You are on Facebook, you think you have so many great friends committing, liking your statues or/and your pictures, right? No, you’re wrong, you realise or shall I say that I realised how many ‘real’ friends or how important I count as a friend to the others is far off below the chart than I thought, I’ve been living in a la la land. Next question, how do I know it? The answer is Facebook’s messaging feature, when you send a message, you will be able to see if the receiver has read your message or not. Ok, I gave it to Facebook, there is no more question of whether the person has received or read the message or not, there is no more guessing of if the person has been kidnapped to a secret location, tortured with no access to Facebook for 3 days. Now, with ‘the date and time of your message is seen’ feature, Facebook has created a new set of conspiracy between friends. I sent out 4 messages to 4 different friends the other day, trying to set a date to meet up for a coffee with two of them then seeking answers from the other two. All the messages were seen on the same day of sending then the waiting game begins, no reply, ok, maybe they are busy, it’s quick to read messages but takes time to reply. 1 day passed, why aren’t they replying? Maybe they’re not active on Facebook today. 2 days passed, the stalking begins, yes, all of them updated their statues today, one even uploaded a picture. 3 days passed, the depression kicks in, have they forgot to reply or am I not worthy of their brain power? Am I as popular as I think? Are they as good friends as I think of them? I can’t send a message to them to ask if they received my last message any more because thanks to Facebook, I can see that they read the messages. Oh, your mind can really play tricks on you or I just have too much time in my hands, over analysing, making a mole hill into Himalaya. Facebook, I hate you! No, love you most of the time. It’s a love-hate relationship. Facebook, you’re like the sun, I can’t live without you but if I have too much of you, it gives me skin cancer! (maybe I should put this sentence on my Facebook statues)
Hello, my loyal followers, can’t believe you guys haven’t deleted my face off your following list. Firstly, I want to say ‘what’s wrong with you?’. Secondly, I’m sorry about the silent treatment for the last a few months, I really have genuine and pretty good excuses for not writing. In ascending order, I was pregnant, moved to Sweden (yes, I’ve truly connected with Sweden), started a company, renovated our new house,how about that?
In my first return of Swedish Connection blog, I don’t want to write about my 9 months long pregnancy, how my feet swollen up like two meatloaf; I don’t want to write about my bloody labor; I don’t want to write about my move to Sweden; what I want to write about is…bloggers! Yes, bloggers, not all bloggers, only the ones that so high up on their high horse, so greedy like blood sucking vampires. I’m angry with them, I’m f**king pissed off ( excuse my French).
My husband and I have just started a small online retail company, our aim is to sell unique, high-quality products that are designed and produced by small, talented designers. We’re not a big company, only have limited budget for marketing so I’ve been contacting lots of Swedish bloggers, ask them to write blogs or feature the designers’ products in their blog. I wrote to the top dogs, such as Blonde Bella and Kissie to the underdogs, bloggers only have a few hundred followers. The result? No reply, ok, fine; then you get these bloggers with reply that demand freebies, ok, I will go with that; then freebies are not enough, they need discount for every reader, hmm… I will think about it; then they want high commission for each sale they bring in and each time people click their link to our website, WHAT? I’m going out of business. When did blogging has became such ugly business? Some of them aren’t even that good, cough, cough, Blonde Bella, looking at a pile of poop is more interesting than reading some of her blogs. One wonder how she got so popular?
I can understand that for some bloggers, blogging is a full time job therefore the job has to bring income but please make cash out of these big companies but at the same time, blogging is not only about making money, not only about express your opinion, it’s also about helping people, make this world a better place. A couple of pictures and a few lines will help our designers a lot, it will take these bloggers 5 minutes to write ( ok, I will give them 30 minutes) and for once, they might be writing something truly interesting!
I feel I’ve just offended a lot of bloggers ( if you feel offended then you must be the type of blogger I mentioned above:-)), have I just announce my own death sentence? Shoot me!
It’s official, it is announced that this year a record of 150,000 condoms are to be handed out to the Olympians in the Olympic Village. Let’s do a little math here, there will be about 10,000 athletes attending this year’s game, so it works out about 15 condoms per athlete which means it’s 15 condoms for each male and female, that’s 30 condoms per pair. The condoms come in different colours, I can’t confirm if they are in different flavors as well to suit different countries’ taste buzz ( it makes sense though).
According to the English newspaper, Daily Mail, the athletes sexual appetite have been soaring over the years. There was only 8,500 condoms made available in 1988’s game. It jumped to 50,000 for Barcelona in 1992. The number leapt to 70,000 in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the official originally ordered 50,000 condoms for the game but they had to order 20,000 more after the initial 50,000 ran out. This year’s condom numbers has topped all previous games, the Olympic Village will be a hot and steamy place for the next a few weeks for sure.
