Happy Chanukah!

A Hanukkah poster hanging in the lobby of my mother's apartment building.

A Hanukkah poster hanging in the lobby of my mother’s apartment building.

This is a bit delayed, it being the fourth night of Chanukah, but better late than never!

I saw this poster hanging in the lobby of my mother’s apartment building when we went to visit her for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t aware there were enough Jewish tenants living there for the management to recognize the holiday. Maybe they put up signs for every major religious holiday? Regardless, it was very well done and a nice gesture.

Chanukah is a commemoration of the reconquest of Jerusalem by the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple to God. The oil they had available to light the menorah in the Temple was only enough for one day, but they lit it anyway, while they got to work making more, which was an eight-day process of pressing and purifying. According to tradition, the oil vessel miraculously refilled itself every night allowing them to keep the menorah burning for all eight nights. That’s why Jews today light a menorah each night of the holiday, in commemoration of not just the rededication but the miracle of the oil.

My Cat vs Human “True Love” Poster

A few months ago I started regularly reading a web comic called Cat vs Human.  It’s really crazy just how closely Yasmine Surovec’s experiences with her boyfriend and her cats mirrors mine and my wife’s experiences.  Her insight into cat behavior and the strange situations that arise from letting cats into your household and into your life make for great reading and great entertainment.

Her comics are pretty popular and she has a Cat vs Human store for related merchandise.  About the time I got really hooked on her web comic I looked at the store and was disappointed to see that the poster I wanted was out of stock.  She finally had more printed and put up for sale last week so I ordered immediately!  This is what I went to the post office for yesterday, and what the mail worker failed to deliver to my door, even though people were in the house all day.

My wife loves cats.  She loves all animals, really, but cats have a special place in her heart.  They’ve helped her through some hard times with their companionship.  I agreed to adopting cats because I knew it would make her happy, but before long I realized that those little bastards had wormed their way into my heart as well.  I love our cats, very much.  Each one has a unique personality and even though they can cause disaster at times, there’s nothing quite like having a cat curl up in your lap unexpectedly and purr, content to just be next to you.

My cats, like my wife, are now part of my family.  If my wife had her way, she’d adopt them all, but that’s not feasible, both for economic and hygiene reasons.  Still, this poster really visualizes our life, loving someone no matter what, taking the good with the bad, making sacrifices and finding middle ground to start from.  I’ll be framing this and hanging it in the bedroom.

Namie Amuro’s Coke Zero Ads

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Once known as the “Teen Queen” and referred to as the “Queen of Japanese Pop Music”, Amuro Namie is a singer, entertainer and former actress.  She started out young, debuting as an idol in a group called the Super Monkey’s (that’s a fun name!) at the age of 14.  She’s one of the longest surviving popular female acts in Japan and is the only female artist to have had a Top 10 single each year for 14 years straight.  Not bad!

I’m just getting into the whole J-pop thing.  My experiences with Japanese culture have been restricted mostly to anime, manga, some history courses and video games, so I wasn’t familiar with her work.  I did recognize her name though.

I first found out about this ad campaign here in the Philippines when I saw a poster (pictured below) hanging up while waiting for a ride back to my neighborhood.

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And here’s the corresponding TV commercial, though it looks this one ran in Japan rather than here in the Philippines:

Not bad for a 33 year old woman with a 13 year old son, huh?  Almost makes me want to drink Coke Zero, but I can’t stand the stuff.  I prefer the regular version, which I like to call Fatboy Supreme, because it’ll put some weight on you pretty quick if you’re not careful.

I can’t say I’m too crazy about the song, but if you’re interested, here’s the full HD video of “Wild”, which is what the Coke Zero advertising campaign is based on.

Tampines (Edit: Pasir Ris) Library Groups Cats in With Roaches and Rats On Poster

Mobile Photo 25-Apr-2010 PM 06 44 39 This poster is on display in the Tampines Pasir Ris Public Library branch.  While I wholeheartedly agree with the message, that it takes everyone to keep the city clean, I disagree with the images used to portray the negative consequences.

This poster implies that cats are disgusting pests, on the same level as roaches and disease carrying rodents.  Cats are not in the same category of animal.  Cats are domesticated house pets and have been for thousands of years.  In ancient Egypt, when a household’s cat died, the owners would shave off their eyebrows as a sign of mourning.

While I’m not suggesting that we start shaving our eyebrows off to protest cat culling in Singapore, I do want to call attention to the fact that it’s not proper to reinforce the negative perception of these animals.  The person who created this poster was even sly enough to use a black cat, which has always been associated with bad fortune, to add dramatic effect and further create a negative opinion of cats in the general public.

What’s truly ironic about this poster is that cats are Singapore’s greatest defense against the real pests, as mice are a stray cats natural prey.

A clean city may be a reflection of moral and civic values, but kindness to animals is a much better indicator.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi