In a world facing a food crisis, with prices spiraling upwards and many sufferring from hunger and starvation, Singapore hosts the Major League Eating Asia competition. World heavyweights Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut wolfed down several kilograms worth of satay, with Kobayashi eventually gorging his way to the top.

According to the media release about the launching of MLE Asia, the competition in Singapore seems to be the the first of possibly many to come:

MLE Asia franchisee, Hairi Soewarso of Thinking Tub, said that the new MLE branch would use the contest as a launching pad to sponsor more events in Asia and the Middle East, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

I doubt there will be any competitions in Myanmar, though.

Note MLE Asia’s chinky logo, with the bamboo font and the fist holding a pair of chopsticks incorrectly. Then again, I suppose the proper way to use chopsticks in a speed-eating competition would be to use them to spear food with.

ChannelNewsAsia has an upbeat take on the competition:

Despite Singaporeans’ love for food, it seems the nation has got a long way to go before it reaches the top of the international competitive eating game.

Personally, I think it is BECAUSE of Singaporeans’ love for food that we don’t tend to snort it up without bothering to chew (a technique mastered by champion Takeru Kobayashi). Thankfully, this practice will soon be corrected:

… coaching clinics are being set up for finalists from this year’s event so that when the competition returns next year, they will be able to pit their skills against the world’s best.

(shudder)

Why does the STB always have to support such embarrassing competitions? Does no one else want to come to Singapore? If satay is going to be portrayed as a food that is wolfed down by hand by people who don’t stop to taste, is it still worth having it portrayed?

NEA Big Read

July 24, 2008

I’m not American, but since I’ve never done one of these memes before and I love to show off the expansive extent of my education…

The rules:

  • Bold those you have read.
  • Italicize those you have started but haven’t finished.
  • Place an asterisk by those you intend to read/finish someday.
  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
  34. Emma – Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  52. Dune – Frank Herbert (started but couldn’t get into it)
  53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses – James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal – Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession – AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection
  91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Who the hell “finishes” reading the Bible?

I think I need to read more. Recently, what with Reddit and Google Reader, I haven’t touched a book that wasn’t work-related. It’s somewhat embarrassing that I haven’t read some of the ones above but seen the movie–such as Pride and Prejudice and any of the Potters’. It’s also a little embarrassing that I’ve read some of them without watching the movie–such as Bridget Jone’s Diary and Little Women.

I need to macho up my reading list. Why have I read Anne of Green Gables but not War and Peace???

More maddening is the fact that I read so much literary criticism online that I know OF all the books listed above, even if I haven’t read them. All plot-spoiled, sadly.

Singapore is the 13th most expensive place to live in the world! (at least for expats)

See the report here. Incredibly, New York is cheaper for expats than Singapore. Green card, anyone?

Sarcasm

July 23, 2008

Found this article, which I found interesting because because of my problem with sarcasm:

THE ANATOMY OF SARCASM: RESEARCHERS REVEAL HOW THE BRAIN HANDLES THIS COMPLEX COMMUNICATION .

Sadly, the article only describes the mechanisms involved in understanding sarcasm (I guess I must have quite a few friends with brain lesions) but not the mechanisms for making sarcastic statements. Of course, it’s likely to be the same parts of the brain that govern the behaviour.

So there’s hope for those with especially sarcastic partners. A simple lobotomy can make life much more enjoyable!

I’m surprised King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck isn’t better known in Asia. The guy is single, has a Masters from Oxford, looks like a pop-star and is the youngest head of state of the world. He’s a wise and benevolent ruler who’s overseeing his country’s peaceful path towards democracy. His country lists “Gross National Happiness” as a priority (despite the recent problems with modernization).

jigmekhesar.jpg

In other words, he’s as close as we have now to a fairytale prince. Even the country he rules over sounds like something out of a fairytale–Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Why don’t more Asian girls fall for him?

Although I suppose the fact that he is the ruler of one of the most Buddhist countries in the world may have something to do with it. I guess being Buddhist isn’t quite compatible with being a dream lover.

PubMed article from SGH on Penile length of newborns in Singapore.

I feel so violated.