It’s Leap Day!

February 29, 2020 at 10:29 am | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese customs, Chinese Zodiac, Leap Year | Leave a comment
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Illustration credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Run Run Rat

And how fitting that Leap Year 2020 is the Year of the Rat! Or that’s what Run Run Rat thinks, anyway! Because that’s how Run Run won the Olympics Marathon in The Tale of Run Run Rat, by leaping over the shoulder of the lead runner, who was built like a buffalo! (And of course quite coincidentally 🙂, the Rat won Lord Buddha’s Race, to place first in the Chinese Zodiac…by leaping over the Ox’s shoulder!).

So to celebrate this special day, 29th February, I thought it would be fun to find out some fascinating Leap Year facts! Here we go:

  • Leap Years contain one extra day, of 24 hours, because the Earth takes 365 days PLUS 6 hours to orbit the Sun! (This is known as a Tropical Year). So by adding (4 x 6) hours to the calendar every four years, our Gregorian calendar keeps pace with astronomy!
  • So they occur every 4 years – or, to put it another way, every year that is an integer (ie can be divided by to leave a whole number) of 4. Thus this year, 2020, can be divided by 4 to equal the whole number 505!
  • BUT you have to leave out the “century” years eg 1800, 1900, 2100, EXCEPT those that can be divided exactly by 400 (eg 1600, 2000) because a Tropical Year is just slightly shorter than 365.25 days (365.242190 days long, to be exact)! Phew that’s tricky!
  • If you are born on a Leap Day, you are called a leaper or a leapling! Technically, this means you can only have a true birthday every 4 years, which is rather sad when you’re young, but on the other hand, when you are 84 years in physical age, you can justly claim to be just 21 years old! Now I can think of a few adults who would be happy with that!
  • But never fear, the law says that if you are a leapling, your annual birthday is deemed to be either February 28 or March 1, depending on where you live. So you can still get birthday presents and a cake each year!
  • The comic super-hero Superman is a leapling! DC Comics, publishers of the Superman series, thought of this clever device to explain why Superman apparently never ages!
  • On Leap Day in Ireland, called Bachelor’s Day, women have traditionally proposed marriage to men, rather than the other way round. And if the man refused, he had to give the woman a new silk dress (or, by the middle of last century) a fur coat! Now that’s a handy way to get a new wardrobe!
  • In the Chinese and Jewish Calendar, which are lunar calendars, Leap Year adds on an extra month to the calendar! In the Chinese version, the extra month has the same name as the previous lunar month. In the Jewish version, it’s called Adar, and is extra-lucky!

So if you are a leapling, I wish you an incredibly happy Birthday, worth four times as much as a normal birthday!

But remember, always look before you leap!

Ram pagespread #2

Illustration credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Rodney Ram

Yes, you can register for our Challenge in mainland China!

February 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Challenges and activities, Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020, mainland China schools | Leave a comment
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Desmond saving cat

Picture Credit: Harry Harrison, from The Tale of Desmond Dog

Hello everyone! The first registrations are coming in, and I’ve just sent out our Challenge Information Pack and Challenge Checklist to 15 fabulous parents and kids in Hong Kong! But a librarian in Mainland China has just written to advise that her students cannot access Google Docs to register.

Problem solved: Rat Challenge 2020 – Parental Permission Form_2020年鼠年大挑戰 – 家長同意表格

If you or your student/child cannot access Google Docs, please print off the above form and scan to me and we’ll get them sorted!

Deadline extension: The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020!

February 25, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Hong Kong Schools, The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 | Leave a comment
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Farmer

Picture credit: Harry Harrison from The Tale of Rodney Ram

Now I know that there are teachers, kids and parents in Hong Kong who are pulling their hair out right now with today’s announcement from the Government that the school closures have been extended to the 20th April…but there are always silver linings to every cloud.

And one BIG silver lining is that we’re extending the deadline date for the Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 till midnight on Saturday 28 March!

