Saturday, February 25, 2017

pyjamas

Sometimes on weekends Chen Rui doesn't change clothes in the morning, and ends up wearing her pyjamas for the whole day. Like today. Michelle reminds her to take a shower. It is very possible that she will forget, since she is wearing pyjamas. She may think that she has already taken a shower today and is thus wearing pyjamas.

Shee Yun has a school activity today. All Year 7 students need to go to school. One of the activities today was playing a boardgame called Praxis (not exactly sure of spelling), which is about money management. I find this interesting. Shee Yun enjoys going to school. This morning she got up very early. The activity started at 7:30am, and yesterday she told us she wanted to leave for school at 6am. She can wake up very early when it is a school day, but on weekends she sometimes sleep in late. I am happy that she is enthusiastic about going to school.

Next week she will be having a cross country event.

Michelle is going to take weekend classes for the next few months, and she will be taking two tax certification exams mid year. It will be interesting - going back to school. It is good that she continues to learn and upgrade herself.

31 Jan 2017. When we were in KK I asked the children to practise touch typing, and they did it on my laptop.

Chen Rui brought a few dolls and many of her hajimat back to KK. She had so many hajimat that she could use them to build a little house for the dolls. She stacked the hajimat to form walls, and then spread out one of them to be the roof. What this photo shows is not the house though. It's just one hajimat being a sack to store all the other hajimat and her dolls.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

illness

The period right after Chinese New Year was quite bad for us. All four of us fell sick at some point. I think most of us had bacterial infections (possibly the same bacteria), since the doctors gave us antibiotics. I could not work for four days. The fever was bad. I had a bad cough too. Shee Yun was adamant about going to school, even though she was a little sick. Chen Rui had minor diarrhea when we were in KK, and after coming back to KL, she had a mild fever too. Thankfully she recovered quickly and wasn't too ill. After recovering, I had much work to catch up on. The whole saga was depressing and put me off my tempo. I lost appetite for many of my regular entertainments and hobbies - Clash Royale (mobile game), reading boardgame articles, blogging. What I did enjoy these two weeks was reading - two books of older short stories by George R R Martin. I realised I had read one of them before but I had mostly forgotten the stories. Having returned to work for about one week now, I'm on the way to return to my routine. Next step will be restarting my exercise routine in the mornings.

At school, Shee Yun has a few good friends now, and also a rival. Her new good friends are Charisse and Elyssa (not sure of spelling), both girls, and her rival is a boy Julian who sits opposite her. The way they are rivals is that when their personal belongings cross the border between their desks, the other party will push it back to where it came from. That sounds rather petty and primary school.

Our daily routine has changed. Since Shee Yun was still a little ill when we just returned from KK, in the mornings Michelle sent her to school instead of letting her take the LRT. To Michelle's surprise, traffic was good. So now she has decided she will be sending Shee Yun to school in the mornings, while I send Chen Rui to school.

Chen Rui recently started playing Pokemon battles online using Michelle's PC. She often plays against her schoolmate Yen Ying, and sometimes she plays with random strangers. She is really into Pokemons. She has watched many Pokemon anime episodes on Youtube. Sometimes the children still borrow my phone so that they can play Pokemon Go. I have stopped playing for a long time. A new batch of Pokemons was released recently. This morning I accompanied Shee Yun to a nearby Pokestop so that she could catch a new Pokemon. We are running very low on Pokeballs (which are needed for catching Pokemons), so maybe tomorrow morning I will bring the children to the park to collect Pokeballs. Let's see if all three of us can wake up early.

Shee Yun's school sports day was Friday. Her house's marching team were shared champions with another house, and she was quite happy. It is a good experience to have worked hard together with friends and to have achieved results from the hard work.

Michelle too had completed a good job recently. One of her clients was audited by the tax department, and the department wanted to impose a very heavy fine. So the client engaged her to raise an appeal. She had to work with the client to address all the questions raised by the tax officers. Eventually many of the questions were answered satisfactorily, and the fine was greatly reduced. The tax officer said to the client, in front of Michelle, that they had a good auditor. This is good reason to celebrate - a job well done. Maybe we will have a small celebration tomorrow.

28 Jan 2017. It is now a custom that during Chinese New Year we visit Uncle Oh and Mrs Tan's mother. This year we met Mrs Tan there.

