Time’s Up

Time’s Up

Wills are strange things.

They can be an affirmation of love or an opportunity to say things that would never have been said in life. They can make dreams come true or be an instrument of revenge. They can bring families together or tear them apart.

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When you have young children, making a will also includes making provision for the care of your family if you and your partner are both gone. This can be an agonising decision. Who will love them or raise them the way you intend ? Are the grandparents too old, too sick or unwilling to take on raising another family?

Is your sibling’s spouse on one side charming but way too casual with their own children? Is your sister-in-law a martinet whose children are frightened to say boo and live in something close to a prison camp? Are other siblings unmarried and always travelling or partying and will other siblings on the other side take offence that they weren’t chosen?

Are you both orphans with no close relatives? Would any of your friends be agreeable or capable? You pray it will never happen but you must make some provision or they will end up in state care. You may be fortunate that you have someone who is both willing and loving but many couples don’t have that luxury and agonise over the best of a very ordinary bunch. In our case it meant them being put into the care of an interstate uncle who barely knew their names and changed partners more often than his socks, or an aunt who drank heavily and screamed like a fishwife at her own children.

Will your children not only lose their parents but their home and friends and be forced to make great adjustments while coping with overwhelming grief? These are sobering thoughts for any parent.

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We wrote letters to our children to be given to them, in case the worst happened, before the reading of the will, (updating them every two years) so they would have written proof of how much we loved them and how proud we were to be their parents. We included a couple of photos very special to us all and then we prayed hard that they would never need to read them.

We breathed a sigh of relief when our eldest child reached an age where he could have the guardianship of his younger sister and brother.

How Do You Manage Grief?

How Do You Manage Grief?

I had a call this morning from an old neighbour of my parents. Elaine and her husband Fred lived next door to my family from the time I was a teenager and we were constantly in and out of each other’s homes. They were there for our marriage and when visiting my old home we always went across to see them. They gave our sons their first cricket bats and the whole family were very fond of them.

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Sadly Ted died suddenly nine years ago but Elaine remained in their home because that was where she felt closest to Fred. My parents have since gone and so visits have become the occasional phone call and Christmas card but today Elaine felt compelled to call me.

She said yesterday was her 90th birthday and she was suddenly overwhelmed by grief for the loss of her husband of 55 years. She wanted to talk to someone who had known and loved him.

Friends have told her she should be over it by now but she said how can you forget the loss of someone who was such part of your life.

It reminded me of a book I was given when I was grieving which listed the emotions one should expect to experience and how by certain amounts of time having passed you should “have moved on”. It was written by a well known psychologist but I felt the author had never actually experienced grief and ended up by pitching it into the rubbish bin.

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Everyone is different and experiences grief and shows grief in a multitude of different ways; it is impossible to generalise. Some people get relief by shouting and screaming and throwing things while others may appear to getting on with their lives while internally bleeding. Both are valid.

Some need to talk it out while others just need the quiet and space to fully realise their loss. Some can no longer stay in the home they shared amid the constant reminders of what was, while others relish the familiarity and the sense of their loved one being nearby. Some have done their grieving over a long period of illness and need to move on to a new phase of life and are perhaps more open to finding love again. Others cannot imagine life with another partner and prefer their memories. They feel being alone is preferable to settling for what they perceive as second best.

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No one should ever live their lives according to “what the neighbours think” or friends or even family. Do what that small voice deep inside you tells you is right for your circumstances and you.

Hot & Bothered

Hot & Bothered

Belinda Edit | Thank you to all our contributors for MyWifeLife. This entry by Mrs. Jane is her first for 2018 and it’s greatly appreciated.

Read more about our contributors here. Enjoy Mrs. Jane’s sage observations as a Mother and Grandmother.

P.S This blog is based in Melbourne, Australia and we are in the middle of our hot summer to give you some context 🙂


How have you been faring through the days of high heat?

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Averaging over 30 degrees Celsius in Melbourne

If you have a small baby my sympathies are with you as you try to keep the little one cool. Having had a January baby myself I remember his sweaty little body as I fed him through the heat and how flushed he was. Toddlers too often tire easily and become cranky and restless.

We seem to be the only country where our children return to school during our hottest month with often extreme temperatures. New Zealand and South Africa have milder temperatures than we usually experience, while in the northern hemisphere children have the hottest months on holiday returning to school at the beginning of Autumn.

