Traditional vs. Simplified

It’s rainy in New York City today.  Rather wet and grey.  After completing some of my tasks on hand, I decided to stroll down to downtown: Chinatown area for late lunch.  Picked Vietnamese, Pho and some veggies to keep me warm and it’s kind of a comfort food for an Asian dude like me.

While I was slurping my way through the uniform and thinly sliced rice vermicelli in super clear beef consommé, the table next to me caught my attention.  I’m Chinese and they are too.  Nothing against Chinese as I am one too.  What bothered me is they were questioning the server on items on the menu when it is screaming with trilingual languages printed on the menu – English, Vietnamese and Traditional Chinese.

Maybe I interpreted it completely wrong or that I didn’t get the entire conversation between the neighboring table and the server.  My immediate reaction was that it is either they are illiterate or Traditional Chinese doesn’t register to them as a known language/character set?

I’ve learned my Chinese in the Traditional Chinese character set.  I think it’s a beauty, especially when it’s in calligraphy.  It’s a work of art for those who are able to compose calligraphy in Traditional Chinese characters.  Those in the know can interpret it like it’s a dancing line across the page that makes it more like a painting than calligraphy.

What’s mind-bogging to me is that the neighboring table probably have no idea how to read the Traditional Chinese character set but only the simplified character set, maybe?  I have no idea what’s the policy in language skills in China – but what’s the deal with having both character sets?

That reminds me that I saw a print advertisement in Hong Kong right before I moved back with China Mobile Limited (中国移动通信) slapped all over the MTR (subway/metro).  The brand logo is in simplified character set and the content of the advertisement was in traditional character set.  It’s blatantly screaming confusion to me.  I have no idea how to read Simplified Chinese characters – I only guessed it because of the logo…

The question comes to mind is: as China consolidates the regions of Hong Kong and Macau as a Special Administration Region and maybe Taiwan adds to the list – does it mean that in order to be Chinese, One has to learn both Traditional and Simplified character sets?  As more and more Chinese travel back and forth between these regions, what is the standard?

I’m just imagining how would the Simplified character set in calligraphy look like?  To be honest, I’ve never seen any calligraphy art that is written in the simplified character set.  Does it mean that Chinese calligraphy art relies on the remaining three regions to pass on the tradition and heritage?

To further the question is: Chinese prides ourselves with recorded history of 4000+ years and what had Communism changed that history into…?

Food for thought for all Chinese…

While the food is all in my tummy, so was the food on my neighboring table.  I paid cash and the usual 15% gratuity.  My neighbor paid with a credit card.  He stroked off the gratuity and left it as that.  The server had to indirectly ask: “You’ll be leaving cash tips?”  Not until then that the neighbor realize he had to leave a tip.

Just a note to everyone who’s traveling – to save yourself from embarrassment is to pickup a Lonely Planet guide, or log on to Tripadvisor.com, plus there are plenty of travel sites/blogs that gives basic information of any country that you may be visiting.

Embarrassment aside, I do think it’s a common courtesy and a show of respect to the locals of the destination that you’re visiting.  Hey, everyone makes mistakes.  I do too.  I’m sure there are instances that I wasn’t showing my utmost best behavior and general etiquette over a night of drinking.  But we’re talking over lunch here…

I hate to address this too – the credit card that the neighbor used was obviously issued in China because it had the “Union Pay” logo on it.  Note to those who don’t know – it’s basically the same as “CIRRUS and PLUS” logos that you see on ATM machines.  You’ll find CIRRUS and PLUS logos on almost everywhere you travel, but not the “Union Pay” as the RMB/Yuan is ‘still’ not considered as an international currency but the credit cards that carry the “Union Pay”, issued by banks in China, are everywhere.  It’s a matter of time that you’ll see this “Union Pay” slapped next to “CIRRUS and PLUS” but until then, China needs to address the issue of when they’ll raise the value of the RMB/Yuan and/or unpeg the Hong Kong Dollar to the US Dollar.

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Since I’m at it, it amazing how Hong Kong began BOTH consumer and commercial banking facilities that allows savings and checking accounts to even saving instruments such as fixed deposits in both currencies: Hong Kong Dollar and RMB/Yuan; with the convenience to withdrawal in any banks with the “Union Pay” and the long time “CIRRUS and PLUS” logos.  Go figure how that works for the People’s Bank of China to manipulate the FOREX markets?  That goes to also say how much of the ‘Basket of Currencies’ that the People’s Bank of China is holding via Hong Kong?

