Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

The Upside-down church moves to Calgary

June 5, 2008

The art piece well known as the upside-down church, originally unveiled at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1997, “Device to Root Out Evil” by New York artist Dennis Oppenheim is start to dismantled today follow by the Vancouver Park Board commissioners decision.  It will be resurrected by the Glenbow Museum, Calgary.



Vancouverites weren’t only one to make complaints about it.  It was too controversial for New York City, too much for Stanford university, they didn’t want the controversial sculpture on its ground.  The art piece was placed in Harbour Green Park on Cordova Street as part of the Vancouver Biennale Sculpture Festival in 2005.  After 2 1/2 years, Residents of the Coal Harbour neighbourhood complained that the more than six-metre-tall (and wide) statues blocked their scenic view. Other residents said it simply offended their Christian beliefs to see a church turned upside-down. The Park Board agreed.


Personally, as one of ordinary with no art background, little knowledge and bad taste, I loved how the sculpture stands and with highlighted red color with every background from different angles.  It was really interesting piece of sculpture and I instantly felt the sculpture holding Earth on its bell tower from the ground viewpoint.

Can’t say much about complaints on blocking views but as someone said high-rise condominiums seem to block water more than one piece of sculpture. And was it really against Christian beliefs?  I don’t know… but I do believe the art doesn’t need to be politically correct in any form.


“It left as it arrived,…” as article noted.


Pictures from here , here and here.


To get from Vancouver to Seoul

December 7, 2007

Take the silver line to Pyongyang. While ago author of the strange maps gave us a hint “What do Canada and Texas have in common?”.  This time posted a promotional e-card called Transit Maps of the World published by Penguin. 

Based on the famous London Underground map, this map contains the major cities of the world that have underground transportation. It also has the same fun distortions that the Tube map has to make everything fit. 

The post also points out that

  • Africa is most poorly endowed with public underground transit systems: only Cairo and Alexandria (Egypt), Tunis (Tunisia), Algiers (Algeria) and Lagos (Nigeria) have or are planning them.
  • Actually, Oceania is even less metro-ised, but this is self-explanatory: there’s no need for subways in a continent where most countries are small island nations. Only Australia (Melbourne, Sydney) and New Zealand (Auckland) – significantly less small than the other Oceanic islands – have them.
  • Beck’s method of making geography subservient to clarity distorts distances, in London as well as on this fanciful map – rendered even more bizarre by some unlikely stops close to each other: how about Baghdad to Izmir via Jerusalem, or Athens to Esfahan via Tel Aviv? Or Taipei to Pyonyang via Seoul?
  • As in Beck’s design, there’s a concentration of lines and stops in the central area (which on the London tube map, I’ve only recently discovered, has the shape of a bottle). This gives the impression that outlying areas, such as the Americas, are much less metro-ised. Which might be a bit of an exaggeration, much like the placing of Bologna at the centre of this world map is an overstatement of that city’s charm (to everyone but the Bolognesi, I’m sure).
  • Okay, this is a fantasy transit map. But just imagine taking the metro in Vancouver, all the way to Shanghai! With stops in Montréal, Amsterdam, Prague, Kiev and Novosibirsk! Come to think of it: that’s a pretty long stretch to have to sit in a dark tunnel…
  • So, If I want visit my friends in Seoul, I need to change to Gold line in Rotterdam all the way to Esfahan then take the Silver line to Seoul. or all the way to Shanghai from Vancouver and take Red line to Pyongynag then to Seoul on Silver line.    Although it would be “… that’s a pretty long stretch to have to sit in a dark tunnel… It would be really fantastic if this transit system is real.  It’s cool and fun map, eh!

    Oh, it’s already Friday. Here’s this weeks TGIF song.  Power of old Gen. or 30 something…still active, Park Jin Yong, of course there’s many good songs but this is forever my favorite.  Honey by JYP.


    Capitalism vs Marijuana

    November 16, 2007

    The Canadian dollar retreated back below $1.02 US on Thursday as investors continued to bail out of the Loonie. That’s its lowest close since Oct. 4, according to Bank of Canada data.  The Loonie has now given up almost nine cents US since it peaked at a modern-day high of $1.1030 US on Nov. 7.  

