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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Little Boy With No Clothes

If there were a competition for Worst Dressed Children, I think mine will get the first prize. The Husband is not a terribly well-dressed fellow but thanks to me, our kids are even worst dressed. I think my children are by nature slobs and by nurture slobs. So, when The Husband singed the ears off our Little Boy, I half cringed and hoped that his righteous fatherly wrath would not fall upon my guilty head.

Hmmmm... what exactly is badly dressed? The Husband's quiet simmering anger was vivid "There is a difference between looking like a slob and looking like a beggar. You look like a beggar!"


When I stepped back and looked at my son. I saw for the first time a sight that only a Mother can love. There was an unmistakeable hole near the neckline of his t-shirt plus a few more smaller ones on the chest. There was a brownish stain near the left shoulder. The hem of his t-shirt looked tattered. And when I looked down at his pants, I recognised something that Little Boy has been wearing since 5 years old... the thing (as one can best call it that) had stretched as Little Boy grew and now looked threadbare and faded. Little Boy was wearing stuff that I would be ashamed to donate to charity.

Then The Husband said in his quiet fury that was really scary because so quiet... "If you grow up and dress like this, you will NEVER get anywhere. No one will take you seriously." One part of me wanted to say "If you have substance, you don't need form" but I knew it wasn't true because a neat and respectable appearance communicates seriousness and integrity (goodness knows why) - unless, of course, you are Steve Jobs, who can don't bathe and not shave but still be King of the World for a while. After all, I don't think I would allow The Daughter to date The Boyfriend if The Boyfriend dressed like my Little Boy.

The Husband was angry enough that Little Boy was suitably chastised. I explained to Little Boy that his father has few demands of him. Hence, the least Little Boy could do is to do what his father wanted just once. Indeed, dressing neatly is the only demand that I have ever heard The Husband require of his son... but since Petunia has never really made it a point to back The Husband up in this, Little Boy conveniently decided to engage in civil disobedience. I feel a bit bad because I sometimes don't look very respectable myself. Of course, if I try to, I can manage to look quite good. But when I am distracted by other interesting things, the last thing I notice is what exactly I look like. So, it's hard for me to require that Little Boy dress better.

I advised Little Boy to pacify the paternal passion by gathering all his rags in a bag to show The Husband that these would be disposed of. Poor Little Boy looked like we had asked him to cut off a pound of flesh. He patted his clothes and stroked them. He sniffed at them and rubbed them against his face. Then he inexplicably took a pile of brand new t-shirts from his wardrobe and wet them... and then he poured all manner of cleaning agents on them. Then he declared, "I am experimenting with the chemicals that can best soften new clothes so that I can wear them comfortably. Otherwise, I have no clothes to wear."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Milo's Love Has Gone Away

I'm not sure what to do with Milo ever since His Love has gone away. His Love is in China teaching English to Singaporean kids. I feel a bit bad for Milo. He practically lives for the moments at the start of the day and at the end when His Love goes to the backyard, sits down and allows him to climb on her lap and rub his face in her crotch.

I know right. Disgusting.

But when Milo does it, it's cute. He does it like any puppy would rub its face and nuzzle up to Momma Dog's belly. Once done, he tries to pack himself in and fit his substantial backside onto His Love's small lap. Have you ever had a beefy man sit on your lap? Well... that's what it looks like except that this one has fur.

Milo's Love also happens to be Daddy's Girl. Daddy's Girl has gone away to China to teach English to Singaporean kids. Daddy is having problems too. He kinda mopes and makes comments like "Sigh! Now, it's just the 3 of us. Jiejie (at home, we refer to Daddy's Girl as Big Sister in Chinese because she is Little Boy's Big Sister) has gone away." Yesterday, Daddy said something like that THREE times. Yes... moping. Definitely moping.

Moping Daddy was so mopey that he irritated Daddy's Girl with a long litany of advice on how to keep her belongings safe. And of course, he gave his advice in that overbearing Daddy-ish way... all gruff voice and macho... and I know-it-all because Me Tarzan and You Jane-Baby. Daddy's Girl HATES that. She is a teen, remember? She knows more than her parents do and if you wanna give her advice, best you do it the way a psychologist like me does. Or else.

I expect that Daddy's Girl is having the time of her life right now!

An Interest Group

All I can say is that blogging has greatly enriched my life in more ways than I could ever have expected. What started out as a relationship between me and my computer aimed at scattering random thoughts into cyberspace, turned into regular tea sessions with Ting, L, and OKC... where chatter doesn't stop and good food abounds.

