Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday: Sculpture by John Edgar at the Auckland Domain

John Edgar's Photo courtesy his website.

This photo is courtesy Auckland city council. Because when I was there, as I wasn't sure if this is the sculpture, I didn't take the photo from a wide prospective, and take them together.

My first reaction when I saw it from afar, was it looks like a grenade. Then as I walked closer, it was an enlongated shape. An unexploded torpedo which is appropriate as the Auckland War memorial is just near by. Upon closer look, at the end of it, were two red spots, I then thought of it as a caterpillar. The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle. A favourite book of my students.

No offence, John if my interpretation is wrong. Perhaps the Domain Parks keeper should go and replace your plaque.

This helpful grass cutter came all the way, stopped his machine and asked if he could help me. Ka Pai to him. It was him to led me to a woman who led me the way.
I went on a three hour outing by myself in search of a sculpture by John Edgar. I know his Mum as we both work with ESOL students at Mt Albert Baptist Church. Yesterday, I had lunch with his parents and his Dad told me about the sculpture. I had to go and see it. Edgar Snr had told me that it was by the duck pond and near to Robbie Burns Statue.

I came home and found on the google that John Edgar is an internationally renowned New Zealand sculptor working with stone, jade, metal and glass.

This is his CV: I was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1950. Graduating from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 1972 with a degree in chemistry, I worked for some time as a research chemist, before taking up working with stones in 1977.

What amazed me was he went on to pursue his dreams, and I admire his parents for letting him do it. How often we hear parents wanting their kids to stay on a path that bring in the daily bread. How true is Robert Frost's poem, "Two roads meet, and I took the other, and that has made all the difference."

Going back to my outing, I thought I knew my co-ordinates. Over twenty years ago, I worked at the Auckland Hospital which bordered the Auckland Domain. I used to spend my lunch time at the duck pond feeding the ducks. I knew where the "Millennium Tree" was. But I couldn't find Robbie Burns or Edgar's sculpture. The grass was wet and muddy as it had been raining.

Being a typical woman, I asked people, and I asked many, many people. Some pointed me to different statues. They were all very friendly and helpful people. This makes me very proud to have adopted Auckland as my home. Eventually, I came to the Edgar Sculpture, but I couldn't be sure because there was no plaque. Anyway, I took photos, and not far from them was Robbie Burns, standing high up. More people led me eventually to the lady in the Museum. She went on the google, and confirmed my Edgar sculpture. I left a happy person.

Transformer 2004
Granite - Coromandel/India

John Edgar's upright stele of grey granite is like an ancient stone memorial marking a sacred site. Does the work's title Transformer refer to the role of the sculptor, carving form out of raw stone, or to the hand of time? The ovoid shape that lies near the vertical form suggests that a second monument has been toppled and worn away by the weather. This implied history through time is made more enigmatic by the narrow slices of red stone that have been laminated into the forms: looking like digital bar codes, they evoke cryptic messages in a secret language.
Special thanks to Trethewey Granite and Marble Ltd and Maunsell Limited for their support of this sculpture.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My world Tuesday: Train ride

The Mt Albert Baptist Church ESOL teachers, helpers and associates went on a train ride to Swanson in West Auckland. I enjoyed the trip and the fellowship.

We were looking at a wall along the track. The ivy leaves have fallen, and shows the veins of the plants. A friend comments that by growing ivy on the wall, it deters graffiti. What a good idea.

My friendly conductor Baar, he welcomed us on board and was very helpful. He even helped with carrying a walker off the train.

On the way back, it was after school time. There were two handsome New Zealand Maori wardens. My conjecture is by having two young friendly wardens on board, it helps deter rowdy students. Indeed, the train was very clean and the students well behaved. They were very happy for me to take their photo.

While on the train, I thought of the Swiss National Fricker who drew graffiti on the Singapore MRT train. He was sentenced to five months, three strokes of the cane. Friends living in Singapore told me that it was so well drawn that it wasn't noticed as a graffiti until a couple of days later.

I wonder why he did it. Did he really think as art where in some cases, artists are invited to draw. or did he want to challenge the authorities as to see what The Singapore Government was going to do, in view of the high profile case of Michael Fay, the American teenager who was court and caned.

I personally do not like graffiti, and don't like people spoiling people's properties.

I checked and see how Singaporeans reacted, and these are some of the responses.

While I sympathize with the Swiss national who will undoubtedly face the punishment, I have this to tell any foreigners or country who expect a more lenient outcome.

Singapore has always been known for strict laws with severe punishment to fit the crime. Anyone who thinks he or she can get away because their country will protest and threaten blackmail – there is no other word for their threats – let it be know that Singapore SHOULD NEVER BOW OR BE COWED INTO SUBMISSION!
If a slack society is required to draw foreign talents, I am sure the brains we seek are not so easily tempted!

Do we want a society of ruffians like in some so-called first world countries?

