Marie Pietersz




 

DAISY – TEN DECADES YOUNG!: Story: Marie Pietersz | Photos: courtesy family

Marie Pietersz

Daisy Balfour (nee Sims) celebrated her 100th birthday with an intimate private party organised by her family at Mercy Place Residential Aged Care, Springvale, on the 29th August.

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It’s not often we get to hear good news stories these days given the fast and furious lifestyle we live in, but not so in the case of Daisy Balfour who lived through two very different centuries – the 20th and 21st – taking them calmly in her stride, and perhaps will have a lesson or two to share with the younger members of her family growing up in the current climate.

One of three siblings, Daisy was born in Badulla, in post-colonial British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to parents Charles and Muriel Sims on the 29th of August 1919.

Life in Ceylon was very different at the turn of the 20th century following transition of Ceylon from British administration, and Daisy grew up in an environment with social protocols very unlike those of today.

Daisy spent her youth on the tea estates in Ceylon’s high country and was educated at Girls High School, Badulla. She lived a simple and uncomplicated life. She was not required to contribute to the family’s coffers and therefore did not need to go to work. This was common among young Burgher (of Dutch and European heritage) ladies in Ceylonese families from the middle to upper social class status and what they were accustomed to in the climate of those times.

At age 22, she married Willie Balfour (late), a Captain who served in the British Army in Sri Lanka and abroad. The wedding was held at the Methodist Church, Badulla on the 6th of September 1941. She was attended by her sister, Barry, as bridesmaid, and Willie’s brother as groomsman.

As a young bride, Daisy continued her married life on the tea estates where her husband was later employed. There, her family grew and she became mother to five children, Tyrone (Rev.), Andrew, Catherine, Derrick and Gillian. The boys were boarded at Kingswood College, Kandy, and the girls at Methodist College, Colombo.

After life on the tea plantations, Daisy and her husband moved to Colombo with their grown-up children where they lived until they migrated to Australia in 1970. She took Australian citizenship on the 20th of February 1976.

In Australia, Daisy lived with her family in Springvale for 45 years. She didn’t drive a car or go to work, loving instead to be a housewife, and proud of her children’s achievements. Her interests were her children and grandchildren, her garden and her vegetable patch. Reading was her hobby and as an avid reader has read hundreds of books. She also took an interest in sport and followed all sport very closely.

She kept home until the age of 96, cooking and entertaining the family and making her home the base where they all got together.

Daisy has never been in hospital until the last fall that finally put her into aged care. She moved into Mercy Place, Springvale, in 2015 where she is happy and well cared for.

She has 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Daisy cut two cakes, one made by family friend, Marie Pietersz, and the other gifted by Mercy Hospital staff.

An incredible milestone, but not as incredible as Daisy in everything she would have overcome on her long journey and in the many roles she played in her life: that of daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

‘Her faculties are still very sharp,’ says son Derrick, ‘She remembers everything. She was very happy that we organised a celebration to mark her special birthday. We are blessed to have had our mum for such a long time.’

There were many congratulatory letters for Daisy, among which was the one that all centurions wait for – from the Queen – and others from the following prominent list of VIPs:

HRH Queen Elizabeth II

His Excellency Governor General Hon David Hurley AC DSA (Retd) and Mrs Linda Hurley

Prime Minister, Hon Scott Morrison MP

Federal Opposition Leader, Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Governor or Victoria, Hon Linda Dessau AC

Premier of Victoria, Hon Daniel Andrews MP

Federal Member for Bruce, Julian Hill MP

Member for Keysborough, Martin Pakula MP

 

Happy special birthday Daisy. You are nothing short of amazing. You have overcome all the hurdles along the way! Congratulations from all of us! May you stay contented and happy as you continue your blessed journey, giving love and pleasure to your family and friends. God bless you!

 

 

 

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Victorian Seniors Week 2019 – just weeks away! – Story by Marie Pietersz

Once again, seniors in Victoria are privileged to have a week of the calendar dedicated to celebrating them and their status as seniors.

The Victorian Seniors Festival returns this October from 6 to 13 to celebrate more than a million Victorians aged 60+ who make such a valuable contribution to society.

