Monday, August 30, 2010

The World of Academia

That's my girl during one of the pretend plays when she played the teacher and I became her pupil who MUST 'talk like a kid'.

One thing's for sure, she'll make a great educator since her lesson delivery is very clear, easy to understand. Hehe!

Anyway, still at the topic of education....

It seems that, other than Nyla, someone else is following my footsteps. Heeeheee!

Mr E, the man who has always encouraged me to experiment with my own creativity, has also entered the world of academia.

Truly a nurturing, patient and self -initiating individual, plus the fact that he has rich content knowledge and experience in this particular field, the whole family is confident that he will make an exceptional lecturer at one of the polytechnics here.

What an exciting journey ahead for him indeed!

Oooh I can't wait already to see him bring home work and do the lesson plannings and all. *Sniggers*

My man, happy teaching and most of all, happy making a difference in the lives of your charges, honey!

Still at the topic of education *Part 2*

Today is the LAST day to register for this Saturday's Composition TRANSFORMERS Workshop. (4th Sept)

Due to the overwhelming interest in this workshop, Jenn and I are considering to 'split up' and conduct the same workshop, individually, at 2 different venues on the same day since Jenn will fly off on Sunday. We are still discussing.

Meanwhile this Composition TRANSFORMERS Workshop is suitable for the upper primary children:P4,P5 and P6. To those who have registered, please wait for our email. We have a task for your kiddos. *Winks!*

To those who are interested, the details are on the previous post, so just scroll down bebehs! :)

Have an awesome Monday ahead peeps!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Composition "TRANSFORMERS" Workshop

Jenn and I are back again. :)

We both know it's the fasting month and all.
We both know that Hari Raya is coming and all.
We both know best that festivities aside, work means work for us adults and study means study for them children.

1 thing you must know is that PSLE English Paper 1 is on 6 October and Jenn and I have decided it is time we conduct our powers combined " Composition TRANSFORMERS (Think: Bumblebee/Optimus Prime/Decepticon) Workshop"

The past few weeks, we have been cracking our heads, drinking coffee from the tap analysing a mountain of exemplary compositions to see if we could identify a trend and have finally tied all those loose ends really tightly and our conclusion : SEVEN WONDERS OF A GREAT ESSAY. :)
Hence we will cover 7 reaaaallllyyy effective steps to 'build' an awesome composition.
It will be a super hands on workshop as we strongly believe in experential learning when it comes to writing.

We promise you that, just like the previous Oral Communication Workshop, this will be super duper fun as well.
Being former primary school teachers, Jenn and I made sure during our 'lesson planning' that the workshop be as very engaging and as very entertaining as possible for the kiddos and most importantly, very informative for you parents so that you can use these strategies with your children. :)

Before I proceed to share with you the details of the COMPOSITION TRANSFORMERS WORKSHOP, both Jenn and I would like to extend our sincerest apologies to those of you who have emailed us to conduct another Oral Workshop for your P4 and P5 kids. We will have another round of that but our priority now again is the P6ers because PSLE is really around the corner.

To the participants of the previous workshop, please do check your email. :)

We hear your burning questions:
Is there time to learn and absorb a brand new strategy one month prior to the PSLE examination?
Will my child be confused?
The answer is no.

What we’re doing here is to harness the unique writing style of your child, rearrange his existing ideas so that he will include all the 7 essential elements required in a good essay. Any essay. Think of it as a formula. We apologise for not being able to conduct this workshop earlier as some of you have requested, reason being we needed time to monitor the progress of a class of 41 students whom we have conducted the workshop for to ensure the method works. According to the teacher, there was a massive improvement in their writing skills right after the 2nd writing practice.

The workshop includes the following:

*7 Wonders of a Great Essay

*The Tickle Tease (Technique to create suspense)
*Replacing overly used verbs and adjectives
All materials/worksheets including 2 follow-up practice compositions (includes free online clinic session for the follow-up practice compositions)

WHAT: Composition "TRANSFORMERS" Workshop

WHEN: 4 September 2010 (Saturday)

WHAT(time): 10am -1.00pm


HOW (much): $75 per pair. (Pair: Parent plus child)

This time round, we can only conduct on one day because Jennifer will be out of Singapore the next day till mid September for a seminar and I will be busy helping my mother bake kuihs. :P

So, first come, first served basis ya peeps.

Email me at

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Jenn and I have been staying up till the wee hours of the morning for the past 2 weeks discussing about work and last night, she shared with me a non work related piece. Nevertheless, it's beautiful story titled 'Marriage' by Stephanie Halmilton. I thought I'd share with you peeps the story. :)

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.
Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why? I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her! With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again. In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage. This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully. My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her. On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me... she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office...jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.
At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart. That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.-- At least, in the eyes of our son--- I’m a loving husband....

