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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

5 Asian Folk Tales For Preteens And Teens

When it comes to storybooks, I like the idea of exposing kids to as many genres as possible. Kids should be encouraged to pick up and read all sorts of books. For preteens or teens, there's only that many Wimpy Kids and Geronimo Stilton books they can read. While its good to read chapter books, one should not limit oneself to continue chasing the latest book from the same series. It's not easy I know. I made that very same mistake and my shelves are filled with titles from limited series.

Kids learn through reading. They learn new vocabulary. They learn to express themselves better. They learn about life. That is why I have always loved locally published books in addition to our other collection. Kids can learn so much from reading local folk tales. They will also be better able to identify with the characters and the situations describe. With folk tales, they can learn a little bit of history about the people, food and games in a local setting, which is a lot more interesting then just reading history books.

Here are 5 Asian Folk Tales For Preteens And Teens. The good news is members from our Parenting platform can get them at a discount from now till 31 July 2017.

RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 154 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 148 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing

Miyah and the Forest Demon and its sequel Rigih and the Witch of Moon Lake can be purchased separately but better read as a two part series also known as The Jugra Cronicles. Set against the backdrop of a power struggle in Tanjungpura, an ancient trading kingdom with centuries-long ties to the Han Kingdom, Hindustan, Majapahit and Melaka, this is the story of Miyah and her friends and how their sleepy village is turned upside down when politics and magic collide. Readers will be taken back to historical times when trading thrived and relationships were formed in busy ports. Fans of supernatural and fantasy genre will enjoy this two part story suitable for readers aged 11-16.

RM24.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM19.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 160 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
Eight Treasures of the Dragon is a collection of Dragon Tales from different parts of Asia.  The Dragon of the East is a legendary creature associated with fluid energy. It is said to influence weather, rain and moving bodies of water. Did you know that the Chinese Imperial Dragon has five toes, the Korean Dragon has four toes, and the Japanese Dragon has only three toes? This interesting snippet plus the magical tales of the mythical and awe inspiring Dragon found in this book will take you from Malaysia to China and India, from Singapore and Indonesia to Japan. The folklore and legends in Eight Treasures include The Dragon of Tasik Chini, Sang Nila Utama, Ho-Wori and the Princess of the Sea, The Cave of the Pearl Dragon and more exciting stories. These are timeless tales that will appeal to both young and old alike. 

RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 154 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
The phoenix is a mythical creature, a legendary bird that is often depicted as colourful, manificient and magical in many ancient and medieval literature. It is also known as Cendrawasih in Malay or called Feng Huang in China. Here the phoenix makes an appearance in 8 folktales filled with love, sacrifice, fortunes made and lost including a charming story of a Malay Cinderella. In reading the Eight Jewels of the Phoenix, you will be exposed to the richness and diversity of the cultures of Malaysia, the Philippines, China, India, Japan, Thailand and North America. The Girl With The Snow White Hair, The Princess of Mount Ledang, Chandrika and The Festival of Lights and Bawang Putih, Bawan Merah are among some of the legendary tales you will find in this book.

RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 154 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
Eight Fortunes of the Qilin brings together eight legends and folk tales from countries around the Asia-Pacific Rim including Borneo, Central America, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. The Qilin is a chimera, a fabulous creature said to be an omen of great fortune and blesses all who are lucky enough to gaze upon it. The legendary Princess Santubong and Princess Sejinjang are featured in it along with other folktales like Keong Mas, The Singing Bamboo, Princess Firefly, The Amber Tea-Bowl and more. As the fabled Qilin represents compassion, wisdom and respect for nature and life, these qualities are echoed in the stories. Humans, spirits and deities cross paths, and unseen worlds collide in Eight Fortunes of the Qilin. Best for those who love adventure, fantasy, magic and the supernatural.


Click here to go directly to the Books Order Form if you are unable to view the Order Form below.

Friday, July 07, 2017

5 Useful Online Malay Dictionaries Or Translators

Many kids in Malaysian schools learn 3 languages from young. They are English, Bahasa Malaysia or Malay and Chinese Mandarin. Having a good dictionary or translator helps. Here are 5 useful Online Malay Dictionaries or Translators you can use for helping your kids with homework.

Before we even start on the 5, you should know that you can easily use "Google Search" as a dictionary or translator. For example if you want to translate the word "makanan" to English. Just type in "makanan in English" and you will have your answer. You can do this to translate from any one language to another.

