Jesus Loves You

On the way to the train platform this morning, there was this man standing by the side of the ramp to the platform. On one hand, he had what looked like a ream of flyers and on the other, one of the said flyers ready to hand out to passers-by.

As I was passing the man, he held out the flyer that appeared to be just a blank piece of A6-sized paper. I was near enough to grab one off him so I did.

Right after getting the flyer, he said to me: “Jesus loves you.”

“Oh,” I responded, caught off-guard. After I realised what had happened, I just added, “Okay, thanks.”

The flyer had turned out to be indeed just a piece of blank paper. The only thing the man wanted was to inform the passer-by that Jesus loves him or her. And the blank flyers were the bait to get somebody — anybody — close enough for them to hear him tell them so.

I just thought it was a clever ploy.

Published in: on October 14, 2005 at 12:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Smurf Village Bombed!

That’s right. The Smurf Village was bombed by warplanes!

In an advertisement, that is. In a UNICEF anti-war advertisement shown on Belgian television. The ad featured a short animation of the Smurfs dancing and singing the familiar Smurf song followed by bombs from overhead descending on the Smurf Village. The bombs exploded on the village as the Smurfs ran around in panic. It ended with a fallen Smurfette and a crying Baby Smurf.

The animation was followed by a blue screen with the words: “Laat oorlag de wereld van de kinderen niet verwoesten.” which was translated on an article on The Age newspaper as “Don’t let war affect the lives of children.”

It was something you wouldn’t expect happening to the Smurfs but the animation was approved by the late Smurf creator Peyo’s family. They did stipulate that the ad should only show after 9pm as children who were shown the ad supposedly wailed in terror upon seeing it.

According to The Age article, here is the reason for the ad:

The advertising agency behind the campaign decided the best way to convey the impact of war on children was to tap into the earliest, happiest memories of Belgian television viewers. They chose the Smurfs, who first appeared in a Belgian comic in 1958.

If you are interested in seeing the video of the ad, you can download it from here: Crooks and Liars page.

Here are articles regarding the Smurf Bombing ad:

Published in: on October 12, 2005 at 10:09 pm  Comments (6)  

I Need a Vacation

I think my mind is turning into mush. At work, I’m working on this project that doesn’t seem to be all that complicated when I look at it from a disconnected point of view (that is, when I pretend that I’m not the person working on the project). But as it is, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by it as well as mildly confused. It’s like I’m juggling balls in the air and trying my best not to drop any balls.

Thankfully, the Christmas Season is only a couple of months away. I already filled out an annual leave application for December just to so I have a better chance of getting it approved. I mean, if I submit it in the last minute, a lot of other people in the office might have already submitted their leave applications that mine would get denied.

I believe (and hope) that I’ll have finished this project by the end of this week. I can’t wait to be done with it, frankly. Hmm… It’s a good thing I don’t have to wait for Christmas to get a bit of a break.

Although All Saints’ Day isn’t a public holiday here unlike in the Philippines, there’s still the November 1st public holiday due to the Melbourne Cup. Woohoo! I’m glad to be living in Melbourne. Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, the Melbourne Cup is basically a day for horse-racing. Nice, isn’t it? Here are more details.

And if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be called for jury duty. I know that under normal circumstances, being called for jury duty isn’t a thing people generally look forward to, but in this case, I welcome any chance to be elsewhere even for a day or two.

Published in: on October 11, 2005 at 11:16 pm  Comments (2)  


Today, Raquel and I had to get up earlier than usual to drive the car over to the Toyota car shop in the city for its long overdue scheduled maintenance service. I had to get the car at the shop between 7:30 AM and 9 AM. So, we originally planned to wake up at 6:30 so that we could get the car there at 7:30.

The incentive to get the car in the shop as early as possible was that the shop closes at 5:15 PM. If we got the car in at 9 AM, we will get in the office at about 9:30 AM. And that will mean that we can only leave the office after 6 PM. If we get in early, we will be able to pick up the car from the shop before it closes with no problems.

Then during lunch break, I called up AAMI and RACV to get some quotes for a building insurance on the property we will own come end of November. Afterwards, we went to the post office to mail my old mobile phone which I just sold through eBay to this guy in Newcastle, New South Wales.

After that, we decided to drop by Myer to look at electric kettles. I’ve been nagging Raquel about getting one for a while now because it makes it very easy to make a cup of hot coffee or soup. So today, we found a kettle we liked and bought it.

Well, it wasn’t really an exciting day. What can I say? I’ll just fire up the new kettle and make myself a warm cup of noodle soup. Signing off for now.

Published in: on October 10, 2005 at 11:32 pm  Comments (4)  

Palabok on palabok

A lot of people who enter “Palabok” as their search criteria in Google usually end up in our site. Most of them, I expect, would be looking for a recipe for this famous Filipino dish but would instead be greeted by a site that carries the name but has no recipe of it in sight. There may also be people who know us personally but may not be familiar with the name or the dish.