And then, I met up yesterday with an Interest Group to discuss ... well... a topic of common interest. And I met amazing people who thus far have only been words on the screen to me. There was a lady B, with sparkling eyes and gentle ways who spoke in the clipped tones reminiscent of the British Upper Class (or so I imagine... never having really been very much exposed to the hmmmm.... British Upper Class). She spoke little but when she did, everyone quietened down to listen. SO much did she have a gentle presence that commanded respect.

Meanwhile, Petunia sat there, playing with her hair... like a schoolgirl... because whenever Petunia thinks she must put knots into her own hair.

Another lady, R, came with a gentle smile but spoke with such passion that sitting on the far side of the table from her, I could feel her next to me. She took care to construct her thoughts carefully and listening to her was like reading a well-written expository essay. And she was calm and polite too... never speaking out of turn.

Meanwhile, Petunia sat on the edge of her seat like some Little Girl with too much to say and afraid she wouldn't get to say it... Sigh! Middle-aged and still so childish. My Mother would be ashamed of me. When will I take on the gravitas of my age?

There was also a young-ish man, P, who looked like he was barely a few years older than Little Boy. Yet, his eyes held an intensity that mesmerised. When he spoke, I realised why. He possessed an intelligence so sharp and incisive, it cut like a knife. His wife, E, stayed quiet much of the time but if you can recognise The Woman behind The Successful Man, she was one indeed. She listened more than she spoke but you felt that many of the ideas that took form in her husband's words had their genesis possibly in some of the thinking she initiated within their partnership... and as one intelligent partner broached ideas, the other developed them and then what came out to us around the table, were insights that belonged to both and neither.

It isn't often that one meets with a group of people who all speak well and think sharp. I felt very privileged indeed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crazy About Courtyards

Before the invention of air-conditioning, houses in the tropics incorporated features that allowed air and light to enter the house. This internal courtyard (pictured above) at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion was most charming indeed. It was a very hot and sunny day... but since the ceilings were high and the courtyard was bigger than many modern bedrooms... the interiors of the house felt quite cool indeed. The house had 2 adjoining wings. Each wing had its own interior courtyard where people could take in air and sunshine without fear of prying eyes (pictured below).

Before the invention of piped water supply, houses in the tropics had features to collect rainwater for use. At the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. The courtyard is large (larger than many modern bedrooms and even living rooms) and hence, it captures a fair amount of water during heavy tropical rains. The water escapes through pipes into cisterns under the house.

The picture above shows the the view of the internal courtyard from the 2nd storey. I found the bright sunlight captivating. Again, it is relatively cool where I stood to take pictures.

It's funny how we have come a full circle. These days, the latest buzzword in architecture is "green buildings". These old houses were very "green" indeed. If ever I build a house again (likely never), I will make sure I put in an internal courtyard. They're positively dreamy.

Proofs and Ozalids

I learnt something new yesterday when our printer, Jackie Lim announced that the "proofs and ozalids are ready". I was most intrigued. What are ozalids? Sounds like an alien life form. I had to google its meaning. Apparently, the ozalid is a printing process for producing positive prints made directly from original drawings or printed material and developed dry in the presence of ammonia vapor (Source: here). I'm still not too sure which item in the above picture are the proofs... and which are the ozalids. Surely even helpful Jackie Lim can't bring an entire ozalid process to my house? Hmmmmmmm.... *scratch head*.

Anyway, the above picture shows The Stuff Jackie Lim brought over. There was a stack of pictures on cream paper with a nice colour palette. There was a stack of little stapled booklets with dotted lines framing the text. There was the book cover in full colour. Alright, to the 200 plus people who ordered the book already, thank you for your faith in me. I am biting my nails hoping that the book does not disappoint. If it does, 200 people will hate me.

*Stress* But at least I have got the Positive Teaching™ Seminar for Lower Primary parents out of my hair. It's done. Parents like it. Phew!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Learning to Lead The Family

A Mother necessarily has a leadership role to play in a family. She leads children. As far as I am concerned, leadership is stressful. I have to worry about what each person likes... how they get along... whether they're hurt, lost, tired. I have to delegate tasks and use my Mother Authority to get it done. The mantle of leadership looks ill upon my shoulders.

