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Monday, October 18, 2021

Choosing Masks for back to school

The kids are going back to school now. There is a mask mandate in school but even if there weren't we would mask up. It's time to go shopping for some masks for back to school. Shopping for masks can be rather confusing though. There are so many types and brands available. We can find them in supermarkets, pharmacies and online. Which one should we get?

In this post we will share with you some of our thoughts about shopping for masks. Please note that we are not in the medical profession, we are just parents shopping for masks by doing some research available online and sharing them with you.

    Photo by visuals on Unsplash

First, let's have a look at some of the types of masks available.
  1. N95 mask
  2. 3-ply or 4-ply masks
  3. cloth mask
  4. KF94 mask
  5. KN95 mask
With the exception of cloth masks, all the other masks are disposable and not to be worn more than once.

The N95 masks are usually used in health care settings. So we won't be looking at it in detail in this post.

Next comes the surgical 3-ply or 4-ply masks. Previously we used to wear 3-ply or 4-ply masks but then they say that is not good enough anymore and it is better to wear double mask by wearing a cloth mask over the 3-ply or 4-ply mask. This is the most affordable. However, it is not too comfortable for long hours of use.

That leaves us with KF94 mask and KN95 mask to explore and research.

KN95 vs KF94 masks

KN95 masks are the Chinese equivalent of an N95 mask in the U.S. A. Unlike the 3-ply masks which are flat across the nose and chin, the KN95 covers the nose and chin like a beak. It protrudes out a little and the breathability is better. Below is an example of a KN95 mask

The "KF" in KF94 masks stands for "Korean Filter". The shape is rather like a cross between the 3-ply mask and the KN95 mask. It stretches across the face but at the same time protrudes out a bit at the nose part, giving more space between the face and the mask. Like the KN95, the breathability is better. Below is an example of a KF94 mask.


Masks Comparison

Of all the various types of masks above, we like the KF94 best because of the comfort, fit and breathability when wearing. However, what is comfortable to one person feels differently on another. So you should test out several types of mask or have your child test out a few to decide which is the best in terms of comfort for long hours of use and also take into account the affordability for daily usage.

The wearing of mask is subjective. At the end of the day, we should get one that is not only safe but also comfortable enough for us to wear all the time. 

Real or Fake?

This is one real concern. For example if you are buying KN95 or KF94 masks locally or sourcing for KN95 direct from China or KF94 direct from Korea. How do you tell if they are real or fake? 

For locally made masks, you can go to this site to make a search. 
Medical Device Authority Register

You can key in the name of the mask brand if you know it or just key in KN95 or KF94 to see what is available in the approved list.

For Korean made masks, recently the Korean Embassy shared a post on how to avoid counterfeit KF94 masks. You can read up the post below.


The embassy shared a link to check if a mask sold is in the MFDS (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety) database. The words are all in Korean but no worries, we have google translate. We translated the words as shown below.

We checked out the Biomate brand KF94 masks to see if it is in the database. First we translated the word Biomate to Korean.

Then , we pasted the Korean word in the slot for "Company Name" and hit the search button. It yielded results to show that the company and mask was in the approved list by the MFDS.

We reached out to one of the Korean sellers who was willing to give us a discount code. You can use code KMOMMPSP1, KMOMMPSP2 or KMOMMPSP3 to get a 5% off the price of the masks when purchasing from here. The seller ships the masks directly from Korea. You can also find this mask being sold at local pharmacies at RM3/pc.

Note that this is only one of many masks being sold online or at pharmacies. You can do your own research in a similar manner as above when shopping for masks.

Testing your masks

You can also tests your masks efficacy in the following ways.
  1. Candle Test- Try to blow a candle out with your mask. You should not be able to do so
  2. Flame Test -  Cut the mask, count the filters and burn the filter. It should melt, not catch fire
  3. Water Test = Fill the mask with water - It should not leak
These are some of the ways suggested, you can find many articles and videos on this online.

Finally, here are some terms we should know
  • Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) 
  • Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE) 
  • Most-Penetrating Particle Size (MPPS)
Generally, the higher the number, the better. The '94' in KF94 or the '95' in KN95 refers to the PFE of the mask. You can read this article which explains the BFE and PFE in a simple and easy to understand manner.

KN95 and KF94 masks costs more than 3 or 4-ply masks and cloth mask. You can also find very cheap masks online but one word of caution is when something is too good to be true it usually isn't. We should always conduct a research to make sure that the masks we buy are approved by relevant authorities. When it comes to masks, time spent researching is worth it.


