Friday, 8 October 2010
The rediscovery of the Saturday market was a very pleasant experience with samplings of fresh goat camembert cheese and a wonderful range of Croatian salamis and cured meats, the latter produced in New Lynn.
Howick Village reminds me very much of small town New Zealand, the way it was and it is to the resident's credit that the historic buildings are cherished and maintained.
Howick is an old pioneering settlement with missionary beginnings circa 1836, although local Maori, Ngai Tai, had occupied sites for several hundred years before this date.
It is named after the third Earl Grey, formerly Lord Howick, who was Secretary for the Colonies in the British Parliament and was responsible for the Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps immigration scheme. His family home is Howick Hall, Northumberland, England.
There were about 250 Fencibles in Howick. The word 'Fencible' comes from the word 'defence' which this detachment of retired soldiers were required to do as opposed to a unit of fighting men.
The is an active living history museum called the Howick Historic Village which, while not in Howick Village, is situated nearby.
Howick once has its own borough council before being merged with Manukau City. Today Aucklanders vote for councillors for an even larger, merged, conurbation the Super City of Auckland.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Howick is also a new Super City ward with the highest concentration of immigrants, where nearly half of the population (48.1 per cent) is overseas born.
With the median family income of nearly $73,000, Howick residents are financially better off than others in New Zealand.
I should also add that today we bought and consumed some of this season's fresh asparagus which is grown in the market gardens nearby. At $1.99 per bunch it was good value and I had forgotten after four years in South East Asia, just how memorable fresh asparagus is. We microwave it with a little sesame oil and oyster sauce - delicious!
Monday, 4 October 2010
(paraphrasing) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Today, and with considerable sadness, I record the passing of one of Singapore's greatest pioneers, Madam Kwa Geok Choo.
In his autobiography, Lee Kwan Yew acknowledged her enormous contribution and support. She was his sounding board and intellectual equal.
As Minister Mah Bow Tan records: "She was so much a part of our history, our progress, development as a nation. And yet she chose to stay out of the limelight deliberately.
"She was always behind the scenes; I will always remember her every time I see her with (Minister Mentor Lee); she's always next to MM.
"She will be talking to him, advising him, guiding him, sometimes she would gently chide him. But she was always there to support him, always loving him."
The condolence letters from the President of Singapore S.R. Nathan and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong are particularly poignant.
Ordinary Singaporeans have taken time out of their busy lives to queue and pay their respects as this photo gallery and video record.
Madam Kwa Geok Choo's dedication, sense of duty and the manner in which she conducted herself will always be cherished by the Nation.