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The Choice of Airline Out of HKG, obviously it’s CX – isn’t it?

As those who have been following my blog, the recurring theme of ‘service’ has been afloat in quite a few posts.  Since I’ve been living in Hong Kong for quite some time, the major airline carrier of choice of course would be Cathay Pacific.  Having the most flights out of HKG, offering multiple flights to basically to major ports around the world and most importantly the ‘Asian Hospitality’ that prides themselves in that only made me realize that this type of hospitality merely attends to customer needs and it only revolves around the ‘One World’, the world of their own ego.

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With a recent encounter with Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles/Marco Polo Club program, the level of customer service is appalling.  These Customer Relations Executives has no idea on following history records of correspondences, let alone be using an effective CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.  Furthermore, the level of English in writing ‘business’ related correspondences completely is sub-par level that made me furious to write this blog.

(Note: Marco Polo Club/Asia Miles Program runs concurrently with Cathay Pacific and Dragonair.  Also, for your information, there were no, none buttons or link on their website to “unsubscribe”)

Here are the thread of messages content:
Message Reference ID: KMM11886602I15977L0KM

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Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for your correspondence.

With regards to the matter you raised relating to terminate your
account, I have forwarded this to The Marco Polo Club Service Centre for
assistance. Should you have further queries, please contact our staff
through the following channels:

MPO Service Centre contact details:

Worldwide toll-free  +800 2747 5500 Ω  +800 2747 3888 Ω

Hong Kong  +852 2747 5500 / +852 2747 3888

800 938088 # (Mandarin service)

Fax: +852 2537 9900

Email: theclub@cathaypacific.com

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Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for contacting The Marco Polo Club Service Centre.

We would like to explain that, apart from your Asia Miles account, the
termination will also apply to your Marco Polo Club membership account.
An enrolment fee of USD50 is required to re-activate your Green
membership account after the termination.

We should be sorry to lose you as a member. Please let us know by return
email if you agree to do so.

Once we hear from you, we will process your request as soon as possible.

Kind regards

XXXX
Customer Relations Executive
Membership Administration
The Marco Polo Club Service Centre

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Dear XXXX,

Thank your for your prompt reply.

Yes, please proceed with canceling/terminating the Marco Polo Club/Asia Miles account #XXXXXXXXXX.  I agree to forfeit the remaining Asia Miles accrued in the account.  Please send a electronic confirmation on the date of cancelation/termination.

Should you have further questions, please contact me by email.

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To whom it may concern:

I have received a phone call from your representative earlier today to confirm the cancellation and termination of the below mentioned account.  I tried to call the number that your representative have listed and unfortunately it is a wrong number.

Please do not disturb me again with your phone calls.  Yes, please cancel/terminate the account – I repeat, please cancel/terminate the account.

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Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for contacting The Marco Polo Club Service Centre.

As requested, we have now closed your Marco Polo Club account and
cancelled all outstanding mileage credits.

We are sorry to loose you from our programme but hope that it will not
be too long before we have the pleasure of your travelling with Cathay
Pacific once again.

Kind regards

XXXX
Customer Relations Executive
Membership Administration
The Marco Polo Club Service Centre

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Dear XXXX:

If you have cancelled/terminated the account as requested?  Why am I still receiving promotional newsletters from CX and/or KA.  Should I report as SPAM?

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Dear XXXX:

On the record – YES, there is still promotional materials from your organization.

Please remove from mailing list ‘at your convenience’.  See attached.

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear XXXX

Thank you for contacting The Marco Polo Club Service Centre.

This is to confirm that your membership account was closed on 15 April
2013. You should not receive any e-news from us now.

However, due to the preset cut off time for e-news delivery schedule,
members may still receive the next issue of e-news in the following
month after cancellation of their account. We do appreciate your
patience.

We do apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Kind regards

XXXX
Customer Relations Executive
Membership Administration
The Marco Polo Club Service Centre

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear XXXX:

Please see attached e-mail.  It’s been almost one month, close to 30-days.