     Yet, Loonie still hits 30-year high.   


    With a strong Loonie in my pocket, I could possibly get 10 to 30% cheaper goods across the border. It is also obvious that Canadian importers enjoy the strong Canadian dollars. But in the other side of strong Loonie, it also harms on the Canadian economy. Suddenly, it’s far more expensive to buy Canadian goods or sightseeing around Vancouver for our American friends. 

    Who else got hit by strong loonie? According to this article via Foreign policy, it’s B.C’s marijuana growers.


    With weak USD or strong loonie, it’s far more expensive to buy “the world’s best pot” and smuggling profits disappear.  This means that the backpacks of cash that regularly cross the Canadian border to buy pot have declined in purchasing power and it’s no longer worth the risks and costs for many smugglers. This is bad news for Canadian growers, who ship about 90 percent of their crop to the United States, as well as for their customers in the United States, who now have to pay a lot more or buy elsewhere.

    “It’s very simple,” said Stephen Easton, professor of economics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. …“The upshot is that the Canadian marijuana is now less competitive against marijuana grown elsewhere,” Easton said.

    “This is a cost-driven business. With exports no longer viable, the British Columbia marijuana industry has certainly taken a hit, so to speak.”

    FP concludes that the big winners from all this are Mexican marijuana growers, who will likely step in to fill the gap (the peso is struggling as well), and Econ 101 professors at U.S. liberal arts colleges, whose students will soon be clamoring for answers.

    Is it?  Middlemiss who owns the Holy Smoke Culture Shop and Psyche-Deli in Nelson, B.C saying that

     “They’re all about quantity down there, We’re about the quality.”

    Anyhow, The financial tables have turned, and global economics have done what U.S. law enforcement could not:  Seems like Capitalism has stopped the smugglers in their tracks.

    The power of capitalism!  

    Kimchi Jjigae Index

    October 5, 2007

    As usual, the daily flames of debates, criticisms, rants keep alive in the Marmot’s hole on Korea / Korean matter.  Surprisingly it was Tteokbokki(떡볶이) that flamed the comment session today.  Yes, Tteokbokki, Tteok(,Rice cake) with hot spicy paste Gochujang (고추장), one of the most popular Korean snack dish(먹거리). The linked article was about the spicy “Tteokbokki” gaining its popularity among New Yorkers followed by other spicy Korean dishes. The thread also kindly compared how much need to be paid for a plate of Tteokbokki. That   

    “In Korea, a serving of tteokbokki will cost between 1,000-2,000 won (about $2), but in New York, you’re looking at $6-19.95.”

     This line reminded me an interesting article from local Korean newspaper in recycled box.  A week old article wrote, original articles copied from overseas Korean newspaper(The Dongpo News,재외동포신문), about the interesting results from the price of a Kimchi Jjigae in different parts of the world.


    Not the Big Mac Index but the Kimchi Jjigae Index(김치찌개지수).   

    The Dongpo News started its research on the price of Kimchi Jjigae around the world back in 2004. This year’s result, the Kimchi Jjigae Index, concluded from the pricing comparison in 62 cities around the world.  The standard price of Kimchi Jjigae was set at 5000 won (approx. $5.50) as indexed as 100.  


    So, You need to pay as high as $32 in Zurich, Switzerland or you could enjoy Kimchi Jjigae as low as $2 US in Kunming (昆明), China. Zurich got 620 index points and Kunming got 40 points. If you go to Berlin, it costs 12 Euro ($17) and 15Euro ($22) in Paris or in Amsterdam.

    KJI, of course the Kimchi Jjigae Index not the dear Leader KJI, ranged from 350 to 620 in Europe.

    You could enjoy Kimchi Jjigae less than $4 in anywhere China where Miyazaki (宮崎市), Japan scored parity with Seoul. In Moscow, you need to pay $12 (220 KJI) and it cost $3.50 in Bangkok with 64 KJI.  In this part of the world, Kimchi Jjigae priced at $13 in Washington DC, $10 in New York, $9 in Miami, $6.99 in L.A., and $7~$8 here in Vancouver. North American KJI ranges from 150 to 220. 

