Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Zuckerberg Way of Relieving Rage

          What is with the sudden parental crackdown on what I wear?! The raised brow before I walk out the house has always haunted my only-daughter life, but now skirts and shorts that used to pass inspection are "too revealing"? WHAT WHAT WHAT? At this rate I'm going to run out of long pants! I bet this is the result of a paradigm shift in bottoms' length. What do I mean? I mean the freshman skirt that I've been wearing to classes faithfully. To be even more of a rule-stickler, I've been wearing my skirt at the stipulated length: covering calves! They're so used to not seeing my knees, I guess, that they begin to equate knees as my "privates". Two people need a reality check. 

Left: parents' expectation // Right: my day look choice from

I also don't think long pants will lower my risk of getting raped. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 Most Awesome Wikipedia Pages (Categorical)

In No Particular Order:
We've all Wikipedia-ed our names haven't we? 
2. Culture: Stereotypes of East Asians in the Western world
Bowl-cut for boys. Straight long bangs for girls. And we all do martial arts.
3. Fashion: Mullet (haircut)
"Redirected from MULLETS" - For some reason, people feel the need to type it in capital letters. 
4. Human Behavior: Awkward Silence
"When Europeans communicate with Japanese, a period of meaningful silence is sometimes misinterpreted as an awkward silence." ... *awkward silence*
5. Facial Hair: Toothbrush moustache
So relevant to life.
Note: if you search "Hitler's testicle", you'll be automatically redirected to "Adolf Hitler".
6. Websites: Wikipedia
A Wikipedia page about Wikipedia?? Genius.
7. Food: Fried egg
Hands down the cutest Wikipedia page, ever.
8. Personalities: Lord Voldemort
Lovely profile pic.
9. Movements: Troll (Internet)
"In Thai, the term 'krean' (เกรียน) has been adopted to address Internet trolls." - Wikipedia deserves respect for this.
10. Politics & Economy: Thaksinocracy & Thaksinomics
Votebuying: check. Cronyism and Nepotism: check. A double standard and biased judiciary: check. Populism: check. Conflicts of interest: check. Tax evasion: check.
Rent-seeking and extortion: check.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


10 things on my mind right now:

The flood will come. 1
Will there be any attractive single men at the Hong Kong debate tournament? 2
Can't wait an eternity for my friend to return my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows;
am seriously considering buying ANOTHER COPY. 3
Post-flood diseases. 4
The ongoing demise of my academic well being at Nitade. 5
The mental acceptance it takes to swallow your jewelry so calmly. (watching Schindler's List) 6
The ethics of shopping for unnecessary items during desperate times. 7
How to think like Steven Levitt and write like Stephen Dubner. 8
The words noetic, zeitgeist, eugenist, and provocateur. 9
Burger King milkshakes (plural) in my stomach. 10

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Movie About The 7-Eleven Seaweed Snack Owner

Recognize this snack?

          It's Tao Kae Noi! The fried seaweed snack we all see commercialized on TV, on the side of the rod maes, at BTS stations, and of course, right on the shelves of the 7-Eleven down the street. But do you know what impresses me more about the snack than its availability at 3000+ locations for a cheap price? That the owner of this Thai, multi-billion-baht snack brand was only 19 when he shook hands with the big bosses at 7-Eleven Thailand HQ. Oh and did I mention that at the time his family was 40 million baht in debt? 
          To be honest, I knew none of this before Wednesday night when I attended the pre-release (for Commarts students) of the new GTH movie, TOP SECRET: Wai Roon Pun Laan (TOP SECRET: Teenage Billionaire). The story is based on the real success of Itthipat Kulpongvanich, "Tao Kae Noi" himself. (Tao Kae Noi means Young Entrepreneur or Little Millionaire.)
          Directed by Songyos Sugmakanan, an alumni of my faculty, TOP SECRET is apparently the first biopic about a Thai entrepreneur. Hopefully, it won't be the last because I do enjoy The Social Network type movies. For a film about a convenient store snack, the scenes are uncommonly artistic. But then again, this is a GTH film. One of my favorite scenes was the turning point of the story, when Ittihipat, or "Top", in the car with his girlfriend, eating some fried seaweed she brought back from the beach, realizes he wants to start a fried seaweed business. Okay, that description sounds cheesy, but it really was visually aesthetic. 
          In a chestnut *movie allusion*: good story, true story, GTH, Top played by heartthrob (albeit with a very 'guan teen' face) from BBA Chula, fried seaweed. Go watch it. And don't forget to buy a bag of Tao Kae Noi seaweed to accommodate the viewing experience.

Left: the least guan teen of this movie's promotional posters. Oh, brother.
Additional notes: 
Top is played by Patchara "Peach" Chirathivat.
The real Top will be 27 this December

          The only warning I have to offer is that it'll make you feel like an unmotivated slob. I am not doing enough to make a living. Look at me, blogging for no money.

