Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Wednesdays are usually my "day-off" in the week, apart from Sundays. So today was, well, another lazy day.

Using my glasses on instead of my contacts today just maybe made me unconsciously feel relaxed and lazy, as I usually am on work-mode when I wear contacts. Now I have my contacts on to get more alert and do some PowerYoga, but dangit, it's almost time for Grey's Anatomy! Yes, I have become a fan. And no, I try not to watch it by DVD, as watching it on television, with all the ads and the potential to channel-jump, just makes it a better experience for me.

Got a new pair of earrings today, the stones being Mystic Topaz. Mom and I split the costs: I used some previous savings: ah well; she is paying for Teacher Training, after all. I had thought of pairing it with a necklace of Smoky Topaz my aunt had given me while we were in Hong Kong, but upon Googling it, discovered it's actually of the Quartz family. Ah well.

The same aunt gave me a bracelet with an adorable bracelet with a fu dog pi yao carving made of red jade, though someone said it's amber. Eh. I didn't know he was given to guard me, but now, with that in mind, I shall wear him as much as I can, and I christen him with Neni? Nani? Yeni? Leni? LENNY. His name's Lenny.

Meanwhile, this is the woman who got on my nerves yesterday but H told me to just let go of it. I laugh about it now, but yesterday, it was pretty serious. When I think about it now, I still get pissed, but I figure, for all that she's pretty, she's down there when it comes to ethics and morals (even lower for proclaiming herself to be a yogini?!). So why should I deal with her? Then again, what gives me the right to judge her? But I think we all judge, one way or another: we are human, after all. But maybe I'll give it one more shot if I see her again: I'll smile. F told me my yoga is about STRENGTH, and apart from physical, I guess it extends to emotional, as well.

Anyway. Enough lazing about: I've got a TV show to watch, tea to make and drink, maybe do some abs if I can't do yoga, update my planner, put in some memorizing.....aii-ya.

Monday, March 12, 2007


The trip to Hong Kong, though sweet, was stressful, so perhaps it's better it was brief. Apart from fabulous food at the Conrad and IFC Mall, and discovering a bargain mecca, at least we were able to meet most of the things we wanted to do. I, for one, apart from finding this Indian CD set I've been looking for, finally got my new camera at Fortress, where I was told it is the best place to get digital products in Hong Kong. Following Josh's recommendations, and seeing the product physically, I chose the Canon Digital IXUS 850 IS. Soooo happy to have a Canon again. His name shall be Bagheera. I had previously seen snippets of the Disney adaptation of Kipling's work, so that might be it. Was trying Shiva instead, and a feminine character. Bagheera was only made male in the Disney adaptation, but was female in a Russian one. After all that drama, though, I'm keeping him male, and since the name Bagheera still called out to me more, Bagheera he will be.

I also went to the Bikram yoga studio in Hong Kong. There are four studio-rooms, each big enough maybe to accommodate 70-100 people. WHOA. Thing is, being carpeted, and not really aired (only vacuumed), the rooms (at least the one I was in) had a smell. Method of instruction was also not very personal, no names, just calling out the dialogue. My Mom said, "You can do better!" Perhaps. Hopefully. 'Coz sometimes I worry if this is the right decision GOD, I hope so.

I've always loved cartoons, as they remind me of childhood, and innocence, and when I didn't have to worry about anything. Nowadays, however, more and more cartoons have a commercial tinge. Imagine my joy when I saw cute cartoons, namely The Unsustainables and Meet The Greens as featured on this Ecorazzi article. So the angle here is to make more ecologically-sound decisions, but hell, I think it's better than telling their audience to buy the next lunchbox or action figurine with the same theme.

While looking for the latest Yoga Journal issue, I saw two other yoga-related magazines, instead: yogalife and Spirituality & Health. Expanding my yoga magazine repertoire, is all. I also saw this site that looks like it's good yoga: Aadil Palkhivala. Hmm.