We do need a draconian system for peace and security.This is indeed the prime reason why foreigners, especially investors really want from our island…. a good place for business and to live in. I am perturbed if these holligans ,thinking that they are protected by their own country rules and so-called world human rights group to allow them to be just given a fine and a warning. We , Singaporeans, need our human right for the safety of our homes and families. I will advocate a very strong punishments on these two “clowns” by our court of justice.

I think Singapore should impose stricter laws and heavier sentences with regards to this kind of unlawful and outrageous behaviour as these people have totally no qualms about Singapore’s system. They want to do this act, they can do it in their own country,not in a foreign country. ‘When in Rome , do what the Romans do’ . Because he has done something wrong in Singapore, he should be dutily punished according to Singapore’s law but not listening to foreign countries’ stupid comment or act. Wooden Cane ya? 20 strokes and a fine of $200,000 would be considerable. He has desecrate Singapore’s image in terms of security,etc.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Save the World: Don't waste good bread.

When I started teaching ESOL at Mt Albert Church, I often went to the office to do photocopying. The church has another outreach, the toy library.

On a table is a big box and a big bag of bread. They told me that someone in the church goes to Baker's Delight and collects the day old bread and the women who come to the toy library are invited to take a couple of bun, rolls for their lunch. After they have gone, and when there is left over, I take some too. My son loves the bread.

This is not unique to New Zealand. I remember reading the paper in Singapore. There was a group of expat men and women who do similar drives. Perhaps Alice and Jama might refresh me more.

Ka Pai and Paki Paki aka clap clap to these management.

Bakers Delight differs to other bakeries in that they bake all their products fresh everyday, so that bread is only ever sold on the day it was made.
Anything that is left over at the end of the day goes to charity. The Mt Eden Bakers Delight has a list of different charities that come to collect their leftover bread. These charities include Drug Auckland, Low Income Immigrant Families, Pacific Women’s Group and Methodist Mission Northern.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Stills: History

At MOTAT, Museum of Transport and Technology, you will find things that are really old. Once they even treated anyone 60 and above free entrance, That is respect for you.

At the Currumbim Sanctuary, on the Gold Coast of Australia. The aboriginals sing and dance their aged old traditional dance they had been dancing since the beginning of time. I copied it and taught the Shasha to my students.

This power substation was built in 1942.

These Chinese antiques are the real McCoy. My friend collects them in Singapore.

This row of shophouses in Malaysia was built in the 1930s.

This Cuppage place in Singapore was built in the 1920s.

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: History
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills on June 20, 2010 by Ed

This should be fun, this can be anything over 60 years old, people, places or things, or even events replicatimg over 60 years old…Have fun..

p.s. if you are over 60 you are not history yet..:-)
Hi Ed,

I made my own history when I ran the quarter Marathon five years ago when I was fifty. LOL

Good Sorts: Joan Curie

I had just done an email interview with Doreen, and it makes me reflect on my life. So when she invites you to do one, I encourage you to do it as well. One of the thing that I reinforce myself is why am I blogging.

One of my thoughts is to share and encourage those who have become bereaved parents. I became a breaved mum in 1989. In Sept this year, my Andrew would be celebrating his 21st. It would be such an important mile stone. But he died when he was 55 days old.

Shortly after doing the interview, I listened to my television. Every Sunday, our national TV run a Good Sort item. People nominate person who they feel deserved to be nominated. It seems that it was God's way of reassuring me.

I gave Andrew up a few hours for his autopsy. We chose not to view him after that. We had his coffin sealed. As I watch the news article, I count myself luckier than many others. I too would nominate Joan for the extraordinary work she does.

Joan Curle is a Good Sort who finds meaning in the shortest of lives.

She works for Sands, an organisation which offers support for parents who suffer stillbirth or the death of their newborn baby.

Curle works at Wellington Hospital, making up baskets and mementos, such as a certificate of life.

"They don't get a birth or death certificate, so this is really important to their parents - their babies did exist. It's really important for them," she says.

The baskets are made so all parents can have a record of their child.

"They do exist, they are not brushed away, they are not just put in a kidney dish, which is what they used to be put in."

Curle makes baskets in all sizes, from children who die at birth, to those who last just 20 weeks in the womb. Their coffins are half the size of a shoe box.

Curle has devoted 18 years to the project, after her own newborn, Andrew, died after living for just 12 hours.

She decided Andrew's legacy would be to ensure every Wellington baby who dies gets dignity in death.

Do you know someone who is a Good Sort?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FRiday Shoot out: Water

This is Sarawak in Borneo, where I was born. There are 144 inches of rain fall a year. Every afternoon, it was bound to rain, and we were on alert at around 3 pm, we had to watch the skies. We had to be quick as a flash to collect our laundry, because when it rains, it buckets. At the end of the year. we always have floods when the North east Monsoon blows. As kids, we loved swimming, paddling and just waddling in the meter high flood.

Rejang river is 350 miles long, and big ships come up 90 miles to my town of birth, Sibu.

