So the launch of Colony @ Eco City has come and gone (two weeks ago) and I’m finally getting around to blogging about it! T____T I haven’t really been writing much about it so this post is gonna be it ok hold on to your seats wtf.
We’ve been working on this since last December so it’s been like 7 months in the coming!
This project was quite different from our first one, when honestly I had no idea what I was doing. I thought this would be easier, having gone through it once before. As usual I was wrong. Lol.
The first Colony used to be a serviced office before we took it over. All we had to do really, was renovate and furnish it. Sure, we added facilities and equipment, upgraded the Internet and things like that, but everything was mostly set up already.
For Eco City, we had a completely blank space. Only concrete walls and floor and exposed piping. So we got to work. We first submitted our plans for approval from DBKL and Bomba (City Council and Fire Department)… but first I had to go talk to engineers too for drawing up the plans. My first time dealing with anything like this, but the engineer was so nice he walked me through the entire process, step by step. I understood then, but my sieve-like memory has forgotten some of it now. -_-
After that came the electrical drawings, the plumbing drawings, fire safety drawings, data points, airconditioning, flooring, furnishing….
All these came from our awesome design team ok. I merely nodded and trusted Buddha WTF.
Then came the fun part – design.
When we first secured the space, we were ecstatic – huge floor to ceiling windows, tons of natural light, nice spacious square shape. It even faced a hill which had a river running towards us. #goodfengshui It’s also bigger than our KLCC location and Fatty and I imagined it would be our flagship location.
So since it’s Colony… what theme would be better than a (British) Colonial theme? I have no idea how other designers work but for me, it really helps if I have a strong theme in mind to allude to. Because I like a lot of things wtf and I don’t want to stray off track hahaha. A theme helps remind me and keep me focused I guess.
I usually try to strike a balance between ‘homey’ and ‘comfortable’ and ‘luxurious’ for Colony so I felt this theme matched the purpose as well. Colonial style decoration would be grand enough, yet toned down enough for people to relax in it.
This was our first artist’s impression.
It’s nice! But it looks like The Majestic. Or Fullerton in Singapore. When I thought colonial, I totally forgot that it’s a popular theme for hotels in this region hahaha.
I thought it needed a bit more character, or something to change it up a bit. Working on Colony, I learned that I like contrasts in design, and this design was too straight in getting to its destination. Does that make sense?
I asked, how about adding some unexpected colors? Like pink?
*more poker face*
*puts saline drops in eyes*
I removed the fuchsia and replaced it with pastel pink. And eliminated the Buncho yellow.
Results were much better! We also added a whole bunch of elements traditionally associated with colonial style: a lot of greenery in the form of big leafed plants like banana and palm, blue and white Chinese porcelain, brass fixtures, beautiful old books, and rattan.
And here’s the final result! 🙂
Here’s the cafe area. The cafe in Eco City is run by The Embassy, who have an outlet in Starling Mall too.
We chose a gorgeous dull mint color for the cafe which contrasts so well with the pink! ID was skeptical about too many colors but I love itttttt.
We did marble topped tables for the old school charm and rattan backed chairs.
The lounge area where people can chill, have discussions or hot desk.
The day beds on the right are my pride and joy. T___T I kept thinking in the initial design drafts that the ‘colonialism’ wasn’t coming out strong enough. I’m so glad I saw these canopy beds on Pinterest hahahaha. Cos they really make the space! This pic was taken before the canopies arrived so I might update this later.
Designer customized the beds for seating; I imagined full on beds but these are much better cos I don’t want people to have to put their feet up when they sit down la hahaha can’t be too comfortable wtf.
Details: we put in standing louvers, painted black. When I was Fighter’s age, I lived in my grandparents’ Colonial terrace house in Penang which had louvered windows so this is so nostalgic for me. 🙂
Our throws are cased in mostly botanical prints or animal skin prints. For rugs we used handwoven rattan-like rugs.
Spin behind the cafe a bit. Lockers for our Reserved Desk guests (who don’t have locked drawers for their belongings) are on the left. Straight in front is the kids’ playroom.
The kids’ room includes a nursing room! The cushion is so apt ok. When your nips are bleeding and you’re putting cabbage leaves on your boobs to stop the clog, remember what the cushion says wtf.
Anyway yellow armchair for momma to sit, next to it are appropriate baby supplies – diapers, wet wipes and even nursing pads thoughtfully provided by Applecrumby and Fish. And changing table on the left!
Here’s the playroom! Walls are done in customized wallpaper. Picket fence is there to corrall off screaming and running lolol.
Inside we have a slide, a dolls’ house, and a city scape set up…
And a toy kitchen on the other side. All from Taobao LOL GOOD BUYS LEH. Sorry I don’t know where to get it cos ID got everything.
The highlight is this wtf. There was a little bit of space under the stairs outside so we broke it in and created this little nook. Then Katrine created a house facade around it and filled it with beds, cushions and lots of stuffed animals. I think it’s the critters’ favorite part of Colony actually.
Back out again. Another view of the lounge and Reserved Desks area.
Phone booths are done up in pink! One of my favorite details here.
What a phone booth at Colony @ Eco City looks like.
Inside we have an old fashioned writing desk and chair, with a Persian style rug on hardwood floor. We filled it with cushions, throw blankets and furry to reduce any echoing that could come from phone calls or video conferences. ^^
This nook is our Instagram corner. Hahahah. The pink is a print we got from Shutterstock and blew up LOL. Cos customizing a wallpaper was too expensive wtf. #renohacks
Our conference room. Fits 14 people! Our meeting rooms are always named after famous explorers or trailblazers, so for this Colony, our conference room is called Battuta, for Ibn Battuta.
People who studied sejarah should know la ok hahahaha. One other meeting room is called Murasaki for Lady Murasaki Shikibu, who was a lady in waiting in Japan, and wrote The Tale of Genji, considered the first ever novel in the world! *nerd* And the third is called Armstrong for Neil Armstrong, who was the first man on the moon.
This is our event space. When there are no events, this area will be used for just hanging out or hot desking.
When there are events though, the furniture can be moved around to accommodate the style of event. I tried to choose lighter, individual pieces for easier shifting.
Ooh one of my favorite spots too! We ordered these steamer trunk tables from China and they got lost at sea FML. I was going crazy cos I thought we were gonna launch with no tables but luckily they came in time! I love them so much I got two smaller ones for our bedside tables at home.
Ordered this chair cos I thought it was really unique but now I suddenly see it everywhere. -_-
Here’s the entrance to our private office suites!
Flooring is in black and white tile for a retro feel.
The pictures I chose all also got colonial theme one! We have a lot of old maps, tropical animal portraits and vintage photos of British colonial scenes.
This is a special room, called the Jamestown Suite. Named after one of the first British colonies, it’s a glammed up luxe version of a normal Colony office.
We outfitted it with wallpaper, hardwood floors, a Chesterfield couch, TV screen…
A Marshall speaker, and smart home capabilities. You can basically control the curtains, music, TV and lights with Google Home. ^^ For special clients only hehehe.
I added this pug which is damn random but damn cute ok hahahaha. Apt cos Murasaki in Japanese means purple and his shades got purple there wtf.
The pantry (and a mop).
Nap room which you can book to take a quick break.
I also made a video tour! I shot it while some of our furniture wasn’t even in yet though but just to give you a guys a sense of the place. Also includes Fighter and Penny’s reaction to the kids’ playroom hahaha.
It’s the middle of the year and as every parent of school going children knows, it’s report card dayyyyyyy.
I’m the kind of mom who gets excited over her kids’ progress reports so F my kids’ lives especially if they don’t do well next time hahaha. I walk Penny right in to her classroom and chat with her teachers most days, but Fighter’s school is a lot bigger – every day I just drop him off at the entrance and rush to send Penny to school after that, so I never get to talk to his teachers. Parent teacher chat would be the first time I get to really talk to them!
This year was also interesting because it’s Penny’s first proper year of school so it’s also her first school report ever.
Penny’s progress report
Compared to Fighter I can see Penny is naturally more graceful and athletic la hahaha. But the funny thing was, Teacher told me that when they practiced balancing the ping pong ball, they only noticed how perfectionist Penny is and how determined she is to do things correctly. To her, the whole point was to not drop the ball so she walked unbearably slow. Lol.
Teacher encouraged her to walk faster so she obeyed and ended up dropping her ball and getting mad at the teacher for forcing her to walk faster hahahaha. When she resumed, she walked at her snail’s pace again hahaha.
Not only does Penny understand classroom routines and teacher’s instructions, she is also very good at bossing her friends around and forcing them to obey the teacher WTF. Hahahaha.
It again reinforced how competitive Penny is; she’s memorized the routines so when she knows something is going to happen, she rushes to be the first to line up, receive things, go to the playground, whatever it is she must be first wtf. So much so that the teachers have had to pull her back a little to give the other kids a chance. :X
On the other hand, the teachers in school have taken to calling her ‘class monitor’ cos she helps her teachers get the class in form, calling them out when they fall out of line, helping her friends keep their water bottles, etc.
She’s a perfectionist when it comes to getting her work done. Most apparent in their arts and crafts, of which they do a lot. The teacher usually shows the class an example of how their artwork should look like, and the kids have to do their best to follow the instructions.
Other kids just listen one time and then do it. Not Penny. She watches as the teacher demonstrates, then while she’s doing her work, she carefully refers back to the sample to make sure she’s got it right.
Check out her bumble bee above. I couldn’t have done it better wtf.
And see this display of Humpty Dumptys on brick walls. Guess which one is hers. Lolol.
Teacher also told me she got damn a lot of admirers in class OMG. Like nearly every boy likes her and wants to sit with her OMG OMG.
I asked, huh, why her!? Teacher said, well maybe cos the other girls in class are boisterous and active, while Penny is soft spoken and demure.
Say what. Whose daughter are you talking about wtf. At home Penny is damn bossy and loud mouthed and active can?
Well apparently she’s not like that at school hahahaha super cheat people.
What the teacher said is true though. Every few weeks she will tell me who’s her boyfriend and it’s always a different name WTF. *rubs temples* Although to her ‘boyfriend’ literally means a friend who’s a boy la.
And the mother of a very sweet little boy, J, told me how her son counted out Peppa Pig cookies to keep to give to Penny in school cos he knows she likes Peppa Pig. *rubs temples harder*
TL;DR: Penny is doing very well at school! She’s competitive and does her best in every task. She’s slightly obsessive about being neat and putting things away but I take it as a good thing. ^^ She loves story time and speaks one of the best out of her whole class (which I feel is cos she has an older sibling while every other kid there is the oldest or only child in their family), although she can’t pronounce her own name yet and keeps saying her name is “Banana-pee” HAHAHAHA.
Fighter’s progress report
In Fighter’s case, we received their report cards first before we met their teachers. Fighter very conscientiously informed me to check his report and that I have a lot of “homework” to do ie inspect his report and sign it.
Either he’s very naive to the ways of the world, or he must have thought he did very well. LOL.
This is his English report. For some context, star = excellent, triangle = average/meet requirements, circle = needs work. However, the teacher told me that for the first semester, they usually rate triangle so there will always be room for improvement in Semester 2. So I’m guessing that if they get a star in the first sem, means they excellent until the teacher cannot deny wtf.
Fighter’s English is okay la got a few Excellents and the rest are average. As should be la since English is his first language.
BM he has some things that need work: naming objects around him in Malay… actually only that one wtf. I feel not bad too considering that this is the first year he’s even been exposed to Malay!
Chinese. Jeng jeng jeng. The things he needs to improve are: able to express own needs with simple sentences, and willing to speak in Mandarin, which to me are the same thing la. Also cannot write Chinese characters correctly haha.
I already know his writing not good cos his fine motor skills also not that good la wtf.
I was surprised though that he wasn’t speaking in Mandarin cos he actually seems to really enjoy Chinese. I asked him and he said he was too shy to speak hahaha.
Okay the only thing he needs help with is controlling his emotions. :X
I also sort of knew this already cos quite often (although recently not as much anymore) this boy would be all okay in the morning and in the car. But when we arrive at the school gates, he’d give me sad puppy eyes and dramatically grasp my hand before reluctantly getting down. O_o FML la hahahaha. Sometimes he’d even be teary eyed so I supposed that was why he failed this aspect lolol.
Cognitive development – apparently cannot count down from ten to one wtf. But I dunno if this was graded some time back cos when I asked him to do it for me, he did it with ease.
No problems with self care or computer skills!
*buries face in hands*
This was the area he needs the most improvement in. All I have to say is he completely takes after me HAHAHA.
The only things he can do absolutely well is walk stairs one foot at a time and it’s cos we have stairs at home. He can also put on his shoes and that’s cos I’m too lazy to bend down all the time hahahaha.
When I talked to his teacher, she told me that Fighter is the only kid that when he runs she pays full attention cos she’s so scared he’ll fall down. O_O When he runs (or walks) apparently sometimes his feet don’t even face straight so he trips over himself.
I had a revelation then. Is that why I’m always tripping myself?!
Child’s character is super spot on: sociable, easy going, inquisitive…. and anxious. T____T
At school waiting for my turn to talk to the teacher.
I’ll summarize what the teacher told me here:
- Fighter’s test results are actually really good. He had full marks for most things and those he didn’t get, the most he missed is one or two questions. I actually thought the teacher fed them the answers until she confirmed that those were tests and she didn’t.
- Fighter is the most focused child in the whole class. O_O Apparently he’s the only kid who can sit still an entire lesson and not take his eyes off teacher. Which is why he learns so quickly and well – because he’s very good at concentrating. I wouldn’t have guessed!
- Part of the reason why he’s so focused in class could be cos he’s scared the teacher will scold him though wtf. He has never been scolded or punished cos he’s so well behaved but apparently he lives in fear that teacher will scold him cos she’s always scolding other boys wtf.
- Usually the girls are more guai, so Teacher lets them go off to recess or wherever first while she scolds the boys/waits for the boys to calm down. So because Fighter identifies as a boy, his lower lip will start quivering and his eyes will turn red… until Teacher sighs and says, no not you Jude. You can go ahead with the girls. Then he’ll nod sniffingly and go off with the girls. HAHAHAHA WHY OH WHY.
- Socially, he plays with other children but sticks the closest to Chase.
- When he doesn’t know how to do something, he doesn’t even try but goes to ask Teacher immediately. He does this at home with me too which annoys me cos he doesn’t even try! He has low confidence in his drawing skills and honestly his friends draw way better than him cos I can see he’s not very interested in coloring and drawing in the first place. Did not get in from me okay I am actually very good in art wtf.
