Jane Bowering has written (20130611) sending along a great bio and a series of family photographs.
At the end of the photographs and initial biography, we have a text sent in by Jane after Derek Hamlet put the arm on her for more about being overseas. You have something to look forward too, everybody, after these great pix!
Biography - Jane Peverett (Bowering)
After graduating from UBC with a degree in Elementary Education, I taught grades 4-6 at Kerrisdale Elementary School in Vancouver. During my 5 years of teaching, the most rewarding assignment was working with children from the Musqueam Reserve.
In 1966, I married my husband Dwayne, an executive with the Royal Bank. Three years later we started our family; two wonderful sons who are both married, living in Calgary. They have blessed us with five grandchildren, ages (5-14) a great source of love and fun.
In 1973, our life took on a new direction; a transfer to Hong Kong. We packed up a few personal effects, leaving Canada with our 2 & 4 yr. old sons, off to experience a culturally diverse world completely unknown to us. Many other transfers followed, but my life has been forever enriched by our five years living in Hong Kong.
Today, Dwayne and I reside in Craig Bay, Parksville, where I developed a passion for photography. After capturing images of local "happenings", family and friends, you will find me glued to my computer creating videos or books to share with all. Staying connected with our grandchildren, golf, biking, swimming, social committee activities and working at the Chamber of Commerce Information Centre, as a volunteer keeps me busy. Travels to Europe (River Cruises), Australia, New Zealand, Bora Bora, Hawaii, and South America are highlights of our life in retirement.
I'm looking forward to our reunion and reminiscing about our years together. Who knows what may come next and what fun we will have! To the Class of 1963: Good health, good luck, good times. Wear name tags! (with BIG letters)
Additions to Janes Bio:
Write a bio for the class website, they said. So I did.
Sent it in.
Then I read it. Hmmm,
Went to school, went to university, taught school, married 1966, travelled with husband Dwayne, 2 sons, Dean & Mark (married), 5 grandchildren, retired.
Surely there was more than that. Of course there was.
Part of being married to a professional in international banking is the opportunity for overseas postings. Over the years, we travelled to H.Kong, China, Korea, Philippines, Thailand (Bangkok), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (Jakarta & Bali) , Borneo (Sarawak).
Amongst these exotic locations, my favorite experiences were in Hong Kong, China, Bali, and Borneo (Sarawak) SINGAPORE a beautiful country, amazing contrast to H.Kong. The food is fabulous, particularly as Singapore has 4 distinct cultures. Laws regarding social behavior are very strict. An example, heavy fines for littering, in particular, dropping a cigarette butt on the road. The fine was $125 USA back in 1973 and
it was enforced. Reason why such a clean country.
BANGKOK, THAILAND touristy, busy, noisy, crowded, congested (not as bad as HK). Many amazing gold temples. I did ride an ELEPHANT. Worst airport in S.E. Asia, for customs, body searching etc. due to drug cartels in area. I did not like landing at Bangkok airport, I felt totally unsafe. You don't argue with the custom guys!
1. Vancouver to Hong Kong, our flights (head winds) 20-22 hours. BUSINESS class with our 2 & 4 year old sons, no sleep for Mom. (we repeated this trip 8 times). We were to live in Hong Kong 2- 5 years.
2. The flight landing in Hong Kong, you looked out the plane windows & all you saw were high rise buildings (like NY). You felt that you could touch the bamboo poles (laundry hanging out windows) of apartments. KAI TAK airport was known as the most "dangerous" landing strip...high alert for the pilots. Dwayne had his pilots license, so was invited to the cockpit with the CATHAY PAIFIC pilots. Landing at Kai Tak, Dwayne commented, was the most frightening experience in all his flying experiences.
3. Impressions of Hong Kong...crowds, smells, hot, humid, traffic like I'd never seen, however I did learn to drive on the "wrong side" of the road! We lived on Victoria Island, 10 miles long & 6 miles wide with over 6 1/2 million people. A cultural shock coming from little Victoria and North Delta, B.C.
4. Upon arrival, we were put up in the HILTON HOTEL. We lived there for 3 months, until we found a flat. We were the first family, the bank had relocated in Hong Kong (the experiment), so no accommodation was arranged.
5. Dwayne's company driver (Johnny) took the boys & me out to find a place to live. I liked a place on Conduit Rd. overlooking the city centre. NO..no..NO. Johnny would not let me go & look at this FLAT. I found out a year later (Typhoon season) that the location I liked, had a Typhoon in 1970 which washed out the whole building (rebuilt). Many died. I was lucky to have a local driver to guide me, on safe locations to live.