So join the celebrations, when there will be more than 2500 free or low-cost events being run across the state from active living and aqua exercise, gym, golf, walking, dancing, galleries and exhibitions, festivals and concerts, seminars and workshops, and much more, all dedicated to seniors.

There will also be eight days of free transport for Victorian Seniors Card holders from Sunday 6 to Sunday 13 October and includes all metropolitan and V-Line services to help seniors get across Melbourne and beyond.

Passionate about active ageing and inspiring seniors, this year as one of the faces of the festival, I share my story in the Seniors Festival Program, which you can download on https://www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/festivalsandawards/festival-print-program or read here.

Entertaining seniors through dance on Celebration Day during Seniors Week has been an annual event for my dance class featured on the cover of the calendar of events at https://www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/festivalsandawards, where you can search for activities by date, type of event or activity, and location.

“There’s something for everybody, so just get into it and enjoy life. Be active, it’s fun, and it slows down ageing.” 

Dance lovers can enquire at Love2Dance on 0412 296 827.

https://www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/festivalsandawards/faces-of-the-festival/meet-marie

Marie Pietersz

‘Just because you’re older, doesn’t mean you stop learning.’ 

Marie’s love of education underpins all her community work. From teaching line dancing to seniors, to running English classes for migrants of all ages, Marie is committed to sharing knowledge and giving something back.

Marie grew up in Sri Lanka and was educated in the Cambridge English curriculum. Then, in 1972, she migrated with her husband to Australia. She reflects on what was a lengthy process.

‘It was the days of the White Australia policy. We had to prove our European ancestry, going back six generations.’

Arriving in Melbourne, Marie immediately ‘put the bags down, caught a train into the city and sat the public service exam.’ Her shorthand was a staggering one hundred and eighty words a minute and her typing one hundred and twenty. She was immediately offered a position as a court reporter.

‘My English was excellent. But it was the Australian expressions, or ‘speak’, I found difficult to understand. There were no migrants working with me at that time so there was no one I could ask. Marie spent over forty years in the public service.

As time passed she became a parent, then a grandparent, so life gradually expanded, beyond her public service role. Later she became an English tutor, and gained a Diploma in Journalism.

Recognising the vital importance of staying fit, Marie began dancing and was soon teaching dance to seniors.

‘I get tearful watching my senior students mastering new dances. I have one lady who is line dancing at ninety-two,’ Marie says, smiling.

She pioneered line dancing at the U3A and still teaches dancing at the Nunawading branch. Marie also tutors school children. She runs English classes for young migrants and advocates on their behalf. She has a part-time business in editing and is also training further in Latin and Ballroom medal dancing. And she is a board member of the Vermont South Learning Centre.

‘How we age and grow older is changing,’ Marie says.

‘Being active, both physically and mentally, is crucial. Age is just a number. It does not define who we are.’

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Darlings! Tiffany’s was the place to be! – Story: Marie Pietersz (The Write Touch), Melbourne; Photo credits: well wishers

And what a glamorous event it was, this Brunch at Tiffany’s mid-year event hosted by the HFC PPA Bamba (Aust) Inc at the Oakleigh Hall on 14 July.

The atmosphere was electric and the venue filled to capacity with 170 sophisticated ladies (and some elegant gents, I might add). The ladies were real eye candy, looking stylish in their favourite little black dresses, cigarette pants, pencil skirts, fabulous strings of pearls, updo styles with hair ornaments, and cigarette holders.

The entrance to the venue was decorated like a Tiffany store and inside was elaborately bedecked with all the trimmings and touches to represent the theme, with no effort spared, thanks to a very talented committee and helpers.

The costumes, make-up and hair did real justice to the beautiful and famous look inspired by Aubrey Hepburn as the iconic Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the 1961 Hollywood blockbuster movie. George Peppards, eat your heart out, these HFC girls’ portrayal of the real thing was simply the best.

The afternoon was eventful with a packed agenda of items to get through in spite of the lively incessant chatter and laughter to be heard throughout, with mimosas served on arrival to set the mood.

