Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yuki's Tips: How To Be Gastronomically Green.

As we head towards an age of environmental consciousness, more people are looking for ways to go green. Green dining is a relatively new concept that recently reached Malaysian shores, with an increasing number of eateries and restaurants promoting eco-friendly dining facilities that lessen the impact to the environment.

Individual health has become a major concern with an increasing number of patients battling heart and cardiovascular problems as well as diabetes that plagued countries across the globe. These greatly involve bad eating habits and incorrect diet that increases health risks even for children.

Green Dining is not only about sustaining the earth; it is also about sustaining our lives.


Buying locally produced food, or better yet growing our own, can reap incredible rewards for our lives, other than saving the environment. The purchase of sustainable foods, especially those organically grown, supports the maintenance of ecosystems and agriculture for generations to come, while reducing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers than potentially harms our health. It helps a country’s economy and drops pollution rates by lessening transportation and travel time between producers, distributors and consumers.

Organic fruits are tasty, fresh and healthy for our diets and fights heart disease and cancer. It promotes natural beauty by promoting skin regeneration and increases body hydration and body functionality.


When you go to your next seafood restaurant trip, do think how many sea animals have been caught whether by purpose or accidently, and then left at the sea dead or injured, like some sharks that are caught and their fins cut off for our later consumption while they are thrown back into the ocean without them to limp and die. This slowly destroys the eco-system, damage the habitat and harm the marine life. Yet, these are the symptoms of the efforts of our beloved fisherman to make sure we get our feast of large prawns, favourite fishes and sharks’ fin soup.

70 percent of the world’s fisheries have been over-fished to the point of near depletion, presenting a scenario where in the future there will not be a steady supply of fish from reliable sources to dine on. While fishes like tuna, sardines, salmon and mackerel are heavily advertised as prime fishes to eat due to its omega-3 content and calorie reducing properties, they often contain high dosages of PCBs, mercury and other toxic contaminants that pollute the waters that present a health hazard to children as well as adults especially women who are childbearing if consumed more than once a week.

Meat and Poultry, Eggs and Milk

Meat preparation for the general market is harmful to the environment as it increases greenhouse gas emissions with its factory based farming, transportation and has huge wastage and pollution levels. But there are types of meat that are less impactful, such as chicken, fish and eggs. It always pays to go vegetarian with a milk diet for energy, or at least take smaller portions of meat.

And if you are into animal rights, you could also try to check on the welfare of the chickens that lay our eggs, for instance, whether they are kept in captivity without any freedom of movement for the rest of their lives, or injected with antibiotics, bovine growth hormones or other substances. Growth hormones are often injected into cows to increase milk production. These may end up within your body once you consume them.

Coffee, Tea and Bottled Water

Most of us drink coffee and tea without realizing that the plantations built to harvest their seeds contribute to tropical rainforest deforestation and habitat destruction especially for birds. Many growers resort to chemicals and pesticides to mass produce in meeting demand. However, there are alternatives. Switch to organic coffee. Organic coffee farmers are required to avoid pesticides and rotate crops to maintain natural soil fertility. You can also get coffee from bird-friendly or fair trade sources.

Bottled waters are unavoidable as they are cheap and convenient. Most manufacturers are now heavily promoting dispensers, especially filtered water dispensers, for home, officers and around the neighbourhood in order to cut down on the use of bottles. We can do our part by reusing the bottles at least another three to four times, which is still safe to use. Also look at the manufacturer’s details on the bottled drinks, and only buy from organizations that do not need to travel much to supply them. This would encourage facilities to serve by state and discourage much transportation, which also saves their cost.

Try These Easy Tips To Be More A Green Diner.

• Say no Styrofoam and Polystyrene when you take-away your food. Use a tiffin carrier or reusable containers instead. Or get yourself a bento box or lunch box.

• Bring your own cup or bottle the next time you head to a fast food outlet or kiosk.

• While you are at it, bring your own utensils as well.

• No more plastic bags. Hand-carry your take away food instead. Work your muscles!

• Do not waste food. Make sure finish food that is stored. If you really cannot finish it, then pack and store the leftovers.

• Really, why do you need straws? And seriously, you need lids on your cups too?

• Go vegan. If you cannot, go vegetarian. Remember, meat contributes to global warming.

• Start your own garden and grow your own food. You can always start with some pots if you do not have space.

• Look for green restaurants to dine in.

