Friday, July 31, 2009

Mulu caves: Artist Wilson

Fancy meeting a fellow New Zealander at the Royal Mulu Resort. Wilson told me he came from Scotland but had been living in New Zealand, in fact in Auckland. Kia Ora I said.

Wilson was up in a tiny stage painting. There was a banner which said Artist, Poet and Musician. I was relaxing at the resort's lounge when I saw him painting. I wanted to take a photo of him but was afraid he did not want to be disturb. Instead he was very friendly when I went up to talk to him. He showed me his red scottish tartan hat. He told me he was comissioned by the resort as the resident artist for 6 months. I asked if it was Ok if I did a post on him, and he gladly gave me his card. "Simply Wilson."

Maori Language Week

The original people of New Zealand are the Maoris. This week is National Maori week. Kia ora or good day or hello. New Zealanders are encouraged to learn their other national language.

I did a bit of research when I wrote my book, "Mail Order Bride." You can read it on this site, as I have not approached many publishers. My book touched on this Marae though my story is entirely a fictional one. I wrote this book before I knew my friend Ngarimu and my having a sleep over there.

Just as many of my sites are about New Zealand, my book too ia about the different peoples of New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FridayShoot Out: Outdoor Food: Steam Boat

Let's eat Steamboat may incur a Huh??? look on your friends' faces. What is a steam boat?

Remember Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan and Marco Polo? During the time of the Mongolian Statesmen in Chinese history when the Great Wall of China was built, the fierce nomadic soldiers spread terror to China. Legend has it that the soldiers wore a metal hat, when it was time to cook their meals, they simply inverted their hats and used them to cook their meals. From them, came the Steamboat.

When I was little, my parents had a traditional steamboat. It was like a donut with the chimney in the middle. Mum would drop burning charcoal into the chimney, and on the donut ring, she had boiling soup. Thin slivers of meat of all sorts, vegetables, mushroom, tofu, noodles are quickly cooked. We used little basket like ladles to scoop up the food we like. Then we drank the delicious soup which is packed with all the goodness of the meat and vegetable stock.

These days, the cumbersome charcoal steamboats have given way to electric or gas ones. The chimney is gone, and it is more like cooking on the table. I am a person of nostalgia. I lament for Mum's steam boat.

This photo was taken on New Year's day. It was summer in New Zealand. My host, J had the steam boat outside her patio. We all sat outside eating, likened to what the Mongolians did, outside their tent.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friday Shootout: reflections.

I like this photo so much because it showed the creation of two budding photographers. I had previously posted this before I joined the Friday shoot out gang.

During my sixteen years in Singapore, one of my favourite places with the children was the Singapore Science Centre. In the humid Singapore, the air conditioned building was a welcomed place to spend the whole day. It was a wonderful hands-on place. The entrance fee was cheap too. When I felt too stuffy inside the building, I would go outside to view the many spice and herb plants.

This photograph was taken by D and G, budding photographers at 15 and 11. Sam was three. Many had tried to duplicate this photograph after seeing this. But none had succeeded. This involves two mirrors attached to a hinge, and by moving the mirrors at different angles, you get different number of reflections.

I took this photo to school, and encouraged my students to experiment with two mirrors. They were very curious. Toys
Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Toys
Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills on July 19, 2009 by Ed

Yep toys, old,new, kids, animals, grownup, whatever you call a toy.

In the Royal Mulu Resort, there are plenty of toys if you don't feel inclined to do caving, both for grown ups and children.

Even two pairs of bamboo poles can make fantastic toys for the brave and quick footed. I was neither, so I didn't give it a go. This ia a Traditional Melanu dance done both by men and women.

The kids had fun having a go at the blow pipes where they used balloons as targets. The grown ups can use the bulls eye target with the blowpipe or archery. Sam claimed his sharp eye by shooting at a balloon. Traditionally and still used by the natives to hunt birds and animals, using the poison from the Ipoh tree. More on this later.

There were families with young children, I am sure many of them did not brave the jungle treks and the caves. Many of them just hung around in the pool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Borneo: daughter for the return home.

There are many racial groups in Sarawak, Ibans, Bidayu, Kelabit, Malays, Melanau, Belawan, kayans, Knya, Belawan, and the nomadic Penans, and the Chinese.

Here is Sam greeted by the beautiful dancers at the Wildfower Restaurant, where a buffet dinner and show was part of our package. The Wildflower Restaurant is home to their own, well known dance group, the "Seri Melinau Dance Group", performing traditional dances from the region every evening at 8:00pm. I lalughed when the natives danced the traditional Chinese lion dance.

