Monday, January 30, 2012

Mellow yellow: Strong waves at Bethells beach.

While most of us were just frolicking in the strong waves at Bethells Beach, my 15 year old tried to surf. I too joined the rest and talk of being drama queen, I was knocked over by a huge wave, fell, gurped mouthful of salty water, and dragged a few meters, scraped my knee, and lost my sun glasses.

The surf guard asked if I was alright. I didn't dare to tell him I lost the glasses.

Missing teenager's body found near Bethells Beach
Last updated 21:58 24/01/2012

Police have found the body of a 15-year-old boy who was swept out to sea off Bethells Beach on Auckland's west coast five days ago.

Zebedee Pua, 15, went missing from O'Neill Bay, 1km north of Bethells Beach, last Thursday after rescuing a young girl from the surf.

The boy's body was spotted from the Eagle police helicopter at Kirikiri Bay, north of Bethells Beach, about 5pm Tuesday and was recovered with the help of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Pua was last seen alive by his 12-year-old brother Raymond, who said he and his older brother had been wandering around the rocks and did not plan to go swimming.

He said his brother was a ''hero'' for rescuing the young girl.

Bethells is Auckland's third-most dangerous beach, according to the number of rescues.

Surf Life Saving figures show 114 people were rescued there in the past four years, with 22 in the past year.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Saturday PhotoHunt" Fluffy

My friend C made this beautiful, light and fluffy birthday cake for a mutual friend. She gave him a surprised birthday party. She wanted to make him a man's cake, so she could not use flowers. She used fresh fruits, cherries, kiwi fruit, black berries, peaches, pears and mangoes.

We told her to use footballs or rugby balls.

The Saturday PhotoHunt : The PhotoHunt theme for the week is 'Fluffy'.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

weekend reflection, 7th day of Lunar new year.

I made 60 Siew mais, tiny morsels of pork and prawn dumplings for the Mt Albert Baptist church celebration. You can see the reflection in the stainless steel platter.

The Chinese/Lunar New year is celebrated for 15 days. Today is the seventh day. It is known as Rénrì (人日) or everyone's birthday), the day when everyone grows one year older. In West Malaysia and Singapore, Yu Sheng raw slivers of fish is mixed with various pickles and nuts. As they toss the salad, they raise the salad high with their chopsticks and say auspicious words.

When I was growing up, we always went to my Uncle Kok fei's house to celebrate his birthday. There was no mention of the Renri. I didn't know of this day until I went to Singapore.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ABC: Letter B for Jean Batten.

Jean Batten was a record setting female explorer and pioneer aviator who left her mark in aviation history.

A memorial and the Auckland International airport dedicated to Jean Batten.

That's me, trying to walk/fly in Jean's foot steps in a bi-plane , a tiger moth.

Jean Batten - Pioneer Pilot, New Zealand's number one daughter.

Adventurous, glamorous and daring, pilot Jean Batten's record-breaking flights between 1933 and 1937 made her possibly the most famous New Zealander of the decade. In October 1937, aged 28, Batten made her final long distance flight, from Australia to England in 5 days 18 hours. The flight set a solo record for pilots of either sex.

Batten's highly publicised long distance flights earned her international celebrity


Monday, January 23, 2012

yellow mellow: Tunnel

There is a lot of yellow inside this tunnel. A fairly new tunnel joining to the north of Auckland, and is a pay as you use tunnel


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Photohunt: Bliss


You can't see the bliss my son is feeling after getting up on the surf sail board for the first time, after umpteen times of falling in the water, especially when his fellow student is still falling.

windsurfing in Pt Chevalier at Raymond Reserve. Coached by e Pete Smith WNZ Master Instructor.http://www.aucklandwindsurfing.co.nz/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weekend reflection: Lunar/Chinese New Year

You can see the reflection of the shop front on my car.

