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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How Parents Can Get More Involved Under The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025

Education Blueprint Here To Stay
One of the first things the new minister of education, Dr Maszlee Malik has pointed out when he first took office is that the Education Blueprint 2013-2025 will proceed as planned, with periodic mid-term reviews on all activities and programmes.

About the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. 

The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 was formed to evaluate the performance of Malaysia's current education system against international benchmarks. It offers future visions of the Malaysian education system, with proposed strategic and operational shifts required to achieve this vision. One of its aims is to raise Malaysian students to an international education standard, and prepare Malaysian children for challenges of the 21st century.

PADU (the Education Performance and Delivery Unit) was established to facilitate, support, and deliver the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. One of its functions is to ensure that the initiatives mapped out by the Malaysia Education Blueprint is run smoothly and efficiently.

In this post, we will talk about initiative #62.

Initiative #62 of the Blueprint: 
Expanding Parental and Community Involvement in the School Ecosystem.

Initiative #62 is about parental involvement. We can make a difference in our children's educational outcomes and reduce behavioral problems by being more involved.

Our children spend two thirds of their day with us. If we don't help and support them, who will?

How Can We Help Our Children?
  • We can help to foster 21st century learning skills, foccussing less on our children's grades and encourage co-curricular activities
  • We can help our kids master English by speaking English to our children and playing English radio stations at home
  • We can get our kids interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) by bringing our children to scientific institutions and involving our children in STEM extracurricular activities
  • We can encourage our children to be digitally literate by exposing them to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and accessing and tracking their work portfolio
  • We can provide full support to our children by communicating with them, interacting with them and creating a conducive home learning environment

Where To Get Information To Help Us Support Our Children

1. Download the "Buku Pelibatan Ibu Bapa"

This booklet describes the role parents can play in supporting children in parallel with the 6 Student Aspirations under the Malaysian Education Blueprint (2013-2025). It explains the various initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of Education in improving the success of students such as 21st Century Learning, STEM and the development of student values.

The book further explains how we can support our children in academics, literacy, numeracy and in overall lifelong learning. It includes ways we can help our kids develop HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) readiness, Dual Language flair and leadership skills including soft skills like social ethics and civic consciousness.

Finally, this book also guides parents to overcome the challenges in shaping our children. Through this "Buku Pelibatan Ibu Bapa", the Ministry of Education hopes that parents can understand their role and assist the ministry in pursuit of an excellent next generation.

2. Like the PIBK Facebook Page (PIBK = Pelibatan Ibu Bapa Dan Komuniti)

The PIBK Facebook page is a page newly set up and run by PADU. It will post initiatives, free course information and dates, website links including MOOCs and other useful information to help parents support their children. When you like the page you will automatically receive updates whenever the page publishes new posts.

3. Join our Facebook Groups To Network With Other Parents

More About STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

You will notice that we mentioned STEM more than once in this post. STEM Education is an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The study of STEM collectively is a new approach to learning. Explore the infographic below to find out how you can play a role in your child's STEM Education.

We are very excited that parental involvement is encouraged more than ever now. Are you?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Climbing Broga Hill With Family

Climbing Broga Hill

During the June 2018 school holidays, we climbed Brogra Hill, Semenyih as a family of four. This post is to record my observations during our climb.


My husband and I are in our early 50s, our kids are teenagers. If you are a fit 50, then it is not a problem. If you are sedentary like me, then it can be quite a challenge. As for the teenagers, they enjoy it. What about other ages? For older people, it is not a matter of age but a matter of fitness. If you can't afford to fall down and get up again, then this climb is not for you. As for the younger ones, we saw some preteens climbing effortlessly without much supervision. The climb is not suitable for very young toddlers.

How Long Is The Climb?

We took 2 hours up and 2 hours down.

Are There Any Fees?

When you get there, you will be able to park your car at the oil palm plantation car park. There will be a sign at the car park that says that the car park is free but a fee of RM1 per person (not per car) is required.

As you walk towards the base of the hill, there will be another station collecting a fee of RM1 per person AGAIN!

The car park is in an oil palm plantation

The Route

At the base 

There are two ways up, the old way and the new way. The second round of the fee collection of RM1 per person is for the new way up. The old way up is more steep and challenging.

There are 3 peaks.

The 1st Peak 

Assuming you are taking the paid/new route, you start by walking on a path till just before you reach the first peak where you have to climb (rather than walk) a short but steep incline. There are no ropes, so you grab onto the "lalang" to help hoist yourself up.

