Thursday, 30 April 2009

Genius in 28 Steps- Fundamental Skills (2)

The next fundamental step is reading. At first I thought I want to combine this entry with the other 2 fundamental skills (writing and independence) but I decided that reading skills deserves its own entry.

I quote the author "the ability to read will increase the rate at which your child can acquire new information.."
There are many good points, so to make things easier, I 'm going to write in point form (also easier for me to refer).

1. Your child must be make familiar with books, so that they don't view books as alien, and this should start from when he is a baby. Suggestions: read out to him a lot, put him in the environment where other people is reading, let him turn the pages of the book (just get your infant to familiarize himself with books).

2. As he gets bigger, get him to read cereal boxes, signposts, maps, toy boxes etc.

3. Early acquisition of this skill, will turn it into a habit. Reading will become instinctive to him.

4. To help form this habit, set good example by showing that you love to read as well (everything begins at home). You can read while your child is playing, watching tv or reading himself (don't feel guilty ok). You can also bring him to the library and let him borrow books that he choose, and he can see for himself that other people reads too.

5. Make books easily accessible to him (not locked in cabinets or high shelves).

6. Let your child read fictions too so that this also becomes an entertainment to him, as well as developing creative imagination.

7. Reading stories regularly will help him improve his vocabulary and help him focus.

8. Encourage your child to view books as his first port of call whenever he wants any information eg football, computers, cartoons that he likes, animals etc.

9. Get books on whatever topics that interest him (this is when the library becomes handy because you have a lot of choices).

There are 3 strong reasons why you need to get your child to read (early..if possible) :

1. You can foster independence into him as he occupies himself with books, and this will give you more time for yourself!

2. If your child reads for pleasure, boredom will become less of a problem to him (you know the endless list of kids/teenagers do when they are bored)

3. Books are cheap entertainment!

Putting knowledge into practice...

So, (regretting that we started late with Adam), I am determined to get Ammar to read as soon as he can...

Among the tools I'm using..

Magnetic alphabets (brilliant!-memang Ammar suka)

Alphabet interactive toys... (Thomas tu fav dia)

Simple picture books...

Magnetic sketcher (dah hampir rosak sebab diusung ke sana kemari)..

Books in low open shelves..(sebenarnya belum cukup budget nak beli pintu Billy Bookcase Ikea ni...)...senang je budak2 nih nak punggah bila nak baca...satu hari 10 kali kena kemas..

Alphabetic fridge magnets (sebab Ammar suka menyebok kat dapur, so belikan dia ni- sambil kita masak dia susun2 huruf)

Walaupun cakap pun tak betul lagi (W=liu, Q=kuu, S dan X pulak tak dapat dibezakan)...tapi Ammar dah pass A-Z..

Adam pun excited adik dia dah tau ABC "mama, mama give Amai stickers bcoz he is a clever boyy!!"

Penganugerahan sticker oleh Adam kepada Ammar...

Dua budak dgn sticker masing2....

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Today my husband's parents are opening a new chapter in their life. A hijrah to Egypt, because Papa has got a new job to look after the medical students from Negeri Sembilan who are studying in Egypt and nearby countries. Mama had to take unpaid leave and then retire early from her job.

It is not easy to leave your beloved family, home, career, country and everything you are familiar with behind.

You will it the right decision? will this change you? for the better? what awaits you there? will you see those you left behind again?


the Malays said "Jauh perjalanan, luas pemandangan"

Rasulullah saw (pbuh) said "Timbalah ilmu walau sampai ke negeri Cina"

And Allah promised you in Al-Mulk:15 "Dialah yang menjadikan bumi itu mudah bagi kamu, maka berjalanlah di segala penjurunya dan makanlah sebahagian dari rezekiNya. Dan hanya kepada-Nyalah kamu (kembali setelah) dibangkitkan" (He it is Who hath made the earth subservient unto you, so Walk in the paths thereof and eat of His providence. And unto Him will be the resurrection (of the dead)).

