DIY Chinese Traditional Lanterns 制作中秋节传统灯笼

September 7, 2014 at 11:11 pm

The girls’ school has a lantern making competition, and being the sporting parents that we are, we decided to join in by making traditional lanterns.

After googling, checking out a friend’s father’s DIY lanterns photos on FB, buying the materials (i.e. cellophane paper, craft wire), our dining area was turned into a work shop. The hubs and I did the wire shaping, the girls drew and cut out the designs they wanted to stick on the lanterns, and I glued on the cellophane paper. The whole of last weekend was spent on this.

Zara wanted a rabbit shaped lantern, while Zaria who didn’t really care had a cuboctahedron shaped lantern just because we had a frame from an old lantern to follow.

I wasn’t good at smoothing out the cellophane paper. Sunning it didn’t work, and I was told I should blow it with a hot hair dryer after gluing on to smoothen it. Maybe next year.

But at least it’s functional!

After all the gluing was done I hung it to dry, the evening sun actually casted a beautiful shadow of the lantern on the ground.

In the night we tried lighting them up, and the girls were pretty happy with the results.

Did we win? The results will be out coming Friday, but it’s unlikely that we will as I’d seen the ones submitted by the others, and they were way more creative, or beautifully done than ours. Oh well, at least we did try.

Happy Mid Autumn Festival Everyone!

School Holidays – What A Child Can Do

May 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

So the parents’ nightmares school holidays have started.

This is what Zaria wrote in her journal yesterday.

So yes, she can do lots of fun things, but of course, mummy has to spoil their holidays by giving them work to do! That’s what mummies are for. 😛

Back To School Update 2

January 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm

How has school been after 2 weeks? If you are my FB friend, you’ll know that I’m pretty pissed with Zaria’s teacher. Here is what happened.

6th day of school (Wednesday 9th Jan) , and Zaria got caned! She didn’t want to tell us what happened, but I overheard her telling Zara about it.

After much coaxing during dinner, she told us while going to the toilet with her friend, they started playing, she gave the girl a punch, and the girl received it with clenched up feast. They were laughing at their games and WHACK, down came the cane, on her elbow, and on her friend’s.

After she related the incident, she had tears in her eyes. “That’s why I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay at home and learn myself. I’ll do worksheet on my own.”

We have to tell her we’ll monitor her teacher, and she had to tell us all about the scolding and caning she received and we’ll decide if the teacher is fair or just being mean. If the teacher is being mean, we’ll raise it to the principal.

Zaria's cane mark

Then today, Daddy went to speak to the teacher, just to tell her she should not caned anyone without first issuing warning, and she should not cane anywhere else except the palm. And guess what? The teacher denied! She said she didn’t cane Zaria.

If this only involved Zaria, maybe for some reason, Zaria just may have made that up. But she caned 2 kids! The other girl carpool in our car and they both related the incident to me (after much coaxing of course), and I confirmed the incident again when I picked them.

Since the teacher lied denied, we went to speak to the assistant headmaster about it, just to record the incident.

And….. Zaria told us over dinner that her teacher said sorry to her, “After daddy left, my teacher said Sorry yeah, Sorry yeah, 你这样乖,我做什么要打你 (you are so well behaved, why should I smack you).” o.O”
(Was she just being sarcastic for saying sorry? Or it was her way to admit it and apologise?)
Zaria then added, “I think my teacher is… “ (she made circles next to her ear with her pointer) o.O”

(Now don’t get me wrong. I think the girls’ school is a good school, small community, very good racial mix, and children come from all walks of life. The headmaster listens to feedback and take action. So if you’d asked me again, I would still have sent them there, unless of course I strike lottery and can afford private/international school.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not that Zaria likes school since day 1, with the above incident, she began asking me :
“Why can you stay at home when I have to go to school?”

“When is Standard One Finishing?”
“After jiejie’s birthday.”

“After Primary school is what?”
“Secondary school.”
“YAY! Then I can change school…. Got aircon one or not?”


