Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ABC Wednesday: K is for knitting, kangaroos and other K of the South Pacific.


This meme is like me teaching my students what words they can think of for a particular letter. They love it as a game and so do I. Today, I post things K and things of the South Pacific.

The women of New Zealand, the older ones like me love to knit. In fact I stopped knitting after 16 years in tropical Singapore, but blogging old things brought me back to this constructive hobby. I knitted a long scarf for G, and at each stitch, I think of good and sad memories.

In Auckland, there is a "Never Too Old" group who knitted 10 blankets and donated their creation to the Auckland City mission. They also make dog coats for the SPCA. The South Auckland Spinners and weavers club also knit for the Russian Orphans.

Knitting is fun, but when you knit with thick yarns and big needles, the knitted product gets heavy, and the fingers hurt. You have to stop and stretch the fingers and do some massage. G is happy though the scarf will be handy only for next winter. I told her the weather forecast in October is cold again, and may be she could use it.

Kamo Kamo are New Zealand pumpkins. I had to teach the children a story of the Kamo Kamo during the Maori New Year. Isn't the colour attractive? http://laughingorcaranch.blogspot.com/2009/09/sunday-stills-signs-of-fall.html Today I saw on fellow blogger laughing orca a photo of her pumpkin, the ones that you all are used to.

Going North is a big Pacific Island of Australia. The island rather continent is known as Australia, and they have two famous animals kangaroo and koala. The two lovely kids are now in their twenties. Emily
Emily will soon cross the Pacific to Canada and America. Deborah is north of the pacific in Singapore.

Kapkaps, the shell disks ornaments like these are found in parts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. My three karate kids, Sam and his friends wear the kapkaps they made in the Auckland Museum as part of their holiday program. When they wear them, they become invincible warriors, a fusion of the South Pacific and North Pacific Japan.

Watery Wednesday: Going for lunch in a boat in Mulu.

We went across Melinau River by long boat to the cafe for our lunch. I was weary of not wearing a life jacket. The sign at the jetty said all passengers must wear jackets. Luckily the trip was a short one. People including children were bathing, swimming and fishing off the other jetties. It couldn't be so dangerous if they were doing it.

The next day, when we went on our long river trip, we had to wear our jackets.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Reflections


I came across this via Reader Wil, and was impressed with her photo. Scanned through some of my photos and found this photo I took on a boat in a man made lake in the Singapore Zoo. The birds stand unperturbed by the boat we were traveling in.


This is an informal reflection themed meme called Weekend Reflections.
I invite anyone to join. The simple rules are bellow:

1)Post a reflection photograph

2)After I post my Weekend Reflections photo, make a comment here to let me and others know that your reflection photo is posted.(If you have more than one blog, be sure to say which one it's on or provide a link)

3)Link back here on your blog so others will know about it.

4)Visit other Weekend reflections participant's blogs.

I will try to do the Weekend reflections post on Fridays, U.S. Eastern time. Feel free to add your posts anytime during the weekend. Just try to make sure that you make the comment and add your post to the Weekend Reflections post.

Hopefully this goes well, if it does we can get some banners and some sort of Linky thing going.

I've seen some really great reflections form other bloggers in water,windows,mirrors,eyes,sunglasses and more.

I hope that you will join in, and I look forward to seeing your reflections!

Posted by James

My World Tuesday: Jungle at NTU


At one border of the university, is a stretch of secondary forest. The trees are almost choked by creepers. When I was training for my 10 k marathon, I used to run along the road and look at these green plants.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mellowyellow: Sarawak Baskets


My brother in law Kallang and Sister in Law are Kelabits or Orang Ulus, People of the mountains or the rural lands. Kallang gave me a basket made of vine in black and white. I gave it to a Kiwi friend.

In July, when Sam and I went on our trip to the Mulu Caves, the guide took us to a Penan resettlement Camp. The Penans are nomads in the jungles of Sarawak. These baskets caught my eyes. The baskets were similar to the Kelabit baskets except they were elaborately made of a zillion tiny beads. I took the photo but forgot to ask the price. I didn't want to pretend that I wanted to buy them.

Prostate Awareness Week

September 21-27, 2009.

Some of our celebrities came out with blue faces to promote prostate awareness week. I was at this Coffee Club where 5 cts from every coffee went to this cause. Nobody in my family has prostate cancer, but you will be surprised how many are affected.


Did you know that a man is 33% more likely to get prostate cancer
than a woman is to get breast cancer? It's true.
A husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, friend dies
every 17 minutes of every day from Prostate Cancer

Are you a male 40-75
or over 35 and African American
or your father or brother had Prostate Cancer?
Get tested! PSA and DRE*

Someone you know may be affected.
One in every six men will get prostate cancer.
35% will be under the age of 65.
There will be over 2.8 million cases of prostate disease reported in 2009.
For over 218,890 men, it will be prostate cancer.
Over 27,050 will die because
they didn't get an examination or didn't act soon enough.
Don't let it be said, "He was too afraid or embarrassed to get tested."
We cannot rest until we win the battle against Prostate Cancer.

