Archive for August, 2008

Two weeks ago I got a call that the university was willing to sponsor me to go to the 2008 National Youth Diversity Forum in Auckland. The theme of this year’s forum was “Finding Common Ground”. I was pretty nervous, but I figured if they were willing to pay I was obliged to take such a great opportunity. I’m not really a forum person. I don’t give speeches, I don’t keep abreast of politics, I don’t… I’m just not a forum person. So I was pretty nervous.

In the end it was pretty awesome! I’m really glad my friend Joe from uni was able to come too, so I didn’t have to be there by myself >..< But we met heaps of awesome people (most of whom were a lot younger than I expected!) and it was really interesting to meet them in that context, where we could talk openly about issues relating to diversity.

Plus we had fun. Sssssh.

The culmination of the forum was to present the 2008 “Youth Challenge” to the Plenary forum. I still don’t know what “plenary” means, and since the Prime Minister left as soon as we’d pimped the report they wanted us to read out I felt like our slot was a filler and we were the token “young people”. Didn’t feel good.

But the hosts of the event – Marama, the folks at the MIT marae, MCs Ronji and “Nolz” – were so nice and took us seriously. In a real genuine way. And I’m really grateful for that. I had a great weekend and learned a lot. Something I really appreciated was the way they supported each of us, and we were not asked or pressured to do anything that we didn’t feel comfortable doing. Each of the leaders really respected us and really cared that we were represented honestly and not used.

One of the trips we went on as part of the forum was to the 佛光山 Fo Guang Shan Buddist temple. It was really amazing – a huge complex with impressive shrines, teaching facilities, dining halls, tea cafe, and beautiful gardens. The whole site took 4 years and $33 million to complete, and is the largest Buddist temple in the southern hemisphere.

We had guides to show us round – professional Chinese styles, complete with handless mics. It was really interesting hearing them explain about the Tang dynasty architecture and features of the tmeple as well as the traditions observed there and significance of certain areas and customs.

I loved the statues of “novices” around the inner courtyard, they were so cute! And while we were there a small of group Chinese kids finished class and ran home with their schoolbags across the courtyard and out the front entrance. I had a moment where I was really happy ‘cos I could imagine these kids looking back on those classes in 10 years time the same way I look back on my Girls Brigade meetings. It was like looking at the perpetuation of Chinese culture in New Zealand. I just found in really hopeful.

It was really amazing to visit that place, and especially interesting to discuss the experience afterwards as a group who had entered the temple from a variety of backgrounds.  

I wanna thank everyone who was there, “delegates” and leaders. It was a great experience.




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I made cake

Marble Cake

I made this cake today from a recipe in the Edmonds cookbook. It was… interesting.

Cream 125g of butter, 125g sugar, and 1 dessertspoon of Golden syrup.  In a separate bowl mix 1/3 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of cornflour to make a smooth paste, add 3 beaten eggs. Add these wet ingredients alternatively with 225g of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Separate mixture into halves and to one half add 1 teaspoon mixed spice. Spoon alternative spoonfuls of each mixture into a greased tin and bake for about 1 hour at 180°C. 



I was so angry – after starting to cream the golden syrup, sugar and butter I realised we had no eggs, so had to run out and grab some. Nuts.



Smelling the cake when it came out I was really worried – the spices made it smell like carrot cake without the carrot, or even like a spicey fruit cake.



I couldn’t find any greaseproof cooking paper, so I just sprayed the whole tin with cooking spray instead… which didn’t turn out so well. In the end I allowed my brother to “Bruce Lee it” o.o



Although the cake was meant to be a surprise for bf when he got home from work, because of the eggs I was really late so I actually iced it after he was home. I think it was still a surprise though ^^



Yup, it’s pretty hearty!! <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3



Final verdict: with the sweet icing it tastes like Belgium Biscuits! It’s really crumbly and the spicey smell kinda puts me off. At least it looks cute. And the family seems to like it ^-^

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I wants a snuggle suit!

This is probably my favourite ad on New Zealand television at the moment. It’s so warm and fuzzy! If you havn’t seen it before, see if you can guess what’s it’s advertising before the end of the clip!

