Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The Singapore food market for expats and Mercedes-driving locals is Cold Storage. It's run by Dairy Farm Holdings. Now Dairy Farm is a place in Singapore, so that makes us think that it is a local company, right? But people, it's, um, not really. Not at all in fact.

It is managed out of Bermuda (as if Singapore's taxes weren't low enough), and uber-owned, surprise-surprise, by the Jardine Matheson group. Those are the charming fuckers who made it big by sneaking around and eventually usurping British East India Company's monopoly on trade (in particular opium) with the Chinese in the early-mid C19th. The drug trade caused the death and suffering of countless Chinese and was threatening to bankrupt their place, but it was raking back in all the silver the English had paid for tea and silk, so England didn't seem to care.

All this triggered the Opium Wars and, as they say, to the victor go the spoils, such as Hong Kong, and J-M haven't looked back since. Well maybe they were glancing back a little bit in the lead-up to 1997's Handover. However, to put them in perspective, it's probably accurate enough to consider them the Mexican drug cartels of those heady (woozy) times.


Cold Storage's specialty, top-end, Australians only/mostly, woah-expensive, organic only/mostly supermarket brand is Jasons Marketplace, or in some manifestations, Jasons The Gourmet Grocer. Jasons it is, note, in a Finnegans Wake sort of mythical plurality of Joyce's here comes everybody trope, calling upon the Platonic concept of the ideal Jason, not Jason's.

They now have stores in Taiwan as well.


FYI, Dairy Farms' low-end, peasant-level consumables are slapped up at Seven-Eleven, and cheap, peasant-level consumable furniture at their IKEA stores.

Singapore expats, being equal with HK expats (often indistinguishable, often the same individuals) as the world's most conspicuously conspicuous consumers, love throwing away their money at the place. S$19 for a tub of strawberries? You beaut!

There's a new Jasons opening around the corner from E@LGHQ vewwwy vewwwy soon. You can bet E@L will be there whenever his recipes call for organic fennel bulbs (which used to be a giant weed growing free and untended along the riverbanks of the Barwon River in Geelong) and biodynamic rhubarb, chia seeds, or gluten free peanut butter.

BTW, the Hong Kong brand equivalent Cold Storage is Wellcome, and Jasons is known in HK, I believe, if I believe Wikipaedia that is, as MarketPlace By Jason.

They all seem to be doing very well, with 2013's world-wide total sales "in excess" (redundant*) of US$11Billion, thank you very much.


However, on another little island with a more celebrated military history**, Jasons didn't really work out all that well...

Valletta, Malta


* since when has $11Billion NOT been an excess.

** the whole frackin' island was awarded the St George Cross! I bet the Maltese people, 1,300*** of whom had died as the Italians and then the Germans carpet bombed the place, were satisfied with that...

*** just over half of the number of people in the Nigerian towns around Baga killed by Boko Haram Islamists two weeks ago. (No medal awarded.)

(Point of this post? These photos of course.)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Why Is This Phase Of The Circling Of The Sun Special?

It ain't. Not really. Just another day. And apart from the New Year sales, nothing really special on a capitalist front either. No special gifts required.


But Happy Western New Year anyway.

Why don't we say it that way? Happy Western New Year.

Why do we (Westerners) not differentiate between the Chinese New Year, and dozens of other New Years, as celebrated by other countries, cultures, and religions (the Christian - i.e. Liturgical - year commences at Advent, late November to early December) and not specifically remind these other countries, cultures, etc, that it is new year only for us, i.e. those predominantly Western civilisations which use the Gregorian calendar or the revised Julian Calendar?

White European arrogance and fantasies of some farcical form of assumed supremacy facilitated merely by the historical predominance of guns, germs and steel in this culture?

Funny, what?



Was there anything big and/or firsts for E@L in 2014 worth commenting on?

Glad you asked.

1: got pinged for speeding in Geelong (certainly not a first, but just thought it worth mentioning in consideration of No:2)

2: got pinged for driving an unregistered car in Gippsland, Eastern Victoria! (Long story - he didn't know it wasn't registered)

3: Christmas dinner was for the first time not at E@L's mum or sister's place but at his cousin's place way over in Gippsland, near Wilson's Promontory National Park (beautiful place), which is a long drive away. (see No:2)

4: watched his Singapore expat circle continue to diminish significantly as several friends moved away to one or other extensions of the SEA expat rubber-band. They will return, it is a rule of physics, but until then E@L might have to go out and meet, shudder, other people. Hell is...

5: visited new countries/cities: Malta, Vienna, Kyoto (gorgeous, need to visit again!), Queenstown in New Zealand (gorgeous, need to visit again, with skis)

6: thought seriously about a retirement plan. No conclusion reached, his misty visions of his future years remain inchoate and nebulous. But so does this afternoon. Health-care primary concern. And good cafes.

7: bought another house (went thirds with No1 son, etc,...) to add to the property portfolio of the still inchoate retirement plan - he had purchased his sister's house late in 2013.

8: E@L's mother sold the family home, the one he grew up in, tough, and for a lot less than she wanted. Not that it is E@L's money, but ya gotta keep that retirement plan in mind, inchoate or otherwise.

9: spent a lot more time in Australia than usual - thanks to our affiliated distributor's growing workload. Mostly work and waiting in corridors for vast tracts of time, very little play.

10: did not fall in love (certainly not a first, but just to keep you up to date)


Word Of The Day:

ultradian: rhythmical cycles which occur for longer than an hour and shorter than a day. Like E@L in the office, falling asleep at his desk.


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