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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Filipina in Hyderabad

Having replaced writing blog entries for writing book chapters and conference papers since heading to grad school, it seems like this blog needs a bit more recent action!

Most recently, I had a grand adventure in Hyderabad, meeting up with old friends from the environment movement, Vikram and Aparna! Of course the legitimate reason for this green reunion was 100% academic. I shared research on online news reporting on climate change from the Philippines at the Asian Media Information and Communications Centre (AMIC) regional conference, hosted by the University of Hyderabad.

My presentation talked about how different the content of online reporting was between civil society bloggers and online journalists in talking about climate change policy at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit. While arguing for the need to look deeply into content variation, I focused a lot on the idea that alternative framing is what ultimately determines alternative content, which differentiates mainstream from alternative media.

I had no idea that this Filipina in Hyderabad would get a lot of questions from academics, apparently the radar graphs I used were a major draw! At least four different people in the audience approached me after the session to find out how such framing efforts could be visually illustrated!

It was an amazing experience to be in touch with such amazing researchers focused on environmental communications, especially Lecturer Maitreyee who talked about the indigenous communities of Orissa, India and Prof. Mohammed Zin Nordin from Penang, Malaysia, who served as our panel chair.

And the Paneer McSpicy (commercial from McDonald's India here!) plus mulberry digestive, alongside the walk on the lake with Vikram who works at WWF Hyderabad, and Aparna who does environment education with CEE's Hyderabad office made it a rockin' week!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Punk Rockin' in Bangkok!

My friend Tina is the hot bassist for the indie punk band here in Bangkok called "Tender Preys." They're a trio composed of a French frontman/lead guitar, a British drummer and a Pinay bassist:) All original stuff here, reminding you of happy 80's old school punk.

Checked out their gig last Saturday at the Immortal Bar on Khao Sarn Road (the famous backpacker district)--and it was great! Happy time for any head-banging rock lover in the emerging/indie/underground Thai rock band scene. The bar was a tiny place with a sitar, a mom and son manning the bar and dishing out beers, a 40-something way funky DJ who was spinning rock/metal hits punctuated by homemade sound effects, and 3 other Thai rock bands.

The Thai bands were interesting--a mix between pop-rock, heavier alt rock, and then there was this bluesy sounding one. Since they sang in Thai it was hard to make out but the songs were about, but good musicianship more than made up for it!

Tina's group is opening for the "Futons" this Valentine's day at RCA's Club 808. It's a kind of anti-Valentine's gig:)

The "Futons" are a pretty cool electro-punk gig with 2 Thai and 2 British members. They have a pretty cool music video
here. And it seems like Suede's former drummer has been reincarnated moving continents to Thailand to drum for Futon:)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pad Thai Numero Uno, other food favorites

My favorite Thai dish hands down: pad thai!

In my adventures, there is a shop that I frequent in Soi Ari that serves the best pad thai. It serves nothing but pad thai--with small shrimp, jumbo prawns, glass noodles, ramen noodles, etc. It's pad thai heaven sprinkled with peanut bits and lime juice all over:)

My favorite escape includes a big order of pad thai, and a cool glass of kwe kiao, chrysanthemum tea:)

But the being more adventurous especially with the mobile thai fare, read, street food, I've ventured to two interesting habits: buying freshly baked bread and khao mun gai from friendly people in the same area.

There is a friendly lady who laughs at my pronunciation of moo yong, which is the bread with pork floss baked into it. (Sort of reminds you of yummy Bread Talk back home.) It's baked right on the street, fresh from a large steel oven just outside the swing doors to a grocery store. And it is perfect--soft buttery bread loaf, warm from the oven, barely risen, with a secret salty-sweet surprise. I've been adventurous and tried the moo yong with chili paste inside (chili paste is yet another Thai discovery!) but my favorite is the regular one.

Then there is a skinny chicken seller who claims his is the 'best chicken in Thailand,' which actually I haven't found the cause to argue about yet. He makes khao mun gai, which is better known in my lifetime as Hainanese chicken rise. This is my ultimate comfort food--the subtle steamed chicken slices and the bold chickenstock-flavored rice. Perfect. My whole family knows how to make this at home, and loves it--willing to suffer the intensive and slow cooking process. But this time, for around 30 pesos a serving, piping hot and steaming, I believe I've found my "suki" for a song.

