Tag Archives: community

2015: My new writing focus and challenge

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

A rather messy war in Britain during Halloween

In the past two months, since the death of the Malayan communist leader Chin Peng on the 16th of September, I have written nine challenging posts about Communism and the brutal jungle war in Malaya and the suffering of the Batang Kali children who travelled without a suitcase. These are challenging to me because I had never set out to write about major historical conflicts on my blog. When I started blogging in English less than two years ago, I had never anticipated that one day I would handle such a sensitive and emotional subject, as the pains of the Batang Kali children are still clearly felt though Communism is already dead in Malaysia.

While I am still reading about the Malaysian history during the Malayan Emergency period while reading War of the Running Dogs: Malaya, 1948-1960 by Noel Barber, and Jungle Green by Arthur Campbell, I have also noticed the change of the season. The warm summer has faded into a rather chilly autumn. In Britain, our clocks moved one hour backwards on the last Sunday in October. It delighted me last weekend as I felt I had earned one extra hour’s sleep. Continue reading

My Site Table of Contents – I did it!

This page is updated regularly. Old posts have been deleted. Posts are re-organised. 

For the most up-to-date Table of Contents, visit this page.

I’ve taken up Lorelle’s huge challenge, Blog Exercises: Organise Your Content, to organise all my posts on this blog. I’ll explain in my next post the sweat, tear, and joy of completing this task. I’m keen to find out what you think of the outcome. Would you like to try organising your site too?

This task is never going to be perfect, but I’m willing to show you my attempts, my progress, or my failure.

Site Table of Contents

This Site Table of Contents is a microscopic view of my 195 blog posts published on Janet’s Notebook from 5 April 2012 till 27 July 2013.

It covers stories of my life before the UK and my life after living in the UK since 1996. It covers my hobbies, my identity, and my thoughts on history, language and cross cultures.

It depicts my life in the south of England, my family with a son with pets, my local community, and my moments of glory and sadness.

It also reflects my love affairs with WordPress, and how my life has been enriched and transformed with WordPress through this brilliantly supportive and engaging community. Continue reading

Honouring Nelson Mandela: Make Everyday a Mandela Day

I woke up last Thursday morning to the delightful sounds of rhythmic singing, drumming and dancing of South African children. On the radio, these children reminded me that it was Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday.

Lorelle wrote a touching Nelson Mandela Tribute last month with a wealth of resources about this remarkable man, who from 1962 to 1990 was incarcerated. Nelson Mandela voted the first time in his life in 1994.

Do you know there’s an international day called Nelson Mandela International Day? I only heard about this special day last week. Nelson Mandela International Day (or shortened for Mandela Day) was established by the UN General Assembly in 2009, for freedom, justice and democracy. Mandela Day started on July 18, 2010, on Mandela’s 92nd birthday.

Nelson Mandela International Day

Nelson Mandela International Day

You’ll find a comprehensive list of 67 ways you could do to change the world on the Mandela Day website.

These include making a new friend from a different cultural background, reading to someone who can’t, fixing the potholes in your street, helping out at your local hospice, mentoring a school leaver, mowing someone’s lawn, learning the story of someone older than you, donating indigenous trees to beautify neighbourhoods in poorer areas. Continue reading

How is swimming like blogging?

I swim 3-4 times a week in a local private pool. Normally swimming is pleasant. Sometimes, my routine swim is disrupted and I lose my inner calmness. Losing a peaceful mind is the last thing I need in the evening.

I’ve been affected by some selfish swimmers. Their inconsiderate behaviours include lane hogging, edge hogging (stretching out their arms, ah, just relaxing), shouting or playing ball game in the middle of the pool, doing the backstroke badly in a crowded pool with no sense of direction, kicking people without even apologising when doing the breaststroke incorrectly.

I wonder why some people lack the common sense in using the pool. However, what’s common sense? Who created the rules? What I consider as common sense may not be the common sense of certain loud or inconsiderate swimmers. Our purposes are different. While I swim as a form of exercise for relaxation, these people relax by doing nothing in the water. I go there to ‘work’, but they go there to chat, socialise, soak — everything apart from the main purpose of a swimming pool – swimming.

I tried to seek sympathy from my husband. However, he shows the typical spirit of British fairness by not taking his wife’s side. He thinks that the hotel guests paid for their accommodations and the facilities, so they could claim the swimming pool as theirs, be joyous and behave like typical over-excited tourists.

What about me, a regular paying client to the health club? I argued my rights. Continue reading

Morning scenes in my neighbourhood in Chandler’s Ford

Yesterday, I took you on a pleasant journey with me. Today, we’re continuing with this 30 minutes’ walk. On my way to work, I would first walk through the wood, cut through a tranquil residential area for the elderly, walk past the vicarage, parish church and a pub along the river.

After that, I’ll reach a busy roundabout, surrounded by local shops such as a butcher, convenience store, Chinese and Indian takeaway, Fish and Chips shop and a barber shop.

main road

Very busy roundabout

This roundabout is made famous for one particular crime in September 2007. The Metropolitan police shot dead two robbers just outside the Central Precinct, as they robbed the security van of the HSBC bank. According to the BBC reports later, the two men were lawfully killed.


Many interesting shops in Chandler’s Ford Central Precinct. I come across three types of rubbish bins along the way.

Continue reading

My tranquil neighbourhood in Chandler’s Ford

A while ago, my friend Shimon from Jerusalem published a series of pictures about his neighbourhood in his blog, The Human Picture.

I’m totally enchanted by this series, which Shimon neatly named ‘Blood behind stones’.

“In our culture, it is believed that the soul of a living being is found in its blood. So the name of the series refers to the human beings that live and work behind the stone walls, and the stone buildings of our city.”

~ Quote from Shimon Z ~

This reflection has added value to the series, as his photos are not just for aesthetics pleasure, they form history.

Shimon’s series has triggered me to do something similar, on a much smaller scale.

I’ve lived in this neighbourhood for 13 years. We moved over here when I was heavily pregnant, and now my son is almost a teenager. “Why not capture my neighbourhood?” I thought.

I normally walk for half an hour to work everyday. Yesterday I took some pictures on my way to work and my journey home. I’m sharing some images here to take you on my journey.

1) First, I cut through this little wood, then walk through a very narrow path. There’s a large prominent ‘No Dumping’ sign in the wood — it implies that some people dump their rubbish in the wood and this ghastly sign unfortunately reflects negatively on the residents.

In the past, I saw broken chairs, sofa, duvets and bags of rubbish being dumped in the wood.

route through the wood

Cut through the wood, listing to birds chirping.

Continue reading

Farewell 2012 — Raise your glasses

Auld Lang Syne, the poem by Robert Burn written in 1788, has now become one of the symbols to embrace the new year. In Scotland in particular, this song about ‘old long since’, ‘old time past’ is sung when midnight strikes.  Most people would also cross their arms when singing it, though the Queen preferred not to do so in 1999. No one knows exactly why arms have to be crossed and got pulled so uncomfortably, but again, it seems to be the ‘custom’ that most people just follow without questioning, just like people would respond with the silly horse riding dance once the music of Gangnam Style is played. It seems there’s something so spontaneous about Auld Lang Syne with arm-crossing.

Why crossing your arms when singing Auld Lang Syne?

Why crossing your arms when singing Auld Lang Syne?

I first learnt to sing the Chinese version of Auld Lang Syne when I was 12 years old. Our headmaster taught all Yr 6 students this song through the tannoy in our classroom. There are many Chinese versions of this renowned song, and the version, a popular and classic one, I was taught was called ‘Long Live Friendship.’ (友谊万岁).

The lyrics go: “Who would ever forget their good friends? Once you’ve parted, you’ll sure remember them fondly. Good friends will not be forgotten; friendship is as vast as the earth and sky. Let’s raise our glasses and sing in harmony; long live friendship.” Continue reading

I’m not Freshly Pressed

I love Freshly Pressed on WordPress.

Some posts are hilarious, thought provoking, and simply brilliant. Travelling with Freshly Pressed bloggers resembles wandering down diverging paths in the woods. Some take you to a hidden path with a sudden turn. Some surprise you with glorious wild flowers along the muddy path. Some paths lead to wonders, such as a wild dear and a half-dead rabbit.

If you’re brave enough, you will venture into an uncharted territory. A new world appears before your eyes. You may also stumble on history, like discovering an unused railway line along a neglected stream.

I love Freshly Pressed. To honour my fondness, I’ve credited myself with these badges.

The Most Illuminating Lantern from New Zealand

Daniela is the Lantern Keeper in New Zealand.

On her WordPress blog, Lantern Post, she explained why she called her blog the Lantern Post:

“…in a memory of a dreamy street lanterns I walked under in year 1980 and others, through cobbled streets of old Zagreb, reading poetry (V. Majer; ‘Plinska lanterna na Gricu’/ ‘Gas lantern on Gric’) and holding my heart just a tiny fraction above the abyss … on most days.” — by Daniela from Lantern Post

Generosity from New Zealand

On Aug 3, Daniela wrote an illuminating post, Some Helpful Books For Writers. It’s inspiring. One of the books Daniela recommended was The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Later Daniela received some books of Steven Pressfield as gifts. She gave them all away for FREE. I’m one of her lucky recipients. Daniela is in New Zealand. I’m in England.  Continue reading