Beyond the Rhetoric


Sunday Snippet: Made by Raffi (Craig Pomranz)

January 25th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Made by Raffi

“Soon Raffi was knitting everywhere — in his bed, in the bathroom, at breakfast… even on the school bus. It was a long way to school and some of the children teased him. And it didn’t help that Dad’s scarf grew to 12 feet long and trailed all down the aisle of the bus. Ruby almost tripped over it, and all the children laughed. But Raffi just wrapped the scarf round his neck three times and kept on knitting.”

A short while ago, I commented on the gender-appropriateness of toys for children. For reasons that are likely economically-motivated, toy companies have decided that it is far more profitable to have a clear distinction between what is a boy’s toy and what is a girl’s toy. The former is likely involved in construction (or destruction) and the latter is likely pink and sparkly. This sort of differentiation is not restricted solely to toys either as we can observe the same phenomenon in children’s activities too.

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Wanderlust: 25 Places to Visit Before I Retire

January 23rd, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Egito - Colosso de Memnon

Something that I’ve said before and I likely will say again is that travel is one of the best ways to spend your money. It may feel awfully tempting to spend your money on shiny new gadgets or a spiffy new outfit, but the memories and experiences you gain through international travel are invaluable. The wanderlust is strong once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug.

In the last few years, I’ve engulfed myself in Italian culture in Florence and I’ve encountered the wild animals of the Australian Outback. I’ve also survived the Great Wall of China, indulged in the night markets of Taipei and stepped into the past with the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum. But there is so much more of the world I want to see with my own eyes and experience first-hand.

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Fitting Work into My Life Schedule

January 22nd, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Work life balance

Several years ago, I wrote a post about whether or not freelancers should have a set working schedule. Ask many a productivity expert and they’ll tell you that one of the best ways to achieve work-life balance when you work from home is to establish true office hours. This way, you have a tighter differentiation between what is considered work time and what is considered leisure time.

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What’s Up Wednesdays: The Modern Life

January 21st, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Vancouver Chinatown

We start this week’s speedlink with Cathy Browne as she recounts her Modern Chinatown Tasting experience with Vancouver Food Tour. It’s easy to assume that Vancouver’s Chinatown is an old place with medicinal herbs and knick-knacks, it’s also become home to non-Chinese establishments like The Modern Bartender, Calabash Bistro (Caribbean), Bestie (German) and Mamie Taylor’s (American soul food).

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Sushimoto at Holdom Skytrain Station, Burnaby

January 20th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Sushimoto, Burnaby

I remember when sushi was still a “new” thing to the Vancouver dining scene in the early 1990s. There weren’t too many places that offered it and, where they did, they’d also have a broad range of other dishes like tempura, udon noodles and teriyaki. Since then, sushi has really exploded and this city, thanks in part to our wonderful supply of fresh seafood, has become quite the raw fish kind of town.

And one of the best sushi restaurants that you may have never heard of is Sushimoto, located just beneath the Holdom Skytrain station in Burnaby.

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Grammar 101: At a Loss for Words

January 19th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

There are multiple levels to the English language. You start with the literal meaning, discern the implied meaning and unearth the symbolic meaning. With so many English idioms and sayings, non-native speakers can sometimes struggle with understanding what someone is actually trying to say. One such example is the phrase “at a loss for words.”

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Sunday Snippet: Maia Szalavitz on Empathy

January 18th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Sunday Snippet: Maia Szalavitz on Empathy

“In a country like the United States that thrives in its citizens’ individualism and competitive spirit, empathy is often seen as a luxury or a frill–a personality trait that is admirable, sure, but far from essential. In fact, the ability to understand the minds of others and then to care about what the world looks like from their perspective is a fundamental building block of normal personality, not to mention crucial to attaining happiness and staying healthy.”

We live in an increasingly me-focused society. What’s in it for me? Many people engage in conversations not necessarily listening to what the other person is saying, but rather concentrating on what to say next. While there is nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and taking care of your own self interests, this kind of perspective is inherently self-limiting for a social species such as we are.

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5 Signs You Should Quit Your Job (and Start Freelancing)

January 16th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Time to go home

It’s a new year and, for many people, that could represent the opportunity for a new start. And given that we spend about a third (or more) of our adult lives working, we should all have careers that fulfill us and make us happy. As Johnny Carson once said, you should “never continue in a job you don’t enjoy.” Have you been thinking about switching up careers and taking the plunge into the wonderful world of freelancing?

Here are five signs that you may be ready to quit your job.

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