Last year, in Tasmania, I tried a new concept. I decided NOT to lead. I figured that The Daughter was old enough to lead us. So, I put her in the passenger seat next to her Father and sat behind in the car to vegetate. Let someone else worry about everyone else in the family eh? The Daughter decided where we would go... where we would eat... what we would do. I made some specific requests for my own selfish reasons (e.g., I want to go to at least ONE museum)... but I left everything else to The Daughter and basically did as I was told. I played the role of Follower, right down to the occasional grumble... and I made The Daughter worry about me, and what I liked or if I were tired.

How's that for a reversal of roles?

I loved it. She loved it. She loved not being told what to do. I loved not having to tell anyone what to do and have to bear with sulks. It was much easier to get what I wanted by being The Daughter's follower, than her leader. I got my museum visits and my trip to the grocery store but this time, no one complained about any of my decisions, because I made no decisions. Instead, I got to complain about HER decisions.


This time, in Penang, I was afraid of Little Boy's sulks. Little Boy hates walking in the hot sun. When we went to Malacca a couple of years ago, he dragged his feet the whole time. It was a nightmare for me. So this time, I asked him to lead. I refused to research the sites in Penang. I went to Penang prepared to do what my son wanted us all to do. Little Boy did everything. He did extensive internet search. He discussed the options with us... and then developed a schedule. He downloaded maps and deciphered them. We all pitched in to help us navigate but it was Little Boy who consultatively decided where to go and what to do. I just walked behind with my brain switched off.

Since Little Boy couldn't manage researching both sites and food. He delegated food research to The Daughter. Between the 2 of them, I experienced the most stress free holiday ever. I didn't have to change diapers. There was no need to scramble for food that the children insisted they wanted. I didn't have to keep looking around to ensure they hadn't somehow gotten lost. Instead, I let them worry about whether I was lost.

It's funny really. When I put the kids in a position to lead me, they behave so much better! They're more adult than I am. And I can afford to just enjoy myself. From now on, I formally resign from Family Leadership. Being a follower is far more pleasant indeed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Par-Tay

I ran the pilot of Positive Teaching® for Lower Primary Parents yesterday. It was a bit of a mess but methinks it was a happy one. The first mess was when almost every one of the 15 participants brought food enough for 15 people. The pilot run was free so people brought food to share instead. There were assorted food boxes filled to the brim with curry puffs (that the lady had to GO EARLY to buy or risk having it get sold out)... there was a 2kg Cedele cake... chicken wings from Old Chang Kee... 2 HUMONGOUS pizzas... a WHOLE POT of curry... a mountain of char siew pau... TWO 3ft long strudels... ok, you get the drift. The food took up the generous kitchen countertop AND the table where I had meant to sit at to calmly and systematically collect money for Petunia's upcoming book.

The next mess was during the Seminar. See... what with food and drink and a bunch of Aunties (plus one serious looking Uncle), these Seminar participants were ANYTHING but quiet. There were questions and then there were people other than me who wanted to answer those questions... share their experiences. Which of course was fascinating for everyone including me... except that internally, I was starting to panic because I knew the Seminar would drag and bust the time. Normally, participants don't at all like it when the Seminar ends late. People wanna go home on time... or they have other stuff to attend to. Singaporeans are a plan-ful people. Everything must go according to plan. Well... the workshop timing WASN'T going according to plan. I was gonna end real late. Strangely, this lot didn't take it too well when I employed the couple of unobtrusive techniques I have for hurrying things along. They complained the Seminar was too short! If you don't believe me, see the photos below that I took of their feedback. This lot didn't wanna go home! Of course, I didn't mind because I was already at home. Kekekekekeke!

The 3rd and most glorious mess was when I ended the Seminar. Everyone sort of started talking all at once. It didn't look anything like a Seminar. It looked like a party (pronounced as part-ay). I had envisaged a systematic collection of book orders at a nice table to the side. Since there were 2 huge pizzas there, I had to manage the money amongst the food and plates and cups. Then people ordered different things - Potato Chinese of 2 sorts and Book. It was all very confusing. Some wanted mailing... others not... some wanted 4 books, 3 books, 2 books ... some wanted different combinations of Potato Chinese™. And my head at to be on 3 things at once... collect money, ensure the invoices given out were right... and record orders accurately... and I missed all that party chatter plus gossip. Hmmmmmmph!

I have a newfound respect for provision shop owners. Think of all the different things they have in their shop.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is Motivation: Part 1

Psychologists define motivation as the direction, intensity and persistence of effort. When you are motivated to work, you will pour your effort into work (i.e., direction) with great intensity and persistence. This definition of motivation is a good one because it describes behaviors that can be observed. So, there is nothing airy fairy nor subjective about it. Researchers love such definitions because they can be easily measured. It can be clearly seen that someone is putting effort into a task (i.e., direction). Intensity can be measured from speed of work. Persistence can be measured by time on task.


