Category Archives: Charity events


Give it up for Shanghai’s ritziest boxing event – BRAWL ON THE BUND! Held in honour for the Sport for All and Leo’s Foundation charities, it was located in the spectacular Hyatt on the Bund. Everyone was decked out in “black tie” and it was total WOW checking out the very delicious-looking guys in their suits and the myriad of gorgeous girls in their gowns. I’ve never seen this many beautiful (Western) women all together in one place in Shanghai before, where do all these girls come from?! Total eye candy :)

It was total sensory overload when we stepped into the grand ballroom. It was LUSH – tables covered with flowers and tableware, gowns swishing all over the place, music, and a giant boxing ring smack in the middle of the room. We were treated to a 4-course meal that was very impressive and all perfectly cooked, considering they were catering for such a huge event.

And of course, the boxing, which is what we were all there for. It’s not professional boxing, it’s what’s called “white collar boxing”, which is basically just office workers like you and I, training intensely for a few months and then getting into the ring. The trainer is my trainer for my Boxing class too :) Except, erm, I am nowhere NEAR the quality of these guys yet…. ;)

There were 7 bouts of boxing with 3 rounds each. The boxers were matched to their height and weight, so it was a fairly even competition. They even had a bout of female boxers, very cool! I’d love to be up there next year, but that’s about 1% likely ;)

We also had a big charity raffle. I was one of the volunteers selling all those tickets and was so impressed with how people generously dug deep and bought the raffle tickets. There were a ton of prizes but sadly, Chris and I didn’t win any – so unlucky!

We had such a fun night. And as my girl friend was saying, it’s so nice to be able to get dressed up and go to a posh dinner sometimes. We should do it more often!

Us :) And me in the Alannah Hill gown I was originally going to wear as my wedding dress!

3 ladies in white. We were so colour coordinated ;)

With one of our favourite couple-friends

The ornate table setting. Our wines of choice were:
Mountain Pass cabernet-shiraz 2004, Mountain Pass chardonnay 2006

Great view of the massive boxing ring!

Vitello tonnato with mixed leaf salad

Cod brandade soup with leek

Roasted lamb rack with mustard and coriander seeds, spinach dauphinoise, green asparagus

Baked orange chocolate mousse cake with vanilla ice cream

Cards of all the boxers. Jeff ‘left hook’ LeBlanc (at the front) is our mate
and the one we were cheering for :P

My lovely gf and I!

And so the action begins

Jeff entering the ring

Jeff boxing!

Videos of the boxing match

He won…. WOOHOOOOOO! Check out those arms..

Fun night with great company and fab food :)

Leave a comment

Posted by on 13 June 2010 (Sun) in Charity events, Parties, Uncategorized



Chris and I volunteered at a migrant children’s school over the weekend, doing simple things like teaching them some English, drawing and playing games. Nothing life-changing or anything for these children, but we all had a good time :) The thing that surprised me most was the school’s location. It looked like a bomb site. With Shanghai going through crazy renovations right now (in preparation of the Expo), everything’s being torn apart. In this particular area, almost all the surrounding buildings were reduced to rubble.. so one minute you’re walking in a bustling street market, and the next it’s super dusty and dirty rubble with tractors all over the place. It’s not healthy nor safe for the kids, so it was a bit sad to see that this is where they are most of the day :(

The kids are from out of Shanghai. Their parents (called migrant workers) moved from other provinces to find work in Shanghai, but non-Shanghainese children can’t enter the government run schools in Shanghai (this is what I’ve heard, correct me if I’m wrong). I can’t understand why, but that’s just how it is. Fortunately, the federal government steps in by opening these schools that these migrant children can attend.. but the conditions aren’t great. Still, the school that we were at was one of the more fortunate ones – the teacher’s desk even had a computer and the classroom had a projector. However, the kids are crammed into classrooms and I didn’t get the feeling they got quality attention from the teachers, since there are just too many kids in the class.

They’re adorable though. So bright and inquisitive, and SMART!!!!! I don’t interact with many (or rather, any) 10 year old kids.. so I guess I don’t have much of a frame of reference. But I was pretty shocked at how quickly they absorbed knowledge, and how good their English was. Basically, they could speak more words in English, than Chris and I could in Chinese. Impressive, right?!

It was really interesting and fun to be with these kids, and I was just floored at how quickly they learned English words. In fact, they even taught me some Chinese words in return, *LOL*!

Found a wee, meowing kitten in the side streets. I could fit it in the palm of my hand.

*()#%*)#$!!! SO CUTE I COULD FAINT. It also had a (shy) sibling behind it

All snuggled up

OMGGGGGGG *heart melts into a quivery puddle*

Live chickens, ducks and quails! The Chinese get ’em killed/plucked right there,
then take it home to cook. Talk about super fresh…

The migrant school area, looking like we’re in an Afghanistan war zone.
It was SO dirty and dusty, sad to think the kids study/play in this area..

