Saturday, 31 July 2010



Sunday, 18 July 2010

nineteen past

when i was four my grandmother took me to the supermarket on my birthday, and let me pick a cake. i picked a small sponge cake and went home wanting candles in it like they do in the movies. unlike the movies there were no candles and my grandmother wouldn't let me light the chopsticks on fire. i remember asking them if they wanted to sit at the table with me and we could eat it together. neither of them did so i sat in an empty room, opened the flimsy box, and ate it alone. to this day i still remember when i first tasted the cake. i thought it was the best thing at the time.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


there was this mcdonald's ad on TV today that reminded me of something that happened in february this year. i had just gotten off the plane in china and it was already very late, and what do you do when it’s nearing the early morning? go to mcdonald's.

their menu isn't that particularly easy to read as they like to mix a blend of eastern and western food. but number 7 without the cheese looked acceptable.

before I go into too much detail, here is the 411. cheese in chinese is called nailao.

so i asked for the 'number 7 without nailao.' sil vous plait and all.

the girl at the counter looked up, cocked her head, and replied, 'what? without what?'

'nailao, the bright yellow square that could be mistaken for a roadwork sign.'

'you mean mustard?'

'no… i mean NAILAO.'

'we don’t have nailao,' she says all confused, then turns to another worker, 'hey jimmy! we don’t have nailao, do we?'

this jimmy person literally snaps back, 'pfffttt, nailao? what the fuck is that? no!'

by then i had realised this wasn't worth the constant talk and i could just pick the cheese off myself — my only problem with that is that sometimes the cheese melts and i can’t peel it off…

'okay don’t worry, just number 7 then, but what’s the yellow square thing?' i pointed to the triangle edge visible on the giant picture.

'that? OHHHH, that’s jisu.'


'jisu, jeeeeesu! not nailao! we don’t know what nailao is.'

by now i could see she was getting very annoyed, so i smiled and stepped aside to wait for my order, all the while trying to figure out what this jisu is. i began saying it over and over in my head. jisu jisu jisu, jeeeeesuuu, jeeeezzuuu, chiiiiizuuu, cheeeezz-ooo... i think i laughed out loud upon realising jisu is just cheese pronounced with a very heavy asian accent.

and yes the 'jisu' indeed melted onto everything else.