I have been reflecting this year. Traditionally, Chinese New Year is a time of reunion with family, of traditions. I have not celebrated this day for personal reasons. Twenty four years ago, on the second day of the Chinese New Year, my mum died from a terrible accident. She was only 60, and she died in the year of the dragon, which is this year. Then 18 years later, my dad died on her anniversary. I left home in 1975, and it is not that I have morphed into a non Chinese. This is the first year I am telling people why when you come to my house, it is not decorated with red and gold.

However, having written my book about the death of my son Andrew, I feel some sort of a release. I can move on.

Two days ago, I had to service my car, the workshop told me it would take one and half hours. I went for a long walk under our beautiful summer sun. Despite my wide brim hat, I was getting sun burnt on my shoulder. When I got back, they told me it would take another hour. I wasn't going to walk again, I went into this unpretentious Chinese eatery.

It was 2.30pm, there was only one client. I chose a bowl of Chinese white fungus Nashi pear dessert. It was served warm and refreshing. I sat there reading a book. The waitress left me alone as she could tell I didn't want to me disturbed. One hour had passed, the workshop had not rung me. I told the waitress I am going to check on my car, she said, "Come back if it is not fixed."

It still was not fixed, I went to the Asian grocery next door and bought a few items. I went back to the eatery. I was very hot by then. The waitress quietly came and brought a glass of Chinese tea.

That is what I thought the spirit of what Chinese New Year is, of hospitality.



ABC: A for Artist with a cause.

Oliver's Hope and Despair:

Artist's interpretation: Despair for the poor girl, Isabella and all those who think we deprive the orang utans of their livelihood. Sadness for Malaysians to see the people in power bulldozing through our forest indiscriminately to enrich themselves without social responsibilities.

Hope for the millions of labourers and small holders who depend on oil palm for their livelihood.

In the final analysis:
This world is not about making money.
It is about creating wealth so that we can live in harmony with nature.

Despite all of this, this world is still a beautiful place
Love conquers all
Love your ones that are still around
Appreciate the nature surrounding you
Feel the breeze,wind, snow and rain wherever you are

"Do not be afraid to die but be very afraid your life has not begun"

Oliver, when I knew him as a university student in 1978 in Auckland New Zealand


I haven't seen Oliver for more than 30 years. When we met at Facebook, he told me that he was involved in replanting of oil palm trees. I was very happy.

Oliver: Oil Palm - My sleeping partners and I bought the oil palm plantation 6 years ago when I was still in the bank. The oil palm trees were about 22 yrs old. I knew nothing about oil palm then. But one thing I know was after I retire from the bank as a manager. I want to do something that is back to nature. Opportunity came. We bought the land then everything just fell into place. I retired 6 months ago from the bank. My oil palm plantation was approved for replanting in October last year. Now I am learning to replant.

Because of the haze, nowadays the government doesn't permit burn the felled oil palm trees anymore. The leaves and trunk are left to rot and is a good source of fertiliser for the young plants. A great way to recycle.

I consider myself just a smallholder. Most of the works are contracted out to 2 Indonesian workers except for transportation of fruits which is done by local Malaysians. I just help to supervise and oversee the whole process. Not a big company, a small holding.

In New Zealand, kids are told the Indonesian and Malaysian jungles are cleared to make way for oil palm, and this means the orang utans are driven out of their homes and if nothing is done, the orang utans will become extinct.

The effect of such oil palm news shocked and impacted my nine-year-old student, Isabella Wilson who, after visiting the zoo, went home and cleared her mother's pantry of all products containing the oil.

"I stopped buying shapes, noodles and Tim Tams. Tim tams were my ultimate favourite, so it was very hard to give those up," she says.

Inspired, Isabella also gave a speech to her schoolmates at Pt Chevalier Primary.

"We have the power to stop this mindless killing. Stop buying products that contain palm oil. Demand manufacturers to use other sources of vegetable oil, or palm oil that has not been harvested in Indonesia and Malaysia," she said.

Isabella has learnt one lesson: standing up for what you believe in, can cost, but it can be worth it.

Television 3, Campbell live came to school, to interview Isabella. My school kids were very excited that TV came to our school.


With the "Don't use palm oil" culture in one camp in New Zealand, and having grown up in Borneo where the controversy is all about. In 2009, I went to Borneo, I had this issue in my head. I wanted to see how much of this is true.

