I am Janet Williams, an academic living in the southeast of England.
I blog about culture, history, languages and my community.
I created Chandler's Ford Today.
During my spare time, I make Origami.
Thank you for stopping by.
On World Book Day on the 5th of March this year, many schools in the UK had a ‘non-uniform’ day, and children were encouraged to dress themselves up as a character from a book that they love.
Many children dressed up as characters such as Spiderman, Batman and Superman, Ironman, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Dracula, Wally, or Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
Normally my son doesn’t like dressing up as other characters, but this year, he decided to dress up as his favourite character, The Doctor. The Doctor is the main character from the television show Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi series of all time. He is an alien who travels in a time machine and fights aliens and visits new worlds. The show’s longevity stems from The Doctor’s ability to change his appearance, with every version (or incarnation) being completely different from the last. There have been 12 Doctors. Continue reading →
We have a keyring in the shape of a sperm at home.
My 14-year-old son came back from school a few weeks ago after a day’s sex education and drug education. The sperm keyring was a freebie to all children.
During the sex education, all boys and girls (aged 13 and 14) were each given a real condom in a sealed package. They learnt together in the same class, learnt how to tear off the sealed package gently, hold the condom the right way, and put it on a realistic erect penis model.
The teenagers also learnt about STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). They were shown graphic images of the effects of the diseases such as chlamydia. Teenagers were also told to make choices in life about whether they think they are ready for sex, and try not to succumb to peer pressure. Continue reading →
Last Thursday (19th February 2015), Chinese people around the world celebrated The Year of the Sheep. Traditionally Chinese New Year is a period of 15 days, so it is still a time of celebration today.
However I live in England, and Chinese New Year seems to have lost its charm on me. Many of my English calendars don’t even mark Chinese New Year as an event. I must admit in the past I sometimes forgot that new year had arrived until I was asked, “Er, is this the year of the…?” Continue reading →
Today I changed the header of this blog. My new tagline is: Now England has become my home.
It is important that people who visit this site are clear about what they may find, therefore I tried to be descriptive.
The tagline I used before was “From the south of England”. This old tagline was a bit vague, as some people might be disappointed to find that I did not feature sun, sea, and beach huts from Plymouth or Brighton on this site.
Creating a relevant tagline
When I was considering a new tagline, I had an idea of “From a kampung to an England’s suburb”. However, most overseas readers may find it difficult to comprehend the concept of a kampung in Malaysia. A kampung is a typical Malaysian village or enclosure, characterised by lots of greenery, such as coconut trees, papaya trees, and sugar cane. Continue reading →
I have been absent for over a year from this site. I had only planned to be away for a few weeks.
Thank you for some of you who regularly checked on me.
Thank you for those of you who continued to write and inspire me.
I’m still reading some blogs, especially ShimonZ through his blog the human picture. In ShimonZ’s writing and through his lenses, I see Jerusalem, the everyday life of the people and animals, and ponder over some terribly sad episodes over the last year.
It’s wonderful to know Tilly still enjoys writing and reciting poems. She cried over her son leaving home, watched her son performing, and even decorated her room, in her blog dedicated to sharing the laughter: The Laughing Housewife.
I’m so proud that Nicki Chen successfully published her gripping novel, Tiger Tail Soup. I’ve read the book and would highly recommend it to you. In the past year, Nicki’s blog Behind the Story never fails to entertain (lots of food), and carry me with her on her fascinating recollections of the past, from the East to the West. Continue reading →
I was shocked to see the state of my mother’s ancestral home in China. By today’s modern standard, her ancestral house still looks shabby. However, the house used to be unsafe, dilapidated, and it could not withstand strong wind and rain.
This is the very house that nurtured 4 children, who are now grandparents. These are also my cousins that I have never met. Continue reading →
A few months ago, I shared with you some touching letters from China to my mother. These letters built the bridge between my mother and her remaining brother in China, both were separated by war, politics and poverty for 40 years.
During their separation, my mother never ceased to support her brother’s family in the Fujian province of China even though we had very little ourselves. We lived in Malaysia and Singapore then and my mother would squeeze any money that she could find and then sent money and medicine (such as ginseng) to China, for example, to help fix a leaking roof, and to help pay for the bride price so that her three nephews could get a wife in their poor village. My mother also enabled her elderly sister in law (now 96 years old) to visit Singapore in 1992 to fulfill her once-in-a-lifetime dream. Continue reading →
Fifty five years after the the Changi Cross (St. George’s Cross) was crafted at the Changi prisoner of war camp in 1942, the world finally discovered the full identity of the maker of the symbolic Changi Cross: British Staff Sergeant Harry Stogden. He made the Changi Cross with a 4.5 Howitzer shell and strips of brass. Sadly Sergeant Stogden never made it home, leaving three orphans in Britain. He died at sea aged 38 in 1945 after spending 3 years as a Japanese prisoner of war in Singapore and Japan.
In 2001, The Singapore Tourist Board invited the son of Sergeant Harry Stogden and his family to visit Singapore to mark the end of the 59th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore. Changi Cross was a symbol of hope and strength to hundreds of POWs at Changi. The creation of the Cross also marks the resourcefulness of the POWs incarcerated in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation. Continue reading →
When Padre Eric Cordingly was imprisoned at the Changi prisoners of war camp in Singapore in 1942, he kept a diary with fascinating details. For example, he mentioned how ambitious the POWs were in making their own wine from raisins for communion. When Padre Cordingly suffered from “Tummy trouble” (dysentery) before the Holy Week in 1942, he was treated with Bismuth and chloroform. His wonderful comrades also surprised him with the precious gift of two packets of cigarettes. Now I know from his newly-published diary that cigarettes got occasionally smuggled into the Changi POW camp and they cost ten dollars for fifty, about twenty-five shillings.