Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This is a test post with hyperlinks.

Hyperlinks are useful because you can make reference to another webpage (yours or other people's) within your own text. People are happy to click on hyperlinks if they are interested in what you said when linking elsewhere. It also looks nicer, neater and more convenient when people don't have to see or select the whole address URL (which may be ugly and long) to go somewhere you suggest. Hyperlinks usually appear blue and underlined, but this can be customised.

The 2 parts of a hyperlink are
1. the link word, phrase or sentence
2. the link page. This could be anything, another post you have made, or a post of someone else's blog, or a page from another website like wikipedia. You need the URL, which is the address of the page that starts with http:// and looks like this:
It doesn't matter what the URL looks like as long as it is complete. To get the URL, select and copy (control-C) the address line at the top of the browser for the page you want to link to.

OK. now that you you have the two parts, you select the word or phrase you want to make into the hyperlink, then you click on the hyperlink button which looks like a small Earth globe behind a white chain link. Here is a pic:

A form will appear with the beginning of the link URL:
you need to replace this with the address URL you copied. So select whatever is in the form space and press paste over it (control-V). You should now see your URL in the space.

That's it. No need to stress about the html language that appears in your post draft, it will be converted to the hyperlink in the published version. When you preview posts the hyperlinks should be present, where the target URL is hidden behind related words in your blog post.

Here are some references that talk about how to link. I have made them each a hyperlink.

1. A video tutorial of someone doing it.

2. This guy is very comprehensive and after you have read his post you will know exactly how hyperlinking works.


There are many churches in Auckland. With five minutes across the Balmoral road are two churches.

This one is a Presbyterian Church and is made of timber. I see a ramp, and I guess it is for the coffins to be wheeled in and out of the church.

They offer ESOL classes, table tables session, chinese folk dancing, child care, a church shop and the monthly market.

I see worshippers dress in tradional Polynesian lavalava mat skirts. Their hymn sing is melodious.


The name is Lantana. originally from Mexico. In Malaysia and Singapore, the common name is Bunga Tahi Ayam or in Cantonese, KAI SEE FA, both meaning Chicken Shit Flower.

I remember this with fond memories of my flatmate of two years, G. from Penang.

One summer, her parents and sister came to visit her. The sister went to pluck this pretty flower outside the garden to put as a centre piece on the dining table. We were have a big feast cooked by Grace's mum.

Then she said," CHOW! CHOW!" meaning smelly. She had to take a shower becuse she felt smelly all over. Even then, she still felt smelly.

As for the bunch of flowers, needless to say, it was thrown as far as we possibly could.

And the food, we waited for the bad smell to dissipate before we ate them.

When I was living on the campus of Nanyang University, I was the secertary od the gardening club and had a online gardening journal. I wrote about why people would want to plant this KAI SEE FA. There was a bush in NTU.

When my plants get stolen, I concluded that the person planting this KAI SEE FA is actually smarter than I think. Nobody would want to stealhis KAI SEE FA,

Come to think of it, it relates to the Lady of the Night flower or the 7-mile flower. This must be a sister. The flower looks very pretty, but is rotten inside. The Chinese have a song, LU BIAN DE YIE WAH BU YAO CHIA, translated as the wild flowers on the road side, do not pick, the actual meaning is don't go for outside women when you have a wife.

In Australia, Lantana is a obnoxious weed, and there is a lot of studies devoted to this plant.

My older brother was a gentleman farmer before, and he had first hand knowledge about this plant and has this to say about Lantana.

This lantana plant is grown in Perth as an ornamental decorative potplant and they are only a small plant.

But in Queensland the plant love the climate and in the wild they can grow up to 10 feet tall and about 15 feet diameter and spread very rapidly. They are very hardy and hard to kill.

When we were in the farm there were about 150 acres of lantana in our farm. We need to use helicopter to spray and then use a bull dozer to dig up the roots and then burn them. After that we need to use the helicopter to sow the grass seed and fertilise and hope for the wet weather to grow the grass. After we have cleared then we need to repeat he whole process once very 3 or 4 year or they will grow back again! Very hard working and expensive. In the 6 years in the farm we only managed to clear about 50 acres of lantana!

