Wednesday, September 29, 2010

outdoor Wednesday: Homeless in the city
For a developed country of New Zealand, it is shocking to have homeless/ sleeping in the rough people. The social welfare system provides unemployment, sickness and domestic purpose benefits. Yet up to 150 people in Auckland are estimated to be sleeping rough within a 3 km radius of the Sky Tower. They choose to sleep in doorways, bus shelters, cars, public toilets, parks, building sites, and under bridges.

Myers park in inner city is known to be a favourite haunt. Some sleep under the trees. I went to Myers park and I am not surprised if they sleep under the shelters of Myers Kindergarten.

Myers Park is a narrow park in central Auckland, New Zealand, running parallel to the upper part of Queen Street. It is characterised by steep, grassed slopes and canopied with a mixture of large exotic and native trees, including an alley of large palm trees. Benches and artwork (including a heritage marble copy of Michelangelo's sitting Moses statue) line the paths connecting to Queen Street, K Road, Grey's Avenue and Aotea Square. Running downhill from the northern slope of the Karangahape ridge, the park was formed in 1914 out of an overgrown gully facing towards the Waitemata Harbour.

Ngarimu on Waitangi Day overseeing the Zero waste program.
My sister Elizabeth and I visited Ngarimu and his Marae In Orakei.

My friend Ngarimu is taking part in the LIFEWISE Big Sleepout and helping to end homelessness in Auckland by raising funds. Good job, Ka Pai and Paki Paki.

Here is Ngarimu's appeal:
EVENT: The LIFEWISE Big Sleepout
EVENT DATE: 14/10/2010
Thanks for visiting my fundraising page.

I’m taking part in the LIFEWISE Big Sleepout, helping to end homelessness in Auckland by raising funds for vital support services for homeless people.

On 14 October 2010, I’ll swap my warm bed for a cold concrete surface and experience a little of what it’s like to be homeless alongside other business and community leaders.

Please support my efforts and donate.

Select the 'Make a donation' button below. It's simple, fast and totally secure.

If you live in New Zealand your donation is tax deductible and a receipt will be issued.

So please sponsor me now!

Many thanks for your support

PS LIFEWISE is an Auckland-based community agency initiating new ways to solve challenging social issues and provides services to vulnerable and at-risk people of all ages. LIFEWISE has successfully housed more than 100 long-term homeless people straight from the street in the last two years. To find out more about how LIFEWISE is working to end homelessness in Auckland by 2020 visit

My World Tuesday: Doctors' waiting room
In a Doctors' waiting room in Three Kings, Auckland New Zealand. children do not feel bored because they have this play house to while away the time. Sometimes, children even play with other children as though they are old friends. I wish there were such play houses when my kids were young.

Monday, September 27, 2010

save the world: Vegetable crisp bags
I do not endorse products, but when I was on the Goldcoast of Australia, where the summer is really hot, my brother C uses these bags. It seems a good idea as the veg and fruits stay fresher than if left on the bench or in the fridge.

Lately, I have been wasting a lot of fresh vegetables as I on on the computer a lot. I must check with my supermarket if they are available in New Zealand.

Fresh ‘n’ Crisp
It`s Fresh ‘n' Crisp storage bags
Fresh fruit and vegetables continue to ripen after they`ve been picked. This means that they can spoil very quickly once they reach you. A solution is Fresh ‘n' Crisp storage bags. Let`s see how they work.

How Fresh ‘n' Crisp work
Microscopic holes in Fresh ‘n' Crisp storage bags allow the produce to breathe, but at a decreased, controlled rate.

The result?
This slows ripening and preserves freshness, vitamins and flavour of your fresh produce.

What can you store in Fresh ‘n' Crisp bags?
As you`ve heard here, they're perfect for fresh produce, especially broccoli, carrots, lettuce, capsicum and much more. They're also just as great for fresh herbs like basil and parsley.

Fresher produce, less wastage
We`ve probably all thrown out vegetables that have been kept for too long and spoiled. Storing your vegetables in Fresh ‘n' Crisp bags means you`re enjoying fresher fruit and vegetables and also reducing the wastage.

Look for Fresh ‘n' Crisp storage bags in your supermarket today.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday stills: Letter S

This is a man made spider, and I am sure it is this spider who frightened Little Miss Muffet. Spiders own a tiny room in the children's Sunday school room at Mt Albert Baptist Church.

We went to the Takapuna beach, the weather was still cold and raining occasionally. Mr. Coffee man wasn't getting much business. He was demonstrating throwing up a stick with two sticks to his lady friend.