And then one day, when I walked her to the classroom where her extra-curicular activity was held together with the other children. She whispered to me, “So much 帅哥 in this school.” (referring to all the handsome boys in school). That’s probably her motivation to go to school. 😛

*Mind her English, she speaks broken English unlike Zara.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How about Zara? She’s doing fine, she really takes care of her sister.

She will look Zaria up during recess to go to the canteen together, and will look her up after school to walk to the waiting area together. Their class rooms being next to each other help.

As our carpool group consists of her and 3 Std 1 kids, she’ll be the one leading them to the waiting area, leading them to their extra curicular activities. Sometimes she’s frustrated with this, “Why do the older one always have to be responsible for everything?” But she’ll still do it.

I Don’t Want To Go To School

January 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Zaria has started Std 1, and attended 3 days of school last week. Is she enjoying school? I don’t think so.

As I was getting them to bed just now (Sunday night), we had this conversation. Lucky for me, Zara can help to reason with Zaria most of the time.

Zaria : I don’t like Chen Lao-she (Chinese : Teacher Chen).
Me : It’s school Zaria. I can’t change the teachers in school. For your swimming class or music class, I can change. But I cannot change your teachers in school.
Zaria : But I don’t like her.
Me : Give her a chance.
Zaria : What? I’d given her 3 chances wut. (i.e. 3 days of school)
Me : If you really don’t like her, maybe you should talk to the headmaster.
Zaria : I don’t know how to speak in Chinese.
Me : The headmaster understand English.
Zaria : ….

(after a while)
Zaria : I don’t want to go to school. Why do I need to go to school.
Zara : The spam (Zaria has a protruding forehead and we said it’s her spam) on your head is filled with ideas and thoughts.
Me : And knowledge
Zara : If you don’t go to school, your SPAM will be empty.
Zaria : Then why should I go to Chinese school? You should send me to English school
Zara : Mummy cannot afford it.
Zaria : Then work work work work work.
Me : You will go and work?
Zaria : No.. you.
Zara : If mummy worked like this, she won’t have time to play with you. Or bring you to the park. No one will read to you at night.
Zaria : Then daddy bring me..
Zara : Daddy too have to work and work to send you to English school.
Zaria : Then Auntie Minerva plays with me.
Zara : Auntie Minerva will be too busy cooking.
Zaria : Then you don’t send me to school
Zara : Let me tell you something. (getting serious) You know, the government wants everybody to go to school. If you don’t go to school you know what will happen?
Zaria : What?
Zara : Mummy and Daddy will go to jail. So, do you want your parents to get locked up in jail, or do you want to go to school?
Zaria : I thought I’ll go to jail.
Zara : No.. You parents. Not you.
Zaria : Then.. ask the lawyer to help. o.O” (thanks to Kidzania, she vaguely knows what a lawyer is)
Me : Ask the lawyer to help with what?
Zaria : Ask the lawyer to protect us.
Me : *laugh*I don’t think the lawyer can help us.
Zaria : Is the lawyer more powerful or the government?
Me : The government.
Zaria : *frustrated* Why is the government so bossy?


After her school orientation, she told me this, “I’m still Chinese deaf you know, because I don’t know what the teacher is saying “

2nd day of of school she refused to get dressed, telling us, “Why do I need to go to school when all I get to do is SIT??!!”

It’s going to be a long 2013.

Comparing Kamdar Brand Uniform Vs Kiko Brand Uniform

December 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Most of you who read my earlier post, this and this maybe interested in this comparison.

Here is my take on Kamdar brand Uniform vs Kiko brand Uniform. Both are lasting. Zara had 2 Kamdar brand pinafores, and 1 Kiko brand pinafore, and her white blouses were all from Koko, all of which she wore for 2 years.

Just to compare the colour of the Pinafores.

