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Sep 22 2014

Back To School Again

Published by @ 12:02 pm under Et Cetera

It’s back to school day for the kids again. It has been a long two weeks break for the younger kids as prior to the official school break, there were having additional 4 days off as the standard 6 kids were sitting for their UPSR exam.

It has been a great holiday, where the younger kids spent a week at the grand’s earlier and then another week in Penang doing lots of fun activities.

It’s a bit hard to settle down without feeling school blues. Even I have to readjust myself. Getting ready for work.

I wonder how JS feels going back to school for the first day after UPSR exam whereby it suppose to be in a celebration mood but now they still have one more paper to sit on 30/9. The atmosphere must be totally different than they earlier expected it to be

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Sep 20 2014

GUESS Kids Fall 2014 Collection and Campaign

Published by @ 11:15 pm under Uncategorized

It was such an honoured for us to be invited to check out the latest GUESS kids  Fall Collection 2014 at KLCC outlet last Saturday.

Girls generally love fashion! So I only brought along my 3 princesses for the event.

It was a really casual and informal event. Though it started 30 minutes late, but the girls had a blast browsing through the store. They went gaga over almost all the outfits available at the store.  How they wish they could own every piece of it.

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Goodies corner at the event

Brand manager Rachel briefed us on the signature Guess denim apparels

Love the Guess denims.

After we have been walked through all the Guess apparels features, I have decided to get an outfit for JE. (Well, since most of the time she always gets hand me down from her sisters, it’s fair to occasionally give a a treat on brand new one)

JS is the one who has an eye of fashion, selected an outfit for her baby sister and dressed her up

Style Mylo. Her two sisters said she looks “high class” wearing a Guess outfit

We met Amber Chia at the event and have a photoshoot together. :)

The Fall 2014 collection is features the wild wild west cow boys and cow girls theme. It showcases the season’s must‐have silhouettes for boys and girls seeking a stand‐out wardrobe. For the girls, denim dominates the Fall collection in the forms of skirts, jeans, jackets and chambray tops. Light‐weight cardigans layered over ruffled floral print dresses add a sweet, youthful touch. For boys, plaid button‐down flannels and distressed denim jeans give an effortlessly cool vibe to the collection while graphic sweatshirts and tees paired with dark‐wash denim add to the relaxed feel. Classic navy blazers, denim jackets and warm jackets are must‐have layering pieces for the crisp, Fall weather.

GUESS kids is currently running a promotion. For any 3 items, you are a 20% off. 30% off for 4 times. On top of that you will are entitled to RM100 rebate if you spend more than RM400 in their outlet. Plus another 10% off if you are a GUESS list member.

If you happen to shop at GUESS kids outlet in KLCC and 1 Utama, you and your kids will also get a free photo souvenir and enjoy snapping pictures in the TINY WILD WEST photo booth.

 

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Sep 16 2014

Batik Workshop @ USM

Published by @ 10:55 am under Homeschooling

Yesterday we  attended our very first outing with a group of homeschoolers in Penang. Through a new friend that was introduced to me via a mutual friend, I signed the kids up for Batik Workshop at USM. The workshop was held at the Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah USM. The batik workshop is RM15 per pax and tie dye workshop is RM5 per person.  Though this is not the first time the kids doing Batik work, but it was their first doing tie dye and canting. In fact WH and JS drew free hand on the fabric instead of tracing the design. Most important aim for this outing is for us to network, make new friends and hopefully in future we can participate in more outings together with the Penang homeschoolers circle.


The kids having fun with their new friends at the museum gallery after the workshop.

 

 

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Sep 03 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge & ALS

Published by @ 2:40 pm under Entertainment,Et Cetera

JS was nominated by her friends to take up the Ice Bucket Challenge. I am not against this for charity purpose, but somehow I find this youngster, tweens and the mass had somehow taken it to a wrong direction without understanding the true purpose. The youngsters especially these primary school kids thought it’s something fun and cool to do. They are mere trend followers without knowing the true meaning and purpose for this cause.  Anyhow, I told her what ALS is about and so as why they have this Ice Bucket Challenge

Here’s the link to the video she recorded and edited all by herself .

A day after she posted the Ice Bucket Challenge video, I was searching for Jdrama to watch. Such a coincident that I stumbled on a drama series that is based on ALS patient. I just have this feeling that someone , somehow is trying through other channels to raise awareness about ALS.