I believe those two are a close second and third place to pad thai!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Holidays in Thailand

Spending the holidays in Bangkok was a blast--especially with Mei coming in from Hawaii to be with her family! It's been a year since we've met up in person since Singapore but it couldn't have been more perfect to hang around, be silly, play with their four cute dogs and go to church in Thai:)

Come new year, there was a blast from the past--with Bjarke and Juan who I had met in Bangalore coming over by bus from Vietnam via Cambodia. So Mei, her cool sis Gig, Mei's friend from Hawaii-Travis, and Bjarke and Juan, and Mei's Mom and Dad spent new year's together---visiting the Grand Palace, singing karaoke, bowling, having a tower*winkwink*, talking about climate change:)

brilliant 2008 to everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Filipino Flash Fiction

I remember a girl's stress-management/back-to-nature weekend with Kris and Mitz from my english block in uni.

Aside from eating healthily, breathing in countryside air, and taking long long showers, and a lot of girl talk--we actually had some time to read/write.

Kris was settling in with a book by Jostein Gaarder, which was something she hadn't had time to do in between medical residency. And our IT/Chemistry whiz Mitz, settled in with some back-to-basics reading, and even threw in a book for me. On the other hand, I took some time to figure out what would make prose poetry, prose.

The result of my kulit project to figure out that puzzle is forthcoming in the Milflores Anthology or short, short fiction or "flash fiction" in English (note: go check out the book to find out!). There is also a flash fic in Filipino language as a complimentary collection. At 750 words, realized being impressionistic in prose is tough compared to poetry, considering that I used to be a lecturer of LIT 13, Fiction, and am supposed to have a rather fair idea what makes a story, a good one!

The cover looks really interesting. Got a good look at it via email so far. And with the hectic workload here, it's a simple pleasure to get email with news on a brand spanking new anthology!

And having encouraged my students from LIT classes with some short short fiction work by A.S. Byatt, etc. realized that it's great to grapple with the form and see how Philippine realities can be represented in such few words other than poetry. Since I was awarded my first writing fellowship to a national workshop as a university freshman, I realized I had been very focused on poetry. Other than essays, I hadn't attempted to write prose - fiction seriously--other than during my own LIT 13 class.

My wonderful friend from UP and Iyas Writing Workshop, co-fellow and perpetual roommate, Anna, is there as well as co-fellows from IYAS.

Will post when it's out--I'll still be in Thailand when it gets published in the Philippines, but I'm already excited!!! You guys will need to let me in on how it is when it comes out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Call for Kids: UNEP's Childrens' Conference 2008

The next Tunza International Childrens' Conference on the Environment will be held in Stavanger, Norway from 17 to 21 June 2008. Environmentally-involved children between 10 and 14 years and their chaperones are eligible to apply to participate. The last Children's Conference was held in 2006 in Malaysia.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is hosting the event as part of its 'Tunza Strategy' to engage youth and children as stakeholders in mainstreaming environment for sustainable development, in close collaboration with its local partner Young Agenda 21. The conference is being held in Norway for the first time, and about 1000 children and chaperones from all over the world are expected to attend.

The application process has already started, and we encourage NGOs, schools and private persons to apply. Each adult chaperone should bring at least 2 children. Group sizes may vary, but will as a main rule consist of 2-6 children and their chaperone(s).

The conference fee is 250 USD per person. Delegates from developing countries can apply for a grant to cover their expenses for travel and participation.

Deadline for application is 31 October.

Please go to UNEP's website,
to find the application form.

More information about the conference is available at Young Agenda 21s website

We hope to see many enthusiastic young environmentalists around at the conference, so please help us spread this message to your friends and networks around the world!

Kind regards,

Charlotte Susanne Fjelltvedt
Young Agenda 21
Project Consultant
Phone +47 5190 6466
Fax +47 5190 5401

Friday, September 14, 2007

Like an old Chinese favorite....

My dad and I have a thing for cashew nuts--especially in food. We're the only ones in our foodie family to actually love an order of stir fried chicken with cashew nuts in Chinese restaurants whether at home or on the road.

And lo and behold, one of my favorites has a Thai incarnation--made with fish sauce, oyster sauce and a lot of scallions and sweet onions:) And no, it is not spicy...

At the cafeteria, there is one particular stall which I am definitely a "suki" of already. I order this to go or to eat right there with my friends during lunch break. And at 30 baht, with rice, it's a steal:)

I've been thinking a lot about my food choices lately and what they've meant especially since it's been a month since I've been here. There are definitely interesting things about being in AIT cafeteria--like great Indian food (samosas, lassi, chicken tikka, nan bread, yumyum, you name it!), slow-cooked Chinese-Thai food (it's my first time in a long time to have honest to goodness pork humba with knuckles and egg) and then the Thai-food-you-are-not-sure-is-spicy-but-you're-too-scared-to-try-so-you-ask-your-friend-to-order-it.

Maybe easing in is a good thing. Taking it slow and steady...going with what you know and then movingf outwards little by little.