Sunday, September 30, 2012

Two famous roads.

 Baldwin Street, at Dunedin's Northern end is reputed by the Guinness Book of Records  as being the steepest street in the world.   35% gradient = 1:2.86  You are advised against taking a car up the street so no cheating please. It is a very invigorating walk to the top on a cold day. Only about a ten minute walk but you can sure feel it.
At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is approximately  (19° or 35%) - that is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the altitude rises by 1 metre.

In 1977, I went to San Francisco to visit my Aunty Teresa. She took me to Lombard Street and told me that it was the crookedest road in the world.

Sometime in the 80s, Dunedin, a city in the South Island of New Zealand did their survey and challenged Lombard Street for her title. I was thinking it was happening all again, a small little flea challenging a giant. Back during the Prime Minister David Lange's time, New Zealand refused to let American Nuclear power come to NZ waters. We were known as the flea.

Now, I notice they changed the title. The Dunedin street is the Steepest, and and Lombard is crookedest (most winding) street in the world . I had been to both, but unfortunately no photos. So when my old friends Ning and Vanny posted the photos when they went to Dunedin, I asked them for it. Ning said you can walk up and  pay $2 and get a certicificate. 

I told Ning, I would happily pay $20 for it. I remember the trip we took together with our flatmates to New York, climbed all the way up the Statue of Liberty and no photos or certificates for our effort.

One year, when my friend A. came to visit me, I drove her to Auckland university and by accident, we drove to a very crooked road. This is unknown because it is a small through through the middle of the park next the Justice building, and it didn't count because they blocked off the end of it. It required great skill to drive down the slope.

I emailed my siblings and Henry sent me this pix taken when he was in San Francisco and the Lombard Street.

When Elley and I were traveling into Los Angeles, we met an old man who started chatting with us. Little did we know that he was the father of a celebrity. When his daughter appeared, he proudly asked her to take the photos with us, so that's how a paparazzi took our photos together. To our surprise, she was Benu Mabhena.  Henry.

***I left my heart behind in San Francisco for the Giant crab bought at the Fisherman wharf, the big strawberries in my aunty's garden and the artichokes at the market

Benu Mabhena.

In a previous post, I wrote about My grandpa teaching us good moral lessons. It not only impacted me, but all nine of us sublings. You never know when you are entertaining angels he told us.

Here is my brother henry's account.

Benu's father's friendly presence during the premier of the movie Blood Diamond on December 6, 2006 made our holiday in Hollywood so memorable.

When we were traveling into Los Angeles, we met this old man and started chatting with him. We didn't know he was the father of some one famous. we met Benu abhena's father, who chatted with me.

That night at the premier, we happened to be at the corner of the Kodak Theatre which featured the Blood Diamond, and we then hanged out at the entrance of the Roosevelt Hotel where the stars were celebrating after the show.

As we were gazing at the stars with the paparazzi snapping photos away, this man came out of the hotel and talked with me and my wife. He talked to us like buddies. We were surprised with his friendly gesture and I told him he must have mistaken us for someone else. He kept on saying he knew us. My wife insisted that this couldn't be because we came from an Island of Borneo in the country of Malaysia. When he reminded us that he met us on our arrival at Los Angeles, we then remembered talking with this friendly guy. He told us that, had he known we were not attending the premier, he would have invited us to join him. This was because he had movie passes with his daughter acting in the movie!

When his daughter appeared, he proudly asked her to take the photos with us, so that's how a paparazzi took our photos together.

I wish you would convey this message to Benu and her father, for his presence made our holiday in the United States so very special. I hope these photos would remind him of that special proud moment of his in Hollywood.

Yours sincerely,

Henry and Elley Chan
From Malaysia

Mid Autumn festival

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,  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.

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.

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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Photohunt: Travel

  1. In June-July this year, I went on a 5 week travel
    to the land of my birth,
    to join some old students in a school I taught
    when I was 18-19 years old. It was a fun travel
    and we went to a traditional Iban longhouse.

    Some of us let our hair down, including me,
    and joined in the dance. 

