Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Cheer

Tis the season! In my Christmas message to the residents of Selangor Cheshire Home, I couldn't help but tease them that they do not ever ask for snow! How nice to sit before a warm fire and enjoy singing carols and opening presents. But what they ask for, we always bring - Sunshine. With it there's sunshiny  surprises  as to who comes visiting. Ahead of the party day, the Sunshine "Senior elves' got busy making wishes come true.

Watching a Christmas pantomime  was not on my list but it happened. Frankenstein tried to create havoc but did not dampen the Christmas cheer! I bought 3 tickets for the family to be at Alice Smith school to enjoy the KL  Players' fund raiser panto, Frankenstein.  Boos flew fast and furious to Count Dracula, Frankenstein. An enthusiastic audience helped to boost the well earned claps for the entire cast.

If one has been a regular at the  A Festival of Nine Lessons  and Carols at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church for the past 10 years , it was a lovely evening spent . The festival of carols was originally  a Christmas carol service held in King's College, Cambridge. It was introduced in 1918 to the Church of England but over the years, many churches  have adapted it to suit the varied forms of service around the world. The evening  ended with a treat of mince pies galore and yummy snacks for all.

Before all these happenings, Christmas charity was already in the hearts of my friend, Jean and her friend, Beverly. Both worked hard  leading up to November towards a home charity sale of Xmassy gifts. And the 2 good cooks rewarded friends with a sumptuous spread of cakes  and biscuits. It was an easy relaxed morning. I went home with a few irresitible items, all as gifts .

Merry Christmas  to my Christian friends, near and far. May peace and joy be yours.

Great gift items 
Jean ready to spread Christmas cheer to her favourite charities
Sure hard to beat the 2 cooks - Jean and  Beverly
Mulled wine, yummy mince pies, sausages, stollen and Christmas biscuits for all.
Ready to start the Christmas programe at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church 
A grinny, inviting welcome to KL Players' panto, Frankenstein  at Alice Smith School, Jln Bellamy.
Count Dracula and his gummy grandmother, Granula ( half hidden on right)
A great cast of bats, zombies and citizens of Bavaria  to a cheering crowd.
Warming up to the start of The Sunshine Group Annual Christmas party for the residents at  Selangor Cheshire Home.

                                                          Residents getting ready to entertain .
Brendi leading her ladies of Klang Valley Harmony singers - lovely a capella.

More than a hint of being light and happy at One Utama Shopping Mall.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All Things Rotary and More!

Guess it's a good idea to lump some Rotary events together to do a post. The busyness of days past just didn't allow me to take stock of the photos though much clicking was done, event after another. My camera was always willing!
A proud and memorable moment for newest  member, Deepak Mahadevan after his induction as our member. He is flanked by President Ai Lin and Immediate Past President, Mohamad Abdullah.
It is always a day we look forward to when new members increase our family in Rotary. Together, we enjoy Rotary fellowship and  do Rotary work.
In fact, Deepak carried out his first 'assignment' with aplomb  just about half  an hour after the meeting ended. A member of our club suddenly fell ill. Without hesitation, Deepak  scooped her in his arms and placed her in the back seat of a waiting car to drive her to hospital. What an evening to remember!

The Intercity meeting hosted by  Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise. Here Sergeant at Arms, Steve Robinson  was thanking CEO of the Radio Business Station, BFM, Malek Ali  who was our guest speaker There was a huge turn-out of Rotarians and guests. 
President Elects of G8  group with In-coming  Assistant Governor, Suki. We were in Kuantan on 8 -10 November  for a 3 day training for our term 2014/15. Had a good time getting to know so many  fellow Rotarians from District 3300 comprising 72 clubs. Training was conducted by the District leaders. So much to learn about being a President at Pre- President Elect Training Seminar 1 and Rotary  - well - infused, I must say!
Here's looking at PEs of the Rotary clubs that comprise G8 - (left) Tim (Damansara), Nigel (Sunway), Hussein (Damansara West), Keats (Pantai Valley), Michael ( Kelana  Jaya). 