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When I was cleaning out some old boxes last week I found this funny e-mail I received years and years ago (I think from you, Mel!). I want to throw it out because it’s part of the clutter, but with the recent spate of freezing weather New Zealand’s been getting recently I thought it’d be appropriate to share it on here first.
New Zealanders will get it better than others – Canterbury is a region in the South Island of New Zealand and the people down there, Cantabrians (“Cantabs”), fancy themselves much more staunch and strong than the rest of New Zealand!

-: Canterbury Temperature Conversation Chart :-

20° above 0
Aucklanders try to turn on the heat
Cantabs plant gardens

15° above 0
Hamiltonians shiver uncontrollably
Cantabs sunbathe

10° above 0
Italian cars won’t start
Cantabs drive with the windows down

Distilled water freezes
Avon river water gets thick

5° below 0
People in Rotorua wear coats, gloves and woolly hats
Cantabs throw on a sweatshirt

10° below 0
Auckland landlords finally turn up the heat
Cantabs have the last BBQ before it gets cold

15° below 0
People in Kaitaia cease to exist
Cantabs lick flagpoles

20° below 0
Aucklanders fly to Sydney
Cantabs get out the winter coats

40° below 0
Wellington disintegrates
Canterbury Girl Guides begin to sell biscuits

60° below 0
Penguins begin to evacuate Antarctica
Canterbury Boy Scouts postpone “Winter Survival” training until it gets cold enough

80° below 0
Mt. Ruapehu freezes
Cantabs rent some DVDs

100° below 0
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole
Lincoln students get frustrated when they can’t thaw the keg

297° below 0
Microbial life survives on dairy prodects
Canterbury cows complain of farmers with cold hands

460° below 0
All atomic motion stops
Cantabs start saying “Cold ’nuff for ya?”

500° below 0
Hell freezes over
The Canterbury Crusaders lose the Super 14

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My Rollercoaster

Song: My Rollercoaster
Artist/Group: Kimya Dawson


Today bf and I watched the movie Juno. The soundtrack was really cool and included several tracks by Kimya Dawson, an artist who I’d never come across before. Each of her songs that I’ve heard is really distinctive, and yet at the same time really personal. Simple, but at the same time totally new and fun.

I’ve had this itchin’ in my shoes since I was just a little kid
and before I had a mini van I road the greyhound bus
my mom would say “I hope some day you get paid for being Kimya Dawson”

I feel like Kimya’s songs are really honest. So many musicians say “oh, I just make music for pleasure. I’d do it even if I didn’t get paid – it’s what I was born to do.” But somehow it’s not hard to believe that this is true of Kimya. It’s about life and about people. From her song lyrics and reading her journal and the bio on her site I feel like she’s… real. And humble. And dignified. And like I can listen to her songs and I have the right to go “hey! I know exactly what she means!”

’cause I like going for hikes and riding bikes
and playing video games in the middle of the night
and I’ll stay up late and I won’t even care
that we’re getting up early to go to the state fair

I’m tired and it’s hard to explain what I mean, but it’s as if you went, “I think I’ll write a song about how I’m feeling right now”, and you just started singing. And the tune is light, and the song’s easy to listen to, but you can say and sing whatever and however you want, because it’s your song.

Within the format of the song it even sort of incoporates bars of other songs that you’ve known forever, including hits by Tom Cochrane, Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, the Goo Goo Dolls and Third-Eye Blind (well that’s what I hear, anyway). I think it’s a seriously awesome technique in the song because it makes it reflect life – just like the song life is punctuated by tunes and songs that I’ve always known, or that are associated with certain memories, or that just pop into your head at inopportune moments, even though you only know a couple of bars or just the chorus, and they are a part of your life.