After the welcome speech by President Aruni Wijeyesinghe, there was a hearty singing of the school song by the huge contingent of past pupils attending, led by Secretary Michelle Vanvelzon.

A sumptuous brunch buffet was served, catered by With Love Catering, followed by a delectable Sweet Table, which had everybody enjoying fine fare.

Then it was time to play the table quiz competition, ably conducted by Nalis Miranda and included identifying music from that era. The raffle was well subscribed and comprised generous prizes, the first prize of a Tiffany bracelet won by Annemarie Labrooy.

Next was the pleasant task of choosing the fairest lady of them all, which was no mean feat given the beautifully attired females in the room. No doubt a hard task and by a slim margin, the winner chosen was Joanne Holsinger.

The afternoon ended with a lesson on how to do the Charleston, a dance move from the Swinging Sixties, which saw a long line of ladies take a short instruction from Marie Pietersz of Love2Dance before attempting a very good rendition to the music Putting on the Ritz.

All too soon it was over, another beautifully themed event done and dusted, organised on the back of the very successful previous Madhatter’s Tea Party themed event.

Until next time, says the committee, with credit to:

President Aruni Wijeyesinghe

Secretary Michelle Vanvelzon

Treasurer Nadeeka Perera

Members Nalis Miranda, Inoka Jayasinghe, Jilska Williams and Jean Le Mercier.

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Green fingers or global warming? – Story: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne: Photo credits: Dirckze

No, you are not seeing things. It is actually a papaw tree laden with fruit, thriving in the Melbourne cold, where normally it would call sunny northern Australia home.

Springvale residents Aubrey and Patsy Dirckze are avid gardeners of all things tropical. Reminds them of growing up in Sri Lanka and being able to enjoy some Sri Lankan cuisine in Melbourne, they tell me, smiling.

“I always loved gardening, but I didn’t have the right conditions to do so in Sri Lanka, due to full-time work and smaller garden space,” says Aubrey, “but coming to Melbourne I was able to make those dreams come true, with my own home and a nice sized garden.”

Aubrey reflects on his papaw tree story: “One day I was eating a ripe papaw I purchased from the Springvale market and spat out some seeds under my front pergola which has a clear polycarbonate roof. Very soon a lot of plants sprouted and a couple of them ‘took off’. The first and biggest one was a male plant, I found out, and so I cut it down. The next plant to ‘take off’ was a female, which kept growing taller till it reached the height of the pergola, bearing a good crop of papaws.”

Aubrey researched online and found out about air-layering (wrapping moist soil around a branch to promote root growth) to make sure that he is able to propagate this unusual specimen. “The tree is three years old and stays dormant in the winter and the fruit ripen in the summer,” Aubrey says.

Aubrey attributes his success at growing papaws in Melbourne to his horticultural skills as well as a little help from Mother Nature and the position of the plant – an enclosed space, which keeps out the wind and frost.

Aubrey’s garden is home to other exotic vegetables: bitter melon, snake beans, tomatoes, Sri Lankan cucumbers and okra, and a three-fruit bearing citrus which produces limes, mandarins and oranges on the one tree, to name a few. He is also an experienced bonsai grower.

This generous gardener is offering vegetable seeds to other gardeners who want them at no cost. He is also offering tree grafting services to those who are looking for some help in this area, also at no cost.

“I get pleasure in giving it away,” Aubrey says, and lots of lucky friends can attest to being gifted with lots of vegetables from Aubrey’s garden. “And I help him,” chirps Patsy, to which Aubrey responds, “and promotes my garden on social media, and says ‘thank you’ to all the passers-by who are very impressed and comment on what they see,” they tease each other.

Genuine enquirers only can write to pat.aubrey@hotmail.com.

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Josephines’ Wild West Nite a definite winter warmer: Story: Marie Pietersz – Pics: courtesy well-wishers

Pics: courtesy well-wishers

Outside was a freezingly cold Melbourne mid-winter’s night on 22nd June, but inside the Good Shepherd Hall, Mulgrave, the warmth, sights and ambience greeting you thawed you out like it was summer. It was an atmosphere that lifted one’s spirits as it usually does at the Josephines’ theme nights, always well supported not only by numbers in attendance but also the extent to which the former pupils and guests ‘dress up’.

