Looking for a particular post or topic? Search here!

Where My Readers Are From

Flag Counter

Who's Reading HFM Life

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bahasa Malaysia Test Papers

Alycia got back her BM test papers for the third term exam yesterday.  When I asked her how she fared, she said "there's good and there's bad.  No matter what marks I get, you MUST sign on my test papers OK?"  I knew the bad must be really bad but oh well, what's done cannot be undone. There is no point crying over spilled milk or as the Malays say "nasi sudah jadi bubur" (rice has turned into porridge).

Well, she got 92/100 for her BM Pemahaman paper and it is the highest score in her class.  As for her BM Penulisan, the marks were  shocking to me as I did not expect her to get such low marks. According to her, the highest score for BM Penulisan in her class (which is the 2nd Elite class) is 65/100.  I was even more shocked to hear that!  Even more shocking was that the highest score in the 1st Elite class was a B (79 and below). For Karangan, many of her classmates got a below-10 mark over a 30-mark score. 

So, does that mean that 1) either the BM teachers have not been doing a good job  or 2) the Pemahaman paper was too hard?  3) Most of the students did not read enough of books in BM nor read sample Karangan topics.  Whatever it is, I have made Alycia promise me that she has to do remedial work now, i.e. by reading a Karangan (composition in BM) topic at least 3 times a week.  The only way she can improve on her Karangan is to READ the Karangan books on sample topics.  She has always hated reading the Karangan books and would throw tantrums each time she is asked to read it.  Now, her only choice to improve on her marks is to read her Karangan books.  And I shall start from today to get her to read a Karangan topic.

As for other test papers, Alycia has done pretty well with an A for all the subjects. This girl can excel in her studies with some pushing  from the Tiger Mum ;)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It took the Management of the condo that I am staying in 4.5 years to do what they were supposed to do, finally.  4.5 years ago in November 2008, Cass and I met with a terrible accident that I thought would cause serious injuries to her and to myself.  If you were already a reader of my blog back then, you would have read that Cass and I had an awful stroller accident, just a few days after we had moved into the condo.

On that fateful morning, I had strapped up Cass in our Peg Perego stroller and I was ready to bring her for a walk outside.  As we were approaching a downward slope, I had to half jog down the slope.  There was a drain at the landing of the slope, which was covered by those drain covers with vertical bars.  As there were gaps between the bars, the wheels of the stroller got wedged inside the gap (size of gap same as that of the wheels) and before I could even stop in time, the stroller with baby Cass in it was thrown almost in the air and landed on the road. I tumbled and fell onto the hard and rough tar road too. I was injured on my hands, which had scars up until now. Though I was in numbing pain, all I could think of was to check how serious Cass was injured.  I quickly and shakily unstrapped Cass from the stroller, carried her and tried to soothe a wailing 7-MO baby.  Both of us were very traumatized. Thank God she only had a bloodied graze above her nose and some scratches on her forehead.  I had a deep gash near my elbow, knees and palm.  Up until today, I still have phobia of pushing a child in a stroller.  Since that incident, I stopped using the Peg Perego stroller (which was very costly and under utilized) and eventually gave it away.  Wherever I went, I carried Cass in my arms. This incident would forever be etched in my memory.

Weeks later, I spoke to the Management of the Condo to request that the drains be fully covered with drain covers without any bars and gap but they took my request lightly.  Finally a few days ago, I noticed that all the drains that have residents frequently passing over them covered with stainless steel covers with no bars or gap. I think there must have been similar accidents caused by those drain covers that propelled the Management to take action, finally, after 4.5 years.  That is typical Malaysian mentality. If not for loss of life and serious accidents, people just won't budge and implement preventive measures to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do You Check The Eggs Before Paying Buying Them?

Yesterday morning at the mart, I saw a lady who was doing grocery shopping with her Pinoy maid. This lady was seen telling her maid this "check the eggs, I said check the eggs..." in a demanding tone (well, she was loud in nature from my observation), to which the maid (who seemed to be a new maid) was struggling to understand what her maam meant by checking the eggs.  So the poor maid took a box of eggs and struggled to open the plastic carton box. Moments later, the maam (in her late 60s) said "not like this check haiyoh! Like this check... check one by one!!" ... and then told the maid to take out the eggs one by one from the plastic carton to check if there was any crack or dirt on the eggs, GAWD!  When the old maam walked away to look for other things, the frustrated and super pissed off maid was rolling her eyes and grimacing her face in anger and mumbled to herself softly, as if to curse the fussy maam.  She was also telling other foreign workers at the mart how fussy her maam was.

I may be pretty fussy too but I have never opened up the carton of eggs to check the eggs one by one.  Firstly, I think this would embarrass myself and secondly, I have no time and am always in a rush to complete my shopping.  Unless I am buying eggs from the night market where eggs can be selected, I don't do a check on eggs in carton boxes bought from supermarkets and mini marts.  I know that this is a good practice as sometimes, there would be one or two cracked eggs inside the carton. I had in the past also seen some customers exchanging eggs slightly coated with chicken poop with clean ones.

I check kiwi fruits placed in punnets before buying them though and I exchange squashed or very soft ones with firmer and nicer ones ;)  Oh well, kiwi fruits ain't cheap. It costs between RM1.50 to RM3.50 each.

Do you check each and every egg sold in cartons before buying them?

Unsafe Country To Live In

Our country is slowly and surely earning itself a spot in the list of Most Unsafe Countries To Live In.  Lately, cases of murder, shooting, daylight robbery, kidnap, rape and the list goes have been getting very rampant. About two weeks ago, a well-known female gynecologist had had her thumb chopped off and her hand was almost severed by a mugger. The assailant must have had wanted to snatch her gold bracelet or sterling silver bracelet on her wrist. Her handbag with cash was also snatched away, in daylight robbery which almost turned fatal. Yesterday, a prominent founder of a bank was shot to death at point blank, also in broad daylight. Several months ago, my customer was slashed to death during an attempted robbery. Nothing was taken from her, only her precious life. It is getting very unsafe to walk out of our house these days and that is really sad.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dinner Tonight (19 July 2013) - Bread Pizza and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

My MIL has gone up North with my SIL from Hong Kong and will be away for a few days. So cooking has now been passed back to me. As usual, I will only whip up really easy meals that can be whipped up in a jiffy and with very minimal oil splatters and washing up to do.

For dinner tonight, I prepared bread pizza.

Ingredients used:
4 slices of homemade wholemeal bread
Tomato ketchup
Shredded roast chicken (breast meat)
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Avocado, cut into bite size wedges

Spread tomato ketchup on the bread. Place the toppings on the bread and cheese on top. Baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes and voila, I have a crispy crust pizza that's really delish!  

I also bought a punnet of giant size BBQ Portobello mushrooms this morning.  After baking the bread pizza, I grilled the mushrooms.

Here's what I used as seasoning on the mushrooms:
Drizzle of olive oil
A tiny pinch of salt
Chopped spring onions
Cream cheese
Black pepper

The 2 mushrooms with cherry tomatoes were for Cass. The cherry tomatoes were used to identify the mushrooms for her as hers were without black pepper.


The girls enjoyed tonight's dinner very much.  The mushrooms very really juicy and flavorful and the bread pizza were so yummy that the girls asked for more.  Next time, I would have to make double recipe for both the bread pizza and grilled mushrooms *satisfied grin*

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Future Laugh Therapy

Since yesterday, I have been noticing a piece of yellow scrolled up  paper on the floor. I was just walking over it each time I walked pass it and was too lazy and tired to bend down to pick it up.  Just now as I was sweeping the floor, I picked it up. I was on the verge of squashing it but decided to open it  up to see who the culprit was who left the paper lying there.

After reading the Father's Day 'card', I wanted to burst out laughing.  Check out the date at the bottom of the 'card'.  Cass must have asked her Alycia che che to help her write the words on the 'card'. After writing over the words with magic color pens, she wrote the date before scrolling up the card and inserting it into the decorated bottle that she and her sisters made at the Art Class the week before Father's Day last month.

So yup, it's for keep now. I have placed this piece of paper in a clear folder that I keep all the cards and notes that my girls made for me.  I'll bet my hubs and I will have a laugh therapy 15 years down the road flipping through and reading the cards and sorry notes from the girls. And that's when I will  miss their mischief.

And she also inadvertently wrote her name wrongly lol!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Temporary Part-time Maid

I have engaged a Pinoy lady who has agreed to work part-time for me until the end of July this year  She has been offered a job as full-time nanny and housekeeper (with very light house work to do) to one mat salleh and she is to start work in August 2013. She told me that the mat salleh is offering her RM1,800 a month!. You see, these days, Pinoy maids with work permit in our country are really smart.  They work part time at a few houses everyday and earn a few thousand Ringgit a month, which is more than what some fresh graduates are getting! 

This Pinoy maid, Laila started work yesterday. She came by taxi and returned with a taxi too!  The agreed time was from 6pm to 8pm, Monday to Friday with a pay of RM600.  But she was pretty slow (albeit quite detailed in her work) and by 8pm, she had not finished moping the floor, washing the toilets and washing the dishes. So I extended her time to 9pm and paid her RM70 for 3 hours.  There were a lot of dirty dishes, pots and woks to wash yesterday as the MIL cooked a tad more than on other regular days as we had some relatives over for dinner.  As she had no time to wash one of the bathrooms, I had to let her go at 9pm and I  washed the bathroom myself . She had no time to even iron our clothes too.  In short, I paid Laila RM70 to mop the floor, wash 1 bathroom and wash a pile of dirty dishes. 

Today, Laila will be bringing her friend for us to meet. If she likes the work, she will be Laila's replacement for us. Laila did tell me yesterday that she liked working for us and would like to work for us full time from 5-9pm with a pay of RM1k a month but she has to find a replacement for the mat salleh employer whom she has agreed to work for. I am hoping and praying that either Laila or her friend would agree to work for us part-time everyday (with Sundays off) with the agreed salary of RM1k a month. That would save us quite a bit on agency fee.  Wish me luck in my search for a good Pinoy maid :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reunion and Bonding

The girls' 2 little uncles (hubby's cousins) from London are here and they are having lots of fun time bonding with each other. The last time they met was 3 years ago. In 2 days, the girls' cousin from Hong Kong will arrive to join in the merriment. The Yaps will be having a mega reunion of sorts in KL, which is quite a rare occasion. Too bad Alycia will be sitting for her exam in a week's time and has to limit her time spent with the 2 boys.

After a day spent with her 2 little uncles, Cass is already starting to speak in British accent when she talks to the 2 boys lol!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Chilly Morning And Some Great Grabs!

Finally, after a long, long wait, it poured this morning, at around 4ish am.  The winds were strong and it blew off the deck chairs at our condo into the swimming pool! It rained until 9ish am and this morning has been pretty chilly, with a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. Finally, we can have a respite in the hot and hazy weather and hopefully it will stay this way for months to come :)

As it was raining and I could not run to the nearby mobile market, I drove to the nearby mart after dropping Cass in school to get some veggie. What I discovered was amazing. This mart is now having an 'early bird sale' on all their vegetables where each packet will be sold at only RM1 from 8:15am to 10am. From 10am onwards, it would be priced at RM2.50 a packet. I bought 4 packets today which brought me an amazing savings of RM6! Totally happy with my healthy loot this morning and there will be more of such early morning shopping for me from tomorrow onwards!  Mumsgather -- you can PM me for the name of this mart ;)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Daycare For Sherilyn, Perhaps

Sherilyn has been pestering me to send her to this daycare that her best friend, B attends since B was in Standard 1.  This daycare provides daily tuition as well. Most of the teachers from this daycare are from the school that Sher and B attend. B has been a top student in her class since Standard 1.

Sherilyn scored an A for all her subjects except for her Chinese language papers during the recent Mid Term Exam. She scored B for both the papers. Because of this, it has pulled her position to a really pathetic placement as the majority of her classmates scored an A for their Chinese papers. Every mark counts in the positioning system. A loss of 10 marks will pull your position down by 10 placements.

We have a tutor who comes in to teach the 3 girls Mandarin 3x a week. This teacher would focus on Alycia more as she has more exams to sit for (4 exams a year vs 2 exams for Sherilyn) and much more to study for.

Every lesson without fail, Ms M the tutor will be reprimanding Sherilyn as Sherilyn is the type who simply cannot sit still and does not have as much interest in academics as Alycia.

Sherilyn is one who will jump up from her chair the moment the house phone rings and the door bell rings. She will walk up and down to while away time, just so she does not have to sit at the table. Mandarin bores this girl to the core but her daddy is still adamant that she should be in a Chinese school as he has a very bad impression on SRK government schools.

Chinese schools are well known for their strict discipline and dedicated teachers. The school that Alycia and Sherilyn go to is a semi-government, semi-private school. We parents have to contribute towards the expenses of the school.

Thus, I strongly feel that if Ms M focuses more on Alycia and Cass while Sherilyn goes to the daycare to get tuition daily, it will benefit all my 3 girls, though this will mean that the hubs would have to fork out an additional RM530 per month on Sherilyn.

I am gamed to try out this arrangement for one month. Sherilyn is the type who will flourish when she is with her peers, in a fun environment. She is the sociable type who learns better if she can also talk, laugh and play. She is definitely not the type who will thrive in a strict classroom environment. I will bring Sherilyn to check out this daycare cum tuition centre today. Hopefully this arrangement will benefit and make everyone happier. I know Sherilyn will be happier as she gets to be with her BFF even after school and will have more friends to socialize with while learning.  She was beaming with joy when I told her yesterday that I may consider sending her to B's daycare centre.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Polishing Her Reading Skill

Cass was eating chicken rice for lunch today when she saw a  colorful Tesco flyer on the table. As usual, she opened it up and then read out to me the prices of all the things that interested her.  Seeing this as a good opportunity for me to teach her some new words, I pointed out to the words of the items that she was interested in.  I could go on and on reading to her the names of the products and the price as she is pretty hooked to this sort of flyers. I used to do the same with Alycia and Sherilyn too when they were Cass' age.  It is a good way to teach them new words and to repeat old words to refresh their memory.

I can also foresee that this rascal is going to be another shopping queen, just like her mummy :D

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pure Coincidental?

The other day, during one of the quiet me-time mornings that I have, I suddenly realized that 3 of my  suppliers have the same surname as mine. These 3 suppliers are by far my most trusted and reliable suppliers whom I have worked with for over 3 years.  The Chinese have this superstitious believe that the people who are close to you like your spouse, parents, siblings, business acquaintances, etc. are perhaps related to you in your past life.  Nah, I do not really believe in this sort of supernatural philosophy.  The Chinese old folks also strongly believe in reincarnation and all that jazz.  I used to believe in all these too, as a result of being influenced by my late grandmother and from watching those TVB serial movies that I used to go crazy over before the kids came along. But this school of though is not in the Christian's bible and I am a Christian.

Now, how do you explain such coincidental incidences in my life then, that my closest business acquaintances all share the same surname as me?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

RM8,000 Fee To Hire Indonesian Maids!

Finally the official news is out today, albeit this has been the fee charged by maid agencies for the past one year. The RM8k fee is NOT INCLUSIVE of the maid's 6 months' salary in advance! To summarize it all, we employers have to cough out AT LEAST RM12,200 to hire an Indonesian maid and even more to hire a Filipina maid. I remember that I only needed to pay RM3,000 as non-refundable agency fee to the maid agent about 10 years ago to hire our first maid. Those were the good old days which are now a part of the Malaysian history. We can no longer hire maids freely and easily.

Actually I do not mind paying the RM12,200 once-off payment to hire a maid. I know that a live-in maid can bring some relief and help to me and would enable me to spend some quality time with my kids.  But what if the maid runs away after the 3 months guarantee period? Or if I am given a maid sent from h*ll?  There are many unscrupulous maid agencies around who would abet with the maid to run away after the 3-month guarantee period.

Since our money does not come by freely and easily, I'd rather take on the maid role myself and see how the maid situation turns out in the months to come. If you have been following the on-going maid issue, you will realize that the situation is fluid. Policies keep changing. And the agreements between Malaysia and Indonesia   keep ending in a deadlock. My option is still not entirely closed.  I may still consider hiring a maid when the right one comes along at the right time. You know, there are really such right timing gifts in life. I just have to wait for it to come.

Would you spend over RM12,500 to hire a live-in maid? I know some families have no choice but to bite the bullet and employ a maid to help take care of their kids or aged parents while they are at work.

Here is the news article extracted from The Star website today:

ANOTHER amount has been proposed for the contentious hiring fee for Indonesian maids, with the Government putting it at RM8,000. 
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who chaired the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants, said that the new rate was decided after considering all costs from both Malaysia and Indonesia.

“The RM8,000 was decided after considering the cost of training for at least 200 hours, documentation, food and accommodation before transfer to the new employers, travelling cost, medical check-ups as well as payment to the respective government agencies of both countries,” he said at a meeting at Parliament House yesterday. 

It was reported under the Memo­randum of Understanding (MoU) between the Malaysian and Indone­sian governments in 2011, the cost to recruit Indonesian maids was set at a RM4,511 – where RM2,711 was paid by the employer and RM1,800 was paid by the domestic helper. 

Muhyiddin said the changes of the structural cost would be brought for further discussion by both governments. 

“The details will be explained by the Human Resources Ministry after the approval from both sides,” he said. 

He said the new revised rates was considered reasonable compared to the other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong who were paying Indonesian domestic helpers at higher rates. 

Muhyiddin added that the salary of Indonesian maids will not be bound by the Minimum Wages Act 2012; and will instead be based on the current market prices and the employer. 

The Government, he said, will also fully suspend the Journey Perform Visa (JP Visa) in October this year. “Previously, the Immigration Dep­artment had allowed the issuance of JP Visa due to problems of supply of Indonesian maid based on a case by case basis, where only 290 were successfully recruited,” he said.