Grasstrees

Paul Chong                                                  Friday, 8 December 2017

Grasstrees
(Scientific name: Xanthorrhoea)

Once known as “Black Boys” but because of its racial connotation & being “politically incorrect” is nowadays widely called Grasstrees. They’re only found in Australia, most abundantly in the south west.

At the foot of Perth Hills, at the junction of Welshpool Road & Tonkin Highway, is a huge native garden specialising in grasstree landscaping with a large supply of these native plants.
Grasstrees Australia specializes in the supply of quality grasstrees and macrozamia reidlei. By holding all their stock for 12 months after rescuing them from the national forests after the hazards of bush fires, they allow a new root system to develop, resulting in plants that are healthier, require less water and will make an instant visual impact on your garden.

* Native to southwest WA and available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
*Ideal specimen plant to add character and focus to any garden.
* Spectacular when planted in a cluster. (see our picture gallery)
* Small and large plants are suitable to be installed in a pot.
*Mature grasstrees produce flower stalks periodically, most commonly every two to three years.

The plants can grow to a height of over four metres and commonly branches. The plant is very slow growing, taking about one hundred years to grow one metre.

Walking sticks are made from the matured flower stalks. They are light but strong & can cost as much as $60 or more in the Aussie tourist shops. The plants are also pretty pricy ranging from about $300 to $1,000 depending on height & the number of branches.
Twin-Branch Grasstree

Grasstrees survive well in the bush resisting the hazards of bush fire. In fact fire helps to propagate their spreading growth. The stems get burnt turning black & it must be for this reason that they were originally known as “blackboys”.

Right in front of our home is the Darling Range National Park where it’s home to an abundance of these grasstrees . . . a natural landscape unique to Australia.

My backyard has been richly endowed with numerous grasstrees with a few spread in my front garden. Even my post box is guarded by two or three of them.

Beijing ~ Melbourne By High-Speed Train

 

Paul Chong

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

 

As it is Australia is one huge continent with great distances from north to south & east to west. It is a country, a continent and an island. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.

The vast distances between places make it expensive to travel domestically. Most Australian find it more worthwhile to travel abroad to Bali, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore. In 3 years, we will take a trip across all the borders from North to South.

But not for long now. Changes are in the horizon & within three years,high-speed train will be coming to Australia. In 3 years, we will take a trip across all the borders from North to South. Distance barriers will become a thing of the past.

Starting at Beijing thereafter, along the South Canton line, from Nanning into Indo-China, Malay Peninsula passing through Hanoi, Vientiane, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and other important cities, thereafter through Malacca Strait tunnel into Indonesia’s Pulau Sumatera, the Indonesian Archipelago, passing through Jakarta, Bandung, and other Indonesian cities, through to Australia via The Northern Territories capital, Darwin, spanning a 550-kilometre trip cross-Sea bridge into Australia’s East Coast via Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra to the train terminal at Melbourne.

Built by China Railway on a turnkey contract, with total length of project 13000 km, for the entire viaduct Railway, design of 2 sea-crossing tunnels, 5 bridges, at highest speed of 400 km per hour, and at a total investment of 460 billion U.S. dollar.

The Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure investment Bank will provide financial support to all countries along the way.

After completion of the project, the trip from Melbourne to Beijing via high-speed train is expected to be within 48 hours, with fare control within 1000 Australian dollars. Annual passenger throughput is expected to reach 200 million persons each year. For countries along the way it will bring direct economic benefits of more than 200 billion U.S. dollars.

The project expected to commence early 2018 and completed by end 2020.

Along the way, you can enjoy different customs and natural landscapes of Australia and Southeast Asia, and enjoy delicious food from all over the world. As the train passes through every country, the country’s attendants will provide services for the railway.

It’s a changing world we live in. Make sure you live healthily to usher in this new era of fast-speed transportation. Passengers can expect to travel in great comfort, apart from high speed, & if not more comfortable than the airlines & more affordable.

Why Quotations?

In the memorable words of actress Marlene Dietrich:

“I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognised wiser than oneself.”

