Asian Horses in Australia: Who to Back in 2016?

The folks at ACM Group can’t help but take a punt on the horses every once in a while. We love the thrill associated with gambling, and as horse racing is the sport of kings you can tell where our hearts lie when we do choose to take a little flutter.

The great tradition in Australia, is of course, selling our horses into Asia. We began to develop our horse industry by importing our first horses from India, England and the US, but by the fourth decade of the nineteenth century Australia had enough horses to begin exporting them. Some New South Wales army officers sold a shipment of horses to India for cavalry remounts in eighteen thirty. This exporting of horses to India would continue up until around nineteen thirty. This trade included the sale of Australian thoroughbred horses to India, where a racing industry had been established.

Through the British colonial connection Australia also supplied racehorses to Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Japanese were customers as well, when their military bought some eleven thousand horses as remounts for their army. During the years of the First World War more than one hundred and twenty thousand Aussie horses were shipped into West Asia. These horses were rated as superior to the Arab breed and they were extolled by their users, such as the Australian Light Horse. In nineteen nineteen Australian horses competed in Egypt and were successful in a number of racing events.

During the nineteen fifties Australian thoroughbreds were exported to Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan. The strong bond with horse racing in Hong Kong and Malaysia has maintained through the decades of the twentieth century a substantial Australian input into these race clubs and their industry as a whole. Asian investment in Australian racing has seen them as racehorse owners contribute to the strong financial growth of the industry over the last three decades. Asian owners have been investing in breeding studs in Western Australia for many years. Asian owners have won many of the feature races in Australia over the last twenty years. Horse racing betting may be the next frontier.

In recent years we have seen Japanese horses successful in Melbourne and Caulfield Cups. The strong link between Japan and Australia in the horse racing field sees horses from both countries competing to win each other’s feature races. The Middle East, which is categorised as part of Asia, has seen horses and owners from Dubai and the other Arab Emirates competing for featured prize money in Australia for a couple of decades at least. Horse racing at the Group 1 level is, now, a highly international affair with horses bred on one continent regularly racing on other continents. Asian horses in Australia: who to back in 2016? I am sure that there will be a bevy of then to choose from.

20 Cool Asian Restaurants in Adelaide

Great Asian food in Adelaide is happening all over the city. When the ACM Group team visited the South Australian capital famous for its eating houses and delicious dishes inspired by the orient we proved our reputation as the hungry visitors we are. Whether you are fond of sushi, noodles, curries, stir fries, fish cakes, Phos or BBQ duck the City of Churches has your tastes covered. Here are 20 cool Asian restaurants in Adelaide.

Shiki Japanese Restaurant

InterContinental Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, 5000.

08 8238 2382

Stylish hotel dining experience with teppanyaki, sushi and sashimi.

Kenji

5/242 Hutt Street, Adelaide, 5000.

08 8232 0944

Great seafood in the hands of a great chef. Try the puffer fish!

Star of Siam

67 Gouger Street, Adelaide, 5000.

08 8231 2527

Adelaide’s most consistently awarded Thai restaurant.

Jasmin

31 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide, 5000.

A palace serving fantastic Asian food to celebs and plebs.

Adelaide Pho

199 Waymouth Street, Adelaide, 5000.

08 8212 0997

Great phos and a really busy place, which is always a good sign; a good range of Vietnamese food on the menu.

Gin Long Canteen

42 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, 5006.

08 7120 2897

The perfect place for big parties of diners. Fast service and fantastic Thai food. Great cocktails at the bar and a really vibrant place.

House of Chow

82 Hutt Street, Adelaide 5000

08 8223 6181

Lots of well known Chinese dishes on a big menu and they are all pretty yummy. Big aquarium to choose your seafood from.

Concubine

132 Gouger Street, Adelaide, 5000

08 8212 8288

We all would like a concubine in our lives and this wonderful Chinese restaurant delivers in spades. Beautiful ambience and stunning food.

The Himalayan Kitchen

73 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, 5006.

08 8267 3037

Superb Indian and Nepalese cuisine and a lovely space to dine in. Great vegetarian dishes on the menu as well.

Monsoon

141 O’Connell Street, Adelaide, 5000.

08 7225 5382

Seriously good Asian fusion food delivered in style to your table. Lovely service and brilliant dishes make this a fine restaurant experience.

Mandoo

26 Bank Street, Shop 3, Adelaide, 5000.

08 8231 3303

Korean food doesn’t get much better than this. A man do what a man has to and that is eat well.

