Monday, November 30, 2009

Blast from the Past, looong loooong ago.
I started this year encountering old friends I had not seen for twenty years, and then friends of my siblings. This is a rare occurance as I had left my home town Sibu 35 years ago, and only made fleeting visits occasionally. But deep under, I am still a Sibu girl.

The most exciting event was finding Sarawakiani who was a senior when I started my first year in secondary. I was googling a mutual friend who is an important person in Sarawak politics when I saw her site. She would not confirm who she is and it was quite frustrating. Our fathers were friends, and I enjoyed chatting with someone I actually knew in person.

This photo is for you CY. This was taken in 1997. My Dad, John Chan Hiu Fei who taught in the school I went to, Methodist Secondary School, Sibu. He taught this batch of students before he went to study in London. The group had been having annual reunions and inviting their teachers to attend.

The distinguished looking woman standing at the extreme right is my hero. Wong Siong Ding was the first woman inspector in Sarawak. CY can confirm if she was a Police Commissioner. It was very rare for a woman to be promoted to such a high rank. Dad was always talking about her, and just before I left Borneo, I saw her once and introduced myself to her. I told her I was so excited to see her at last in person.

My Dad is the third gentleman seated from the right. To his left, the three ladies were my teachers. I didn't quite respect them then, especially the last two who were Chinese speaking only. But when I grew up, I held them in awe, they had university degrees when most girls of their generation were renegaded to the kitchen and didn't have a chance to know their ABCs.

Macro Monday: Pink flowers in Mt Albert Park

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas at the Park, Rocket Park.

It was the first ever Christmas at the Rocket park organised by my church, the Mt Albert Baptist Church. About 3 to 4 thousand came to soak in the festive atmosphere at the YMCA venue.

The skies were kind, last night it poured the whole night, and I prayed it would be fine tonight. We had a glorious evening, and everyone had plenty of fun.

To the children, Santa or St Nick is synonymous with Christmas. So Santa was there holding children, and he was very obliging when I took his photo.

The Plunket Society is the recipient of the evening's proceeds. The Plunket society offers free health checks for 0-5 years and clinic checks. I had benefited from Plunket when I was a young mum, and to me, Plunket was a good choice.

3000 to 4000 party goers came to the teddy bears' picnic and Christmas celebration. My friend came from afar with her aged mum and young children.

It was an evening for the children at the Teddy bears' picnic. The father told me his daughter had named the big bear Rugby, our national game and the little bear superman.

The giant bear was there helped by his helper to give away lollies.

Our MC's for the night was Dave Wiggins and Petra Bagust.Dave Wiggins is New Zealand's top clean comedian. Hailed from USA, Dave brings an outsider's view on Kiwi culture. Petra is one of New Zealand's much loved personalities and on TV.

MABC has a ministry in ESOL, that is teaching English as a Second Langauge. Here Diane and a student are busy selling ice cream.

Teens leader David Tanner leads ESOl students Chiang and Mei Mei sell cold drinks. Behind them is a whole trailer load of ice and soft drinks. I wish I had taken a photo of that Kiwi make do fridge. The early evening was quite cool, and we didn't do a roaring business.

Next to the ESOL stand, was the jaccobs coffee, and under Dion, the hot coffee had a steady queue of business.

For the children, the free bouncy castles were great fun. The maximum age was 12, but a certain person pretended to be younger than his 13 years, and went bouncing as well.

There was a tent for face painting. One of my students told me she was going to bed with her face painted so she could go to school to show her friends.

Feliz Navidad!!!

I am also posting more photos at my other site.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Knowing when it's time to euthanize 2

"The major news story in Toronto today concerns a police raid on the Toronto Humane Society and the arrest of all its senior staff members along with its entire board of directors on a charge of animal cruelty.

Police were acting on a tip supplied by the Ontario SPCA who have long been at odds with the philosophy of care that is the foundation of the Toronto Society's practice.

The Toronto Humane Society is an independent, non-profit animal adoption centre and hospital not funded by the government and relies solely on donations and volunteers. The organization prides itself as non-euthanasia and provides 24/7 care for the animals rescued.

The key here is the policy of "non-euthanasia". Except in extreme cases of animal distress, the Toronto Society believes in allowing sick animals to die a natural death. The Ontario SPCA finds this practice a form of animal cruelty enacted for fund raising purposes."

Fellow blogger Barry from Toronto wrote a very interesting post which to many of you animal lovers would be interested. You will find the article at the above link.

While commenting his post, I remember I wrote this post before I started blogging. That was before a very sensational news in Auckland that a Tongan man had killed and ate his dog.

Knowing when it's time to euthanize

The saying "A dog is man's best friend" must be true, otherwise there won't be such a saying. I think this applies to all pets and not just dogs. But what happens when your pet, dog or cat or bird or fish is terminally sick. And it is time to say goodbye. It will be a very difficult to euthanize your beloved pet.