Boku no Ita Jikan 僕のいた時間  (The Hours of My Life) is really a heart wrenching drama showing the challenging path an ALS patient is going through. But here it’s overcome with unconditional love from family, friends and love one. I cried bucket watching it and don’t mind watching again and again. The soundtrack is very nice too. JS watched the first two episode with me and from the drama, she can at least grasps what ALS really means.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

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Sep 01 2014

Interrupted Sleep

Published by @ 1:09 pm under BR_PU

Have you ever have the experience of sleeping with someone that snores loudly in their sleep? It’s truly annoying especially when you are died tired and try to catch some sleep.  My partner snores, very loudly so as my kids. It’s so irritating that sometimes I have to go to another room to sleep. I read about snoring relief pillows and wonder how effective it is. Really tempted to get one to try. I saw promotion of snoring pillows from cityofsleep.com. Going to get one to try it out.

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Aug 30 2014

Wearing A Bodycon Dress Casually

Published by @ 12:38 pm under Me

Bodycon dress is a fashion wear where a majority of women are fond with as it gives off a sexy appeal effortlessly. Women will wear it to work with a pair of high heels, weddings and even parties but it can also be worn casually on a normal day out. The most important thing you could do is always mix and match your bodycon dresses with various accessories and footwear to get that casual look. There are three style tips which you could apply to make your bodycon dress look appear more casual and laid back. The first style is to wear a pair of sneakers with your bodycon dress as it reveals a boyish tomboy side of you without jeopardizing your femininity. Select a pair of Converse low sneakers to achieve a simple and relaxed appearance. If you want to add it up a notch, pair your bodycon dress with high top sneakers and slip on ragged stockings for a funky look.

 

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The second style is women can enhance the bodycon dress into a casual one with a pair of boots and a cap. Walk in the park or in town looking fashionable as ever and flaunt your sassy aura in front of everyone. Somehow anyone who wears boots tend to look sophisticated and the cap toughens up your whole appearance even with the slightest touch.

 

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The next tip to tone down your bodycon dress is by layering your bodycon dress with an outerwear such as a jacket, a sweater, a hoodie or a cardigan. This way you will look more fun and trendy while still maintaining a stylish approach. Match it up with nice sling bag and feel comfortable and sexy at the same time. If you are wondering where to get a bodycon dress, check out ZALORA for amazing designs and choices online at the website.

 

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Aug 29 2014

Han Chiang 2015 Entrance Exam

Published by @ 5:16 pm under JS

We flew into the island last weekend for JS to sit for the entrance exam.  I always thought that CIS’s entrance exam are usually held in the month of late Sept and Oct, but I got to know from a friend who knew that I am keen to enrol JS to HC usually has their entrance exam in the month of Aug.  I was coincidentally at the island when HC opens for registration for entrance exam. We paid RM50 for the exam.

Students are tested on four subjects. Which are Chinese/Beginner Chinese, English, Science and Maths. Since the school also accepts students from Sekolah Kebangsaan, as long as the SK’s student has the proficiency in Standard 1 Chinese, they are eligible to sit for the entrance exam. They are given different set of Chinese test papers.  (Beginner level)

Depending on the student’s choice of course, the medium of the test papers differ. For UEC students, they can choose between Chinese and English to answer the Maths and Science paper. IGSCE students were to answer all papers (except Chinese) in English.

Han Chiang Entrance Exam Detail

Klang Chung Hua High School Entrance Exam Detail

期: 26/10/2014 (星期日)报到时间: 07:30a.m.
08:00 – 08:50 08:50 – 09:40 09:40 – 10:30 11:00 – 11:50 11:50 – 12:40
Chinese Malay English Science Maths

Klang Hin Hua High School Entrance Exam Detail

After comparing the test details with the two other school in Klang, I notice HC  placed a lot of emphasis on English paper. Time allocated for English test is 1 1/2 hour. 1 hour for Chinese, 40 minutes for Science and 50 minutes for Maths. JS told me that English paper was not just objective questions but also include short essay writing and listening (where a audio tape is played and they have to answer questions accordingly).

The number of students sitting for this entrance exam was so overwhelming. According to the name list, there are near to 450 candidates sitting for the exam where most of them are trying to get a place in the IGCSE class.  About 300 of these candidates are sitting for the IGCSE class, another 50 for UEC English class and about 100 for UEC class.  The school can only offer 160 place for UEC classa and another 160 for IGCSE class.  Looks like it’s going to be a tough competition to get a place and I am hoping and praying REAL hard that JS can secure a place. I have confident with JS’s english proficiency but I am still worried she cant be in the top 160.