6. We lived in a 20 story apartment complex, in Repluse Bay over looking the ocean. Building 3 of 10. Each block was 2 feet apart & we were lucky to rent the 13th floor (nobody wanted it. I wonder why ?) Our rent in 1972, $2,600 USA/month & 3yrs. later went to $4,000/month. I was SHOCKED a nice, new, clean apartment, but walked in & no light fixtures, just wires hanging & no switches. Then the kitchen was just walls. I had to find a carpenter and electrician to build cabinets & do the lighting. We had 2,600 sq. feet of living space, compared to the average Chinese family who only had 40 sq. feet per adult. We had 2 bedrooms, a huge living & dining room. We were expected to entertain, which we did!
7. Dwayne's drive to work was less than 6 miles. It took 1 1/2 hrs. (depending on traffic) each way. He took the bus 1 time, standing 1hour in 98 F. in a 3 piece suit (business dress was "British" formal). When he arrived, "smelling like a dead fish!" that was the last bus trip!
8. Interesting CUSTOMS. We were invited to a Chinese wedding. Dwayne & I were the only GWILOS (pronounced "gweye lows") meaning "foreign devils white skin" The wedding started at 9am with Majong (high stakes-loads of $$ ) then the dinner at 6pm. We sat at round tables of 14. They gave me, "great honor", when the chicken dish arrived, they placed the chicken head, beady eyes & beak, in front of me! That meant that I was the lucky one to have the head to eat! I had to nibble to not "lose face." I tried, but just couldn't eat it. Next I get the fish head (eyes & all) on my plate, also a GREAT DELICACY to the Chinese.
9. Custom of the BRIDE. She changes into 4 different beautiful dresses during the dinner.
10. ** new custom ** When the dinner was over, brown bags were given to you for the fruit. We were ready for the party and dancing to start. Suddenly, we realized everyone was leaving. **CUSTOM ** it is very rude to "hang around" after dinner, you get your fruit & leave.
11. "Lock Down" during the worst TYPHOON that we experienced. We were locked into our apartment for 3 days. You had Typhoon parties, as the buildings swayed with the wind.. weird feeling! As the storm increased, the people on the higher floors moved down. We were with friends on floor #3 by the second day. You place 3/4" plywood boards over all your windows. When the storm was over, it was frightening to see so many trees uprooted, cars flipped over, & homes destroyed. NOT MY FAVORITE part of our experiences in Hong Kong. I so appreciate having water. During a typhoon, you fill your bathtubs with water for the cooking, flushing toilets etc. One day we experienced 23 inches of rain in 24 hours with the Monsoon rains after the storm. Many huts destroyed, lives lost....scary times.
11. We lived in H.K. when Chairman MAO died. Unbelievable! Supposedly all these Chinese had escaped to Hong Kong to get away from communism. However, upon his death, thousands came out to honour him. The city planned to have his body in state for 1 day, but with 5 abreast for 20 blocks, sleeping in the streets overnight, waiting to pay their respects to MAO, the city extended the time to 3 full days. The Chinese, lined up wearing their black arm bands (COMMUNIST SUPPORT). It was a site to see!
12. Amazingly in 5 years I never saw a BEGGAR. There is "no social assistance". Families look after each other and everyone works, even if it is selling fruit on the street corner, to provide a bowl of rice at the end of the day! It is humbling when you realize how "spoilt" we are.
Travel to CHINA in 1973 the southern province Kwong Dong. Dwayne was asked to speak at a trade show, so we were invited to China. Easier to visit China as a tourist from Canada, Hong Kong citizens were not welcome on the mainland at this time!
1. travelled by train thru Kowloon & N. W. Territories to the border of China. Had to get off the train, walk over a bridge to a small border crossing armed with many Chinese guards & guns! My first impression not great! ("not friendly" like our border crossing Canada into USA)
2. Passports were immediately taken from us.....NO QUESTIONS ASKED... & not seen again for 4 days, while in China. An "eerie feeling' to say the least. 3. We could not walk, nor go anywhere without a Chinese official with us, at all times. **thought they were going to sleep with us **
4. We had a guard outside our room 24/7. I tried to get a conversation going with these officials, asking questions about China, but the answer always, "what ever the government decides is best".
5. Our $$ was counted upon arrival at the border, checking what we spent & had left. We were not allowed to take any Chinese currency to Hong Kong. (I had promised our boys but too bad!) I wasn't about to try to smuggle some Chinese $$$ back with me! Thought I might be in China the rest of my life..if I was caught.
