Saturday, October 22, 2016

buying things

2 Oct 2016. Chen Rui at Petaling Street, using her hand-operated fan bought earlier that day at Tian Hou Temple. Shee Yun has one, bought previously on one of our holiday trips.

Chen Rui saw this Totoro version at Petaling Street.

3 Oct 2016. Chen Rui saw this toy at Daiso, Mid Valley. Daiso is a Japanese 100-yen shop franchise. Here in KL their items are mostly priced at RM5.30 (RM5 + GST). This particular toy is two bubbles connected by a narrow tube. It has orange and blue beads, and the objective is to separate them into the two bubbles. Chen Rui played with it for a very long time, while Michelle, her parents and her brother's family shopped. She asked us to buy it for her, but we said no. One reason was we doubted she would be playing with it for long, so it would soon become an additional bit of clutter in the house. The other reason was we didn't want to say yes to everything the children asked for. I also said to her we should not spend money willy-nilly. Michelle's brother wanted to buy it for her, when he saw her playing with it so keenly. However I asked him not to. As parents, once we state a ruling, we should stick to it. Else we will lose credibility and authority. So eventually Chen Rui didn't get the toy. She didn't manage to complete the challenge either, despite spending much time on it. It was not easy to do.

Today Chen Rui asked me to play Spot It with her. At the time Teck Kang was here so I said no because I was catching up with him. Later, after I had sent Teck Kang back to the hotel, I played with her. It was quite exciting. I can play games which are more strategic with Shee Yun, but Chen Rui still plays simpler games with at most light strategy. Later in the day we also played Patchwork on the iPad. We may play more games tomorrow, since it will be just me and her at home. Shee Yun has a school trip, and Michelle needs to work.

I plan to do some drawing too though - the birthday cards for next year.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


现在孩子们的好几项补习都停了。Morris Allen的英文补习停了,就少了要老远去Bandar Utama的路程。Edubest的马来文补习停了,就空出了两段时间,因为她们以前是两个不同时段补的。现在礼拜六下午空出了时间,我们会比较flexible。不过孩子们还是常会功课做得很慢。看来补习不是主要问题。主要问题是她们自己不够专心做。有时候还是要做到礼拜天下午,甚至晚上,才做得完。晨睿的问题比较大,她可以真的很摸。两个孩子都是有待改善。晨睿喜欢做画画、美术的功课。如果有这一类功课,我们都会叫她最后才做,先把其他的做完。要不然她会一直用心在做美术,其他的都会忽略掉。




Saturday, October 08, 2016

family visit

Michelle's parents, and her brother's family was in town last weekend, to attend her grandmother's 90th birthday celebration. This was the first time her brother's whole family visited us in KL. We brought them around KL, visiting quite a few places. It was a busy weekend, but we did manage to cover a lot.

Yung Kian and Chen Rui are close and play together a lot. Yung En and Shee Yun are not as close to them. The younger ones are still playful. Yung En tends to be quiet and keeps to herself and her phone. She is very tall now. Quite unimaginable that she is still in Primary 6. She doesn't play with the other three children much now.

Sat 1 Oct 2016. We went to the aquarium at KLCC. Michelle and I didn't go in since we have been there before. Shee Yun and Chen Rui went in with the rest, since they were still interested. The eight of them also went up to the Twin Tower Sky Bridge, the bridge which connects the two towers. Michelle and I waited for them at the foot of the towers.

We went to Ikea in the afternoon. There was a horrible traffic jam, and the parking was full. Thankfully we managed to park along the main road, and the traffic jam was only for a short stretch when we left.

Sun 2 Oct 2016. The lunch celebration for Michelle's grandmother was at Pantai Seafood, Kayu Ara. Shee Yun and Yung Kian happily played with these swings when they saw them. Michelle's brother and I stayed with them and chatted. There weren't many customers during lunch time and this section at the front of the restaurant was deserted.

After lunch we went to Tian Hou Temple.

Shee Yun and Chen Rui have taken photos with these Chinese Zodiac signs statues before.

This was in December 2013.

This was in September 2012.

Chen Rui wanted to try the panorama feature of my camera, so I let her. This was the photo she took.

After Tian Hou Temple we went to Petaling Street (Chinatown).

Chen Rui was scolded by her teacher in class until she cried. She was scolded because a schoolmate reported to the teacher that she brought art materials to school to sell for profit. She is not one to cry easily. Normally when being scolded she just keeps quiet and in fact doesn't seem overly perturbed. So it was surprising to hear that she cried in front of the whole class after being scolded. She had never intended to sell goods for profit at school. In the past Michelle often prepared extra materials for her art class. Some of her classmates who forgot to bring their own materials asked her for the extra materials she had. She gave the materials to them. This happened quite regularly, so we told her that instead of giving away materials all the time, she was to charge her classmates for the materials at cost. This was not selling goods for a profit. This was just being fair. She has no obligation to be a materials supplier. Even if an item which costs 15 sen is sold at 20 sen, resulting in a small profit, that should not be treated as trying to do business at school. Thankfully Chen Rui was not upset for long. She told Michelle about the incident after school, but by the end of the day she was already back to her usual self. Maybe earlier.

