My Birthday

June 12th, 1979, that’s when I first popped into this world.

Well, it’s been a long time since then.

School went by in a meer 12 years. University dragged by in another 3 and half, and now, here I am in Taiwan, married, with a wonderful wife, teaching Taiwan’s little future leaders.

It’s funny how you cannot imagine where you will be in the future. No matter how much we plan, or how much we think we have everything figured out, they usually don’t go quite according to plan.

That’s God’s plan.

I realise that I have tried to make things go my own way and focused on myself too much. Being in a marriage has shown me a lot of my weak points, being so close to someone else brings out the best and worst in oneself. It’s a valuable learning experience, and only selfless giving and love can make a marriage work.

Living for oneself really leads to nothing. If my aim was for the 70 or 80 odd years I have here, maybe that would be OK. But in the light of an eternity serving God, it just won’t cut it.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” — MATTHEW 22:37-38

Just like a marriage, I need to give my whole heart to God. I need to love him with all my mind, heart and soul. He knows everything, I need to trust Him and join in what He’s doing.

It’s not easy, nothing worthwhile ever is, but we are assured of His love for us. He guides and leads and will never let you down if you put your faith and trust in Him.

So with that I now go into my 26th year on this planet, trusting Him. It will be a good one.

Love to you all, I should write more often…

Mommy’s birthday

Today is my Mommy’s birthday.

My mom has had quite an impact on me as a person.

I remember when I was still in South Africa having quite long conversations with my mom. She would always listen when I had something to say and I would do the same when she had something to say. I think she was definitely and influence on my temprement. I tend to just listen when others talk and don’t like to butt in too much.

My mom definitely had little shits as children (pardon my language). When I was young I was incredibly grumpy in the morning when I got up for school. I could always find something to complain about. I would either go to the kitchen to eat breakfast and complain that she hadn’t made my sandwiches yet, or I’d complain about the fact that all my school clothes were not in my cupboard. Then I’d randomly hit my brother for simply talking to me at the breakfast table.

Ahh, the memories.

At this point I would have to mention, that even though I was such a pain she still made me sandwiches in the morning until I finished University. Only a mother’s love I guess.

Sometimes my mom would not just take it from us, but we managed to “test her boundaries”. James learnt the hard way how much force it takes to break a spoon on someones bum. My mom broke it, not James.

And on my last trip back to South Africa, for my wedding, my mother got her team of ladies together and basically prepared a whole wedding without the bride and groom there. The team of ladies is another joke with my mom, as she’s keen on “process” when she does things, so often all of her friends are involved in the stuff she does.

So, I’d like to say thanks to my Mom for all the wonderful years.

A wonderful influence on me and my siblings, as well as a wonderful mother-in-law for my wife, who still phones her occassionally, and calls her Mom.

Thanks for everything mom.

Love you Mom, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Tomb sweeping day

Today is Tomb sweeping day, April the 4th is a public holiday. Here is all the low down on this long celebrated Chinese festival.

Celebrated two weeks after the vernal equinox, Tomb Sweeping Day is one of the few traditional Chinese holidays that follows the solar calendar– typically falling on April 4, 5, or 6. Its Chinese name “Qing Ming” literally means “Clear Brightness,” hinting at its importance as a celebration of Spring. Similar to the spring festivals of other cultures, Tomb Sweeping Day celebrates the rebirth of nature, while marking the beginning of the planting season and other outdoor activities.

Qing Ming Jie in Ancient Times
In ancient times, people celebrated Qing Ming Jie with dancing, singing, picnics, and kite flying. Colored boiled eggs would be broken to symbolize the opening of life. In the capital, the Emperor would plant trees on the palace grounds to celebrate the renewing nature of spring. In the villages, young men and women would court each other.

The Tomb Sweeping Day as Celebrated Today
With the passing of time, this celebration of life became a day to the honor past ancestors. Following folk religion, the Chinese believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors looked after the family. Sacrifices of food and spirit money could keep them happy, and the family would prosper through good harvests and more children.

Today, Chinese visit their family graves to tend to any underbrush that has grown. Weeds are pulled, and dirt swept away, and the family will set out offerings of food and spirit money. Unlike the sacrifices at a family’s home altar, the offerings at the tomb usually consist of dry, bland food. One theory is that since any number of ghosts rome around a grave area, the less appealing food will be consumed by the ancestors, and not be plundered by strangers.

Honoring Ancestors
Honoring ancestors begins with proper positioning of a gravesite and coffin. Experts in feng shui, or geomancy, determine the quality of land by the surrounding aspects of streams, rivers, trees, hills, and so forth. An area that faces south, with groves of pine trees creates the best flow of cosmic energy required to keep ancestors happy. Unfortunately, nowadays, with China’s burgeoning population, public cemetaries have quickly surplanted private gravesites. Family elders will visit the gravesite at least once a year to tend to the tombs.

While bland food is placed by the tombs on Qing Ming Jie, the Chinese regularly provide scrumptious offerings to their ancestors at altar tables in their homes. The food usually consists of chicken, eggs, or other dishes a deceased ancestor was fond of. Accompanied by rice, the dishes and eating utensils are carefully arranged so as to bring good luck. Sometimes, a family will put burning incense with the offering so as to expedite the transfer of nutritious elements to the ancestors. In some parts of China, the food is then eaten by the entire family.

Kites
Besides the traditions of honoring the dead, people also often fly kits on Tomb Sweeping Day. Kites can come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Designs could include frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, crabs, bats, and storks.

326 march

Tomorrow, March 26th (326, a popular Taiwanese way of labelling events, March=3 and 26th=26) the Taiwanese people will express their disapproval of China’s anti-secession bill.

Approximately 1 million people are hoping to come to the march, which is to be held in 10 different locations around the country.

The march is to show the Taiwanese people’s anger at the bill which was passed a few weeks ago, which more or less allows China to use military force if it sees fit.

You can read a story about the march at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2005/03/25/2003247647

This event could be quite big, and I am waiting to see how it turns out. This kind of event could get quite nasty. Report more after the event.

China’s anti-secession bill

You’re so lucky hearing from me so often.

Well, today it became official. China has passed an anti-secession bill, which means that it will be allowed to take military action if Taiwan attempts to claim independence.

There’s an article on the situation at CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/china.npc.law/index.html

A little about Taiwan’s turbulent history.

In 1895 Taiwan was taken over by the Japanese, they were terrible and ruled Taiwan until the 1945. Then it was taken back by the GuoMinDang (KMT), who had been in civil war with China since the 30’s. The Japanese forced everyone to learn Japanese and take Japanese names, people were also not permitted to speak Taiwanese, which was the dominant local language. People spyed on each other and reported each other to the authorities if others didn’t obey.

Well, in 1988 the first democratically elected persident came into power. The GuoMinDang won that time too, and for the first time, 5 years ago, another party, called the Green Party won.

One thing that was never made official was Taiwan’s status. During all this commotion, Taiwan never declared independence, despite all the people who ran here from China to escape in 1947.

Officially, Taiwan is a province of China. Taiwanese who go from Taiwan to China have to get a special, “Chinese resident in Taiwan Province” card to get in. But foreigners need a seperate visa for Taiwan (sometimes known as “The republic of China (ROC)”) and China (“The people’s republic of china”).

Taiwan goes about it’s business as though it is a seperate country, having it’s own government and having different laws to those of China. Taiwan’s internal affairs are not much like China’s, especially in regards to the right to express opinions and the like.

But there is a great feeling that Taiwan is a seperate country amongst the people of Taiwan. Many people have expressed hope that Taiwan would become independent. Until now there has been a kind of acceptance of Taiwan as a kind of strange case. China more of less let’s things be, as long as Taiwan doesn’t step too far out of line.

The issue is a matter of face, the whole Chinese relationship issue. China doesn’t want to give Taiwan up, and Taiwan wants to go on it’s own, neither party wants to give up their position.

With the new bill China has said that it might use force, military force, with Taiwan if it officially tries to break away from China. This is quite worrying as things to now have been left and left, without much happening, but this puts a strain on relationships a bit.

Hopefully things will go alright, who knows.

Oh, for some fun, compare these two articles about Taiwan’s history (I found these looking for a brief history of Taiwan).

This one written by a mainland Chinese person
http://www.china-un.ch/eng/zt/twwt/t88926.htm

And this one written by an American I think
http://www.worldrover.com/history/taiwan_history.html

Notice how the Chinese guy stands firm and makes clear his loyalty and opinion about Taiwan’s status.

Let’s see how the fun and games play out.

Another week goes by

I’ve been up to a little more this week than usual.

The weather From Monday to Thursday was fantastic, it was warm and sunny, and I got to wear baggies to school for the first time in quite a while, it was great.

Tuesday, my class and I went to the Taipei Zoo. I wore long pants on that day, but regretted it as the weather was hot. The Zoo is quite a cool place for the kids to go as there really is not too much nature to speak of in the big city, except for bugs. That said, when I look at the animals it must be extremely boring. I saw on the news recently that in order to get pandas in a Chinese Zoo to mate, they showed them TV shows of pandas mating. And it worked!

I had quite a lot of work to do, which I managed to get finished, which is a relief. It’s amazing how much work you can get done without the internet at work. No wonder companies try to keep their imployees off the computers quite often, or at least off the internet.

Friday, I went over to Clint and Sue’s house. I know Clint from when he worked at the JOY YongHe preschool for a while. He left, but we have had a little contact. One interesting thing was that Clint has an interest for internet related business stuff, which I am very much into, so even though I haven’t seen him for a while, that common interest stays on my mind.

Anyways, they are hosting an Alpha course – http://www.alphacourse.org at thier home. They invited Ava and I along, but just I ended up going. It was nice spending some time with some newer friends as I haven’t actually been out too much as of late.

Other good news, or small good news for me is that my website http://www.computer-buying-guide.com is nearly complete. I have to add some more content to it’s pages, but for the most part it’s complete. I will give it another two weeks or so before being completely OK.

Well, tomorrow brings in another week. Should be another relaxed one.

Hope you all have a wonderful one too. Love to you all.

I am not built for the cold

This past weekend was the most cold I have felt for an extremely long time. The temperatures got down to the single digits (whick is low for here, where it should almost be Spring). I was freezing.

There was an earthquake at about 3 o’clock on Sunday morning which shook things up a little and got Ava and I out of our very warm bed for a while.

The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau can be found at
http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V4e/index.htm
It gives all the details as earthquakes happen and is almost unaccessable when there is actually a quake.

This website has had an upgrade.

  • The blog script was upgraded to WordPress 1.5
  • I put the inner links at the top
  • And you can now post comments on all posts

The weather has thankfully taken a change for the warmer, which means I will try and wear shorts tomorrow.

Reminder to check out the blog at www.peterandava.com and check out all of our photos at www.peterandava.com/photos

To Peter

There are always quite a few sad things that happen in our life.

It’s hard to admit and walk through it but we’re lucky we have each other.

There are always quite a few troubles that affect and change our lives.

They really irritate and bother us but lucky we can always plan it again together.

Love Ava