A Bowl of Rice

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Location: Ontario, Canada

Paying Fancy Prices to Pretend that I Have A Fancy Life


After Raccoon

Yesterday I got a new housemate, a raccoon. He just moved in without any notice. My roommate and I tried everything we could to kick him out. We scared him as well as seduced him. But he seemed to settle down here. Here's my plans for my life after this fat raccoon moved in.
  1. Burn something beneath the attic and smoke him out. We could burn our house this way;
  2. Get a gun and shoot him. We can always use the gun to shoot mice in the house as well;
  3. Let him stay and raise him as pet. It is so cool that I can walk a raccoon;
  4. Let him stay and request my landlord for a lower rent. Well, the raccoon stays here without paying anything. My landlord should not discriminate against me;
  5. Get some more animals in the house and build a zoo. Well, we already get human beings, mice and a raccoon. Plus, we can make some extral money by running the zoo.
  6. Trap it and cook it. Relax, we Chinese eat everything. I haven't tried any new meet after SARS.
Any more good suggestions on the raccoon?


Lost in Translation

Sven commented on my previous post about Fudan Univsity, asking what institutions in ancient China are equivalent to "univeristies":
The uni I went to, Uppsala Universitet, was founded in 1477. Somehow I thought China would have older universities than that, but realised that university as such is a european invention. What sort of educational system equvelent to universities were there in ancient China?
After my research, I found there's no counterpart of universities in ancient China. Ancient China used a totally different education system, which focused on the implication of the knowledge, in turn, employed different levels of exams to filter and choose people. For individual students, they were free to choose who to be their teacher and then went for the exams. Thus I guess most of the coursework was done in the form of "graduate study" in western system, in which students discuss with their supervisors about things they are studying, rather than taught by the teachers. This system encouraged the whole society (from youths to the seniors, except women) to study and then contribute to the country because justified knowledge (after exams) equalled power and money, and a sense of self-realization as well.

When we talk about the research function (of modern university), this job was done by the different governmental departments as well as individuals who were not willing to work for the government. This touches the division of Confucianist and Taoist. The former argues "entering" and working for the profane world, while the latter values the freedom from traditional power. Hence, most students in ancient China since Han Dynasty (from 206 B.C.)were Confucianists.

So it can be said that ancient China's education system per se is relatively free and less bureaucratic (of course what they studied are really confined to the interests of dominant classes) to the extent that people needed not to be matriculated to pursue knowledge because they noticed in bone that they and their families would benefit from the knowledge in that system.

By the way, it is so not easy to introduce Chinese system in a western language. Sometimes I even couldn't find the right word, not only because my English is limited, but also of the truth that different languages create different concepts that cannot be properly translated to other languages (I will blog about this sooner or later). Even in the same language, it could be confusing sometimes. Here's a list of "tough English" you might want to try. Good luck.


Build My Happiness on Others' Pains

John: "Hey, you know what? I also broke up with my girl."
Me: "Really? How come?"
John: "..." (I was not really listening here, all I heard was "bra bra bra...")
Me: "I know it sounds evil. But I have to tell you that I feel way much better after you told me that."
John: "What? hahaha..."
Me: "Sorry."
John: "You like the sympathy, do you? haha"
This conversation took place a couple of months ago. I thought I felt it that way because I was going through a hard time. But Last weekend I went to a friend's party. Althoug the food was good, the peple were interesting, the party didn't really started until one guy's car was hit by a drunk driver. We were so excited to catch the drunk driver, call the police and gossip. (But I did say sorry to the poor guy when he caught me smiling.)

"If you wanna live in the world for a long time, you gotta get your hands dirty sometimes". My supervisor in my undergraduate study told me everytime he visited me. Well, I still haven't nailed someone's tire yet. But sometimes I do build my happiness upon others' pains.

Theoretically, it is such a perfect formula:
one's pain creates others' happiness
compared to:
one's pain creates others' pains
I would love to have my friends laugh at my pains so that my pains would become worthy. Actually I would like to laugh at my own pains sometimes.


