Sunday, August 26, 2018

Henry Golding

And here are some more pictures of Mr Golding...

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians has attracted a lot of media attention. Not since  The Joy Luck Club (which was released way back in 1993) has a 'mainstream' Hollywood film featured a predominantly Asian cast.

It's been interesting following the media hype surrounding this film – and the lofty expectations. For example, I was surprised to see the actors being criticised for not using their platform at the movie premier to promote Asian fashion designers (seriously?).

The strikingly handsome lead actor, Henry Golding, has copped flack from some media circles for not being Asian enough (he is of English-Malaysian ancestry).

Some commentators have even criticised the film for lack of diversity, suggesting that the film should be renames Crazy Rich East Asians instead.

Get a grip people.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Shrimp stink

I decided to roast some chicken drumsticks marinated in shrimp paste. Big mistake.

The whole apartment stinks to high heaven. I'm worried the stink has probably leached into the corridor and might soon be pissing off my neighbours. I hope they don't come knocking on my door.

 I now recall my German friend complaining about the smell of shrimp paste coming into her apartment from her Asian neighbours. I've become that neighbour.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


I'm in the USA for a conference.

Despite having lived in the US for 11 months, I still get taken aback by just how culturally different it is from Australia.

The striking differences begin upon arrival. The American airport experience feels like a cattle yard (I'm surprised the guards don't use actual cattle prods). The experience starts when clearing immigration and, if you're travelling domestically, continues right up to the gate of the connecting flight, where everyone is required to form one of 5 lines based on whether you are a premium flyer, a first class passenger or, if you're in economy, whether you are seated in the front, middle or back of the plane. Oh, and if you are an American servicemen, you get to go on the plane first.

American food is excessive. On board the plane, I was served a hamburger. Yes, a hamburger! With a side of potato salad and an apple pie. Last night I went to an American diner, which looked like a set from Happy Days. Not wanting to have another hamburger for dinner, I settled on the Ruben sandwich based on the waiter's recommendation. It was big, meaty, and coated with cheese.  Tasty, huge and very unhealthy. That seems to sum up American cuisine.

Today, I slept and then went for an early dinner. I decided to go for Vietnamese.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


Last night, Nathan and I drove to Inverloch to celebrate his maternal grandmother's 90th birthday at the Esplanade Hotel.

Even though Nathan and I have been together for what seems like a million years, I'm still meeting new relatives for the first time (both sides of his family appear to be highly fertile).

On this occasion, I met a new cousin, his wife and two kids. They were lovely. The cousin is a professional photographer and also does some videography work for the ABC involving drones. He was telling me about the various accidents he has had with the drone's propeller. I didn't realise they were so dangerous.

A few of Nathan's other cousins appear to have had new children. Its a sad reflection of how rarely we catch up with them that one of the cousins now has a six year old daughter, and the last time I saw her was at her wedding! The daughter's name is Eden (her father is a born again Christian).

Nathan's grandmother was in good spirits. The last time I saw her was a few months ago in hospital and she wasn't looking too great. She was clearly very happy to be surrounded by so many grand kids and great grandkids. She's actually became a great great grandmother already several years ago.

The blokes at the table next to ours were clearly perplexed to see an Asian guy amongst all the Caucasians. I think they were trying to figure out what my relationship was with the rest of the mob. Nathan's grandmother, mum and aunt do this weird thing where they kiss family members on the lips. I feel a bit odd about this and always try to go for a side kiss but occasionally still get a lip plant. That must have added to the confusion for the blokes at the neighbouring table.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


I recently came back from a two day work trip to Kuala Lumpur to meet some fellow biologists (see picture of wonderful tropical insects).  It was my first visit to Malaysia.

The hotel where we were staying was quite popular with tourists from the Middle East and, indeed, most of the guests were Arab. In that respect, as a Muslim country, Malaysia is very different to the other places I have visited in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan). The hotel breakfast had a wonderful spread of buffet options from around the world – but not a single slice of regular bacon (aside from the turkey bacon). I went for Arab, Malay and Chinese breakfast options.

Speaking of food, the local cuisine was, of course, amazing. My only regret was not getting to sample the infamous Malay durian (and it was apparently a bumper durian season too!). One of the colleagues I met actually lives on a durian plantation and he showed me a photo on his phone of durians piled on his back verandah. I was very jealous.

On the last night, we went to an uber fancy restaurant that specialised in modern South American cuisine. Yes, I would have happily eaten Malaysian food the entire time I was there, but I was on a work trip and others wanted to try this restaurant. Besides, the restaurant was highly recommended by a local. It was superb, although none of the items we ordered looked anything like the food I ate in my travels through South America (see below).