Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas the traditional way

I was just telling everyone that I wouldn't have a Christmas tree at home, just like every year, but then the day after I heard myself telling hubby to go get one. With Aelig in tow I realized I get dragged into following most of the Christmas traditions.

I changed my mind about the Christmas tree because her school held an activity decorating the tree, and they gave an ornament to every kid so that they could attach it to their own one at home. She also helped her sitter settling up hers. So, when we got the tree from a grocery trip, I took out our ornaments set and the Christmas crèche to let her play with it.

The advent calender for me is pure commercial plot targeting children. Hubby bought one and I didn't protest. One or two chocolates per day is ok plus it creates bonding moments for father and daughter. Besides, she is among the few ones that get to have a calender counting towards her birthday.

We went to the Christmas market several times and each time she got to ride in the "manége", the amusement rides. The Town Hall was kind enough to set up a free one the weekend before Christmas, so she got to play unlimited times.

Meeting Santa Claus. She was screaming when she saw him appearing in the living room. We were vacationing in the mountain, the chalet owner had the kindness to accept playing the role. It is our family tradition to have Santa Clause on Christmas eve. So, there was no such thing as preparing some cookies and a glass of milk for the Santa before going to bed and discovering presents in the morning of Christmas.

Having fun discovering all her presents.

Another family tradition: having capon on the Christmas day. My father in laws' signature dish, best eaten with his chestnut dish. Anyway, I was a bit disappointed as this year everyone got to serve white meat (boneless part), which is considered the best part. But for me, white meat has simply no taste, I prefer wings or drumsticks.

From time to time, my in laws organize a week of vacation somewhere else during the Christmas holiday. This year we went to the Mountain. The chalet was located in a hill facing the valley with breath taking views. Aelig got to feed the horses. Sometimes she decided to eat outside, looking at the horses, despite the windy weather.

Walking in the snow suited her well.

I hope all these traditions would become memorable moments during her childhood, something she could reminisce when she grows up.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Company Christmas party

Every year end my company organizes a Christmas party for their employees and family. It started at 5pm, so I asked Aelig to take a nap before going. She didn't want to and was playing around, so I told her that since she was naughty, she would not get to see Santa and get a gift this year. Hearing this threat, she went to bed quietly.

So, at 5pm, she was all ready to meet Santa. The party started with a magic show that lasted for around an hour. It was an excellent show that got all the attentions from the kids. The magician threw candies to kids from time to time so the kids were all glued to the stage waiting for the moment.

The highlight of the show was when Santa appeared from an empty box. Aelig was yelling "papa noël" with an exciting tone.

Everyone was queuing to take photo with Santa. The organizer was distributing a bag to every kid attended the event.

Aelig checking out the bag, it has a bag of chocolate plus a duckling. Some kids got a bag of chocolate plus a special gift, which allowed them to sit around the magician and learn to practice magic using the gift.

Santa running out of business when everyone got their photo. The party continued with buffet dinner for adults and kids. They even had oysters, we were really impressed. Dessert was chocolate fondue and some typical French pastry. Macaron was the most popular one, it was out within a minute. The organizer also prepared a separated room with activities for kids. There was a person making balloons in different shapes, a beautician giving makeup to kids, a place to play card games and lego, and lots of room to run around. When the kids got occupied with all these activities, the adults got to enjoy the party. Aelig was playing the whole evening with others instead of sticking to us. Later in the evening a DJ appeared to annouce the beginning of the dancing part, so kids and adults were dancing on the same floor.The magician continued his show in small group.

Overall we felt that it was very well organized. Aelig enjoyed herself very much and asked us for more. So I think we will participate again next year.

The language choices

"We wish you a mauli Crisma, we wish you a mauli Crisma, we wish you a mauli Crisma, and a Happy to you."

This is how Aelig sings the song.
We are in the Christmas mood so we have been exposing Aelig to Christmas carols. It makes us laugh to hear her singing "mauli Crisma", and I shared this with my coworker.
He looked at me, and said: "When are you going to teach your kid something French?"
I was a bit surprised. I told him that hubby is the one responsible to teach Aelig French. Well, hubby uploaded many Christmas carols in English for us as he likes the joyful and festive ambiances in these songs.  As for me, I didn't teach Aelig any Christmas song in Mandarin because I don't know them. I was not exposed to them when I was a kid.

