Monday, February 25, 2013

Today's post-CNY thoughts

And so.... another event i.e. the Chinese New Year can be ticked off the 2013 calendar as yesterday was Chap Goh Mei, the 15th and last day of the festival. Also, February is a shorter month and in a few days' time, we'll be greeting March. Oh how time just passes us by so quickly, and I feel like I'm getting left behind like a rickety old lady hobbling on a cane trying to catch the last bus!

Wasn't it just yesterday I was talking about making new year resolutions? And how far have I moved on those resolutions? Sigh, I still have them scrawled on a scrap of paper which is lying around somewhere in the kitchen and that's as far as the resolutions have gone, from dining table to kitchen counter! Apart from this, life for me has just been one whole big ordinary routine of household chores, driving around for chores and child minding. My kitchen 'experiments' are ongoing while I also try to catch up on reading more books to keep the grey matter active.

As for E, being the sole breadwinner, life is still centred a lot around work and home, helping me do the dishes, vacuum the house once a week, and cutting the grass in the garden when it has become a total eyesore!

For C, her school experience has changed this year. This year, the school has obtained a licence to run an international syllabus, causing the majority of parents to jump on the overseas education bandwagon. We chose to remain with the local syllabus as the school still has to fulfil its commitment to see those of us in the KBSR syllabus through. School fees will also double if we go the international route and that's something we need time to work on. Well, there are also other options to education besides the mass education system that I keep an open mind to...

With most of her classmates having moved to the international syllabus, C's class now has only eight kids. The advantage of such a small class is that the teachers can give close attention to their learning and distraction from chatty and overactive classmates is minimal. C, however, finds it less fun as her social interaction is now reduced to just a few kids. Even though she gets to see her ex-classmates during recess and lunch time, I guess the friendship dynamics have changed since they no longer learn the same subjects or share the same classroom experience. They have formed different cliques and so has C. Meanwhile, C also has a challenge (which has brought her some tears of anger and frustration) dealing with a particular classmate who sits next to her, whom she says likes to 'bug' her and trail her. I guess that classmate is looking for a new 'best friend' while C doesn't want to reciprocate ....

Today, C and all the upper primary kids in her school are going through what they term as 'standards testing' in preparation for their coming Sports Day. I will know later this afternoon if she had qualified to represent Green House in the 4X100m race. As for soccer, the school has yet to start any practice since they are busy preparing for Sports Day.

C says she wants to continue with soccer too and we support that. Whether she learns anything at practice or not, whether she is good at it or not, I'm not too concerned. I see it as a form of physical exercise for her and there are other learning points outside of soccer per se that could be reaped from this 'soccer experience'. After all, we can't expect a child to excel in every activity they pursue. We also don't want to push her into too many activities like some other parents do. I always hold on to the fact that every child is unique. Some kids are academically inclined, some are not. Some can adapt to a packed schedule of extra-curricular activities, some can't. As long as they are learning at their own pace, we needn't get too caught up with padding their resumes with a long list of achievements starting from age five, or for some parents, even younger....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xin Nian Kwai Le

ACE wishes one and all a Happy Chinese New Year!!

School was out for an entire week. ACE stuck to the 'standard practice' which most Chinese families also practice during this festival i.e. return to the husband's side of the family for the new year eve reunion dinner as well as celebrate the first day together. Then on the second day, we would return to the wife's side i.e. my side of the family to celebrate the festival. We returned home to KL on the third day as we had to attend a few other gatherings among friends, colleagues and extended family. C even had a birthday party to attend on Valentine's Day.

Thankfully for us, both sides of the family are within 45 minutes' drive away so we didn't have to suffer too much of the 'balik kampung' exodus traffic snarl on the highways. During such times, a normal two-hour drive could stretch up to four or five hours or more. So for some families with 'kampungs' too far away, they might have different arrangements such as visiting either side of the family on alternate years. Travel plans have to be made way ahead, especially if bus, train or airplane tickets need to be purchased and hotels need to be booked.

Like any other celebration, we ate lots of special festive fare and delicacies, many of which carry symbolic meaning. If you're  watching your weight or diet, it's hard to resist all the goodies. The 'spare tyre' that I have is now over-inflated and my slightly-elevated cholesterol level has probably become 'inceasingly' elevated!

Today we suffered the Monday blues as we're back to work and school. After one week of waking up later than our usual 6.00am, I've been plodding through the day in a rather lost and dazed manner, testimony to the idea that too much of a good thing, in this case the holiday and abundant rich food, is simply not good....

Even writing this post is requiring more effort than usual. It feels like my brains are not 'moving'....I guess this is all for now before this post sounds more monotonous than it already is...