I feel like Kimya Dawson is an artist in the true sense of the word, and that when you listen to her songs you have the freedom to hear whatever you hear in them. I love a verse near the end, it reminds me so much of bf. I do love the way he plays computer games! Even those little desktop ones with pixely little men who have to jump onto different platforms and I can never play them ‘cos I get scared of dying, but he just plays them and really concentrates and perseveres and always wins. <3<3
Kimya knows what I mean.

you were on my mind at least nine tenths of yesterday
it seemed as if perhaps I’d gone insane
what is it about you that has commandeered my brain?
maybe it’s your awesome songs or maybe it’s the way
you go straight to the top you’re not scared of getting squashed
you know just when to jump off
you’re so brave
and then you run to the right it seems there’s no hope in sight
and you drop down to the tube that takes you right to level eight

Full lyrics for the song, from the album Remember That I Love You, are on Kimya’s website, and you can listen to the song here on YouTube.

And for those of you who are wondering, apparently an elephant ear is a big hunk of deep-fried, sugar coated dough. Now you’re talkin’ ma language!


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Just in case you, like me, have had your bed and television… stolen is such a harsh word… pilfered on this night of nights and you, like me, are in your hovel of a room with no decent sleeping place and no olympic coverage – fear not! Grab a blanket and a pillow, set the back of your computer chair right back and click through to TVNZ.

Thanks Mel for the great idea – time to waste the 6.5hrs till I have to get up!


It’s not like I’d be getting any sleep anyway…

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福娃 ~ Olympic Mascots!


Everyone say “你好!” to the 2008 olympic mascots! Aren’t they cute? They are called the “福娃”, the “Fúwá“! Fúwá literally means “good luck dolls” or “dolls of blessing” and they were designed by a famous Chinese artist called 韩美林 Han Meilin.

My fav. thing about the Fúwá, apart from their cuteness, is their names! They each have a cute, double-consonant name, just like the names of many Chinese children – Bèibei (贝贝), Jīngjing (晶晶), Huānhuan (欢欢), Yíngying (迎迎) and Nīni (妮妮). When all their names are put together they create a sentence-

“Běijīng huānyíng nĭ”
Beijing welcomes you 

Like previous olympic mascots such as the ’04 Athens mascots, they’re locally inspired representations of native culture – but in my opinion these are 10 times cuter!! (See aforementioned Athens mascots). Together they represent the 5 Olympic rings, the 5 Elements, and are ambassadors of the Olympic message “One World, One Dream”; individually they each have their own image, personality and respresent different aspects of Chinese culture.


Bèibei (贝贝)

Female Fúwá –
Blue Olympic ring / Sea / Lotus & Fish / Prosperity / Friendly, and a leader / Aquatic sports

Trivia “In traditional Chinese culture, the fish represents prosperity, as the character for fish “yú” (魚) sounds the same as that for surplus “yú” (餘 / 余). ”




Jīngjing (晶晶)

Male Fúwá –
Black Olympic ring / Forest / Giant panda & lotus porcelin / Happiness / Honest and optimistic / Weightlifting, judo etc.

Trivia “Jīngjing’s forest origins also symbolise the harmonious coexistence of humankind and nature.” 





Huānhuan (欢欢)

Male Fúwá –
Red Olympic ring / Fire / Olympic flame &  莫高窟 MogaoGrottoes / Passion / Extrovert, enthusiastic / Ball sports

Trivia “Huanhuan represents the passion of sports, the Olympic spirit of “faster, higher, stronger”, and the passion of the Beijing Olympics.”





Yíngying (迎迎)

Male Fúwá –
Yellow Olympic ring / Earth / Tibetan antelope & Tibetan and Xinjiang ethnic costumes / Health / Lively, independent / Track & Field

Trivia “Yíngying’s headgear incorporates elements of Tibetan and Xinjiang ethnic costumes.”




Nīni (妮妮)

Female Fúwá –
Green Olympic ring / Sky / The swallow & Beijing’s Shayan kites / Good fortune / Innocent, kind / Gymnastics

Triva “The Chinese character for swallow (燕) is also used in Yanjing (燕京), an old name for Beijing; thus the swallow alludes to Beijing.”




The Fúwá are very childlike in appearance and personality, and in the year before the Olympics there has been a kids show on Chinese TV featuring the Fúwá called The Olympic Adventures of Fuwa 福娃奥运漫游记. I don’t know if that what the clip below is… but it’s freakin’ cute!!


For more information about the sweet Fúwá visit this official page or this page on Wikipedia.

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