Tuesday, September 30, 2014

coffee for your plants

I went to a restaurant, Triniti of Silver at Mt Albert and asked for some coffee grounds. The woman said I was lucky, and she gave me 2 bags.

I bit off more than I can chew, they were so heavy when I lugged them to the car. They must weighing 10 kilos. I went there for Xmas lunch. That's how I know there are coffee grounds. I mix them straight into the soil.

My local gas station's cafe also leaves out coffee grounds for people to take home. Sometimes I ask my church MABC s coffee  makers to give me the ground.

The texture of the coffee grounds is like soil, dark and rich. They increase the bulk in you veg garden. They supply nitrogen retained from the bean. This is a must-have plant nutrient for leafy greens and vegetables.

Alphabe-Thursday Letter S for spring.

I was at Coyle's park and could not believe my eyes at the patch of spring flowers. I sat surrounded by the spring flowers and asked a complete stranger to take my photo.



ABC wednesday Letter L for Lamb

The few songs I learn when I was in primary school was Baa Baa black sheep. and Mary had a little lamb.

Here in New Zealand, the statistics is there are more sheep than human.

Our family sweetest tale of mum is when Mum and Dad came to Christchurch New Zealand to attend brother Charles graduation for his LLB, they were driving along some country road, where they had to stop to let the sheep cross the road.

Mum, a child of Borneo had never seen a sheep. She requested to be allowed to get out of the car. No! but she went among the sheep. When she came back, she laughed out loud and said," CHOW BUN" meaning so smelly.  But she fulfilled her child hood dream of being with sheep. 

Thinking of sheep and lambs and Mother, two of us siblings were born in this month. Mother's SHIO NAN RE , when she was just 16, she gave birth to eldest Sister Rose. SHIO NAN RE is the day of the greatest suffering, child birth.


abc15 (1)

save the world: gardening for kids

This is the Church Kids forever preschool garden. 3 weeks also , I volunteered and  put in leeks, strawberries, corn, radish, beans, cabbage, celery. I went back today to take this photo and water them.

The children would love this. The radish is already growing.  It is also a good way to teach the kids. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

SpongeHero Cleaning

Many New Zealand families have two partners working, or have young children. On weekends, time is taken up taking children to sports.

House cleaning is a big chore. After that, you get so tired and you can't have a relaxing time. Worst of all, you have a guilt trip having  shouted at the kids,  " Don't you dare mess up the place, I have spent hours cleaning the house."

Why not get the professionals in?

I just did. SpongeHero is New Zealand's newest professional on-demand residential cleaning service. On-demand means they clean when you request it. No lengthy contract that you can't get out once you committed yourself.

"SpongeHero's philosophy is simple, realistic and perfectly in line with today's technology." You use your computer, smart phone or tablet to make bookings.

I did have a small hitch when I used my computer to make my booking. I must have clicked or not clicked. I went to their website and emailed them, I also phoned and left a message at their answerphone. The problem was quickly fixed with a phone call and followed up with an email. The next day, I got another phone to rectify something I omitted to do. All very polite and efficient.

On the cleaning day, the Hero Marie came promptly. She was polite and has a nice personality. "Mei LoLeiLei,"I greeted her. I left her to do her job, and this was just what she did.Did her job.  Sponge hero was certainly thorough, non intrusive and friendly, so a thumbs up to them.

I was very pleased with this Hero, and if like me, you like to have their service, visit www.spongehero.co.nz  or phone 0508 Sponge

I was given a coupon to redeem for my post. SpongeHero and Hero Marie have no idea I am writing this review.

Memories, Middle school

Arthur Wee's photo. 

A ex school mate Arthur Wee posted a photo when I was in middle school, Form 5. Not too sure if we were librarians or members of the journalist club.

Both these extra curriculum gave the foundation to my writing. As a librarian I got the priority to borrow new books. I am seated on the extreme left.

Photo courtesy Arthur Wee.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

big road making machines.

I love big machines. This is because I grew up in Borneo, where there was no much machination. I remember once there was a community work to extend the road. People came and brought their hoes and baskets.


Stay mellow with yellow!

There Is Honour As A Funeral Makeup Artist

Last year, when my 50 something sis in law died last year, the family told the funeral makeup artist not to make her like a tart. They did her very elegantly.

This Girl Learns That There Is Honour As A Funeral Makeup Artist

A young make up artist finds herself in an underwhelming career with a embalmer-undertaker.
It wasn’t a job she signed up for, but she kept on because of the money. It surprisingly paid well. Working with a very experienced embalmer, she learns that there is honour in the job.
It then becomes a personal journey for her, too.
Watch ‘Sunflowers’《太阳花》by Quek Shio Chuan:
‘Sunflowers’ 《太阳花》was inspired by the death of his grandfather’s death, says Quek.
“Looking at the him for the last time through the glass panel of the coffin, lots of emotional thoughts rushed through my head. But of all things, the pearl placed on his lips caught my attention.”
Quek’s curiosity about the symbolic pearls into afterlife led him to discover more about the life and work of undertakers, the bereavement industry, and the tangle of emotions and strife family members of the deceased often have.
Also Watch: ‘Guang’, a short and inspiring drama by Quek by true events about his brother’s autism.

a bootie never worn

A cute little doggie bootie,
A  bootie never worn.

