Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday Stills: favorite photo from 2011

Twenty minutes walk from my house, close to the Western Springs Stadium, Auckland Zoo and the Western Springs Park is MOTAT. The museum has large collections of civilian and military aircraft and other land transport vehicles. An ongoing programme is in place to restore and conserve items in the collections. This work is largely managed by volunteers many of whom have been associated with MOTAT for upwards of four decades.

This is my favourite photo, it is not cropped. It shows the plane in the middle, lots of sky, and the plants around, I think it ia a balanced photo.

I do not take "people" photo. I have seen mistakes by others making their subjects very short. For 2012, I like to learn from other bloggers to take good photos.

Post your favorite photo from 2011 and your photographic hopes for 2012.

Thursday Theme Song: Whatever will be, will be

When I was a little girl. Will I be rich and live a big mansion on a private island, play with a boat and jet ski and go parasailing?

Now I have children of my own.

On the first day 0f 2012, I remember this Doris Day's song, Que Sera Sera. What an appropriate song for us as we look forward to the big unknown, and not to fret over what will happen.

Of course, in reflection, 2011 has been a great year for me. I managed to write my book which had been sitting for 21 years, got it published and sold a few copies. Got an article in the newspaper and in a documentary on National TV.

Best of all, I went to Facebook and found a whole lot of friends I had not seen in over 30 years. The best is yet to come.

Spanish & means, "what will be, will be."

Doris Day - Que Sera Sera Lyrics

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome, will I be rich
I tell them tenderly.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunday Scans: Sibu Waterfront

I grew up in Sibu, 90 miles from the sea, Sibu is at the junction of the Rejang River and Ikan River. Dad used to take us in a little park next to the Chinese temple and watch the stevedore unload cargo from ships that sailed across the sea. We marveled at our river, 350 miles of it. I still remember this statistics because it was drummed into me and I was so proud of it. We even used the word the mighty river.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FSO: your best memory: Snow fell in Auckland

This is snow in New Zealand at Mt Raupehu, not the one in Auckland this August.


These are simulated photos, I went to my freezer and snapped icicles growing in it.

I broke the icicles and imagined the day when I was with Grandpa, holding the hail stone in my palm.

December 30 - End. The end of another year. What is your best memory from this year? or How do you celebrate the end of a year.

On August 16, Auckland experienced the coldest day ever with the temperature rising to just 8.1C - colder than the previous record of 8.7C in July 1996 at the airport.

Excited Aucklanders left their offices yesterday to see the rare sight of snow falling across the CBD. The weather was part of a polar blast hitting the whole country and something the MetService described as a one in 50-year event. Snow fell.

But so did something else - the word graupel has now entered our vocabulary. It is a soft hail-like frozen pellet, and it fell in the city.

Hail stones have an intriguing effect on me.

My Grandpa left China about 100 years ago to Tropical Borneo when he was 20. When he was 80s, and I was 18, there was a freak hail storm.

Our house was on stilts. "Snow! Snow!" we yelled and we all rushed downstairs.

Grandpa in his 80s, and all of six of us aged 3 to 18. ( The Chinese believe that you should not go out in the rain or you will catch a cold.) We laughed and picked the hail, the marble size hail. We twirled and danced and laughed in the slushy rain. Grandpa cried, he had left his temperate China, never returned and thought he would never, ever see this natural phenomenon again. Sixty years had past, and God sent few minutes of ecstasy. We told Grandpa, "You can die now."

My big sis Rose stared out of the window, and thought we had gone mad. When Grandpa died 3 years later, I was in Canada experiencing the coldest winter Canada ever had, minus 28 degrees. I looked out of my window, at the falling snow and whispered, Grandpa, you are now be back at your homeland China. Go and play with the snow, real snow, not hail.

Whenever we have hail, I want to go outside and relive that incredible time again. My grandpa, my siblings and me.

This Christmas Day in the summer in Melbourne, Australia, hailstones as big as tennis ball pelted down. I thought of my cousins Kim and Abbie who live in Melbourne. I dedicate this posr to them and to all my other cousins whom I found in Facebook this year. Most of these cousins I have not even seen because I had left Borneo before they were born. May this episode give them a warm fuzzy feeling of a grandpa they never knew as he had died before they were born.