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Grumpy babies everywhere!

I spent a few years living in Sydney as a child before air conditioning was available and remember well those humid, uncomfortable nights of broken sleep.

Everyone from children to adults was irritable and tired, dragging themselves through the day. One of the blessings of moving to Melbourne was to feel the Southerly Buster hit and the sudden drop in temperature whereas in Sydney an electric storm was more likely with even more humidity.

Pity the poor bridal parties coping with the heat, particularly if they hoped to have photos taken outside or on the beach. Pouring rain is another hazard or gale force winds.

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We were married in January with a temperature of 43 degrees, howling northerly wind and an electrical storm hitting as we were about to take photos.

Needless to say all our photos were taken indoors. In contrast my brother had married the year before in the middle of winter in icy conditions with the bridesmaids (including myself) turning blue to match our gowns.

Do you ever think of your wedding and think how different it would be if you did it now?

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Ours would be much simpler with more of our friends and fewer of our parents’ friends and definitely not Great Aunt Ruby who has a very limited acquaintance with soap and water.

Weddings for some have become ultra expensive and out of control.

We’ve been invited during the past couple of years to overseas weddings, Bali, Las Vegas and Paris and couldn’t afford to go, in common with many invitees.

We all felt guilty and so gave more than we intended, but one of the family felt it was a deliberate plan to cut down the numbers and so gave less.

Who was right?

Introducing Kyneton Wardell Sisifa

Introducing Kyneton Wardell Sisifa

Hi all,

GREAT NEWS!

On Wed 3 January 2018 Leki and I welcomed our second child – Kyneton Wardell Sisifa.

He joins our little girl Emelina who will be 3yo in March.

So I would like to share an unfiltered account of the last stages of my pregnancy and document the delivery below.


WARNING: BELOW YOU WILL SEE ME GIVING BIRTH TO MY SON AND IN ALL IT’S GLORY. THERE WILL BE REAL BLOOD AND GUTS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK! 🙂


 

So here is the story of Kyneton’s journey to join us in chronological order on Wed 3 Jan 2018:

3:35pm – 3rd Caseload nursing appointment

In week 36 to week 38 leading up to the final stages of my pregnancy I had high blood pressure monitored by my caseload nurse/Ellie as I’ve had history of mild pre-eclampsia from the last pregnancy.

I had 3 x 6 hours screening sessions on Wed 27th Dec 2017, Fri 29th Dec 2017 and the fateful one on 3 Jan 2018.

My nurse Ellie was not too confident with my high blood pressure readings so she sent me to Sunshine Hospital (local public hospital) to be screened.

I also started having Braxton-Hicks contractions.

4:25pm – Dropped Emelina to Leki’s sister to babysit in a nearby suburb

We had pre-planned for worst case scenarios by having our pregnancy ‘bug out bags’ in the boot of the car. I had bags packed for Leki, Emelina and myself. What a relief as I still had 2 weeks until I reach term 🙂

Leki’s sister and her family are a short drive from the hospital and helped a lot by having Emelina for 2 nights. THANK YOU!

5:20pm – Arrived to the Sunshine Pregnancy Care Centre

The nurses planned for another 6 hour screening of my blood pressure every 30 mins.

Leki dropped me off and went to chase up some loose ends at work with the intention of returning within the next 2 hours. He did was most men do and think that everything will be ok!

Back to scrolling my Facebook feed 😉

7:00pm – Baby is under stress!

While I was at the Pregnancy Care Centre (PCC) my growing contractions and abdominal pain was concerning the Head Nurse. She mentioned that it is not uncommon that high blood pressure can be an indicator that the baby is under stress. Things escalated pretty quickly as the specialists insisted that I should have an epidural and undergo a Caesarian section to get this baby out ASAP.

Luckily I didn’t share the specialist’s enthusiasm and opted to attempt a ‘natural birth’ after receiving great advice from the Head Nurse.

As I was moved from PCC to the birthing suite I rang Leki to let him know that the medical staff are looking to induce me. (He was obviously shocked with the sudden change in management and jumped on his magic carpet straight away! Fortunately he was only 30 mins away in peak hour traffic.)