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage! Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

And with that, may all of us married couples not take each other for granted, embrace each other's imperfections, appreciate each other and most importantly, be blessed with happy marriages.
I have a confession to make.
Sometimes when I walk with my daughter, I do get slightly embarrassed because my girl selects her own clothing.

I do get frustrated sometimes and argue with her but 99.9% of the time, I let her be because I have come to realise that dressing up independently is a form of individual expression and also Nyla had a very valid point when a few days ago she cried,"How come you get to choose your own clothes and I don't? So unfair!" ('unfair' is officially the word of the month!)

Mr E jumped to her rescue, pacified her and told her to wear what she wanted to wear.

So that evening, someone looked amazingly ridiculous with her baju kurung top, jeans and boots combi and the whole time she actually thought she rocked it because she made heads turn. :S

Anyway, sometimes, she passes with flying colours. (especially when she tries to copy me and try and look as alike as possible as her mommy. Heeee!)

Aiyo, Nyla's maternal instincts kicked in real early so now she's a proud mommy of one which makes me a premature granny. Everywhere I must bring along my cucu.

If you think, Nyla and I are battle free on schooldays, oh you're so wrong. I have always impressed upon Nyla to think different and be different and yeap, this girl has taken this concept of thinking out of the box a little too far.

Have you ever seen a girl wear a veil to school?

If you have, trust me, the girl you saw was definitely my daughter.

She wore her mommy's pearl necklace to school.

Gasps! Nyla oh Nyla! Only ah peks wear the socks and sandals combo leh babe.

When we are outside, Nyla tries to be as creative as possible and
transform a normal round neck t-shirt into an off shoulder top. Tadaaaa!

Nyla's version of mix and match. In my opinion, its a mix and MISmatch.

Spot the ring on her finger! Faints!

Even at home, she likes to play dress up.

She pestered me to buy this dress while we were shopping at KL.
I asked her what was so beautiful about this dress and her reply?
Nyla:"This dress sweeps the floor mommy! We can play princess princess and marry marry."

Wash dishes also must wear fancy clothes...

And like all the makciks in the world, Nyla decided that a butterfly dress is also a must have in her wardrobe.

Well whatever it is, Nyla and I will not fight during Hari Raya because she was the one who chose the fabric and mommy here gave 2 thumbs up! :)

Speaking of Hari Raya, everytime I see Nyla's First Girl TV ads on Suria, I will never fail to laugh. The way she smiles....the way she tilts her head during her poses, it seems this little makcik truly had one big ball of a time!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oral Communication Skills Enhanced!

So Jenn and I conducted 2 workshops over the National Day weekend and truly we were such an energized and excited pair sharing as much as we can/know/experienced concerning the Oral exam.
Hi 5 atcha girlfriend!
And we are really satisfied because the feedback and participation given by the parents and children are positive.
They are such a sporting bunch! Cool stuff.

The aim of the Oral Communication Workshop was simply to discuss as well as guide the children on how to be confident communicators and of course ace in the PSLE Oral Exams.
Our children will be 'going for war' tomorrow and Friday and Jenn and I are not going to GASP because our kids here are well equipped thanks to their sense of self motivation and parents' encouragement.

Let me share with you an email feedback by Mdm Haryanty.

Hello Nura,
Hope u had a wonderful holiday! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for organizing this workshop. 2 thumbs up for making it a FUN one!!!! Nurin & myself have indeed gained an in-depth knowledge of what oral exams are all about. I can now guide Nurin better in her picture conversation (discussion) using D-I-E. We also know what the do's & don't's are. And thank you too for sharing your real life experiences that u had with previous students. They are very beneficial to us. But i feel that 2 hours is not enough :( Nevertheless, I find the class size just right :) And most importantly, thank you so much for making time to have the mock up oral for the students.
Kudos to both u & Jenn! From the session, we get to witness how our child "perform" & more or less gauge their potential.
Here's something I wish to share with u. That Sat nite itself, Nurin actually recorded her reading aloud & re-played to hear how she sounded with her consonants! Excellent isn't it? It only proves that the workshop has done a miraculous impact on Nurin! I am amazed! Thanks once again! I'm praying for the best for Nurin's PSLE!

Again, thank you Mdm Haryanty as well as the other mommies and daddy for being very involved in your child's academic journey.
And so, Jenn and I are confident that our tutees as well as workshop attendees will surely ace one la huh!

