Monday, October 30, 2006

Air Travel: New mesures of security for all passengers

As of 6 November 2006, and from that date only, the new security measures decided by the European Commission will be applicable in all European airports.

Passengers wishing to carry on liquids, pastes, gels, creams and aerosols exceeding 100 ml will have to buy them in duty free shops. In some cases, their purchases will be placed by sales personnel of Boutiques Aéroports de Paris in transparent sealed plastic bags.

Aéroports de Paris, the company managing Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle airports, is already preparing the implementation of these new security rules with all its partners.

Taken from
Aéroports de Paris October Press release.

It seems that air travel is getting more and more rigid in terms of security. I usually put all my cleansers and toiletteries in my carry on bag. From Paris to Malaysia we are only allowed 25kg of luggages, and since toiletteries are usually quite heavy and breakable, I don't like to put them in the check in luggages.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I love the Free Chinese channels

Ever since end of August I had have the luxury to be able to watch 14 Chinese TV channels in France. They come with our subscription to Freebox, who provide the broadband internet connection, the digital TV and phoneline for 30 euros a month. Here's the list of channels:

180: CCTV4 (in Mandarin)
181: CCTV9 (in English)
182: CCTV Espagnol & Français (News in Spanish and French, other programs in Chinese with Spanish or French subtitle)
183: CCTV divertissement (in Mandarin)
184: China Movie (in Mandarin, mostly old films from 70s-80s)
185: Beijing TV (in Mandarin)
186: Shanghai Dragon TV (in Mandarin)
187: Jiangsu International (in Mandarin)
188: Hunan Satelit TV (in Mandarin but sometimes Hunanese)
189: Xiamen Star TV (in Taiwanese/Hokkien)
190: ZheJiang Star TV (in Mandarin)
191: Guangdong Southern TV (in Cantonese)
192: Phoenix infonews (in Mandarin)
193: Phoenix Entertainment and News (in Mandarin)

Bad news: At the beginning of November, most of channels will require payment. What leave as free channels are 180,181,182 and 193. I probably should pay the 8.88 euros per month for all the 10 channels.

I have been following a lot of the programs especially soup opera in Hokkien. I do not watch French TV here bcos they like to have political debat programs, or dubbed American programs. Basically the French TV programs are not interesting for me.

I know I need to watch French TV to improve my French, but at the same time watching TV is supposed to be an entertainment which I find more in the Chinese channels.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Goodman's bridge

Several weeks ago we went to visit the Goodman's bridge (Pont du Bonhomme).

It's a bridge consists of two big walls facing each other. At the peak of the walls stand a man and a woman who look at each other. It was pretty interesting but sad at the same time. It reminds me of Chinese Valentine's day that has a legend about a girl and a guy who are in love but can only see each other once a year (the 7th day of July in the lunar calendar) through a bridge form by birds.

We walked along the river and it's the season of chestnut again. It has a lot in the forest along the river. It's amazing sometimes that in France, there are so many things to see in an area. I have been to Lorient so many times but still I haven't visited every places worth visiting.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Blogmusik: Your online Ipod

My boyfriend played Faye Wong's songs for me. I was surprised where he got these Chinese songs. Well, he got it from:

It's kind of like online Ipod where you can get the songs and play them instantly. You can find French and English songs too.

I recommend Faye Wong's "Eyes on me".

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Carte Tempo

Now I can move around Nantes for free, taking non-TGV trains for a discount price.

Carte Tempo is provided by the mayor of Nantes, to Nantais who are unemployed. You are required to bring a photo, the letter from Assedic (the unemployment agency in France), proof of your domicile and your carte de séjour. You will get it the same day if you bring along all these necessary documents.

If you know you are not going to get a job any soon, I suggest that you register yourself with Assedic. I did it online, and they sent me the document on the second day. I didn't get used to being addressed by my bf's surname, so I put the letter aside thinking that it was for my bf.

Anyway, I missed the first appointment, and have to call them to set up another apointment, which is one week from the day I call.

