Monday, August 31, 2009

My world Tuesday: Tree

In a park next to Mt Albert Grammar school, a branch has broken off a big tree. Spiders have made webs on it.

Cell Phone Towers Protest.

Just last week, I did a post on electric pylon towers and how people living underneath it can get cancer from it.

Now, I have something closer to home. Telecom have resource consent to build a 12m cell phone tower just 120meters from my school, and 60 meters from a tennis club and playgroup. There had been no consultation with the residents or me, a teacher of the school.

There are numerous studies of the effects and health risks of cell phone towers. Some contend that there are no health risks, while other reports consider there to be unacceptable health risks.

There are grave concerns about the potential health risks posed by radiation of the proposed cell phone tower. The general opinion of cell phone towers is that they are not without health risks.

Support for the No More Cell Phones Towers have drummed up support and there will be a public meeting in my School. Pt Chevalier School in the Auditorium on Thursday, 3rd Sept at 7.30pm. Our local newly elected MP David Shearer will be there to hear the concerns of the residents and parents.

Here are my students and their dad Alan Wild canvasing support.

Thirty five years ago, I participated in my first ever protest march in Windosr, Canada. I have other commitments on Thursday, and this is my part in raising awareness.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photohunt: Surprise


I was very surprised to see these burgundy red sun flowers in someone's garden in Sandringham, Auckland New Zealand. I have never seen them anywhere before, and I have lived in or traveled to Brunei, Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and USA.


Sunflowers are yellow, right? That is what most people think or when they think of sunflowers, but there are actually other colors available. There are white, lime, orange and bicolor sunflowers, but one of the most dramatic is the red sunflower

Farewell to a well loved Elephant: Kashin

Kashin aged 40, the Thai elephant, born in captivity, came to Auckland when she was four in 1972. She was well loved especially by the children in her 36 years at the Auckland Zoo.

My school has close collaboration with the zoo by providing the zoo with mealworms that the school children grow in the class rooms. We are also very near to the zoo which makes it extra special for our school children. On Environmental day, some of our five year olds went to the zoo to teach others how we respect the planet. My students cry when they talked about her dying. Some couldn't understand why the big people had to kill her.

Kashin suffered from arthritis, foot abscesses and skin infections, and had gone downhill rapidly over the previous three days. On Monday the team agreed that her pain was too great. About 5pm she was asked to lie down and given favourite foods to eat before being sedated, then euthanased. She had a mate, Burma who was there when the sad event took place. Burma was a very heart broken elephant and was distressed. I was told that elephants don't forget.

They had to use a big digger to dig a big hole at the end of the zoo to bury her.
The zoo was opened today for the children of Auckland to farewell her. Entry to the zoo was free today, in her honour. Mayor John Banks says it was be a fitting tribute. People had an opportunity to visit Kashin's final resting place and pay their respects. It was the only time the public were able to access the area.

Kashin was the official mascot of Auckland Saving's Bank, and children starting a savings account were given a yellow "elephant" piggy bank. During the annual Santa's parade, Kashin the elephant flew as a balloon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scenic Sunday:3 wheel motor cycle

A short day trip to Manukau city in the South Auckland bagged me this beauty. I wasn't the only one admiring it. There were a couple of men who looked as though they had served the war and perhaps had rode one of this or would like to have rode one.

I would love to be wearing goggles and a white silk scarf and be the back seat passenger.

Do you know if there is a special name for this three-wheeler?

Skywatch Friday: Onehunga Boardwalk


New Zealand is very fortunate to have lots of trees and good brains to reforest when we cut them down.

Where once, it was impossible to go because of swamps and mud, there are now boardwalks. You don't need gum boots or get muddy feet to enjoy some of our beaches.

This one at Onehunga is a very wide one, wide enough even for cars to go on, (of course, it is not for cars.) People walk and cycle on the boardwalk, and look on to the Mangere bridge. The vegetation is mangrove, and when I went last month, the mangrove were blooming. There were a lot of other flowers too.

The sky was a beautiful clear blue with some clouds. It was also a very cold afternoon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My world Tuesday: I will have a cuppa


We were in Cameron Highlands in West Malaysia. These are tea shrubs in a tea plantation. They are the Boh Tea.
Boh Tea is Malaysia's largest producer of premium black teas and the country's No.1 preferred brand! We stopped at a tea house or they call it a tea centre. To a non tea connoisseur like me, one tea is the same as the other. In New Zealand, we have Bell tea. The water engineer is sold on their slogan," Save by the bell."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Cameron Highlands Waterfall.

We were touring West Malaysia and we visited Cameron Highlands. It is a must for people from Borneo and it is a very cool place. When you live in the tropics, you like the cool weather. We had a great times and as usual, the water engineer took us to his "place of work", a waterfall.

