The Twitter Spelling Test

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Sloth

There are two-toed sloths and there are three-toed sloths, the case being determined by the forepaws of the animals, since all sloths have three claws on their hind paws. Sloth is a highly intriguing creature. Its only real habit is indolence. It sleeps or rests on average twenty hours a day. The sloth is at busiest at sunset, using the word busy here in the most relaxed sense. It moves along the bough of a tree in its characteristic upside down position at the speed of roughly 400 meters an hour. On the ground, it crawls to its next tree at the rate of 250 metres an hour, when motivated, which is 440 times slower than a motivated cheetah. Unmotivated, it covers four to five metres in an hour.

The three-toed sloth is not well informed about the outside world. On a scale of 2 to 10, where 2 represents unusual dullness and 10 extreme acuity, Beebe (1926) gave the sloth’s senses of taste, touch, sight and hearing a rating of 2, and its sense of smell a rating of 3. If you come upon a sleeping three-toed sloth in the wild, two or three nudges should suffice to awaken it; it will then look sleepily in every direction but yours. Why it should look about is uncertain since the sloth sees everything in a Magoo-like blur. As for hearing, the sloth is not so much deaf as uninterested in sound. Beebe reported that firing guns next to sleeping or feeding sloth elicited little reaction. And the sloth’s slightly better sense of smell should not be overestimated. They are said to be able to sniff and avoid decayed branches, but Bullock (1968) reported that sloths fall to the ground clinging to decayed branches “often”.

How does it survive, you might ask.

Precisely by being so slow. Sleepiness and slothfulness keep it out harm’s way, away from the notice of jaguars, ocelots, harpy eagles and anacondas. A sloth’s hair shelter an algae that is brown during the dry season and green during the wet season, so the animal blends in with the surrounding moss and foliage and looks like a nest of white ants or of squirrels, or like nothing at all but part of a tree.

The three-toed sloth lives a peaceful, vegetarian life in perfect harmony with its environment. “A good natured smile is forever on its lips,” reported Tirler (1966). See below.

The three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God.

(taken from Life of Pi (Yann Martel) p. 3-5)

My personal take on the description above is sloths know how to enjoy life. Get enough rest (a good rest is never too much ;-)), wake up for the best time of the day – the sunset, lead a worry-free life (who cares about noises or disturbances when you’re having your meal/sleep?). Falling off the branches? Well, they get to do extra physical exercise. No biggie. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way 🙂 Being modest, never showy or gregarious keeps them from getting preyed upon. They live life as it is. For all the goodness there is.

Also read: Scientists give up 3-year battle to make sloth move


To Blog or Not To Blog

… That is the question.

Why do people blog? Is it because they are aspiring writer trying to get a bigger platform (hopefully get enough readers, including some publisher who is interested in getting their work printed), just to ease the burden of their mundane lives by sharing whatever deemed worth-sharing to the rest of the world, get their ideas and opinions across, express themselves in the only way they find their voice -otherwise they are invisible to the world, or all of the above?

Some people see the internet as the end of journalism. Any people can write things on the internet without any proper grammar or spell checking, let alone journalism training. Why read newspaper editorial if you can get outrageous/opinionated articles on whatever issue on the internet? It is like you have a lot of tinted spectacles, be it red, green, blue, fuchsia, teal (all colors available on the home improvement catalogue), through which you see the world. Now all major newspapers in the world have their online edition and they give comment section for us to rave and rant. I enjoy reading those comments, how people can fight over their difference of opinion. Some people feel the need to declare their love or hate towards any objects, from Justin Bieber to government’s policies. It is okay, though I doubt this is what Thomas Jefferson and friends had in mind when they came up with the First Amendment. People really blog about anything, innocent and provocative stuff included (ex. hate your neighboring country? just google your choice of blogs, photographic shots of your neighborhood, fashion and style, your daily calorie intakes, recipes and cooking/baking tips and tricks, EVERYTHING.)

Do anyone out there read? Well, there is a site stat to help you measure your popularity in the blogosphere, if you care. Who am I kidding? We care. If not, we would write in our diary, journal and hide it along with our secret stash (okay, probably not so secret, chips and pleasure-inducing toys). Same goes with trying to get your Twitter followed or get four or five-digit friends on Facebook. We want to be heard. We want our presence to matter.

Personally I am thankful for blogs. I rarely eat outside without some prior checking on internet reviews, and blogs are really useful. The people who write those stuff are people like me who just want a pleasant culinary experience, not people who get paid to taste the food and write favorable reviews. Before any trips, I read lots of people’s experience in that particular place, how they traveled from place to place, where they stayed, what to eat, what to expect, what not to do. Thank God these people were willing to share their experience to the world!