Today I had an idea,
I will use it for my camera pouch.

Twenty five years ago, at 7am,
My little boy Andrew was born.

Twenty five years ago, at 8 pm
We were told he was dying.

Happy 25th birthday in Heaven.
You are forever in my heart.


Many women in my book were bereaved.

160 Foochow Proverbs And Idioms” by Angela Yong.

May be I grew up in Sibu, Sarawak,
May be I became a writer,
May be my dad and mum might have known her,
May be she was colleagues of my Uncle Mark. 

I am awed by her,
I admire her,
Angela Yong from my town of birth.
Angela Yong had written 8 book,

“160 Foochow Proverbs And Idioms” by Angela Yong. Yong was born in China in 1926, the year her parents migrated to Sarawak. She grew up in Sibu. During World War II, she married James Hii Mee Chiong. They raised eight daughters and five sons. James died in 1986. Yong was a former teacher at St Francis Xavier Primary School in Kanowit.

If you want more Foochow proverbs and idioms, go buy the book. I bought it for RM6.90 at Belle’s Bookshop in Miri. By the way, Angela Yong is almost 90 and has written 8 books.

Angela Yong (Photo credit The Star)
 Thanks to Lim Chin Yong for photo and resources.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

脸 见 礼 a special gift

My new friend Helen Wong gave me a special gift when we met yesterday. In Chinese it is called  脸 见 礼:  . Loosely translated , it is a gift for seeing you the first time. And I didn't have anything for her.

 I used to practise this 脸 见 礼. When I was living in NTU, where the staff came from all over the world. My friend Manchala and I went to new residents to welcome them to campus. I always gave them a small pot plant. I explained the concept of  脸 见 礼. I made a lot of friends.

a century of the Chinese Taranaki by Helen Wong.

My friend Helen Wong, writer and Historian goes back to her roots and traces a century of the Chinese Taranaki 1870-1970 in New Zealand.  Does that remind you of somebody? Me, I also traced 100 years of my people from China to Borneo.


I met her yesterday, and have an immediate warm fuzzy feeling from her. She reminds me of another friend, Chang Yi, writer, Historian.

Helen wrote about the fungus, wood fungus , muk ngee.

xylogenous means growing on wood, so I take it that the Chinese Ear Fungi is xylogenous.

I went for a walk to a park next to Mt Albert Grammar school. I came across this tree stump which has some Chinese Ear Fungi growing. I have never been here, so I walked rather slowly and clicked as I went along.

This fungi is eaten by the Chinese and has a rubbery texture. You can buy them in dry form, soak it to reconstitute and it expands about 5 times its size. Not many people like it as it feels slimy and rubbery. I used to pick them when I was a child in Borneo.

I remember reading how this Chinese man Chew Chong who made his fortune in New Zealand by shipping them to China. The Kiwis, Pakehas and Maoris laughed at this China man, but he had the last laugh. He laughed all the way to the bank.

So now, I will be keenly looking at tree stumps and hope to make my millions.

Wood ear fungus

The first commercial sale of edible fungi in New Zealand was in the 1870s, when Taranaki merchant Chew Chong sent bags of dried wood-ear fungus (Auricularia cornea) to his homeland, China. The fungus was in demand for the crunchy, chewy texture it added to food.

Wood ear fungus grows naturally on dead trees in lowland forest. Tonnes were harvested as settlers cleared forest for farming, and exports to China continued until the 1950s. In the 2000s, the fungus is now mostly imported to New Zealand from China, in dry form. Taiwanese growers had started cultivating a closely related fungus on sawdust blocks in the 1960s, and it became uneconomic to harvest it in the wild. A small quantity is now grown in New Zealand for the domestic market.

Helen Wong: Second Burial 第二埋葬 Dì èr máizàng

第二埋葬  Dì èr máizàng

I  was privileged to meet Helen Wong, writer and Historian. We compared notes and she gave me her two books, Second Burial and In the Mountain's Shadow. 


Second Burial is my Mum's Kwang Ning hakka's custom. I recall as a teenager, attending the grand ceremony of my Great Grand Father Kong's second burial. 

When I was there at the ceremony in the cemetery,  his bone had already been exhumed, cleaned and assembled in a big jar as though he was sitting inside the jar. 

The jar was lowered into the tomb, and I vividly remember all the descendant were given small tumblers of wine to be thrown into the tomb. There was great pomposity. At that time my Grand Uncle was a high ranking assembly man and the head man of the region. 