The local farmers told us that in the early 1950s they hired cheap Chinese labour to use their parangs to cut and dig them out and then burn. In those days they didn’t use machines or chemical!


My second sister, and her husband, both retired principals and now are hobby farmers suggest that the roots be dug up and burnt. The trouble now with environmental isuues and the haze, the Malaysian government has banned open fires.

Lamb Shanks

Today, I cooked one of my most elaborate dish I have ever cooked. With Sam as the kitchen hand, I reminisce my sister Grace and my good friend Manchala.

When I was in Singapore, Grace was more adventurous with food. This is partly because the water engineer who was then teaching at the University was the opposite of the Chan family in our discovery of food. Grace and I would walk past Little India and secretly salivate the Indian eating their reddish concoction of lamb shank.

I told Grace that I would try to cook that dish, and bought a lot of lamb shanks from Mustafa Halah store. I went to my friend Manchala, and together, we came up with a fusion of Indian-Chinese Dish which would mask the musky smell of the lamb that the water engineer was particular about.

Manchala gave me, cumin, cardimon, fenugreek, and I went to my garden and got some lemon grass. All in all, I added 16 spices to this dish, and braised it. My friends and Grace ate it and wanted more. I didn't care whether the water engineer liked it or not.

I am invited by a Flippino friend for a pot luck dinner. In passing, J. said the Filippinoes like lamb. In my freezer was a pack of lamb shank that I had bought to have a cook out competition with my other friend J. This session was cancelled because the water engineer went gallivanting so often to Oz.

Any way, Sam counted I had twenty ingredients to make up for the lack of lemon grass. I added mint ( a touch of European), vietnamese basil. here's the rest, ginger, oionion, garlic, freshly cracked Sarawak black pepper, white pepper, whole dried chillis, tumeric, cumin, feenugreek, cinnamom bark, tomato, tomato paste, sugar, salt, five spice powder, spring onion and curry.

The verdict is in the tasting. Oh yes, you may say why not saffron. This is an expensive spice which I am using for saffron rice.

***This pack of lamb was bought at a Pakistani Halah butcher shop in Sandringham. Their meat are more choice and leaner. When I asked if he was from Aghanistan like some of my students, he said, he was Pakistani. Then he asked where I was from, I said Sarawak, he didn't quite know, and I said, Malaysia. He said, Selamat hari. I replied, Assamalakum. He asked how I knew, I said, I have Muslim students. Now, the butcher is my boyfriend. He gives me the best cuts.****

Removing lint

Sometimes, your attention lapse, and you forget to check the pockets and empty them before you put the washing in the washing machine. Sometimes it just happens, your good pair of dark coloured pants, your jacket get covered with white particles of lint.

The water engineer has an expensive battery operated lint remover. It is good but isn't 100% efficient.

I found my lint remover in a Korean $2 shop. It has a roll of sticky paper which picks up the lint when you roll it over your jacket or pants. You can buy refills of the rolls. It works very well, in fact it works better than the expensive battery operated remover. So somethings don't have to be expensive to be good.

Here is Sam demostrating how to use it.

Be green, save gas, drive when you need to.

This rental car reminds me of the message to drive less, use public transport. The trouble with Auckland and her history of quarter acre houses meant that the city is spread out very widely. Compounded with our public transport of buses and trains are not very efficient. The water engineer and I work in different directions and at different times, so it hardly makes sense to use the public transport.

We did our bit of driving less not because we were greenies, but because it made economical sense. Cars are very expensive in Singapore, when we bought our brand new Hyundai Sonata, with the same money, my brother Joseph joked that we could buy a merc in Australia.

Back before Sam was born, we drove a "weekend" car. The car registration plate was red, and by paying less money to the Government, we could drive our car only from Saturday afternoon to Monday before dawn. For the rest of the days, you need a twenty dollar coupon to use the car. It worked out quite well when we car-pooled with our friends driving the two girls in two separate schools. We would drive two days and I did my shopping on those days. Then Deb went to another school where we could car pool, and we converted the car back to a normal car.

Here in Auckland, we are stuck between a shopping centre and a shopping mall. If I do not need to buy a lot of things, I trust my worthy bus NO 11. (my two pair of legs.)

Happy New Year

New Zealand greets 2009 before most of the rest of the world.

