Kiasu Backfire

I blogged this here. But depression has led me to repeat the post for further wallowing.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. After waiting for 2 years, this book was the Book Highlight of my year.

When an ex-colleague asked if we (Nut and I) were interested to pre-order the book from Kinokuniya, we jumped at the offer. Our kiasu instincts went into overdrive. 30% off, RM30 savings! Someone to pick up the book for us! No need to jostle with screaming, crazed 12-year olds!

And then it was the eve of the book release.

I opened the newspaper and saw hypermarkets advertising the book at RM69.90. That was a whole RM7 less than what we were going to have to pay, even with our nifty 30% pre-order discount. RM7!

This was against every kiasu rule we knew (not that we know much). Same product, lower price. There was only one thing to do: we cancelled our pre-order. And rubbed our hands and wallets with glee.

And then it was the day of the book release.

Newspapers reported about major bookshop chains pulling the books off their shelves in protest to the "deeply discounted prices" the hypermarkets were offering. Meanwhile, the hypermarkets sold out all their books by 11am that day.

So where does that leave us? No discount. No Harry Potter Book 7. No place to buy the book from.

Don't say it. Just don't.


Café Café: Cruel Cuisine on the Menu

I went to Café Café last weekend. Beautiful deco. Really, really beautiful. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into every aspect of the restaurant. Including its menu.

They proudly boast of foie gras as their signature dish. When the waiter proudly told us that, I put my menu down and told him "That's really cruel". He smiled and said its the best-selling item on the menu.

I asked to speak to the manager (did I really have to make a scene about this? For the love of tortured geese the world over, HELL YEAH!) The manager came by, and tried to convince me that the goose liver they purchase are from farms that treat their birds "humanely". SYEAH RIGHT.

I had to walk out. Still, knowing the attitude of Malaysians who care about their stomachs over anything else, their business won't suffer much. And who was I, anyway? Just a nut case tree hugger to them.

I also wrote a letter (which I happily plagiarized from my earlier blog entry about foie gras) to the restaurant. Of course, no reply.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I highly respect your restaurant. And I think it is a bright spark in the Malaysian food industry.

However, I have a personal opinion regarding your "signature dish" - foie gras.

The means of producing goose liver are cruel. You may fool yourself into thinking that the farms that produce foie gras are "animal friendly". Many of these farms that claim such fallacies were spied upon by animal activists and journalists. And I can assure you, the footages that were recorded did not meet the PG-13 mark.

However, maybe, just maybe, there is the possibility that you are really unaware of the cruel methods behind the production of your signature dish. Here are some facts:

* An 8-10 inch steel pipe of the feeding machine is attached by a long hose to a hydraulic machine. This machine shoots several pounds of food directly into the stomachs of the birds in just a few seconds.

* A farm worker force-feeds the birds by shoving the steel pipe down the birds' esophagus, up to 3 times a day.

* 80% of birds used in foie gras production are kept in tiny, box-like cages.

* Force-fed birds with engorged livers have difficulty balancing, and every step is a struggle.

* Rough handling during the force-feeding process results in bloodied birds, many of them with broken bills.

* Birds who die from being force-fed are dumped in bins. Common causes of death includes burst stomachs, choking on their own vomit and aspiration pneumonia where the food is accidentally forced into the birds' lungs.

* In a Foie Gras factory in New York, workers receive a “special bonus” if they caused fewer than 50 burst stomachs a month.

* In that same factory, spy video cameras recorded ducks trying to "walk" using their wings because their legs had given out.

It is too much of me to ask you to consider taking this item of your menu.

But at the very least, I do hope that I have brought to your attention the cruelty and savageness of foie gras. And that these acts of barbarity will continue as long as there is a demand to satisfy pretentious palates with this "delicacy".

I apologize in advance for any rudeness or harshness. But I feel it necessary to voice out my opinion.

Thank you for reading.

Ms Yue-Li Gan


Vain Pot

Ok, been tagged by Geek again. (My blog content seems to be made up entirely of tags.)

Not just another tag. It's another Beauty Tag.

I've always been rather skeptical about quizzes of this nature. I mean, What's Your Jellybean Personality? What Ice Cream Flavour Are You?

But this one. This one is real. It speaks the truth. Behold, my Vain-O-Metre results:

You Are 11% Vain

You don't have a vain bone in your body - almost as a matter of principal.
You demand to be judged on who you are, not what you look like.

Accurate results aside, the girl in the picture even looks like me! Heck, I sit like that in the office!

The questions went like this:

1. You check out your reflection in windows.
Sometimes. To see if I look presentable. Or if there's snot in my nose. Or veg in my front teeth.

2. Your closet is chock full of the latest styles, even if your credit card suffers for it a little.
Never. My credit card suffers from other things called bills.

3. You buy tons of personal care products, from expensive moisturizers to specialty shampoo.
Rarely. Actually, come to think of it, my Biotherm face moisturizer was a gift. And I don't really have any other expensive personal care product... hmmm...

4. You dream of being a movie star or model.
Never. Be a bimbo floozy entertainer? No thanks.

5. If you started to lose your looks, your self esteem would likely suffer.
Rarely. Sure, I have my down days. But it brightens up when I smell coffee. Or when I see Bessy. Or when I think about my next holiday destination. Or when I go to the gym. You get the idea.

6. If you weren’t happy with your looks in some way, you would consider cosmetic surgery.
Never. I can think of other better ways to spend all that moolah. Like a beach holiday. Or surf lessons.

7. You wear designer underwear.
Never. I don't even own designer goods. Not even a keychain.

8. Besides showering, it takes you at least 20 minutes to get dressed and primped for the day.
Never. Jeans and a top don't take too long to slap together.

9. You enjoy getting your picture taken.
Sometimes. I have a signature camera pose - shock horror expression. That's fun!

10. If you see someone of your gender who is hot, you immediately start silently critiquing them.
Rarely. The only thing I would "critique" would be the size of her brain. Ok, ok. I'm stereotyping. So sue me.