Friday, March 30, 2012

Photohunt/Save the world: Giant garage sale for African children.

Live succulents for sale. They are alive, so they should be fresh???

In New Zealand, where there is a fund raiser, there is bound to be a sausage sizzle. Sausages BBQed on the premises, how fresh can that be? Judy of CBM makes sure the sausage is fresh. She BBQed it herself.

Busy people, Mike Buckley, and Nell Dickey from CBM, Jean Morley from CBM and church, Eileen and David Asbury from Church.

Jean has a passion for children. I have a passion for Africa. Jean is going to Africa. My Church Mt Albert Baptist Church supported her cause. There was a monster garage sale and more than 10 members of the CBM people were here.

The weather was glorious. I was there not to work, but to take photos and I made a new friend Mike.

Mike told me he wasn't going to Africa, but to India. Coincidentally, as I was driving to the sale, I heard over the radio, how people are afraid to go to India because they were afraid to catch the Indian belly. It is very admirable for people to leave the comforts of their home country to go to a third world.

Ka Pai jean, Ka Pai Mike.

Monster Garage Sale started today from 7.30am. It is a mutual help. You get rid of your clutter – household goods, furniture, clothing, books, toys, crockery, white-ware, kitchen-ware and so much more. The needy people buy the stuff cheaply and all the proceeds go to Africa. This time the proceeds go towards transporting children's Christian literature to Africa.

What is CBM?
Since 1963, CBM has been committed to “Helping You Reach Today’s Children”. We are a non-denominational, non-profit organisation with branches in several countries.
CBM depends on the prayer and gifts of interested supporters for the continuation of the work – helping Christians reach the children of the world with the positive Christian message and to disciple them in their walk.
A brief overview of the history and ministry of CBM.

What does CBM do?
1. We reach out to children in holiday camps, schools, churches and other ministry settings.
2. We train and equip those who are doing a spiritual work with children.
3. We produce and distribute high quality, relevant, life-changing teaching resources.


Fresh is today's theme for photohunt.


weekend reflections: Life is but a dream?

I went to an ESOL course, and the speaker told us to put ourselves in the shoes of our ESOL student. I remember not so long ago, I too was an ESOL student in Borneo.

My primary one teacher taught me 3 ditties, baa baa black sheep, twinkle twinkle little star, and row row row, row your boat. Life is but a dream.

As I grew up, I found life is harsh, life is reality. It is never a dream.

When ever I see a boat. I think of this ditty.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Theme Song: We are the world.

This is Keren Rego, she is a most incredible person I have met. You will have read a lot about the things she does for environmental issues from my blog posts. She is currently organising the Food for Charity for Nepal. Keren works with me at Pt Chevalier school as a teacher. Tomorrow, she will be participating for a second time the Oxfam Trailwalker, that is 100 kilometers. I saw her one Sunday training with her partner. I almost feel embarassed when I tell people I had done the 10 km. Photo of Keren with her son Otis.

Foodsale was one of the few meaningful things I have done in my life. During my sixteen years in Singapore as a faculty wife, my group of Biblestudy women friends who lived on the campus of Nanyang Technological University wanted to do something useful with our hands.

A group of American students visit Kenya School for the Deaf. They invited some deaf children to USA with them.

Oxfam is an international confederation of 15 organizations working together in over 90 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.

We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decision that affect them.
What we do

Find out how we work with others to end poverty and injustice, from campaigning to responding to emergencies.
Why we do it

We believe that respect for human rights will help lift people out of poverty.
Our history

Find out more about Oxfam.

We strive to do what we say we will do. Read about our core values and operating principles against which we measure ourselves.
Until 2012, our work to achieve a just world without poverty will be guided by our Strategic Plan, "Demanding Justice."

Oxfam Trailwalker, the worlds greatest team challenge, http://www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz/, Mar 31 - Apr 1, 2012

Teams of four will soon descend on Lake Taupo to take on the World's Greatest Team Challenge, walking 100km in 36 hours to support Oxfam's life saving work http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhroughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Oxfam Trailwalker is the most life changing, team building, foot slogging, friendship forming, group hugging experience...ever!



There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can't go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of Gods great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
Its true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart so they'll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand


When you're down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there's no way we can fall
Let us realize that a change can only come
When we stand together as one



Monday, March 26, 2012

ABC Wednesday: K for Kids.