The appointment just meant to register you with the unemployment agency, analyse whether you are qualified to receive any financial help, then you will need to go to the government job agency: ANPE. Through ANPE, you will be advised to get some more education or training to increase your chances in getting a job.

I'm now officially one of the unemployed person in France, a long with millions.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why do they hate American

Today in our French class we discussed about whether France should legalise the consumption of marijuana. One of the Colombia started to get very emotional and said that he wishes that his country would legalise the drug trading, so that they can send all the drugs to USA and let the American get drown of the drugs.

He then explained why he hates US. Apparently that US has a very big political power in south American, that the businessmen from US would give pressure to the politicians in Colombia, to force the local enterprises to accept whatever trading conditions the American want. Basically it's big brother bullying his young brother because this young brother depends too much on the big brother.

Anyway, I was surprised to learn this information, but in the world of capitalism, it's not unheard that people use the political power to influence the business conducts. I warned my classmate to go to US himself so that he will see himself. Not every American is a bully and they certainly don't deserve to be hated due to the behaviors of other Americans in other countries.

I have heard many bad comments about the US from people coming from different countries, and I believe they have been influenced by the local medias who always try to manipulate the people. I used to be one of them but then I witnessed the situation myself when I lived there. Of course I won't say it's the best country in the world like many Americans claim, but it has been miss-perceived in a lot of way.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A boot taker?

I don't know how you call this thing, probably a boot taker? My FIL brought this along when we went to have a "go back to natural" walk close to the sea. You don't have to jump away or be inbalance when taking out off your boot with this thing. My FIL is a sweet man and I guess he just want to amuse me with this thingy.

The "go back to natural" walk turned out to be a 2 hours educational lesson from a guy about the animals/seashells who brought by the tide to the shore.

Despite the too educational lesson I do enjoy the scenery around.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


So, we went to the Canal Nantes-Brest. Me to bike and my boyfriend to run. We had an appointment with bf's friends from Rennes at 10am. We arrived at 10am and waited while I tried out my new bike. At 10.15am we started to feel uneasy, as these friends are usually puncture. At 10.30am, I had made several rounds around but still couldn't see our friends. My bf insisted that both parties knew exactly where they should meet and there is no way the friends will go somewhere else. At 10.45am he decided to go back to Nantes.

When we drove towards Nantes autoway, we saw our friends' car. There were not inside the car. We drove around but couldn't spot them. Ended up we go back to Nantes, and my bf was running for 3 hours in the park nearby our apartment.

His friends have no cellphone so they called us when they got back to Rennes. They explained that they parked exactly where we agreed.

Funny, ended up both guys have missunderstood each other about the meeting point. What a waste! They were supposed to run 5 hours today and I was supposed to bike around with them.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My bicycle

My birthday is not until Dec, but my boyfriend decided to buy me a bicycle. He actually convinced me to buy it. We tried it out today and it's cool to actually have a bicycle. I went to do my grocery with it. Tomorrow, we are going to a town nearby, I will do the bicycling while he runs around the town. Now I'm worried that it will get stolen when I part it outside a shop. Moreover we have not enough space to part it in our apartment.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I have never thought that weather can influence so many things in life.

Coming from Malaysia, a country with tropical weather, where everyday is either too hot or it rains to cool down the heat a little. The sun raises at around 7.30am and sets at around 7.30pm. So you wake up every morning facing the almost identical weather condition. We have open air restaurants everywhere. In our closets we just need to have one jacket. You do not need to have summer and winter clothes, you do not need to spend 5 minutes to cover yourself because it's damn cool outside. It's predictable, kind of.

In Brittany, it can rain and suddenly the sun is out. People prefer to have their wedding during the summer hoping to have a nice day for the celebration. Sometimes you don't know whether you need to bring a jacket, or a raincloth, or a thicker jacket, or a scarf... It's so unpredictable. You are at home all warm up and wearing short pants. You thought that it's sunny day so you go out with only one layer of cloth. But, when you got out, the wind blows you away, you need to go back to get extra layer of cloth. Tiresome. My friend told me that it takes her 5 minutes to dress her kids before they go out.