Take Me Out For Tofu

          As promised, here's my dish-by-dish review of Suikin, obscurely located at Phloen Chit. Just a fact: sui means water, and kin is a traditional stringed instrument in Japan. People always ask me, as a Japanese, which Japanese restaurants in Bangkok serve authentic Japanese food. Well, here's one of them. A hint about finding authentic Japanese restaurants in Bangkok: they usually focus on or are known especially for something particular. For Suikin, its tofu. WAIT. DON'T TURN AWAY YET. They're commended for their sushi as well. But sushi, you can find at any Japanese restaurant. The tofu dishes, however, are either so innovative or traditional, you can't get them anywhere else.
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Tofu Moriawase" 
Tofu Appetizers
1.) Didn't catch the name, but it's my favorite of the four. Dense and firm, Not bland either (to those of you who have this complaint about tofu). The soy sauce adds the perfect balance of flavor.
2.) This one's called goma-dofu, or sesame-tofu. Most flavorful of the four. If you like the taste of Japanese sesame oil in Japanese cooking, you'll particularly like this one. You might also be surprised by the addition of wasabi. I've never had tofu with wasabi before, and my reaction was: "Why didn't I think of this?!"
3.) Tofu with Japanese plum. Mildest. The flavor primarily comes from the drop of plum flesh, the taste of which many inexperienced eaters of Japanese food consider horrendously sour. Not recommended for people who tend to stay away from tofu in the first place. If you love tofu and/or are an omnivore like me, go ahead.
4.) "Yuba". You know the stuff that forms on the surface when you boil milk? That's what this is but for soy milk. The salmon roe (ikura) put a gourmet twist on this traditional dish. 
Salad with Maguro and Tofu
Very appetizing. Kept me coming for more. The maguro, tuna sashimi, is of the freshest quality. Underneath the green is something that may look like feta cheese, but don't be fooled! It's tofu! And none of that cliche sweet mayo they use in commercial restaurants!
Another round of yuba because it's a such a traditional dish that, unfortunately, you don't see in many Japanese restaurants in Thailand. 
"Unagi Zushi"
Gotta have at least one sushi dish in your meal at Suikin's. My choice was eel. 
"Buta Kakuni"
Braised Pork Belly

Very tender. Loved the drop of Japanese spicy mustard (karashi) on the horseradish.  
"Kamo Seiro Soba"
Soba Noodles with Duck Soup

The soba noodles here are really good. You can change up the dipping 'soup'. There's also the classic plain soy sauce-based soup. But duck is interesting because, again, you don't see it much in Japanese menus.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday in Disguise

         Taking my cousin Philip's observation to heart, today is still October 15th in the U.S. In this sense, what I've done in the past about 40 hours is how I've celebrated my birthday. So let's recap those hours:

  • 7:00 - Woke up.
  • 8:00 - Received some Kinokuniya vouchers from parents. This made me feel young. =]
  • 8:01 - Realized I am 19. This made me feel old. =[
  • 10:30-12:30 - Taught Essay Writing. Had an "aha" moment somewhere in the middle, when I noticed that my pupil no longer hesitates to get her ideas on paper.
  • 13:00 - Went to the bank to take care of university/debate club matters.
  • 13:30-15:15 - Lost myself in Kinokuniya @Paragon. Ended up buying this:
  • 15:35 - Made my way over to Coldstone @Central World. Sweet cream with cherry pie filling.
  • 16:00 - Bumped into Benya. Hi.
  • 16:30 - Bought some birthday desserts with mom, for later.
  • 17:50-19:30 - Family dinner @"Sui Kin", a Japanese restaurant. (Reviews in the next post.)
  • 20:00 - On the way home, made the decision to go to church the next day.
  • 20:30-22:00 - Scrolled down my Facebook wall. 
  • 22:30-00:00 - Watched TV mindlessly.
    Took some self-photos for the purpose of preserving my 19-year-old face for the future:
  • 00:00 - Midnight snack. Read Freakonomics until I eventually passed out.
  • 8:00 - Woke up on the couch.
  • 10:00 - Oh my goodness, I can't believe I'm at church!
  • 11:30-12:00 - Met some church people. Few awkward moments here and there. Not used to telling people I'm 19.
  • 14:00 - Got home and made chai on the stove.
  • 14:15 - Had chai and desserts with parents.

          To most, this would not seem like much of a celebration than geeky activities, but I actually did have, as 300+ electronic messages wished me to, a happy birthday. I don't really believe in going all-out on one specific day of the year to celebrate someone's life. I can have "cake" day. I don't need to have it on a nice plate, after dinner, on a certain date. Don't get me wrong, when I was a kid I had the most extravagant birthday parties. It was definitely a bigger deal when you were younger because everyday was full sunshine. But after 15 or 16, the best gift you can give yourself is a day without worry, pain, or stress. And the best way to celebrate your life to to try to live that day everyday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

You Say You Want A Revolution

          The answer to my question in the previous post turns out to be a "nationwide revolution" of Thai media. M2F, short for "Monday to Friday", not "Mother to... Father", is the love child of the publishers of Bangkok Post and Post Today. (I guess more so of Post Today, since the newspaper is in Thai). According to the release information from Post Today (pictured below), 4 million free copies of M2F will be distributed in Idontknowwhat time-frame. Although I have yet to have been lucky enough to pass one of the 200 distribution spots in the city, I understand that the newspaper will discuss topics "relevant to the life of office workers and early morning commuters - snappy and concise news, human interest stories as well as useful information on health, work and modern lifestyle". This, says the editor-in-chief.