We treated our Singapore guest to a Chinese dimsum lunch. This visitor travels all over the world. We were very happy to hear from him that Auckland's dimsum is even better than Singapore's. Grand Harbour Chinese Restaurant has become Auckland’s premier source for fine Chinese dining. We enjoyed the Steamed dimsum and I thought of my mum who used to make our fav, HARGAU.

We drove past this, and I snapped it in the car. So the photo isn't the best. In the old days, a bar usually had rooms upstairs.
Lone Star Café and Bar is situated in an iconic general store that dates back to 1910 on Hauraki Corner, the Takapuna branch of the popular Lone Star Café and Bar chain has a great kids' menu and also allows BYO wine. The perfect spot for sunset watching and great, no nonsense comfort food.

My guest heard that Auckland is known as a city where there are four seasons in a block, which is worst than what I had been told as four seasons in a day. Here is one sole sail boat in the harbour.

Auckland is known as the city of sails. But yesterday, except for the lone sail boat, the marina showed that the sails were down, and yachties were no where to be seen.

At Windsor Reserve, they were building shelters for the Dog's big day out. 1500 dogs turned up.

These two seagulls sashayed to attract my attention knowing I was going to make them famous.

When I was growing up in Borneo, Sibu town is ninety miles from the sea. I always dreamed of going to the sea side and picking up sea shells. Now, I am so fortunate that the sea is just twenty minutes away,

I figure since its the last challenge for September we can do a letter challenge for next week. The only rule this week is that it has to be THINGS that start with the letter “S’ and NO ARCHIVES. Have fun and I’ll see ya’ll next week. Ed

We had a visitor yesterday. The weather had been kind, and we went out to the beach and took lots of photos. Thanks Ed, for an easy challenge.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday shootout: Hot or cold

Men in Uniform aka boys in blue

MJ is still hot, on his birthday, students made posters.

Hot bridesmaids in black tube dresses. I hope none of them will be lamenting," always the bridesmaid, never the bride."

Hot bride and her bridemaids.

Hot or cool car.

Mobile pizza oven, can you get any hotter than this?

I will be real hot in this cool quad bike.

Lovely hot ladies from Borneo, and one real hot dude.

These are real hot hunks. Look at their Hot "pants". I suspect like people asking the Scots man if there is anything under the kilt, people ask the Dayak man the same question.

After an hour's tramp in Hot tropical Borneo jungle, Sam was really hot.
The theme for September 24 is Hot or Cold.

There are many ways to show hot or cold. The weather, by colors, by a person's temperament. Use the senses; sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch.

"hot stove"; "hot water"; "a hot August day"; "a hot stuffy room"; "she's hot and tired"; "a hot forehead"
intensity, passionate, blistering, fast, spicy, energy, emotion, enthusiasm, raging.
"a cold climate"; "a cold room"; "cold fingers"; "a cold beer"
sensations, lack of feeling, originality, lacking the warmth of life, chilled, having no appeal, neglected.

Have fun with this theme and think out of the box. by Doreen.

I am quite sick of my cold weather, you may like to go over to my photo site to see the amazing white stuff. Instead, I am posting hot hot hot stuff. These photos don't need long commentaries. I try to think outside the box.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday: market

Cold weather or heat, gale or not, these men are at the outdoor market playing Chinese Chess. They have hardly any ware to sell. I think they go to this market when it is open on Tuesdays and Fridays just to meet each other.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My World Tuesday: Mooncake festival

I had no intention of recording this lesson. If I had known my students had wanted to photograph this, I would have done it neatly. LOL

These brown moon cakes are baked. The filling may be lotus seed paste, mung bean paste, red bean paste, with or without salted duck egg yolk, and my favourite, the nutty ones aka WU REN made of nuts and seeds like almond, pumpkin seeds, ham, ginger, and so on.

Modern style snow skin of pale pink, yellow, green or white. These skins were precooked like playdough, and you have to keep them in the fridge. They have flavours like straw berry, green tea, pandan, chocolate and even ice cream. I am a person of tradition, despite living most of my adult life in a western country. To me, moon cakes have to be traditional.

The pomelo is a giant citrus fruit. It is much bigger than a grape fruit as you can see in the pix. It is very sweet, and is very popular during Mid Autumn festival and Chinese New Year.

The Thais make a spicy pomelo salad.

When we were young, we had ourselves a pomelo hat. We didn't teach this to Sam. He naturally did it. Like Mother like Son. It is only today, that I learned a symbolic reason for doing this in Taiwan.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, Zhongqiu Festival, or in Chinese, Zhongqiujie (traditional Chinese: 中秋節). It is also known as the mooncake festival ot the lantern festival. in Vietnamese "Tết Trung Thu", is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese,Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese people, dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally "Mid-Autumn Festival") in the Zhou Dynasty.[1] In Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival. It is also related to the important Korean holiday of Chuseok.