So my Braxton Hicks contractions were starting to worsen and I told Leki to stop by his sister’s house and pick up some supplies as we may be having a baby tonight and my contractions were still more then 15-20 mins apart.

I video called Emelina when Leki arrived to his sister’s house and said soon you’ll be an older sister! For some reason I wanted to speak to Eme and let her know that Mama is ok as I felt rushed in dropping her off earlier and I had not properly said goodbye to her. I felt guilty that we’ll now move from being a family of 3 to 4 and that ‘time’ with Eme has come to an end. I was starting to feel so overwhelmed by it all!

8:30pm – Settling into the Birthing Suite

Imagine this scene.

Leki is sitting in the chair next to me eating fried rice, salad and chicken while I’m next to him in the bed huffing and puffing like a heavy elephant.

It didn’t irritate me if anything it comforted me as his casual approach smoothed the seriousness of the occasion – I’m being induced because baby is under stress!

We were offered options for birth – Caesarian section (again?!), water birth or natural birth.

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My goal from the outset was to push for a natural birth without medications. Managed it with Emelina so let’s try and make it 2 from 2!

Contractions were 10 mins apart now.

8:40pm – Water is broken

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My caseload nurse Ellie was making her way and so I had an experienced nurse Michelle for the first part of my delivery. She was successful in breaking my water and it felt like a cold stick being inserted between your thighs and then a rush of ‘warming flooding’ flushing out.

Fortunately after my water was broken they did not need to induce me as I was already starting the contractions and they were getting shorter and shorter between each contraction.

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Soon after the water was broken Michelle could see the baby’s head so she attempted to place a monitor on the baby to get some vital signs.

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*8:55pm – 2nd attempt to place monitor on baby’s head

*9:00pm – 3rd attempt to place monitor on baby’s head

Michelle had trouble placing the monitor on baby’s head as there was a small film of fluid that didn’t allow the monitor to stick properly. I’ll be honest it was frustrating to have her physically penetrate me each time and fiddle around so I focused on slowing my breathing down and picture being somewhere else more relaxing.

Contractions are now ramping up to being 5 mins apart!

9:13pm – STRONG Contractions

My contractions are now more frequent and more forceful being 2-3 minutes apart. Did I mention they were PAINFUL. I would rate the pain being 6/10 at this time although it shot through the roof quick smart!

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*9:16pm – contraction

*9:19pm – contraction

*9:21pm – contraction

*9:24pm – contraction

*9:28pm – contraction

*9:30pm – contraction – pretty much 10/10 on the pain scale now!

9:35 – Attempted to use the toilet

A sense of dread hit me now.

I NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET!

OMG!!! I might have this baby in the toilet! Michelle was trying to help my by saying “let your body do what it wants you to do”. If you need to use the loo then go use it baby is fine! Sounds like good advice but when you’re in the moment can you really trust your bowel and bladder to work together with your baby?

Believe it or not I felt more embarrassed that I might shit myself more then anything else. Definitely a moment of weakness.

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Luckily Leki was there to help. He had no problems with assisting me and did a great job of cleaning up the backdoor for me 🙂 and help calm me down.

It was a great challenge trying to manage the bowel contractions to the baby contractions. Even though it only took me 3 mins to use the toilet I had to time the baby contractions between the bowel contractions so I don’t get the double whammy!

Unfortunately I did have one ‘double contraction’ which is where BOTH the bowel and the baby contraction hit me.

You can imagine the range of emotions in that 3 minute window. Pain, embarrassment, fatigue, relief… and so on.

Again I was focusing on my slowed breathing strategy – 5 seconds in through the nose then slow exhale out the mouth in 5 seconds. Helped me a lot and I highly recommend it!

9:40pm – Standing Contraction

So by this time my caseload nurse Ellie had finally arrived and relieved Michelle from her great work.

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Ellie immediately recommended that I try and stand to labour for a short while to allow gravity help bring the baby ‘down’. I swear every time the contractions came on I could feel his little head was poking out the front door.

At this time my contractions were VERY STRONG and almost 2 mins apart.

*9:48pm – VERY STRONG contraction in standing

*9:51pm – VERY STRONG contraction and “feels like he’s coming”

*9:52pm – “HE’S COOOOMING!?”

9:52pm to 10:18pm – THE FINAL PUSH

I had reached peak dilation now and baby was making his grand entrance.

