Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time Passes Us By

It's amazing how time has passed by the last year & a half. It almost seems like half a lifetime ago that we relocated to China. But now, here we are - the kids are finishing up their school year, & I've been invited to more farewell parties than I'd like. That comes with the territory I suppose, of being part of & living amongst an expatriate community where the population is transient. Goodbyes are never easy, especially so for the children. It will be hard saying "au revoir" to good friends we've come to know, as they leave for different parts of the world. But the world being as small as it is these days, one never knows when we will meet again.

With the end of school, comes the summer holidays & our plans are finally confirmed. We will be visiting both West & East coast of the US, including some campus visits of colleges to give our older boy an idea of what college life is like there. I know that the next two years will fly by, & soon, he will go off to college & the start of a new life for him - not something I look forward to, but have to come to terms with as part of the cycle of life.

While in New York, we will watch Jersey Boys (highly recommended by spacefan!) It was exhilarating to be able to buy tickets for this immensely popular show which is usually sold out, or left with pathetic seats. But luck was with me today as I surfed through the Telecharge website & found 4 relatively good Orchestra seats. However, at the same time, it was painful parting with more than USD 100 per tickets!!!

In a flash, the Olympics will come & go, & the next school year will start. And I will be the parent of not one, but TWO high-schoolers.

And life goes on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Impressions from China - Tragedy

Limbless children.

Lifeless bodies.

Devastated buildings.

Agonized faces of people crying for their lost loved ones.

A small hand in a death grip clutching a pen amidst a pile of rubble.

These pictures we have been inundated with in the last week. It is fortunate that many have rallied to provide help to the survivors unlike in another country where people are dying because of politics.

Yesterday, for three minutes in the afternoon, one week after the Sichuan earthquake struck, China came to a standstill as a sign of mourning for those lost. Traffic stopped, horns blared & sirens sounded as everyone bowed their heads in silence. It is amazing (& heartwarming) that amidst this push-and-shove (literally) society, such empathy and sensitivity can still be seen.

Local TV, however, has taken openness & transparency to an extreme level. It almost seems like propaganda to me when for almost 24 hours a day, pictures of rescue workers are shown on almost every local TV channel, & TV cameras & reporters enter medical tents to show patients being treated. What's happened to privacy for the patients?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Impressions from China - Tremors

I felt my first earth tremor this afternoon. I was in the ladies' room of my kids' school chatting with another mom, as ladies are wont to do, & suddenly felt vertiginous. I had to take a step back to prevent myself from toppling over, & thought I had either developed an inner ear problem or was having a stroke of some kind!

It was quite disconcerting, that feeling of imbalance & instability.

I later found out that the tremors were due to aftershocks from an earthquake (7.7 on the Richter scale) in Sichuan. I hope there aren't too many casualties :(

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Geeks r Us

Conversation that ensues over lunch immediately after watching "Iron Man".

(Spoilers ahead...)

"So, what was that thing that Tony Stark had on his chest for?"

"Well, remember initially he had a car battery that was attached to his chest? Well, the thing on his chest was an arc reactor which basically generates energy, like the car battery, to create an electromagnetic field that prevents the shrapnel in his chest from piercing his atrial septum hence killing him. Although in reality, in this day & age, he could probably have open heart surgery to get the shrapnel removed."

"Oh. How does it work?"

"Well, theoretically, it would require some kind of fusion reaction to happen in order to create the energy. There would be these two electrodes that sit within plasma, & the arcs of light that shoot between the electrodes would be the energy that is created."


"Are we movie geeks or what?"

A, W & Z (in unison):

'Nuff said.

Iron Man!

One word.


This was a rare occasion that we had the opportunity to enjoy a movie in an actual movie theatre in Beijing even BEFORE it is released in the USA.

Movies have always been an outlet of escape from the real world for me, together with TV & books. And I needed something today...and "Iron Man" didn't fail to deliver. Robert Downey Jr. shone in his quirky portrayal of Tony Stark aka Iron Man. He brought humor & sexiness to the role - something which I have never associated with the comic book version of Iron Man. (Admittedly, I have never been an Iron Man fan, & don't "know" him very well, having preferred Spiderman & the Fantastic Four; nonetheless, I had always thought him to be a very serious, straight-laced, "by-the-book" kind of character.)

Action-packed, & jam-packed with special effects, I was riveted to the storyline, as were my boys, who were also thrilled by the heavy rock music that was used for much of the accompanying background scores, including classics by Black Sabbath & ACDC.

One gripe I had , though, was the name of Tony Stark's assistant. Why Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow)??? I would think that the writers could have come up with something less comical! Pepper Potts????!!!!

Comic fans will not be disappointed by this film. I know I wasn't.

Hint: Don't leave before the credits finish rolling, or you'll miss a scene that lays the foundation for a future Marvel movie....