*This story is perhaps dramatic only to children growing in a tropical climate*

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Cousin Catherine

Happy Birthday, Catherine. I wrote on her facebook wall that I knew something about the events of her birth that perhaps she didn't even know.

I left home in 1975 and had my children away from family.

I often jokingly blackmail my eldest, because it was such a difficult delivery when I had her. 26 hours, and I could have died. She was now my slave.

In 1985, I visited Catherine's Mum, and surprisingly her mum asked me about my delivery. I had not even told my mum who had moved to Australia. You couldn't believe it, there, Aunt and niece had identical experience, we were away from family, and our delivery were extremely long and painful. Aunt concluded that a dry delivery, meaning the water breaking before the baby was ready to come, was excruciating.

In parts of China, and Taiwan, on the birthday of the child, mum gets a present. It is to mark the day of her "greatest suffering." It makes a lot of sense. When the kids are young, dad gives gives her a gift, and when kids have grown, they would give mum one. When I told this to a friend, she said she always gives her daughter-in-law a bunch of flowers on the grand children's birthday. What a great tradition.

In the Auckland area, the hospitals have chimneys. I used to work for the Auckland Hospital and I asked what the chimneys were for. I was told that they were used to burn all the bloodied cotton bandages and swathe. As for the body parts, they were sent to the city incinerator. This photo is next to the National Women's hospital where my daughter was born.

photo courtesy Sarawakaina

Fellow Blogger Sarawakiana

I could never understand why the makers of playground equipment made these things that go round and round. When I was little, we lived near a playground provided by the Government.

Whenever I see equipments that go round and round, I think of this incident with my Cousin Catherine. I posted this last year.

I never liked the "Merry Go Round" aka roundabout, it was like a bird cage of 8 feet diameter. Otherwise, it was like a giant rattle, with the handle stuck in the ground. We could sit on wooden planks or stand. It was two feet from ground. The braver ones hold with one hand and stand on one leg with the body outside the cage. A person or two stand on the ground and spin the cage. Usually the bigger boys did that. I was prong to dizziness but it didn't deter me from joining the rest to be spun round and round.

In those days, our cousins always came in the holidays and they would go crazy in the playground as they didn't live near one.

My fondest memory or one that impacted all of us was we were all on it, and the boys were spinning us. There were two little cousins M and C. Cousin H who was my age was eating a preserved plum and carrying one of our other cousins.

I was screaming because I always getting dizzy. H dropped her sour plum and was bending down to pick it. She didn't know that when you are on it, you must hold on to the rails very tightly. The little cousin's head was almost touching to the ground as we spun round and round. H tried to grab hold of cousin M or C. She was spun like rag doll or a head banger when an ice skater spins his partner holding her legs.

Initially the boys just spun faster and faster. It was terrifying, all the girls were screaming and our little cousin was crying. Realizing what was happening, the boys pulled the Merry Go Round to make it go the reversed direction before it finally stopped.

Luckily our cousin was not hurt, and only shaken. In fact, we were all shaken. It was our secret. We never told anyone. Catherine, H and I belonged to different sets of family. We bribed Catherine and her sister M to keep quiet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Outdoor Wednesday: Preserving natural habitat

Naughton and Nelson have been determined for years to donate a substantial chunk of a Georgian Bay island, Ingersoll Island, to Canadian conservation authorities. They wanted to keep the pristine land out of the hands of big developers as real estate prices soared in the area.

My friend King highlighted this article and asked if I would blog about it. She said, "We can't find such generous souls in our present society. These American set a very good example."

This makes me think seriously of "Paradise lost" my grand parents and my parents home had become. I show a photo of a creek in Auckland which I visited today. It is not unlike a creek I once grew up with. My grandparents and parents had rubber garden holdings, and fruit trees, and free range chicken and ducks. We used to swim in the creek, do our washing, collect water for our cooking.

Our fondest memory was how brave our oldest Sister Rose was when she saved my brother Charles from drowning. Alas, sadly, the properties do not belong to us now. The government ordered force block sale back to the government at a much lower price. Gone were our roots.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

our world tuesday: Going digital.

New Zealand is going digital television. It begins in September 2012, and by the end of 2013 the old analogue television signal will be shutting down, meaning that every TV will need a digital receiver to work.

