Sunday, July 31, 2011

Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves
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There is just so much I want to say about this book that I risk spilling the entire memoir out here.

I remember I couldn't helped but to relate the story to a friend even though I was only midway through the book then. Couldn't helped gushing about how it was so captivating, how the usage of Chinese proverbs in every chapter header perfectly described that particular chapter in Adeline's life, how life in Shanghai was exactly how it was always portrayed in Chinese drama series and many more.

However, do not mistaken my excitement for all things bright and sunny. In fact, it's the exact opposite.Adeline Yen Mah's childhood was one filled with more frowns than smiles. Being born to a mother who died shortly after labor, she was destined to grow up under abuse, both physically and emotionally, not only at the hands of a cruel stepmother but also at the hands of her own siblings, an elder sister and 3 older brothers. Their household may be one that was wealthy and influential but the pain that Adeline went through did not reflect those privileges. She was not even allowed to have friends to come by her house. Her excellent academic achievements was deemed as showing off and being boastful. Her little pet chick was the weakest and smallest yet was the one chosen to be mauled by the parent's pet dog. She was later sent off to a boarding school in Tianjin, right at the height of China's Civil War, where according to her, "Most people were fleeing in the opposite direction".

Adeline weathered the storm and eventually fate dealt a gentler hand and she managed to come out triumphant, becoming a physician in the United States, and then a writer. Her passion had always been in writing which came out top in a prestigious writing competition that managed to catch her father's eyes for once in her life. Even in adulthood, filial piety is in her blood and she did whatever she could to help out her family. She definitely deserved better than the ugliness that reared its head after the death of her father and later the stepmother.

Overall, it is an engaging read. Adeline certainly has a prowess for writing. The memoir is not only about her sad childhood. It is also about her ancestors and their glorious past, her aunt's life in the middle of the China Cultural Revolution, and her own struggles in a foreign land where racial prejudice were rife back in 1950s. Most of all, it's about her root, her culture, her growing up, her voice.

Just like the proverb, Luo Ye Gui Gen (Falling leaves return to their roots), this is her journey. 

My Rating:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Edo Ichi

Been to the place more than a couple of times now. Located at the once lively Island Plaza (I just noticed even Dome had vanished..), Edo Ichi is still pretty abuzz with activities and most tables are occupied. The interior is nicely done with well-placed aquariums, booths for small groups, and larger sections to accommodate a bigger crowd. There is also a sushi bar adorned with huge sake bottles but set lower so you can't actually watch the chefs at work ala real sushi restaurants in Japan as seen in Japanese dramas.

The few times I've been there I'd ordered different dishes (maki-s, hand rolls, etc) and bento sets. The salmon sashimi is presented beautifully in a bowl of decorated ice. The flesh is fresh and I must say...thick! Others were merely average in taste and not really worth the price printed on the menu.

Until we decided to order some greens during a particular visit and went for the soft shell crab & salmon skin salad with special sauce. Say no more. The salad has since been a must-order item at every visit. The mixed lettuces are fresh, crunchy and sweet. The cucumber and cherry tomatoes, juicy. The soft shell crabs and salmon skins delicious to the bite. Most important of all is really the special sauce. It just brings the entire bowl of salad up a notch.

And I would go back to Edo Ichi just for that. Overall, it's a quiet place with pretty good service (they are fast  in ensuring empty plates are promptly cleared off!) and that yummy salad☺

Sunday, July 03, 2011

By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

Now before you go all panicky, it's just the title of the book by Julie Ann Peters...

By The Time You Read
This, I'll Be Dead
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Which was an intriguing read with a well-written flow. Got me turning pages and I even caught myself smiling even though the story line is about a girl contemplating suicide. Daelyn had had many failed attempts - her last attempt left her with damaged vocal cords - until she found this website, Through-the-Light, that thinks it is your right to take your own life if you must. Each member is assigned an ID and the "Date of Determination" is always 23 days from the day you signed up. Thus each chapter of the book is headed with a countdown; X days to D-Day.

Felt shudders at times especially when reading about the "Ways To Go". Each of the methods and means are rated to indicate the level of pain, availability and effectiveness. Did you know it would be better to use a razor-sharp knife rather than a razor-sharp blade? "Because it is difficult to hold when covered in blood...."
[Guess readers would have some options if ever a need arise? *touch wood!]

There's also the Final Forum section where the Jane and John Does share their pain and experiences. Above all, it threw a light on why some of us would go for a premature way out.

And bullying kills. I must say that well-known phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is kinda crap now. Because words can often be sharper than swords and they seriously cut DEEP.

When one has suicidal thoughts and somehow someone appears in their lives right at that moment, will it save them and help them see things in a different perspective? That there might actually be hope afterall? Daelyn met Santana. But is it too late?
So in the end, did she or did she not?
For you to find out...

My Rating: