Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Still very sane....

Yes. Day 4 of being Maid-less.
And still very sane. Heheheh. Of course I would be....as I wasn't really doing any housework at all. Surprisingly, the floors are still fairly clean (or maybe it's because I am wearing house-slippers? :-P ), and boys have been aiming at TARGET so toilets haven't stunk up. All I have been doing so far is to make sure the laundry is washed and pressed; and some light cooking for brekkie and dinner. Boys were asking "since no maid, does that mean we will be buying lunch at school?". When I said "Yes"....they were shouting "YAY" in their hearts. Mmm...I wonder it's because the food is cold and unappetising by lunchtime, or is it because of a Peer Pressure thing??

Anyway, boys generally have been pretty good. Making their beds in the mornings before school, and washing-up their water bottles after school...and of course, washing up after dinner. Yes. It is indeed good training for the boys. But the floors in this house is certainly too extensive to not have a maid. In our next move, we will be in either an apartment or a small house...and will then do away with the maid. Maybe have a part-timer for ironing....Donno. We'll see.

Since we are still in the topic of maids... How about some stories about my grandparents/parents' maids?? Many I can't even remember ...but there were a few distinct ones. In those days, the domestic helpers/nannies were all Chinese girls from the kampungs... and I remember following my grandmother to places like Tanjung Malim and Batangkali to check out prospective girls.

I really don't know how the house could house soooooooooooo many people. In my childhood days, there was our family, my dad's brother's family, dad's unmarried brother & sister and then there's my grandparents, my great-grandmother plus the many many maids around. I really wonder where everyone slept?? My earliest memories... I had my own nanny, my second sis had her own nanny...and then there was one that specifically looked after my great-grandmother. And then there's the maids for the other chores.

The oldest helper that I could remember was my dad's amah....she was called Han Cheh. She wasnt' working in our household when I was, but did visit our house once in awhile....always in her distinct bun and sam-foo. Yup. Those loose tops and pants....but not white and black lah...

Then there was Ah-Ber, who looked after great-grandma...think she was from Batangkali. Apparently, she tried to entice one of the brothers (as in my dad and his brothers??), and was caught by grandma. Not sure if she was dismissed there and then....but when she was gone, found out that she took quite alot of Great-grandma's jewellery, my nice M&S underwear (mind you, I was a little little girl. So don't know why she wants underwear that she can't fit into!!) and hair-clips.

There were two girls that came to work much later...As usual, with two maids in the house, regardless of nationalities or race, sure will be fighting and bullying. Think they were both from Tanjung Malim. Can't remember their names...but let's call them A and B. A is older and came to work first, and so felt she had seniority...and would bully B and even was rather harsh on us grandchildren. Stupid A even used a spoon to whack my head once. Apparently, A forced B to eat some cockroach sh!t...and donno what. I remember grandma trying to sort out the problems between the girls...

We had one that was quite good with her work, but was a bit koo-koo. She would tell us girls..whilst sitting on the swing with us that she wants to commit suicide blah blah blah. Until one time too many, grandma told her to leave..."want to die, please go outside. Don't die in my house". Yes. Very dramatic.

Chan-Cheh worked with us the longest, as far as I remembered. She was like a koon-kah. She knows exactly how many spoons, forks, knives etc that we have in the house. By this time, it was just our family in the house. All uncles and families have moved elsewhere. And if grandma ever gives food in our container to one of the uncles, Chan-Cheh would bug her about bringing it back. She really took care of us.... But once, she decided that she didn't want to work anymore...and that was when we had this other Cheh who was MEGA koo-koo. Talking to herself...talking about empress and family being murdered etc etc. I remember standing outside her room together with dad eavesdropping on her own banter in the dark. She was going "the whole family so good, why murder them? Why?". Err...this was before the advent of mobile phones. So NO way she was talking to someone over the phone. We got abit scared, and told her to leave the next day. And then we had to go and beg Chan-Cheh to come back to work for us, which she did...until she retired to China.

I remember Chan-Cheh was always nagging the Filipino cleaner, L. Now with her gone, and L still with us many years later, I actually told L that she is just like Chan-Cheh now. Sooo naggy towards my sister's maid.

Interesting read??

Peaceful Slumber...

As I am typing this, H is flying over the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles towards Singapore. With this being such a short trip, not to mention the many time changes between Asia, the pacific coast and the east coast; I am sure he is already experiencing major jet-lag! I certainly hope he remembered to purchase over the counter sleeping pill to help him sleep according to MY time. Otherwise, not only he will suffer the wide-awake nights; I will be too. Why? The lights will be turned-on in the bedroom for him to read....and those bright lights certainly would disturb my slumber too!

Help! I am losing Hair!!!

Nope. I don't think the recent resignation of my maid is the reason that I am losing hair. It has been happening for awhile...but somehow, the amount that came off my scalp yesterday was quite scary. I have been applying hair tonic after shampooing frequently. Obviously, it's not exactly working if clumps are falling off! Do you know any good hair loss prevention lotions or holistic methods that I should try out? You think scalp massage aids in hair loss prevention or accelerates hair loss?? What about diet? Do you think too much salt in the diet accelerates hair loss too? Or do you think it's the brute strength that I use when combing my hair is pulling out those poor strands?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How many Maids???

I was just lazing in bed about 5 minutes ago...and wondering the number of maids that I have had. Let's start from the beginning.... this does not include my grandparents' maids nor my parents'...otherwise we would not be able to go to bed tonight. Hahhaha

Actually, come to think of it...this is going to be a looooooooooooooooong post too. So grab a cup of green tea, folks!

Okay. Had my first maid, i.e. one that is under my direct employment when I had my first child. She was an Indonesian. All I can remember is that she didn't stay long because she was like crying early in the morning almost every single day. As mom says "hak yann chang!". The moment you come downstairs, the maid runs to you crying about something or other. I think she was complaining about my mom's maid cum housekeeper, Chan Cheh most of the time. (Wonder how is Chan Cheh doing in China....)

Then comes another replacement, also from Indonesia. This one stayed till I left to join H in Singapore with S1. This one is quite lazy. She doesn't really do much...as I lived with my parents' then (with H working in Bangkok), and mom already has Chan Cheh and a Filipino maid to do everything. All my maid has to do was to carry S1, and wash his clothes. I supposed that's why she put on more and more weight as time progressed. Heheheh. When I left for Singapore, my MIL took her over. Apparently she was sent back after some neighbours saw her having "male guests" into the house when everyone was out.

My maid in Singapore was a Filipino, R. She worked with me throughout our time in Singapore. Even took her with me to Bangkok when we re-located. She is not without headache. Remembered one episode whereby she went MISSING in one of our trips back to Malaysia. She went out and I was to pick her up at a set time and place. It was a nightmare as we couldn't find her. Thought she was r@p3d and murdered. She eventually returned back to my mom's place late in the night. Anyway, took her with us to Bangkok as S2 was only 1 then, and she was quite good with him. In Bangkok, her job was to look after S2 and cook. I had another part-timer, FP that did all the cleaning and laundry. But R wasn't happy in Bangkok as we lived in a house, unlike in Singapore where all she had to do was stick her head out of my apartment window, and she could speak with 2 or 3 Filipinos. Plus, there weren't Filipinos in our area. She started to act out, not following instructions, and doing all sorts to p!ss me off, until one day I asked if she wanted to go home. Then only she said YES. So I sent her back to Philippines. After she left, there were lots of love letters sent to my house from Bangladeshis based in Malaysia. Odd, isn't it? ...when she was in Singapore 95% of the time? Anyway, apparently, she is married to a rich THAI guy now! The irony huh? ...when she hated Thailand so much then???

After R left, I had to find another replacement. Wah....think I had like a total of 5 maids in 8 months. The problem was that I lived near the ISB compound, and all the Mat Salleh expats tend to spoil the maids. I have maids coming in for interview demanding BHT 10,000 per month with 5 day work week, and work till 6 pm kind. There was one time dad was there and he commented "never heard of maid working 5-day week!" (mm patt thia ker...maid cho 5-day week!) hahaha.

Ok. This will not be in order....will type whatever I can remember.

- One who came and worked for few weeks. It was a major holiday, and she was given 2 days off or something like that. Mom so happened went past the maid's area (maid has their own kitchen area etc), and it was a whole mess. Food eaten not thrown and her plates not washed. Mom couldn't TAHAN and cleaned up her area. When the maid returned, I told her to leave. I mean if she can't even keep her own area clean, how can I expect her to keep my kitchen clean?

- Another maid only lasted one day. She decided not to work. Not because there was lots of work....as I had my part-timer, remember? On this day that the maid came to work, I actually took her out to lunch with me. My friend treated me to Japanese Lunch at the Hilton hotel. I brought the maid with me to help look after S2, while I had my lunch. My friend even ordered her a bento set. When we got home, I was giving her instructions for dinner....and then she just said that the job was not for her. Mmmm...I wonder what was so difficult about her job? Basically, all she did was tag S2 about at Hilton.

