China-Taiwan tensions, dog surfing, satellite girls, “kidpreneurs,” Little Miss memes

Aug 10, 2022 Episode 111

China-Taiwan tensions explained, surf’s pup – dog surfing, India’s satellite-making girls, “kidpreneurs” take off, Little Miss memes

Episode Transcript


LEELA: Been hearing about China and Taiwan lately? We’re gonna tell you why. Plus loads wacky world news.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: This week on Newsy Pooloozi…

What’s the deal with China, Taiwan and the US?

Indian school girls’ make a satellite and watch it launch.

Little Miss book memes.

Surfing dogs.

And Kid-preneurs take off.

I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder, otherwise known as my Mama.

MAMA: Hello, hello – I’m Lyndee Prickitt.

LEELA: This is Newsy Pooloozi the news pool for curious kids and adults.

Let’s dive in with…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: So, we bet you’ve been hearing a lot about a place called Taiwan lately, right?

LEELA: And China. And the US. And a lot about the US politician with a name that sounds a little bit like ours. Nancy Pelosi – Newsy Pooloozi.

MAMA: Okay, I didn’t think about that. We’ll give you the lowdown, including a special report on the ground from Taiwan.

LEELA: First and foremost – where is Taiwan?

MAMA: Good question. Taiwan is a small but rugged island off the coast of China.

LEELA: Like next to Hong Kong?

MAMA: No, further north and further away from the mainland, like 100 miles off the coast. It’s pretty big too, about the size of the Netherlands or the US state of Maryland. More than 23million people live there.

LEELA: Ok, so why all the drama every time some US official talks about Taiwan or – omg – wants to go visit?

MAMA: Well, once upon a time –

LEELA: Hold on – I think we need some of this.


MAMA: Since the 1600s Taiwan has been ruled by various colonizers the Dutch, the Japanese and the Chinese Qing Dynasty.

LEELA: Yikes!

MAMA: Well, you might know that in 1945 a civil war broke out in China between the Communists and the Nationalists.

LEELA: And the Communists, led by Mao Zedong – aka Chairman Mao – they won, right?

MAMA: Right. And they founded the People’s Republic of China. So the Nationalists hopped in their boats and fled a 100 miles across the ocean to the island of –

LEELA: Taiwan!

MAMA: Yep. And declared the island of Taiwan to be, rather confusingly to the Republic of China.

LEELA: Say, what?

MAMA: Yes… but mostly it’s just called Taiwan. And, more importantly, China considers it a breakaway province.

LEELA: Uh-oh.

MAMA: And they don’t like it when US officials meet with Taiwan’s leaders or, especially, visit the country.

LEELA: Oooops. They must not be happy now.

MAMA: They aren’t. It’s important to note the US has never officially acknowledged Taiwan as an independent country. But it does have close ties with Taiwan and culturally they’re more similar as both countries are democratic.

LEELA: Meaning everyone gets a vote. Unlike China which is autocratic, which means the rulers aren’t elected… yet they must be obeyed. 

MAMA: Indeed. So in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit, China says it’s not going to have military or climate talks with the US anymore.

LEELA: What?

MAMA: And it’s begun seven military exercises in areas surrounding Taiwan.

LEELA: Oh, wow. That’s gotta be tense.

MAMA: I should think so, but let’s ask our Taiwan correspondent, Yuching Liu, to tell us more.

LEELA: Great idea – take it away, Yuching!

YUCHING: Thanks, Leela.

Yes, at one level things are tense here in Taiwan where there are a lot of different opinions about China.

A study from Taiwan’s National Chengchi University found today a little over 30% of people here identify as both Chinese and Taiwanese.

So you can tell opinions are divided.

But as a democracy everyone is entitled to think what they want.

Because three of China’s military exercises actually enter and fly over our territory, things are very tense.

The government is calling it a blockade.

It’s also asked for companies on the island to prepare for cyber-attacks from China.

And considering we make most of the world’s computer chips here which are used in all sorts of technology, from gaming consoles to smartphones and satellites any cyber-attack would be a big deal.

In Taipei I’m Yuching Liu reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Wow – that does sound tense. Thanks a lot, Yuching for explaining it all to us. 

SPORTS STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s time to play ball… Score… Sports News!”


LEELA: (whispers) Uh, wrong sound effect, Mama. You’ve played a dog barking but this is our sport segment. 

MAMA: Oh, you’d be surprised what they get up to in the world of sports, Leela. Let’s head to California where our now very grown-up-sounding sports correspondent Porter Robbins has the story.

PORTER: Hello from sunny California where I’ve been helping the media team at the US Open.

No, not the tennis tournament.

The Vans US Open of Surfing, of course.

It was epic!

A hurricane swell had come in and pushed some big waves up to shore for most of the nine days.

But, actually, it’s more than just a surf competition.

The sporting festival, which runs for nine days, sees men AND women competing in BMX, or bicycle motocross, and skateboarding events as well.

But where do these come into it?


Well, they don’t. But hundreds of miles up the coast dogs and dog lovers gathered for the World Dog Surfing Championships.

Yes, you heard me right.

Near San Francisco, dozens of dogs were judged on everything from technique to confidence and the size of their waves.

I have to say, I think two legs are better for surfing.

But, I admit, the four-legged riders sure are pretty cute.

In California, I’m Porter Robbins for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks, Porter. I’ve actually seen a video of a cat surfing – yes, a cat – so maybe that will be next? I’d sure go!

MAMA: Of course, you would. And, yes, there’s a link in our transcript so you can see the perfectly placed pups hanging ten yourself. 

LEELA: Wait – hanging ten? I know that means surfing, but why’s it called that?

MAMA: Good question, it’s when you ride a surfboard with all ten toes curled over the board’s front edge, so you’re just, you know, hanging ten.

LEELA: Huh. Well, now I know! Thank you, Mama!

MAMA: You’re most welcome, Leela. 

WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: More than 30 US FBI agents – armed with a search warrant – entered the Florida home of former president Donald Trump. This is the first time in US history a former president’s home has been raided.

A beluga whale stranded in France’s River Seine is lifted out of the water using a large net in an ambitious rescue operation. Usually found in colder Arctic waters, the protected species had been stuck in the river for a week.

Speaking of endangered species, good news for Cambodia’s gibbon – a baby-boom is helping revive the adorable primate species thanks to conservationists. It’s a sign of ecological rejuvenation after decades of hunting wiped out such wildlife.

Sadly, in Mexico – where six new species of teeny-tiny frogs were recently found – experts who oversaw their discovery say no natural and uncontaminated habitat is left for them.  

And a prominent scientist is receiving flak after posting an image he said was a distant star taken by a massive telescope that was actually a slice of chorizo sausage. He said he was trying to encourage people to be more careful about believing everything they see online. 

LEELA: As ever, thank you so much for that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: You’re most welcome.

LEELA: And now for some space news.


MAMA: It was a monumental day for 750 school girls from rural India who got to see the outcome of two years of work as they joined together 

LEELA:  Across different states as part of a virtual team 

MAMA: To build a micro satellite.

LEELA: That was just launched into space! OMG – that’s so impressive!

MAMA: Especially given that many of them had repeated problems with connectivity, never mind a little thing called the global pandemic to slow them down.

LEELA:  Oh, that little thing. Nevertheless, they persisted. And then boarded planes, trains and buses.

MAMA: Some were the first people in their family to travel by plane.

LEELA: Yup and they headed to the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to see the launch with their very own eyes. How exciting!

MAMA: Part of the Space Kidz India programme, the launched satellite  was a huge achievement for these girls, who spent the last two years learning to code and wire-up the microsatellite with 75 different payloads. A satellite payload basically means its operational functions, like communication, navigation, imaging.

LEELA: 75 because India is about to celebrate 75 years of independence. But more on that next week. For now, you go girls!

MAMA: So staying with India – we want to talk about a lockdown trend that really took off here, and probably many places around the world, which is coming into fruition, or blossoming, right now.

LEELA: Yep, while we created a podcast there were many people creating new businesses and start-ups.

MAMA: Now it was mostly adults starting new companies, creating products and selling them online. But a surprising number of kids got into it as well.

LEELA: As we found out when we went to a special Kidpreneur event here in New Delhi. There was everything from brownies to jewelry, tote-bags to plants and, of course, even a tech gadget or two on offer.


LEELA: Impressive!

MAMA: I know! Imagine being a kid-preneur at 8 years old!

LEELA: But, Mama, what I want to know is – why’s it called that?

MAMA: What kid-preneur? Well, it’s a made up word combining kid and entrepreneur.

LEELA: Ahh, right. But, uh… Why’s it called that? Entrepreneur, I mean. Such a big, mouthful. And don’t even ask me how to spell it.

MAMA: Yeah, or me. I got there in the end. OK – well, good question. How about next week we dive into that word and find out why it’s called that. Because right now it’s time to see what the Lucky Dip machine 

LEELA: Has in store for us this week!

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Yes, it is out of the ordinary when a series of children’s books of which we had many on our own bookshelves – becomes a social media meme.

MAMA: Ooooh, this story! Hold on, on the off chance some of our younger listeners

LEELA: Or, uhhh, older –

MAMA: (laughs) Yes, ok on the off chance Listeners don’t know a meme is when you take a photo or video, piece or art or music and put your own spin on it.

LEELA: Ah, yes. Cue the music, Mama.


LEELA: Long, long a in 1971 a British author called Roger Hargreaves wrote a series of super small books for children called Mr Men which focused on a single personality trait – like Mr Cheerful, Mr Nosey, Mr Sneezy.


LEELA: Ten years later, he realized he was missing out half of the world and created the Little Miss series like Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Curious and my personal favorite Little Miss Contrary.

MAMA: So you…

LEELA: Hmph! Well, when Roger Hargreaves died in 1988, his son, Adam, took over. The story goes that when Adam was 8 he asked his father “What does a tickle look like?” and that inspired the first book, Mr Tickle.

Well, now people have decided to do their own funny takes on this series, like, Little Miss Never Brushes Her Hair, Mister Eats Too Much Candy, Little Miss Microphone Hogger!

MAMA: Oh, that sounds familiar.

LEELA: What about, Little Miss Edits Her Podcast at Midnight, then?

MAMA: Guilty. OK, I’m getting this trend.

LEELA: The question is what does Adam Hargreaves think about meme madness? Well, so far he’s been Mr Silent. 

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – Tensions between China and Taiwan increase after a high-ranking US official visited the island of Taiwan, which is where?

It’s 100 miles off the eastern coast of China.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Even though most of the world doesn’t recognize Taiwan as an independent country and China thinks of it as a breakaway province, what does Taiwan officially call itself?

The Republic of China

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Humans and dogs got to “hang ten” at both the Vans US Open of Surfing in Southern California and a dog surfing competition in San Francisco. What does hang ten mean?

Surfing with all ten toes over the surfboard

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – 750 schoolgirls from rural India built a satellite with 75 different payloads that was just launched. What is a satellite payload?

The operational functions of a satellite

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – Social media is going crazy with Little Miss and Mr memes based on a series of books written by whom?

Roger and Adam Hargreave

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!

LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!

But first…

MAMA: A big thanks to the content reader Feedspot for listing us in their Top 35 Kids Podcasts.

LEELA: Wahoo!


LEELA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then do subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

MAMA: While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review. Go on – think of the good karma you’ll get!

LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!