- He cries a lot in school. I didn’t know this and I was slightly worried to hear. Teacher said he really is quite anxious and would cry over things like forgotten pencils or handkerchiefs. I’ve seen this side of him at home but didn’t realize he was like this in school too. It’s like he panicks over the tiniest thing that isn’t 100% correct and cannot see reason already. T_T I don’t know how to fix this also to be honest.
- Teacher has been reassuring him and I’ve been doing the same at home la so at least I know I’m on the right track wtf. He has been improving, although Teacher said the other day she was just doing her teaching thing, when suddenly she heard a loud wail then someone burst into tears.
It was Fighter wtf. The kids were tasked to draw and color a vehicle each, and the teachers would take each drawing and paste it into a mural on the classroom wall. Fighter was drawing a van and apparently his friend said his drawing sucked LOLOL so he cried omg.
I went outside to check out his van and indeed it’s very weird cos it has legs WTF. Oh well Dali drew melting clocks okay what do you guys know about art.
TL;DR: Fighter is academically very bright, yet sensitive, anxious and clumsy wtf.
I thought it was pretty interesting though that both my children are fussed about getting things correct and perfect. The difference is that Penny is determined to create a perfect specimen and she makes sure she does that. Fighter wants to get it right too, but if he doesn’t have the confidence, he gives up without even trying. Maybe because better to not try and not fail, than to try and fail?
In that way, he reflects me exactly. I too am used to always doing well academically, yet I’m afraid of reaching beyond my comfort zone because I’m scared of failure. There are so many things I want to do but don’t because I’m scared to fail. It’s quite jarring seeing my flaws in my son.
Maybe that’s what parenting is about though. Learning how to raise a good, well rounded person, and learning more about yourself as you go along.
Wow I don’t even know where to start. And I definitely don’t have an AudCategory for this lol.
So a couple of months back, JCI invited me to be a speaker for their event.
On ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Me. To give a talk on being an entrepreneur. *trembles *shivers *shakes *bites nails
Actually it’s cos they couldn’t get Fatty so they asked me LOL.
I was very nervous. I said no. I could not be a speaker but I didn’t mind being a panel judge for their New Entrepreneur Convention, which was teams competing to come up with the best business idea to solve current problems in the market.
Fast forward to a week before the event. Work was cranking up (and I’ve more or less abandoned my blog T___T), we were in our last building stages for Colony Eco City so I hadn’t given much thought to the event. Nothing to prepare anyway since I wasn’t going to be speaking.
But then a week before I noticed… that I was the only female speaker.
And I wasn’t even really speaking. ://///
And then I started hearing from people: DMs from my followers about how they were planning to attend to listen to me speak, people telling Fatty or me props for being the only female speaker.
Met a bunch of JCI people at Colony to prep for the talk too, and they also said a lot of people were looking forward to hearing me speak. T_T
I am a blight on women everywhere wtf. Why was I the only female speaker yet I declined the opportunity to say something? Did I have nothing important to say? Were my words less important then the men’s? Lol. Ego and the Mount Holyoke feminist in me dictated that I should speak so I contacted the organizers, who said the schedule had been fixed but they could let me have five minutes.
So in the end, I did it. I got up in front of hundreds of people and delivered a short speech about *ahem* entrepreneurship. (That’s Colony behind me wtf.)
With Jin, the organizing chairperson and Fatty. I just noticed I’m wearing the same dress I wore for another panel recently FML. Cos the dress is on point and formal enough but also made of sweater material so it’s also warm enough I get super cold one and have to wear a jacket some mornings. In Malaysia wtf.
Oh here’s another photo of me with an ugly neck wtf this is why I hate official photos.
Er being critical of people as a panel judge.
Real non official photo.
But actually I felt like this the whole time wtf.
The reason why I didn’t want to speak in the first place was because I didn’t feel qualified to speak — I don’t feel like a real entrepreneur and don’t identify as one either. I felt I had nothing significant or inspiring to share. So when I really got down to speak, I told Fatty Imma just be myself and say exactly that.
Fatty was horrified wtf.
“You know how I’m honest and pretty self-deprecating in my blog? I think I will speak that way too. To, you know, be true to myself.”
“What!? No you can’t do that. These people don’t know you. They’d just wonder what you were even invited for! And you have to say something. What’s the point of coming all the way here just to be a judge? You’re not contributing anything and you’re wasting your time.”
Ok calm down dude hahaha.
In the end…. Fatty gave me an introduction. O_O Slightly shy cos nobody else came with their own personal emcee lolol but he wanted to give the audience some context in case I say stupid things about myself wtf.
What I ended up saying was this:
“Hi my name is Audrey Ooi. I’m a blogger and I’ve been blogging at fourfeetnine dot com for the last…. 14 years (O_O). Within the last year though I’ve been working on a coworking space called Colony with my husband Tim.
“As you guys already know, I don’t have an official slot here. I asked JCI not to give me a speaking slot because I don’t feel qualified to speak on entrepreneurship. I’ve only been trying my hand at it the last year and I definitely don’t identify as an entrepreneur or business person also. In fact I think most people here (it being an entrepreneurs conference) probably have more lessons and experience to share than me. But then I thought that should be precisely the reason why I should speak here.
“I never wanted to be in business. I don’t have the typical personality for it – to run your own business a person is usually self motivated, passionate… a go-getter. I am none of the above hahahaha. I am easy going, chill and lazy so I just didn’t think I have what it takes.
“The past year has been a huge learning curve though. It’s been very interesting and I learned so much. One of the things I learned is that… in business you don’t have to be good at everything. If you ask me to run Colony I think it straight die LOL. I really wouldn’t be able to do it. So what I learned is that entrepreneurship is teamwork. Tim and our GM, Nitaya handle the finances, the operations, the investors… all the boring stuff. And I’m free to do the fun things that I’m good at – the conceptualization and creating the spaces itself. And together we’ve created this company.”
(Honestly Tim coached me a lot for this speech wtf. Credit really goes to him.)
I still don’t feel qualified. I still don’t identify as an entrepreneur and I doubt I ever will. (same like how I don’t identify as an influencer wtf.) But I’m glad I got up there and spoke anyway. Cos even if you think you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re still doing it anyway. Does that make sense?
Oh and also the kiasu feminist in me wanted to make sure women had a voice wtf. So many inspiring female role models out there leh I’m sure they have great stories to share.
Thank you to JCI for giving me the opportunity. Thank you to Fatty and my friends who pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. And thank you to the audience for being so nice and lenient on me hahahaha. I’ve spoken to audiences before but never to such a big crowd. And usually about fashion or parenting or even blogging, but never about this topic. I actually felt quite accomplished for the rest of the day. :)))
This here, folks, is a Google Home. (I’m linking it here not cos I’m sponsored but so that I don’t need to explain what it is hahaha)
Karthik gave it to us as a gift cos you know he works at Google and so he’s this huge Google advocate.
Google Home is basically the Google version of Siri or Alexa and you can hook it up so it’s connected to and controls your household functions. We haven’t done much to it yet so it’s so far hooked up to our TV only.
