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Friday, April 3, 2009

Summer Party Luau

Summer is definitely here. The air is too hot for comfort, everyone seems to be stocking up on ice cream and other cool desserts, the airwaves are blasting more danceable, carefree songs and everyone seems to be wanting to go to the beach or the nearest pool to cool off. But when you can’t go to the beach or pool just yet, or if you want to maintain that glutathione-whitened hide of yours, why not throw a beach-themed Summer party at home? Here are some tips to go about the Summer Luau all your friends have been asking for.

Ambiance- A great party starts with the ambience. This not only sets the mood of the party, but more importantly it establishes the theme of the party. Buy some leis , hammocks and torches to set the luau mood or use sarongs as table cloths. Wanna up the luau ante? Make some pineapple lamps just by carving out holes from pineapple skins (make sure though that they have not yet lost their cylindrical shape) and then place tea light candles in the middle for a summery glow. Try putting up some japans paper lamps in cascading heights or scatter a little white sand on top of your table or staple grass skirts around it. To truly make a bang form whatever word you wish (like Luau or Summer) with pieces of wire, wrap rags around them, and then drench them with gas. Light them up as your guests come in and surprise them with a truly flaming welcome.

Food- No party is complete without food. Serve up some fun fionger food like spring rolls, nachos, chips, fresh fruits, veggies with dips or maybe even fish shaped biscuits! For the main course, serve some grilled fare like pork belly, pork barbeque, chicken barbeque, fish and shrimp skewers (add some pineapple for a sweet and festive touch) and even some gambas. You could also buy frozen chicken fingers and spicy chicken wings from your local grocery. Pasta Puttanesca is also an ideal summer party or maybe even some seafood pizza.

Serve up your drinks in cool-hued glasses or offer your guests some fresh coconut juice right from the nut! And since it is never a summer party in Las Islas Filipinas without the beloved Halo-Halo, create your own Halo-halo bar. Ingredients for authentic halo-halo are now readily available in any mall-based grocery, purchase some crushed ice, milk and you are all set for a fun night of icy cool desserts!

Happy Juice- You could serve some Sangrias. Put some cheap red wine in a punch bowl, add some tonic water or juice (optional) and slices of fresh summer fruits. You could also make this festive drink in its white version by simply replacing red wine with white wine. You could never go wrong with blue and red margaritas, or even just shots of tequila. For a more festive Alcoholic treat, try some jello shots. Just make some jello according to package instructions, mix in about a half cup of vodka per package of jello (make sure to mix the alcohol in while waiting for the vodka to cool down, and not while actually heating the vodka, otherwise the alcohol will just evaporate leaving you with, well, just plain kid’s jello). Add little pieces of fruit cocktail on your molds (try those disposable ketchup or condiment containers. You know, the ones Chinese fast-food joins put soy sauce in when you take-out some food) and then pour in the jello. Oh and please don’t forget those little paper umbrellas to stick in your glass.

Costume- A summer luau is supposed to be casual. Jeans are totally gross and inappropriate for summer parties, and so are polo shirts. Ask your guests to come in Hawaiian outfits (with leis, grass skirts, coconut bras, and Hawaiian prints), beach attire (relaxed shirts, board shorts, beach dresses), or just anything casual. Flip flops are a must!

Music- I already suggested some tunes for a summer party in my last aricle but in case you didn’t catch that (Tsk. Tsk. Tsk), here are a few songs I hand picked myself: Just Go by Lionel richie and Akon, Put Your Records On by Corrine Bailey Rae, Sunshine by Gabrielle, I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, Amber by 311, Island in the Sun by Weezer, One Look by Kjwan and Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow.

Linky Love- If these tips aren’t sufficient, visit these websites:;;; or

Cheap Chou

There has been a lot of buzz about Tsip Chou’s recent article in HK Magazine; it has been plastered all over the news; it has been the topic in many a conversation; it has even turned to our summer past time. Before I actually searched for it online, I didn’t have an idea on what he actually wrote, aside of course from the infamously quoted “Nation of Servants” line. Which leads me to wonder, do we really know what we are all whining about? Here is the article:

“The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.”

After reading that, I didn’t get the reaction I expected. Instead of insulting, I found it terribly entertaining. Why? Because, unlike many journalists, he writes with passion, with attitude, and oomph. Unlike other journalists he does not hesitate to say what he thinks. Unlike other journalists, he is unafraid.

Unfortunately, unlike many journalists, his article was lop-sided, biased, ill-researched and misinformed. And that to me was the funniest part of all: how someone so seemingly intelligent can be so ignorant at the same time.

He wrote this article to be heard, and we all know that he got what he wanted. He probably wanted to be famous outside Hong Kong, and well, he got that as well. He got to be notorious by insulting a whole nation, and I could just imagine the grim satisfaction on his face for all the attention he has been given. Just that image makes me want to slap him across the face, not because of the comments he made, but because I hate people who are too full of themselves. So all the drama and media attention the Philippines is giving him will just add fuel to his fire. Now, a whole nation knows who he is, all because of an article he probably wrote just because he had nothing else to write about and his deadline was fast-approaching. I think Filipinos should not have even minded these stupid statements and careless judgments from Tsip Chou. We all know deep down, that we have become a Nation of Servants. And is there really shame in that? Is there really reason enough to ask for a public apology? Because I checked the dictionary, and the definition it gave was “One who is privately employed to perform domestic services”. And I thought we were proud that Labor was our top export? Now, I am just confused.

I remember everyone being so proud that we, as a nation, find “greener pastures” outside our mother land. We used to celebrate the fact that we live to serve, now, we are insulted by the term “servant”; when it is a fact that some of us live to serve foreigners.

When did we become shameful of the fact that we live to serve, not just people in our nation, but also, people from other countries? When did we start becoming shameful of the fact that Tito and Tita work as domestic helpers in the States? When did we become shameful of the fact that the Filipino is so humble that he is willing to work as a skilled laborer in a foreign country when he is a degree holder in his native land?

I don’t know for sure, but maybe it all started when a careless journalist named Tsip Chou gave his two cents.