Make A Wish

It's Fudan University 100 year-old birthday. Will you please allow every Fudanian to make a wish even if he/she is not able to be near you at this moment?

Well, 100 years is just a number for me, nothing particular. What matters is the precious four years I spent at Fudan. Last year when I packed my stuffs and left Fudan for North America, I figured out that that special period of my life ended and would never start again.

I am nervous right now coz I couldn't help evaluating myself and wonder if I am still qualified to bear your name. For me, Fudan means professional and high-standard, and forever No.1, and
never compromise our faith.

I wish I would not stigmatize your fame. Maybe more, I wish one day Fudan would be proud of me.


One Night in Ktown

Golden Viet Thai -- Water Front -- Tango Club -- Tim Hortons

We almost hit every hot spot in downtown Kingston. Everything's cool except that I would be thirsty for a couple of weeks after 11 hours non-stop talk.

What's in my mind now is the word "accident". This world is so omnipotent that it can explain almost everything in the world.

Why did the five of us gather to have farewell dinner for the girl who was about to leave town? Why did the owner of the restaurant give us free dessert? Why did the waitress come to ask us asian characters? Why are some people proud of their nationalities? Well, all of these happen "accidentally" in the first place. The five of us met accidentally in the first place. We checked out the restaurant accidentally. The waitress accidentally had something at hand to ask us. We were accidentally born in China.

Following events after these accidents happen naturally, and cannot be questioned. For example, people love their country just because they are born in that place. All the other hoc ad meanings of being Chinese/Canadian/British/... are invalid and enforced. The only explanation is 'accident'. Thus, accidental events decide our life tracks. This echoes the movies of Run Lora Run and the Butterfly Effect. This world spins in a random way. A spontaneous event would change the results, sometimes shockingly.

My friends are already criticizing me of making no sense lately. I think I just like to try to view the world in different ways. It's quite a brain work. Hopefully I am still with most my hairs after all these thoughts.


Travel with Confucian

Question: When you go travelling, which place do you prefer, nature or cities?

I guess most people would choose nature. But for me, I would rather travel in cities with human activities and contructions. This is the difference between Taoist and Confucianist. Taoist wants to stay away from human society while Confucianist encourages people to participate and enter. My ideal travel is to live in the local people's houses and observe what they eat in the morning, how they greet each other and so forth.

In other words, I would rather be a resident than a traveller. Being a traveller is like having sex with a prostitude. They just want to get to the point and no talk. It is masterbation using someone else's body instead of their own hands. It's really a waste of money. In contrast, being a resident, I get to learn the essences of the place, the society, and how the people there lead their lives. Pictures below are taken by Paul Johnson when he visited Beijing this month. I don't know him. But this is the way I want to travel.

Latern Market in Beijing

Blind Musicians in Beijing
If you follow my blog, you would probably notice that I am not a realists (However, I cannot declare myself constructionist since sometimes I do get sick of the power of human over non-human). Hence, I am not pursuing a pure and absolute exitence, like mountains and trees. These existences make no sense without human constructions. The diversity of the world reside in the diversity of human constructions, which are what I want to see. So let's take a walk with Confucian and leave the nature for Laozi.


12 Step Program Of Recovery For Web Addicts

1) I will have a cup of coffee in the morning and read my PAPER newspaper like I used to, before the Web.

2) I will eat breakfast with a knife and fork and not with one hand typing.

3) I will get dressed before noon.

4) I will make an attempt to clean the house, wash clothes, and plan dinner before even thinking of the Web.

5) I will sit down and write a letter to those unfortunate few friends and family that are Web-deprived.

6) I will call someone on the phone who I cannot contact via the Web.

7) I will read a book... if I still remember how.

8) I will listen to those around me about their needs and stop telling them to turn the TV down so I can hear the music on the Web.

9) I will not be tempted during TV commercials to check for email.

10) I will try and get out of the house at least once a week, if it is necessary or not.

11) I will remember that my bank is not forgiving if I forget to balance my checkbook because I was too busy on the Web.