Palabok is a noodle dish that has a variety of ingredients like garlic, onion, meat, seafood and hard-boiled eggs among others. It is served with a thick orange sauce achieved by using annatto seeds during preparation. In recent years, the word palabok has entered Filipino slang to also mean beating around the bush. How a popular dish came to be associated with a manner of speaking is beyond me. My guess would be that having to talk about things indirectly may cause a speaker to hint at his meaning in very creative and long-winding ways, thus the conversation could have as many ingredients as a Palabok and be as long as the noodles used in it. But I speculate.

If you’re after the recipe, there are numerous cooking sites that offer their own versions. Examples of that here and here.

Why name this site Palabok? Well, we wanted a short domain name, easy enough to remember even for non-Filipinos and yet still have a distinct Filipino flavour/feel. There’s also the the consideration that we want to be able to discuss a variety of topics, much like the variety of ingredients found in a plate of palabok so we thought the name a good fit. Hope you enjoyed your serving of palabok trivia today!

Published in: on October 6, 2005 at 5:55 pm  Comments (5)  

Is Speaking in My Native Language Rude?

On the September 30 issue of the MX daily newspaper, a Sarah from Box Hill wrote on the MX Talk section of the paper her experience one day while on a train to the city. Her husband and another man were speaking to each other in an Indian dialect when a woman sitting a few seats away started yelling at them.

The woman said, “Will you stop talking to each other in some other sh*t language? I have been hearing this for the past 20 minutes. You are not supposed to talk in my country in another language.”

Let me just quote the next part:

Once my husband got over the initial shock of such rudeness and arrogance, he said, “This is racism! We are talking to each other. We are not talking to you.”

Upon which the woman continued to curse them in a colourful language, which my husband and his friend completely ignored.

And to top it off, when the train approached the city, another passenger came near my husband and said, “Shes’ not wrong. When you are in Australia, you’ve got to speak in English.”

Unbelievable! Sarah’s husband is right. He wasn’t talking to the woman seated a few seats away from them. I mean, Raquel and I would talk to each other in Tagalog because it’s what we’re most comfortable with. Sure, as this blog can attest, we could speak and comprehend English rather well but when talking to each other, why wouldn’t we speak in Tagalog?

I understand that it would be rude to continue speaking in Tagalog if we were in the company of friends and companions who wouldn’t be able to speak Tagalog. In that case, we would speak in English because we wanted the others to be included in the conversation. It’s just plain courtesy.

However, if we are in a public place, like in a train with complete strangers, we don’t have to exert ourselves by conversing in English when we could easily communicate in Tagalog. After all, the strangers around us do not need to understand what we were talking about. If we were talking in English, it would have been rude of them to be listening in on our conversation anyway.

So, I think that Sarah’s husband and friend wasn’t being rude to anybody when they were talking in their Indian dialect. It’s probably just easier for them to talk to each other in their own tongue, is all. But the woman who yelled, well, she was being rude. Who was she that she needed to understand what they were talking about? Was she angry that she couldn’t eavesdrop on them?

Take a look at it this way. Imagine if two Australians went to visit Indonesia and they both know how to speak Indonesian, would they talk to each other in Indonesian in a bus when they could better express themselves to one another in English? Should all Australians visiting India, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong or some other non-English-speaking country be required to speak in that country’s native tongue when they are there?

It’s absolutely ridiculous! Next you would probably required Americans to speak in an Australian accent when they’re here! Then maybe the Americans can ban Australians from using Aussie-slang when they are in the US?

I wonder if that woman had any parents or relatives who weren’t born in Australia. Like, maybe a parent or relative that migrated from, say, Italy. Would she require her parents or relatives to speak in English to their Italian friends if they don’t have a good command of the English language?

It’s just stupid.

Fortunately, on yesterday’s issue of MX, a few people wrote to express their support for Sarah. However, there was a John from Broadmeadows who wrote in the following:

Sarah, the woman, although rude, was not completely in the wrong. It’s rude to speak another language in front of someone.

So, like I said. If John visited another country like Indonesia with a friend, he shouldn’t be speaking to this friend of his in English when in public places where locals (and complete strangers) could overhear them talking. After all, it’s rude to talk to your friend in a language both of you are most comfortable with in the presence of strangers in a foreign country. Right?

Published in: on October 5, 2005 at 5:27 pm  Comments (20)  

Serenity still shiny

Joss Whedon’s Serenity has started its regular screening here mid-last week and Gj has been itching to watch it again since. As we thought we need to take a break from routine, we thought tonight would be a good time to go to the movies and enjoy Serenity once more. Hoyts cinemas recently opened in Melbourne Central station’s mall and is currently offering an introductory price of $8 for any movie at any session time every day of the week. With the regular ticket price of $13.50 anywhere else (except for $9.50 Tuesday movie nights), this introductory price definitely offers big savings.