Parents were given a briefing by the school principal as well as the head of English department. The principal delivered her speech in both English and Mandarin. The head of English center speaks excellent English with British accent, which is music to the ear.

Being a busy body, i ran through all the candidates details as well. An interesting little fact that I discovered was that there are homeschoolers sitting for this entrance exam. Two had written “homeschool” as their school attended. Two to three of them left school detail blank. One is from learning centre, one from Singapore. A few from private/international school (Tenby and another one which I can’t recall the name) and there are also a few from Sekolah Kebangsaan.

The result of the entrance exam will only be released a day after the UPSR exam. That is one reason why I so eagerly counting down. I am anxious to know if she gets through.

 

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Aug 29 2014

Chinese Independent Schools In Penang

Published by @ 8:45 am under Education

Generally when we talk about Chinese Independent Schools, our understanding is that these schools are largely funded by the Malaysian Chinese community. The medium of instruction in these schools is Mandarin with simplified Chinese characters writing. The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia coordinates the curriculum used in the schools and organizes the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) standardized test.

I am taken by surprise to find out that the Chinese Independent Schools are slightly different in the northern region, at least in Penang Island.

With a twist of faith, these schools give me new hope. I couldn’t believe it at first when a friend of mine told me that two of the Chinese Independent Schools offer the IGCSE O level classes. I do not know out of the 60 Chinese Independent Schools in Malaysia, how many offers this course. But what I know for now is that Han Chiang High School and Chung Ling High school in Penang offer this course. If not mistaken Poi Lam High School in Ipoh also offers IGCSE O level classes.

Han Chiang is entering it third year of offering O level course whereby if not mistaken, 2nd year for Chung Ling. The fees for this course is slightly higher than the normal UEC classes but still far cheaper than private and international schools. Han Chiang has 5 IGCSE classes whereby Chung Ling only has one. No news on whether they will add on another class for 2015.

In order to enter to these two schools, there is an entrance exam.  For Han Chiang, the entrance test is different for O level and UEC students. I do not know how the entrance exam for Chung Ling would be as the students cannot choose to go O level class but assigned to that only class based on entrance exam.  I also found out that there is a English medium UEC class offers by Han Chiang. Whereby apart from language subjects, students can learn the other subjects (maths, sciences, history, geography) in English starting from Junior 1.

Penang Chinese Girl School also has her own unique characteristics and it’s the cheapest among the four. PCGS is the only Chinese Independent GIRL school. Some parents prefer this as they feel that being in a girl school can eliminate a lot of teen’s boys/girls relationship problem.

Phor Tay High School is the only Buddhist Chinese Independent School throughout the whole nation. At the moment, it’s not in our choice list even though we are Buddhist. I just feel that a Buddhist school does not suit my girl’s personality and characteristic.

Hubs and me had visited three of these schools. Though many recommended us to go Chung Ling, but somehow the school environment did not give us a good warm feeling on first impression. Nevertheless, we have paid RM20 for the entrance exam which would be held in 28/9. We have not decided if we shall proceed to sit for the exam.

Hubs was impressed with PCGS. The school looks welcoming. Warm , clean and bright. We noticed that the girls are given opportunity to be part of all the activities and events and are very capable and hands on. We attended the open day briefing. I doubt hubs understand what the principal has to deliver as it was done in Mandarin. We like it that the school has special programs for girls. Workshops and classes on etiquette and even grooming. Still we aren’t really sure if it suits JS. Majority of the teachers are Chinese. In fact 98% of them are Chinese. The whole school culture may be too Chinese for our banana family. Another concern is the distance of school and home. PCGS and Phor Tay are located at the northern eastern side of the island and our home is at the southern eastern part. Logistically it is not ideal. We can’t really tell the traffic condition during rush hour.  We paid RM50 for registration. We could easily secured a place by paying the first month fees, but we weren’t really sure. At least now that we have paid Rm50, shall there be no more place, we will still be in the wait list.  I can’t remember the number of classes for each form. It’s just a small scale school with small class size.

PCGS’s home science lab

 

My top choice is Han Chiang. The main reason is that it offers IGCSE course. They are going to have 10 classes for Junior 1 next year. 5 UEC classes and 5 IGCSE course. Distance wise, it is comparatively closer than PCGS and Phor Tay. This school takes in international students as well. In a way, the students will have better exposure than other CIS. They also have teachers from other ethnicity.

We have not brought JS to do a school visit. Shall she not able to get into Han Chiang, will she want to consider the other three.

All these four schools offer boarding. But at this moment, we won’t be considering boarding.

Fees comparison for the four CIS in Penang Island

HC HC IGCSE PCGS CL CL IGCSE PT
Entrance Exam Fees 50 50 20 20
Upon Registration 530 530 50 302 500 360
Monthy Fees 250 250 200 330 500
IGCSE 1000
3580 4580 2050 3992 6500

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Aug 28 2014

Chinese Independent School In Klang

Published by @ 5:29 pm under Education

It’s time of the year again where Chinese Independent Schools start to recruit new students for 2015.  There are four Chinese Independent School in Klang which is quite near to where I am staying. Three of the schools are accessible via the highway from my township and another has to use the inner trunk road.

Hin Hua is the most sought after school among the four CIS in Klang. Impressive school facilities. Maybe due to popularity, new recruits need to sit for entrance exam.  This is the only one among the four that student need not go back to school on Saturday. This is also the nearest from our home which is accessible through the highway.

Both Pin Hwa and Kwang Hua do not have entrance exam. These two are further away and accessible via another highway.

I wonder why Chung Hua seems to the least popular one though I have heard good feedback from one of my friend whose son is studying there.

Below is the comparison of the school fees.  Fees paid upon registration includes Jan school fees, misc fees like building fund, donation, Computer Fees etc.

 

 

Hin Hua Chung Hua Pin Hwa Kwang Hua
Entrance Exam Fees 20 20
Upon Registration 960 870 1052 845
Monthy Fees 285 270 340 285
Annual Payment for Junior 1 3830 3590 4112 3410

I have wanted to bring JS to visit these schools earlier on. But now there isn’t need anymore.

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Aug 27 2014

Secondary School Option For JS

Published by @ 10:47 pm under Education

I have not really given it a thorough thought until after the first quarter of this year. All the while I was thinking, no matter where she continues her studies, the most important aspect to thrive and be successful does not solely depend on school and teachers. As someone that believes in homeschooling, I feel that the family and I also have a part to play to help her to be successful. We can always supplement her learning with whatever flaws and shortcoming in our current education system. I wish to remain positive that no matter what system we are thrown in, we just move along with the flow and work out the best of it.

As much as I wish to remain positive, but I can’t help to feel a little unsettled each time this subject is discussed among friends. Can’t help not to be worried by their feedback. There are also articles on media stating the drastic deterioration of the standard of our education system. Generally, the people who are a little more informed and educated are feeling very disturbed with this news.  I see so many friends and people around me opted for alternative education. Then I started thinking, if I have the power to choose, would I just do nothing and just go with the flows.  Of course there will always be pros and cons on whatever system I chose for JS. There will never be a perfect system. Now, it’s a matter of weighing out which is the better option.

Homeschooling is out of option as I know I wont get support from family members and without that I wont have confident to do it. Moreover, I still long for my own time to do something I am passion for and not stuck at home homeschooling my kids.

Private/International schools fees are out of our capabilities

Homeschool/Learning centres – Too expensive. Moreover it’s not even schools but classes are carried out in shoplots. There isn’t much co-curriculum activities to participate in and need to fork out extra money to send JS for extra activities and skill classes.

Now the option I have left with is either Public School or Chinese Independent Schools

Option 1 – SMK in our neighbourhood. The only one in our community which is less than 5km radius from home.

It’s not a bad school. In fact the school performed well academically last year for their SPM as one of the top school in the Klang district. The pro is , it is very near home. Only less than 10 minutes drive. I have overheard one parent from JS’s school mentioning that she wont consider any other school than this school for her son, as it’s the nearest. She can’t imagine her son having to travel out of this township for the next five years daily to go school.

I have friends whose children are in the school. But 90% of them won’t enroll their other children in the school. According to my friends that their children are studying there, they said that the first 5 classes of every form is good class with dedicated teachers. The last few classes are the left behind classes where teachers don’t even enter classes.  Anyway, that’s not the reason why they won’t enroll their other kids in the school. It’s all because the syllabus. Two years plus ago, the ministry of education started implement this new PBS system. It’s a lousy planned system whereby teachers don’t even know what is exactly going on. Teachers are spending way more time on paperwork than teaching. As it’s a assessment based system , the students are given more works and all small assessment marks are accounted for. The students are at lost. They don’t know what to expect out of the system. Everyday living in fear and stress. As they may be test in class every now and then without prior notice. And now at the very last minute, they are saying there is PTS to replaced PMR.