12) Last, but not least, I will remember that I must go to bed sometime... and the Web will always be there tomorrow.

[via Mira]

Yeah, finally I make breakfast for myself.


Future Assemblage

Summer holiday here it is. While I am idling around, my dear friends in Oxford are thinking of what they should do in the future. Shulu, Fredyan, and Yi are all about to leave Oxford. I am a bit of sad because I haven't got a chance to visit them in Uk or have a free lunch. When I read yi's most recent post, which is to say goodbye to oxford in a sad tone, I couldn't help thinking about my own future, or I should say, my past.

Future is actually a promise to the past. But not many people can fulfill and realize the promises they have made when they are young. That's why we feel turbulent at every turing. We feel sorry for ourselves if we see us far away from our original dreams. It's like what Ronan Keating sings in the song Father & Son:

...I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easyto be calm when you've found something going on. But take your time, think a lotWhy, think of everything you've got. For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

I guess I blogged a similar topic before when I reviewed the movie Big Fish. Fever Still, I think it good to live for the promise we made in the past, rather than rowing the boat of fate. The movie Fever Pitch is more telling in that it combines original dreams and some beautiful encounters on the track. So I tend to think Future is an assemblage, which one can always pick up something and put it in your future. The point is to be picky when you choose and sticky when you live. To throw things away from this assemblage is not an exciting thing to do.

Well, I am afraid my above statement irritate Relativists. But just chill, I am not in the mood of being rebel these days, at least not to relativism.


Messages in the Bottle

How to trap yourself:
  1. Get a bottle, clean and dry it;
  2. Write messages (whatever you wanna say) and fold them;
  3. Put the messages in the bottle;
  4. Seal the bottle.
Congradulations! Now you might be trapped like me. Once you accumulate certain amount of messages (I have 3 so far), it is sort of hard to quit. Newton knew the reason several centuries ago. On the other hand, if you threw the bottle in the lake or sea, you could be fined for polluting the environment.

Never touch things you cannot consume yourself.


CBC said the good production quality piracy DVD of Star Wars has been available in all streets in Shanghai now. Isn't it awesome? My friends from Europe and North America always buy hundreds (not exaggerated) of piracy DVDs every time they come to visit China and take them back home. I think, piracy DVD must be another thing you need to buy in China beside tea, silk and other Chinese stuffs. (Then you might also buy a DVD player from China, or you can only play them in your computer.)

Piracy is both a way of sustaining Hollywood and a means of fighting it. First, it copies the production of Hollywood and other capitalist products, for example, piracy nike. Such piracy products would help broadcast the fame of the originals. Second, all of these are done in a non-approved way. In capitalist term, it is called 'illegal' because piracy makes Hollywood and other big companies lose money. It's not as brutal as Ben Laden, but more influential.

According to an economy professor at Fudan, piracy is a primary accumulation of capitals, which is benefitial to the vendors, the mass, and the government. In the context of Chinese society, piracy DVDs help to solve the problem of lack of work positions and laid-off workers. It also satisfies the needs of the mass. They pay less money (1 US dollar per DVD) and enjoy the same products (movie, music, software and so on). As a matter of fact, I and many of my friends cannot afford going movie theater in China. Moreover, many new technologies are developed in the industry of piracy. Last year, the technology of saving several movies in one disk was developed and applied to piracy industry, which means people could spend only 1 dollar to watch 3 latest movies. (How sweet it is!) Hence, I don't think the pace of piracy industry would halt in China.

Piracy belongs to middle class Chinese, while a more rebel industry, free download, is popular in the younger generations. But these two industries are not competing each other. If one has money and doesn't want to spend time searching and waiting, one just needs to go to the piracy market, vice versa. Free/illegal download is a global phenomenon. However, piracy is a unique industry in the transition of Chinese society. It's a combination of primary capitalism, the rise citizen society in the mass media era. It could be a good topic doing research in China.



Things we do in China...

Things we do in Canada...

