Tuesday, December 31, 2013

happy new year 2014!!

All too soon another year has passed! 2013 was awesome and here's to another amazing year ahead! 

There will be more changes next year; hubby may expand work to Indonesia, so that means he'll be home even less!! I will start working part-time for a veterinary supplies company, after being my own boss for about 10 years! School will be pretty much the same for the kids. I just hope Solomon won't cry when school starts day after tomorrow!

Anyways, Happy New Year everyone! May we all be blessed with good health, good fortune and plenty of love and joy! Cheers!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sarawak Merdeka band 1993 - 20 yr reunion

Most of the organizing committee members with the instructors after the event

It finally happened yesterday! The reunion which we had been working so hard round the clock for! We were happy, nervous and excited all at once, that the day had finally arrived, but also a little sad that it marked the end of a great time working with the other amazing organizing committee members! I've made great friends through this event. All the volunteers for this committee are wonderfully capable, efficient and ever-willing to take on responsibilities and challenges! Such individuals are hard to find nowadays, and I'd like to think that the discipline we gained through band training helped this characteristic trait evolve. Thanks to the instructors for whipping us into shape! ;)

waiting for the instructors at the airport

Anyway, back to the reunion. We welcomed our guests of honour, Mr Png, Mr Goh and Mr Simon from Singapore on Friday. That night many of us had jobs to rush through to completion, before the big event the next day. I had to complete the cake and also the stage backdrop decor. The kids helped me fold countless colorful fans.

On the morning of the reunion, I had to rush to redo the top tier of my cake, as the fondant had melted and was slipping off! (Note to self: never use cream cheese  frosting under fondant!)

setting up the memorabilia display board

Then the committee members started showing up at the hotel to get to work on the setting up of decorations and displays. Everyone had a part to play and everything came into place beautifully!

Our three instructors were also preparing for the event. They practiced singing a few songs which they had put together at the last minute, especially for us.

The reunion was a high tea event, so people started showing up after lunch time. Around 80 people were in attendance. There were many familiar faces, some which we hadn't seen for 20 years! It was amusing trying to match those 30-something faces to the 12-18 year old faces we knew 20 years ago! Luckily we gave out name tags which also stated which school one was from!

So the reunion started when the three instructors and one St. Teresa teacher (Mrs Chang) arrived. First we paid tribute to the members and a mentor who have since passed on.

Then the instructors proceeded to cut my cake. This was followed by speeches from the instructors. Their speeches were funny, entertaining, moving as well as eye-opening! Mr Png told of the trails and tribulations behind the scenes which we were blissfully unaware of at that time! He even told of his ghost encounter at band camp!! After 20 years, we heard their sides of the story of those amazing 8 months. The time it took to miraculously transform more than 400 "blur sotong" teenagers from 5 different schools into music-playing, flag-bearing, precision marching machines!!

Mr Png

Our comrade Fu also took to the stage to tell his grandfather stories about the funny things that happened during training! Honestly, I don't remember much, but this guy has an elephant memory! And he also keeps all the artifacts from 20 years ago like a museum curator! Lol!

Mr Goh

After that, the instructors performed their songs for us. One of them was the song "Sejahtera Malaysia" which was a very popular patriotic song at that time. If my memory serves me right, it was played on TV every night at 8pm! Anyway, this song means a lot to us, as we performed it during our band display and sang it as well on different occasions during training. It really brought back memories and a tear to the eye!

Mr Simon

There was also a speech by Jean, thanking all the organizing committee members, and an unsuccessful attempt at Skyping with fellow band member Julian in the USA.

the St. Teresa gang

As there were some people who had to leave early, we proceeded to do the photo-taking session first.

Then we watched the RTM footage of our band display. That few minutes of perfection 20 years ago, which we busted our butts for 8 months for! There was pride on everyone's faces as we witnessed our teenage selves come together and make history. 

A walk to the Padang Merdeka across the road had to be cancelled, as we had exceeded our allocated time for use of the venue. The Padang was also muddy from rain in the morning anyways.

Oh yes, we also played an ice breaker game, where everyone filled in cards answering 3 simple questions. The questions were:
1. What shoes are you wearing.
2. What instrument did you play?
3. What is your most memorable experience during band camp?
So we dropped these cards into a box. Then everyone picked a card out of the box and had to go around chatting people up until we found out whose card we had!

goofing around!

Anyway, I think all the guests had a great time getting reacquainted with old friends and making new ones at the same time. It was awesome meeting our highly respected instructors again and walking down memory lane.