We also visited Michelle's aunt and uncle (阿姨、姨丈). Her other uncle and aunt also happened to visit at the same time (舅舅、舅母).

29 Feb 2017. Yao Yao came to play. She spent an afternoon with the children.

30 Jan 2017. It is also customary that we visit 舅母 during Chinese New Year. There will always be 芋头糕.

This is Michelle's annual gathering with her All Saints girlfriends. We have been doing this for years.

It would be interesting to compile the group photos across the years, to see how much our children have grown.

Ma likes this chicken character which was part of the lion dance troupe at 叔叔's open house. The crowd was much smaller at the open house this year. There was much surplus food.

This troupe was quite good. The performance was impressive. Many dangerous and difficult moves.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

过新年

我们这一次回亚庇过新年,一家人都过得很宅(宅男的宅)。都很懒得出门,整天宅在家。我也没去找朋友,只有一次去Michelle父母家时去找一下阿圣,还有Michelle一年一度的在阿珮家聚餐。本来有打算乘假期去看一场戏,结果也没去成。两个孩子可以一整天对着iPad,玩一些游戏、看Youtube、看图画图(晨睿找Pokemon的图画然后照着画)等等。她们也不觉闷,乐在其中。上网真的有无穷无尽的内容可以看。我自己有时候要工作,几乎是每一天都要做一点,和上个月回亚庇一样,没有真的把工作放下。这一次是因为要筹备一个重要的比赛,所以要确认所有准备功夫都做齐。结果比赛一开始就出问题,没办法继续,被逼延迟一个礼拜。最气人的是两个重要的同事本来应该是standby的,竟然两个都不在,我很久没有因为工作而那么生气。我和另一个同事都有事先提醒了他们。那一天我还是生病,为了准备晚上的比赛,白天逼自己睡觉休息,以便晚上能全神贯注做好比赛。

我们这一次每一个人都病了,全军覆没。是初三开始的。Michelle从阿珮家回来后就不舒服,后来有去看医生。有发烧、咳嗽、全身酸痛、发冷、呕吐、作闷、头痛。接下来是煦芸和晨睿。煦芸有发烧、肚子痛。晨睿是泻肚子和肚子痛。后来两个都去看 Dr. Raj。我在回亚庇前就有因为热气而喉咙不舒服。后来是比赛当天(星期六)白天有点发烧。多睡觉,就好一点了,没有看医生。自己吃 panadol。下个礼拜工作会很忙,不能病。

回到亚庇会很宅,也许是因为在KL的生活很忙,所以回到来都不太想动了,只想休息。我以前有想过带孩子去坐亚庇的老火车,不过一直耽搁下来,到现在还没坐。也想过带孩子去对面岛,也是还没做到。

我们玩 Fiasco 现在换了新方式。她们对 Fiasco 的模式不太感兴趣,我就干脆舍弃了游戏机制,变成直接是写故事,不必要用游戏的架构。有一天我们是三个人一起讨论整个故事的大纲,打算是主线铺好了,就按照它去写,也把煦芸得到角色 Novelia 变成主角。我们后来是写了一点点,但又断了。不知道几时会继续。我后来叫孩子们直接练习打 The quick brown fox 那句话。那是包含了英文字母里的每一个字母的一句话。我叫她们打九次,然后我给她们听写。听写我是即兴的,有叫晨睿打 Clash Royale 里的人物名字、 Pokemon 名字,也有叫煦芸打 Harry Potter 故事里人物名字。

我叫孩子们看《龙珠》,她们是勉勉强强看,这次假期第一本都看不完。书是繁体字的,不过似乎难不倒她们。我之前有跟她们讲一些故事情节,她们是觉得有趣的,不过自己看又似乎没有那么大兴趣。我还是找不到方法让她们对中文书有兴趣。

孩子们还是喜欢玩《Love Letter》。这一次我有带一些游戏回来,多数都有玩到。有拉孩子和妈一起玩《Bottle Imp》。她们都是第一次玩。也有和Michelle玩了几次《Race for the Galaxy》,这是我们曾经玩很多很多的游戏。

