Monday, 31 March 2008

To drink, to not to drink

I know I've been complaining about the legal drinking age in the United States of America.

For some reason, the one thing(let me rephrase that) Among the many things which I take pride in Malaysia, is the drinking age.

I felt that being able to have a glass of wine or two to accompany an Italian meal or at a fine dining restaurant, makes the whole experience... simply exquisite!!!

I've always thought that the reason to why a lot of American teenagers have drinking problems or even a high fatality rate when it comes to drinking was the restriction on them. IEven though I have no evidence/study to back this up, just an observation/opinion.

Many argued, "I'm expected to die for my country by the age of 18 and I can't even drink?" "This is ridiculous!!" There are the very words I've heard from a number of my college mates.

I would think a country where the freedom of choice is one of the things they take so much pride in, and the power of education and information, would at least have the decency to leave this choice up to the teeenagers.

I stumbled upon an article in the NYTimes which I find interesting and sort of addressed this issue.

I was raised in a family where everyone drinks at festive occasions like the Chinese New Year, Grandma's Birthday, wedding anniversaries, basically anything worth celebrating.

But it has always been my parent's policy that it's OK to drink in their presence. I can understand where they're coming from. They don't see drinking as an "oh-so-evil thing". But rather, something to be enjoyed, especially in the presence of people you care.

I remember the nights when my dad and I would just drink a beer or two with peanuts and/or barbequed wings. *Drroools..*

I remember the meals I had with my girlfriends at my favorite Italian Restaurant, Italia Mia in my hometown, Ipoh, accompanied by a glass of wine, or my alternate choice for top restaurants in Ipoh, Citrus, where I have shots(sips rather) of Grand Marnier. **Ddrrooolllllsssss**

I may have gone overboard on several occasion, but I believe that drinking is one of the many guilty pleassures in life, just like anything else.

White Chocolate
Eating Ice-cream straight from the tub
Watching "Friends""Nip/Tuck""Grey's Anatomy" 72 hours straight
Hopping on a plane to Europe even though you know you're broke and probably gonna starve(that will be me this summer-wish me luck!!!)
Sleeping for 18 hours and roll around the bed for another 5
Sitting in front of the computer for hours doing your "research paper" when you're actually on Facebook half the time
Sending anonymous hate mail to someone you think deserves it
Shop online until you realize there's only $13.57 left in your bank account

Which all of the above, in my opinion, should be done in moderation, if you want to live THE LIFE.

Woman's History Month

I covered an event titled "UT's Influential Women" about a week ago. You would expect at least 5 women on the panel. Now that's not too much to ask, is it?

Well, I was kind of disappointed to say that there were only three. Not to discredit any of them as they have priceless experiences to offer and they are all extremely talented and without a doubt "influential" women. But wouldn't you think the University of Toledo have more than 3 "influential women" to offer?

I was just wondering if Campus Activities & Programming (CAP) who organized the event think that three were enough to satisfy the theme of the dinner or they had set a higher standard to those who would be considered as "influential" here at the university. I tried calling the president but he has not return any of my phone calls.

Anyways, in my article, Carol Bresnahan, a professor at UT, who will also be leaving to another university soon to the College of New Jersey mentioned something about feminism.

"Bresnahan said taking opportunities and fighting for rights is something women should do, and they shouldn't be afraid to be "labeled" as feminists because of it."It bothers me when young women say 'I'm not a feminist, but I want to fight for equality,'" she said. She thinks the term "feminist" now has an unduly subversive connotation and is a term with which many people do not want to be associated. "

I totally agree, hands down. What do we do about this? I don't have a clue.

Also, it is part of President Lloyd Jacobs' plan to increase the number of woman working here at UT. Now, why in the world are they not doing anything to stop such a prominent woman like Bresnahan to leave??? Think about it...

On the other side of the world, it's uplifting to see a woman embracing a leadership position, especially one from the "lowest caste".

"Mayawati is a 'Dalit's daughter' who has gained wealth and power in India's most populous state. But she wants to be prime minister."

Friday, 28 March 2008

Back From Iraq, on a Road Going Nowhere

I highly recommend this Stop-Loss, staring Ryan Phillippe and Channing Tatum and directed by Kimberly Peirce, who also directed a great movie "Boy's Don't Cry" staring Hillary Swank.

Check it out when it's out!!!!

What's up with politicians in Malaysia?

Malaysia's Mahathir says people attempting frame-up to silence him

The political situation in Malaysia is way too much for me to grasp.

So now, Mahathir is accusing Badawi that his people is trying to dig up dirt on Mahathir to "shut him up."

What exactly is going on between the two of them? Two of the most respected people in our country?

The fate of Malaysia depends on those who vote, and vote wisely.

Unfortunately, I am not of age to vote in Malaysia.

Funny fact:
18 to drink
18 to smoke
18 to join the army
21 to vote

United States
21 to drink
18 to smoke
18 to join the army
18 to vote

Race... gender... religion....equality? What??

This is nothing new to you folks.

Equality... what? Wait a minute, one minute, we shy away from issues like these... because they are "controversial",but all of a sudden everyone has such strong opinions. WTH?

LA Times
Jonah Goldberg
March 25 2008
Thank God for Barack Obama. For until his "More Perfect Union" speech last Tuesday, it seems it never occurred to anyone that America needed to talk about race. "Maybe this'll be the beginning of a conversation," Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan proclaimed on "Meet the Press." According to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, just the fact of Obama's address proves that a "national dialogue on race" is "essential." The Chicago Tribune reported that "many voters, black and white, say they were moved by Obama's speech ... which they see as a long-awaited invitation to begin an honest, calm national dialogue about race." Newspaper editorial boards agree. In the words of the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Prodding Americans to confront their racial differences is, by itself, an accomplishment of historical proportions."