These are no ordinary kids. They are very talented.

You might remember Jaccob, Jaccob the chess champion. I am very proud of Jaccob. This is Jordan, Jaccob's little brother. They are sons of my brother Joseph and his wife Audrey.

Jordan is only 6, but he plays great chess. Jordan was the youngest one from Kings. All the other kids are from grade 3 to 7. He is the only one play chess in his grade. The bigger kids were llooking after him. The kings school bus took them to the tournament. He did well for his first tournament. He won 3.5 out of 7. The teacher said not bad for a first timer.

I was visiting Phoenix classroom when he came out with a scroll of paper. He was doing this Show and tell, and I was most impressed. I work with his mum, Kirsten and asked her if I could blog about his work. She gave me permission to take his photo.

Phoenix is an amazing artist. Since he was in Kindy at about 3 1/2, he had enjoyed drawing. In particular, he draws and tells of his story of War and the military.

Mum took him to the Waiouru Army Museum.

I know I had posted this before, but I wanted to balance this up with a girl.

My beautiful and talented Olivia on the Gold Coast of Australia turns old socks into cute stuffed toys.

According to her mum, Helen: Olivia has started a new hobby business making sock toys. She uses odd socks that lost the other one. Her friends like the dolls and asked her to make them some. She is selling them for $2.00. So far she had sold 4 and there are more orders.
Thomas saw an opportunity and sold his to Daddy for $4.00. Phil complained that his was not very detailed and Thomas told him that his was different from Olivia's shop. Scammed again!!
I hope Olivia can continue to sell at school.

Way to go, Olivia. Olivia is only 9.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Photohunt: Spicy

After two or three generations in Malaysia and Singapore, Chinese people like me like spicy food so much that we don't have appetite if the food is not spicy/chilli hot.

I found from a Romanian friend L that she eats chilli as though it is a salad. She even beat me. The New Zealanders just stare at us. They say," You can say it is not spicy."

On Fridays, we have "munchies" at school, we are rostered to bring morning tea, could be sweet, could be savory.

Some one brought a platter with meat, cheese, snacks and these yellow chilli -capsicum cross. L took one, and demonstrated how to eat it. Just pop it in your mouth and bite a piece off. I took one, and did the same. As I said, it is is a cross, it isn't hot, until Pong!!!. Well, I am ex Malaysian Chinese, I can handle that.

But nobody else did. After morning tea, these two were left over. I took them home. Yesterday, I cooked some thin Chinese rice noodles with the very expensive dried thin prawns/shrimps that my girlfriend Lynn gave to me. I seldom use them because they are very expensive.

A week earlier, a facebook friend posted his noodle dish with this. So I thought I will do it too, before the dry prawns get mouldy.

I decorated the noodles with the spicy chilli-capsicum and spicy Thai pickled cherry tomato likealike chillis. Martin Yan would be pleased I used Napa cabbage too.

Bon appétit Sandi, may be I will invite myself to be your guest chef in your place.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Reflections: An old Chinese custom

This is a story of the country of my birth. This photo was taken when I last visited sarawak. This was at Mulu Caves.

While Christians, especially the Roman Catholics, visit the graves of their departed love ones, the Chinese do this on Ching Ming Festival, the 15th day from Northern Spring Equinox which will fall on the 5th of April this year.

Ching Ming or Qingming, is literally translated as Ming for being bright, and Ching as clear. My two daughters are called Ming and Ching and friends asked me why? Actually I have no idea. My father-in-law gave us a few names to choose from, and I just chose this.

Ching Ming is the day for mourning the dead, a day for Chinese families to visit our ancestors graves. We used to call it "sweep the graves" or clear the graves in the case of when I was growing up. My uncle's grave wasn't concreted so a lot of sharp lalang weeds cover the tomb, and we had to use changkos aka hoes, and parangs aka machetes to clear the obnoxious weed.

Whilst most people regard this day as visiting ancestors' graves, people forget that there are many parents who are bereaved. My grand dad took us every year to clean my 4th uncle's grave. Poor 4th Uncle drowned when he was 4 years old, swimming in the Rejang River.