But you can still do quite a bit with it. You can speak to it and ask it questions. And of course we use it to turn on Netflix or certain movies for the kids. There’s also a game called Akinator where you think of a character or person and Google basically asks a bunch of yes-no questions which you’re supposed to answer, and through some elimination algorithm, guesses correctly your person.
Fighter loves this game. So far he’s asked Google, and Google has guessed correctly probably the only two famous people he knows – Superman and Psy. Hahahahah.
Penny doesn’t understand this yet wtf.
This is not a story about Google Home. This is a Funny Fat Her Story (see blog categories wtf).
So my parents were over the other day and Fatty was showing them our Google Home. He suggested they play Akinator so my mom went first. I can’t remember who she picked already but as usual Google Home got it right and everyone was laughing and amazed with it.
Then suddenly my dad piped up. “Okay okay my turn! I got a good one. Fighter will love this.”
He proceeded to play Akinator and answer the questions Google posed to him ….. until I realized that the person he was thinking of was Fighter WTF.
“Eh Daddy is your person Fighter!?”
“WTF you’re not supposed to pick a person that nobody knows!!!! How is Google supposed to guess who is Fighter!?”
“Huh we know him what.”
OMG HAHAHAHAHAHA I was super annoyed but also cannot stop laughing hahahahaahha.
Some more when Google asked, “Is this person on Youtube?”, my dad answered, “Yes” because of my vlogs WTF HAHAHAHAHA LAUGH DIE ME.
And you know the best part is? Because I was berating my dad that he needs to pick someone famous, for a few days after that Fighter has been asking me: “Mommy, why am I not famous? How to become famous?” Thanks dad.
And that is a Funny Fat Her Story for you.
Sorry I haven’t been blogging! I think this is my longest hiatus yet. I’ve been super super busy and when I had time I just wanted to watch Westworld or The Handmaid’s Tale you can blame TV for my absence wtf.
But this week is the last week before our deadline to finish Colony Eco City! Watch out for a blog post or another vlog when it’s done. Until then babai.
P/S: If you still want to see what
I’m the kids are up to, there’s always Instagram Stories! @fourfeetnine yo.
Video challenge: Kids do my makeup!
Any other suggestions? 😀
The title is self explanatory but our house was burgled recently! And yea, I didn’t know it until a day later. O_O
On Friday night, Fatty and I went for dinner and a movie. We got home right before the clock struck midnight. As usual, I went to check on both kids whose rooms are downstairs. Both of them sleeping peacefully. Then I took my laptop from the dining room table and headed upstairs to our room.
Right in the middle of my bed, I saw this.
My handbag was sitting in the middle of my bed. I haven’t used this bag for a year or two and it’s always been sitting on a shelf in my closet. I was out most of the day and when I was at home, I was downstairs with the kids mostly. I remember going upstairs briefly though before I left the house for dinner, around 7.30 pm. I was meeting Fatty for dinner and went up to get some eye drops for him from a drawer in our dressing area. I probably went straight in and turned on the light in the closet instead of our bedroom. So I didn’t see if the bag was already there before I went for dinner.
I picked it up and inspected the inside. Nothing but a dust bag.
3TFeeling slightly weird, I headed to our dressing area. Two days before I had received a huge box of goodies from Shiseido, and I knew those were sitting in a tray on my dressing table. My parents had also come over that day and my mom had passed me a stack of angpaus from her relatives over CNY which she had forgotten about. I remember seeing that morning that our helper Dada had placed the angpaus in the tray together with the Shiseido stuff.
Now the stack of angpaus was missing.
I also had another angpau filled with petty cash that was on my table. The angpau packet was still there, but it was empty.
I noticed a few other things. Another one of my handbags on my shelf, I remember leaving a RM50 note in it for emergencies. The money was missing. There was a stray ring on the floor, next to my wardrobe. The ring was costume jewelry, but I kept it in an acrylic accessories drawer next to my dressing table. It looked like someone had ransacked my accessories drawer and the ring had flown out, but when I checked my jewelry, nothing was missing.
And the worst thing of all. I kept a little velvet pouch in my makeup drawer that contained a gold bangle that my mom had given me when I got married. T_____T It has a lot of meaning to me cos my mom had the exact same bangle but bigger, when I was growing up and I always associated it with my mom, femininity and elegance. And when I got married, Mummy Ooi got it for me. T3T In the pouch was also a gold screwdriver that I used to tighten the screws on another bangle I wear. Both were gone.
At first I was confused, thinking that maybe I had taken out the pouch by myself and forgotten. I couldn’t believe that my bangle would be taken and felt like it should still be in my drawer. Nothing else was amiss, and the kids and our helpers were sleeping peacefully.
Was it our helpers!? I opened my CCTV app on my phone and started to watch through the whole day – hours of footage. O_O The thought that it could be my helpers was intensely troubling considering that we treated them like friends and family; they had worked with us for years and I trusted them completely. The CCTV footage didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, but who else could it be? And why would they leave my bag on my bed when it was so suspicious? Did one of them want to frame the other or something!? I ended up sleeping at 3 am cos I was struggling with all these questions . T3T
The next morning, I gathered my courage, and managed to ask nonchalantly enough, “Dada, did you see the stack of angpaus on my table?”
Dada’s response was genuine surprise and confusion. She said she had placed the angpaus together with my Shiseido haul and I knew she did. If she was planning to steal, why would she place it there only to take it later? Dada quickly called Gaston, who stared at me in dismay. “I heard footsteps upstairs at about 11 pm,” she said.
I waved my hand dismissively. “That was just us walking around. We were back by then.”
Fatty who was listening, suddenly looked up. “Come to think of it, I noticed our window was open when we got home.”
We rushed back upstairs to check the window, and sure enough we saw…
The lock on our window was loose, as though it had been pried loose. And there was the faintest mud mark on the window sill.
So it was a burglar after all! He was probably rifling through my handbag and had to leave in a hurry, thus leaving my bag plonk on my bed.
My first reaction was RELIEF! I was just so happy that it wasn’t Dada or Gaston!!! Not just the legal aspect of it – having to file a report, fire them, etc but for years they had taken care of my family, and we also took care of them and their families. We’d lived together for years and they’re really part of our family too. Their betrayal would have been too painful to bear.
I was also relieved cos although the burglar came in, they clearly didn’t exit our bedroom nor did they hurt the kids or the helpers. Plus just that day, we had our safe (which was malfunctioning) opened by a locksmith and Gaston had placed the contents of it into a paper bag in our guest room, and it was intact. The burglar(s) probably didn’t even leave our room so they didn’t see it. I was relieved and grateful for that.
Our loss of cash was a few hundred ringgit la, and the bangle which is worth a few thousand at least. They didn’t even take our laptops or Fatty’s watch which were laying about the room. Those would have been a bitch to replace. Maybe they only wanted small items that were easily carried. Only sad thing is the wedding bangle really, and the fact that I gotta use my thumbnail to screw my love bangle now hahahaha.
Checked our balcony to see how the fella could have climbed up, although we live on the third and highest floor. See the two faint footprints on the white? They’re probably his.
Later, we found out that our neighbor who lived directly under us also had his house burgled. To add insult to injury, they drank his milk from his fridge and rudely left the half finished milk in his bedroom LOL.
For some reason, the burglar also stole his wife’s red jacket and his Hush Puppies sling bag, which he’s wearing here LOLOL.