Cowgirls and cowboys in such an array of country and western clothing and accessories paraded around, comparing outfits and engaging in greetings and small talk. The décor was elaborate and beautiful – typically Texas/Mexican in design and painstakingly hand-made by Judy Fernando.

DJ Damian struck up the music on the dot and as usual Delreen Cramer, the MC, was up to her pranks, wielding her cowboy whip and calling everybody to attention to listen to the order of the night.

The floor was packed with dancers from start to finish, showing off their dancing styles and ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ actions portraying sharp-shooter Annie Oakley from the American western movie of the same name. There was even a horse mask outfit to complete the full western theme.

Speeches didn’t take up the night, with President Dani Gunatilake’s presentation short and to the point, yet making all the necessary announcements about what the funds collected here had achieved for the school, in particular the expenses required for security measures in the climate of recent unrest in Sri Lanka.

Dinner was not a long-drawn-out affair either, with a well-timed schedule run by the MC, following Grace Before Meals said by Deanna Daniels. Dinner by Des and Judy Foulstone of Silverline Caterers was a definite crowd pleaser; and then guests were ready to rage on after the sumptuous buffet.

Always a highlight was the crowning of the best dressed male and female in keeping with the theme, won by Dion Holsinger and Catherine Brown.

A new and well accepted part of the entertainment was the country line dancing demonstration by the AusLine dancing trio, Marie Pietersz, and Cherryl (former pupil) and Earle Serpanchy. The line dancing teaches that followed had a staggering number of guests up and ready to take part. Two dances were learnt much to the enthusiasm of the guests and well executed by them also.

Prizes from donors were generous and the raffle well supported.

The whole dance package was well balanced from music to dinner to entertainment to ambience, and tickets well priced. A great act to follow and a credit to the committee of 2019 comprising:

Executive Committee 
President – Danielle Gunatilake 
Vice President- Deanna Daniels 
Secretary- Suzette De La Motte
Treasurer – Pauline Walles

General Committee
Christine Silva 
Delreen Cramer 
Desiree Van Estrop 
Judy Fernando 
Maureen Wendt 
Romayne Ephraums 
Suzie Young

Can’t wait to see what the next theme will be. Mark your calendars and be part of it when it comes around again. Josephines’ dances are recommended as a great night out.

 

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Melbourne prays for Sri Lankan victims Contributed
Marie Pieterszby: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

With around 50 percent of Australian-born Sri Lankans living in Melbourne, it is no wonder that there were many multi-faith vigils and prayers held in many parts of Melbourne in the days following the Easter Sunday bombings which took place in Sri Lanka on 21st April 2019. It left two Australians of Sri Lankan heritage among the dead, along with many overseas tourists and a death toll on the rise numbering hundreds.

Once such special memorial service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on Sunday 28th April, arranged by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka, Mr Prasanna Gamage, in association with the Very Rev. Dr. Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne. 

Hundreds of people gathered in Federation Square holding posters of support and then on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, whilst inside the Cathedral over 1000 Sri Lankans, Australians and other nationals gathered to light candles and pray for those who were killed and injured at places of worship and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.

Among the dignitaries who attended the memorial service were:

Her Excellency, Hon. Linda Dessau, AC, the Governor of Victoria and spouse Judge Anthony Howard

Hon. James Merlino, Acting Premier of Victoria

Hon. Michael O’Brien, MP, Leader of the State Opposition

Parliamentarians representing almost all political parties both at Federal and State level, including Senator Penny Wong representing the Federal Opposition.

In addition, senior Victorian officials attending included:

Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne

members of the Consular corps

Local Government Councillors.

Her Excellency, Hon. Linda Dessau, delivered the second lesson while The Very Rev. Dr. Loewe conducted the proceedings of the service.

Clergy representing all four main religions of Sri Lanka lit candles in memory of the victims.

The Hon. James Merlino, MP and Actg. Premier conveyed condolences on behalf of the State Government.

