Goodbye Sydney

Have you ever been called home by the white sails on the harbour, glistening in the summer sun?

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And yeeros. What’s more Australian than Greek food made by a Filipino guy? This one had tabouli and tzatziki, but I think they skimped on the garlic since this is from a place in Circular Quay. Sadly, in Korea the plate version of this is regarded as fine Greek dining.

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This is Rivendell. It is a mental health facility for young people and their families. It used to be called Thomas Walker Hospital, opened by the philanthropist in 1891. I’m not sure when the name was changed to Rivendell. They are likely using the alternate meaning of the name since the literal name means ‘deeply split valley’. If you’ve been farther west on Parramatta River you will truly appreciate the alternate meaning: Last Homely House East of the Sea (actually west). 

A friend and his family used to live in the guardhouse on the left as caretakers.


Parts of The Great Gatsby were filmed here.


A little hazy since I use an antique 3GS, but those are caryatids up there. It was all the rage in the 1890s to mimic Greek architecture in sandstone since Sydney had an abundance of it back then.

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When Queen Elizabeth II visited Sydney in 1988, this is where she disembarked (a queen never ‘gets off’) before riding down my street in her cavalcade.


You can just see Sydney Tower on the horizon.


Burwood: Heritage? Progress? Pride?

I’ve been to Burwood a couple of times while I’ve been here. Ordinarily I try to avoid the place. If you’ve been to Burwood you’ll know why. But since I’m only in Sydney for two weeks every year, I like to remind myself of why I wouldn’t ordinarily take in the fauna of Burwood. When the new Westfield opened I tried to avoid going there (crowds, idiots with their $400 coffee grinders that have had $3000 worth of work done on them; usually a spoiler and a red paint job, etc) but since everyone I knew had decided to go there on the opening day I caved in.

I was looking for the NRMA office since it had moved into the shopping centre since the last time I needed to visit their office (last year, for an international driving permit). To find it I used one of these things,

Hey God, what should we do with the extra scrotum skin?
Hey God, what should we do with the excess elbow skin?

Technology is great, as long as it makes life easier. Technology is not an end in itself, despite my employer constantly trying to convince stakeholders of this. Whereas you used to have a floor map and a listing of stores on the floor (and possibly other floors) and you’d have to find the grid coordinates and then work out how to get to the store, this one allows you to enter the name and then shows you the path to take. EXCEPT, only one person can use it at a time.

I digress, back to the NRMA. You know how you used to walk in and take a ticket, then wait for your number to be flashed on one of 15 windows so you end up playing a really disappointing game of whack-a-mole? Not anymore! I walked in and a chirpy guy asks me how he can help me (you know, customer service) and how I would like to pay for the service I need (straight to the point, I like it). He then asked me to take a seat and wait for a desk to become available. A few minutes later he chaperoned me to the desk. KInda awesome.

Nearby, there was this sign for a new Robbie Williams album. The title shouldn’t really be a surprise.

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Then it was off to the supermarket to find Aussie stuff for my Korean friends. In Ulsan, they are all women even though the population is overwhelmingly male. There is a reason I don’t really have any male Korean friends in Ulsan, aside from female friends’ husbands.

You know how people complain about Christmas decorations and carols in November? How about Easter eggs on December 30?

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Creme eggs are pretty awesome, though

On the way out to the park – Burwood Park is the best thing about Burwood – I wanted to get a pearl milk tea. There’s an Indie Kids store next to the pearl milk tea place playing N.E.R.D.’s She Wants to Move. Awesome song, but I wouldn’t want to be a parent having to answer questions about it.

For the youtube impaired, here are the lyrics

Shake it up.. shake it up girl
Shake it up.. bass
Hey! Shake it up.. shake it up

[Verse – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]

She makes me think of lightning in skies
(Her name) She’s sexy!!
How else is God supposed to write
(Her name) She’s sexy!!
Move, she wants to move
But you’re hogging her, you’re guarding her
She wants to move (she wants to move)
She wants to move (she wants to move)
But you’re hogging her, you’re guarding her (damn!)

[Chorus – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]
Mister! Look at your girl, she loves it!
(Look at her) I can see it in her eyes
She (come here babe) hopes this lasts forever, Hey!!

[Verse – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]
Her off beat dance makes me fantasize
(Her curves) She’s sexy!!
Her ass is a spaceship I want to ride [sound effect]
(Her ass) She’s sexy!!
Move, she wants to move
But you’re hogging her, and guarding her
She wants to move (she wants to move)
She wants to move (she wants to move)
But you’re hogging her, you’re guarding her (beat it!!)

[Chorus – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]
Mister! Look at your girl, she loves it!
(I know you love it girl) I can see it in her eyes
She – hopes this lasts forever (hey) Hey!!

[Interlude/Bridge – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]
Ehh, this is your part girl
Uh, this is your part girl!!
(Move, she wants to move) c’mon!
OWW! (Move, she wants to move) ehh
Man (and move, she wants to move)
(Move, she wants to move)
But you’re hogging her, you’re guarding her

[Chorus – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]
Mister! Look at your girl (damn) she loves it!
(She loves) I can see it in her eyes
She – hopes this lasts forever, Hey!! c’mon
Mister! Look at your girl (look at your girl) she loves it!
(She wants it) I can see it in her eyes
She – hopes this lasts forever, Hey!!

