Monday
Dec142009

Cash gifting

asian likes cash gifting

Some people (Westerners especially) might say “giving money as gift is so tacky!” And that includes those who give out gift vouchers and such as presents. The general rendition for this type of gift giver is that they are totally inconsiderate and super-crude when comes to social etiquette.  But we Asians think that cash gifting is just plain brilliant!

Why suffer through the pain of having to act happy when opening one present after another (none of which you like) in front of people (whose attention is focused on whether your reaction is genuine), when you could be given envelope after envelope of cash AND the freedom to do whatever you please with it!

Yes, Asians are infamous for our practicality and the thrifty ways that we go about our lives. The stories about some Asian kid whose parents kept the plastic covers on their sofas or someone’s grandma who would wash and re-use disposable chopsticks from the restaurants? You better believe it.

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Wednesday
Dec092009

food blog: parisian scenes

France is apparently the most visited place in the world, so it stands to reason that you are a complete moron if you can’t find a good meal in a Super City like Paris. However, should you be afflicted with traveling moron syndrome (it can happen to the best of us) the below are some of my most memorable food-related experiences in the City of Lights.

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Tuesday
Dec082009

worldwide club guide: beijing

nightlife in beijing

Beijing showed the world during the 2008 Olympics that it could throw a spectacular party and even though the Olympic flame is out, nightlife in the Chinese capital continues to burn brightly. There are far too many clubs to cover in just one post, so consider this Part One of my Beijing nightlife picks.

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Wednesday
Dec022009

food blog: hutong’s high altitude dining in HK

high-rise restaurants in Hong Kong

One of HK’s most striking features is its skyline – you know this as soon your low-cost carrier mercifully touches down. Skyscrapers are hemmed in by mountains on one side and Victoria Harbour on the other and the results are devastatingly pretty – enough for gourmands to wonder:  ‘how can I marinate in this view while eating something marinated?’ 

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Tuesday
Dec012009

worldwide club guide: perth

nightlife in perth

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is the most isolated big city in the world but it’s increasingly accessible thanks to cheap flights from Asia. It’s a hard-drinking, hard-partying town and Sunday afternoon - known locally as ‘Sunday Sessions’ - is a particularly popular time to get your drink on. Of course, dedicated clubbers use Sunday Sessions as a recovery from the night before and a warm up for the night to come…

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Wednesday
Nov252009

food blog: bangkok after midnight - Part 2

midnight restaurant in bangkok

This week we shall further explore eating after drinking. Moving away from Sukhumvit, the other most likely place you’ll be stumbling about is Silom/Patpong. Depending on what you’ve been doing here, you may be suffering post-traumatic stress and therefore be off your food. Personally, I find food comforting in any situation – in this case it can help keep your mind off what you have seen (and can never unsee).

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Tuesday
Nov242009

worldwide club guide: manila

nightlife in manila

Manila is a sprawling metropolis with a variety of nightlife areas. Most bars close at 2am although some open much later on weekends and holidays. Malate is probably the most famous bar zone, and I think it’s livelier than the comparable Lang Kwai Fong strip in Hong Kong. In Quezon City, Morato Avenue is full of bars and comedy clubs while Makati and Global City have bar strips in the Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street malls respectively.

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Wednesday
Nov182009

food blog: bangkok after midnight - Part 1

midnight restaurant in bangkok

A great many people who come to Bangkok find themselves in need of something greasy after a night on the tiles. Since the bars don’t officially kick you out until about 2am, the hapless drunk might wander into a 24-hour McDonald’s thinking it’s the only option. While McD’s is probably the easiest thing to order when your eyes are putting a kaleidoscope effect on everything, there are cheaper, greasier options if you can remember the following in your time of need.

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Tuesday
Nov172009

worldwide club guide: macau

nightlife in macau

Macau is rapidly becoming the Las Vegas of Asia with giant casinos, glittering lights and the opportunity to make a fortune – or lose one – with the spin of a wheel. There’s plenty of after-dark action with most casinos open around the clock but most bars and clubs are of the ‘hostess’ variety where pretty girls give you attention in exchange for cash.

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Monday
Nov162009

Haggling in markets

shopping in asian market

Haggling, or bargaining, is an art form that requires quite a bit of skill and a lot of street smarts. Asians take pride in their abilities to get the desired goods at the lowest possible price, whether it is fruits, household items, cars, etc. – without pissing off the salesperson in the process.

For us, there is no such thing as a “correct” or “right” price. As long as both parties are happy with the transaction, it is “fair” and that is the sole reason why we haggle.

So, when a tourist chooses to give up this right without even trying (common excuse: “Why even bother? Things are dirt cheap here”) please know that you are committing a crime against the local economy. Agreeing to pay a price that is often four to five times the original cost, while it may be temporarily great for the business owners, is in effect putting the locals in a difficult spot where they’re left to deal with the inflation rates long after you guys have left the country.

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