Anyway, I don't think we need to justify anything to anyone. This is our decision and we just want the best for our kid. However, I do want to share why we chose these languages.

Even before Aelig was born, we have decided to separate the job: hubby would teach her French and I would teach her mandarin. It was a total no brainer for French, since she is French. I chose Mandarin because it is my mother tongue. There were questions raised about this choice, I will share about this in another post.

The hard part was English. This was the language we spoke when we met, and we chose to continue to use it among us so that we won't lose it. We decided to let Aelig learns it herself when she goes to primary school, but something came up which made me had doubt about our choice.

We were in Krabi, Thailand, a place which do not understand either French or Mandarin. There was a safari room where you can drop your kid for several hours while running your errands. Aelig went to play there sometimes. At one point, she was with several kids, some from Singapore who spoke in English. They were all playing one two three jump to an area full of balls. A little girl commanded one two three, everyone jumped except Aelig. She looked lost because she didn't understand the command. I decided that it may be time to teach her some basic English. So, I added English songs, DVD and Youtube clips to her entertainment times.

And the result, now she knows how to count in three languages:
Mandarin: from 1 to 20, going towards 30
French: from 1 to 10, going towards 15
English: from 1 to 10

She is probably slower than other kids her age but I think she will get there eventually. Let's see.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Run run run

Last weekend hubby participated in a 30km cross country running. He was very courageous as the weather was freezing and it was raining at the beginning of the race. We formed a team with Aelig and several of his friends to cheer him up.
I taught Aelig the word "加油", literally means "add oil" in Chinese to support her daddy. So throughout the race we were shouting "加油", "allez allez" (go on in French).

We waited at different locations for hubby and once he passed, we moved to the next spot waiting for him. Photo shows Aelig cheering for her daddy.

I don't remember how many stops we waited to cheer him, but removing and attaching Aelig to the car seat was quite painful, luckily I was not alone and our friend did most of the job. Photo shows Aelig running towards her dad but hubby avoided her as he wanted to continue the race/pace.

Arriving at the finish line. Welcome by his daughter.

So proud of him.

See all the muds stuck to his shoes. The organizers prepared some water pipes for the runners to wash up their shoes.

Thanks to everyone who sacrificed their Sunday morning and helped motivate hubby to arrive at the finish line. Hubby said that seeing us cheering for him had boosted his spirit and encouraged him enormously. Due to the weather condition and the distance, there were not many people / villagers coming out to cheer up the runners.

Information for Malaysians intending to get PACSed in France

From time to time I get asked about procedure to get PACSed in France. Pacs (Pacte Civil de Solidarité) is a way of giving a couple (homosexual or straight) the similar rights or benefits to those given to married couples. Since I had never done it I couldn't provide much helps, but there are two documents that are required for both Pacs and marriage: certificat de coutume and certificat de celibat. I had them for my wedding so I know how tedious the process is. For information certificat de coutume is a document stating that every Malaysian reaches majority at the age of 21 and from there on is free to get married to anyone without needing consent from his / her family or anyone else.

The problem is, Malaysia doesn't recognize Pacs so the Embassy doesn't want to provide the certificat de coutume to the applicants. It becomes a tricky situation as this document is one of the many papers required in order to get Pacsed. I'm not sure if the French government officers are going to carry on the application process without this. From what I heard, some people simply gave up, or chose to get married. But recently, I got known to this one woman who fought the battle and managed to find a solution. She did get pacs without these two documents! Please read her story here with a detail explanation on the required documents and procedures.

From my experiences dealing with the French administrations, sometimes they do accept certain explanations since every country has different rules / ways / procedures in handling paperworks. Here are two to share:
1. While gathering documents to get married, I told the Town Hall that unlike France, Malaysia issues one birth certificate for life. The officer accepted the translated copy of my birth certificate issued since I was born.
2. While exchanging my driver's license, the officer accepted the original copy even though in the instruction it was stated that "translation required". Well, the Malay language uses the same alphabetic and numerical system, most of the information was pretty much identical in French.