However, if this is the definition of motivation, there are some implications. Consider the situation where a man holds a gun to your head and asks you  to open the safe in your house, of which the combination you have been scatterbrained enough to forget. You would certainly direct your effort to trying to open the safe as fast as you can (intensity) and be quite persistent at trying even though you cannot for the life of you remember the safe combination... as long as the gun is held to your head and the man holding it is counting down.

You are motivated.

Next, consider the situation where I wake up at 6am on a Sunday morning before the sun is up in order to spray home-made oil emulsion on the leaves of my plants like so - This has to be done well before dawn because if sunlight even softly brushes against the leaves before the emulsion has quite dried, the leaves will get Leaf Burn... and your plant will look like yesterday's stirfry in a pot. So I hurry. So there I am, spraying away, humming to myself and once in a while breaking into song melodious enough to lift my spirits but with a screeching quality that floats into my neighbours' windows. Once in a while, I stop singing to intensely and carefully spray around delicate buds and half opened flowers. Next, I begin to mix soil... dig... plant seeds. I am so focused I barely notice beads of sweat on my brow. Before I know it, the sun is high in the sky and it is already 11am. All that effort had direction, intensity and persistence.

I am motivated.

You don't need to be a researcher to realize that there is a clear difference between the 2 types of motivation. The keys to both types of motivation are in the emotions. Watch this space for "What is Motivation: Part 2".

Friday, June 15, 2012

Potato Chinese™ CD-ROM+Text+Glossary

I wasn't very keen on selling the Potato Chinese™ recordings we had made to stimulate the development of Little Boy's cognitive infrastructure for processing Chinese characters and sounds.

Firstly, I had submitted a proposal to someone in government for a research study on the effectiveness of the Potato Chinese™ method. I was prepared to let MOE have this method for the nation's Potato Kids.  Secondly, I couldn't see myself in the business of mass producing CD-ROMS and glossary booklets.

Thus far, I've been giving away the recordings for free. I asked parents to go and buy the compendiums from so that they could use my recordings together with the printed text. Recently, parents complained that the compendium was no longer in print!!  This meant that I had to photocopy page after page of MY compendium... and it was a lotta work. I didn't feel like doing so much for free.

I had also used up half the stack of CD-ROMS in The Husband's bookshelf. When The Husband needed a CD-ROM and found his stash depleted, he was not pleased. So I hung my head and apologised for being a Parasitic Wife of sorts. Of course, The Husband doesn't mind that I parasite off him. I mind though... because I have that streak of independence. Besides, I do like making money. I hate spending it but I do like hoarding it very much. Besides, it has been so long since I submitted the Potato Chinese™ research proposal that I can only conclude that our educators think so little of Potato Chinese™ that even experimenting with it is a waste of time.

I believe in Potato Chinese™. It worked marvellously for Little Boy. So, all things put together, I decided that I might as well make money from it. You can purchase the set of recordings and texts HERE.

But since I am now being paid, it had to be done properly. No more just grabbing a CD-ROM and stuffing it into a plastic bag. No more photocopying dirty pages of text with Little Boy's scribbles all over it. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Grandma and I RE-recorded 15 selected compositions from the compendium of 1000 compositions we picked up in Beijing. I got someone to help type out a selection of 15 compositions as well as produce 15 matching glossary lists.

Then I did everything up nice like so...

Penang Street Food

I've always thought that McDonald's invented The Drive Through. Well... I was wrong. Penang street hawkers invented The Drive Through. 2 Penang itinerant hawkers are much blogged about and so Petunia and Family walked in the hot sun scouring the streets of Penang to find them. I must admit that the pampered Singaporean in me was a little little little surprised that such successful hawkers sold their wares from off a push cart and I had to stand unceremoniously with my bowl of cendol to eat it.

It was just as well that I was standing because the first taste of that cendol made me wanna float off my toes... and it wouldn't be easy to do that if I were sitting down.
The Red Cendol Stall at Lebuh Keng Kwee.

The White and Green Cendol Stall at Lebuh Keng Kwee (I like this better).

Best chee cheong fun I've had... packs a punch in prawn paste taste.

See! The plate in the foreground was my chee cheong fun.

Antique signboard detailing drinks menu.

