Saturday, October 31, 2009
The water engineer went to Beijing when he was an associate professor for a conference. He came home with these bags for me. The small bag has good memories, I took it to my Dad's 81st birthday while I danced away while clutching it tightly. Some one had given my Dad a big cash gift via me, and Dad told me to hold it for him.
This Japanese silk make up bag holds the testimony that it doesn't take much to make friends.
Sad to say, my girls have not inherited the genes of her mum and grand ma, and great grand ma. They are not interested in sewing or knitting. This must have been very hard for G to make during her Home Economics class. She gave it to me and I keep it to keep all my costume jewellery and beads.
A Korean student gave me this silk cell phone holder before she went home.
Auckland University is one of the universities that moulded my thoughts.
All these bags are given to me. Each with a special story.
The Japanese make up bag holds much sentimental value. It was given to me about thirty years ago by a visiting Plastic surgeon from Japan. We played impromptu tour guide to her and her two children. She was very touched and showered me with many Japanese gifts.
Kawakawa is a native coastal shrub in New Zealand. It is 2 - 3m tall.
Kawakawa is a traditional medicinal plant of the Māori. The fruit, bark and leaves of the kawakawa all have medicinal properties. The leaves are made into a tea by being steeped in hot water.An infusion is made from the leaves or roots, and used for bladder problems, boils, bruises, to relieve pain or toothache, or as a general tonic. The sweet edible yellow berries (most often found in summer on female trees) of the plant were eaten as a diuretic.
The leaves of this plant are used to make Titoki Liqueur which is exported to Japan, Australia, Fiji and the United Kingdom. The seeds of this plant could be used commercially as culinary spice, as this tree is related to Piper nigrum (Black pepper).
At Maori welcomes, Host people of a marae wave leaves of kawakawa to welcome guests, especially at tangi. Both they and the guests may wear wreaths of kawakawa on the head as a sign of mourning.
I am teaching my students about the Marae, the Maori meeting house, and showed them photos of the marae at Orakei where I stayed overnight at Waitangi day. My kids asked if I am a Maori and I told them I am, I was invited by the elders of the Marae that since we had eaten with them, slept with them and worked with them, we became of of them.
A Tongan kid asked," Are you an adopted Maori?"
I said, "Yes."
This plant is in my school grounds, our teacher Mr. Emerson Nikora teaches the kids Haka Kapa, and the girls use the leaves of the KawaKawa in our welcoming ceremonies.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I was the the Parnell Festival of Roses today admiring the works of the artists. I was interested in the Rangitoto painting.
Rangitoto, Auckland's youngest volcano and it is a beautiful island.
I spoke to the artist and we had a good chat. I told him I wanted to do a post on him and he kindly obliged.
If you are in Auckland, the festival is still on tomorrow.
Here's Abdul's website:http:www.abdulsatarart.com/
His email: firstname.lastname@example.org
you are interested in a piece of New Zealand art.
The Pizza oven with the chimney churning out freshly baked pizza. This is for Thomas, it was the chimney that attracted me.
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An art exhibition among God's art exhibition. The Parnell garden is famous with locals and tourists when the roses come in bloom.
Many people were interested in Alan Pitts way of music than his music. I saw hordes of people talking to him.
Every man and his dog was there. The cats must be saying," Hey, how come I never get taken to festivals? Am I not a pet!!!!"
Like giant guards, these palm trees protect the entrance of Parnell Rose Garden.
We have glorious weather today to celebrate our Parnell Festival of Roses.
There were roses, art , food and music. Set amongst the colour and vibrancy of newly bloomed roses, this free family festival will feature live music, fine food, poetry, actors, craft stalls and much more. What a wonderful day. What I love was the senior citizens who came. It warmth my heart.
My attention drew towards this elderly gentleman, he was playing music with a saw. I had seen one other person who played music with a saw. I was in Singapore when Dr. Tow Siang Hua played his saw one evening in Pandan BP Church.
I spoke to this gentleman, I told him about Dr. Tow. Alan Pitts told me he knew Dr. Tow. I told his photo and told him I wanted to do a post on him. He was happy. He is Alan Pitts, Master Sawyer, an award international performer. His musical saw which is an ordianry saw is a unique musical and visual entertainment. Alan doesn't have a web site or email. He comes from Blockhouse bay, in Auckland.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This Japanese Carp shaped (koinobori flags) Kite has seen better days. May be it is the harsh weather condition in Auckland that has rendered it to tatters.
