Another on Childcare Centre

Remember my earlier entry about childcare here.

Saw this on the newspaper yesterday.

thestar - 21 february 12

It’s sad to read that the teachers yelling to the toddlers when asked for water:(.

Tips for parents in surveying daycare:
1. When you first survey the place, don’t come by appointment. Just say you may drop by that day, but don’t mention any specific time. Check everything including the toilet.
2. When you starts sending kids, come do a spot check once in a while. Try to drop the kids at different time, for instance at 10am, 3pm. You need to sacrifice a bit of your annual leaves to do this.
3. Look around. If you see kids are waiting at the door macam terkurung kat penjara maybe something is not right.
4. Survey more than one place before make your decision.

I know not all parents manage to find a good one, so they resort to maid — then the maid run away after 6 months. I think 1 out of 10 couples experience this. Kesian.

In my opinion, Early Childhood Practitioners are underpaid in Malaysia. They should get a pay at least as equal to primary teachers so that those who are truely passion about kids (like me!) will work there. According to this one childcare expert from Australia (can’t remember her name), she even believes these Early Childhood Practitioners be paid higher than normal teachers.

Of course, regulators need to play a big role here. The article said she already lodged 2 complaints to JKM and looks like nothing has been done. Sad sad sad 😦

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Chick flicks moments

Last weekend was super-hot! [taktau lah macamana panas di hari akhirat nanti]. We just lazying around inside the house. nak keluar pun malas. So while encik hubby and AE napping, I decided to watch Notting Hill. Just chose it randomly from our HD movie list. Chick flicks are always a safe choice coz I can pause whenever the boys needed me and at the same time it will entertain you, plus not much thinking needed.

I remembered I watched the movie once (in the video-tape format), but I thought it was a bit boring at that time and maybe I didn’t watch till the end. Nevertheless yesterday was different. I enjoyed throughout the whole movie. Oh wow, I guess age can do that to you, huh;).

Maybe I was so much younger back then and didn’t really get the movie. It’s  about super-hot movie actress dating normal person, plus the British accent maybe made it harder to relate. Wah macam lah aku nie sekarang hot actress suddenly dah boley relate cerita tu hehe…

Anyway, I think Julia Roberts was superb in that. She nailed it. I really like her. She has this ‘tough girl’s attitude with an adorable laugh, yet her eyes show such softness, filled with emotion which can make you melt. Not all actresses have that. Well, since now we are at the topic of chick flicks; let’s just list the top 10 modern chick flicks that I personally love.

1. Legally Blonde. This has to be on the top of my list. It is so original, the ideas that pink and intelligence can blend together is enough for girls to watch. Plus I just love Reese.

2. Notting Hill. I just can’t stop smiling throughout the movie. I think the American meets British element is surreal but nice;).

3. Mean Girls. So true about how girls are mean to each other. Relevant not only in school, but throughout our lifetime. Sucky.

4. A walk to remember. A heroin that passes away with cancer at the end is a typical chick flick. Still, somehow the movie is a bit different. Maybe the oldies factor and the lovely Mandy Moore. The novel is even better.

5. My Best Friend’s Wedding. Another of Julia’s. I actually can’t relate with this movie, maybe coz I don’t have a male best friend that as close as that, but still I love this movie. Now to think about it, the theme is a bit like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? I really love that dinner moment, with that famous Aretha Franklin’s song.

6. Coyote Ugly. Okay not sure whether this is chick flicks, but it definitely fell into the hope/romantic/dream category. This movie makes you wanna dance:).

7. Devils Wear Prada. En. Hubby tak suka cerita nie coz she dumped her boyfriend. But I like the career-reality in this movie, about the fussy boss and the challenges that woman need to face in her first job.

8. Just Married. Ashton and Brittany Murphy. Love their chemistry.

9.10 things I hate about you. Sweet simple high school love. I love Julia Stiles; she has that intelligent vibes in her voice, a bit like Julia Roberts. Hey, they have the same name I just realised:).

