Tuen's Blog

Infrequent diary of a procrastinator

Knox 30th Anniversary Concert

Written By: Tuen - Aug• 05•12


Last Friday, Wen performed in several items in her school’s 30th anniversary concert. The video below shows highlights of the concert including a duet by Wen. During the interval, we were served pieces of a huge anniversary cake, which was excellent. All in, a rather enjoyable evening.

My Surprise 50th Birthday

Written By: Tuen - Jul• 19•12

I passed half a century recently, and my beloved wife planned a surprise birthday celebration for me. She had started planning for it about 6 months earlier and did such a good job of it that I was truly surprised; well at least until 15 minutes before the actual surprise party.

There had been a few occasions when I did find things were a little out of the ordinary, but nothing that didn’t have a plausible alternative explanation, and since I’ve never had a surprise birthday party before, I wasn’t expecting any such thing this time around either, so I didn’t give the few out of the ordinary occurrences a second thought.

But the cat was let out of the bag very inadvertently when I was in the car heading home after picking up my daughter and then proceeding to collect my own birthday cake. Isabel was driving and I had been sent on this rather depressing errand (arranged to get me out of the house) when my phone rang and it was Mary on the other line; except she hadn’t called me intentionally and had accidentally pushed the quick dial to my phone.  After a couple of ‘hellos’ that went unanswered, I heard Mary in the background saying ‘now we just have to wait for the birthday boy to come home’!!

Well, I turned to Isabel and told her what I heard and she just groaned in frustration and exclaimed that all the effort of keeping it a secret had just gone down the drain. But she did an excellent job of keeping the other aspects of my surprise celebration away from me. I was under the impression that my friends had been gathered rather informally on a pot luck basis for a small surprise party at home, and Isabel encouraged me very competently to believe that was the case.

When I got home and entered the house, everyone there shouted ‘surprise’ and I did my best to pretend to be surprised, but it wasn’t very convincing. After saying thanks to everyone for the surprise, I stepped into the formal lounge and received a very real surprise, almost bordering on shock. For there, in full vestments was Fr. Pat and Fr. Thaddee, standing in front of a makeshift altar all ready to say mass!  

What followed was a beautiful and touching home mass with my family, relatives and close friends. It must have been very dusty in the room, because my eyes kept getting irritated and tearing…

After mass came another surprise. I had been wondering why all my guests were dressed to the nines. Well that’s because dinner wasn’t potluck in the dining room, but a full western dinner at Wantirna Club!

The dinner party went smoothly and my kids said a few touching words about my role as their father and they then presented a song to the tune of ‘Just the way you are’ but with the lyrics changed. 

I also received some very nice presents and truly, it was a night I will never forget (barring Alzheimer’s). I wish that more of my friends could have been invited and could have come, but circumstances are never perfect, and resources are always limited.

I want to say “thank you” once more to my beloved wife and children and relatives and friends for this most memorable birthday evening.

Photos by  Stephen and Aaron Chua can be found here.


Mt. Beauty/ Falls Creek Snow Holiday

Written By: Tuen - Jul• 07•12

This week, we went up with the Chuas and the Lims to Mt. Beauty and Falls Creek for some skiing fun. We stayed at Dreamers One Luxury apartments, which was really nice and picturesque. Most of the young adults snowboarded or skied for at least two out of three days, but the older ones like myself skied/snowboarded for only one day. Old bones… My older boys and some of the Chuas skied for all three days.

The weather was really great. The sun was out most of the time, so it wasn’t too cold although occasionally the winds gusted quite strongly and coldly. Snow cover wasn’t great but was good enough, but was also quite icy.


The only thing that was a pain was the drive up to Falls Creek each morning from Mt. Beauty, which took about 35 to 45 mins depending on who was driving, and which was very winding and could cause dizziness amongst the passengers if the driver thought he was some kind of racing ace.

Little Ren tried skiing on a very gentle slope and did quite well. I didn’t want to give him lessons this time around as I felt that it would be difficult to get him up to the school, as it was up the slope and you needed to take a chair lift. Mt. Hotham is different, with the school accessible via foot, so we might give him lessons there next year or when we next go up to the snow.

Photos can be found here.

A slide show/video is below:

Julian’s First-ever exam

Written By: Tuen - Jun• 25•12

Julian sat for his Yamaha Junior Music course exam on Saturday afternoon, after taking the course for about 2 years. It is a straightforward exam and I think most of the kids will have no problems passing it.

We arrived early and he started early, and I think he did ok. He had some problems with identifiying the chords played to him (but then, I couldn’t identify them either, and I’m NOT tone death), but otherwise he did fine.  I think I was more nervous about the exam than he was!

Anyway, parents were allowed to sit in on the exam, so here’s an audio clip of the examination, if you care to listen to how it went. It’s about 6 plus minutes long. 

Julian’s Yamaha Music exam


Isabel’s Formal

Written By: Tuen - Jun• 23•12

Wen had her formal yesterday. She had been looking forward to it for weeks. I think she was looking forward most to the limo which they had hired, a modified hummer which took 22 of them to the function!

The formal was held at the Melbourne Aquarium (I know, seems strange). After the formal 15 of the kids came over to our place for an after party, and most stayed till this morning. We had been dreading this all week! But thankfully, the place was not too messy, and the kids were not too noisy, so all’s well that ends well.

Photos can be found here.


Julian’s Prayer

Written By: Tuen - Jun• 14•12

The younger kids at St. Christopher’s attended mass this morning,and Julian was one of those picked to say a prayer. This is the short clip of his prayer.

Julian’s 7th Birthday

Written By: Tuen - Jun• 04•12

We celebrated Ren’s birthday yesterday by inviting some of his close friends over for a small playdate. The adults had a bit of tea whilst the children played. The event was capped by the traditional singing and cake cutting. Ren had been looking forward to his birthday playdate for weeks and I think he wasn’t disappointed and had a great time with his friends.


Photos can be found here.

A slideshow is below:

Ming’s Birthday

Written By: Tuen - May• 12•12

We celebrated Ming’s 16th birthday last night with a meal of Crab Noodles at King Wong. Ming doesn’t like the usual type of birthday cakes, so Mary assembled three Swiss rolls to form his cake.

Photos can be found here.


Jie’s 22nd Birthday

Written By: Tuen - Apr• 24•12

We celebrated Jie’s 22nd birthday last Thursday night with just the family and Kai and Sue Ping. We had Peking Duck at Old Kingdom, then headed home to cut a Pandan cake which Mary had baked that afternoon.

More photos can be found here.


Melissa is presented with the Dean’s List Fellowship Award

Written By: Tuen - Apr• 24•12

This afternoon, I went with Melissa to attend a function where she was awarded the Dean’s List Fellowship. This is a Science faculty award for outstanding performance in science subjects.

Apart from receiving her certificate from the Dean, we also got to enjoy some good food!

Well done Melissa!