Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Samoa, you are 50

Manuia Le Aso Fanau or  Happy Birthday Samoa. Samoa was the first country in the region that gain her independence. Samoa actually became independent on January 1, 1962, but the event is observed on June 1 each year. I wished my Samoa students a happy 50th birthday, and shared this joke I learn from them.

What did the giant say when he ate Tonga ? I want Samoa. (Some more)
What happened to the Moa in New Zealand? The giant ate them all. ( The Moa was the biggest bird in the world and is now extinct.)

The word fales came to the forefront when the Tsunami struck Samoa last year. My students tell me that their relatives still fear for another Tsunami coming.

The Samoans are the biggest Pasifika group in Auckland. They brought their culture, games to New Zealand. Manu Samoa is a strong Rugby team.

The Samoan cricket bat is one real heavy piece of tree and the blade cross-section is roughly an equilateral triangle. The bat is much bigger and three-sided, meaning there was no telling which direction the ball would fly in when contact was made! There is no real style in Samoan cricket, be it batting stance nor batting grip. What happens is the batsman just stands in front of the stumps and when the ball is bowled, the batsman takes a wild heave (I literally mean a wild swat) and so there is no attention paid to how the bat is gripped. See ball, hit ball.

Yester-year, Sue and I were good friends, we were also neighbours in Scalan Street, Grey Lynn in late 1970s. Sue was from Samoa. She arranged for her cousin to lend me her wedding dress.

She made sponge cakes for my wedding reception. She told me that we have to be very quiet and not slam the doors, otherwise the cakes would fall flat.

I miss you, Sue. I wonder if you are still in New Zealand or are you back in Samoa.

Water:New Zealand ; Land of adventure

Bethels sand dune, when the America's biggest loser came to New Zealand because New Zealand is th elasnd of extreme sports, the contestants climbed the dunes. I am proud that I climbed a few times. We love the challenge of sliding down the giant dunes. The challenge is even greater climbing up, when you climb one step, and slip two thirds down. Each time I climb up, I vow I will never do it again. But the call of the sand beckons me to slide down again. It's like there is a spirit.

At the bottom is a creek.

My artist friend Oliver Wong whom I met in New Zealand did this."Enjoy the deep blue sea."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Scenic Sunday/sunday bridge: Kuala Lumpur

Caught the Kuala Lumpur train passes by overhead on the bridge. The train gives an illusion that the two towers are very close together. They are in fact very far away.  

The Skyline of KL. Sean Connery movie's "Entrapment" showed the Petronas Twin Tower.

Among the many striking settings in Entrapment, the most dramatic is the one chosen for the film’s climax: the Twin Towers in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Currently the highest building in the world, Twin Towers dominates the KL skyline: it stands 84 storeys high and was built at the astonishing rate of one floor every four days. Made of stainless steel clad in glass, the two gigantic towers are linked at the 41st floor by a skybridge.

Though the movie of Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones publicised KL, it was also full of controversy when it showed the poorer side.

To go up the KL tower, you have to pay. We have been there a few times. The water engineer likes it. Once, it had the World's highest McDonalds restaurant.

In the morning, you can get free guided tour of the Twin towers. You have to queue up earlier. We never bothered to.

Ruby red/rednesday/Thursday theme song: Bob the builder

When I wore my vest, my kids sang Bob the builder song.

Bob the Builder Theme Song

Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes, we can!

Scoop, Muck and Dizzy and Roley too
Lofty and Wendy join the crew
Pilchard and Bird, Travis and Spud
Playing together like good friends should

Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes, we can! 
Time to get busy, such a lot to do
Building and fixing till it's good as new
Bob and the gang have so much fun
Working together, they get the job done

Can we build it? Yeah!
Can we fix it? Yeah!

Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes, we can! (Yeah!)

Saturday, May 26, 2012


My Kai aka  adopted sister Ah King posted a photo of my Kai Ma aka adopted mum with short Azaleas in Rotorua in New Zealand. Tall or short, they are wonderful flowers. This concept of KAI is a term of endearment, I did not physically go and live with her and be her daughter.