Hubs likes SMK. He said that we are Malaysian, staying in Malaysia and possibly the kids will work in Malaysia. Hence the kids need to be able to speak Malay and be able to blend in and interact with the other ethnic group.  ( I do agree with that as both of us were from SMK )

Option 2 – SMJK (you can read more about SMJK characteristics here http://www.mysinchew.com/node/93381)

We have one SMJK nearby which is about 16km away. It’s the sister school of the primary school that JS’s is attending. Which mean the schools are govern and manage by the same board of directors. Hubs and me had visited the school. Don’t really like the location of the school and later I found out from a friend that saying the reputation and performance of this SMJK is not as good as the SMK in our neighbourhood. Which proof that SMJK may not be more superior and excellent than normal mainstream secondary school as many believe.

We do not have any ex missionary schools in our area. Hence that is out of my option.

Come to think of it, even if I have more SMJK or ex missionary schools to choose from, it really does not make much difference as what initially put me off from selecting public secondary school is the syllabus used. SMJK, ex missionary schools and SMK , all share the same syllabus.

Earlier this year, I have asked my aunt’s and parent’s opinion on this matter. I also spoke to a old classmate of mine who is currently a public secondary school teacher.

My dad is a little out of date. Since he left the public school 20 years ago, he hasn’t been keeping up with what’s the changes in the syllabus. I asked him about his current students in college which are from public schools. But I think the number is too insignificant to show the quality of our education system. Morever his students now were still using the old syllabus and most of them are there on scholarship.  They told me no harm letting JS try Chinese Independent School

As for my aunt’s opinion. She didn’t say much about the new PBS system. As she is still teaching the old syllabus. She said her two daughters were the product of public school system and did quite well now in college/tertiary education. I asked if she would let her son continue in public school, she told me that if no money there will not be any other choice. I am quite surprise. My aunt is not really that poor as both husband and wife are working. I think she probably want to save the money for tertiary education for her children. I am also very surprise she didn’t mention about homeschooling whereby she is a very staunch christian. I have not spoken to her since my cousin started Form 1 early this year. I don’t know if her view of public school system, especially the new PBS system has changed her view on our public school system. I don’t know if she would let her other son goes to public school next year.

I asked my friend if she as a secondary school teacher, will she let her daughters go to public school. She said, if she is financially capable, she will enroll both her daughters into chinese independent schools.

These are just some collective opinions. Everyone making decision that suits their need the best. My choice will also be what suits the best of us in our situation.

Sometime earlier last month, the school gave out a form for us to fill on school selection. Usually there are three options to choose from. These three options are usually within the primary school feeder zone. They also had a talked for parents. School invited the sister schools principals (SMJK CH and CH Independent School) to introduce the school to the students and parents.  I did not attend that briefing.

Was told that it is compulsory to fill the form even though one has decided to go for alternative schooling. (Private or homeschool)

 Option 3 Chinese Independent School

We have our reserved on letting her further her studies in CIS initial.  We are concerned that she continue in a Chinese school her command of English will deteriorate. More over Mandarin is not her strongest subject. At heart, we are still very banana. ILs and hubs who has very little knowledge about CIS are concerned if the cert is recognizable. Anyhow, somehow they mellow down and agreed to let JS try for CIS.  There are four CIS near my neighbourhood. All four are about 20km away from home (30 minutes drive is considered near , as JS has classmates that is attempting to enroll into another more popular CIS is KL center which is 40km away. There are students and teachers commute daily of that distant from our township).  My hope for her to go into CIS is that apart from emphasizing on academic, they put a lot of focus on co-curriculum as well. I know my JS is not the academic type but excel in co-curriculum. I want her to have more choices in choosing co-curriculum and be a leader in it. This is one advantage of CIS which SMK may not be able to provide her with.

Over the months, we have spoken to JS so to let be part of the decision making team. At the same time giving her the facts of all aspect of government public schools and CIS. I know deep down, her preference is to be studying in an environment where English is the medium of conduct. She likes to have friends (irregardless of races and ethnic groups) that is more “banana” in thinking – speak English, listen to English Hitz etc.  Will see how things turn out to be.

Given some reasons, there are friends who suggested us to relocated to the island where there are better school choices. Which over months of thoughtful consideration, the decision is now final.

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