晨睿的旧 iPad 开始有问题(妈传给她的),时常接不到 Wi-Fi。她说走去电脑室用会比较好。Router 在那里。

晨睿画 Pokemon 已经画满了一本簿子,有五十个 Pokemon左右。我都服了她那么有心机画,还那么感兴趣画。

我们初三晚上去叔叔家的时候有舞狮,可是两个孩子都不大感兴趣,只是对着 iPad。晨睿有去看一下,不过看看下就走开。这狮团舞得不错,有好几个很惊险的动作。真可惜。

这一年Michelle父母和哥哥一家人一起来吃团年饭。

小孩需要分到另外一台。

年初一的全家福。

这是准备时拍的。

另一张全家福。

这是准备时拍的。这里其实很晒很刺眼,那么巧爸爸又有电话来,其他人都需要遮太阳。

Sunday, January 29, 2017

good morning

The children often sleep early and wake up early now. They sleep even earlier than the 9:30pm bedtime we set. This started with Shee Yun. Due to her marching activity at school, she often feels tired and goes to bed early. Now sometimes Chen Rui does the same. In the mornings, Shee Yun now often wakes up by herself, and gets ready for school by herself. In the past it was always Michelle who woke both of them in the mornings. Shee Yun is keen to go to school. She is ready well before it is time to leave the house. So once I take my daily supplements and take my oat drink, I accompany her to the station, slightly earlier than necessary. I don't send her too early, because if it is too early, I think there will be fewer fellow students and fewer passengers. It would be less safe. It is good that Shee Yun is keen to go to school. She looks forward to it.

Sometimes the children are already asleep when I reach home after work. Sometimes if I need to work slightly late, I reach home after 8pm, and they are already asleep.

Before Chinese New Year, there was one day when Chen Rui had no school while Shee Yun still did. The night before that Chen Rui said she wanted to send Shee Yun off to school too. The next morning, she got up early. Both she and I walked Shee Yun to the station. I think Shee Yun's enthusiasm is affecting Chen Rui.

Sometimes when Shee Yun wants to sleep early, Chen Rui does her homework or drawing in the computer room, so that Shee Yun can sleep better without the room lights on. Chen Rui is still afraid to be alone, so when she is in the computer room, both the doors of the room and the master bedroom need to be open, so that Michelle (who is in the master bedroom) is only one call away.

15 Jan 2017. We were at a Japanese noodle shop at Mid Valley. I like the noodles. The soup is thick and the taste strong. However Michelle finds it too oily and salty. Shee Yun ordered some corn as a side dish. I don't remember when she started liking this. Chen Rui is still very picky about food. Too many things which she doesn't eat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Once novel series

Michelle bought the Once novel series for the children. Chen Rui likes them a lot. The story is a tragedy about the Jews during World War 2. It seems quite a few important characters die. It sounds rather sad from what Chen Rui told me. She cried when reading the story. It is good that the children enjoy reading books.

Chen Rui has been eating more. Sometimes she asks for more after a meal.

She lost a tooth yesterday. It came off when she was eating wafer - the soft type which we buy from Mulia Supermarket. She felt it coming loose, and she pulled it out herself. It has been loose for some time. When we visited Lawrence at the end of December, he suggested to pull it out for her, but she said no. We had once convinced (or tricked?) her to do a tooth extraction at Lawrence's clinic, and she still remembers it as a painful experience.

Shee Yun is enjoying her schooling at Wesley. She has more in common with her new schoolmates compared to those at Naam Kheung. She looks forward to go to school. Sometimes she wakes up very early by herself and is ready early. She tells us there is a classmate who likes Harry Potter too. I wonder whether she feels the school is like Hogwarts, because the medium is English.

15 Jan 2017. Mid Valley Megamall.

These lanterns were nice and cheap. Usually we don't decorate the house during Chinese New Year, but this time Michelle's colleague came across these, so we bought two.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

fairy with bat wings

Shee Yun has marching at school every day now. It is in preparation for their sports day. Michelle used to do something similar during her secondary school days. There was once she fainted due to the heat. Shee Yun has not fainted yet, but she has been getting sun burnt. She is often tired after school, and sometimes she goes to bed as early as 8pm. I think it's good that she is getting some physical exercise. She seems to be enjoying schooling at Wesley. I think it is all very refreshing to her. She probably also likes that lessons are taught in English. Homework is less than at Naam Kheung. Sometimes she has no homework.

