Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hello Skywatchers!

I found this interesting group that show case how beautiful our sky can be.

These are two contrasting weather clouds. This weekend, we have weather warning, heavy rain, strong gale winds and boaties, don't go out to sea. 

The fine weather cloud was taken when I was waiting for the lights to turn green. I no longer am impatient for the lights to change. The sky is now a painting for me to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My World

MyWorld - the place where you show others the area around you and become our Tourist Guide!

Go visit the MyWorld Site to see images from all over the world.

My fellow bloggers have seen my Tongariro pix on this site and my other site the My World. It is good that more people enjoying my pix.

Here, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Whakapapa Skifields in Mt Ruapehu.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Blog

I have a new blog, when I started this blog, I wanted to show case the Book: Mail order Bride I wrote. But as I got more and more into blogging, I got more interest in taking photos and in corresponding with fellow bloggers. So now, I have this blog where I will have less of my book and articles. I will still periodically refer to them as writing is my first passion.

Tongariro Crossing

Tongariro is New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area. This status recognises the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual ..

The water engineer went with his friends and he never stopped telling what a beautiful sight it was, and how difficuit it was to complete the crossing. I wish I had gone with him, but I didn't train. He says, he would train Sam, may be I will secretly train and go with them, otherwise I will never hear the end of it. Oh my poor knees.

A little boy called home

The bells tolled:

Born into this world: 2 June 2003 Went to be with Jesus: 20 February 2009

After a three year battle with cancer, D went to be with the Lord at 1:25 p.m today (Queensland time, Australia).

The Chinese have a saying, The worst kind of grief is for a gray hair person to farewell a black hair person. I know, because I have been there, and during my journey of grieving for my lost baby, I know, it is not only Chinese, but universal. But I will never know exactly how his mum feels because no two situations are the same.

I grieve with you, you will miss D, your arms will feel empty.

I pray that God will be with you at this sorrowing time.

My prayers for the rest of the family.

As Christians, we can be consoled that D has gone to his Father in Heaven, though at this time, it is very difficult.

In God's name and with much love,

***White Yucca flowers for D's family***

Friday, February 20, 2009

PINK SHIRT DAY Wednesday 25 February - Bullying Stops Here

All decked in pink for a good cause. This is what I will be wearing on Wednesday. As I work in a Primary school, it is my stand against bullying. I have had students bullied because of the colour of their skin, their religion, minority group and so on.
My school is encouraging children and staff to wear pink.
We have a serious problem with bullying in NZ schools. In December last year a major international report ranked New Zealand second worst among 37 countries when it comes to bullying in primary schools.
Last year an escalation of physical violence and emotional bullying in schools sparked a major investigation by the children's commissioner, Cindy Kiro, amid increasing concerns about pupil safety.
This year a number of educational groups will highlight the fact that bullying is something we cannot ignore, by taking part in New Zealand's first Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day is a way for the community to stand up and show that bullying is not okay.

SS4Q* and teacher unions NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA Te Wehengarua are joining forces to make our schools safe for ALL students, by romoting February 25 as Pink Shirt Day.

The first Pink Shirt Day took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when two 17 year old high school students decided to stand up for a friend who had been harassed for wearing a pink shirt to school.

The boys, David Shepherd and Travis Price, decided that the bullying had to stop. They went to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops, sent out the message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning handed them to students to wear. When the bullied boy walked in, according to Travis Price, "It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. The bullies were never heard from again."

Bullying is a serious issue in New Zealand schools that will only grow if it is ignored.

Recent events reported in our papers have ranged from students being beaten unconscious, students suffering injuries requiring hospitalisation, students being humiliated on the internet and bullied via text message, to sudden and tragic deaths of victims.

These are just the incidents that have reached the press – the 1/10th of the iceberg that is visible above the water.

More must be done to stop this physical and emotional violence and make our schools safe for all of our young people to learn in. One way we can do this is for the community to stand up and show that bullying is not OK. Schools cannot solve these problems alone.

You can help make Pink Shirt day a success. Wear something PINK on 25
February .

The pink shirt day slogan is BULLYING STOPS HERE

SS4Q is a national network working towards making schools safer for queer young people. It consists of representatives from a range of organisations, and a number of individuals from the
GLBTI communities, academics and other interested people.
More about Pink Shirt Day:
I posted this article to another writers' website and here are some comments.
Here are the messages that had just been posted:

That's a good cause. I hope more people hear about it and follow NZs lead. G
If I had a pink shirt, I would be wearing it tomorrow 
A very worthy cause indeed, and perhaps a good way to single out the bullies and subject them to a little of their own discomfort. Personally I'm in favour of smacking down all bullies, and would have few qualms about doing it myself if opportunity arose. But pink shirts are a nice, nonviolent alternative

Writingwise, very neat! Can't fault you a bit for style or grammar. W

In an article I recently read about color therapy, a clinical psychologist advocates using pink to quiet agression.
The article indicated the color pink (Baker-Miller pink) physically reduces aggressive behavior within minutes. And because of this find, many jails and prisons now have pink holding cells. The color pink decreases the need to restrain inmates with force or sedative medication.

