Monday, October 3, 2011

My feeling towards the movie Nasi Lemak 2.0

Malaysia is a funny place. We have so many unique characteristics, idiosyncrasies, habits and conflicts that any outsider looking in would think we are a pretty funny bunch. Despite this diverse cultures and traditions, it's not easy to make a Malaysian movie. I am talking about a true-blue Malaysian movie, not a Malaysian-Malay, Malaysian-Chinese or Malaysian Indian movie. I am talking about one that celebrates all aspects of being Malaysian, and not just one that focuses on one race, language or religion (Some might call it a 1Malaysia movie; personally I don't see why we can't just call it a Malaysian movie).

For me, Nasi Lemak 2.0 is out to make us take a good look at ourselves and laugh. It is also not meant to offend, criticize or insult anyone. What it wants us to do was to laugh at ourselves, at how we interact with other Malaysians, at our obsession with food, our culture, our national car, our politics, and at Malaysian life in general. While the story (which uses various languages and dialects, including Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Tamil and English) is pretty much just an excuse to string together gags, it does focus on something Malaysians are very proud of - our food.

The movie's humour flits between outright hilarious and somewhat cringe-worthy, one of Namewee's best attributes is that he has never been afraid to laugh at himself. Here, he tries really hard to get us to laugh at ourselves. He is not out to offend anyone though (compared to his YouTube videos, the jokes here seem pretty mild). What he does is hold a mirror up to our faces, and shows us our flaws and our idiosyncrasies, as well as the funny side to being Malaysian.

The best bits of the movie are the subtler touches that Namewee puts in - the constant pokes at a certain national car, the usage of bits of 'popular' political quotes in the dialogue. No matter what you may think of Namewee, give this first-time director a chance. Nasi Lemak 2.0 may not be perfect, but it has its moments. Just try to look past the obvious flaws in the movie - its disjointedness, the awkwardness of some of the dialogue, and the preachy monologues - and revel in the fact that Malaysia really is a funny place.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The new food rules of the new century- Part 2

The new food rules of the new century – Part 2

Continuing from the previously written first part, the following are the remaining 5 more rules. Besides rules related to food and nutrition, I would like to discuss about the benefits and the necessity of exercise in our daily life.

Rule 6: Stop eating before we are full

I would like to share the evidences from various cultures around the globe. The Japanese have a saying ‘hara hachi bu’, which persuades people to stop eating when they are 80% full. The Ayurvedic tradition in India advises eating until we are 75% full; the Chinese specify 70%; and Prophet Muhammad described a full belly as one that contained one third food, one third liquid, and one third air – in other words, nothing. Eat more plant foods instead of meat-based foods is the best practices.

Rule 7: Eat sweet foods as you’d find them in nature

In nature, sugars almost always come packaged with fiber, which slows their absorption and gives us a sense of satiety before we have ingested too many calories. That’s why we are always better off eating the fruit rather than drinking the juice. We need to avoid those highly processed fruit juices and cordial drinks as they give nothing except added ingredients and plasticizers.

Rule 8: Break the rules once in a while

Obsessing over food rules is bad for our happiness, and probably our health, too. Over the past few decades, dieting and worrying too much about nutrition has made us no healthier or slimmer; cultivating a relaxed attitude toward food is just as important.

There will be some special occasions when we will want to throw healthy eating rules out the window. What matters more is the habits that govern our eating on a typical day. “All things in moderation” should always be in our consideration. I will enjoy eating luxuriously at buffet dinner occasionally with friends by showing them my strong appetite on delicious foods but still can maintain my healthy body image now as it’s always about what we eat and what we do daily. I will ensure my daily energy intake balances my daily energy expenditure by walk more. How can we achieve that? I always take stairs rather than taking the lift whenever I am going up or down at my work place. I feel like we are so technologically pampered by using lift until we are so lazy to move our foot or get our backside stand upright. I seldom use lift in UPM, that’s why I always remain fit and thin now. I am 6 kg underweight from my normal weight now, as a result of my daily lifestyles. I will make sure that I will exercise for at least 4 days a week by jogging for at least 30 minutes every time. Our fat will only starts burning after exercising for about 20 min, that’s why we have to strife until after 20 minutes every time. If not, we will feel tired easily as it burned out the glycogen storage easily, making us feel tired easily initially whenever we exercise. Please take good note of that as it is from my own experiences.

Rule 9: Pay more, eat less

If we spend more for better food, we will probably eat less of it, and treat it with more care. And if that higher quality food tastes better, we will need less to feel satisfied. Choose quality over quantity. Or, as wise grandmothers used to say, “Better to pay the grocer than the doctor”.

Rule 10: Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients

The specific number we adopt is arbitrary but the more ingredients in a packaged food, the more highly processed it probably is.