- This maid lasted a few months. How long exactly, cannot remember. But she was a cook. And she did teach dad a few Thai dishes. So foodwise was not a problem. Yummy foods. But the problem arose with her supervision of S2. Numerous times, I told her NOT to let S2 play with S1's Lego pieces....only the larger Duplo ones. But she kept giving him those Lego pieces. And naturally, S2 was at that age of putting things in his mouth.... Many things, I can close one eye or even two eyes, but choking is no joke! And I told her off one too many times, and she just didn't like it and quit!

- This other maid...very cialatt. Good cook, and good with S2. But then, one time the complex security saw that she had a man in my compound. (Maid's quarters is outside my house) And I went to tell her not to do it again. Of course she denied it.....and then started to say the guard tried to spy on her when she was in her towel at midnight. I was like "HUH? No way anyone can see you in your towel if you walk between your room and the bathroom." Then she said that she was hanging out her clothes. I was like "Why the heck are you washing your clothes clad in just a towel in the middle of the night?? If I am a man, I also want to spy lah!" (Btw, my Thai was quite terrer then...all these exchanges were in Thai, ok!! Good, hor?)
Anyway, I was gonna let it go. I told her that whether she did let a man in or not before, I don't care. Just do not want to have a repeat. I thought case closed.
Later that day, she came to me and said that since I didn't trust her of not having a man in the compound, she felt that she couldn't work for me anymore. Dad just arrived, and dad said better just let her go....maybe she a bit Chee-Sin. Better she asked to go herself than I have to fire her later.

- Another cialatt maid. Cooking okay. Looking after S2 also okay. The reason that I told her to go was because she made a disappearing act for over a week without informing me. Then when she came back, told me about her son had accident and he called her to come etc etc. No way her son could have called her lah...as I was in the house when she left abruptly. I wasn't sure what was happening. I lectured her about her being a terrible terrible mother to say her son had accident...blah blah blah. Plus, isn't there a phone that she could use to call me?? Not just disappear into thin air for over a week, right?? A whole load of baloney.

All these 5 maids in Bangkok were in the span of 8 months. I just got so fed-up after that. I decided not to hire another maid. I told my part-timer (who continued working through these 5 maids) to work extra hours, and I just had to manage S2 and the cooking myself. It wasn't too bad....

When we moved back to Malaysia, I took on an Indonesian named Siti. She was really very good, and smart. But when it was 21 months into her contract, and we were in the midst of extending her contract, she ran away!!! Leaving RM 3000 with me. She didn't take anything from my house....even tidied up before she left.
You say lah. What is wrong? Everyone said it must be a MAN! Only a MAN can make a woman so GILA!

After Siti, I thought...okay. Such a good worker also can runaway. Maybe switch to Filipino, which I did. In the beginning, she was quite blur...but did smarten up eventually. So much so that when I left to come to Jakarta, sis No.4 decided to take her on.
But ALAMAK! This stupid girl when to get herself pregnant after about 4 months working for my sis. And worse...she told my mom that it is a miracle baby as she has not been with any man. Mom said "You are Virgin Mary, ah???" Hahhahah

Anyway, now moving to Jakarta....

- Started off with this young girl, A....who decided to run-off with my air-cond maintenance man after knowing him less than 2 months! Donno if they got married or not. Don't care lah.

- Had one that came to work for about a week to replace, A and then decided to not continue.

- My longest maid here....Y whom was with me for over 2 years. It was unfortunate that her son passed-away and she just couldnt' continue. The last I heard, she is pregnant. Probably delivered already.

- Then I have the blur and talkative maid, T. She was pretty good in her work, and was with me for 5 months. It's just that she is not exactly focussed when I talk to her...and d@mn blurr. I think I blogged quite a bit about her in my posts. Just couldn't tolerate her....

- My part-timer who worked for 5 months, then turned full-timer for one month...This one slacked like crazy when she was a full-timer. Only knew why when she left....cause he was pregnant. This one also I blogged about....think she stole S1's mobile phone.

- Then came the current maid that just left this morning.....

So. Let's have a count. How many maids??
I think it's 17. Correct?

Maids. Indonesian. Thai. Filipino. All the same.
All will give you headache!

I am Without a Maid Again!!!!

Yup! My maid quit this morning!

Last night, she asked for permission to see a doctor after her chores are completed.
So when I came downstairs this morning, I asked her how she was.
And you know what?
She told me she is two months pregnant and simultaneously whipped out her pregnancy test kit and wanted to show me the positive result on the test stick. I was like "Wohhhhh. No need to show". Aiyo. The thought of her pee sticking on the stick is enough for me to go "Wohhhh". Summore want to bring it up close to my face to see??
She told me she has not had her menses for two months.... and with the pregnancy, she is tired all the time, she is nauseous blah blah blah. In short, she can't work anymore.
She Quit!

Even after she quit, she still wanted to come collect our dirty laundry for washing. Aiya...I told her to just pack her things and leave. Gave her her wages and some extras for whatever.
She is quite good as a maid...just rather slow.
Oh well...no maid now.

S1 said "maybe we are jinxed in the maid department!" ...hehehe
Anyway, boys made-up their own beds. S2 even made mine. :-)
Boys shared in the washing-up...S1 did the water bottles and cups, S2 washed up after breakfast.
Just have to share out the work load.

The only thing that I am worried is the mopping of floors. With my bad back, I don't wanna risk another episode. Told H about the maid quitting when he called just now... and he said "time to leave this country." hehehe. Also warned me not to do the floors, and he'll do it when he returns from his business trip. We'll see how things goes... either to get a part-timer or what. See how ler.

On a different note, the gardener supposed to come today also didn't turn up. All these people.....donno want to work or don't want to work. This guy is a new guy. Our regular guy also donno what happened. My driver thinks he might have passed-on. He got ill, and then very ill, and then moved back to the village. Apparently, no more news about this guy....and again, this guy was quite a good gardener...tidies up pretty well. Shucks.

Junk foods...Fast foods...

Today's kids diet really do consist of a lot of junk food and fast food, don't you think?
I mean it is so convenient to pop out to a Fast Food joint to order a burger with fries and a huge soft drink. And there's the pizza deliveries etc. And whenever my kids get the chance...especially at parties, they stuffed themselves with packet crisps, cheese balls, corn snacks, msg-laden rice crackers, popcorn and all the sodas that they can drown themselves in. So how do I get some nutrients into those growing bodies? In addition to dishing out multivitamins everyday to both my boys, I try to include some wholesome home-cooked foods into their diet at least 3 to 4 times a week if not on a daily basis...

Pants are Tight!

Don't you get really upset when your hubby tells you that you look puffy or that you have put on weight?? In my case, it certainly creates World War III in our home when my knucklehead of a hubby even goes near the topic of my weight! But secretly, I admit that I have been putting a little weight...as my pants are kinda tight. They just aren't as comfy as usual. What can I do to shed those extra weight and bulges? I do go to the gym...but not as frequent as I used to. Think that I do need to go on a diet. Do you know any diets that work? I don't want to have those diets that require starving myself, nor those that requires me to eat only one type of food groups. Maybe a diet pill might work?

Any Chance of A Job?

Now that the boys are much older, I am thinking of going back to work. In fact, it was S1 that suggested that I go back to work once we are settled in our new location. S2 even seconded with "we'll take care of the house for you!". Isn't that sweet? I have actually written to one of my old bosses and asked if he has anything for me, and all he said was to send in my resume. Gosh! I have not written a resume for more than 8 years!...and definitely do not know how to start. I really have to search for sample resumes that I can use as a guide. Until then only I could start applying for a suitable job. To tell you the truth....it is rather intimidating after so many years out of the job market!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Some Updates...19 March 2010

Wow! It's almost the end of the 1st Quarter of 2010. Time really does fly!!

Travel Travel
Well, the travel that H avoided last week had to be taken this week. So he was off yesterday morning on the 6 am flight. Think he left the house at about 3.45 am!!! So, it's just boys and I for the next few days.
And with Easter Break coming up in a week's time, boys and I will be going to Singapore for 5 nights. I think my S1 is already making plans to meet with his friends to visit Universal Studios!!!

"Geh Gau"
....in Hokkien or "Lann Lek" in Cantonese. English? I think the closest I could think of is "Smart Alec".
I was chomping down chilli sambal with my Fried Rice the other day, and H cautioned me about over-dosing on those potent stuff. My remark was "My belly is not like yours. I can take it"
Me and my BIG MOUTH. I had to pay the price the day after...and I have to say that my belly and my @ss is not exactly back to normal! You must be wondering why would I add-on this topic.....
Halfway blogging, I had to run to the toilet. Hehehehhehehe....

Got our Money Back
Remember I blogged about being CHEATED of GBP 800/- sometime back? Read here and here.
Well. We finally got our Money Back from Holiday-rentals after sooooooooooooooooo many months. But then, better late than never.
We had to go through lots of trouble.....lucky H's bank has a Relationship Manager that could somehow help us out with the required documentation. Otherwise, no way we could get back our money. Lucky I signed up for the "Rental Guarantee"...otherwise also gone.
Would I book with them again?
I suppose it really depends. If pay full amount, then NO.
I don't mind if it's just a small deposit.....like our Rome apartment, which was booked through them...it turned out to be a great place to stay.

Laundryamah's Visit
Laundryamah accompanied her hubs over. I only met her on Wednesday. I was the tour organiser for this week's Explorers Tour. So dragged her to attend my tour. It's a Batik and Gamelan lesson, followed by lunch and then dance. My piece of batik turned out quite yucky...I forgot my camera but think Laundryamah took some pics. From here, we went to have cream bath with foot reflexology; and then to have our nails done. Dinner was a Lara Djonggrang. H hates the food (but then, he never liked the local cuisine)...but I think it is a great place to bring visiting guests. It has great ambience with candles and antique pieces. The owner runs a few pricey boutique hotels around the archipelago.

NOT going Gila...
Yes. I know. I should stop pondering about the boys' school until I visit them.
And I have.
H said that he is just going to do the Decision-Making...and it will be based primarily on whether boys like it or not, and then secondly, the fees.
So...no more thinking and pondering on my part.
Case closed ....until it reopens in April! Hahhahaa

Congratulations!!!

My very pregnant fellow Explorer travelled to the Lion City about a month ago....to prepare and await the birth of her first child. In case you are wondering, many expat ladies travel to the Lion City to have their babies.....They somehow do not "trust" the health system here. But I'm sure it's fine...afterall, there are over 250 million people in this country!!! Anyway, just got news that she has just delivered a 3.28 kg healthy, bouncing baby boy. I'm sure the proud first-time daddy is handing out cigars to all his pals to celebrate this momentous day. Wonder for such occasions, does he get discount cigars or what? What about you?

My Part-time Cupcake Venture??

I'm sure I blogged about my part-time cupcake venture some time back....selling mainly to friends, friend's friends and also had a stand at the boys' school carnival. You must be wondering what happened to it. Well, I have to admit that I have been lazy, and have not done proper marketing. Shucks! I don't even have proper business cards nor brochures or flyers. At the school carnival, I actually printed the business cards off my inkjet printer, and got my helper to cut the cards out into proper sizes. Needless to say, the cards had jagged sides and worse, the ink smudges! Not very professional-looking, is it??? If I want to really do this business well, I should get the business cards professionally printed, and perhaps get onto some serious marketing including direct mail marketing. Need to have some flyers, brochures printed-out. Mmmm...maybe have some discount vouchers to be handed out at malls... What say you?

Monday, March 15, 2010

I am definitely going GILA!

Remember my post about IB vs. British Curriculum?
Well, I do really value the merits of the IB curriculum. But no exam till Grades 11 and 12? Is this correct? How can?
But the British Curriculum is rather outdated....unless they modify like what the boys' school is currently doing. They had a talk about International Primary Curriculum the other day. I didn't attend the talk, which I should have. They actually emphasised the importance of international curriculum as Britain is no longer THE empire it used to be...the world is a fast changing place...India and China... many current jobs will be obsolete by the time our kids enter work force..blah blah blah (I know the outline from a friend who attended. She was quite funny as she went to school in Britain. And she was like "why the heck do I want to know how many wives Henry the VII has, do you know what I mean??").

Anyway, Yes. I am somewhat set on the IB curriculum...but abit apprehensive about the no external exams bit till Grades 11/12. Sure they would have internal assessments...but it's still not the same. Some moms are not convinced of the IB curriculum....because we are the O-levels/A-levels group and it's hard to shed our "old ways"??!?! I went to have a look at the IB website, and even looked at sample Chemistry and Math papers for the IB Diploma exams. I have to say that the papers are NOT easy, and I would have problems answering (or as my sister says, I am RUSTY!!!) them.

The way I see it, IB somehow prepares the child (can I say child? as they would be about 18 years old by then???) for the real world....and not just getting As in exams. It is so much more rigorous than A-levels. In A-levels, you just take the minimum 3 subjects that you are good at. In IB, you have to take subjects from 5 or 6 different groups. In addition, there is the project work, the community work. I think someone getting an IB Diploma could really do well in life, even without going to university.

So which IB school? That is the part that is making me MEGA GILA.
THE IB school that everyone wants to get in, has a loooooooooooooong waiting list like two years. Plus it is the most expensive. As we will have to foot the bill from our own pockets, the cost will be a major deciding factor ...
I've got ISS, CIS, OFS, GESS, EIS, TTS, Chatsworth on my list at the moment.
Each time I go into a school's website, I would like go. ..Yeah Yeah. GESS is it.
Then I go to CIS, and I go...Yeah. Yeah. CIS is it.
And then OFS...Yeah Yeah. OFS.

Aduh. Really GILA. My sister has asked me to just forget about it, and just decide after I've visited the schools. Some schools may just give me bad vibes that I will cross them off immediately.
H also laughing his head off....as I change my mind every day.
Plus, I have got some feedbacks from friends....and another sister, which makes things worse!!
I have a friend who is currently working at SAS, and she used to work at CIS...told me NOT to go to CIS as too profit-orientated, and high turnover of teachers. And this was just after I thought...CIS is it. Hahhahaha My sister also says don't go to CIS. Why ah?
A friend whose daughter used to go to OFS, and she said she didn't really like the school. Other sister says OFS sounds Obiang! What does Obiang mean anyway???
As for TTS, it sounds rather British....with 70% students from Britain, and their curriculum is very British...unlike the boys' current British School. Plus, they only started their IB Diploma last year...so still abit "new" and have to iron out kinks? Oh yeah, space for S1 but not for S2, which means waitlist till I don't know when...and also, they are pretty expensive too.

Actually, most kids from the boys' current school goes to TTS. In fact, S1 has 2 classmates that left last year and went to TTS. When I told S1 that most likely we won't go there (due to the above-cited reasons), I thought he would be rather disappointed...as he has friends there already. You know what he said? "Oh. That means that there would be more chances of me being popular in a not-so-popular school!"...According to him, lots of popular kids go to TTS. :-P
My teenager-to-be now want to look good liow....had gel on his hair this morning!!!
And I just found out that boys' current school principal is moving on to TTS this September.

Basically, I want the following:
- boys to be able to continue with their individual music lessons (Saxophone for S1 and the Flute for S2), and perhaps have a school orchestra that boys can participate.
- S1 to continue with his Japanese and Mandarin. I think Mandarin is not a problem...but not all schools offer Japanese. It would be a waste to give-up after two years. And the thing is, he is rather keen to do this language. I never have to remind him to do his Japanese Homework!
-Soccer Pitch: My S2 is keen to continue in a league
- Basketball Court: For S1
- Swimming Pool: Need to build up those muscles!!!
- A good range of Extra-Curricular Activities
- Some green space!!! (Very limited in this very densely packed City State!!!)
- Reasonable number of classes per grade. I know sounds silly. But don't fancy if there is only ONE class in Grade 5, nor when there are like TEN classes in Grade 5. Too few. No good. Too many. Also no good.
- Reasonalbe number of students per class. Think this one not a problem...as they have a max of 25 in most schools anyway.
- Affordable School Fees! This one very important!!!
- Dedicated Teachers, and low turnover. But this one difficult to tell...unless you hear about it from the people INSIDE.

I had the boys sit down, and list the important things to have in their new school.... I thought their answers were quite funny.

Anyway...no more pondering until I visit the schools end of this month!!!

Wish me LUCK!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Worsening Eye Sight!

Who? Who?

Aiya...both my boys lah. I think I mentioned about S1 needing glasses sometime back...around Oct 2009. It was -0.75/-0.5. It wasn't that bad but we got him prescription glasses anyway. And he insisted on getting a pair of Converse Frames which was over USD 100. Including lens, it was over USD 150. And what do you know? Less than 3 weeks, he lost those very expensive glasses. Didn't bother to replace them as 1) the power is not that bad, 2) Didn't fancy buying another pair, and the irresponsible bugger loses it again.

But he has had problems with reading the board, and apparently the Head of his Year sent him to the School Nurse on Friday. Coincidently, I met the School Nurse at a Function yesterday which told me that his eye sight is pretty bad, and should definitely get glasses. So brought him to the optician this afternoon. And what do you know?? It's now -2.00L/-1.75 R. Waliow!!! That is a huge increment. Gave him a choice of glasses or contact lenses. He said he wants to try to wear the contacts. Spent a rather long time, and he still couldn't put the trial lens in. Then H did it for him, and he screamed that the lens stung his eye. Ding Dong here and there...we are back to getting a pair of glasses for him. Again...another pair of Converse Frames...and the total price is over USD 170/- Okay!!! You say CIALATT or not? I've already discussed with S1....I could only receive partial claim from the insurance company, and that he will have to pay 50% of the remainder amount. And if he loses the glasses again, 100% will be payable from his pocket money. I certainly am not paying for carelessness and irresponsibilities!!

And whilst we were there, might as well check S2's eyes as well... ALAMAK! Increased too!
From -2.50 L/-2.00R to -3.00 for both eyes. And since we had a USD 50 voucher from S1's purchases, we use this to pay for S2's change of lens. Kept the old frames to save some money....even then, I had to top up about USD 5.

*Sigh* What to do? Both parents are short-sighted. BUT I think it's also due to the reading in dim areas, the iPods, the PCs etc. So, how NOT to nag to reduce their time spent on these things????

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dad's Specialties....

Remember my recent Chap Goh Meh trip home? We had a CNY Gathering cum Birthday Party for S2? Initially, we wanted to cater but they required a minimum order for 50 pax which was kinda too many. My Dad offered to prepare a BBQ..... which turned out to be waaaaaay more than a BBQ. We had the following fare plus much much more. Because I was summoned to entertain the guests rather than taking photographs, I missed out some of the food. So what was missing from my photos were:
1) Yue Sang
2) BIL's Roast Pork
3) The BBQ Food. Yes...we still had a BBQ fare of chicken, pork and chicken sausages, lamb, tiger prawns, sweetcorn, baked potato, garlic bread...


Fried Hokkien Mee and Mee Siam

from top-left: Fried Stuffed Chakwe, Fried Pei-pa Taufoo, Healthy Salad and Fried
Hokkien Spring Roll

"Tung Ku Kai Keok" and "Sui-kow"
(Errr...these were take after they have been half-eaten)
What happened to all the food??
(Was kinda late to whip out my camera...only managed to when food all "gasak-ed")

Platter of Mixed Fruits


As usual, the food was very yummy.

GOOD JOB, DAD!
And Thanks for all your hard work!
Though the food was yummilicious, there were leftovers. I told dad that if he does professional catering, sure lose money one....cause he doesn't know how to estimate the amount of food, plus he always want to "ka-liu"! Hehehehe...

Oh yeah...not to forget....

S2's Football Cake
(ordered From Australia Cake House. No time to home-bake!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Do you love your job?

If you don't, perhaps it is high time to find a new one.
Many of us(including myself, mind you) tend to stick with a job that is comfortable, pays fairly well eventhough we are not entirely happy. We go into the office in the morning, and we wait for the lunch break, and after that, we wait for office hours to end. Working life spans from maybe 30-40 odd years. That is a looooooooooooong time to be in a job that you are not happy with. So what do you say guys? Should we go out and find something that we would love to do?? I hear there are plenty of philly jobs around with over 7000 new ones over the last two weeks. If philly is not where you want to go, I'm sure there are loads of other alternatives.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

IB or British Curriculum??

Your opinions and comments appreciated.

Which do you think is better?
A British Curriculum or International Baccalaureate?

Boys are currently in an "International" British Curriculum. I use "International" because the school does NOT exactly follow strictly to the British system. For one, they have scrapped certain exams, eg. my S1 did not have to sit for the SATs at the end of Year 6. The school felt that with the SATs, too much time was spent doing revision papers to obtain top marks, whereby they could learn more with the time. Also, the IGCSE is used rather than the traditional GCSE. Furthermore, their school does not provide A-levels, but the IB Diploma.
This clearly shows they are gearing towards the positive attributes of the IB curriculum, right??

This is our last year here in Jakarta....and a change of school is required with our impending move. Thus I am thinking of totally switching to the IB curriculum, i.e. taking up the Primary School Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and then through to Diploma in the boys' new school. The IB programme develops the child as a whole.... and not only academically. I was a product of the old SPM (O-level equivalents) and then A-level system. Although I did great at a London University, I seriously and humbly do not think that life is about As , First Class Honours and what-nots. Globalized citizens need to think out of the box.....

I guessed I have answered my own question on which is a better system.... but then, your views are much appreciated too!

Monday, March 08, 2010

More Travels in the Horizon....

...not entirely all my travels.
For starters, H is travelling end of this week. He is trying to get out of it, so don't know if the trip will happen or not.
Boys and I will travel to the Lion City at the end of this month, ie. during the boys' Easter Break....not so much for fun, but more on official matters (more about this in another post).
Mom and Dad coming to visit us at our home early April.
I will be travelling to BALI for my girly trip at the end of April for a few days.
MIL and SIL plus niece will visit us in early May.
S1 didn't get into the FOBISSEA team, thus NO need to travel to Bangkok in mid-May.
We will all travel back to Malaysia for my sister's wedding at the end of May.

I declined a trip to Peru with my girlfriend...otherwise will be travelling to South America in mid June to early July. I seriously considered going. H told me to go too...citing a once in a lifetime thing. But I just couldn't do it. With so many things happening then. Plus, I felt guilty in going on holiday with girlfriend and NOT attending sister's wedding in the UK in early July.

Okay lah...later..

Insurance Terms for Dummies!

I know life insurance is mighty important. Both H and I do subscribed to it. But I have to admit that I am an absolute idiot when it comes to life insurance terms and definitions. I usually rely on my insurance agent, aka. my sister MK to explain the details. But I think it is high time that I learn to understand those terms and definitions for my own good. And I know just the right place to do this.