From bottom to top. New Kiko band pinafore, Kiko pinafore which is 2 years old, Kamdar brand pinafore which is 2 years old.
Pinafore Colours

The 2 years old Kiko brand pinafore is laid on top of the new Kiko. The colour has faded quite a lot, but it’s still blue evenly.
Kiko Pinafore Colours

Kamdar brand pinafore on top of 2 year old Kiko brand pinafore. The blue in Kamdar pinafore is still vibrant.
Kiko vs Kamdar Pinafore Colours

Kamdar brand pinafore on top of new Kiko brand pinafore. The blue from Kamdar brand is still more vibrant.
Kiko vs Kamdar Pinafore Colours

Kamdar definitely has nicer blur pinafore, and last longer.

How does it fit the girl?

Zaria wearing Zara’s 2 year old Kamdar brand pinafore with back zipper (which Zara said it’s easier to wear and remove). The shoulder straps of Kamdar brand are thicker, I guess making the child look a bit sloppier if they have small shoulders.
Kamdar Pinafore Colours

Kiko brand pinafore has slightly smaller shoulder strap, so they fit nicer.
Kiko vs Kamdar Pinafore Colours

Price wise, Kiko brand pinafore is almost RM15 more expensive than Kamdar. So I guess, if you can make a trip to their shop on Jalan TAR, Kamdar will be a better deal.

(Kiko brand uniform can be bought from Jusco.)

What to Prepare For Standard One Round 2

December 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Last year, I wrote this post on What To Prepare For Standard One. This year, I have one to prepare myself, as Zaria will be in Standard One next year.

Using the experience I have with Zara, this is what I’d prepare for Zaria.

3 Sets Of School Uniforms.
I preferred Kamdar‘s uniform, as it’s cheap, and the colour is quite durable. However, this year, they started not selling uniforms in their branches (that’s located IOI Mall, Mid Valley Mega Mall) but only sold in their Jalan TAR shop.

So I bought Kiko instead, 3 sets for each of them. Why Kiko? And not Changgih? Changgih is slightly cheaper, but when I lifted up the fabric and looked through it against light, I saw that the cloth was not weaved evenly, i.e. some of the weaving was very close together, some part of the fabric the weaving was farther apart.

Moreover, Kiko has smaller size that fits Zaria.

As for the white blouse, we’d tried a couple of brand, and find Kiko brand has a nicer fit.

2 Pairs Of School Shoes to interchange.
Like Zara, I only bought 2 pairs of shoes for Zaria to interchange. Their feet grow very fast, and the shoes get worn very quickly as well. A pair would probably last a couple of months before I need to change again.

We went for Bata, just because we grew up wearing Bata too.
Bata School shoes

Under Protection Or Under Layer
As mentioned in my previous post, the girls will be wearing under protection under their pinafore. So we bought cheap tights from FOS, which we’ll alter and shorten so that they can wear as ‘under protection’.

Tights as Under Protection
Unrelated to going back to school, we stock up on white panties, which Parkson sells as part of the Going Back To School promo (RM8.90 for 3). I don’t know about you, but I have problem finding reasonably priced white panties for children their age.

Water bottle, Food Container
Zaria is more absent minded than Zara, so we’re not getting any new ones, but she’ll be using the ones she used in kindergarten.

We’d already bought her a set of colour pencils, new sharpener, 2B pencils (mechanical pencil I find is not suitable for Standard One), pencil case, colour pencil case (bought pouches with zips).

School Bag.
Now what is pending is her school bag. We’ll be getting her a SWAN trolley school bag just like Zara’s (which Zara will be using for another year).

What Happens If…..

April 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

You asked about Zara’s dark side? Here it is..

She worries too much.

Over school spelling/ting xie (听写)
Zara : I don’t think I have ting xie tomorrow. But what happens if I have?
Me : Did you check your gong ke biao (功课表/homework list).
Zara : But what happens if I copied wrongly?
Me : Did your teacher say there’s ting xie tomorrow?
Zara : No, he didn’t. But what happens if I heard wrongly? Then I get everything wrong? I’ll get smacked.
Me : If it’s not in your gong ke biao (功课表/homework list), and you didn’t hear your teacher say there’s ting xie, then there is no ting xie! OK!
Zara : But…..
Me : Zara, please… time double check your gong ke biao, and if your teacher says tingxie or something, write it down somewhere so you’ll remember.
Started shedding tears, kept very quiet, looked worried. o.O”

