Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy New Year.

The New Zealand Chinese Association, Auckland Inc, celebrated Chinese New Year with the Lions come with a big bang. The Malaysian Lion troupe came to wish everyone a Kong Hei Fa Choi aka we wish you a prosperous new year, and we feed the lions hong bows.

Stay mellow with yellow!

Tyla Nathan-Wong

I  had a brush with fame tonight. I attended the New Zealand Chinese Auckland Inc Chinese New Year dinner. We honoured Tyla Nathan-Wong. So proud of her. Not everyday do we meet a celebrity.

New Zealand Women's Sevens (2012-14)
Maori Women's Sevens (2012)
Auckland Women's Sevens (2012-13)
NZ Women's Touch team (2010 - present)
NZ U19 Women's Touch Team (2011)
The fastest feet in the squad, Nathan-Wong is a natural athlete.  The 18 year old former Linfield High School student was the youngest to ever be selected for the New Zealand Women’s Sevens team in 2012.  She has already represented New Zealand in Touch Rugby.

~ Brush ~

Friday, February 27, 2015

New Zealand Chinese

     Autumn - February Newsletter 2015

Helen of New Zealand Chinese wrote a wonderful review.

From China to Borneo and Beyond –
Ann Kit Suet Chin-Chan

I discovered this book, when I was at my printers
having some of my work printed. I picked up the book,
and was intrigued to read parts of it, as I flicked
through the pages.

Who was Ann Chin? I took a photo of the cover, and
added to my face book page and did the usual google
search. We made contact via face book, and had a
meeting. We swapped books – as you do.
Describers by the author as “a hundred year old
journal of two families, the Chans and the Kongs.”
recorded from 1907 to 2006. “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 and New

“The Opium war, virgin tropical jungle, Japanese
World War, colonial days, a revolution, a fight with the
communists; these were harshness and the difficulties
the families had to go through.”

Ann writes lovingly of each family person, from her
childhood memories, and gives us descriptive insights
– “Grandfather Kong … loved a drink or two, not too
much to make him drunk. When he visited us Mother
would offer him a bottle of Guinness Stout, an egg and
a big mug before her retired to bed. He poured the
stout into the mug, broke the egg into the stout and
drank the concoction. The creamy effervescent gave
him a white mustache on his upper lip and he made a
slurpy sound as his tongue licked the froth off… . We
used to cringe…when he swallowed the raw egg which
had sunk to the bottom of the mug. ”

The book is well written, and provides a distinctive
contrast to the lives that our own newly arrived New
Zealand forebears suffered during this period. It makes
me feel that they had it good.

From China to Borneo and Beyond – Ann Kit Suet
Chin-Chan Publication date: 1 March 2013 ISBN 10:
0473239000 and ISBN 13: 9780473239008

Ann Chin is the author of several books, including:
Diary of a Bereaved Mother, Goodbye my baby
Published 2011 ISBN 0473187094
Mail Order Bride ISBN :9780473254148

And is currently working on a new book.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

ABC Wednesday letter G

Good friends Messrs John Sciacaluga and John Chan attended in St Mary's College in Strawberry Hills, London in the 50s John S came from Gilbrator, John C (Dad) from Borneo/
They were best mates and became lifelong educationist. They remained in touch. My Dad talked so much about John in England .

My Dad visited them in 1989. They had so much to talk. They had so much

John will be 100 years old next week. My Dad did not make 90.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thai Kwang school, my roots

so pleased to find out that my cousin Kong Kathleen's son Henley Siik Wui is teaching in Thai Kwang School. Newly relocated and rebuilt school
The original Thai Kwang school was my home, my Kampong in Upper lanang Road. During the Japanese war aka WW2, it was a Japoanese Camp, and my Ah Kung lived 5 minutes from there.

Sjk Thai kwang was the school of the Chans when we came to Borneo. In 1970s, the Government relocated all the people and the school. My cousin Kong Kathleen's son is a teacher there. Thai Kwang school had a very important role in the history of the World war 2.

Friday, February 20, 2015

a special pineapple

Is it a flower?
Is it a fruit?
not a flower but just as pretty,
A special pineapple.
Grandfather and Father used to plant pineapples. 
This is a sextuplet, a rare find.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

the Gingko Biloba aka PAK GOU


When I was little, I used to help Grandpa and Mum gently hammer the Gingko Biloba aka PAK GOU in Chinese in Mum's pestle and mortar. I have to use the right force, too hard, and I mesh the expensive kernel, and too lightly, the shell of the kernel won't crack open. Then we had to gently peel the skin and finally remove the germ. It is this germ which must be removed as it has a bitter taste and could be poisonious.

I came to New Zealand in the 1970s, little did I know that there are Gongko trees in ther public parks in Auckland until two days ago.

One day, we had hail. The hail brought down gingko fruits from my friend M's tree. Her husband B picked them up, and she brought it to our dinner. I had never seen a fresh gingko fruit, and I happily accepted.

My friend C said I was lucky because B had already processed the hard bit. Wikipeadiea mentions that the pulp smell like faeces. That was how bad they smelt.

I asked a little Kiwi boy what fruits they are.

He said," Some Chinese Fruit."

"Are they edible?"

"Yes, the Chinese people pick them all the time."

Vietnamese rice paper roll.

First you soak the dry rice paper disc in warm water. Do not soak too long, otherwise they will disintegrate.

When they are just pliable to fold, you make your roll. Experiment a few times, don't worry if they break apart.

The Vietnamese are famous for their rice paper rolls. It is not deep fried so it a welcoming change especially to the health conscious people. Richard in one of the Top Chef competition served this to the policemen.