This whole "battle" between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is getting way out of control.

They are both equally(in my opinion) qualified to be the President of The United States- POTUS

One has priceless experience to offer, the other compensate with his vision and "freshness".

If either one is elected, history will be made.

Ask any of your grandparents or even parents... has it ever occur to them that one day the United States will have a WOMAN president? a non-White president??

What seem to be a win-win situation to me, seem to be a win or die situation to most Clinton and Obama's fiercely loyal supporters.

Political analysts have begun to realize that the battle between these two may not be good for the Democratic Party. If this goes on, the other party will be laughing their way to victory.

I am not a supporter of any party at all. I'm not even eligible to vote in this country. But I just want to remind those of you who could, don't abuse this opportunity.

This election is not about getting your favorite person to win or getting THE FIRST WOMAN president or THE FIRST NON-WHITE president ...or anything other than choosing the best candidate who will lead this country as best as it can be done, while keeping all the century-old problems in mind.

Why are we losing the war you ask?

"Supplier Under Scrutiny on Arms for Afghans" by C. J. Chivers for NYTimes

Despite the fact that "some" may think we're doing "great" or our status in the Middle east were better than ever, we are actually losing the war.

Some of the factors could be:
-do we even have a solid plan to win?
-do we even know the definition of winning this war?
-the soldiers had been worn out by being called back on tour without the promised "rest"/time period.
-Is our "help" even wanted in the middle east? Do they want us to get in between "their war"?
-what is the current percentage of americans who support the war?Are we getting support from other countries?

While some of us just sit home and ask question (like myself) there are actually people out there who committed themselves, to see a change. There is a growing number of protestors like the Code Pink "ladies" in Washington D.C. but are they actually helping political figures realize that this war is just too much? Who knows?

anyways, this article mentioned above adds to this list.

So, apparently, we've been supplying Afghanistan's army and police forces with "more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed."

Are the people who brought this country into the war even serious at all?

Are they in to win?

Are they in to sincerely help Iraq build a stable government?

Are they in to stop al-Qaeda from expanding their "massive" network?

Are they in for the profit?

Are they in to show that United States is the "greatest power" in the world? -an ego-trip maybe?

My question is, what exactly are the politicans and the leaders of this country trying to prove?

Considering how bleak the situation look right now, let's pay a closer attention to what our leaders will do.

Are there people who are actually enjoying this "recession" and one of the worst time in modern hsitory? Of course there are... we'll always have those people around. But will anything be done to stop this from getting out of control?

Seems to me the butterfly effect is hitting the world hard in the face right now.

The people of the United States and all over the world have too many questions left unanswered. At this very moment, we're all waiting to see if someone will actually have the guts, power and the brain to step up and pull us out of this dark moment.

More on the security breach

As you may already know, Obama was not the only victim. Clinton and McCain's pasport file were breached too. As did a list of celebrities and prominent figures, according to a recent report.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did apologize and action had been taken against those who were responsible.

*What an embarrassment to the State Department.*

The fact that this case had brought equal spotlight on all three presidential candidates seem bring some kind of balance to the positive/negative situation each of the candidates were in.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Breaking news - Obama's pasport file improperly accessed

Just In:

"The State Department says security on Barack Obama's passport file has been breached, campaign officials tell CNN."

According to ABC, Obama's pasport file was broken into and improperly accessed three times. In a conference call today, it did not appear to be politically motivated but just "inappropriate curiosity".

Melissa Chi - 101

My decision to backpack around Europe this summer(May 5 '08 - June 19 '08) was made final, when I decided that life is too short to not see the world.

So, as I typed my credit card number last week, my heart was thumping, I couldn't sit still. I realized, this will be an experience of a lifetime!!! This is my first backpacking trip alone, and my first trip ever to Europe!!!

The airfare I found from was US$650 round trip from Detroit to London.

This is a rough draft of my trip so far.

London May 5-6

France May 7-12 (Paris,Nice, Toulousse, Marseille, Monaco, Biarritz, Corsica, Strasbourg)

Spain May 13-15 (Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Valencia)

Italy May 16-21 (Rome, Venice, Naples, Florence, Milan, Sicily, Sardinia)

Switzerland May 22-24 (Bern, Interlaken)

Greece May 25-26 (Athens)

Hungary May 27-28 (Budapest)

Czech Republic May 29-30 (Prague)

Germany May 31-June 2 (Berlin, Ludwigsburg, Munich)

Netherlands June 3-5 (Armsterdam)

Belgium June 6-8 (Bruges)

Scotland June 9-10 (Edinburgh)

Ireland June 11-15 (Dublin, and surrounding areas...? )

London June 16-19

I made a promise to myself to make continue updating my blog here with videos, pictures and notes from my travel as soon as I can.

By the way, I am financing this trip on my own. I'm currently working two jobs, one as an assistant news editor for my campus newspaper and a server at my college's eatery. No more online shopping for me ='(

Tips/ways on traveling like it doesn't even cost a thing!!!

Stay for free!
- I have been using for free accommodation and a great way to meet locals!!

Eat cheap!
- Local delicacies are a must!!! No fancy dining place!! Ask locals!!!!

Travel cheap!
- Buy a Eurorail card with a discounted package for youth!!!

Blend in!
- Learn basic phrases in the local languages and spread the joy!!!

Be safe!
- Since I will be staying at strangers' houses, not to mention traveling alone, I guess the only way to really be safe..... is to keep updating you guys!!! =) You will be able to "travel" with me (not physically, but cyberly - is that a word?) , experiencing and following each of my footsteps as I trot around Europe. If all of a sudden there are no updates, you know something happened!!!

Hey let me know if you've got any more advice, suggestions, ideas, hey! send me dares or suggest something crazy... I'll film it and credit you for your imput!