You will have a big decision to make and to know when is the right time? Most importantly, the major factor is your pet's health. Is he terminally sick and in such pain that it is cruel to let him continue to suffer. Is he going to have any quality of life if he has tumors or cancers?

Your pet can be so incontinent that either you have dog poo and urine all over the house or you give him diapers. Either way is not satisfactory. Ask an adult on diapers, he will tell you that the urine stings the skin and the poo sticks on to the buttocks that it is very difficult to wash. Imagine your poor dog with all the poo stuck to his hair.

If you yourself is elderly, will keeping a very sick dog be too much for you to care for or will it wear you down so much that you yourself will fall ill? Your pet has been your constant companion for many years, and now, he is whimpering in pain. This is bound to affect you as well.

In many cases, the vet's bills will be very high with surgeries and visits. It may come to a stage that you may not be able to afford these bills.

If you have a family, it is a good idea to discuss this emotive decision with them so they can stand by you and be supportive when the procedure is done.

A good consultation with a helpful vet will help you decide if it is time to euthanize -your pet. Euthanasia is the most humane thing you can do for your pet.

In totally different situation where your pet had bitten some one, there is no option for you but to euthanize your pet. Dogs evolve from wolves. Once they have tasted blood, they will want to taste blood again. The "dog whisperer" Ceser Millan says that when a dog bites, he can never be trusted again.

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: The Letter “T”

This is a post with a difference, it is about a March with a difference.

Yesterday, there was an action March in many parts of New Zealand. In Auckland, it was a march of 1500 Teachers, Teacher Support groups, principals, parents, Tamarikis (children),Tāne (man, husband,) and even grand parents. This March was to tell the government who had frozen the pay of the Teacher Supports in school.

Here's an announcement for the NZEI, New Zealand Education Institute before the start of the march. Tēnā tātou katoa , welcome everyone.

After the March, there was a BBQ and speeches. Trees were wrapped with pink banners.

The Minister of Education Anne Tolley were part of the Chant, Anne Tolley, the fooley.

As in any march, Traffic cops led the marchers. In the old days, marchers were considered communists, and some people used to attack the marchers.

This is a very very old Kindergarten for the Tiny Tots in the middle of the city.

This placcard asks drivers to toot their horns. Most did, and tooted they did very loudly. They received cheers and promises of looking after their children. Some didn't and got some not so nice comments.

The march was for a fair deal, some sectors of the society get more then this group.

In New Zealand, Tamariki means children. That's what schools are for.

All round the park, banners were hung.

Parents brought their Tamarikis.
Sunday Stills, the next challenge: The Letter “T”
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills Challenge on November 22, 2009 by Ed

This should be another easy one with Thanksgiving next week, it will be interesting to see how creative ya’ll can get with this one.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not just beauty but beauty with brain.

If you read my last post, I posted two photos of Olivia my beautiful niece. Olivia lives in Australia and today, her mum, my sister Helen sent me this email, which makes me a very proud aunty.


Olivia and some of her classmates entered a book illustration Art competition for Hinze Dam Alliance school competition. Her group won the finalist award for their category.
Olivia is the overall winner in the whole of South East Queensland. The judges described her as "Rembrandt" and her book will be published for the project. She won a lovely glass trophy and $50.00 voucher. Her friend, Bella came second.

The VIPs are the footballers from Gold Coast Titans. (Australian VIPS)

We are so very proud.



I emailed Helen to send a photo of the prize winning illustration. I am too impatient to wait for it, so I will do another post when I get it.

Helen herself is very artistic,
Do click on this link to see a beautiful fruit tray that helen made.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday shootout: Faces and smiles

I see plenty of happy smiley faces in school. Once, I even took photos of my students and got them to make unscrambled faces, we had lots of laughs. Unfortunately I am not allowed to post them here.

My first born, she had chubby cheeks that people liked to pinch. She was the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world, shamelessly claimed her mum. LOL
Here she is again, with her cousin Katie. Now, her mum has to say, these are two most beautiful girls. Their smile melted even the ice from Eskimo land.

Years later, another cousin Olivia has emerged to win the title. Olivia is having her photo with her brother Lincoln.

13 year old Sam, he had a perfect egghead when he was little, according to our friends.
Those ones of my son Sam, after the initial reluctance and some bribing, he is obliging. The photo of him with a very blissful look is the result of putting an ice cold can of drinks on his head after walking 4 km in the hot amd humid tropical jungle. The next one was returning after a day's hike of more than 10 km, back at the air conditioned resort room, after a shower and helping himself to his bar of chocolate. Finally, relaxing on the bed on a duvet of Jolly Roger he chose for himself. It doesn't take much to satisfy a 13 year old, does it?

You may like to travel to the jungles of Borneo and be entertained by these friendly Orang Ulus, or people of the jungles. I am posting some of the photos of the many tribal men and women I met during my trip to Mulu caves in Borneo.

