Friday, August 18, 2017

flower power

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 'In honour of @[100002531508875:2048:Nicolas Blackburn]'s Commonwealth school, my second blue flower.

Plumbago auriculata'
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'Linaria purpurea special purple flower I just photographed from the garden for my other niece.  J @[100001955643386:2048:Ah Ling]'

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When ever I watch on television or print copies of advertisements of ladies soaking in a tub of water with orchids floating on top of it in a spa, I remember my grand mother’s flower power treatment.

The year was 1975, my sister had her first baby, and my nephew wasn’t sucking well. She was suffering from a breast abscess. Grand Ma sent me around the neighborhood to scour for nine different kinds of flowers. They had to be of different hues as well.

It wasn’t easy looking for nine types of flowers and besides I thought she was old fashion and I felt rather stupid going up to people’s house asking for some of their flowers. We were also new to the neighbourhood.

“I need a handful of your mauve colored flowers.”

“Why do you want my flowers?”

“Because my sister has………. breast infection.”

As a teenager, it was rather embarrassing explaining that part of the anatomy. Fortunately, the neighbors were very kind and helpful, and some even helped me pluck the flowers.

After I filled my basketful of flowers of nine different hues I came home. Grand Ma put them in the long bath tub and ran hot water into the tub. Then she and my sister locked themselves in the bathroom. I stood outside the bathroom listening to:

“OW!!!! HOT!!!HOT!!!”

“It’s got to be hot, otherwise it won’t work.”

After that hot flower treatment, my sister got better. But I was skeptical about Grand Ma’s treatment.

I said,” May be she would have gone better, with or without the flowers.”

Fast forward some twenty five years, I was living with my three year old son who became a scary cat after he was frightened by the loud engine sound of my friend’s old Holden. It came to a stage that it was so bad that he refused to leave the apartment. We were imprisoned in our own home because the old Holden was parked downstairs of our apartment.

Come another old lady to the rescue. My girl friend’s mother told me to get nine types of flowers to bath him. I remember my late Grand Ma’s flower power treatment. I went gathering flowers.

It didn’t work for my son, he refused to get into the tub with flowers floating on it. It took a long time, and a lot of coaxing, D even dragged Sam to no avail and finally requesting my friend to remove the car. She was very accommodating. At last we were freed of the clutches of fear.

In Singapore and Bangkok, I often go and luxuriate in the health and beauty spas. The aestheticism and spa technicians sometimes run a tub filled with rose petals or orchid flowers. They tell me their sing song English that the flowers have extracts that will relieve me of stress and relief from insomnia I laughed, my Grand Ma knew about this long ago.

Back in Auckland, I go for Chinese massages. The Chinese doctor soaks my feet in tiny red flowers in a wooden tub before he massages my feet and the rest of the body. Oh!!! I feel so pampered.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

great grand parents


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Great Grand Father Chan Kwong Kuok and Great Grand Mother Lee Ngin Kiew. Great Grand Father came to Sarawak a few times from aged 33. He left Great Grand Mother at home, may be to take care of the ancestor tablets. Great Grand Mother was a grass widow, a woman whose husband had gone else where for work.
My mother was a grass widow twice. each time when Dad went to Singapore and London for education.
Such amicable women.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

ABC Letter F for floods.




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Borrowing my aunty Francisca Leong's photo. I have often written about the annual floods in Sibu. The flood water usually comes at night, and Mum and Dad would get us all up to push the car to a higher place. We would wade in the water back to the house.

The next few days, the flood water would come to our knees. That's a fun time for us, swimming and paddling in a man made raft that Dad made for us.

When the water recedes, it is not nice, vegetables, papaya trees die, and worst still, dead animals float away

Did I ever tell you I have a phobia of rats and mice? During the flood, the rodents come up to the raised edges of the vegetable beds. I associate the rats with the plague of London.


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http://abcwednesday.com










Sunday, August 13, 2017

Conflicting Beliefs

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/buddhist-ceremonial-release-captive-birds-may-harm-wildlife/

A young Vietnamese woman’s husband fell ill. Desperate for a cure, she later recounted, she visited the local Buddhist temple. A monk there instructed her to “release 40 birds, one for every year of your husband’s life.” So she did, purchasing and releasing 40 birds at the temple grounds. The woman soon rejoiced; her husband made a full recovery.