Nevertheless, there are many blogs out there which are not only useless in terms of intellectual pursuit, but also toxic and borderline racist, dangerous and pathetic. I am not big on blogwalking (geez, I don’t even enjoy reading my posts in the past. “What was I thinking when I wrote this?” was my reaction when I read my previous posts.) but from time to time I stumble upon these poorly written and edited blogs which I must admit, are nauseating.

Of course it all depends to the readers to decide on the quality of our readings (newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, all included) but I think we as bloggers must also apply some humility before hitting the ‘publish’ button. Do some thinking before we let everyone know what we are doing and what we think about stuff. If they are facts, have you check them? Are you sure it is not hoax to stir controversy? If they are opinions, are you sure this is what you believe to be true? Are you sure this is worth-sharing? Do you really want to write that extreme opinions on sensitive subjects, knowing that it WILL hurt others? If it is your life, are you aware that promoting your self image this way (ex. sharing EVERY overseas trip EVERY month, sharing your EVERY shopping spree, sharing EVERY happy moment of your perfect life EVERY day) can instead alienate your friends and make them hate themselves (and probably hate you for making them feel that way)? The opposite is also true, sharing your depression in excruciating details, dissecting your bad day, how you feel that the world has time and time again fail you, is a sure way of getting yourself ditched, at least off my bookmarks. Can you admit you might have been slightly emotional with your choice of words (for us who write about personal stuff, let’s see…on break-ups perhaps?)

Wise men say not to be afraid to take sides or to have opinions. They also advise that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.

Things I do and don’t do today

I do…

1. wear a red top.

Granted, it’s not chili red or smoking hot red OR the red that makes me smoking hot *rolling eyes* but it is red 😀

2. wear a brand new *GASP* underwear 😀

Yes, I bought it on sale. Even better right? Reflecting my good ol’ Chinese “spend little, save much” attitude 🙂

3. greet Happy New Year to my elders.

So if I text you Happy CNY it means I think you are old 🙂 Sorry guys 😀 Oh don’t sulk…with age, comes wisdom *wink wink*

 

I don’t…

1. sweep my floor/wash dishes/wash my hair/use any sharp tools (scissors, knife, nail clip).

It sure sounds like I’m throwing hygiene off the window, right? Well, isn’t it good that our laziness is justified!! Personal hygiene is overrated *scoff* Anyway, we believe that doing activities mentioned above will sweep/wash/cut away good fortune. Hey, I’d rather be a little smelly than poor.

2. turn off my lamp until tomorrow

Just one lamp. Don’t scream at me, you energy-savvy people! The world has Earth Hour. I think the energy saved that night is more than what Chinese people waste today. Ummm… not so sure though. There are billions of Chinese in the world :p

3. borrow/lend money

YOYO my friend! Everyone’s for himself.

4. spend money

On a diet of staple food (wholewheat bread, oatmeal, banana, low fat milk) and I don’t have cash with me. Pssst.. you wanna lend me some money after the New Year? 😀

5. give hongbao

Empty ring finger. You dwell on the cause and I’ll flash you my middle finger. How about that? 😀 Seriously, singles are not allowed to give hongbao. One of the perks of being unmarried 😉

Anyways… Da Jia Hao, Gong Xi Fa Cai !!

‘Mighty’ Asians

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW TOLSON/ SIMON HAYTER

I have been thinking of writing about this for some time, after reading a blog entry by angry asian man with an interesting title “Are Canadian Colleges ‘Too Asian’?” last year. It was outlining the writer’s take on a MacLean’s article on colleges and universities that have a reputation for being Too Asian, a terms coined to talk about racial imbalance at Ivy league schools in US having quite a number of Asian students who are so academically focused that some other students feel they can no longer compete or have fun. Apparently, the phenomenon is also apparent in Canada with the growing number of white students avoiding big-name schools to apply to less competitive (translation: not-as-Asian) colleges. This phenomenon also becomes such a cause for concern to university admissions officers and high school guidance counsellors that several elite universities to the south have faced scandals in recent years over allegedly limiting Asian applicants and keeping the numbers of white students artificially high.

