For the Shopaholics & Foodies.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Put yourselves in the shoes of a child in a themepark. No, not any themepark. Disneyland. Try to imagine his awe finding himself amongst the characters he saw on TV, the excitement as he watches fireworks erupting into fiery streaks of red and gold into the air during the parade.

Serravalle ignites the very same excitement and awe - but for shopaholics.

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The place is practically a themepark for shoppers, complete with directory and signboards. It's a Factory Outlet like no other, where branded goods are sold with at least a fraction off the original price.

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Open-mouthed smile

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Dunno what kind of magical cap that is but even at the super super discounted price, it's ridiculously expensive.

If you ever drop by Italy and want to shop, although the stores in Milan & Rome whisper to you seductively to go over to them, be strong! At least till you get to Serravalle. ;)

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With our purchases. :D

However, if you really don't get the chance to pay a visit to Serravalle, branded goods in Europe is already cheaper by leaps and bounds in comparison to Malaysia so you might just want to bring empty luggage. :P

Shopping aside, the food in Italy was sporadic hits & misses. Some were honest-to-God amazing, some were pathetically flavorless, and others were just strange.

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The first meal we received in Italy. They eat spaghetti as appetizer. :O

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Meat, pasta, and wine. ;)

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Squid ink pasta was delicious! Open-mouthed smile And there's a random shot of the restaurant in this collage because I thought that Italiannes did a pretty good job of replicating the Italian feel.

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The lasagna was so good I ate two of it! Heh. And as for the Twix.. it's just remarkable that something so loved can't be found in Malaysia. Sad smile 

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The Ritter Sport Bianco Crisp chocolate on the bottom right is amazing.. *salivates* And so was everything else in this picture! Open-mouthed smile 


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Pasta was meh, fish was amazing, and that unassuming little glass contains the most wonderful sherbet-like icy dessert IN THE WOOOORRRRLDDDDD.

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Pizza, cake, risotto, and chicken..

Ah, what I would do to return to Italy with its multiple course meals..

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The first pic in this collage is their mutant tomatoes which look like pumpkins..
The second pic is of their mutant gigantic strawberries which are mutantly gigantic..
And the third pic is of their mutant red lettuce.

HA.

No, that's a lie. The third pic are of flowers but after seeing the first two mutants, wasn't my caption for the third pic somewhat convincing? :P

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And this is focaccia, which is much like sticky plain bread except a million times better. It's a delicacy of Genova. (MUST TRY!!)

But of course, a visit to Italy is not complete without a visit to The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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And of course, the signature pose.

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Taking the shot is a LOT harder than it looks, especially with a photographer who would rather buy souvenirs than repeatedly snap similar pictures. :P

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Aihh, off by a bit.

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Yikes, off the mark again!

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COMPLETELY OFF!

Hey.. but wait.

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PUSHCEPTION!!! Surprised smile Surprised smile Surprised smile 

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Pisa's soft ground is the reason why the tower is leaning. According to Roberto, even the trees don't grow perpendicular to the ground.

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Roberto!

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Straight?

You'd think that modern technology would be able to straighten this tower & everything else in Pisa but even if it could, our guide insisted that no one would want to do that because people would no longer want to go to Pisa. :( #sadbuttrue

Genoa, on the other hand, is someplace I would love to revisit if I could. It's a beautifully quaint seaport town with buildings which somehow remind me of the Weasleys' house.

Pictures would explain it best.

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They enter their houses through the roof!

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Talk about urban congestion!

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A rare patch of green.

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Does anyone else wanna complain about not having enough space? :P

On that note, this blog will finally say goodbye to Italy!

Ohh, muffle those signs of relief! -.- I can here them from over here!

A Beginner's Guide to MUN

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Disclaimer: Before I get sent angry emails of how I have soiled the dignity of MUNs with false information, when I say beginner's guide, I do not mean that this guide is for beginners (although, in a way, it is). But what I mean by beginner's guide is that this guide is.. literally by a beginner. Sneaky, I know. ;)

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People passed notes instead of speaking and were forced to sit isolated from one another… All were clad in formal clothing whilst someone else dictated if we were allowed to voice out…

And the strangest of all? Everyone spoke in third person.

It was like a different world, whereby normal decorum did not apply. In a way, it was. Being involved in Model United Nations was (despite the common assumption), a far cry from the debates I had become accustomed to in the past.

