Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Trip to the Imperial War Museum

Last week I met Yat, one of my ex-MMU friends at the tram station, and she asked where did we go in the weekend. And I replied, 'The museums", and Yat replied, "We have never been to the museum..". Yeah, it was fun being in the museum, we already went to 3 museums (all are FREE, that's why I planned to go there in the first place!) - Manchester Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and last Sunday, the Imperial War Museum.

Of all the exhibition, I enjoyed Don McCullin's photos the most! Alas, it was an exclusive exhibition, thus cameras are not allowed inside the special segment. But if you must know, this photojournalist went to the Vietnam War, Cambodia, Iraq, to name a few. He is the official photographer for the war. Amazing how he survived (he got injured) and still keep capturing pictures. I was stunned with one photograph, when he captured a housewife in shock after she received the news that her husband died during the war.

Abang reading the war memoriums..

Fawwaz posing beside a bomb.. heheh

The kids playing interactively guessing what the person packed during the War.

Arranging the kids in front of the war tank. Lucu betul nampak Amni melompat! Fahri suka betul pegang tank tu. Did you notice the time stack behind us? The kids went gaga pushing the buttons at the time stack. 

Ah finally, a family photo, excluding Fahri and hubby. Aduh Fawwaz, apesal muka pelik semacam jer tu?

Now you see it...

Now you see a different thing?
Yes, they are showing slide shows with stories recounting the war.. very interactive museum, I must say.

A truly amazing arch, made from bags of war victims, soldiers...

Amni resting with me taking care of Fawwaz and Fateh

Finally, to the Trafford Centre (to end the day)! Lucu betul Fahri dan Fawwaz

Friday, 23 April 2010

Let's talk about partial breastfeeding

To you, and you, and you. Yes, I am on partial breastfeeding. I got to exclusive breastfeed Fateh till 4 months old (phew). When I was back to work, my milk that I pumped was never enough for him, but since my milk stash was huge, I am able not to supplement him with any formula. Slowly, the stock depleted, and by God's way of doing things, I am grateful that Fateh is 90% on breast milk yet.

My ACCA classes are jam packed from 9.30 a.m - 4.30 p.m. The breaks in the morning is 15 minutes, afternoon 1 hour and later 15 minutes. Pumping station? NIL. I can't even pump in the surau (heheh, yes, we got surau at Kaplan) because the surau is for men and women. Toilet, so-so. dengan keadaan orang sini masuk toilet takde paip air.. MWAHAHAHA, seriously rasa tak hygenic walaupun literally speaking, bersih.

If you are not on full / exclusive breast milk, it is still possible to continue breastfeed. I am measuring my success not by yearly milestone neither monthly milestone, but on day-to-day. I take it slow, and easy, so I would not stress myself to the max. And count myself grateful for being able to breastfeed my little one yet.

Senang kata, takkan nak biarkan anak kelaparan masa maknya gi kelas kan? Bagi aku, namanya zalim kalau maknya nak make sure full breast milk, tapi kena tunggu maknya balik baru boleh anak minum. But that's my only humble opinion OK? I know lots of mommies who preserve. Yakin boleh!

Here is an article for us to ponder on partial breastfeeding;

All or Nothing?

If you have not been able to pump enough milk for your baby, you've tried every trick on the supply-boosting page, and it's just not working for you, and you're ready to throw in the towel - take heart! Breastfeeding is not an all-or-nothing thing. You are not going to be thrown out of the breastfeeding club if you occasionally give a bottle of formula. Remember that breastmilk is a wonderful, nutritious food for your baby - and it has benefits no matter how much you get.

I like to compare this to adult food. We know that we really should be eating healthy, organic, whole grain foods. But if we can't always get a good lunch and occasionally eat at McDonalds, does that mean we have to give up on healthy food entirely? Do we need to eat at McDonalds every single meal?? No - of course not. And just because your baby gets a little formula, doesn't mean you can't keep breastfeeding for as long as you want to.

