Thursday, June 22, 2017

Two Asian Stories

The world has always been pro males. The Asian women fare it worst. Women were sold as slaves, women were made to marry men they don’t know, some of these matches were made even when the girls were babies. Girls were molested, raped, impregnated and had their babies aborted or given away, beaten. The modern day insecure women subject themselves to get their breasts bigger or smaller.

In story one, two girls born in the 1920s. One “upstairs” as the rich pampered missy. The other “downstairs”, born to be the slave aka mui zai of the rich girl. Fate and victims of tradition brought them to Borneo, World War II aka Japanese War and finally to New Zealand.

In story two, a girl born in the 1960s, ran into trouble with the Communists, and teenage pregnancy. She ran to the big city of Singapore. Crisis after crisis plague her. Her whole world shattered and she committed suicide. She ended up in a mental institution.

cover:  出入平安 chūrù  Pingann Peace to all who enter and to those who leave

My latest book, published 2017.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oppressed women

Shocking, more shocking and fiction than my fiction Book, Cry of Oppressed Women. When I wrote this book, some friends asked if I am overboard with the oppression. Time and again, oppression takes place. "This is the street in Bradford where Faisal Hussein, 25, and Arbaaz Ahmed, 19, kept their mother and sister as slaves "  and I am not stereotyping .

Shocking, more shocking and fiction than my fiction Book, Cry of Oppressed Women.

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Friday, June 9, 2017


My husband's favourite place. Climbing 6 stories high, up 3 steps, slip down 2.

Bethal beach of New Zealand.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

a different kind of oppression

Can't believe this kind of oppression. A 10-year-old girl was sent home from her primary school because it did not have a sanitary disposal unit for her to use, a public health sociologist says.

I wrote a book entitled "Cry of the Oppressed Women.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Mum and the pig

I think of my parents and grand parents. I think of how the pig had played such an important part in the Chans and Kongs. Last year, I spent time in Sibu, sharing a bed with mum's sister, my aunty Ngui /Kong. I learned something interesting from my Aunty Ngui-Kong. My grandmother kong aka bodai reared pigs during the war. Just before my mother went to her match making session, she played with the newly born piglets, and the sow bit her heel. That heel was very painful and mum walked with a limp.
The Kongs explained that Mum was gardening and while digging with a changko, she hurt herself. When she wore her wedding gown, she still had a limp and the Chans said she was a cripple.
On the other side of the coin, it was the pig that attracted my Ah Tai, mum's grandmother to the Chans. The first time, Ah Tai landed at the Chan's jetty she exclaimed,"Wah, during the war, you have pork." Ah Kung was washing his pickle jar where he had kept his pickled pork.
It was a source of contention leading to a family feud. I wrote this n my From China to Borneo to Beyond and World War 2 in Borneo.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Friday Floral : Cotoneaster

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 Cotoneaster /kəˈtoʊniːˈæstər/[2] is a genus of flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae, native to the Palaearctic region (temperate Asia, Europe, north Africa), with a strong concentration of diversity in the genus in the mountains of southwestern China and the Himalayas.[3] They are related to hawthorns C. simonsii is listed on the New Zealand National Pest Plant Accord preventing its sale and distribution because of its invasiveness.(Crataegus), firethorns (Pyracantha), photinias (Photinia) and rowans (Sorbus).

Saturday, June 3, 2017

service with a smile

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Top In Town Food City
There are some products that you can't get in bulk or not at the supermarket. I use a lot of baking soda for cleaning, and psyllium husk turmeric as health products. I even found a Thai tamarind.

The store is packed with products, is very busy so the items are fresh. So glad to be served by Gaurang Desai. He was very friendly, whilst busy, he had time to talk to be about the free food in the Paradise restaurant.

Save the world: Don't waste

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Paradise, Sandringham, Auckland

 591 Sandringham Rd Sandringham 1025 ·


The first thing that struck me as  I entered this restaurant in Sandringham  was the sign which says." Free food for people in need." I was told they don't throw away excess food, but packed them nicely for people to take away. They also included some apples.