I'd say this was a huge success! So great job guys! Let's do it again soon eh?? Hehe...

goody bags with the precious DVD of our performance, assorted vouchers and sweets from our childhood!

instruments, marching slips, band newsletter, newspaper articles, training schedules, etc...

props for the photo booth done by Jean till 4:30am!

antique uniforms!

the beautiful colours of our uniforms became the event's colour theme

A reporter from Borneo Post (who happened to be from St. Teresa as well) wrote an article on our reunion.

Friday, December 20, 2013

swimming lessons 2013

Here's teacher Nadia with only half the kids!

The kids are all much darker and slimmer these holidays due to their intensive swimming lessons. I've changed coaches and now they're under teacher Nadia. She is very good and teaches them at a very fast pace. They're even learning the butterfly stroke already!

The kids plus cousins, including Cousin Hughie from Miri, and even sis no.2's neighbour's kids are enough to fill the pool and keep teacher Nadia very busy indeed! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

mind mapping

A couple of weeks ago, the girls attended a 3 day holiday camp. It was the Tony Buzan mind mapping course. This system of learning and memory skills was created by Tony Buzan and he is based in Singapore. Kidz Paradize managed to get a few of his trained teachers to come and run the course.

It not only taught the children learning skills, but a lot of valuable life lessons. It motivated them to achieve more in life. Annie even has a list of her goals stuck on her wall now.

I think it was very good exposure for the kids. It was pretty costly but worth it in my opinion.

The kids enjoyed the classes, even though they were very long; 9am-5pm every day! The teachers were obviously very good, to have been able to hold their attention for such long periods of time!

We'll see what Kidz Paradize has planned for next year's school holidays.

Here's a letter Annie wrote in class :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


On Sunday I joined in the first ever zumbathon in Kuching. 90 minutes of fun at The Hills Shopping mall.

There were about 200 people and it was hard to see the feet of the instructors on the stage, so we were rather lost for quite a few of the fast-paced songs which we were not familiar with.

It was still loads of fun nevertheless! Everyone was shaking away regardless of the onlookers! 

I'll definitely take part if there is a next one!

Here's the link to the newspaper report on the event; http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/12/16/zumbathon-held-at-hills-to-save-our-strays/

Sunday, December 15, 2013

green eggs and ham?

So there was once, quite a while ago, Little Cousin Asa was over at our place. Then Kung Kung brought over some egg tarts. There were some normal ones and some green pandan flavoured ones.

I told Asa to come and have an egg tart. She came over and then pointed to the green ones and asked, "What is that?"

I told her those were egg tarts.

After a long, thoughtful pause...

She asked, "Got green eggs meh?!"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ballet observation class

Sometime in the middle of the year, we were invited to observe the girls' ballet classes. It was a good insight, to see what they actually do every Sunday at ballet school.

Annie is now in Grade 6, Claire in Grade 2 and Eva in Grade 1 classical ballet. When Annie started out, she enjoyed the classes, but as it got harder and the teachers became more strict, it was a struggle getting her to go for classes. She and Cousin Allyson who is in the same ballet class kept begging to quit! Sis no.3 and I were on the verge of letting them do so, but we managed to persevere and succeeded in keeping them in class until now. They started at age 4 I think, so that means they have attended this ballet school for 8 years.

Anyway, now they are actually enjoying their ballet classes! They have recently taken up modern jazz as well and enjoy that the most. Often times in the past, I thought of letting her quit, since they say you shouldn't force them if they have no interest. I felt like an evil mum, forcing her through torture. However, had I done so, I'm sure she would have regretted, and would have missed out on all the fun she is having now. Thank goodness that's one decision justified. I think her turn-around may also have something to do with the reality show she loves, "Dance Moms"!

Cousin Alaena used to be in Eva's class, but has since switched to gymnastics

Well, Claire and Eva are still in their early years in terms of ballet. They don't enjoy it that much yet, but I'm hoping they will change their minds like Annie. Ballet helps a lot with posture and is also good exercise. Being an artistic form of expression, it also allows one to channel their creativity. I think it is a good extra curricular activity for them.

After the observation class, I realize they have learnt a lot. Annie and Allyson especially are very advanced. Ballet is very technical and every single posture has to be perfect, from the head, down to the toe. They even have to learn the french terms for the ballet positions and moves. It takes a lot of discipline.

Well, we shall see how far they can go in ballet...