To fill our mind with the brightest pearls of wisdom from the greatest men and women of letters is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Herein below are some quotable quotes:


Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude. Arthur Schopenhauer

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first. Harry S Truman

I think self-discipline is something, it’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Daniel Goldstein


Why the human brain has evolved to look so far into the future is so that we can take actions in the present that will bring us to a better future rather than a worse one. Daniel GoldsteinWe all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. Jesse OwensIn the final analysis, attainment comes about as a result of conceiving, believing & achieving in whatever endeavour.

World’s First Floating City By 2020

REBLOGGED:

World’s First Floating City To Emerge In The Pacific Ocean By 2020, And Here’s How The Life Will Look On It

Ideas

Paul Chong                            Saturday 18 November 2017
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent

I say ideas are like gold & ought to be mined      & s0ld.Some Quotable Quotes:

Ideas the greatest commodities in the world
When they come you are never told
Don’t be surprised by their appearance
Jotting them down will be a rich experience.


Their appearances don’t come by rhyme
Thoughts & ideas emerging all the time
Taking a shower or asleep ‘neath a sheet
Reading a book or seeing your footy team beat.

Ideas are opportunities knocking on the door
Be aware & you’ll never be poor
Ideas gained & ideas tilled
Committing to action means you’ll be fulfilled.

Ideas are rich & poor
Depending on how you stir
Begin now with your pen
Carrying them through will make you grand.

(Originally penned on Tuesday 3 July 1990 @ 4.40 am)

Lives of Great Men All Remind Us That . . .

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent

 

It’s said: Some men are born great
Others achieve greatness
And still others have greatness thrust upon them.

Having said that, it’s interesting to note that all you need is one talent in life to carry you on the road to success. However, the road of success is often strewn with obstacles making the going rough & tough. But it’s when the going gets tough that the tough gets going (Knuts Rockne) . . . that is the cruz that makes all the difference.

In “A Psalm of Life” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) wrote these memorable lines:
“ Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.” (Part Extract)

Yes, we can all make our lives sublime – to be of very great excellence or beauty. Persistence is the key word, the crucial medium in our everlasting effort.
If you examine the lives of great men, you’ll find that life to them wasn’t just a bed of roses. They were men made of sterner stuff & were able to turn the tide of adversity to victory. They channelled all odds to what they had got.The tough rise to the occasion, above the storms & conquer all elements of peril.

Thomas Edison, the great American inventor when asked of the secret of his success, he merely attributed it to “One percent inspiration & ninety percent perspiration.”
And what did his teacher said of him? His teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything.

Abraham Lincoln entered the Black Hawk War as a captain & came out a private. He failed for a period of 30 years as from 1831, yet while others failed & gave up, he went on to become the GREATEST US PRESIDENT in 1860.

F. W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employer wouldn’t let him wait on the customers because he didn’t have enough sense.images-4

Walt Disney was fired by his newspaper editor because he had “no good ideas”.
Einstein was four years before he could speak& seven before he could read.

Longfellow biographer Charles Calhoun noted that “A Psalm of Life” became a popular & oft-quoted poem. It even risen beyond being just as poem & into a cultural artifact. Among the many quoted lines are “footprints on the sand off time”.

After Longfellow’s death, biographer Eric S. Robertson noted, “A Psalm of Life”, great poem or not, went straight to the hearts of the people, and found an echoing shout in their midst. From the American pulpits, right and left, preachers talked to the people about it, and it came to be sung as a hymn in churches.”[16]

The poem was widely translated into a variety of languages, including Sanskrit & Hebrew.[
17]

Calhoun also notes that “A Psalm of Life” has become one of the most frequently memorised and most ridiculed of English poems, with an ending reflecting “Victorian cheeriness at its worst”. Modern critics have dismissed its “sugar-coated pill” promoting a false sense of security.

One story has it that a man once approached Longfellow and told him that a worn, hand-written copy of “A Psalm of Life” saved him from suicide. Nevertheless, Longfellow scholar Robert L. Gale referred to “A Psalm of Life” as “the most popular poem ever written in English”. Edwin Arlington Robinson, an admirer of Longfellow’s, likely was referring to this poem in his “Ballade by the Fire” with his line, “Be up, my soul”. Despite Longfellow’s dwindling reputation among modern readers and critics, “A Psalm of Life” remains one of the few of his poems still anthologized.

The question is would your life be something that others would admire & emulate?

Fond Farewell to My Golf


Paul Chong   Tuesday, 14 November 2017

It’s about fourteen years since I know & love Thee
Playing Thee in the Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall
But sadly & fondly I have to bid farewell to Thee
With chronic backache & glaucoma hitting me
I reluctantly need to surrender to nature’s call.

GOLF is “Good Old Loving Fun”.
The above lines briefly relate my romance with golf. I was an avid senior golfer . . . learning to play at an ripe old age of 65. I must be crazy then. Indeed I was, rising up before the first light of day, spring, summer, winter or fall. With my neighbour George Burns (you may be curious by this familiar name . . . the late George Burns, the famed comedian actor), we were always the first to tee off.

We were members of the Pickering Brook Sports Club. Weston Road, Pickering Brook, Kalamunda. As with most Australian country bush golf courses, this is a “sand green” course. The course green is a bit rough. The putting green is sand, which requires you raking the sand from the ball to the hole before putting. There are certain acceptable rules different from the usual lush green golf course.

We usually play nine holes, leisurely taking about two hours or slightly more. Quite often in the early morning hours from 5.30 am on, no other golfers were around, leaving the whole golf course to us. We often had kangaroos lying far off & around in family groups. They disappeared sooner than our appearance.

Perth is such a great place for golf. The climate is so conducive to afford you all-round year play. You won’t perspire in summer nor would you be cold in winter.

I was improving & lowering my handicap to 24 when I discovered that I could not see the flight of my golf ball & where it landed. At the same time, i was getting many more “windy” shots, all because my depth perception was deterred due to glaucoma. Further I was aggravated by my chronic backache, for which I had an L4/L5 spinal operation some 10 years ago.

Sadly, I have to say goodbye to golfing for the rest of my natural life. To know to part often break many a heart. Every now & again, I still try to drive from my car porch to the Darlington National Park fronting our home or putting in our own backyard . . . but it is not the same as playing with someone or a team as in Pickering Brook or elsewhere.

I contend myself in having played in Shenzhen(China), Genting Highlands (Malaysia), in & around Perth courses like Hillview Golf Course, Whaleback Golf Course, Araluen & others.

Most men will chase after skirts
But great men go after “holes”!
In golf, it’s getting your shot into the “hole” with the minimum of shots that counts!

Let Go & Let God

Paul Chong                                        Saturday 4/11/2017.

Whatever our past, Whatever our present
Guide us not to our future.
We are all completely in God’s hands .
It’s only wise & rational to place our faith & trust absolutely in Him – our Creator & Provider.
Irrespective of who we are, rich or poor, powerful or weak, intelligent or otherwise,we like to feel & think that we are invincible & in full control of our destiny . . . never realising that right from the womb to the tomb there’s but one room . . .a one-way ticket in our life’s journey. Whoever we are, whatever we do, there’s no return journey. That room of 6 by 3 by 6 is our resting place of R I P.

What’s next is ETERNITY. For some life’s journey is smooth & easy without major upheavals or hazards. The privilege of old age is not shared by all. Even then there’s a time limit of how long we can live.
For others life is a constant struggle for survival. Like a little boat setting out to sea, it has to brave the storm. The perils of life’s journey can either make us or break us. The weak will tumble & fall, only the tough get going.

Life is not the same for us all. Why? You may ask. God in all His mightiness made us all different. I have no answer here. It’s an eternal question. Faith is all the substance needed.They say that the good die young & evil live on. Does this notion stand up to reasoning? A small child is told by the father to jump & he would catch him in his protective arms. Safety is assured when he is around. The child should heed the father & not take the risk of jumping when the father is absent. We are all children of God. Our future rests with Him. It’s our own doubt that lands us in calamities.