Have a safe journey Mama & Papa....

Egypt.... lambaianmu sudah pun ku mimpi2...

Ya Allah, bestow us this opportunity...

Sunday, 26 April 2009


To those who don't know me, by profession I am a medical doctor. It has been my childhood dream (any of my family members can confirm this). So since primary level I've always strive to get good results to go to medical school. My path was smooth. Thanks to everybody's prayers.

At medical school we worked like crazy. Our schedule was not like other university's students, where the classes are spaced out through out the week according to their credit hours. Other students have many free hours between lectures, but our classes were packed 8-5. There were lectures, histology labs, physiology labs, anatomy dissections, microbiology labs etc etc..Then when we go into clinical years (year 3-5) our free time (after lectures) were spent in the wards, following rounds, clerking patients, doing procedures, observing surgeries. At night we had to study big textbooks, prepare for bedside case presentations, prepare case write-ups. Sometimes we had to follow the on call rounds at night. If we were unlucky and were assigned with crazy workaholic consultants who came for rounds at 7am, then we had to be in the ward at 6.30am.

Then came our final exams and somehow we managed to graduate from medical school barely breathing but still surviving. Little that we know what awaited us. The life of an intern was like no life at all; missing meals, lack of sleep, and constantly being under the critical eyes of your superior (so much so that I despised the hospital where I served my internship, because of the association with some bad experiences). And the shock that what you learned in medical school just prepare you for half of your duties!

So what become of us the doctors are that we worked like robots. We work just to survive the day and a lot of things that we do is actually what we call a spinal cord reflex. This means that our actions did not derive from our cerebral cortex, it is a reflex; like what happen if you touch a hot kettle, you automatically withdraw your hand. We did not have the time to stop and think, we did not have the time to try and feel, or understand the sick person in front of us. We just want everything to be done, so that we will have time for ourselves. So that we can go home and feel alive again.

We treat all patients the same. Someone with lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, blood and bones. We forgot that they have different souls. All are just the same demanding patients, with demanding, fussy relatives. We forgot that they are somebody's wife, husband, father, mother. We forgot that they also have history, life experiences probably richer than us. We forgot they have hopes, that they will survive the ordeal (like we hope we will survive the day) and as much as we don't want to see them again, surely they too don't want to see us again.

We never have the time to get to know the patients, personally, i mean. Not that it is advisable, as we do not want to become too attached to them, as this will impair our judgment. But we need to remember that they are not just subjects of our everyday lives, they are not just patient A that occupies Bed 1 or patient B in that Isolation Room 2.

So now I have put a special section in this blog, Life Stories of Cancer Survivors (see right hand side). These are the blogs of cancer patients, who write to share their experiences. Probably we can learn more from them than what we can learn in the books. Some of them are very young, they are my age, with kids the same age of mine. You will never know when you will receive your death sentence. Reading their blogs you will know that they are thankful for each day that were given to them, unlike us that usually hope the day will come to the end fast.

In the Friends and Inspirations section there is a link to a blog called Fajar Seluas Angkasa. This is a bit different because it is the blog of the father of Arwah Amir Yusuf, who spent his entire 8 months of life in the hospital. When the patient is a baby it usually never occur to us how much hope the parents have for the little soul. They all cry the same. They all look the same. We are happy when they feed well, when they sleep well. But we forgot that every minute the mother is praying her heart out for the safety of her son.

In the Links section there is a blog called Echoes of My Heart, the blog of Adik Fikri who received a new heart in Dec 2005. But he has not updated his blog since Dec 2008, so don't know how he is now.

So to all my colleagues, whom a lot now are beginning to pursue their specialties, do spend a little bit of your limited free time to read the blogs, to remind ourselves that the patients are not just people with fancy Latin-named diseases, but they are one of us.

p/s if anybody knows of another blog (of people with terminal or debilitating illness) to share feel free to tell me.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Genius in 28 Steps-Fundamental Skills (1)

Sorry for the delay in reviewing this book. Apart from moving house and holidays and just lazying myself, I need to sit and concentrate to write the review to do justice for this book. And the Fundamental Skills chapters (chapters 13-19) are Fundamental (no other word to describe it).