Anyway, while I missed yoga class today pleading to fatigue and ill-preparedness for dialogue practice (thereby incurring T's ire), as well as took it slow and easy (getting the pre-trip mani-pedi and waxing: gotta get rrrreadyyy), it's good to be back. Now to step up, and MEMORIZE. Ack. Then how to wake up early enough tomorrow, given that my phone (which is apparently no longer available for purchase) just decided to conk out and die? What about my contacts in there, as well? Aaaargh. And even though I ate LOADS for breakfast, I think I'll get me some more breakfast food now , even as I know I should do ab exercises, or PowerYoga . Added to the lately very violent/snappish/virago-like moods, I just might be PMS'ing. So hello, pounds. C'est la vie, c'est la vie.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser

Lately, I've been feeling incredibly tired for no apparent reason. Crap. I hate this. Like after returning from the beach, despite yoga with Mo-ching, despite a spa treatment, this time around I still feel exhausted. I had my first post-trip Bikram yoga class yesterday, and I felt like I was going to just collapse halfway, around Dandayamana Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee) and Dandayamana Dhanurasana (Standing Bow). I'm grateful the teacher was H, who doesn't push too hard; if it were F, I think I'd have really had to sit it out. T arrived after class, and was asking about whether I'd gotten my dialgues, 'coz he wanted me to start memorizing already (which is mostly the point in Teacher Training). If not, he said he can lend me his. Well, when I got home, I was overjoyed to find my welcome packet from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training! However, there was a misunderstanding wherein I was given a registration checklist for SOMEBODY ELSE! With incompletes! I was pretty upset, so I wrote S, the registrar, several times. 'Coz I AM complete! So what the hell?! Well, she wrote back this morning: it was a misunderstanding; I'm complete, and she says she doesn't need to fax back the cover letter I asked where I documented everything I sent. I'd still like her to fax back an acknowledgment, though. I'm afraid I'm being too pushy, but Mom said I can't afford NOT to be pushy. And truly, sometimes, no, oftentimes, to get things done, I find I really have to be pushy. Otherwise, I risk becoming a doormat. It's so true. And it's so hard to be a b*tch when I've been such a gentlewoman. But as a song goes, "Give [them] an inch, [they] take a mile." It's so true. It just feels like a betrayal of trust when they do it. I was brought up with the premise that "kindness begets kindness," and so on. Well, it seems not to be so in the real world. Of course there are pockets of special circumstances wherein if I'm nice they'll be nice back, and it usually pays to be nice in formal situations or "need-to-know" situations. But still: no more doormats. Fight back. And be firm.

My camera has conked out on me, so I haven't been able to photograph in a while. Argh. As we're going to HK soon, I'm thinking of (a) scoping out the Bikram yoga studio there (hello, future employment? Though the ones in Bangkok, and is this certified, too? Singapore sounds ok, too), and (b) getting a new camera. I always found Canon to be the brand that worked best for me. I don't like Sony for its over-exclusivity, and Olympus conked out on me. My specifications are:
1. with the feature that can take rapid-sequence (movement?) shots
2. the shaky hand safeguarding feature
3. over 6 megapixels. I've been told to get a 10 megapixel, but I think a 7 or 8 [megapixel] will do just fine.
4. general affordability/value-for-money
5. relatively compact and lightweight

With Canon, I've narrowed it down to
1. Digital IXUS i7, aka PowerShot SD40
2. Digital IXUS 850 IS, aka PowerShot SD800
3. Digital IXUS 900 Ti PowerShot A710 IS

I found this camera review website through Google; maybe it can can shed some light on this matter.

So life's moving, and moving fast. Gotta make sure that I crest the wave and don't go under. I can do this, and I will.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Exposing the Beast

Below is an essay done by J.M. Coetzee as seen on this site. Many thanks to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks for referring it. Incidentally, she also has an essay of her own here.

Published on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 by the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Exposing the Beast: Factory Farming Must be Called to the Slaughterhouse
by J.M. Coetzee

To any thinking person, it must be obvious there is something terribly wrong with relations between human beings and the animals they rely on for food. It must also be obvious that in the past 100 or 150 years, whatever is wrong has become wrong on a huge scale, as traditional animal husbandry has been turned into an industry using industrial methods of production.