We bought a Samsung 40" Full HD LED-LCD Television in October. We bought this sleek flat panel TV that can be hung on the wall, but we chose to sit it on our old TV Cabinet.

For the best possible Full HD picture quality this Samsung 40" LED TV features HyperRealEngine, Ultra Clear Panel Technology, ConnectShare USB2.0 Movie, and 4 x HDMI inputs. There are so many features that the water engineer is having a ball operating it. There are many channels that we couldn't watch on our analogue TV.

A digital signal can carry more information than the old analogue network, which means it delivers better picture and sound quality. It also lets broadcasters offer more channels and a range of new services like on-screen TV guides.

If you’re not doing one of these things, you may need some new equipment to be able to watch TV after your area has gone digital.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Save the world: Don't waste

This is my own "Christmas tree" aka plum tree. At this time of the year, the tree is laden with red baubles. I can't use all of them, so I pick some to give to friends. I also invited the neighbouring kids who are also my students to come and pick them.

If the fruits are not picked, they would go to waste by dropping and and eaten by birds.
Relying on an expanding team of volunteers, assistance is always appreciated and most definitely needed; businesses as well as individuals are welcome. Di is currently seeking assistance in the construction of a website, to better promote Community Fruit Harvesting, and transportation to permit the distribution of fruit to a larger number of charitable organisations.

Click here for more information, to register as a volunteer, or request fruit picking services. Alternatively, email Di at: .

Thursday, December 22, 2011

FSO: Lights

December 23 - Lights. Night lights, daylight, sunlight, accent lights, light fixtures; anything pertaining to light.

These are some of the lights I took when I was in Australia two years ago around this time. These photos lead up to the story of the last photo. May be you will throw some light to this mystery.

My beautiful niece S took me to the Mirage on the Gold Coast for an evening.
I am posting this for Reader Wil, Diane, J Bar and all my Australian Blogging friends. Today, posted in my Facebook was this thrilling post. It is like a movie. Do you recognise these people?

I think if you go to my Facebook. you will be able to view the whole roll of photos under the post of Ivy Lee.

Give some one a great Xmas present by getting their camera and memories back. Though I am not sure if they like their photos plastered all round the world. That is why I am posting just one.

6 December 2011
DO YOU KNOW THESE PEOPLE??? We found a camera 3 months ago at a park in Lota Brisbane. We handed the camera into the police however it was never retrieved by its owners. There are alot of wonderful memories on this camera and I would love to see it returned to its rightful owners. PLEASE SHARE THIS ALBUM OR SOME PICS ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE. They say there is only 6 degrees of separation between people maybe you or a friend of a friend may know these people. PLEASE HELP!
By: Kathryn Waitai

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Give the gift of sight

What a wonderful gift to give the gift of sight. These puppies are trained to help the seeing impaired. They, seeing-eye dogs cost a lot of money to train.

When I was young and growing up in Sarawak, Borneo, my Muslim neighbours told me that dogs are unclean. They refues to touch our dogs. I was in Nanyang University in Singapore, some Muslim staff made a big hooha about dog owners letting their dogs drink from water fountains.

As was a self appointed busy body of the campus and I asked some educated Muslim Professors how to deal with this situation. They, more moderate Muslims told me that they do have dogs in their home country, but they make sure that the dogs and humans do not eat and drink from the same utensils. They do however, protested that dog owners should not let their dogs drink from a drinking fountain.

I put my head on the chopping board a wrote a post suggesting that dog owners should not let their dogs drink from a human drinking fountain. I personally didn't want to drink from the fountain where a dog had licked on it.

Because Islam considers dogs in general to be unclean,[6] many Muslim taxi drivers and store owners have refused to accommodate customers who have guide dogs.[7][8][9] However, in 2003 the Sharia Council, based in the United Kingdom, ruled that the ban on dogs does not apply to those used for guide work.[10]

Despite that ruling, many Muslims continue to refuse access and see the pressure to allow the dogs as a restraint upon religious liberty.[citation needed] Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain has argued strongly that Sharia does not preclude working with guide dogs, and it is actually a duty under Sharia for a Muslim to help the blind.[citation needed]

What do you think? When in Rome, do what the Romans do!