Over school homework 1.
Zara : Can you read the instruction and tell me if I need to colour the picture
Me : *read* No, it just asks you to write the sentence that’s all.
Started shedding tears, kept very quiet, looked worried.
Me : *impatient* What is it now?
Zara : What happens if I need to colour?
Me : The instruction didn’t ask you to colour!
Zara : What happens if I my teacher asked me to colour? Can you call him and ask? o.O”
Me : We only call teacher for important thing. This is not important.
Daddy : If you think you need to colour then colour.
Zara : What happens if I colour and my teacher didn’t want me to colour, then he scold me?
Daddy : If the instruction said no need to colour, and you went and colour, it’s doing extra work. Teacher won’t scold you for doing extra work.
Looked exceptionally troubled, then relieved.
Zara : I think I’ll colour lightly, if teacher didn’t want us to colour, I’ll just rub of the colour when I’m in school.

Zara's homework

Over school homework 2.
Zara : I need a photo from our holiday.
Me : Do you really need one? *read the instructions* Instructions says you either stick a photo, or draw a picture of you on holiday.We don’t have a photo printed, so you just draw.
Zara : What happens if my drawing doesn’t look real? Then teacher will beat me.
Me : You are only 7 yrs old, your teacher cannot expect you to draw something that look real.
Daddy : Ya, your teacher wont’ expect you to draw like Picasso or Van Gogh.
Ok, that settles it. She started drawing herself climbing a tree which she did during the March holidays. After finished drawing and colouring, she looked worried.
Zara : What happens if my teacher asked me where are my parents?
o.O” OMG!
Me : *patiently* Just tell him, we are watching you from afar, so we are not in the picture
Zara : What happens if he said, “你的爸爸妈妈在那里?做什么没有在图画里?”(where are your parents, why are they not in the picture) and scold me.
Me : *impatiently* Zara, your teacher is not unreasonable. Just tell him what I told you. Your parents are watching you. If you are so worried, then just draw 2 shadows of us watching you.
Zara : What happens if cannot, every body must show their faces?
Started shedding tears, kept very quiet, looked worried. o.O”
Me : *very impatiently* Zara, it’s not the end of the world. Your teacher doesn’t beat you or scold you for no reason ok? You won’t get scolding or beating for things like that. Please. Little thing you worry, little thing you worry. If you worried so much, next time just copy down all the instructions the teacher gives, then you won’t miss it.
Daddy : Next time, just take your friends’ phone number. Better still, take 2 friends. Then if you are not sure, just call them and ask.


I was expecting the next question, What happens if they are not home?” o.O”
But phew… luckily she didn’t start..


And no, her teacher is not really unreasonable. I’m not aware she’s been scolded or beaten for any homework related thing. So far, she’s been caned (she said lightly) on the palm because her nails were not clipped according to the teacher’s standard (not all the way to the skin), and Daddy has already gone to the school to tell the teacher to exercise more care in his punishment, teacher apologised and told Daddy he will.


Tell me, if your kid is like that and how you handle it?

What To Prepar For Standard One – What To Get

November 11, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Government loaned school books ready to be returned

One more week and it’s the end of Standard One for Zara, I’d also moved from one who was seeking advice last year this time to one who can tell others on what to prepare for Standard One (based on my own experience).

School Bags – Buy a good bag, but not too expensive
I’m not sure about Kebangsaan school, but for Chinese school, with the amount of books they have, it’s best to get a trolley bag. The school will put the Standard One kids on the ground floor anyway.

Unless your child is big size, it’s going to be difficult for them to manage a backpack no matter how back friendly it is. The books probably weigh 5~7Kg if not more, I think for a 7yr old, that’s too much weight to carry.

(My neighbour paid a lot for a good backpack, but after seeing how her daughter struggled on the first day with the big bag filled with books, she went shopping that same night to get her a trolley bag)

Think (at least) 400 children racing hurrying through corridors, halls, a couple of steps;
Think kids unzipping their bags, reaching for things in one shout of instruction (and when there’s any delay, they may get a stroke of cane).

