Monthly Archives: January 2015

Self reflection

Confucius’ disciple Zeng-Zi once said:
吾日三省吾身:
為人謀而不忠乎?
與朋友交而不信乎?
傳不習乎?

This translates to modern English as:
At the end of my day, I reflect upon myself:
Have I done my best for my employer?
Have I been a trustworthy friend?
Have I practiced what I was taught?

Personally, I live by these words everyday by reflecting every night. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. But the result of this practice made me a more thoughtful person. Made me always wanting to seek improvement and resolution. In the end, I’d have no regrets, because I’ve done the best I can, and it’s all I can do.

Charlie Hebdo

In light of the horrific murder at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine based in Paris, I came across an article about some leaked emails that uncovered Al Jazeera’s internal editorial debate amongst their staff. The composers of this email chain expressed their opinions, which are very different from each other, because of their diverse ethnicities around the world. These emails certainly highlighted differences of their belief systems, as they reflected upon the Charlie Hebdo incident–a cultural clash to a violent extreme…

Everyone knows that Asian cultures are more repressed, compared to the western ones. But, on the flip side, the disciplines were there based on respect and thoughtfulness. We Asians were taught to respect others before we get respected. Any criticism must be expressed carefully, sometimes using ancient phrases, expressions, metaphors, and/or humor, to keep it subtle. Otherwise it can be easily perceived as insults.

In Asian cultures, insult is the perhaps the biggest form of disrespect, equating bullying, and often times worse than physical assault, because of the psychological effect it can cause someone. There are many stories where one would rather die, commit suicide, than to be insulted, in order to protect his/her honor, or dignity.

In countries that champion freedom of speech and expressions, unfortunately, their laws also protect insults.

While Pope Francis condemned the murders, he warned against insults. He also said, with freedom, comes greater responsibility–He is totally right–The responsibility to protect and respect other people’s rights and space.

We have the right to bear arms, doesn’t mean we can go around killing other people…

We have the freedom of speech and expression, doesn’t mean we can go around hurting other people.

Words and expressions of criticism, if not careful, can be easily perceived as insults. And hurtful insults can escalate into another world war! Because, like murder, it can pierce a heart.

In the case of Charlie Hebdo, I would never ever make a drawing or write words like that. Because, for one, religion is people’s spiritual lives. Secondly, satire is often taken out of context, therefore become untruthful and perhaps insulting. If there’s an issue that I must criticize, I would carefully and thoughtfully craft the criticism in a way that wouldn’t insult others. It’s very hard to do… But doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, for the sake of peace.

That’s just me… So…

I condemn the heinous killing. But I am not Charlie. 

————–
Leaked Aljazeera internal emails

Our Favorite Winter Breakfast – Chicken Rice Soup

In my childhood memory, winter in Taipei was always gray and cold. Taiwan, sitting at Tropic of Cancer, never snowed. But, because it is a basin city, with humidity trapped within the surrounding hills, the chilly winter rain was always cold enough to pierce the bones. Everyone would get sick everyday, sniffles and sneezes everywhere…

This was the season when Mother always had a pot of chicken soup ready to serve at any time, especially for breakfast at 6:30 in the morning — Yes: The children in my family grew up having chicken soup for breakfast. 🙂 It warmed our soul, and it prepared us for the work/school day ahead. Especially for the tough city commute that sometimes had my head sandwiched between the standing people’s buttocks on a bus… Only in Taipei.

IMG_0412Ingredients to serve a party of 4 to 8: 

  • 8 chicken wings (approximately 2 lb.) Thawed. Can be substituted with 2 lb. of legs and/or thighs
  •  9 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  •  12 oz. Daikon cut to bite size chunks
  • 10-12 oz. Whole onion, chopped
  • 5 oz. Carrots, sliced
  • 4 oz. Celery Heart (approx. 3 stalks)
  • 2 oz. Ginger, 1/8” to 1/4” slices for flavoring
  • 1 cup scallion or cilantro, chopped
  • 8 cups of cooked rice

Preparing the chicken:
Boil 12 cups of water. Place the thawed chicken pieces into the boiling water. Bring back to boil and immediately remove from heat. Let stand in pot for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and gently rinse the chicken under running water. Pluck excess feather where necessary. Chicken is ready to use.

Note: The purpose of this prepping process is to remove excess chicken fat and blood, which results to a healthier, leaner and a more aesthetically pleasing ingredient. We recommend using the prepared chicken immediately or to refrigerate and use it within one day.

Making the Soup:
In a large pot, combine chicken with water, ginger, vinegar, onion, celery, carrots and daikon. With high heat, cover and bring to boil. Leaving the pot covered, simmer in low heat for another 15 minutes while skim excess oil from surface. Remove from heat and serve.

Serving Suggestions:
1 cup of cooked rice is the recommended serving size per person. To serve the soup, place one chicken piece in each rice filled bowl before scooping in other ingredients. Pour soup over rice. Garnish with scallions or cilantro and serve.

Note: The picture above shows 2 servings of the soup made with chicken wings and garnished with scallions.