On one hand, you don't have only summer in Malaysia. You can't enjoy the change of the season, you can see the change of the plants. In Malaysia they are green all year.

But you won't wake up in the morning saying shit because it's too cool and you know you need to cover yourself up; or wake up in the middle of the night because it's too hot.

I think the weather in Malaysia makes me a simple person: I don't like complication. I only have several pairs of clothes that I thought that I can wear all year long. I don't understand why French have to have different kind of glasses to put different kind of drinks: for me they are meant to be drunk and no matter what kind of glass you use they taste the same. It's annoying people keep giving us glasses because I have no room to store them. I don't like people asked me to buy different kind of shoes for different kind of activities: one pair for hiking, one pair for badminton, one pair to walk, one pair to go into the sea... annoying.

I'm extremely depressed these days when I wake up and it's damn cool, I hate hinter, I don't care about snow...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Not proper English bad Malay

These days I have been working on my wedding website. It will be available in 4 languages: Chinese, English, French and Malay.

I asked an American to review the English writing, and her comment was:" Understandable but not proper English". Then I asked a member from a forum to review the Malay sections for me. She said that "there are too many mistake especially on the sentences part" so she won't be able to correct my mistake.

Well, I welcome sincere comments like this. At least I know that I do not write proper English and my Malay is bad. Luckily my Chinese friend said she understands my Mandarin. She hasn't seen my writing part but I'm not dare to try!

It's so true that one needs to practice a language frequently to be able to keep it. I used to write good Malay, at least according to the Malaysian Examination Board who awarded me "A" in the Malay paper during the STPM (A level equivalent) examination.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The party

The lantern festival party turned out to be very nice. We did steamboat. People seemed to prefer the grill though.

In the morning I went to the market to buy fresh fish while my boyfriend went to the supermarket for grocery. I was very mad at myself bcos I paid 72 euros for 4kgs of fishes. I was just dumped enough to not look at the price and just accept whatever the guy charged me. I will never buy anything without first looking at the price anymore. I thought the price will be the same, as we bought it last time and it wasn't expensive and everybody loved it.

Anyway, the parents arrived for lunch. We went to walk for a while before coming back to prepare for the steamboat. The guys were decorating the balcony with some paper lanterns I got from Malaysia (very touching bcos the father and son worked together for a festival they have never celebrated in their life), while the women worked in the kitchen.

By 8pm we started the appetizers. As the guests arrived, we started the dinner. We were so full that we decided to talk a "moon" walk. Everybody was holding a paper lantern while we were walking around the garden close to our apartment. It was very fun, the moon was full and bright. We were afraid that someone will call the police saying a new religion secs are doing some activities on the road! haha!

We continued the meal with some desserts. My friend made a birthday cake for my boyfriend (we were celebrating his birthday at the same time), I did a mango crumble, a friend brought some mooncake then we have ice cream. My boyfriend got to hear birthday song in different languages: English, French, Mandarin, Spanish and a birthday song from Mexico.

After the dinner, we played a game called "Wildwolf". It's interesting to see his family and my friends all played together. The parents went to sleep around 1am, and the rest left around 2.30am.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tanglung Festival

So today is Tanglung or Lantern Festival. I read in the newspaper that the moon tonight is supposed to be the biggest. If you want to get to see a moon that big, it will have be in 2015 next time.

My Chinese friend wanted to celebrate this festival. According to her, if Chinese doesn't celebrate it, nobody in France will. Is true, but I don't know how long we will insist on celebrating something from our origin. You are in France and you are expected to integrate.

I have no mood to cook nor prepare to welcome 11 guests. But since I have promised now I need to look in my head what I can prepare to feed these people. It's going to be potluck, easier. I bet the French will not feel comfortable to have the buffet style, but what the heck, it's my house we are talking about.

I plan to do some currypuff, bake chicken wings, curry chicken plus meehoon, French hams, potato salad... my friends will bring in dessert and mooncake.

I hope the weather is going to be nicer. Gosh, this cool breeze is driving me lazier and lazier...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Should the old give way to the young?