Try out the zip, the retractable handle, see if they are easy to operate. Target for the bag to last the child for 1 year at least. Unless your child is the extremely careful, not too active kind, the bag will probably get very ‘charn’ (Chinese : worn out) come year end.

For Zara, who’s quite careful, but rather active (always racing her friends to get to the hall the fastest) this is how her bag looks like after a year (we gave it a wash during school holidays, or over long weekends). She’s already asked for a new bag for next year.

School Bag - see how worn out

School Shoes – At least 2 pairs to interchange.
I got Zara 2 pairs of cloth Kikilala shoes which is washable. She alternate between the 2 pairs. We wash them weekly, and apply those white shoe polish to whiten them.

I don’t think an expensive pair is required, as they will be running in fields, dusty basketball courts, and their feet grows so quickly.

We had to buy a new pair for Zara a month back because one of her pairs just ‘disintegrated’. This is what the surviving pair looks like. Definitely need new ones next year.

Surving pair

School Uniforms
Unless you are on a tight budget, buy something which fits the child (oversize uniforms and very faded uniforms make the child look sloppy). We bought ours from Kamdar, nice cutting, and didn’t cost a lot. If I remember correctly, it was ~RM20 for the pinnafore, and ~RM10 for the blouse, we got Zara 3 sets to interchange.

By end of the year, the blue has faded a bit, the skirt has reached the knee (was slightly below the knees starting this year). Still presentable, but I think Daddy will want to get new ones for her to make her look smart.

She had 20 mechanical pencils given to her for Christmas last year. None she could use because the teachers only allowed normal pencils for her Standard. We got her lots of 2B pencils instead.

We got her a nice pencil case, but after a while, she started using her reward points or sweet talks (Daddy) to get other pencil cases, and when she was given allowance, started buying them from pasar malam or the school bookshop. So I guess, they don’t need a fancy one to start the year. (Now, she has one for school, one for music class, one for English class, one for ….. I lost track).

Drinking bottles, food containers
We just get the Bros ones. Don’t want them to get something too expensive and when she looses it we get heartache.

We got Zara a small wallet to put some coins and her allowance. She leaves it in her bag, and sometimes money goes missing. Not sure she miscalculated her spending or someone has been pinching from her wallet.

When I asked her to put the wallet in her pocket and bring it every where, she said she’s afraid it may fall off from her pocket. Her next wallet will be one which comes with a strap and hook which she can hook on to her belt.

Book Wrapping
Don’t be like me, cutting up big sheets of PVC to wrap her books (took me 20mins to wrap 1 book), unless you enjoy wrapping book. They have book sleeves available which you can buy and then just slot the books in. The books come in similar sizes anyway.

There….. Hope you find this useful to get all the things ready for Standard One.


May 11, 2011 at 10:08 pm

(You’ll probably be able to relate to this more if you know Chinese)

After more than 4 months in a Chinese school, how is Zara doing in her Chinese? I would say she’s doing well, but her Chinese is probably at the level of a 5year old native speaker. I’ll quote some examples later.

What language do they speak in school? She told me when she’s in her class, she and her friends speak in Mandarin; but once outside the class, they will start conversing in English. Her school has many English speaking kids, so this is good, as she still gets to speak English while improving her Chinese. However, the down side is, she started mixing 2 languages in her speech, unconciously.

She told the teacher, an Indian, from the maths centre, “Teacher, I got 一百分for my maths in school.” She repeated a few times and couldn’t comprehends why the teacher didn’t understand her, not knowing she said, 一百分 instead of one hundred.

So to make her concious of only speaking 1 language at a time, I implemented a system for her and her (carpool) friend, James, in the car. Each day, they are to speak only 1 language, either English or Chinese, fully, on our journey home. On an English day, should they or even myself accidentally use any Chinese words, we’ll have to pay a RM0.10 fine, and vice versa.

