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Archive for July, 2010

Sherrod...forced to resign based on an edited video. (Pic: USDA/AolNews)

Much has been written and said about the Shirley Sherrod saga where this Agriculture Department official was forced to resign based on a heavily edited and misleading video by a conservative blogger. The video purported to show racist remarks by Sherrod.

One of the questions raised in the media was: why was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) so quick to condemn her remarks, and why was her employer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) so swift to dismiss her based on this video.

Even President Obama said that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rushed to judgment when he dismissed Sherrod. Vilsack and the NAACP have since apologized to her.

But one aspect has continued to puzzle me: where were the communications experts in all of this? The NAACP and the USDA are professional bodies with, one would think, top-notch public relations and communications professionals at the helm.

Firstly, the video was not from a news gathering organization like Reuters, AP or CNN. That should give them a reason to a pause.

But the bigger question is why didn’t the communications experts advise them to issue this reliable standby:

“We will investigate the matter further, and will issue a statement in due course.”

If the NAACP and USDA had done so, they would have had the time to learn the full facts, and the matter would probably have not deteriorated into such a sorry state.

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  • The color yellow fits right in in bright, sunny days. And the best thing is that one can find all shades of yellow all around us. There’s the cool, luminous hue in the middle of a frangipani (plumeria), or the warm, hearty shade of an egg yolk.
  • In color psychology, yellow is a cheery, uplifting color. It symbolizes optimism and in small doses, it energizes one’s mood. There are days when we need a mental pick-me-up, and it’s wonderful that this color can  provide this facility so easily.
  • It’s interesting to learn that in Native American culture, yellow symbolizes overcoming a challenge through unconditional love.
  • Picasso said this about the color: “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”

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There are almost endless ways to jazz up the fried rice.

Is there any Asian who does not like fried rice?

Fried rice, or nasi goreng as we call it in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, is a one-dish meal that can be enjoyed any time of day.

It’s also a good way of making use of leftover rice, and letting one’s creativity flow in adding different spices and ingredients to flavor and enhance the rice.

This creativity was put to the test at the MIFNA (Malaysian Islamic Foundation of North America in Southern California) Family Day held in Orange County recently. The Nasi Goreng Cooking Competition attracted a variety of entries including several variations of seafood fried rice, spicy fried rice and  Nyonya or Straits Chinese fried rice.

After two rounds of testing to break the tie for the top winner, the prize was awarded to Suzyana Salleh for her Nasi Goreng Seafood. She used fish sauce as a flavoring which added a nice tang.

Entries in the competition.

The Mediterranean Nasi Goreng by Robert won the second prize. “I use mutton cut into bite-sized pieces, and boiled with tumeric, ginger and salt to make it tender, ” he elaborated on his recipe.

“The boiled mutton is then fried in olive oil with red onion, tomatoes, cumin powder and balsamic vinegar. Cooked rice is added and everything is fried together.”

And that’s the best thing about fried rice: it can be cooked the traditional ways, or jazzed up in eclectic styles; comfort food or up-market. Just take your pick.

The winners: Seafood style (back, right) and Mediterranean, next to it.

The watermelon eating contest was a popular event at the Family Day.

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  • A time and place to lounge, preferably with an escapist novel.
  • The beach, or somewhere with water, to refresh the senses and spirit.
  • A day at the park, to appreciate the natural beauty of this country.
  • A pot of annual flowers, to enjoy the intense, vibrant colors of summer.

Sunny days bring out the explorer in us. Location: Morro Bay, California.

A place to dream, engrossed in a good read.

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