Posted by: blissfulsketches | October 27, 2006

Human millipede

I took this picture a few weeks back from the pedestrian bridge which connects the Prince’s Building and the Mandarin Oriental across Chater Road. What’s going on?


Zooming in…


These folks have their legs tied to others’ in what looks like an attempt to create a record for the longest human ‘millipede’. At that time, I had no idea what really was going on: the stage and backdrop (see the first photo) was too far away. Every minute or so, the huddled participants shuffled about an inch or so forward, reminiscent of the irregular, hobbling motion of those alien ships in Space Invaders.

Finally, upon uploading these photos, I googled a few random words describing the phenomenon and came across a description of the event that took place on 8 October 2006: it was actually a ‘multi-legged walk’ organised in aid of charity. Participants actually donated HKD100 to have their leg tied to a stranger’s and in the process, attempted to create a ‘Most Participants in a Multi-Legged Walk’ world record. No kidding!

Years of bombardment by various Malaysian banal record-breaking attempts must have set the alarm bells ringing.

Posted by: blissfulsketches | October 27, 2006

Cooler days

Autumn is definitely here with the cooler winds and darker days… but so is the haze, the usual suspect from the Pearl River Delta. It’s not the smelly, smoky sort you associate with the annual drift over from burning forests in Indonesia, but it clouds up the skies and confuses the observatory. The weatherwoman on ATV World a few days ago was optimistic, reporting “it will be sunny on Sunday but you may not notice it because.. yes, it will be hazy!” It’s 23 degrees today, it may drop over the next week so visitors take heed! πŸ˜‰


Too much smoked salmon being produced

This weekend’s a long one! Monday is a surprise public holiday – the autumn version of Ching Ming (which is in spring). We need to start looking for a man with a van to move our bulky furniture and also look for some boxes or stripey-made-in-China-bags to pack our random stuff. The new place is down the road but it would be incredibly difficult to cart a 6-tier bookshelf (our largest item) even for that short distance! We’re only getting keys on Friday so we’ll probably only be able to move stuff on Saturday. Hopefully, we won’t need to spend too much time cleaning up. The few days in between the old tenants moving out and us moving in is technically for the landlord to do some cleaning work. We’ll see! When this apartment was rented, boy, there was a lot of cleaning that had to be done.

Autumn also seems to signal the appearance of scaffolding all over town. It’s probably safer now in the knowledge that a typhoon isn’t going to come wreck your work with one gust! Bamboo scaffolding is still very much in use in HK and here are some creative ways in which scaffolding has been put to use:


Precision engineering



Our apartment has been undergoing pipe-replacement works this past week, so during the day we are not supposed to be using water or plumbing (we found out when we turned on the tap and heard a loud thumping on our window pane – 21 floors up!). This has essentially meant me spending most of the day out. Spent some in the library and others running errands. Got my temporary HKID card yesterday – I validated my visa during my last entry. Hooray! No more loooooong queues at immigration!

Posted by: blissfulsketches | October 13, 2006

A world without spuds

This made the second headline in tonight’s news.

Bad (and sad!) news for potato-lovers. At least, according to research conducted by the HK Consumer Council and the Centre for Food Safety, who were prompted by concerns over the health risk posed by the presence of acrylamide in foods. A cancer-causing substance known as acrylamide was found to occur in high levels in snacks cooked in high temperatures such as frying and baking, particularly in carbohydrates. Potato crisps, french fries and biscuits were pinpointed to contain higher levels as compared to wheat-based, rice-based and soy-based foods.

According to the report, latest studies show that acrylamide formation is particularly likely in carbohydrate-rich foods baked or cooked at temperatures above 120 degrees C! This is as opposed to boiling which occurs at a lower temperature.

But, but, baked potatoes!

But, but, fish and chips!

Can you imagine life without these comfort foods? And biscuits! Who hasn’t indulged in more than a tier of biscuits straight from the pack, over a cup of milky tea?

The bad news:

In animal testing, it was found that acrylamide increases the incidences of tumours in various organs and tissues like thyroid gland, adrenal gland, brain, lung and skin.

Possibly not-so-bad news:

Acrylamide is a contaminant generated in the process of cooking, which is not added to food intentionally, its level is therefore affected by various conditions.

So can we avoid the generation of this contaminant by controlling the conditions which affect its levels?

Aargh! Bad news:

Despite its carcinogenicity, JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) concluded that it was not possible to issue recommendations on how much of any specific foods containing the substance is safe to eat.

And I suppose recommendations are meant to be good news?

The only recommendation, nonetheless, is that exposure to acrylamide should be “as low as reasonably achievable”.

The consumer lets out a heavy sigh of sorrow as adds the spud to the list of things he can no longer eat with peace of mind – fish (mercury), fruits and vegetables (pesticides), meat (antibiotics, parasites and viruses), poultry (bird flu)…

Wash everything thoroughly. Cook everything kao-kao. And drink lots of tea (if that is to be believed).

Wait, mash is a result of boiling potato. There’s still hope!

Posted by: blissfulsketches | October 13, 2006

I want

  1. Milo 3-in-1
  2. 100+ isotonic drink
  3. Inexpensive cookbooks
  4. Tefal wok with cover
  5. The Source music books
  6. Ikea deep-red throw
  7. Bak Kut Teh herb and spice packs
  8. Cafetiere
  9. Mom’s recipes
  10. Bakeware and cookware
  11. …and so on…

This wishlist may just be checked off real soon. Now that we’ve found a new place to stay and all the arrangements pertaining to accommodation are settled, I’m finally able to fulfil my promise to visit my folks – for a week! Just got a fantastic deal online with Cathay Pacific, only HKD1758 (~RM850) for a return ticket. Will be flying to Changi though, so won’t be passing through KL. Anybody visiting JB? πŸ˜‰

Posted by: blissfulsketches | October 11, 2006

Dead mosquito, please

Or in other words, “that will be four dollars, please”.

Some people are coming to view our apartment this evening. I’m learning to recognise the phrase “Do we have to remove our shoes?” because that seems to be the first thing you’re asked when people are about to come inside. And when I get asked that question, of course my response is going to be “Yes!”. I need to remember that even if in the panic of the moment, I fail to recognise the phrase. I don’t want dirty boots trampling all over my birch laminate.

But that goes against all my instincts, for all you know the potential lessee might be asking “Do all these furniture come with the apartment?” or “Can you move out tomorrow?”

In Hong Kong, when in doubt as to what I’m asked, I usually say No. That’s because people everywhere ask you all sorts of questions all the time, where a ‘Yes’ response would probably set you back several dollars. This happens at the supermarket (“How about buying the weekly special?”), the pharmacy (“This new shampoo is on offer, shall I ring one up for you?”) and restaurants (“Catch of the day, very fresh!”).

Once however I said No when I should have said Yes. I must have been dreaming at that time and not paying attention to what the cashier was saying at the supermarket checkout counter. I usually bring my own bag, and apparently was still clutching on to it tightly after I’d loaded all the goods onto the conveyor belt, and the cashier asked me twice, do you want to use your own bag?

I ended up looking like a right idiot with two supermarket plastic bags and an empty canvas bag.

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