Sit Lo

30 Bank Street, Adelaide, 5000.

0439 004 161

Yummy Vietnamese café in the heart of the city. Well priced and a buzzy intimate place.

Pondok Bali

310 Putteney Street, Adelaide, 5000.

08 8232 0588

Spicy Indonesian food perfect with a cold Bintang. Bali in the middle of the city.

Other notables:

Madame Hanoi Bar & Bistro; Mapo Korean; House of Pearl; Orient; Golden Boy; Ding Hao and Asian Central.

Chinese New Year in Sydney

The Chinese New year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since that the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday to China. Originally associated with the lunar Chinese calendar, the holiday was an occasion to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also an occasion to bring households together for great feasts. With the well-liked adoption in China of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating Jan 1 as New Year’s Day. China, however, continues to celebrate the original Chinese Calendar year, although in a new shorter version using a new name–the Spring Festival. Significantly, younger generations of Chinese now take notice of the holiday in a very different manner to their ancestors. For some in the younger generation, the holiday has evolved from a chance to renew family ties to a chance for a pleasurable holiday from work.

The Ancient Chinese Date

The ancient Chinese language calendar, which is what Chinese New Year relies upon, functioned as a religious, dynastic and additionally a social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate it existed at least around 14th century N. C., when the Shang Dynasty was in power. The calendar’s composition wasn’t static: It would reset according to which emperor kept power and varied according to location.

The Chinese calendar was an intricate timepiece. Its parameters were set according to the lunar phases along with the solar solstices in addition to equinoxes. Yin in addition to yang, the opposing however complementary principles defining a harmonious planet, also ruled the particular calendar, as did the Chinese zodiac, the cycle regarding twelve stations or “signs” across the apparent path on the sun through the particular cosmos. Each new 12 months was marked through the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiacal creatures: the rat, ox, tiger woods, rabbit, dragon, snake, moose, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
The traditional Chinese New Calendar year

The Chinese New Year period began in the middle of the 12th thirty days and ended around the centre of the first month using the waxing of the complete moon. Observance of the New Year time period was traditionally divided into New Year’s Eve and also the first few days of the new year.

Traditionally for the Chinese, New Year was the most important festival on the calendar. The entire attention on the household was fixed around the celebration. During this time, business life came nearly to a stop. Home and family were the main focuses.

In preparation for the holiday, homes had been thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi, ” as well as inauspicious breaths, that may have collected throughout the old year. Cleaning was also intended to appease the gods who would be coming lower from heaven to make inspections. Ritual sacrifices regarding food and icons were offered to gods and ancestors and forefathers. People posted scrolls published with lucky communications on household gates and set off firecrackers to daunt evil spirits. Folks gave out cash to children. In truth, many of the particular rites carried out in those times were meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents.

Most crucial were the great feasts. On New Year’s Eve, the extended household would join around the table for lunch that included as a last course a fish that’s symbolic of abundance and thus not meant to be eaten. In the 1st five days on the New Year, people ate lengthy noodles to symbolize long life. On the fifteenth and final day on the New Year, round dumplings shaped as full moons were shared as a sign of your family unit and regarding perfection.
Evolution of the Spring Festival

The Western-style Gregorian calendar arrived in China with Jesuit missionaries in 1582. It began to be used through out the general population by 1912, and New Year’s Day was officially acknowledged as occurring on Jan 1. Beginning in 1949, under the rule of Chinese Communist Party head Mao Zedong (1893–1976), the government forbade celebration of the traditional Chinese New Year and followed the Gregorian calendar in its dealings with the West. However toward the end of the 20th century, Chinese leaders were more willing to accept the Chinese language tradition. In 1996, China instituted a new week long vacation throughout the holiday–now called Spring Festival–giving people an opportunity to travel home in order to celebrate the new year.

In the first 21st century, many Chinese families spent a substantial amount of their own discretionary income celebrating the particular Spring Festival with traditional symbols in addition to food. They in addition spent time seeing the televised Spring Festival Gala: a good annual variety show featuring traditional in addition to contemporary singers, dancers as well as magic demonstrations. Although the rites of the holiday no longer have religious value, people remained sensitive to the zodiacal animals to the extent that that they considered that, for instance, a year of the rat might mean they would find a personal fortunes or for any child born during this time may grow to become rich.

ACM Group has noted a change in attitude toward the Spring Festival has occurred in China’s younger generation, with Chinese college students reporting that that they prefer surfing the world wide web, sleeping, watching TV or hanging out with friends over celebrating with their household. They also claim to not like conventional New Year food including dumplings and glutinous pastry. With its change of title from Chinese New Year to Spring Festival, for some members on the younger generation the holiday has evolved from a chance to renew family ties to a holiday spent with friends and taking lengthy naps!

