Juicy Tales

ALAS, THE KIDS aren’t particularly fond of vegetables. Thankfully they enjoy the tropical fruits here, so I am assured they still get their nutrients including vitamin C, minerals, potassium, fiber and folic acid, among others.

Tropical fruits galore including mangoes, bananas and pineapples.

We particularly enjoy the juicy and sweet mangoes, so we always end up getting more mangoes from the fruit stall. Notice the two tiny papayas next to the mangoes.

We particularly enjoy the sweet and juicy mangoes, so we always end up getting more mangoes from the fruit stall. Notice the two tiny papayas next to the mangoes.

When we are out of fresh fruits, these come to the rescue, though fresh is still the best. We’ve since identified mango juice as our favourite too.

Teddy Story

WHILE PANDY AND the Princesses are here with her, Little Em is also anxiously waiting for her other toys being shipped, things that would help her feel at home and be at home.

Part of Little Em’s teddy bear collection taken before they were packed away into boxes for shipping.

Part of Little Em’s teddy bear collection taken before they were packed away into boxes for shipping.

Both girls with their first teddy given when they were a child.

Both girls with their first teddy given when they were a child.

Besides teddy, they used to love Barney too.

Besides teddy, they used to love Barney too.

My siblings and I had a teddy too, which our parents bought when I was a year old; Big M had a photo taken with it in 2004. That teddy survives till this very day, as old as me, yet in mint condition as if it was just bought yesterday!

My siblings and I had a teddy too, which our parents bought when I was a year old; Big M had a photo taken with it 10 years ago in 2004. That teddy survives till this very day, as old as me, yet in mint condition as if it was just bought yesterday!

Toy Story

A FRIEND RECENTLY asked me what toys are Little Em playing with since our things from home haven’t arrived yet.

We bought this Princess Castle board game just before we came to Accra (rather, she refused to leave the toy section till we relented - thankfully - and got it for her as a farewell gift). The four princesses have kept her occupied quite a bit. (Bottom, right) She also packed along her Belle clip-on doll.

We bought this Princess Castle board game just before we came to Accra (rather, she refused to leave the toy section till we relented – thankfully – and got it for her as a farewell gift). The four princesses have kept her occupied quite a bit. (Bottom, right) She also packed along her Belle clip-on doll.

Little Em has since built another “home” for her princesses, using cardboard boxes and other discarded items… her idea of “recycling and taking care of the place we live in”. 

Little Em has since built another “home” for her princesses, using cardboard boxes and other discarded items… her idea of “recycling and taking care of the place we live in”.

(L) Even a doll needs to be technologically-savvy so she made a laptop for Belle; (R) Decorated Belle’s bedroom with a vase, photo frame, rug and even a dollhouse!

(L) Even a doll needs to be technologically-savvy so she made a laptop for Belle; (R) Decorated Belle’s bedroom with a vase, photo frame, rug and even a dollhouse!

(L) Aurora and Snow White on the cardboard sofa in the living room watching their big screen TV on the side wall while the other wall sports a window with curtains; (R) Ariel and Belle in the kitchen, notice the details on the table :-)

(L) Aurora and Snow White on the cardboard sofa in the living room watching their big screen TV on the side wall while the other wall sports a window with curtains; (R) Ariel and Belle in the kitchen, notice the details on the table 🙂

A little deprivation is good sometimes… it breeds creativity :-) Then again, Little Em, like her sister, has always been rather creative. Back home, she created a whole family with toilet rolls!

A little deprivation is good sometimes… it breeds creativity 🙂 Then again, Little Em, like her sister, has always been rather creative. Back home, she created a whole family with toilet rolls!

“Panda Ambassadors” in Malaysia

LAST MONTH, TWO giant pandas from China arrived in Malaysia and made the National Zoo their new home (see article “Pandas arrive in Zoo Negara).

The furry pair, Fu Wa (male) and Feng Yi (female) are on a 10-year loan to the country to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China – Malaysia this year. They are expected to be renamed soon. [On June 25th, the PM renamed the pair Xing Xing (Prosperity) and Liang Liang (Pretty)]

Treated as its national  treasures, China has extended this “panda diplomacy” to other countries, including the United States, which received its first panda pair back in 1972 after President Nixon’s historic visit to China. The  giant pandas were placed in the National Zoo in Washington DC; the female Ling-Ling lived till 1992 while the male Hsing-Hsing died in November 1999. I recall my sister and niece visited us in DC that November and we’d gone to the National Zoo but didn’t get to see Hsing Hsing who was already sick at that time.  He was eventually euthanised on 28th November 1999. The pair had bore 5 cubs but none survived.

My first encounter with the black and white endangered species was in their homeland of Chengdu, Sichuan province, China with my parents in 1996; and subsequently in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park between 2009-2010.

First encounter with pandas in Chengdu, Sichuan, which has a Panda Breeding Research Center. Besides Sichuan, pandas are also found in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. 

First encounter with pandas in Chengdu, Sichuan, which has a Panda Breeding Research Center. Besides Sichuan, pandas are also found in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

One of Big M’s numerous encounters with pandas in Ocean Park, Hong Kong, between 2009 and 2010. (19 Oct 2009)

One of Big M’s numerous encounters with pandas in Ocean Park, Hong Kong, between 2009 and 2010. (19 Oct 2009)

Little Em’s first encounter with a panda… ok, she knows it’s not a real one. (8 Jun 2010)

Little Em’s first encounter with a panda… ok, she knows it’s not a real one. (8 Jun 2010)

Where are the pandas? Oh a mere panda mascot and panda soft toys.

Where are the pandas? Oh a mere panda mascot and panda soft toys.

Finally! Arrived at the “Giant Panda Adventure” and Little Em fell asleep! But the furry bear was too great to miss, so I woke her up to see the real thing.

Finally! Arrived at the “Giant Panda Adventure” and Little Em fell asleep! But the furry bear was too great to miss, so I woke her up to see the real thing. (8 Jun 2010)

Paid the pandas another visit in the same month in Ocean Park. (30 Jun 2010)

Paid the pandas another visit in the same month in Ocean Park. (30 Jun 2010)

The girls’ prior visit to Ocean Park in January 2010.

The girls’ prior visit to Ocean Park in January 2010.

And here's a panda in Ghana! “Pandy” which Little Em brought home from HK, had travelled with us, nicely tucked away in her handbag, to our new home in Accra. (April 2014)

And here’s a panda in Ghana! “Pandy” which Little Em brought home from HK, had travelled with us, nicely tucked away in her handbag, to our new home in Accra. (April 2014)