Monday, December 31, 2007
The first picture is of Hartleigh at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. She volunteered to be the perch for a vulture.
The second one is of my friend, Sara, demonstrating how her boyfriend's nephew will enjoy playing with his new Christmas present.
This Sara at the Cultural Village near Kuching in the Borneo part of Malaysia. It's like a homestay where tourists can stay in the traditional houses of the Borneo aborigines. A few people of each group also stay there to run the homestays and answer questions about how their people live. If you ask the right questions, it can be really interesting. The tattoo uses a traditional design of the Melanyu people (I think). It made Sara feel very fierce even after it washed off.
Here's Mom, Dad, Leo and I on a traditional bridge at the Cultural Village.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Bloger just added a new feature: showcasing videos. I've tried this before on other sites. After a week or so, the video would no longer work. We'll see what happens with the Blogger version.
I shot this in 2006 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There's a sizable Chinese community in the capitol. This a short portion of one of the best lion dances I have ever seen. Lion dances are usually part of Chinese New Year celebrations. The dance cleanses places of bad luck and invites good luck. Here the lions are reaching for the ang pow (a red envelope with their payment).
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Meet Lumos -- the newest addition to my Singapore home. He's a 4 year old male cat, although as playful as a kitten. His name is from Harry Potter. Wizards say "Lumos" when they want their wand to become a light. He really reminds of light with his ginger coat, big lanteru-like eyes and light-hearted personality. He's also a true Asian cat. His tail ends in a ball rather than tapering like most Western cats.
For the past several years I have felt like I was camping in my various apartments. I always knew that I'd be moving on in a year or two. Singapore is the first place where I have felt at home. Lumos's purr is a confirmation of that.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Here are the pictures from my trip to Bali last May/June. Follow the link at the bottom to see them all.
Teaching the children there was an entirely different experience. They were motivated to learn English because they wanted to communicate in it with people that spoke that languge. Most people say they want to learn English for that reason, but their more immediate goal is to score high on an exam, enter a prestigious school or get a promotin at work. English lessons are usually centered around a topic that assumes the students know about the world outside the their immediate experience or have free time. So a lesson might be about current events, favorite books, cultural differences, dream vacations, hobbies or pets. The school children in East Bali knew only about life in their village. They might have only once been to the district center. The district center would be conidered a village by most people in the world. They spent most of their time helping their families survive. Everyday they would haul drinking water, collect grass for the cow, weed the garden, collect firewood, mind younger children, etc. They didn't have the free time that most young people have. They don't really have their own possessions; they share everything with their brothers and sisters. They don't have the time to devote to a hobby. All the animals in their homes have a utilitarian purpose. Most available materials aren't suitable because they assume the children know who are Shakespeare and Gandhi, about being in a cafe, have bought something in a department store, etc. This made an interesting challenge to build the lessons and materials around a topic that would be relevant to them and not require too much explanation from the teacher.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The top two photos are of Tamarind Springs Restaurant where we will have the Kuala Lumpur reception on December 9th. The restaurant is surrounded by green jungle on almost all sides which gives it a wonderful intimate feeling. It's also on a hill and open to breezes so it stays cool naturally rather than exposing people to air conditioner drafts. The menu is Indo-Chinese rather than Malaysian. The restaurant has consistently won awards and is ranked in the top 100 in KL.
The bottom picture is where we will hold the reception in Kuching on December 8th. It is a gallery in the parish hall of the church where we will hold the ceremony. We chose this spot because it is pleasant, casual and also convenient for the older members of Leo's family. The food here will be more Malaysian. We'll definately have some Kuching delicacies such as, seafood, fish and wild fern salad.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
In Malaysia, I drove almost everywhere because buildings are spread out like in the US and there are seldom sidewalks or other safe places to walk. My first week here in Singapore felt like the first few days of a backpacking trip -- my feet swelled, blisters developed, knees ached and I was often winded. Now during the second week, my muscles and joints are no longer complaining and I'm not as often out-of-breath. The National University of Steps is making me fit after the soft life in Malaysia.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
December 4th Leo and I fly to Kuching for the wedding rehersal and registration.
December 8th 11:00am wedding ceremony at St Joseph's Church in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia with a lunch buffet afterwards in St Joseph's Gallery.
December 9th evening reception at Tamarind Springs restaurant in Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia. Ampang is a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, the capitol.
If you would like to come earlier or later and visit with us, arrange your tickets so you fly in or out of Singapore. My new apartment has 2 spare bedrooms, so you are welcome to stay with us.
Friday, June 22, 2007
I will be a lecturer there at the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC). Most of my students will be non-Singaporean undergrads and graduates who have enough English to pass NUS's initial exam but not enough to earn a degree in their disciplines. The Centre also hosts conferences and publishs a journal. So, there will an opportunity for me to continue to conduct research and perhaps get published again. I start at CELC on 2 July. If you would like to see more about where I will work, you can look at the NUS website at www.nus.edu.sg/celc.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
EBPP has been showing the villagers new farming techniques to prevent erosion, irrigate and fertilize organically. They have also introduced new crops such as tomatoes, spinach and potatoes. All of the children and women of child-bearing age receive iodine supplement tablets and they have been educating the villagers about bacteria, parasites and how to prevent them. The villagers also had trouble with water. In the rainy season there was too much and in dry season there was too little. They built a series of reservoirs to store and manage it. You can see more of their work and projects on their website at http://www.eastbalipovertyproject.org/.
Some of the villages requested EBPP to set up schools for the children since the nearest ones were a 3-4 hour walk. The children have 1 hour a week for English and this is where I am helping the foundation. The children have such little knowledge of the outside world that most of the English teaching resources available wouldn't be suitable for them. The children don't know about modern conveniences such as TV or telephones. They don't really understand concepts like hobbies or occupations. Nobody in their village has the time or resources to devote to hobbies and everyone they know is a farmer. The villages and the foundation wants them to have some knowledge of English so that the children can communicate with foreign donors, fill out forms and read simple things such as an instruction pamphlet or the directions on a bottle of medicine. My plan is to help the education team plan a syllabus to organize what the children should be learning over an extended period of time and to help them make their own textbooks and other classroom aids.
So far, it has been very interesting to think about ways the teachers can overcome the special problems they face in the villages. So interesting that I don't mind missing out on the typical tourist activities here on Bali.