By Nury Vittachi
Chocolate fudge cake is actually a significant health food, readers tell me. Simply make it with dark chocolate and abandon all other treats on your diet.
“It might just have the antitoxins to increase longevity,” said reader Ryan Stein, responding to a plea in this column to reclassify chocolate fudge cake as a health food.
Dark chocolate has a rich supply of catechins, a chemical thought to prevent cancer and heart disease, according to a reader who sent in an article from The Lancet, a medical journal.
“From a woman’s point of view, chocolate is better than sex,” said reader Anusha Nand. “It’s been scientifically proved.” She sent me a cutting from Health magazine describing an experiment in which researchers put electrodes on couples who were then asked to eat dark chocolate and kiss. “Heart rate and brain activity both increased far more with the chocolate than with the kissing,” said Health magazine food editor Frances Largeman-Roth.
Chocolate better than sex? I hate to be sexist (actually I don’t) but that is SUCH a girly thought, Anusha.
I also got a note from Cindy, aged 11, who said: “Chocolate comes from cocoa beans. That means it’s a vegetable.”
So last week, we published proof that beer was good for you. This week we prove that chocolate fudge cake is a health food.
Are we good to you or what?
North Korea’s squad of suspiciously perfect cheerleaders came to a sorry end, I heard from reader Martin Turner: “They got dumped in jail when they got back home.”
The cheerleaders, whom we referred to last week, were imprisoned for breaking their promise not to tell people about the outside world after they were allowed a short glimpse of it.
In North Korea, this is a tragedy.
In the West, this would be a sure-fire hit movie. I mean, “Cheerleaders in Prison”? Who could resist?
The theory that the name Mongkok (the English name of a district in Kowloon) is its Chinese name Wongkok with the first letter upside down is a myth, I heard from reader Saul HK Ching. The English name is derived from an earlier name: Mango Corner.
Saul also delivered the fascinating news that Mandarin was chosen as China’s national language after a vote in 1913. “Cantonese came in second and lost by only two votes,” he said.
Just think. Instead of people touring China having to learn two incredibly difficult languages, it may have been just the one. I reckon I shall be fluent in both after another 80 or so years studying.
Reader Marc Gelfo was one of many readers who rose to defend pinyin. “Pinyin is, in fact, an extremely useful and quickly-learned tool which opens up the Chinese language for the entire Roman alphabet-using world. I hope you will publicly retract your denouncement of pinyin, as I fear it is spreading even more ignorance about this system. Perhaps you could pick on the French instead,” he said.
The most heartfelt response came from Marcus, a teenager studying Chinese, who said: “Le neng pin yin is no zhoke. Ai wud laik to quk mai pinyin buk au toh fa win do.”
Read it out loud to get the meaning: “Learning pinyin is no joke. I would like to chuck my pinyin book out of a window.”