2013 academic achievements

Everyone did really well this year in school. Mum and dad are beaming with pride. They all studied hard for their exams, with the exception of Solomon, as he is only still in kindy and I don't want to push him. I didn't even know when he was having his exams. His school keeps it simple and does not pressure the kids.

Annie came in second in her class, while Eva came in first!

Claire was initially placed 3rd and did not receive a prize on prize-giving day. However, after the ceremony, the teachers gave them their report cards before leaving for home. In the car, Claire noticed that her history mark was wrong. She remembered scoring 99%, but her teacher wrote 85%! So after informing the teacher, and recalculating the scores, it was discovered that Claire was actually first in her class! Luckily she realized the mistake all by herself. The poor thing was left out of the prize giving ceremony, but at least everything was rectified in the end. They printed the first place certificate for her and gave her the MPH book store gift voucher.

Even Solomon did surprisingly well in his test papers!

Cousin Amanda also came in second in her class
Well done!


Here's our latest exercise craze! Zumba! It's a Latin dance/ exercise class. I gave up on crossfit at Phoenix gym, because they kept changing the class times.

Anyway, I love Zumba because it's so much fun! It doesn't feel like exercise at all! After a 1 hr session, I'm usually soaking in sweat from head to toe!

Today I brought Annie, Amanda and Allyson along and they seem to enjoy it as well. 

Have I found the elusive "workout that doesn't feel like a workout"?? 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

gymnastics star

A couple of weeks age Cousin Alaena was interviewed by the radio station Red Fm! They asked her about her rhythmic gymnastics, as she has done very well and came in top in her age group at state level competition. She only started gymnastics beginning of this year and will be going to KL to compete next week! Well done Alaena!

Cousin Allyson was also in the papers for being awarded best female athlete of her school at the end of this academic year. She is a short distance sprinter, whereas her sister Michelle does the hurdles! They both won medals at the inter-school meet. Great job girls!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

blog book!!!


My blog books are here!!! I printed my blog into books! One for each year! So I have four so far... Four years of writing.. Four years of rambling..

I used the Blog2Print website. I waited for their sale on Black Friday when they gave 20% off! Then I went ahead and ordered, and the precious books were printed and shipped from the US.

I started blogging mostly out of boredom I guess. Looking after a shop with not many customers can drive you up the wall unless you have something else to keep you occupied. Thus my blog was born in 2009.

So now that I no longer have a pharmacy, I don't blog as much anymore. However, I will try to mantain my blog and report as much as I can of our daily lives and adventures! Memories are too precious to let them just disappear in the sands of time.

So here's to many more years of happy blogging!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

paper planes

Solomon has just learnt how to fold paper planes.

And here's a whole bunch he folded! He keeps and sleeps with them on his bed and no one is allowed to remove them!

Friday, December 6, 2013

kota kinabalu 2013

the kids had fun with the underwater camera

After the kids' exams, they skipped a couple of days of school and we went to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for four nights. It was just Hubby and me and the four kids. I thought we needed time alone as a family, without maids or extended family, for bonding. Usually when we go on holidays with cousins, etc, the kids will break up into their own age groups and play. This time, I wanted Annie, the big sis, to spend more time with her siblings in a relaxed environment. They would have no choice but to spend quality time with each other and not be at each others' throats the whole time (as is usually the case at home)!

arriving at Gaya Island Resort

It was also good for Hubby to be 24/7 with us. Most of the time, the kids don't even know if he is in Kuching or off travelling! Although he was pretty much on the phone half the time throughout the trip, it was great having him all to ourselves!

Well, the holiday turned out amazing! The kids really had a great vacation, enjoying the time spent together.

Anyways, first, we spent 2 nights at the awesome Gaya Island Resort, on Pulau Gaya, just 15 minutes off the coast of KK. After that, we rented a car and drove up Mt. Kinabalu (the highest mountain in Malaysia), to spend another 2 nights at Kinabalu Pines Resort.

goofing around in our room

Gaya Island Resort is a small luxury hotel. It was rather pricey at more than RM1000 per room, per night, but it included all meals and the food is marvellous! The service is also excellent! I think it's the best I've ever come across! The staff is ever helpful and friendly. Once they see you plopping yourself on a lounge chair, they come bearing iced water with lemon slices. There are towels everywhere to take as you please and everything is clean and new, since it just opened a couple of years ago. When the kids began using the plastic drinking glasses to play in the sand, an attendant went to fetch some beach toys for them, without being asked.

Every morning, they clean the rooms as usual, but in the evening, when you are at dinner, they come and turn down the rooms as well. They clean up again, close the blinds, turn down the lights and put on soft music.