And yes, that is condo CCTV footage. Our security guards managed to apprehend the guy actually! When he returned a few nights later. O_O Damn daring aih. They handed him over to the police.
And then a few days later, they caught his accomplice, also trying to climb over the fence. D:
Again I was relieved. I was worrying that the burglars would try to break in again, since they already knew our house and probably its weak points, so it was good to know they wouldn’t be trying it again. But on the other hand, I felt sorry for them too. They are just petty burglars. I’m not saying they weren’t breaking the law, but …. what was their situation that they turned to petty crime and they got caught like that? :/ Nobody wants to resort to a life of crime to get by, do they? Not unless they’re our former Prime Minister la and even then he wasn’t just exactly getting by. *side eye*
But then. I am changing our locks.
PACA stands for Polling Agent/Counting Agent. I’m not clear at all about how other countries run their elections, but in Malaysia, while the Election Commission runs the general election, volunteers become Polling Agents and Counting Agents to observe the election process and the counting process, and ensure that everything is done as per the law. This is very important because in the past (and I can speak freely now!), our ruling party Barisan Nasional had been caught with their pants down, pushing in boxes of fake ballots to manipulate the votes, among other dirty tactics.
Anyway this is the story of how I came to join the PACAs
In March this year, my friend Oy Sim contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested to be a PACA. She sent me a bunch of links explaining what was required of a PACA and asked me to let her know. Honestly, reading the job scope, I was so intimidated that I wanted to say no right away. But I held back. And I whatsapped Oy Sim, “OK I’ll do it.”
I think Oy Sim was surprised cos she said, “Wow! You’re the first person I’ve contacted to reply me so positively.”
What had I gotten myself into?!
I had to laugh at that. I told her, actually I very lazy to do it but because I complain so much about the government and always ask for change, now I actually have the chance to do something about it, how to say no!? It’s a matter of principle already.
So I signed up for it, went for training and everything. I volunteered under Maria Chin Abdullah, which means I was a PACA in her constituency of Petaling Jaya, alongside fellow alums from Mount Holyoke. Oy Sim is a fellow alum too so she pulled the bunch of us in. I ended up taking on two shifts – the first shift (8-10 am) and the last shift (3-5 pm). I would also go on to be Counting Agent (CA) for the tallying of the votes that would run from 5 pm until whenever.
On Polling Day, we had to meet at our station before 7 am; polling would run 8 am – 5 pm. I planned to leave my house at 6 am (just in case I got delayed on the way) so the night before at 10.30 pm, I got ready for bed (after watching Dr M’s address wtf).
Penny woke up crying. -_-
Settled her and went back to my room at about 11, thinking never mind I still got 6.5 hours of sleep. Cos the next day I need to be on constant vigilance ok I need as much rest as possible.
At 11.20 she woke up screaming again. T_________T
She wasn’t going back to sleep, so I brought her up to my room so at least I could sleep even if she wasn’t. After a while I dozed off… then she woke me up again with her fidgeting. Oh god.
After I woke up, I couldn’t go back to sleep anymore. I tried walking around, meditating, drinking a warm drink, even took a melatonin pill. Nothing worked and I think I had maybe two hours of sleep that night.
The next morning, I was pumped though! I thought for the first time in my life, I thought I’d need a coffee but adrenaline took care of it for me. I met up with my team and we scouted the center, and went through some last minute revision of our job. I was honestly very worried about making a mistake and costing the loss of a political seat.
My center happened to be in a university so our saluran was in a dewan. I entered and the seat closest to the three kerani (clerks) was already taken up by the PAS PACA. So I sat in the middle seat while the BN PACA took the last one.
The PACAs’ job is to observe the entire process and make sure everything is done as per the law. So we had to observe the three clerks – make sure Kerani 1 read out the IC number and name of each voter as they came in and crossed it off the electoral roll, make sure the person fits his identity – had to do some racial and age profiling here.
Then we watched as Kerani 2 dipped the voter’s finger in indelible ink and made sure the ink was visible and not wiped off.
Third, we observed Kerani 3 stamp the ballot paper, fold it and tear it off. Kerani 3 is not supposed to have writing utensils so we watched for that too.
This is not an exhaustive list or else I’d have to publish the whole manual book here but it was roughly what we did. My saluran was aged 40-60 years, and there was a neverending line of middle aged people. I was basically on high alert continuously as voters streamed in, focusing on every step of the voting process, while at the same time crossing off their names and counting the number of voters to make sure it would tally at the end.
After my morning shift, it was time for myself to vote! I drove back to my parents’ house and picked Ooib up cos we were voting at the same center – our old high school.
This was about 11+ and it took us 15 minutes to get in and out!
Done! Fingers before it turned a corpse like black wtf.
Went for lunch with Ooib and Sherlyn then headed back to my PACA center to prepare for my next shift, at 3 pm.
See finger black already. This was the outfit I’d chosen for my PACA role lol. I thought we would be in a regular classroom instead of a air conditioned hall so I chose to wear something covered up and comfortable, yet not too casual or hot. End up I froze in the damn dewan cos it was so cold! I borrowed friends’ jacket and wool scarf and wrapped myself up in a cocoon also cold. I was so cold the markings I made when we were counting votes also crooked hahaha.
There was a lot less people coming in after 3 pm so I had the chance to take a breather and look around. My KTM (Presiding Officer) confessed it was his first time too so he kept flipping through his KTM manual hahaha. The BN PACA looked slightly intimidating, but my PAS counterpart turned out to be a very friendly mother of two who was also inexperienced, so we ended up helping each other quite a lot. ^^
I don’t think the KTM liked me too much though, cos I was super kan cheong about everything. The most important form is Borang 14 but there were other forms as well and I was very worked up about getting everything right. I went and reminded the KTM about the forms so many times I think he wanted to punch me hahaha. Luckily I had the PAS PACA and her colleague to help (for some unknown reason, both PAS PACAs had authorization to count), and the colleague was experienced. The KTM seemed to feel more comfortable talking to the experienced PACA (maybe chauvinism a bit) but he helped me a lot so I’m not complaining.
Counting was actually pretty straightforward and not the ball-cringer I expected it to be. Sometimes they count the Parliament and State seats simultaneously but for my saluran, they did it consecutively thank goodness. I kiasu-ly pulled a desk and chair up right in front of Maria’s ballot box, wrapped my blanket tighter around myself, and we got started.
All the PACAs were counting as the votes were being read out and it was clear from the start that Maria would sweep the votes. Same went for the DUN, Dr Shaharuddin Baharuddin. Every time the clerk read out “PKR”, she’d inadvertently glance at me and I felt like I needed to give her a response. So I’d give her a tiny smile or nod every time, before jotting a mark on my sheet. Since the other PACAs had less votes and less marks to make, I’m sure I looked smug and deserving of a face punch.
Both PKR candidates won by a landslide. There was some minor conflict when the KTM told us he wouldn’t be signing our own copies of Borang 14, but we could take a photo of his. I hurriedly whatsapped my team who promptly sent me screenshots of election laws stating that all counting agents must have their own copy of the Borang 14, signed by the KTM and all the other CAs. Following meekly behind the PAS PACA, we showed the KTM the laws and he relented. Yay!
By the time we finished calculating, making sure the numbers added up, signed off the forms, and watched as the clerks sealed the ballot boxes, then signed the boxes again, it was 9.30 pm when I left the hall. The other two salurans weren’t even done yet!