Had good company of other lady PEs - ( left) Daisy ( Pudu),Cecilia( Sunrise) and a spouse of a Rotarian at the dinner for District Governor Elect, Kirenjit Kaur . Yes, there was also a special programe for accompanying spouses. 
Kirenjit's nomination creates history in Rotary International District 3300 by being the first woman in Rotary 's 80 years in Malaysia to be the District Governor - a wife,  a mother, a lawyer, a friend, a Rotarian.. 

I attended  the joint meeting of Rotary Clubs of Gombak and Ampang. at the Royal Lake Club. Both clubs had their awardees for the Rotary month of October Vocational Services Award. President  Khatijah Sulieman ,Selangor Cheshire Home for the disabled ( where I volunteer) received her award from President James of Gombak. Rotary Club of Ampang awarded DatoWong Pui Lam, previously a senior officer of the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP). 
Come December, it will be Rotary Family month.

During our regular meeting on the 18 November, we had 2 young entrepreneurs as our guest speakers. They own an online travel agency, CatchThatBus. Viren and Ashwin 's presentation attracted much interest and many questions were answered. 

It's the 20th event  for the disabled in the Klang Valley. This year, under the leadership of our DG, Datuk Dr Mohinder Singh, District 3300 joined hands with the Selangor Spastics Assoc to create awareness for the Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur.  

A musical treat during a recent meeting, occupying a speaker's slot. 15 singers of the Klang Valley Harmony under Brendi Chenery gave us a taste of  Barbershop music. It was delightful as she educated us with some notes and visuals  to explain  the distinctive characteristics of this genre. as the singers sang.

What makes it Barbershop? 1. is arranged for voices rather than instrument 2. utiliizes four-part chords where every melody note has three harmony notes 3. includes songs from any genre that uses major and minor scales 4. is performed a capella  ( notes from Brendi Chenery)
A bustling few hours in my car porch as some friends teamed up with Rotarians of Pantai Valley to sort and pack clothes for the Haiyan Typhoon victims. There was a request to the Rotary Club of Ampang for used clothes for a specific area, Palompon, Leyte. Our club also chipped in besides sending cash.

The team who reduced the mini mountain of clothes , sorted and packed them .Thanks to all. We did not have to throw away items that couldn't be used except for the odd ones. So, our reminders of 'good' stuff was heeded..That made our work lighter. 

30 boxes of clothes, all packed and ready to load on a lorry the next day to a collection point to be shipped to the sad victims.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Diwali with Rellies

Diwali is full of colours. Even the sweet jasmine worn of the hair or offered in prayers is colourfully white! I noticed there were plenty of decorative kolams with favourites, peacocks and,lotuses  adorning them in the shopping malls and private clubs. I have made small ones before,and I know the intricacies involved in the making. Admirers of this festive art do get carried away and  to discourage any 'itchy' fingers or any untoward accidents, they are protected by a barrier of some sort.

After the morning puja at the temple in Brickfields, we settled for the usual breakfast cooked by my sister - in -law. We had a lovely meal of uppuma, onion sambal, dhall, vadai, idiapum, kesari and banana on banana leaves, lit by the glow of the Diwali lights. Just coincidental, the house was down with no electricity. So, shine on us, Diwali diyas!

Later, there was plenty to eat at our house where I served lunch for 8 of us . The table was quite full and I clean forgot about the samosas I made! Well, it'll be snacks for another day. To top it all, we drank Sula, an Indian wine we brought home during our holiday in Kerala.

The evening was long and yummy - cheese, crackers and dips, ham and  quince, olives with great bubblies and red wine, For this, we hopped back to our breakfast host's house.As we ate and chatted, some loud firecrackers exploded in the neighbourhood. Past midnight, our Diwali celebration came to an end. Somehow I missed the crowd that comes when there is an open house. But this year, quiet is also nice! A really good day indeed.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nine Emperor Gods Festival

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is over. Yearly, it lasts for 9 days in the 9the month of the Lunar calendar.
This year, October 4th was the start of the festival. Enakkers of the MCG did not miss the opportunity to be among the devotees and visitors to soak in the atmosphere of the Taoist festival, and be there to have a vegetarian lunch right in the temple premises.

