Sunday, June 26, 2016

Referendum for New Airport in the West : Yes or No

So more than half of the British have voted Out for the European Union. There are many analysis going on.

Today, residents in the Nantes region is facing their own referendum:
Are you favorable of the project transferring the Airport in Nantes towards the Notre Dame Des Landes community?

And, the result is only consultative, not decisive to the government.

The idea of building a new Airport in the West to replace the current one has been on going for more than 40 years. It is met with disagreements from the farmers who would have to sell their lands to the government, ecologist, politicians... Today there is a zone that is formed, known as "Zone à défendre" (Zone to defend). People going in and out the zone are controlled from time to time. The local authorities have decided to carry it out in 2008, and the Airport was supposed to be inaugurated in 2017. However, the angry opponents to this project has held many demonstrations, some turned into violent, and the blockage to the Zone to defend is still on. Finally, the government proposed a referendum to the resident living in the region to consult their opinion.

When I first heard of this project in 2008, I thought that I would soon be able to fly from Nantes to many international destinations like Kuala Lumpur. I was surprised to see that so many people opposing this project. You see, in Asia, when this kind of project is announced, it is like the land owners have won a lotto. Suddenly, their lands values multiplied, the community evolves bringing in new opportunities and business. All we see is the money it brings in, seldom its destruction to the existing activities (farming, manufacturing...) and most importantly, its environment. Because, in these countries, what's more important is money.

This new Airport project has opened my eyes. How a project in a democratic country could be influenced and blocked by its people. I mean, if this has been in Malaysia, the airport might have been built within 3 years. And in France, it lasts for already 40 years, and we still haven't seen the end.

Well, if I have the right to vote, I would have voted YES to bring in jobs, new projects, dynamics to our communities. But I'm bias due to my background. The air and ground transports are too centralized in Paris, except flying to limited European cities, everywhere I want to go have to go through Paris. And this is just annoying.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Please go to Nantes downtown

Yesterday, The Town Hall of Nantes and the businesses around Nantes downtown organised an event "Nantes à cœur", encouraging people to go to downtown by offering free public transports, up to two hours of free parking,  and numerous concerts and spectacles. They did that in order to bring back the crowd, who had stop dining and shopping around the Heart of Nantes, due to the frequent demonstrations (almost every Tuesday and Thursday since March), in which some of them turned into violences.

Apparently, the businesses around the area have been suffering, especially the banks and assurances, seen as symbol of Capitalism. Several banks on the main street around "Commerce" were closed, with their external windows being covered with wood. These windows were the easy target for a group of "breakers".

HSBC after vandalism

It just happened that we were downtown yesterday so I got to witness what had been downtown after weeks of demonstrations. This was a bank located not even on the main street, but it didn't escape the voilence.

BNP Paribas being attacked. It shouldn't be the first time since the window on the left was already covered by wood.

Now they have to cover the main door, and protect both the ATM (at the left).

The shop Go Sport selling sports related items were robbed.

The management of Go Sport has decided to continue operating, they just covered the windows with wood.

Seeing this, I just wondered whether the French police are able to protect its citizenships and their properties. The publics are condemning these voilences, but there are people seeing it as a right to express itself. Some people explained that these breakers were from very poor families with no hope to come out of the poverty. This is the only way they could make themselves heard. As for the business owners, well, they have earned enough money and probably got rich through it, so they shouldn't cry to the publics on what happened.

I'm not convinced that breaking is the only way of expression. But it is a popular ways and the French goverment is too scared to provoke them. They have been lenient, the breakers are captured and thrown into jail just for several months, then they are out again, waiting for another opportunities, and demonstrations are the best occasions to show their talent.

Vive Nantes!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rice and Constipation

One day, during a conversation, someone told me that eating rice could cause constipation.

I have never heard of this. Coming from a country where rice is the staple food, this comes as a shock.

Then hubby jokingly tell me something he read on the internet:
Why do the Chinese have slanted eyes?

One of the responses: Because they are constipated due to all the rice they eat.

Ok, so the rice causes constipation and constipation gives slanted eyes.

I don't know what to think about this. I'm not sure if this is scientifically proven. Saw these on internet with totally opposite views:

Eating plenty of rice will help you get more fiber into your diet. It is a fibrous grain that can promote bowel regularity and a healthy colon. A cup serving of brown or wild rice serves up to a 3.5 g of fiber, which is much more than you can get from white rice, which has 0.6 g of fiber for the same serving.


White rice is the main culprit you’ll want to focus your attention on if you’re looking to prevent incidences of constipation.Rice starts off healthy enough, but to make it white rice they do away with husk, germ, and bran that it contains, and then put it through a polishing process so it comes out nice and white. Unfortunately this removes the parts of rice that are best for the human body.


Well, because of my Asian background, I cook quite often dishes with rice, and both my girls like rice. This day I was cooking fried rice, and the little one couldn't wait for long. She kept saying "fan, fan, fan" (rice in Chinese) so I just gave her some rice in a bowl. She kept coming back and asking for more so eventually she ate her white rice and ingredients for fried rice separately.
Mommy, I love rice!
So happy with my rice!
I have no problem eating rice. When someone tells me that rice makes her constipate, it stresses me out because if that person is staying for several meals, it means I have to cook something else instead of my usual rice dishes.

Tough day in Nantes

Yesterday, at 7:15pm, the traffic around Nantes was horrible. Usually at this hour the traffic jams start to ease but the traffic was densed starting from 5pm all the way to 7:30pm. My coworker said he left work at 5pm, headed straight into the jams, and waited 2.5 hours until finally manage to exit where he wanted.

Look at the map, areas with red lines mean severe traffic congestion.

The causes : accident in the North, and snail operation by farmers in the West. 

Snail operation by the farmers : trucks were advancing at a snail speed, everyone was blocking behind. Farmers here do this maybe 3-4 times per year, sometimes they even have animals walking on the highways.

I don't work on Wednesdays, so I managed to avoid this. Imaging parents rushing to pick up their kids...As for hubby, he bicycles to work, as the demonstrations for the labor laws reform has been carried out nearly every Tuesday and Thursday, so certain public transport lines were cut off. 

Friday, June 03, 2016

The stressful request for parents signature

As parents, we stress out when Aelig comes back from school. We wonder, if we are going to see a request from her teacher for a signature.

When we have this message "Signature des Parents" in her homework booklets, most of the time it was because she didn't do what her teacher asked. Like to memorise a poem, find a word that starts with certain alphabet, did badly during a dictation, forgot to bring her sport outfits... We just wondered if we were ever going to sign because she did something wonderful.

And for almost the whole week, she was fussy in the morning because she was supposed to bring back this book lend by the school, but she couldn't find it. I looked through the whole house for it, didn't manage to spot it.

And finalement, we got a "Bravo" from her teacher! She got 100% right on one of the dictations. We were relieved, she could actually do something that worth a praise from her teacher.

And guess where I found her book : it was stuck between her bed and the wall.