Yesterday on TV, there was a debat about whether the old should give way to the young. Give way in terms of job, since they are so many young people couldn't find a job. That means the old should go to retire earlier so that they are more positions available for the young.

In France, there are 13.4 millions retirees as of 1 July 2004. The people who are 65 or more than 65 years old represent 16.4% of the French population as of 1 January 2004. It is estimated to reach about 25% in 2030. In 2001, the retirees who are more than 60 receive on enverage 1126 euros (before tax) per person per month. (Figures from

As the old generations are growing, they will be more people withdraw their pension fund, whose sources of incomes come from people who are currently working - meaning the younger generations. But if the person who withdraw keep growing but the person who are supposed to enter the workforce don't have chance to enter, that means it will be a huge gap between people who withdraw the money and people who contribute to the fund.

Anyway, this is not a new issue in western Europe. What is interesting is that in that program, they did a joke to some old people. Two guys wore in police uniform, inform the old people passing by that they have no right to wonder around that round, because it's reserved for the young. These two guys told the old people that they scared the young, that they should be using the area. It's interesting and sad at the same time to see how the old people respond. One said that"I'm old, but are you going to kill me?"

I think it's unfair to ask the old to give way to the young, because they have worked their butt up in the pass year, contributing to the social security and being a good citizen. To have more job to the young, the government simply has to simplifier the process of creating an enterprise, encouring more people to be their own boss, give tax break to enterprise that hire people who work for the first time in their life. In the current law, creating an enterprise is so painful, with a lot of tax to take care of. It's not like in UK, with 1 pound you can register your company.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To bus drivers: Do you know where is...

I needed to go to Assedic today. Usually it's pretty easy to go around Nantes because every bus station has a map with indication of which bus or tram to take to go to certain place.

So, I have the address, looked at the map and I have some idea how to go. But when I got out from the tram, going to take a connecting bus to the destination, two bus company men (they are the one that check whether you have a ticket or not in the bus) asked whether I need help. I showed them the address, and they told me that just wait in this station and the bus will come in 3 minutes.

When the bus came, I climbed up and asked the driver whether he has idea how to go to Avenue de Lions. He told me to take instead another bus that go to the different direction! He looked so sure so I went back to check the map. He told me to take bus 73 but this bus go to an opposite direction! Then I realised that the advise the two men gave me earlier was wrong as well.

I hesitated for a while, and decided to believe myself. This Assedic was located deep inside an industrial place in which no buses passby. Anyone, I found it eventually.

Gosh, these men have no idea that they gave me false information. I'm glad that I trusted myself.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The récipissé

OK, finally I got the récipissé, a receipt to get the real carte de séjour. That means that I can legally work in France starting from today.

It's a happy and sad moment. Happy because finally nobody will tell me that they can't hire me because I don't have the right to work here. Sad because I just lost an opportunity to work. Adecco, a job agency called me last Friday about a job briefing session, and it has to be exactly the time my appointment with the Prefecture. I went to the prefecture to see whether I can delay the appointment, the people worked there tried to look at their schedule, but it was full the whole day. Don't want to jeopardise my chance of getting this récipissé, I have to give up the chance for a job.

A friend works in Adecco in another city, she posted my CV to an company who request someone speak English. This friend called me today, and said that I wasn't picked because this company wants someone who speaks French perfectly. In this case, I won't have chance, at any sense. How am I going to compete with the French who has speaking French all their live, and have writing training since the day they are at school? It gives me signal that I need to switch domain.

Last week my good friend here found a job as a receptionist in an hotel. Again, its happy and sad. Happy because finally someone have the similar background like me can find a job. Sad because with her qualitification, she doesn't need to be a receptionist. She told me that her coworker has master degree. So the requirement to be a receptionist in France is quite high I presume. This kind of position in Malaysia is for someone who finished highschool and don't want to continue study. Anyway, what gave me hope was that her boss is very nice. She defended my friend when the other boss said that my friend's French is weak. She said that when they (the French employees and the bosses in the hotel) speak good English (they are taking English class), my friend will speak good French. At least she is willing to let my friend try.