In New Zealand, the boys have chosen the http://nz.blueseptember.org/blue_september_home.php

Why blue? It's simple - blue is for boys!

Every year about 600 men in New Zealand die of Prostate Cancer. Fathers, sons, brothers, grandfathers. Gone! This happens because men don’t know how dangerous the disease is, they don’t talk to their doctor about it, they simply don’t do anything about it. This has to stop.

That’s why Blue September is about getting the word out about prostate cancer. If you paint your face blue, donate money to the Prostate Cancer Foundation or even tell people, you will be directly helping to lower the death rate and reduce the suffering from this disease.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

scenicsunday: Ferris wheel


Escape Theme Park, which opened in May 2000, is Singapore's largest and most technologically advanced theme park. Occupying an area of three hectares, it offers visitors a chance to experience 15 exhilarating rides comparable to those in the United States and Europe. Examples include a 5½ storey log boat ride and a multi-tier go-kart. The world-class theme park features many firsts in terms of rides in Asia.

My nieces and nephews in Singapore love this park. I saw the ferris wheel which is an indoor structure. Personally, I do not like ferris wheels. There is no fun stuck in a small space going slowly round and round.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Photo hunt: Twisted


In a new shopping mall in Kluang, Malaysia, the decor caught my eye. It was twisted branches and twigs.

Skywatch Friday: Malaysian sky and train


The train in Malaysia is very long and they leave the station at Keppel Station in Singapore. Then you get off at Woodlands for your immigrations clearance. There are two trains leaving at about the same time, and no conductor to tell you which train to get on. People rush like a stampede. We notice a couple of passengers had got on the wrong train.

The train also stops and leaves the station very quickly. My city sleeker girls realised that before they could get off, the train had already taken off, and they had to stop at the next station.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Save the world: Children and Gardening.


This week's challenge was suggested by our bloggy friend SquirrelQueen at The Road to Here. It's a little different from our usual challenges in that the activity, while specific in a broad sense, leaves the "particulars" up to you. Are you intrigued? Read on ... you'll see what I mean:

This week we're all about kids ... after all, they will take the "green torch" and become environmental "Olympians". So this week, your challenge is to do an environmentally friendly activity with your kids (or grand kids or neighbor kids or nieces/nephews, cousins, etc). Get them involved. Need some ideas? Here you go:

Awesome Activities


Kids Links (Teaching Green)

Gardening for Kids

Once you've done the activity, we want to know about it ... so come back here and leave a comment (either with the activity or a link to a post) ... or if they did something fun during the summer like an Eco-Camp, tell us about that. We'd also be interested in little Eco-Stars ... kids who have taken it upon themselves to come up with green living ideas.


Sam has been reading into organic gardening, and last spring, I made a pact with him, he could have a section of my garden, he could grow his fav veges, tomatoes and potatoes. His responsibility was to water the plants and harvest his own fruits. Summer was hot and dry, and as a typical twelve year old, he wasn't as diligent as I would like him to. I left him to make his own choices and reap his consequences. Indeed he did reap his consequence, he reaped some fruits, but not as much as I would have, if I had helped him.

It is now spring, about time to plant again, and Sam is interested to be his own organic gardener again. Last Sunday, I improved on my compost bin, and Sam helped me saw the holes on the wheelie bin. Throughout the year, I make him empty my compost bucket into the compost bin, and to pick the lemon because he likes that honeylemon breakfast drink and I know he has his dose of vitamin C.

The spin off benefit, it is a good bonding time, as we have lessons on slugs, snails, aphids and lady birds. Thenwhen the produce if on the table, we proudly announce that they are the fruits of our labor






Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ABC Wednesday Letter J for jumpers


New Zealand has a lot of sheep, and produces a lot of wool. Most Kiwi women I know knit. I learned knitting when I was 13 in school.

Here's some of the jumpers I have knitted for Deborah. J is for jumper. At this stage, I became more creative and knitted patterns and colours.

Save the World Wednesday: Think Green Thursday: Heating your house.



I link these two memes because I think they both are doing a great job for our Mother earth.

My school is building new class rooms. I follow the development of this project with enthusiastic interest because it is a green class room. They line big 8 inch thick slabs of special Styrofoam slabs. On these slabs, they line pipes which is filled with water. This water will be heated. Concrete is poured over this, and the class rooms will be very warm with the carpet laid.

Some of the rooms are completed, and we can feel the warm. The kids take their shoes off. Kiwi kids love not wearing shoes, and this is just great for them. The kids don't feel cold and wear bulky clothes.