When my girls were little, D wanted to have one after we read on G's birthday fifth of may that it was children's day in Japan.
I was in a generous mood, and went to buy the material to make a golden carp. Yes, she wanted a gold one. I made it in a generous portion. It was a yard long, and the mouth six inches wide.
We got a long bamboo pole and hung it at the back yard. We cheered when it fluttered in the wind. Alas, not long after that, we left for Singapore and we gave the koinobori to a friend.
Children's Day is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month, and is part of the Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948.
In the past Japanese families raise the carp-shaped koinobori flags (carp because of the Chinese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon, and the way the flags blow in the wind looks like they are swimming), one for each boy (or child)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
For this week's challenge:
Each time you shop for a non-food item, look to see whether a recycled version is available. If feasible, buy the recycled version. If there isn't one, but it's a category such as paper where you know recycled versions exist, ask the store to start carrying a recycled version.
If you already buy recycled items regularly (or cannot afford to do so at all) then write a blog post about products made from reclaimed materials.
Great challenge, don't you think?
This is the most popular object in my room. The whole school did a production on pirates, and a group of kids used recycled boxes and paper to make a pirate ship. Only one group made this, and all the other groups wanted to make one too. All the boys wanted to take it home.
Girls are girls, they added a feminine touch with some flowers. They called their ship Maria.
Monday, October 26, 2009
O is for Orang Utan. Here is the sign to the Orang Utan Rehab in Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo. Sam and I went to see the orang utans. They are endangered species. Orang mean men, utans means jungle. Orang Utans are men of the jungle. We had a fun time watching them.
Oz is short for Australia. These are souvenir cards from Australia.
O is for onions, from flower to little plants.
In Western park in Ponsonby, Auckland, there are buildings looking like an aftermath of an earthquake. New Zealand sculptor John Radford made three of these realistic remnants of Auckland buildings.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
You know summer is approaching when the super whipped American Coffee and ice cream van parks at Great North Road by the Western Springs Park. He even has a permanent socket at the poles along the road so he can sell you piping cups of hot tea or coffee.
Some times I wonder where he goes in winter.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I am passionate about environmental issues. Yesterday, I climbed up the Big Kings volcanic cone to show our committment to prevent catastrophic climatic change.
350- What does it mean?
350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide (CO2) measured in parts per million (ppm) in our atmosphere. The current concentration of carbon dioxide is around 389ppm, and is rising 2ppm annually.
350- 350 International Day of Climate Action.
This marks a world wide call for political leaders to commit to a 350ppm.
350- How do we get to 350?
In December, the world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to negotiate a new climate treaty to reduce CO2 emission.
In Auckland, there was a 350 Big Bike Ride and events at the volcanic cones of Mt Eden, Mt Albert and the Big King.
I was at the Big King and my friend Ngarimu was also there. The Big King is a place of significance to me. Big King is part of Three Kings, but now there is only one cone left. The other two cones had been hollowed out to be a big hole.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Mulu Caves began to form over five million years ago when running water began to forge a path between the limestone and sandstone of the mountain’s interior and is continuing to grow in the same way, slowly developing as rivers carve their way through the underground cathedrals and redistribute the limestone from the walls and floors to the tips of the stalactites.
Millions of bats live in the complex and in the evenings they depart on mass in a cloud of flapping wings, to feed. You can see from the photo where the bats exit and enter the caves. For Sam and I, it was a pity it rained on us. We waited and waited, the bats decided to stay dry and refused to perform their glorious dance for us. We walked back the 3.8 km in the pouring rain and dark skies.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Tamaki yacht club situated along Auckland's most famous water front. It is a place for fine dining. With breathtaking views of the magnificent Waitemata harbour, Rangitoto and the eastern beaches, and all only a seven minute drive from the CBD, Romfords is ideal for weddings, corporate events, conferences, sales presentations, memorable birthdays and anniversaries.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Instead of driving, riding a bike is a healthy and green activity. In Auckland, there are many cycle lanes. My son Sam rides his bike to school during the warmer months.
If you don't ride often, you may not want to buy a bike, instead you can rent one. In New Zealand, there is a company nextbike where you can rent their bikes. I was quite interested when I saw their stand in Downtown Auckland. There was no vendor to rent the bike to you.
In Auckland we have made up to 170 bikes available for you to get around on. The bikes are locked and released by making a call from a phone. They are located at rental stations at busy public sites and backpacker hostels in the major centers. You can take the bikes for a two minute trip to a nearby shop or for two weeks, you decide.
