Wednesday, December 23, 2020



The year was 1973. This is a photo of my mum, Mary Wah Kiew Chan Nee Kong.
On this day, I remember her and how she was taken away from us twenty one years ago at the age of sixty. Gone but not forgotten in her children's heart.
The second World War came and altered her life. She lived as a teenager during the war, and became a war bride.
For fear of forcedly made into a Japanese Sex Worker, my grand parents married her to an unknown man at fifteen. Loved blossomed and together, they had nine children.
This photo of Mum was taken as a group photo of some of my siblings as we were at the airport to farewell Elizabeth, the day of her engagement to Kalang.
Mum was dressed in a Kebaya, the national dress of Malaysia. People asked if she was a Malaysian Airlines stewardess. She smiled and said she was too old. We teased that she should have told them she was the director of the stewardess. At this time, she was the DEO's wife.
I wish my children got to know her, except for D, the others have not seen their wonderful grandma.
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Christmas pudding


My friend A, gave me this English Christmas pudding.
 this is the real McCoy, she made it herself from her old English recipe.
Here is my sister Grace demonstrating, "How to serve Pudding."
1: Steam the pudding
2: Pour brandy over the pudding.
3: Light the pudding until it flames all over,
4: Smell the delicious aroma.
5: Eat the pudding with custard and ice cream
my thoughts, stories and articles: How to serve a Christmas Pudding
my thoughts, stories and articles: How to serve a Christmas Pudding

giant prawns from Austrlia


Giant garlic butter prawn from Australia

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Meryta sinclairii, the puka or pukanui,


Meryta sinclairii, the puka or pukanui, is a large-leaved evergreen tree endemic to New Zealand that grows to about 8 m tall, with the distinctly tropical appearance typical of the genus. There are about 27 species of Meryta, all small, resinous trees of the subtropical and tropical Pacific Ocean. Wikipedia

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Wall climbing

 my son used to do  wall climbing

passion fruit

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monkey cups or pitcher

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Nian Gao

  nian gao in Chinese around the house for lunar new year celebration is not unusual in our house and I know for many others too. Like I’ve mentioned before, lots of Chinese food carry auspicious meaning. The reason many people wants to have nian gao for lunar new year celebration because they want a “higher year”. By just saying the word “nian” means “year” and Gao means “high/tall” in this context. I think you can see what I’m trying to say here. Nian gao symbolizes a high year, an increase in prosperity 🙂 We simply call it “ti kue” in Hokkien, which means sweet cake.


Other sayings that the people give the sticky cake to the kitchen god so he couldn't report to the Heaven Gods.

Nian Gao Chinese New Year Cake (Kue Bakul) #niangao #niangaoinstantpot #niangaorecipe 



husbands cooking

 My friends were saying that the husbands seldom cook and I almost echoed mine too. Then he surprised me by cooking brunch.Image may contain: food

Winter Solstice


Happy winter solstice Monday, 21 December Dongzhi Festival 2020. Winter Solstice (Dongzhi, 冬至) is the 22nd solar term in the Chinese lunar calendar which marks the arrival of the bitterly cold winter season. On this day, the Chinese will eat dumplings or tangyuan, carrying an auspicious reference to the reunion of family
This marks the start of winter.
In olden agrarian society of China, this festival is an even more important festival than CNY, especially in families with aged parents or grandparents.
Winter is the most trying and health sapping of time. Many weak old people will not survive through. So there is a gathering of whole families on that night as it may be the final time for a few old timers.
As winter has onset, all harvesting has been done. Using the newly cropped rice, tang yuen is made and the round shape signifies the complete circle of family members on that day as it was partaken.
That's why there is also a saying that you are one year older after eating tang yuen. This is to promote the elders one more years in age to bring good karma to survive through the winter.
This festival is not religious, but cultural. Please remember each of your origin. Every civilised race with a history has many such significances. Your location or citizenship can never erase your DNA.
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winter solstice

 Image may contain: one or more people and indoorMy sister making the tang yuen with her grands.