Numb Mouth

I think I am the person who would never taste the difference of good/bad wine/coffee/tea/water and whatever. For me, 3,000 dollars wine and 30 dollars one taste the same as long as I don't fake it. Thus, I am so jealous of people who can make a long speech at a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, a bottle of water and so on.

If you come to Kingston and do a little homework before you come, you would probably go to eat White Mountain Ice-cream, which is famous in Kingston. For me, again, it tasted no better than regular ice-cream, but bigger and more expensive. My friends used to "force" me to eat Hagen Das in Shanghai. They got excited by the fancy ice-cream store and its fancy price. Again, they told me Hagen Das was way much better than regular ice-cream. This really pissed me off, coz I spent the same amount of money but couldn't have that kind of "orgasm" my friends had. It's all because I have a numb and stupid mouth.

To some extent, the lady in Sex and the City is similar to me. She went to Paris to pursue the romantic life in Paris. But she got hit by a little girl, stepped on the dog shit, was maden fun of her sketchy French. What's worse, she broke up with her boy friend in Paris while most people fell in love in Paris. It was not her fate to enjoy the romance of Paris, which other people can feel. In similar, I am not designed to taste the good wine/coffee/tea/ice-cream etc.

Knowing the fact, next time I should think more than once before I go for these fancy stuffs. If there is different options, I would go to drink fountain instead of expensive Perrier, the taste of which, by the way, made me fussy.


Feel the God

This afternoon I made a statement that God don't exist because we cannot feel his existence. What exists? Take rain for example. People can feel it whatever their backgrounds are, whereever they are born. When it rains, people can just feel it. That's absolute existence.

However, what's the difference between feeling it by oneself and hearing it from others? There're Christians travelling all around the world to instruct the belief in God. People who hear the instructions somehow get to know Jesus, at least the name. In this way, people also feel(hear) the existence of God. So God exist universally, according to the logic of rain.

The only question left is that if the existence of rain is absolute. If not, God don't exist. This discussion brings social science and natural science together. According to Latour, rain exists because there are a lot of agents (scientists) working on it and sustaining this belief (in rain). Thus, we actually don't feel rain by ourselves. We are also made believe that the stuff poured from the sky is rain. Similarily, God's existence also needs their agents and believers to sustain. The point here switch from the existence to agents.

This is a big shift in social science. At least, we don't ask question about ontology any more. Now we move to the stage of epistemology.

Family Affairs

My friend told me she was moving together with her boy friend. I was happy for her, but annoyed as well. Suddenly, everyone seems to be with someone, and I am the only one left alone. Being alone is fine with me. What bothers me is that people still go for such kind of one-to-one relationship even they know it would hurt so bad when this link is broken.

My student also tole me that we needed to defend the family, considering that the divorce rate was rising and that people were generally getting married at an older age. He said they were signs that family was degrading. Well, why do we need to defend this form of organization if it is not working for people any longer?

Modern family model is built on monogamy, a couple and their potential children. It is essentially a one-to-one organization. If one leaves, the other suffers. In post-industrial society, it always happens. Maybe we need a new organization, a new means of gathering people to replace family. One person is safe, but lonely. Two people form is unreliable. Three people would make it more stable, and so forth. The more people we can get into this organization, the safer and securer we feel. As Hugh Grant said in the movie About A Boy, we need back-ups, one is not enough, we need more. I think I should start looking for back-ups now, not a special someone, but a special group. This new form of family is expanding continuosely, and it is not exclusive. The more links we get, the safer we are.


Wake Up with AIDS

AIDS Memorial in Church St., Toronto

When my radio alarm clock hit 8am, I heard a report from CBC about AIDS in China. What a perfect morning, huh. I woke up to the news of AIDS. In gratitude, I send this greeting back to AIDS.

The news was the same cleche about the "evil" central government regime and ideology stuffs. What interests me is the power vacuum in the field of AIDS. Because of the lack of effective medicine to treat AIDS, in the world wide no organization can really declare its absolute power over AIDS and its patients. The so-called "International AIDS Organization" is just a small potato, which cannot build its authority. Reflected in China, the power vacuum is embodied with the conflict and tensions between different institutions, e.g., local AIDS organizations, international AIDS organization, chinese government and other emvironmental institutions. Since the victimized chinese government in western media, AIDS activitists this time was picked as the heros by CBC (which was influenced by CNN, I think).