10. Okay, I just can’t decide which of the following to be at no. 10 coz I like all of them equally hahaha…It’s between Miss Congeniality, A Cinderella’s Story (Chad Murray!), Pretty Woman (all time favorite but somehow I didn’t see it as pure chick flicks), Save the Last Dance (another one from Stiles) and Ever After (another Cinderella-like movie).

Let me know your favorite chick flicks so I can go dig it up in our HD drive (or at dvd stores) to watch on another fine Sunday afternoon.

P.S : I googled what actually chick flicks mean and mainly it says any film that indulges in the hopes and dreams of women and/or girls, usually has a happy, fuzzy, ridiculously unrealistic ending. It is heavy with emotion or contains themes that are relationship-based (although not necessarily romantic). Common elements include loneliness, obsessive materialism and happy endings.

childcare centres on carousel

KUALA TERENGGANU: Over half of the 2,035 unregistered daycare centres nationwide made the mistake of setting up their operations even before getting approval from the authorities. Many centres operate illegally because they are located in residential areas and their application for permits will stall if their neighbours complain, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Heng Sai Kie.

“The applications of more than 50% of unregistered centres are stuck because they face protests and opposition from neighbours. “As long as the neighbours oppose the setting up of the centre, the operators cannot get the permits,” she said. These centres, she added, could have easily avoided the hassle if they had registered their businesses and obtained approval from the local council, the Fire and Rescue Services Depart¬ment and the Health Ministry before setting up shop.

Heng said the lack of maids and parents not relying on close relatives for childcare were the reasons for the high dependency on these centres. ” Many working couples are not staying with their parents,” she said, adding that most centres were in Selangor.

Heng, however, maintained that the ministry had been making headway in getting centres to register through its Jom Daftar campaign. “There were 245 registered centres between January and May last year. After the campaign, the number has shot up to 819,” she said.

Heng said the ministry, through the Welfare Department, had also set up one-stop centres around the country for operators to have all their permits approved by the various authorities under one roof. “The permits are now valid for five years instead of one year while the processing of applications takes only seven days compared to two months previously,” she said.

Heng said cases involving deaths of children at daycare centres took place at unregistered premises, stressing that these tragedies could have easily been avoided. ” With registration, the Welfare Department can monitor the centres as well as conduct annual checks to ensure they follow regulations.
“The guidelines and regulations are not to create more hassle but for the sake of the children’s safety and health,” she said. Under the Child Care Centre Act, guilty operators can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed not more than two years, or both. They face heavier penalties for repeat offences. Heng added that the ministry was also in the process of seeking tougher sentences. She urged anyone aware of errant or unregistered centres to report to the state Welfare Department or call Talian Nur at 15999. – The Star

The issues on non-licensed child care centre have been going on for as long as I can remember. Now the story popped up again due to the recent case of 2 boys passed away at an unlicensed centre. It’s a pity that something tragic has to happen before actions are taken, but hey…sadly that is common in Malaysia. Nevertheless, reading the article above I’m not convince the issue is going to be tackle anytime soon.

Ask any working mother. It has been an ongoing dilemma for years. Some even decided to quit working due to this issue. I remembered when my son was 2-months old I called Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat and asked what are the daycare centres that listed in Ampang and she only mention one name. Can you imagine that? Just one, and that one name don’t even take 2-months baby. Irony.

It’s irony because I saw so many childcare centres in Ampang. You can find it at almost every block with banners and playground. So aren’t they licensed? If not, why are they operating? Where are the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry? Why they don’t comb the area now and then and just close the unlicensed one. This involves life of the innocent children.

From the article above, the ministry is pointing fingers at almost everybody (including neighbors!). First, the centre itself because opening without approval. I’m not surprise by that. Sadly to say, I have to admit that Malaysians are not civilized enough. They run the red light and throw rubbish on the street every day. Breaking law, no punishment, so what? A bitter truth. It is even depressing to see parents do it, as kids will imitate. Sad, indeed.

In my opinion, enforcement of the law is the key. Why people don’t throw rubbish in Singapore? With due respect, I don’t think because they are such a hygiene person to begin with but it is because of the strict law. It starts with enforcement and eventually habits will follow.

Anyway, back to the childcare centre issues. It is mind-boggling to me to the read the part in the article about lacking of maids and parents not relying on close relatives are the reasons why we depend on childcare centre. What the heck? Close relatives aren’t responsible to take care of our kids, and don’t start with maid. I have countless relatives and friends with 1001 stories about maid, and only 1% of it has good ending.

Ministry should stop highlighting the obvious and just enforce the license.  This thing has been going on like a non-stop carousel. Do we need to wait for Minister’s grandchild to pass away at a childcare centre before this issue is solved once and for all? Sad:(

A fun New Year!

Okay this is about our New Year holiday fun at Singapore / Johor Bahru, finally! Haha dah masuk bulan February pun. Well, this is going to be a quite lengthy entry with pictures, bear with me. It was a great rejuvenating holiday, alhamdulilah. We slept over at JB and went to Singapore during the day. It is just more cost efficient, plus we have friends in JB. We didn’t go to USS this time, as we don’t think it is cost-beneficial for AE and it is no fun to ride along (while one of us babysit him).

On the first day there, we went to the Singapore Science Centre. It was very near the 2nd link. There is a Dinosaur show at that time, so AE was quite excited. There were all kind of dinosaur species, but hubby said the one in Malaysia’s science center has better skin texture. I’m like…errr….texture? okay…haha… There also have this sand area for kids to dig bones like an archaeologist. AE loved it at first, before he cried coz he wanted me to join. Well, sorry munchkin…it clearly stated that the digging is only for kids age 9 and below, and I’m not going to disobey rule at Singapore 😉. Oh yeah, they also have this fun water play outside, AE insisted to go there first but I manage to persuaded him to go inside first.

Check the pamphlet as there are a few interesting shows there. We manage to watch the fire show and it was quite cool, though I think hubby liked it more than AE haha. Surprisingly, the thing that AE loved the most there is this big kinetic machine with a few balls rolling up and down. He was really mesmerized by it; he can just sit there for hours if we let him! I think he even likes it more than the dinosaurs. It shows that you can’t really tell what the kids’ interests are, but what you can do is give them space to discover and explore.

this is the thing that AE really like:)

okay can't remember what species is this...

young archaeologists

the fun water play outside science centre

Next day we went to the zoo. Knowing how much people have praised about Singapore Zoo, I’ve always wanted to bring AE there as he’s really into animals. Well, the zoo actually exceeded our expectation. It is located in the middle of greenery land. Once we entered the zoo, we were already quite excited to see monkeys and birds everywhere, cage-free (one main thing that is very different with Malaysia).

If you reach there early, catch the elephant bathing session

no fence around the monkeys area

Although Malaysia’s zoo has more animals but I think the Singapore Zoo uses its resources more efficiently. Each area is designed with attractions and information. For example, the hippo’s area has underneath pool so you can see what happening below. It is interesting not to AE but also to us (haha I never see hippo swimming from that point of view).

watching hippo swimming from side view

The shows were also excellent, entertaining and educational. I already studied the zoo website prior our holiday so we already arranged the whole day so that we won’t miss any show. At first I’m worried AE might get bored with some of it, but he loves all of it. There’s elephant show, sea lion (a bit like Malaysia’s but you will get wet with the splashing), animals’ friends show (cats and dogs) and rainforest show which basically involves animals like raccoon and squirrel, but still quite interesting to the kids. Again, the use of resources I guess.

my two heroes:)

getting ready for the last splash:)

Another big attraction there is the water play. Oh yeah, AE’s favorite! It’s like a bonus. There is a kid’s theme park right inside the zoo, where there’s fun water play and other games like carousel (my favorite! hehe). It’s good if you manage your time so that you can reach this place at the end of the day for a cooler weather, plus parents can relax a bit and kids can let out their extra energy haha…

fun water park right inside the zoo!