I wonder which country will win the gold medal in this game? To win this game, it requires good looks, good libido, good physique and good stamina. GO SWEDEN! 🙂
Have you noticed, the black one is the longest, talking about unfair competition…
Samsung Galaxy Note was like Loch Ness Monster to me. You heard people claim it’s out there and you saw the pictures but you never quite sure if it’s really real. My husband had been trying to get his hand on this mobile phone since the day it released but somehow, for some reason, actually quite a lot of different reasons, it depends on which phone shop you go, we never saw the actual product. So it only nature when my husband finally tracked down the phone and bought it from a phone company that I never heard of, he was jumping up and down like a little boy, yes, the Christmas has come early this year. The phone’s screen is 5.3 inches and it lights up like a Christmas tree, you can almost see it from the space, my little hands can barely hold the phone and my iPhone 4 looks like a little baby when stands next to the Samsung Galaxy Note. The Galaxy has got a little touch screen pen that allows you to paint pictures and edit photos. My husband was very eager to try this app, he took a photo of me then painted my hair orange, my face almost black, I ended up look like a bright version of The Twins from The Matrix Reloaded. What can I say? Married life is not easy, you have to put up with lots of things especially if your husband thinks he’s border line Picasso.
Some people really like to show their funny side to the world, literally, by tattooing their body with funny images ( at least they think it’s funny). Ink is forever, right? no regrets, people. Seriously doubts it, at least for this person, lesson number one, make sure your tattoo artist can spell the word first.
Li Jiang is a little ancient town that it’s situated in Yu Nan province in Southern China. What so special about the town is that the place is totally unspoiled, there is no skyscrapers, no modern-day buildings, no manufactories, no pollution, it feels like as if you stepped back a hundred years in time. The only thing reminds you of you haven’t finally mastered time travel it’s the way people dress and the cars on the road.
The town mainly survives on tourism. Most local people have moved out from the town and built a new modern skyscrapers town not so far away from the old town. Nowadays, the old town is filled with traditional hotels, shops, restaurants and bars. The town lights up with hundreds of red lanterns after dark, locals call it ‘red light district’, well, obviously they never been to Amsterdam. I wonder how they will feel if they find out ‘red light district’ has a very different meaning than what they mean it there.
They certainly keep the food local here. There are lots of different flavoured yak jerky for sale in shops, yes, you heard me right, it’s YAK jerky, not beef jerky, tastes extremely like beef jerky though. You can also taste yak stew in many of the restaurants there. Then if you want to be even more adventures, how about some pig’s tails, goose’s necks and pig’s ears? If you want to go completely wild, how about some duck’s heads for you?
Watching sunrise was one of the highlights for our trip. Let’s face it, I’m not a morning person, asking me to get up early it’s like the title of Tom Cruise’s movie ‘ Mission Impossible’. I don’t know how my husband dragged me out of the bed, I have no recollection. We went to the top of the hill and found a restaurant there. Watching the sun rising from the back of the mountain and overlooking the whole town while having breakfast outside, you can’t ask anything more than this.
We hired a driver to take us to the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge near by. Firstly, I want to make it clear that we are not rich so it only means one thing, the drivers and cars are extremely cheap to hire in Li Jiang. We paid her £20 for the whole day, we didn’t even bother to haggle. How can we haggle with her if we felt like we robbed her already? Secondly, ‘near by’ means about two hours drive from the old town by a VW car that it’s driven by a 40 years old woman with 75 miles per hour speed. The view is absolutely breath-taking on the way there. Rape seed flowers covered up the fields with little traditional wooden houses dotting around, the river was shimmering from a far distance under the sun like a silk ribbon. Then we saw this woman who was carrying lots of neatly packed up bricks look alike materials on her back, she looked like a female version of Hercules.
We also had the chance to go up to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain which it’s 5396 meters high. People can take the cable car, get up to over 4000 meters. You can hire snow jackets and cans of oxygen from the bottom of the mountain. I came to the mountain with my mum more than 10 years ago, I went up to the mountain without any oxygen back then so when the lady asked me if I want to hire a can of oxygen, I told her that there is no way I would need it as I went up there before and didn’t feel a thing. My husband hired one for me anyway, just for precaution. As soon as we reached the top, I grabbed the oxygen can from my husband’s hand and started inhaling it like I’m having an asthma attack. I didn’t realise that last time I was here with my mum, we only went up to 2000 meters and I was much younger, much more healthy. By the way, my husband didn’t feel a thing, I hate him! He’s got a special talent of rub things in my face without even noticing it.