1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html
2. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks
3. https://www.eurofins.com/consumer-product-testing/covid-19-product-testing/masks-respiratory-protective-devices/medical-surgical-masks/filtration-efficiency-testing-bfe-pfe/
4. https://www.a-star.edu.sg/News-and-Events/a-star-news/news/covid-19/explainer-testing-the-efficacy-of-protective-face-masks
5. https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/kf94-masks-effective-different-kn95
6. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-masks
7. https://covid-19.moh.gov.my/kajian-dan-penyelidikan/mahtas-covid-19-rapid-evidence-updates/3M_N95_KF_94_16072021.pdf
8. https://www.raffleshealth.com/health-articles/n95-kf94-surgical-or-cloth-which-mask-do-i-choose/
9. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-surgical-masks-face-masks-and-barrier-face-coverings

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Important dates for back to school for states moving to phase 4


Wef 18 October 2021, the following states move to phase 4 of the NRP (National Recovery Plan)

  • Melaka 
  • Selangor
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Putrajaya

This morning 7 October 2021, the Ministry of Education released a press statement on the dates for going back to school as follows:

  • 1 Nov 2021 - Std 1, 2, 3 and Form 3 & 4
  • 8 Nov 2021 - Std 4,5,6 and Remove Class plus Form 1 & 2

*Note that exam students eg Form 6 students are already back to school and Form 5 students will be returning to school starting 18 Oct 2021 on rotation basis. 

**Note that preschool is back to school without rotation from Phase 3 so no changes

What are the other important dates to note?

  • 3 - 7 Nov 2021 - Deepavali festive school holidays
  • 11 Dec 2021 - start of year-end school holidays (or a day earlier for states with Fri and Sat as weekend)

What does this mean for parents and students?

This means that students will have about 5 weeks of schooling (from 8 Nov to 10 Dec 2021)

Assuming that school is on a rotation basis as announced earlier, this means, students may have 2 or 3 weeks of school before breaking for the year-end holidays. 

It is up to parents to decide for themselves whether they want to sit the rest of the year out before starting school, especially those with younger kids below 11 who have not yet been vaccinated. While some can't wait to return to school, others prefer to wait till next year. Every family has its own circumstance so they need to make their own decisions based on their own situation. It was announced earlier that "No warning letter will be issued to those who do not attend school, but parents are asked to write a letter to inform the school of their children's absence." Will you send your kids back to school this November or next year?

This post focus only on states moving to Phase 4. For those moving to Phase 3, only exam students will be returning to school for face to face lessons.

Read the full press statement from the Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia below.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Apply now for Dato' CQ Teo Scholarship, Sri KDU Secondary 4, 2022 Intake


Good education need not be expensive or out of reach. There are many opportunities for deserving students with a financial need to receive quality education. ‘The Dato’ CQ Teo Scholarship’ is one such opportunity. 

Dato’ CQ Teo was the Founding Chairman of Sri KDU schools. He was widely respected for his visionary leadership, integrity, and compassion. Dato’ Teo was also a philanthropist. He had a strong passion for good education as an integral part of nation-building. This scholarship was established to continue and honour Dato’ Teo’s legacy of nation building, in changing lives and enriching communities for a better world.

What does the Dato' CQ Teo Scholarship Cover

The scholarship covers 2 years of the SPM programme - Secondary 4 & 5. It covers the registration fee and annual tuition fee for Secondary 4 & 5. T&C applies.

Who can apply for the Dato' CQ Teo Scholarship 

Students from the Malaysian curriculum who are aged 16 years old by 1 January 2022 with a household income of below RM120,000 per annum. They should demonstrate outstanding achievements in contributing to the Malaysian society with strong academic performance and a commendable level of oral and written proficiency in English. Extra-curricular accomplishments, character, creativity and the ability to contribute to the life of the school will also be taken into account.

How to apply for the  Dato' CQ Teo Scholarship

Starting 11 October 2021, students can now send in their applications for the Dato' CQ Teo Scholarship for the Secondary 4, 2022 intake. The deadline is 4pm, 5th November 2021. Shortlisted applicants will receive an email latest by 19 November 2021 to attend an assessment interview in mid November.

Supporting documents required for your application

  • Applicant’s current photo (passport-sized)
  • Applicant’s birth certificate and MyKAD
  • Declaration of household income (below RM120,000.00 per annum), together with a certified copy of the latest EA and full B/BE Forms
  • Description and proof of "Outstanding Achievement in Contributing to the Malaysian Society"
  • Letter of recommendation from current school principal
  • Latest semester results
  • Results/proof of outstanding achievements (games, sport or other relevant areas)
  • Proof of involvement in school/community activities.
Click here to submit your application. T&C applies.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Experience Sekolah Sri KDU's Virtual Info Week from 11th October to 2nd November 2021

We're coming towards the final quarter of the year now and many parents are now searching for a good school for their children to start primary education or to continue on their secondary school journey. If you are one of them, here is your chance to find out more about Sekolah Sri KDU, an award winning, top private school in Malaysia. Sekolah Sri KDU provides high quality education in a trilingual environment that puts an equal emphasis on Academics, Sports and Soft Skills.

