Monday, 29 November 2010

Sunday Stealing: The Baker's Meme

Okay I am recently bitten by the meme bug these days so please indulge me. I was visiting friends' blogs and saw another silly-funny meme that I'd love to join myself. I promise, only two memes. This one's called... the Sunday Stealing Meme. It is similar to Saturday 9, but the Sunday Stealing has more than 9 questions and we're "stolen" from somebody else's blog.


Today, we ripped this meme off a blogger named Reymos at the blog My World is Getting Smaller Every Day. He states that he got it from Carl Dorsey at Iron Cook: American (and Carl stated it was written by Thomas Baker, thus today's title). But it was probably stolen from there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracingback our theft's thieves might take some time. Link back to us at Sunday Stealing.

1. If you could interview on your blog (alive or dead) who would you chose and why?
I think I'm going to interview Chris of Wild Postcards and Girls Go Postal. He is one serious deltiologist. His collection is largely personal, handed down by his grandfather. Chris, along with my friend Ana, of My World of Postcards, are the people I want to have a chat with over a cup of coffee. See their links at the right sidebar.

2. What do you feel is your strength as a blogger?
Blogging for me is not only about writing but also about learning new things. So when I blog about the stamps and postcards I receive, I make an effort to give as much information I can get in order for my visitors to learn something so that the postcards/stamps are appreciated more. Just like what I expect when I visit other blogs.

3. Can you share a little bit about yourself that you have not already mentioned on your blog?
I love vintage stuffs as much as I love hand-made things.

4. If you were forced to change your blog, what would you change it to? Why?
I think I'm going to stick with the current one. It just says everything about this blog.

5. What do you think is the most fulfilling part of being a blogger?
I meet and interact with people who share similar interests with me. Also, to find good friends amongst the readers, albeit virtually.

6. What would you do with your last day if you found you had only one more day to live?
I don't know. I'd probably die of fright before the day itself knowing this news.

7. You've been doing medical research for decades and have finally found a cure. What was it that you found cure for and why did you choose this particular ailment?
I'd say a cure for acne. Most teenagers afflicted with acne have extremely low self-confidence thus destroying their teenage lives. This is why a cure for severe acne or severe acne treatment is important.

8. What is your most guilty pleasure?
Sending and receiving letters, postcards, and what-have-yous.

9. Answer only one. What is your favourite book, movie or TV show?
The Amazing Race US and Asia editions.

10. What do you think is the very best smell in the world? The one smell that takes you back to a time and place of a very vivid memory of your past?
The smell of earth after it rains. It always reminds me of the days I spent with our grandparents. They lived in the city, but it's not a concrete city. It's green and it smelled fresh and clean after the rain, and it's cool when we went out to the yard to chase little frogs.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Saturday 9: Dark Lady

This week I decided to veer away from the usual postcards post and join a fun meme. It’s called the Saturday 9, and is hosted by a blogger named Crazy Sam. Every week, 9 questions are given to participants to answer and  have fun with. So I thought weekends would be great for fun memes like Saturday 9 so I am giving it a go this week. Click the logo if you want to join the fun!

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Saturday 9: Dark Lady

 1.  Have you ever been to a fortune teller? If yes, what happened?
Yes, I was told me lots of things, about me going to places, but could not even tell me where to go for body acne treatments when I asked! Drat.

2. How do you cope in an uncomfortable situation?
I immediately leave at the slightest sign of any awkwardness. 

3. A genie appears (of course). She asks, “If you had 3 wishes but each took 3 years off your life", what would you wish for and why?
I would first wish that these 3-year deductions would be omitted. Second and third will have to wait till my first wish is granted. 

4. Would you rather lose your soul mate or never meet them at all?  Now this is tricky – the saying “It is better to have love and lost than never haved loved at all”  comes to mind. But I would choose neither. Yes, I am that selfish.  

5. What is the hardest thing that you ever had to do?  
Accepting the news that my postcards collection I stored at my parents house were damaged by last year’s typhoon. Major, major loss and I'm still in denial!

6. Have you ever had a miracle happen to you or your loved ones? 
Staying alive each day is a miracle in itself.  

7. Tell us about a quote that you can relate to. Why can you relate to it? 
The best measure of a man's (or woman's) honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero-adjust on his (or her) bathroom scale. (Quote from wow4u.com.)