If only more restaurateurs would do this.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Duan Wu Festival aka dragon festival

My sis Rose makes the traditional Zhung Zi eaten during this Duan Wu festival.Image may contain: 3 people

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


In the early 60s, we lived in the Government Quarters along with Malays, other Chinese dialect groups, Ibans, Eurasian and so on.
Near to the houses were a small Hindu temple . There were no windows but had louvers to admit light and air. We climbed up on the wall, my brother supporting me, and we saw some statues in gold. It was full of mystique. It looked deserted because there was nobody there.

In the garden was a deep walled in well. Some one rumored that some one had drowned in the well. The water was murky. We climbed to steal the sour lime like calamansi which we ate there and then. Then there were the gardenia flowers and buds. We stole them. The plants were high up and so we had to climb. Someone screams ghost and we went screaming home.

You see. Mum had warned us not to wander there.
For nostalgia sake, I went three years ago. The temple was gone, and the modern building replaced it.
My friend said it was the smallest temple in Malaysia.

Friday, May 19, 2017

two loaves of bread

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  Two elderly women didn't have enough money to pay for two loaves of bread. I paid for them and rush to give the loaves of the bread to them. It didn't cost me a lot, but gave an anecdote to write about.
People ask me where I get ideas for my writing, this is one example.

Passiflora_foetida pok pok ji

When we were young, whilst visiting grandpa in the visit, we find this vine which looks like a small cousin of the passion fruit.

We called the fruit POK POK Ji, because it makes a POK POK sould when we popped it in our mouth. Ji means seeds.

Photo from google.

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grandma's slave

There is on internet a story on "My family's slave" by an Filipino American.

Here's an abstract of my grandma's slave from my book, From China to Borneo to Beyond.

The pronunciation of my Quang Ning dialect MUI ZUI, for a slave sounds like the sour plum, and MUI ZAI as a girl is different. I don't know what it is in other dialects.

It must have been 1900s when my grandmother brought her over to be her slave. The girl was very young. It is not sure if her parents gave her the slave while she was a young child, or whether she was given when Grandma married Grandpa.

My father, John remembered fondly of Grandmother’s mui zai (slave) whom he called Ah Jia, (big sister.) In fact he saw her more than he saw Grandmother. Grandmother worked in the rubber garden, the mui zai took care of him and his siblings. She did all the housework. His fondest memory was her  kindly separated the rough green husk of the sweet mung bean soup, so he would have it as a smooth watery thick soup. We used to tease him to be a super spiolt brat because we ate the green bean husk.

There was talk that the British government in Malaya and Singapore was going to pass an emancipation of slaves, and those not releasing the slaves would be punished.

To preempt this, when this mui zai was 16, a marriageable age, Grandfather Kee Seng arranged for a suitable mate and married her off. This was much to the aghast of Grandmother. Grandmother whinged that this mui zai was paid for by her parents; therefore she was her property. This mui zai was her slave for life. Grandfather Chan had no right to sell her property. But Grandfather would not have any part of this old feudal slavery system. They married her off to someone up the Rejang River.

The emancipation law was never passed and Grandfather never heard the end of Grandmother harping on and on about it.

Some of those mui zais maintained a good relationship, coming back to the family as though they were part of the family. In many cases where they had suffered abuse from their owner and hated them; they never came back to visit.  Some, their new family forbidden them to. Grandmother’s mui zai never came back. Father said Grandma was a difficult person  to handle. The Mui Zai was probably so glad to have her freedom.

Father did meet the mui zai many years later. Father was on official duty in a school near where she was married off to. She came and was hesitant and afraid to talk to Father, now an official of the government. She called him "Young Master" and she wanted Father to help her grand children to get into teachers’ college. She said quietly that it wasn’t that she didn’t want to visit the Chans, it was because she was not allowed to. She had been emancipated from one family into the slavery of another. She mentioned what a good family she had grown up in, and she would rather be old and single and be a mui zai in the Chan’s home. She had always loved Father very much.