The 2nd Peak

It is a short walk up from the 1st to 2nd peak. You are rewarded with a nice view at the first and 2nd peaks.

The 3rd Peak

If you wish to proceed to the third peak, you continue your walk till just before the top, where you have to climb a steep incline. There are two ways up. You will come across the first way first. This way is a lot more tough as you have to climb a rope up a huge rock.

If this is not for you, you can continue walking till you reach the second way up. You have to climb a rope as well but it is less tough and easier on beginners.

The signage is not very good so be sure to ask other climbers for directions, especially those who are making their way down. They will be able to tell you which way to go. This is how we found our way up.


On our way down, we wanted to avoid the short steep climb from the 1st peak to the 2nd peak, so we took another way which eventually was an even longer and steeper incline. This was the older route. Most of it was a climb with rope rather than a walk.

Pictures of the route below. It ranges from easy walk to a harder climb sometimes with rope sometimes without.

At the peak

The peak is 400 meter above sea level

Pictures of the view below. We got a nice cool breeze with a misty view due to the earlier drizzle. 

What To Wear

Long track pants with t-shirt and colored sports shoes (rather than white especially if it rained and is muddy). The long pants will help prevent scratches if you fall.

Muddy shoefie!

What To Bring

A backpack with bottled water and some snacks. We brought one backpack between the four of us, with two bottled waters and some kit kat and a big towel which we shared. That was sufficient for us though we wished we had more kit kat.

We also brought another clean towel and a change of clothing which we left in the car.

When To Climb?

I read in several articles online that many people like to start their climb early to view the sunset, in which case you will probably need to start around 5am. We started after 7am.

It rained the night before our climbed. In fact it was drizzling during our climb. Fortunately it stopped when we reached the 1st peak. According to most articles, an overnight rain will make the route slippery and muddy. Sure enough it was. That's why even though it was a weekend on a school holiday, it was not as crowded for us as most articles said it would be but then we had the extra challenge of the slippery muddy terrain to go through.

Muddy and slippery due to the rain
After The Climb

You would want to wash up a bit after the climb before you get in  your car. Unfortunately for us, since it was a rainy day, the toilet facilities were closed. We walked to the farm next door and asked for permission to use theirs. We paid them RM1 per person to do so. We used the two shower stalls to have a quick shower and clean up.

Where To Eat For Lunch

We wanted to try the pan mee which we had read about. After searching google, we found one called Broga ABC Pan Mee. They have a Facebook account with a map that led to the wrong place! We called up the number on the Facebook page and eventually found the place which didn't even have a signboard that said Broga ABC Pan Mee. The Pan Mee was just so so but the ABC was good because we were thirsty.

Would I climb again? Maybe not, but it was a good experience and something fun to do with the teens to get them away from their devices. well actually they still had their devices to take selfies and photos of the view, some of which I used for this post. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Steps To Redeem A Free Photobook From Our Site

Recently we shared a free photobook offer on our site for readers. We also shared a video on how to redeem. Today, we are posting this for those who prefer to look at a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to redeem. This is for visual people who prefers to see pictures and graphs etc to help them visualize things better.

With the Hari Raya festivities and school holidays ongoing, we are sure that you have taken lots of photos, selfies, wefies and more on your mobile phone camera. Here is one way you can save those memories easily into a photobook. Nothing like holding a book of photos in your hands. With digital stuff, there is always the danger of photos disappearing poof! like smoke in the air when your device suddenly kaput before you remember to make a backup.

Currently, our readers can enjoy a FREE 20 Page 6" x 6" Simple Photo Book worth RM79. You only need to pay for shipping charges. All it takes is for you to download the app, select the 20 Page 6" x 6" Simple Photo Book, choose 21 photos (1 photo is for your cover), complete a few other steps and your photobook will be on the way to you. Below are the full steps on how to redeem your free photobook. If you follow the steps, you can create your photobook easily in 10-15 minutes and receive it in 7 working days.

Step 1: Download the Photobook app via Apple Store or Google Play Store

Step 2: Launch the Photobook app and select Simple Books.

Step 3: Select size  6" x 6"

Step 4: Choose and upload exactly 21 photos.

Step 5: Drag and drop to arrange your photos for the cover and 1st to 20th page in the order you prefer, then select the template, (with border square or vertical rectangle or no border). The template choices can be found at the top of the page.