A construction worker takes a break

An old man in a half-torn down house. Where’s he gonna go if/when the pull it down?

Outside the tiny entrance into the school

The classroom with a ton of very boisterous kids!

A very hot English teacher ;)

The boys were so cute, and man their English was good!
They knew more English than we did Chinese..

One of the boys writing/drawing stuff he likes


Pretty girls I was working with

One of the girls’ cute drawing

Me and another volunteer working with them on their drawings

Chris, me, and other volunteers with the kids

Girls playing during break-time

Playing “duck, duck, goose!” outside, with Chris being chased around by a kid :P

Tag relay game. Can you spot Chris?

A small snack at a dirty ‘ol Chinese shop afterwards. Dumplings and deep-fried pork cutlet!

Leave a comment

Posted by on 31 March 2010 (Wed) in Charity events, Uncategorized



The Second Change Animal Aid held an Adoption Day that I really wanted to support. It’s the same organisation that I volunteered with during the animal home visit a few weeks ago, but the purpose of this particular event is different.. as it’s cats and dogs that are ready for adoption to good families.

It’s held, oddly, in O’Malley’s, which is a pub in the middle of Shanghai. I can’t believe it would allow animals in there, since the cats are placed in large cages on top of the tables! It would never fly in Australia. Only in China ;) The animals were just gorgeous… such soft fur and some of the cats had such sweet personalities I fell in love. I REALLY wanted to adopt one! But we can’t have a 3rd pet cos it would be chaos, and I don’t think Misty and Star’s little hearts could handle the shock of a foreign animal living with them.

Quite a few animals got adopted by great families though, which was wonderful to see. But at the end of the day, I wish people would stop dumping their pets once they’ve grown out of their kitty/puppy stage – then there wouldn’t even be the need to hold adoption days like these!

In the cozy O’Malley’s

Me stroking an ultra sweet kitty

Dotty, cute dog!

Cats with super super soft fur..

Leave a comment

Posted by on 12 February 2010 (Fri) in Charity events, Uncategorized



Spent some time volunteering at the Jing’an Disabled Centre the other weekend. The people there are always so warm and friendly, and they’re walking distance from our place.. so it’s a total pleasure to spend time there.

This time, it was teaching basic English to them.. in preparation of Shanghai’s 2010 Expo in May. Not many regular people would have heard of the Expo, but it’s to business what the Olympics is to sport. IT IS HUGE!! Shanghai is pumping with activity right now, with frantic preparations for the Expo – everything is being renovated and improved – so it’s actually great that we’re in Shanghai while the entire city is re-hauled and spruced up :) You can read all about it here.

Anyway, since Shanghai will be flooded with foreigners, the government is also doing a massive program to teach English. Primarily to restaurant staff, shop staff, and taxi drivers. It’s totally cute, they even rolled out a very spiffy looking uniform for all the cabbies, and they look so smart in them! So, our idea was to also teach some of these guys English, for when they meet foreigners on their outings, and also for a bit of fun.

I got the smartest ‘students’ so it was quite easy for me :) It was fun, but also exhausting talking and repeating the same words over and over again. But they did get it, which was very cool!

All the diligent students

Learning how to say “Goodbye”

In turn, one of them performed a traditional song for us – so sweet!

Leave a comment

Posted by on 10 February 2010 (Wed) in Charity events, Uncategorized



There’s a different kind of volunteering out there – that doesn’t involve animals, or disadvantaged people, or children. This kind uses your own business knowledge, to help inspire and encourage young people. And this is what eBay does – corporate volunteering.

I’m part of the Giving Works volunteer team at eBay, and whilst we do all the above kinds of volunteering, the “corporate volunteering” part is especially interesting to me. In this case, it involved inviting a few university students to our offices for a day, where they could ‘shadow’ eBay employees and chat with us about our work. In turn, we can share our experiences with them, our thoughts about business, and provide advice to them whereever we can.

In actual fact, it’s having fun talking to them :)

My session was over lunch time – excellent! That meant we had pizzas ordered in, and could have a casual chat as we stuffed our faces. For me, they were mostly interested in what I thought about cultural differences coming from Australia to Shanghai. And many asked if it was worth going overseas for education and/or working for a few years. It was a very open and interactive session, which is my kind of thing.

Had a good time. I’m proud eBay holds programs such as this and supports us doing this :)

The running joke was – we look nothing like the people in this pic,
as none of us wear suits. Haha!

Leave a comment

Posted by on 30 January 2010 (Sat) in Charity events, eBay, Uncategorized



Second Chance Animal Aid is a volunteer organisation in Shanghai, supporting and looking after abandoned animals and re-homing them. The reason I try not to do too much animal-oriented volunteering is because I have a massively soft heart for animals. I just know I’ll fall in love with one (or more) and get really really sad not being able to take them home. But finally, Chris and I decided to get up early one Sunday morning and help out the animals :)

It was about one hour out of Shanghai, when all the buildings starting dropping away and we saw more and more farms. It’s amazing how much Shanghai changes in just an hour! We were basically in woop-woops-ville with hardly a soul in sight, fresh clean air, and green grass. Ahhhh…. divine.