Why am I still receiving marketing materials from your organization?  I do not care whether it’s CX, KA or any of your One World related materials, I think you might want to address such concerns to your supervising management that your updating schedule is not frequent enough that is causing annoyance to consumers?

Please: STOP sending me further communication materials from your organization.

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Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for contacting the Asia Miles Service Centre.

According to the attachment in your previous email, you had subscribed
CXpecials Newsletter.

To unsubscribe CXpecials Newsletter online, please log on to the
following website and follow the instructions:

http://www.cathaypacific.com/cpa/en_INTL/offerspromotions/cxpecialssubscription

Kind regards

XXXX
Customer Relations Executive
Membership Administration
Asia Miles Service Centre

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Ms. XXXX:

I don’t think you’ve checked your records.  Does CX or KA use any CRM management system at all to track customer service correspondences?

Would you please go through all e-mail communications I had with CX.  Before I write formal complaint to the Director of Customer Service, please do some homework.  If you’d like me to re-send you as attachments of previous e-mail communications – please don’t be afraid to ask so.  I’d be more than happy to SERVICE your customer service.

Furthermore, if I do receive another e-mail marketing material from Swire related companies and/or services.  I’ll report as unsolicited advertising that is causing nuisance and disturbance to the appropriate authorities.

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for contacting The Marco Polo Club Service Centre.

This is to confirm that your membership account was closed on 15 April
2013. You should not receive any e-news from The Marco Polo Club/ Asia
Miles.

However, as you had subscribed to KA Specials online, you received the
promotional offer email sent from Dragonair(KA) on 14 May 2013. We have
now made a special arrangement for you to opt out from all KA Specials
and you will not receive any promotional eNewsletter.

Kind regards

XXXX
Customer Relations Executive
Membership Administration
The Marco Polo Club Service Centre

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Ms. XXXX:

Thanks for the ‘SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT’ considered that your colleagues in customer relations department are the ones who are the ones that responded that I will no longer receive marketing materials.

I feel very very ‘SPECIAL’ now where I am so honored to have CX, Marco Polo Club and Swire to have provided the best ‘SERVICE’ available in the South East Asia / Greater China region.

I’m sure that there aren’t any other competitors available to match the services you provide.

Thank you once again.

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Ms. XXXX:

So much for your ‘SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT’ that presumably you’ve taken care of the the customer needs as a Customer Relations Executive.  Unfortunately, your ‘all-talk’ and ‘no-action’ only made me to receive another one of CX/KA, Marco Polo Club, Swire marketing/advertising nuisance that is very disturbing to me. (See attached.)

This completely puts me off in even thinking of choosing your represented airline carriers in the near future to distant future.  Instead of directing my attention to contacting your management in this regard, I think the use of Internet with the word of mouth would help you to take more proactive actions to meet the needs of the customer.

Thank you once again for the very very special arrangement.

If you’ve read the entire correspondence thread, I don’t even know how long this communications of back and forth will continue drag on wasting my time and productivity, not to mention a waste of human resources on their end.  Maybe there’s a reason why Cathay Pacific charges more than other competitors for an economy class ticket.  Probably because the ‘Asian Hospitality’ is to have huge head count that takes up a certain percentage of the revenue that simply translates to being over-priced and having mediocre services.

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Enough said on customer service end.  Reading so much – Hungry?

Time to take a break and grab a bite.

Going through YouTube, I’ve realized that an over-priced economy ticket, literally comes with mediocre services.

Take a look for yourself:

I’m not sure, but remember I mentioned about ‘ego’?  I hope that there is another selection other than all ‘Chinese’ focused items.  Even if it did, ever heard of a balanced meal?  This is simply heavy in carbohydrates.  Oh, maybe eggs and veggies are too expensive for an economy class meal when one of these economy meals costs about $1 US Dollar.  Not to mention, in a high volume commercial kitchen that produces such large quantities of meals per day, it is highly unlikely that these dumplings are made in-house.  So, when the cost of the meal is already that low, where on Earth can you find dumplings that are guaranteed in quality.  Here comes the question of the ‘mystery meat’ that’s in the dumplings.

