Friday, 14 August 2015

New Movement team gathering

Post dinner chit chat. 
Yesterday, members of MCA’s New Movement gathered for a meaningful gathering in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to catch up on team member’s personal development and of course, the current political situation in Malaysia. We are honored to have with us Dato’ Dr. Leong Yong Kong and Datin Adelyn Lim who came all the way from Kedah for this gathering despite their busy schedule. Many thanks the other team members: Joe Liaw who is currently pursuing his PhD in Xiamen University, Desmond Wong and Hoong Ling for making this gathering possible. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A new flag for New Zealand

The New Zealand flag that once stood on my desk in Auckland. I still keep it for sentimental reasons. 
Officially, I’ve left the Kiwi Land for 11 years after graduating from University of Auckland and a brief stint in Prime Minister Helen Clark’s office to be back to a place I call home – Malaysia. However, I still follow closely the social and political affairs in New Zealand. The routine of reading NZ Herald each day and discussing the headlines with a few like-minded friends are still the same as it was during my Auckland days, all thanks to beauty and wonders of technology.

Though far in distance, New Zealand is always close in my heart and many things related to this county remains sentimental. One such thing is the New Zealand flag. The debate to change the New Zealand flag is not something new, for New Zealand’s is often mixed up with that of Australia’s. The flags of these two countries are almost similar – both consist of the The Blue Ensign and the Southern Cross (a group of stars) but Australia’s having an additional Commonwealth Star below the Union Jack. Legacy of the Colonial Office in London!

After decades of debate which never went pass the Parliament, the proposal to change the flag finally come to fruition under Prime Minister John Key from the National Party. On 10 August 2015, the Flag Consideration Panel released its long list of 40 designs, from which four will be selected to contend a two part referendum that will decides the future flag of New Zealand. The final vote will be on 3rd to 24th March 2016 where New Zealanders vote for status quo or a new flag.

Which will be the one, and to change or not?
I took a look at the 40 designs and I think the current flag is still the best. I’m not alone either. The recent poll conducted by various media in New Zealand showed lukewarm respond by New Zealanders to change the flag, all, despite their complaints, prefer the current flag for sentimental reasons. The only person with full enthusiasm is perhaps the Prime Minister John Key himself.

I asked what is Helen Clark’s view on this flag changing huh hah and the answer is very surprising one from a former Prime Minister whom during her tenure, believes that a New Zealand Republic is “inevitable” that saw a number of key policies moving towards the republic direction. Your guess? 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

And the saga continues…

History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. -  Alexis de Tocqueville

Looking at Malaysia today from a humorous point – I see that cartoon describe best what one side call the other amidst billions of ringgit, confusions, speculations and mental suffering. The lions ( read: lie on ) and the cheetahs ( read: cheat ah ) will continue to run and run in a merry go around way until the spectators are tired, confused and vote with their feet and then, the whole jungle (nation) perish. When will truth prevail? When will the lions and cheetahs stop? When will a hero emerge?

Just wait and see – as the old wisdom says. It is not the end of the world yet, and the saga continues…

After all, didn’t historians wrote that, all nations, poor or great, produce lions and cheetahs that take the center stage of its social, political and economy theater before a hero came along, where originals are a few while copies are aplenty? 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Beijing No 1 – An unscrupulous restaurant in Singapore

Entrance to the unscrupulous restaurant. 
Yesterday, my friend I went to Beijing No 1, a fine dining Chinese cuisine establishment at Marina Bay Sands Singapore that specializes in Beijing and local delicacies. Beijing No 1 is located on the same floor with other Singapore’s famous restaurants such a Waku Ghin, Imperial Treasure and Long Chim.

We were supposed to go to Imperial Treasure, having made a booking but at the very last minute, my friend and I decided to give Beijing No 1 a try as we have tried Imperial Treasure. Besides that, I wasn’t in any mood for anything else except Chinese food.  

After taking our seats and checking out the menu, we’ve decided that we are going to have lobster noodle with a whole roast Peking duck. Before I write further, I would like to make a mention here that staffs in the restaurant don’t wear name tags with their names but were allocated numbers instead (something very common in mainland China where staffs are employed like a battalion in an army), so I won’t be able to name who and who.

In their menu, there are two types of lobsters – Australian and Local. My friend and I are not fond of Australian lobster as we can easily have them during our stay in Sydney or Melbourne. Thus, when the waitress took our order, I asked what type of local lobster do they have and what are the sizes. We were told they have Boston lobster and it is an 800gram one. Great! An ideal size for two of us and that is the average size that we often have at Majestic Seafood at Gardens by the Bay.

The lobster and other dishes that we ordered.
We ordered a classic Beijing cold dish – steamed chicken in chili oil as well and when it was served, my friend and I were praising the deliciousness of the dish. However, our joy was short-lived. When the lobster noodle was served, I started to frown.

“I don’t think the lobster is 800gram” I said. My friend nodded in agreement.

And the lobster's claw is nowhere to be seen!

Do you think this lobster is 800gram?
I asked for the restaurant manager and complained that I do not think the lobster is 800gram. I showed her the pictures from my iPhone of cooked lobsters that weight around the same. The manager then went to check with the kitchen. When she returns, she insists that the one served to us was 800gram but due to their cooking methods, we do not see ours as big as usual and she mentioned that she’ll give us some discounts.

A close up photo with my hand for comparison.
I told her that I am not complaining for the sake of discount but I just want a lobster that is true to its weight. She mentioned that she’ll get another 800gram lobster from the kitchen to show us. Not long later, a chef came out with a live lobster which I believe in around 800gram but it is so much bigger than the one served to us when after factoring in that the size will shrink after cooking. Another thing that we realized is that the lobster that the chef showed us is actually a local lobster (green in color) but the chef insists too that it is a Boston lobster.

We did not make any further huh hah at the restaurant but in our mind, it is set that Beijing No 1 is not an honest establishment. At the end, when the bill came, we were billed for 700gram. Regardless, the damage is done. We will never return to the place again and we urge our friends not to patronize such an unscrupulous restaurant. And, please share it with your friends too. Boycott this place – Beijing No 1(北京一号), L2-03, Casino Atrium, 2 Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.