In the late morning, we met at one of the stalls. I'm no stranger to vegetarian dishes as Indian types do feature in my diet. I found the dishes blander and different; the  Indian dishes being aromatic and spicy. Most of the dishes has soya as one of the main ingredients - as in bean paste, bean curd etc.

Besides eating, we took the opportunity to catch glimpses of the goings-on. Really, it is worth witnessing  this festive aspect of Taoism. Below are some pictures taken as we moved about the temple. Certainly, the carnival - like atmosphere can carry one away in the actvities that surround us.

Sampling the vegetarian dishes as they came.
Look up the ceiling .
Joss sticks of different sizes , bunched to offer prayers for prosperity, longevity etc.
Anyone can ask for fortune to be told.
Keeping  the fires burning  as long as the cooks are at work.
Tortoises, big and small - brightly coloured and doughy
Chinese altar decorative cloth depicting gods and goddesses
All ready for the big, big wok.
Not for the faint-hearted. Got muscle, stamina  and ready to sweat it out??
Take a quick count . 
Devotees, all dressed in white. Never a grumble.
Smoke gets in your eyes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Skipping Far and Near with Rotary

What do Rotarians do with skipping ropes? Thankfully, many of us can still skip and that deserves a pat on our shoulders. It says you are still agile and your stamina is quite intact!

With the launch of 100,000 skipping ropes: Promote Healthy Lifestyle - Skipping for Health by the Health Minister, Dato Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Rotary Kelab di Raja KL, many clubs  were given these ropes to spread the message of well-being among youths.

Before long, we found the humble skipping  rope can be anyone's good companion. From the heaps of ropes delivered in boxes into the hands of children, the limp rope transforms an inactive child into a burst of energy, his legs springing  off the ground  much to the  excitement of his peers .

The EEP ( Economic Empowerment Programme) students of Selangor Cheshire Home were thrilled when I brought 30 to them. The morning lethargy disappeared fast and the boys and girls were suddenly united in playing together. Beads of sweat just pushed them on as they were stirred into energetic souls.

At the Special Children's Home Ampaang, it was a matter of swinging the rope over and above  their heads. When shown by their caregivers, it promised fun, just like the trampoline nearby.

 I visited the Rotary Club Kota Bahru  with   rice soy meals in packets and  school shoes for their community visits.Also I brought 50 skipping ropes ready to distribute to the schoolchildren of SK Sultan Ismail 2. With Rotarian Kian Meng, we were warmly greeted by Penolong Kanan, En. Shaidi , teachers and the school children. Full marks to Kian Meng for translating  in Bahasa Melayu what I delivered in English on the benefits of skipping.  Sportingly he  skipped when I sprung a surprise on him , much to the applause of the audience. Kudos to En Shaidi who gamely skipped and sweated. His enjoyment  encouraged the children to join him. That's leading by example! So, in the mid-morning sun the children skipped away.

Nearer home, in Kajang, Rotarians from Pantai Valley with the Altruistic Youths  reached out to Persatuan Kebajikan Kanak Kanak . Besides some provisions for 2 poorly disadvantaged homes, we presented  'goodies' of  rice soy packets, school  shoes and skipping ropes. Everything fell into place . The kids age 5 - 15  watched a video on  the different variations of skipping. Then the real experience got them going. Once started, they could not resist the powerhouse of fun latent in a skipping rope. So, skip away - just carry your exercise aid in your pocket!

All  focused on skipping variations on video.

Ready to spring off and skip.
The fun has begun!
A mid-morning exercise.
Happy with an unexpected gift of skipping ropes.
A different way to enjoy.
Fun in the sun!
Watch the fun.
Skipping in the school hall.
Ready to hear  how to get fun out of a skipping rope.
Let the skipping rope be your health companion!