Ok, they might not be as lenient as before, but, never say never, try negotiate. :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The terrifying hide and seek

Hide and seek is a common game that I think everyone has played during one point in his/her life.
Usually, one person hides and the other would look for him/her.
When the game starts, every plays their role, whether hiding or seeking.
But, it becomes a problem when one is hiding and the other doesn't know that he should be seeking.

That happened one day when I was walking home with Aelig.

On the way to school I met my friend and her son so we all went to the school to pick up Aelig.

On the way back, we walked through a park, the kids were running in front of us while we were chatting.

Suddenly, I discovered that they were no longer in the park and the end of the park was a main road with lots of car passing. We rushed toward the exist but the kids were not in sight. I rushed back towards the park, seeking, then I heard my friend calling me saying that she found the kids.

Where were they?

They were hiding beside a house facing the main road. Aelig was all smiling and thrilled that she has tricked me. She didn't know that I was worried to dead and she didn't understand why it was a bad idea to play hide and seek when the seeker was not informed that the game has started. My friend told me that she had never been so scared in her life. Ok, I felt really guilty because Aelig was the culprit, her friend was just following her. When she saw me, she repeated the game. She led her friend towards the house and hid from our sight. When we found them again,  they both giggled with joy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2 years 11 months

Since early October, she has achieved an important milestone in her life : fully potty trained (day and night).

It was a painful process for both parents and her. Me and hubby had completely different method in this matter.

We introduced the potty to her since she turned two. She didn't buy the idea at first and didn't want to sit on it. Little by little she managed to pee in it, but just for fun. At one point, hubby went tough, she was forced to sit on the potty for more than one hour. It didn't work and she got completely blocked. So, we put the training on hold. It got resumed in summer, during the day she went diaperless. I bought potty training story book both in French and in Mandarin, so she got the idea, but still didn't want to cooperate.

Before going to Malaysia she did well when she was with my in laws, was very proud when she managed to pee in the toilet just like an adult. She didn't like the potty after all. But then she was blocked once again when she was in Malaysia.

Back to France in September, we got no choice. She needed to be potty trained at school. We stopped the diaper.

First week at school, she wet her pants everyday, and when grandma picked her up from school she pooed on the way home. She was very upset when she did it, she kept saying that her daddy was not happy. We proposed her to go to the toilet every two hours. When she successfully did it she would be so excited.

That weekend, she had a tough training. My coworker said I shouldn't ask if she wanted to go to the toilet, I should just bring her there. It worked, she did it when I forced her to the toilet. Then, during a long walk she pooed in her pants. At the end of the walk she was very tired and begged me to take her in her arms, but hubby was very firmed, he told her that since she pooed in her pants she would had to walk back herself.

Second week at school, situation improved. She only had one accident at school and two accidents in bed. But she dirtied her pants twice on the way home from school. It was a painful week for me as I had to force her to go to the toilet at school before going home but she still pooed in her pants on the way home.

Third week at school, no more accident at school and in bed, managed to pee and poo at school toilet before going home.

Since then, we don't have to propose her to go to the toilet. She would ask when she need to.

When discussed about this, hubby said that his tough method worked, she improved since that walk during the first weekend. I disagreed with him, I think that the school trained her. The fact that everyone has to go to the toilet every two hours kind of teach her to do like the others. Sometimes she doesn't want me to help remove her pants, she would say "toute de seule" (by herself), that she would want to do it by herself just like in the school.

Anyway, I'm glad that this is behind us now. One of my coworkers was not that lucky. His three year-old son was completely blocked. Due to this he only goes to the kindergarten half day, and wear diaper in the afternoon in her sitter's place. They went to doctor, pediatrician, psychologist, all couldn't tell what was the real problem.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A day working in Paris

In my job I rarely need to go outstation. So, when my manager informed me that the management team will have a meeting in Paris, I was all excited. Now I get to experience the famous Parisian working life: Métro, boulot, dodo (Transport, work, sleep).

On a Wednesday morning, our team took the train to Paris. Two hours later, we got out of the train station, then continued our one hour journey on subway and bus.
One arrived, we were fascinated by the campus style headquarter. I felt like I was back in the USA, as offices consisted of huge buildings, everyone was wearing a badge with a photo, entrance guided by security guards.