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TCSJ participants of the conference :)

KTJMUN 2012 was my first ever MUN Conference and despite the rigid rules and required formalities, it was surprisingly enjoyable. As a first timer, this guide is probably seasoned with mistakes and peppered with flaws (of which I readily invite correction), but hopes to be able to give a rough layman's summary of how MUNs work.

1. Opening Speech

Each delegate (participant) is expected to prepare an opening speech of 1 minute to 1 minute 10 seconds. The speech should include an introduction and the opinion of the country on the issues to be discussed. I don't think there's any particular format to it, besides the fact that oneself should be referred to in third person. e.g: The delegate of the UK would like to wish..

2. Lobbying

Despite its name, lobbying doesn't mean that one sits down at a lobby.
It encompasses sitting down in libraries and various other rooms too! Open-mouthed smile 

Prior to participating at a conference, a delegate is assigned a country and a committee, of which the delegate will represent and debate in. In my case, I was the delegate of the United Kingdom for DISEC, the Disarmament and Security Committee. We are informed beforehand of the topics to be discussed during the conference and are expected to research accordingly before arrival.

Lobbying is done to write resolutions. Basically, the delegate can choose which group of people she would like to work with regarding a resolution and can decide to either become the main submitter or co-submitter of the resolution.

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There are certain formalities to be adhered to while drafting a resolution (which is much too meticulous for me to pretend to understand) and examples of one can be found online.. at another website. Open-mouthed smile <<<<< lazy blogger.

In a nutshell, when lobbying begins, one find a group of like-minded countries/people, decide on a main submitter, brainstorm for hours, and then draft a resolution.

3. Debates

Debates in MUN are close to 100% unidentical to any of the Parliamentary debates, save for the fact that Points of Information (POI) still occur.

Basically, the resolution that was drafted during lobbying is to be presented during the debates. The main submitter goes up, reads out the resolution, babbles a bit as to why the resolution should pass, then can either choose to accept a few POIs or take none at all. Those who want to POI will have to raise their placards and wait for the chair to choose them. If chosen, they can ask their question, and so on and so forth.

After the main submitter had been questioned, others can choose to go up and speak on their views of the resolution. Both supporting and opposing views will be entertained and those who choose to speak may have the option of also being interrogated via POIs.

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Adam & my failed placard shot.

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With our placards! Open-mouthed smile 

4. Amendments

During the debate, there are options available to help improve the resolution. Those who agree with the resolution may go up and speak to support it, but if they have dissatisfaction over a particular clause or a small detail, they may then submit amendments.

I didn't actually submit any during the conference but if I'm not mistaken, one has to write a note addressed to the chair with the amendment written down (ONE AT A TIME!) and raise their placard when the floor is given the opportunity to speak. The delegate then asks if the chair has received the amendment and if so, can go up to present the amendment.

The same procedure whereby POIs are asked and anyone supporting/opposite are given the chance to speak applies as well. After a certain amount of time has passed, everyone is to vote for the amendment to pass or not.

5. Voting

Voting is done by raising your placard when it is time to vote. For amendments, all delegates are to vote. (I think!)

However, for the resolution as a whole, delegates are given the option of voting for it to pass, rejecting it, or abstaining from voting (YOU COWARD!)

All delegates are reminded to vote based on the opinion of the country assigned, rather than personal opinion. If there is a majority of votes favoring the resolution, then it passes.

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Otherwise, it fails. Sad smile

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A few debates are done throughout the conference, depending on the number of resolutions drafted. If I'm not mistaken, we debated on a total of 5 resolutions.

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DISEC members from Taylor's! (Hartamas + Subang) (AND THE CHAIR!, Mr Jarrod Joshua!)

Our committee was ridiculously lovable with numerous shoe-related metaphors, multiple slips of tongue in first person instead of third, a teddy bear at some point, and hilarious superlatives.

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With the absolutely gorgeous delegate of Mauritius.

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Ahh, nothing fills me with such happiness than to loom over weaker countries.. >:)

At some point, the MUN almost bored me to sleep with its proper language and diplomacy often absent from debates. In fact, during one of the debates, the chair was forced to remind us that "sleeping is not in order". :P

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But thanks to the new friends I made, old ones I connected with, wonderfully warm committee, and jovial atmosphere, I'd say it was a pretty good use of the first three days of my holiday. Winking smile 

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And maybe it helped that I had someone to squish. Open-mouthed smile

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