Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry


Read Full Post »

I confess. I only put cute kittens on the title so I can pull more traffic to this blog. This blog isn’t really about cute kittens . Or is it?

But here are pics of the next best thing, a cute baby hornbill.

You see, a young hornbill is like a kitten .It likes its tummy rubbed.

It likes to play hide and seek.

Here’s a nice angle of the hornbill.

And not to disappoint all the cute kitten lovers who found this blog through googling cute kittens, if any….

Cute kittens trying to get at a yoyo.

Look at those eyes.  Aren’t they cute?

Read Full Post »

When I was in primary school , every Monday morning , we would have assembly and the whole school would have to sing  a few songs . One morning , we sang and and after we finished the music teacher asked, “Who’s that person with that voice?” Nobody owned up.

She was adamant  and insisted every row to sing a line or two. She played the piano and went row by row to see who it was. It wasn’t very hard to pinpoint whoever it was. The children didn’t sing very eagerly (except that person.) And the next morning , when we were lining up outside to go into class she came up to me and asked me to join the choir. I said okay.Being naturally bashful as a kid,  I didn’t apply to be in the choir… but that was how I got in!

A song the choir had to sing for a school play, loosely based on the Arabian Nights  : 

Such a mirage of my mind

I have travelled far to find

Visions fragile as a breeze

An illusion made to please

mirage be mine , mirage be mine

Blazing in the desert glare

See the answer to my prayer

One to perfect to be real

At who’s feet I long to kneel

Mirage be mine , mirage be mine

Put your gentle hands in mine

As we tread the sands of time

Love forever join like hands

Strong against the drifting sand…

Read Full Post »

It’s Spring in the Southern hemisphere but my memory still connotes this time of the year with Autumn. 

A song I used to sing in primary school, practically all primary school kids in the UK would have sung  this song at some point…

Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell.
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All the things I love so well.
So I mustn’t forget…
No I mustn’t forget…
To say a great big thank you I mustn’t forget.


Go to this blog for full lyrics.

You can also check out the melody at youtube:


Read Full Post »

Twas the 15th of September

I ‘m a bit techie challenge at the moment and having trouble linking to pics gallery as they have changed the way of doing things here. So I’ll do a blogpost without pics this time.

Keeping with the ship theme of the previous post, a song I remember from my childhood and thought I’ll  write it down before it corrodes from my memory…( I wonder if anyone still remember this song!)

You are suppose to sing it with a lil celtic flair or accent or whatever:

Twas the 15th of September

How well I do remember

I nearly broke my poor ol’ mother’s heart

For I shipped with Captain Nipper

On a big four master clipper

Bound away down south for foreign parts


And the wind began to blow

And the ship began to roll

And a devil of a hurricane did blow

Aye aye yo!

It nearly broke the stuffin

Of the good ship rug-a-muffin

Bound away down south for foreign parts…

Read Full Post »

A lil hand therapy

I went to the CBD/city centre yesterday partly due to satisfy my appetite for some rich fatty food and also , I had to check out some stuff there. I’m not really a regular to the street mall in the city centre because of the exorbitant parking fees and also, it is crowded with people and the number swells during lunch hour when white collar workers come down from their little cubicles in the adjacent buildings to find bites to eat etc.

However, it could be interesting once in a while, to watch people from all walks of life  going about their business. There is usually some police presence there, not sure why, maybe to help clueless tourists or shoppers or perhaps even deter petty crime. Last year, some policemen were giving summons to people who crossed the road at the wrong time or at the wrong intersection of the road instead of waiting for the pedestrian lights to turn green. They were primarily doing this at the bottom of the shopping strip. At first I wondered what crime did the people commit and I was a bit flabbergasted to know it was for jaywalking.  They managed to hand quite a number of summons to unsuspecting jaywalkers. The situation only  changed when a TV journalist managed to film the same policemen jaywalking or crossing the road in a similar manner and asked why there were double standards in law enforcement, to which they couldn’t really give an adequate answer.
Anyway, after I had my lunch , I decided to walk to a store to replenish some stock. An attractive sales rep wearing a sleeveless shirt, dressed for summer I guess, attended to me. She was nice and attentive like many Aussie sales rep I come across. I asked her about a product and she suggested I try it on my hand. I obliged although slightly pressed for time and she helped apply the product to my hand near the sink , scrubbing and massaging my hand with her whole hand in a somewhat vigorous and sensual manner. While doing so, she complimented my hand, saying it felt very nice. Sales rep sometimes say this to me. I’m not sure if they really mean it or they just want me to buy more stuff. In the end, I didn’t get the said product. There was no pressure to. I paid for some other stuff and then she went to attend to an Asian guy who was waiting for his turn.