We got our visiter pass and headed to the company restaurant for lunch. Several high ranking managers joined us. We got to have starter, main course, dessert accompanied with red wine along the meal. We were joking that if we were going to see our CEO, but one manager said he has never seen him eating in this restaurant. Later I chatted with my coworker, who wished that our top management could spend some times, walking into offices and have a little chat with their employees. Well, apparently in the traditional French companies, bosses still keep a distance from their employees, so you could only see them in the newspapers, company newsletters, but seldom in person.

After lunch, it was time to start working. The heartquarter was consisted of many open spaces, a concept I found revolutionary in France. Basically, there is no fixed spot for an employee, everyone comes to an open space and just take the next available spot. There are some cubicles and meeting rooms available for those who want to have phone calls. A coworker told us that he didn't get used to sitting and working beside a big big boss that he just gets to see once in a while.

I bumped into an ex coworker from R town, he just got transfered to Paris and he spends 3 hours everyday in subway and buses. We left at 6.30pm and jumped right into the peak hour traffic jams. The 15 minutes bus ride turned into an hour one and by the time we arrived in our hotel, we were exhausted. Not only from the long transportation time, but the crowd in the subway, the rushing from one subway line to another (don't know why within half day in Paris we all walked at the pace just like the Parisians). While being sardined in one of the subway lines we saw a group of girls jumping in last minute and immediately provoked an oral flight.

The day was not ended once we arrived in the hotel. We were invited to dine with some managers. I found the price exorbitant for what we got. The cocktail was not impressive, the starter and main course barely passed the standard I expected. Anyway, everyone was chatting and talking and at 11pm my mind was in the Zzzz land. We got back to the hotel at 1 am and we have a train to catch the next morning.

I'm glad I got to participate in this event but I don't think I can stand to do it often. I talked to my manager who goes to Paris often, he said he has to wake up at 5am so that he can catch a train to Paris to have the meeting at 9am. In the evening, he doesn't want to do anything but rest.

Anyway I think it all depends on personal choices. Certain people find Paris charming and could not stand living outside of Paris or its suburbs. Certain people condemn the hectic lifestyle. As for me, if I were younger and childless, I would properly venture into this City of Light.

A weekend with Leopard

Last Friday when picking up Aelig from the school, we were handed a basket.

What's inside this basket?

A leopard with his notebook.

This notebook jots down the Leopard's weekend with one of the students from the class. Apparently every student gets to have him for a weekend, and this weekend he gets to be with Aelig. This is definitely a lucky Leopard because he has been to a beach, an aquarium, an amusement park, a swimming pool, a festival for the kids, a birthday party and a village. So, where should we bring him for the weekend?

According to a website the Giant Elephant is the most visited attraction from tourists visiting Nantes. So we decided to bring him there. He got to share a spot with Aelig's favorite toy Tiger in her school bag. Everyone has a blast.

Aelig has a notebook for herself too. The teacher attached a program/ a term for the week so that parents know what they are learning. She did inform us about this Leopard adventure, but I didn't pay attention to it. Ok I'm still adjusting to the school system here. I myself had never gone to Kindergarten so I really don't know what kids do there. I admit there are still plenty to learn...

Side-note:  We couldn't tell the differences between a Leopard, a cheetah and a Jaguar. So while doing this exercise we actually needed to look through Wikipedia on these three animals. After the explanations it is still hard to distinguish them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Watch your language

The school holiday is over. We were fetching Aelig home from my in laws' place.
While driving, hubby accidentally spelled out a profane word.

Hubby: Connard! (Motherfucker in French).
Before he has time to show his regret, we heard Aelig repeating it.
Aelig: Connard!
We looked at each other and tried to think of a way to undo the damage.
Then, I heard Aelig mumbled something in Mandarin which involved the word "狐狸" (Fox in Mandarin).
I realized that she has mistaken the word with "Renard", fox in French.
I told hubby about this and he quickly agreed with Aelig that he was talking about fox.
Aelig: Oh look, there is fox outside, it is papa's fox. Oh, there is another one, this one is maman's fox.
Me: Oh you saw fox?
Aelig: Yes, many of them.
I just smiled to her without wanting to correct her. There was certainly no fox along the way, I don't know what she saw and what she was trying to say.