Although the absolute language has not been stablized. Some groups of populations have been discriminated against, like blood-sellers (in turn poor people), homosexuals, people with low education and so on. They are targeted as "dangerous" people associated with the current unstable knowledge on AIDS and HIV. It would be quite amusing to see what if the current knowledge fails and a new explaination develops. They could declare people with special gene are "dangerous". Somehow, every power needs its subjects. As Bart Simon said, power loses its foundation if it is not linked to the subjects. In the case of AIDS, we could see the subjects are already constructed even though the power itself is still vague and unclear.


The Importance of Being Superficial

A three-whole-day workshop was exausting as well as refreshing. Many interesting conversation took place. Moreover, I got to see some academic stars whom I have worshipped for a while.

I admit that I was being superficial when I talked to Bill Bogard. I told him I was a big fan of him. After reviewing his works on society of simulation and Baudrillard, I intend to incorporate his theories into my research. It was funny that the ideas he presented this time were similar to one of my recent articles. What would ancient Chinese say? Heros always think the same way (I am too arrogant, huh). Bill Bogard was also superficial in that he told us he had coffee with Baudrillard. So I think he would forgive me of talking about him here. It was really cool that we went to bar together and had wonderful talks. Awesome.

Didier Bigo turned out a very approachable and funny guy. When he shook his 50-year-old body in the dancing floor with us, you would know how adorable he is. I am amazed that France has so many brilliant people, like Foucault, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Latour, and Bigo of course. French theory, especially Foucualt, was the reason I am in this field now. I think I gotta start learning French in order to read the original and communicate with brilliant French people. Bigo was like a child when we hang out. At the same time, he was very serious when doing research. He told my colleage that his paper was "absolutely not" okay, while most Canadian professors would probably say "hmm, your paper is fine except ..." I have to say that I prefer French style (although I think Canadian people are very nice).

I also discover a new star in this workshop, Bart Simon from Montreal. The first time I talked to him was at the dinner when I thought he was just a graduate student who was interested in video-games. It turned out he was a professor and a very talented one at his age. I would talk to him more since his research is so similar to mine.

I am glad that I met Toshimaru Ogura. As Japanese, he initiated conversation with me, Chinese, on the sensitive topic of Sino-Japan relationship. He was so polite, like most Japanese, that I could not express my anger at Japanese government, which by the way he also critized a lot. Talking to him, I got to showcase my sketchy Japanese. Sometimes we need to be open-minded in order to communicate. I still don't know what it means by being Chinese or Japanese. For me, these identities are just geographic meanings. A simple term like "Chinese" cannot define me. Ogura sum's research is very interesting. Plus, we are similar in the way that it is not easy for both of us to write in English.

About this, Bigo, Ogura, Maria Los and I had a conversation. We felt the whole field was dominated by English and western scholars just because of the priviledge of English. Bigo told us there was an institution in France which could translate works in other languages into French. I think the success of French works rely heavily on its respect for and absorbtion of knowledge from other cultures. But I will still work hard on my English, of course.

Maria Los was a very nice lady. Our conversation covered from reaserch to culture and food. It was suprising that She celebrated Chinese new year (wow, I know). Well, I promised her I would cook Chinese food for her next time. She is so adorable.

There were many other interesting people there. I would gossipe about them if I got more time. Okay, now I should stop being superficial, hehe.



Today I felt really insulted. I am not going to tell the details. But if people don't wanna hang out with me, that's fine. I don't want to force people. For the last few months, I have been treated myself so badly that I forgot what I needed to do here. It is enough. There is a whole life ahead and tons of people who care about me. I am not gonna be stuck and I decide to move on now.