We were all geared up to splash in the waterfall, but the water engineered stopped us. The water was flowing at a very high speed and it was very cold. He said it was too dangerous. We were disappointed as we had a change of clothing in case we got wet. Then I remember an accident in the Rejang river where my cousin and her friends almost drowned. I reluctantly told the children we could not stay. There were quite a few other brave hearts of course.

ABC WEDNESDAY ROUND 5 : Letter F is for freedom

Freedom for this poor hedgehog.

My friend R set free this poor hedgehog, trapped by badminton net left in the garden. R is a Hindu and does not believe in killing of animals. She would rather cut a big hole than to let the poor creature die.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scenic Sunday: Waitakere Dam


The water engineer combines work with leisure. On weekends, he takes us out to the bush to see things related to his work, or work he had done. On this ocassion, he took us to the Waitakere Ranges where there are many dams.

It seems to me that we walked miles and miles to see the dam and hear the thunderous sound of the flowing water. The walk ia actually very pleasant and I saw a lot of birds, and native plants. The bonus, I took many many photos.

The Waitakere Dam is one of the oldest water reservoirs in the Auckland area. The reservior supply my water and it is so pure that I drink water straight from the tap or faucet as my friends from Americas call it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Photohunt: Ripples


This looks like some one has a giant wand and stirred up the clouds causing the clouds to be ripples going round and round. In some Science exhibits, they have a similar plane where you can drop a coin and it will either go straight down the hole, or it will swirl round and round to everyone's delight.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Electricity Power pylon


Parts of Auckland has a lot of these tall power transmission pylon structures. Some one says if you live underneath these high voltage wires, you can get cancer and leukaemia .

People who bought houses cheaply before they knew this, are stuck with these time bombs. Nobody wants to buy their houses and they can't afford to move out.

This one is photograph at the sea at Onehunga, there were no houses underneath.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Onehunga

I can't tell you if this is high tide or low tide, or shall I say it middle tide? LOL

The shells are oysters, but nobody will eat these oysters as just across the bay is the Mangere Sewage Plant.

My World Tuesday: Winter flowering trees (2)

Looks like we are having an early spring, or the weather is playing a trick on the poor plants. All over Auckland, trees are flowering.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

abcwednesday:Letter E: Enjoyment


Letter E is for Enjoyment.
Enjoyment is when it is warm enough to go camping in a Gold Coast Winter.
Enjoyment is when it is not too cold to eat ice cream in winter.
My sister Helen went camping with her family.

We went camping at Bryon Bay which is the farthest East Point of Australia. Kids enjoyed 100% and wanted to do camping again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scenic Sunday: Mangere Bridge

This is the third Mangere bridge. You can see the first which is now used by recreational fishermen. Thirty years ago, when I came to New Zealand, the National Government under Rob Muldoon was building the second bridge. There was labour unrest. They eventually built the bridge.

Now they are building another. Well, they are not really building, according to the engineers' definition. The Mangere Bridge Widening will not widen the existing bridge but duplicate the existing one to the north east. This means they use a similar design and height and build it alongside the present Mangere Bridge. This duplication is the most cost effective mainly due to integration with the existing motorway.

Many people are angry that the duplication does not include provision for rail, for a direct rail connection from Onehunga and the proposed Southdown rail network to Auckland Airport. So it is the saga of the Mangere Bridge again.

This bridge leads to the Auckland International and domestic airports. We must have a lot of air passengers.

I took this photo from the road side just before I walked a very new cycle and walking boardwalk. This has nostalgic reasons for me as I remember my flatmate A who was pro Muldoon proclaiming all the workers as communists.


Disposable potato plates.

Ngarimu on his red scooter as he went around the grounds to see if we were working well.

Zero-waste Strategy Management: Here's the Volunteers at work. Dressed in our official crew kowhai/yellow or kikorangi/blue T-shirt and cow boy hat, we trudged our kikorangi/blue and kakariki/green bins to our different stations. By chance, I got involved in Ngarimu's Zero waste program. Ngarimu also sourced cutlery and plates made of potatoes which is 10-0% biodegradable.

Sometimes, it is inevitable that we have to use disposable cutlery and crockery. The convenience outweighs the tedious job of washing up like a big picnic or party.

I am very proud to be associated with Ngarimu and his Ngati Whatua Maori people in leading the zero waste movement in New Zealand. During our Waitangi Day, Ngarimu led a whole army of volunteers to teach tens of thousands of festival goers recycling.

To walk the talk, Ngarimu supplied cutlery and crockery made of potato. These special disposable forks, spoons, knives and plates went to the worms at the worm farms on the Marea.

These food fed the army of workers and volunteers. The yummy food came in big containers at lunch time. Ka Pai aka good job. No need for too much washing up and harmful detergent.

Can you see the beige colour forks, knives and plates?


