Sisters make us nicer

A new study has shown that sisters make us nicer people.

Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah have found that growing up with at least one girl in the family wards off feelings of loneliness, guilt and fear as well as boosting confidence.

Any sibling, especially a sister, encourages a spirit of generosity and reduces one’s risk of depression. Why? Girls are more understanding, kind and loving than boys.

Note this: endless fighting between siblings is actually a good thing. According to the study, arguments and hostility teach children how to make up and regain control of their emotions. However, it is important that siblings have good relations with each other.

I have older sisters: three to be exact and we squabble, but we get over it in the end! If the study is anything to go by, that means I have three times the positive influence!

In the past I have always envied people with brothers. Maybe I should be more grateful that I have sisters instead. Well that’s what they would probably want me to think. :p

Writing this article made me think of that super cheesy song ‘Sister’ by S2S, an Australian band that nobody remembers. How relevant! For nostalgia’s sake, here is the video. Enjoy!

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Not everyone will be a MasterChef

It’s been almost a fortnight since Masterchef ended. The show was a massive phenomenon. It was what everyone talked about at work, at uni, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Even the Sydney Morning Herald was obsessed with the show going by the heavy content that was published while it was on air.

Masterchef was definitely one of those rare gems in that it was a reality TV program that actually had substance unlike trash such as Big Brother or Farmer Wants A Wife.

In cheesy terms, people enjoyed the show because it showed average Australians pursuing their dreams of being a chef. I’m sure that because of the show, more people now want to become chefs and own their own big restaurant. There’s even a kids version of Masterchef that will be hitting screens soon.

I do think it’s good to be inspired by the examples of others, and to pursue cooking if it’s a passion. However, not everyone is going to be the next Jamie Oliver or [insert name of a famous chef], write best-selling cook books, or manage a successful restaurant that attracts global attention.

In last week’s MX, readers expressed such views to the paper.

“It’s not as glamorous as they make out.”

“I am a chef too…I am thinking of driving buses. They get more money and a life.”

“I’m the partner of a chef. He has no life outside his job. We see each other every now and then yet we live together. I don’t think people appreciate what hard work chefs do for all of us.”

I know that being a chef is not always the best job in the world. My dad is a former owner of a small Chinese restaurant and it was exhausting and time-consuming. I barely saw him since he was at work. There were no set holidays, weekends were work and it was just stressful.

Now, of course there are people who work their way up to the top and become managers of a major restaurant or even several. There are usually people who are working for you and in some cases, you don’t even have to be there physically at the restaurant. In that case a culinary career is fantastic. But not everyone will make it that far. To do so would be a “dream”, the buzz word used by Masterchef contestants.

A wonderful example of how not to advertise online

Today, I was reading an article on the Sydney Morning Herald, but as I approached the half-way point in the story, I found my reading interrupted by a flashy advertisement promoting the Australian Stock Report.

I respect the fact that websites need to have ads (to survive),  and I’m fine with them being there. I’m even content with those annoying ads that unexpectedly pop up videos and even flash animation. If there’s an option to close it, the website is forgiven. However, the Australian Stock Report is an example of an obtrusive ad readers are forced to look at because part of it cuts through the article.  And no, there was no close option.

Spot the punctuation mistake

I know I will sound like a grammar Nazi saying this, but this Citibank ad has annoyed me a little due to a tiny punctuation error.

You may not notice it, but there is a COMMA missing after the word world.

Put simply, this comma is important because it helps the reader to decipher the meaning. On the surface, people will automatically understand that the ad is just stating that in this man’s world, there are no monthly fees. However, if you read the ad literally, it would be “in my world bank accounts”. That definitely does not make sense.

My problem with an A Current Affairs’ story about dieting

Tonight, ACA did a story about sugar and how it is bad for your health. This is not new story, but just rehashed facts with a new spin/angle.

I will not do a deep analysis of the health aspects about the segment as I am not a doctor or a nutritionist but here are my thoughts on the story.

