Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tsunami Warning in New Zealand

I woke up this morning to discussion of the water engineer and daughter G of where was the best place to watch it. Then I watch the television news and found out about the tsunami warning in New Zealand. I told Sam that perhaps we could go to Bastion Point and watch. Sam said, this is where Dad said would be the best place.

Bastion Point is a high cliff belonging to the people of my friend Ngarimu of the The Ngati Whatua O Orakei . We were his guests and the view would be perfect to watch the tsunami. The day we were there, the sun was perfect. The sea was calm.

Today, we have Civil defence warning, the beaches are evacuated. There have been reports of a small wave hitting New Zealand's East Cape after an earthquake struck Samoa, prompting a tsunami warning.

The Ministry of Civil Defence said the quake, measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale struck at 06.48am New Zealand time.

I remember the terrible tsunami of Boxing Day 2004. I help raised funds for the poor victims in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the students of the Nanyang Technological University.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday shoot out::Nanyang Technological University School of Art, Media and design Building.

by Gordon

We lived in Singapore for sixteen years, and during which time, they built a lot of buildings. The http://www.sljindia.com/e-Folder/Roof%20Garden/SLJ%20Impex%20-%20Case%20Study%20NTU%20Nanyang%20-%20Roof%20Garden.pdf building created a lot of talk.

We saw the construction of this five storey building from the clearing of trees and grass in the valley at the corner of Nanyang Avenue Road to this unusual structure. Environmental sustainability was the "in" word, and I had heard of rooftop gardens on high rise buildings.

It was touted to be an energy saving building you can walk up to the roof. This building looks like two claws of a giant crab and the roof top was paved with grass. To an an engineer, it was a nightmare as they would have to design the building so it won't leak. To the feng shui practitioner, the building isn't very auspicious. It looked like a giant "arm chair". the traditional shape of the grave of a Chinese grave, thousands of which are located at the Chua Chu Kang cemetary not too far away.

We climbed up this building, before it was completed, we went into the building and into the lecture halls. Within the claws, the walls are made of glass and one can look down at the fountains below.

How green is thishttp://www.inhabitat.com/2008/01/23/amazing-green-roof-art-school-in-singapore/ I don't know, I left for New Zealand by them. I took these photos when I revisited NTU in July 2009.

Macro Monday: Gecko


In Borneo, we were quite used to see these little lizards or geckos. They dart across the ceiling upside down to catch insects. Some times when we clean our cupboards, we find miniature eggs that looked exactly like hen eggs except they were very small. An adult gecko can grow up to six inches.

They make this gec gec sound, and perhaps this is why it is called a gecko. We didn't worry about them except the dropping really stank. Sometimes, they fought, and left their tails behind. To the environmentalists, read no further, my brothers used to used slingshots and rubber bands to shoot at the geckos. Mum would tell them off, the geckos were harmless and ate the nasty creepy crawlies like mosquitoes.

When my New Zealand Sister-in-law Karen went to live in Sarawak, she was terrified of these "ceiling baby snakes." We thought it was funny. The house was left vacant for a few years, and the geckos had grown very big.

This photo is not exactly a Marco photo, the gecko was sitting very quiet in the corner of the room minding it's own business. I was below trying to be unobtrusive as possible. It didn't stay long enough to take a good photo.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Stills, The next Challenge: Signs of Fall or Spring

Sunday Stills, The next Challenge: Signs of Fall
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills Challenge on September 20, 2009 by Ed

Its just around the corner and for some of ya its here. For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere its early Spring so you get to do Signs of Spring. So there it is, have fun…:-))


Thank you Ed, you are always thoughtful. It's all sign of spring, and you guys up north can envy me. LOL

After a cold wet winter, these are my favourite things. Signs of spring. Yes, it's spring here in New Zealand.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Red Dust in Brisbane, Australia. 2

My niece sent me these photos taken at the University of Queensland in Australia.

I got these photos from my friend, she said you can use them if you like. They are photos of my university. I think they looked pretty bad... But I don't think Brisbane was badly affected like Sydney. S

Friday shoot out: My favorite place to forget the rest of the world.