At that point, I was so cold my nails were blue, hungry cos I hadn’t eaten anything except a pastry my PACA head passed me, and my brain was fried. But as I walked out of that hall, brandishing my signed Form 14, Oy Sim who was waiting for me asked me how it went. I told her I’d do it all over again. Whatever happened from then on, we had done our best. At least for Seri Setia, Saluran 2, I know no hanky panky went down on election day. 🙂
P/S: When I told Oy Sim I would do it again next election, she said ok they’d send me to Sarawak. LOL.
I don’t remember when exactly I started paying more attention to Malaysian politics but it must have been at some point in my four years at college in the US.
I remember sitting in my dorm room with Suet, both of us in yellow clothing for solidarity, crying while reading updates on my laptop as the first ever Bersih rally unfolded in KL. I’d majored in Asian Studies with a focus on history, and was in the middle of writing my honors thesis on ketuanan Melayu.
Half a year later, again we watched from a distance as for the first time ever, BN lost the two thirds majority in Parliament for the first time. Again, I cried, this time for hope. Two months later, I finished my thesis, and when presenting it to my advisor, embarrassingly started crying again in his office. Luckily I received honors for it hahahaha.
After coming home, I made it a point to attend the consequent Bersih rallies. I voted for the first time in the 13th GE in 2013. I was pregnant with Fighter then, and very hopeful for the future. When the opposition failed to win the government, I, like many others I’m sure, was devastated. I felt that momentum was at its peak then, and we wouldn’t get another chance. Anwar was jailed, the opposition was in tatters; I thought this was the end for an effective opposition to BN.
In the last five years, I confess I cut myself off from local news. I stopped paying attention whenever a minister spoke because I knew it would be something difficult to hear, and I couldn’t deal anymore, especially with the casual racism they spouted. I vaguely knew that elections were due soon, but I focused on world news over what was happening in our own country, and didn’t give our politics more thought.
Elections rolled around and a friend contacted me, asking if I would be interested in being a PACA (Polling Agent/Counting Agent) for Maria Chin Abdullah who would be contesting for a parliamentary seat in Petaling Jaya. At this point I had no idea there even existed such a thing as a PACA. I was feeling very meh about local politics and I definitely didn’t feel like doing what sounded like an incredibly stressful job, in addition to voting. But I couldn’t say no either. I had been unhappy with our policies and government for years — I’d wanted change so badly ever since I was old enough to vote. And now I had a chance to make a change — or contribute towards making a change. Didn’t I have an obligation to do so? And if I didn’t, wouldn’t that make me a hypocrite?
So I resignedly registered for PACA training. Because there’s nothing I hate more than being called a hypocrite LOL.
With my PACA teammates, who are all from Mount Holyoke College lol figures. Hi Fardina, Oy Sim and Sin Seanne!
On Polling Day, I went to vote. And I carried out my duties. Nothing too controversial occured, and soon it was 5 pm – time to start counting the votes.
I was fairly confident that my candidate, Maria Chin, would win, since PJ is an opposition stronghold. She did win! ^^ By the time we finished, it was 9.30 pm and I was dead on my feet. I was freezing from sitting in a subartic dewan the entire day, I hadn’t had dinner except for a pastry, plus I’d been basically hypervigilant since early morning. When counting was over, I checked my phone and saw a Whatsapp from Fatty: XXX (some seat I don’t remember) is won by BN.
This confirmed what I’d believed in the days leading up to the election. Everyone in Malaysia heard about the gerrymandering – unfair redrawing of electoral lines in order, setting election in the middle of the week, the dirty tactics employed by the ROS, the EC and dunno what other government bodies la. Based on what happened the last GE, we also fully expected BN to cheat all the way – ‘blackouts’, fake ballot boxes pushed in at the last minute, vote buying, politician buying, etc. I had almost no hope that anything would change this election; what more with the practice they had five years ago, I expected BN to finetune their tactics and win even bigger. We’d also been hearing that voter turnout this year was lower than the last, which further reinforced that PH was going to lose.
I drove home. I turned on the radio and listened to smarmy radio announcers announce win after win for Barisan Nasional, noting how they played up BN wins, and minimized Pakatan ones. We live in the heart of KL and I drove by police setting up roadblocks in front of Dataran Merdeka. My parents had warned of the possibility of riots or a state of emergency in the wake of the election since tensions were so high so I was pretty worried.
At home, I drank some soup and took a shower, ready to crawl into bed. I wasn’t thinking about the results, didn’t want to think about yet another defeat. Then Fatty came down to the kitchen, holding his phone. He was just on the phone with his mom, he said. Some of his relatives are friends with Penang DAP people, and apparently the PH crew in Penang had already received unofficial results that PH had won the federal government and were already celebrating in a hotel.
I was like, WHAT ON EARTH. NO WAY JOSE. Simply celebrate so prematurely for what, results also not out yet!?
Then we pulled up Malaysiakini and saw this.
Fatty marveled, for the first time we see Pakatan leading Barisan. To me it was still too premature. I remember seeing Pakatan lead BN too five years ago before everything went to shit.
But then more and more information started circulating on social media and whatsapp. With the rest of Malaysia, we stayed up, refreshing the poll results. From inconceivable rumors about Pakatan winning, the truth seemed to solidify in front of our eyes as the Pakatan seat counter crept upwards. When the Election Commission halted announcing official results some time after midnight (because they were all refusing to sign Form 14, shitheads), I gave up and fell asleep.
The next morning, I heard Fatty stir. I was about to go back to sleep when I suddenly remembered – the election!!! I jerked up and said, how how? Fatty said, Pakatan Harapan won.
Grabbed my phone, and the rest is history.
It’s still surreal. I can’t believe we have a new government now and that it was even possible to change our leadership. It’s been three days since Malaysia did the impossible and overthrew the shackles of a corrupt, ruthless,
tyrannosaurus rex tyrant and his government. We’ve all been glued to our devices as more and more drama unfolded, and it’s not over yet! But I want to blog a bit about what I’ve been feeling and thinking these three days.
The world is a brighter place
I’m serious hahahaha. The world actually seems better and brighter. I find myself smiling more at strangers on the street now… and they smile back! I give way more on the road… only to be taken advantage of by taxi drivers as usual. But I’m still happy. ^^ We nod at each other’s ink-blackened fingers and I try to ignore those with clean digits hahaha. A Facebook friend even commented his food tastes nicer now with a new government LOL. That’s taking it a bit too far la, but I do sense the optimism and reignited passion in people around me.
We feel freer
I kid you not. Although the laws haven’t changed, people are already feelin’ it bruh. *I* definitely feel it. People around me – my brother being one of them – have mentioned it as well. It’s incredible but somehow knowing that Pakatan has pledged to uphold and restore freedom of media and speech, it’s as if a literal weight has been lifted off my chest. I feel freer to express myself already, not even just with this blog post but for everything that I say to my friends and family. Is it possible that the lack of freedom of speech had affected me for most of my life without me even realizing? Yes.
I feel like I can do more
Maybe it’s the fact that we did what we thought was insurmountable – we changed our government peacefully and democratically, without bloodshed or violence. Maybe it’s the fact that a 92 year old man can thrive on less sleep than me and do things I could never have done. I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I don’t like risk at all. So I’ve been putting things I really want to do on the back burner just because I’m scared of failure. But now I feel anything is possible! Dreams suddenly seem far more achievable and that goes a long way to tamping down any fear that I may have… because if I can do this, why can’t I go after what I want to do?
