Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cycle, Recycle

Nowadays, I do not simply throw away things that I do not want. I sort the unwanted things into a few categories and then send them to recycling centers nearby. Before sending them, the items need to be cleaned, dried, arranged and tied neatly.

The types of recyclables accepted at Alam Flora Recycling Centers are:

Cardboard, Boxes Brown Paper
Computer Paper, Black & White A4, A3, A1
Mixed Paper - Books, Comics, Envelopes, Junk Mails, Colour Papers
Beverage Cartons
Aluminium Cans - Soft Drink Cans
Steel, Tin - Food Cans (Sardine), Beverage Cans (Milo), Milk Cans
Glass Bottle, Jar - Food Jars, Beverage Bottle
Mixed Plastic - Shampoo, Detergent & Food Containers, Various Plastic Products

Recently I just sent one batch of boxes. I must encourage myself to keep this up so here's wishing myself "Happy Recycling!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who is in the wrong?

Like many others out there, I am now watching (or rather glancing at the TV now and then whenever it is on) the two latest TVB drama series: "Beyond the Realm of Conscience (宫心计)" and "Born Rich (富贵门)". Between the two of them, I prefer the latter due to one of its subplot. In fact, I only watch the TV when this subplot is on. I totally ignore the main plot of the imposter brother.

Source: Pictures above are wallpapers taken from

The subplot I am referring to is the relationship between one of the lead characters, Marcus, and his wife, Connie and his ex-girlfriend/mistress, Angie. There are heated debates on this subplot in many of the TV discussion forums but I do not want to join in the debate so I will just talk about it here.

For the benefit of those not watching this series, I will just give some spoilers here up to episode 24 on this subplot alone but if you are planning to watch this drama later, please do not read the words in italic below.

Marcus is married to Connie and they have one daughter and one son. Years ago, when Connie was engaged to be married to Marcus, they had an argument (details about the argument were not mentioned) and she went to UK to be with her parents. In that time that she was away, Marcus dated Angie (it was unclear whether or not Marcus did that because he thought Connie has broken off with him). Then Connie returned and reconciled with Marcus and wanted to proceed with the wedding. At that time Marcus told Angie that he would find the right time to break off with Connie but he kept delaying it until only one day was left before the wedding so Angie couldn't take it anymore and broke off with Marcus. Then Angie left HK and went to UK.

Back to the present, Angie returned to HK and found that she still loves Marcus. She couldn't stop herself from secretly loving him and savouring every moment spent with him. Initially Marcus was faithful to his wife and resisted Angie's advances. Then he was kidnapped and tortured until he wets himself but was rescued by Connie. He was traumatised and his ego suffered when he still wets himself after being rescued. Connie didn't know how to deal with it and pretended that nothing was amissed causing Marcus to feel estranged from her. Meanwhile Angie was there to boost Marcus' ego so Marcus seeks solace in her arms. At the end of episode 24, each on their own, independently, Marcus and Connie came to the decision to divorce each other.

I like to watch this subplot because I can really feel for the two women. How sickly romantic and twisted it is for Angie to secretly love Marcus and to revel in every moment when working together. How happy and sweet Angie felt when Marcus seeks comfort from her.

How painful and heartbreaking it is for Connie at the exact moment when she saw her husband kissing another woman at a time when she least expected it. How stupid, foolish and betrayed she must have felt for not suspecting it. How helpless and powerless she must have felt knowing that there is nothing she can do to salvage her marriage.

I know this is only make believe but I do believe that in real life, these things do happen and there is absolutely nothing the wife can do about it. So who is in the wrong here? Nobody because everyone has a right to seek their own happiness at the expense of others if they are prepared to face the consequences.

However, nobody is wrong does not mean that no one is to be blamed. The only one I can fault here is Marcus. This is because he violated his wedding vows to stay faithful to his wife. Angie has no social obligation to honour Marcus and Connie's marriage vows although she should have a moral conscience not to break up the couple.

Connie has my utmost sympathy because there is absolutely nothing, nothing at all she can do to save her marriage. She can't boost her husband's ego when he was depressed because she was there when he was at his lowest point - wetting himself so IMHO, whenever he sees Connie, he sees himself wetting himself so the only way she could help him feel good about himself is to remove herself from his sight. She triggers his memory of the terrible ordeal (this is my opinion only - the drama does not explicitly explained it this way). I think she is better off not being the one who rescued him.

However, there are a few times where Marcus wanted to really talk to her about their problems but she walked away because she was afraid to face changes. So I guess she too has to bear a bit of responsibility for the total breakdown of her relationship with her husband.

Anyway, this series has not ended yet. There are many more episodes to go. Who knows, in the end, Marcus may still go back to Connie. Many viewers choose sides - they are either for "Marcus and Connie" or "Marcus and Angie" pairing. I on the other hand, don't mind either one. I just like to watch how they handle the situation.

If I were Connie, I would also divorce Marcus because if you love someone and that someone loves someone else, you should set them free, no point holding on to someone who loves somebody else more. But it is easier said than done. I hope I will never be in a situation like Connie but who knows what curve balls life will throw at us, we can never tell in advance. Que Sera Sera.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Of soups and congee

Since early September this year, we have been eating out for every meal. It was either the mamak stalls or economy rice stalls or 大 炒 (literal translation = big stirfry) stalls. One of us loves Cantonese style soups (炖汤) and congee therefore recently we redeemed the following three items using our credit card reward points that we have been accumulating for a few years:

This is the first rice cooker owned by us. It will be used to cook congee. Before this, we just cook rice using our microwave or on our previous built-in gas hob.

The slow cooker will be used to cook soups and stews. The size is just right for a two-person meal to be finished in one sitting. I do not like to keep leftovers in the fridge because food kept there tend to be forgotten and will stay there forever.

The induction cooker will be used mainly for boiling eggs, cooking instant noodles and steaming vegetables. I do not know in detail how an induction cooker works but plan to read it up on the Internet. All I know is that it uses magnetic waves and if a magnet can stick to the bottom of a cookware, then the cookware can be used on the induction cooker. Among all the existing cookware that we own, the magnet only stick to the bottom of one steamer pot.

We do not have a gas stove because we only cook once in a blue moon so we do not see a need for it and furthermore I am afraid of cooking gas leakage. In my previous kitchen, I used to smell cooking gas whenever I open the kitchen cabinet door where the cooking gas tank was stored. We also do not own a wok. I am strictly against 大 炒 at home because of the amount of oil and fumes generated.

When we start to use these items, I will monitor our electricity consumption. If these items use too much electricity, we may need to get ourselves a gas stove. Now when would we start cooking?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Third time lucky

When I got to UK, I wanted to work as soon as possible so while I sent out job applications for IT related work, I signed up to work as a warehouse hand, earning GBP4.5 per hour, removing items from boxes and repacking them. It was repetitive, backbreaking hard work. I worked there for two weeks and then left when the job agency found me a two-week office temp work. There, I was assigned to import data from an Excel spreadsheet into a MS-Access database.

I then answered an ad looking for technical support staff in the local newspaper and was asked to go for an interview. The CEO of the company who interviewed me is only one year older than I am. It was a local IT company with about 10 employees and a branch in US. I was then offered the job with a decent salary. Happily I accepted the position and worked in this company until the day I left UK to return to my birthplace.

my seat at work; dinner with co-workers,
view from my window - my spouse to pick me up, the row of shops opposite the building where I worked.