September 25 Assignment
Sept 25th My favorite place to ________ - by Cindy (http://wherescindynow.blogspot.com/)

I think of Barry and Linda, and I wish to take them with me to Okahu Bay in Auckland. It is my favorite place to forget the rest of the world, to forget all the woes and chaos, to forget all the sickness and pain, to forget life's trials and tribulation.

To go to Okahu Bay and sing the first song I have sang as a child,

Row, row, row,
Row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

For you Barry and Linda.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red dust in Australia.

The red dust in Sydney has blown up to Queensland and even across the Tasman sea to New Zealand. There was a layer of orange dust on our cars this morning here in Auckland.

I asked my family in Australia and my two nieces tell me:

It was very windy when we were hit by the dust storm on Wednesday. There was an inch of dust on everywhere. I was coughing all day and can't breathe properly because it was so dusty & air was really dry.

I spent whole yesterday morning to mop, wipe and clean my house. After I was just about to drink my coffee and relax watch t.v., the news said there might be another one coming this weekend.

F in the GoldCoast

Photos from the outside of my unit around 11.20am, when the storm hasn't fully blown into Brisbane yet. It got worst after that.

S in Brisbane

The photos don't show how bad it is, like she said, she took them before the situation got worst.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Running the Marathon

I will be celebrating my one year old birthday of my venture into Blog land. I had resisted doing this for a long time. I was writing but was not exactly happy just writing, and not finding a publisher for me book. My older daughter suggested that I blog as I was already writing. Needless to say, the rest is history.

I found some very close friends, there are too many to mention here. I also found a platform to share my topics close to my heart, of bereavement and environmental issues. I also found this as a platform to encourage, especially those with sickness, Barry, Sara, and many others.

Just as I posted my "dog v man" article, I read a new blog which I could give encouragement of a different kind. It was to Aaron I shared my training for my Marathon running. "Run Aaron Run"
Here's to Aaron who is running the marathon.

Good luck to you. 34 is far too young to hit mid life crisis. Just keep running, you will get over it.

5 years ago, I was this middle aged turning 50 year old woman. One day, I challenged myself in a 3.8k after not running since my early 20s when I ran the "Round the bays.".

The university announced its "President's run." I had been doing short runs in the Staff Club gym, and was interested. Dwas with me and challenged me to run two kilometers. After I had done that, she said, "Mum, you can do it."

The events organisers told me as the run was for staff and students we were not eligible for any prizes or goody bags. I didn't care, I just wanted to challenge myself. I posted on our staff resident's internet "Nanyang Connect" for three others to form a team. Eventually I got two girl friends to train, 6 am in the morning, we were at the oval, from 400 meters, and adding on, we completed the race as we pounded the pavement of the university route. We even beat many men and university girls much much younger than us.

After that, me and another girl friend 44, we trained for the Singapore Marathon.10 K's marathon.

It was in humid Singapore, but we did it in 3 months. We were two university wives, and the young uni kids were wondering why these two "Aunties " were doing in their turf at the running oval and in the hilly campus. We managed to complete 10 Ks ten times. The first time were so satisfying. We High 5 and hugged.

Came early Dec, we woke up at 4am we ran with the Marathon greats from Kenya and Ethiopia. We both did it. The water engineer and the kids wee there to support me. The Australian runners told me that the Singapore run was the most difficult to do because it was humid and hot.

It was the best thing I have done, and am still very proud of it. From the moving to New Zealand, I have misplaced the medal. But I still have the certificate, just in case people didn't believe me, here it is.

To Aaron, You just keep on running. When you see me in Mt Albert, come and say hi. I don't run any more, I just climb the slopes and take photos for my blog.


Man verses dog.

When Barry posted his Dog's social club post, I thought to myself, it was time for me to do this post.

Mum and Dad always had dogs, and our dogs were working dogs. They guarded our house, and when they were lovely cuddly puppies, I played with them. As an adult, partly because the water engineer didn't like to keep dogs, and partly when we were in Singapore, we didn't need dogs as guard dogs because we were living in the university campus. So we never had a dog.