Admittedly, I was only at the north tip of Sarawak/Borneo. The sky was hazy, visibility was low. But it was also the season of the traditional slash and burn season of the natives. The environmentalists claim that slash and burn would not result in such a big scale haze. So bad was the haze in Malaysia that they scaled down the National Day Celebration.

This would be Despair as painted by Oliver. Oliver is now replanting the trees on old plantations, there is no need to cut down the jungle. If more people would replant the trees, there is hope. How appropriate, Oliver.

I didn't know that Oliver painted when we were in Auckland. I asked him when he started, and here is his reply:

You ask " When did I start Painting?" Way back in Form one when I was 13, I quess. I remembered I use to paint almost everyday when I was in Form 4 , 5 and also had an art exhibition in school. My media is Batik mainly and sold a couple of my paintings then. then after Form 5, I didnt go for further study abroad but stayed home for a year to accompany my sister and care for my mum. During that time I also painted a lot. When I was in New Zealand I still painted. I love to go to the National Art gallery near Auckland University. Sometimes I just sit there hours looking at the paintings. I also liked to go to the NZ National Library and flip through all those paintings by the great Artist. It has always been part of me, to help me to release my emotions I guess.

Oliver is currently actively involved in Save Malaysia Stop Lynas campaign.


Monday, January 16, 2012

mellow Yellow: Chinese Seafood restaurant

For Christmas, we had our lunch at Newmarket, and had tiny morsels called DimSum.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Scenic Sunday: Surfing in Omaha

My son enrolled for a surf lesson. At the first lesson, it was cold and rainy. Today, the weather was beautiful.

One of the items on my bucket list is to surf, LOL. That's what my son wants me to do. I went as far as talking to the surf instructor Simon. I had done posts on him and his coaching, and I told him that many of you enjoyed looking at the photos. We have become friends.

Surfaris Surf School & Surf Tours, described by YHA NZ as 'A truly unforgettable experience' is a respected surf company operating across Northland offering surf lessons and surf tours to tourists and New Zealanders. The Surfaris all-inclusive surf tours travel to remote locations in search of good times and fun waves. We promote surf lessons, surf tours, school & holiday camps, corporate team building, women's surf retreats, family surf days, beach education, surf culture and adventure. Learning to surf is a great discipline that feeds the mind, body and soul so why not give it a go! Standing for the first time is a memory to last that will have you smiling from ear to ear. Surfaris is committed to sustainability and take steps at all times to ensure we take nothing but experience from the environment.
is internationally accredited and we've helped many people of all ages experience the thrill of surfing.


Friday, January 13, 2012

PhotoHunt theme 'Circular'.

I am told not to rest on my laurels, I tell new friends I ran the marathon in 2005, (albeit 10 kilometers) once I finished that gruelsome run in Singapore, I have not seriously run another lap. It's hard to pick it up. My running partner is in USA, and she suggested that she encourages me over the internet. I have become old and put on weight and lack the discipline. and I have the bane that plague women who had multiple pregnancies. In short, my son says he won't go on the Amazing Race partnering me, because I need too many toilet stops.

The PhotoHunt theme for the week is 'Circular'.


weekend reflection: Car parrk.

I went to New Market and snapped this photo. It was raining and the sky was dull.


Monday, January 9, 2012

ABC Wed: Z for Zumba

This sign is 5 minutes from my house, but I am too embarrassed to join them, me with my flabby tummy. So I took the top three photos from the TV.

Zumba is a Latin dance -inspired fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez in Colombia during the 1990s.

Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves. Squats and lunges are also included.

Zumba became very popular in New Zealand, and gyms and even church halls were offering Zumba sessions. They have infomercial on TV and I have never actually watch. Me being more interested in my finger exercise with my computer. But this morning, I remember it is letter Z this week, and last month, I saw a sign and took a photo in anticipation for this week's challenge.

My friend Megan told me that she has the CDs that she could do Zumba with. May be I could do that. and have the body one can only dream off.