That gives you 3 more weeks to finish your challenges! You might even have time to do them ALL now, so you are eligible for the MYSTERY SUPER PRIZE!

So if you haven’t yet registered YOUR name in the Challenge, you’ve got even more reason to do so! Just click on the link HERE and get cracking!

Ready, steady, GO! The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 starts NOW!

February 24, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Chinese New Year, The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 | Leave a comment
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Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 cover illo

Asia Society and I are hugely excited to announce the beginning of our Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020, with fabulous prizes to be won! It’s open to all students of primary school age, especially those who are stuck at home at present! You can register right away, and you’ll have our Information Sheets and Challenge Checklist within 48 hours. You have until midnight, Sunday 15th March to get your completed entries in! Click on the form below to find out more and to register!

And good luck!

0224 The Year of the Rat Challenge (with List of Challenges)

My RTHK3 interview about The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020!

February 22, 2020 at 11:24 am | Posted in Challenges and activities, Press interviews, Radio interviews, RTHK3 | Leave a comment
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If you want to hear lots more about The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 you can listen here to my interview yesterday on RTHK3 with the fabulous Noreen Mir on her 123 Show! The interview starts at 13:17:54 and ends at 13:37:07.

Thanks Noreen for a fun interview, as ever!

Prizes galore to be won in The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020!

February 22, 2020 at 10:07 am | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Chinese Calendar Tales | Leave a comment
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Here is Run Run Rat, racing home to his family (and his forty seven cousins) after winning the Olympics Marathon! Now Run Run won a fabulous Gold Medal…but I wonder what YOU could win in The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020?

I’ll let you know on Monday, when Asia Society Hong Kong and I launch the challenge! Make sure you visit this page again on Monday to find out all about it!

The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 is coming your way!

February 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Hong Kong, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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Run Run running

Are you a primary school student in Hong Kong or mainland China, stuck at home, waiting for schools to reopen in mid-March? Or maybe you live somewhere else, and are lucky enough to be able to go to school right now! Either way, if you love a fun challenge, with lots of great puzzles, pictures and tasks to complete, and with FABULOUS PRIZES, then you’re going to LOVE the GREAT YEAR OF THE RAT CHALLENGE 2020! My friends at Asia Society Hong Kong and I are launching the Challenge on next Monday, 24 January! So make sure you and Mum or Dad visit my blog again on Monday for all the details! Or you can visit my Facebook or Instagram pages! See you then!

Run Run Rat and The Chinese Calendar Tales reach Kiwi Land!

February 17, 2020 at 8:25 am | Posted in Bookshops, Buying my books, Hamilton, New Zealand | Leave a comment
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I’m tickled pink! All your favourite Chinese Calendar Tales beasties are now on sale in New Zealand at the fabulous Books for Kids, the best kids’ bookshop in Hamilton! Here is a photo of owner and manager Megan Lindsay with The Tale of Run Run Rat and The Tale of Pin Yin Panda! She tells me that the day after they arrived, three Run Run Rats ran out of the door with grateful customers! Go Run Run Rat!!

Beyond the Boundaries interview!

February 15, 2020 at 9:52 am | Posted in Beyond the Boundaries, Book reviews, Chinese Zodiac, media articles, Press interviews | Leave a comment
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Beyond the Boundaries magazine.jpeg

A big THANK YOU to Shikha Lamba, Editor of Beyond the Boundaries, for this fabulous feature article, published on 20th January. You can read all about my journey with the Chinese Calendar Tales and what I’ve got in store now that I’ve finished the series!

And if mums and dads would like some great recommendations for books to read, here is another fascinating article in the magazine with contributions from me and other wonderful Hong Kong authors on the books we love!

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If you’re sitting at home looking for a bit of fun!

February 12, 2020 at 8:04 am | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Precious and Bright IdeaHello all you primary school kids out there who are sitting at home with all that home school work! If you want a bit of fun, this is your PERFECT opportunity to enter my Rascally Rat Tale story writing competition! You can see all the special ingredients and rules here! So get out those pens and start writing!

 

Run Run running

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