There are many other ways in which our relationship with animals is wrong (to name two: the fur trade and experimentation on animals in laboratories), but the food industry, which turns living animals into what it euphemistically calls animal products and by-products, dwarfs all others in the number of individual animal lives it affects.

The vast majority of the public has an equivocal attitude to the industrial use of animals: they make use of the products of that industry, but are nevertheless a little sickened, a little queasy, when they think of what happens on factory farms and abattoirs. Therefore they arrange their lives in such a way that they need be reminded of farms and abattoirs as little as possible, and they do their best to ensure their children are kept in the dark too, because children have tender hearts and are easily moved.

The transformation of animals into production units dates back to the late 19th century, and since that time we have already had one warning on the grandest scale that there is something deeply, cosmically wrong with regarding and treating fellow beings as mere units of any kind.

This warning came so loud and clear that one would have thought it impossible to ignore. It came when, in the 20th century, a group of powerful and bloody-minded men in Germany hit on the idea of adapting the methods of the industrial stockyard, as pioneered and perfected in Chicago, to the slaughter - or what they preferred to call the processing - of human beings.

Of course we cried out in horror when we found out what they had been up to. What a terrible crime to treat human beings like cattle - if we had only known beforehand. But our cry should more accurately have been: what a terrible crime to treat human beings like units in an industrial process. And that cry should have had a postscript: what a terrible crime - come to think of it, a crime against nature - to treat any living being like a unit in an industrial process.

It would be a mistake to idealise traditional animal husbandry as the standard by which the animal products industry falls short. Traditional animal husbandry is brutal enough, just on a smaller scale. A better standard by which to judge both practices would be the simple standard of humanity: is this truly the best that humans are capable of?

The efforts of the animal rights movement - the broad movement that situates itself on the spectrum somewhere between the meliorism of the animal welfare bodies and the radicalism of animal liberation - are rightly directed at decent people who both know and don't know that there is something going on that stinks to high heaven.

These are people who will say: "Yes, it's terrible what lives brood sows live; it's terrible what lives veal calves live," but who will add, with a helpless shrug of the shoulders - "what can I do about it?"

The task of the movement is to offer such people imaginative but practical options for what to do next after they have been revolted by a glimpse of the lives factory animals live and the deaths they die. People need to see that there are alternatives to supporting the animal products industry.

These alternatives need not involve any sacrifice in health or nutrition, and there is no reason why these alternatives need be costly. Furthermore, what are commonly called sacrifices are not sacrifices at all. The only sacrifices in the whole picture, in fact, are being made by non-human animals.

In this respect, children provide the brightest hope. Children have tender hearts - that is to say children have hearts that have not yet been hardened by years of cruel and unnatural battering. Given half a chance, children see through the lies with which advertisers bombard them (the happy chooks that are transformed painlessly into succulent nuggets, the smiling moo-cow that donates to us the bounty of her milk). It takes but one glance into a slaughterhouse to turn a child into a lifelong vegetarian.

Factory farming is a new phenomenon - very new indeed in the history of animal husbandry. The good news is that after a couple of decades of what the businessmen behind it must have regarded as free and unlimited expansion, the industry has been forced onto the defensive.

The activities of animals-rights organisations have shifted the onus onto the industry to justify its practices, and because they are indefensible and unjustifiable except on the most narrow economic grounds ("Do you want to pay $1.50 more for a dozen eggs?"), the industry is battening down hatches and hoping the storm will blow itself out. Insofar as there was a public relations war, the industry has already lost that war.

A final note. The campaign of human beings for animal rights is curious in one respect: the creatures on whose behalf human beings are acting are unaware of what their benefactors are up to and, if they succeed, are unlikely to thank them. There is even a sense in which animals do not know what is wrong - they do certainly not know what is wrong in the same way that humans do.

Thus, however close the well-meaning benefactor may feel to animals, the animal rights campaign remains a human project from beginning to end.

J.M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2003. This is an edited version of a speech to be given this evening to open the exhibition Voiceless: I feel therefore I am. It will be at the Sherman Galleries until March 10.

Copyright © 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald.