Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Freedom of Speech in New Zealand ( Courage Day event)

New Zealand PEN Centre (Society of Authors)

"Freedom of Speech in New Zealand"

A discussion with:-

 Jan Logie
MP (human rights spokesperson for the Green Party)


John Morgan
 (human rights spokesperson for the United Nations Association).

When:   Friday 15th November
Where:  Thistle Inn, Thorndon

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Festival time in Christchurch New Zealand.

New Zealand Cup and Show Week is just a month away (8th – 16th November) and, as well as all the favourite action, several exciting new events have been added to this year’s nine-day festival.

I'll be at the street party in the ReStart mall ... will I see you there?

The info I was sent says ....

Christchurch City Council Events Development Manager, Richard Attwood says New Zealand Cup and Show Week promises to deliver the racing, fashion, entertainment and country atmosphere that makes Canterbury Anniversary the best week of the year in Christchurch.

“This is a wonderful time for locals, new residents and out-of-town visitors to celebrate how creative and exciting Christchurch has become. We have a full week of events guaranteed to get everyone out and about,” Mr Attwood says.

New official events are:
  • ·         A free street party in Re:START mall to launch the week on Friday evening, 8 November
  • ·         A-League football with the Wellington Phoenix playing the Perth Glory at AMI Stadium on Saturday, 9 November
  • ·         Urban Assault, a fun challenge 5km obstacle course around the city centre on Sunday, 10 November
  • ·         Breast Cancer Research Trust’s first Fashion for a Cure charity event at the Transitional Cardboard Cathedral on Monday, 11 November.

 read more 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Is Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, the music capital of the region?

Asia Music Festival will feature musicians from India, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Malaysia that will perform over the 2-days festival.

As I sit down to write about the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kutching, Sarawak, (Malaysian Borneo) on my travel blog I receive this information about another music festival set to take the stage in October ... seems this state is becoming the music capital of Malaysia, if not Asia - so passing it on.

MIRI, Thursday – Asia Music Festival, another celebration of music is set to take centre stage in Miri, Sarawak this coming October with almost full line-up for the said event already confirmed.

The whole host of electrifying eclectic mix of live music will spread over two days, where the event will run from 4-5 October at Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club, 5km from Miri city centre.

The event is set to become another iconic music festival for Sarawak after the success of Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) held in Kuching city and Borneo Jazz held in Miri. Sarawak Tourism Board will bring together several key musicians from India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Brunei as well as Malaysia to this inaugural event.

“This is another event the Board has created to attract visitors to the resort city of Miri. With this we hope that visitors from our neighbouring countries, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and our fellow Malaysians will come for 2 days of fun and music.” said Dato’ Rashid Khan, CEO, Sarawak Tourism Board. The Board looks forward to introduce this new event with its objective of attracting the Asian expatriate community working in neighbouring country like Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and the region to come and celebrate the music while visiting the destination. The atmosphere is planned to be that of a carnival as apart from the night shows, there will also be a fun event starting in the afternoon with lots of food, fun and games.

The Board is also proud to continue its successful internship and volunteer program, which was initiated in past events like the Rainforest World Music Festival. Through this program, the Board will provide a unique learning experience for the volunteers and interns whilst at the same time being exposed to the product experiences of Sarawak’s culture, nature and adventure.

STB will also continue to collaborate with Universities and Colleges as part of an industry advisory platform and to undertake this initiative as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

Asia Music Festival promises an extraordinary weekend of fun, music and more, within the greeneries and fresh air of the countryside at the brand new musical venue, Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club. “This is an inspiring opportunity for everyone to come together and experience the adventure of yet another music festival” reiterated Dato’ Rashid Khan.

Mixture of live music will be featured throughout two days event and will include a mix-genre of music from national, regional and local talent. The initial line-up of performers initiated by Sarawak Tourism Board includes Antoney Dassan Yen Party (India), The Foxy Girls (Indonesia), Bembol Rockers (Philippines), V.Star Band (Korea), Boy Thai Band (Thailand), Soesah Tidoer (Indonesia), Fakhrul Razi (Brunei) and several Malaysian bands.

Based on the success of the Rainforest World Music Festival and the Borneo Jazz, Sarawak Tourism Board is confident that the inaugural Asia Music Festival will thrill the crowds when it makes its debut next month.

Friday, April 26, 2013

My cat wants to travel with me to Borneo!

Technorati Tags: ,,,,
I know Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo, is the cat city .. but sorry Mista, you can't come.You will just have to follow my blogs like everyone else! ( this one and my travel one )

mista and backpack

mista and backpack

Sunday, March 31, 2013

My cat is happy the drought has broken!

“Yes, I do have clean water in my bowl but fresh rainwater is SOOOO good.” says Mista

mista  (5)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Multi-award winning movie - Amour

Last night I went to my local movie theatre, Lighthouse Cuba, to see Amour (French for "Love") is a 2012 French-language drama film written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, and starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert.

The narrative focuses on an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers with a daughter who lives abroad. Anne suffers a stroke which paralyses her on one side of her body.

I loved this film, harrowing though it was in parts. it is a beautiful example of French understatement, low key and fabulous camera-work, and a thoroughly satisfying, thought-provoking story.

Awards the film has won:

 Palme d'Or  2012

 Selected as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.

 25th European Film Awards, - nominated in six categories, winning in four, including Best Film and Best Director.

 National Society of Film Critics’ Awards - it won awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress.
British Academy Film Awards - it was nominated in four categories, winning for Best Leading Actress and Best Film Not in the English Language and Emmanuelle Riva became the oldest person to win a BAFTA.

85th Academy Awards - the film has been nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role; Best Original Screenplay; Best Director; and Best Foreign Language Film.

 At 85 years, Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest Academy Awards nominee for the Best Actress in a Leading Role.

 César Awards it has been nominated in ten categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

PS and yet more awards:

See more about Amour on Wikipedia

Friday, February 15, 2013

Have you been to Waitangi - on Waitangi Day?

New Zealand is in my blood and bones, in my DNA. My family threw off the shackles of class; land-clearings in Scotland; potato famines in Ireland; and tin mine closures in Cornwall – arriving in New Zealand in the mid-1800s.

      The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi is what allowed us, and every migrant since,  to come to New Zealand and I was thrilled when Norman Kirks 3rd Labour government made Feb 6th a public holiday. The 1970s were a time of huge changes in race and gender issues in NZ and I, a 5th generation kiwi, was glad to be a passionate part of the processes.

      That being so, I loved revisiting Waitangi last year for the celebrations and commemorations of this our country’s founding document and next year I’m planning on attending the day’s celebrations in Okains  Bay on Banks Peninsula.  Annually I attended the events in Christchurch but now actively encourage others to do something to acknowledge our national day. I’d love all new Zealanders to attend Waitangi Day, in Waitangi, at least once in their lifetime. It’s a great day there, but please just start by saying “Happy Waitangi Day.”

      Michael King, in The Penguin History of New Zealand says “And most New Zealanders, whatever their cultural backgrounds, are good-hearted, practical, commonsensical and tolerant. Those qualities are part of the national cultural capital that has in the past saved the country from the worst excesses of chauvinism and racism seen in other parts of the world. They are as sound a basis as any for optimism about the country’s future.” page 520.

      There will always be conflict and tensions around the day in Waitangi, they are legitimate and desirable debates that define a democracy, and for us, necessary.  Our Treaty was ignored by one partner in the agreement for over a hundred years then, as a result of our national protests and debate over apartheid, we finally looked into our own backyard. We still need to be looking and examining it – we have made much progress but, just as feminism and the 1970s progress has gone backwards, so too do we need to ensure we continue moving forward in our nation’s human rights and our legal and moral obligations agreed to by the signatories of document. 

      As Norman Kirk said about our holiday it is designed to give us “a full sense of nationhood” and I encourage you to celebrate our nation by at least saying to your friends and family, and people whose paths you cross on the day “Happy Waitangi Day” as we continued to build our nation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy birthday Elvis

Happy Birthday Elvis – memories of Graceland. (except from Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad.)