1. Kamus Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka from the PRPM website. The acronym PRPM stands for Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu. This is by far the best and most detailed online Malay dictionary I have found online. You will find very detailed information here. You can do a normal search or a Smart Search (Carian Bestari) which is a more refined search. It is useful to favourite this site. 

Tips: #1. After getting your search results when you make a search (using "Cari", not "Carian Bestari"), try clicking on the links at the side as shown below. They will open up more detailed information about the word you searched for. I especially like the link called "Khidmat Nasihat" as it opens up questions and answers pertaining to your searched keywords. Very useful as you may find answers to your own queries listed in there.

Tips: #2. To use this site as an online Malay dictionary, click on the tab named "Gerbang Kata" to go to the ekamus dbp to find the meaning of words in Malay. The meaning of the words are very detailed as taken from the Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat at the time of writing this post.

I am not very sure what is the difference when you do a search on the main page or when you use search on the Gerbang Kata tab, so I did a search for the word "makan" and here are the results so you can see for yourself. Meaning of the word "makan" as listed on the main search page as compared with the meaning as listed on the Gerbang Kata search results page. Both are equally detailed with examples of simpulan bahasa, peribahasa and puisi with the words "makan" in them. 

2. My Kamus is a free online dictionary that provides free online translation service from Malay to English or English to Malay. Useful to have for learners of Malay as a second language.

3. Malay Oxford Living Dictionaries which is still in Beta. I could not find some of the words I was searching for. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is still in Beta plus it is a "living" dictionary which is updated regularly by contributors (rather like wikipedia) so it is still being developed. They have a Facebook page which is updated with interesting snippets or words from the Malay language. Useful for Malay learners generally or for looking up newer words or internet jargon words for which there is a section on. For example, Did you know that the word "selfie" is called "swafoto" in Malay? Two way translation Malay-English-Malay is available. 

4. Malay Cube helps you easily translate Malay numbers to English. It also translates words from Malay to English and from English to Malay. According to the site, the number of words available for search in this dictionary has already reached 500,000 and is still growing.

5. Lexilogos Malay Dictionary is another alternative for searching for the meaning of Malay words or for translations. It allows you to pick the dictionaries eg Cambridge, Glosbe or search engines eg Google, Bing, or get results from Wikipedia or Google Search easily from the same page. It also has suggested links to more dictionaries. 

These 5 online Malay dictionaries or translators is very useful indeed to any student both primary and secondary and to parents helping their kids with homework. Remember to bookmark this page for your easy reference. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Importance of Penmanship in SJKC

Guest Post: This post was written by Joanne Lee, a mother of two and an avid member of our Facebook group, The Malaysia Primary School Parents on Facebook. Come join us for more modern-day parenting discussions.

Parents who have their first child attend Primary 1 will undergo some sort of culture shock. It could be how difficult the latest syllabus is, the frequent loss of stationery, bringing home classmate’s homework, etc. Discovering these little “surprises” is part and parcel of parenting life.

This post will touch on another such surprise: how important penmanship is in SJKC schools.

If you have not come across a penmanship horror story, count yourself lucky. Many parents find themselves shocked by the fact that teachers deduct marks for how a student writes their ABC’s in exams!

In this image, you will see mark deductions of the upper case W’s on the left and 1 instance of the lower case y on the far right. Each mistake costs 1 mark.

The straight y is considered uppercase Y in the syllabus. Regardless of what font you use on your gadgets, only the y with a g-hook is considered as lowercase ‘y’.

Some schools even took the extra step to whiteout the y’s in their computer-typed exam papers and replace each y by hand. Here’s the same image you saw at the beginning of this article, enhanced, and with the y’s circled out for you.

As for the W, the middle stroke has to be of the same height as the left and right sides. They also cannot be curved.

The same rules apply to uppercase M’s. The middle stroke must touch the ground, so to speak and only the lowercase m can have curves (i.e. it shouldn’t look like McDonald’s ‘M’).

When writing your a’s, o’s and g’s, close up the curves and make sure the stem for lowercase a is obvious.

The hook for g should also be apparent.

Dot your i’s and j’s clearly and don’t replace dots with dashes.

Some schools require the lowercase k to be written a certain way (see the third k). Others just want your child to focus on the height of the k to indicate whether it is a big K or small k.

You will need to check with your child’s class teacher on any other handwriting quirks your child will need to pay attention to e.g. writing the n, r and v clearly. The emphasis will be different in different schools.