When we booked our tour, it was MR 859 for foreigners, and MR759 for Malaysians. It is luxurious with 24 hr power supply meaning air conditioning to cool your room. This is important if you want to feel comfortable especially when we have arrived from the middle of winter. Check up the web because today, I read the package is MR759 only.

This is one of the many limestone structures in the Lang cave. Lang was a local person who discovered the caves in the 1970s. More on this in future posts.

I left Sarawak in 1975, and during these 34 years, I can count with my fingers the number of times I had returned for a visit.

This trip I made was to the Mulu caves. A birthday present to my son Sam. It was to be a Mum and Son's own amazing race. I have not been to these caves, a world heritage. The water engineer suggested we should do this as our last leg of our journey of our trip to Brunei, Singapore and West Malaysia.

It was the grand finale of our trip. The royal treatment given by the Royal Mulu Resort, a 3 star hotel in the jungle, the arduous tours to the caves by the Tropical Adventure, led by their guide, a local Iban, Antoli, and the magnificient greatest of the limestone and limestonecaves made me feel very proud to be born a Sarawakian. Completing the four tours including non stopping climbing of 200 steep steps gives me special sense of satisfaction and achievement as the oldest swinger in my group of fifteen..

I will be posting more on this trip when I have recovered from my jet lagged.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friday Shoot Out Yard Objects. week, some of my photos are posted to my other blog. I am travelling and don't have internet facilities all the time. I hastility made this mistake.

This is a suburban house in a Malaysian small town. It is one storey. You will see the little red rectangular box with dragons on the roof. Most Chinese practise some form of ancestor worship. They worship their deceased ancestors whom they believe will bless and protect them.

I took this photo because the house has a Malaysian flag on top of the door. You may not be able to see it. The colours of this flag is like the American flag, red, blue and white. It also has stars and stripes.

There is a yard where the residents plant fruits and vegetables. You can see a fruiting pineapple at the gate. Pineapple sounds like properous in Chinese. So this is such a favoured fuit, that they not only grow it, they hang paper models of the fruit from the ceiling of the car porch.

You will also see the hagh TV aerials. The residents like to watch Chinese TV broadcasted from Singapore.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 Texture

What a great gift we have to be able to feel the different textures.

When my kids were little, I used lux soap and made slime, and also made play dough. They had great funny. In school, when I teach the letter W and J, I make up some jelly and the kids recite wibble, wobble, wibble and then squeeze the jelly. You can see the enjoyment they have.

In this post, I am showcasing fruits grown in South East Asia.

The Dragon fruit comes from Vietnam and is grown in Malaysia. The fruit has scale like skin, hence the name dragon fruit. The plant has long spiky stems. Nobody would dare wake this sleeping dragon.

The little oval yellow fruits are called rambutan. Rambu in Malay means hair. The fruit is hairy, and you remove the skin/shell to eat the fruity fresh inside.

The wooden panel is made of rollers which my Mother in Law uses to massage her feet. The texture is hard, and is meant to stimulate the blood vessels to encourage the blood to flow.

This pineapple is one foot long. It is the Sarawak pineapple. Sarawak is my birthplace in Borneo. In this region, this fruit is reputed to be the best pineapple.

Pineapple skin is usually discarded. They are useless. In the Philippines, they now use them for making paper. My sister in law believes in organic and health food. She makes a brew with fruit skins especially citrus and pineapple skins with some sugar. The resulting brew is added to her floor cleaning detergent. This brew serves dual purposes, it removes the artificial harmful chemicals in the detergent and gives a fruity fragrance to your floor and room.

In Malaysia, the weather is hot and humid. There are a lot of flies. Food covers are made of beautiful lace nettings. This provides ventilation and prevents flies from getting into the food. Sometimes the flies zoom in and land on the cover.

Babies sleep in hammocks. When I was a baby, I slept in one made of sarong fabric which can't breathe and it was very hot. Now, this baby has one that is made of netting. She must be a happy baby. The hammock is attached to five springs. If the baby stirs before she is due to wake up, the carer moves the spring gently. When the baby grows older, she will move the hammock herself. They even have an electric motor to shake the hammock at set intervals. I was at a Malaysian restaurant when I saw one.

The disadvantage of sleeping in a hammock is you get a a flat head which the hairdressers call an Asian head. I have such a head.