Extracted from: Workandpump.com

Friday, 16 April 2010

Allah works in mysterious ways

Ada beberapa kawan yang bertanya macammana dapat sponsorship for ACCA in the first place. So marilah kita bercerita my experience yer :P

Step 1: Search for university's placement

Ok first and foremost, tahun lepas, terasa nak sambung Masters (hah Masters ye kawan-kawan), bukan ACCA, bukan CIMA, jauh lagi PhD! Jadi dok tanya-tanyalah Lynn macammana nak cari placing universities kat negara sejuk-sejuk gini (oversea lah senang). ACCA is still an option masa tu, jadi me & Aini went to MABECS (Malaysia British Educational Cooperation Services), tapi ni untuk UK universities jer, kalau Australia/US or others, you can google how to search for placement. Sebelum pergi, kitaorang print siap-siap Times Online University Ranking League untuk memudahkan kerja untuk identify top 10 universities dalam bidang yang berkenaan. Kalau tak silap, masa tu kami pergi bulan 2. Itu pun orang MABECS cakap dah lambat sebab course yang nak ambil memang highly in demand (Masters of Accounting & Finance).

Service kat MABECS memang mantops. Diaorang akan advice which is the best university (memudahkan kerja mereka sebenarnya kalau dapat university's ranking), dan akan bagi lots and lots of university's prospectus with their application form.

Requirement aku masa tu simple jer, taknak prospektus any university kat London please (sebab cost of living yang mahal). Jadi dari top 10 list tu, dah ada quite a few yang orang MABECS deduct out, dan aku apply 5 universities. Memang ada quite a few yang terlepas dateline, macam Warwick. Dan ada universiti yang minta deposit untuk university's placement (macam University of Manchester). Tapi sebab nak yang free jer, takdelah apply universiti yang minta deposit.. hehehe.

Kena dapatkan 2 references untuk masuk universiti (what I did was, 1 recommendation letter came from my previous tutor kat MMU, another came from my ex boss). Tapi rasanya kalau dah bekerja macam kita ni, dan meninggalkan universiti bertahun-tahun lamanya, recommendations can come from work place (2 references). Sambil tu ada borang minta kita mengarang kenapa kita nak ambil this Masters.. so pandai-pandailah korang mengasah skill menulis esei mantops!

Step 2: Sit for IELTS (International English Language Testing Standard)

Requirement universiti (UK & Australia), kena sit for IELTS. Mahal gak feesnya, dalam RM 570 (I think last year masa sit with Aini, it was around RM 400+). Dek sebab kemahalan exam tu, we decided not to buy any exam kit which costed about RM 100+. But then I studied mostly from online, google je kat Internet.. bersepah-sepah material IELTS. Nak register IELTS pun kena cepat, sebab places are limited, dan sentiasa penuh.

IETLS ni ada 4 komponen (highest band is 9 and lowest is 1), dan komponennya:

Reading - memang kena banyak baca passages, yang panjang-panjang, fill in the blanks, objective questions

Listening - nih memang diaorang akan play certain conversations, or readings, dan kena dengar betul-betul, masukkan dalam exam sheet.

Writing - 2 questions. 1 more on graphs, pie charts, statistics la mostly. 1 question lagi pasal esei, last time rasanya soalan esei pasal "Should rich countries give money or services to poor countries?". 

Reading, writing and listening memang dalam satu hari sit. Another component, speaking will be conducted later.

Speaking - the examiner will do one-to-one interview meh. Biasanya dia akan bagi cue cards, dan suruh kita bercakap pasal subjek tu. Last time, I got library cue card. Then the examiner will asks questions regarding libraries, and we have to speak.

Lepas tu tunggu la test result keluar. Dalam 2 minggu gitu. I didn't score as high as Lynn and Kak Tini. Tapi Aini pun dapat tinggi gak, padahal tak study tu.. angin aku angin!!!! Most UK universities require Band 6 for your IELTS. And to boast my confidence, bolehlah kalau nak apply Oxford University with my IELTS result! Hahaha :P (and the same applies to the remaining Gang of 4, cheers!)

I didn't score high in writing component. Sebenarnya writing component IELTS ni perlukan variation of words, contohnya: there is a high rise in unemployment rate in 2001 compared to 2000. (high rise tu korang buat lah increase, climbing, steadily increasing etc. etc.)

So lepas dah dapat result IELTS, dan dapat references letters, dan dah habis mengisi borang universiti, bolehlah korang pergi MABECS minta poskan segala borang-borang tu. (oh I forgot to mention, servis MABECS free!!!!)

Step 3: Apply for scholarships

Sebenarnya banyak scholarships untuk kita nak further study. Bukan nak harap kat MARA jer. No, I don't mean that as a statement to demotivate anybody, but my point is, try to apply as many scholarships as you could. I found one website which is really useful, dalam tu memang ada berita pasal scholarships sahaja. It's a matter of searching for it. I did apply for  3 scholarships; MARA, Yayasan TM and Chevening.