"I am really thrilled to offer up the theme this week "Faces and Smiles". I am a Mom of five, artist and teacher. Running my own preschool... I get lots of opportunities to shoot happy faces. I have discovered that I have a passion for catching faces when folks are not looking, fun, candid shots. I live in North Idaho, Coeur d Alene. It is a tourist area... we have a wonderful lake for summer fun and winter skiing is just a short drive away. With all of the summer fun here, I get lots of wonderful chances for people shots. I hope that you have some fun with this one!! I can't wait to see all of the faces from your town!
Let Fly with the smiling faces." Sarah

This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the USA, is it Thanksgiving in your town / country also? For me Thanksgiving means family and friends, friendly faces, lots of smiles and that's why the blogger team picked Sarah's topic for this week. If your country is not celebrating Thanksgiving this week no matter - have fun with the topic, if raining go to the mall, if snowing sit in the reading room of a book store - anywhere there are children there are smiles - help yourself to the photos. GingerV

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My World Tuesday; a farm in the city

Right in the middle of the city, at One tree hill park, a piece of paddock is prepared for soem farming purposes. I must go back in a week's time to see what is planted there.

A girl's love for her horse.

After reading Holly's site, I remember this girl I used to know. It is a true story.

Many many years ago, I lived next door to a teen aged girl K. She wasn't very good in literacy and numeracy, but she was a hard working girl. She left school after primary school, and she worked very hard in a green grocer shop. The owner was a Chinese man, as were most green grocers in New Zealand. He praised her to her mum and said he had never employed such a good girl.

She walked to the shop, and was never ever late, rain or shine, winter or summer. Spot on 6 am, she was at the shop waiting for the owner. She packed her own cut lunch so she won't have to spend her hard earned money.

As she was no good in numbers or social skills, the grocer gave her jobs like packing fruit and veges, and sweeping and tidying up at the back of the shop.

She saved enough to buy a horse. She really loved her horse which she kept at a farmer's paddock and paid him a small fee. Every Saturday and Sunday, early in the morning. Her Dad drove her to the farm, where she groomed and fed and rode her horse. Again, it was rain or shine, she was there. Such was her love an dedication to her horse.

The grocer gave her sacks of unsold apples and carrots which she shared with other girls who kept horses there.

I moved away to Singapore. When I came back for holidays, her mum told me K had cancer, and she had gone to play with my son Andrew, meaning she died. I was so sad, why did such a tragedy happen to a good girl like her. We hugged, once we were neighboures, now we both have the dubious honour of being bereaved mums.

Just before we went to Singapore, J her mum offered many of K's things to my girls. My girls had inherited many of her books, and an art easel. The kids had great fun with the easel. In fact, not only my kids benefited from these, many of the NTU residents' children enjoyed them when they came to my Playgroup workshops.

This is a photo of a green grocer near where we used to live, but this was not where she lived.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Macro Monday: Tree with yellow flowers

At our One Tree Hill park, I saw this tree with yellow flowers.

Does anyone know what tree it is?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Family Ukulele Music Festival 2009 Auckland.

Ukulele Festival 2009,a free, fun, family day out guaranteed to put a smile on your face and was held on at the Mt Smart Stadium in Penrose, Auckland.

Some of my school kids took part in this Kiwileles, a 1300 strong massed ukulele orchestra. There was a great line up of local and international ukulele artists including Tongan virtuoso Sione Aleki and the ever-popular Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

When D was young, I bought from a flea market a little ukulele. She used to strum it and pretend it was a guitar. Today, she is the only of my kids who is musically inclined.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cala Lilies at Mt Albert Volcanoes

Lilies have a special place in my heart. I found this clump while I was climbing the slope of Mt Albert. My eldest daughter will remember why.

Friday, November 20, 2009

sundaystills. horses

We went horse riding with friends. Do you see a horse without a rider? That was my horse. I wasn't confident to ride three hours up and down the ravines, and crossing rivers. I came back in a little farm buggy after we reached the beach.

I spy a parent helping her child ride a horse in a country road.

I have to borrow this winning horse photo from the Alexandria Trotting site because I don't have a photo of a horse for this.
I only went to the trotting once with a visitor, we didn't bet on the horses. My friend told me that a friend's dad is a jockey. Trotting doesn't seem to be as much fun as the races. When the Australian Melbourne cup is run, almost every office in New Zealand runs a sweepstack. I have never won once.

The following photos were taken when it wasn't a trotting night. I went to a restaurant at the same premises, and made use of the opportunity to take these photos.
Sunday Stills, the next challenge: The Hardest Challenge Yet!!!
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills on November 15, 2009 by Ed

Up till now its been pretty easy but I think I’ll really challenge ya’ll this week….HORSES!!

I know, most of ya’ll have never seen one before and it will be difficult to find at least one but I have a feeling if you just look you will not have a problem…:-))

See ya’ll next week…Ed