To all my ESOL students where ever they are at this time:

Hello, Kia Ora, Ni How, Nasmate, Bonjour, Melo ele lei, talofa , Asamalakum, ohayou ,ahn nyeong ha se yo,selamat pagi , góðan dag ,ia orana,sawa dee-ka ,xin chào and hola

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Westgate shopping mall.

I was interested to see this sign at a shopping mall at Massey.

Once I was with my uncle D. and Gab and we had just entered a shopping mall when loud alarm bells sounded. There were no security guards or fire marshalls to tell the shoppers what to do. Some left, and some just stayed. After a while, we heard fire appliances. Uncle D said, it was time to go. By then, the car park was full of cars causing quite a jam. I don't remember seeing this shopping mall with a evacuation sign.

generation gap

Sam wants to wear his jeans this way. his dad is not happy. I told him, you should see the kids in my school.

Kiwi kids like to run around with no shoes, not even jandals. In winter, some of them don't feel cold, and wear just a T-shirt. They are not allowed to wear hoodies with their hoods up.

Some of them are forever having a runny nose. The thick mucous make me want to puke. I tell them to blow their nose. The little ones don't know how to do it. I have to tell them, press one nostil, blow the other side.

Dandelion Flower

This flower is a perfect time to play," He loves me, he loves me not."

The idea is similar to plucking a petal of a daisy flower.

With the dandelion flower, you blow with one breathe. If the seeds get blown away a lot, you know he loves you a lot. But if a lot of the seeds remain, you know he couldn't care the stuff about you.

Of course, the seeds will naturely blow away as long as you choose a mature flower and you blow with a lung full of air.

Another folklore of the dandelion:
Dandelion Thoughts

Folklore says that blowing the seeds off a dandelion is said to carry your thoughts and dreams to your loved one. At least, so they say... Source: "Unusual Vegetables, Something New for this Year's Garden," Rodale Press Emmaus, PA.

"Are you separated from the object of your love? Carefully pluck one of the feathery heads; charge each of the little feathers composing it with a tender thought; turn towards the spot where the loved one dwells; blow, and the seed-ball will convey your message faithfully. Do you wish to know if that dear one is thinking of you? blow again; and if there be left upon the stalk a single aigrette, it is a proof you are not forgotten. Similarly, the dandelion is consulted as to whether the lover lives east, west, north, or south, and whether he is coming or not." Source: "The Child and Childhood in Folk-Thought," by Alexander F. Chamberlain

I should go to the garden and blow a lot of dandelion and think of my poor D alone in Singapore at this festive season.

New Zealand plants

These are called Toi Toi or toetoe, they are Maori words.

The plumes form in late spring through summer. It is an iconic plant you can see along the road sides and the beach. They are proud plants withstanding the wind.

In Singapore, florists sell them as dry flowers. Many tour drivers complain that Singaporean tourists request they stop their coach so they can go and pick the long plumes.

When I first arrived in my flat, my girl friends had a big vase of ToeToes and the male flat mates used to admonish them about the danger of stopping the car just to get them.

Alas for my house, the water engineer is allergic to pollens, so I don't get any.

It does remind me of the airport trolleys with their little flags.

New Zealand plants

These look like little rabbit tails. Florists use them s dried flowers.

In 2000, the water engineer was angry that I picked them at the beach at Greymouth. He was complaining that they affected his allergy and sinus. I was stubborn and determined to take them back to Singapore for a souvenir of our trip and to remember how I used to pick them with my girl friends before I was married and had to worry about pollen grains.

New Zealand Beach Plants

We went to Bethals Sand dunes after Christmas, (Summer in NZ), and I found these plants. They reminded me of Stars on the Christmas tree.

Monday, December 29, 2008


A Hello! A handshake!
A scoop of sheep pellets.
We are now friends.

I have new neighbours,
An elderly couple from Sri Lanka,
He was busy clearing the ground.

I see his tomato and chilli plants.
I go over to say hi.
He says,"I no speak English!"

I asked if he had fertiliser for his plants.
He says, "I no speak English!"
I go back to my garden.

I show him my bag of sheep manure.
He smiles and understands.
I give him a scoop of sheep pellets.

We have become friends.