Today, at ESOL class, I got my adult students to recount what Mid Autumn festival meant to them. I had a plan on the white board, and some of the students were happy to be reminded. They had vaguely remember all the stories they were told when they were young. Some of them were so impressed with the class that they wanted to take a photo of the lesson. So I decided to post it here.

While there are the folk lore of the lady Chang'e in the moon and her cruel husband Houyii, and the rabbit.

I like to remember this Mid Autumn festival as the day China was liberated from the cruel Mongolian rule in the 14th Century, 1280 to 1360. My dad told me every year that this day is likened to the American Independence day.

At that time, China was ruled by the cruel Monguls. People were not allowed to congregate or there was no way to revolt. A man hatched a plan to put a piece of paper in the moon cake, with the secret message to kill the Mongul soldier guarding the door at precisely the same time on August 15th, of the Lunar calender. They pretended that that day was the Moon Festival. So when the Chinese people cut open the moon cake, they found the message, and together at the same time, they killed the Mongul solders, and hence liberated China.

After getting rid of the Mongols, the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) started.

I told my students, (the same way as my Grandpa who had left his motherland China for Borneo)It is important to tell the future generation the history of this festival Not many people are aware of this, and consider the lady of the moon as a fairy tale.

My Taiwanese students tell me that they have BBQs on this occasion. They also put the pomelo rind on the heads like my son did in the photo. In Mandarin, pomelos are called 柚子 (you zi), which means "praying for a son." As having a son is very important to the Chinese family to carrying on the family name, it is important to pray for a son. My son wore his hat on his own account. My kind of Cantonese did not practise this.

This festival is one of the three most important festivals in the Chinese calender. In Taiwan, it is a public holiday. Employees are given a bonus.

It is a reunion dinner, and after the meal, you take a stroll with the children with their lanterns and appreciate the moon. My Taiwanese student said for the past five years, they couldn't appreciate the moon because of the weather. We joked, looks like, she can't do it this year as well, since we have such a lousy weather.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Save the world: Have you made the change?

I watched the news yesterday with interest. GE just closed their last light bulb factory in the US. They manufactured incandescent bulbs.

It was 1876 when Thomas Alva Edison opened a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he could explore the possibilities of the dynamo and other electrical devices that he had seen in the Exposition. Out of that laboratory was to come perhaps the greatest invention of the age - a successful incandescent electric lamp.

On September 24, General Electric will close its lamp plant in Winchester, Virginia. It's the company's last U.S. factory producing plain, old incandescent light bulbs.

New energy standards will phase out the old bulbs by 2014, and eventually they'll be all but banned in this country. Millions of Americans will be forced to switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFL's, most of which are made overseas.

Seems the invention Thomas Edison perfected and patented 130 years ago is flickering and fading. What would the famous inventor think about that?

"I think Edison would have had two reactions," said Paul Isreal, a professor at Rutgers University who has devoted his life to studying Edison. "I think on the one hand he would have been disappointed that we were losing the incandescent light as the primary lighting in the United States. "

"On the other hand, Edison was always somebody that was looking forward," Isreal added.

In February 2007, then Climate Change Minister David Parker announced a similar proposal to ban the incandescent light to the one in Australia, except that importation for personal use would have been allowed.

My friends joked that when they went abroad, on their return, their suitcases are full of these incandescent light bulbs because it was so much cheaper there.

The Green party is very angry when the new proposed ban was scrapped by the new government in December 2008.

For our family, the water engineer has long made the switch. He likes the bright light. When friends come to our house, they LOL at our fusion of old and new. The old chandelier and the energy saving light bulbs.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Flags

The New Zealand Flag.

In a school in South Auckland I visited recently, where 80% of the student population are immigrants, the school hangs up this flag of each of the nationalities of the students. Here are some of them. It is almost a mini United Nations.
Hoe many can you name?

We visited New York City, and posed in front of the United Nations building.

Here's the flag of the Kingdom of Sarawak and the anthem, the land of my birth. Sarawak as a Kingdom is gone when they joined Sarawak and North Borneo with Malaya to form Malaysia. They ceased using this anthem in 1973, the year I was in my last year of High school. Thanks to fellow blogger Sarawakiana for bringing memories. It's been so long that I have forgotten the lyrics.

Lets see some international flavor for this one, you can do all types of flags for this one too. From garden flags to national and state/province flags, to goofy flags this should be fun..:-)