We told Chen Rui not to sell art materials anymore, and not to give out materials freely anymore. Maybe one or two extra pieces is OK, but she should not be bringing a whole lot and become de facto supplier to her classmates. We explained to her that this incident should not be telling her not to help friends. Rules (which are imperfect) and penalties due to these rules should not change her values. We should keep the right values.

We wrote a letter to the teacher hoping to explain the situation and hoping the teacher would understand Chen Rui better. Unfortunately the letter probably caused more problems. I guess we should have anticipated that. To a teacher, receiving a letter from a parent would be perceived as a complaint or an accusation. Michelle received a call from the teacher and it was not a pleasant conversation.

That evening I called for a family meeting. I prepared a meeting agenda beforehand on a Google Drive document. This was probably the first time I conducted a family meeting. I wonder whether the children found it interesting. We had the meeting at Pizza Plus. The three of them had dinner there. By the time I joined them they had finished their food. After I ordered my food, we had time to spare, so we had the meeting there. I examined the events of those two days, including the fact that Chen Rui was penalised the second day for being late to assembly. Michelle always sends the children to school well before school started. Chen Rui was late in getting to the assembly hall because she waited for a friend who was late to school. That friend was not penalised, the teacher's reasoning being that it was the parents' fault for sending her to school late. Chen Rui was penalised because she had reached school early, so it was her fault for not going to the hall on time. I felt this was ridiculous.

After examining the sequence of events, I went through (a) what the children (i.e. including Shee Yun) should learn from these incidents, and (b) action items. I told them that teachers are humans too. They are not perfect. Good teachers have weaknesses too, and poor teachers have their strong points. Good teachers are not always right. Poor teachers are not always wrong. What we should try to do is to understand people, understand why they behave in certain ways. That will help us in dealing with them, managing them. I also explained to the children about core values we should have. The main action item for Chen Rui was of course to stop selling items. Apparently there is a school rule explicitly forbidding this. I can understand the rationale behind the rule, and I know it is not perfect and is not appropriate for every situation, but rules are there for a reason, and we should still respect them. Chen Rui should also stop selling her drawings. Previously we asked her to charge for her drawings, which she had been doing and giving to classmates for free, in a half-joking manner. It was partly because we felt her classmates were taking advantage of her. Her drawings of Pokemons were quite nice, so many of them asked her to draw for them. On this topic, she raised her hand to ask a question. She asked whether it was OK to decline a friend's request for a drawing. I said yes she has the choice. A friend asking a favour should not feel that he or she is entitled. Chen Rui should not feel obliged. Her time is hers. If she feels like spending her free time to play, or to do other things, she should not feel obliged to sacrifice her time to do favours for classmates.

I hope both the children learn something from the incident and from what we explained to them. I hope the incident did not dampen their spirits or their core values.

Recently Shee Yun likes to turn on the aircon in her room when doing homework. I told her not to do it, and use the fan instead, or bring her homework to the dining room which is cooler. We should try to save electricity, and money.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

warm water

Recently Shee Yun started drinking warm water. She boils water and then keeps it in a small thermos flask. She pours out some into the flask cap, and uses the cap as a small cup. I asked her why she started doing this, and why she now likes drinking warm water. She said she didn't know either. I'm curious.

6 Sep 2016. Shee Yun and Chen Rui said they found a golden hair on Chen Rui's head, and eagerly came to ask me to take a photo of it. They have found such golden hairs before, but I think this was the first time they asked me to take a photo.

It's not very obvious in the photo. It needs to be looked at in real-life and up-close. Or maybe a more powerful camera or lens is needed.

24 Sep 2016. There was a mid-autumn festival fun fair (游园会) at school, on a Saturday. The children wanted to go. We sent them there around 5pm. We stayed with them for a while, and left before 6pm, leaving the children by themselves to enjoy the fair, buy stuff and spend time with their friends. They had said they wanted to stay till 10pm, which was when the fireworks would be lit. Eventually they only stayed till about 8pm. We had asked them to bring a phone so that they could call us when they wanted to come home. I guess by 8pm they had seen all there was to see so they got bored.

Chen Rui brought her fan. Seeing the children bring their own handbags (or at least something like handbags) makes me feel they are really growing up fast into young ladies. They are no longer the little babies or toddlers relying on us to bring milk powder, warm water, milk bottle, water bottle, diapers, wet tissues, pacifier, stroller etc.

Shee Yun brought a book. She is quite the bookworm. Last time when going to her schoolmate's birthday party she also brought a book. She said it was just in case she got bored. It was a party. She was supposed to be participating in games or playing with friends. There is no doubt she is the bookish type. But that's not a bad thing. I'd rather she be a little bookish and enjoy spending quiet time reading, than be the kind of person who keeps socialising because she seeks the approval and attention of her peers. This book she is reading is also about magic, like the Harry Potter series.

Chen Rui bought cupcakes and milk tea. She only ate one cupcake at the fair. The chocolate on the other cupcake melted in the hot weather and she found it disgusting. So she brought it home and put it in the fridge. After that she forgot about it; and after one week, I threw the cake away.

Lanterns at Naam Kheung.