Initially, we collected a lot of fines, but after a while, I saw them making a concious effort to speak only 1 language. This helps to improve their Chinese proficiency too, because on Chinese day, they’ll try very hard to find the word they need to describe something.

Here are some “Chinese Day” conversation taken on our journey home.

Zara : 今天,有个男孩子…err.. muak muak 我的朋友Ohana. [Today, there’s a boy who muak muak my friend Ohana] (obviously she doesn’t know how to say kiss in Chinese)
Me : 今天, 有个男孩子吻我的朋友 [Today, there’s a boy who kissed my friend] (corrected her)
Zara : (repeated) 吻我的朋友 [Kissed my friend]
Me : Ohana是马来人吗?[Is Ohana a Malay?]
Zara : 不是, 她是中文. [No, she’s Chinese language] o.O” (She’s supposed to say 华人or中国人the words for Chinese people)

She was playing this hand game with James.
Zara : 公鸡, 母鸡, 小鸡, kay-poh-jee [rooster, hen, chick, kay poh jee]
Me : kay-poh-jee 不是中文来的,kay-poh-jee中文是八卦 [kay poh jee (nosy) is not Mandarin, kay poh jee in Mandarin is 八卦]
James : 啊我知道, Bak-gua [Oh, I know, Bak-gua (BBQ pork slices in Hokkien)] o.O”

I asked James if he likes Chocolate cake.
James : 我不喜欢, 因为那个蛋糕很….我不会讲那个字, 我可以讲英文吗? [I don’t like, because the cake is very …. I don’t know how to say the word, can I speak English?]
Me : OK
James : Very strong (concentrated)
Zara : 哦我知道那个字, “很有力”. [oh, I know the word, it’s very strong (in strength).] o.O” She doesn’t know how to say the word 浓 (the Chinese word for concentrated).


March 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you’d probably recalled posts about Zara and her very first boy friend; a boy who’s captured her heart for 2 years. Even though on her last year of kindergarten, the boy has already went to Standard 1 and attended another school and they never met again, Zara still thought of him as her boy friend. o.O”

After being in Standard 1 for 1 month +, she came home 1 day declaring she has found another ‘boy friend’. When I went to pick her up the following day, she excitedly pointed out the ‘boy’, R, to me. R sits several rows away from her, is really cute, looks like a goodie-two-shoes, with a radiant smile and deep dimples. Well, if I was her age, I’d probably like the same boy too.

A couple of times when I was there to pick Zara up, after the last bell rang, I saw them running out to the waiting area together Zara chasing after him to the waiting area. o.O”

In the car, she likes to share with me what happened to R and herself, here are some to share.

Zara : “Mom, today I kissed R.”
Me : *have to sound like it’s not a big deal* “You did?”
Zara : “Ya, I did.”
Me : “Where did you kiss him?”
Zara : “Well, I blew him kisses.” (and she showed me how she did it, 1st kissing her palm, then blowing the kiss out)
Me : (a bit shocked, but found it funny too) “And what did he do?”
Zara : “He dodged them, like this and like this.” (moving her body left and right) And she smiled, like it’s no big deal he dodged her kisses. o.O”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zara : “Mom, every day I walked out to the hall with R after school”
Me : “You walked side by side?”
Zara : “Oh, well, he ran really fast, and I just chased after him and keep up with him.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Me : “Zara, you said R is your boy friend, does he treat you like his girl friend?”
Zara : “Ya, he does, he walks with me after school.” (more like she chased after him) o.O”
Me : “And you are his only girl friend?”
Zara : “No, he has 3 girl friends”
Me : “And you are fine with that?”
Zara : “Ya, I’m fine. Because he’s not married yet so it’s ok to have so many girl friends.” o.O”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And the best one…. yesterday on our way home from school.
Zara : *happily*“Today R talked to me.”
Me : “Oh, what did you talk about.”
Zara : “I touched him, and then he told me 不要摸我 (Don’t touch me).” *laughed*
(Faint! This is ‘talk’?)
o.O” o.O” o.O”

But…….. I’m amazed at her confidence, and her perserverence, and the way she looks at things light heartedly. Way to go my girl!

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