I was in the Western Springs park where I normally go to feed the ducks, geese and swans. I looked up the tree when I heard the sweet bird's sound and I saw this beautiful lorikeet. I looked at the next tree and saw another bird walking into the hole. It was a bird's nest. It is spring here, the birds have their nestlings.
The Port of Auckland is large container and international trade port on the Waitemata Harbour. For security reasons, the port is fenced. Behind this red fence, is another wired with electricity.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Free week this week – that means no specific theme. Enjoy.
It's more than fifteen years since we went to America with the children. A lot has changed. The most significant of course would be The Twin Towers which is now ground zero. We went on a horse and carriage ride and we walked the entire length of Central Park despite people telling us that it wasn't safe.
D and G were intrigued with Alice in Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter. Some day, I hope they will in turn take their children to Central Park.
I wonder if this statues are still there for my future grandchildren to enjoy. Those of you from New York, could you tell me?
I took this photo in a park at St Lukes In Mt Albert. You can see in the middle of the drain , it is only about three inches wide, and there is a trickle of water. Then I see on the fence a sign saying sudden flood warning. I remember not too long ago, some workmen thought they heard noise, and they spend hours searching from the storm water drain all the way to the sea. Eventually, they were satisfied there was no body.
In Singapore, such drains are called Monsoon drains. When the monsoon rain falls, they can become swift flowing rivers. Children sometimes play in them and when the torrent comes, they are unable to climb up and they drown.
In Sibu where I grew up, we too have such drains and we used to play in them. At low tide, it is a few inches deep or even a dry bed. At it's height, the water level is deeper than a grown up's head.
Last week, http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2009/10/nipped-off-in-bud.htmlLittle two year old Aisling Symes drowned in a storm water drain.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I wrote this short story with the scenario of global warming in mind.
The death of an idyllic island.
Sisa packed her bags, looked around her little house on the stilts, crestfallen and heavy hearted. She had to leave behind her best china and silver. The headman had specified only two change of clothing and a few photographs.
"You can start all over when we arrive in American Samoa. You can buy anything there."
She called her husband, “Tomi, hurry up, you can not take the dogs, pigs and the chickens.”
The US frigate was waiting out at the lagoon, and the little boats were waiting to take the last of the laggards to go to American Samoa. The younger Islanders of the Wago Wago Island had gone left for American Samoa and California. For Sisa, Tomi and her friends of her generation, they had refused to go and had not heeded the weather change, and the rate that the water level was coming up to cover their beloved island.
Now, the water level has come half way up their stilts, the salt water had killed off all their taro plants. Only the coconut palms were standing, where almost, a lot of them were falling. The beach, where she had dug for pipis, cockles and mussles have been eaten up by the tides. The water comes to where her garden was. The island was almost one third of its original size.
Sisa lamented for the death of her island, the once popular tourist site especially for young back packers. It was idyllic and unspoilt by commercialism. The white sand was pristine and food was plentiful. The tranquil lagoon provided all the fish and sea food they need.
Young Americans and Germans came with just a few dollars and they would stay for months, courtesy the friendly villagers. They love the lifestyle where time was not of essence. They came to surf the waves and fish in the sea. Some of them stay and marry the Wago Wago young girls and take them back to the US of A and Germany. The children of these mixed ancestry were beautiful and famous for their singing and music and inherited their mothers’ kind hospitality.
Sisa sighed, “All these will be gone in no time if the scientists’ predictions are true. It’s all due to global warming, they say.” Though she and Tomi did not require scientists and their scientific reports to tell them that the sea is rising and their beloved island was sinking.
Sis and Tomi looked around, a "king tide" had flooded their garden and showered it with rocks and debris. The devastation was so great, the next “king tide” would take their house out to sea. If they didn’t go now, they too would be carried out to sea and their house would be their coffin to meet their watery grave.
The Chief emphasized that this US frigate would be the last for the exodus, and any stubborn islanders would be like the people during Noah’s times. American Samoa would be too far for them to swim to.
The world didn’t listen to the islanders about the plight of their island. They were sitting ducks and at the island’s demise, USA offered their sanctuary.
“Our identity will be lost, our children and their children will embrace the American culture. How sad that day will be. If only a miracle will happen like Noah’s time” as Sisa board the frigate.
As the frigate slowly sailed west, the old islanders held their hands and cried openly, “Goodbye, my home land, Goodbye.”
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