I grew up in a Christian family in Sibu where many people were Christians. I did not know about Fong San, "release a life" until I went to Singapore. An Indian friend's husband, a colleague of my husband, Prof in NTU found a tortoise with red paint written on the underbelly of the tortoise. She did not know what it meant. A friend explained Fong San. She said this is a bad custom, Fong San in this case meant getting the tortoise to carry away the bad luck/sickness to the person who picks it up.
I have found out since other reasons, and in my latest book, I wrote about it.
Thanks Ritchie for writing about it. He uses the term 放生 (Fàngshēng) which is in Mandarin.
Religion aside, some people during weddings and funerals, release doves etc. Environmentally this is frown on.

 A reader commented:

The truth meaning of fangsheng is not releasing bad luck or sickness. It's releasing of a capture animal's life to harvest good karma.

 May be some people in Singapore have other thoughts.

that's their own interpretation. That's loads of bullshit.
There is another bullshit thing they practise. If for no reasons they treat/chia you for a free meal/makan, it is usually a person in that family is very sick. By treating people to dinner/makan, the makan people who help spread the bad luck away. Conversely, a rich properous person has a birthday, people come to eat and even DAPAU/takeaway. The idea is to take the good luck home.
As a writer of both fiction and non fiction,  For fiction, I write for entertainment. Recently, a man bought a tortoise for his pet. His wife asked him if he had checked for any paint. He retorted, of course I had, you think I am stupid.
Buddhists across Asia release wildlife as a show of compassion, but conservationists find that the practice tortures the animals and may impact threatened species.
 

New Zealand Chinese in Historical images by Phoebe Li

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 Helen Wong, NZ Historian and researcher with Phoebe Li.

Had the privilege to meet Phoebe Li , Post Doc of Tsinghua University during the Auckland Family Expo. The New Zealand Chinese Association was promoting the above book.
She is currently working on the history of the Chinese in Australia through a media studies approach.
 http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201831464/the-chinese-who-made-nz-home\

The Chan family came to NZ, we have two lawyers, a forester, 2 PhDs and a writer married to a PhD.

ABC Letter F for Huckleberry Finn


https://www.facebook.com/ruth.sibat/videos/vb.1449381876/10213318728469926/?type=2&theater&notif_t=comment_mention&notif_id=1502433077018786

Do you believe in Vibes? My friend from Methodist school talked about Mark Twain. I thought of Tom Sawyer painting the fence. I was 13 wheen I studied Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

My Friend Ruth posts a video of a raft. Ruth's bro Joseph was my classmate. The raft reminds me of Huckleberry Finn. I had to borrow the video.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mary Anne Vaz, her story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoHpX0-2jo0

http://www.thestar.com.my/story/?file=%2F2010%2F12%2F13%2Fsarawak%2F7562153&sec=sarawak
 http://www.thestar.com.my/story/Mary Annee Vaz%2Fsarawak%2F7562153&sec=sarawak
http://www.pustaka-sarawak.com/sarawakiana_gallery/authors.php?id=63
 http://www.pustaka-sarawak.com/sarawakiana_gallery/authors.php?id=63
I got to know Mary Anne Vaz recently through chatting  and googling. I did a couple of blogs and facebook postings because her philosophy is similar to mine. We both love doing charity and use our hands to help others. It is her art to bring awareness to the Penan people that single her out.

Please watch her youtube and the link. I let them tell her story.

Mary with her husband Marcus Raja. He is a Kelabit from the Bario highlands. It so happens my brother in law and sister in law are his people.

I asked Mary why she came from Penang. "I met Marcus in the University of Malaya, I felt comfortable with my Sarawakian friends. I love Sarawak."

She has her own blog: https://www.blogger.com/profile/16632369001328455773

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Nanyang Technological university

Nanyang Technological university was constantly building. This is a  new building after we left NTU in 2006.

Happy Birthday, Singapore 2017



These Chinese structures are icons in Singapore. For a long time, Malaysians were not allowed to visit China. Coming to these Yunnan Garden served to kill two birds with one stone. They were in the university they funded, and they got a feel of China. I felt the same too, as I am 4th generations removed from China, and this is the closest I been to China.

NTU, Nanyang Technological University was originally privately raised by the Chinese people of South East Asia, including my grand parents. When I was growing up in Borneo, my grand parents and parents donated to build the Chinese University outside China. I was told that many of our Chinese ancestors owned a brick. We teased our grand dad if they gave him a number and the coordinates of his brick.