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Uhh… just keep swimmin’ and swimmin’ in the large batch of custard/panna cotta liquid form before it’s placed in smaller moulds prior to cooling to form into desired shape.  Opps, I can’t get out of this liquid and swam for too long and just broke my leg…  God knows where’s the remaining carcass…

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Don’t know about what you think, it looks to me like it’s left over food scraps slapped together from your local Chinese restaurant.  Pay attention to plating and presentation please.  Having to fly economy and being strapped in a seat for an extended period of time is boring and a pleasant surprise of a hot meal makes a flight a little more pleasant – but hell no if I got this.  By the way, look closer to the edge of the serving container.  The sauce not only has thicken through long-period holding time, but for someone who knows a bit of cooking, the film on the edge is the thickening agent that got stuck after all the hydration of water evaporated, that is probably residue from a starch – flour or corn starch.  Once again, balanced meal?  A few pieces of greens doesn’t cost an arm or a leg, or does it?

For your information, most of CX regional flights are called ‘turn-arounds’, which means that the aircraft does not stay at a given port overnight or does it require any local airport management services such as re-fueling and/or catering replenishing.  I hope that this passenger on this flight is on the flight out of HKG and not the returning one.  If it is, it probably means it’s been sitting there for how many hours? 5+ hours? (Given the scenario of HKG – SIN – HKG.)

Even go further, who knows what those blue coded marked ‘side’ items are ‘coded’ for what reason.  As far as I know, in airline food service facilities.  Sanitation standards are the utmost important due to the risk of food-bourne illness outbreak possibilities; this also means that hot and cold holding temperatures of food items promotes or demotes the growth of bacteria.  I hope that the temperatures are within holding range that minimizes this, but again the ‘coded’ items probably means that there are a possibility of ‘reusing’ untouched items on returning carts/flights?

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Hard to see on this one.  Again, those ‘who can cook’ knows that the basic Chinese style stir-fry uses oyster sauce.  I’m sure Chef Yan can tell you that the color of this oyster sauce is awfully dark, probably close to expiration date?  Look closely at the upper right hand corner of the serving container; it tells me that not only the oyster sauce is awful but how it reflects the light and the viscosity of the sauce shows that LOTS of oil is used to soak whatever that’s in it and oily foods coats your palate and you can’t really taste the ingredients itself.  It probably means the raw ingredients used in this stir-fry is not fresh enough to use less oil.  On the viscosity, it’s been watered down and huge amounts of ‘slurry’ (cornstarch with water) is added to thicken the sauce.

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I feel bad for this passenger.  It’s a long-haul flight and have to put up with ziti that comes dried, hydrated through batch cooking and then being dehydrated again to the point where the tip of the pastas are sharp enough to pierce through saran wrap/cling film.  As if being on a long-haul is not dehydrated enough for my skin and have to be even more dried up with cardboard pasta with high sodium sauce most likely because our palate once again are dulled in high altitudes due to lack of moisture in the air.  Now the sauce, uhhh… you tell me that it is a ‘tomato’ based sauce with that color?  Yep, it’s probably more like ketchup + soy sauce or soon to expire oyster sauce.  Again, it looks like someone’s dinner from last night – any standardization in plating and any efforts in presentation – plus, veggies?  Oh, too expensive, I forgot…

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This is a sign of chef’s creativity in food services to the max.  Oh, noticed that these flour steamed rolls on the bottom and a slab of what looks to me like ‘mystery meat’.  It probably means to me that this flight is scheduled at quite early in the morning.  Hence, these meals are probably created in a food service facility that does not operate on whee hours of the morning to meet the needs of schedule flights.  Therefore, it’s either slapping these flour rolls into the steamer and throw on whatever that is left from previous day’s production line in a rush or it’s probably done the night prior to the schedule departure of this particular flight. Again, the concerns of food sanitation and food-bourne illnesses?

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Finally, a sign of greens in the meal!  Yay! Oh, but no – look at the stalk of the broccoli and there are some browns between the floret and stalk.  It looks to me it’s not only it’s over-cooked, but it’s probably from wholesale market sources of soon to be thrown out because it’s too wilted.

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Too dark to see the very dark oyster sauce here!  Look at how generous Cathay Pacific is to serve such a large portion of rice (on the left) and only to notice that you are served a third of the amount on the previous flight (see video clip prior to this one).  One word: Standards, Standards and Standards doesn’t exist or does it?  Coz the rice is on the right for the one above.  When Cathay Pacific have figured out standards then maybe a more difficult word called ‘presentation’ that requires a chef and not any person picked from the street.

