Posts tagged with "Canada"

Little Hong Kong Differences

I’ve been back from my trip to Hong Kong for a lit­tle over a month now. Here are some lit­tle dif­fer­ences I’ve noticed between there and here.


Space is at a pre­mi­um in Hong Kong, so park­ing spots are tiny. Most cars have fold­ing side-mir­rors, and prox­im­i­ty sen­sors that beep faster the clos­er you are to some­thing when back­ing up. Vans and SUVs have mir­rors on the back win­dows that lets a dri­ver see the back bumper through the rear-view mir­ror. That way, you can squeeze into a space with­out any guess work, although it takes about three or four turns, Austin Powers style.

Parking sensors

Some park­ing lots also have these lights above the spots that let peo­ple know if a car is parked in the space — green means it’s avail­able. That way, you can see what spots are free with a quick glance, instead of dri­ving around and hunt­ing.

Taking care of the elderly

Workout area

In the parks, there are work­out areas for the elder­ly. They include things like Gazelles, bench step­pers, and wheels you can rotate for flex­i­bil­i­ty. This is so awe­some. Canada should have some­thing like this. My grand­ma used come to this park to work out before she had colon can­cer.

Bench stepper station

Fitness guide

How cool is it that the sym­bol they use is the sil­hou­ette of some­one doing sin­gle whip. I found this sym­bol in many parks actu­al­ly, and I think it means that it’s a pub­lic park.

There are also speak­ers that beep at the traf­fic lights to let blind peo­ple know when to cross, and sub­way esca­la­tors that click con­stant­ly, so they know where to get on.

Continue read­ing “Little Hong Kong Differences”…

Seasonal Cycle

It’s been snow­ing for three days now, the first real snow­fall of the sea­son. It’s a won­der­ful feel­ing to look out­side and see it falling1. Winter brings it’s own sort of cozi­ness, like the way sun is for sports and rain is for movies.

A lot of peo­ple don’t like the win­ter, whether it’s because they get tired shov­el­ing, they’re late from clean­ing the car, they don’t like deal­ing with the messi­ness, or they sim­ply hate being cold. To me, it’s all part and par­cel of liv­ing in the Great White North. The sum­mer brings as many unpleas­ant issues — burn­ing car seats, sti­fling heat, unavoid­able sweat. I would­n’t be able to appre­ci­ate one if it was­n’t for the oth­er.

I tend to get tired of the weath­er only at the end of each sea­son, because they seem to drag on for so long2. It’s a nev­er-end­ing cycle of enjoy­ing the new sea­son, then miss­ing the next one.

There’s this great poem by Shioh T’ao I think of when try­ing to explain this:

Spring comes, and I look at the birds;
Summer comes, and I take a bath in the stream;
Autumn comes, and I climb to the top of the moun­tain;
Winter comes, and I make the most of the sun­light for warmth.
This is how I savor the pas­sage of the sea­sons.

My ver­sion would go some­thing like this:

Spring comes, and I admire the blos­som­ing fem­i­nine beau­ty;
Summer comes, and I go for a dri­ve;
Autumn comes, and I fall in love with every­thing;
Winter comes, and I cher­ish the warmth.
This is how I savor the pas­sage of the sea­sons.

This is why I love Canada. I would­n’t want to live any­where else.

For now, I’m enjoy­ing the snow.

  1. Admittedly, it’s been a mild win­ter so far; maybe I’ll feel dif­fer­ent­ly when I have to scrape ice off my wind­shield at ‑40°C. []
  2. There’s a say­ing that Canada has only two sea­sons — win­ter and con­struc­tion. []

Canada Day '08

Sarah looks up

Thumbnail: Cashew cookies
Thumbnail: Dog
Thumbnail: Peeling potatoes
Thumbnail: Orange juice in the grass
Thumbnail: Orange juice in the grass

For Canada’s 141st, Aaron had the reg­u­lar char­ac­ters over, along with some new faces, for the annu­al bar­be­cue. We stayed out­side this time, lawn chairs in a semi-cir­cle while the burg­ers and dogs were being cooked, and took it easy while the sun bathed us.

It was a beau­ti­ful day; sun­ny, with a refresh­ing breeze blow­ing through the air.

I don’t get to do this often enough.

Canada Day '07

Thumbnail: Brownies and oatmeal cookies

Thumbnail: Chaos stretches

Fresh veg­eta­bles and peanut but­ter on burg­ers. A low-key deal before leav­ing. I’m lucky enough to be one of the few.

It’s mad­ness out­side. Madness at the stops. Madness on the bus. People row­dy, drunk and drink­ing. People wear­ing Canadian, drink­ing Canadian, speak­ing Canadian, bear­ing the stan­dard on cheeks and arms and hats and bod­ies. Kids, kids throw­ing beer bot­tles out the win­dow, pour­ing Smirnoff ice in their emp­ty water con­tain­ers.

It’s passed mid­night, dark­ness out the win­dow, and reflec­tions press them­selves on me. She looks through me at him and I can see the love tri­an­gle in her smile.

Ambulances pass us by. People face-down on the ground. Police ques­tion­ing wit­ness­es.

Everyone’s at the same par­ty, but me.

Looking for some calm in this chaos, I turn up the vol­ume to drown them out.

you’ve got the lot to burn
a shelve of pig smoth­erd cries
is there a spir­it that spits
upon the exit of signs?

is any­body there? (spines in a row)
these steps keep on grow­ing long (spite as an arrow)
bay­o­net tri­als rust pro­pellers await


nobody is heard

But my calm is no less chaot­ic.

March Books

Thumbnail: March books

I love the feel of a new book. Before the cor­ners are dent­ed, when the cov­er is still slip­pery smooth.

Guy Gavriel KayThe Last Light Of The Sun
I was a huge fan of Tigana (although not so much Fionavar Tapestry, even if it was part­ly based in the city I grew up in). I don’t even like fan­ta­sy books, and Tigana is on the list of my top five books of all time.

Carol ShieldsThe Republic Of Love
As I said in a pre­vi­ous post, I was in the mood for some­thing mod­ern although I could­n’t bring myself to admit that I was also in the mood for some­thing roman­tic. I found out about this book when I noticed Karen read­ing it dur­ing last years May 2–4 camp­ing trip.

Mordecai RichlerThe Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz
Ever since I read The World According To Garp, a book full of lust, humour, pas­sion, and life, dis­cov­ered from the “Recommended Reading” list that my high school pub­lished every year, I had a deep rep­sect for the books I was exposed to in class. However, two English class­es meant two dif­fer­ent cur­ricu­lums. When I was study­ing The Great Gatsby, the oth­er class was study­ing To Kill A Mockingbird. When they were doing A Prayer For Owen Meany, I was doing Pride And Prejudice. The Apprentiship of Duddy Kravitz is to make of up for the time I spent study­ing The Catcher In The Rye.

It was only a few days after I bought these three books that I real­ized every sin­gle one of these authors is Canadian. Why does this coun­try rule so fuck­ing much.