Hopefully everyone will be benefited from my sharing above. It is always about what we eat and what we do daily. Together we live healthily ever after.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The new food rules of the new century- Part 1

As a nutritionist, I am often inundated by information about the latest disease, the newest cure, the healthiest diet or the best exercise. It’s a lot of information to digest but from my experience, all we really need is a bit of common sense moderation on food consumption and motivation to get our foot moving. Here’s one tip I swear by: avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients. I cringe when I see a long list of additives, enhancers and preservatives on food packaging. We were never meant to eat emulsifiers, stabilizers or thickeners, and I don’t even want to think about what it does to our body in the long run. Healthy, wholesome food usually only have few ingredients other than additives.

Hereby I have simplified the mountain of nutritional geek speak into some basic principles. You can heed these ‘personal policies’ of mine that should make everyday decisions easier and your eating healthier.

Rule 1: Eat Food

This is easier said than done, especially when so many new products show up in the supermarket each year, all vying for our food dollar. But most of these items don’t deserve to be called food – nutrition experts call them edible food-like substances. They’re highly processed concoctions, consisting mostly of ingredients that no normal person would keep in the pantry. Today, much of the challenge of eating well comes down to choosing real food and avoiding industrial novelties.

Rule 2: Eat food with variety of colours

A healthy plate of food with the feature of several different colours is a good example that turns out to be good science as well. The colours of many vegetables and fruits reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain – anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic disease, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet that contains as many different phytochemicals as possible.

Rule 3: Eat mostly plants, especially leaves

This one is in accordance with the newest dietary recommendations by many well known nutrition board such as the United States Food and Nutrition Board as well as World Health Organization (WHO). They contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber with fewer calories. Plant foods with the exception of seeds, including grains and nuts – are usually less energy dense than other things we eat.

Rule 4: Eat food that will eventually rot

What does it mean for food to ‘go bad’? It usually means that the fungi , bacteria and creatures with which we compete for nutrients and calories have got to it before we did. Food processing and biotechnology began as a way to extend the shelf life of food by protecting it from these competitors. This is often accomplished by removing nutrients that attract the competitors, or by removing other nutrients likely to turn rancid. The more processed a food is, the longer the shelf life, and the less nutritious it typically is.

Real food is alive and therefore it should eventually die. There are a few exceptions: honey has a longer shelf life naturally. Also note that most immortal food-like substances are found in the middle aisles of the supermarket found in United States, European countries and other developed nations. I am still not sure about our country yet.

Rule 5: The whither the bread, the sooner you’d be dead

This suggests that the health risks of white flour have been popularly recognized for many years. As far as we concerned, white flour is not much different sugar. It offers none of the good things (fiber, B vitamins, healthy fats) in whole grains. So, we should eat whole grains and minimize our consumption of white flour.

It is just 5 rules I shared here. I will continue sharing another 5 rules in future. Thanks a million for the read. I hope you will enjoy learning from my own experiences.I welcome any comments from all readers if you have any to share to to correct my points.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nostalgic again when watching sunset alone at Putrajaya

Came to my favourite place for jogging again, the straight-long road at Putrajaya stretching from Putra Square in front of the Prime Minister’s Department until Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), then ran back to the place I parked my car. It was a normal routine for me to stop by the lakeside near the Malaysian Treasury building, lying down restlessly on the soft whizzing grasses, enjoyed watching the sunset alone as I did few times before whenever I was having some disturbances in my hearts of hearts while nobody was there to comfort my disturbed heart.

Not thinking of anything, the gentle wind come, sweeping away my tiredness, wipe away my profuse sweat, sobering my pounding hearts after jogging for almost an hour there. The giggling of cicadas, chirping of birds and breezing of wind were like a gigantic orchestra performing life before my eyes freely. All these provide some sobering effects to my mind and soul. Thanks a lot, the creation of the Almighty of this wonderful nature.

A lovely couple came by, asking my help to take their intimate photos beside the lake where I was watching the sunset. Luckily it was not my first time to hold DSLR. If not, it will be shameful on me. I envied them so much, being so close and intimate by teasing each other ceaselessly. Since then, my mind flashed back to the time when I was still in the 2nd year of my undergraduate studies, holding the post of students’ representative of UPM. I remembered that I missed the opportunity of establishing a relationship with my close friend as I was quite busy in my work as a student leader, looking after people’s welfare and actively involving in other clubs while focusing in my studies the same time. I felt awfully regretful on her as she was a good one. Luckily she got a good one with her now, to ease my pain of disappointing her. Nevertheless, we are still good friends now.

I remember when I was studying in form six in 2004/2005 where I was also busy involving in many extra-curricular activities even though it was a tough time to balance it with academic. Form six was really not easy. The relationship among my classmates were quite good as we had wonderful time with each other in many occasions such as sixth form night talent competition, graduation dinner, gatherings, to name a few. It was a surprise for me when they celebrated my birthday by giving me a special present with many wishes written on small pieces of paper by all my classmates, being inserted into the bottle containing a lovely bear. I didn’t make effort to read those written wishes one by one that time due to the same excuse, busy. I managed to read those wishes after some time. Then only I found that one of my close friends uttered her feeling out. It was too late for me as even though she was at the same university with me, working together in the same society. Hearsay told me that she was going to start a relationship with one of my friend. They have a good relationship until now. I am happy to see that. Yet, I regretted of sparing some important ones beside me. Tears blinded my eyes. I missed many things in my life, a sin which is not easily forgiven for me. I do think that there is still hope beyond the rich tapestry of our life. Long road ahead.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nostalgic whenever I am back to my secondary school

Back to my Alma Mater, Sam Tet School again. Don't know why, it was a normal routine for me just to drop by and have a look and walk around there whenever I am back to hometown. If it is during weekdays, i will definitely look for my beloved teachers who are close with me for a chat, giggling on those recent updates about happenings in my school whenever I was not around. It was weekend yesterday, so it was so quiet and serene, not even a ghost could be seen there (over a bit).