This month, 3 Campomelic babies died. Oh Death, how cruel you are.

I know of a mum who would be sweeping the grave of her teenage son. She would most probably be lamenting that her deceased son would not be attending a special function which her husband and her older boy will be going to.

Their School Alumni Association and Board are jointly organizing the 40th Anniversary celebration (of the Alumni Association) and 110th Anniversary celebration of School on 30th March 2012, in Sibu.

Whenever I see an old fashion Vespa scooter, be it green or blue or yellow, I do a double take. I would love to see a white one, because it belonged to a friend. My heart misses a beat. It reminds me of an excruciating painful story. I stand to correct myself, not a story but a reality case.

When I was in senior high school, he was in middle school. He was this big fella. I think he was interested in one of us girls, I am not sure, but it certainly wasn't me. He always came to our class and gave us sweets. He was this big incredible hulk and rode a white Vespa. Very few students had vespas then. We just treated him as a young kid.

One day, we were called to a special assembly. Apparently, he did something, and threatened to beat up the principal. The principal was afraid and locked himself inside the office. He bashed a hole in the wooden door.

His dad, a professional person, held with high regards in the society, made him apologise to the principal in front of all the kids. Hence, the special assembly. We felt so sad, he was to us, a gentle giant. To this day, I never knew what he did that warranted such drastic punishment.

Of course, he left the school and town. We were very sad.

Fast forward about a year or two, some of us girls went to study in that town to be trained as teachers. He knew we were there. He arranged for us to have a nice evening at a very famous hotel. The chauffeur came and took us.

It was the first time for me, a country pumpkin, to dine in a very posh restaurant. I was surprised to see old men, and women dressed to their finest, dining and wining and dancing. For me, coming from a mission school, and a town threatened by the communist's rife warning against yellow culture, I was very surprised at this decadent lifestyle of the rich and famous.

He treated us to a meal of steak. He knew we never had steak before. I had T bone steak, medium rare, for the first time in my life. I still love T bone steak, medium rare.

Then I left for Canada.

I came back from Canada a few years later, someone told me he crashed his bike and died. I CRIED. I told my Dad I hold Principal responsible. Such public humiliation.

His death affected me. I became the champion for the under dogs, for justice. Years later, when I became a mum, I was lucky to be a faculty wife, living among like minded women in the university in Singapore. We sort of adopted a neighbourhood school. The principal was very glad to have us. Our kids excelled in all aspects.

One day, the principal didn't like us, in fact I think she hated us for meddling in her affairs. It was my memory of my friend that got me so mad. I wrote to her and requested an appointment. I threatened to go to the media.

She had caned a 7 year old boy in the assembly, rightly or wrongly, I and my girlfriends disagreed.

The principal listened to us and apologized. I hope I had averted a scenario of my poor friend. Later, she told us it was just an minor offense. His parents of a lower strata in society thanked us, they would never had dared to challenge the school.

This post below was done when I first started blogging in 1978. I think this is interesting to you, a very different culture of a different era.

This is a very old Chinese Grave found next the Sarawak Museum in Kuching. You don't find many of these big graves today especially in land scarce Singapore and Hongkong. In these two countries, the dead are exhumed to make way for the living.

These graves are called armchairs, It looks like a sofa seat. It is a very important official of the king's court. It is commonly believed that when a man is alive, he may be lowly peasant, but when he dies he can still be an official of the king. Therefore, no expense is spared to build the grave.

The other reason is the Chinese used to ( they still do) worship their ancestors, and pray to them to look after them and bless them. My Grandfather used to tell us, when a disaster had been avoided, it is because our ancestors have been seated high up, so he could see afar and take care of us. The dead doesn't sleep, or he is not allowed to. So he is seated, awake 24/7 in the arm chair. If he was sleeping, he could not be taking care of us. A good grave site is high up the slopes of the hills.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thursday Theme Song: All I want for Christmas

Marmite is to New Zealanders is peanut butter jelly to Americans. Recently there is a shortage, and hence the shortage below of Louise and her son. Louise is my friend and I like her story. To me, who don't eat Marmite or vegemite, it's not important. But to the true blood Kiwis, and especially if you are autistic, it is a different ball game. Even the PM has something to say: Prime Minister John Key is among thousands of Kiwis having to ration their Marmite, as 'Marmageddon' enters its second day.