[Outro – Pharrell Williams (Shae)]
Somebody get us some water in here!
Cause it’s HOT!
(Yo why you, why you, why you wit that fool?)
HOT y’all! Hey! Huuuhh!
(I like it when you’re wet baby) Ehh


I had pho for lunch (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup). This was a mistake, but I should have known better since they had a sign saying 월남쌀국수 (Koreans sometimes use the old name for Vietnam from Chinese 越南), though I don’t think it was run by Koreans. Flemo is still the best place for pho.

Burwood today looks quite the same. From the mock Arc de Triomphe. A friend in Paris said a member of his family marched with Napoleon, and so the family name is on the monument.

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A lot of places in Sydney have war memorials, though rarely as big as this

…to the ducks and ibis…

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This seat is taken
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These ducks are vicious. No seagulls around here.

…to the statue of Confucius.

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A true blue Australian

Actually, I don’t remember this one being here at all. It was erected by Burwood Council to honour Confucius’s contribution to the Burwood community and Australia. There are also some pretty bad spelling errors. I wonder what would happen if I decided to erect a statue of Rolf Harris in Ulsan. Migrant communities seem to have a habit of doing this, not just in Australia.

And, that’s it for Burwood until my next Sydney visit.

My Aussie Xmas

My flight out of Incheon was at 7 pm so I had some time to do the Xmas shopping. I usually do not buy gifts for adults as there is so much that can be read into a gift. But I always buy gifts for kids. This year I got a tiger onesie for The Niece and a monkey jacket for The Nephew. While I was looking for The Nephew’s present I found this great bra.

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Wear a bra like this, get your “Oppa dream”

Christmas is interesting in Korea. On the one hand, suburban Seoul by night looks like a neon cemetery. On the other, there is barely any trace of Jesus, replaced with hyper-consumerism instead. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since what else would an outside observer learn from observing American Christmas traditions. Like a lot of “Western” holidays, Xmas is also for couples, so maybe the above festive bra is for boyfriends to buy for their girlfriends.

I got my brother and sister-in-law this book, because it’s inevitable so you may as well do it right.

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This kid looks 40

For Xmas Day we were up at our holiday house. The barbecue was excellent.

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Beer in one hand, iPhone in the other

The beach is about 3 minutes walk away. This is my niece playing near the rock pool. She wasn’t allowed into the water because she had a bit of a cold, but she eventually went in. She was only allowed to be knee-deep in the water. This just meant that she started swimming in knee-deep water.

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Australia’s next great engineer

Here she is singing about the sea

Cooking Time: "Asian" Beef Salad

I had some steaks so I made Steak Diane because I’m living in the 70s. It’s actually my mum’s favourite kind of steak so now I make it, though I use whiskey since I can’t find brandy (and when not used for cooking I can drink the whiskey anyway). I used the other steak for a salad. As much as I would like to have a steak for lunch, it just isn’t practical at work.


salad photo

Ingredients (should be enough for 2)

  • 200 g steak (no need to use an expensive cut or to season since you’re going to slice it up and drizzle it with salad dressing)
  • Oil or butter to fry the steak in
  • Half an onion, sliced. I’d have used one of the purple ones to class this up, I if had one.
  • 1 bunch of lettuce, chopped or hand-torn (ooooh, how artisanal). I used the one commonly eaten with samgyeopsal. It’s kinda like Romaine/Cos lettuce
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved/quartered lengthways. Quartered looks prettier.
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed. I always use more
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs lime or lemon juice


Cook your steak how you like it. I prefer rare to medium rare so about 2 minutes on each side for a steak 2 cm thick. DO NOT TOUCH THE STEAK ONCE YOU PUT IT IN THE PAN! The only time you turn the steak is when the side you’re cooking is done (use a timer!). If you turn it too early you may get bits of it stuck to the pan – though this is a much bigger problem if you’re frying sauteeing a chicken breast – or you’ll end up losing most of the juices.

Once the steak is cooked, leave it to cool on a clean plate. Yes, we’ve progressed so far from our days huddled in caves roasting an animal that we need to specify ‘clean plate’.

Get your onion. Cut the onion in half lengthways (ie, cut from head to foot, not around the middle). Peel the half you will use for the salad. Place the now peeled half of thee onion on your chopping board and cut it in half, again lengthways. You will now slice across the cut you just made, creating happy little quarter circles of onion. Set these aside.

The half of the onion you aren’t using in this salad you can give to children and your coworkers as a special treat. Tell them it’s a delicacy from your hometown and decry their cultural insensitivity when they refuse to eat it (maybe better to laugh at the kids instead).

In a bowl, add your soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, and lime/lemon juice. Using a fork (rustic) or an eggbeater (lazy) or a stab mixer (seriously?!), mix the oils until they form a somewhat homogenous liquid. Add your garlic to the emulsion and mix. Set the bowl aside.

By now your steak should have cooled enough for you to cut it (it should also have reabsorbed the juices it was leaking when you took it out of the pan). Slice the steak as thin as you can (or like, but for a salad thin slices are best) so you end up with slices between 2 to 5 cm long. If you want that extra beefy flavour you can mix the juices from the steak you just cut into your dressing.

Add the lettuce, tomatoes, and sliced beef to your dressing. Now toss that salad.

On a completely unrelated note, here’s some of Chris Rock’s standup.

If you like, you can add cucumber as well. You can also Thai it up by adding chopped peanuts and hot chilli. Ginger could probably work too, but don’t use too much as ginger pretty easily overpowers everything else.