Saturday, October 29, 2011

AMSA Pamper Day

Free for all financial members and with a nominal fee for non-members, AMSA dedicated a weekend afternoon to the pampering of members and guests. A small and cosy affair, SMSA was a hive of activity for those three hours. The top three people in the association had their hands full (literally).

For the ladies, there was a beauty and facial care demonstration by Rose Tan, once a Kanebo beauty consultant, who assisted by our VP, Evelyn Tian, who also has experience in the business.

For the men, as well as ladies, our other VP, Prof. James Chin (a qualified practitioner) demonstrated ‘chi’ trigger pointing as a remedial massage technique learnt from a Thai monk. This technique has been used effectively to treat migraine, backache, shoulder pain and tennis elbow.

In addition, he used the help of essential oils from Young Living, similar to the concept of aromatherapy, to help with soothing the muscles.

After some 'hard' work, Evelyn decided to relax with some reflexology.

President Elvan Tong, who holds a Diploma of Swedish Massage from the Australian Academy of Natural Therapies, focussed on neck, shoulder, back, limb and foot massage to ease tension and loosen tight muscles.

What was Elvan using to massage the sole of the foot?

Apparently, it was a piece of turkey bone!

Those who did not get to pamper the bodies on the outside got to pamper their stomaches with many packets of biscuits and plenty of tea and coffee.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art & About Sydney 2011

The idea of Art & About Sydney was to transform the city into a canvas, to create a living gallery on the streets, with work that would make Sydneysiders stop, think, laugh or smile. Being my first Art & About Sydney experience, I thought it managed to do just that.

This year, Art & About Sydney took place from September 23 to October 23 and saw the participation of local and international names. One project was called Acts of Kindness. By Michael Landy, it is in partnership with the 24th Kaldor Public Art Project.

I did not really notice it until I accidentally looked up at one of the pieces to the jigsaw puzzle. And these were placed at where the mentioned actions of kindness took place.

Bubbleway is part of the Laneway Art Program.

A modular, inflatable social furniture system designed for Laneway Art by Rebar, it asks us to rethink our notions of public space and discover new forms of informal social interactions, creativity and play in a heavily encoded cosmopolitan centre.

Over at Customs House Square was a small patch of green with a washing machine and a Hills Hoist.

The top of the machine had instructions for the public to write a message to Sydney.

I thought it was pretty clever and was thinking that if Boey was here, what he would write. Maybe something similar to this, but with his website address on it as well.

Continuing with Laneways, I 'found' Donut by Brook Andrew. A large inflated PVC form that takes the shape of a donut floating high above the scale and context suggests this is nothing like a regular donut as it is transformed instead into a striking black and white matrix of Wiradjuri design. The shape references ancient European and Indigenous depictions of time travel and healing, and the popular contemporary notion of a ‘pie in the sky’.

Remember those little jigsaw puzzle pieces? Well, they actually make up a gigantic piece that was on display at Martin Place.

Another project by the students at UNSW was this eye-catching collection of 'benches'.

I liked the idea of plants growing in coffee cups but I wonder how feasible the idea is in the long run. No, really. I think it is rather high maintenance but I am not an Environmental Science student so perhaps I do not really know what I am saying.

By Isidro Blasco, Deconstructing Ways was just down the road from where I used to live early last year. The thought of myself (with having a little to drink) walking into it at night made me laugh.

Yes, I am pretty sure I would walk into it. LOL.

Tsunami 1.26 hangs off Woolworths and Town Hall. It is a gigantic arerial net installation by acclaimed American artist Janet Echelman. This spectacular vision is one of the works from the Powerhouse Museum’s new Love Lace exhibition, and combines ancient craft practice with cutting-edge technology to create an oasis of sculpture delicate enough to be choreographed by the wind.

Netted with a high tensile rope, 15 times stronger than steel in weight, and lit by changing coloured lights, Tsunami is inspired by the events that unfolded following the 2010 Chile earthquake. Using a 3D model of the 2010 tsunami, and software to create an outline of the model’s higher amplitude area, Echelman created her sculptural form, with machine-knotted mesh revealing the intricacy of traditional netting.