Hi Grandma

Hi Grandma,

You are invited to my birthday. Come back soon.


Nicole shares her grandma with two cousins in Australia. Everyday, she rings her. Soon it will be her birthday.

Nicole's birthday

We, the Chans belong to the Kwang Ning dialect group of people from China. We have this unusual tradition. When a child is a year old, on his DOI SOI, meaning double birthday. ( The Chinese consider the nine months the child is in his mum's tummy as one year) we go through a special ceremony.

Put in front of the child are all sorts of goodies, a chicken drum stick and tools of the trade, eg, books, hammer, abacus (replaced by the calculator), a pen, a wad of cash, and so on.

The poor kid is to choose the right item which will depict what his career will be. Naughty Uncles and aunts will tease that the kid is a greedy kid if he/she chose the chicken drum stick, when in fact, it means he/she will have plentious to eat.

A poor mum would not be happy if the kid chooses a hammer which means he will be a labourer.

A wad of cash is self explanatory.

My husband doesn't belong to our same dialect group, and he thinks this is mumbo jumbo. So we didn't have this kind of fun with my kids.

***Here is Nicole choosing her "fate". Her parents were happy. She chose books given by me when she was a baby. They emailed to tell me. May be when I become a published writer, I will say that Nicole chose a good career choice."

A sad story

The following news article from the New Zealand Herald reminds me of my late Aunt A. She was a teacher and she lived in a small town where the people knew her as Mrs. Teacher. She told us when she goes marketing, she would buy brinjals that have worms. She says those beautiful fruits or veges have been sprayed with harmful pesticides and if they killed the pests, they would kill us too. She would rather cut away those holey parts where the worm has eaten.

In New Zealand, parents and children buy swan plants to encourage monarch butterflies. (See My post on scarfs). I wanted to grow some in school, and how disappointed the kids will be when I tell them we can't grow them.

How insidious the garden centre operators are. They spray the plant to make them sturdy looking, kids grow them in anticipation of attracting the butterflies and the larvas die because they are poisoned.

In Singapore, my butterflies come to my lime trees and my kids at home and in school enjoy seeing the butterflies grow. Then we sing Jim Ed Brown's song,

"Butterfly, My butterfly, wait for me don't fly away."

Plants pose risk for butterflies NZ Herald
5:00AM Tuesday Dec 30, 2008

Butterfly lovers are being urged to be careful when buying swan plants (milkweed) from garden centres.

Plants affected with pesticide residue will kill the caterpillars that eventually turn into monarch butterflies.

"Every year it happens," said Jacqui Knight, secretary of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust.

"People are desperately looking for food for their monarch caterpillars, and end up buying plants affected with pesticide residue. We hear from adults and children distraught to see their caterpillars dying."


Where there are rocks, Sam will climb.
You can imagine his blistered and calloused palms.
That's our monkey,
Up he goes and down again.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


This is a model of an elephant given by my Sri Lanka friend V in NTU in Singapore. It is very elaborate with beads and fold trimming. I brought it over to NZ with me. Once, they had a green grass snake in their balcony. They just left it alone.

The first elephant model I had, my Dad bought it in India in 1958, he was sailing in a P & O liner from London to Singapore. When the ship stopped in India, he bought a black teak elephant. Dad was a collector, he bought a souvenir every where he went.

In 2000s, we went for a holiday in Bangkok. The Tuk Tuk taxi driver took us to this duty shop. He said, " Please you just go in for 10 mintues, and I will get a petrol voucher. You don't have to buy anything." It turned out, I saw a brownish teak elephant, I remembered my dad's elephant. So I bought one. The water engineer took it to his office. He must have left it in his Office at Nanyang University, because we don't have it anymore.

It's good to have things to remind you of happy events, Don't you think so?


These are weirs, says the water engineer.

I only knew a weir in theory that there is such a word when I played Scrabble.

A weir (IPA: /wɪɚ/) (also known as a lowhead dam) is a small overflow-type dam commonly used to raise the level of a river or stream. Weirs have traditionally been used to create mill ponds in such places. Water flows over the top of a weir, although some weirs have sluice gates which release water at a level below the top of the weir. The crest of an overflow spillway on a large dam is often called a weir.

I used to grit my teeth when we had to drive miles and miles, and walk miles and miles to see an engineering structure. Not any more, we met an engineer's kid, and he descibed the same feeling as me. Much later, I met an engineer's wife, and she too, talked about the same thing. Now, I just follow along, as we drive and walk miles and miles.

There is a Chinese saying, JIA JI SUI JI, meaning, marry a chicken, follow a chicken,
JIA GOU SUI GOU, marry a dog, follow a dog.

With love from Beijing China

The water Engineer went to Beijing for a conference. He bought this matching silk bags for me.

On my late father's 81st birthday, I danced away while holding onto the little bag. My aunts told me to put the bag down, " Do you have gold bars in it?" I didn't have gold bars, but I did have a HONG BAO aka a cash gift given to me by a relative and I had yet to pass it to Sister Elizabeth who was the treasurer of the occasion.

Power substation

This is a power substation near my home. Again, there is no barb wire. The notice is more for your protection.

One day, a lady from the power station came to school to talk to the kids to tell them about the danger of playing near the substations.

The Power didn't have a good reputation. It was tarnished by a stupid act of one of it's contractors who cut off the power supply to a very sick woman who depended on oxyzgen supply. The poor woman died, and this became a very controversial issue.

I was teaching ESOL to adult students, and we had very good discussion. You see, the poor woman was an immigrant, and my students who are immigrants were very passionate about this issue.

Folole Muliaga had just recently been released from the hospital, and was dependant on a respirator for oxygen. Folole’s energy bill was $299.

Trade unionists and community activists from South Auckland will join forces tomorrow at an angry picket at the headquarters of Mercury Energy, 602 Great South Road in Green Lane, tomorrow Thurs 31 May at 4pm, to protest the death of Folole Muliaga.

Mercury Energy - Murder Energy!


Muliaga's death on May 29, 2007, outraged New Zealanders and saw Prime Minister Helen Clark denounce the company's actions as heartless and intolerable.


The water engineer was not always a water engineer. He was jack of all trades. We were walking and I had the camera. These two houses captured our eyes. His engineering must have rubbed off to me.

The greenish house is very big. I wonder how many maids or cleaners the lady of the house has. I imagine the British TV series, "Upstairs and Downstairs, Yes, Mam, No, Mam." People of a by-gone era. Perched high up the hill, the view must be beautiful.

The curved roof must be a challenge to the engineer to design.

The Walking School Bus

To be precise, this is the route of a walking school bus. Schools encourage children to walk to school. Parents volunteer to walk with the kids. The parents wear reflective vest and some of them hold flags.

One Wednesday, the schools were encouraged to get the children to walk to school. My school participated and was given a commendation by the council.

Sarawak Beads

These are beautiful Sarawak Beads I bought on my trips to Sarawak. They are very intricate and I had a young admirer when I was wearing it. I was worried he might break the chains.

Child labour

In New Zealand, the youngest age you can be a paper runner is eleven. Sam, my money minded son couldn't wait to turn eleven so he could join the ranks of hundreds of little children delivering newspapers.

His was a free paper which some household would consider as junk mail. The week he turned eleven, there was a vacany for a paper runner for a loop for three roads couple of roads away. He was all excited and feeling like an entreprenuer, and emailed his application. The agent rang back to confirm his age and gave him his job.

On the first day, by seven am, three big stacks of paper arrived at the letter box. Each stack was too heavy for me to heave. But as a doting mum, I did it for him, I folded the paper into three folds so that they would fit into the letter boxes. And looking at the pile, I told him, I would help him do his run by driving him there, and deliver on the other side of the road for him.

It was a cold wet winter afternoon. It took us more than one and half hour each to finish the run. We were shouted at by those who didn't want this free paper. There were signs at some letter boxes which say, "No circular", but the news paper agent told us that his news paper were not circulars. We were barked at by dogs. At the end of the day, he got less than US$2.

I thought it was child exploitation. I told Sam, he had his go at business venture. That was the first and last time he was going to be a paper boy. He was very happy, he would rather play with his friends or at the computer.

These kids were considered contract workers, and not protected by the union. In another paper run, the company decided to use adult workers, depriving what little money the kids can earn.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Swimming in a river

Sarawak is a country of heavy tropical rain and rivers. Sibu, my home town is situated along Rejang River some ninety miles from the South China Sea. Rejang River is 350 miles long and is the longest in Malaysia. I learned to swim in that river.

Dwas two when she visited Sarawak. Her Aunt Elizabeth took her swimming in one of the tributaries of Rejang River. We all had fun.

Begger Chicken

My brothers, Charles, Joseph and Henry are all good cooks.

This is Charles breaking open his "begger Chicken". The chicken is encased in a dough and roasted. Charles had to use a hammer to break the harden dough open.

This is similar to my Grand dad's salt chicken. Grand Dad would heat up a whole heap of coarse sea salt in the wok. When he deemed the salt hot enough, he would bury the chicken in it.

That holiday in Oz with D is very special to me. It was the last summer I had with my mum.

Cuckoo clock

My Sister Rose gave Sam this Made-in-Switzerland cuckoo clock. It's cuckoo can be heard in the neighbourhood. Our friends kids like to come up to our house to see the cuckoo come out of it's house. They would count the times the bird cuckoo and feel very dejected if they came up too late. (We lived on the third floor)

We didn't bring it over to NZ, but took in over to Sarawak to gie it to Nicol, Rose' grand daughter.

***In Indonesia, cuckoo means something else.***

Tangiwai Disaster

We went to the Tangiwai Disaster at Whangaehu River with the children and paid our respects to the many who died during a time before we were born.

The Tangiwai disaster on December 24, 1953 was the worst rail accident in New Zealand. The overnight North Island Main Trunk express train from Wellington to Auckland, hauled by steam locomotive KA 949, fell into the Whangaehu River. The bridge over the river had been badly damaged just minutes earlier by a lahar from Mount Ruapehu.

Cyril Ellis is credited as being a hero of the accident because his actions saved many lives. He saw that the railway bridge was damaged and ran down the track, waving his torch at the oncoming train. It is believed that his warning enabled the train driver to brake before the bridge, slowing the train sufficiently so that only the first six carriages tumbled into the river. Almost everyone in the sixth carriage survived. All following carriages stopped safely.

Of the 285 people on the train, 134 survived and 151 died. Of those that died 20 bodies were never recovered; it is believed they were washed 120 kilometres from the bridge and then down the river and out to sea.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were visiting New Zealand on their first royal tour when the disaster occurred. The Queen made her Christmas broadcast from Auckland, finishing with a message of sympathy to the people of New Zealand. Prince Philip attended a state funeral for many of the victims.

Albert Park, Auckland

Thirty years ago, when I was a student at Auckland University, I walked up and down Albert Park from the bus at Civic Theatre at Queen Street to Princess Street. The slope is very steep and in the wet winter, it was very slipperly. At lunch tme, many students including myself would have our quick or leisurely lunch, depending on the time of the year.

This is a cast iron fountain (1881),which was popular among the students, There was the bronze statue of Queen Victoria (1897) which the pigeons and sea gulls like to poop.

***Here is Sam when he was little.***

The park is very beautiful with lots of flowers. We took our wedding photos there. Luckily, the weather was very good. There was a floral clock, but when we took the kids back there in 2000, the hands of the clock were gone. A victim of vandelism.


The Chinese use ginger rhizome as a spice and as a medicine. In cooking, the gignger is believed to remove the "gameyness" of meat and "fishiness" of fish and other reptiles like crocodile, snake and turtle meat. It gives a nice fragrant and a slight spicyness.

As a medicine, they are good in expelling wind and when you have a cold, a ginger tea will sooth you sore throat and stuffy nose. Also, it acts like a strepsil, and keeps you from coughing.

It is customery for a Chinese woman to go through a rite of passage of "Confinement" after she has given birth to a child. During this month, she eats a lot of ginger chicken, meat and fish. The ginger will have expell the wind that she had trough child birth. The older people will say, if you don't eat the ginger brew, you will get "wind Wet" disease aka arthritis and rheumatism when you grow old.

Ginger is a plant with underground rhizomes. My mum used to grow them, and after we have slaughtered a chicken, or a duck, we throw the feathers into the ginger bush. I guess it was Mum's own form of composting. We also dug up young tender rhizomes to make a pink ginger pickle to eat with the duck.