1. This expert (a lawyer), David Gillespie claims he lost weight by removing sugar from his diet completely. However, why is there a shot of him eating potato chips on a couch at the moment the reporter says that he “shed 40 kilos”. It seems quite ironic. (See picture below.) According to Gillespie, “cut out the sugar, you’ll notice the weight peeling away and you’ll feel better”. Yes, and it’s okay to have lots of salty snacks like chips.

2. Gillespie recycles facts that a person should already know about food in their supermarket. E.g. Coke contains high levels of sugar, manufactured apple juice is bad and so are sugary cereals.

3. The next part made me laugh when the reporter goes to the cheese section of the supermarket and calls it the “dieting disaster, the evil aisle”. Gillespie tells her that there is nothing wrong with cheese because there is no sugar in them .

4. Following this, the story focuses on a woman who has followed Gillespie’s diet plan and she happily points out the contents of her fridge: “there’s dips, there’s creams, butter, full cream milk, pasta, bacon, meat, eggs, cheese all of that and I lost 10 kilos”. Wait a minute! Creams? Full cream milk? Bacon? Aren’t those examples of items that people should be cutting down on? “It doesn’t feel like a diet,” says this woman. “It’s a change I’ve found extraordinarily easy”.

I am not saying ACA are entirely wrong but there are obvious holes in their story. They don’t even talk about exercise as being important to losing weight. It’s just a case of “get rid of sugar in your life and you’ll be fine”. I can’t help but be cynical of that.

You can watch the video (and read an accompanying article) on the ACA website.

Betrayal and backstabbing in politics

Credit: Fairfax Media

For the past day, Australia has been on a high about Julia Gillard becoming Australia’s first female prime minister.

With that aside, I’ve realised that you just can’t trust anyone if you work in politics.

Gillard did not become PM because the Australian public voted her into office. It was a case of Rudd’s own party members disliking their leader and subsequently plotting his downfall in a drive to ensure an election win. There is no better illustration than that of a playground squabble.

It’s a description that many people use to portray the world of politics. Politicians are like kids fighting against each other in a schoolyard brawl. Similar to the different cliques in schools, there are different parties in parliament.

What I never realised was how much backstabbing can occur within a party. This was exactly the case with the Labor Party where little groupies formed and members were either pro-Rudd or anti-Rudd.

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Prince of Persia film review

Today, I had the opportunity to watch Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films) and I probably wouldn’t have if it weren’t for my friend having spare tickets that she couldn’t use. I had low expectations of the film as there have been mixed reviews.

Prince of Persia, is a live action film version of the popular game franchise based on the same name and stars Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role of Prince Dastan and Ben Kingsley as the villain, Nizam.

Plotwise, it follows Dastan as his sets out to prove his innocence against a crime he did not commit (killing his adopted father) along with searching and protecting special knife that can turn back time. He’s joined by a princess and the knife’s guardian who is played by Gemma Arterton.

I would not judge the film as the worst thing I have ever seen but it isn’t the best either. There are plenty of action sequences (unlike a film like 300, there are no graphic blood spraying or maybe there was and the camera moved so fast I missed it) which made the film quite fun and enjoyable to sit through. I did find the whole ‘slow motion then quick pace’ overused.

However, the plot was a bit predictable at times and I laughed at those cheesy scenes where Gyllenhaal and Arterton’s characters are about to kiss but don’t (very Hollywood-style, will they or won’t they?). From memory, I think those scenes occur nearly five times throughout the film.

All the characters speak with a very distinctively English accent, which is rather strange seeing that the film is set in Persia.

There are twists in the film but the major one is identifying who the villain is but this is spoiled the moment Kingsley’s character shows up on screen. Kingsley wears dark eyeliner and he looks very effective as the stereotypical evil uncle. I wonder if that’s intentional because any red herring was lost on me.

The film used some good, if not excessive, CGI

The score by Harry Gregson-Williams (Kingdom of Heaven, Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia) was well done and I enjoyed the Middle Eastern flavoured soundtrack.

Overall, the film should be treated as pure entertainment. It’s not fantastic but you should just enjoy it for what it’s worth.

Rating: 6/10