Senator Penny Wong, Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne, and Councillor Beverly Pinder-Mortimer also delivered peace messages.

Mr. Prasanna Gamage, Consul General of Sri Lanka, in his peace message highlighted the importance of non-violence and love in the teachings of all religions.

Major edifices in Melbourne were lit up in an act of solidarity and sign of Victoria’s grief for the people of Sri Lanka on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd April.

Ref: CGSLM

Attendees
Attendees

Her Excellency the Hon. Linda Dessau , Governor of Victoria
Her Excellency the Hon. Linda Dessau , Governor of Victoria

Mr. Prasanna Gamage, Consul General
Mr. Prasanna Gamage, Consul General

St. Pauls
St. Pauls

Very Rev. Dr. Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne of the St. Paul's Cathedral
Very Rev. Dr. Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne of the St. Paul’s Cathedral

With clergy of all religions
With clergy of all religions

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MasterChef Contestant DEE WILLIAMS LAUNCHES YOUTUBE CHANNEL – DEE-LICIOUS – 

Marie PieterszStory by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

 

 

MasterChef - Dee Williams

MasterChef Judge Matt Preston’s reaction to Dee’s dish of Sri Lankan chicken curry, dhal and coconut sambol, is about to take on a life of its own, when Dee launches her YouTube channel Dee-licious on Wednesday, 8 May. Dee’s short but very happy time on MasterChef has had a very positive experience on her, so I will follow this up in my personal and candid chat with her.

Dee Williams, 37, is the first Sri Lankan female MasterChef contestant who made it into top 24 contestants on season 11, 2019. Dee is from Kandy, Sri Lanka. The oldest of four children, Dee’s family lived on a tea plantation and in 2007 she packed up and moved to Australia to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management at Holmesglen, graduating in 2011 and now works casually as an Office Manager.

Arriving in Australia, Dee says she was inspired by the variety of cuisines and cooking cultures on offer, and cites her strengths in the kitchen as Asian and Sri Lankan, a confident allrounder in Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean flavours.

She lives at home with her husband Michael who she married in 2012, and young brother, Ebenezer, who lives with the couple in Melbourne’s east.

Why did you enter the MC competition?

I came to Australia to do a degree in Hotel Management. Back in Sri Lanka I was in a boarding school and was not exposed to a lot of cooking experiences, only my mum’s, from whom I learnt about Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine, but when I came to Australia, it opened up a different world – one that exposed me to a whole new world of food, given Melbourne is famous for its international cuisine.

Who or what inspired you to enter to be a contestant on MasterChef?

I am a big fan of MasterChef and I used to try and practise the MasterChef dishes at home, which gave me confidence in my ability to turn out dishes that I hadn’t experience in before, so I said to myself, “I can do it. I can give MasterChef a go,” and this idea was born in me and I thought I must try to give this lifetime opportunity a go. 

I was also inspired by Sri Lankan contestant Kumar Pereira on Series 3 who made it to the top twelve, and I like Peter Kuruvita’s culturally inspired cooking and his achievements.

What went wrong when you were eliminated on the “challenge” last night (6 May)?

Making the perfect Bombe Alaska was a tough challenge and I crumbled under pressure. I had to take ten minutes off the set to collect my thoughts, before I came back, amidst shouts of encouragement from my fellow contestants, to continue with the task of turning out a Bombe Alaska as close as possible to the master sample of this old favourite we had to copy. I thought, it took me ten years to get to cook in the MasterChef kitchen and I am not going to give up now.

My sorbet and ice cream measurements didn’t come together very well and as a result it didn’t have the right texture and flavour and the ice cream was not set.

What are your plans for the future?

I have plans to open up a cooking school for Sri Lankan cuisine as well as other cuisines. If I had won MasterChef, it would have been easier to launch this plan, but for now my challenge is to launch my YouTube channel which will provide viewers with cooking techniques, tips and product reviews, to start.

I work casual hours now in my day job, so I could still manage to do this after hours and see how I go and perhaps I will one day be doing this full time when my business grows.