My sister Helen recommended that putting a lump of ginger will keep morning sickness at bay.

My own anecdote about ginger was when I was working in my summer job in a food packaging factory in Penrose. My girlfriend and I were packing ginger crystals. We were popping lumps of ginger into our mouth while avoiding being caught. We laughed that we were Lucille Ball and her girl friend working n a chocolate packing factory.

This is from Dr. Weil:

Ginger’s benefits are many and varied - it:
Alleviates nausea and motion sickness
Relieves congestion
Reduces inflammation
Reduces the risk of blood clots
Provides a pleasant “warming” sensation against winter chills.

A simple way to incorporate ginger into your diet is to make fresh ginger tea: add about one half teaspoon of grated ginger root to eight ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes, strain, then add honey to taste (if desired). You can also eat candied or pickled ginger or honey-based ginger syrups

ATM Skimmers

About twenty five years ago, I worked with an elderly gentleman B. in a very big institution. While all the younger employees were paid by direct credit, the older workers were wary aboutthe computer.

B. told me, "One got to be careful, people entering data in the computer can easily make mistakes."

So every pay day, he would walk up to the pay office, queue with the like minded people and get his pay in dollar note.

He also warned me about the ATM machine. I guess if he was reading today's news, he would say," I told you so."

ATM skimmers target shoppers

4:00AM Sunday Dec 28, 2008, New Zealand Herald
By Jared Savage

Are you a victim of ATM skimming?
Email the Herald on Sunday

Tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen in a brazen attack by ATM fraudsters in two of the country's busiest shopping districts.

The scammers fixed skimming devices to National Bank money machines in Auckland's Queen St, Vulcan Lane and Parnell last month. The criminals are believed to be linked to another skimming attack in Hamilton around the same time.

All three machines are on busy streets and have anti-skimming jitter devices, which literally shake the card, supposedly making it harder for them to be read.

The skimming attack comes as banks admit gangs of foreigners are increasingly targeting ATMs in New Zealand.

The skimmers use a device fitted to an ATM which copies the magnetic strip of a credit or eftpos card as it is fed into the machine. The crooks then use either a hidden camera or "shoulder surf" the victims to obtain PIN numbers.

More than 800 customers used the Auckland ATMs during the narrow timeframe, but the National Bank has refused to reveal how much was taken other than to say the amount was "significant".

As in most skimming cases, the fraud was not detected for weeks until a bank customer was alerted to a suspicious transaction.

As yet, no ATMs of other major banks have been hit by the skimmers, although a small number of BNZ and Westpac customers used the targeted machines.

National Bank refused to reveal details of the police investigation, or if fraud detectives were following any strong leads, but CCTV cameras are located above the Vulcan Lane and Queen St machines.

National Bank spokeswoman Virginia Stracey-Clitherow said all affected customers were alerted and replacement cards issued. Although widespread in Europe, skimming is rare in New Zealand, but she admitted the skimming gangs were "coming to New Zealand now".

The latest attack in Auckland comes shortly after the successful police prosecution of two illegal immigrants, Jan Marius Scutariu, 31, and Andrei Iustin Raileanu.

The Romanian pair stole nearly $35,000 with cloned credit cards after gluing a skimming device to a Westpac ATM in Hamilton - fitted with a "jitter" mechanism to supposedly prevent skimming.

But the "green sleeve" and "jitter" technology, introduced after a Russian couple stole $100,000 from Bank of New Zealand customers in 2006, have failed to stop the most recent scams.

Any losses incurred by banks from skimming are claimed from insurance companies - costs which are ultimately passed on to customers in higher banking fees.

As money machine skimming is rare in New Zealand, police and banking experts say banks make an "economic decision" to use cheaper security measures.


Once upon a time,
There were no fences and no gates.
Neighbours popped in and out,
Children came and went.

Then came a time,
When people wanted privacy,
Neighbours respected that.
Children no longer felt welcomed.

Instead of bridges,
People built fences.
No matter how beautiful they look.
They are still cold hard things.

I am glad I live in a neighbourhood,
Where fences are few and far between.
My neighbour's kid drop in to play.
My son feels equally at home in my neighbour's house.