August 31, 2014

MDEC print ad

I was away in Penang when my younger sis Whatsapp me to ask if I would agree to let Yiu Yiu participate in a shoot for a print ad by the Multimedia Development Corporation.  It was a weekday and it might mean that she had to skip school if the shoot ended late.  I am someone who thinks that it’s not a big deal for her to miss one day of school in exchange for an experience like this.

And so she went…

Getting made up by the make-up artist.  Notice her ill-fitting shirt and tights :-)  The children are all supposed to be under-privileged children from rural areas
 
Briefing by the director 
 
Action!
 
Getting a jumping shot
 
And the ad came out today, in Sin Chew and The Star.  Can you spot her?
 

August 27, 2014

August happenings

The girls caught the Rainbow Loom fever, and Yiu Yiu created so many bracelets, charms and pencil grips over the past few weeks.



I was at the salon getting my hair cut and both girls followed.  Yiu Yiu had her hair cut about 2 inches shorter.  The front part of her hair used to be the same length with the back, but she decided to chop them off for a fringe.  Yan Yan also had her hair trimmed, and got a bonus of having her hair highlighted.

 

In early August, we attended a friend’s daughter’s 5th birthday party.  The amazing mum took so much effort to decorate the venue for a princessy feel.  There was also a beauty corner with nail polish, nail stickers, strings with beads and charms to keep the girls busy with decorating their own nail and bracelets/necklaces.



Two weeks later, we attended another birthday party at the Contango, Majestic Hotel.  This time, it was my colleague’s daughter’s 1st birthday.  The little one was into Elmo so there was the Elmo cake, Elmo cookies and Elmo crafts.



August 24, 2014

Art exhibition

Yiu Yiu has been attending art classes at Jane Yap Atelier at Citta Mall since two years ago.  We enrolled her here after stumbling upon their art exhibition two years ago and was suitably impressed with their approach to teaching art to children – allowing them to express their feelings while having fun at the same time.  At Jane Yap Atelier, the sky can be pink if the child imagines it to be pink.

Two years on, from Aug 23 – 30, Jane Yap Atelier will again hold its biennial students art exhibition.  Titled “The Tree of Life”, the exhibition exposes the children to the preparations and details required in organizing an art exhibition.

The principal, Jane Yap, delivering her opening speech (L), and being interviewed by a reporter (R) 

Group photo of children participating in the exhibition

Yiu Yiu with two of her teachers 


Each student had to paint three items for the exhibition: a tree painting and two canvas bags.  One canvas bag is in a monochrome and the other with an animal theme.  The bags with the animal painting were up for sale at RM 100 each, and all proceeds will be channeled to the Sin Chew Foundation.



 
With the little artist - her painting is the top painting above her 

Her canvas bags

August 21, 2014

Ombak!

I found out about this through a friend whose daughter was involved in the production.  Produced by Rhythm in Bronze, this music theatre production showcased a cast of 23 children agred between 8 to 18.  It is a story about a group of children who ride the waves and oceans as they sail to the frozen north to search for their parents who were spirited away by a magical bird.
 
 
We went for the 8pm show last Saturday, and the almost 2.5 hour show was well worth the ticket price.  An energetic performance that incorporates plenty of gamelan and other traditional music, the girls enjoyed is tremendously, and was humming the song from the show even days after.

My friend's daughter in action 

The closing scene 

Managed to snap a photo with two of the cast members

August 19, 2014

Yan Yan’s 5th birthday


As per last year, we celebrated her birthday in school.  She asked for Frozen-themed cupcakes so this was what she got – we ordered from Jenn again this year.

I was a bit more prepared this year, and had ample time to shop for things for the party packs, and the girls helped with the packing too.  Each party pack consists of a 3D dinosaur model (for boys) or bracelets and glitter glue (for girls), a small tub of PlayDoh, KitKat and Mamee.


I prepared some macaroni with Bolognese sauce, air fried nuggets and grapes, and off we went to the kindy.  After dropping her off, hubs, Yiu Yiu and I went for a quick breakfast nearby before returning to the kindy at 9.15am to set up.  The children came to the pantry at 9.30am, sang her a birthday song followed by Yan Yan distributing the party packs to her friends.  They then went back to their class to tuck in to the food.




 Enjoying her pasta

We had a family celebration with my extended family and babysitter’s family a couple of days later, with a simple dinner at Gao Ren Guan, rounding up the celebration with yet another repeat of the durian mousse cake.

Celebrating papa's birthday together as it's only two days apart 

The girls only get to choose a toy once a year during their birthday, and this was what she chose.

Yan Yan with her Baby Alive doll 

July 19, 2014

Progress in school

In the recent mid-year exam, Yiu Yiu just made it to the upper half of her whole standard three of close to 600 students.  Her BM pulled her down, scoring only 54 for Pemahaman and 68 for Penulisan.  I am still resisting sending her to tuition but it looks like I may have to, sooner or later, as the standards are pretty high.

She submitted an entry for her school’s comic drawing competition few weeks back, and out of the blue, she came home with a trophy, winning an Excellence award for her entry.