After the session, Jenn and I decided that we give these kids a mock oral exam so that their parents and they themselves will know what are the areas for improvement for tomorrow and Friday's real exam. :)

Special mention to Mr E's nieces. Farha and Shofi for assisting us!
Anyway Jenn and I would like to wish our children:
Aaron, Afiq, Aimann, Amirah, Daphne, Desiree, Devaraj, Ezzqandar, Hannan, Kai Yang, Kang Teng, Leong Heng, Nadhirah, Nur Farah, Nurin, Rynastasia, San Jun, Shu Yi, Syafiq, Wen Hui and Zhi Xian the VERY BEST OF LUCK tomorrow and Friday.
I know most of you will feel nervous and here, I would like to share with you a Reader's Digest article I read about how Aussie comic, Marty Wilson tackles nervousness. Marty has impressed upon his son, Connor, that nerves aren't scary- they're just newfeelings.
On his first day of school, Connor told himself he didn't feel scared, he just had a 'newfeeling' and knew this was a normal and natural thing to feel. :)
According to Marty, "this doesn't make the adrenaline go away, but it reframes it and lets me see it as normal-not scary- thing."
So kids, tomorrow, you don't have knots/butterflies in your tummy, you have newfeelings. :)
Just be yourself and enjoy your 5 minutes with the oral examiners. Wow them with your personality! :)

Annnnnddddd, don't forget the D.I.E method hokay. Heeee! Bang Bang!
PS: Good news! A writing workshop is coming right up yo! Stay tuned for this. Jenn and I are tying up the loose ends, once we are 100% ready, we'll reveal the date and venue. Meanwhile, yes it is still going to be a PARENT PLUS CHILD workshop! :)
Pls keep the suggestions coming lovies. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Deeds

A BUS commuter died on Friday after the crane boom of a lorry smashed into the upper deck of the bus he was in. The 5m-long crane mounted on the bed of the lorry smashed through the left upper deck of Bus Service No. 87. at around 3.30pm on Friday. The impact ripped windows, warped steel and sent shattered glass all over the commuters as the bus continued to move for about 20m before it screeched to a halt. The dead commuter, 50-year-old Ahmad Lispa, was killed in his seat. His bloodied body was found slumped in a crumpled section at the rear of the upper deck. :-------(

Mr Ahmad Lispa leaves behind his wife and four sons, 2 of which has kidney failure/problems, and the youngest son still in primary school. He was the sole breadwinner of his family. :(

When Tina of Trasformazione suggested doing a charity photoshoot last weekend to raise funds for the late Mr Ahmad's family, I did not hesitate in doing my bit.
It was indeed heartwarming to see so many photographers, make up artistes and models in action at Labrador Park last weekend.
All with one purpose: To help.

In that just one day, we managed to raise $1000!

Tina paid a visit to family of the late Mr Ahmad the very next day to hand over the cash. :)

The late Mr Ahmad's family with the organisers of the charity photoshoot : Tina and Lily of Trasformazione.

Come let me show you some of the awesome shots taken by the talented Rebel Pixel team.

Nyla also doing her bit for charity that day.
Jali, thank you for entertaining my babe! :)

My 'Toga Terrific' ladies.

Toga Terrific Trio yo! :)

Indeed, I'm honoured to be part of the charity photoshoot which gave me a sense of spiritual fulfillment in entrepreneurship where we make use of our expertise (be it photography, make up, modelling, blog hits etc) and simply, help others.

Speaking of help and entrepreneurship, I would also like to do my bit to support Sabarina's fragrance business over at

And my special mention to Mr E's cousin, Kak Lyanah.

Few weeks ago, she actually looked after Nyla for me while I was at home teaching tuition and man, did Nyla have 1 rollin good time with Syamirul and Kakak Syirah.
The day before that, I casually mentioned that I was craving for her ultra yumsy Almond Honey Cornflakes.
When I came to pick Nyla up, I was very pleasantly surprsied by one, the aroma!...two, she actually baked those yummy almond honey cornflakes for me! and 3, I was most touched to know that Nyla had a very 'meaningful' kind of fun over at her place.

Thank you for the baking lesson, Kak Ana!

Yeap, that's my half empty container alright! Muahahaha!

Kak Ana, if you're reading this,
I think it is only right that I repay your kindness by sharing the goodness of your awesome Honey Almond Cornflakes with my lovely readers :)
Peeps, please feel free to email Kak Ana for further enquiries at if you are craving for Honey Almond Cornflakes or would like to serve these to your guests during Hari Raya.

I think this is what that keeps me going too.
The hope of being able to help and encourage other aspiring entrepreneurs. :)
I personally find it to be fantastically fulfilling.
I need to constantly remind myself that it also can't all be about profits or just acting on any opportunity that comes by.
What a great way indeed to start the holy month of Ramadhan, the month of fasting, prayer, good deeds and charitable giving.
Ramadhan Mubarak to my fellow Muslim readers. :)