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While we’re talking about rice.  Look closely on this one.  Tougher to notice if you don’t pause it on the right frame.  The discoloration on some of the grains of rice.  If rice is a large volume item on your ‘mis-en-place’ (shopping list), a note for the procurement that you can probably leverage a good price with some thought on planning, forecast and calculations that you can guarantee a certain amount of business with a supplier that you can build on with reliable quality, stable supplying chain relationships and not just calling whoever to be supplying whatever that comes into through the receiving dock, not to mention any quality control points on receiving and before it’s sent to the catering trucks.

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Leg 1:  So-called Japanese curry looks more like the local Chinese/Hong Kong style cafeterias left-over curry from last night.  Please do some research on what Japanese curry is all about before serving it to a Japanese clientele/passengers when flying to/from Japan.  What a delight to see some effort in presentation with an added carrot but only to know that it’s probably left-over ornaments from the banquet style service presentation over at their prestigious Marco Polo airport lounges.  The side salad looks more like it’s heading to the compost more than an appetizing appetizer.  Again, consistency of rice?  Standards?  Look like i’m feeding this batch of rice to babies or the elderly without teeth.

Leg 2:  Do I need to repeat myself?  Guess not.  See the above on the passenger to Italy.  I’d rather stuff myself on a bag of crisps/chips that at least it’s fresh and guaranteed quality.  Oh, they can’t even be bothered with a small portion of sweets but rather just stuff a bun in the container.

Leg 3:  Notice the butter pack?  Again, procurement – it’s about pricing or serving consistency and quality?  Do I need to puke or is it puke from the guy you saw on the street of Lan Kwai Fong (nightlife district in Hong Kong)?  Oh, how on Earth that if you cook with quality chicken that can have bits of flaked chicken floating in sauce?  I’d be happy if I don’t get Salmonella poisoning from eating this meal.

Leg 4:  Needless to say, the ever long lived oyster sauce is making it’s appearance again.

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Those of you who paid close attention to the ‘outsourced’ items such as Haagan-Daz and pre-packaged cookies and what not.  Just to say that they are too busy with faff-ing around to be showing ‘Asian Hospitality’ in the art of i’m too lazy to be bothered, hence – let’s outsource it and it costs less.  If it’s true hospitality and service from the heart, you would be able to think of ingenious ideas that are low in cost, yet easy to prep and make.  It only shows your effort in providing service.  It may not be Michelin Star rated – but it’s something that what I call ‘attention-to-detail’.

Oh, by the way, I question the source of these pre-packaged outsourced items holds any reliability from the source.  I’d compare the Haagan-Daz mini-tub with ones that you can get in grocery/convenience stores.  I don’t know, just an experiment that passengers of Cathay Pacific can do because there are plenty of choices in air travel and my choice would be a member of the Star Alliance.  At least in the port of HKG, they use LSG Sky Chefs that I know I can depend on because the school that I attended in also used LSG Sky Chefs at the time and it has much higher standards.

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For your information, Star Alliance members that I know of flying in/out of HKG:

To and from Japan: ANA and United
To and from Singapore: Singapore Airlines and United
To and from Thailand: Thai Airways
To and from Europe: Lufthansa and SWISS (Swiss Air)
To and from Turkey: Turkish Airlines
To and from South Korea: Asiana Airlines
To and from New Zealand: Air New Zealand
To and from Canada: Air Canada
To and from South Africa: South African Airways

Star Alliance has a network and schedule that is one of the most extensive.  The chances of flying to anywhere in the world is more convenient and in a very competitive pricing.  (Environmentalists: Lufthansa and United already started using biofuels…)  For those who are flying to and from southern and northern hemisphere hemispheres, there are other ports such as SIN and BKK with great airports that offers more space in transit areas.  For anywhere else in Europe, the connecting schedule of Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Swiss Air can get you anywhere in Europe in matter of a few hours once you reach a major port such as FRA (Frankfurt), ZUR (Zurich), IST (Istanbul).  Not to mention, once you get to NRT (Narita) in Japan, flying to and from North America is easy as catching a subway/metro.

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Note to those posting YouTube videos:  Keep recording and help to spot ‘Where’s Service…?’

