Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stairs: Spiral

Click to enlarge.

I was at a dentist's window in Kluang in a small town in West Malaysia. I saw these buildings, or the back of these buildings. I couldn't believe my eyes. They looked like some of the buildings in my home town Sibu, in Borneo. 

I remember going to my friend's house along Ramin Way, and we used to go up and down in those narrow spiral stairs in the mid-1960s. We had to do this in secret because it was a three storeys building. They were considered very tall building at that time. My friend's mum said men at the bottom of the stairs could look up and see our knickers. These buildings must have been built at the same time, and never had a new white wash.


"STAIRS" (Straight, Spiral, Indoor, Outdoor, Fire Escape,...)
Next Week: CONTAINER (Glass, Cup, Bowl, Box, Baskets,...)
roseThursday Challenge is a place for photographic fun and learning. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ABC Wed: T for turtle, terrapin, time and teachers

These two critters belong to my niece Chan Yu Yi and my friend Chinatsu's daughter Yilin in Singapore. They are lucky to have a cage/tank.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my friend and fellow teacher Mr. Lee Yew Hang.

Yew Hang joined my school when we were in our sixth form. I was an arts student and had been in the school since form 1. He was a science student, and we never talked. Partly because the Arts students and the science students didn't mix, and also they were in the new building. They were smart scientists, doctors, engineers to be and thought that we were stupid. We thought they were communists as most of them came from Chinese schools.

When I was 19, I went to teach in Kai Chung school in Binatang. Yew Hang was already teaching there, and he took care of me. He invited me to join him and another teacher Mr. Chieng to have our lunch in a restaurant cum coffee shop.

His desk was in front of me in the staff room.  A kid was playing with this terrapin and I commented how cute it was. He gave it to me and I was showing off the terrapin to Mr. Lee and boasted that my charm had cast a spell on the boy and he was besotted by me.

I had to go to class and I had no cage.  Stupidly, I thought, if I turn it upside down, it would not get away.  I left it on my desk.

Of course, when I came back, it was gone. I accusingly/jokingly asked Mr. Lee if he was jealous of me and had taken the terrapin away. He kept saying, you are so stupid. Of course it will run away. I argued, how could it turn itself over?

I looked all round for it, surely everyone knows that turtles and tortoises are very slow. The school was surrounded by a swamp. The walls did not go completely to the floor. The brave critter found it's freedom by crawling through the gap.

He left the school at the end of the year to be trained as a teacher, and I went to Canada. We never saw each other again, and I had never been back to the school since.

Whenever, I see a photo of a turtle, terrapin or tortiose, I think of Mr. Lee.

The sad thing is after I found many of these students on Facebook, I also found some sad facts. Mr Lee,  died a few year ago, he was just about 50.

These students in the photo, was it you who gave me the terrapin?


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yellow Mellow Monday: Sail cloth

These sail cloth shades are good and cheap. It blocks the sun in summer, and I guess light rain too so children can play outside.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Creative: My sister Grace

This is a cake that made people say "WOW! Raymond, did you say your Aunty Grace made it?"

Grace made this for our nephew Raymond's wedding. She did most of the work, and some of us gave a little hand. Raymond's sister Flora flew back from Australia and did a great job.

If you look carefully at the bottom tier, where there are those delicate spiral lace work, and notice a rough patch, that's was done by me.

We had to send one of the nephews to scour the whole of Kuching town to get as much icing sugar as possible.

We even had an consultant engineer giving advice. Our brother in law Teo was worried the cake would cave in or topple. When he saw the piling or wooden dowels inside the cake, he had confidence that the cake wouldn't fall. Before that, he had always wondered  why the multi-tiered cakes don't flop.

Transporting the cake to the hotel was an incredibly difficult job. Henry was driving very slowly, Elizabeth held the cake with the flowers. Her husband Kallang and I sat on the floor at the back of the 4 wheel drive trying to keep the cake in balance so it won't topple over.