8. What personality trait has gotten you into the most trouble? 
Being a smart-ass.  

9. For those in the States, how was  your Turkey day? If not from the US, do you celebrate a day like Thanksgiving? 
My reply would be in relation to question #6 as well:: Being alive every day is a miracle, and should be celebrated. Therefore,  each and every day, we should be thankful for the gift of life that we are enjoying right now.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Day of Mourning in Cambodia

Today is the nationally declared day of mourning in Cambodia in respect to the more than 350 people who died on Monday's Water Festival stampede.

A Cambodian couple prays for the victims
According to reports, government officials, including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who was clad in black, joined a procession this morning along with grieving relatives to Spean Koh Pich (Diamond Island Bridge) where the incident happened for to pay respects to the dead. Candles and incense sticks were lit and prayers were offered for the victim.  On the night of the incident, the Prime Minister's response was quick, ordering rescues and emergency medical assistance on the scene and then he went live on national television stations to address the nation.

A memorial stupa will be built "to commemorate the souls of the people who lost their lives in the incident... and to remember the serious tragedy for the nation and the Cambodian people."

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Click here for photo source.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The day after...

It feels unusually somber this morning when my husband and I went to the market.  The streets are eerily quiet. But of course, the city is still reeling from Monday's tragic incident.

The thought of Koh Pich island (Diamond Bridge), now referred to by locals as Spean Khmouch (Bridge of Ghosts), just a few kilometers from where we are doing our groceries really bothered me. I had goosebumps and already started getting freaked out (by my own doing, of course). So I asked my husband if we could cut short our chore and go home right away. Besides, we could not find the kind of shelf we were looking for as almost all the available stuffs at the furniture shops looked like cabin furniture. Perhaps we will go back another day, when the images of the incident have disappeared from my  head.

Anyways, on a more positive note, I'm happy to hear from a friend that thousands of money have been raised by the local television stations here in Phnom Penh. The proceeds will all go to help the families of the victims of the stampede. This does not include the personal donations of the Cambodian King and the King's Father, the Prime Minister, and other private individuals. Please, if you have some amount to spare, kindly reach out and donate through CTN and Bayon TV stations. Please PM me if you need more details.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Please keep Cambodia in your thoughts and prayers...*

Today we woke up to a very somber Phnom Penh.

The whole country is mourning the tragic death of hundreds of people during a stampede that broke out on Monday night. It was the last hour of the last day of what should have been a happy celebration of the Water Festival. More than 300 people were dead and 500 injured when a stampede broke out at a bridge in Koh Pich (Diamond Island), a spit of reclaimed land in the river and developed by a private company. 

What a terrible way to end the festivities and an awful news to wake up to. By now you will find lots of sources online, but you can find a story here, and an eye-witness account here. Please spare a few minutes of your time and join us in offering prayers for the dead and the survivors, as well as for their families and relatives to get through this difficult time.

The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called the stampede the "biggest tragedy" to strike Cambodia since the Khmer Rouge reign in the 19070s and he also ordered the immediate investigation of the incident. There was confusion as to how the stampede started but, quoting a Khmerican friend's note in his Facebook wall, what credible sources are saying is that some type of event created a "panic" on the newly-built bridge. What kind of event, this we are hoping the query will yield the answers. The PM also declared Thursday a National Mourning Day and he ordered all government offices and agencies to display its flags on half-staff. To those who have internet and are interested in following the story, please visit http://www.khmerlive.tv/ for live feeds and updates from various TV channels in Phnom Penh.

It was difficult for me to look at the pictures available online, but if you are up to it, here are some pictures that were taken on  that fateful night. I fervently hope that the culprits will be punished, that lessons will be learned so that incidents like this will never happen again. Ever.

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Here is also a link to a Facebook page containing resources for hotlines, ways to help victims of the Cambodia stampede compiled by Phatry Derek Pan: http://www.facebook.com/notes/phatry-derek-pan/resources-public-gatherings-hotlines-ways-to-help-victims-of-cambodia-stampede/467610744905

*This is a re-post.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Celebrating Bon Om Teuk, or the Water Festival…

Today is the first day of the Water Festival and the Cambodian tourism office anticipates five million visitors to the country’s capital Phnom Penh. What a great number – and I wonder if it indeed reached that level – and imagine the chaos it brings!
 