But why? And is this really necessary?

The focus on this penmanship is not brought about by overzealous teachers who have unusual or high expectations of 7 year olds. It is in fact a direct order from the Ministry of Education and PPD for teachers to stress on penmanship among lower primary students.

During exams, teachers are required to deduct 1 mark per each wrongly written letter. This is independently confirmed by multiple SJKC teachers from a few states.

In fact, one teacher from Klang told me that by the end of Primary 1, the students are expected to already know how to properly write the letters. Penmanship penalties are thus harsher with older students. In this teacher’s school, the student will lose the allocated mark for the question if any of their letters are not up to par (if it is 3 marks, and you write the ‘y’ wrongly in the answer, you lose the full 3 marks).

Note that not all schools are this strict. Some SJKC schools group penmanship together with punctuation marks, or put a cap on how many marks can be deducted for each wrongly written letter, per section.

There also seems to be more emphasis on penmanship in English compared to BM. Again, this differs from school to school (I suggest you speak to your child’s class teacher if you have concerns on what to help your child focus on).

All teachers are expected to stress on the importance of penmanship during regular lessons (you may want to ask your little one to confirm this.) This may be part of the reason why your child spends quite a bit of time finishing up their homework.

Why all this new fuss about penmanship?

This isn’t new. It has been going for at least 6-7 years, around the time the KSSR syllabus change took effect. The aim is for all students to have neat and legible penmanship.

Teachers who mark UPSR papers lauded this effort because, understandably, marking papers with poor handwriting can drive an examiner up the wall. All the work to prevent this from happening in the future starts from Primary 1.

Some of the teachers I spoke to brought up stories of their colleagues who teach lower primary receiving complaints from parents because of this over-emphasis of handwriting particularly during school exams.

This puts teachers in a tough spot because they have received orders and guidelines to implement this focus on penmanship. More often than not, parents were not clued in on the matter and naturally complained because they feel blindsided by this. Having early awareness on this matter can help prevent incidents like this from happening.

So what can I do as a parent?

(1) Work together with your teachers to work on your child’s penmanship, from before Primary 1 itself. It is for their own good, years down the road.

(2) Regularly remind your child to pay attention to the strokes, curves, bends and staying inside lines. Some children require more guidance and practice than others. Teachers do not have enough time to devote to helping each and every student, which is where parents can chime in. You may even find your little one resisting writing practices because how do you expect a 7 year old to sit still for long, right? Hang in there.

(3) Some teachers may be more strict than others, to the point of scolding a student when they repeatedly make the same mistake in their handwriting. Stay positive, encourage and help your child to perfect their handwriting. Children are far more resilient than we think.

(4) Don’t be hard on teachers. They are after all, operating on instructions by their higher ups. It is better if you work together with your children’s teachers as a team, rather than against them. After all, we’re on the same team -- we all want what is best for the next generation.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Tugasan Geografi PT3 2017 (Geography Assignment for PT3 2017)

It's back to school after the Hari Raya Holidays today and back to work for the Form 3 students who are sitting for PT3 this year, 2017. Today, the Form 3 students received their Geography Assignment for PT3 2017 (Tugasan Geografi or Kerja Kursus Geografi PT3). 

The "Tugasan" (Assignment) is as shown above and translated below. The rest of the post is written in both languages English and Bahasa Malaysia.

This year for the geography project, the PT3 students are required to sketch out a topograpic map of either their residential or school location. According to wikipedia, a topograpic map is "a type of map characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief, usually using contour lines, but historically using a variety of methods. Traditional definitions require a topographic map to show both natural and man-made features."

The topographic map for this assignment is to include physical or natural characteristics as well as man-made features. 

In addition to sketching out the maps, students are required to interpret it by shading and describing areas that have potential for development, the obstacles for development and come up with proposals and efforts that may be required to overcome those obstacles.

Finally students are required to present the results of their report.

Below is a screenshot of the KL Topograpic map taken from google search just to give you an idea of how a topographic map should look like. The map below shows physical features but not man made ones.

Below are some sites that have sample answers or tips for the Geografi Assignment for PT3 2017. (It will be updated as more sites put up their samples so favourite this page for your easy reference)

Geography is 100 percent project based. There is no paper to sit for in PT3, only completion of this assignment within the given time frame is required. The assignment was given out today (3rd July 2017). Expected date of completion is 31st July 2017.

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