We were all beaming with pride. I wish the cake was left intact because it was such a beautiful cake. I think it is a sin to cut up such a beautiful cake.

Cake making and icing in the Chan family and now Tiong (Grace's) is a family affair.

She made sugar flowers, leaves and figurine. Grace couldn't remember how long it took. She did it when she was free on and off during the day for 2 weeks. It was tough work mixing the sugar dough or fondant icing and gum paste. The gum paste had to be rolled to tissue thin and and not break. Royal icing for some of the leaves.

You can't buy her cakes, it is the fruit of love. Grace is not a chef, Grace is a computer expert, but a stay home mum by choice. Her creativity goes beyond making cakes. She makes lots and lots of things.

Friday, May 25, 2012

weekend reflection: Robin Gibbs

When Robin Gibbs fell into a coma, I read some one commented how sad it was for his mum, she had buried 2 sons and soon she would have to bury another. Sadly, this person's words came true. Robin died on Sunday. The Bee Gees are left with one singer.


This reflection at the shop window shows a bus stop sign. This was the bus stop where my students' F and H 's older brother Sanele was killed.

In New Zealand, sometimes you see little white crosses or bunches of flowers. Bereaved loved ones place them there to remind people not to be reckless.

One case really make me angry, a young British tourist was killed at an Auckland road. her friends chained her bicycle there, but someone stole it. Even dead people's things are not spared by callous people.

H and F tell me that they often have to put new flowers up. Some idiots remove them.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Musical Instruments and music players

"MUSIC" (Musical Instruments, Live Music, Sheet Music, CDs, iPods, Music Players,...)

At a Thai festival, traditional instruments and players were seen at a parade.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ABC Wed: Letter S: Singapore Science Centre

One of the best places to go in Singapore when you have children. This is a hands on place, children are allowed, in fact encourage, to handle, bang, knock. And the entrance fee is cheap, and the premises is fully airconditioned.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Ruby red/rednesday; Red security sign.

Some people have no respect for other people or other people's things.  When public properties are vandalised or robbed, eventually it is the people who have to pay from their taxes.

Here is a public property that was robbed, despite such a big sign. Someone says the idiots didn't pay attention in school and couldn't read.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Scenic Sunday/Weekend Bridge: Fairy tale bridge

One of the favourite fairy tales I like to teach is the three billy goats gruff. Trip trap trip trap trip trap.
On Friday, in school, we had the Book Character Parade. There were a few trolls hiding under the bridge.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday Challenge:

"MOTHER" (Grandmother, Mom, Animal Mother, Mother with Children,...)


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ABC Wednesday, Letter R, for restraint

Seat belts, car seats are forms of restraints which  prevent occupants being ejected from the vehicle. Some people think it is a hassle having to be strapped down.

A child that is properly secured in an approved child restraint is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not.

I always buckled up my children in their car restraints, but I had this  harrowing experience. It was shortly after Andrew had died. I had a 4 years plus kid, and a 20 month kid. I stopped the car at one of the most busy road in Auckland, before I could unbuckle the 20 month old out of her car seat, the 4 year old had dashed across the road. Cars screeched to a stop on both directions. Lots of old ladies pointing their fingers at me. 

A kind woman said, "Next time, unbuckle the baby first"

 If 4 year old was killed, I wouldn't want to live either.I need a Valium washed down with wine!

 My oldest daughter in her bucket seat. I used to take her out in the garden when I hung up the laundry.

The new national child restraint laws state in Australia:

  • Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
  • Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
  • Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.
This past weekend, a group of American students from Boston University was involved in a fatal crash. Some students died, they were thrown out of the car. The inspector suspected that some were not restrainted as they were thrown out of their vehicle. These students were on an exchange program and were going to visit our famous Tongariro Crossing.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Save the world/mellow yellow:Cat's door

This is a cat's door or a flap. If you have a cat, this is a must, especially if you are not at home the whole day. This door gives your cat the freedom to be inside or outside.