I was not surprised when I continued reading and found that the ‘Asian’ was loosely used for ‘Chinese’. What do you expect? We live in a Sinophobic time so much so that mentioning ‘Chinese’ in delicate issues makes readers (and editors) cringe. But my question –and probably yours, too- is: come on…are Chinese students (and Asians in general, you may say) that scary? Well, there is no definitive answer here, but majority will say yes. Facts have it that more than 70 per cent of students in the Toronto District School Board who immigrated from East Asia went on to university, compared to 52 per cent of Europeans, the next highest group, and 12 per cent of Caribbean, the lowest. This is in contrast to English-speaking Toronto students born in Canada—of which just 42 per cent confirmed admission to university. Other fun fact, you open Youtube and search Sungha Jung. He is a 14-year-old South Korean guitarist prodigy who has risen to fame for covering popular tunes on Youtube and other sites with an amazing technical skill, and for simply being Asian kid at that. One comment on his Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean rendition says ‘damn you asians, you and your superpowers’ with 182 thumbs up! One other comment even goes further by saying ‘I’d seen a statistic somewhere that showed Asians have higher I.Q.’s that Americans. I don’t doubt it.’ I watched Modern Family and once again was reminded of the whole ‘Asian has super powers or at least is insanely ingenious’ when Alex, Phil and Claire Dunphy’s smart kid studies religiously because she doesn’t want to come in second to her smart classmate, Sanjay Patel. And the next day, she comes home breaking the news that indeed Sanjay beats her in the test.

The value of education has been drilled into Asian students by their parents, likely for cultural and socio-economic reasons. “It’s often described that Asians are the new Jews,” says Jon Reider, director of college counselling at San Francisco University High School and a former Stanford University admissions officer. “That in the face of discrimination, what you do is you study. And there’s a long tradition in Chinese culture, for example, going back to Confucius, of social mobility based on merit.

Of course, immigrants work harder. Government policies work so effectively in reminding that this country is not yours to begin with, you are a second-class citizen, you have to work harder than the ‘inlanders’ to get public or government-subsidized facilities. Yes, the above-mentioned are extreme cases of discrimination towards Indonesian Chinese for several decades (1950s-1990s). Insecurity haunts immigrants and their children. And education is the only way they know to have access to a better and more certain future. With good education, comes a good job. With a good job, comes good money. And money doesn’t discriminate 🙂

Asians are often quoted in US as ‘model minority’. Highly educated, respected jobs, low rate of committed crime, good tax payers. Still, discrimination lurks in. In his 2009 book ‘No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal’, Princeton University sociologist Thomas Espenshade surveyed 10 elite U.S. universities and found that Asian applicants needed an extra 140 points on their SAT scores to be on equal footing with white applicants. Scandals over such unfair admissions practices have surfaced in recent years at Stanford, Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley and elsewhere. Hsu, the Oregon physicist, draws a comparison between Asian-Americans and Jewish students who began arriving at the Ivy League in the first half of the last century. “You can find well-documented internal discussions at places like Harvard and Yale and Princeton about why we shouldn’t admit these people, they’re working so hard and they’re so obviously ambitious, but we want to keep our WASP [white anglo-saxon protestant] pedigree here.

And here goes the cycle, the bar is set higher for Asian applicants to get to top universities. Asian students, therefore, study harder and become smarter. The smarter they are, the more conscientious and competitive they become. ‘Killjoy’, as some of white students say. And the gap between them gets wider. Many white students simply believe that competing with Asians requires a sacrifice of time and freedom they’re not willing to make. Hence, the avoidance to enrol in top universities. University administrators, seeing the drop in WASP students, freak out and impose even higher standards for Asian students. And Asians strive harder, and the cycle continues…

The impact of high admissions rates for Asian students has been an issue for years in the U.S., where high school guidance counsellors have come to accept that it’s just more difficult to sell their Asian applicants to elite colleges. In 2006, at its annual meeting, the National Association for College Admission Counseling explored the issue in an expert panel discussion called “Too Asian?” One panellist, Rachel Cederberg—an Asian-American then working as an admissions official at Colorado College—described fellow admissions officers complaining of “yet another Asian student who wants to major in math and science and who plays the violin.”

Amy Chua and her daughters

This Asian superiority is further fuelled by a recent article in Wall Street Journal provocatively titled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior’. The article puts forward a very strong view on behalf of Chinese/Chinese-American mothers who hold their children to rigorous and demanding standards, which, from what I can tell, means a sad, joyless existence filled with long, grueling hours of studying, homework, violin/piano practice and verbal asskicking. Needless to say, this stirs controversy in blogosphere with so many people (Chinese/Chinese-Americans, other Asian-Americans, along with people in general) react very strongly. The subject of parenting in itself is a very personal and risqué issue. Add racial profiling and you get a ball of fire. The author, Amy Chua, is a professor at Yale Law School and author of “Day of Empire” and “World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.” The essay is excerpted from “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, to be published Tuesday by the Penguin Press.