They also have activities for the guests, like early morning yoga (no thank you!), movie screening under the stars, jungle trekking, snorkelling, craft classes... etc. Most activities are free, but there are some, like painting classes which charge a fee. Hubby brought Claire and Annie for a snorkelling session at the house reef and all the girls went by themselves for a bead craft session one afternoon at the children's activity centre. We also tried some kayaking, which was in fact rather tiring!

There is also a private beach, 5 minutes away by speedboat. The beaches are beautiful, with clear waters and though not as beautiful as the beaches and reefs in Maldives or Sipadan, it is already pretty awesome for an island just 15 mins from the city. We could even see KK across the sea.

the marine centre at the beautiful private beach


I think the thing the kids enjoyed most though, was the food!! Since food was included in the package, they pretty much ordered anything and everything they wanted!! The food package worked like this; for breakfast, we were served fruits, pastry and yoghurt. Then you could choose a main of dim sum, or eggs benedict, or nasi lemak... etc. (We even had the famous current food craze, the Cronut; croissant/ doughnut hybrid) Then for lunch, we could order two courses; a main and either an appetizer or a dessert. For dinner, the appetizers and desserts were buffet style, and you could order your main ala carte.

There were lobsters, prawns and crab on ice at the buffet every night and a wonderful array of cakes and sweets! The mains were equally impressive, from Australian grass fed sirloin steak to kid's meal sets of spaghetti and meatballs. The highlight of the trip as voted by the kids was when we ate lunch in the swimming pool, at the pool bar! It was indeed a novelty for them!

movie under the stars

So after basking in the sun for 3 days, heading for the cool mountains was a lovely change! We picked up our rental car after taking the ferry back to the harbour. Then we made our way towards Mount Kinabalu. Hubby and I had some problems with Google maps, because previously, it was very user friendly with our iPhone 3, but now, on iPhone 5, it was totally different and pretty much useless for navigation! It was only much later that it dawned on us to download the other Google Maps app, the one that  does not come pre-set with the phone! Grrrr...

Anyhoo.... So we stopped by One Borneo shopping mall to have lunch. Some Nando's and Baskin Robbins later, we went on our way up the mountain. It was a 2 hour drive, so most of the kids dozed off. As we got nearer to the national park, the kids were excited to see that we were entering the clouds! They have always asked about clouds, how they felt and what would it be like to be in one! The mountain scenery was truly breathtaking. One thing I noticed was the abundance of catholic churches! I think there was a sign board announcing a church at every 1 kilometer interval!

the view from our room!

Well, we reached our resort, the Kinabalu Pines Resort, Kundasang, in the evening. It is a pleasant resort, with beautiful pine trees which remind me of 'Salem' cigarette ads of old!! The food there is a far, far cry from what we had on the island, but the cool fresh air and the mind-blowing view of Mount Kinabalu more than made up for it! The view of the peak of Mount Kinabalu, behind the pine trees, is so magnificent that is looks like the Swiss Alps! (This is what my friend said when she saw the pics, and she used to be an air-stewardess!)

The rooms are very basic but clean. The kids were very happy to have a cup noodle dinner, as we don't do those at home!

Well the next day, we  went to Mt Kinabalu National Park. We drove as far as we could and walked around a bit. After searching unsuccessfully for the botanical garden, we left the park and headed for Ranau. We found Poring Hot Springs and went down to explore. Eva and Solomon played a bit on the slide in a pool. It was not filled with hot water from the springs, but instead freezing cold water from the mountain!

The hot springs gave off their sulphur stink and the kids found the fact that it smelled just like breaking wind so amusing! Lol!

After the pool, we ventured to the canopy walk. It is a short 10 mins walk to a series of 3 bridges suspended from the tops of enormous, tall trees! The first two bridges were shorter, but the third one was the longest and thus much shakier! When I looked down, I realized it was also the highest, as right below us was a deep ravine! My legs turned into jelly right about then! Annie and Eva were also a little freaked out, whereas Claire found it a breeze (and shook the bridge for fun!) and Solomon even walked backwards!! It was a fun experience.

After lunch at Ranau town, we headed back to the resort to relax and enjoy the cool air. Dinner was a pleasantly hot steamboat affair, after which we drove around Kundasang town (which takes about 5 mins!) to buy some cookies and milk for the kids and Stout for Daddy!

The next day, it was time to head home. The kids were all sad to leave. So maybe we will be back?

Related Posts with Thumbnails