Imaginary Friends

30 Jun 2011 – Over with Half of 2011!

Yesterday was a beautiful day, took time to walk to the grocery store and enjoyed watching the butterflies basking in the sun. Was also lucky to find a handful of wild strawberries on the way. One of them is about the size of my tiny finger nail but the taste is unlike the big cultivated ones. These are wild and taste what strawberries should taste like. Too eager to have them in my mouth that the camera forgot to do its job… LOL, the camera is my latest scapegoat, like a childhood imaginary friend 🙂

Painted the concrete flower case on the terrace, managed to clear the patch by the entrance and now hopefully the row of sunflowers will bloom. It was quite a job with all kinds of roots and weeds to pull. Dug up this root and thought about a children’s book by Anne-Cath Vestly (1920-2008), a known Norwegian writer for children’s book which Linn enjoyed.

One was Lillebror & Knerten. In this book, Little brother is a little lonely boy and think that the adults are so busy and boring with no time to play with him. Mother works in a shop and his older brother Phillip goes to school. Just when brother finished putting together a pointed, small, strange house, he looks over at some branches. One of the roots looks like a little man with both arms and legs and a small head. And thus begins a relationship with this imaginary friend, Knerten!

Both L&M had imaginary friends during their childhood and they were good friends who took the blame when things did not go right 🙂 Will keep this piece of root to remind me that one is never too old to have an imaginary friend and who knows, sometimes it might even be a good listener! When the house is sold, it will also be a reminder of the Norwegian experience in life’s journey!!


28 Jun 2011 – Happy Bdays to Jeff HALL & John WILSON

Herodd is located on Nesøya and is the home of the renowned architect Magnus POULSSON (1881-1951), who designed the Oslo & Bærum City Halls + many more well-known buildings here in Norway. Also Ellen’s father and the L&M’s great-grandfather. The house is now a Heritage house, thus protected.

Yesterday was a rainy walk from Sandvika to Nesøya (app 1hr) to visit L&M‘s grandmother, Ellen. We had a lovely afternoon chatting away over a pot of tea with smoked salmon, cheese and her delicious home-made oatmeal biscuits which are the best. She will still insist on having a perfectly pressed linen table-cloth and napkins. Looking thru’ her childhood pix accompanied with the stories was one of  the high points. Thank you Ellen for her graciousness and time. She will be 87 in Oct.

1974-1976, lived in Ellen and John’s Nesøya house, 3mins walk to Herodd and with the use of a private beach. They were then living in TromsøNesøya in 1974 was and still is an island app 3 km². When we lived there, Linn was the only a baby and we had just moved from Dublin. It was difficult times, not understanding the language, culture etc. Without immediate family or friends did not help to the feeling of isolation.

The few familiar sights, like that of Kolberg farm is still the same, otherwise many changes. The Kolberg family are one of the known families (importers of Mazda & Hyundai) who have lived here for 4 generations. Took pix in 2008 during winter (Oct 2008 posting, Winter Wonderland) and the winter and summer views are quite a contrast. The colourful variety of wild and garden flowers are a feast for the eyes!

Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts –
Sigmund Freud

Grandpa at the Beach

26 Jun 2011 – Have a Wonderful Sunday & SMILE 🙂

After all the serious postings, need one of these periodically to lighten up! Thanks to Aileen for sending me this and a good one to share. Since Grandfather’s day this year is on the 11 Sep ( a day that many would rather not remember), will post this today for those who are not yet grandpas but have potentials to be someday! This funny is specially dedicated to Harry who is just waiting patiently 🙂 🙂

Grandpa at the Beach

Life is short but a smile takes barely a second


Rude Awakened Dragon!

25 Jun 2011 – A Very China SIN in 10 years!

Happy Bdays to nephews John & Clement LAM, also to HUANG YiYong in HI

Being a regular flyer on budget airlines can sooo sympathize with this blogger’s experience! Thank you for sharing. The Dragon had a rude awakening and unfortunately the cultured and gracious Dragon no longer exist! She has been consumed by the rat-race! It is now The Rude Dragon! Since many of us are Chinese of race, it is rather sad that this is happening! Looking at the pix might give an idea (not that it is an excuse) to the survivor of the fittest concept. Would probably be stampede to death for trying to be courteous in this situation 🙁

Years back, I used to think that the Australians are totally racists and are sort of anti Asians immigrants.

But after living in Sydney for 2 years I realized that these immigrants from China and the middle east, have not really integrated into the Australian society at all. In fact, they have diluted the Australian society with their terrible accents of rotten English, bad mannerism and a lack of social etiquette! Now, I understand why Australians are not happy.

I flew Tiger airway back from Bangkok to Singapore. Almost the entire cabin crews were Filipinos minus the Ang Mo pilots! And although a budget airline, but still, it belongs to Singapore and should hire Singaporeans to give it the right identity. I can’t feel that I am a Singaporean being welcomed by our own airline at all tonight.

Just as I was about to settle in I was disturbed by a class full of Chinese Nationals on board talking so loudly. Through their conversation I realized tha! t they are actually working in Singapore but were in Bangkok for holiday. They were loud, rude, refuse to seat down when the seatbelt sign flashed and one of them even pushed me on his way to the toilet!

I couldn’t take it anymore and shouted at the China guy who pushed me, and guess what he replied? He said (In mandarin): “ your government welcomed us with open arms to help you guys who are infertile to produce children, so we are your savior. In 10 years time we will ask you to shut up and not you telling us what to do Singaporean!”

I was speechless!

If Singapore continue to import this sort of low life from the some caves in the 3rd world, give them red carpet treatment and call them “Foreign Talents“ then Singapore will be in big trouble with alien species infestation.

Our 50 years of national building, where together our countrymen have collectively created steps upon steps of cultural identity. Looking at the incident on board the airplane I can’t help but to think that soon Singapore will be finished! You will be seeing a very China Singapore in the next decade!

I never felt so powerless as a Singaporean in my own country. Where is the Lion’s roar? It looks more like our Lion is within the claws of China -the awakening dragon, these days!

Speedy Window to Witchcraft

24 Jun 2011 – Hurtigruten…

When translated literally hurtrig=speedy or fast and ruten/ruta=route but can also be mean window in some dialects. L&M’s grandfather nicknamed it Speedy Window and it would docked in Tromsø around midnight sounding it’s comforting & familiar horn thru’ clear skies or storms. The first time on hurtigruten was 1978 traveling from Tromsø-Hammerfast (then the world most Northern town) to visit Kari & Bjørn.
16-22 Jun: the Norwegian public access channel NRK2 brought reality TV here. In a 5 1/2 day marathon, the network was broadcasting a live production every minute of the entire trip, of one of the Norwegian Coastal Liner ships, the M/S Nordnorge and was a big success. People were up all hours to cruise along. It might not be easy for others to understand this but having lived in Tromsø and Lyngseidet gave me the insight to appreciate, enjoy and be emotional with the locals!

Taken into consideration that Norway’s coastline is 25,148km (includes mainland 2,650km, as well as long fjords, numerous small islands and minor indentations 22,498km; length of island coastlines 58,13km) and in certain parts, the only form of transportation is by coast. Perhaps then can one imagine how important the coastal liner is. It is no wonder that it is such a fine merchant marine and seafaring nation. Hurtigruten calls to 34 ports between Bergen and Kirkenes, most never visited by commercial cruise liners, these ships deliver cargo, post and passengers to towns and remote communities, some of which are home to just a few hundred people.

Just learnt that in Vardø (3rd last port of call before Kirkenes), Queen Sonja was there opening the monument for the victims of the witchcraft trials yesterday. It was documented that 91 people, mainly women were either burned at the stake or tortured to death in the 1600s.

Personally not sea-faring of nature but have done this route from Bergen-Kirkenes in 1984 and will say that it is the most beautiful and spectacular trip in memory. All pix are downloaded here as my other pix are in SIN and I am posting this in Norway! If ever to do a cruise again, this will be it!

Love for life in all its forms is the basic ethic of Witchcraft – sources unknown


23 Jun 2011 – The Longest Day!

Today is Sankthans/Midsummer which refers to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice which take place on a day between 21-24 Jun and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures.

The significance marks the ancient middle of summer and is the longest day of the year, originally a pagan holiday. As Christianity entered pagan areas, midsummer celebrations came to be often borrowed and transferred into new Christian holidays, often resulting in celebrations that mixed Christian traditions with traditions derived from pagan Midsummer festivities.

Thanks to good friends and neighbour Mette & Sturla for a yummy salmon dinner last night. Made a simple seafood salad dinner tonight to celebrate the longest day of the year. After today, the days start to be shorter where daylight is concerned. Bonfires are past events for now- until when the grandchildren can build their own bonfires, will then participate again 🙂

Above pix from Budstikka, local area newspaper looks like anything possible to burn can be piled into the bonfire! What a good way to clear your junk 🙂 🙂

In Norway, this day is also called Jonsok, which means John’s wake, important with pilgrimages to churches and holy springs. Up until 1840 there was a pilgrimage to the stave church in Røldal (southwest Norway) whose crucifix was said to have healing powerIn most places the main event is the burning of a large bonfire. It is also said that if a girl puts flowers under her pillow that night, she will dream of her future husband… yeah, right; the only thing under this pillow is clean bed-spread 🙂 🙂 🙂

I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was – Shakespeare/A Midsummer Night’s Dream


22 Jun 2011 – Rise of the Asian Megacity

Here is a realistic article about the situation in China today and how they are dealing with the population to cope with the environment  by Thomas J Campanella who also is the author of The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What It Means for the World.

To write about urbanisation in China is to traffic in superlatives… Three decades of sustained economic growth, concentrated along the booming coast, has lured millions from the impoverished Chinese countryside. This great migration – unprecedented in human history – has put 46 Chinese cities over the one million mark since 1992, out of a national total of 102.

And this is just the start...

Viewing these pix with Shanghai, now has twice as many skyscrapers as New York, China’s domestic automobile market exceeds America’s and Beijing West Railway Station gives the feelings of anxiety, claustrophobic, panic, stress etc! But will this Awakened Dragon show us how to save the world or otherwise?

One of my SIN friends recently commented: exhausted from a 90 min car ride from Marine Pde to SGH for med appt. 3rd world traffic on 1st world highway! Comic relief from anti-speeding (70 kph ahead) signs flashing at cars moving at 10 kph. A journey like this would usually take app 15mins on the highway! Still 90mins is relative in comparison to places like BKK, NRT, HKG etc where one can get stuck in traffic for up to 3hrs!! All photo credits to different sites, except for the house painting below.

Must admit that being in a Minicity like Oslo and in the suburbs is quite relaxing, even when the body and joints ache daily after house painting; better than sitting in traffic-jams! This too shall pass and will keep focusing ahead when I can welcome grandchildren #5 & #6 🙂

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.  She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is – Ellen DeGeneres

Holmenkollen Ski-Jump

19 Jun 2011 – Happy Father’s Day to all fathers!

To my father LAM Tin Yue who would have been 100yrs and to L&M’s grandfather, John Kløve HALD who would have been 88yrs on 15 Jun

Sat: a stroll on the main drag with two book fairs, clothing fairs etc. Bought two attractive pix books of Norway for Clem & Sue. Rosenkrantzgt, the same street as the hotel where Clem is staying, is the Oslo Nye Teater/OSL New Theater where the Producer is showing now. New Orleans Cajun Cafe is located across from the theater, a charming looking cafe hidden if you are just looking straight and not aware of the surroundings.



Thanks to M&B for delicious home-made salmon dinner with apple-pie for dessert. Tour to Holmenkollbakken/Holmenkoll Hillwhich is a large ski jumping hill and has hosted the ski festival since 1892. The hill has been rebuilt 19 times. During the 2nd World War, the venue was used as a military installation. From 2008 to 2010, the entire structure was demolished and rebuilt. 1984 was the last time for me to witness a ski jump competition at this location and it was a cold experience! 2011 with May, #6 grandchild expecting in Sep, Bear & Clem together with an Alaskan brown bear but now it is summer and is another experience 🙂

Shopping@Sandvika Storsenter/Sandvika Shopping Mall which is Scandinavia’s largest shopping mall with 190 shops in the area of 60 000 m². Clem thought it was a pleasure shopping here, being not crowded compared to SIN where both of us would the avoid the malls, especially on the weekends.

When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it; the deer hears it, and the bear smells it – an old First Nations saying

Laptop & Mobile Crises

18 Jun 2011 – Problems with High Tech

Tue: laptop has been acting up and the mobile company Telenor where the sim card is subscribed with has been having problems. Thank goodness it is OK again yesterday, felt so lost and out of contact! Was quite desperate as was waiting for messages. Wed: father would have been 100yrs; @the library in Sandvika to get on-line as nephew Clem is in CPH and will be arriving OSL the next day. Needed info for his arrival time and location. Spent a lovely evening at Kris & Gier and their garden is to die for! Appreciations to them for inviting me to stay for dinner.

Thu: got up at 0600hrs to catch the 0700hrs bus into OSL, then 30mins walk to the DFDS ferry terminal. It was a beautiful day. The ferry came into OSL fjord docking right on schedule at 0930hrs. After checking into the hotel, walked to the palace and was fortunate to see the change of guards. Could not resist ogling and taking a pix with such handsome guards 🙂

Spent all day in town visiting the attractions. Thanks M&B for letting me stay the night. Was too tired to take the bus back to Kolsås and then back again to OSL the next day to meet up with Arne & Ingeborg.

Pix left to right: Stortinget/The Parliament: literally translated storting=big thing! Free lunch was served outside the building and it was tasty. There was a campaign to not waste food.
A wall painting from Oslo rådhus/OSL City Hall which is designed by L&M’s great-grand father, the famous architect. Magnus Poulsson.
Akershus Slott og Festning/Akershus Castle & Fortress, more info and pix from 2008 posting.

Opera House: where one can walk up and down the roof, including the seagull!
We were again lucky to be in the audience of a most entertaining and cheerful performance by the Jernbanens Musikkorps/Railway Band just outside Oslo Sentralstasjon (Oslo S)/OSL Central Station. That made my day 🙂 🙂

Clem was fascinated with the electrical cars/buddy car which would really be quite ideal for all cities. But he did not think that in SIN, the people would go for such a non-status car! That is really unfortunate as the these would help with the pollution and save on gas and space.

Fri: rained all day but feet stayed dry, thanks to May‘s rubber boots! Had a wonderful time catching up with Arne & Ingeborg. Arne crossed my path in the 1960s. He is now retired from accounting but has decided to go back to study Law at the U. Both his children are also studying Law; according to him, he needed to have something to talk with the children! No worries with communication, being the people they are, both Arne & Ingeborg can charm just about anyone. Such a delightful couple.

Technology… is a queer thing.  It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other – C.P. Snow

Ghost Town

13 Jun 2011 – Hytta/cabin or cottage

The neighbourhood is like a ghost town, peaceful and quiet. Took some pix two nights ago but is was cloudy and one had strange lights all over. Took more last night, clear sky with the moon which turned out much better as it was still light even at midnight. Tried to aim for the same view, this morning at 0800hrs with the downhill ski-run in the background.

A Norwegian phenomena is that most of them either have a hytta in the mountains or by the coast and many even have both. Last weekend marks the beginning and like the migrating birds, the locals will head for their hytta. During the 10yrs of my Norwegian life, summers were spent by Lake Møsvann, Telemark in a hytta with an utedo/outhouse and without running water or power. To get there, it took app 4hrs in the car and then another 4hrs by boat.

Fishing is a routine for the food chain. Ørret/trout and Røye/Charr are the main types, when fish is fresh (ie from unpolluted waters) and wild, there is nothing that taste better. Have cooked and smoked and made dishes every possible way with those fish… yummy. No problems living a stable diet of this over the summer. When there was not enough fish, spaghetti, canned and other dried food came in handy. Wild mushroom and reindeer hunting are the sport for the fall season.

But that was back in the 1970s. Today,  most hytta are equipped with all the luxury of any town-house, including heated floors! And getting there will take less time with better roads, faster cars and boats!! Otherwise was told that nothing have changed when hiking in that terrain except for a couple of new fully equipped hytta built to live in for all the seasons, unlike the ones only good for summers.

Pix posted are L&M albums from MøsvannThe pix from the 1970s are in colour-slides somewhere in SIN 🙂

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day – Author Unknown