I wrote about my grandma's Mui Zai in my book. I also remembered my mum almost got a Mui Zai too. It was after the World War Two. My great Grand Mother aka Ah Tai didn't want my mother to work too hard. So she bought a girl slightly older than my oldest sister. My father declined and packed the girl away. My father's rationale was in this day and age, him being a Christian should not have a Mui Zai aka slave. How could he have the conscience of having a Mui Zai who slaves away while his own daughters went to school. Ah Tai aka Great Grand Mother argued we we just pay for her in the beginning which she had already done, and don't have to pay her anymore. Mother said we just had to feed her. Ah Tai probably argued that we were doing a humanitarian favour. 

We knew about this returned Mui Zai when we had to do house work. We complained and wished we still had the Mui Zai.

My parents had 6 girls, MOI ZAI SEE (bloody useless girls) as my Bodai (maternal grandma) would call us. She said, if we were in China, I would be sold off as a slave. I was the third girl. So would all subsequent girls.

When Father paid for my University education first to Canada and then to New Zealand, Bodai said my fate was very good. Instead of being a slave, I got to fly half way round the world.  Bodai said there was something wrong with Dad's head. He studied too much in England. He educated all his MOI ZAI SEE. She also said my Dad had a Father-in-law look.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dream Big with Weet-Bix All Blacks Collector Cards

Kiwi Kids Dare To Dream Big with Weet-Bix All Blacks Collector Cards

By Fleur Revell
11 May 2017

Life is what you make it – and All Black rugby legends know all about making the most of what they’ve got, which is why they’re inspiring Kiwi kids to take their dreams to the next level, with stories to read around the breakfast table as part of the new Weet-Bix Dare To Dream Collector Card series.

All Black Israel Dagg says when he was a youngster there wasn’t a lot of spare cash for the latest sporting gear so he and his siblings improvised.

“One of the best things we used for a rugby ball was my brother’s girlfriend’s fluffy rabbit slipper. That slipper became the centre of hundreds of exciting and fierce backyard test matches - even when we did eventually find our rugby ball!” he says.

“The pink rabbit slipper is proof that as kids you don’t need all the latest gear to succeed and achieve your dreams - you just need a big imagination,” says Dagg. “We didn’t have all the fancy equipment but that didn’t stop us, it taught us to make the most of what we had. The slipper was soft on the foot, went pretty far and didn’t smash any windows - which also kept Mum happy!” says Dagg.

Dagg says as a child, becoming an All Black seemed like a faraway dream. “I thought, ‘How could a kid with a pink slipper for a ball make it into the greatest rugby team in the world?’. That’s why the Weet-Bix Dare to Dream campaign is amazing, because it allows kids the chance to dream. When I look back, I know that it’s really all about making the best of whatever you have and having as much fun as you can. That’s how I got here,” says Dagg.

Weet-Bix has been the breakfast of choice for Kiwi kids and their families for generations. And now selected packs come with premium quality cards featuring  stories from individual All Blacks about the defining moments in their early years, and how they didn’t need the best of everything to reach their potential – just a dream and a little imagination!

For All Black Ryan Crotty, being gifted a pair of Andrew Mehrtens’ rugby socks and kicking tee while being ball boy for the Canterbury rugby team proved to be a defining moment. “I was so chuffed to be picked as a ball boy and get to see my heroes up close every week – then to be given Andrew Mehrtens’ socks, I thought I was the luckiest kid alive.”

“I wore those socks to every training and would spend hours practising my goal kicking with my prized socks on, pretending I was Andrew Mehrtens. I practised so much in those socks that they eventually had no feet left in them!” says Crotty.

Crotty says it was his dream to be an All Black from the time he was seven years old. “And the thing was, I really believed I could be. My strong self-belief came from Mum and Dad, who were the best role models a kid could ask for.”

“There’ll inevitably be people along the way who’ll laugh at you and tell you you’re too small, or not good enough, or you can’t do it - but if you believe in yourself and work hard at those dreams, anything is possible,” he says.

“It is so important to have dreams and goals and inspirations - and these are also essential things for us to pass on to younger generations, which is why Weet-Bix Dare to Dream is such a great initiative.”

The premium quality cards will be available in specially marked packs of 750g and 1.2kg of Weet-Bix from May 

Download Media Files

Download media relating to this story using the links below:

For more information contact:
Mark Devlin
+64 21 509 060
Fleur Revell
+64 21 509 600

Written on behalf of Sanitarium by Impact PR

DOC allowing seals to be killed

DOC allowing seals to be killed if they get in the way of work on Kaikoura's earthquake wrecked main highway


Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Flowers and small adornments on about 170 babies' graves have been damaged by maintenance contractors at a South Auckland cemetery.

A grave is a place of remembrance, It is more intense when the grave belong to babies. I know, I buried a baby

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Costus woodsonii,

a kind of wild ginger. Common Name: Red Button Ginger, Scarlet Spiral Flag, Red Cane, Panamanian Candle Ginger, Indian Head Ginger, Dwarf French Kiss, Dwarf Cone Ginger

Costus woodsonii, is very much favoured as a decorative landscape and garden plant or container specimen. Costus, can reach 1.5-2 m in height and spread about 1 m wide.

The flowering spike is made up of waxy red bracts, tightly overlapping like fish scales, to form an erect, cigar-shaped or torpedo-like flower head, 6-10 cm tall.
Costus woodsonii (Red Button Ginger, Scarlet Spiral Flag, Dwarf French Kiss, Dwarf Cone Ginger)The true reddish-orange flowers with inconspicuous orange-yellow labellum are edible and will peek out one at a time from between the red bracts, lasting for only a day per flower. 

San Choi Bao aka lettuce wrap aka low carb burger.

A low carb refreshing entree.

Best to use: Baby Cos lettuce/ if not, iceberg lettuce

Fillings:  Brown onion and garlic
               Stir fry mince pork or chicken
               shitaki mushroom
               can water chestnut
               strips of different colour capsicum
               flavour with salt and oyster sauce
               bean sprout.
Optional: avocado
                tomato stripes

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Long Gourd

Long gourd grown in Malaysia.
  • Botanical Name : Luffa Cylindrica
  • Family Name : Cucurbitaceae
Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber family. In everyday non-technical usage, the luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species L. aegyptiaca and L. acutangula.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Costus speciosus or crepe ginger

This is another kind of wild ginger, crepe ginger (Cheilocostus speciosus).

Costus speciosus or crepe ginger is possibly the best known cultivated species of the genus Costus. This plant is native to southeast Asia, especially on the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. Costus differs from the common ginger by having only one row of spirally arranged leaves.

The species reproduces vegetatively by rhizome and birds disperse seeds when they feed on the fruits.

While it is native to many Pacific Islands, it is an introduced invasive species on others, including the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Hawaii. It is cultivated in India for its medicinal uses and elsewhere as an ornamental.

 This was taken at the NTU executive centre.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Peoples' School

The peoples' school.

Peoples'/Citizen school, Koong Ming/Citizen School is connected to the Chans and the Kongs. My grandfathers on both sides raised money to build the school. They served in the school board.
In 2013, we went to visit the school, and the principal explained the financial situation of the school. Last year, I read a write-up about him attending funerals to raise fund for the school.
THE headmaster of Citizen Secondary School of REjang River has passed away last Friday 75yrs old Hii Sui Chung
He worked as a headmaster n gardener ĺn general worker every day without pay really very great

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017

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Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy
Education is the foundation for progress. We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.
Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.

Awareness of climate means not chopping down trees when they are still very small.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flying woes 2

Once I had frustration when dealing with Air Canada employees. I recall the rudest person I had ever encountered. It was the first time I had flown from Singapore to Windsor transit in London and Toronto.
Due to the weather, my SIA plane from Australia to Singapore to London was delayed. I was scheduled to have 4 hours transit in London. Upon arrival to London, the ground staff rushed me to the next plane. I barely got on the plane.

