Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday Stills: Graffiti

There is Graffiti tagging and there is Graffiti Art and there are Murals. There are great differences.

In Singapore, if you tag graffiti, you get arrested, you get caned and you go to prison. Once in New Zealand, the property owner got so worked up, he killed you, and he went to prison.

Once, I was parking my car and I met two handsome artists. They make a living doing Graffiti Art. They are sponsored by the building they do their art. Their art is beautiful.

And then, there are murals, real work of arts, it could be on walls, or traffic control boxes.

The owner of this building in Mt Eden at Dominion Road, has found the solution to beat the graffiti taggers. Apparently even among the rogues, there is a code that you don't deface other people's beautiful mural no matter how tempting the wall appears.
This code, however is not fully adhered. I have seen beautiful murals defaced in some places.
Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Grafitti/Street Art
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills on July 25, 2010 by Ed

I’m picking this challenge as the start for our first Sunday Stills Challenge CONTEST! Yep, ya read right A contest for out contributors and all who wish to get motivated to join our happy band of shutterbugs. There will be a post explaining the rules after the Macro Monday post below… Have fun…Ed
Ed, I am unsure of which type of graffiti you require, and like many students, I submit all three.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Friday shootout: Remembering Barry

I have been following Barry's an explorer's view of life shortly after I started blogging, and later his wife Linda's. We form a very warm rapport, and I feel that we have known each other for a long time. In March of this yearn Barry was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer and I journey with him.
Here's some flowers I saw in an ordinary garden. For you Barry and Linda.

Friday, February 19, 2010
The world will be ringing the bell with Barry and others today at 2:00 PM EST.

This bell was given to me by a very very special friend. Today, I ring it for a very special friend Barry. We ring the bells together with him as he rings the bell at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada for the last time he will be needing treatment. The skies will be touched, and see that all the cancer cells are gone, and he is fully cured.
On February 18th, many blogging friends of Barry rang for Barry. Last week, Barry said goodbye to Linda and his family and all his friends. I am sorry for Linda, but I am relieved that he no longer had to suffer. Barry, Linda and I share something. We are bereaved parents. It was very special when they told me that.

Linda, we stand by you at this difficult time. All parting is painful. Barry was among the first bloggers who commented my new blog. I thank him for that. He never failed to give an encouraging comment. Barry has 733 followers. He must have done something right!!!
Michael Mitchell's version of the song "Land of the Silver Birch" ...
Finally, Barry, if you can hear from above, it is YEARN FENG aka fate that this song was sang by my school kids last week. The music room is next to mine, and I hear them sing in my room. I was taught by my teacher when I was a teen ager in Borneo. I always thought it is American. A fellow blogger asked my about a tree in my blog, and asked if it was a birch tree. So I google and came to this U tube. This Land of the silver birch, the unofficial national anthem of Canada.

Land of the Silver Birch
Land of the Silver Birch,
Home of the beaver,
Where stands the mighty moose,
Wanders at will,

Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more,
Boom didi ah da,
Boom didi ah da,
Boom didi ah da,

My heart is sick for thee,
Here in the low lands,
I will return to you,
Hills of the north.


Swift as a silver fish,
Canoe of birch bark,
Thy mighty waterways,
Carry me forth.


Here where the blue lake lies,
I’ll set my wigwam,
Close to the water’s edge,
Silent and still.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My World Tuesday/Outdoor Wednesday

Cats of the world unite,
Do you see cats taken out to barbecues?
Do you see cats taken out to the beach?
Do you see cats taken out to the park?
Or to the Bridge opening last Sunday?
Of course no!
But you know what,
We cats, don't need anyone to take us out.
We cats, can go by ourselves.

I LOL to myself when I see dogs being man's best friend.
I LOL to myself when I see cats by themselves.

This cat was seen wandering to the local rugby club. Come next year, we will host the Rugby World Cup in Auckland. May be the fans will frighten the cat away.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

save the world, use solar heating

During the summer months, schools conduct swimming lesson during the school year as a confidence course for the children. During the holidays, school families pay a token sum to use the pool. Charges are kept low as the pool is heated by solar energy. The water has to be heated as the water is quite cold.

