Saturday, February 27, 2010

weekend reflections


Westerns Springs in Aucklsnd is easily one of my favourite place in Auckland. Like the Chinese saying," Got mountains, got water." It has beautiful trees, plants, birds, ducks, geese and swans,

Here is a good place for me to experiment with Reflection photos.

Stardome Observatory, Auckland


I took Sam and his friends J and R to Auckland's Stardome Observatory Planetarium. The boys had fun. It was a pity the clouds were playing a trick on us. They came our in vengeance and we couldn't see the sun.

The guide Bill Goldstone was on hand and was very friendly to talk to us about the telescope and the stars, and planets. When he moved the dome, I thought we were moving.

My first Science lesson in Secondary school was on the constellation. I remember even to this say, it's shape and the stars, but I was a poor student, and I can't remember the name. My teacher Miss. Chew had her degree in USA, and if she is reading this post, she would be horrified.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Jumping off the pier in Borneo

For those of you reality TV fans, you will remember the fist Survivor Series was filmed in Borneo. Couple of years ago, my niece Jane went with her friends. Here the Amazon blood flows in her. Last week, she went on an expedition with her university students to conquer Mt Kinabalu. Not an easy feat,

When Jane went to the island, she was disappointed that the island was turned into a resort so she had normal food, instead of hunting for her own. Still it's a nice place to get away because they limit the numbers of people on the island. There was still daring activities like being so crazy that they dived from the jetty.


watery wednesday. outdoor wednesday: Fountain at Mission Bay



Mission Bay along Tamaki Drive is a very popular beach in Auckland. Here the rich people have their million dollar house, but the beach belongs to everyone.

This fountain is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. The fountain has a few ornate sea lions sprouting water, and children cool off in the water. Parents are relaxed as this is safer than the sea.

This February has been very muggy and hot. What is better for the children than a splash in this lovely cool water.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ABC Wednesday: F for fish trap

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt

This is a fish trap used in Borneo. Essentially it is made of two cones. A shorter cone with spikes at the tip is woven into the longer cone, which has a door at the end.

The trap is usually made from rattan, a type of vine that grows in the jungle. The trap is placed in a canal or creek. When fish swims inside, it is unable to swim out, as the spikes prevents it from swimming back from where it came in.

When I was a teen ager, we lived in a house with a creek/drain behind our house. The area was proned to serious flooding. During the heavy monsoon rain, the drain which was about 10 feet across would be swollen with the running water. Grand Dad got some traps from the natives and gave them to us. Dad used to put a couple of these fish traps which we called fish dogs, to catch fish.

We didn't catch much fish, in fact, we hardly caught any. But we did catch a lot of water snakes. Yes, you read it right, we got snakes as thick as 2 inches in diameter and as long a two meters. You may not believe it, I was a very brave girl, I wasn't afraid of the snakes. You grab hold of the head, and it can't do anything.

I must have my Amazon Hakka Mum and Grand Ma's blood in me. I grabbed the snake and chased and terrified my two older sisters who screamed and screamed. After all the fun, I helped Mum chop up the snakes into inch long segments and fed it to our egg laying hens.

I learned my biology of snakes, throughout their entire length of their thin body, snakes have thumb sized eggs. I said, "imagine if all these eggs hatched into baby snakes, there will be a zillion snakes which will come and steal our chicks."

This stopped when our hens had watery shit and Mum said the hens must be having a stomachache. Dad stopped trying to trap fish. I stopped terrorising my sisters. To this date, Rose and Elizabeth are still afraid of snakes.

When I saw this trap during my trip back to Borneo, I knew I had to snap it's photos. When my sisters who now live in Borneo, they probably will scream again when they read this post.

http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2008/12/snakes-in-oz.html This post was penned by Rose' son. You can tell she passed her fear of snakes to him.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ruby Red: Houses For sale Magazines


This is a receptacle for the advertisements for properties for sale outside a real estate office. I often take the magazines to use them for my adult ESOL class. The students find it interesting to talk about houses. We have great fun doing role plays being buyers, vendors and real estate agents. Sometimes I make them talk about their dream houses, and they really make their imaginations run wild.

mellow yellow: Oil cans



On Sunday, I did a post on my other site about people depositing rubbish, and it is my against my philosophy of being a rubbish ambassador. In Auckland, if you dump rubbish except on the special week of inorganic collection, you will be fined.

These yellow cans stood up like a sore thumb, and I went to have a look. They were Canola oil cans.

I do not use Canola oil. A few years ago, a Canadian friend sent me an email Is Canola Oil Hazardous to Your Health? http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blcanola.htm

I don't know to believe it or not, so to play safe, I do not use Canola oil. I use soya oil and olive oil.

