29 June 2010

The angelic smile on my son's face

(Although not shot professionally with even lighting, the smile is still a smile.)

What can be more rewarding than seeing the angelic smile on my son's face after a long exhausting day full of reading, marking, commenting and the so-called academic critical thinking?

Before my son was born, producing more journal papers and finding a secured academic job is the centre of my life, but now affording my son a carefree childhood, both spiritually and materially, has become another centre.

Just like an ellipse, there are now two foci in my life and thus a delicate balance between professionalism and family has to be maintained so that the ellipse can be kept regularly oval rather than transformed into an egg.

While seeking the balance, I find I have to work more efficiently in, and only in, the daytime on weekdays and reserve the evenings and the weekend for my son. This definitely applies to any working parent and not something extraordinary. However, I do enjoy the lifestyle changes of parenthood.

Above all, this is simply part of life and a must of life.

17 June 2010

Lost tradition of the telecast dragon boat race

(Image from China Times Magazine)

Yesterday was the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar—Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Festival 端午節 known in most Chinese-speaking societies.

When I was a boy and when there were only three state-controlled terrestrial TV channels (TTV, CTV and CTS), on Dragon Festival my family and I usually watched the live telecast of dragon boat races. We would switch channels all the times in order to avoid adverts and try to watch as much as possible the live singing show staged just on the bank of the river where a boat race was held, which was usually organised by the TV channel that telecast the race.

However, it seems that few people would watch this sort of live broadcast dragon boat race and singing performance because I saw no programme, even a recorded broadcast, of any dragon boat races yesterday on any of the channels (either cable or wireless services ) available nowadays in Taiwan.

Therefore it is not profitable for a TV channel to produce a live broadcast of a dragon boat race along with a live singing show and we shall see no more telecast dragon boat races on TV.

13 June 2010

Capturing a transient smile

As I said, when you have a baby and happen to maintain a blog, the blog will become an online album for the photos you would take for your child.

Fanne took this photo by chance on Sunday afternoon. It is so cute that I just can't help but upload it immediately to share with the readers of Principle Wei's weblog.

Although professional photographers know that they have to produce dozens of images to get a picture that satisfies them, for us amateurs, seizing the moment 'by chance' is good enough.

How is Ronne in comparison with my Mahakala face?

12 June 2010

My Mahakala face with a taqiyah

(Graduate Wei-Qian, Professor Tsai, Jing-Ting with seven candles and myself with a Uyghur dap)

Jing-Ting bought two taqiyahs, short rounded caps worn by male Muslims, and gave me one as a present, for no reason. But I guess it has something to do with our successful collaboration and mutual-benefit 'boss-employee' relationship.

We've been working together so well that my course, 'Musical Cultures Around the Globe', is awarded again as 'distinguished general education course, autumn 2009' and he is also awarded again as 'distinguished teaching assistant, autumn 2009'.

The Graduate Institute of Musicology where I work as a postdoctoral fellow had a graduation celebration for our master students last Friday. Jing-Tin and I put on the caps for this special occasion. As we have been studying Arabic classical music and the culture, we consider this a kind of culture exhibition rather than merely culture appropriation.

The photo was taken on this special day.

As one of our graduates, Wei-Qian, has just finished her dissertation on Chinese revolution opera under Professor Tsai's supervision. Jing-Ting and I asked the maestro and disciple to take a photo with some dramatic postures as those Beijing opera performers would do. While Wei-Qian was too shy to show off, Professor Tsai did demonstrate an energetic facial expression.

To complement Professor Tsai's demonstration, I offered my Mahakala expression.

07 June 2010

Beef tomato with pork stew

(Not very clear as tomatoes have literally melted away, but still worth posting here as a picture 'sometimes' speaks a thousand words)

Aside from conducting research, delivering lectures and housekeeping, I suppose, in my case, cooking has now been included in the job description for Postdoctoral Fellow & Adjunct Assistant Professor as well.

There are certainly nothing commoner than research and lecturing in academia. However, as a person who believes that everything has its place in a divinely designed way (designed by myself, which should not be questioned), from time to time I have to spruce up the office to make everything shipshape and Bristol fashion. It's for my own good.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to students and assistants working in the same office that beef tomatoes are perfect complement for Chinese-style pork stew, though it's unusual to see tomatoes cooked with pork in Chinese cuisine. No sooner had I put a full stop at the end of the sentence, they asked for a piece of hard evidence—a piping hot, ready-to-eat dish.

Therefore, I spent six hours on Sunday evening cooking a pot of pork stew to demonstrate how well beef tomatoes go with pork and their palates were persuaded today.

Here is a list of the important ingredients, in addition to pork, I used to cook this dish:
  • Veggies: diced beef tomato and diced carrot
  • Herbs and spices: ginger, spring onion, fresh basil, chilli
  • Sauce: Soya sauce, Chinese cooking wine, Chinese black rice vinegar and brown sugar, and of course water
Well, no measurements are given here because I've never tried to measure them up. However, I believe foodies can always discover the quantity of ingredients.

Assistants and students are requesting more, and therefore cooking is now part of my job.