Now you can experience Sekolah Sri KDU's Virtual Info Week from 11th October to 2nd November 2021.

Here's what you can expect during Sekolah Sri KDU's Virtual Info Week.

1. Virtual School Previews on Zoom (23rd and 30th October 2021)

2. Virtual Trial Lessons (11th - 29th October 2021)

3. 1-on-1 e-Meet with Academic Team (25th October - 2nd November 2021)

4. Physical School Tour (11th October - 2nd November 2021)

5. Live Chat with Admissions Team (11th October - 2nd November 2021)

6. 50% off the Registration Ree during the Virtual Info Week (T&C applies)

How to sign up for Sekolah Sri KDU's Virtual Info Week

Here's how you can sign up for the virtual sessions above. Start here by filing up a registration form.  Remember to select the sessions you are interested in. Click on "Get in Touch" and that's it. It may be the start of a very exciting journey for your child's education journey.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

How vaccinated is your child's school?

How vaccinated is your child's school?

Here are some new stats shown on CovidNow which parents will find very useful. Now you can search CovidNow to view the vaccination of your child's school. Currently this feature is only available for public schools. Private schools can opt in by emailing covidnow@moh.gov.my with the email subject 'COVIDNOW Inclusion

Here's how to view the vaccination rates for your child's school. 

1. Go to CovidNow
2. Click on "Vaccinations"

3. Click on "Find My School"

4. Select your state, then type in the name of your child's school, then click the search button

Here is an example: Search results for SK Taman Megah

You will now be able to view the vaccination rates for staff (including support staff) and students (born 2009 or earlier). If you scroll down a little, you can also view the vaccination rates according to cohort ie according to those born 2003 or earlier, 2004 or earlier etc right up to 2009 or earlier. That means not only will you be able to zoom down to your school, you will be able to zoom further to ages to view the vaccination rate for your child's age in their school.

This new update was tweeted by Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin this morning 10th October 2021

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Pos Malaysia Berhad celebrates World Post Day 2021 with free postage paid aerogrammes to all households

 World Post Day is coming up soon on 9 October 2021. In celebration of World Post Day 2021, Pos Malaysia Berhad is sending out over 6 million postage paid aerogrammes to all residential houses nationwide in its campaign "Honouring Our Past, Connecting Our Future" to bring Malaysians closer by staying connected. What a wonderful initiative. 

We received ours yesterday. Here's how it looks like.

This is a perfect opportunity for us parents to introduce the lost art of letter writing to our kids. It will be a change to communicate using their own handwriting instead of typing quick whatsapp messages using shortcut codes we can't even recognize! Encourage them to write a letter to a friend or relative and get the relative to reply. There is nothing more exciting than receiving an actual physical letter in the mail box addressed to them. 

Since they are so into social media, you can take a photo of their letter or whatever stage of posting the letter out, post it on social media and hashtag #TerusBerhubung #KeepingYouConnected #pos4u #PosMalaysia #WPD2021 #WorldPostDay2021 #MelRakat

Here are some letter prompts for older kids. Younger kids can just draw pictures. Its perfectly fine.

1. Write about your online lessons. What do you like or don't like about it?
2. Do you like Roblox/Minecraft? (fill in with kids favourite game). Why do you like it?
3. Who is your best friend? Why do you like him/her?
4. What is your favourite food and drink?
5. What would you like to be when you grow up?
6. Write about anything you like to write about.

The last one is my favourite because it is a free for all but if kids have trouble thinking about what to write, we can prod them along with some prompts like the above or make up your own. Prompt number 2 is a good way to get them to write about their favourite game instead of spending so much time playing it! You will also get to know the reasons why they like it. 

Happy Writing and Happy World Post Day 2021.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Walk in at 156 designated PPVs for teenagers - who can or cannot walk in

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said in a statement today that 156 PPVs have been designated for walk in vaccination of teenagers aged from 12 to 17. Below is the list of 156 public PPVs for walk in vaccinations. The walk in vaccination will begin operations from 23 September 2021.

Who can or cannot walk in for vaccinations at the designated PPVs?

Scheduled walk-in vaccinations will be arranged by schools within close vicinity of these PPVs. Parents and students will be notified of their appointments. 