Corrections: I think the heating is for the shower stalls and wash basins. The pool is not used in winter.

Monday, July 26, 2010

sunday stills,: Rule of the third

Sunday Stills, the next Challenge: Back to Basics, the rule of thirds.
Posted in Sunday Stills, Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills on July 18, 2010 by Ed

For this challenge, I’m stepping back in , lets go back to the basics and use the rule of thirds which is to put your subject into the upper or lower part of the shat or in the left or right half of the pic. Composition is the name of the game here and you can use any subject you find…. Have fun…Ed

If Ed, when I was out walking on our new Mangere bridge, I remembered this challenge of the thirds, but I remembered only the upper part. Next time, I will try the left or right.

Meanwhile enjoy the historic moment as I walk across the brand new Mangere Bridge. This is the only time we are able to walk across.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

School Makeover

Photos courtesy J. Orr, MABC

In June, my church Mt Albert Baptist Church went down to our local school, Mt Albert Primary, for two days and did a make-over. I am thinking of the Malaysian and Indonesian concept of Gotong-royong. The community band together to work on a project without being paid.

There is a lot of fun working and often eating together. I remember my Dad and my grand Dad going to the village. Every family volunteering to build the road, and some of the women folk cooking lunch. That was in the early 70s.

Fast forward to 2009 and 2010, my church is doing the same. Together with parents and teachers, they did the modern version of New Zealand's Gotong-royong. The principle is still the same, people getting dirty for no pay.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Shootout: Feet and shoes

"Member Voice" by JarieLyn
JarieLyn has chosen the theme for July 23, Feet and Shoes.
In her words......

Often times it seems that our vision is one dimensional when looking for scenes to photograph. Most of us have a tendency to focus on what's straight ahead of us instead of what's above us or below us. I thought it would be fun to photograph feet and/or shoes because just as you can see personality shine through on the faces you photograph, you can also capture personality in the shoes people wear. After all, the shoes we choose, the way we walk, the colors we wear adds to the complexity of our persona. So, I urge you all to get creative and snap photos that appeal to you visually and creatively. There is no right way to shoot this subject. Make it whimsical, serious, commercial, fun, turn it into fine art......whatever fancies your vision. I look forward to them all. And most important, have fun!

I had to crop these as I don't normally take photos of some one's feet. Here's a couple of shoe stories.

In Memory Of Barry


Barry Fraser, one of the first FMTSO shooters has passed away. He will be missed but not forgotten. I am sure I speak for all of us that knew Barry all of our thoughts and prayers go out to Linda, his children, family and friends.

A mighty tree fell today,
A tree that was ridden with pain from cancer.
But he was majestic, standing high.
He was a great encouragement to all who read his writings.

I can't remember how I stumbled to his site, it could have been he is a Canadian, and I had lived a couple of years in Canada. It could be his frankness about his illness, I have a empathy with people who suffer.

I remember the first few comments we had. And it was about sheep.
I remember he invited me to join Friday Shoot out when I was still very new to blogging.

Thank you Barry, I enjoyed so much as part of your wider family.
Thank you Linda for allowing us to share Barry with us. Linda, I hope you will publish his book.

Barry's life is an indictment of my previous post on euthanasia.
Despite all his plan, euthanasia was not his option.

Here's some of my memories of Barry. Everyone ring your bell for Barry.

Barry said...
Come to think of it I'm not sure I've ever seen a black sheep, outside photographs.
February 20, 2009 4:52 AM

Blogger Ann said...
Hi Barry,
In New Zealand, where sheep out number human beings, there is the occasional dark brown/black sheep.
Next time I see one on my trips out of Auckland, I will get out of the car, and snap a photo just for you.
Or I might smuggle one and ship it to you. LOL. I wrote about it.

February 20, 2009 1:43 PM

I have been on a look-out for Barry,
for a black sheep after I posted my daughter G's lamb concert-performance-by-kindy-kids.

