Friday, March 24, 2006

Durian Daily 30: Attitude Polls Towards Countries

A major BBC World Service poll exploring how people in 33 countries view various countries found not a single country where a majority has a positive view of Iran’s role in the world (with the exception of Iranians themselves).

Views of Iran are lower than the US, although the US continues to get low marks, as does Russia. Views of China, France, and Russia are down sharply compared to a similar BBC World Service poll conducted at the end of 2004.

Japan is the country most widely viewed as having a positive influence, and Europe as a whole gets the most positive ratings of all.


Views of China have deteriorated sharply over the last year, but a plurality continues to view China positively in the world. Among the 20 countries polled both years, the number rating China mainly positively has dropped from 13 countries in 2004 to eight today, while those rating it negatively have risen from three countries to seven. On average, positive ratings of China have dropped 9 points.

What is most striking is the change that has occurred among European countries and Canada. While in 2004 four of the seven European countries polled plus Canada had a plurality with a positive view of China, today only one country—Spain—still has a plurality positive view. France’s positive rating dropped from 49 percent to 31 percent while a majority of 53 percent now view China negatively. Italy’s positive rating dropped from 42 percent to 22 percent, and a 55 percent majority now have a negative view. Positive views dropped in Great Britain (46% to 40%) and Canada (49% to 36%), with pluralities now having a negative view. Views in Russia also worsened—positive views dropping from a plurality positive of 42 percent to a divided 32 percent positive, 33 percent negative. Finland—polled for the first time—also came in 54 percent negative.

Negative shifts also occurred in Asia, most notably in South Korea. In 2004 South Koreans had been divided on China (49% positive, 47% negative), while currently a 58 percent majority views China negatively. Drops in positive ratings have also occurred in India (66% to 44%), the Philippines (70% to 54%), Australia (56% to 43%) and Indonesia (68% to 60%), but in all of these cases a plurality or majority are still positive.

Steven Kull comments, “Recent stories of tightening of state controls appear to have hurt China’s image in the world.”

Nonetheless, on balance, China still has considerably more countries holding a positive than a negative view of it. Of the 33 countries polled this year, 20 have a positive view (12 majorities, 8 pluralities) and only ten have a negative view (5 pluralities and 5 majorities). On average 45 percent gave China a positive rating and 27 percent a negative rating. Positive views are particularly widespread in Africa—especially Senegal (73% positive), Nigeria (68%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (59%), Kenya (59%) and Tanzania (53%). Majority positive views were also found among a number of Muslim countries—Iran (66%), Afghanistan (58%), Iraq (55%), Saudi Arabia (54%), and Indonesia (60%). Positive majorities were also found in Brazil (57%) and the Philippines (54%).


Japan received very high ratings. Of the 33 countries polled, a remarkable 31 gave a positive rating and 21 of these were a majority. On average 55 percent gave a positive rating and 18 percent a negative one. Japan was not rated in the 2004 BBC World Service poll.
The two exceptions were China and South Korea, where 71 and 54 percent, respectively, said that Japan is having a negative influence. Otherwise the only countries to have more than 30 percent with a negative rating for Japan were France (36%) and Iran (33%), but both of these were still predominantly positive (France 47% positive, Iran 57%).

Interestingly some of the most positive countries are in Japan’s region of the world. An extraordinary 85 percent of Indonesians and 79 percent of Filipinos give Japan good grades. Australians are also quite positive (60%). Europeans are all quite positive, including Great Britain (57%), Germany (54%) and especially Spain (69%). France and Italy are more low key (47% and 48% positive, respectively). Also quite positive are Americans (66%) and Canadians (62%).

Read more on other countries here. Unfortunately, no Singaporean opinions are heeded, neither is Singapore's influence included.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Supermarket Spree 6: Sliced Almond from Morinaga

I had this wholesome pack for $1.80 and that is not without any reason. The expiring date is nearing. Other than that it looks tempting and opens up grandly.

It is interesting to note that the real chocolate inside coincides with the example shown on the exterior of the package. This is unlike some products from a certain handful of countries.

This product comes in handy packaging, but unless one is into recycling, this obviously is a waste of precious resources. The taste surprising lack the almond aroma although the teeth could feel its presence. At $1.80 for a big tempting pack, its value is quite unbeatable.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Gastroliterary 35: Japanese ix, Ohsumi

Ohsumi, situated in the off-beat part of Orchard Road, is a Japanese restaurant specialising in shabu shabu.

Service +++:
Customers will get a pleasant greeting at the instant they flip the curtain aside and step into the restaurant. Because the waiter inside gets to see anyone's shoes which is approaching under the curtain. The waitress and waiter and were generally polite and customers were bidded off warmly as they leave the place.

Service: ---
The waitress had forgot to provide us with dipping sauce. When she was told, she seemed quite apologetic for overlooking this important ingredient. We had an a la carte buffet which means there was a massive ordering of the thinly sliced pork.However, there was a long and hungry wait on the third ordering, probably because they mixed up the order or they had trouble providing customers with enough meat. Luckily, the subsequent orders came relatively smoothly.

Service: 7

Food +++:
The thinly sliced strips of well-marbled pork with the dipping sauce came not only as a tempting feast but also a wonderful display of the chef's slicing skills. It was time for gaining of saturated fats but also time for soft, fresh meat that has a wonderful texture. There was a large plate of vegetables, not only for consumption but also to relieve some guilt of overeating the juicy meat.

The meal came with a range of drinks, from sake to beer to shochu and tea. It was a time where customers get to taste such wide variety of drinks in such a short moment. This moment was heighten because the oolong tea was uniquely refreshing and shochu with added oolong was a drink certainly worth remembering.

Food: ---
The vegetables were probably the lows for the dinner because the restaurant gave a lot of the cheaper cabbage rather than the more popular mushrooms or vermicelli.

Food: 8

Ambience: 7.5
The place was crowded with many working adults which consist of mainly ethnic Japanese and also some with their families. And because of this, the whole restaurant was noisy, busy and happening. A homely style was probably an appropriate description.

Overall: 7.5
The meal was considered relatively expensive although it will be a worthy trip if one wish to explore the range of drinks they provide. Plus, if one is a pork lover, then this could be a pilgrimage site. Perhaps this is a place for true Japanese steamboat feast due to the great number of ethnic Japanese patronising. And reservations are needed for this place fills up quickly.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Durian Daily 29: Jobs for Foreigners, N.S. for Singaporeans (Photo taken at bus stop)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gastroliterary 34: Asian V, Boon Lay Raja


The use of 'Raja' has found its way to a Chinese restaurant. It neither hints on Chinese and Indian fusion cuisine as well. Although it bears the name Boon Lay, it is still distant away from western town of Boon Lay (in Singapore's context).

Situated in the heart of Jurong East, Boon Lay Raja expects itself to be filled with customers. It was not particularly busy that and that sections of the restaurants were closed. Staff were seen doing their paper work right in the restaurant.

The food was pretty average; it did not cause any indigestion, neither did I dream of coming back after the meal. Perhaps that explains why this write out was late and that details of the food were quite completely forgotten. And if one does not live in the Jurong area, travelling miles to dine here would be liken to a chore.

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