 

How will you be spending Chinese New Year in Sydney?

Year of the Monkey 2016

What will the Year of the Monkey hold in store for us in 2016? There will be a lot of innovation, but also trickery in government & business …

Some people say that Chinese astrology is a load of old fishwives tales. But how often is it that you meet someone who is strategic, silent and spiritual, and it turns out they are the Year of the Snake? In fact Chinese astrology is a powerful way to work out the character of people and how they might behave in future circumstances.

As for the years themselves, well this is often open to conjecture.

Matsuri Festival in Darling Harbour

The Matsuri Festival in Darling Harbour is Sydney’s largest Japanese cultural event. Held over one day during the first week of November it is an exciting mixture of exhibition, performances and yummy food stalls, the latter always being reason for the ACM Group team to cover an event. Isn’t it so true that it is food that brings people together; especially in this country. There are dancers, martial artists, drumming groups, singers and so much more all happening on this jam packed day. You get the full gamut of all things Japanese, from traditional forms to funky creative offshoots. I think I’m turning Japanese, turning Japanese, I really think so!

The exhibition side of the Matsuri Festival offers a great opportunity for those thinking about travelling to Japan for a holiday or work. Japanese airlines have display booths, tourist operators, government and consular officials and accommodation providers are all there with lots of inspiring information. Meet the Kumamoto Castle’s Hospitality Samurai Squad and discover one of Japan’s premier tourist attractions. The Tokyo Disney Resort is “where dreams come true”, at this amazing theme park in Japan; find out about it here at Matsuri. The Sydney Japanese International School has a stand to promote their bilingual primary school in Terrey Hills.

Food opens doors to people’s hearts via their appreciative taste buds and tummies. Yummy Japanese food has been wowing Sydneysiders for decades and there is a great range of stalls at Matsuri. Izakaya food is here, as well as sushi, noodles, teppanyaki, and so much more. Grab a lunch box or a sushi roll, try Kanazawa black curry, Japanese fish cakes on a skewer and wash it down with a sugarcane drink. Japanese food is clean and healthy; and mostly fat free.

While I was eating my delicious Japanese food I watched the Hula Aloha Hawaiian Group of Japanese women doing traditional Hawaiian dance. Then the high intensity Mad Unity Dance and boy does this dance crew have some moves. Following this the karate was on and the combat routines were breath taking. There was Japanese folk dancing, plus Soran dance, and the Wadaiko Rindo Sydney drumming troupe; who were full of spirit. The haunting sounds of the shakuhachi had me spellbound and transported me to a sanctuary in some mountain top hideaway in my imagination; very beautiful music. You really get the incredible diversity of the Japanese soul; it comes in so many unusual forms and flavours. The Matsuri Festival is a very rewarding experience and I am already looking forward to 2016.

Night Noodle Markets in Review

Night noodle markets have emerged around the capital cities of Australia’s states, as part of various festivals and celebrations of cultural diversity and food. Twinkling fairy like lights in beautiful locations in Hyde Park in Sydney, the Festival Centre in Adelaide, and on the banks of the Yarra River in Melbourne, are enchanting a hungry audience of Australians and tourists. Yummy food in magical locations can inspire even the most jaded of palettes. The range of food offerings from the stalls at these night noodle markets is staggering and worth trying as many of them as possible.

Korean food is a big favourite in Sydney and Pok Lol do great Korean style tacos. The thing is that the restaurants involved have to adapt their traditional flavours to forms that suit the quick eating and casual seating of these events. Thus the Korean taco, which features the meats of your selection with a kimchi slaw; and it tastes divine. Bao Stop and Mr Bao feature pork belly crackling, XO fried chicken bao and Peking Duck fries. The Sydney night noodle markets also features some northern Chinese food at Mrs Ni: dumplings, shallot pancakes and Taiwanese- style fried chicken; absolutely delicious. Plus lots of noodle dishes, ramen noodles, knife-cut noodles, hokken and more. Robots cutting noodles at the Taste of Shanghai; very Bladerunnerish! The roti from Malaysian Mamak is so light and yummy with curry sauce.