Post Today Online discussing launch of 'M2F'

          The answer to one question leads to another: So how will the baby differ from its parents? I mean newspapers are already mainly for the corporate people and the early birds. Newswriting is already supposed to be snappy and concise with human interest stories and information on health, work and modern lifestyle. Is that not what a newspaper is, exactly? M2F could potentially be revolutionary if it were more for the others in society, such as the youth. We're not that useless you know? Remember that a few weeks ago, young Mr. Aekawit Thongdeeworakul, from my own university (REPRESENT!), hacked Ms. Prime Minister's Twitter account to make a few bold statements - each under 140 characters - about her policies.
          What I do see however, is a need to get our book-decaying youth to read. I'm sick of being the only one in my age group who "reads". First I get accused by my peers of reading. Then they accuse me of getting better grades than them. Hello?! They need to start seeing the obvious benefits of reading and stop robbing their potentials by not reading.  The only thing that might attract one of my classmate to M2F is that the paper is free. But I think it would be a better idea to intentionally make the "baby-paper" for the "babies". Then perhaps we've got a real revolution in the making. A revolution of teenage literacy in Thailand.
          I have a dream.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Go Away & Don't Come Back Another Day

          Thailand doesn’t look so good this October. Really, what are we going to do about the flooding? Everything we hear from the news these days is related to the rising waters. How it has killed off rice harvests. How we have run out of sandbags to defer the waters from our homes. How students can’t take their exams because schools have been flooded. How people have been trapped without supplies for days. How some were electrocuted in the water. How trees in Ayutthaya look like short shrubs floating on the surface of the water.
          In truth, although maybe not for long, Bangkok is relatively safe. Our troubles are at most calf-deep. But it appears we have another problem to deal with:
"Nationwide Revolution
October 11th, 2011"
          Apparently the scheduled date for this “nationwide revolution” is approaching… It’s tomorrow. My first question is: WHO THE HECK IS BEHIND THIS? I mean which party or organization? I have no clue. The font is GREEN for crying out loud! Not red or yellow! All I can deduce is that whoever is behind this is powerful. This billboard is very visible: large, right along a busy highway. And the message is not asking for money. 
          ... I guess I'll just have to find out in a few hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Almost: 20-11

20. All I Wanted - Hailey really showcases her vocal talents in this one. The high notes make you want to gasp for air. And beautiful lyrics as usual. 

19. I really wish this wasn't on my list. Pure technicality: I had to choreograph for it.

18. Creep (Acoustic) - The original version is good, but this song was meant to be acoustic.

17. Do You Wanna - Yes, Luke, I do.

16. Pour Me Out - My sad song.

15. I Wouldn't Mind - My love song.

14.รักจริงผ่านจอ (rak jing paan jor) - [Alluding to the lyrics] I have a fantasy about picking up my phone one day and finding a text message from The Richman Toy.  

13. Home - "But a poison as sweet as nectar, could never forget or neglect her. It carries her home and closes her eyes... So she goes back under, swallows the water, fixes her face like a good little daughter, and follows her family, who follow a saint and a snake..." 

12. Remembering Sunday - Their greatest work, which I think is kinda a fluke considering... all their other stuff. Nevertheless, this deserves to be here. Truly soul-rendering. 

11. When It Rains - I remember the first time I really listened to the song I was in Tokyo in 2009. The song had always just passed my ears without really weighing down on my conscious, but this time, travelling through a different city, I inhaled the music for the first time and was blown away by it. I guess I just need to listen to it from a different perspective, a different location. Weird. Maybe in Bangkok, I bombarded myself with too much Paramore that I couldn't appreciate the songs individually.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Own Interpretations

Mom: I normally don't take much interest in these [Japanese] magazines, but I thought you two might see something in them that I don't.
Dad: (looking at car ads) I love Japanese cars.
Me: I love Japanese people (looking at an ad with Ichiro Suzuki).
Mom: Mika loves me. 

          So what does this interaction teach us, boys and girls? It teaches us that we can all look at the same things and see completely different things. The objects, the phenomena, are physically the same for all of us: my mom, my dad, and I looked at the same magazines; Japanese people are people whose ethnicity/nationality is Japanese. But the meanings and significance of these phenomena differ from person to person. My mom regards the particular magazines as an option of momentary mental escape at the office. My dad consumes the magazines like a scientist who just got his hands on the latest scientific journals; he looks for cutting-edge designs in automobiles, trains, bikes, and architecture and then remarks about how Thailand could really use such ingenuity. And I flip through the magazines, stopping for faces (such as beautiful ones like Ichiro's), featured products, and photography techniques. It's just my nature and what I'm drawn to. Our natures, our personalities, affect our interpretation of phenomena, the subjective meaning we put on the objective. And while my mind was on Ichiro as a Japanese person I admire, my mother's - since she is my mother - was on herself as a Japanese person and a role model to me... Does that make any sense?
Communications 101.