Leki reported that I had about 3-4 contractions over 20 mins in which I allowed the contractions to come over me then ‘push at the bottom of the contraction’ and give it everything I’ve got.

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As I was concentrating on pushing this baby out Leki peered over and watched everything from front row seats and saw baby’s head starting to show. He helped time my BIG PUSH with when the contraction was about to end and helped with my breathing regime in between contractions.

With my final efforts Leki saw that his whole head had finally popped out and that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck two times around!

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Not the most pleasant thing to see but with my LAST FINAL PUSH Ellie masterfully removed the cord around his neck and cradled him out all in the one motion and we had finally done it!

Leki and I had already cued up 2-3 names but we decided to wait until he arrived to see which name would suit him the best.

10:20pm – KYNETON WARDELL SISIFA

So, I’d like to formally introduce our son measuring 3.1 kgs, 51cm long and 32cm in head circumference – Kyneton Wardell Sisifa.

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10:23pm – Placenta delivery

Nurse Ellie offered an injection into the leg to help with the labouring to ‘deliver’ the placenta. It took another period of time for the placenta to arrive and Ellie asked if we wanted it.

Unfortunately we hadn’t done much research on do’s and don’ts so we donated it to science 🙂

*10:39pm – Placenta out and Leki cut the cord

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10:56pm – First family selfie

So this is our first (of many) selfies after the 2 hour labour. What a relief!

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We implemented the skin on skin time straight away and tried unsuccessfully to get little Ky onto the boob for his initial feed. He had the right idea but didn’t quite have the co-ordination to latch on straight away but after a few minutes of trial and error the little man managed to get on and suckle!

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11:29pm – Stitches

Ellie said that I’ve settled post delivery to start the stitching and repair the wounds of birth. She was pretty happy that there was only a little bit of damage which required 7 x stitches.

*12:01am – Finished stitches

12:01am-2:00am – Skin on skin and rest time

While Ellie was completing her clinical notes on how everything went Leki had a little nap on the floor next to me and Kyneton and I hung out and got ourselves acquainted!

2:00am-2:20am – Freshening up!

So I was well enough to help myself into the shower and wash all the pain and suffering away in the warm water! After the shower I got into my comfortable nightie which made me feel so relaxed and luxurious after the 2 hour labour!

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During this time Leki got Ky into his first costume change and he did a pretty good job while I was in the shower!

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Another selfie of the proud parents with their latest product! 🙂

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2:20am – Waiting to be moved to the Ward

So we’re nearing the end of the show and I’m waiting on the bed to be prepared in the Ward so I can be transferred from the birthing suite.

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Unfortunately there was no room for Leki to shack up with us so he was politely asked to go home. He kissed me goodbye and congratulated me on the great energy and effort spent on squeezing our little cherub into the world!

The next morning Leki told me he was too tired to drive anywhere so he slept in the car parked in the hospital car park. He’s one of those people who can sleep anywhere 🙂

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8:01am – Thurs 4 Jan 2018 – 1st Morning

So I had a pretty good night’s sleep with around 5 hours and I was fortunate to share the Ward with another 3 new Mums and they were all courteous and respectful despite the ‘cosy’ environment. We all made it work as women tend to do 😉

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Leki came by early in the morning and bought my first meal which was McDonald’s with coffee. Exactly what I wanted! Probably not the best meal to have first up but I felt I needed something to reward my effort 😉

Soon after I got myself up and changed Ky for the first time. Had to manage handling the doodle but it’s second nature for me now after having a couple of days practice.

**TIP – My sister who has a son recommended putting a wet wipe over the willy as you wipe just in case the ‘fire hydrant bursts’ which can protect you and the baby from waterworks LOL

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Well, if you have stuck with me all the way through – THANK YOU.

I really wanted to demystify the birth process and make it real. It’s very different from woman to woman and fortunately mine was quite straight forward with some minor challenges.

So how can I summarise the birthing experience? The best analogy I’ve come across is – “Imagine trying to squeeze a watermelon though a lemon” 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I have presenting it to you.

And just like that we’re now a family of four.

With love,

Leki, Belinda, Emelina and Kyneton xo

Merry Xmas and Happy NY!

Merry Xmas and Happy NY!

Hi guys,

Just a quick note today to wish you all a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

My 2017 had many highlights to celebrate and low lights to learn from.