What was your experience on MasterChef like?

It gave me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – twenty-four contestants, sharing the same dream, living together, getting to know each other, supporting each other, and learning different techniques from each other and from the judges in their master classes.

Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan love the flavours of Asia and George Columbaris has spent some time enjoying enormous popularity as a guest chef and experiencing the flavours of Sri Lanka, on location.

The judges are open-minded and fair with their comments on and off the show and you grow as a person and gain more confidence to try new things out and not be scared to put new ideas and suggestions forward.

Would you recommend MasterChef to other young Australians or migrant Australians? What advice would you give them?

Definitely. If you have a passion for food, push yourself to pursue it. There are a lot of rounds of pressure-testing and group challenges to get through before you get to be one of the twenty-four contestants. I failed in my first attempt to get on, but I did not give up and tried again and was successful to get in on Series 11.

If you have a dream you have to pursue it. If you have the opportunity to get on to MasterChef, take it and move forward.  

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you have to fulfil your dream.

Is there room for you in the YouTube cooking space?  What is going to make your channel different?

I have also been slowly building my profile on social media and have other plans to bring my own spice range on the market, perhaps a recipe book of Sri Lankan cooking secrets, which I know there is an audience out there for, and I am going to take some time to see what other opportunities there are in this space.

What will you be leaving behind as your “signature” dish on MasterChef?

The judges enjoyed my (mum’s) chicken curry, but my (mum’s) crab curry is the one they will remember for a long time. I was instantly awarded the “white” apron for the crab curry, which was a proud moment for me. It was as close as possible to my mum’s curry and, luckily, I was able to get all the ingredients I needed in the MasterChef kitchen, so I didn’t need to change it much – just the dark palm sugar, I guess, was the secret ingredient.

What would you like for MasterChef in the future?

I would like to see a MasterChef competition start up in Sri Lanka and I would love to be a guest judge. I think Sri Lanka is ready for MasterChef and I would love to see it happen.

Thank you, Dee, for sharing your MasterChef story with me. Your beautiful smile and humble personality made you a lot of fans in the Sri Lankan community. Congratulations on your qualification to cook in the MasterChef kitchen. You made us all proud of you.

Well done and good luck with the next chapter of your culinary journey, which we look forward to hearing about.

 

 

 

 

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Rugby: HSBC/Cathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019 – Photos and write up by Marie Pietersz (Melbourne)

It’s that time of the year again for Rugby Week in Hong Kong when rugby fans all over the world converge on Hong Kong to play (and party) at the HSBC/Cathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019. Hong Kong had much to live up to its self-anointed claim as Asia’s and put on wow with its high quality facilities.

The 40,000 capacity Hong Kong Stadium was sold out with supporters of 28 teams vying for the coveted title. Australians were there in their thousands, but apart from Hong Kong supporters, Fiji had the largest and loudest contingent. The competition was fast and furious, with quick changeovers and entertainment to boot. Look-alike entertainers performed the music of Queen, Mick Jagger, the Beatles, Amy Winehouse and more. Outrageous and innovative dress–ups provided an entertaining and convivial atmosphere A heavy Police and security presence were there to ensure that the event remained incident free. Food and drink, conveniences and other facilities were in ample supply and public transport provided very easy access to and from the stadium. Australia did not make it into the finals, winning from Portugal, but losing losing to Scotland in the final qualifiers.

Other surprise wins that kept the crowd elated and engaged were USA over South Africa, Argentina over South Africa, Samoa over England and France over New Zealand. Other event organisers could well take a leaf out of the Hong Kong Rugby Union book for yet another highly successful and enjoyable event, albeit they have many years experience of doing it under their belt. The 2019 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens gave rugby fans an entertaining and highly skilled brand of rugby. All teams played to nail-biting finishes, using long and fast runs, ducking and weaving tactics, safe passing down the lines with few knock-ons and converting tries from difficult angles.

Fast and furious play kept fans on the edges of their seats watching the eliminations at the qualifying rounds. A few upset results from the underdog teams and the final scoreboard looked like this: Shield trophy final winner Spain 19 to Wales 14, Bowl trophy winner Scotland 24 to Japan 24, Plate trophy winner Argentine 21 to NZ 14, Bronze medal winner USA 22 to Samoa 10, and the Cup winner Fiji 21 to France 7.