 
Yan Yan seems to be progressing ok in her learning – she’s starting to read slowly, can recognize Chinese words that are taught at school and is pretty good at Maths.  The area for improvement that has been consistently highlighted by her class teacher in all the monthly progress report seems to be her lack of self confidence.  She seems to be very sensitive and concerned about what others think about her, and so most times at school, when she cannot grasp what the teacher was teaching, or if she couldn’t complete the work assigned, she’d break down and cry, instead of asking help from the teacher.  She also gives up easily and will simply say “I don’t know” instead of trying and making mistakes.  She seems to have this paranoia about making mistakes, so we gotta give her more encouragement to try.

Nonetheless, when I went for the Parents-Teachers Day, I was very pleasantly surprised to see this – she was Star Student of the Week!


July 04, 2014

School sports day


There are thousands of students in Yiu Yiu’s school, and as such, the school only invites parents of participating students to be present at the sports day (and I think the same applies to all other school activities).

Yiu Yiu was selected to participate this year and so, we were at the school bright and early on that day.
 
Having a quick bite before the events started


It started with the usual marching in of students and uniformed bodies, followed by speeches by the headmaster and chairman of the PTA.  It was followed by some taekwando, cheerleading and unicycle performances.  I was planning to leave as soon as her event finishes as I had to get to Yan Yan’s kindy for Parents-Teachers Day as well.  Unfortunately, her event was the last on the program.







 
Her team finished second last – one of the girls hopped the wrong way in the gunny sack.  She went backwards instead of forward J  Yiu Yiu was slightly disappointed but I’ve drummed into her that it doesn’t matter if her team won or lost, most important she participated and had fun.  But apparently the poor girl who hopped the wrong way was given an earful by her mum.

This may be the last year she’d participate in her school sports day, as there will no longer be telematches and games from Standard 4 onwards, unless she gets chosen for any track and field events.

June 02, 2014

TJC mid-year party


The theme for the party was Nursery Rhyme, and being the lazy mother that I was, Yan Yan went as Mary, as we had a little lamb hand puppet at home.
 


Some mothers really put in lots of efforts to create special costume for their children for occasions like this and I salute them.  Whatever it is, she had lots of fun with her classmates and that’s all that mattered.

May 26, 2014

Tainan - Day 2

After checking out from the hotel, we headed to the Chihkan Tower (赤崁樓).  Chihkan Tower was constructed by the Dutch in 1653 and was originally used as the administration center during the Dutch’s occupation.  Its original name was Provintia which means “eternity” in Dutch.

An interesting trivia: the original statues in the foreground has the Dutch general (with back facing us)kneeling in surrender, but two years after it was commissioned, it was changed to a standing posture at the request of the Dutch when Taiwan wanted to purchase submarines from them J
 
Row of nine turtle statues bearing giant tablets from the Qing imperial court


Windows at Chihkan Tower.  Bill Gate may have to pay royalty to Taiwan J
 
One of the temple within is a popular place for Taiwanese to pray for good exam results.  Photo above are all wishes hung on the board at the back of the temple.

The original Fort Provintia was completely destroyed during the Qing Dynasty.  What remains of the original Dutch building is this brick wall.

 
Our next destination was the Confucius Temple.  Built in the year 1666, it was the first Confucius temple constructed in Taiwan and back in the old days, was the highest learning institute in Taiwan, where officials were trained.  Established during hard times, the simple decoration reflects the Confucian spirit of frugality.

 Main entrance to the Confucius Temple.  The granite stele is the “dismount monument” (下马碑), indicating that visitors must dismount from their horses and proceed from this point on foot, to show their respect for Confucius.



 
The Edification Hall (明倫堂) - this was used for the study of Confucius classics and open only to those scholars who passed the Imperial examinations

 
Chongsheng (崇聖) Hall  – since 1723, the first five generations of Confucius’ ancestors have been worshipped in this temple.  Aside from honoring the birth of a great thinker, it is also to encourage scholars to worship their ancestors, as filial piety is one of the key teachings of Confucius.


There are many statues like this around the Chongsheng Hall but this little fella stood out as the only one with a playful feature

We headed for lunch after that at a hot pot restaurant frequented by locals, San Ta Beef Hot Pot (三大牛肉火鍋).  What’s unique about this restaurant is that they serve fresh, instead of frozen beef, for their hot pot.


After lunch, we went to the Ten Drums Culture Village (十鼓文化村), converted from an old sugar refinery.  This is home to the Ten Drum Art Percussion Group, which I learnt scored a Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional World Music Album category in 2009.  The group has also performed at the Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and the 2002 World Cup in South Korea.

We had a guide who took us on a tour around the village.  We started at the East Asian drum museum with displays of  traditional drums from Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan.



We were then ushered to theatre for the highlight of the tour, the 30-min Ten Drum show.  Since we weren’t allowed to take pics, I borrowed this photo from here.


We were then taken to the drumming experience room to learn some drumming skills.  We then killed some time walking around the remnants of the sugar refinery.

Drumming class in progress 

Constellation of stars on the ceiling of the cafe 


Remnants from the sugar refinery

We took the high speed train back to Taipei after the visit to the Ten Drums Culture Village.  I’m glad we had the two days break in Tainan before the gruelling 5-day meeting in Taipei.  Mum, on the other hand, went on to visit Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, Puli, Lukang, Alishan, Shifen and Pingxi with the other mums.  Wished I was in her shoes J