Sunday, July 31, 2011

Photo hunt: together


My daughters used to play together sitting inside a doll's cot.

Friday, July 29, 2011

skywatch friday: Singapore Marina South



In Marina South Park in Singapore, a biscuit company sponsored erecting some statues off Chinese heros. It was without controversy as Singapore is a multi cultural country.

It was a windy day when we were there.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ABC Wednesday: B for baskets


I was in a small town in West Malaysia when I saw these baskets in a florist shop. Most of these baskets are made from a vine called rattan.

To school kids growing up in Malaysia and Singapore, the word rattan can send a shiver up one's spine. Teachers used to have a thin rattan with them to beat the students. People think that the smaller the cane, the more painful it can be. But I was told that a big rattan used by the prison officers can break skin and flesh.

what to do during a polar blast

We are having a polar blast, in many parts of New Zealand, people woke up to see a white cover. Many kids and grown up came out to frolic in the snow. Parts of the country came to a stand still. Many enjoyed a day off.

Auckland was spared, though I was told in the West, there could be a dusting. I am too old to drive out to the snow. I had enough of the cold when I was in Canada.

So instead, I bundled myself warm. Let me tell you what I did today, on the last week of my holidays, I intended to edit a manuscript I last went into 5 years ago.

When I got up,I went t the internet to check my email and blog.

Somehow, the internet connection failed in the afternoon. I was a bit irritable. My legs felt cold, I was thinking, should I turn the heater on or wear another pair of pants. After I got tired of editing, I watched some TV, and back to editing.

Internet came back at 8 pm, I am a happy Larry.




Saturday, July 23, 2011


Photohunt: Patch


I am posting this photo and story again because I love telling it. It gives me warm fuzzy feeling of my grandma.

We didn't live with my maternal Grandma, she came to visit frequently and to help Mum when she gave birth to my younger siblings. She came to cook for Mum's confinement month.

Grandma made one patchwork quilt for each of her three daughters. As a kid, my immediate younger sister Margaret and I had fun looking for her Chinese stars. Her stars were very unusual. It has 21 pieces of tiny squares and triangles cleverly stitched together. She didn't make many stars as it was very difficult to make.

In 1975, my nephew Wayne was born. Grandma came to visit. Sister Elizabeth requested her to make a patchwork for her first great grand son. Grandma was hesitant. Her heart wanted to make this, but her head told her that she was in her 80s, it would be impossible to make one as she was just visiting.

I told her, " I will help you."

So we did, grandma and grand daughter pair. She did the cutting and supervision, and I went on my mum's old manual Singer machine.

"Not so fast, Not so fast"

But I went went ziz, ziz, ziz, ziz as I pedaled along. She admonished my 'fast hand, fast leg'. I committed myself to help her, I didn't have 6 months to help her. Times I made a mistake, she wanted me to unpick it.

I said," No way, it is only for a baby."

We finished the quilt in a matter of days. I blackmailed Wayne, because he is the only great grand child that Grandma made a quilt for.

Despite the hectic time, I learn an invaluable skill. I could make a Chinese patchwork quilt. At that time, I vowed that I will never make another one, too old fashion. Now, I am glad, because I am probably the only grand daughter of hers who has inherited her skill.

Fast forward to 1990, I saw my good friend Owlyn Dickson's light blue quilt on her bed. It was so beautiful, I am reminded of my grandma's quilts. I came home, and made a quilt for D. I made nine Chinese stars, and the rest, I basically used squares. I made this queen size Chinese quilt in 3 days over the weekend. I didn't have much sleep. This time ziz, ziz, ziz, ziz on my electric Janome machine was reminiscent of the time with grandma.

The water engineer was a gem, he babysat D 5, and G 2. He took the girls shopping at Farmers for D to choose a backing for her quilt. She chose a lemon colour and I asked her why she didn't choose a pink.

The reason why I sewed frantically was I had to vacate my sewing room. Our friend J was coming to stay with us. He was our very good friend, and was an Engineering post graduate student with the water engineer at Auckland University.