To Angel:

I am not sure if you are reading my blog. But if you do, I wanna thank you. Thanks for everything you have done to me. You are the person who always encouraged me when I was down. I owe you a lot and I don't think I can make it up for you now. I just want to let you know that I don't forget the postcard you gave me a year ago saying "You know you cannot fail".


With a Hand-Phone, Comes More Responsibility

I don't like to surprise people, but don't want to make an appointment for everything either. I have had problems finding people here so far without making appointments. It also shocked me that my student took out his notebook and "checked his schedule" after I agreed to talk to him about his mark. To be honest, I used to be like him and have a schedule notebook. "What do I think I am, business man or stupid ass?" After this deep contemplation, I quit it. It is good to be organized, and a little bit funny as well (although I don't know exactly which part of it is so funny).

The whole schedule and appointment things and being organized has to do with the habit of using hand-phone here. It strikes me that people here don't use hand-phone as much as those in Asia. Hand-phone and non-scheduled meeting must be killing Canadians because the philosophy of both are "surprise", which is opposite to the life-style here.

When one owns a hand-phone, one's time and space dimensions are actually disturbed. People equiped with hand-phone are always connected and standing by. This is quite similar to Guerrilla philosophy in that both require people to switch on and off a certain space (time as well) at any moment. Living in Asia is to negotiate with the whole legal system, which is deemed unreliable. Therefore, individuals always have their own interpretations of system and these require people to be fluid. However, in Canada, people count on the system and most of them are cooperative. The whole tax system relies on individual's honesty (Wow!). If they find system not satisfying, they would fight and build another system. It is not the case in Asia.

Back to the hand-phone, Canadian doesn't like it because it catches people when they might not be prepared. The telephone doesn't cause such a "limbo" (uncertainty). People can choose to answer the call or not because it is not tied to the body, while hand-phone is supposed to be with the body. It would be one's bad if he does not answer the hand-phone or switches it off once he has one. I don't have a hand-phone now, but I would like to share my "crimes" associated with hand-phone:
  1. I didn't take hand-phone with me sometimes - "Do you think you cell-phone is actually a pager or a message-machine (complaints from family and friends)!"
  2. My cell-phone was not always on - "If you don't turn on the cell-phone, why do you need it and tell people your number!"
  3. I didn't answer all the phone calls - "Why didn't you answer my call!! I would pay for the connection fees."
  4. I didn't reply texts sometimes, especially jokes from friends - "Jesus, at least you should have typed 'hehe'. "
  5. My texts were short most of the time - "Why do you always type so few words? You don't feel like chatting with me?"

With a hand-phone, comes more "responsibility"!


Movie: the Matrix

It was the second time that I watched this movie. The Matrix resembles Baudrillard's Society of Simulation. In such a simulated world, everything is virtual. The physical existences make no sense, stripped off all the knowledge associated to them. The Matrix is a world in which we all live in the virtual form. We use money - a simulated note - to trade everything we need. Bodies do not exist if we do not bear names, gender, address and so on. People still don't know me even after they see my face. But a sense of familiarity can be created as long as my profile is provided whetherever we meet in person or not. We are always living in the Matrix.

In this sense, it is a movie that aims to train us think out of the box. They want us to 'wake up' from the Matrix and see the thruth.

A second thought led me to the question that if there is an absolute truth out there. If all the social constructions are taken away from us, what can we be? Human society differs from other societies (if I can use this term) in that we keep creating social meanings. The whole society and its development stands on the knowledge we "made". Without the Matrix, we would be like a group of cats, which have no names, no relations (mother-son, husband-wife are all social construction). We would be animals living for food and sex, both of which are biological needs.

I think the writer of the script (a philosophy professor as I know) must be a realist. He pursues the ultimate truth. Maybe there is, maybe not. The important question here is if it is worthy to live out of the Matrix. I think he must fantasize himself as a cat or dog or any another "pure" animal sometimes.


Rebel Chef

Yes, I can cook.


Rebel Ingredient: Onion, Pork(instead of Steak)


Rebel Ingredient: peanut butter, soy source


Orange is the New Rebel Color

To the youths who stood up and saved China on May 04, 1919!