Step 6: Name your photobook by typing in the text which will appear at the back of your book. eg: "Hari Raya 2018" or "June 2018 School Holidays". If you are making it as a gift, this is a good place to type your message eg. "Just for you" or "Happy Birthday!"

Step 7: Checkout and key in your shipping address and delivery options. Check your Order Summary to make sure you have created the right photobook. (The wrong one or the wrong number of pages may incur additional charges. The right one states RM79 plus charges for shipping depending on your location)

Step 8:  Key in the voucher code MUMSGATHERPBWW then click "Apply".  This should cancel out the RM79 charge for the photobook and leave only the shipping fee. (Note: This code expires on 31 July 2018)

Step 9: Pay the shipping fee. Wait for your photobook to arrive in 7 working days.

If you prefer to watch the video, you can go here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch) Enjoy!

Pssst.  If you follow the steps, you shouldn't face any issue. However, feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions while creating your photobook and we will try to work on it together with you.

How To Use Tags For Facebook For Sale Groups

Recently Facebook introduced tagging of topics for Facebook For Sale Groups. This is a very good feature because it helps both buyers and sellers. Buyers will be able to go to the For Sale Group and search for the items they are looking for example "Textbooks", "Workbooks", "Educational Toys" etc. and all the posts tagged under this heading will appear in the list.

We would like to urge all our members in our preloved group, the Malaysian Market For Preloved and Educational Items on Facebook group to use this feature. The reason is when you post, the post goes down the wall very quickly because our group is active. Your post will soon be lost. By tagging your post, you make sure that it is easily searchable and seen by potential buyers.

Some of you have mentioned that you do not know how to tag. This tutorial is for you. It included how to tag your posts using desktop as well as mobile.

How to tag your posts in Facebook For Sale Groups using desktop computer

Firstly, you will be able to find the tags on the right side bar in the group under the heading "Popular Topics In Posts". If you are a buyer in a For Sale Group, you can click here to find the items you are searching for.

Step 1: Click on "Add Topics" (This is found beside the date timestamp of your post as shown below)

Step 2: After you click on "Add Topics", you will see a bar as shown below. Click on the bar to add or create up to 5 topics.

Step 3: When you click on the bar, you can select existing topics or you can type directly in the bar to create a tag of your choice to help buyers identify and find your post. (Below are some of the existing topics I have created for our preloved group)

Step 4: Click Save after you have selected or created up to 5 topics maximum. You have now tagged your post and it will be easier for buyers to find your post even after your post moves down the wall.

How to tag your posts in Facebook For Sale Groups using mobile

To view the tags, make sure you are in the group wall and the "Discussion" link is highlighted. (This is by default if you don't click any other link)

Next, scroll down the wall and you will see "Group Topics". Click on "See All" to view all existing topics. You can do this if you are in a FB For Sale Group to find the items you are searching for.

Step 1. Post your item as normal. At the bottom of your post, you should see the "Topics" bar as shown below.

Step 2: Add up to 5 topics by selecting from the existing topics 

Step 3: You can also type directly in the bar to create your own topics. Note that those you add plus those you create should be no more than 5 maximum all together. Your post will now be listed under all the tags you select or create for it making it easier for buyers to find and higher chance for you to sell it.

Happy Trading everyone!

Friday, June 08, 2018

6 Family Friendly Movies To Watch This School Holidays

If you don't have a lot of plans this school holidays, the cinema is a good place to "lepak" for a couple of hours. Here are 5 family friendly movies you can watch with the kids this school holidays. Some have been released for a while now but you may have missed them due to mid year exams while those to be released soon are also included so check the release date before you head on to the cinema.

Ratings by IMDb are by viewers while those by Rotten Tomato (Tomatometer) are by movie critics. On the suitability of the movies for children, watch the trailer videos embedded below to decide if it is suitable for your child.

Do bookmark this page. Perhaps you can watch the trailers together with your children and let them pick the movies they would like to watch. Happy Holidays!

1. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Genre:  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Release Date: In cinemas starting 7 June 2018
Running Time: 129 minutes
Rated 7.1 on IMDb
Tomatometer 64%
Owen and Claire goes on a campaign to save the remaining dinosaurs when the dormant volcano on the island begins roaring to life.