More than half a million people visited the night noodle market in Melbourne with around sixty stalls feeding the thousands. Hoy Pinoy, Red Spice Road, Chin Chin and Gelato Messina were back again and the innovation knows no bounds. Wrapping food in food to avoid too many costly and polluting take way containers sees cultural traditions mutating in form but not at the expense of flavour. Great dumplings are a favourite of mine and delicious tacos and burgers attract the punters by the thousands. There are sweets and desserts as well with waffles on a stick, coconut sorbet, mango ganache, Nutella dipping sauce; just some of the flavours and forms you can indulge in.

The Adelaide night noodle markets were another great success, attracting many thousands of visitors to the centre of Adelaide on the Torrens River. Vibrant music rocked the concourse around the Festival Centre and Asian food in a myriad of designs and dishes took centre stage. The dumplings and noodles were great, as were the Thai quail and Korean BBQ. A beautiful spot to share some nibbles with family and friends; plus great wines and beers were available.

Do you provide food for the night noodle markets? Do you have a fantastic stall we should know more about? Contact the folks here at ACM Group so we can cover anything new and exciting you might be cooking up!

Anti-Asian Racism in Sydney – Is It Getting Worse?

Australia is a wonderful country and most Australians are kind and tolerant people. There are, however, a few, who remain intransigent in an age of political correctness and defiantly express their anti-Asian sentiments. In large cities, like Sydney, there will always be a minority of disenfranchised denizens who wish to blame their feelings of isolation and alienation on others. ACM group, as Asians, are a very visible target for them to vent their frustrations upon. As long as government agencies actively oppose these acts of racial vilification and support the victims involved, we can, I think, remain confident that things are getting better and not worse in this regard.

The media has a role to play in highlighting these appalling acts, so as to discourage people from committing them and to encourage the general public not to be indifferent to these acts, when they witness them. We, as Australians, are all responsible for our cities and towns, not just those in official positions, and we must ensure that we welcome all our fellow citizens and visitors to our nation. Acts of kindness can go a long way to healing wounds that some migrants may have suffered in the past. Inclusiveness is the best way to get on in the world and to avoid violence and its consequent suffering.

The recent case exposed in the Sydney media of a woman stalking an Asian woman, whilst on a Sydney bus, and then racially vilifying her in a very public rant, sounds like the acts of someone suffering mental illness. Of course, that does not excuse the behaviour and the perpetrator needs to be apprehended and investigated. The more worrying aspect of that instance of racial abuse was the failure of the bus driver to acknowledge the attack and do something about it; and the complete lack of support for the victim shown by her fellow passengers. These things prompt the question, anti-Asian racism in Sydney – is it getting worse?

These behaviours seem unAustralian to me, to borrow a favourite phrase from the ex-Prime Minister of Australia John Howard. It seems, we may need reminding that being Australian is not a matter of the colour of your skin and what ethnic race you may belong to. Today, this country is a multicultural paradise for all of us, no matter where we or our parents or grandparents may have come from. The current PM, Malcolm Turnbull , is a great proponent of that modern day reality.

12 Cool Karaoke Bars in Sydney

 

Karaoke just might be Japan’s greatest export of all time; narrowly pipping the Corolla. Getting up in front of your mates, pissed and holding a microphone, is as close as most of us are ever going to get to pop stardom. The music belts out from the sound system and you desperately try and follow the words in some sort of semblance of timing. Whether you are singing sharp or off key, you and everyone else, have, hopefully, had enough alcohol not to care. This is as good as it gets for a few choice minutes, as the passion takes control and Jimmy Barnes, Kylie or Elvis, assumes the shape of your body. But where are the coolest Karaoke bars in Sydney? We at ACM Group decided to go and check out the karaoke scene and after many an inner rock god was explored we were able to let you know there are 12 of the best:

 

Karaoke World

Basement, 185 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.

Karaoke World was one of the first of its kind in Sydney and is, perhaps, the longest running karaoke bar. Lots of songs, plenty of booze and good food to choose from; what more could you possibly want?

Ding Dong Dang

7 Randle Street, Surry Hills.

Ding Dong Dang, the name says it all really, but this Surry Hills karaoke institution is a buzz. They have themed rooms and all the classic K songs.

Mizuya

614 George Street, Sydney

Mizuya is a very cool place to do karaoke, with up to one hundred and fifty thousand songs available in four different languages. Plus Izakaya style dining and open seven nights.

CEO Karaoke

Basement, 1 Dixon Street, Sydney

CEO Karaoke is as the name suggests a fancy place hoping to attract the bosses of the world. The décor is bold and in your face, but the food is great and there are spacious rooms to cater for groups.

K Square Karaoke Lounge

Shop G4, Capitol Square, 730-732 George Street, Haymarket.