Biodegradable disposable cutlery and crockery


Sometimes, it is inevitable that we have to use disposable cutlery and crockery. The convenience outweighs the tedious job of washing up like a big picnic or party.

I am very proud to be associated with Ngarimu and his Ngati Whatua Maori people in leading the zero waste movement in New Zealand. During our Waitangi Day, Ngarimu led a whole army of volunteers to teach tens of thousands of festival goers recycling.

To walk the talk, Ngarimu supplied cutlery and crockery made of potato. These special disposable forks, spoons, knives and plates went to the worms at the worm farms on the Marea.

These food fed the army of workers and volunteers. The yummy food came in big containers at lunch time. Ka Pai aka good job. No need for too much washing up and harmful detergent.

Can you see the beige colour forks, knives and plates?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Photohunt: Artificial


August 15: Artificial.

This is a wooden bird. It is a door knocker, given to the water engineer by his friend. As it is a gift, we do not like the weather to ruin the poor little bird.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Mt Eden Volcano


There are many trees in New Zealand. This majestic tree is at a bank of Mt Eden Volcano and underneath it is the care taker's cottage. It was built in 1926. The person living in the cottage is my friend.

I love trees. This may be because I grew up in Borneo where we have the giant iron wood trees. I devoted a whole lot of posts on trees http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2009/01/trees.html in my other blog: annkschin.blogspot.com

Once together with my neighbour B. we built a tree house for our kids in the old oak tree. We didn't wait for our husbands to make it. It was crude, but the kids loved it. Deborah is 24, and she still remembers the tree house.

Go meatless: Grow your own food: Mushrooms

You either love it or you hate it. Luckily for me, the whole family loves mushrooms. My school's envirommental teacher got some mushroom kits at $15 each. Some of the teachers bought, not everyone bought. Now I have fresh brown mushroom growing in my redundant bath tub.

Saute the sliced mushroom with garlic or as a salad, BBQ them whole, mushrooms are rich in protein. You can serve up a meat less dinner.

Change the world:


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

http://abcwednesdayround5.: Letter D :dead fish


I work with children and sometimes it is refreshing to come down to their level and think like them. Often they come up with ideas you don't normally think.

I was accompanying some of my school children to study about the beach and the environment. The students spotted this fish skeleton caught in two rocks.

The students wanted to know how the fish got there, did it die because it was trapped after the tide went out or did it die because of toxic waste. Would we have died if we ate the fish. Questions, questions and more questions. Then they wanted to take it back much to the aghast of their class teacher.

I told them, I will snap a photo for them.

Watery Wednesday

We are lucky to be surrounded by the sea. This is Onehunga, and there is potential to be developed into a great beach.

Two week ago, two dogs died, and the cause baffled everyone. A health advisory against swimming, fishing, diving and water sports, as well as walking dogs or taking children to the beach, is in place while experts wait for test results. Even kayakers and dragon boat rowers were told to keep away.

Apparently, they think the dogs had ingested toxic sea slugs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blessing Our New Classrooms

Our School constructed new classrooms. This morning, we had a blessing ceremony.After speeches and songs in the auditorium, each class had a representative to accompany the official group, led by the Chief, Kaumatua John Komene, to bless the rooms. It was a Maori blessing, and the guest and children were asked to blow their spirits into the empty classrooms to give them warmth and peace.

I remember only last month, when Sam and I took the Royal Brunei Airline. They started their flight with a blessing as well.

My world Tuesday: Manukau Cruising Club


The Manukau Cruising Club

1922 - PRESENT

... 87 years of providing a family friendly gathering place for fishermen and women and boaters of all ages.

The club has to offer members and guests: boat racing which takes a time trial type format, fishing - both inner and outer harbour competitions and is only approximately one hour from some of the best game fishing in New Zealand depending on boat speed.

I was most impressed when I was taking photos in the freezing winter, outside this building when a gentleman told me I was welcomed to go inside. Ka Pai aka well done. I am always wary that the private club of the rich and famous would not welcome outsiders.

As a note of thanks to the gentleman, I copy his club's charter here. May be you too would like to join his club.

# To promote and advance the interests of boat owners; to develop and encourage a high standard of seamanship and safety at sea; to provide a medium for the exchange of boating information; to stimulate a greater interest in boating; develop a fraternal spirit amongst local enthusiasts; to develop boat storage and hauling out and launching facilities, and to promote and assist with developing of the Onehunga fore shore.
# To allow subsections that promote activity and pleasure of club members to operate.
# To promote social intercourse between members and friends.
# To acquire land, buildings, plant and accessories, to maintain control of, or otherwise sell or dispose of in the interests of the club.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

yellow mellow; digger

When I was living in Singapore, at the Nanyang University of Technology, they were always constructing new buildings. I took Sam to watch these giant machines go vroom! vroom! vroom! They pierce inside the belly of the earth and bring up lots of dirt.