Man’s ingenuity & intelligence can go only so far. There’s a limit in what medical science can achieve.
We need God.Man cannot conquer the impossibilities God alone can conquer them all. So let go & let God. May God’s grace & mercy be upon you on your life’s journey. This life is only temporary. Let’s take God’s hands towards life’s eternity which I forever & ever. The great oak tree grew from a tiny acorn. Faith is that tiny seed which will assure your great eternity.

Begin Right & Everything Will Be Alright

 

Paul Chong                        Sunday, 15 October 2017
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent

 

 

When you wake up each morning
Feeling bright & breezy
The day ahead will be light & easy.

If you wake & say
It;s one of those days
Then in bed you might as well stay.

Be careful of what you think or say
As you’ve got to feel right
In order to give you that fight.

Your mind can only hold one thought at a time, and is most susceptible to negative thought. So why not fail it with positive thought? To illustrate this point practically, we can play a game on a colleague in the office by suggesting variuosly he’s not well. Before long . . . he really begins to feel unwell. This is autosuggestion.

Our mind is constantly being bombarded by negative thoughts. There is no escaping.In tough economic times, the tendency is for people to react negatively. The biggest problem we have is not the problem itself, but our attitude towards it. Negative thinking pervades through all levels of the society – by word of mouth, by conversations with friends or strangers, by television & other news media. Negative thinking is like disease or cancer, and once the country is infected with it, it consumes the mind, the heart & the soul & the emotional support system is inevitably sapped or eroded away.

People at this point in time need more than just help. They need hope & where would they find it?

There are a number of things you can do to fortify your mind with positive thinking – associate yourself with positive minded people, read positive books, sing positive songs, meditation & just avoid all negative aspect aspect of things & environment.

Dr Norman Vincent Peale, the author of the best seller “The Power Thinking” says the following worthy of note:

Someone once said”great people are ordinary people with extraordinary amounts of determination.” In like manner, heroes are ordinary men who perform extraordinary things, Yes, you’ll need that extra strength & tenacity to see you attain great heights. It is your ability to survive tough economic times that will ensure your enjoying the good times.

“Tough times never last, but tough people do” according to Dr. Robert Schuller (September 16, 1926 – April 2, 2015) the founding pastor of the wonderful Crystal Cathedral.

The wind blows, storm strikes
Dark clouds roll by
Somehow their shape change
Light breaks
And once more it’s sunny & bright again.

Changing Times

Paul Chong                 A Chinese by Descent . . .      An Australian by Consent

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Kipling told the story of a band of primitive stone-age men huddled around a campfire.They had earlier engaged a tremendous battle that day with a wooly mammoth or a sabre-tooth tiger, or perhaps both. And suddenly one of their members leaped to his feet & began walking up & down, gesticulating & talking, making sounds so graphic that everyone around the campfire relived the frightful battle all over again.

He told them the story of what they had done, & they were filled with awe & frightened all over again, for there was magic in his words. So they took him away & killed him.

Today, they would have to pay him a tremendous fee for such a performance. Different perspectives in different times.

Strange as it may sound, but that was the mind-set of the time then. Things however change over the course of time. Nothing ever remain the same. After all to grow to progress is to change. Somethings change for the better; for others negative aspects may take hold. What would it be cannot be told. Is today’s world a better place to live in? There will be a whole range of opinion . . . ranging from good to bad. After all, opinion is about the cheapest commodity available.

Accompanied with change, there is usually a price to be paid. The crucial point is whether you are prepared to pay that price. Needless to say, the greater the price the greater will the reward be. There ain’t any free lunch in this world.

Let me just say in closing with reference to the privileged “takers” or “beneficiaries” of the ruling Malaysian government for the last 50 odd years. Sinking into the quagmire, socially & politically, is awaiting at the door. The knocking is getting louder but went unheard thus far. The social & political quagmire offer only a one-way ticket . . . there is no return.

The double-edged sword which kills both ways is dubiously held by the UMNO (United Malay National Organisation) government in Malaysia, the end result will be determined by the fate of time.

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