Rugby Week in Hing Kong ended on a very high and successful note, making good Hong Kong slogans which boldly emblazen the message, Nobody does Rugby Sevens better than Hong Kong. With fans hungry for more of the same, it looks like tickets to the rest of the Series games in other world destinations will be filling up fast.

Marie Pietersz, Melbourne, reporting from Hong Kong Stadium in company with former Ceylon rugby scrum-half Randy Pietersz and son Sean.

For travel packages to upcoming Seven Series games in other world destinations, contact Candy Penesis Travel Counselors on 0411 148 717.

 

Click here or on the photos below to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page

Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz

Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz

Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz   Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz Rugby-HSBCCathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019.- Photos and write up by Marie Pieterz

 

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Author Corner: Nalini de Sielvie: Thistles in the Wind – An autobiography : Story by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Marie Pietersz

Nalini de Sielvie is a Sri Lankan-born Melbourne author whose recent novel Thistles in the Wind has made it on the world stage. Published by Authorhouse (UK) in November 2018, it was displayed at the Tucson Book Fair, Arizona (US) Campus, in March 2019, and is also available on Amazon, online book stores and at Australian libraries.

 

Thistles in the Wind

Many books have been written and published by Nalini since she arrived in Melbourne more than forty-five years ago, but this autobiography, comprising over a thousand pages, is about her own story in detail and is crammed with stories about life in Sri Lanka and Australia that will make you both laugh and cry. Part 1 ‘The Lotus Island’ is about family history, childhood, teenage years and getting married at eighteen, while Part 2 ‘Southern Stars’ deals with the struggles of settling down in a new country, motherhood, domestic issues, and striving to achieve her goals whilst writing continually.

“Memories sustain us in our autumn years, lighting up the road ahead, and easing the burden of life’s arduous journey. So I begin my travels down memory lane to when it all started, in post-colonial Ceylon,” says Nalini.

There is not much more that can be written about Nalini that hasn’t already been written about this Woman of Substance, suffice to say that this quiet achiever is an amazingly humble human being who has achieved so much in the face of adversity and continues to do so with her indomitable fervour and faith in spite of the challenges she has had to face of domestic disharmony, family rifts and loss, nursing a sick husband through a terminal illness and now confronted with serious health problems.
Nalini de Sielvie

Nalini migrated to Australia in 1972, a newly qualified journalist at age twenty with her husband, and has two sons.

Nalini says, “When I came to Melbourne in 1972, I was terribly homesick and isolated as my whole family was still in Sri Lanka. Only a couple of my husband’s siblings were here.

“Being pregnant and lonely, my thoughts constantly dwelt on my ‘Island home’ and family I had left behind, and so began my nostalgic recollections of my childhood, parents and relatives.

“It was cathartic and assuaged my isolation during many long lonely hours at home awaiting the birth of my first son, while dealing with all the issues new migrants face besides coping with domestic disharmony.”

It was only Nalini’s stoicism, persistence and faith and her development of long-term friendships that made it possible for her to handle the long hours of hard work, the dark side of her life, keeping the home fires burning, raising her sons, holding on to a career that made it possible to survive economically and gradually surviving as a migrant. She also knew she had to find time to follow her dreams of realising her talents and fulfilling her ambitions because she needed this for her inner life and soul.

She holds diplomas in journalism, scriptwriting, commercial art, and pianoforte, and worked for the Commonwealth Government from 1986 to 2005 before changing direction. She currently teaches piano at a local primary school besides painting and writing.

Writers World Queensland, and other publications have published Nalini’s award-winning short stories, articles and poems in several anthologies. She also contributes articles, poems, and short stories to various magazines and local newspapers.

This unusual woman has been able to champion her way through the maze of life’s obstacles by seeing the seriousness of situations and being able to keep her counsel. Her laughter, sadness, grief, regrets, love, they are all there in her writing, the outlet and window to this writer’s soul, her liberation.

