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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pusat Sains Negara

The Pusat Sains Negara or National Science Centre (NSC) is located in Damansara Heights, just opposite the Securities Commission. Since neither me or the kids have been there, thought we'd go check it out.

We arrived around 11am, it's a Thursday (they close on Fridays) and it's the school holidays. Parking was fairly easy and free. We also didn't need to pay the entrance fees, I'm guessing it's because if the school holidays. Usually it's RM6 for adults and RM3 for children. Groups of children and senior citizens get discounts.

I expected a lot of kids, what I didn't expect was the pandemonium inside. There were a lot of groups from schools and kindergartens. Unfortunately, the teachers did not really have much control over the smaller children. The children were literally going wild. It would have been better if the children were guided through the exhibits with some sort of explanation by the teachers. Children with parents were not much better. Some parents also left their children unsupervised, and these children tend to hog the more interesting exhibits, not giving a chance to other kids who were waiting their turn.

The older kids were not much better off, they were left to their own devices with no guidance whatsoever, so they were just going around tinkering with the exhibits. I liked that you could be very hands-on with the exhibits, but if it's a school trip, there should be some sort of educating going on, and not for the teachers to just let the kids loose.

Some of the exhibits were interesting, but I kind of think that a lot of the exhibits were old and a bit outdated. Some were from the temporary Science Centre that I went to many-many years ago. I also had the sense that the exhibits were somehow placed haphazardly. In fact, even the galleries themselves weren't really very organised.

H loved everything though, he got to touch things, press buttons, pull levers, stamp and jump on coloured lights, all the things that he's not allowed to do in the house. They even have a small play area for children 4 years and below, but it was overrun by the bigger kids, so I made H come back out, much to his disappointment.

It's such a wonderful place for children of all ages to play and learn, but with technology moving at such an incredible pace, the NSC must keep up. They've got a lovely building with so much space. Unfortunately, that is not efficiently utilised and by the looks of it, not maintained very well. I'm not sure if it's funding or just a lackadaisical attitude. If we want children to love science, we have to show that we love it too. And that means making an effort to build interest and passion. All these study trips that these people go on, they don't seem to learn anything do they?

I really hate to say this, but please look at the Singapore Science Centre, it's light years ahead of us. Between a new Parliament building and upgrading the NSC, I say the NSC.

One more week!

Yup, one more week then school starts. Woo hoo!

I love my son and my niece dearly, but too much of a good thing ain't good. I know kindy is just 3 hours a day, but believe me, it makes a whole lot of difference. Now, during the holidays, they've probably gotten into a fight already over God knows what by 9am. Not forgetting the constant bugging and fight for attention. At least when they're in school all of us get a blissful three hours to catch our breath, finish up some work and maybe do our own thing for a bit.

I'm also running out of things for them to do. Today I got them some sand art and this afternoon their cousins are coming over for a swim. Tomorrow I plan to go to the National Science Centre at Damansara Heights. Even I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I'm not really a fan of non-fiction. I tried reading The World Is Flat two years ago and still have not finished it. It's fascinating, but dry. Malcolm Gladwell however, writes in a way that grabs you from the start, much like when I read a thriller. Perhaps the subject matter was of more interest to me, to be fair to Friedman.

Outliers is the story of success. Yes, I want to be successful, and yes, I think successful people all worked their asses off. Well, what I didn't know was that a whole load of other factors had come into play for them to actually be successful. Basically, they wouldn't be where they are today without being in the right place at the right time, born in the right year, worked in the right industry etc.

Outliers is entertaining, fascinating, stimulating and inspiring. It actually makes you think! As an individual, I'm looking at the opportunities with new eyes. As a mother, it's made me re-think the way I'm going to raise and educate my son.

Pick it up, read it, you won't regret it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

For Their Entertainment...

It's the school holidays and I'm wracking my brain to think of stuff for them to do at home. I'm quite fortunate that my mom's house has a pool. So when all else fails, dump them in.

The holidays are only for two weeks, but I enrolled H and his cousin for a 4-day critical thinking program in school. I don't know what they can teach four and five year olds about logical thinking but hey, it gets them out of the house. Plus they actually enjoy it, coming back home smiling and proudly showing off their clay handiwork (how clay relates to logical thinking I have no idea). In four days they've made two turtles, a couple of mangoes with eyes and a bug/alien.

Oh yeah, I've also booked swimming lessons for them twice a week for these two weeks. So they should be quite occupied. Other stuff I've done/planned:
1) Painting/drawing/writing
2) Play doh
3) Petrosains
4) Feeding the fish at an Aunts house.
5) Going to Ikano to look at the birds from the KL Bird Park. They've set up a temporary aviary there. I can get my groceries as well!
6) Just plain ol' TV.

So far they haven't driven me crazy, yet!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peeing in His Pants

I started potty training H last November, so he was already three-years-old. In February this year he started wearing proper underwear to school. As of today, he has gone to bed sans diaper for three nights without any accidents. However, he still has 'accidents' during the day. I'm a little wary in calling it an accident as he is fully aware that he is NOT supposed to pee in his underwear. He is also fully aware that he HAS peed in his underwear and tries to hide it by not going to the toilet and further exacerbating the situation.

I've tried the carrot i.e stars, presents, compliments etc. - didn't work. So I tried the stick i.e spanking, pinching his thigh, taking away his toys etc. - he is still indifferent.

Going to the toilet is like torture to him, he screams and has to be literally dragged or carried to the toilet. It's like he's missing out on something if he takes that five minutes to go and pee.

Currently I'm taking away one Ultraman every time he pees in his underwear. He'll be four in August and I'm running out of ideas, any suggestions?