I went back to this morning this post below in 2009 before I joined memes. I remember doing this post and know exactly where I took the above photo. At a private house in Sandringham Road. I didn't take any more of the Azaleas because I couldn't find another  bush as good as this.

Because of the Chinese innate inability to say R, when ever the news of Azaria's death came up, I think of this flower.  I think you all have heard of Fly Lice. Some times, I catch myself sounding R instead of L and vice versa, and I am an ESOL teacher. An old Chinese male student in his 70s, says that the Chinese can't roll our tongue. He overcome this problem by saying RRRRRRR when he brushes his teeth.

Azaria's case has always intrigued me. I wasn't a mum then, I held the conviction that mums don't kill their babies. We had long heated debates at work.

On 19 August 1980 a nine-week-old girl named Azaria Chamberlain was allegedly captured by a dingo near the Uluru and killed.  Now, when I see of the flower Azalea, I think of her mum, a bereaved mum who took so long and so much to clear her name.

On 15 September 1988, the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously overturned all convictions against Lindy and Michael Chamberlain
yielded virtually identical results.

Two years after they were exonerated, the Chamberlains were awarded A$1.3 million in compensation for wrongful imprisonment, a sum that covered only approximately one quarter of their legal expenses
24 Feb 2012 – A PACKED courtroom in Darwin has heard hundreds of people have been injured by dingoes in Australia and one of the wild dogs probably killed Azaria.

Azaria explained the Chamberlians came from the Hebrews, it means helped by God, not the flower Azalea.

Azaleas have many stems. At the end of each stem, grows a flower. During the flowering season they are a solid mass of colour. Azaleas are recognised by these flowers blooming all at once, in a showy display for a month or two in spring.

When I lived in Singapore for sixteen years, I had a group of girlfriends who are like sisters to me. In deed, together, we are like stems of an Azalea plant. We flower at the end of each stem. We are bunched together closely that we produced a mass of wonderful blooms. As a bloom inevitably left us for their home country, we nurtured another bloom.

We were not beautiful physically, but that is not important, we had beautiful hearts. Together we used our hands and brains and raised money for the deaf children in Kenya, and to separate a pair of Siamese Twins.

When I left Singapore three years ago, friends asked if I would miss Singapore. I sincerely tell them, it is not the place I would miss, it is the people especially these group of sisters. I went for a visit this July, and they made me feel as though I had never left.

Today, they sent me a card to mark a special occasion. On the card, there are two new blooms. I am glad that Azalea bush is continually growing.

Friday, May 25, 2012

crinum : hibernating plants

The poor crinum plant is hibernating now in winter. Actually, this morning, from afar, I saw 2 green things coming out, but it was too cold for me to go and have a look.
The leaves are big blades and the pink flowers are big blooms of lily. This clump is grown next to my garage.

Crinums are a large family, belonging to the amaryllidaceae group.

Skywatch: too early winter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mellow yellow Monday: Swing

When  a fellow bereaved mum read my Sands mums running she told me that in 2 days, it will be her Angel's anniversary, and she wasn't looking forward to it. I decided to write this poem.

A lifeless butterfly,
An empty swing,
Both poignant reminders,
That 10 years ago,
Little P died.
His death is in vain.
Because nobody was held accountable.
Where is the justice?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Flower: Swan Plant flower

This can be a story of the life cycle of the butterfly. But this is beyond this. In two days time, Patrick Martin would have been celebrating his 10th birthday. He should probably be playing in Junior rugby or rugby league. His mum Louise would be busy preparing for his birthday party. But there is none of these going to happen. Louise's heart is heavy and she knows she is dreading the day.

I wasn't here when this happened. It was a stroke of unusual circumstance that Louise and I became friends. We were at a workshop and she invited me to sit beside her. I introduced myself as a bereaved mum, and Louise touched my arm. She whispered, I am too. It was as if that touch and soft words were magical. We became friends.

On Friday, I was sitting outside the clump of swan plants teaching some students. A Monarch butterfly landed on my shoulder. I taught my kids with this song Butterfly, my butterfly, wait for me don't fly away, I told the students, it is natural for the butterflies to fly away when they are ready.

But in the case of Patrick, it was far from being natural. I looked up the archives, It was a very tragic case.