Nice roast pork, crispy pork belly and roast duck.

Really good dimsum at Lebuh Cintra.

Dimsum comes in a pushcart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yeng Keng Hotel

The Family was unanimous in its approval of Yeng Keng Hotel. More than once, I was praised for having made a wise choice in the lodgings I booked. That's saying something because even though there are just 4 of us, we always manage to have 4 different opinions about most things.

Yeng Keng Hotel is right smack in the middle of Lebuh Chulia (or Chulia Street)... a part of Georgetown that is chock-a-block full of prewar shophouses. The quartier is old... very very old. Yeng Keng Hotel rises out of that mess of buildings with peeling paint and mismatched facades like a glorious phoenix. It is resplendent in its glory. Colourful dragons adorn the roof of the portal that leads into the front courtyard. From the courtyard, you step over a knee high wall and enter into a vestibule that draws you into another time - a time where the luxuries of the East met the finest of the West in Penang.

Chinese carved furniture co-exist with Art Deco sofa sets. Round marble table tops with ornate carved legs support huge vases of flowers. Glass lamps that would have held gas lights or candles in the past hang from the ceiling and walls. You expected to run straight into a bibik as you entered the open private courtyard in the middle of the hotel. Here, plants grow and dappled sunlight splashes onto the floor like spilt drops of molten gold.

Generous staircases lead you upstairs to the living room. Books and Scrabble sets are laid out so that guests can hang out and chill out on the sofa sets coloured crimson red and gold. At the porch outside the vestibule, there is always iced water and a basket of local fruits. If you but sit down on the cane furniture on the porch, someone with a gentle smile and kind manner will come and ask "Would you be more comfortable with the fan on?" I didn't feel like I was at a hotel at all. Throughout our stay, it felt like I was a guest in the home of a rich Peranakan business man... and he had instructed his domestic staff to see to my every need. None of the the impersonal service in a 5-star hotel.

This hotel was small... warm... homelike, and yet dripping with the opulence of an age that is now past. The only thing I didn't like was the food. The Western food was poorly made. The Asian food couldn't match the street food outside the hotel's doors. Its self-styled Hainanese food didn't taste like the Hainanese food that I know... and believe me, I know my Hainanese food from KL to Singapore better than I know my French food. But really... this hotel is not about its food. It sits in the middle of a quartier that food bloggers claim to have the best cendol in Penang (it's true, we ate this) ... the best Nasi Kandar (we didn't manage to get to this) ... the best chee cheong fun (oh yes!)... all within walking distance.

I have my own list to add. 4 shophouses to the left of the hotel, we found really good char siew, roast duck and crispy pork. 4 shophouses to the right of the hotel, we found delicious seafood soup and pig's trotters. Go to the end of the street and turn right and a coffeeshop sells dimsum on pushcarts... fluffy char siew pau. If I were Yeng Keng Hotel, I would be careful to NOT compete with the famous of the famous of Penang street food. I would just content myself with being a sexy boutique hotel that sends its guests back in time to a world where people knew what True Hospitality was all about.

What was also nice was that we saved money too. The hotel was less pricey than the Penang beach resorts.

The front courtyard.

The private courtyard viewed from the living room.

The living room with books and Scrabble sets all laid out.

The ever solicitious Butler about the place. He made the place seem like home.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Penang: The Khoo Clan Association

I am so very glad we came to Penang. There is here a strangest sense of homecoming. Georgetown in Penang is Joo Chiat in Singapore as I remember it from my childhood. It has the same vibrance, the same smells, the same sense of decayed wealth and opulence. There are trishaws here to save an old Grandma and her young GrandDaughter from too far a walk. My Grandma was a tough old bird. She wouldn't have wasted 50 cents on a trishaw ride if she were going to the market alone. But since I, the wee one, was with her, she indulged my short legs... and handed over the gleaming 50 cents coin to the trishaw man. 

It's hard to describe the feeling one has of seeing the past so present.

We visited the Khoo Clan Association compound today. The British ruled Penang with a laissez-faire live and let live attitude. Clan associations with strong centripetal forces binding families and extended families together sprang up. These clan associations provided all manner of social services that only members of the clan related by blood and marriage could enjoy. The compound provided housing in prewar shop houses. The clan started schools. The central feature of the clan compound was an opulent temple decorated with fine paintings, intricate wood carvings and gold paint. There was even an opera house - the equivalent of a cinema I suppose in times past. The clan looked after its own very well indeed and still does. At present, the clan owns more than 200 prewar shophouses in Penang. These used to go for a song - RM$400,000 each and now the cost RM$4 million. 

