Wednesday, November 19, 2014

American Made: Hee Hee Ha Ha Let's Sing Chinese



I actually like this Chinese song quite a lot. I think it's quite fun, and these American guys really did an excellent job.  I'm very impressed by their excellent Chinese. Their Chinese lyrics are brilliant. I am normally not a fan of American rap songs which are often violent,  vulgar and belittling to women, but these American guys really make their lyrics appealing and inspiring to the Chinese culture. They are both fun and brilliant.  I first knew about one of the guys in the MTV because of a ridiculously cheesy historical Chinese drama I was watching.  I watched it because the producer and screen writer of the TV drama was my favorite novelist when I was a teenager. I didn't tell my family or friends that I was watching the drama because I'm embarrassed to admit that this kind of  ridiculously cheesy and immature TV drama that I was so addicted to when I was in high school still  got me interested today.  I don't want my family to worry about my mental health, so I didn't tell them I'm watching it.  Anyway, this rap song is so much better than one of the cheesy songs he sang in the TV drama below.... Born and raised in the USA, Benjamin Schwartz quit his graduate studies of Accounting in  Brigham Young University,  and moved to China several years ago. He then got picked up to play the role of a royal painter in a Chinese historical drama after he competed in a singing contest. From being an accounting graduate student to becoming an actor in China, this is quite a detour in terms of career!  He played a British painter working for China's imperial family in the 1700s.  This is the first time I ever see a white guy in a Chinese historical drama who has so many lines and so many parts. This isn't typical in Chinese TV dramas. But nowadays, I think the Chinese producers are trying so hard to add new elements to the TV dramas that they are willing to throw the principles and rules of "historical drama" out in the window and be totally "creative".  The producers didn't care about the palace protocols in the 1700s, or the ancient Chinese traditions anymore, they just wanted to have this guy get really close to the royal family, and have him fall in love with one of the Chinese princesses.  But compared to all the idiotic and irrational cry babies Chinese princes in the TV drama, I would rather marry this fake British painter (he only speaks a few English words in the drama but in an American accent). It's because this is the only character in the entire story who acts rational, intelligent, unselfish and unspoiled.  In another word, his character is the only likable character among all the annoying lunatics in the story:)  He speaks such good Chinese throughout the drama that he even thinks in Chinese when it is his turn to speak in his mind in his bedroom,  (that's how this kind of TV writing got my grandparents' generation  pissed off because they think it's too crazy)...



The American accented British painter is the most likable character in the entire drama because he is always doing the smart and appropriate things. He is the only sane person, the only loyal friend and trusting adviser to the prince. He is the best of the best protector and life saver to the "mentally disturbed and retarded" princess, who in my opinion, should be beheaded by the King in Episode 1, so she can stop annoying me in the next 97 episodes. I wouldn't have continued to watch if not for the  lavish set, the beautiful costumes, the queen and the King's mother who are great actresses from my childhood.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is China The Land With More Opportunities for Immigrants??


When people are thinking of "The Land of Opportunities", they often think of the USA.  But I'm beginning to think may be China is now the land of more opportunities.  When I last visited China two years ago, I had found out that there were a lot of African immigrants.  As China expands trading activities with Africa, so does the number of immigrants from Africa. The above video is about one of those immigrant stories in China. It's a very inspiring video.  If the English subtitle is too small, just click the Youtube icon on the bottom right screen to expand the screen.

This African singer is quite popular in China.  He got recognized by the Chinese audience when he competed in a talent show in China similar to "America Got Talent", or "The American Idol".  In America, it will be unthinkable for any foreigner who doesn't have a permanent residency or citizenship status to compete in "America Got Talent".  The possibility for a foreigner with a business visa or tourist visa to compete in an American talent show and then be embraced by the Americans is near impossible.  I haven't seen any foreigner who can achieve this in the USA.  I haven't seen any immigrant with an accent who did well in American Idol except for William Hong and he has an American citizenship.  But William Hong became famous on the American Idol for a very different reason. William Hong had no staying power in the talent show and he will never be the respected singer in America like the African  guy in the above video did in China.  In America, if a Chinese guy wants to be successful in Hollywood, he better knows Kung Fu and he better fits into that "Chinese" look that Hollywood stereotypes. But in China, any foreigner can become successful in whatever way they look and with whatever talents they've got in China's new and  hot entertainment industry, because the 1.4 billion of Chinese people are highly curious and they are very open minded to embrace different kinds of performing arts from anywhere and everywhere in the world.