Mr Key said he too will have to spread thin to ensure his supply lasts.

"I only have got a very small amount in my office and once that runs out I'm aware supplies are very short."

Supermarket shelves around the country are being stripped bare of the popular breakfast spread, after production was halted due to earthquake damage discovered at Sanitarium's Christchurch plant - the only plant where Marmite is made.

Jars of the black gold have already been listed on Trade Me, with bids for a 250g jar at $63 this morning, with proceeds going to Cure Kids.


Louise Martin and her autistic son Daniel, who is sensitive to foods and eats Marmite every day

A mother whose autistic son eats Marmite daily has had an SOS call answered after a desperate dash to supermarkets failed to turn up the yeast spread.

Louise Martin, of Massey, said she now had about 3kg worth of Marmite stockpiled after friends from across the country sent her whatever jars they could find.

The amount will be enough to see her 7-year-old son Daniel, who has food sensitivities and is attached to the flavour, smell, and texture of Marmite, through until production resumes mid-July.

"Our crisis is over. But I was rather concerned.

"With autism the change is the worst part for any autistic child ... if you have the chance to do it gradually, great. The trouble was I was down to less than a quarter of a jar."

Shelves around the country have been stripped of Marmite after news of its shortage broke on Monday. Herald readers have reported more than 100 supermarkets or stores are completely out of stock, with others fast running out as people buy up.

Ms Martin said the first thing she did when Marmageddon dawned on Monday was jump in the car and drive to four neighbourhood supermarkets, all of which were out of stock.

Increasingly panicked, she called Sanitarium and Progressive Enterprises head offices, and raced to Gilmours - to find only expensive trays of Marmite sachets were left, "so I grabbed three trays".

An online plea was soon answered by friends and acquaintances, with jars sent from across Auckland, Levin, Nelson and Napier. Sanitarium is also sending emergency supplies.

"I'm now getting four 250g jars from a lady in Kohimarama. And a friend in Levin is sending me six 175g jars ... I will have a little collection, and it will do us."

While Ms Martin knew Marmageddon was light-hearted for most, she labelled those selling the spread on Trade Me mercenary.

"[The sellers] are much like farmers that take advantage of a drought and sell on bales of hay at exorbitant prices."

Yesterday a search for Marmite brought up 297 listings on Trade Me, with 1.2kg jars attracting bids upwards of $100 and smaller pots with "buy now" prices in the hundreds of dollars.

Gilmours Hamilton has put up for auction a 25kg pail of Marmite, with all proceeds donated to a charity of the buyer's choosing.

The winner will walk away with a 175g jar and the much larger pail, "so that you can refill your prized purchase in the comfort of your own home," says the auction.

Gilmours owner Rick Donaldson told the Herald his staff were having lunch on Tuesday and laughing about the prices people were asking for Marmite when they realised they had a spare 25kg.

"From there, the ball got rolling very quickly. One of the guys went and found it, pulled it out of hiding and cleaned it up for a photoshoot."

The pail would normally sell for $285, but it is hoped it will raise thousands at auction.

Placed on Trade Me at about 5pm on Tuesday, the auction attracted more than 70 bids, topping $400 last night.
By Nicholas Jones

Anni, I made a play on this song, with little Daniel singing all I want for Christmas is:

All I want for breakfast is my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
Then I will have a good day.

All I want for breakfast is my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
Then my mom will have a good day.

All I want for breakfast is my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
Then my teacher will have a good day.

All I want for breakfast is my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
my two marmite sandwich.
Then my siblings will have a good day.

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth!

Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas."
It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!"
Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,
if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas!"


Monday, March 19, 2012

ABC Wednesday: J for Jandals, and not just for fun.

Excellent participation by this teacher and her class. Ka Pai and Paki Paki.

In New Zealand, the jandal is a national icon. Jandals stands for Japanese sandals. In Germany, my friend H tells me it is known as flip flop. In USA, I believe it is also known as flip flops, in Australia, they call it thongs, in China and Taiwan, it is cool shoes, and in Singapore, and Malaysia , we call it Japanese slippers or just slippers.

Today is a special day in school. We had a parade. The weather was terrible, so we had it in the auditorium. It was our fancy bike/scooter/skateboard parade, and it is not JUST for fun. It is serious stuff. It is about travelwise.