Proof of Purchase

Did I tell you that the boys' school practise a cashless system in their school cafetaria?
Though it sounds good in principle, I find the system rather flawed. For starters, the kids do not learn to manage their money properly. All they do is SWIPE their card, without much thought. In addition, receipts are not provided for their purchases, thus making the kids more oblivious to what they have actually bought. Without receipts as the proof of purchase, I find it really difficult to reconcile the balance left on the card at the end of the week. I don't understand why the cafetaria management can't provide receipts. Surely a receipt printer is not all that expensive!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Back Home after 4 Nites Away...

Where did I go?
I actually went back to Malaysia for Chap Goh Meh....
Boys had their half term...with 5 days off (including the weekend), and initially I thought of bringing them to Singapore. But a phone call with a fellow Malaysian mom changed that. She said she was going back to Malaysia...can't celebrate the start of CNY, at least can celebrate the end of it. And since my H was gonna be in KL for some work the Wednesday through to Friday, I thought it would be good to have him extend his trip slightly and we fly in to meet up.

We flew with KLM on Friday.... as the flights on Thursday were soooooooooo expensive as most people didn't want to WASTE their holiday by travelling on the public holiday itself. As it was so last minute, AirAsia was more expensive than KLM...even without the food and the check-in bags. Of course, KLM is the natural choice. And when we got on the plane...my SWA-KOO (mountain tortoise??) S2 picked up the console from the seat (KLM has upgraded the plane for this route which is now serviced by the Boeing 777 - fitted with individual screens and game consoles for all economy seats) and said "Eh....what is this doing here??? This belongs to Singapore Airlines!!!". Well, in his recent flying experience, only Singapore Airlines had the console and individual screen. There was none on Malaysia Airlines on our last trip back to KUL. AirAsia lagi tak ada. Have to rent little portable ones on our long-haul flight to Stansted last September. So....you see why my S2 is confused!

We had a CNY gathering the next day, Saturday... and since it was still February, and S2's chinese birthday was coming... we celebrated his birthday another time...with another cake. A football-shaped cake. What else? No. Didn't bake it...no time!
Had H's and my friends over. My dad cooked as usual....Will post the pictures once I've uploaded them onto my computer.

I expected lots of CNY decor still around...with Chap Goh Meh only on Sunday, 28th Feb. But everything was taken down at MidValley and OneUtama already. How come ah?????
So it was quite a disappointment lor... for me lah. Not my boys. My boys "choy lei ther sor!".

I hate to say this...but I find it odd that I feel more and more not at home when going home as time goes by. Odd when I have lived here for soooooooooo many years of my life. Why is this? Is it because I've lived away for awhile? Or is it because my things are not around me? Is it because I don't have chores to do. Errands to run? .... If there is no one home, I find myself going upstairs, downstairs ...and donno what to do. So was trying hard to find friends to go have tea or just go out shopping. Friends also have their own family obligations etc. Shopping is bad as you end up spending money that you don't intend to spend. Having tea is also bad as you eat things that you shouldn't too!

What did we buy in Malaysia? Let me think..
* Cheezels. Yes. Cheezels. It cost only RM 3.50 for a big packet, but it costs USD 5-ish. I don't know if it's imported from the States or what. But that's almost RM 20! Can you imagine the difference??
* All sorts of Leong-Cha. Pak Chee Chou, Chook Cheh and some others
* S2's School Shoe. Wouldn't have time to get a pair when we get back. Plus most affordable brands here are quite lousy. I just bought him a pair in early January, and it's really torn and tattered now. Hopefully, this pair that I bought from Parkson will last longer.
*Boys' Vitamins
*Insect Repellant and Patches - Friend asked me to buy for her daughter who has sensitive skin
*Furikake from Jusco
* Bacon Bak-Kwa
* Pistachios, Sour Plums, Chicken Biscuit from Country Tidbits - H just loves all these soury stuff
* KwaChi - another of H's munchies while watching TV
* Books from MPH - this time...mostly H's historical books, + 1 for S1 and a cookbook for me

But I brought so much more JUNK FOOD back... from all the CNY gifts that were brought by friends on Saturday. So I have almond cookies, muruku, some other biscuits, chocolates, sweets, bakkwa, some dessert like thing, mochis, Siew Pow...My whole luggage was filled with FOOD! Lucky customs didn't check!

Anyway, boys wents went back to school today... I actually had an Explorer's Tour to go to today. But was sooooooo tired that I just couldn't get out of bed. So PONTENG. Woke up quite late today...at 9.45 am this morning. Packed up all my CNY decor, bagged the CNY sweets to be given away to the hired help...and actually, I should be doing my grocery shopping now. What to have for dinner??