Ummmm... it is a very rich clan indeed!

The history of the clan included both peace and violence. It provided schools. It filled religious needs. It also meted out justice. The Penang government provided as little central governance as it could, leaving the commonfolk to seek their own justice and protect their own. As such, clan fights did break out and blood spilled in the name of clan justice. This is the problem with over decentralising power. You force people to bring in their own brand of justice. I do wonder if our MOE is going that way... providing precious little school governance... and thus forcing families, private institutes and charities to look after theirs and their own - and of course, the inevitable cat fights and competition for turf. Some win. Many lose. The survival of the fittest it is.

Hmmmm... the problem of weak governance.

The most interesting thing about today's visit was to see how practices from feudalistic China (before communism) have been passed down through generations of Penangites. The Khoo Clan Association compound is in use. People go there to worship the Gods... a small room houses names engraved on copper plates of the illustrious sons of the Khoo clan who had graduated from universities all over the world. In 2010, 2 plates commemorated clan sons with degrees from Cambridge university. The temple we visited was not a dead temple... or dying. There was no decay about the place. The clan had money enough to keep the place looking absolutely new.... 

It was the past in the present.

Black and white ink murals on the walls. This one was entitled 100 sons and 1000 grandsons... and speaks of the Chinese fascination with male progeniture.

Clearly, the dragons atop the temple roofs have been kept in a state of stellar repair. They look more stunning than those I saw at the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Intricate painted woodwork under the eaves.

To see how necessary the clan association was to well-being and success of clan members, see the contrast in living quarters between the lodgings inside the clan compound and those outside. The buildings to the left of the photo are from the same pre-war period but are now modern-day slums.

I was so charmed by this barred window. It provided light and ventilation but kept out intruders with bamboo simulacra... decorated with dragonflies and flowers.

There was a museum on the premises and I remember a larder just like this in my Grandma's kitchen. It kept insects away from leftover food and the ventilated doors kept food cool.

Look at that man who has rolled up his shirt. Ohhhh... how often I saw that when I was a wee one!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Off to Penang

Little Boy worked really hard last year to master things his school did not teach but still tested. I don't have words to explain to you how hard he worked. Amongst his feats of inhuman diligence were...
(1) writing entirely from memory 5 X 2000 word Chinese compos...
(2) completing Onsponge 5 in one week...
(3) completing Onsponge 6 in 2 weeks...

Ohhhh... Little Boy worked so hard last year that if I listed out all that he did, someone might clap me in jail for child abuse. I think I pressed the accelerator pedal all the way down to the floor, coming this close to punching a hole in the floor board.

This year has been marked by 2 long breaks. He took 3 weeks off in February and another 3 weeks off in May.  His exam results in the February exams suffered greatly because he was unprepared. His exam results in May suffered a little because by then, he had managed to get more practice under his belt. The 6 weeks of rest days have helped him replenish his energy levels for work. Where many parent-child pairs are losing steam and beginning to feel tired in June, Little Boy has in the last 2 weeks attacked the PSLE preparation with a ferocity befitting Attila the Hun.

I got roundly yelled at last week when I switched onto Mr Brown's podcasts whilst he was doing a Chinese exam practice. I was upbraided yesterday because I wasted 1 hour of his time after lunch making him wait whilst I shopped for t-shirts. He has worked hard and well for the past 3 weeks and so, I am enforcing another set of rest days. I need to keep resourcing his spirits and energy levels so that by Aug-Sept, he'll feel like he was on steroids. So, I am dragging him off to Penang for a few days. I'll stuff him with food and make him walk around the town.

So... for those of you who place orders for Petunia's book in the next few days, do understand if I don't email you your order confirmation till a few days later.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Illustrations for Petunia's Book

Ohhhhhhh... the illustrations have been delivered. There are well over 30 of them but these three are sooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!!

How do you get your child to choose to sit down and complete homework when other kids are running around screaming blue murder?

The worse the grades, the more important it is for the child to hang on and stay engaged. How can parents help their children do this long enough for grades to climb?

Well... you zap 'em with these strategies from Petunia's book. Kekekekekekeke!

The pictures have got me very excited about my own book. Writing the book seems so boring compared to seeing how its ideas have been rendered into graphics. Oh! I can't wait for the formatting to be done... send it off to the printers and finally hold the printed book in my hands! You can order the book here.