Here is an article I wrote earlier, before I started blogging.

Are double-pane home windows worth the expense?


The price of oil has just gone up to almost US$100 a barrel. This has a trickle down effect of price rises in the power bill. To save our power bill, and also save the environment, double glazing our windows will help keep our bill down..

Initially, installing the insulated Glazing Unit or simply called double-pane home windows. It may appear an expensive exercise. But over a long term, it is worth the expense. These windows will not leaky and let cold air to seep in and waste the heat generated by your heater. They will work the opposite in summer. They will keep your house cool on a hot sweltering day..

Double –pane windows is having two lites of glass spaced apart and hermetically sealed to form a single glazed unit. There is an air space between each lite. The purpose of this is to improve the thermal performance of glass. The gap is filled with air or an inert gas, such as Argon, which will increase insulation.

Double-glazing reduces noise, prevents draft and keeps the heat so the house is warm in winter. As the noise from outside your house is reduced, your house is nice and quiet. It will be a more pleasant place to live. Another added bonus is double-pane windows give your house a modern look and your house value will go up. You will recoup your investment should you decide to sell your house.

Change the world Wednesday: use energy saving light bulbs


The water engineer has changed all the lovely light bulbs of our chandelier with these ugly looking energy saving ones. What do you expect when you are married to a practical civil engineer?

I used to be embarrassed when guests comment about this. Not any more, being green is the fashion or "In" these days.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Australian Coots in Western Springs, Auckland.

I found this threesome in a quiet spot away from the other inhabitants like ducks, geese and swans. I watched with interest as the Australian Coot parents guide and feed their baby. They can teach us humans a lesson or two. One parent dived into the water to hunt for food. The other stayed to keep an eye on the baby. When the food is found, he/she puts the food directly into the chicks mouth.

We gave in out temptation to help the parents and threw them some bread. In the same way, the parents fed the chick bread. The baby had an orangy head.

The nest on rocks in the lake, and often have to ward off thieves ever ready to steal the eggs.

The Australian sub species was a rare vagrant in New Zealand until the 1950s when they moved across the Tasman and began to breed here. It is now widespread and numerous on certain lakes, especially around Rotorua in sheltered bays fringed with raupo ( catstail or bulrush). Numbers seem to be increasing.

In New Zealand, eggs are laid from August to February and often two broods are raised. The nest is a large mass of water weeds, piled together among rushes or raupo in the water or on the margin, and not infrequently contains as many as ten eggs. The young, when first hatched, are beautiful little creatures, clothed in jet-black down, with their heads of a bright orange-scarlet, varied with purplish-blue. This brilliant coloring is soon lost, and they begin to assume the almost uniform sooty-black plumage which is worn for the rest of their life; but a characteristic of the adult is a bare patch or callosity on the forehead, which being nearly white gives rise to the epithet bald often prefixed to the birds name. Diet is mainly vegetarian, which they obtain mainly by diving.

Coots may form large flocks out of the breeding season and are not unlike dabchicks in the way they skitter across the water.

The word coot, in some parts of England pronounced cute, or scute, is of uncertain origin but may have something to do with the sound of its piercing loud call.

watery wednesday. ox bow lake


My high school Geography teacher Mrs. G Wong would be pleased to remember her lessons of how an Ox Bow lake is formed had not been wasted on me. In fact, that formation was something I always enjoyed. Perhaps it was the way it is formed. Now the water engineer continues to give me the same lessons.

Sarawak has many rivers because of our 144 inch of rain annually. I took this photo in the plane from Miri to Mulu Cave. The Ox bow lake is not completely formed yet. The water engineer took some in Papaua New Guinea. One ox bow lake is almost the same as another.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cherry Blossom , Sakura

These are specially for http://xue-originals.blogspot.com/2009/09/my-minis-others-too.html who lives in Japan and my sister Helen.

My friend C told me that the cherry trees were blooming, and we don't need to go to japan to see them. I took a special trip to Cornwall Park. I didn't walk as it was getting chilly again. I was awed. There were many people there enjoying the beauty. Some were having a picnic under the tree. Children were playing. One woman was posing and vigorously shaking the tree. I guess she wanted to make the blossoms fall.

I chatted with a fellow photographer. I asked if he knew the name of a giant neighbouring tree. He thought I was asking about th cherry trees. He said "Sakura." I guess he is a Japanese, and came all the way here to take his photos. We both enjoy the beauty. Flowers and plants create friendship.

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, this is indeed the right time to visit New Zealand.

I am also posting a photo of a New Zealand flowering cherry in my garden. It is less pink than Sakura. It is a flowering tree and has no fruits.


Mellow Yellow: Road sign

There are few roads that have Bikes only.I don't know where it goes because there is a fence dividing the motorway.