In China, any foreigners, as long as they have a valid visa, be it traveler's visa or business visa or whatever visa, they can compete in the talent shows just like the Chinese citizens.  Visas to China are very easy to get and this is why there are so many African immigrants in China now.  China actually offers more opportunities for foreigners from around the world because China, regardless of what my American in-laws think, can actually be a more tolerant country because the Chinese people are more open minded in terms of receiving foreigners.  In another word, Chinese people more often look at foreigners with a lot of admiration and respect than my American in-laws think.  The foreigners in China can speak the worst Chinese and they can have any accent, but the Chinese people always give them tremendous respect for any effort these foreigners put in to speak Chinese.  Chinese people are easily wowed by foreigners, thus giving every foreigner from anywhere in the world tremendous advantage in carving out a very successful life in China.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lady Gaga Sings In Chinese???



No, this isn't Lady Gaga, she's a very popular Chinese singer in Taiwan whose new song is probably inspired by Lady Gaga's music style.  The English and Chinese subtitle of the lyrics is flashing on the bottom left of the screen.  The title of the song is OK蹦 (pronounce as Boung).  I had no idea what this OK "Jump" really meant initially so I called my friend from Taiwan and asked her why was such an odd combination of "OK" with a Chinese character "bounce" for the title of a song. She told me "OK蹦"  means "bandage", it's like the use of the word "Ban-aid" in America, it's a Chinese slang for bandage in Taiwan. It's amazing how even though my friend and I both attended school with Chinese as a teaching medium, but since I'm from Hong Kong and she is from Taiwan, we sometimes couldn't quite communicate because of the use of different slangs and words. Anyway, I'm glad that I learn a new slang that I had never heard of my entire life.   I kind of like this song....because it is very easy to sing and it has great lyrics:

Why is the human world so noisy?
All those small talks tire me out.
I'm helplessly stuck in a pitfall of fate,
got out of control, cannot be fixed.
Better being a carefree robot,
not afraid of defeat.
Simply destroy when mission is complete.
My heart is wounded, Doom Doom Doom
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
You heal my wound with your love.
When there is pain Toom Toom Toom,
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
You are never late when I need you.
Embrace me.
Against loneliness, your tenderness is my remedy.
Heartbeat Doom Doom Doom
Make me Boom Boom Boom.
Boom Boom Boom Boom.
Boom Boom Boom Boom.
Boom Boom Boom Boom.
There is no formula for love.
Promises are bound to be broken.
What's defected should be discarded.
But you hold on till the end.
Let go of our negativity.
Warm up our bodies.
Scars of obstinance is our pride.
My heart is wounded, Doom Doom Doom
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
You heal my wound with your love.
When there is pain Toom Toom Toom,
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
You are never late when I need you.
Embrace me.
Against loneliness, your tenderness is my remedy.
Heartbeat  Doom Doom Doom
Make me Boom Boom Boom.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah.
Soften that outer shield.
Gather up the tears.
Remember your words to protect me from harm.
My heart is wounded, Doom Doom Doom
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
You heal my wound with your love.
When there is pain Toom Toom Toom,
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
You are never late when I need you.
Embrace me.
Against loneliness, your tenderness is my remedy.
Heartbeat Doom Doom Doom
OK Boom Boom Boom.
I'm starting to feel lonely, starting to have dreams.
When there is pain Toom Toom Toom,
Bandage Boom Boom Boom.
I'll never be late when you need me.
I'll embrace you.
Against all odds, extract happiness from sorrow.
Beating love Doom Doom Doom.
Make you Boom Boom Boom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Creme Brulee Tartlets

Creme Brulee Tarlet Recipe

Recently, my husband has been talking about relocating to a different state for lower taxes and new job opportunities.  But I can't  move to any city or town in America that doesn't have a gazillion Chinese people. This is  because I can't live without my favorite Hong Kong style egg tarts that I grew up with, which are widely available here in Los Angeles in the Chinese Dim Sum restaurants and Chinese bakeries.  My husband says after we build up our financial security in the "everything cheaper state" , we can then come back to Los Angeles with enough "money" to afford us to be stuck on the same  freeways with Hollywood's celebrities.  In the meantime, he says, I should learn how to make my own egg tarts at home. I just hope that whatever town my husband is interested in moving to, I won't have to learn how to make my own electricity also.  Since I couldn't get the egg tart recipe from this Chinese dim sum place and bakery where I spent a fortune on patronizing,  I decided to just use my sister-in-law's creme brulee recipe instead.  The tarts didn't taste exactly the same as my favorite egg tarts I love, but they tasted pretty good to me and they are probably a lot easier to make.