Based on requirement, memang rasa macam tak dapat, but still it's better to try rather than not trying at all. Applying for scholarships ni pun, concurrently boleh buat with university's placement.

My experience, the first offer from universities came in May and June mostly. And I got all the placement that I applied in the first place.

Dan scholarship, kena doa banyak-banyaklah dipanggil interview, itu memang tak boleh den nak nolong.. kalau dipanggil tu, adalah can nak dapatkan scholarship kan?

Focusing on MARA; Skim Pelajar Cemerlang MARA (SPC MARA) scholarship usually will be opened every year. Oh tahun ni SPC tak buka sebab government takde budget nak hantar student pergi luar negara. Iklan biasanya kat major Malay newspapers (Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia) dalam bulan Januari. Masa nak ambil borang application, kena bawa photostated transcript untuk tunjukkan proof kita layak untuk dapatkan borang (the cut off for Masters is at 3.50 and professional papers at 3.00 for SPC 2009, Masters / professional maximum age is 35, for PhD at 40). Dan kita perlu mengarang kenapa kita layak diberikan scholarship (in English). As usual, kalau apply mana-mana scholarship pun, memang kena mengarang esei. And I did that for all my scholarships applications.

Step 4: Scholarship interview session (Skim Pelajar Cemerlang MARA)

Kalau MARA panggil interview, dia akan panggil hujung bulan Februari atau awal bulan Mac.

For working people like us, insya' Allah it will be easy. We definitely had an advantage. Masa pergi interview, not many who applied worked for more than 5 years. I think at that time, I was the oldest from thousands who came for interview. MARA panggil dekat 3000 applicants for interview, so it really was highly competitive. We just need to ace the interview.

Soalan pun, as usual, will not ask about MARA's organisation or any of MARA's achievement. But will focus on the interviewee.

Jadi soalan interview adalah seperti:

Describe yourself and your background.

Why do you think you deserve this scholarship?

What if you didn't get the scholarship? What is your future plan?

Since you have children, are you willing to further your study oversea?

Most Qs are more on critical thinking, thus if you have applied for universities at this time, you definitely had an advantage. You can say that you have applied placing at universities and mention the name of universities.

For Masters, you have to bring your research proposal.

Since I was called for ACCA interview, I look at ACCA syllabus and look at how many papers that I will be attempting, and look for the place where I am going to further my study (which is Kaplan Financial).

Atas ke'kiasu'anku jua, I did write proposal for Masters, and bring it to the interview, manalah tau panel interviewer kesian kat aku dan offer scholarship for Masters instead kan. HAHAHA.

Lepas interview tu pergilah relax-relax, 2 bulan juga baru keluar result. I think it was in May. When I got it, I was astounded. Sebab masa tu baru tau pregnant. And I was offered scholarship for professional paper. And yes, as Aini wrote earlier, I was among the lucky fews yang dapat (130 successful applicants out of nearly 3000 who was called for interview).

And I rejected all my Masters offer (in September, I will be heavily pregnant).

Dan bermulalah pencarianku untuk ACCA placement, with me thinking, I will be going alone, leaving my husband and my kids in Malaysia.

End note: I think this summarise all on how to apply for university / scholarship kot? If I have extra time, I will write more on how I search for ACCA placement (err ada ke orang interested nak baca ni?) and how I applied for Yayasan TM scholarship for the second time (nih relevan ke orang nak baca? Maybe untuk kawan-kawan TM ada nak tau? Kalau ada, please tell me, at least I can make a mental note to write about it)  Yes, I didn't get it through the first time.

Monday, 12 April 2010

It's spring time!

The sun is shining! The weather is around 11-14 degree in Celcius. And we went to Asda yesterday, when we went over the moon seeing these beautiful trees, peppered with pink flowers (wild flowers BTW, pokok bunga kat rumah masih belum keluar pucuk, sebab tuan rumah dia malas kot?)

And my husband was so excited, the trees are actually inside a school compound. That we went and took a few pictures of it.

The kids standing in front of the wild yellow flowers, we have quite a few in our yard. Isn't it fantastic? Wild flowers blooming beautifully, without any help from us.. hehehe

Amni memetik bungalah kononnya. Hahah.. nih nak bagi feeling feeling Jane Austen :P

P/S: Fahri sangat tidak suka disuruh bergambar, dan Fateh selalu tidur time keluar :) (that explains the absence of them in the picture).