For my post next week I’m putting some thoughts together on goal setting for 2018 which has been a great exercise for me this year.

It helped build an improved version of me in 2017 and I hope it benefits you too 🙂

Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas and joyful New Year!

God bless,

Leki, Belinda, Emelina and baby 🙂

Fam

Observations On Convenience

Observations On Convenience

I was driving along in my comfortable medium sized car, Lucy, and yes I am one of those people who name their cars, when I began to think of cars I have known.

I grew up in the era of manual gears, no power steering and bench seats front and back.

To indicate that you were turning right you put your arm out the window, holding it straight. To indicate that you were stopping you put your hand out the window with your elbow bent at a right angle to your shoulder.

There was no heating and certainly no air conditioning. Many a long trip in the summer heat meant open windows and wet towels wrapped around shoulders and necks. Windows were wound down with a handle; there were no childproof locks and seatbelts were unheard of.

If your battery was flat, hopefully you were on a slight slope or had other people to push. You took off the brake, put the car into 2nd gear using the clutch and when the car picked up speed, eased off the clutch, pressed the accelerator and hoped the car would start. I started my first car many mornings using this method. Fortunately we lived on a small hill.

My parents had a real talent when it came to cars; they invariably bought a lemon. If the steering wasn’t faulty, the electrics were or the exhaust pipe fell off. We lived in the Southern Highlands of NSW about 2 hours south of Sydney and it became common practice if we were travelling more than 20 miles (about 24 kms) to pack essential supplies.

These consisted of a frying pan, eggs, tomatoes, bacon, bread and butter, matches to light a fire by the roadside (no total fire bans in those days), a billy for tea, mugs, plates and cutlery. We always carried blankets (no doonas back then) and pillows as many a night we slept in the car. A large container of water was always in the car for when the radiator boiled and for the afore mentioned tea.

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There were of course no mobile phones. In fact our landline was a party line and went through a telephonist at the post office. A party line meant that everyone’s phone was on the same line and the number of rings indicated the person being called. Of course for many of the others on the party line it was irresistible to lift the receiver to listen in to other people’s calls. I can remember phoning my mother on one occasion and two other people telling me she wasn’t answering because she was visiting Mrs Brown who’d broken her leg.

When you wanted petrol you drove into the petrol station and a person came out, asked how much petrol you wanted, filled the tank and cleaned the windows. You handed over the cash (no credit cards then) and the person returned with your change. You could only buy petrol or oil, certainly no food or drink.

There were no McDonalds, Kentucky Fried or roadside cafes. Every country town had a Parthenon Cafe where you could buy milkshakes, tea, coffee and light meals. Hamburgers were a later edition or you could go to the hotel. No women other than guests were allowed into a hotel except for the dining room where basic meals were served, usually a roast dinner. A Chinese cafe of that era served Steak and Eggs, Chow Mein, Curried Prawns with rice and banana fritters.

When I married we bought a car which got us from point A to point B with no problems. I couldn’t help thinking some of the adventure had gone out of driving.

My Take On Schools

My Take On Schools

Hope everyone is enjoying Melbourne’s summer weather.

Belinda has suggested to me to write up about the difference of education system between Malaysia and Australia.

What a coincidence as my partner and I talked about this not long ago. We don’t mind our little one goes to the public school and don’t really mind he goes to Prep at 5yo even a lot of parents that we spoke to would hold them back if they think their child is not ready for it.

In Malaysia, the education system is really different from Australia. We start kindergarten at 3-6 years old. You either attend 2-3 years of kinder which I did for 3-years and then enter Grade 1 at 6 years old. I believe in Australia there is a “cut off” date of when you could go to prep according to the month of the year. In Malaysia, you attend school according to the birth year. So, by saying that, if you are born later in the year then you’ll be the youngest in the class (I was born in November and I was one of the youngest in the class).


Adapted from Wikipedia – Kinder to Primary School in Malaysia

“There are no fixed rules on when a child needs to start preschool education but majority would start when the child turns 3 years old. Preschool education usually lasts for 2 years, before they proceed to primary school at age 7. Preschool education is not compulsory.”

In Malaysia preschool education is mainly provided by private for-profit preschools, though some are run by the government or religious groups. Some primary schools have attached preschool sections. Attendance in a preschool program is not universal; while people living in urban areas are generally able to send their children to private kindergartens, few do in rural areas.