This hand therapy session triggered a memory about a peculiar incident that happened when I was backpacking with my friends across Europe many moons ago. (There were actually 2 separate incident, one in Greece and the other in Rome. This is about the one in Greece.)
My friends and I had boarded a train in Athens so we could go up north to the Greece/Turkish border. Friend A and Friend B found some vacant seat for two facing some locals and they proceeded to sit there, while another friend and I had to scout ahead for some other vacant  seats. We did find some seatings ahead which could fit the four of us together and we informed the other two. Friend A was quite reluctant to switch seats at first as she pointed out to me that there was a handsome Greek man sitting in front of her at the time. There wasn’t enough seats for all of us there unfortunately so she had to decide if she wants to switch or stay. With a heavy heart, she decided on the former .
At the new seating, there were six seats altogether , arranged in a manner of three  seats facing the other three. My friends opted to sit in one row while I was left with a seat next to an older Greek man who had greying hair, was bespectacled and sported a beard. While I was seated next to him, we attempted to strike a conversation. He talked in Greek to me and  I spoke in rudimentary English. I couldn’t understand anything he was saying in Greek but I  recognized one universal word – Professor. I guess he was telling me he was a professor or something. He did look a bit learned person with his graying hair and glasses. Things were fine and dandy until after a while , the Greek Professor reached out and took my left hand. I wasn’t sure why at the time, he seemed rather casual doing so that I thought he wanted to read the palm of my hand or something?! It was quite peculiar as I was expecting him to interpret the lines on my hand but he did no such thing but was  mainly playing around with my hand and rubbing his fingers against my palm.  When I realized what he was doing,  I attempted to pull my hand back but he would take it again repetitively.  Not one to make a scene, I didn’t reprimand him or anything.  I did managed to get my hand back (I am the owner of my hands after all.) He asked if I wanted to have a drink with him at the canteen at the back of the train. I wasn’t really sure how to respond to that and pretended I didn’t understand him. We were going to be sitting to each other for a while on the train and I didn’t want to be too uptight about it.  Friend B asked me what was going on (I think the other two was tired and had dozed off.) I told her about my predicament and when the Professor asked if I would join him again , I said yes I would. Only he didn’t know Friend B would be following too. He bought us a can of coke each. He looked a bit disappointed that Friend B was there.  We didn’t really chat much and quickly returned to our seats. But this time I switched places with Friend B so the Professor was sitting next to her during the course of the journey. Nothing unexpected happened after that…………

Read Full Post »

I haven’t been very consistent with my exercise regime this summer. It has been quite a hot summer , though it has rained occasionally, the heat seems unbearable for some reason as compared to last summer. Perhaps it is the humidity or even the rather chaotic weather systems currently,  I can’t be certain, especially in Oz where the north is immersed in flood water and in the south, fire rages in the bushlands.

Since we are already in the second month of this year,  I decided to put a stop to my epic laziness last Saturday,   by going  for a morning jog,  rain or shine.  Unfortunately for me, it shone instead, I would rather it rained. And how the morning sun shone! Only 7-ish in the morning and the heat felt like it was approaching mid-day. Feeling that the weather was not on my side, I started with the usual few minutes walk  and then altered the walk to a jog pace albeit a very, very slow jog. The pace of my jog could be in the same category as to someone else’s brisk walk perhaps! Nonetheless, I was determined to cover the distance even at this snail pace although I knew it would take me longer than usual.

The jog was at first quite uneventful. Whilst my heart tried to adjust to my body rhythm, my mind wandered as to when  I would reach a certain landmark or so. I passed a few cyclists and walkers/joggers coming from the opposite direction. They are quite courteous here  and many acknowledge my presence  with a smile, nod, wave or a greeting. Even though I tend to be breathless at times, I give them a quick smile and greeting in return.