Oh that was close. 好险!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The curious one

Aelig is on vacation with her grandparents. Beside doing the usual activities like gardening, baking, collecting apples, leaves, she is now collecting worms.
Why is she not afraid of worms? I think she is just curious of these creatures.

Just like she was curious about this creature: snake. I wonder if she still dare to touch worms and snake when she grows older.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Oh that Madame Curie!

My office is located in a building with a name: Marie Curie.

One day a coworker talked about the book he was reading, a biography about Marie Curie. He asked if I heard about her. He was surprised by my answer. Yes, I didn't know who was Marie Curie and why she was famous. He couldn't believe it.

The problem is, I usually read in Chinese. And in Chinese, we could not reproduce the exact pronunciation of certain words, especially when it involves names.

Would you know who is Madam Chu Li (居里夫人)?

Someone posted something about Madam Chu Li and that caught my attention. I have heard of this Madam Chu Li since I was young. Could she be the Marie Curie my coworker was talking about? BINGO! Looked at the wikipedia in English and in Chinese and the result is: Madam Chu Li = Madam Marie Curie.

So Chu Li is the Chinese way of pronouncing Curie. Note that in Chinese we do not have the "R" sound so everything R would be pronounced as L.

Well, this was not the first time it happened to me. Sometimes people talk about famous characters or celebrities but I just had no idea who they were talking about. The first few years I was in Austin, people laughed at me because I pronounced so badly certain people's name. For example, MaLiLian MongLu = Marilyn Monroe.

Hubby showed me this photo and he was laughing like hell. I didn't get the point, this is just a typical bookstore name, you get a bunch in China and Hong Kong. He then told me :" Look, it is the "Wrong Fucking" bookstore"!

Ok, I would never have guessed...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I'm hearing myself

With Aelig speaking more and more mandarin, with my type of pronunciation / tone / expression, I feel like I'm hearing myself. She is the reflexion of me, and it made me realize how I have missed pronounced / used certain words.

Anyway, we have fun conversations now. Example :

At the first few weeks of school, she always wanted to poo on the way home. And, she did poo in her pants with shit sticked to her leg. lol. To prevent this from happing again, whenever she begged me to take her in my arms, I would do it. Sometimes I have to bring her with me all the way up to the stairs with my backpack + her school bag + my handbag.

One day, while approaching home, I put her down and asked her to walk by herself.
Me: Aelig, you are heavy, you should walk towards home yourself.
Her: (wailing) I want maman to hold me.
Me: Keep going lah, we are almost there liao.
Her: (continue wailing) My legs are hurting...
Me: We will be there in no time, come.

Another day, I sensed that she can't hold it for much longer, so I decided to take her in my arms.
Me: Eh, you are heavy, I will put you down and you walk up the stairs by yourself, ok.
Her: No lah, we are almost there liao.
Me: See I'm carrying you with so many things, my legs are hurting...
Her: We will be there in no time, keep going lah.

I was impressed and surprised at the same time. She knows how to use my words against me. Wow.

She is also progressing well in French. She seems to learn a lot of new vocabularies at school.

Conversations with hubby:

Hubby: How was school, were you naughty today?
Her: No I was not naughty, because I'm a girl. (No je fais pas bêtises, je suis une fille moi).

I put Aelig to bed. Several minutes later hubby went to her room to kiss her goodnight.
Hubby: Have a nice sleep my little angel. Calm down and have sweet dreams.
Her: But I'm not calming down! (Mais je suis pas calmée)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hari Raya Open House 2012

I finally got the photos I wanted in order to share our visits to several Hari Raya Open House events (end of Ramadan). In fact, we chose to go back to Malaysia during this period so that hubby could experience some Raya celebration atmosphere, which he absolutely enjoyed. I realized that the "Open house" concept is something very unique to Malaysia. It doesn't exist in France and I'm not sure if it exists in other countries. Basically, many politicians / agencies / individuals invite the public to their house / place to celebrate events such as end of Ramadan, Chinese New Year and Deepavali (Diwali).