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Today is winter solstice. The Chinese eat little glutinous rice balls called Tang Yuen. I didn't make them. I bought them from Lims, a Vietnamese store.Image may contain: food

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Two of my books circulated in the library.

 Two of my books circulated in the library.

a coffee table weather project for work.

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winter solstice.


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Today is winter solstice. The Chinese eat little glutinous rice balls called Tang Yuen. I didn't make them. I bought them from Lims, a Vietnamese store.
Today is winter solstice. The Chinese eat little glutinous rice balls called Tang Yuen. I didn't make them. I bought them from Lims, a Vietnamese store.

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Chinese deity, the Kitchen God

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Joseph Chok Hiu was born on the day the Chinese deity, the Kitchen God goes back to heaven on the twenty-third day of the lunar month just before Chinese New Year to report on the family’s behaviour of the past year.

We joked that nobody would forget Joseph’s birthday, not our Ah Tai, not our Grandmother Kong, or our Grandfather Chan. Joseph was deemed to be a very important person.We had our little “Kitchen God.” 

He was born in Chung Hua road, in the middle of the night accompanished by heavy torrential rain and thunder storm. A concerto announcing the arrival of a god. 

Though the Chung Hua Road house was a small terraced house and without a garden, it was a brick house. In Sibu, only the rich lived in brick houses. It was the first brick house we lived in.
Grandfather Chan said, “Joseph is a lucky boy. He was born in a brick house, and his father became a teacher of teachers.”
Grandfather Chan’s prediction came true. Father was promoted again and again. 

         Joseph studied in Canada, England and Australia. He has a very beautiful wife, Audrey and his own law firm. They live at Clear Water Bay, a private island on the Gold Coast. He has three sons which are so important to a Chinese family, not so much to Joseph and Audrey but to the Chans.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

a native penan blows her flute.

an old grinding stone

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electric cars

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Helpful bus driver


I saw this friendly and helpful bus driver. An old woman with a big box and few bags. The driver stopped the bus and helped her carry her stuff into the bus. When her destination, he carried her things out of the bus.

free USB

 free USB for bus rider

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Vriesea imperialis


Vriesea imperialis is truthfully one of the largest bromeliads of the world, reacing a height of 1,2 m tall in foliage, although it can take up to ten years to get to this size. It eventually bears a sturdy red flower stalk lined with clusters of ivory flowers up to 3-5 m tall when fully mature. The long-lasting flower stalk is very showy and resembles an ornate, upright chandelier. Vriesea imperialis is the most regal and is considered the signature species of this genus.
Stem: Very short, stocky and woody.

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stinkyiries berries

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boating in the mulu mountains


I went up the mountains at Mulu. This was part of the popular tourist itinerary. The river flow was swift. There were parts where the water was so shallow, they had to use poles to move the boat. We respected the power of the river by wearing life jackets and not over crowding the boats.Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, tree, outdoor and nature

giant gourd

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

28 morsels at one seating


28 small portion in Nanjing, China



My mum had big bushes of this rhizome, and I knew it as the Blue ginger or lam keong. Whenever she braised ducks or belly of pork, she would tell be to dig a sliver of it. It is very difficult to dig the rhizome in the dirt. Your hands get all muddy and the rhizome is very tough to cut. You have to be careful not to dig too much, otherwise you injure the plant. We kept our own ducks, and we slaughtered a lot of them. So there was a lot of digging and muddied hands. Mum She says it helps to remove the gamey smell of the duck.

I too, grew a big bush in the NTU gardening club allotment. It is more than eight feet long. I don't use it because my husband didn't like it's flavour. So well did I grow it? It was for nostalgia.

In Singapore, it is called Galangal , But it has different names in the different South East region. It is grown for culinary and medicinal uses. The Malays and Indonesian use it for their fried rice Nasi Goreng, it is a must in the Thai Tom Yum soups. The Vietnamese use it in their braised pork like my mum did. You can buy them as a whole root, or cut or powdered.