• Avoid seafood and buy sustainable foods.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Five Months – Part Two: The One Year Wait For Godot, The Death, And That Accident.

("Five Months" are stories of some events that had happened in my life leading up to December 2010)

Starring Role

It was May last year when Singaporean theatre director Rohaizad Suaidi and Malaysian independent artiste Jerome Kugan personally approached me and seasoned actress Dara Othman to be involved in a play that is the reinterpretation of the Samuel Beckett classic, Waiting For Godot. So instead of two homeless tramps on a street during the World War, the first idea that came out was actually two sex workers on a street at a red light district in Kuala Lumpur. Then the final new adaption was finalized as two transgender female sex workers on a red light district. And I was picked to be one of the two.

We were barely two weeks into our initial meetings when the project was halted due to Rohaizad’s inability to commit because of his work. The project was then passed to a certain Ms. Kimmy after that, but for the past one year, there was no movement on the production. Until Kimmy Kiew called me up, explaining to me that the project is now on under the umbrella of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). I went to KLPAC for the first time, and had a short audition. Two weeks later, while attending a forum at Penang, I received a call from Kimmy that I secured the part, and will start rehearsals the following week.

The Evolution Of Waiting For Godot

There I met my co-star Fairuz Tauhid, who will eventually be Estragon or Gogo, while I was given the role of Vladimir. After much deliberation on the script, we managed to change some words into Malay and even one in Chinese. The tree was replaced with a lamp, the mount into stairs, and Vladimir’s hat became my hair band. Rehearsals were intensive within the space of two months, with almost all my evenings after my current job and most Saturdays and Sundays reserved for rehearsals under Kimmy.

(from right: Fairuz Tauhid, Kimmy Kiew, Jerome Kugan, and me)

Working with Kimmy and Jerome (who played the boy who in the play’s interpretation, comically, a manly transgender woman) was particularly satisfying while the always moody Fairuz Tauhid did share some of his brilliant traditional dance choreography on our short dance. Angel Chang was roped in as our stage manager, and we all have a good working relationship. It was tiring and taxing especially for me, having to stretch my hours of activity and reduce my hours of sleep, however I could not afford to compromise my 9-6 bread and butter job, yet I do not wish to neglect my responsibilities to the play.


The complexity during the two months of rehearsals was compounded by the news of the passing of me and Jerome’s close friend, Benjamin McKay. I was just having dinner with him the night before with our friends, so it came as such a shock to me. Then on my way home one night, I was hit by a white Toyota Caldina WQE 8077 owned by a fella named Othman; and to add salt to my misery, even though photos and proof clearly saw my car side badly dented and his bumper fell to indicate he banged my car, due to racial profiling, disturbingly, he got the benefit of doubt and favour from the traffic police, and I got summoned for being crashed at. Apparently, WQE 8077 has a history of dangerous driving.

[sapa tau ...keter caldina putih. WQE8077. kurang ajar punya driver. kluar masuk kluar masuk lane laju..semata mata utk kluar ke naik ke flyover nun di belah kiri jalan. lepas kena hon, siap kejar..pastu benti tgh jalan..tayang torchlight ...bodoh nya orang. pastu siap main kejar kejar..benti lagi..pastu siap nak turun keter tengah jalan..nak ajak gaduh guna torchlight coleman..bodoh la lu mamat.semoga lu cepat mati..cepat kena tanam..cepat kena makan cacing. WQE 8077 toyota caldina putih....WQE 8077 TOYOTA CALDINA PUTIH. Tue 18-Sep-2007 00:21 Posted by:orang tengah marah]

Rising Above

I successfully caused some trouble for Othman’s brother for misusing the name of one of the heads of police to threaten me, and absorbed the “bapuk” calls from the ultimately shallow and uneducated Othman who probably would not go far in his life in making so many enemies with his white Toyota Caldina WQE 8077. I also decided to give Benjamin McKay’s funeral and wake a miss, because I know I would not be able to hold myself if I go. So I continued to our rehearsals, without a car, and missing my friend. I did not know how I managed to get to rehearsals, let alone to go to work. But thanks to the efforts of my friends, work colleagues and theatre partners, I was able to go all the way across the long journey.

It was ironic that this owner of WQE 8077 is a Muslim and committing his sin during Ramadan. What goes around comes around and he will pay for his sins. As for me, more adventures lie ahead in my life.

(Continued from "Five Months - Part 1".)