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The Water Festival is an annual celebration and highly anticipated by the Cambodians. It is the merriest and most extravagant of all holidays in the country.  It features boat races, fairs, and local concerts and will last up to Monday, when the moon is full. 

It is the time of the year when Cambodians from the different provinces descend to Phnom Penh to watch and cheer for their teams during the boat racing competition. It was reported that 420 brightly-coloured boats (and these are long boats with about a fifty rowers or so!) and nearly 28,000 racers in matching coloured-shirts will be vying for various cash prizes at stake.  Just two weeks before the Water Festival, I’ve seen rowers practising at the riverside and you can sense that there is a sense of pride on display here as they paddle through the murky brown water of the Tonle Bassac. Yes, even when it was already dark they managed to row with only the light from the buildings from the river front and their own searchlights with rechargeable batteries  lighting their path. 

The boat racing festival could be trace back to the ancient times to celebrate the strength and of the powerful Khmer marine forces during the days of the Khmer empire. The present boat racing is now a competition of all the best rowers and boatmen of Cambodia and, needless to say, whoever wins go back to their provinces with bragging rights! 

Thursday, 18 November 2010

What I want for Christmas…

Just recently, I was introduced to the wonders of Wii games. I know, I’m a bit of a latecomer when it comes to things like this. I am not a gamer, but when I played Wii games at a friends house, I was hooked instantly! I thought it’d be cool to have one at home since I just stay at home with little to do.

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This HDTV, or, something similar. Please, Santa, please!
So I excitedly scoured the Internet for online shopping sites that offers the cheapest prices and almost next-to-nothing shipping charges. With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, it wasn’t that difficult to find. Through a friend, I will be the proud-owner of a  brand-new Wii come Christmas season. Yihaaaaa!

Then came a situation, our television is now on the brink of “death”. To our horror, we found a discolouration on the upper left-side of the monitor! Immediately, the wheels in my head started turning – how could I enjoy my Wii if my television is nearing its demise? And so, I added this in my wishlist – a new LCD TV, or, if Santa is listening, an HDTV would be very much appreciated.  I know I sound selfish and materialistic  but having a new television set is the only way a stay-at-home-wife could fully enjoy the maximum Wii experience when left alone in the house!

The exciting Loch Ness Monster Ride!

As you may have noticed, I am on a roll tonight. There are a lot of postcards in my drawer that need scanning and posting so I am sort of making up for the lack of posts since last week.
Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens
The ancient mythical creature of Scotland comes alive right in America's Busch Gardens. The Loch Ness Monster ride is the only inter-locking looped coaster in the US!
  

Most Americans who want to take a European-inspired holiday without leaving their country usually visit the Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The Busch Gardens is an amusement park themed like Europe.  The postcard shows the Loch Ness Monster ride in the Scotland area of the Busch Gardens. It is one of the popular rides in the Busch Gardens that Jennifer, the sender, excitedly told me, had taken a ride. She says she enjoyed the stunning ride with a speed reaching greater than 60mph and climbing more than 13 stories. Just   by looking at the postcard, I believe her!  With twin loops and a 55-degree vertical drop, this is the next best thing to natural diuretics – you will definitely pee in your pants non-stop and lose all the water in your body! I don’t know if I have enough guts to get on the Loch Ness Monster ride – I would probably be puking non-stop. Eew, I know. How about you?