We often go to the many volcanoes to have short hikes, and at this particular mountain, Mt Albert, they had an archery club. I remember in the university, there was also an archery club, and I was first to complain where they were shooting were near to staff residences and little kids could easily get shot at. The response was if parents were vigilant, kids would not venture to this "dangerous" place where arrows were flying.

Fast forward a couple of year, we returned to New Zealand, and I see these archery targets. Mt Albert is also "off the leash dog walking areas." Now it is History repeating. My friend S. walks her dog every day on this mountain. The dog owners are now told to keep their dogs off the area. Any accidents would not be the archer's responsibility. So some authorities are asking to keep their dogs away from this area.

But the dog owners are unhappy and are signing a petition. Dogs are always allowed to roam free here. Why should a few person who are there only some of the times, prevent to joy of others. link on the map to see the area of Mt Albert.

Beschorneria yuccoides (Mexican False Red Yucca) 3

Beschorneria yuccoides (Mexican False Red Yucca)

Western Springs, one of my fav places in Auckland. There is a Chinese saying, YU SHAN YU SHUI. Got Mountain got water. In deed there is a hill I could climb, and lots of water in the lakes. On top of that, there are birds and lots of flowers.

After posting the first flower, I went back to the park to spot a ranger. In deed I found one. She had cut off that first spray of flowers. Was I glad I was there a week before when the spray of flowers was at it's peak. She directed me to a whole area of yuccas.

The yuccas were blooming, but none as stunning as the first. However, they have a different look, especially the one that has a green tune.

To all of you in the Northern Hemisphere who have written how they like the flowers here. You got to see it to see why I have chosen this place as my adopted country.

Mamma Mia in Auckland.

The water engineer and I went for a night of nostalgia, a time when we were young and unmarried and unburden with household and marital and parental responsibilities. I am not exactly a fan of ABBA, though I like some songs like Fernando. But the water engineer liked their song so much that he played it over and over that our children even got to know their songs. The kids sing and gyrate to Mamma Mia.

We headed to The Civic Theatre , and joined audience of golden oldies and young fans. Many danced and clapped and sang and waved their hands and glow sticks with the performance. It was the opening night here in Auckland, and I am sure with the response of the audience, the performers had a very warm fuzzy feeling. That's Aucklanders for you.

On our way home, the water engineer felt sad that they didn't sing his fav song, Fernando. What a surprise! I didn't know that before.

We had also watched Mamma Mia! The Movie, starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan. I thought this movie was quite funny especially watching Pierce Brosnan sing. I thought it was quite painful.

Do click to the link of the Civic Theatre. This is such a beautiful grand old lady. It is a heritage building, I can't take a photos to show you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Traffic courtesy

Someone wrote to the Local newspaper, the New Zealand's Herald that a warm fuzzy is "Someone making room on the motorway to allow me to enter safely from the on-ramp."

A friend from overseas remarked that New Zealand drivers are very courteous. I remember when I was driving my kids to school in Singapore, I had to get onto the motorway. I admit I am not a very good driver, but boy did I get stressful trying to get on the motorway. I often pray that I could get on safely. The motorists just keep coming, and the motorist behind me often blare their horns.

I am very happy to see in many Auckland of ramps, that they have control lights. They allow one car to merge at a time.

Should cell phone use be banned while driving?

New Zealand has a new ruling, and I say it is about time.

Drivers will not be allowed to text or talk on hand-held mobile phones from November.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce announced the change to the Land Transport (Road User) Amendment Rule today.

People who ignored the change would be liable for an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.

"There are a lot of other distractions while driving but hand-held mobile phone use has grown to become a significant problem," Mr Joyce said.

"The reality is we need to send a strong signal to all road users that it's not on. Texting and driving in particular is a total no brainer."

I wrote this article about two years ago.

I feel very nervous when I see people talking on their cell phones when they are driving. I find it hard myself concentrating on my driving without talking or texting on the cell phone.

When people use their cell phone, their focus is on the conversation and not on the traffic or traffic signals. This is where trouble starts.

