Home' Auckland City Harbour News : February 13th 2013 Contents Giving kids a sporting chance
By MARYKE PENMAN
Fighting purpose: Retired professional muay thai fighter Eddy Lee is determined to see an end to child abuse in New Zealand.
Go to aucklandcityharbournews.co.nz
to watch Eddy Lee in a pro fight against
Sudee of Thailand in the early 90s.
Violence in the ring does not
translate to violence in the
home, retired professional
muay thai fighter Eddy Lee
The head trainer at Lee Gar
Legacy Gym in Glenfield is
committed to supporting Child
Matters, a non-government
funded charity set up to prevent
An event he organised on
February 9 saw fighters includ-
ing former muay thai cham-
pions from here and overseas
come together to support the
Mr Lee says anyone question-
ing the link between child
abuse and what appears to be a
violent sport must understand
the discipline and culture
behind muay thai.
We are professional sports-
men, just like rugby players,
and we are fighting in a con-
We all have amazing famil-
ies and kids. We would never
dream of beating our children.
But child abuse is happening
in our neighbourhoods and we
are not just going to turn a
blind eye to it.''
Thai kickboxing has been the
escape Mr Lee says he needed
from his broken home.
Throughout my career I
have dealt with a lot of scars
from my childhood. I have
changed the cycle with lots of
support and by learning to for-
He says muay thai gave him
an outlet to vent his aggression
and keep him off the streets.
If it hadn't been for muay
thai I could have gone in the
opposite direction and ended up
in a very dark place.''
Mr Lee found his haven in a
muay thai gym at age 12 and
had claimed every national title
within two years.
He flew to Thailand to stay in
a muay thai camp just before
his 17th birthday.
To start with it was hell. The
Thais felt strongly against let-
ting foreigners in on their tra-
They threw me in the ring
with the six-time champion and
we sparred for five rounds. I
then had to spar with all 29
fighters at the camp for three
It was an initiation to see if
I had the heart. It took me two
weeks to recover but I noticed a
huge change in the way they
treated me. I had their respect.''
Mr Lee spent three years in
Thailand winning multiple
international titles and travel-
ling the world on the profes-
He opened the Lee Gar Leg-
acy Gym 17 years ago with the
aim of serving his community.
He now works with police to
give troubled youth a brighter
I see myself in them. The
sport saved me so I want to give
them the same opportunities.''
Go to childmatters.org.nz to
support the cause or
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Website launched for pet lovers
By KATASHA McCULLOUGH
Animal lovers: Massey University students Mack Saraswat and Ralph
Grand launched the Petsnearby website to connect pet owners.
More than 1000 pets are regis-
tered on website Petsnearby,
including highland cows,
chinchillas and a miniature
The social networking site
was set up by Ralph Grand and
Mack Saraswat in Massey Uni-
Mr Grand is working towards
a PhD in genetics and Mr
Saraswat in biochemistry but
the students share a love of ani-
mals and want to make New
Zealand more pet-friendly.
The initial idea was to create
a central place for people who
are passionate about their pets
to share and gather infor-
The site is different from
other social media because peo-
ple set up and communicate
through accounts for their pets,
rather than themselves.
Mr Grand says it is the big-
gest pet-related database in
Users can upload photos,
read blogs and find nearby vets,
cafes or shops.
Mr Saraswat says the parks
and pet-services section lets
people submit their own photos
and share their experiences.
It means if you're planning
to go to a dog-friendly cafe on a
Sunday morning you can find a
park as well,'' he says.
The next step for the team of
five behind Petsnearby is to
launch the events section where
users can set up their own play
dates and doggy days out.
Mr Grand says the website
has attracted about 900
members in the three months it
has been running.
AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, FEBRUARY 13, 2013
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