1940s Gal Pals

Wow – look at what I found in the mail:                                                           

Gal Pals
Gal Pals, Women's Friendship and Association. The White Plains Bridge Club, Greene County, Georgia, 1941.
Dear Ana...
I had a wonderful afternoon of bridge with the girls today. I had terrible cards, but the company was great, though, and we all had a good time chatting about baking cakes and sewing, our devotion to our dear husbands as well as how to increase breast milk production, which, of course, drew a lot of laughters. Wishing you were here. Now I got to go and start making dinner for my dear R... 
Love, 
Sreisaat
No, no, no.. that's not the real message at the back of the card. That's just how I imagined the message I would be writing to a friend had I been one of the bridge players! *lol* Not many knew of this but I have a strong interest in the past, and I find it fun to wind the clock backwards from time to time and revisit how it was like back then. This postcard was taken in 1941, and, although in a different era, it reminded me of a BBC Wales production I watched just recently. Called the "CoalHouse", it featured three modern-day families transported back into the South Wales coalfield of 1927, leaving behind all the modern-day luxuries and lifestyle for a basic miner's cottage with a shared toilet and no electricity and running water. It is a fascinating look at how families lived at that time and a serious look at how coal mining operated, and how it affects the lives of the families involved. A must-watch production, so go find a copy from your nearest DVD shops.

This postcard was one of the free extra goodies that were included in my purchase at the swannandsmerlin store at etsy.com. She has some of the cutest paper products around so if you need something, please visit her etsy store. Thanks, Odette!

Taiwan’s unusual-looking island

My dear friend and fellow Miss Igorota sister, Conniechiwa, picked this postcard from the in-flight magazine of China Airlines she was reading while in transit in Taipei  on her way to the US.

Taiwan
This unusually-formed island is found in Taiwan...
Tongpan Island did remind Conniechiwa and I of bread sticks or even the Jack-n-Jill pretzel sticks we so love when we were little back in the Philippines. On the other hand, my husband said it looked like cigars stacked together. Pardon me and my weird imagination, but, to me, they seem to be phallic symbol of sorts – don’t you think so? Freud will be proud of me for applying his teachings here! *lol*

Oh dear, before our imaginations run amok, I managed to get some information about this natural wonder from the ever-reliable Mistah Gugel. The above postcard features the basalt mesa rock of the Tongpan Island in Taiwan, and has a shoreline that is bounded by cliffs made up of these neatly stacked basalt columns. What an awesome natural formation! I am very interested to know if there are Taiwanese folklores or legends that explain the unnatural formation of Tongpan island. Any ideas?

Conniechiwa mailed this postcard upon her return to New Jersey, and the following stamps were used:

Taiwan_stamps

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hey, still here!

I am currently sat here at the recently-opened Brown Cafe in Boeungkengkang district, BKK as we fo18458532_125x125girl with coffeendly call it, waiting for my friends. I have a few close female friends here in PP and once a week or so we get together for coffee. This week we are all going to get our IDs renewed at the Phil Embassy later after having a cuppa,  so while I anticipate their  arrival, I thought of dropping some lines here.

I am so out of blogging lately. My consultancy job which was supposed to be finished at the end of October was extended for another month. And I am not complaining. It is extra moolah in my pocket, especially that holiday season is, once again, just around the corner. The Brown Cafe in BKK is the second branch opened in Phnom Penh. It is bigger, and the interiors have muted colours and modern furniture  and yet it has retained the cosy, friendly atmosphere that we really love.  This has become the choice rendezvous of PELUKA sisters for our weekly outing , and judging from the number of expats and locals we see sipping their lattes, it has become the prime hang-out place beating the other cafes in the Penh.  Anyways, during my absence, I have collected postcards from the post office, all waiting to be scanned and posted. Will do that later this week. Toodles.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cambodian freshwater dolphins on stamps

I recently bought this set at the Cambodian General Post Office (riverside):



The set features the different freshwater dolphin species found on Cambodian waters, namely, from left to right: Chinese white dolphin (Sousa Chinensis), finless porpoise (Neophocaena Phocaenoides), Arabian long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus Capensis Tropicalis), dwarf spinner dolphin (Stenella Longirostris Roseinventris), and Indo-Pacific bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops Aduncus)

I was browsing the Internet for information on the above stamps and came across an interesting post about errors in this 2006-issued set. In his post, Mr. Fung pointed out the three glaring mistakes on the set. Without clicking the link first, can you identify what the three errors are?

Well, who would've known except only the very keen or those who have special interest on the subject =)
Now go ahead and read his post (follow the link above) and the rest of his blog Cambodia Philately. Mr. Patrick Fung is extremely fascinated with Cambodian philately and his blog posts offer a great wealth of information that is otherwise very difficult to find anywhere else.
 
Images by Freepik