"The sixties were an important time for me too, flower power or blooming idiots we were called. Idealistic, the first of the baby-boomers, we wanted to change the world – the American civil rights movement and television was the catalyst for many. For me they started in 1960 when South Africa demanded that no Maori could be in the All Blacks rugby tour to South Africa. ‘No Maori No tour’ was the call from many New Zealanders and it became my first political stance. I was at high school; Vietnam and women’s issues followed and this museum brings it flooding back. Feeling drained, I eventually leave and return to the hostel and go to bed early. Tomorrow will be la crème de la crème – I’m off to Graceland.
Local buses take me the 16 kilometres (10 miles) to my goal. I’m wondering if I’ve missed the stop when I see ‘his’ aeroplanes and ring the bell; it’s time to get off. Heart pounding, I walk immediately to the ornate wrought-iron gates – I’m going to Elvis’s home: it’s right in front of me, perched on the top of a little rise and smaller than I’d visualised. A guard stands at the gate.
‘Sorry Ma’am, you can’t come in this way. You need to get a ticket over the road’ and points at what looks like an Elvis Disneyland. Although frustrated in my plans I ask him to photograph me at the gates, then cross the road.
Despite my initial distaste, I’m swept up into the atmosphere as I wander through a few shops then buy the expensive ticket that will allow me back over the road – a short wait then I’m invited into a mini bus.
‘Welcome to Graceland. This is a great time to come to Graceland. The house has just been decorated for Christmas just as Elvis did. He loved Christmas and we try to keep things just as he would,’ our guide tells us. We drive to the road, wait for the lights to change, cross the busy road then through the gates I’d been turned way from. Within two minutes we pull up in front of the doors my hero went in and out: I’m here, I’m breathless and it’s not the mansion I’d expected. I’m welcomed again and given a hand-held audiocassette player to guide me around the house.
The dining room first: I’m surprised the small room as it’s so formal and made even smaller with people milling around the table, set for a traditional Christmas dinner.
‘What a ghastly colour scheme.’ A woman says as she looks around the living room frozen in time – the 1970s colours of orange and black. I want to explain that HE would have changed it had he been alive, that this was the fashionable decor of the time but I bite my tongue. I want to sit and absorb the atmosphere; rest on HIS couch; soak in HIS presence, imagine HIM jamming with friends. It’s not possible so continue slowly through the house.
Gazing up the stairs that lead to the out-of-bounds bedroom: I imagine how I’d have slept there if he had married me – like my youthful dreams had visualised.
A thick peanut butter sandwich awaits the King and I’m pinching myself. Am I really here? Right where HE ate? Exactly where HE sat? I push the rewind button and listen to his voice repeatedly.
Continuing on to the stables, through the collection of records and clothes in the trophy room, I spend ages reading the plaques and gazing at the small paddock where he rode his horse, trying to visualise him there and eventually I’m at his grave in the Meditation Garden.
I was driving to work in the early morning light when I heard he’d died and was appalled most of the staff didn’t see his death as a moment of import. In the following days I played and replayed his records: crying. No more new music, no films – he’ll never marry me now I sobbed; my kids thought I was mad – perhaps they were right.
I’m horrified I didn’t think to bring flowers for his grave. I take photos around the Elvis-pilgrims who are spoiling the moment for me and soon I’m back in the mini-bus to return over the road – wishing the others would shut up, stop contaminating my mood with their noise.
Walking slowly around the museum I sit and watch film excerpts, climb into the planes, gaze at the powder pink Cadillac, the Harley Davidson golf-cart and then ring New Zealand – my daughter’s out of her office. I leave a message on the answer-phone. ‘Guess where I am! I’m at Gracelands! I’m at Gracelands!’ I gloat. I buy tapes, a book then reluctantly leave. If only he waited for me – such are the dreams of a 50-year-old-woman-going-on-16.