Whoever came up with the idea about "Pink Shirt Day" must have known a thing or two about color therapy. Cheers to that person. S

Thank you all, Thanks Shelly about the Pink resreach.
I just remembered, 24 years ago, I delivered my first child at National Women's hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. They just renovated a Pink Room for mums who already had babies. There was no theatre atmosphere. I didn't qualify because it was my first birth.

Crab apples

Along the road sides of most Auckland roads, there are trees. Some lucky people get fruit and nut trees. I have never been lucky, there had never been any fruits or nut trees in the many houses I have lived in. The nearest I get to are crab apples trees. There were crab apple trees along Williamson Ave when i was a student waiting to catch my bus to university, and now along Te Ra road where I park my car when I go to school.
But crab apples are not fruits. They are cra*, according to a friend. They are not edible and a nuisance. He, of course is a non nature lover, he says the birds eat the crab apple and sh** on his drive way when they perch on the power lines. You can't blame him, he was a victim of child bullying. Big boys used to stuff their pockets with rock hard green crab apples, and pelt him with them.
Well, Child bullying is another story. This Wednesday is world bullying day or anti bullying day. We are encouraged to wear pink. That's for another post. You can bet I will be pink from head to toe, not exactly toe, but I will be wear a pink top and a pink skirt. I must check my ward robe to see what else that is pink. I did have a pair of pink jandals but I gave it away.
Actually some people do eat the crab apple. They make them into jellies. But I have not eaten any. I did try to eat crab apple, and they didn't taste very nice. Perhaps if I ate it with my siblings like when we were young kids, everything would taste good.

Wheels: Green Taxis/Cabs

These days, some people opt for Green cabs or taxis. When it is just one person taking a taxi, he doesn't need a big car when a little car will suffice.
Here is a passenger taking a green cab to the airport.
In New Zealand, we have a Green Party in parliament.

Concert Performance by kindy kids

The first few nursery rhymes I learnt were Twinkle Twinkle little star, Row Row Row, your boat and Baa Baa Black sheep.

Instead of Baa Baa black sheep, the Kiwi children have their own version of Baa Baa White sheep.

Baa Baa White Sheep

Baa Baa White Sheep,
Have you any wool?
No sir, No sir, no needles full.
None to make a jumper.
None to make a frock.
None for the little boy with holes in his socks

It seems more appropriate as there are more white sheep than black sheep.

***G performed this twice, the kids looked alike, and even the star performer couldn't tell which sheep she was, neither did her mother who went to watch twice.***

Sports Day, Singapore school

School assembly in Singapore

Post Cards from a Grand Dad

My Dad frequently sent postcards to D, G and S. Dad passed away three years ago on the 18th of February.

These ones he sent when he was living in Australia seems so appropriate when the Koalas and Kangaroos in Victoria are also suffering from the fires.

Washington DC

It was a windy June day at Capital Hill. The younger girl will turn 21 this year.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sarawak beach and Mt Santubong

At the tip of Sarawak, there is a mountain called Mt Santubong. Because of it is is very close to Kuching city, it is very popular for people to climb it. I climbed only once with elley and Sam. We did only half way.
During the climb, we saw Students from Singapore who had come on an eco trip to pick up rubbish. I felt really proud to be part of Singapore as a resident.
In Chinese, Santubong means king of the wild boar. Apparently, there used to be a lot of wild boars there.
According to the Encyclopaedia of Iban Studies the original inhabitants of Santubong were the Iban. Si-antu-ubong means 'spirit boat' in the Iban language. Antu is hantu in Malay which means spirit or ghost. Santubong are boat like coffins made from a single hollow log designed to represent the vesell in which a dead person will travel from this world to afterlife
A legend often associated with the mountain is of two beautiful princesses, Santubong and Sejinjang. Santubong was an expert weaver while Sejinjang was an excellent rice tresher. One day, they had a quarrel and exchanged blows. Sejinjang swung her tresher which hit Santubong's cheek. Santubong threw her weaver at Sejinjang, hitting her in the head. Putting an end to the quarrel, the King of Heaven cursed both of them into mountains. Santubong turned into Mount Santubong while Sejinjang was turned into Mount Sejinjang. It is said that Mount Santubong resembles a woman lying on her back.

I am running away

I am going some where,
I have my sleeping bag,

I can sleep under the stars.

I am a big boy,

I am not even afraid of those big black things that go Moo Moo,

Singapore Flower

I was the secretary of the staff resident gardening club in Singapore. I grew it at my balcony and it flowered. It could have been a succulent.

Antique car


I don't know if this car can be considered an antique car.
When I was little, our first car was a fiat. It  had a plate S899. S for Sibu, and the 899 car in Sibu. It was an auspicous number in Chinese. 8 sounds like prosperous  and 9 sounds for ever. Mum and Dad had nine of us in that little car. We had a lot of fun going for outings and picnics.  We didn't prosper financially, but we all did well in all other ways.
***This is not the fiat car we had. I just wanted an old car for this post.***
I think the white car in this link if the same model fiat we had. Our car was a light grey body and a dark blue top.