Her stories and poems appeared in a recently published anthology, Wild Poppies and in the Society of Women Writers Victoria anthology, Climb the mountain.

In 1995, Nalini was included in the Who’s Who of Australian Writers and is a current member of the Society of Women Writers, Writers Victoria, Australian Writers Guild, Peninsula Arts Society, and was President of Authors Australia Inc (independent publishers).

“Until we are fully grown, we seldom think of childhood,

Like thistles in the wind has blown

All that’s dear swept away for good.

Nor all regrets, our tears and pain,

Make the thistle whole again.”

Nalini de Sielvie has published eight other books to date (fiction, short stories and poems).

Dark Shores-Return to Serendib

Serendib

Wild Poppies

An Eternal Summer

Is this your Caruso? Biography of Tenor Luigi Campeotto

Catsville

Edge of Nowhere

Return to Enchantment

An amazing journey! A big life! Thistles in the Wind is her own story, an honest, poignant recollection of her life without the sugar-coating. It is a must read.

website: www.nalinidesielvie.com

instagram: www.instagram.com/nalini_author

(Book price as per seller)

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Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray – Story and pics by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Denver (Deno) Keegel, popular identity within Sri Lankan social circles, celebrated his milestone birthday on 15th March at the Grand on Princes in Mulgrave.You could be forgiven for thinking you were at a Collingwood finals dinner or awards night, with the venue elaborately decorated in Collingwood colours and memorabilia and 250 guests dressed in the black and white theme for the occasion requested by birthday boy and ardent Collingwood fan, Denver.

The party kicked off with a grand entrance by Denver dressed in club colours to a rendition of the club song.  Laughter followed roaring applause from guests when spotted with Denver in a sea of black and white, were three of his grandchildren wearing the colours of rival club, Hawthorn, adding to the fun and excitement of the night’s activities to come.

Denver was born in Colombo in 1949 and following his schooling at Carey College, joined the Royal Ceylon Air Force in 1970 at the age of 21. He married the love of his life, Patricia (Patty) Gray in 1975, and migrated to Melbourne in 1976. In Australia he held many top management and key personnel roles in tyre company Goodyear, footwear designer J Robins & Sons Pty Ltd, and aged care specialist Dial an Angel, retiring from full time employment in 2018.

Denver and Patty’s family grew in Australia and continues to grow, with two children, Melissa and Daniel and five grandchildren, Declan, Lucas and Jett (Daniel and Tara) and Joceylon and Jovan (Melissa and Darren Junkeer) and another on the way.

Guests at Denver’s 70th birthday celebrations were entertained by a number of guest singers backed by popular band for the night, Next Generation. Singers included Derrick Junkeer (also compere) and dancers, daughter Melissa, and friends Reg Bartholomeusz and Esric Jackson, not least of all, the birthday boy himself.

Among the other notable items of the night was the sumptuous buffet by Tony and Tania Walles, Collingwood ice carving by Desmond Foulstone, elaborate slide show by brother Travis Keegel (U.K.) and very large screen back-drop designed by Ishan Bahar (Sri Lanka). There was not only one birthday cake, but two large ones, made and decorated in the Collingwood themes by Cake Point.

Speakers for the night included brother Gordon Keegel (all the way from Mill Park, LOL), Indrani Keegel (presiding over grace and thanksgiving), son Daniel, daughter Melissa, and close friends Bertie Ekenaike and Joyce Senn. There was even a special Collingwood chair for Denver to sit in and savour the adulations of the speakers.

In his speech, Denver thanked guests, helpers and entertainers, visiting family from Queensland, and venue management Jude de Silva and staff.  The air was charged with emotion when Denver shared his happily married status and acknowledged his loving and dedicated wife of forty-four years, Patty, and was visibly moved when she presented him with a gift of an airline ticket to Sri Lanka and England to visit his family.

From many accounts, a wonderful and fun time was had by all, who I am sure will join me in congratulating Denver and wishing him a happy and healthy septuagenarian decade. Happy 70th birthday, Denver!.

 

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70 hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

 

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

 

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

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