The Nanyang university of Singapore transitioned from a Chinese University to an ultra modern one funded by the Government.

When the Water Engineer went to teach in the University in 1990, it became NTI and then NTU, a fully fledged university and he became an associate professor. To date, of all the children in the Chan clan, only my daughter D attended the university.

In 1990, just before the birthday, I arrived in Singapore to live. I am thankful that I was able to live in comfort as a faculty wife. I spent sixteen of my adult years here, and the best thing is I made many friends from all over the world.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

ABC Letter E for Elephants.

This is Singapore Zoo. I like the humane way they treat the elephants.


















A moat separated us from the performing elephants in the Singapore Zoo. Every now and then, the elephants used their nose and sprayed water at the unexpected spectators.

Some one wanted photos of elephants, I forgot who. She is welcomed to use these. Just acknowledge my source.


http://abcwednesday.com



Friday, August 4, 2017

Taiwanese cherry blossom.






Prunus campanulata is a species of cherry native to Taiwan, widely grown as an ornamental tree, and a symbol of Nago, Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. It is variously known in English as the Taiwan cherry,[3] Formosan cherry, or bellflower cherry.

I used to mistake this for the Sakura cherry tree. They lined on both sides of Balmoral road where I used to live before Andrew was born, and later when we came back to live after 16 years in Singapore.

In 1989, the word Campomelic came to my vocabulary. It was the syndrome that Andrew had and killed him. Campanulata makes me think of that word. The Campanulata cherry  blooms ahead of the Sakura, then very quickly the flowers drop and fade away. 

This is the time when the Campanulata cherry  blooms are most pretty. At the time, at Andrew's birthday,  Balmoral road would be one scarlet hue. Then on his death anniversary in November, the trees would be bare. Empty like my arms.

Next month would be Andrew's birthday, This TVNZ documentary was made for 

 Baby Loss Awareness Week. I remember the interview I 

did  for the Television documentary," It is ok to cry." Here I am, telling myself it is 

OK to cry.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZk9w-uywAs&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, August 3, 2017

My Brother, WWF.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2014/06/29/getting-it-right-the-first-time-engage-and-consult-for-successful-delivery-says-wwf-malaysia-man/

“Engagement and consultation with people both within and outside WWF are important to ensure successful delivery of WWF’s mission,” Dr Chan added.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2014/06/29/getting-it-right-the-first-time-engage-and-consult-for-successful-delivery-says-wwf-malaysia-man/#dI54xfHmRxx8FZYi.99
Proud to have a brother involved in WWF.



Man with a mission: Chan is an anthropologist with a big heart for conservation.







Dining up in the Sky Tower.







We had  dinner at the Observatory restaurant at the Sky Tower in Auckland. We were up at 192 metres, and the view was fantastic. The sun set was beautiful too, so was the food.
I won't show you my dinner plate as it was a buffet.








Auckland Tower turned 20 yesterday.





Standing 328m tall, the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. When it was first opened it was among the top 10 tallest buildings in the world.
Since opening on August 3 1997, nearly 15 million guests have travelled through its upper levels to dine, take part in a SkyJump or SkyWalk or enjoy views of up to 82km in any direction.
The Sky Tower turned 20 yesterday and Kiwis can go up for free tomorrow.
SKyCity is also letting New Zealanders choose the colours that will light the top of the tower tomorrow, Friday and Saturday nights between 6pm-9pm.


Mary Anne Vaz , artist with a heart







Mary Anne Vaz  , facebook maryannevazartist This is at my Art Booth during the Borneo Fashion Week.
I am an artist. My art works feature woven basket. I am painting now.
I live in Miri. Since 1987. I m married to a Kelabit. My art feature the beauty of Sarawak: nature and culture. My mum is Hokkien, my dad is Portuguese. My hometown is Penang. My hubby is Marcus Raja
I have great admiration for people who are gifted and talented with their hands and a warm and big heart . Mary Anne Vaz caught my attention when she posted a weaved basket with her painting. 
The Penan tribe of Sarawak:
The Penan are a nomadic indigenous people living in Sarawak and Brunei, although there is only one small community in Brunei; among those in Brunei half have been converted to Islam, even if only superficially. Penan are one of the last such peoples remaining as hunters and gatherers.

Penan people - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penan_people