Kara Heritage Institute, based in Pretoria. “If there are problems in the family, they will use the appropriate name. So you cannot just name someone out of the blue. It has to relate to something.”
Thus a Zimbabwean baby born to parents who had spent years trying to start a family might be named Tendai, which expresses thankfulness, and a child born in a time of troubles may be named Tambudzai, which literally means no rest.
Or, just as likely these days, a baby will be named Givethanks or Norest. If a Sotho-speaking girl becomes pregnant before marriage, her unhappy parents may name the baby Question or Answer — an answer to the question of why their daughter was behaving so strangely before the pregnancy became known.
Read about a man called Hatred and other intriguing Zimbabwean names here!