1. all teens aged 12 to 17 who are not attending school can walk in
2. all students from higher institutions of learning whether public or private who are under 18 years old can walk in
3. students who have received vaccination appointments from school are not allowed to walk in
4. only one (1) parent is allowed to accompany the teenager for walk in to prevent congestion

In other words,  the "walk-Ins" are "scheduled walk-ins" ie. you have to wait for your schools to give you an appointment and date first. Only those who do not attend schools (ie remaja yang tidak bersekolah) or teenagers below 18 from higher institutes of learning can walk in without appointment.

Note: The above info is subject to further confirmation and clarification from the authorities.

Read the full press statement below. Source of info: Twitter KKM

Latest Update as at 22 Sept 2021

Parents who are uncertain about the vaccination process for PICK- Remaja (Program Imunisasi Covid-19 Kebangsaan - Remaja) ie the National Covid-19 Immunization Programme for Adolescents, can refer to the following chart.

How to teach your children leadership skills

Guest post by Geoff Taylor, the Head of Young Learners at the British Council in Malaysia

Good leaders can communicate well, motivate others, handle responsibility, understand different views and solve problems. A good leader is also inspirational and can communicate a positive view of any situation. Developing these attributes can help our children lead happier and more fulfilling lives. So how can we help our children become great leaders?

Teaching optimism

Having a positive outlook is linked to success. The key to teaching this is to notice when your child is feeling negative. If your child is focussing on the possible negative outcomes (but what if I can’t do it? But what if everyone laughs at me?) ask them why they are choosing to think about negative outcomes when they could be thinking about positive outcomes (but what if I do it and it is amazing? What if everyone gives me a round of applause?) Likewise, when they are feeling positive, notice this too and praise them for having a great attitude. Obviously, our children will fail sometimes and may feel bad as a result. We want to protect them from this bad feeling, but it is more important to help them to embrace the failure, reflect on it and learn from it. Talking about this is the key, “I know you feel bad now, but I promise you it won’t last. Let’s focus on what you will do differently next time.” Our children may go on to remember a failure as being the most important steppingstone to a great success.

Teaching people skills

Encourage your children to get involved in group activities. Nature clubs, football teams, swimming, reading or chess clubs, playing music in a group - anything where they will spend time trying to collectively achieve something with others. Your child will develop emotional intelligence, sympathy, empathy, and problem-solving skills through participating in group activities. Children learn through watching other people, so they will learn from the leader of the group. How do they establish rules? How do they deal with different personalities? How do they manage expectations? Hopefully your child will have fun too!

Teaching negotiation

Children need to constantly negotiate for what they want, because they are completely dependent on adults to give it to them. It is important that we help them learn that throwing a tantrum is not the best approach. We need to teach them to see things from the other person’s point of view and maintain a calm and respectful attitude. We can do this by expressing our concerns when they ask for something. For example, if a child asks us for a new toy, we can say that we are concerned that it might distract them from their homework. Let them come up with reasonable arguments as to why they should get the toy, and see if you can reach an agreement whereby, for example, they can have the toy but only if they agree to do their homework before they play with it. We then need to be consistent in sticking to this agreement, not only in ensuring they do their homework, but also in ensuring they have plenty of time for play.

Teaching decision making

As they get older, children become more independent. They will increasingly need to learn how to make decisions for themselves. A particularly powerful way to help them learn is to tell them how we would make the decision. We should explain our thought process to them so they can copy and then (hopefully) even improve on our way of thinking. We can allow children to start making small decisions, such as which after school activity they would like to do, and as they learn the concepts of responsibility and that decision making has consequences, we can allow them to make more and more decisions for themselves.

Encouraging hard work

Being able to accomplish ambitious tasks is part of being a successful leader. When our children feel overwhelmed by expectations, we can teach them to break the task down into smaller, achievable chunks. For example, if the child has a large amount of homework to do, we can help them to start small, “Let’s look at the maths together for 15 minutes, then you can take a break.” When the maths is done give them a short break as a reward and move onto the English for 15 minutes, then have another short break. If they get frustrated, talk them through how they are feeling and help them to solve the problem. It is better to guide them to do the work themselves, no matter how tempting it is to just do it for them. When they have completed their homework, tell them how proud you are. They have done what seemed impossible.

At the British Council we help children develop ‘core skills’ as well as English. Areas such as leadership, critical thinking, self-confidence, and effective communication are a vital part of our courses. For example, a common activity is for children to work collaboratively when researching a topic and then present their findings to the class. We can give them different roles and responsibilities in the group, and ensure each child has the chance to be the ‘group leader’ throughout the term. Through simple activities like this we give them children skills that will, hopefully, benefit them for a lifetime.

Join our September intake and take advantage of our new weekday online English classes at an introductory price of only RM599! Contact us today.

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