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You must complete all three tasks.
Not long after picking up Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult I had turned the final page and finished the whole 400 plus pages. In fact, it only took me one flight from Perth to Sydney to read it cover to cover. It was an engaging read, obviously, and well structured with a narrative that progressed at a steady pace to hold my attention. It was a story of love and loss, of hurting people out of desperation and internal struggles, and trying to understand the unknowable. It had all the ingredients for the perfect plane book, non-challenging, emotionally charged, dramatic and poetic. So on my next bicoastal trip I picked up The Pact. A completely different setting with all new characters. It was a 400-plus page read about love and loss, of hurting people out of desperation and internal struggles, and trying to understand the unknowable. Still, it is a beautifully written yet easy to read but it was almost the same book with a suicide instead of a run away wife, troubled teenagers instead of a cardiologist, and a country town instead of the affluent elite of the city. I have given Picoult a third chance with Keeping Faith but it seems that once landing on a formula that equates to commercial success she has struggled to venture very far from it. While a beautiful writer, her books are the literary Weight Watchers full of empty calories and everything tastes the same. I don’t need to read another one of her novels; read one, read them all.
Assesment 3 – The Blurb
Anthony was tired of life in the comfort zone. After twenty years in suburban Sydney, he longed to experience the rest of the world. When he finds an opportunity for work abroad, he moves to South Korea and meets Nate, a mysterious character who shows him a world of extravagance he could never have dreamed of.
But when Anthony stumbles on a series of morbid events, he becomes entangled in something that tests how much he will compromise to keep this new life afloat.
Lost Seoul is a tale of travel, thrills, decadence and danger, a place where lust and morals collide.
Assessment 3 – Review Restaurant
Da Ping Huo
Private Kitchen, Hong Kong
69 Hollywood Road, Central Hong Kong
Hollywood Road like other places in Hong Kong doesn’t have a street number. Eventually, I spotted a promising doorway on a sloping side street. Inside, the place is chic and contemporary, with dim lighting and contemporary Chinese paintings are scattered over the walls. The décor is a long stretch from the greasy restaurants where I’d eaten Sichuan before, and that’s probably because it’s technically not a restaurant. Da Ping Huo is one of the longest running private kitchens in Hong Kong, which means they are not licensed, and more selective with diners. The appeal of these places is a more intimate setting, and more affordable gourmet food. For the most part, the menu has been unchanged for almost two decades, which implies they are doing something right.
Soon after the 15 or so other guests were seated, the first course was served, sliced cucumber in sweet rice wine and sesame. It was refreshing and tickling to my appetite. Next came a subtle plate of seaweed garnished with garlic and sesame. The third dish was where the Sichuan flavours took charge. It was a bowl of crunchy soy nuts, glass noodles, fresh chilies, and Sichuan peppers. This ingredient is the biggest hook for the cuisine, providing a drug like numbing to the mouth. It was bizarrely delicious.
Next came a familiar mountain of dried chillies and fried chicken. By this stage, my mouth was somewhere between paralysed and ecstatic, so I had no hope of slowing down. Next, slow cooked beef in chili coriander soup. This course had a definite reduction in spice, but the accumulating effects were beginning to overpower. The following dish was an appreciated release; a soothing chicken, cabbage and mushroom soup.
The following dish was a blend of tofu, chili oil, shallots and Sichuan peppercorns. Somehow, the soft textures harmonised with the returning wave of spice, and I gobbled it down without needing to stop and pant. Next came two large, thickly wrapped dumplings. The texture from the extra skin gave them a doughy taste, and the stuffing of sweet minced chicken balanced the chili oil they were served in.
The final dish was an altogether alien desert of chilled tofu pudding, diced pear and palm seed, curious enough to make an impression amongst the commanding flavours before it.
At 350 HKD a head, Da Ping Huo is incredible value, both for the experience and the standard of food. I vow to return whenever I am next in Hong Kong.
Assessment 3 – The Blog
‘The Dumbening’ is the name I give to the decline in intelligence of society, which I noticed quite some years ago . One only has to turn on a TV or radio, to be bombarded with shows and ads aimed at people with an IQ of 80 or less. I’m not saying there isn’t a market for such ads/shows – on the contrary, it’s there; as obvious as Tim the Demtel man yelling ‘BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!!!’ What concerns me is the lack of quality media encouraging people to THINK. You remember thinking…that thing people used to do before calculators and computers. Thinking has become a foreign concept to a generation who hasn’t had to learn their times tables (‘that’s what calculators are for’), or learn to spell (‘that’s what spell check’s for’), or have face-to-face conversations (‘that’s what texting and facebook are for’).
If for some unfathomable[.O3] reason technology was to cease to exist we would be left with a generation of people whose only skill is knowing which Kardashian is which – no help in the REAL world (unless of course they apply for a job at one of those media companies that is responsible for adding to their dumbening in the first place).
We, as a society, risk a cataclysmic evolutionary event: the extinction of the human race through stupidity.?? Governments are already trying to allay this threat by idiot proofingplaygrounds[.O4] ,? language and actions, under the guise of safety and political correctness. But you can’t save people from their own stupidity; as evidenced by the increasing nominations for the Darwin Awards. You haven’t heard of the Darwin Awards? Beware The Dumbening at work. The Darwin Awards [.O5] are posthumously awarded to people whose deaths occur as a direct result of their idiotic actions – for improving the gene
pool, by removing themselves from it. One only has to read through some of the causes of the award recipients’ demises to realise we are in a downward spiral. I suppose the examples are in the link. A hint at them would have been good.
If the media is any guide, the way the world is going there won’t be a gene pool left that’s worth sticking a big toe in. Even intelligent people can’t help but become dumber when bombarded with such low brow media; their only option – to shut themselves away with literature and art for stimulation and company. Only problem is, with the intelligentsia locked away to avoid The Dumbening, there is little to no chance of them procreating, further affecting the already shallow gene pool previously mentioned. To quote Herbert Morrison: ‘Oh the humanity!’
[Sources: www.darwinawards.com; www.wikipedia.com]
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