Friday, January 6

To boldly go where no panda has gone before

Congratulations to no. 16 (left, female) and no. 19 (right, male), you have won yourselves an all-expenses paid one-way trip to Taiwan! Read about their enthralling love story - how the son of an American expat came to share a bamboo tree, and ultimately his heart, with the feisty heavyset daughter of an amputee.

I have to admit though, that the decision came as somewhat as a surprise to me. I was so sure it was going to be this couple:

On the other hand it was also painfully obvious that this pair didn't stand a chance (even Jessica and Nick managed to put on a better show in their final month together):

Well, what's next for the cutest political pawns in the history of cross-straits relations? Already they've been caught up in a bit of a diplomatic hissy fit. Come on Taiwan, stop being such a drama queen, you know you want them.

For those who are worried that the No. 16 and No. 19 may be roughing it in their new home, rest assured that this is definitely no hardship posting. They will have get to vacay in the countryside which is known to be an idyllic verdant utopia. Should they tire of bamboo, the cuisine is delightfully diverse, ranging from gristly tendon to tendony gristle to the more simple rice burger from McDonalds.

The well-established music scene also provides a rich supply of entertainment. Stocked with young homegrown talent, one of its leading lights is singer-composer Jay Chou. His latest album "November's Chopin" has sold 3 million copies in Asia and he has won more awards than say..the number of syllables in the line "Po, Po, Po, Po, PopoZao, PopoZao". On top of that his signature single-eyelid look, the source of much fangirl squeeing, has made a dent in the cosmetic surgery industry over here. With all these achievements at such a tender age, I think that Jay can be forgiven for having a bit of a God complex.

Blog to vote for: Gaijin Biker has been nominated as Best Asian Blog at the Kineda Asian Blog Awards.

Thursday, January 5

Come on in, the water's great

Yes, there was a toxic benzene spill recently. Yes, running water had to be shut down for 5 days. But don't let that stop you from visiting the magical Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin. The lights are ever so pretty and if you bring your iPod you can drown out the Kenny G music. Plus, the water is in the "green zone" now which means...I have no idea what that means but let's just assume that all 110 miles of toxic slick are safely in Russia by now.

Ooh and aah in wonderment at these manmade wonders. Famous landmarks painstakingly sculpted from ice and snow:

Religious statues and icons that command reverence:

Enjoy a warm welcome by winsome snow princesses who will beg you to slay their evil captor and release them from their elasticized polyester and furry bonds.

There is also an abundance of wildlife such as a deer that looks like it's already been taxidermied and a bunch of penguins lining up to use their prepaid international phone cards.

When you are ready to end your travails, retire to the local bar which is also made entirely of ice, thus providing the opportunity to use cheesy pick-up lines such as "you're so hot, you're melting all the ice in here".

Not only does Harbin provide crisp and clean snow for sculpting but the swimming pool isn't too bad either. Forget Aspen, forget Miami's South Beach, but whatever you do don't forget to pack a swimsuit. Heels too. It can get quite competitive out there.

Another blog to visit: Karma to Burn - Happiness 1.2.1 upgraded to Euphoria 2.0 between caffeine hits

Wednesday, January 4

Shopping rage

What is wrong with the world these days? A man can't indulge in a little consumerism without being flung 20 feet down an escalator?!?! You just don't go around ruining other people's shopping experiences like that. It's one of worst civil wrongs that a person could commit. So far details of the perpetrator have been vague:

He is slim, with short, black hair and is said to have a rough appearance.
He was wearing a black three-quarter-length padded jacket, blue jeans and black shoes.

I'm not going to name any names just yet but I have my suspicions. What's the bet the bastard was also armed with an Ethiopian baby or a Cambodian kid.

Seems like some of us have forgotten how to behave in a retail environment. Here are some tips to refresh the memory:
1. If a 63 year-old woman bumps into you, do not grab a tape dispenser and hit her in the face with it. You are nowhere near famous enough to get away with doing that.

2. No firing of guns in parking lots. What is this, the Old West? The same applies to dressing rooms, queues at payment counters, crowded lifts and food courts. Maybe in mall toilets if you are really desperate.

3. Screaming at fellow customers when you get bumped doesn't achieve anything. You cannot go to a sale and not expect to be shoved around like a sack of bargain-hungry potatoes. It would be incredibly naive to think that people, when confronted with heavily discounted castoffs from last seasons are going to fall into orderly formations to daintily inspect the merchandise - anyone who does so probably still believes in the Tooth Fairy or the authenticity of Mariah Carey's breasts.

4. Do not verbally or physically abuse the sales staff. Especially when they have your credit card details. It is not their fault that these pants do make you look fat or the designer only made these pants in size 6 or these pants only come in a bright mustard colour.

5. Fighting over clothing in public is as embarrassing as fighting over a man in public. This marked down item is like a philandering cad. It will come between the best of friends. It will lead both of you into believing that it loves you, and only you. It will refuse to make a choice, instead taking obscene pleasure from playing both of you against each other. It will boast about its mastery of women to its fellow items of apparel, calling you dirty skank hos behind your back.

6. Treat a shopping expedition as you would a camping trip. This means being prepared. Research your logistics. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Pack essentials such as maps, deodorant and bottled water. And bring marijuana. Lots and lots of it. The mellower you are, the less likely you are to run over a child with a shopping cart.

Another blog to visit: Beauty Addict - A little obssessed with makeup.

Tuesday, January 3

Recent newspaper headlines that are extremely misleading

Bolton ratchets up pressure on Syria

West Bank settlers challenge Sharon

Reid calls Congress "the most corrupt in history"

Qaddafi, Mubarak, others congratulate Ellen

Miller "sorry" for WMD inaccuracies

Police: Orlando's First Murder of 2006 is Case of Mistaken Identity

Paris top spot to spend New Year's Eve

Jordan's role in Iraq is modest, but positive

Monday, January 2

You Like, You Buy Vol 38

Many couples think that they don't need sexy lingerie to spice up their love life. Well they're WRONG and they're headed for splitsville! A latex crotchless teddy can save hours and thousands of dollars in relationship counselling.

Murena ( prides itself on being the first sexy lingerie company in Taiwan. It has branched out to neighbouring countries, allowing couples in HK and China to enjoy affordable bliss without resorting to the overpriced European stuff. Most of the site, as you would expect, is not safe for work. Having said that, I invite you to draw the blinds and see what passes for sexy advertising in this part of the world.

This is what the covers of bad romance novels are made of. "My Neck Aches For You" has everything. Lust, intrigue, questionably sheer spandex and bulging arm veins!

There is a sexy anger in the air. He's angry that he hasn't once defeated her in a game of checkers. She's just annoyed at the bastard who made her wear 2 layers of underwear.

The tension has now been replaced with mild curiosity. How much dental floss should I be using? Do I brush first and then floss? Come to think of it, when was the last time I had a dental check-up?

Even when she says that she has a headache, you don't have to let good lingerie go to waste. Check her pulse and relieve her migraine with some light pressure to the sides of her temples.

Now this could be sexy. That is, if you find a guy doing his best Carson Kressley impersonation sexy and if the thought of the Geneva Conventions gets you all hot and bothered.

Yet another great romance novel being set in motion. In "Close Your Eyes and Think of England", young lovers from warring tribes face the difficulties of succumbing to their primal passions on a rather uncomfortable chaise longue.

Sunday, January 1

Happy New Year!

That was some party last night huh?

Tell me about it.