All schools admit students regardless of racial and language background.

Malay and English are compulsory subjects in all schools. All schools use the same syllabus for non-language subjects regardless of the medium of instruction. A National School must provide the teaching of Chinese or Tamil language, as well as indigenous languages wherever practical.


I started in Grade 1 as 6yo and attended a Chinese school as my Mum thought it would be a great idea learning Chinese given our background. Unfortunately, my Mum didn’t like the teaching methods as it was too simple especially with Chinese writing/characters. So, then I switched over to a Public primary school at Grade 2 and continued on here all the way to Year 11.

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My Year 12 friends in Melbourne, 2016

Adapted from Wikipedia – Primary to High School in Malaysia

“Public secondary education in Malaysia is provided by National Secondary Schools/The Malaysian government and Malay is the as the main language medium of instruction. English is a compulsory subject in all schools.”

Secondary education lasts for five years, referred to as Form 1 to 5.

Form 1 to Form 3 are known as Lower Secondary, while Form 4 and 5 are known as Upper Secondary.

Most students who had completed primary education are admitted to Form 1 but there is a minimum standard to achieve in primary school become you are admitted to high school.

At the end of Form 3 a Lower Secondary Evaluation is taken by students. Based on these results and choice, they will be given three streams to choose from, (1)Academic Stream (Science/Art), Technical and Vocational Stream, and Religious Stream. The Academic stream is generally more desirable. Students are allowed to shift to the Arts stream from the Science stream, but rarely vice versa. [Belinda edit: This seems very similar to being in Year 9 and picking elective subjects for Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)]

At the end of Form 5, students are required to take the Malaysian Certificate of Education examination, before graduating from secondary school.

My main observation with the education system in Australia compared to Malaysia is that in the last two years of high school really make a big difference to be accepted locally or going to oversea to study at University. There is a very low chance of being accepted into a local University being a non-Muslim with only 10% acceptance rate.


Adapted from Wikipedia – University in Malaysia

Tertiary education is heavily subsidised by the government.

Students have the option of enrolling in private tertiary institutions after secondary studies. Private universities are gaining a reputation for international quality education and students from all over the world attend them. Many of these institutions offer courses in co-operation with a foreign institute or university — especially in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia — allowing students to spend a portion of their course abroad as well as getting overseas qualifications.

Many private colleges offer programmes whereby the student does part of his degree course here and part of it in the other institution; this is called “twinning”. Some of them are branch campuses of these foreign institutions. A branch can be seen as an ‘offshore campus’ of the foreign university, which offers the same courses and awards as the main campus. Local and international students can acquire these identical foreign qualifications in Malaysia at a lower fee.


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My Year 12 friends, reunion in Kuala Lumpur, 2015

I didn’t do quite well in Year 11 (too involved in playing sport) and didn’t get an offer to study in the public school Year 12. I took some time off and went to work part-time. I realised I really like sports and I did a Diploma in Sports Injuries in a local program.

After 18 months I completed the course and I decided I would like to continue in this field and went back to do Year 12 in a private college so I could go to an oversea university since I didn’t qualify for the local university. Unfortunately I was late to enroll as everyone had a head start being a month ahead of me and I was also the oldest in the class. I struggled to catch-up and it was a big challenge as all the subjects are taught in English.

I also struggled with Maths and I hired a tutor to help me. I chose odd subjects so I could get high scores to get into University – Maths and English are compulsory subjects then picked subjects: Biology, History and Malay then I got accepted into the Australian Catholic University and did a Bachelor Degree in Human Movement.

PS: On top of going to school, a lot of my friends attended extra tuition classes after school. I did a few sessions and hated it. My mum hired private tutors for us. All I can say, I didn’t like studying back then.

School also divided into 2 sessions, morning from 7.30-1pm and 1.15pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday which makes a very long day!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Someone said to me the other day that we were lucky having only boys….no worries about them getting pregnant and that males get away with everything.

I was quite shocked. We always were very open about answering our boys’ questions about sex and the need for protection for both parties. From the earliest age we spoke about treating everyone, male, female, different races, beliefs and inclinations, with respect.