Okay moving on to the Bird Park. It was not actually part of the plan but since we have an extra day (and extra money in auto pass haha) we thought why not since it is located quite near with the 2nd link. We thought we can finish the place in half day coz it’s only birds right? How big can it be…But oh well, we underestimated the place!

dah sampai:)

Similar like zoo (well, they are operated under the same management), they have great attractions/shows as well. You are greeted at the entrance with all kind of penguins, quiet big one. Not that regular small ones at the zoo. I really like their Lorry Loft, where you can feed the bird at very high platform, so you are at the same level with trees. I also like the pelican’s area, where you can see how it scooped fish underneath the water. By the way, AE called pelicans “mine mine” based on the Finding Nemo movie haha…

feeding at the lorry loft

outside the penguin coast, I'm a bit taller than the penguin?

There’s also this King of the Skies show, which I think hubby really likes. It’s about all those predator birds (eagle, owl, vultures, falcon). Well, actually I can’t remember which one is which one anymore…The Birds and Buddies show is also interesting; its parrot can sing the full rasa sayang and happy birthday songs and counted 1 to 10. AE loves it:). The only place I think he didn’t really like is the Owl House, coz it’s super-dark and it’s hard for him to see things. But it made sense for the owl to live there, though.

King of the Skies show

emm..vulture or falcon? en. hubby tolong jawab...hehe

we saw an Iguana at the bird park, AE loves it!

Notably, there’s also water play at the Bird Park, very similar like the zoo. Isn’t that great! But it was closed for maintenance the day we went, you may call first to check that. Since this was our last day, legs got tired much faster so we skip a few areas and headed home at 3pm. Well, I hope we will go there again:). Do you realize all parks there have water play? I think they can read the kids’ minds haha…

On another day, we went around the city, riding MRT and just strolling around. Alhamdulilah the weather was wonderfully pleasant. As Singapore is well known of, it is a very clean city. We couldn’t even find a bin at this one MRT station that hubby had to keep the ice-cream wrap in his pocket haha…Oh yeah and if you need cheap souvenirs, there are small row of shops at Arab Street behind mosque selling it. We also went to Orchard Road but I didn’t shop at all haha… sangat baik kan saya.

AE riding MRT for the first time

in the middle of the city:)

It was not that hard to drive there but just make sure you obey the traffic rules. (Thank you so much Rozek and Nana for being our faithful tourist guides, I think we might get lost without their help! ). You just need to know your destination so you can decide whether you want to use the Causeway or the 2nd link. For instance, the Zoo is near the Causeway. The 2nd link has less cars, but more pricey. You can also check the traffic condition at Causeway via this one apps, I can’t remember what it called but it is efficient indeed.

Get your passport ready and it’s also good to have the white form ready. Or else, be prepare with the passport details to fill it in the car (and waited for the car in front of you filling it). The trick is to que behind the Singapore car hehe..

Next you need Auto Pass for the car. You can buy it when at the Singapore Custom. The pass is specific for each car, cannot be use with other car. It is like a touch-n-go thingy, where you use it to pay tolls and parking. But please ensure the auto pass has enough balance before you exit or else you will get fined (we did $S10!). You can top up at their 7-Eleven or Cheers (there’s one at the zoo). Interestingly, most attractions there charge you lower during public holidays.

The Auto Pass will also deduct a vehicle entry permit (VEP) fees of S$20 per day. But now they have 10 VEP free days to encourage tourism so we didn’t get charge on that. You can just check Singapore’s Land Transport Authority website where it can give you estimates on the cost of transportation.

Well, I guess that’s it on our fun New Year holiday. Since we still have balance on our Auto Pass, we might go there again one day. Jom! InsyaAllah.

Happy New Year 2012!