This looks way better at night. Too bad I do not have a night shot of it.

I did not get to see every display this year. I will try again next year, time and weather permitting.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy birthday, Rachel!

My housie did her homework. I think she puts in more effort into doing things for friends secretly than in completing her assignments for uni. I totally get it though, as it is more satisfying to see smiling faces than to devour endless reams of academic notes. So what did she get up to this time?

She managed to get our little Rachie into the house without knowing that there was a whole group of people waiting for her to surprise her:

She managed to get Rachie's boyfriend over from Melbourne:

From all of us:

Hope you liked the surprise!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Malaysians say Yes to PPSMI option

Received this in my mail from the Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) in Malaysia:

Dear parents and friends,

The quality of Malaysian education has deteriorated to an alarming level, with our schools and local universities churning out TOO MANY unemployable graduates who possess a severe lack of ability to communicate or correspond in English despite numerous A's scored in examinations, and producing ‘professionals’ of worryingly poor calibre especially in the fields of science and mathematics.

The former Prime Minister took steps to rectify the situation by implementing the policy of English for the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics and Science (Malay acronym: PPSMI) in 2003. The policy was fully embraced by the Government of the day, and ICT, hardware and software were acquired and designed and teachers were trained. Parents were greatly relieved that finally something concrete was being done to arrest the decline of the Malaysian education system.

Shortly after that, the general election was held and a new minister took over the Education Minister’s portfolio.

Shockingly, after only 6 years of implementation, without even allowing the first cohort of students who started with PPSMI in Primary 1 to complete the full cycle of schooling, the new Education Minister decided to abolish PPSMI in 2012, mainly for political reasons, despite

- huge public outcry and protests from parents and students alike;
- a massive number of letters and articles in newspapers and cyberspace from people in support of PPSMI, far outnumbering those against PPSMI;
- support for PPSMI from various professional bodies, business concerns and numerous concerned groups both local and international; and
- solid evidence that PPSMI has improved student outlooks and is advantageous for the future of our children and the country.

The Education Minister has IGNORED the pleas of parents and has blatantly disregarded the provision of the Education Act 1996 which stipulates that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.

The world is moving forward but yet Malaysia is going backward. We are going to remain stagnant in terms of progress and development.

Students in Form 1 next year will have to study Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Melayu after learning these subjects in English in primary school. Worse, for those who are going to Form 4, after learning Maths and Science in English for 9 years, they will be forced to switch to Bahasa Melayu for 2 years and then back again to English for their tertiary education!

Parents and friends, enough is enough. We are the Rakyat. The days of ‘the Government knows best’ are OVER! A democratic government must abide by the wishes of the majority.

We believe the majority of parents in Malaysia would choose PPSMI for their children if given the option. Unfortunately many choose to remain silent. Why? WE MUST MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD! Our numbers must be significant so that the Minister has no choice but to heed our wishes!


If you want your children’s school to be given the option of continuing PPSMI in 2012, attached is a simple form for you to REGISTER YOUR SUPPORT. It will take only a few minutes of your time to fill in. We urge you to register immediately as 2012 is just around the corner.

Please also help to forward the form to as many people as possible.

Please be assured that all information you provide will be carefully guarded and we will take great care to ensure that your personal information remains confidential.

Thank you for showing that you care about your children's future AND the future of Malaysia!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy birthday, Swan!

Yes, her name is Swan. Shwu Woan. And it was her birthday which we celebrated in my home in true floral Victorian fashion. Er, okay, with a mash-up of Malaysian flavours.

The food that she bought included mini cupcakes, mini strawberry and lemon tarts, tea (of some floral, fruity flavour) with scones, strawberry and marshmallows to dip in chocolate, as well as Moscato.

Othilia prepared some other special dishes as main course, Sarawak Laksa and chicken cooked in some special kacang sauce.

The party continued over at Mamak in Chatswood, where Swan and her lovely room and coursemate, Tracy work.

Here is to wishing Swan
a very
Happy 22nd Birthday!