It’s not what you say as much as what you do that resonates with children. They see very clearly if your actions do not mirror your words and they quickly pick up on family tensions and resentments.  It’s no good preaching tolerance if you don’t practice it as adults.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have a disagreement. We are all human and you can still agree to differ and respect another point of view even if it is not yours.

We asked our sons to put themselves in another’s shoes. How would they feel if they were a young girl finding out she was pregnant, terrified of telling her parents and having to make decisions regarding the baby growing inside her body, a baby that was half theirs.

 

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We cuddled and kissed and showed them at every opportunity the joy and laughter that life can bring. We taught them that every freedom carries its own responsibilities, that sex should never be selfish or careless. We warned them that as young males their sex drive would be very strong and controlling it could be difficult, that a sexual partner is not an object to be used but a real person with their own hopes and feelings.

We didn’t just say this once and hoped they would remember, we reinforced this attitude throughout their growing years. And we tried to demonstrate this in our own lives and behaviour, always aware that our children were watching how we dealt with them and others. Now they are adults with their own families it’s good to see them doing the same.

 

The Family That Plays Together…

The Family That Plays Together…

This week I’d like to share a little bit about “The Dream” Tim and I have for our family. 1

We both LOVE the ocean and have a common obsession with the sea and surfing.  I grew up practically living on the sand, our house was less than 200 meters from the beach and when you grow up in Hawaii, you learn from an early age that, a good beach is all you really need to be happy in this life!2

Of course you get older and learn that there’s a price to pay to live in paradise, but when you put your feet back in the sand or in the water, you realize it’s worth it! Ah… and still I’m here in Melbourne, Australia feet planted firmly in the concrete, but we try to make our way out to the beach in Torquay and Philip Island as often as possible.  We also plan a trip every year, somewhere warm, that has waves, where we can surf.  Our favourites: Bali, Hawaii, Samoa and Kingscliff, NSW.3

When I met Tim in 2009 our first date was a surf-date.  We drove an hour and half to surf at a spot called Malibu.  Yes. Malibu, Japan.  Over that first year of dating we made several long drives to the beach at Ichinomiya, spent time camping on my days off and he assisted in the purchase of my first ever wetsuit!  We overcame many obstacles, like trying to have a conversation in the water and barely understanding his Aussie accent to learning how to set up a campsite as a team, to him learning (offering) that I get first pick of all the waves coming through. He’s so sweet and we fell in love on the sea.

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One day in February of 2011 we were at home in Hawaii surfing at a break called Freddie’s.  We had the whole break to ourselves with no one else in the water and it was the set-up for one of the most perfect moments of my life.  The sun was setting, the water was warm, the light reflecting off it’s surface was also shining with love in his eyes as Tim said to me, “You know I love you right?”

“Yes I know.  I love you too” in my head I like to add “you weirdo.” Because he had tried several times to swim over to me and had this funny look on his face!  I realized later he was nervous.

 Then he asked me, “Will you marry me?”

 I looked at him and said “No,” his face looked confused, “OF COURSE I’ll marry you!”

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When we got to the sand he asked me to wait while he ran up to the car.  He came back and slipped the most beautiful ring onto my finger.  The moon was shining, our hearts were exploding and a few months later as the sun set, standing on the sea in Maili, we sealed the deal and vowed to spend the rest of our lives together.  It was perfect!

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When Nainoa was born I had to wait 6 weeks before I could get back in the water.  My 26th birthday was right around the corner and I told him I wanted a rocking chair.  He got me a brand new surf board instead!

We spent the first 6 months of Nainoa’s life at the beach, taking turns in the water and on the sand with our boy.  There was one week I remember my Mom came home from work and babysat every day so I could get in the water for an afternoon session at Goat Island.

I was really sad when we moved to Melbourne and Nainoa was 8 months old.  We caught the end of Spring on the beach in Torquay and the water was so cold!  It took a while for me to accept where I was in life, I spent the first winter in Melbourne away from the beach and managed to escape back to Hawaii for a few weeks.

Somehow, Tim convinced me to get a 4/3 wetsuit and that got me into freezing Victorian waters and along the way we picked up wetsuits for our boys too so that they will be warm playing on the sand and the edge of the water.  It seems like just yesterday Nainoa was a tiny infant and now he’s in the water learning to catch his own waves!

