Merry Christmas 2012

Wishing all chowtimes readers a very Merry Christmas 2012.

Here are some of the Christmas scenes in Beijing which I would like to share with the readers.


The grand staircase of Continental Plaza.


Night and day shot of the decor above the grand stair case.


Decorations which lined the sides the grand staircase of Continental Plaza. (more…)

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Richmond Culture Days: Cantonese Opera Costumes and Performance Techniques Illustrations

After the makeup demonstration, we proceeded to another room for the demonstration of the performance techniques, follow with a short Cantonese Opera performance.


Cantonese Opera originates from the Southern part of China. It includes elements like music, singing, martial arts and acting.

There is generally a lead actor, a lead actress, a supporting actor, a supporting actress, a clown figure and a bearded male role. The female sings and speaks in soprano voice to indicate a young female role. The female performer who undertakes an old lady role will sings and speaks in their ordinary or tenor voice. There are female who act as a male role and they sing and speak in their ordinary voice or tenor voice.


The Cantonese Opera costumes are usually elaborate and handmade. One costume can cost few thousands of dollars. The costumes represent the status of the performer. The one above is likely for a princess or empress with the motives of phoenixes. The belt also represents of high statue in the society, usually for officials.


The above head piece is used for high official or imperial members. (more…)

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Richmond Culture Days: Cantonese Opera Makeup Application Demonstration

The city of Richmond held it’s third Culture Days weekend from September 28 to 30, 2012 at the Richmond Culture Center (i.e. Minoru Public Library area). Culture Days is a collaborative coast-to-coast volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

Culture Days featured many free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind-the-scenes”, to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, designers and other creative people in their communities.


What caught my attention was the Cantonese Opera activities during this Culture Days event. The first activity was Chinese Opera’s Signature Make-up Application demonstration. This demonstration was carried out by the Vancouver Cantonese Opera which is a non-profit organisation.


How does the Cantonese Opera actor/actress transforms from the left to the right? It takes a laborious make up session and dressing up. I will show you the steps here. The makeup usually takes 2 hours from start to finish. (more…)

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Results of Draw — Vancouver 2010 Olympics Opening Ceremony Dress Rehearsal

The response was simply overwhelming.  When Arkensen and Nanzaro donated three of their precious Dress Rehearsal tickets to chowtime’s readers we did not think much about it. After all, we had too many tickets and the event is held on work and school hours.

It was in the news yesterday that thousands of volunteers were lining around the block in downtown Vancouver to get hold of just one ticket (with the option to buy another one at $50). Between Nanzaro and Arkensen, they were given ten without having to line up for it.

You know …

I want to say a heartfelt thank you for all the unexpected kind words you had for Arkensen and Nanzaro. We even received a long moving email from a reader just thanking the boys for putting the tickets out there. Those words meant a lot to Suanne and I because this allows us to demonstrate to our boys what it means to share and how people out there who truly appreciates such unselfish act. I want to let you know they are pleased and are proud of what they had done even though they did not say it. I can see it in their eyes. 🙂

Thanks a lot!


It goes without saying that particular post generated the most number of comments ever. We had recorded a total of 308 comments. As expected, there are some frivolous submissions (i.e. 24 comments coming from one IP within a space of 30 minutes) … sorry to say we removed the entire swath of these emails from the draw.

We ended up with 272 email addresses which we ran through the Randomizer.

Here are the results: (more…)

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Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners (by the NYT)

I came across this very interesting article on the New York Times today. The article is a bit longish but it describes how the combination of prices, adjectives, fonts, type sizes, ink colors and placement on the page can coax diners into spending a little more money.


Quoting the article:

Some restaurants use what researchers call decoys. For example, they may place a really expensive item at the top of the menu, so that other dishes look more reasonably priced; research shows that diners tend to order neither the most nor least expensive items, drifting toward the middle. Or restaurants might play up a profitable dish by using more appetizing adjectives and placing it next to a less profitable dish with less description so the contrast entices the diner to order the profitable dish.

In another section of the article it also pointed out:

A study published by researchers at Cornell found that when the prices were given with dollar signs, customers spent less than when no dollar signs appeared. The study also found that customers spent significantly more when the price was … (more…)

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