Sunday, June 15, 2008

Night out with friends

Hell it was dead cold last night in Sydney. My hands were frozen to bit and when I finally met up with Stan, the first thing we both said "Fk it's cold tonight!" and started laughing.

Since we didnt book any place for dinner, the four of us ended up at darling harbour and being 7.30pm, it was virtually impossible to get a seat in places to eat (in the "better" ones). I honestly think this stretch is a tourist rip off place but I figure its too late to try to find somewhere decent in the city itself on a sat night. So we settled in at Aria whose service even at the entrance was already deserving of a Gordon Ramsay "fking" speech. The waiter saw us at the entrance and just walk off. I would have walked off and not patronise the restaurant given such a lousy service attitude but since YX wanted to eat pasta, we all relunctantly went along, not before James and I started bitching abt it.

As expected, it was overpirced and it wasnt even good. When YX said "I think i will have the duck", James and I went "How did pasta ended up as a duck!" and teased for for a good minute. Food was bad but at least company was great. So anyone thinking about it, scram fast and do not bother.

YX just returned from Shanghai from her 3 weeks break and we talked about the earthquake in her country. While we all agreed it was unfortunate event. we all concluded the the victims of the quake were "better off" in the care of their government, compare to the poor people in Burma who were asked to "eat frogs" by their military leaders.

It was a night of interesting conversation as we talk about how the country responses to foreign aid were, how general public react to it. James told us that when Tsunami first struck, many of his peers wanted to fly over to help but was told to hold back. While everyone wants to help, people have to realise that having more general people there will only be a hindrance, because they are actually using up precious water and food supplies meant for the victims. Even the doctors were asked not to rush in immediately as without equipment as amputations cannot be done without proper painkillers and consideration to the patient's wounds, and without medical supplies on scene, even a doctor cannot do much. So they were told to form a team of 4 and wait till all the medical equip were sent on site before flying over to help. However, there was one doctor he knew of who didnt obey and flew there on his own accord, so that he can be the first to be posing on the news to say he was "helping" when in truth, there was nothing he could do alone there without a team nor batt pack equip to assist him. In the end, it was all abt personal glorification of his "humanity work".

In china, YX shared that alot of her local friends had also wanted to help and they went to sign up their names. However, the aid relief worker told them politely "Unless you are a doctor, or a phyciatrist equip to deal with children, then we wont need you."

Any unnecessary presence will only hinder the aid operation and become a liability. I was sharing that I read about 4 Brits in HK, complaining about their visa not being approved because they wanted to help. However the main question was: If you cannot speak the language, you are not a medical team, you do not have any sort of useful drilling equipment with you, what can a team of 4 do? China has tons of soldiers, so human labour is the last thing they need. People have to realise that wanting to help in a disaster situation and being an actual help is 2 different matter. When foreign aids come in, the host nation has an added responsibility to look after these people, when such resources can be better channeled to the victims. However, we all came to a conclusion, don't donate money, donate goods. Well, even though we know good can be stolen and be sold to black market, but the chances of that is lower than someone running away with the money.

It was just the other day we read about a china branch of bank staff missapproperiating the quake donation funds to buy branded goods for their staff and was discovered by the auditors. James was saying they ought to be shot, because that was effectively stealing from the victims. Apparently when Hurricane Katherina in state strike, looters were warned and soldiers were told to shoot on sight if anyone persisted. In those situations, one simply does not have time nor resources to haul these people to courts. Well I cannot verify the truth of this news bit but I wouldnt be surprised.

There were further sharing of other disasters stories where James's uncle, who was also a doctor had experience in a few decades ago. The conversation went on from talk about dead flesh eating maggots preventing infections on open wounds, and slowly somehow along the way, we moved to horror stories and movies. We laughed our head off when he shared that one of his mates after watching a midnight session of "the ring" (the japanese version), went home and plugged out his TV and put it in the car boot. It was hilarious! James asked him "What if the woman started crawling out of the TV while you are driving" and that absolutely freaked his friend out!!!

We moved on to Lindt cafe and then to Equilibrium bar for a quick drink. The drinks were awlful there. I have never tasted such diluted cocktails ever in my life! YX and I started talking about the drinking places in Shanghai and laughing about "Seven" where they try to confuse patrons with the toilet doors and the "password" needed for entry. It was gimmicky, but at least it leaves a lasting impression for sure!

Strangely, YX actually got tipsy after 3 glasses of "cocktails" which we labelled as "juice with a dash of vodka", so we all decided to pack up and leave. It wasnt really a great place anycase. My first and probably last drink in Sydney. Drinks suck, but hey, at least everyone had a great time tonight.

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