Yes, I found not one, but three black sheep for you Barry, at the Cornwall park.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A case for euthanasia?

This is a winter tree, half of the leaves are brown, and it looks like a sick or even dying tree. But come next spring. It will perk up again.

Dying GP's plea for euthanasia.

In Holland, Belgium and a couple of American States, euthanasia is legal. This topic is in debate when a dying GP here is making a plea to make euthanasia legal. It is an emotional issue, and there are lots of feedback. I am a Christian and I don't believe it should be.

When my son Andrew was born twenty years ago, they whisked him to ICU. A few hours later I saw him in the highest need bed with tubes sticking all over him. The doctors told us that his condition was so bad that he was dying. They recommended that it was better not to treat him and let nature take its course. After being convinced that patients with his Campomelic Syndrome die or have very low quality of life, we agreed to remove all the tubes that were attached to him.

As if he was defying the doctors, he did not die straight away, he didn't die three days later, he didn't die ten days later. He lived on in ICU for fifty five days. He was very sick towards the last fifteen days. When he was forty days old, he had a massive apnea which the doctor had pronounced him dead for four hours, he returned from the dead. For the rest of his life, he had another eleven apneas. Each time, leaving him sicker and sicker.

I do not have to describe how the scenario was, just watching and waiting for him to die. He was tube fed and whimpered like a cat. Towards the end days, I felt it would have been better to euthanaze him, but I knew that won't be right. When he died, it was his timing, and not mine.

This debate came on about two years ago. I wrote this short story. You promised me.

“You promised me! You promised me!” Greg heard Felicity sob inconsolably while unsuccessfully trying to stifle her cries with her shaky hands. Even with her slurred speech, the words pierced his ears like a sharp needle.

Greg’s fingers shook as he clutched the carton the courier had delivered eight weeks ago. He stood in the hallway and glanced towards the north facing corner of the living room which was now Felicity’s room and sick bay. Felicity could not walk and it had become too strenuous for him to carry her up and down the stairs to sleep in their bedroom.

The district health nurse had arranged for the loan of a hospital bed, and together, they tried to make the corner as merry as possible. Sometimes during the day, Greg would work just outside the bay window, putting in new flowering plants in the boxes in the hope of cheering Felicity up. In winter, there was not much he could do to brighten the place; he was a patient gardener, not a miracle worker. Felicity had been sick for so long that she would see the bleak winter twice.


Felicity was once a physically active police woman . Twenty months ago, Felicity came home from her daily jog dragging her left leg. Her chest muscles were tightening and she could not understand why. Shocked by her pale complexion, Greg was ready to call the ambulance when she collapsed and hit the floor with a thud.

The thirty minutes ride in the ambulance seemed forever. The paramedics rushed her to the A & E and the duty doctor and nurses attended to her straight away. She underwent lots of tests to find out what was wrong with her. Then they admitted her for further observation.

The Specialist doctor told Greg that Felicity had MND or Motor Neuron Disease and the prognosis was no good. He gave Greg a lot of information about MND and a lot of printed notes. Greg tried to digest as much of the medical notes as he could.

“Excuse me! Isn’t MND a disease that strikes men?” Greg asked after reading from the notes.

“Yes, there are more male than female patients.” The doctor replied.

“Isn’t Felicity too young to have MND?” Greg asked in disbelief and unconsciously shaking his head while talking.

“I am afraid that MND affects younger patients too.”

“Is it terminal?” Greg whispered hoping to get a negative reply.

“Yes, I'm afraid so but she might have quite some time,"

“How long has she got?”

“I cannot tell. It could be two years. Meanwhile we try our best to keep her as comfortable as we can.”

Felicity came home; her sickness progressed faster than other patients. She applied for sick leave in the hope that her sickness was just temporary and she would return to work once she got better.

Soon Felicity lost the use of her legs, and Greg got her a wheel chair. Though depression was not a symptom of MND, Felicity became broody and moody and went through periods of not talking to Greg or the nurse. She refused to go out or see any visitors. She just sat, not wanting the television or the radio on. She was just spaced out. She hated herself, she hated the dreaded disease she so unfairly got, she hated the doctors, she hated the nurses, and she even hated Greg.