Amy Chua can argue that she herself is a successful by-product of Chinese upbringing. Chua graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College in 1984. She obtained her J.D. cum laude in 1987 from Harvard Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review. According to her, she achieved this by what others call ‘negative reinforcement’. Once when she was young—maybe more than once—when she was extremely disrespectful to her mother, her father angrily called her “garbage” in their native Hokkien dialect. And she did the same to her daughters. She once told her 7-year-old Louisa to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic when the kid couldn’t play a piano piece right.

John Cho and Kal Penn, two Asian-American actors whose their very existence defy racial stereotyping

Dang! She even criticizes Western parenting as not stressing academic success enough and too anxious about their child’s self esteem that they don’t push them enough to succeed. This once again, dichotomizes Asians as joyless, socially-isolated, singularly-focused automatons under the command of overbearing immigrant parents against lazy, underachiever (or creative at best) white kids with permissive and supportive parents who will be there despite mediocrity of their offspring. Of course not all Asian kids are academically bright and same goes, not all white kids are losers. Stereotyping is dangerous. While it has some truth, anybody who don’t fall in either category risk suffering from depression and feeling that they are not adequate or can’t live up to some crazy standards. Even people who seem like having a perfect life may secretly believe their life sucks. That you have to achieve to belong. It means a lot of people put conditions on love. Thinking that one must achieve academic and financial success to be entitled of love from parents and family is by all means a sick idea. I don’t know if it’s related, but Asian-American females had one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S.

I’m going to stop here. Continuing to write means I’m risking myself labelled as studious, weird, four-eyed Asian chick who finds kicks in hours of extensive research in front of computer. Contrary to stereotypical picture, I have friends and social life. And I know how to have fun 😉 (yes, booze included).

Sylvia vs THE Black Cat

I just visited my best friend and neighbor who lives 50 metres away (Well, I never actually crawled the street with a measuring tape, so I guess you just have to take my word). After some boring chit-chat about work, she pointed her ceiling “You see that?” she asked me. I looked up and saw a slightly loosen ceiling tile, “Yep, what about it?”. Here’s what she told me:

I heard loud noises up there. I though it was mice. It was Wednesday afternoon when it happened. The ceiling tile just fell off completely, leaving dirt and dust everywhere in the room. And with the tile, there was a cat. Remember last year when I was in the bathroom, same thing happened? The ceiling tiles fell off and a cat literally fell on top of my head? IT WAS THE SAME CAT. The same black cat with round face, kinda your type (note from writer: errrrr..what???) rolled itself to the cat attack position staring at me with such hatred. I screamed and fled the scene, of course. Thank God there’s Susilo (note from writer: the aqua guy) who just happened to came to work to pick up something. He helped me cleaning and put the tile back.

And you know what? That’s not the end of it. Last night when I took my trash out, I found this cat. It stood in the way. When I touched it with my feet to scare her off, it didn’t flinch an inch. I was just scared that it got rabies and it may bite me, so I stepped back and went around the car to reach the  garbage disposal. It turned its head and watched me leave! That moment I know, it clearly has issues with me. (it’s hard not to take it personally after what happened, don’t you think? :p)

The maid told me that this cat is badung (note from writer: naughty). I think it has rabies, you know the kinda disease which make cats act up? “Hyper?” I asked. Yes, that’s the word. When I took my call outside, I once saw it playing on the roof of your ex boarding house next door.

It must be sick. It’s been trapped in a closed room twice. With me. Creepy, right? I hope she’s a real cat, not kucing jadi2an (note from writer: ghost cat).

Hilarious and disturbing at the same time. What are the odds a cat falls on you twice (with such a grand entrance)? It’s not even your cat 😀 I don’t remember the black cat she was referring to, which further adds to the mystery. But it surely makes a good inside humour! Well, not anymore since I put this up on my blog  :p

She will probably freak out if I show her below pictures 😀

A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

I just got this meaningful message from my former boss. We had lunch yesterday after 3 years of not seeing each other. There were so many random things to discuss and catch up on. He has always been kind, full of wisdom to share. We talked about relationship and marriege. I remember he said to me yesterday: There are 3 things we want out of life: first is happiness, second is financial prosperity, and the third is freedom. If you want all three, you can never settle down!

Today I checked my e-mail. He sent me this message.

I’m sending this to you to see how many actually read their e-mail. Your response will be interesting. Pay attention to what you read. After you have finished reading it, you will know the reason it was sent to you. Here goes:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person..

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

…..Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

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