2. Isle Of Dogs
Genre:  Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Release Date: In cinemas starting: 31 May 2018
Running Time: 101 minutes
Rated 8.2 on IMDb
Tomatometer 89%
A boy sets out to search for his lost dog in Japan.

3. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Genre:  Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release Date: In cinemas starting: 17 May 2018
Running Time: 119 minutes
Rated 7.2 on IMDb
Tomatometer 71%
About Han Solo's early adventures and how he meets Chewbacca

4. Avengers: Infinity War
Genre:  Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release Date: In cinemas starting 25 April 2018
Running Time: 150 minutes
Rated 8.8 on IMDb
Tomatometer 83%
The Avengers work together to destroy Thanos before he destroys the universe.

5. Bilal
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Release Date: In cinemas starting 14 June 2018
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rated 8.6 on IMDb
Tomatometer 55%
A thousand years ago, a boy who dreams of becoming a warrior is abducted together with his sister. Growing up in a world of greed and injustice, he finds courage to make a change.

5. The Incredibles 2
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Release Date: In cinemas starting 14 June 2018
Running Time: 118 minutes
Rated 8.6 on IMDb
Tomatometer Currently not available but with 99% want to see user ratings
It's time for Bob to stay at home to look after baby Jack Jack, who has some emerging super powers yet to be discovered while Helen goes out to save the world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

English Courses For Kids and Teens By British Council Malaysia

The Young Learner's Courses July 2018 intake at the British Council  is now open for registration before 30 June 2018.

Below are some of the English Learning courses for Young Learners which are available at the British Council Malaysia.

1. Phonics P1 - the Phonics P1 class is aimed at children attending P1. The class is on every Wednesday at the Curve or every Saturday at Wisma Selangor Dredging. Each class is 2 hours in duration. By the end of the class, children can read and write based on phonics letter sounds.

2. Primary Plus - this class aims to improve communication, English and life skills for kids from ages 5 to 11. It is a 6 level series class with classes conducted every Saturday and Sunday for 2 hours each per session. Each term is 10 weeks long. Registration is now open for the new term starting July 2018.

3. Upper Primary - this class is similar to and an extension to the Primary Plus class for older kids from ages 10 to 12. The course is 10 weeks long with classes held on the weekends, 2 hours per session. At the end of the class, children will be better prepared for English at school level including enhanced skills in reading, writing and ability to communicate and express ideas more confidently.

4. Secondary - Secondary school children from ages 13 to 17 can attend the Secondary class which is held every Saturday and Sunday. Classes are 2 hours long. The next term which is 10 weeks long, starts on 1 July 2018. Children will have new critical thinking skills and the ability to be prepared for school exams. They will use the latest technology to learn English and will improve on their social skills through team work during classes.

5. Secondary Plus (IGCSE) - Children sitting for the IGCSE can opt for this specialized course to help them prepare for their exams. Students will be guided to improve their skills in reading both fiction and non-fiction text, work towards accuracy in writing different genres and become more fluent in discussing and delivering topics during presentations. This is a 2 year course divided into 10 weeks per term. The 3-hour class is held on Thursdays at the Mutiara Damansara branch.

To know more about these courses, call +603 2723 7900 or go here to book an English Placement Test online. Placement tests are required to determine the right level of class to place your child.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Best Klang Valley Shopping Malls To Visit This Raya 2018

One of the most unique things about Malaysia are our shopping malls because they are always beautifully decorated several times a year to celebrate our cultural diversity. You can be assured of amazing festive decor during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas. 
With so many malls to visit, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping during festive seasons.  

With Hari Raya just around the corner in about 2 weeks, before you go shopping, it is a good idea to  pay a visit to the Facebook pages and websites of some of the top shopping malls around Klang Valley to check out the Raya promotions and decorations. That's exactly what we did so you can have all the information on one page to help you plan your shopping trips, dates, days and times to coincide with the events that have been put together by the various malls.

All photos in this post are sourced from the Facebook pages of the respective malls which we provide a link to at the bottom of each image.

1. Ikatan Silaturahim Hari Raya Celebrations @ 1 Utama Shopping Mall from 23 May to 19 June 2018 

Be transported to a land of beautiful architecture, water fountains and palm trees with the Moroccan inspired decorations at 1 Utama Shopping Centre. Activities include Middle East dance delights, Egyptian cuisine, Joget, Tarian Lilian and more. Check out the link below the image for more photos including the schedule of events.

