Tuesday, March 31, 2015

court cases

NZ biggest court case Mike Lundy accused of killing his wife and daughter attracted a lot of people. Some people even take the day off to go to watch the court proceeding.

My Dad was interested in court proceedings too. I went with him to see a murder court case. Dad was an educationist. There was law in his genes, 5 of his descendants are lawyers.

Tong Gui and Mum

Tong Gui  Angelica acutiloba
Gee Zai , Goji aka Wolfberry (above), garlic (below)

Chinese red dates (dried)


and a young virgin chicken. LOL


When I arrived back to New Zealand, in 2006, my daughter treated me as a mum-daughter thing to watch a musical,"Menopause". I laughed as I was pre-menopausal and was dreading the big day.

One of the things they were singing about was TONG GUAI, and she didn't understand what it was. I explained to her. The audience were mainly women with a few brave men.

TONG GUAI is known as a women's herb. It is used as a helpful regulator of one's menses and also keeps a women young looking and also, eases a women in her transition to menopause.

This is no laughing matter, though my girls friends and I laugh about it. My mum told me, from the age of forty, I should brew this concoction with chicken every month after my menses .

What's the verdict? I breezed through my menopause without any debilitating hot flushes, weight gain, mood swings or any of the nasties associated with it. It arrived and it went even before I realised it. I wonder if the TONG GUAI was responsible for that.

And as the proof is in the eating. I went to a students' reunion, some thought I was one of the students, and another even made the remark that the teacher was younger than the students. LOL.

***These are the raw ingredients, the TONG GUAI is chalky colour, and the Chinese Medical hall proprietor will roast it, and shave it to thin slivers.

It is also called Angelica acutiloba dang-gui in Chinese/Mandarin. A highly regarded herb used for female hormonal balance, blood purification, migraines & much more.

In New Zealand, they sell it in clumps. I try to grate it into powder as it is very hard to shave it. You can buy them in a fluid form or tablet in a health food store.

The bigger red things are dried red dates, the little ones are Gow TZE, they are very good for you. The other two is ginger and garlic. Some times I also add some shitaki mushroom. In the old days, the best chicken is a virgin rooster or a hen before it lays eggs.  We joked about this. How do you know? ***

Here's my parents Mr and Mrs John Chan Hiu Fei. My niece Jane says, "My stylo Milo "Grandma. Thanks to the little lump of Tong Kuai aka Guai aka Dang Gui aka  Angelica acutiloba. Mum used to be the Vice President of the Women's Institute of the 6th division chapter. She held cooking demos and was a cooking judge, so she knew what she was talking about.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mum and the pasta machine

Pasta Machine Noodle Maker


30 yrs ago, when you couldn't get noodles dry or fresh in New Zealand  and Australia.

My mum in Oz had an Italian noodle/pasta maker. This kind of machine is still in use in cooking shows. 

My mum asked me to buy one. But I was Miss Lazybone, and I said, no thank you. Now I regret the hasty decision. Mum died shortly after I left her to return to New Zealand.

Every time I see the machine on TV, I think of my late mum, the last thing we did was roll Peking Duck pastry for Christmas lunch.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

moving pianos

My daughter loved playing the piano. Here she is playing a fancy piano at my cousin's house. We didn't buy a fancy piano for her. We told her that she could buy her own when she earned her money.

She did buy a fancy one, but alas, she had traveled abroad and could not take it with her.

The purpose of this blog post was a comment in the face book posted by my friend Ivy Ngui and Chien. It is a nostalgic post. When we went to NTU, Singapore, we chose to stay at a low rise apartment. Twice in a 3 storey maisonette, and once in a 4 storey maisonette.

We hired piano movers to move the piano many times. There were two men, one was quite old. When they grunted as they heaved the piano, I didn't dare to look.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Clowns from Moscow Circus.

Viktoriia and Sergei came to Mt Albert Baptist Church ESOL class. I love the circus when I was young.

They are clowns and continue the traditions of the world famous Soviet (Russia) where they worked for many years, after graduating from the Moscow Circus.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hybrid North Borneo Orchid

I have posted many times this North Borneo Orchid, and this is why I am so passionate about it. The story about this yellow orchid was when we were little, my Dad grew this, supposedly bloom once every 10 years, actually it took ages to bloom, and when it did.

My siblings and my cousins who came to sleep over. We were really naughty , and we used rubber bands and paper to make bullets.
Someone shot at my father's North Borneo Orchids. We denied we did it and blamed it on the wind. My father banned them from coming again. It impacted us very much. I bought this tiny plant for my brother. 

Cousin Henry came to comfort Charles when Karen died. We brought up this story. Henry said he didn't remember. Charles kept saying that it was Henry who shot the orchid down. Henry said his shoulders were broad enough to stand that accusation.

In true honesty, it was unlikely that it was Henry or Charles who were guarding their "fort" from upstairs. It was more likely me and the younger ones as we had to shoot from downstairs. So if anyome was to be blamed, it would be me, because I was such a poor "aimer."

It was a good story, and it's our flower.  

Recently, a friend from North Borneo posted the original North Borneo Orchid. I felt disillusioned that  the hybrid was an imposer.


Friday, March 6, 2015

photohunt: Custom

This is a new ancient custom I learn last Saturday. When the lion comes and wishes you good luck, you feed the lion with Hong Bao.