When it came to the stage that Felicity was getting worst, she couldn't swallow her soft food. She had to be tube fed. Greg took time off to give Felicity palliative care rather than depend on the district health nurse. Greg thought that her moods might improve with him at home. It didn't, Felicity had mood swings and she wasn't the bubbly girl he had married twenty years ago.

Felicity hated it when she had to depend on Greg to change her tampons. She hated it when she had to wear adult diapers. She knew that Greg didn’t mind, but she hated it. She didn’t want to drink or eat thinking she would pee or shit less. Greg was unfazed, he continued to brush her hair and teeth with tenderness that the nurse couldn't give her. Many a times, she shook her head violently and Greg felt really helpless.

She cried when Greg kissed her good night. Greg's eyes were weld with tears and his steps were heavy as he climbed the stairs. But Felicity was fiercely stubborn and insisted that Greg sleep in the bedroom.


Greg’s thoughts came back to the parcel he was holding. He was getting cold sweat and his heart beat fast. He knew what it was, and the implications.

Shortly after Felicity found out that she had MND, before she lost the use of her hands, she searched all she could from the internet. She saw how shriveled up a man Stephen Hawking had become. She could not see beyond his sorry physical state and see the brilliant work he continued to do. To her, he was a far cry from the handsome scientist he was before he was struck down with MND. She didn’t want to look like him though she knew her looks were already wasted.

Felicity pleaded, “Let me have some dignity, please.”

Without looking at Felicity, Greg reluctantly agreed, “Yes.”

Felicity implored, “Look into my eyes and promise me that you won’t let me die like a dog.”

Greg felt compelled to look at Felicity, “I promise you, sweet heart.”

Every day, she asked, “Has the parcel arrived yet?”

“No dear,” Greg would reply.

What Felicity had done was secretly go to a website which showed her how to kill herself. She ordered for a euthanasia kit and made Greg promise that he would administer the drug to her.

Greg was in a great dilemma. He loved Felicity and wanted her alive as long as possible. He had a hundred and one questions. Was he being selfish? Was he so blinded that he denied that the quality of her life had diminished. Had it deteriorated to such an extent as to her own words: a dog’s life. Had Felicity the right to a peaceful death with dignity? Was he keeping her alive for himself? Was he prepared to go to prison? …………………..

Greg fought hard to keep his tears from bursting through the dam. He had told himself that big boys don't cry. He had not cried since he was eight years old, and that was permissible according to his mum because a dog had bitten him in the park. He wiped his tears with his shirt sleeve and buried his face in his hands while inhaling deeply.

Finally he stood up, glanced towards Felicity who was staring out of the window. He whispered," Sorry, sweet heart. I can't do it." He quietly tuck the euthanasia kit back into his closet.


Recently Washington State passed an assisted death initiative, making it the second state in USA to approve some sort of medically supported suicide. Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act in 1997.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Save our world/ mellowyellow Monday :no mining

A piece of beautiful New Zealand.

Thousands protested against the Government s mining plans
photo courtesy Yahoo news.

At the end of April, I posted that thousand s march to protest the Government's intention to open up conservation land for mining. Today, the Government has backed down and scrapped these plans. Ka pai and good job to people power.

The Government had proposed opening up 7000 hectares of conservation land in the Coromandel, Great Barrier Island and Paparoa National Park to prospecting for valuable minerals.

That land is protected from mining under schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act, and more than 30,000 submissions were made on a public consultation document - nearly all of them opposed to changing its status.

About 50,000 people signed a Green Party petition against it, while an estimated 40,000 marched in protest in Auckland.

The land is protected against mining under schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act, and the proposals provoked furious opposition from the public and conservation lobby groups.


i hope this is true, WAY TO GO NEW ZEALAND ! we spoke and the government actually listened. Remember this for future generations... we can make a difference.
I am posting mellow yellow Monday on this site for this site.