    Kimchi Jjigae priced less than $11 in 45 cities out of 64 cities. It priced at $7.50 ~ $8.50 in average in the globe. The article points that the price dropped by 30% in Japan and North American cities caused by growing Korean population and the Korean wave (한류). It also claims that the Kimchi Jjigae Index, KJI, shows similar pattern as the Big Mac Index.


    The Article also briefly states about the Soju index, indeed.


    SOJU! You need to save some bucks in Frankfurt to drink a bottle of Soju; it’s a shocking $27. It’s $3.47 in Kunming.  I’m Kunming!!!. Soju costs $11 in global average.  So, you could drink a bottle of Soju with Kimchi Jjigae around $20. Of course taste will vary in different cities.

    For your tip, here is one of the best Kimchi Jjigae restaurants in Seoul that I recommend to anyone who ask for the best Kimchi Jjigae. It is located near by Sejong Center, GwangHwaMoon.

    In fact, it’s called, GwangHwaMoon House (광화문집).  


    The restaurant serves the finest taste of Kimchi Jjigae if you don’t mind pieces of chunky pork belly. A plate of rolled egg fries (Gaeran Mari(계란말이)makes good combination of menu. But a bowl of rice does not come with Kimchi Jjigae. That’s right, you need to pay extra for it!

     Oh! This week’s TGIF song, I picked Koong Pak Life(쿵팍 Life) By JK Kim Dong Uk ft Leo Kekoa – TGIF!!

    Immigrant cultures under fire

    September 26, 2007

    Canada has often been described as the mosaic society reflecting a vast diversity of cultural heritages and racial groups; a global village of varied traditions and faiths; a nation created by immigration from all around the world.

    In reality, according to 24Hr newspaper,

    … the debate raging through Quebec over how far society should go to accommodate immigrants’ religious and cultural practices could soon spill over to the rest of Canada.  

    A majority surveyed Canadian believe that the country should draw a limit on allowances for religious and cultural activities (including prayer space) in public schools, hospitals, workplaces and during sports activities. 

    Across the country, 53 per cent of Canadians said they felt immigrants must fully adapt to the country’s culture, compared to only 18 per cent who felt the notion of reasonable accommodation reflected their views.  Full article 

    So, are they against, Multiculturalism in Canada?

    Here in Vancouver, one of famous radio commentator/a top music promoter, Bruce Allen is under fire for his remarks aired Sep. 13th on his minute long show “Reality Check” on CKNW radio against Sikh- and Muslim Canadians.  His view might reflects those 53 per cent of Canadian.

    In his minutes-long daily editorial,  Bruce Allen cited Sikh uproar with Passport Canada when children wearing kerchiefs in their photos were denied documentation, and controversy surrounding berka-clad women’s right to vote without revealing their faces.
    Sep 13th. Reality Check

    “If you choose to come to a place like Canada, then shut up and fit in … these are the rules,” he said in his broadcast rant. “There’s the door. If you don’t like the rules, hit it. We don’t need you here.”

    Richmond MP Raymond Chan filed papers yesterday requesting the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission  investigate Bruce Allen’s remark and added he would urge the 2010 organizing committee to strip Bruce Allen of his high-profile position if he does not retract his remarks and make a public apology.

    Canada, as far as I know, promotes multiculturalism.   And we Canadian celebrate and respect multiculturalism.   As an immigrant and a minority to the society,  Bruce Allen’s remarks crossed a step over the line of fire and believe he may have offended Sikh- and Muslim Canadians as there is no law stating voters have to be identified by their faces and no law forcing Sikhs to change their last names, as he inferred.  But, I also agree the part of Bruce Allen’s view regarding the rules, as the fundamental value of society, that immigrants also have to adopt local customs, laws and values.  Isn’t it the principle 101 to any society or country? 

    <update> Bruce Allen’s words about it on Sep 26, 2007