2. Semoga Ceria Dan Kekal Lawak Selalu Is The Theme For The Salam Aidilfitri Bersama Atria Celebrations From 25 May to 24 June 2018

As you can see, there is a giant Cam and Leon giant game floor. There are also cute cartoon cutouts for photo taking sessions. Don't forget to claim your Raya packets featuring the same cartoon characters when you spend above RM120 in one receipt or RM80 for Atria Friend and Junior members.

3. Luminous Reflections Of Raya At Avenue K From 25 May To 24 June 2018

The decoration here is bright and colourful with Middle Eastern adornments of lanterns and brightly coloured carpets. You can view more close up photos of the decoration from the link below the main photo.

4. Celebrate Keriangan Aidilfitri At IPC Shopping Center

You will find  giant-sized traditional games at the Concourse, Level G at IPC Shopping Centre. Many interesting crafting workshops and performances have been lined up. These include batik painting, coaster weaving, paper cup pelita and fabric ketupat workshops. Check out the full programme in the given link.

5. Throwback To The Blissful Days Of Life At The Kampung With A Nostalgic Raya Look At Mid Valley Megamall

Be transported back through time in the lively kampung scene set up at Mid Valley Megamall. The scenes are decorated with lovely pink, red and purple bougainvilleas. Check out the traditional weaving decor. Even the special Raya packets are weaved. Go to the link below the photo for details.

6. Panggung Raya Is On At The Paradigm Mall Petaling Jaya From 25 May To 24 June 2018

Raya Dance, Silat, Wayang Kulit, Cak Lempung, Art Workshop and Music Performances have been scheduled throughout the whole month at the Paradigm Mall Petaling Jaya. View the schedule and photos below.

Panggung Raya photos and schedule at Paradigm Mall

7. Raya Seribu Impian Or A Celebration Of A Thousand Dreams At The Pavillion Kuala Lumpur

Pavillion is a must visit mall for any festive occasion with amazing decor of giant proportions. Get ready to take your selfies and wefies at the outer entrance, the inner entrance and the Swarovski Raya Swing for Raya 2018. 

8. A Ride To Remember At Setia City Mall From 18 May To 14 June 2018

Visit Setia City Mall to reminisce about the good old days back at your hometown. Check out the kampung house complete with banana leaves and palm trees surrounding it, with a chicken coop and clothes hanging out to dry outside the house, old fashioned TV (in the house) to show your kids how TVs used to look like and more.

9. The Radiance Of Raya At The Sunway Pyramid From 24 May To 24 June 2018

Bamboo and Lights are the main theme and you will find plenty of these used in the Raya decorations at Sunway Pyramid for Hari Raya 2018. The centerpiece artwork is created by artist and former lecturer Mior Mohd Nafis who also created a sculpture at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Check out the detailed photos from the link below.

10. Nostalgia Raya Bersama The Gardens Mall 

The Gardens is now well known for their very detailed "photo booth" decorations for every festive occasion. Walk along the length of the mall and you can't help but stop at every section to take a photo or two. They are picture perfect. You can also expect to watch Raya rhythms and dances of yesteryears as you shop.

11. Rasa Sayang Aidilfitri At IOI City Mall Putrajaya From 18 May To 26 June 2018

A full array of performances have been lined up from the different states in Malaysia. You can check the schedule below so you can time your shopping dates and times to match the performances to get the best of both worlds in shopping and entertainment. Dates and times of events can be found in the link below the picture.

12. Bring Home A Joyful And Traditional Raya From Alamanda Shopping Center 22 May to 24 June 2018

Raya Musical, Gamelan, Silat, State Fiesta Dance and Children Traditional Dance are some of the activities  you can enjoy while shopping at the Alamanda Shopping Centre this Hari Raya 2018. Those who like to take photos can snap a photo of the Raya decoration and post it on Instagram or Facebook for the Hari Raya Photography Contest.

13. Celebrate A Joyful And Traditional Raya At Suria KLCC From 22 May To 17 June 2018

Meet Malaysia's Tallest Giant Ketupat Decor Replica at Suria KLCC. Best viewed at night when the lights come on. Meanwhile, in the center court, you will find a replica of the traditional kampung house with fairy lights as its main decor. Check out the Hari Raya Aidilfitri Campaign at Suria KLCC in the link below the picture.

 All of the decorations are original and beautiful. So many malls to visit, so little time. Have you started your Raya shopping yet? 

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