This boy makes it difficult for the lion by standing on a chair.

The PhotoHunt for today is 'Custom'


Habanero chillis and Fijian chilli paste.

My friend Maureen preciously from Fiji gave me this very very spicy tomato paste her mum made. It is amazing how after 100 years away from China, where my ancestors hardly ate any Chilli, 4 generations later, I can't eat my food without any chilli.

Once, a friend went to mexico and came back with some Habanero chillis, and he gave me one to try and plant. My friends and I had fun trying it.
Few days ago, I watch a UK TV, where the diners took and ate chillis. Silly people.

Habanero is really a fiendish chilli. Beer or bread necessary to take down the burn!

Occasionally you can get them in upmarket supermarkets in Singapore, like Cold Storage Gourmet or the spiffy new Jelita Cold Storage. Jason's too. I must say that I don't make much use of them; I prefer milder chillis like the guero, the ancho and the poblano.

Was the hottest chilli when I grew it 15 years ago. But lost its crown.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Runaway to the circus?

My circus friend/student Victoria from Russia. Circuses with performing animals now have a bad name. Some people advocate a ban of using animals. Do you agree?

Victoria is a clown with her husband,

When I was a child, the best thing was going to the circus with my family. For me, it wasn't the animals but the trapeze flying from one end to the other that attracted me most.

Even at a young age, I felt that it was cruel for the circus ring master in his coat and tails, to crack his long whip at the big cats. I was worried and frighten that the cats might jump on the ring master. It wasn't entertaining when I was was afraid.

The animals are kept in small cages, and they hardly have space to move around. So they pace back and forth. Today, animal psychologists say that animals are stressed in the confined space. It is animal cruelty and should be stopped.

We now have modern circus where there are no animals. The Canadian Cirque du Soleil tour the world and are popular everywhere they go.

The Chinese State Circus is phenomenal, and animal free. They are entertaining, intelligent. They keep people clapping for two hours.

In America, there are many circus that are animal free. They wear wonderful costumes and their acrobatic acts are awesome. Young people performing in American Youth Circus Organization should be encouraged and patronised.

So, is there a need for circuses to have performing animals? I say no, there are plenty of no animal circus to entertain us.

I read this in the New Zealand Herald.

Circus elephant crushes man
5:00AM Friday December 28, 2007

A person has died after being crushed by a circus elephant at Yamba on the New South Whales north coast, police said.

The Stardust Circus, with elephants Arna and Gigi among the star attractions, was due to begin its Yamba performances tonight.

It had been setting up at the Angourie Road Sports Reserve when the accident occurred yesterday afternoon.

"It appears an elephant in being unloaded in preparation for a circus at Yamba this afternoon has fallen on a person, believed to be a man," a police spokeswoman told AAP.

An ambulance spokesman said the person was crushed by the elephant and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at the scene.

Early reports suggested the victim was one of the elephant's handlers.

Police said the industrial workplace accident body WorkCover had been called in to investigate the incident.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chinese New year, Day 15th.

 Above, raw, semi panfried and then steamed.

Today, is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, and the last day. The Northern Chinese eat this Jiao tze dumpling. This day is also called Yuan Xiao day. Some celebrate the lantern Festival.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Professor Madya Dr. Margaret Chan Kit Yok

rm8.jpg - 17.84 Kb

My younger sister Dr Margaret Chan is doing some research on the North Borrneo orchid. My parents who used to plants North Borneo orchids would be very proud of her.

Natural Products Research & Development Centre (NPRDC)

NPRDC focuses on research and development in three related components, namely; Herbal Science, Agroforestry and Biotourism.


The strategic objective of this centre is to research and develop natural resources involving researchers in multidisciplinary and internationalization of the centre through the communication between local and overseas researchers.
NPRDC is also set up to secure research grants that comprise the purchase of equipment needed to develop the centre. It is hoped that the centre will be able to facilitate researchers with advance machines and apparatus, which will be a resource for reference in Sarawak. The centre also aims to produce post-graduates in related disciplines.

rm8.jpg - 17.84 KbProfesor Madya Dr. Margaret Chan Kit Yok
Universiti Teknologi Mara Sarawak
Kampus Samarahan, Jalan Meranek
94300 Kota Samarahan
Email : drmchan@sarawak.uitm.edu.my
Phone No : 082-677689
Fax No : 082-677504

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dr. Seuss

Cat in the hat,

One hundred and eleven years ago today, Dr. Seuss (or, Theodor Seuss Geisel) was born. When I was young in Borneo, my teacher never exposed me to this Cat in the hat.

When my kids were little, I read these books to them, without much conviction.


My Aunt Ngui/Kong Wah Mee


This is my aunt, Mum's youngest sister.  She had always been telling everyone that I am her favourite niece.

When Dad went to England to study, I was 20 months old. Mum went to tap rubber, and Aunty would cook lunch for us. Then she fed us before she went off for school in the afternoon. She told everyone she chewed up my rice before feeding them to me. It used to feel gruesome to have eaten her saliva. As I grew older, it was something of an endearment.

It was only 18 months ago, that she told me of the sacrifice she did for Mother and us, especially me. Just before Father went to England, he persuaded Aunt Wah Mee to come up to the village to help out Mother and take care of me. It was a great sacrifice because she was staying in town with our Great grand ma, a town house with electricity and running water.

Thank you Shi Hee aka 4th Aunt.