Makes 12 Tartlets  

Ingredients:
Direction:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. With an electric mixer, mix together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved and the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow.
  2. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract to the egg mixture above, mix well until blended.
  3. Strain into a large measuring cup and skim of any foam or bubbles.
  4. Place the mini pie crusts on a 4-sided baking sheet, pour the strained egg mixture into the pie crusts.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until custard is just set.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goodbye To Yet Another Lethal Weapon I Inherited

American Made Carving Fork

It's been a while since I got rid of those scary long knives.  But I'm still continuing to disarm my home.  This time I'm going to throw away the half a dozen carving forks that my husband inherited from his dead relatives.  I had never seen this kind of fork ever in my life until I married my husband.  I didn't know how to even call this kind of fork in English until a couple minutes ago when I googled "big fork".

I often hear Americans inherited money and houses from their dead grandparents, dead uncles and aunts or whoever cousins a dozen times removed.  Yet, all I actually saw my husband inherited were knives, carving forks and other junks!! I wonder in what national percentile my husband is, in terms of inheritance received by the average Americans.  May be he is in the bottom 1%.

This carving fork is probably older than me because it was made in the USA.  Just when was the last time things like that were made in the USA?

Carving Fork Made In the USA

I sincerely hope that my husband isn't going to inherit lethal weapons from his relatives anymore.  May be it's just me being paranoid, getting rid of them stresses me out.  Now to get rid of these carving forks, I will first have to wear a pair of gloves, then I will wash them with detergent so as to remove all my finger prints.  I will then dry them off.  After changing to another pair of new surgical gloves, I will wrap each of them individually in layers of newspapers and I will dump them in the recycle can. Now have I missed any details in removing my trace?  I really don't want anyone to pick up any of these carving forks that will have my finger prints all over.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Japanese Pumpkin Pudding

Japanese pumpkin pudding

In celebration of Halloween, one of my beloved Japanese supermarkets are now selling pumpkin puddings. The puddings in the deli fridge section caught my eyes because they all had lids that were decorated with Halloween stickers (I tossed the lid away too prematurely before I had the chance to take a picture of it.). I'm a big pumpkin fan so I would not miss the opportunity to try out the pumpkin puddings that were made with Japanese pumpkins.  Japanese pumpkins don't taste exactly like the American pumpkins and their flesh is of a much lighter orange color. If you ever had vegetable tempera in any Japanese restaurant, you probably had tasted them too. They are often used in making vegetable tempera.  Their taste is more subtle.  I often had the American  pumpkin pies but this was my first time having  pumpkin pudding even though I'm a big fan of "all natural" pudding (not the Jello kind sitting on the grocery store shelf).  This all natural pumpkin pudding topped with raisins and pumpkin seeds was made with real heavy dream and real ingredients. It tasted so good.  I think I could have found a recipe online and  made this kind of pudding at home instead of paying $2.48 for a small container of it.  But if I make at home, I will have to make a batch of them and I will be eating too much like I ate almost all the chocolate-chip cookies I made last time.  So for me, it's better to pay $2.48 and enjoy a portion controlled cup of decadent pumpkin pudding without spending more money on making a batch at home and then putting on more weight.  For me, this pudding is worth every single penny. I love it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Will You Go To This Lady's Dinner Party Even On Halloween? Seriously??


My first feeling after I watched this video was that this had to be another "scripted" and "staged" reality show.  I just couldn't believe that someone who is seemingly bilingual and who is eloquent can be living in this kind of condition in the wealthiest country in the world.  But then after reading more on the story reported on various newspapers, I found out that this was the actual reality.  Oh my god!!!!  I wish I could watch the whole episode.  I read that the investors who bought this home at a foreclosure had sold the home back to this lady and had allegedly helped her clear out this mess. At least she lives in a stand alone house and she has no neighbor living real close to her.  I can't imagine having someone like that living next door to me in my apartment building.   This kind of hoarding is not just every landlord's nightmare, but every apartment or condo renter's nightmare.  I will die of heart attack if I have to share a common wall with someone like this lady. Just the thought of having rats and roaches crawling in  from a next door neighbor like this is more scary than the thought of having Freddie coming to my doors from Elm Street.

I'm now even more determined than ever to get rid of the junks in  my kitchen!!