I have seen at traffic intersections, people don't respond to the traffic lights, because they are busy on the cell phone, and people behind them blare their horns impatiently. Tempers are flaired and this is no good and could lead to accidents. Some unreasonable drivers will get out of their cars and threaten the poor guy who blared the horn.

In Singapore, cell phone talking is banned. If you need to talk, either pull over or use a head phone or ear set. In that way, your hands are free to hold on to the driving wheel. Even then, your concentration might be hampered if your reception is not very clear. In a moment of distraction, you may have an accident.

Texting is worse, you not only have to hold you cell phone, you have to look at your cell phone and twiddle your thumb to text back to your caller. It's been revealed that some accidents in New Zealand where I live, coroners have drivers have been killed while texting. Two young sisters were killed in a fatal accident where the road was in a perfect condition, and there were no other factors involved.

Many people cannot ignore their incoming calls. They think these calls are so important, they could be business calls they have to answer, or they will lose a deal. They are so desperate to close a deal. So they must answer the call even if they are driving one hundred kilometers on the freeway or motorway.

Sometimes, the cell phone drops to the floor, the driver uses one hand to hold the steering wheel, and another to find the cell phone on the floor. Worst if he looks on the floor. In a moment of distraction, it could be crucial, and bang.

In an accident, you not only kill yourself, you kill innocent people. Therefore cell phones should be banned. You are very irresponsible. If you die, you are gone, you feel no pain. But you leave behind many people to grieve. If you kill somebody, you hurt a lot of innocent people and their families. You don't think of the consequences.

I saw this sign at a mobile phone stand at St Luke's shopping Mall. I quickly whipped out my camera before a security guard sees me and ban me from this shopping mall. Once, i was told off.

My Tongan Friend George

Mālō e lelei - hello

I always greet George "Mālō e lelei" because this is the only Tongan words I know. My students in Pt Chev school taught me to say that and assure me that it is enough.

This is George Fa'apoi. He is 72 and comes to MABC ESOL classes as a senior student. I don't teach him, so I regard him as a friend. He has traveled the world with the Tongan Shipping agency and had been to Borneo.

Now as a retiree, he doesn't twiddle his thumbs. Instead he volunteers with the Friendly Island Wardens Inc, and with 7 ex policemen. He provides security for Auckland City, Balmoral area, Sandringham and Avondale area. He is a friendly grand pa to many of the Polynesian kids.

After thirty eights in New Zealand, he can show the kids a thing or two.

George lives with his wife, has two children, and seven grand children, (6 boys and a girl)

Mālō e lelei - hello (lit. congrat. on being well, the being in good health is worthy of gratitude)

Fēfē hake? - how are you? (fēfē means how, hake is idiomatic with fēfē)

Sai pē - just fine

Monday, September 21, 2009

Knitting for friendship and charity.

Yesterday I crash gated on a group of about ten ladies in the MABC craft group. I was meeting my friend C for another meeting, but got in too late because I forgot where I placed my sets of knitting needles and I forgot what size wool and needles I needed to make winter slippers.

I sort of budged into the lounge with empty hands and the ladies were wondering why i was there. Any way, I sat beside R, remember the lady I told you who had married for 61 years? She was very busy "knit purl knit purl."

R told me that she was knitting baby jackets for the leprosy mission. As a volunteer, she had knitted 150 of those. 150???? Ka Pai good job R.

I told her I knitted two of those, and have not knitted any since. We chatted, she said, may be I will when I become a grand mother. I flipped through her folder and found the pattern I used almost 25 years ago. I thought they were called scallops pattern but these ladies said it was feather something.

D, my 25 year old kept the pattern and I think one set of the pink jacket. I dug out the old photos. Was I clever? I made sets of matching jackets, leggings, booties, bonnets and beanies.

The last I knitted recently was starting a scarf for G until she ran out of wool. Will I be taking up knitting after this? I pointed to my camera. My computer has taken over my life at this time. I haven't done any charity work for a while. I still tell people about the Deaf Children in Kenya that I have abandoned.