Sitting at the iron bench, looking at the field. No one was there. It made me to recalled back to the time when I was still a secondary student, being actively involved in co-curricular activities. During those time, it was normal to see us sworn around the school field, marched under the hot sun in the afternoon, playing football with our friends after co-curricular activities, or listening to the songs played by our school band. Many of us will stay until evening then only we will go back on Saturday. Some of us even come on Sunday. It was the climax of the glory of student's activities in the school that time as all uniform bodies were competing each other to help in nurturing top student leaders for the country.

But those scenes couldn't be seen in my school or perhaps all other schools now. It was so silent, serene and tranquil until I thought I was at a God forsaken place perhaps. What happened to our younger generations now? So many silly excuses given by their so-called caring parents to deter their child from actively involving in co-curricular activities by staying at the school until late hours. They wanted to let their child to have more time for tuition indeed. For me, they pampered their child lavishly until they became spoilt brat, became so unsociable, not having enough soft and hard skills for future challenges. They will spend more time sitting in front of their desktop, playing computer games, watching unhealthy movies, or indulging in Facebook. It is an unhealthy phenomenon now. The parents are too protective, restrictive, and objective in pointing their fingers to others like the school when their child is having problem. Our society is sick now. The parents are destroying their own younger generations now, especially those born after 1990s. Most students like to loiter around in the shopping complexes rather than indulging in healthy activities at school. It is always better late than never, trying to save our younger generations at an early stage before it infect our society in future.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Words spoken by my brother like junior during my convocation in October 2010.

We shared a lot of similarities as stated in the sentences below as We gone through the moments of joys, sorrows, tears, thrills, and excitements since we knew each other. I just managed to retrieve it from the message inbox of my hand phone, wanted to share it with all my friends. These sentences touches me the most, I never expect to receive such words from my friend. It really suprised the hell out of me. I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing you as one of the most valuable player (MVP) in various clubs and societies of UPM. You have been more than the ideal student. You have demonstrated outstanding leadership and maintained a clear sense of purpose besides fulfilling all the requirements with the added challenge of honours. And knowing you, you will not fail, and will exceed my expectations since your lecturers, peers and I will always hold you in the highest esteem. Thanks a lot, Shawn Keng Teck Ee.

Words from Teck Ee

"Thanks for being there in my 1st semester as my role model. You were there to give me STATUS and fame, as seniors and fascilitator see the similarities we share. We met the first time over blok D wing at the water dispenser.

Thanks for being there during my 2nd semester as my mentor. You have given SUPPORT in organization, communication, management and leadership skills. We worked together during lantern festival, faculty annual gala night and even MPP/MTM.(Students' Representative Council/ Supreme Council of College)

Thanks for being there during my 3rd semester as my adventurist. You SHARE your experiences, stories, cold jokes, glamour and fame, favourite food place and of course your PROTON car. Thanks for never hesitating to give and none in return.

Thanks for being there during my 4th semester as my brother like senior. You have given me a SHOULDER to cry on, when all things seem down to me. You never angered but remain hopeful on me. You respect the choices I made though not to your expectation.

Thanks for being my SENIOR since my first year. Though course and background may be different, we shared a bond and changed each others’ lives, in words beyond describe. We may live in different worlds now, but remember I will cherish you and how you made my life in UPM worthwhile for the past 2 years. Thank you, Shawn."

Monday, January 3, 2011

When you will take a rest?

" Shawn, when u will take a rest?",

a question always asked by my good friends. And i answered them, "I will when i fall sick". Sarcastic indeed. Again this question was asked by someone who is quite special for me a few days ago. He was my friend who always came to my side when i am in need. It was a long time since we kept in touch before. The very question he lauded at me was "Why your facial appearance became so exhausted?", even though i was very happy and relaxed that time.

In fact, he is a Chinese Medicinal Sinseh graduated from China. He said that if i do not take enough rest regularly, my life span would have shorten. He even said that i should even change my personality of over-responsible and helpfulness for the wellness of myself in the future. My friend, did you think that i choose to be like that? Because of my surroundings i became this. It was destined to be like that. In fact,he predicted that i will fall sick this week due to exhaustiveness. His words were true, dizziness felt from all over my body today since i wake up this morning.Perhaps i should go back early today.

In my humble opinion, i don't care what will happen in the future as we are not the wise, i will still remain to be myself in all my undertakings. Perhaps i should take good care of myself more often by working in a slower pace. But, what to do? So many expectations around. So, i will do my best no matter what happens, let our God to do the rest.