Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy birthday, my dear...

Birthdays hold different meanings for different people. While some people think of it as a milestone worth celebrating, some think of it as another passing day. For me, it is a bit of both but when it is someone else's, it means a lot.

Today, someone very dear to me turns 30. I have known him since January 2001. In a blink of an eye, our friendship has lasted for 12 years and counting. Of course, like any ship that sails the unpredictable seas, we have had our fair share of rough and calm waters, unexpected weather and the occasional surprise visit by a whale or dolphin.

To that special someone;

I am thankful that I made the decision to give 6th Form a try because otherwise, I would not have sat behind you.

I am thankful that I knew the teacher-in-charge of the class through tuition because otherwise, she would not have given me the opportunity to take up a class committee position.

I am thankful that I accepted the class committee position because otherwise, I would not have had the opportunity to work with you.

I am thankful that you were (and still are) a really friendly and helpful person because otherwise, I would not have had the courage to befriend you.

I am thankful that you were heaps better at Maths than I was because otherwise, I would not have had so much attention from you in class.

I am thankful that you believed in me (and continue to) because otherwise, I would not have managed to overcome the thoughts I had.

I am thankful that we went through what we did because otherwise, we would not have matured in the way we view each other and in the way that we are accepting of each other.

I am thankful that I did not reject the possibility of us becoming friends again after our fallout because otherwise, I would have lost a person who understands me really well.

I am thankful that despite everything, we are still friends and that our friendship has grown stronger throughout the years.

For all the phone calls, messages, cards, presents, meals, movies, impending tropical getaway, hugs and support. For your presence in my life.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Happy birthday...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Taska & Tadika Kembangsari: Double celebration

The educators started to ask which day are they to stay on after work to help pack the goody bags for the children. Mum simply replied that they will be informed. After a few days, slightly agitated, they asked again. Mum decided that this year, none of the educators will have to stay on after work because the children will be part of the packing.

Some time during lessons were used to implement this special "activity" that incorporated teamwork, communication, turn-taking, counting, sorting and sharing. This special activity in packing goody bags for everyone in their group not only allowed them to learn the fore-mentioned but also to take pride in their own contributions to the group, as well as develop a sense of belonging.

"Look, my mummy made these for us." "My daddy bought these for us." We could just feel the happiness and pride. We were done with the packing on Wednesday, our earliest to date. Previously, the packing would go on till after dinner on the night before the actual day.


Since we had Thursday free, we started blowing the balloons. More were blown on Friday morning. With the passing breeze, the children were welcome to school on Children's Day by a floating display of red, fuchsia, orange and yellow.


The children love this day. Some parents even revealed how their little ones have never gotten ready as quickly as on this morning. How could they not be excited and not look forward to having a full day of games and laughter with their friends wearing masks and party hats they made themselves?


Year after year, the parents never fail to impress. This year, this was even more so the case, as some parents contributed not just once but twice, which resulted in three things. Firstly, the children had so many presents in their goody bags this year.


Secondly, we were all spoilt for choice when it came to food.


It was like a competition to see whose contribution was the best - there were so many home-made things like jellies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, puddings and even carved fruit!


We were so touched with the amount of time and personalised effort that the parents had invested into preparing their contributions.


 


Thirdly, not only were the children happy, so were the educators - so delightful to see the children thoroughly enjoying themselves! Of course, secretly elated that there was so much to eat, too!


But the icing on the cake would have to be that unexpected phone call from the Selangor Department of Community and Welfare asking Mum when she would be going in to collect her "stuff". Mum was not sure what "stuff" it was but the lady over the phone said that it has been there since December waiting to be collected.

Little did we know that while Mum and Dad were in Melbourne for Pei Shin's wedding with me last year, the department awarded us Model Childcare Centre for the municipality of Subang Jaya for the year 2012. Wow, we were stoked and felt very honoured! In all honesty, when Mum sent this photo to me over Whatsapp, I could not contain my excitement. I was so proud of Mum, I had tears in my eyes.


It has been a wonderful week for us at Honey Bee, a week worth celebrating.

To all our wonderful children, Happy Children's Day and to our remarkable staff members congratulations! This award would not have been possible without each and every one of you and your understanding families!

Friday, October 25, 2013

La Perouse

The last time I went out on a weekend photography coastal walk was probably some time last year. Since I managed to hand in one of my chapters, I gave myself a weekend off and chose to venture to La Perouse, a place popular with wedding photographers and divers.

Located 14km south-east of Sydney, La Perouse is one of the few French-named suburbs in Sydney. It is notable for its military outpost at Bare Island and the Botany Bay National Park.