I slept the whole way across the Atlantic Ocean. In Toronto, I couldn't find my luggage. Twice, I went to the check in clerk. They gave me a boarding pass. My luggage still have not come out.

The third time, I went to this fat woman who tore my boarding pass. I must have cried, and spoke another clerk.

They said,"You go to the next flight, we sent you your luggage when they arrive from London. This is the last flight to Windsor.

" Why didn't anyone tell me that my luggage was still in London and go straight to Windsor?"

Luckily my friends were still waiting for me. The airline never talked about reimbursement for my taxi to go and pick up my luggage.

Decades later, my daughter flew back to Auckland without her luggage, a few days later, they delivered her lost luggage to the house. I told her about my maiden trip.I was only twenty at that time.

Willow tree and Chinese beliefs.

My Dad was bilingual. He told me a story involving a non bilingual person who named his house something like the Willow Villa. Dad said the Chinese educated people laughed until their teeth dropped.
In the Chinese beliefs,a house of willow means a brothel. I finally found out the following.…/…/0415002281
Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought (Routledge Dictionaries) Revised ed. Edition
by Wolfram Eberhard

Wolfgang Eberhard's Dictionary of Chinese Symbols:
The willow, much valued as firewood, is a symbol of spring. As spring is the season of erotic awakenings, the phrase ‘willow feelings and flower wishes’ means sexual desire; ‘looking for flowers and buying willows’ means visiting a prostitute, ‘flowers and
willows by the wayside’ are prostitutes, and ‘sleeping among flowers and reposing beneath willows’ is a term for visiting a brothel.
The waist of a beautiful woman is compared to the willow, her eyebrows to the curve of willow leaves. A young girl is a ‘tender willow and fresh flower’ while a woman who can no longer claim virginal freshness is described as ‘faded willow and
withered flower’. A woman’s pubic hair is ‘in the depths of willow shade’.

Fen Chong Ong My mother never like this tree. She said it attract ghost! It is an old Chinese saying. ka ka ka
Ann Chin
Ann Chin My Dad says it is for prostitutes.
Fen Chong Ong
Fen Chong Ong Guess our ancestors came from different part of CVhina after all. Wahhhh ka ka ka

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Malayan Cherry Tree II

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Jamaican Cherry Tree/ Malayan Cherry Tree/
Muntingia calabura
Jamaican/Japanese Cherry, Buah Ceri/Kerukup Siam(Malay)

This is a tree of my youth, it evokes a lot of emotions. some of us remember it with LOL now, some with anger, and some block it.

The Cherry Tree is named for its sweet sticky fruits, juicy and full of tiny seeds. They are a favourite with birds and bats, which disperse the seeds, and children too! The leaves are covered with tiny sticky hairs. 

When I was in Junior primary school, we lived in Padang Road where it was government quarters for civil servants. In the garden where mum and dad kept ducks and chicken, there were two saplings that we were told to be cherry trees. There were tiny fruits which were sweet with a hint of tart. Father told us not to climb the trees.

But we didn't listen. The bigger fruits were up on top, and there were sparse ones at the bottom. We climbed, timing it that we climbed down before Dad came home.

That fateful day, Dad drove home while we were still up the tree. He ordered us upstairs, without a word, he took the axe and chopped down the trees. We looked out of the window feeling so ashamed. 

It seemed the whole neighbourhood's aunties and uncles were there finger pointing at us, probably discussing what naughty children we were to invoke the anger of Dad and provoked him to chop the tree down. The children were torturing us showing the big cherry.

I was still angry because it was such an embarrassment.  About ten years ago, we kids talked about it. I expressed my hurt arguing why did Dad plant the tree knowing children being children will climb the tree to get the fruits. Rose, the oldest sister said, Dad didn't plant the tree, a bird had planted it. Elizabeth said, it was better for the trees to be chopped down, then for us to fall and break a leg, and worst still, for us to land on our head with fatal consequences.

Recently, on internet, a school allowed students to climb trees until a student fell and died. That was the end of tree climbing in that school.