Weather, Color TV & ANT

Kingston's recent weather embodies Actor-Network Theory (ANT) I am reading lately. It is sunny in the morning, "buggy" in the afternoon, then rainy, and fianlly clear in the evening. It is similar to ANT in that there is no default condition. I (and most people) used to assume that the weather in May be sunny and warm. But it is not the case. A letter from New Zealand this morning informed me that it was cold and snowing there in Wellington.

After reading the site of the color television revolution, I could imagine how excited people were at the presentation of color on TV set then. In the 1950s, broadcasters in NBC must be very proud when they annouced that "The following program is brought to you in Living Color on NBC! (need Quicktime to view the video) " It was a time with surprise and happiness. However, we are now living in a world with too many default situations, a world where most people pretend to know something. We assume that TV should be in color, that telephone be easily accessible, that human being dominates the world, and so on. Looking back into the history of society, one would find that these assumptions are faulse, or not 100% true.

We are actually living in a world without certainties. The first lesson I taught my students was to describe what they saw, rather than what they thought. When they meet a person with short hair and beards, it does not necessarily mean this person is man. When they see people put something in their mouths, they cannot assume there people are having a meal. We should break away from 'default' situations, which are all man-made.

(Appendix: Color TV Bibliography)


Willboard April

I create Willboard to introduce some good new albums I listen to lately. I also do this to "pop" up my site and entertain my readers in case that people get tired of reading serious stuffs on my site. Here is Willboard April 2005.

The highlight of this month is Anna Nalick, an incredible voice in her debut album Wreck Of The Day. Twenty-year-old Anna Nalick is the rare artist who makes you want to grab pop music's wheels by the spokes so they'll stop spinning so fast. Her poem-like lyrics are incredibly insightful. Her unaffected voice, simple piano and guita work just perfectly.

Willboard (April, 2005)


Chinese Mandarin:

Chinese Cantonese:


Distance Makes Good Food?

For the last three days, I have been dinning out with friends. Different people, different food, different places. One thing in common is that they were not 'easy' food. On Thursday, we waited for almost 2 hours for our food. Ironically, it took us less than half an hour to finish it. Friday was Chinese buffet which was in uptown Kingston. Endless walking and eating stuffed my memory for that evening. Tonight we drove half an hour to a tiny harbour town called 'Rock port' down the highway for German food while my original plan was to drive to Montreal for dinner. Sitting in the Boat House Restaurant and watching the lake view outside the window, I forgot the complain the over-salted onion soup and over-fried pork. "Maybe that's the way German food is served" I murmured to myself.

Does distance make good food? When I say distance, I mean geographical distance, time dimension and cultrual difference. Is it ture that the further we travel, the more time we spent, the more efforts we make, the better the food is? In "Friends", Monica was so happy because her boyfriend took her to Rome for a pizza dinner. So far as I know, pizza in Italy is not as tasty as that in other parts of the world. But distance gives people imagination, which would fantazise the food.

Before we set out for our dinner this eveing, I had an argument with my friends about whether it was worth it to drive 3 hours to Montreal for a dinner and then come back. They beat me 'coz I don't drive. But I still think it worthy. People can work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week for food. Why can't we drive 3 hours for dinner? People can fly thousands of miles across ocean just for a trip, why isn't it worth it to drive for several hours for food, which sustains our lives?

Food is the foundation of human society, as well as the ultimate goal. Our ancestors lived in the age when they either got food or became food. They had to fight for food (while nowadays people give up food because of distance). Society developed because grouping was easier to get and protect food. A better society sat down after we knew how to produce and distribute food to meet the needs of the people in that society. Capitalism prevails now because it is a good system of producing food. But under this system, people don't have equal access to food. As a result, we need a better system which can efficiently distribute food. In all, society develops around the issue of food. However fancy one leads his life, one is at first a bread-earner. I am sorry that my friends live upside-down.

We should show respect to food. It is not something you can have it or not. We should have a little fantacy for food. That's how a better society happens.