7. Quite frankly, I was never so happy to have my "passport in hand" & walk over that bridge to "FREEDOM". It was an experience to remember.
JAKARTA...noisy, busy city, not greatly appealing. Cultural shock with all the MOSQUES & "prayer" time with the wailing sounds on the loud speakers. Went to country side, open ditches, dead rats occasionally. Hotel next to Mosque, try sleeping, can't miss the "prayer" times. This is an Islamic country with the MUSLIM religion!
Such a beautiful and serene place. Amongst the many waves of spiritual conquest that swept S. E. Asia over the centuries, HINDUISM came to Bali and has remained for thousands of years, despite subsequent waves of Buddhism and Islam.
2. We stayed in a cottage on the beach, very casual...wash your clothes & scrub them on a "rock". We stayed with Vancouver friends, who lived there (work) & learned to speak the language, which was fabulous! Kuta Beach a must visit for those surfer lovers.
4. Such a cultural experience driving into the countryside. You saw women with 3 feet high stacks (fruit & veggies) on their heads. Walking along bare breasted, no hands on the stacks to balance while walking to their villages. An amazing sight! I tried to put a stack on my head but the weight just crushed me! Most of the women had "bloody red" lips, a result of chewing BETEL NUTS, which we were told was equivalent to marijuana!
a. the owner takes his cock (ROOSTER) and ties sharp blades/spears to the back of the cocks' ankles.
b. the owners push their cocks' head at each other, to antagonize them & make them mad.
c. when the cocks are mad enough, round #1 begins. It was just like a boxing match. Round #1 is decided by a 1/2 coconut shell filled with water, put into a bucket of water. When this shell gets heavy enough & dips the "bell" rings declaring round #1 done!
d. 8 rounds, but if one cock has not killed the other, there is a judge! The cock declared the "loser"....right then & there...YUK...I HATED THIS PART, had his feet chopped off so he could never fight again. The the $$$ was collected.
e. My girlfriend & I were much frowned upon & the men pushed us to the back. This was a "MAN'S EVENT", but I wanted to witness this culturally different sport. They tolerated us!
7. We felt so blessed with our travels to Bali, as it was so unspoiled, when we were there......a must visit!
1. On our visit to BRUNEI, we had the opportunity to take a boat trip with a guide, down the SARAWAK River to visit the local tribes.
2. We met local children running bare foot thru the jungle. The women were more timid & shy, but all working so hard. Interesting in most these countries, you find the women doing all the hard work, while the men were sitting around smoking their pipes, cigarettes or ??? Glad, I am a Canadian woman.
3. The chief of the village invited us into his LONG HOUSE ** fascinating. To get up to the long house we were challenged with a 1 foot wide tree trunk, cut with wedges for the "foot steps." This was the ladder to climb up to the Long House entrance.
4. I just kept smiling to "communicate", as there was no other way. The chief proudly brought out his BLOW GUN to show us. It was made of a bamboo shoot & some spears with POISON put on the ends. These spears were blown thru the blow gun to "kill" their prey of rabbits, boors, deer or other wild life.
5. Dwayne was honored when the Chief allowed him to try the blow gun. We were allowed to buy some of the "spears' (non poisonous) to bring home with us! My "eye" caught site of a machete; called a PARANG by the locals. I smiled at the chief & pointed. He brought it to me & showed me the NOTCHES cut into the blade, painted black. Then he pointed to some black, dried out SKULLS hanging in the corner of his room on a rope. He was so proud, smiling with his huge "toothless" grin. We were served a tea/broth like drink, not keen on the taste, but of course we drank it. As we were leaving I told the chief that I wanted to buy the machete from him, however the guide said that the chief would not sell it! Surprise, I guess I smiled enough, as when we were leaving to board our boat, the chief made a deal with me on the sword.
6. Later the guide explained to me that each "NOTCH" was the success of a "head" chopped. The skulls were apparently, Japanese soldiers killed during the war. This is when I thought I was dreaming or watching a "movie'.
7. I left in a daze, boarded our boat to cruise back thru the jungle. When we arrived at the border of Sarawak & Brunei, I was approached by 2 customs officers. I had paid the chief $30 USA for the sword , but was now being offered over $200 USA from the customs officers. "NO" was my reply, as I took the spears and sword back to Hong Kong to show our boys & tell them all about our experiences. We still have it to-day , along with such memories.