I had written about Great Grand Father's death. He and the family had just arrived in Borneo from China. He was buried in a simple grave. I am not sure if this second burial was because the first grave was a simple one, and they gave him and Ah Tai  a grand grave befitting of them. 

海外华人的中国魂 Title From China to Borneo to Beyond

The Chinese reporters were wowed by this title
海外华人的中国魂. It talks about the Overseas Chinese and their Chinese spirit.

Thanks to Kuan, my ESOL China student Kuan for suggesting this.

Grow roots where you land

New Zealand Chinese created an event.

New Zealand Chinese's photo.

Sunday, October 12 at 11:00am
This phrase LIO DE SAN GEN is a very popular phrase and is very appropriate with so many Chinese who had left Motherland China to all over the world.
My great grand parents left China to Borneo. Most of their descendants had  grown roots  in China and remained til the died. Their children too remained until they died.

The next generation and the next (mine and my aunties and uncles, our children) uprooted and went beyond. We are in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA and back to China.

How wise, the ancient scholars who termed this phrase, LIO DE SAN GEN

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From China to Borneo and Beyond

From China to Borneo and Beyond (Trade Paperback/Paperback)

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This is a hundred-year-old journal of two families, the Chans and the Kongs. It traces the first movement in 1907 from Kwang Zhou, China to the jungles of Borneo. It is a six-generational record with the second wave of movement to England, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, USA ...
ISBN 9780473239008
Published 1 January 2013
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Mail Order Bride

Mail Order Bride (Paperback)

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This book is about the embodiment of the darker side of today's society.
ISBN 9780473254148
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Cry of Oppressed Women

Cry of Oppressed Women (Trade Paperback/Paperback)

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Women suffers from oppression. This story traces the life of Nadine who overcomes her own problems of oppression, grows up to be a social worker and helps women who have suffered from physical and mental violence, domestic violence, rape, pornography, swinging, sex slavery, human ...
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Diary of a Bereaved Mother

Diary of a Bereaved Mother
This is a real life story of losing one's only son. This experience has made the author strong and caring. This tragedy has been a great help for her to help understand other bereaved people. The author is very brave to write this book. It has not been easy and she aims to touch,... read full description below.
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ISBN 9780473187095
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Crabs, I love crabs

Showing the crab body was as big as my head. The legs  were more than one foot long.

This was one Christmas dinner  we would remember for a long time. They are from the Southland of New Zealand, we we bought them live from the Auckland Fish Market. The bigger beautiful purple crab is the male, and the female is brown. The legs of the male were more than a foot long. It cost NZ$150 a kilo.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Arthritis New Zealand street appeal.

Arthritis New Zealand street appeal.2014

As a Chinese child growing up in Borneo, I am constantly told not to wear wet clothing, have wet hair. The maxim was, "Don't ask why, wait till you grow old, and suffer from Arthritis and  Rheumatism. It was a feared disease, my Grand Dad and Grand ma were constant in pain, and their mobility impaired.

Today is the Arthritis New Zealand street appeal. I went Downtown and were greeting with these three lively young man and women. I was touched that young people were involved in what is generally known as an old person's illness. Thank you, Gwen, Dean and Joey. Paki Paki.

more common among women and, according to the Lupus Trust of New Zealand, is more prevalent in Maori and Pacific Islanders.

• A chronic autoimmune condition that attacks healthy tissue.
• Affects mainly women.
• One in 900 people in NZ are affected.
• More prevalent in Maori, Pacific, Asian people.
• Can be triggered by sunlight, UV light, hormones and some medications.
Source: Lupus Trust of NZ


Morning teas

 Two different types of morning tea. Scones are very English, and Har Gaws are Cantonese.

When I go for the Cantonese Yum Cha, I always have Har Gaw, the prawn dumpling. I have it not because they are delicious, but to remember Mum who learned to make if after her tour to Singapore and West Malaysia.

PhotoHunt is 'Morning'


Gone Girl

Thriller is a genre of literature, film, and television programming that uses suspense, tension, and excitement as its main elements.

Suspense is a feeling of pleasurable fascination and excitement mixed with apprehension, tension, .

Once I had a discussion with my daughter Deborah about the distinction between a thriller and suspense. I came to my own conclusion that a thriller tells you what happens as you read, and a suspense tells you the answer at the end of the book.  Rightly or wrongly, I prefer suspense.

I was just finishing reading this Go Girl, taunted as Observer's Thriller of the year. I did not particularly enjoy the book, but as usual, I soldier on in reading a book unless it is really really bad. 

Then I watch an ad on TV about the movie, and showed Ben Affleck, who I really like.   OK, I read the book, I like Ben Affleck. But  will I go to watch the movie? My ears will hurt when there is too much vulgar language. I wonder why Gillian Flynn had to used all those language.


Stay mellow with yellow!