In fact, a friend asked us if we would now consider taking a pay cut or changing careers to help develop the nation. I would! With the old government, there was a sense that nothing we did would affect anything, but many Members of Parliament seem intelligent, approachable and open. I will never join politics la wtf but if I could find a chance to help with nation building, yes I’d be very interested wtf.
I’m so glad i voted and was a PACA
Because I can say I was a little part of history!!! Yea la, I gotta admit I’m proud of myself too LOL. I really didn’t want to do it and I forced myself to, but I’m so glad I did. At the end, my head PACA asked me if I had fun and I said yes I’d totally do it again. It was tiring and stressful, but it was also fun and fulfilling – knowing that I was helping to make things right and fair, and doing it well. Then she said ok onz next time we send you to Sarawak FML.
I know people who didn’t vote feel bad about not getting involved but that’s okay. If you don’t care about not voting either, it’s also okay. It’s our democratic right to vote, but it’s also our democratic right to not vote. Truth be told, I was pretty upset with some people whom I knew weren’t voting, especially if they’d been hating on the government and country. BUT. It is their right not to, and people never stop learning. Not voting today doesn’t mean they won’t vote tomorrow, and vice versa. Calm down guys wtf.
We have a two party system now!!!!
Whatever happens, however Pakatan Harapan may perform, we effectively have a two party system now. I believe people feel empowered now, that our voices make a difference and that the rule of the country actually belongs to us, not to our appointed leaders. I don’t think (or at least I hope) that our government in the future (whichever party they may be) will dare to fuck up their mandate because now they’ve seen what can happen if they do.
I have a lot of hope for the future of Malaysia. This election has restored my faith in democracy and Malaysians. I’m being very honest here, and this may be sensitive. I was never very proud to be Malaysian. To people I met overseas, I never knew what to say about us except that we had the world’s tallest twin towers and we’re located above Singapore. I loved Malaysia but I was not positive about my country.
Today I am. I am proud to call myself Malaysian, and I am so proud to be from this country who came together to achieve what we had done on May 9, peacefully, calmly and with love for one another. Not many countries can claim to have done the same, and not many can achieve this either.
WE DID IT!!!! This is for everyone who came together for this – for the millions of voters who turned out, the folk rallying others to go and vote, the awesome people behind #Pulangmengundi and #UndiRabu, the PACA teams, especially those in volatile areas, even the people who took it on themselves to safeguard the tallying centers from incoming bullshit ballots — I heard a group in Setia Alam even locked up the Elections Commission official for refusing to sign a legitimate Form 14 LOL. And lastly, thank you to the new leaders who we have so much hope for. Also, we are watching you.
With General Election 14 coming up, everyone in Malaysia is caught up in election fever. Even when we go to a kopitiam after market runs, there will be aunties and uncles from the next table randomly trying to engage us in political talk and tell me about Hannah Yeoh. Which can be slightly annoying if I’m just trying to eat my prawn mee wtf.
I (and everyone else) have been following political news closely la cos this GE is obviously going to be very kan cheong. I also signed up to be a PACA (that’s Polling Agent Counting Agent) for the election Buddha help me. I’ll probably blog about the experience after the election! But reading news and political manifestos and all things related, I got to thinking — eh so fun to write your own manifesto!
So I decided to write my own wtf. Please keep in mind that this was written purely for jokes and reflects mostly pet peeves of mine.
Here it is.
1. You will be allowed to use copies of official identity documents to travel
If you don’t have your IC, MyKid (IC for kids in Malaysia) or birth certificate, you will be allowed to use a copy of your birth certificate for domestic flights. Hahahaha. Ok la very far fetched and a threat to security but back story is, in February, for some reason I thought we were permitted to travel using a copy of our birth cert and I brought a copy of Penny’s since I don’t know why we never received her MyKid. We somehow got through on the flight to Penang but they barred us on the flight back to KL. Thus ensued a vague parenting horror story where I had to run outside to the nearest police station to file a police report in order to get Penny on the flight home lolol. For a more complete version of the story, see here.And yea I know la again — traveling on copies of official identity documents = security threat but this is my imaginary manifesto! It stays.
2. People who try to cut line on the road will be electrocuted. Mandatory installation of electrocution devices in all steering wheels for this purpose.
Ok this is a major pet peeve of mine that causes me to pop blood vessels nearly every time I drive. I hate hate hate it when there is a single lane lining up for something – usually to turn off – and people queue up on the second lane and try to cut in. This is the same as cutting lines what! You wouldn’t just stand beside a line at say a supermarket and presume to cut in halfway right!? So why would you do that on the road!?
To turn in to the road that leads to our apartment, there is a small traffic light with one lane. Meant for lining up in single file. And every day at rush hour, fuckers will come on the second lane and try to cut in and basically save their own time, while wasting time for people like me who line up correctly. It drives me mad! I’ve fought with people at this traffic light — once I was driving and Fatty was in the passenger seat, and this guy tried to cut me from the left. I wound down Fatty’s window, told Fatty to sit back so he wouldn’t block me, and shouted at the imbecile. The idiot had the nerve to shout back at me!!! Why these people so rude already can still become ruder one! I ended up playing a game of see-who-can-inch-their-car-ahead-faster and lost FML. So I tailed him and honked him for some of the way after that omg hope my kids never read this. Disclaimer: I admit to having extreme road rage at that moment and the only reason why I was so brave was that in the back of my mind, I had Fatty with me and if anything he can beat up the other guy #pleasedon’tlearnthisfromme
My behavior is not to be condoned but line cutting really gets me so worked up I fail to see reason wtf. So if I had the rule of the country, I would make it that people who line up in double lane and try to cut line will be electrocuted. I will make it mandatory to install electrocution devices in all steering wheels for this purpose. So the minute the device detects this fella has cut law abiding people’s line, the steering wheel will emit a painful electrical shock and give the bad driver a free perm wtf.
3. The installation of automatic clamps hidden inside the tar on the sides of the roads for illegal parkers
Same goes for people who double park and block roads and cause traffic jams. Sometimes our police and DBKL not efficient enough so I propose for inconsiderate fools who park illegally and block people’s way, the installation of automatic clamps inside the tar on the sides of the roads. When the clamps detect a car parked there where it’s not supposed to (even if there’s someone inside), the clamp will trigger and rise up and clamp all four tires. Take that beeches.
4. It will be a crime to buy Instagram bots and fake followers
Under my manifesto, it will be a criminal offense to buy Instagram bots and fake followers. Lolol. I am super uptight about fairness and justice so one of the things that really anger me is Instagram “influencers” buying bot services to increase their following. It’s flat out cheating and conning people! And it gets worse when unsuspecting brands and clients get fooled into thinking this influencer is more popular and influential than they really are and they spend their budget on these people. So brands, please don’t be unsuspecting and do your research.
If I had my way, it would be a great big fine (and maybe a day in jail) for them.
5. A government subsidy for strawberries
For purely selfish and shallow reasons because Penny is a glutton when it comes to “store bewwies” and she’s eating me out of house and home wtf.