    These photos were taken by Lim Chin Yong
    as they are the few that captured my image.
    29 travel

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FSO: What does "Home" mean to you?

I had done lots of charities.
The biggest two were raising funds
 for the deaf in Kenya for 16 years and
 to separate a pair of Siamese/co-joint
 twins from Nepal.
 These two monumental charities were
 operated from homes of my fellow friends and neighbours.

My church Mt Albert Baptist Church
 is digging wells in Thailand 
so homes in the hills can have clean water.

In New Zealand, I am connected with a group
 of selfless women and men
. We have a common thread.
 We lost our babies.
Last year, their charity involved 
inviting New Zealand into their lives
 and their homes in the Television Screening 
of "Its OK to Cry."
 I was interviewed and filmed
 in my home about my own experience 
as a bereaved mother and my book.

In June,  I was very happy to be associated 
with this  fund raiser,Pinafore Princess,
 a retail/shopping store which did an auction
 to raise funds for Manukau Sands. 
I donated 2 signed copies of my book, 
"Diary of a bereaved mother, goodbye my baby."

Right now, we have been invited to raise funds 
so that we can rent space for all the work 
the National Sands Office and Sands Manukau do. 
Sands Manukau are a registered charity (CC32638)
 set up to support parents and their families 
who live in the Manukau region 
and have experienced the death of a baby
 during pregnancy, at birth or up to a year 
following a full term birth. 
We also support parents
 facing the difficult decision following a poor prognosis.
Sands Manukau supports our local hospital
 – Middlemore – 
educating staff on the experience of baby loss 
and providing support items for them 
to give to parents. 
Our main service is the Care Bags 
we provide to bereaved parents.

Sarah Numan stays at home
 - "I run Sands Manukau 24 hours.
 I have 3 angels, Hope, Noah , Willow 
and 5 living living." 
What an incredible woman.

September 28: Home: 

What does  "Home" mean to you?

I am doing this theme with a twist:

 I am choosing the saying," Charity begins at home."

Here is an article where 2 actors 

are sacrificing their time away

 from home to raise funds for 

Cure Kids and how low can some idiots  be.

Actor's plea for stolen charity items

Last updated 05:00 27/09/2012

Will Hall
CHARITY CALLING: Will Hall (left) with Cure Kids Ticket To Hope recipients Ashleigh Neal and Simone Lang, and fellow Shortland Streeter Robbie Magasiva.

Award-winning actor Will Hall has made a plea for the return of items set to be auctioned off for a Cure Kids charity fundraiser, as well as uniforms he and fellow actor Jordan Mauger were to wear in the upcoming $10 Queenstown Challenge.
Hall's car was broken into in the Auckland suburb of Balmoral on Monday night.
Thieves stole a suitcase containing items he had collected for the auction he and Mauger are set to host on Friday night, as well as their Team Moa Hunters uniforms for the three-day challenge which aims to raise tens of thousands for Cure Kids.
''If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of what was taken, that information would be great," Hall said.
''It is absolutely heart-breaking ... it is mind-numbing. On Tuesday I was like, 'I can't do anything'.''Hall's car was broken into after he had parked near Dominion Rd to get takeaways.
''I came out and saw a whole lot of glass on the road which I hadn't seen when I'd parked,'' he said.
''It wasn't until I went to get into the car that I saw that my two back windows were smashed in. I saw my bags were gone and was freaking out.''
The actor said he was not confident that the stolen auction items would be returned.
''Hopefully someone might also want to come forward to replace the items on our now dwindling auction item list. That would be nice.
''We could do with a show of support.''
The thieves also helped themselves to several of Hall's personal items, including his laptop which has on it film and TV scripts, footage of auditions and thousands of personal photographs.
Hall and Mauger have combined to form Team Moa Hunters, who will take on 34 other teams in the $10 Queenstown Challenge, starting on October 3.
The event is raising money for Cure Kids, dedicated to funding research to find cures for life-threatening illnesses that affect children.
The pair were set to be decked out in ''sharp black suits'' from sponsors Hallensteins for their 1550km journey.
Hall and Mauger had to withdraw from last year's $10 Queenstown Challenge when the event was rescheduled after a severe snow storm blanketed the South Island.
Hall told Sunday News on the weekend: ''It [the cause] is special to our hearts.
''Meeting the kids and seeing how much joy we can bring them is awesome.
''The money raised goes to the medical research to help them, to try and find cures to these life- threatening illnesses.''
Hall also spoke of how Team Moa Hunters had organised a charity auction to be held at central Auckland's Grace Bar & Restaurant, to raise funds for Cure Kids.
The event will still go ahead. Entry is free, with the auction and a donation from Moa Breweries helping to raise money for Cure Kids.
Competing challenge teams have to raise $7000 to make it to the start-line.
Since 2005, the $10 Queenstown Challenge has raised more than $2 million.
Anyone with information about the theft
 is asked to contact Cure Kids on  (09) 3700222
and Auckland Police on  (09) 302 6400.

