It’s Fine, It Is Fine

I have to tell you about this amazing machine that was given to me recently. Not only is it made in China, it is also invented by the Chinese. But, who knows, the Americans may claim it was also stolen from them. The world changed markedly when Trump became POTUS. People became less civil. It became fashionable to be crass and rude. Lying and cheating is the new norm. Anyone and everyone can say anything, accuse another for crimes against humanity without a shred of evidence. Use that as an excuse to sanction another country. It is now alright to use profanity against another country as the Phillipines’ Foreign Secretary did this week to China. It is hideous when politicians talk about war on Anzac Day, a day when we remember the war dead. They talked about free nations needing to be “armed, strong and ready for war” when we ought to pause and think of the sacrifices millions made in past wars. The drums of war are beating, Australia’s Home Affairs boss added. But, for whom and to whose rhythm? Military hawks are running around the corridors of power, clamouring for more shiny missile warheads, warships and submarines. Those who ply their trade in the military industrial complex are rubbing their hands with glee. Urghhlings. Herbert Hoover said it is older men who declare war but it is the youth who must fight and die. Poignant letters written by young men, many who had not even really lived, are kept in the Australian War Memorial. Despicable are those who talk incessantly about the evil deeds of China, hoping to garner support for war. There are also those who disguise their anti-China rhetoric by saying they are actually against the CCP and not against the Chinese. They have their hands on their hearts as they proclaim that their democratic way of life is the superior one. Down with socialism and communism, they shout. But, perhaps the truth about today’s conflicts with China was revealed by President Joe Biden when he blurted out why they want the world to thwart China’s ambition to continually surpass their own achievements but which the US see as the ambition to be the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world. He doesn’t want that to happen not because the Chinese are evil communists who are squashing the freedoms of their people – no, it is simply a selfish ambition to maintain the status quo by using human rights as the catalyst for any aggression against their competitors. The Americans want to remain number one, and they will do anything to defend their position. It’s fine, it is fine if a country wants to improve their own living standards. It is a good government if they govern for the good of the people. They shall not perish from the earth, if Abraham Lincoln was right.

A typical day in Australia, the drum of war beating.

Sorry, I digress. I meant to talk about the machine that was a gift to The Mrs from her sister. I have owned many machines in my lifetime but this one, I say thanks aloud every day. Sure, I appreciate all the other gadgets I have, including my laptop and mobile phone, of course. But, these other machines don’t make me feel healthy every time I use it. The brand is Joyoung and for me, that is such a well-chosen name. It does make me feel joyful and young! Although, initially it made me feel stupid. The instruction manual is in Chinese. The buttons on the machine for different selections are also in Chinese. I did not know how to use it, as intuitive as I thought it ought to be.

It’s fine, it is fine even if it is all in Chinese. The Mrs knows how to read; besides, her sister is just a video call away. They chatter to each other almost daily. The Mrs shares more words with her sister than she does with me. Our planets aligned when we met but now, we realise we are from different planets. What’s that saying again? Men are from Mars, women are from Venus? It’s fine, it is fine that we see things differently. She has just left to get her AstraZeneca jab. People of our age group weren’t supposed to get our jabs until September or October but many in the older age groups have spurned theirs, so we can jump the queue. What queue, though? I am not an anti-vaxxer but I have decided to procrastinate, blaming it on my genes – Pa was also averse to big and thick needles. Sorry, Pa but it’s fine, they won’t fine me for not taking the Covid-19 vaccine. I am thankful I have the luxury of choice in this matter. I can still choose to wait and see, whilst there are no active cases in the community here. What are the longer term side effects of these new vaccines, especially the mRNA ones? No one can tell me except to say it is safer with the vaccine than without. But, how do we weigh up our options properly if we do not have the relevant information in front of us? It’s fine, it is fine, is all the medical experts tell us.

It is all in Chinese!

I used to make my own soy milk. I looovve soy milk, ever since I was a kid. But, it is a lot of work to convert soy beans to soy milk. First, you’ll need to soak them overnight. Then, you’ll need to stand in the kitchen and remove the outer skin – the easiest way is to rub the beans together like washing your linen to make the skin come off. Then, you’ll need to separate the skin from the beans. Next, grind the beans with water and squeeze out the milk using a muslin bag (I used one the bank gave me to carry the daily takings for banking). The last step is to boil the milk in a big pot, stirring it continuously with a wooden spatula so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Skim away the foam as much as you can. Be very alert to reduce the heat before the milk over-boils like a volcano. Cook it for about 10 minutes to destroy the toxic enzymes. The whole process takes an hour, easily. Don’t forget to clean the pot, wash the sink, and make sure the blender is spick n span too. And wipe off any white drips on her stove! The Mrs will swoop down like an eagle if her hawk eyes detect a messy kitchen. The end result is a beautiful glass of the smoothest and finest soy milk. But, we do end up with a lot of wastes – the skin, the solids (lees), and foam. I bragged to some friends who love to cook that the Joyoung machine wastes nothing. Everything is consumed. They were skeptical and asked me how fine is the milk I get. “This machine blends and boils but does not strain.” “You eat the residue?” another one asked incredulously. “That’s a very different tau-chooi (soy milk in Hokkien),” he added sarcastically. “Yeah, I don’t like the residue,” another chimed in. “It’s fine, it is fine enough,” but I failed to convince them. Of course, the Joyoung is not constrained to just soy milk. We can use it to make milk, thick soup, herbal soup, even porridge. The Mrs and I have been enjoying this daily routine ever since. Soon after our IF clock passes the 16-hour mark, The Mrs will holler “Come and get it!” It’s fine, it really is fine to enjoy our almond milk, mung bean, red bean milk, black bean milk or sesame milk too. It is such a healthy feeling to feed my empty stomach with such goodness. It is no wonder that I say “Thank you”, every time I enjoy a glass of goodness. The other good thing – it auto cleans so thoroughly that all that is left for me to do is pour the “dirty” water into the rice pot to cook our rice with or use it to water the plants. It’s fine, it really is.

Now, let’s pray that Einstein was wrong when he said, “I know not with what weapons WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones.” May the drumbeats of war die out well before our heartbeats stop.