Shee Yun's ex-classmates have been bugging Chen Rui at school, keen to find out how Shee Yun is doing at her new school. Sometimes Chen Rui tries to avoid them.

Shee Yun will be taking Chinese classes. In the first week, Michelle had asked her about it, and she said she didn't want to take Chinese. Michelle allowed her to decide. After Michelle told me, I felt uncomfortable about it. I know the standard of Chinese being taught at international schools is usually lower than the standard at national schools. The progress of the syllabus is about half, i.e. content being taught at Form 1 covers only half of the Form 1 content at national schools. So by Form 5, the standard is only at about first half of Form 3 at national schools. Still, I prefer Shee Yun continues to take Chinese. We are Chinese and we should not lose this part of our identity and heritage. It is not just the practicality and usefulness of knowing Chinese. It is also the values, the culture and the way of thinking that come with knowing Chinese and learning Chinese. Last year, before we agreed to let Shee Yun try Wesley, she had agreed to continue her Chinese learning. So I spoke to her. She did remember agreeing to it, and she agreed to take Chinese classes. That was a relief to me. It is still a little unbelievable to me that despite both Michelle and I being so Chinese, the children are very westernised. Michelle and I used to be active in Chinese Language Societies, and in my case even up to university days. Chinese lessons are not included in the basic school fees. We have to pay extra for it.

Now Shee Yun is going to school by herself. I still walk her to the station in the morning, because the route is usually deserted so early in the morning. I bid her goodbye at the LRT station. There will always be some people at the station and on the train, and from the destination station to school there are always other fellow students. Since I am getting up so early every day, I make it a routine to do my 45-minute stair walking after sending Shee Yun off. This will help me maintain regular exercise.

Last weekend we helped Christina's (Chee Ying) family move house. Chee Chee was sad at first because she felt her elder sister has close friends, but she doesn't have any. Poor girl. Kok Man says she is unlike Christina and she doesn't proactively mix with other children. Thankfully she joined the older girls later and cheered up. In the afternoon when she and Christina came to our home (so that their parents can continue the work at the new house without worrying about them), the moment she stepped into Shee Yun and Chen Rui's room she bluntly declared how messy the room was. Indeed Shee Yun and Chen Rui are rather hopeless in keeping their room tidy.

At the end of the day, after Christina and Chee Chee had left, they turned back, because Chee Chee said she wanted to give a Pokemon doll to Chen Rui. I was surprised. I guess she likes Chen Rui. Chen Rui does like Pokemon a lot.

I started a new game of Fiasco with the children, this time using the scenario that I created, based on a world similar to Harry Potter's. Wizards and witches live among humans, unknown to mankind in general. Many of the locations I use in the scenario are real-life places I found using Google Maps, so before we played I showed these locations to the girls, e.g. Dartmoor National Park and Tavistock town in England. I showed them the pyramids of Giza and also photos that Michelle and I took when we visited Egypt. We used Google Maps to look up the places in London where Michelle used to stay, and also places in Melbourne where I used to stayed. We then looked up our homes in KL, in KK, and also Michelle's parents' home in KK. We spent so much time playing with Google Maps that we ended up not writing much that day. Our Fiasco is becoming an on-and-off thing, broken up into many small sessions. It is originally meant to be played in a single session of about 2 to 3 hours.

After writing a few paragraphs of Fiasco, we played Love Letter instead. It was great fun.

This is my character, Kevin Smith, in our new Fiasco game, a top student.

This is Shee Yun's character, Novelia Salway, a mischievous student. I think she came up with this name by using an online name generator. She said she couldn't draw, so I drew her character for her. Her requirements were blond and green eyes. I decided the rest for her.

This is Chen Rui's character, Fiona Prelich, the school caretaker, who is also the mother of Kevin Smith, but the relationship is unknown to most people at school. So Chen Rui is my mom. Even before we started playing she had already decided what kind of character she wanted to be. She wanted to be a fairy with bat wings. So she forced this onto the character we created during game setup. Now she is supposed to be some guardian secretly protecting the Dartmoor Wizarding School.

I keep teasing her "butt wings, butt wings".