A fun virtual visit to Stamford American International School, HK!

April 9, 2020 at 10:22 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, School visits, Stamford American School Hong Kong, Video, Virtual visits | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I had a fun virtual visit to the kids of Stamford American International school Hong Kong.We celebrated the Year of the Rat with my story The Tale of Run Run Rat, now celebrating its 12th birthday and 4th edition! After the reading, the kids had lots of questions about the story, and we also talked about what Chinese zodiac animal we were. I’m a Rat, and I had to admit that I’m a typical Rat, always on the go and very ratty when I’m bored! Many thanks to the two Lisas, Lisa Olinski and Lisa Choy, as well as the SAISHK tech team, for making it happen!

It’s not too late to join the Great Rat Challenge!

March 23, 2020 at 11:59 am | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities | Leave a comment
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Here’s little Yvonne again, making a marvellous Rat face in her rather exceptional Rat Mask! If you haven’t entered our Great Rat Challenge 2020 yet, there’s till lots more time, as we have EXTENDED THE DEADLINE in line with the further delay in returns to school! Here is more information about the challenge, open to children from Year 1 to Year 6!

Here are the new dates:

Deadline for sending in your completed Challenge Checklist: April 14th (Tuesday)
Prize Drawing : April 17th(Friday) Chinese: 4月17日(星期五)
Prize-winners’ announcement : April 20th (Monday) Chinese: 4月20日(星期一)

So now you all have something fun to do over Easter!! Squeak Squeak!

If a dog can make a Rat Mask…

March 4, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020, Year of the Rat | Leave a comment
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Mickey Mo

Here is my very old dog, Mo, transformed into Mickey Mo! Now Mo is here to tell you that it really isn’t that difficult to make a Rat Mask! It just takes a bit of care, and maybe some help from a grown-up. And if you can make this mask, you can EASILY complete your challenges in The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020!

And be eligible to win some fantastic prizes!!

So if you haven’t registered yet, ask Mum or Dad to click this link right away! We can’t wait to see YOUR mask!

Visit to Shatin Junior by Zoom!

March 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools, School visits, Shatin Junior School, Video, Year of the Rat, Zoom visits | Leave a comment
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I just visited the kids and teachers Shatin Junior School by Zoom, to do a fun live story reading of The Tale of Run Run Rat! We had over 120 kids logging in! Thanks so much to teachers Trudy McMillin and James Haworth for organising and hosting this fun online event! Below you can see a couple of fun video clips, and above, some photos. You can even see my little dog Mozart in one of them, enjoying the story!

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

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 at the China Institute in New York!

February 8, 2020 at 11:32 am | Posted in China Institute New York, Chinese New Year, Events, New York | Leave a comment
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Run Run Rat scampered into the China Institute Chinese New Year Family Celebration last Sunday, and here he is having his story read by a lovely China Institute story-teller! I am assured that the room was chockful of kiddies and their parents! I can’t wait to meet some of them in person when I fly out to New York later in the year!

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Thank you so much Michael Buening, Operations Director at the China Institute in New York, for inviting me, being so flexible when I had to cancel, and sending me these lovely photos! I’ll see you all soon!

Seven big reasons why I love Hong Kong!

February 5, 2020 at 11:21 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Dragon dance, Hong Kong, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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For all the recent doom and gloom about viruses and protests, Hong Kong, my home for the last 21 years, is still one of my favourite places in the world! And here are just a few reasons why I ESPECIALLY love Hong Kong at Chinese New Year!

Blue, blue skies above spectacular architecture!

Chinese New Year really is the best time of year in Hong Kong weather-wise, with low humidity and lovely bright days with cool nights – yum! And its buildings are fantastic! Above are just a few that I snapped on a brisk walk from Wanchai into Central the other day!

Flowers, flowers everywhere!

Chinese New Year is the time for spectacular fruit and flower displays at home, in the office, and on every street corner! Above are just a few I spotted on my walk through the city centre!

Extraordinary trees, some literally hanging off the walls!

The city is home to some of the most glorious banyan trees, with their aerial roots and extraordinary root systems making them a unique part of this unique city!

Fabulous decorations in shopping malls!

And in shops…

 

And in the streets…

 

And all the excitement of Dragon Dances!

Here’s a short video I took in Saikung village, in the New Territories, where four different teams of dancers, drummers and their followers circulated around the village, spreading good fortune for the New Year! Here you can see a Black Lion entering a small shop, to receive the gift of a lettuce, which it “eats” to ensure the prosperity of the shop for the coming year!

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It’s time for a Rascally Rat Tale writing competition!

January 24, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese New Year, Clever Competitions | Leave a comment
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village - family

Picture credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Run Run Rat

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It’s Chinese New Year! My feisty Run Run Rat is telling his family all about his adventurous plans for his trip around China. His mum is busy baking some delicious steam buns for a Chinese New Year feast! His dad is taking a break from his hard work as a miner, and his big sister is STILL filing her claws!! As for Run Run’s little brother – he’s wondering how many egg tarts he can gobble up before his mum notices!

So it’s high time we had another writing competition!

It’s open to anyone, anywhere in the world who is:

  • a primary or elementary school student from Grade 1 to Grade 6
  • or home-educated students of equivalent stage

This time I want you to write me a story about a rascally Rat, set in China, with the following further ingredients:

  • a Chinese emperor
  • a brainy princess
  • three magic tangerines
  • an evil talking dumpling
  • the colour malachite (if you don’t know what that is, then look it up!)
  • a long drought

Click on my Clever Competitions page right away to find out what I’ll be looking for, and all the competition rules!

The deadline date is Friday 17th April, so you have 3 months to write your story! And with a fabulous Chinese New Year holiday just starting, you could begin your story plan right away!

What a fabulous way to start your celebrations for the Year of the Rat! Run Run Rat would surely approve!

And if you don’t have your copy of The Tale of Run Run Rat yet, click here to purchase right away!

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