Don’t miss the happy hour at this groovy spot, as it is great value. Yummy Japanese and Korean food, powerful sound systems and great range of songs in four languages.

Lantern By Wagaya

2, 591 George Street, Sydney.

Sensational food and a wonderful karaoke space to perform in. Very classy joint indeed.

Big Echo Karaoke

104 Bathurst Street, Sydney.

Private rooms available, great songs and jugs of mixed drinks makes this a seriously attractive karaoke paradise.

Gangnam Style Karaoke

259 Sussex Street, Sydney.

The name says it all and located above a Korean BBQ joint, it combines all the right elements for a great night out.

Dynasty Karaoke

Level 1, 63 Dixon Street, Haymarket.

Great sound systems and range of songs. Big rooms and great service.

The Pickled Possum

254 Military Road, Neutral Bay.

A great night out in a unique kind of place full of characters. Worth a visit!

Echo Point

262 Pitt Street, Sydney.

This is a classic karaoke joint with ‘that’ carpet and a pumping sound system to get you up and singing. Definitive karaoke experience guaranteed.

Ju Ju

82-94 Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross.

Ju Ju is for the proud and loud karaoke exponent, as there are no private rooms just one big open space. As much restaurant as karaoke joint, it hits its singing straps post 10pm; and hope that your socks are clean because it has a traditional no shoe policy.

Dragon Boat Racing Every Week in Sydney


Every week in Sydney, hundreds of ‘dragon boaties’ are getting on the water and having the time of their lives. This fast and furious sport is taking off in a big way in the Harbour City. Crews are competing throughout the regions of this city and through NSW. Participants are hailing the experience for its fitness factor, social networking, stress releasing, and pure unadulterated fun. In dragon boating it is all about the team, as everyone pulls together to get the job done; getting over that finishing line first.

 

The noise and excitement is paramount, especially on race days. The laughter and whoops of joy echo out across the water, as teams of dragon boats charge forth in a fury of paddling. Clubs are still looking for new members all the time, as the sport continues to grown and capture the interest of Sydneysiders. People are passionate about dragon boat racing, there is no escaping that, and that passion is spreading like wildfire. Families are getting onboard and friends are co-opting other friends to get involved.

Dragon boat racing began in China about two thousand years ago, with roots in the traditional religious practice of appeasing the rain gods. Later on, a great warrior poet killed himself in the river Mi Lo in protest against political corruption and dragon boat racing began as a celebration of his sacrifice. Now, it is a vital part of their culture and symbolises the patriotic teamwork imbued within the nation as a whole. The country paddles together to achieve greatness on the world stage.

Colour is everywhere during the racing events, here in Sydney, with teams wearing matching colours representing their clubs. Regattas are held on Manly Dam, Bayview, Sydney International Regatta Centre, Darling Harbour, Lake Jindabyne, and other regional centres in NSW. Sponsors and partners of Dragon Boats NSW include: Ricoh, Trans Crane, Regatta Sport, NSW Sports Federation, NSW Transport Roads & Maritime, NSW Office of Communities Sport & Recreation, Sydney International Regatta Centre Penrith Lakes and Wholesale Trophies.

Dragon boat clubs, generally, train in the evening during weekdays and compete in the mornings on weekends. For those who are good enough there are opportunities to compete nationally and internationally. For more than twenty years, now, there has been dragon boat racing every week in Sydney. The sport has become part of the Australian outdoor lifestyle; promoting fun and fitness for all.

Inspirational Quotes



ACM Group Sydney

 

In order to develop a certain inner progress the artist’s thing is very much influential and helpful. I mean, helpful as well as harmful.. It depends on the meaning that the artist is conveying.. Now, you see, certain art is made to have an impact on hatred, or anger, such things.. and that is harmful.. In any way, the artists with their art, and with this ritual thing, have powerful means to give a message… – Dalai Lama

As you have been saying this I have been thinking that there are.. I have heard of, two ways of doing paintings.. One is that a person thinks beforehand in thought of what the painting will be.. and then paints it out.. And that would be like the thought approach.. But then there is another one, where the person does not think about it beforehand, but just spontaneously does whatever seems appropriate.. And that would be a thoughtless approach, even throwing paint onto the canvas and so forth, but a work of art coming out. – Dalai Lama
It seems that with the artist, first there is the inner feeling and the thought, and then there is the expression of this in an artistic way.. whereas for the audience there is first the reception of this expression and then a change in thought. – Dalai Lama

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. – Confucius

Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make. ~Bruce Lee

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. ~ Kojiro Tomita