I told hubby that he could even go to see our Sultans if he wanted. My family tried to look for celebrations that could suit our schedule. The first one was an invitation to a coworker's house. We went with my brother in laws, and we had the warmest welcome from the couple. They were from Sarawak (a state in East Malaysia in the Borneo Island), so they prepared the Sarawakian noodles for their guests.

The garnishment for the noodles.

A table full of food.

Dessert: Kuih lapis (layer cake). The host told us that it took her 8 hours to finish baking all of these.


Coconut favor dessert.

Thanks a lot to the couple, I hope they are going to join the parenthood soon.Thanks also to my brother in laws who took the time to bring us there.

The second venture: we were invited by the police department, not for felony but celebration. We were greeted by several police officers, dressed in their finest traditional clothes. There were so many food stalls that we didn't know which one to start with. Hubby tried their "Kari Rusa" (deer curry) and was so impressed. As for me, I queued for the satay and ice kacang. Their fried kuey teoh was very good too. Thanks to my sister's connection we got to sit at the VIP area and enjoyed different scrumptious Malay dishes. We got also a chance to take photo with the big chef of the police department.

And Aelig got to meet the cutest girl of the night. Isn't she adorable in her baju kurung (one type of Malay traditional clothes)?

We went to the third open house organized by the Motorbike Association, also through my sister's connection. Unfortunately, my camera broke down when we were in Krabi, so we didn't take any photo. But I surely remember the kindness of the hosts and the authentic Rendang curry.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Every evening I use this short cut to go pick up Aelig. We are away from cars so she could run around.
This evening while walking towards the school I discovered that the area was flooded. It has been raining the whole week (it seems that it is the same in Malaysia). I had to decide quickly: continue the walk through the main road or go home to fetch my car. The traffic jam didn't seem so serious so I decided to drive.
I showed Aelig the short cut and she was all worried. I told her there was a lot of water covering the park so we had to drive home. She repeated by counting: one, two, three, four... till eight. Apparently eight means "a lot" in her dictionary. Oh I hope the water will clear as soon as possible. The main road is always congested especially when it rains. Everyone is so looking forward for some sunny days.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A trip to the local library

Once a month our Town Hall sends us newsletter telling us about the happenings and events during the month. I spotted one that suited us: "Story telling to kids between 2 - 4 years old". I noticed that there was a phone number for reservation, but I didn't call because it didn't say that reservation was compulsory.

It was a raining Saturday morning. We arrived a bit in advance. Apparently on Saturday they only open at 2pm, but this day they would open exceptionally for the story telling session. Once entered, the librarian asked my name to check out her list. I told her I didn't make reservation because I didn't know that it was mandatory. She insisted that it was stated on the announce. Ok now I know that if the announce has reservation number then I need to call for reservation. Anyway, she asked me to wait a bit to see if someone would cancel at the last minute. Later, she approached and got my name. She said that she couldn't kick me out since I was already there. Well, it was very nice of her as the room was full with kids and parents. I would had been very disappointed if we had to go.

This is the room setting for the session. The librarian announced that today's theme was going to be about "The night". Two more librarians joined in and they started reading a book titled "The moon". Aelig was very focused and turned her head to look at me from time to time with a sweet smile.
There were some singings and more book reading. We were very intrigued by a shadow puppets show. A torchlight was lighting up some animal characters to illustrate a story on a book. It was about a frog who couldn't fall asleep as he was hearing weird noises. The scene of the frog going from his bed to his parents bed made me think of Aelig who has been fighting to fall asleep in our bed. At one point there were telling a story about monster. It used a lot of adjectives that I didn't now. The middle pages in the book showed a big monster at the end of the story. Well, I don't know why people need to tell monster stories to kids. I did not grow up being afraid of monsters in my room because nobody had ever told me that monsters do exist. The whole session lasted for around half an hour and it was a big success. The kids had fun and Aelig was playing with the puppet show characters. I hope they organize more activities in the future.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Help yourself

One morning when I arrived at the office I saw this at the entrance.

Wow, someone treated us with some cakes and drinks.