Having married to a water engineer for more than 30 years, it is inevitable that part of his water knowledge is passed on to me.
The river traffic  has increased, and the banks get eroded. Once, near my maternal grand father's village house, two of those aeroplane looking like boats had a head on collision. Many drowned.
I am passionate about erosion and the dam's effects on the environment. How do we draw a balance?
Look at Rejang River, all 350 miles of it.  I am told by an expert that life has changed a lot since I was there. There is a need for dredging.

In New Zealand, especially here in Auckland, we have plenty of water. I love this place Western Springs. Here ducks, geese, swans and other water fowls thrive.

This waterfall is New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. The roaring sound of the fall sounds like thunder. This holds much fascination for water engineer who as an a water engineer, has been charmed to take so many photos. As for me who had been to the Niagara Falls, this is like a mole hill compared to a mountain. Lake Taupo is big to the Singaporeans as the whole of Singapore Island can fit into this lake.

The reverse is in Singapore. For decades, Singapore has to import water of her water consumption from Malaysia. As of 2009, imported water had been reduced to 40% of total consumption. There is a dispute regarding the price of water. The government of Singapore decided to increase self-sufficiency in its water supply.

It is not Evian. But Singaporeons are very proud of NEWater. When it was introduced, the then Prime Minister Mr. Goh drank it in front of TV to show his support. NEWater is reclaimed water produced by Singapore's Public Utilities Board. It is treated wastewater (sewage) that has been purified using dual-membrane (via microfiltration and reverse osmosis) and ultraviolet technologies, in addition to conventional water treatment processes. The water is potable and is consumed by humans, but is mostly used for industry requiring high purity water. When they gave out free bottles to the school children, my son brought it for me, I refused to drink it. My son to date doesn't drink any water that comes in a plastic bottle. I told my friend, it was time I left, I do not want to drink shit water.

Today, Singapore has 14 reservoirs and a network of stormwater collection ponds that help prevent flooding during heavy rains. The photos show Selatar Reservoir. It is by the Zoo.
The shoot out this Friday is Water / Lakes / Streams - by Nicole Howard (Father's day - June 20 what did you do for DAD?)
New Zealand celebrated Father's day in September.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday: Kids playing soccer
Soccer fever is bursting in New Zealand. We had the historical goals against Slovenia and Italy and drew with these soccer greats.

Many years ago, my little boy used to practise every Saturday. He had fun with his friends coached by an Italian friend.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My world Tuesday: Sea bed

The muddy sea bed is as bleak as the cold winter. Nobody is at the beach. I suspect everyone is bundled up watching re-runs of the soccer world cup. You see, The New Zealand team gave everyone a pleasant surprise by drawing with Slovenia and Italy.

Save the world: Do up old houses
In 1970s when I arrived in Auckland, I lived at Grey lynn. Next to her, was Ponsonby. When the city council built the motorway, these two suburbs became slums with people living on the fringe, students and Polynesian migrants as the rental was cheap. Houses were run down, gardens were like bush.

However, in the 80s, because of the close proximity to inner city, just 2 km west of the Auckland CBD, people started buying up these old houses. It became trendy and the poor people had to move out as they couldn't afford the increase rental.

It is now a predominantly upper-middle class residential suburb. Ponsonby today is also known in Auckland for its fine dining and shopping establishments - many restaurants, cafes, art galleries, up-market shops and nightclubs are located along Ponsonby Road.

I joke with friends that I used to live in Grey Lynn and walk past Ponsonby to go to university. Then of course, I tell them it was the old Grey Lynn that I lived in.

Many of the houses are restored. Here is a row of houses which to me is so narrow that it looks like a row of match boxes. I won't live here, but then, I am not in the yuppy trendy crowd.

This is one fine example of saving the houses and not letting a suburb to turn to a ghetto. Many people also walk to work, thus saving on petrol, and causing less carbon footprint and carbon emission.

They have a very good school, St Mary's college , St Mary’s College has always had an excellent academic record and high achievement in Music and Sport. Its musical tradition goes back to the 1860’s. During the 20th Century, under the outstanding direction of the late Dame Sister Mary Leo, the school produced many singers of international fame, notably Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Mina Foley.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sunday stills: Go Low, Looking High

I was at a downtown restaurant, and this chimney jutted out of the roof. I had to go pretty low to take this photo.

I went under this bi-lingual THANK YOU sign, and decided if I went right under it, I won't be able to see the words. So I took two photos.

On top of the Mt Eden volcano, is this summit marker. It is a hollow tetrahedron and I bent down low to take the photo.

The flowing leaves and branches of the willow tree should make an interesting photo. I went right below the leaves and feel the cascading leaves on my face.
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I looked up, and saw this green praying mantis. I have a love affair with praying mantises especially with a golden rare one. Two came to my house in Singapore and cause great excitement among the scientific world.,

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Go Low, Looking High

This may be a bit of a challenge to those folks who can’t get down to ground level so get creative and look for things at waist or shoulder high and shoot up from there.

Have fun…Ed