Sorry, I am having formatting trouble again.
link to Mr Linky at the Friday shoot out link below.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday Letter S /New Zealand ShakeOut earthquake drill

The  drop, cover and hold drill is for us to drop to the ground, cover our head and drop like a turtle. I practise the drill of going under the table a lot. The students especially the little ones fit under the table easily. But for me, it is extremely hard.

When ever I read about a turtle, I remember my late colleague. I posted this in another blog.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my friend and fellow teacher Mr. Lee Yew Hang.

Yew Hang joined my school when we were in our sixth form. I was an arts student and had been in the school since form 1. He was a science student, and we never talked. Partly because the Arts students and the science students didn't mix, and also they were in the new building. They were smart scientists, doctors, engineers to be and thought that we were stupid. We thought they were communists as most of them came from Chinese schools.

When I was 19, I went to teach in Kai Chung school in Binatang. Yew Hang was already teaching there, and he took care of me. He invited me to join him and another teacher Mr. Chieng to have our lunch in a restaurant cum coffee shop.

His desk was in front of me in the staff room.  A kid was playing with this terrapin and I commented how cute it was. He gave it to me and I was showing off the terrapin to Mr. Lee and boasted that my charm had cast a spell on the boy and he was besotted by me.

I had to go to class and I had no cage.  Stupidly, I thought, if I turn it upside down, it would not get away.  I left it on my desk.

Of course, when I came back, it was gone. I accusingly/jokingly asked Mr. Lee if he was jealous of me and had taken the terrapin away. He kept saying, you are so stupid. Of course it will run away. I argued, how could it turn itself over?

I looked all round for it, surely everyone knows that turtles and tortoises are very slow. The school was surrounded by a swamp. The walls did not go completely to the floor. The brave critter found it's freedom by crawling through the gap.

He left the school at the end of the year to be trained as a teacher, and I went to Canada. We never saw each other again, and I had never been back to the school since.

Whenever, I see a photo of a turtle, terrapin or tortiose, I think of Mr. Lee.

The sad thing is after I found many of these students on Facebook, I also found some sad facts. Mr Lee,  died a few year ago, he was just about 50.

These students in the photo, was it you who gave me the terrapin?

Alphabe-Thursday Letter S for Shakeout.

Today, at 9.26am on Wednesday 26 September [9:26-26:9]*, more than 1.3 million people will participate in the New Zealand ShakeOutearthquake drill, the first ShakeOut drill held nationwide in any country!
Whether you are at home, work or school join in and practice "Drop, Cover and Hold"—the right action to take in an earthquake.

While earthquake hazard varies from region to region (see below), all of New Zealand is prone to earthquakes. You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes- at home, at work, at school or on holiday.
New Zealand ShakeOut has been created to help people and organisations get better prepared for major earthquakes, and practice how to be protected when they happen. Everyone will practice "Drop, Cover and Hold"—the right action to take in an earthquake.
New Zealand ShakeOut also provides a fantastic opportunity fororganisations and businesses to examine and review their own emergency preparedness arrangements. Families and householdscan create, review and practice their household plans.