6. Okay point number 6 was supposed to be to commission a car manufacturers to design and produce a car that’s a smaller version of an Alphard or Hyundai Starex complete with sliding doors instead of doors that open outwards. Cos I drive a van to ferry around the kids and I prefer smaller cars for easier parking la. But I also love the handiness of sliding doors cos I can easily just push the kids into the car and get in after them, and take my time buckling them into their car seats. With doors that open outwards I’m always damn scared a car drives by and takes my door off wtf.
Anyway I realized that Nissan already makes cars that fit my description so ok wtf.
7. All public toilets to be kept FOC, clean and dry.
For those people (ahem me) with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You can’t imagine the weirdest places I’ve had to go to the toilet in cos I suddenly came down with diarrhea *holds face in hands and weeps* For my worst story ever, read here.
Also it will be a crime to deny toilets to people in need wtf.
Ok can’t think of anymore at the moment.
This will be my campaigning photo.
Your humble servant,
Sorry I haven’t blogged in weeks! And I’m not sure if this blog post will interest anybody except parents. But maybe some parents won’t even be bothered and think I’m on a nutty rant wtf. But here goes.
The other day, I received an Instagram DM from a friend….
…in response to this video I’d posted on IG Stories.
…in response to this video I’d posted on IG Stories.
It’s Fighter ‘reading’ what I assume is Chinese prose from his textbook.
Now I put the word reading in quotation marks cos I don’t think he’s really reading! For all those of you who were impressed by his reading, sorry ah must disclaim first hahaha. While I know he can read some words in Mandarin already and probably recognizes many from these two pages, I’m pretty sure he’s just reciting from memory the sounds that he’s learned. Cos he definitely doesn’t understand what he’s saying himself lol.
Nevertheless, a lot of people are impressed that even if he’s not really reading, he’s doing so well in school, pronouncing his words flawlessly, and of possession of an impeccable memory etc.
But when my friend sent me that DM above, I felt like i really needed to talk about this wtf. I haven’t blogged for two weeks now! So these two weeks I’ve actually been immersing myself in reading about kids and childhood and education *patriotic tune* Hahaha sometimes I can get super nerdy and obsessive one la wtf.
A lot of moms around me have been sending Fighter and Penny’s peers to all sorts of enrichment classes! As babies you start with Shichida and flash card classes (I swear they’re a thing just dunno what they’re called), then you move up to sports classes, language classes, and what not in addition to preschool and kindergarten.
Fighter and Penny are not exempt! Fighter goes for two classes outside school – swimming, and reading & phonics. Swimming because this is a life skill and his life could literally depend on it wtf. Reading because that’s a skill very important to me, if not the most. I am a blogger after all wtf.
Penny goes for a weekly toddler gym which functions as a foundation to proper gymnastics. The only reason she goes is because I heard they do a lot of stretching which could be good for Fighter’s growth. I signed them both up but Fighter hated it so I dropped it. Ironically, Penny loves it so she’s been there ever since.
Beyond that, Penny has asked for ballet classes and I’ve enquired, but I haven’t registered her for any. And that’s it. Even then, I sometimes wonder if that’s too many classes at their age.
So my answer to the question is:
No. No tutors. If I can help it, no tutors ever.
Because children need to play.
OK I can hear a lot of skeptics already wtf. Playing is fine but so is self improvement and learning new skills and hitting early milestones…. right?? So let’s do an FAQ wtf.
Why should kids play?
Mixing with other moms through school, Dayre and other communities, I feel like there’s this huge rush to send children to enrichment classes. Because we want our kids to learn, get a head start, and also thanks to peer pressure, we’re kiasu about staying on par with other children or better still surpassing their milestones.
But so what if your kid can decipher flash cards? Or do mental math at three with Shichida? Or read as a toddler? Do all these things really matter in the long run?
Play is important because that’s how we humans (and other mammals) learn. When kids free play — that is, unregulated play, chosen by children themselves with no adult interference) — they learn how to use their imagination. Imagination is not just for making up stories or pretending although these are certainly part of it. To be a successful adult, you need to have a strong imagination. Imagination to devise creative solutions to problems, for example. Or if you were an architect, the imagination to design and build a house. Even scientists need imagination when they generate hypotheses.
Play develops children’s social skills. Free play is democratic because it’s entirely up to each child to participate (or not). When enough children are unhappy with one of their gang, they might stop playing, and children naturally want to play. So to keep play going, children learn how to cooperate with each other, to compromise, share and even resolve conflicts. Play is also how kids practice self control.
You know when kids pretend they’re building a real building with Lego? Or they’re playing mommy and daddy with their teddy bears? Or even Star Wars characters? They’re practicing real life. (Even if Star Wars and Batman isn’t real life wtf.) They reenact real life situations in a safer, “manageable”… version. They digest real life scenarios and learn how to deal with them. They learn to master life challenges and the appropriate emotional responses to them.
I think this passage put it very clearly:
At real play, children are in charge, instinctively making hundreds of decisions as they assess and determine the levels of risk they want to take, physically, emotionally and socially: mastering, day by day, an increasing repertoire of skills, adding to their bank of experience.
Throughout the animal kingdom, the play of the young is commonly observed to be a rehearsal of life skills, fundamental for species’ survival. Human children are no different, needing the make-believe world of play to experience and master the fullest range of challenges – and their emotional responses to them – as a series of lessons for the world they will eventually have to negotiate for real.
So, through play, children acquire confidence, but also an awareness of limits and boundaries. They learn, in short, how to be safe.
Every parent wants something different for their children, but for me, I want my children to be emotionally and socially equipped for the world, to know how to get along with others, to be confident and aware, to take care of themselves, to be wise. Academic skills are important but they will learn these eventually. Let them play for now.
Why no tutors?
Because tutoring takes away time that could be spent playing. And being creative.
Aren’t you scared they’ll fall behind?
Who say I don’t struggle with this!! Everywhere around me, I see kids sent to tuition and organized classes and I have to swallow a bubble of panic that my kids are gonna get left behind wtf. But we have to remember that while organized tuition has its merits, we cannot deny the importance of play. When we didn’t have all these classes what did humans do? They didn’t fall behind – they played to learn.
Schools are getting harder today and yes there’s always the risk of them failing behind in school because they’re not getting extra tutoring. But is this the education I want for them anyway? An education whose efficacy is based on standardization and testing but not necessarily actual learning and developing the love of learning? What’s the purpose of tutoring besides prep them for good exam results? They learn for exams but forget everything immediately. Is that really learning?
I have no answers to these questions yet. But i know that as of now I am unsatisfied that any school I’ve seen here will fulfil what I want for my kids.
Have you thought about what you want for your kids?
P/S: As you can probably already tell, I am a huge advocate of free play wtf. My problem is that we live in a condo and our condo playground is always infested with mosquitos FOL. We also live in the city which means having to drive out to go to a playground instead of just walking to the neighborhood playground which is what I did as a kid.
But I’m trying to create the playground experience where kids just congregate in the neighborhood or the playground and free play without adults tagging along. So I was thinking of setting up a play group and meet in a particular playground at certain times. The kids can play and the grown ups can even set up a roster to watch them so that not every parents needs to be there. We live in KL so a convenient location will probably be around Bangsar, Hartamas, Mont Kiara or TTDI. If anyone is interested, email me and we can talk! Suggestions are welcome. fourfeetnine[at]gmail[dot]com.