Thursday, January 31, 2013


Do you realize that our first month – January - is ending today?
That leaves 11 more months on the calendar for us to accomplish what we set out to do this year.

Some things may take a little longer (my plans are also like that) – but we must strive on towards realizing some of our dreams/wishes/visions/aspirations.
For all those who are returning to school (in PNG and elsewhere), let me take the opportunity to wish you the best for 2013.
I believe all the college and university students have already registered while the secondary school students will be arriving in school on Monday.

To the teachers, I wish you all the best for this year also.

I wish all you students the best meaning – work to score “B grades” or better.
Make changes, if you must, to get the best grades.

That reminds me of an incident when I was teaching students away from PNG and a nice, but stubborn 14-year told me, when she was struggling with her Maths work: “Sir, it does not matter what others may become. I will become a hotel cleaner. Let them be doctors, teachers and scientists.”
She caught me off guard, kind of.
I told her classmates, some people are cleaners because they do not have better choices to make in life.
One of the parents who came by during the teachers-parents meeting that year was a mother of a bright boy in class.
“Sir, I am a cleaner, but I do not want my son to be a cleaner. I know he has the brains and can fare better than me and his father,” the mother said.
I should have told the girl that story too. One day she would wish she was something more than a cleaner – and her son also.

Now, before you get some negative thoughts about cleaners/janitors, let me say here that I am not looking down on them.

What I am saying is this: “Do the best in your studies so that better opportunities open up easily for you. People who score better grades have better opportunities opening up for them year after year. Those who score poor grades only wait for what is left over, if there is any at all.”

You know, I am urging you, the student to excel, and will continue to do that throughout the year.
But if, and I am saying if, after getting all the top grades in the world when you complete  your studies and you decide not to be a doctor, pilot, lecturer, teacher, etc and want to be a janitor – then go for it, it’s your life.

As I have advised other people: Go up as far as you can, but if you do not want to serve at the top, come to the roots and help down here. It is – after all – your life, and you decide after getting the best results in what you study.


One of my colleagues regretted that she could not donate blood today.
And when reading her post, I was reminded of a scene in "Black Hawk Down".

As the Army Rangers were getting ready, preparing their gear, one of the young ones noticed a Delta Force soldier writing his blood-type on a masking tape and taping it to his boots.

“All Delta Force soldiers do that before going into combat,” another said to the young one.

It seemed to me, when I thought about it, when you - as a soldier - are unconscious and bleeding, you save the medico’s time – s/he does not need to check your blood type to give you a transfusion, the words on your tape tells him or her which type you need.

Those precious seconds saved could consequently save a soldier’s life.

Point: Good movies teach you life-saving skills!

(Additional info: Those with O type blood – the universal donor type - can donate to anybody, whereas those with AB – the universal recipient type – can receive any type of blood. I am the universal donor type. Do you know yours?)  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Photo: The entrance to CREIPAC, the institute I attended in Nouméa. 

As said in an earlier post, I went to Nouméa, New Calédonia, last year, to attend a French course at CREIPAC.

CREIPAC is  short for Centre de Recontres et d’Echange Internationaux du Pacifique.

The institute helps students in the region learn French and a bit about New Calédonian and French culture. Students come from Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific.

CREIPAC is situated in Nouville, to the west of Centre Ville, Nouméa’s central business district. A 15-minute bus ride from Centre Ville should get one there.

The University of New Calédonia is on the opposite side of the road to the institute. CREIPAC has a nice yard which extends out to the waterfront.

In the video, as the camera turns to the left, where the fence/wall is, you can see the buildings in the university at the foot of the hills.  

The clip was taken inside CREIPAC.


  Photo: Children playing in the American Park to the south of Nouméa’s CBD.

mardi, août 7, 2012 (Tuesday, August 7)

At 7.00 in the morning, we (Isabelle and I) left the house.
Robert had left earlier in his Landcruiser and Danny had travelled to school on his scooter.
A few minutes before 8.00, we arrived at the entrance of the institute.
As would be the normal routine for the next lessons, we, the students, would recount what we did the day before.
For today, however, we were asked to describe the family that we lived with - to the other students in class.
We were to describe the different family members and what they did. It was interesting.  
We also told the rest of the class members what we ate for dinner. We had a lot of practice with the passé compose tense in that exercise.
During the break our tutor suggested that I change class because the level of these students were a little above mine.
I asked that I be given a few more days to see how I fared.
At 11.50am, my host arrived and took me to Centre Ville, Nouméa’s CBD. She showed me the place I would wait at after each day’s activity to be picked up.

The plan was for me to go anywhere when classes ended each day at 12.00pm – to visit the museums, shops, beaches, jetties or parks. Then at 4.30pm, I would go to the park – the American Park and wait for my host to pick me up.
A few of my other course mates also would wait around for their hosts at the same place at around 4.00pm.
 Since I was too tired to walk around town today, my host brought me home to rest.