However, Canola oil must have done their marketing homework very well. In some supermarkets, they only stock Canola oil.

May be you have heard of Canola oil, do you use it?

Photohunt: Cuddly for bear


I snapped these bouquets of flowers with cuddly bears among the flowers. These belonged to my cousin when I went to Miri, Sarawak. It was her capping/graduation/convocation. My uncle and aunty had given her one, and a friend gave her the other.

Bears are good soft toys to give to children, they are unisex, and boys and girls love them. My children had been given many teddy bears, there is one which means a lot of Deborah. When she was two, we visited my friend's friend, a Kiwi lady, ( that is a New Zealand woman) and it was our first visit. I have forgotten her name, but I remember this little bear.

The bear was hand made in Scotland. A lady made it for a charity, (which I forgot). A kiwi woman visited Scotland, and came across her. She was very impressed, and bought one and gave it to her friend. This kind lady gave it to Deborah. Deborah has had many teddy bears, and when we returned to New Zealand, she gave most of her bears away. She kept one. It was this hand made Scottish charity bear. (I should post a photo of it, but it is in my other computer and I have trouble with it.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Reflection : Wesley Creek


I am fascinated by the reflection photos that are posted on this meme. In December, I drove passed this park, and stopped my class to practice taking reflection photos. The water was flowing fast, and the creek too narrow. I have a long way to go.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Winter in Windsor ,Canada.

I am watching the Winter Olympics with my son Sam, and I feel warm and fuzzy in Summery New Zealand. I dug up my cold winter photos in the winter of 1975 when I was a student in Windsor, Canada.

That was my first ever winter. They reported it was the coldest ever recorded, a minus 28 degrees. A lot of melted snow had flowed under the bridge. I wonder where all those young men and women have gone. We were from Tropical Borneo and Singapore and were feeling very BRRRR!

We lived at an apartment next to the school. At playtime and lunch time, the children played in the snow while I was bundled up. There was central heating, so it wasn't so cold. I remember icicles forming from the jeans that my friend L had hung out at the balcony. The jeans were frozen hard, but they dried very quickly. The street name was Wyanndotte, or something like that.

I walked to university. One day, coming home, I was trapped in a blizzard. The visibility was almost zero, and the wind was so strong. Of course, I didn't know what a blizzard was, and I continued to walk. I slipped and fell a couple of times. It was when I came back that I heard from the TV that there was a lock down.

These photos were taken on the one occassion when the kids were on holiday. We decided to see why the kids were having such fun. The mount of snow wasn't very high, but I found it hard climbing up, and my friends LOL at me. They did help me up and we did our mini luge. We even had a couple of little Canadian kids plyin gwith us and they loaned us their rubber mats.


skywatch Fridays: Gannets at Muriwai


On this rock formation, hundreds of gannets fly from Australia to mate and hatch their babies. Then they make the journey back to Australia again. Muriwai is an hours drive from Auckland, and you can see the birds from August to March.

The gannets mate and lays one egg. The adults take turns to sit on the the nest. When they are hatched, the chicks are naked, but within a week they're covered with fluffy down. As they mature, they grow juvenile feathers and begin to exercise their wings in preparation for the one-shot jump off the cliff.

Sometimes, perhaps the gannets arrive too late, or the eggs take too long to hatch, or the aged ones are too weak to fly, At around Easter, you see the sad story of the survival of the fittest. Birds are left behind to die, young and old. The fittest fly back to Australia leaving the weaklings to die in the colder season.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shakespeare in School

This is for Sarawakiania and http://sylviafromoverthehill.blogspot.com/

Both Sarawakiana and Sylvia are retired teachers, and I presumed they taught Shakespeare.

It is by coincidence that the New Zealand Ugly Shakespeare company came to my school yesterday, and I spoke with them an took the photos and I read in Sylvia's post this quote.

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief. ~William Shakespeare, Othello

When I was a high school student, it was compulsory as an Arts student to do Shakespeare for my Cambridge exams. I must say Shakespeare then was dry and boring. All I remembered of Julius Caesar was Mark Antony's " Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears." and for Othello, it was even a misconception that Desdemona cuckolded Othello, a black man. Because I found out Othello wasn't even a black man.

My daughter Deborah performed in the Mid Summer's night dream. I went to watch as a bias mum, being proud of how beautiful and good an actor Deborah was.

My school has a very good auditorium, and we often have productions, musicals and orchestra. Yesterday, on my way home, this truck pulled up. It has Shakespeare's photo on it. Seizing this opportunity for a post, I spoke to one of the guys. He was even happy to close one side of the door so I can take a good photo and he obliged me with my questions.