Thanks! 😀

A Moment to Think of Our Future (Part 2)

To tie the ends together this morning, I’ve mentioned in previous blog post “A Moment to Think of Our Future” on how Charles Darwin’s theory in evolution plays an important role to the future of the human species.

I’ve personally have seen Darwin’s theory of evolution at work – when I was locked up in Hong Kong.  During that time, it wasn’t living in the utmost luxury and roaches were abundant everywhere, especially it was the hot and humid summer.  Having been living in mostly urban areas and cities for most of my life, I’ve seen roaches.  They ‘were’ very dark brown, almost pitch black color at the size of about my pinky finger (at the largest I’ve seen) in longitude oval shape with quite an extended antennae.  However, being locked up and literally had nothing more interesting to do but using my slippers to try smacking at roaches whenever one passes by my bedside: I’ve noticed something different.  It seems to me that there are a new species of roaches and/or that the ones mentioned have evolved.  There are ones that I’ve noticed that are much smaller at the size of my pinky nail in half with a much lighter brown color and it seems that they are not in one single color but a patched work blended with beige.  These little ones are much rounder in shape and you should see how alert and quick they are!  The old version were easy to smack in one blow of my slippers; these mini rounded ones seems like their peripheral vision is wider and further – before you can lay your slippers a little more than a feet away from them, they halt for a second and when you begin the motion of whacking – they literally ‘split the ^&*%’ out of your sight.

roaches

Given that roaches is a species that have lived for the longest ever on planet Earth, it’s about time they have evolved according to Darwin’s survival of the fittest and adaptation, eh?  Absolutely – and this has to thanks to the possible over use of pesticides in Hong Kong.  For any given species to evolve, it’s the survival of the fittest during the struggle of existence of their environments to adapt to the ultra extreme or difficult surroundings to survive.  In the roaches world, the overuse of pesticides in Hong Kong has lead to the large version of roaches to adapt into a more compact exoskeleton that has camouflage capabilities to the lighter colors because living underground has proved to be tougher as constant gallon sized LPG containers pesticides pump being sprayed into city drainage more than enough that they have to surface to sunlight.  Scrapping the long antennae because who needs to smell and taste the pesticide that only leads to death; but the added benefit of an extended sensing capabilities to their surroundings to be zooming back and forth to escape death.

Now, I’ve gave instances of how viruses are merely even considered as a living organism but parts of a DNA/RNA genetic information but they are already evolving rapidly with the examples of a new flu virus every year; it’s stronger every year if you do catch one by having to be staying in bed for a few days and it seems that the regular strength Tylenol/Panadol just doesn’t do it to stop the symptoms.  To the ever changing HIV virus, which is a running silent epidemic that has no effective cure yet but only suppressing the process of their replication.  To what’s now an issue that China needs to address as soon as they can where the Avian flu virus that clips the wings of birds instantly like dropping dead flies that are quickly adapting to environments to be able to transfer from birds to humans, to now a possible case or two of human to human.

Most of us have seen Jurassic Park.  Most of us have seen dinosaur skeletons in museums.  They’re quite impressive, isn’t it?  Archeologists have dug up so many dinosaur skeletons that they flourished on planet Earth that ranges from being herbivores to carnivores to scavengers – to be on land and in the air.  From what I learned through documentaries of Discovery and National Geographic channels are that there have been a few theories of why and how did dinosaurs became extinct.  A large meteor crashed into Earth and caused fragments to disperse far enough to all parts that created volcanic like fires that consumed most living things. Then there was how food sources became extremely scarce that again survival of the fittest, first the herbivores are gone, then the carnivores and left with scavengers pecking on corpses and when corpses decayed to a point where bacteria and other micro-organisms were even too overwhelming for scavengers that killed them too.  And the last one is some sort of communicable disease had wiped them all out, which it is very similar to the second theory that ties them hand in hand.