The purpose of the day was really simple – look after and play with the cats. As volunteers only come once every two weeks, the poor kittys are quite starved of attention and affection. So we just had to interact with them and play with them, as well as brush their fur (they love this). I wouldn’t even call it “volunteering”, because we got so so so much out of it ourselves :) I just adored the kitties!

There were over 100 cats there, in this large converted house. A total cat paradise, the cats can roam freely and lounge around all day. What a life! These cats are here because they’re abandoned though, and some of them with a bunch of problems (mainly mouth/gum issues), so they stay there until they can get re-homed – which isn’t exactly a sure-thing since many of the cats are old (people only like to adopt cute little kittens). So they are just there, having a nice quiet life, until they go to kitty heaven.

I tried very veeerrryyy hard not to cuddle them TOO much, because I just know I’ll get irrationally attached and want to bring one home. Was doing a fairly good job of it, in fact, until at the end… when I sat down and a beautiful black cat jumped onto my lap, purring madly and being so affectionate. I wanted to bring it home so badly :(

It was really nice to be out there, in the middle of nowhere, and playing with these gorgeous cats. A wonderful way to spend a Sunday :)

On the way to the Animal Shelter. Not a high-rise building in sight, amazing for Shanghai!

A couple of dogs. These were abandoned guard dogs and are trained to kill on sight.
They were scary…

Certainly not a sweet, cuddly dog!

Kitty paradise!!

Very well looked after cats, looking smug

Awwww ‘lil cutie!

Salmon snacks

Enjoying a scratch

One of the large rooms in the house

Snuggle time

Ceiling Cat watches you stealthily from above

“Hullo Ceiling Cat!”

A RIDICULOUSLY FUNNY video of a cat with a nerve problem (and me yabbering away).
You totally have to watch it – much LOLment!!

A gorgeous pure white kitty

Content in a new kitty bed that we brought

Pretty kitty

Chris really attracts the pussy. OH YES, I did say that!

This cat was totally enamoured with him and kept snuggling up

And this jet black kitty loved me :)

Oh to be a cat… what a fab life

Us = cat chairs

Awwwww what a cutie!!

Leave a comment

Posted by on 26 January 2010 (Tue) in Charity events, Uncategorized



Ya know, it’s very fortunate I was likely born without an embarrassment gene in my body. Otherwise I’d probably have burst into tears and cried.

So I ended up volunteering, in a stroke of MADNESS to be a piano playing volunteer at the Children’s Hospital.

I have no idea!

It mainly stemmed from the fact that I like volunteering at hospitals, and even more so with children. So to me, it was a winning combination. Whilst I had’t played the piano in over 10 years (!!!!!) I figured “no big deal” since it was volunteering. Plus, I passed my Grade 8 piano already, so I knew I was good, just that I hadn’t practised so just needed a few mins beforehand to get up-to-speed. I was imagining a small, cosy room…. wee kiddies around me, me whacking out a few easy-peasy childrens’ songs and having a bit of a sing-a-long. No problem!

When I arrived…. I just about fainted. It was the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I’d imagined. In fact, it was a HUGE hospital, and it was a grand piano smack bang in the middle of the huge lobby, with lots of children and parents rushing around. Frankly, it was basically being a piano performer, but for free.

To me, it had nothing to do with volunteering (my definition: hands-on work with people). It was just being a show pony and playing beautiful, elaborate pieces. Of which I could not, since I hadn’t touched a piano in over a decade!

So I proceeded into a downward spiral of utter humiliation – I got to the piano, banged out my childrens’ songs (wasn’t even able to practise beforehand, since the piano isn’t in a private area), whilst people said “Oh!!! Errr. She is not very good” and judged me for the entire 5 minutes I was playing. I can’t even describe how bad I was, let’s just say that Chris (who is normally very supportive), said I was terrible :P I don’t disagree and I’m not disappointed about that – it’s the truth – what do you expect from someone that hasn’t touched a piano in 10 years?!

In retrospect, I find it really funny. But at that time, it was a classic “WTF?” moment if I had ever experienced one ;) So shame-faced, I gave up. Promptly some whippersnapper 10 year old girl piped up “Can I play?” and proceeded to kick my ass with her superb skills. Obviously a typical Chinese girl that has been forced by parents to learn the piano so they can trot her around and show off, but whatever the case, she was good. So depressing.

I told them I won’t be volunteering doing that again. There’s no point – I’m not actually helping anyone, the hospital should just hire a performer instead of trying to get free performers, and I suck since I can’t practise. I was a bit sad I didn’t get to do any actual volunteering, like interacting with sick children and cheering them up. It was all a bit of a FAIL. Oh well. At least I tried!

Me banging away at the piano = *facepalm*

Leave a comment

Posted by on 23 January 2010 (Sat) in Charity events, Uncategorized