D still has that quilt. I told her not to use it. It is unlikely that I will ever make another one. (Who knows, may be when I become a grandma, I may do it.) She wanted to frame it, I told her it was too big, not until she was successful in her career and has her own big house.

***This is the quilt I made for D, you have to look carefully for the stars. You will understand when my sister Margaret and I had fun looking for them.***

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

abc wednesday: A for automatic gates


In Singapore, there are many private housing. There is an automatic gate at the entrance, you need to know the code or else you call the house owner who will open the gate for you.

I lived in Singapore, and I lived in the University Campus. I was lucky I didn't have to go through an automatic gate to get home.

Roger is right, I was fortunate not to lve behind such bars, LOL. We had the option of living in a High Rise Condo with elevators, or a low rise 4 to 5 storeys where I had to climb the stairs. I didn't want to be stuck in a elevator if it broke.

In deed, my 60 something friends were stuck in an elevator for 6 hours. In another case, when they were fixing the elevators, it was either a lock in or lock out.They gave the notification, on Sunday, we are fixing the elevator from10 am to 5 pm, at this time , you either stay out or stay in.

Friday, July 15, 2011

skylight Friday: Going on a train ride



Going on a train ride, going on a train ride. We went despite the rain.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Watery Wednesday: Ripples at Whatipu


It's been wet wet wet and cold cold cold. I stay snug warm in my house. Last summer, I went for a long hike at Whatipu.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ABC Wednesday: Zucchinis

Found at a Thai Festival, the vendor told me the shoots and flowers are delicious.

Smack in the middle of a floral and vegetable display during the Thai King's birthday, is a big zucchine, Can you find it?


The zucchini (play /zʊˈkiːni/; plural: zucchini or zucchinis; from Italian: zucchina [d͡zuˈkːiːna], plural: zucchine) or courgette (/kʊərˈʒɛt/ or /kɔrˈʒɛt/, plural: courgettes) is a popularly cultivated summer squash which often grows to nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less.

I like zucchines young and tender in a Chinese stir fry. In New Zealand, when they grow big, they call it a marrow.


I couldn't resist this story. 30 years ago, as young marrieds, I got very interested in organic gardening. The back yard was down in a chasm, and was a jungle of years of neglected weed. I couldn't even start to remove the weed. so I did what this woman did, and converted our front yard into a veg garden. It became both our hobbies. The husband, then a grad student found it very therapeutic .Friends LOL at us. We did this for one season and had wonderful crops. The council never disturbed us. Sadly, the landlord sold the house and we had to move.

Oak Park Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden

OAK PARK, Mich. (WJBK) - "The price of organic food is kind of through the roof," said Julie Bass.

So, why not grow your own? However, Bass' garden is a little unique because it's in her front yard.

"We thought it'd be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help," she said.

Bass' cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she's been charged with a misdemeanor.

"I think it's sad that the City of Oak Park that's already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us," Bass told FOX 2's Alexis Wiley.

"That's not what we want to see in a front yard," said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.

Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what's "suitable?"

We asked Bass whether she thinks she has suitable, live, plant material in her front yard.

"It's definitely live. It's definitely plant. It's definitely material. We think it's suitable," she said.

So, we asked Rulkowski why it's not suitable.

"If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster's dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what's common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers," he said.

But when you look at front yards that are unsightly and overgrown, is Bass' vegetable garden really worth the city's time and money?

We asked Rulkowski what he would say to those who feel this is ridiculous.

"I would argue that you won't find that opinion from most people in Oak Park," he responded.

"I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing. I think it's a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood," said neighbor Devorah Gold.

"They don't have (anything) else to do (if) they're going to take her to court for a garden," said neighbor Ora Goodwin.

We did find one neighbor who wasn't a fan and thinks it needs to go.

"I know there's a backyard. Do it in the backyard," he said.

"They say, 'Why should you grow things in the front?' Well, why shouldn't I? They're fine. They're pretty. They're well maintained," said Bass.

It looks like this critical debate is headed for a jury trial and neither side is backing down.

"I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore, but then there's no telling what they're going to harass the next person about," Bass told us.

There's another pretrial scheduled for July 26. The next step could be a jury trial.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Peekaboo: a touching movie

I am supporting this film project, though my baby Andrew was 55 days old, he might as well be still born because he was given the death sentence when he was born. The healthy baby I longed for died when I was told," Your baby is going to die tonight" the day when he was born.

Everyone grieves differently, though often how they feel mirrors another person's grieving. That is why sands organisation is there for bereaved parents to share, talk. cry and comfort each other.

I read the reviews of this Peekaboo. It is a sensitive issue, but who are you to judge, unless you ware wearing the bereaved mother's ill fitting shoes which are pinching her toes.

This morning, I went for my dental appointment. I told my dentist about my book. She told her receptionist. SC said her mum had 5 babies, and 3 survived. They never talked about the dead babies during her time. Babies were buried while the mums were still in hospital. A friend said her mum was offered someone's healthy baby to substitute for her dead baby. How cruel is that?

Good luck to your project

Peekaboo is a short film soon to be into production. It is looking at stillbirth and miscarriage and the effect the grief has on the parents. It is starring Lesley Sharp and Shaun Dooley.


Basic Information
Release Date TBC
Genre Drama
Studio Big Buddha Films
About Peekaboo is a short film soon to be into production. It is looking at stillbirth and miscarriage and the effect the grief has on the parents. It is starring Lesley Sharp and Shaun Dooley.
Description You can see the video pitch for Peekaboo on the Indiegogo website at:

Peekaboo sent me their second pitch of fund raising,

Our Story

We are Big Buddha Films, award winning film company based in the UK. We are making a fantastic short film called Peekaboo. This is our second pitch. We had our first pitch which ran for the last few months, to help us finance the shoot of our film. Between Indiegogo and our own other methods, we managed to successfully raise £8,500 (around $15,000) in cash and a lot of in-kind support from businesses and services to help us keep our budget to a minimum. We have now shot our movie and it's looking fantastic.

Our film looks at stillbirth and terrible suffering it causes to families. It focuses on the story of Emily and Andy, a couple that have lost three babies. Emily then has a breakdown and experiences a delusional state to help her get through her grief. Her husband has to try and help to guide her through this and out of the other side. It looks closely at the effects a trauma like this can have on a relationship and at people's own different ways of coping.

We have been exceptionally lucky in having two of Britain's finest actors in our lead roles. BAFTA nominated actress Lesley Sharp plays Emily, and very well known and loved TV and film actor Shaun Dooley plays Andy. We have incredibly powerful performances which bring out the complexities of their characters perfectly.

We also worked with a very experienced and talented crew. Our DP is Phil Wood, Sound Recordist/Designer Grant Bridgeman, Editor Neil Fergusson, Line Producer Sandra Chapman, Art Director Helen Wood, and Focus Puller Alex Veitch. We will be having an original score for the film which is currently in development. The film was Written, Produced and Directed by Debbie Howard.

Our previous films have done extremely well in film festivals all around the world, winning several nominations and awards. See our website for further details:

The Impact

A Child that loses a parent is an orphan.
A Man who loses his wife is a widower.
A Woman who loses her husband is a widow.
There is no name for parent that loses a child.
For there is no word to describe the pain...

With the money we need to finish our film to a very high standard, we will be able to gain entry to the best international film festivals and get our film screened all over the world. This will help to challenge attitudes and change views towards stillbirth in the future, and give parents the understanding that they need. Seventeen babies die from stillbirth and neonatal death each day in the UK. Many more people experience this than you would think.

What We Need & What You Get
This campaign is specifically to raise money for the initial stages of post production:

We need to raise around $6000, but I will just be looking to raise $1000 here, so that we can try and reach our goal. Any additional money will all go straight into the film.

We are offering some great perks to all those that contribute. We are also offering anyone who has suffered the loss of a baby to add their name to the credits in memory of all those babies that are no longer with us.

Other Ways You Can Help
Please help us in any way you can, to spread the word about Peekaboo:

Please share this onto your Facebook page.
Refer a friend
Join us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/bigbuddhafilms
Join us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/BigBuddhaFilms
Put a link on your website
Hold a fundraising event for us
Sell something on Ebay and donate the money to us
Or anything else you can think of....

Please make a donation and help us get our film made. We've worked so hard to get this far, please support us if you can.

Thank you.

Also Find This Campaign On
LinkedIn Facebook Twitter YouTube Website

Created By Debbie Howard

photohunt: Near


I must say the bikes are parked too near to each other. I won't like to own of of them when I try to get out. I might just cause a domino effect and make all of them drop down,.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

yellow mellow/ruby red/rednesday Malaysian train



The sleek red and yellow lines on the side of the Malaysian train makes the train look even longer. If I can help it, I won't take a train in many Asian countries. They are crowded.

31 dead, 100 injured as train derails in India
8:19 AM Monday Jul 11, 2011

A view of the wreckage of the Kalka Mail passenger train.
Rescuers searched through the wreckage of a packed express train for people trapped inside after it derailed in northern India on Sunday, killing at least 31 people and injuring 100 others, officials said.

The Kalka Mail train was on its way to Kalka, in the foothills of the Himalayas, from Howrah, a station near Kolkata in eastern India, when 12 coaches and the engine jumped the tracks at Malwan station, near the town of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh state, senior railway official A.K. Jain said.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear but it appeared that the driver applied the emergency brakes, Jain said.

At least 31 people were killed and rescue workers pulled at least 100 injured passengers out of the wreckage, said Brij Lal, a state police official.

Late Sunday night, a second train derailed in the northeastern state of Assam, injuring at least 100 people, said S.K. Roy, a local magistrate.

Local police suspect that a remote control-triggered bomb caused four coaches of the Gauhati-Puri Express to be thrown off the tracks in the town of Rangiya, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the state's capital, Gauhati, Roy said.

S. Hajong, a local railways spokesman, said two of the four coaches plunged into a pond and casualties are feared.

Roy did not blame any rebel group and no one has taken responsibility for the attack so far. More than 30 groups in northeastern India have been fighting for decades for independence or wide autonomy in the region, about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of New Delhi.

It was the third train accident in India in the last four days. A train hit a bus at an unmanned railway crossing last Thursday, killing 35 people.

In Fatehpur, the accident site was a pile of twisted metal. At least one coach flew above the roof of another ahead of it and was dangling precariously, television footage showed. Another coach was thrown away from the rest of the train.

The toll was likely to rise as rescuers made their way through the coaches and used gas cutters to cut through the mangled metal, Lal said. Rescue efforts continued late into the night.

"We're trying to cut into the coaches and rescue those still trapped inside," Lal said.

A senior railway official, H.C. Joshi, told CNN-IBN news channel that rescuers were struggling to free at least five people pinned under the wreckage of one of the worst-damaged coaches.

Medical personnel rushed to the area, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

Army helicopters were ferrying the most seriously injured victims to hospitals and 30 army engineers had joined the rescue efforts, Lal said.

TV stations showed local residents helping injured passengers away from the train, several in makeshift stretchers, and breaking the windows of coaches to help those trapped inside.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed "deep sorrow and shock" at the loss of lives. The Railways Ministry announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($11,000) for the families of those killed in the accident.

The number of passengers on board the Kalka Mail -- named for its past use in the postal service -- was not known. Express trains normally carry about 1,000 people and travel at speeds of 60-80 miles (100-130 kilometers) per hour.

India's railroad network is one of the largest in the world and carries about 14 million passengers a day. Accidents are common, with most blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

- AP

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

watery wednesday: boats and tourists


Great that my friend Choon Ming takes his lovely wife to places for holidays. The conical hats worn by the Vietnamese boat rowers.

In my ESOL lessons, when I draw a Chinese person, I draw a stick figure with a conical hat.

When my late son Andrew was in hospital, his eldest sister D drew Andrew wearing a conical hat and told everybody that Andrew was a Chinese baby.

Thank you Choon Ming for this photo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ABC Wednesday: Y for Yakutia

Letter Y for Yakutia, a place I didn't know until I had this student in my ESOL school. She tells me she is from Russia, near to Siberia.



Elena was in our beginners class in the ESOL school where I volunteer on Wednesdays at Mt Albert Church. I didn't teach her as I taught the elementary class. I use non verbal communications during morning tea when I sip my cup of tea with her. Last year before school broke up, I offered to be her friend and not as a teacher as I can't understand Russian, and she was a very new student of English.

One day, her daughter asked if my offer still stands and I said yes. I arranged to meet with her after work today. I brought with me a little gift which my Chinese tradition called, " JIAN MIEN LI" a little gift for seeing you for the first time. It is indeed a little gift. When I gave it to her, she took it and told me that it is their custom to have a "Jian MIEN LI" as well.

So I took this photo to remember this simple exchange of friendship. I gave her a cheap pottery which I placed a few pieces of chocolate. She gave me a miniature Choroon, A kind of cup when on festivals are used to hold kymys of fermented horse milk.

With the translation of her daughter we got to tell each other our country and our families. Then I told her about my Andrew who had died.

The daughter said, in fact mum has 3 kids, the first one was a still born. We didn't have to talk, I touched my heart and then hers. We are both bereaved mums, our hearts are connected. I asked if she had a funeral for him, and she said no. She said, it's 34 years, but the heart still aches.

She served me Bliny, a Russian pan cake with stuffing of beef and mushroom. It was very delicious.

In the short time we were together, I got to know a lot about Yakutia, and we have similar fates of bereaved mums.

By 2012 Yakutia will be the native land of all Russian horses
Friday, 25 April 2008

ImageBy 2012 livestock of horses in Yakutia is going to be 80% of entire horses population in Russia - stated Roman Dmitriev, the head of Minselkhoz (the Ministry of Agriculture), on Monday at the conference with the President of the republic Vyacheslav Shtyrov.

According to him, since 2006, herd horse breeding, as the leading traditional branch of stock raising in the republic, is included in priority national project “Development of APK” and as a separate subsection - into the state development program of agriculture of Russian Federation during the years 2008-2012.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 February 2010 )

Elena showd me this horse whip which is used for ceremonial purposes.
The horse hair whip in Yakut (Sakha) called "deybiir" (pronounced as 'day-bee-r'). She also tells me that they rear a special breed of horse for their meat.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

mellow yellow monday: My old class mate Ling Choon Ming


I was in the class of form 5 A in Methodist school, Sibu in 1971 when I was classmates of Ling Choon Ming. Since we left school, we hardly cross path, until 1999, when we had a fleeting meeting during our 28th re-union.

Hardly did I know he was my own Indiana Jones who spent a big chunk of his life in the jungles of Irian Jaya, the Indonesian side of papua New Guinea. I guess from the photos, he drove the big King of the jungle.

Lately, he posted many photos of his jungle days on his facebook. I have his permission to post them.

Saturday, July 2, 2011



Engineers busy at work, except the one taking the photo.

Friday, July 1, 2011

weekend reflection: Brisbane sky scrapers


More Brisbane photos.

I don't look at the statistics of my blogs. But this one caught my eye. The last post was 1111. I remember when I was in school, 4-D came to Sarawak. Mum was a great fan of this lottery game. You choose 4 digits, ( no repeats) and hope to win. At one stage, Mum had the digits in a container, and got us to pick out number.

I don't go for lottery tickets because Mum hardly ever won and if she did, it was such a small amount. But 1111, that's a good number. What do you think?