Please read the email from Keren, the teacher who organised this day.

I know the Year 5/6’s are out that week ( They went to camp) but I am inviting the rest of our staff to take part in what I am hoping will be a fun week!

Room 2 are going to help me organise the following:

A teacher’s GUESS MY SHOE competition-this is where I am asking you the teacher to bring in 1 shoe and the kids will be guessing who it belongs to!
Lunch time: Obstacle course for Year 3 & 4 children on bikes & scooters
Lunch Time: Year 0/1 & 2 Fancy Bike Parade
Fancy Feet Competition on Friday 23rd March in Whole School Assembly-Maxx the Pukeko might be coming to judge!
All teachers who walk/bike to school from home go in the draw for a prize…or park at the top end of Point Chevalier Road (Montrose Street or Meola Road if you are coming from the North Shore) and then walk to school!

Thanks for your support



( Mr. Pukeko, I walk to school)



Sunday, March 18, 2012

King George Tupou V, rest in peace.

Photo: courtesy NZ Herald.

The King of Tonga has died in Hong Kong, sparking an outpouring of grief in the Pacific nation.

King George Tupou V, 63, went into an intensive care unit in a Hong Kong hospital about 10 days ago but his condition rapidly deteriorated and he died last night.

Last year, the King had a liver transplant and was given a clean bill of health.

The Tongan Government confirmed his passing on Tongan radio this morning. A statement from the government is expected later this morning.

These were taken during Pasifika two years ago. Many of my students are from Tonga. This post is for them.

The Prince of Tonga himself graced the occasion. My Tongan Student Ma'ata cnfirmed that that the young man seated at the gazebo was her prince. His loyal subjects sat on the ground behind him.

The Tongan brass band played when I was there to see if I could see my student Ellinna performing.

They are wearing their mat lava lava (sarong) on top of their fabric lava lava. This is a very formal occasion.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Saturday Reflection: Changing people's lives.

Imagine arriving at a country where in the whole wide world, they are the only country where they do things only they do it that way.
Imagine that it is a serious thing like a traffic rule.
Well, this is precisely what is happening in New Zealand. We have the right hand rule, since 1977. When you are on the road, and at an uncontrolled intersection, you have to give way to the right. Ne Zealand is the only country that has this. Tourists ho come find this ludicrous and dangerous.
So they are changing, but not is a good way.
I had driven in Borneo, Canada, Singapore, so I find the change a bit easier. But people have inertia, they need time, the authorities are not doing it right.
I was at the AA where I saw the rule change brochures. I took them to teach my adult ESOL students.
The new rule comes into effect on 25th March, and I hardly see any ads on TV to educate the people.

Road rules campaign 'too little, too late'
Sarah Robson, NZ Newswire March 17, 2012, 5:06 am

Road rules campaign too little, too late

The campaign to educate drivers about upcoming changes to the give way rules has fallen short, says a motoring commentator.

The changes to who has right of way when turning at intersections will take effect at 5am on March 25.

The tweaks to the rules will require vehicles turning right at intersections to give way to those turning left, while at uncontrolled T-intersections, vehicles from the terminating road will need to give way to traffic on the continuing road.

A $1.2 million publicity campaign by the New Zealand Transport Agency to educate drivers about the changes got underway this week, with television, newspaper and online advertisements, and an interactive website that tests drivers' knowledge of the new rules.

However, Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of car review website dogandlemon.com, says the campaign is too little, too late.

"They're trying to change the attitudes of a lifetime with a very short, couple of week, relatively low budget campaign," he told NZ Newswire.

"They haven't spent enough time thinking this through, nor is the campaign particularly impressive."

The likely result will be a lot of confusion for drivers on the day of the change, Mr Matthew-Wilson says.

"There are vast numbers of people that no longer read newspapers, turn off TV ads and throw away every leaflet that arrives in their letterbox.

"So a percentage of people will simply not know about it."

A survey last week by the Automobile Association (AA) found that a majority of drivers support the changes to the give way rules and most are confident they can follow them.

Right turning vehicles have had the right of way at intersections since 1977.
The changes will bring New Zealand's give way rules in line with the rest of the world.