There are 6 fundamental skills:

1. Focus
2. Comprehension & Listening
3. Speaking
4. Reading
5. Writing
6. Independence

In this part 1 review of fundamental Skills I will only touch on the first 3. It is because I would like to focus on Focus (!) and in part 2 I want to concentrate on Reading. Personally I think these 2 elements are most important.

ALL these skills should be second nature to your child, but please don't rush him ok, after all you are giving him a tool of life.


Increasing your child's attention span is a gradual process.

What are the author's suggestions?

First, the child must be interested in the activity. You have to attract his attention and it has to be something enjoyable.

When he is attracted, to maintain his focus you must minimize the number of distractions in his environment. Just by doing these 2 things (enjoy the activity and minimize distractions) consistently will encourage him to focus longer.

Then you need to teach him one important value- PATIENCE (sabar weh sabarrr). You must make sure that your child does not experience instant gratification in everything he does. Teach him to wait, say he will only go to his fav section in the supermarket after you finish your shopping.

Another suggestion is to give him a simple task (with minimal time to complete) and then to give him a small reward, then gradually increase the task (time and complexity) and give him bigger reward. So he will learn to focus longer to get bigger reward. I think a jigsaw puzzle can do this trick. First you introduce him to the 12-piece ones then to 24, 60, 100. And colouring pictures too.

Some things can be harmful to your child's focusing ability. One is TV cartoons and another is a toy that has too many features (flashing lights, sounds, or other gimmicks). TV cartoons are typically short and rapidly changing, and having too many extravagant toys will make your job harder in the future to convince him that books are interesting. These 2 things should only be in moderation.


This start as soon as your baby is born. So TALK to your baby. All the time and not just baby talk. The quicker he develops his language skills, the quicker he can learn other things. And you must be expressive (your tone, actions should indicate your message).


This is so that your child can express himself clearly, and will allow him to ask questions to satisfy his curiosity. Again, TALK to your child often, use wide variety of words and for older child, get into more discussions with him especially about the things surrounding him (TV programme, journeys, trips etc)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I bought this book last year (as usual at carboot sale) but I just read it during our Easter holidays. I never heard of the writer, but I bought the book because on the cover it says bestseller and the reviews by other authors were fantastic eg Joanna Trollope said "Wonderfully written, poignant and humorous" and Anita Shreve said "Eccentric, inventive and ultimately forgiving".

And I say...what the ****...? (you can either believe me or J. Trollope/A.Shreve)

(tak sedapla buku ni)

The setting is in South Carolina 1964 where Lily Owens, a 14 year-old white girl (who accidentally shot her mother at the age of 4) had to rescue Rosaleen, her black nanny from the lock-up after she was jailed for assaulting white men (she spat on their boots). They embarked on a journey to trace Lily's mother's path and ended up at the Boatwright's house, where 3 bee-keeping sisters lived.

The first 1/3 of the book is ok, where the author tells about how Lily grew up with the guilt for killing her mother, the physical and emotional abuse from her unforgiving father, and how the love she only find is from her black nanny. Then how she rescued Rosaleen from the lock-up, and their adventure together until they ended up at the bee keepers house.

Then I think the story become so slow and I started to resent Lily (what a character!).

I wonder why it became bestseller? And why they bother to make it into a film? Is it because of the racial issues and now that Obama is president?

I searched for other reviews in Amazon and the readers' reviews actually ranged from 1 star to 5 stars.