To me, the most notable characteristic of La Perouse would be the footbridge that connects Bare Island to the headland.




Speaking of divers, coincidentally, there was a group there. Apparently, during summer weekends, there can be as many as 200 divers here, as it is a common diver training location and also very popular for snorkeling. The island has numerous dive sites, some of which extend to over 19 metres in depth.

The reefs that stretch around the island and out to the south and west are home to some of Australia's most colourful marine animals. I saw children snorkeling and wondered if they saw any of the sea life that has been spotted by other snorkelers and divers, such as big belly sea horses, sea dragons, pygmy pipehorses and red Indianfish. Other sightings include seals and grey nurse sharks.


As for the fort on Bare Island, the public is allowed entry by guided tour only on Sundays and tickets are available for purchase at the La Perouse Museum and Visitor Centre up the road. Part of the traditional land of the Gweagal and Kameygal Aboriginal tribes, the fort was built to protect the back door of Sydney. The island was also featured in the movies Mission: Impossible II and East West 101.


The island is made up of impressive rock formations, as I found out...







And judging by the crowd present there, the island seemed like a popular fishing spot, not just for the birds but also for the fishing enthusiasts.





During sunset, a silhouette of the containers and cranes of Port Botany, Australia's 2nd busiest container port can be seen.


On the headland, there is the Barrack Tower, also known as the Watch Tower situated just up the green from the car park. This round stone tower was the first building to be built in the area. Constructed in 1820-1822, it functioned as accommodation for a small guard of soldiers who were stationed there to prevent smuggling.



On the other side of the carpark, there was a little pathway leading to a coastal walk along Little Congwong Beach Trail. The trail gave views of the island from afar.


Little did we realise that Little Congwong Beach was in fact, a nudist beach until we saw an uncle there doing star jumps totally naked (accept for a fisherman's hat and shoes).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Night Noodle Markets @ Hyde Park, Sydney

With the Sydney Tower watching over a canopy of colourful paper lanterns that welcome visitors to the Night Noodle Markets, the crowd was beginning to swell.



I was fortunate, as the queue was still short at Jackie M's stall. I quickly joined the queue, placed my order and patiently waited for my number to be called.


My plate of Fried Radish Cake ($15), although a tad pricey, was a plateful of authentic Malaysian street food awesomeness. Good wok hei, big portion, fresh bean sprouts, generous serving of radish and yes, good dollop of sambal.


And that was the only thing I had that night, other than a cup of hot chocolate courtesy of C. However, I did take my time to walk the entire market to see who else had set up stall - my first time at this event, after all. Previously, I only go for The Good Food Month's Let's Do Brunch (now Let's Do Lunch).

So, let's start with the stall next to Jackie M (her stall was the first one) and just follow the loop of all the stalls at Hyde Park. There were Kinn Dining and New Shanghai...


Rolls Vietnam and Ippudo Sydney...


Dim Sum Station and Chat Thai...



There was a section of the park that had the violet canopy of jacaranda blooms. The cool weather provided much relief from the heat in the past week.



The Coffee Tram...


Coopers... ah, booze, perfect to usher in the weekend...


Okay, continuing with the loop... Bar Pho and Mamak...


Fei Jai...


Interesting, the first ramen burger to be sold in Sydney apparently...


The smell of cinnamon at Mini Pancakes was so tempting as I walked past. Too bad I only had my camera with me, no cash.


Junior Thai...


Spanthai...


St. Honore Cake Shop...


... with colourful mochi balls...


Rekordelig...


Thai Thai Express...


Ever Green Noodles...


Bombay Central...


Poklol... sorry but I had to laugh with I read it aloud - sounds like one of my 3-year-olds or a super Cina person trying to say pork roll...


Zilver Restaurant...


Lets Do Yum Cha...


... and their very friendly angmoh staff... :)


Mizuya...


Serendipity Natural Ice Cream...


Viet Yum...


Thais R Us...


Shanghai Stories 1938...



East Ocean Restaurant...


Longrain...


Din Tai Fung and their army of dumpling makers...



Himalayan Yummy Kitchen...


Streets of Saigon...


Thai Riffic...


The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant...


Chinta Ria...


I found it interesting that the first and last stalls were Malaysian stalls. Hm...


And with friends, family, good food (and a comfy spot to sit on), what's there to complain about? This is the last week for your chance to join in the fun, so make your plans now, people!

9-12, 14-19, 21-26 October, 2013
Monday & Tuesday 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Wednesday 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Thursday & Friday 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Saturday 4:00pm to 10:00pm

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