Coffee culture

Espressos are found almost at every nook and corner. Star bucks made its entrance to China. In New Zealand, Richard Harris has been around for a long time and some Kiwis vow that it is better than Star Bucks anytime.
A friend who was training to be a barista was training me to appreciate coffee. She said," You can have caffe latte, white, flat, cappuccino......" I don't normally have a cup of coffee except when I am with friends. I just had a cappuccino, and I like it in a china cup.
But many people like coffee on the go, and they come in these paper cups with a plastic lid.
In the old days in Sibu, coffee shop owners roasted their coffee beans in a self made roaster fashioned from a oil drum. They put real butter with the beans and turned the drum round and round. You may buy these roasted beans from him, according to a friend whose Dad owned a coffee shop, they don't sell you the real McCoy. They keep the real stuff for themselves, and sell you a mixture of corn and inferior beans. Mum's sister owned a coffee shop, but she didn't own a roaster.
My friends lament the loss of these dark rich freshly grounded coffee. I, however, prefer my cup of coffee made from a good instant coffee powder and coffee mate.
By the way, the coffee berries can be eaten. The water engineer's relatives in Malaysia grow them. Actually if you know how coffee is processed, you may not want to drink them. They have to ferment the coffee to get rid of the skin, and the smell is so obnoxious.

Timber houses

New Zealand has many strong timber, and when treated, the timber last a long time. There are many timber houses which are very old. Some are big villas, and some are quaint little ones. Here is one which I thought the roof and the lace woodwork of the veranda quite interesting. There is usually a fireplace. Houses then were built on a quarter section.

Dumb Cane

In South East Asia, we have a plant called Dumb Cane, dieffenbachia. The Chinese call it WAN NIEN CHING, translated to ten thousand years green. This is an auspicious plant as it's name refers, it is for ever green, and never dies. Business like to grow them in their office. Some are just green, others green with white spots, and others are pale green.

I used the grow them in Singapore. They are easy to grow, and I present this to friends who are new to tropical plants. Dumb canes are so hardy that they simply would not die. The sap makes one very itchy, and parents warn children not to put them in their mouth, the mouth will glue together and they become dumb. The cells of the Dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called raphides. If a leaf is chewed, these crystals can cause a temporary burning sensation and erythema.

Once I was chatting away with my girl friend B while we were tidying our plants. She pulled of the semi dead leaves of her Dumb cane, and in no time, she was scratching away. I cut a leaf of my aloe vera, and it was a soothing balm for her.

I have to confess that this is a fake plant. I should have many pix of this plant, but I can't find i, it is most probable in my other computer where Sam and his friends are using. I can't pretend this is the real McCoy because it looks so fake. This plant is not found in New Zealand except as a fake plant.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kapa Haka

The national kapa haka festival , Te Matatini. started today at Tauranga. A judge, Mr Waaka wants the beauty of the Maori language to shine through from the 36 teams who will perform in Tauranga for an expected 30,000 people from today until the festival's finals on Sunday.

My school has our own Kapa Haka group under Mr. Nikora. They performed the Powhiri to welcome our guest who came to review the school.

The term Kapa haka (kapa meaning 'rank' or 'row' and haka refers to a Māori dance) is commonly known in Aotearoa as 'Maori Performing Arts' or the 'cultural dance' of Maori people. Kapa haka is an avenue for Maori people to express their heritage and cultural identity through song and dance.

Photo courtesy TVNZ

Watch a video of our All Black Rugby players' Haka before their match.

Traditional Maori Haka outside the Ancestral house, Tamaki Maori village, Rotorua, New Zealand


Almost every commercial tourist to New Zealand is taken to Rotorua. Doubtless to say, we took our visitors as well. This was taken when my sister Rose came to see us.
The Bath House (Rotorua Museum)
In the early part of this century New Zealand was famous for Rotorua's Bath House - the New Zealand government's first investment in the fledgling tourism industry.

Henry's travels: Rome

My little brother went on a long business trip to New York. I am waiting for his photos of the Big Apple. Meanwhile, these are his photographs when he went to Rome.

The Chain of St Paul

Ostia Antica.

The Forum

Maori Carving

The Maoris are very skilled craft men. Most of their carvings are sacred.

Leaves can be beautiful too

The top two pix belong to the same plant, the Canna genus, and the bottom plant is the Bird of Paradise. They are both in my garden.

Wheels: work men

Public Utility men working on the road side. They all wear the yellow or orange reflective vest.

UNITEC Institute of Technology

This is a tertiary institute with academic and work-relevant qualifications up to post-graduate level. This used to be called Carrington Tech. The name "Carrington" was derived from the name of the boundary road and was used to honour a pioneer surveyor general in New Zealand, Frederick Carrington.

I did a computing course in the 1980s.

There are modern buildings of course, but I am attracted to these thirty year old brick buildings.It has expanded from the original campus at Mt Albert to North Shore campus and Waitakere campus.

Monarch butterfly

One of the caterpillers has become a chrysalis.

My students who are so familiar with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, want to know if it will be at the chrysalis stage for two weeks. I told them to wait. It is very hard for little children to wait for two weeks.