We bought our tickets for the 6:30 PM showing during lunch hour to get good seats, which are allocated at the time of ticket purchase. We planned to leave the office at around 6:00, take the tram, have a quick dinner and get into the theatre at about 6:30 – which we did. There is only a hitch in this plan since we had to go to the loo before watching the movie (who would want to answer the call of nature in the middle of an exciting scene?). The cinemas were located in the 4th level of the building and since we were rushing, we figured we’d use the toilets just outside the cinemas. Surely there’d be one, we reasoned. The big surprise came when we got to the toilets in the 4th level, it was cordoned off and there was a print-out taped outside with those horrible words – Out of Order. With only a few minutes to spare, we had to go down to the level below, rush to the other side of the building, find that there are only two cubicles in the toilet, wait anxiously for the people inside to vacate, do your business, rush out of the cubicle and remember to wash your hands, of course. Push on the soap dispenser, rub your hands together and hover your hands under the tap, easy. But wait, how come the water coming out of the tap is hot? No choice but to wash the soap off now but to use as little scalding water on your hands since there is no cold water!

Definitely not happy with the toilet situation but had to jog to the cinema now as my watch says it’s already 6:30. We got to our seats without incident as the previews were being shown. Hmmm… seems like the theatre is a tad warm but Gj surmised that maybe it was because we’re now starting to sweat from our jogging trip from the loo. Maybe, but at this point I joked that maybe we’re only getting our money’s worth (which isn’t much). As we settled in our seats, we watched a couple more previews and noticed that the movie is already starting with the lights still on. We were waiting for the lights to dim but it looks like someone forgot about it that someone in the audience actually yelled for somebody to cut the lights. A couple of minutes later and the theatre finally went dark.

The movie was still fantastic the second time around (mild spoiler ahead). And the untimely demise of two of the series’ regular characters still evoked sadness and regret. We also were able to enjoy the action sequences better this time as we’re further from the screen as opposed to being in the front row when we watched it during the special screening last July. As fans would say, this movie is shiny and will continue to be so for several more viewings before we get tired of it.

As for Melbourne Central’s cinemas, let’s just say we won’t be going back there in a hurry, introductory price or not.

Published in: on October 5, 2005 at 1:09 am  Comments (2)  

Tired at Work

For the past few months, I’m heavily involved in a project at work that requires our system to essentially talk and play nice with a third party system. And right now, I’m still at it and it’s been hell.

I really wanted to go on a vacation to recharge but my sense of duty dictates that I should finish this project first. Heck, I’m sure they wouldn’t even allow me to take a vacation leave at this stage in the project anyway.

I think I’m half-way finishing the second part of the project though so there’s light in sight. However, I was told that after I’m done with this project, the other project team needs help finishing another project. So, I’ll be reassigned temproarily to that team to help out. I just hope I could be allowed to take a week off work before I start working on that other one.

Boy, am I looking forward to having this project finished.

Published in: on October 4, 2005 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Prickly Toes

A weird thing happened last night while we were having dinner. I was just sitting down, eating, when suddenly, the toes on my right foot felt like they’ve been pricked. It felt similar to the times my foot went numb (“fell asleep”, as it is also known) except the prickling sensation was concentrated on the tip of my toes.

It went away as quickly as it came. But after maybe a minute, there they went again. This went on for maybe ten times more last night. And being the pseudo-hypocondriac that I am, I went online and tried to Google the “prickly toes” symptom.

Although there wasn’t anything definite in the first few results from Google, what I gathered was that prickly toes could be caused either diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). Either cause was equally bad, in my opinion.

I pray to God it isn’t any of those things. I hope that it’s just my right foot getting numb from sitting down in a bad position or something. Well, whatever the reason for my prickly toes last night, I’ll definitely cut down on the sweets. I just hope it’s not too late.

Published in: on October 3, 2005 at 8:00 am  Comments (2)  

Almost Done with God of War Again

I’m playing the God of War game for the Playstation 2 again, but this time in god-mode which is the most difficult mode of the game. It’s essentially the same as the standard mode except the enemies are much much more difficult to beat.

I hope to finish the god-mode soon. I’m at the stage where I have to go against the god of war Ares after Kratos opened Pandora’s Box. That meant I still have to defeat Ares, then fight of the Kratos clones, and then fight Ares again with Athena’s sword.

Why am I playing the game again? Well, it’s a really great game. And I want to whoop Ares’ ass all over again. Why am I trying to finish the game again as soon as possible? Well, SoulCalibur III is coming out in October. When I’ve finished God of War in god-mode, I probably wouldn’t play it ever again. So, I can have the God of War game, along with another game I have, exchanged for the up-coming SoulCalibur III game at EBGames.

Published in: on October 3, 2005 at 7:45 am  Comments (2)