Monday, December 19, 2011

save the world: Water safety

On average (last 5 years) 105 New Zealanders per annum have died by drowning.New Zealand’s annual drowning toll is one of the worst in the developed world.
Water safety education is about saving lives, in, on and under the water.

Our 15 year old wanted to take up surfing. Our surf beaches are very dangerous, we drove 1 and 1/2 hours to Omaha so he could have surfing lessons.

Taking lessons with him were tourists from France and Germany. It was raining and cold. I was on the beach with a German girl taking photos.

Surfing is good for the environment. You need only to buy the board and wet suit. Then the waves propel you. No need to burn up expensive non renewable fossil fuel.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis the Season

Carolling in my School, an open invitation to the community.

We (Mt Albert Baptist Church) entertained thousands of guests, raised money for Plunket for children aand dug a well in Thailand.

My Canadian Roommate MaryAnne invited me back to her parents home in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada for my first White Christmas. I see her mum make mince pies, and my first bite wasn't what I expected. It was sweet, made of fruits. I had expected it to be savory, made of minced meat. That was the best Christmas I ever had.

This is the goodie bag that we gave out 3000 of them. Some people didn't want them thinking they had to pay for the,. Some people asked more more though we told them it was one per family. One insisted he had 2 kids, and one balloon wasn't good for them. I must tell the organisers. Perhaps next year, we should have spare balloons in our pockets.

A night of sugar! sugar! and more sugar!. During the later part of the evening, I decided I won't ask the kids, I asked the parents if the kids were allowed. It was Christmas, and most parents said "Yes."

I enjoyed this photo more than most, I used this to teach the children and adult students," Compare and Contrast" the tradition Santa and our Kiwianna/New Zealand Santa.

The Crossing is a Bi-annual issue by Mt Albert Baptist Church. This is included inside our goodie bag with carols to sing by candle light. It also has an interview done by me.

For a bit of fun, I bought this apron as a gift. Rudolph the red nose reindeer.

Presents! presents! presents! I got a very pleasant surprise this year. My group of adult ESOL students banded together and gave me this present.

Lollies, sweets, candy canes, gums came out of this bag for the kids that came to the Christmas in Rocket Park. It appears gums were most popular. Some kids wanted to swap, and I told them, sorry, perhaps you can swap it with friends.

End of the school year. we had a secret santa. This was what I got. We were told to give something between $5 and $10. Someone obviously bought something more than $10. It was anonynmous, so nobody knew what I bought. I did not buy $5 worth, neither did I buy $10. I remember the Kris Kringle incident when I was first in Canada. As residents of Laurier Hall in the University Of Windsor, we blind chose our Kris Kringle. As freaky as it sounds, my Kris Kringle was also the one who I was Kris Kringle to. I recycled some of her wrapping paper, and at the end of the party, we were asked to guess who our Kris Kringle was. She named me and I almost died of embarrassment. Today, as an environmentalist, I advocate recycling, but not in 1975 as as a 20 years old. I tell this true tale on Christmas day. I wonder if this American gal would have done the same.

I wore a head band with 2 Santas on my head to school the Monday after Christmas in the Park. I wore them during the Christmas in the Park. The teachers and kids LOL.

People ask "what are you doing at Christmas?" "Are you going away for Christmas?"

Christmas is a bit of Christian religion, a bit of fun and lots of memories.

Christmas as a child in Borneo,
Was going to Mid Night Mass,
Was having a supper after church,
Decorating a tree.
Dad had lived in England and brought this custom back.
Christmas was Open House,
People came to visit, and mum made tit bits.

Christmas in Canada was wonderful.
My first white Christmas,
Mince pies, pecan pies,
Seeing Canadian geese.
Kris Kringle for a week.

Christmas as an adult,
In New Zealand, Singapore and Australia,
was a mixed bag.
Lots of fun,
Lots of parties and presents.
Secret Santas.

For the last 3 years in New Zealand,
We have Christmas in Rocket Park.
This I feel is the real meaning of Christmas,
Sharing the Good News to non Christians,
The Good news that Jesus came.
Sharing a happy time with other Christians.

Sunday Stills-’Tis the Season (December 18th
Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2011 by Linda

What represents this Christmas season to you? Is it lighted trees, decorations, food…..snow? Photograph whatever represents this season to you.