Time to use proved and possible theories and apply them.  The human population of Earth is constantly rising. The questions of where to find natural resources such as energy, food, potable water have been never been more apparent when some nations have moved from fresh produce to everything chemically engineered with emulsifiers, additives, coloring and preservatives.  Simply go to a grocery store in Hong Kong and pickup a range of items and you’ll see on the ingredients label that comes in the form of codes E500, 150d, 338 etc.  Not to mention that I’ve did a taste test of Coca-Cola bottled in Hong Kong, Japan and in the United States that noticing significant taste differences that are due to the amount of oxygen in the water itself that affects the carbonation; and whatever that the local water department adds in ‘small or large’ amounts of: chlorine, salt, sulfur, algae, rust, manganese, calcium, magnesium to ‘balance’ so-called ‘potable water’.  My experiment and findings are that the one bottled in Hong Kong is almost disgusting when compared to Japan and United States with the carbonation literally fizzles in thin air in the matter of 15-minutes in an aluminum can package.  With the United States following that matches what i’ve known since a little kid to the most crisp and clean taste from the one from Japan.  Sorry to make Coca-Cola sound like a bottle of wine – but it’s a beverage that I’ve grown up with and nothing beats a hot sizzling day or over a spicy meal with an ice cold Coca-Cola – listening to the carbonation like rain drops on a spring day – gulp, gulp, gulp… ahhhhh!  To me, it’s ‘always’ Coca-Cola; ‘it’s the best or nothing’ because it’s simple pleasures that I can afford that ‘opens happiness’.

polar-bears_Martha-Holmes

While Coca-Cola opens happiness for me from time to time, the famous sort of ‘mascot’ Cola Bear is a Polar Bear that lives in the Arctic.  For those who’ve seen To the Arctic 3D, only released in IMAX format had a few scenes of Polar Bears.  The snowy white fur coat is simply amazing, especially when they are swimming and it’s like waves of glowing translucent threads waving in a monochromatic color scheme of blues that compares to the view of flying on a Boeing 747 at 38,000-ft with fluffy white clouds over the sky.  As much as Meryl Streep tries to narrate as eloquently as possible to lessen the concerns over the Arctic, again – it’s never been more apparent that melting of the polar caps not only causing the Polar Bears unable to jump from icebergs to icebergs, but their constant swimming hunting for food has made them impossible to store enough fat that makes nurturing the next generation a challenge; that aside, biologists would probably agree that the melting of polar caps unleashes an array of new forms of micro-organisms that humans have never been in touch with.  Pros and cons to this with possible pharmaceuticals to develop new medication to cure the aches and pains of us humans or it can work the other way, that it may be possible to be the one that wipes out an entire species?

Polar-Bear_to_the_arctic

On a side note, it probably means that before you know about it, Venice will be an underground water city that wipes away part of Italian history and we’d probably have to go through extensive cosmetic surgery to have webbings casted on our hands and feet to be just like Kevin Costner in Waterworld.

It seems like I’m all over the place in things that I’m talking about here.  Connect the dots.  The above mentioned that a possible communicable disease – plus the ever growing human population and the search for natural resources may or may not wipe out the human species just like the dinosaurs.  In the biology classification of species, the phylum of Chordata is all species with a hollow dorsal cord.  They are the more complex species, especially with those that has a vertebrae and a central nervous system.  When it’s easy for viruses to mutate and micro-organisms to evolve and even insects have caught on the bandwagon, but it is very highly unlikely that complex species can catch on due to complexity.  If the entire phylum of Chordata is much harder to evolve and there are signs that birds are threatened by new viruses, it’s only the matter of time that it will stop the ever growing population of humans as we as humans are on the top of the food chain.  When the rest of the Chordata phylum disappears, humans will be the only ones left to be face with survival of the fittest and the horrible imagery of James Bond’s Skyfall with the notion from villain, Raoul Silva of having mice/rats trapped in a confined space and due to starvation, they turn to each other – eating themselves and only two remain…

It will be beyond my lifetime and there’s still generations to come before this may or may not happen?  However, if we do not set the stage for what can or cannot be changed, the future of the human species are at risk?  For those of you who’ve heard Morgan Freeman in a narrative of how humans can protect other species on Earth – we should ask ourselves if we can or cannot protect other species, but also ourselves.

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Photo Credits:

http://pestmd.net/outdoor-pest-control/outdoor-roach-control/ (Original Image from Ecolab)

http://www.savebiogems.org/polar-bear-sos/ (Photographer: Martha Holmes)

http://movieline.com/2012/04/20/review-to-the-arctic-3d-highlights-enviro-woes-polar-bear-cubs-in-dazzling-imax/ (To the Artic: IMAX 3D)

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