I don't have a cat, and I can't imagine if a cat is outside in the freezing winter. The cat's door is a hinged flap set into a door, wall, door or window. It allows your feline friends  to enter and exit a house on their own without needing to get help from a human. You don't have to leave your door ajar and stops intruders from entering your house. You won't have to hear her meowing at night when you are warm in bed and refusing to get up and let her in or out.

 from inside
from outside



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Photo hunt: Scoop


A scoop makes me think of Oliver Twist, another scoop Governor.
A scoop makes me think of my grandma , back in China when I was growing up.
A scoop makes me think of my mum, during the World War 2,
A scoop makes me think of present day, my niece who survived on $2 a day so she can have empathy with the poor and to rise money for the PNG people.

Mothers' Day at MABC

The ladies at Mt Albert Baptist Church in Auckland were greeted by a young boy with a basket of miniature rose buds.  It was nice because it was a gesture that made everyone feel good. There are some ladies who are not mothers and would feel very awkward if the roses were offered just to mothers.

During the service, we watched a video of our children telling us their interpretation of their mum. 

There were lots more roses left over, and I shaped a heart out of them for my fellow blogger and Facebook frieend Cheryl.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thursday Challenge; Mirrors

"STYLE" (Hair, Makeup, Perfume bottles, Mirrors, Formal Wear, Dresses,...)

Thursday Challenge is a place for photographic fun and learning.

I bought this mirrors when I went for a course to help students in their pronunciation. The students are encouraged to look into the mirror as they make sounds of letters or words.


Thursday Theme Song: Can't hug every cat

I am back in connection via facebook with my Cat Cafe friends I made in Singapore. Judith and Marcella used to trap stray cats, feed them and get them sterilised. Then we either released them, and the cats came to feed at the cat cafe, or they were adopted.

 SPCA's news reminds me of that persona I left behind when I left.

Overcrowding at the Auckland SPCA has forced the organisation to slash adoption costs in half for three weeks.

"We've simply run out of room for any more incoming animals. So it's time to do everything we can to encourage prospective pet owners to adopt," animal services manager Tracey Dunn says.

"If you're looking for a pet, please consider rescuing an animal in need and giving them a home for life."

The SPCA currently has 482 cats, 123 dogs, and 39 rabbits on its books.

Just a small percentage can be offered for rehoming at any one time because there is only so much room in the adoption areas. The rest are fostered out to volunteers or await their turn in the holding areas.

"We're at crisis point because we must be able to continue to rescue animals in need but we've nowhere to put them," Dunn says. "We really need the public to help us out."

The half price rate will apply from April 2 to April 22.

All adopted animals have been vet checked, de-sexed, micro-chipped, wormed, treated for fleas and had initial vaccinations.

"The money [the public] pays us goes directly to saving other animals in need," Dunn says.

The SPCA is also desperate for people to foster cats or kittens.

Animals can be viewed at the SPCA Auckland Animal Village, 50 Westney Rd, Mangere between 8.30am and 4.00pm every day or online.

I was googling a song for this story. The lyrics suit the theme to a T, but I don't like the singer. So perhaps you will read it as a poem.

Source: LYBIO.net

I love cats. I love every kind of cat.
I just wanna hug all of them but I can’t

Can’t hug every cat
Can’t hug every cat
So anyway I am a cat lover.
And I love to run.
I’m sorry I’m thinking about cats again.
I really love cats
I’m thinking about cats again.
And again, and again and again and again
I think about how many don’t have a home
And how I should have them
I think about how cute they are
And how their ears and the whiskers and the nose
I just love them
And I want them

And I want them in a basket
And I want little bow ties
I just love them
And I want them
To be on a rainbow
And in my bed
And I just want us to roll around
(to roll around)
Sorry I’m getting emotional
I love cats
I love every kind of cat
I just want to hug all of them
But I can’t
Can’t hug every cat
Can’t hug every cat
So anyway
I am a cat lover and I love to run
I’m sorry I’m thinking about cats again
I really love cats
But I can’t hug every cat
Can’t hug every cat
Can’t hug every cat