At some point  I was alone on the bike path  which is dotted down on one side by luscious shady trees and the marshy banks  of an unassuming creek, and up on the other side, by rows of quiet suburban houses. I can hear the sound that my trainers make on the path sometimes. It echoes a bit on this stretch, sometimes I’m not sure if it is really my footsteps I’m hearing so I look behind to see if there is someone trailing me. There aren’t any joggers behind me  usually, I’m too slow but just to make sure.  I could see that I almost reach a familiar landmark , the place where the bikeway meets the creek under the structure of a busy road. I am a bit eager to reach it, focusing ahead, not looking where I am treading now.

Then when I decided to look down, I noticed a slithering dark mass crossing the bikeway just a step or two in front of me.  It was a snake ! Not a very large snake, probably less then a meter long but  a snake nonetheless. Some of the more poisonous kind in Oz don’t grow very large. I was amused when I visited Auckland, New Zealand a couple of summers ago ,  ie when I read the headline of  a local newspaper, about a NZ tourist getting bitten by a small poisonous snake in the shrubs on the beach of the Gold Coast . Didn’t they have something more headline worthy there to report  like a robbery,  kipnapping or even murder as often happens in other major cities of the world?! But I digress.

Anyway,  as I was saying,  I almost tread on the scaly smooth reptile.  I wasn’t really looking where I was treading on, as usually my concern would be more of swooping magpies up above. On sensing me , the  snake hastened  its slither  so it could reach the edge of the bikeway out of harms way , (ie the harm a human that is me can do to it,) to the  safety of its familiar bushland. I was quite glad it hastened its pace, I didn’t stop to ponder over it, na-ah, continuing on my route but intrigued nonetheless by my first close encounter of a snake in Oz.  It was my second actual sighting of one down under, the first sighting was of one large brown snake crossing the highway and possibly getting squashed to death by the passing wheels of fast moving cars . I wonder if I would feel the same if it was a maybe full grown 2m long brown and poisonous snake that happened to cross my path?

Having lived in the tropics for many years namely Malaysia and Thailand, snakes are not an uncommon sight in rural kampungs or even urban gardens. (Having never really encountered one in the jungle , can I safely deduce that they are more common in rural areas and urban gardens? My father would beg to differ though having chanced upon >5m long pythons in the jungle). I think that snakes in the tropics look more threatening than in Oz, especially the cobras,  and especially the king cobra which can grow very long indeed.  The poisonous or dangerous snakes in Oz like the brown snake look rather harmless in comparison , without a hooded head of a cobra or distinctive markings of a python.

The most notable encounter of a snake that I can remember was when I was in boarding school .  I was living in a dormitory on the ground floor, and my room at that time was facing the front door. I remember this dorm very well, as we once became runners -up in a contest between dormitories on Open Day, courtesy of our resident singer who wooed the judges with her serenade as well as usherettes who threw thinly cut scented pandan leaves or bunga rampai at them . (The winners had a haunted house theme which was very original). On a separate occasion,  I also happened to win a contest for the “tidiest room” on the block. (My mum would be shocked if she learnt of  this).

Anyway, on that particular day, I was just about  finished performing zohor prayers and was getting ready to go to an afternoon class when suddenly a very dark shade of a snake came through the gap underneath the front door. It was directly in front of me, and we were staring at each other on the eye. (Very romantic, huh?) In case you’re wondering of my reaction , I didn’t scream. The snake decided to be non-confrontational with me, and slid  through the cracks under my bed. I went looking for it and informed my roommate who was also in the room with me. Although we were already running late for class, we had to do something as it surely could hide anywhere in the dorm by the time we got back from class. My roomie and I came out of the dorm to see if we could find someone to help us. Some boys (don’t remember who exactly )and a science teacher, whom we called Ustaz Physics , (a nickname we bestowed upon him without his knowledge, because of his religious tendencies), chanced to be walking outside the block then. We told him about our predicament and he went to get a stick or something to act as a weapon against the snake. Firstly,  he came into my room and pulled my bed out to reach the snake. On sensing this, the snake moved into the cracks between the thin wooden wall partitions and into the next room but  still under a bed. Ustaz Physics went to the next room and pulled out the bed there too. I saw the snake reaction,  it was scared sh*% of us and it wanted to retreat back into my room. I think it was more terrified of us than we, of it. At this point, I was hoping that the snake would escape , (Yes, I was subconsciously siding with the snake!), but it didn’t managed to….The teacher made sure of that by bashing its head to death. Then he carried its limp body out of the dorm to dispose of it. Poor snake! We went to class after that, as if nothing happened. Our class teacher didn’t even bother asking why we were late as we sat at our tables!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »