Tag Archives: Asia

Georgetown, Penang (Malaysia)

We actually went there for the World Music festival, which was… interesting. The rest of the town was worth it though.

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Langkawi, Malaysia

Never seen so many animals in my life.

Flying lemur living on the tree in front of our balcony

Flying lemur living on the tree in front of our balcony

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falcon?

falcon?

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looking out for eagles

looking out for eagles

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toucans

toucans

our friend the flying lemur again

our friend the flying lemur again

macaque hiding in the mangrove

macaque hiding in the mangrove

mangrove

mangrove

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giant squirrel

giant squirrel

some kind of monkey

some kind of monkey

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Tokyo, Japan!

Ahhh Tokyo!

Ahhh Tokyo! Seen from our hotel window…

Vegetarian ramen. It is possible!

Vegetarian ramen. It is possible!

Meiji Shrine, Harajuku

Meiji Shrine, Harajuku

Sake!

Sake!

Chrysanthemum, the royal emblem

Chrysanthemum, the royal emblem

Washing your hands and mouth before entering the shrine

Washing your hands and mouth before entering the shrine

prayers

prayers

throw a yen, clap once, bow once, clap twice, bow twice

throw a yen, clap once, bow once, clap twice, bow twice

kimonooos

kimonooos

Takeshi street

Takeshi street

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leave your bad omens here

leave your bad omens here

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walk under to find a partner

walk under to find a partner

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Shibuya

Shibuya

Where's Wally?

Where’s Wally?

cemetery

cemetery

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seen in Yanaka

seen in Yanaka

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Tokyo Bay

Tokyo Bay

Fuji TV hq

Fuji TV hq

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professional kimono arrangers

professional kimono arrangers

the big divine flipflop

the big divine flipflop

Asakusa

Asakusa

Kabuki theatre!

Kabuki theatre!

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a fake christian wedding

a fake christian wedding

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Kamakura

Kamakura

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Traditional wedding

Traditional wedding

Kamakura Buddha, from 13th century

Kamakura Buddha, from 13th century

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Akihabara Electric city

Akihabara Electric city

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Manila, Bohol and Cebu: Philippines

Che culo! as the italians say: I don’t know how we managed this, but we went to the Philippines and escaped all the catastrophes that happened there last week: the typhoon, the ferry sinking in Cebu and then the huge flood in Manila. We didn’t escape the usual 2 hours delays of every boat and ferry of the country though. My European self is starting to get used to it slowly, thank god I have a comics reader on my phone.

First night in Manila, on top of the Bayleaf hotel for the view (Intramuros):

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bohol: Chocolate hills, tarsiers conservation center, river cruise and Baclayon (the oldest) church of course, following the tracks of all the other tourists of the island:

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And Cebu…

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Malacca, Malaka, Melaka…

There's a night market every friday in Malacca... never ending

There’s a night market every friday in Malacca… never ending

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Funky neon Church

Funky neon Church

Malaysian cats with short tails

Malaysian cats with short tails

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Monitor lizard (pregnant, we think) wandering in town

Monitor lizard (pregnant, we think) wandering in town

Malacca Church in the haze

Malacca Church in the haze

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Haze!

Haze!

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Wanna buy a mask too

Wanna buy a mask too

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Cooking show!

Cooking show!

Restaurant/Art gallery/Guest House: The Baboon House

Restaurant/Art gallery/Guest House: The Baboon House

Singapore, Singapore

Marina Bay Sands, this "boat" is longer than the Eiffel Tower...

Marina Bay Sands, this “boat” is longer than the Eiffel Tower…

The Parliament...boring

The Parliament…boring

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Pensioners playing Chinese chess

Pensioners playing Chinese chess

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Shark's fins trade everywhere.

Shark’s fins trade everywhere.

I needed a reference point to show how inhumane this ice cream is

I needed a reference point to show how inhumane this ice cream is

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a sea of crates

a sea of crates

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Singaporean kilt-wearing men..huh?

Singaporean kilt-wearing men..huh?

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On the use of French

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After two months in Kuala Lumpur of learning to drive the crazy Malaysian way, reading about Buddha, restraining from buying all the exciting Japanese and Chinese food products (that I don’t know what they’re made of) on offer in supermarkets, learning Mandarin (only Pinyin to start with), visiting Hindu temples after Buddhist temples after huge Mosques, eating and spitting out many smelly fruits, running many times to the loo after eating too much wasabi (I don’t learn, do I), AND travelling a lot around here, reality has eventually hit me. I gotta find a job soon.

Put aside the fact that to get a professional visa you almost need to be sponsored by Tun Razak himself, it gets even harder if you don’t really have an idea of what you’d like to work as. So after some intennnnse reflection, and since languages are the only thing I can pretend to know, I’ve come to the conclusion that the childhood fantasy of being a French teacher might actually be a good possibility here. 

However, the same doubts that have always assailed me are still bothering now: how much does the world need French? It may be because I spent too much time with British people who never needed to learn any other language to succeed in life, but apart from Chirac who decided that if the US President wanted to talk to him he should do so in French, who else now thinks that French is a must know? 

Really, outside of France, quoting famous French phrases has always been a British higher class prerogative, and if you didn’t go to Oxbridge you never need to woo your peers quoting Jean-Paul Sartre in BBC’s QI.

I am torn between the fact that French is a wonderfully constructed language and a shame to lose it, and the reality of ‘who will need it, a century from now’? Then again, we could say that about many languages other than English and Chinese I guess (for it might take time before the Chinese adopt the enemy’s language). So is it worth keeping on spreading it (even just a little bit)? Will there still be people speaking it 500 years from now? Or even before this? Let me know your thoughts…