So what did I get from the book that I can share with you? (after all, the main purpose of me writing book reviews is to share information, not promote/demote a book)

Probably the best info I can share is about bees! (hahahha, not funny)

So bees have their own community,much like human. They have the..

a) Queen Bee- lay eggs all day long, week in and out-she's the mother of all the bees in the hive.
b) Nest builders- the group that drew the comb. They drew the hexagons with mathematical precisions.
c) Field bees- the ones that go uot to gather nectar and pollen. They have superb navigation skills.
d) Mortician bees- their job is to rake the dead bees out of the hive and keep everything on the clean side.
e) Nurse bees- feed all baby bees
f) The queen's attendants- they fuss over the queen.
g) The only males are the drones who sat around waiting to mate the queen.

Probably the author should be given credits for making a heavy issue (racism / racial tension) a light read.

2 stars from me!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Can We Complain Anymore?

Have you people watched Slumdog Millionaire?

If you haven't, then I recommend you to watch it, not because they won the Oscar, but because the film portrayed the extreme poverty of India. It is not like the usual Hindustani film where you get to see big houses with big winding staircase and everybody dancing together merrily. In the film, the people live in squatters where every roof touches another and the kids play at dump sites. They drink and wash from milky tea rivers. The kids lie and steal to survive and in early teens start to play with guns.

And watch this amazingly moving short video which I found from a blog while I was bloghopping.

jangan membazir lagi ok...

Monday, 20 April 2009

Hasil Rembatan

This morning we went to a carboot sale in Chelford (one of the biggest in Manchester). Other than books, I wanted to search for a nice small bedside lamp and maybe a wall art for our living room. And we wanted to see if we can get a good travel system for the baby.

Tiga2 benda tu tak dapat ok...

But look what we got instead...

A set of 48 Disney books for just £7.50!!!

Vavavah!!! Hebat hasil rembatan hari ni (eh lupa pulak..Alhamdulillahh...)..actually the seller's price was 20 pence each (so should be £9.60) but after negotiations we manage to agree at £7.50..(mula2 tawar £5 je hahaha kesian seller tu dahla buku Disney)

Then I met a lady who sold me her 2 Nigella Lawson's cookbooks (Nigella Bites and How To Be A Domestic Goddess) for 50pence each! I felt like screaming (karang org ingat meroyan pulak) because I really like Nigella (and I can't believe the price). It is actually difficult to find new cookbooks by chefs like Nigella, Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay at carboot sales, probably because people treasure them. Usually what you find is old recipe books (by unknown authors).

The paper cover with Nigella's picture that wrap the hardcovers of the books that I bought were missing, so probably that is why I got it for just 50p.

She's gorgeous...

And I think her recipes are quite simple and easy to follow, that's why I like her (nampak sedapnyaa semua kek2 dia)

So...what else..

Mynie..adakah kau telah baca doa supaya aku jumpa buku Jamie Oliver kau?


Ta daaaa....

Memangla rezeki kau...

Tapi bulan July baru mak aku balik Malaysia so masa tu baru kau dapat hehehe
Kalau nak pos buku2 ni memang berat...

I looked through one of J. Oliver's book and I found one of his shopping tips "When shopping, remember..a stylish shopping trolley is important!" (apa ke jadahnya si jamie ni???)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Free books!

Here's another step the Brits took to encourage reading..

Click here to see how they hand out free books to London commuters at the tube stations (to be returned the next month at a drop box).

Books are a LUXURY in Malaysia. Even when I was working I was reluctant to buy many books because a book can buy nearly a month supply of diapers. (takde pesta buku kat Melaka ok....)

kalau aku duduk dekat dgn tube station aku akan pegi je korek2 buku kat situ...

We are going to a carboot sale tomorrow..hoping to find Grisham's book The Appeal, will look for Mynie's Jamie Oliver and my sister's Persepolis.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Easter Holidays- Heights of Abraham

Next we visit Heights of Abraham. It is a hill with cable car facilities, a beautiful mining cave, a viewing tower and a fossil factory.

Here from Matlock Bath we walked on the Lover's Walk to the cable car station (terror tak Mak Buyung?)

The entrance to the mining cavern

The Fossil Factory

Victoria Prospect Tower

aaaahhh...beautiful spring...