As a medicinal use, in the Southeast area, mix with lime juice and drink it as a tonic. In man’s quest for youth, some drink it claiming its prowess as an aphrodisiac, and a stimulant. Galangal oil is also used regularly in various forms of oils for anointing.

Cutting papel picado. Eleanor remembers cutting snowflake in Moscow.







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$4 or $400


would your dentist love you for your honesty?
My dentist just called. In stead of charging me $415.00 on my EPTOS, the machine charged me $4.15
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coverings mandatory on public transport


Auckland Transport (AT) is welcoming the Government’s decision to make face coverings mandatory on public transport in the city starting Thursday morning.

The Government’s new rules come into effect on Thursday. Until then, AT continues to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings on trains, buses and ferries.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff also encourages everyone to mask up on public transport.

“Widespread wearing of masks is one way that we can reduce the chances of further community transmission of COVID-19 and avoid having to go back into lockdown,” he says

Avondale Station

chinese paper cuting


The art of paper cutting (jiǎnzhǐ 剪纸) in China may date back to the second century CE, since paper was invented by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty in ...


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This was a very formal event. Here he is wearing the formal attire of a royal official of the Ming Dynasty. It was a black silk top on top of a black silk gown.
Mum made his cake. An aunt brought some red chinese cutting of auspicious words. Making it a perfect fusion of East and West. For breakfast, all of us were served with sweet long noodles. yes, you read it right, the sweetness signifying a sweet life, and long noodles for long life to all who ate this noodles.
There was great feasting, and hundreds of guest were invited. My dad told me that at the birthday of a very healthy and successful person, people like to come to these parties. Some even gate crash. They believe in taking away a bit of the luck of this birthday boy. They will take away uneaten food to share with their family at home.
Vice versa, if the birthday person was a sickly person, people will avoid going to the party. It is seen as taken home the bad luck of the sick person.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Racial issues


I came to New Zealand, and I was already working. I walked to work and back. One day, amongst a group of Pakeha/white children, was a girl about 8. She came near me, and saying that obnoxious ching ching chong chong and made her slitty eyes. I pretended to give chase and all the kids ran. I wasn't going to retaliate. I wanted to give them a fright and if her mum came out, I would ask her how to bring up her child. I stop and decided she was thought she was just a kid.
I was teaching ESOL in a school. We have 1 set of Somalia brothers. The big boy adjusted well. But the poor brother was bullied, he had a small stature and often, came to my teaching space to talk to me . He was very happy to have a teacher who knew Islam. One of the bullies was big and had a naughty mouth. He bullied him, by pointing "You are black". I sat them down and gave a lecture about respect. I asked him how he liked it to be called Coconut and fat. I Iined all three of our hands. and showed them we are all brown, 3 shades of brown.
This week of horror has passed. At the Mosque at Vermont, a young woman came and gave me a hug and say thanks.
Not to sound petty, it really used to irk me when people ask, "Are your books in English? I mean did you write your books in Chinese and then get someone to translate them into English."
Writer of thirteen books, all circulated in Auckland Libraries

Racial group

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ann chin <>
To:ann chin
Wed, 26 Aug at 3:59 pm
I grew up in Sarawak where there is racial and religious tolerance. We played hockey and softball. A careful look the photo show that it epitomise the harmony. It looks like 50% of us were Chinese, and the rest Muslim/Malay, Iban and Melanau.
After high school, I went to Canada. On Sunday, I went to a Roman Catholic church. They just started this shaking hands during the church. There was a white/Pakeha woman, she refused to shake my hand. If memory serves me right, I stopped going to church.

Monday, August 24, 2020

the ebook. one roof two lives


Two girls, one rich and one poor. The poor girl is sold to the rich gift as a slave aka mui zai to serve her for ever. Different Chinese Tradition are explained, and tragedy brings them to the South Seas.

parent' old fiat 1100

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