Everyone, the dragon has landed. It’s the Chinese New Year of the mysterious dragon. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, each animal represents a year rather than a month in the Western zodiac. The animal orders as follows, from the first to the last: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, rooster, monkey, dog, pig. There are several legends about how these animals got chosen for the Chinese zodiac. The most well known one is that the Emperor of the Heaven decided there should be a way of measuring time, so on his birthday, he told all the animals that there was a race. The first 12 animals across the finishing line would be the winners and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them. Somehow, the rat finished first by hanging on the ox’s back then leapt over the ox’s head just before the finishing line. My grandma used to tell me this story when I was a little girl. The story never really made any sense to me as I just couldn’t work out, still can’t work out why the flying dragon and fast running tiger will lose to the rat? And how come the horse will lose to the rabbit? Every time I put my questions forward to my grandma, she always gave me the same answer, ‘it’s a traditional story, it’s been passing on for hundreds of years, you should keep this proud tradition.’ Still, I think it’s not right for the rat to win the race by cheating. I’m voting for a rematch!
Many Chinese people believe that a person’s life is influenced by their zodiac sign. Young singletons often seek their partner with a zodiac which is not in clash with each other. For example, a rooster and a monkey together is a big no no. A dragon and a tiger together is a big clash, why? you guessed it, they will alway fight with each other.
The above picture is sourced from chinese-living-symbols.com
1. Rat means Clever and Optimistic. Good marriage combinations: dragon, monkey, ox 2. Ox means Hard-working and Steady. Good marriage combinations: rat, snake, rooster 3. Tiger means Adventurer. Good marriage combinations: horse, dog, pig 4. Rabbit means Gentle and Kind. Good marriage combinations: goat, dog, pig. 5. Dragon means powerful and aggressive. Good marriage combinations: monkey, rat, rooster. 6. Snake means mysterious. Good marriage combinations: ox, rooster. 7. Horse means independence and open. Good marriage combinations: rabbit,dog, pig. 8. Goat means gentle and cultivated. Good marriage combinations: horse, dog, pig. 9. Monkey means intelligent. Good marriage combinations: rat, dragon. 10. Rooster means exciting. good marriage combinations: ox, horse, snake. 11. Dog means upright and faithful. Good marriage combinations: tiger, rabbit, horse, goat. 12. Pig means straightforward. Good marriage combinations: goat, rabbit. Please don’t worry if your zodiac clashes with your partner’s zodiac, you can always lie about your age.
The left picture is sourced from sodahead.com
There are many traditions that people have to follow at Chinese New Year. One of them is every family has to set off fireworks at the midnight of the New Year. If you don’t, then you will have a bad year ahead of you. So when the clock strikes at midnight, all the fireworks goes off at the same time, from every direction. It sounds like the Third World War has broken off. Another tradition is that children will receive money in a red envelope from their parents and grandparents. It’s considered to be rude to open the envelope and count the money in front of them.
The picture on the left is sourced from http://www.chinesetones.com/Lessons/culture/id/238
It’s also considered to be bad luck if you clean your house on the New Year’s day. Well, pretty easy to follow this tradition ( in fact, I try my best to follow this tradition every single day of the year) , except if you have serious OCD.
The best thing about the Chinese New Year is the celebration normally lasts for 15 days, it finishes with a red lantern festival. Everywhere is decorated with lanterns and in the streets there is music and dancing. 15 days of celebration, only if we can celebrate Christmas for 15 days as well. Just think the queue of people to join the gym afterward, pure cash heaven!
One of my best friends had a joint birthday party with two other girl friends to celebrate them turning the big 30. I’ve been waiting by the 30th door for the last two and half years for her join me ( yes, yes, you can do all the calculation you want. Why don’t I save you some time? I’m thirty-two and half, here, I said it). Finally, the last member of our little gang has finally joined the over 30th club, the eagle has landed.
Her birthday party’s theme was masquerade/ burlesque. The theme of the party came as a little bit shock to me as I always see her as a girl who always believes in unicorns. I’m sure if you open her up, it’s all flowers, rainbows and butterflies with a pink creamy center in there. Maybe this is what turning 30 can do to a person, I’ve been there, I should know. Suddenly, you become a woman who believes in unicorns but also moonlight in Moulin Rouge.
I spray painted my hair pink to honor the birthday girl, dressed myself in a multi-coloured leopard prints dress, applied on thick make-up, had my masquerade mask in hand, transformation for the party completed, I would’ve made all the drag queens all over the world so proud.