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When Nainoa was four we had our first surf together at Malaekahana in Laie.  We rode on my dad’s giant longboard, paddled into a few waves, I stood up then would crouch down and pick him up too, it was the best.  Since then Tim and I have been pushing Nainoa into little waves trying to get him to stand up on his own. It’s so amazing to see his relationship with the ocean and surfing growing without our past bribes!  Now we just reward him with praise and the occasional slushy!  Last weekend I saw him paddle into, and stand up, on his first wave ever!  It was incredible!  We had a conversation in the water afterwards and I explained to him about my dreams.  I said I knew that someday I would have my own kids and I wanted to teach them to surf.  I told him, “Today you made my dream come true.”

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Nainoa recently described his surf experience this way saying “Hey Mom, I was made for this!”  I always dreamed of having my own family, teaching my kids to surf, and seeing them develop a love and appreciation for the ocean.

I’m so happy I get the chance to share a life-long passion with my husband and kids.  It is wide-spread belief that “The family that plays together, stays together”.  But in Victoria, when you’re at the beach… the family with the wetsuits gets to play longer!

Staying Active Whether At Home Or On Holidays

Staying Active Whether At Home Or On Holidays

Hello everyone.

Hope you are enjoying the warmer weather.

We have taken this opportunity to stay outdoors if possible like playing with our dog, a bit of fun with the soccer ball, skate boarding (pushing our lil one) and of course gardening.

With our busy lifestyle, we don’t really go away on the weekends. We only do that when I have a race where the race is further than an hour drive. If this is the case we usually organise a stay for 1-2 nights which is our ‘mini holiday’. So, it’s a win-win for us!

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Finishing the swim leg and transitioning into the bike then run!

When would be our next mini holiday?  My race season starts in November which is either in Altona or in Elwood and so no mini holiday. My race buddy and I had signed up a race down in Safety Beach in December. We literally just booked 1-night accommodation near the race site. We would get there early  for lunch and explore the area before checking in. The day before race day we try and chill out as we need to conserve our energy.  At night, we head to a local restaurant or pub and my friend and I will carbo load (more on that next time) which helps with energy and our race performance the next day.

If we are staying in a self-contained place, I would pack pasta and bolognese sauce there to heat up as our dinner. In the morning, my friend and I will get ready for the race and my partner and our boy will get there later as the race doesn’t start for another 1-2 hours. They are my number one support crew.

After the race, we would have a nice brunch and get ready to head home. This is my race weekend completed then we get ready for Monday and the standard working week.

The next triathlon will be in Portalington and Mount Martha in March 2018. That would be our last two races for the season and the last of our ‘mini holidays’.

It does sound like everything we do revolves around my triathlon schedule. Our perspective is that if there’s no real purpose around travelling then we are not interested to travel. We think it is so expensive holidaying locally or interstateWe would rather save money for our yearly oversea holiday.

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Chinese New Year in KL, Malaysia

We did have one extended holiday earlier this year visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (back to my hometown) for Chinese New Year for few days and 14-days in Japan (my 40th Birthday present) and back to Kuala Lumpur for another 7-days!

It takes at least 6-9 months to plan especially booking for flights. I would do some research for flights cost first and have an idea how much we would need to budget and book 1-2 months later.

As for accommodation, it’s better to do some research online and book sooner too as we found it gets expensive closer to date or it may be fully booked. I’ve found it better to book accommodation where you can cancel without penalty. This is helpful as I sometimes find better deals after doing more research online.

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I like TripAdvisor compared to Booking.com as a general guide for things to do and accommodation . My partner and I also like to exercise while we are away. So, we make sure the hotels we are staying either has a gym or gym near the hotels. We found that hotels with a gym is either expensive and or is not really a gym that meets our needs. So, we would tend to go for a run every second day instead.

For example when we were in Japan, the accommodation we were staying in had no fitness facility available and the local gym was expensive as casual fees were crazy at around US$50 per person. So, we would make do and go for a run and take photos in between our “sight-seeing slash running effort” to maximise our time. Our lil one was with my family when we were out exercising.

So when would be our next overseas trip be? We don’t think there is one for a little while as we recently bought a house (HOORAY!) and we’ll need some renovations!

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Disneyland, Tokyo Japan

We are planning a trip to Japan in April 2018 with another couple which may involve a cruise trip from China to Japan and back. But it’s early days yet. Who knows?