Monday, 30 May 2011

If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On..

My husband, Mr A, has decided to learn how to play the piano - by ear. This comes in the midst of the kids preparation for the coming ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) practical exams, which will take place next week on June 8.

I don't know what sparked the sudden interest..(whether it was truly sudden or a dream from childhood, I can't really say) but last Friday, I came home from work to a living room filled with printouts from http://www.pianobychords.com/. And a man hammering away at the keys..



He immediately bombarded the kids with all sorts of questions about chords and what not to their amusement. And, throughout the weekend, proceeded to try out songs like Imagine, Let It Be and Hotel California (yup..you guessed it..he's from that generation).



Whole Tones, Half Tones, Slash Chords..on and on he went while the kids defied all orders on practicing their piano pieces - preferring Epic Battle Fantasy and Fanfiction.

By Sunday, Mr A playing got to a decent level, so the kids say. And Mr A now has a better appreciation of the complexity of piano playing and a greater respect of our kids' skills. A common ground has been reached..!!

All we need now is singer to complete the picture (because, frankly, we all suck at that). Any takers??

Friday, 20 May 2011

Doing Well, Old Friend..

Today, during lunch hour, I spent my time doing what most parents do when their children are about to sit for exams..go to the nearest bookshop and buy cartloads (I exaggerate here..) of reference books. The store I visited was CzipLee in Bangsar.

I've seen the store before but I have never visited it because a) I would have to step out of the air-con comfort of one of my favourite malls to get there and b) mmm..I simply had no reason to. Of course, today there was reason enough..I must get all the ammunitions for my offsprings to score all the As they need to survive the education system (I can just imagine the young ones rolling their eyes at this point!)..

Anyway, as I went about looking for books, I was reminded of a very "happening" bookshop in the quaint (then) little town of Kajang where I spent part of  my childhood. Chip Lee of Kajang..

Those who lived around the area circa 1979 (gasp!! okay, okay..I went to SK Jalan Bukit 1 during my upper primary..a very "unglamorous" school as compared to Convent Kajang) would remember that apart from satay and mee hailam and mee bandung..Kajang had a name for not only having one, but two Chip Lee bookshops . Quite a feat for a small town back then, you know.

One store was for books, the other stationery. The bookshops were located behind another great institution -- Great Wall SuperMarket, the shopping haven of those residing in Kajang, Bangi and Semenyih (no Putrajaya or Cyberjaya then.. and Serdang was provincial!!). Want to find textbook, Chip Lee was the place..reference book, sure.. and those many, many pens, paper and pencil..oh, so heavenly..

As it turned out CzipLee is actually Chip Lee all grown up! And now there's CzipLee Kajang AND Bangsar. And the Bangsar one is just as good as the Chip Lee of olden days..


And check this out..It has a website with Facebook and Twitter presence. And it's also on FourSquare. And there's that barcode thingy (I have yet to learn how this barcode thingy can benefit me). Also there's a choice of a Plus and Lite versions.

Those folks who were customers in Kajang would certainly  be happy to know that on CzipLee site, you can actually shop online and make online payment to get whatever books they need. No need to brave the horrendous traffic of Kajang or Bangsar when you need a good read.

My, my..it's certainly nice to know that there are things that I grew up with still surviving..and doing well. Well done, old friend.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Of Celeb Moms and Babes..

In my line of work, I bump into celebs and "famous" (an arguable term, indeed) people quite a lot. No..I don't claim to be bosom buddies with any and no, they don't really know me personally either. I'm just a media person most of the time. And meeting people in such categories is normally just another day's work for me...

But last week, I had an experience that left me quite starstruck. I went to the launch of a new e-store, BuggyBabyBoogie.

So, you may think, there're gazillions of websites selling baby stuff on the Net. But not many helmed by local TV personality and supported by celeb moms.. This particular one is helmed by Sheahnee Iman Lee of ntv7 news and hubs Naz.

And...?? (You're thinking..)


Well, the story is the e-store originated from Sheahnee and Naz's quest for the perfect playpen for their little Zara..a journey that took them to Australia (online).
The pain of getting it shipped over and the cost involved got Sheahnee thinking she could do this. She could set up  a store that carries hard-to-find items in Malaysia for moms and babes for like-minded parents.

Then as she brainstormed, Sheahnee thought why not take the idea further. Why not design clothes for pregnant and breastfeeding women. After all, those available here are not exactly flattering and very mumsified (that's my own word..howdya like it?). So, out came sketches of sexy mom dresses with strategic zippers that would cater to discrete feeding times.
Sheahnee with her line of mom dresses.

Daphne Iking wearing one of Sheahnee's creations at the event.

Other than that, Sheahnee decided to revamp the diaperbag. She got friends - celeb moms in their own rights - Sazzy Falak, Daphne Iking and Aishah Sinclair to design their dream diaperbags which will be available on the e-store soon.
Daphne, Sheahnee and Aishah doing a diaperbag demo.

While I was sitting through the whole show-and-tell, I was thinking to myself how do these celebs do it? They all have carried and are carrying their bundles of joy but it doesn't seem they are carrying any battle scars..you know what I mean? I guess, that's why they are who they are and people like yours truly are who we are...*sigh*

Anyway, there are lots of other interesting stuff in the e-store, really. Take the milk bracelet, for instance.  These can actually be used to tell from which breast was your baby fed and at what time last. (I know, guys..too much info here!)

Sheahnee already has customers logging on from all over Malaysia and she wants to take the store regional. With market pull she and hubs and support from her friends, I'm sure it'll happen..and quite soon too.


**This is version 2 of this entry. The first went half missing after some editing.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

H is for Homework

Just the other day, one of my buddies put up a status update on FB  that read: "Help! Daughter's homework not finished coz printer ink ran out. Am so stressed out". The daughter is around 10 or 11, and it was almost 11pm - way past daughter's bed time. Homework has to be submitted the next day and stores are closed.

I couldn't help but chuckle -- not because I found it funny (in fact, it was not funny at all...), but because my friend was in a situation many mothers could find themselves in - including yours truly.

These days homework is all about surfing the Net , making brochures using all sorts of applications, powerpoint presentations and whatnot. And going by experience of those before them, kids these days ALSO wait till the very last minute to complete.

Kids in urban areas are lucky that many households have computers - mine for example, have one for the two kids to share and one spare for backup. Just in case one fails, the other will kick in. There's also the need to have broadband connection - it won't do to send the kids of to the local cybercafe - often  seedy joints with unsavoury characters. So, we invest in broadband..but as we all know, often times when you have the crucial project or paper to hand in, the network is down..for maintenance they say. Or they get so laggy that nothing can be done.

The resident teenager in my household, for one, often waits for me to assist in the last lap of her race..be it printing the brochure on a 100g paper that won't fit in my home printer or wanting to have a presentation be printed in all colour when there is only black ink. Though I kick up a fuss and she gets an earful when it is a last minute request, I do the best I can by driving her top the nearest stationery shop to get things done even though it's just minutes before closing time.

Imagine those others who don't have such facilities. I mean, I do not live a luxurious life and I consider a PC, printer and broadband a necessity. For those who are without, how do they cope?  How do such parents cope with the expectations and demands?  That's certainly food for thought, wouldn't you say, especially as we celebrate this year's Mothers Day..