They were coming for a rehearsal. Then they were performing for many high schools in Auckland. If only they were around when I was in school.


The Ugly Shakespeare Company has a proven record in New Zealand schools, providing consistently high quality live theatre performances since 1996. The company began with only 72 schools on the list and since then our success and the demand for our visits have extended our audience reach to over 120 schools nationwide on an annual basis. This growth is a combination of our ability to actually engage with the teens themselves as well as our determination to continue with what we believe – that is to make professional, live theatre accessible to youth.

The company has completed FOURTEEN NATIONAL TOURS and TWO OUTDOOR SUMMER SHAKESPEARE EVENTS in the last twelve years.

The Ugly Shakespeare Company has a unique approach to both Shakespeare and live performance. We are strong believers in getting amongst the students and relating to them on a level that is both contemporary and non-patronising. Our success lies in our ability to utilise teen culture within our shows. This includes using current teen vernacular, references to film, TV or music that is relevant, as well as adapting the show on the road to fit changing trends.

ABC Wednesday: E for elephant

This is a model of an elephant given by my Sri Lanka friend V in NTU in Singapore. It is very elaborate with beads and gold trimming. I brought it over to NZ with me. Once, they had a green grass snake in their balcony. They just left it alone. They are Buddhists and believe that everyone and everything should have a right to live.

The first elephant model I had, my Dad bought it in India in 1958, he was sailing in a P & O liner from London to Singapore. When the ship stopped in India, he bought a black teak elephant. Dad was a collector, he bought a souvenir every where he went.

In 2000s, we went for a holiday in Bangkok. The Tuk Tuk taxi driver took us to this duty shop. He said, " Please you just go in for 10 minutes, and I will get a petrol voucher. You don't have to buy anything." It turned out, I saw a brownish teak elephant, I remembered my dad's elephant. So I bought one. The water engineer took it to his office. He must have left it in his Office at Nanyang University, because we don't have it anymore.

It's good to have things to remind you of happy events, Don't you think so?

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Watery Wednesday/Outdoor Wednesday



At the Queen Elizabeth Square in Auckland city, I am fascinated by this unusual fountain. It has a flame on top of it. It doesn't go off even in the rain.

This square is an entry to the Britomart Transport Centre and the start of Queen Street. It is in the vicinity of the Ferry Terminal. This transitory paved area features a Kauri forest and a fire boulder water feature.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ruby Red Tuesday


There is a red rim round the ATM aka automatic teller machine. What I really want to do is a story on ATM machines and PIN, personal identification numbers.

Recently, a British immigrant to New Zealand had her wallet stolen. Her bank balance was wiped out when the thief withdrew money from her ATM machine after figuring out her PIN which was the same as her birthday.

There is this stupid law in New Zealand that you must have your drivers license with you all the time while you are driving or you will be penalised and fined a hefty sum. An infringement fine of $400 is a lot to pay. If you keep forgetting to bring your license, you will be summonsed to court and made to pay $1000. To make it worst, your car may be seized on the roadside and impounded for 28 days.

I know this doesn't happen in Australia. The police allows you a day to present your drivers' license if they catch you. Apparently this is the same in UK.

Back to the poor British woman, she had used her birthday as her PIN number, and the bank refused to help her. They said she had to be accountable herself and not to choose birthdays and easy numbers for her PIN number.

So straight away after work, I rushed to my bank to change the PIN numbers of all my cards. You see, I too was a silly person who used her birthday for her PIN number. Now, my PIN number is very secret and very difficult.

The bank officer asked," You sure your number is very complicated? You sure you have a different number for each cars."

I hope all your PINs are very secure with a very complicated combination that even a rocket scientist can't crack.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday: Package at the over head compartment


I saw this yellow package in the over head compartment of the plane I flew to Australia.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

scenic sunday: New Zealand's Waitangi Day Celebration

We now are introduced to a unique experience only from New Zealand. According to Māori Protocol, there is the Powhiri Official formal welcome.
The opening ceremony gives us a chance to watch the Ngati Whatua o Orakei give a powhiri. It begins with wero/challenge. The chief challenges the manuhiri/guests. He carries a spear (taiaha) then lays down a token (often a small branch) that the manuhiri ( Mayor John Banks) picks up to show they come in peace.

John Banks, the mayor picks up the branch as a peace token as part of the Powhiri.
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The Piupiu or grass skirt is worn both by man and woman. They are worn on special occasions like this when they have the powhiri.

The Powhiri photos were last year's Waitangi Day celebration. I had intended to go again this year, but I fell sick.