There were two paper plates on the counter, one wrote "Servez-vous" (Help yourself) and the other "Bonne journée" (have a nice day).

It is not uncommon to have breakfast stand in the office but usually you will receive a mail stating the purpose of the celebration : birthday, resignation, retirement...

But this time, till the end of the day we still didn't know who had been so kind and at what occasion he or she was doing this.

Thanks to this anonymous coworker.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

School Kalender vs Calendrier

A friend posted the Malaysia's school calender 2013 (in Malay = kalender) in Facebook. That got me curious as I was out of the school system for ages (feeling old yeah).

So school year starts from the 2nd of January to mid November. Here's a summary:
12 weeks of school follows by 1 week of holidays
8 weeks of school follows by 2 weeks holidays
9 weeks of school follows by 1 week of holidays
13 weeks of school follows by 6 weeks of holidays
Total 42 weeks of school and 10 weeks of holidays
There should be one week of holiday for Chinese New Year, (one week of Hari Raya holidays will fall during school holiday in 2013), so total 41 weeks of school.

Now let see the French school calender (in French = calendrier). School starts at the beginning of September and ends at the beginning of July the year after for a long summer holidays. Here's the summary: 8 weeks of school follows by 2 weeks of holidays
6 weeks of school follows by 2 weeks of holidays
7 weeks of school follows by 2 weeks of holidays
6 weeks of school follows by 2 weeks of holidays
9 weeks of school follows by 8 weeks of summer holidays
There will be a lot of holidays in May so we should deduct 1 week here
Total 35 weeks of school with 17 weeks of school holidays.
And, no school on Wednesday for students in kindergarten and primary school.

No judgment here. It is hard to compare the two systems as Malaysians only go to school for half days (5 to 6 hours a day) while the French kids have a longer school day depending on the age. In France there has been discussions on cutting down the school hours per day and resume the Wednesday classes (half day) but some parents disagreed due to after school care issues. The French TV channel M6 is having a show on parents going back to 6ème (first year of high school) and the adults were having hard times living a 9am to 4.30pm school life. Sincerely I couldn't imagine myself being in school for so such a long hour, I will get nuts I guess.

Side note: I didn't understand what was summer holiday when I was at school since there was no summer break in Malaysia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

About principle

I just read in a blog about the price to stick to a principle, and that got me think about what happened the other day.


One day on the way back home I saw an announce about the incoming activity in the nearby hippodrome. What caught my eyes was that they were organizing some activities for kids : ponies show, ponies race, cotton candy stand, free snacks, make-up stand... So I thought it was a good idea for a Sunday outing.

Sunday came, I had told Aelig that we were going to see some ponies, she was all excited.

We arrived at the hippodrome and the parking was full. Everything went well until we arrived at the entrance. There was a long queue with families.

Turned out, we need to pay for an entrance fee for adult, which was not stated in their website nor in their announce.

From the gate, I saw a bunch of kids happily playing, and I think Aelig is going to be so happy seeing or touching ponies. I think it's worth 10€ just to make her happy.

I tried to convince hubby, but he told me about the principle. The principle of not falling into the trap set by the advertiser, in this case the Hipprodrome, whose goal was to attract more adults who might start betting and one day turns into a gambler.

Well, I don't think by seeing some ponies racing we are going to be attracted to gaming. I agreed that it was a set-up, we could treat it as a lesson but it shouldn't spoil our day. At that point more and more parents were paying to enter and we were standing at one corner so that we could at least let Aelig see some horses running.

Because of that principle, we went home empty handed. Aelig didn't know what happen, she was still cheerful going home. At one point, we passed by the hippodrome and I saw a group of kids playing / touching / getting known to a group of ponies. I just told myself, that Aelig could had been with them.

I admit, I do not have much principles to hold especially when it relates to my child's happiness.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lembing - The nostalgia

Lembing has its unique charm that caught my attention. It resembles my home town in a way in the 80s 90s. My home town has since developed at an amazing way that the traditional architecture gradually being replaced by the westernized designs.
Malay style kampung house 1
Malay style kampung house 2
Animals running between two houses.
Wooden shop houses
The old style association building