I was introduced to this by the real McCoy Vietnemese as I made friends with refugees in Auckland in the early 1980s, and later in NTU, wives of lecturers who became my good friends.

During the pre Christmas morning tea at church, I made these, a vegetarain version. Indeed, a big change from the sweet and more sweet Christmas goodies.

***Usually, you serve this as a dip with a lemon, chilli and fish sauce. The fish sauce is quite strong to a Caucasian palate, so I miss this out.

The rice paper comes from Vietnam, you can buy similar Thai ones. ***

I am very proud that my family is open and have married different race. This is for you, Helen and Michelle

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Canadian Documentary,

My book attracted the attention of a Canadian Movie maker. He has invited me to help in his research, and use my book.

Photohunt: Cherished, a special photo with a chieftain.

Here taken with my Kelabit Sister in Law Elley's uncle. I had to take a photo with this chieftain. The girls were Elley's flower girls. This is cherished, the big man has died.

Music Box Dancer - Frank Mills 


I was swept by emotions as I looked for just the right photo. So many cherished memories, moments and yes . . . even things.
I decided to go with this photo that represents many of those thoughts I cherish.

Photohunt: Cherished

The PhotoHunt for today is 'Cherished'. This blown glass piano gives me cherished memories. I was holidaying in Australia where where half of my siblings live, and where my Mother died.

I bought this for my oldest girl who had been abroad for almost ten years, and she played as beautiful piece for me. It was the piece I heard for the first time when I just given birth to her.

I was swept by emotions as I looked for just the right photo. So many cherished memories, moments and yes . . . even things.
I decided to go with this photo that represents many of those thoughts I cherish.

2015, Year of the goat

About 100 years ago, in 1907, my great grand dad left the village Guang Ning, near to Guangzhou city for Sibu, Sarawak.

In 1978, I left Sibu for Auckland.

In 1989, Guangzhou became a twin city of Auckland. I was very pleased and proud. I have not been to GuangZhou or China, but to be part of this twinning gave me a great sense of pride.

In 1999, the people of Guangzhou presented this statue of five rams to the people of their sister city. When I see it when I visit Myers Park, my chest swells with pride. It makes me want to visit Guangzhou.

Some of my adult ESOL students from Guangzhou ask, "You never been back? You should!"

May be I will, in the near future. The Water Engineer was in Guangzhouand he saw the same statue.

Guangzhou is the Hangyu pingyin or Mandarin name for what was Canton.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Baby Switch

In our family, we have a sibling who we thought was a baby switch. Mother's sentiments was the same as this mother.

French court orders $3 million payout after girls switched at birth

Manon Serrano, who was switched at birth, kisses her mother Sophie. Photo / AP
Manon Serrano, who was switched at birth, kisses her mother Sophie. Photo / AP
Two French families who discovered they had been given the wrong babies a decade after their daughters were born because of a hospital mix-up have been awarded $3 million in compensation.
A court in the southern town of Grasse ordered the clinic in Cannes to pay the compensation, which was six times less than what the families had been demanding.
Read more: France: $19 million at stake in switched-at-birth case
The Cannes-la-Bocca Clinic was ordered to pay 400,000 euros (almost $610,000) to each of the swapped babies, who are now adult women, along with 300,000 euros to each of the parents and 60,000 euros to three siblings.
The families first discovered they had been given the wrong children after Sophie Serrano, now 38, gave birth to a daughter at the clinic in July 1994.
The baby suffered from jaundice and doctors put her in an incubator equipped with lights to treat the problem along with another affected newborn girl.
However, an auxiliary nurse unwittingly switched them and although both mothers immediately expressed doubt about the babies, pointing to their different hair lengths, they were sent home anyway.
Ten years later, troubled by the fact his daughter, Manon, bore no resemblance to him with her darker skin, the father did a paternity test that revealed he was not her biological parent.
Mrs Serrano then discovered she was not Manon's mother either, prompting a probe to try and find the other family who had been handed their biological daughter.
The investigation revealed that at the time of the births in 1994, three newborns suffered from jaundice - the two girls and a boy - and the clinic only had two incubators with the special lights.

A blood test found Manon Serrano, left, was not biologically related to her mother Sophie, right, nor her father, who became suspicious due to his daughter's darker skin. Photo / AP
A blood test found Manon Serrano, left, was not biologically related to her mother Sophie, right, nor her father, who became suspicious due to his daughter's darker skin. Photo / AP

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Dad and his friend Jetie Ambin.

My Dad when he was young, with other Divisional Education officers. There were 7 divisions in Sarawak.

It was through very strange circumstance that I became Jetie Ambin's facebook friend.

We both belong to the Foochow forum, though he is an Iban and I a Cantonese. There was a thread about our Rejang river, and we both commented a creature which he had identified as a manatee and me the Malay name dugong.

To make the story short, he knew I was my father's daughter from the day I launched my books. I am just so elated to meet my dad's friend. Coincidentally, my father taught him in Methodist school in 1956, and I went to the same school, Methodist school in Sibu.

Chinese Zodiac and paper cut

The Chinese Zodiac is a 12 year cycle. Each year of the 12 year cycle is named after one of the original 12 animals. Each animal has a different personality and different characteristics. The animal is believed to be the main factor in each person's life that gives them their traits, success, and happiness in their lifetime. A person may not remember the year he was born, but he definitely what animal he is.

The Chinese zodiac refers to a pure calendrical cycle.
The animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (ram or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.

It is interesting that my dad has the same birthday as my son Sam. They are also rats

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NTU/ Nantah

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.

I spent sixteen of my adult years here, and the best thing is I made many friends from all over the world. This year, after leaving 6 years ago, I went back and my friends made me as welcomed as though I never left.