T shirt motto for the day: LIVE, LOVE , LAUGH!

Here are a few of the things that struck me as being really great about Asia on my last visit (2 months over the new year, 2014-2015.)

1/ Rice. I ate it 3 times a day, like everyone else . Hot in the evening, in noodle form for breakfast. White rice, red rice, black rice, wild rice, sticky rice and noodles. According to the boffins it’s pure white starch and is digested to sugar instantly which means a blood glucose surge followed by an insulin rise , which means weight gain. So how come I lost over a pound a week for 2 months? No it’s not the warm climate, because I never lose weight when I’m with the family in the Caribbean eating yams and roti.

When Queen Victoria tried to blackmail the Chinese into trading with the British Empire, the Emperor of China replied that his country already had everything a person could possibly want, starting with rice and tea. This was when the Brits let loose the weapon of Opium on the unsuspecting populace: thousands of addicts wanted the drug over which the UK had a sole monopoly. Chinese resistance to this led to the Opium wars and the lingering deaths of millions of addicts.

2/ Chinese writing. Japanese too. Imagine having to master that as a child instead of the handful of letters that make up the Roman, Cyrillic and Greek, Arabic and Hebrew, alphabets in lands to the west. Imagine all the extra neural connections that are made in the developing brain. An early appreciation of the beauty of calligraphy. A compulsory difficult task to stretch the growing brain to its maximum potential while at school. Awesome.

3/ Chopsticks. Something you can make for yourself from a piece of bamboo and a knife. Implements that are blunt, hygienic and harmless. Here in Europe we use 3 steel tools that are potentially lethal. You could kill and dissect your dinner companion with your steak knife were you so minded. (Alright, that’s the last time I’m seeing ‘Silence of the Lambs ‘ on late night TV!)

4/ Squat toilets. Slowly being replaced by European style loos with their unreliable flush systems. Good for those unexercised muscles at the backs of the legs. No paper down the hole please – use the basket provided or wash with the scoop/kettle at the side. Save those downstream water courses from unsightly paper pollution. It’s also a chance to view the product. Floating? Good. Sinking? Eat more fibre! Why not check for parasites like worms while you’re at it.

5/ Sitting cross-legged. My friend Nick can do this, but he spent a long time living in India. My tight muscles won’t let me do it at all. I felt envious when I saw a young couple with their toddler drive to the beach for breakfast. No table or chairs: just a roll up mat spread out flat. Everyone sat cross-legged, taking up very little room and ate the noodles and eggs and fruit and green tea they had in their bag.

6/ Respect for the elderly. When I was a kid growing up in post war Britain we were taught to respect our ‘elders and betters’. Ha! Like hell they were better. Anyway, now my generation is approaching the time when it’s our turn to get a bit of respect, there isn’t any. No ‘yes sir, no sir’, more ‘Piss off you boring old fart!’ Has an unwritten agreement been broken here? Meanwhile in Asia respect carries on regardless; old codgers are more likely to live with their grown up children rather than be put in an old peoples’ home.

When I think of more ‘likes’, I’ll let you know!




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