There was so many people at the party, everyone put their own spin on the party theme. There were people wearing feather masks then there were people wearing feathers in their hair even her birthday cupcakes were decorated with black feathers ( I really admire the amount of coordination she put in, can’t wait for her wedding), there were girls in fishnet stockings then there were guys in bow-tie full on suits and there was a woman in her black trainers that she hid them under her long maxi dress (you know who you are, don’t think you got away with it). I was hoping to see at least one guy in corset but never happened, what a disappointment. I saw a guy with a crispy white shirt and a long black cape though, I really thought he must got the wrong memo, it’s way too early for Halloween. Then there was the birthday girl in her full on gear, corset, check; sexy skirt, check; fishnet stockings, check; head piece, check; a glorious bosom, double-check; she’s out done Lady Marmalade, not enough of fabulous words can describe how fabulous she looked.
As the expensive iPod, aka the DJ was blasting the music from the last century which reminded me the good old days when I was young and free but had no money to do anything young and free, I firmly glued my buttocks on the sofa, the days of dancing in five inches high-heels are long gone, nowadays, these shoes are for display purpose only. As soon as the clock stuck midnight, our little over 30th gang started saying good-bye synchronously, the feeling was mutual, bed is calling. After all, turning 30 actually is not so bad, like Hervey Allen rightly put it, ‘ the only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.’.
Yesterday evening, my waiter smiled his way out of his tips. Why? Yes, he was nice, polite, he had a wide grin on his mouth, I could almost see his wisdom teeth but when I looked at his eyes, my soul was frozen (it took me 12 hours 14 minutes to defrost it). He was giving me the typical fake smile. You can’t fool me, I thought to myself.
In 1862 French physician Guillaume Duchenne discovered the secret smile by applying electric shocks to the faces of his subjects. He found that a fake smile is produced by only using the large muscle on each side of face, while a true smile is created by the muscles running through the eyes as well as the large muscle on each side of face. The effect is a visible wrinkling around the corners of the eyes that is outside voluntary control.
A genuine smile is known as ‘ Duchenne Smile’ which is named after surprise, surprise, Guillaume Duchenne himself. The picture below it’s George Clooney doing the Duchenne Smile not Guillaume Duchenne himself but let’s face it, George Clooney is so much hotter than a 19th century physician.
A fake smile is famously known as ‘Pan Am Smile’ – named after the air hostesses in the defunct airline’s adverts (I bet the passengers want their money back now). Some people also named a fake smile as a ‘Botox Smile’. Ladies and some gentlemen, go easy on Botox around the eyes unless you are in waiting for Pan American World Airways to offer you a job with them. FYI, Pan Am collapsed since 1991, your job offer will never come.
A 2010 research has borne out Guillaume Duchenne’s thesis. Researchers studied US baseball players from 1950s. Those with genuine grins lived an average of 5 years longer that players who smiled unconvincingly, and 7 years longer than players who didn’t smile for the camera at all. So people, keep calm and carry on smiling!
The importance of the eyes in indicating genuine emotions is reflected in the ’emotions’ symbols used in China. Western emotions symbols have a pair of fixed dots for eyes but change the mouth shape, like this: :- ) means ‘happy’ and :- ( means sad. By contrast, Far Eastern emotions symbols concentrate on changes in the eyes but leave the mouth the same, like this: ^_^ means ‘happy’ and -_- means ‘sad’.
Next time, when you see someone smiles at you, don’t look at his/her mouth, concentrate on looking at his/her eyes. Now, you’ve learnt, a genuine smile is all about the eyes. Look out people, I’m watching you!
Apple has officially launched its iphone 4S in China but little did they know, the launch has became headline news for a very different reason. Apparently Apple suspended all its sales in China to protect their staff’s safety after fights broke out between shopper and staff. My mum always told me that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but I think she forgot to tell me that it can also cause a fight.
Seas of people queued over night to get their hands on the gadget. It has been reported in China that majority of people in the queue queueing are actually hired by others who are too busy or too lazy or too rich to queue. The hire price? 100 RMB which is about £10. I don’t know what you are thinking but I’m thinking the guy who took three days off from work, sat in a fold up chair in front of the Apple store in London so he could be the first in line to buy the handset. Oh dear, only if he thought of hiring someone to do the job, he would’ve saved himself from using public toilet and others mistaking him as a well dressed homeless person for three days. The people were hired mostly from the labour market and many of them doubles as film extras, what a bunch of multi-talented people.
Another theory for people are being hired to queue is that they were hired by Apple staff. Since the staff knew that there would be a huge demand on the phone, too much demand, not enough supplies so they hired people to buy phones for them, then they can sell the phones on the black market for much higher price. Then some reporters came up with another theory, actually Apple company itself hired lots of people to queue to create the big buzz! I bet nobody’s predicted that the Apple iphone 4S’ launch madness in China would have more conspiracy theories than the assignation of JFK. My conspiracy theory for this is that aliens are the ones behind all this, be scared, be very scared people!