Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bitter Lotus (苦心莲)

Way back when I was in Form 1, there was this Taiwanese TV series called Bitter Lotus. It was basically a remake of the popular Japanese TV series Oshin.

I can't remember whether I saw it on RTM2 (no TV3 for Sarawak folks back then), or was it on video. But I do remember my grandma getting all excited about the way life was depicted in the series. She would point out that this was the way things were in China when they were young, and never stopped reminding us on how lucky we are.

Being young then (and not to mention well-fed and well taken care of), I used to feel quite resentful whenever she did that.

But many years later (2006 to be exact), when I went back to visit my grandfather's birthplace, I found out how close to the truth the TV series was. Life IS really hard in the remote villages in China, despite the economic boom in the cities.

Anyway, another reason why the series stayed in my memory was the theme song, which was quite sweet and haunting at the same time. You can hear the song below:

For those who know Mandarin, here are the lyrics:


春光明媚 秋氣(風)爽

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Testing

Been trying out various settings on the camera after reading the manual during the weekend.

The 50 mm f1.8 lens I added is really good in low light, but at the same time I have to increase the ISO (to 1600!) in order to get the speed that I needed to get candid shots indoors. The downside of that is I get some graininess and loss of sharpness.

Looks like its going to take some work to get really "pro" shots :) Will try a few more things this weekend and see whether any improvements.

Meantime, check out the results of last weekend's experiments:

Another thing I learned was that I can shoot in RAW format and then edit the photo to get the picture that I want. Sample below after editing with the Digital Photo Professional software that came bundled with the camera:

RAW files are really huge though (about 11 Mb per photo).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Camera

After much thought, I decided to go semi-pro a little bit and go for an entry level DSLR in order to get better pics of Cynthia.

It was not easy to persuade my wife, but thanks to friends like ashlight and bloggers like chen22 who demonstrated what can be achieved, I finally got myself a Canon EOS 400D.

So far, I didn't have much time to study the different techniques and settings yet, but playing around with it and trying out a few things showed the possibilities. Check out the photos I managed to get below after 5 minutes with the new camera:-

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Fancy a KFC Meal?

Tonight we decided to go to KFC after I failed to fulfil my usual obligation to "ta pau" from the pasar malam.

While queueing I noticed a nutritional guide pamphlet displayed next to the cashiers. Then I remembered - one of our Health Minister's (ex) initiatives was getting all the fast food companies to supply nutritional information on all the food they sell, and they had to comply by 1st Jan 2008.

Reading the pamphlet, I was surprised to learn that,

  • on average, a piece of Hot & Spicy chicken has 30% more fat and 50% more salt content than the Original Recipe ones.
  • The rib and thigh have the most fat content. In terms of salt content, breast shares the top spot with rib.
  • Think you're going the healthy way by avoiding fries and going for coleslaw? Think again! Coleslaw actually has 100% more fat content and 200% more salt content than an average packet of fries. There's actually a simple explanation for this - the dressing used to make the coleslaw is the culprit.
  • Apart from Garden Salad (go easy on the dressing :) ), the healthiest side order is the humble Whipped Potato.

So, I guess we know what to do the next time we visit KFC again :)

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