Tag Beautiful Blogger Award

Seriously tak layan sangat tag macam Mynie, tapi nih kes nak release tension kepala berasap tengok assignment Professional Accountant (yang sudah siap, yipee! Tapi nak mengadap interim assessment Audit & Assurance lah pulak).

7 things about me (kita buat lain sikit, I try to explain using significant numbers):

  1. I love no. 2! Me being the no. 2 in the family, the other twin. Kalau dapat no. 2 masa sekolah rendah, suka sangat! (sebab no. 1 Aini yang dapat).
  2. I actually want 2 girls and 2 boys for my kids, but currently blessed with 1 girl and 3 boys. But it is still OK, since 2 + 2 = 1 + 3 = 2 * 2 (err, get it? I love no. 2!). Having 4 kids is the answer for 2 * 2.
  3. I have my first child at the age of 23, then 24, 27 and 29. On average, I give birth every 2 years. (see, the no. 2 again?)
  4. All my kids have initials of FAMF. 2 Fs!
  5. I am married to my hubby, the 2nd son of the family
  6. I graduated in year 2002 from MMU (yatta! that was 8 years ago!). Ah yes, I found my super duper duper duper juniors while studying for ACCA here. Now, that makes me feel old. HAHAHA
  7. I am lazy, but I realised I can push myself to be hardworking. Like now! When I realised ACCA is sooo erghhh. (not related to the number entries above :P)

No, I will not tag anyone. Tapi sesiapa rasa nak buat, dipersilakan. Saya nak beradu... :D

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Ayahku berangkat pulang hari ini..

+ Ubat cholesterol ayah tertinggal. Nanti kirim kat Aini. Salam untuk Amni, Fawwaz, Fahri, fateh & Firdaus

- Ok jaga kesihatan ayah. Fahri tanya bila ayah nak balik sini

+ Ini yang buat terharu ni. Sungguh keciwa sejak seminggu lepas tak dapat bawa cucu cucu ke garden atas sebab kesihatan dan cuaca. Tolong jaga mereka dengan kasih sayang

- Amni pesan tok ayah jgn terlupa pasang skype. Nanti boleh cakap dgn tok ayah

(Fahri's 3rd birthday today!)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Some things I have learnt (while living in the UK)

  1. I miss the hot sun. Seriously now I know why the Brits go crazy about tanning. It was really cold. We have daily rains, and the temperature is 2-6 Celcius degree the most. Kadang-kadang keluar matahari, tapi sejuk! Nak menapak pergi kelas tu, kena fikir banyak kali to embrace the cold.

  2. Stop converting GBP to MYR, and you will find the groceries are very cheap here. With 50 pounds, you can buy 2 weeks supply of fresh foods, formula milk, branded diapers and other perishables. Now do remember, my clans are hungry people. They eat all the time. Cereals, fresh milks, vegetables, meats. Kalau maknya tak masak, kelaparan je budak-budak ni. Memang cepat lapar dengan cuaca sejuk. And compare it, what you can buy with RM 50 in Malaysia? Seriously, kalau pergi Tesco Malaysia, RM 300 setiap minggu pejam mata jer (with us buying Tesco branded diapers).

  3. The cars are quite cheap. Siap Malaysians inside my class, all of them have orders from their father, to at least buy the car here, and bought it back to Malaysia.

  4. Utilities bill are very expensive! Water costed GBP 30 per month! Itu pun kami mandi seminggu sekali sebab sejukkkkk. Gas and electricity even more.

  5. The phones are very cheap, and I relatively mean iPhone from Apple and the clans. Blackberry, HTC.. murah murah! Tapi kami tak beli, hehe..

  6. Car boots can save you lots of money. We bought used toys, and a talking book from LeapFrog (which costed us about 6 sets of books and the kiddy laptop for about 4 quids) and the kids love it. Sampai bateri weak dok dengar buku tu bercakap-cakap. You can also find collectibles here, tapi makcik tengah potong budget.. hehehe

  7. Orang sini suka bawa kereta laju-laju, selekoh depan rumah pun boleh speed. Kalau pedestrian jalan lambat-lambat, confirm la accident. Jadi kalau tekan butang pedestrian untuk kereta berhenti di traffic light, jangan jalan macam nak pergi dating. BERLARI!

  8. Halal food walaupun agak bersepah, tapi mahal. Rindu woo Malaysia, makanan tak payah fikir halal ke tak. Kalau restoran Melayu, confirm halal.

  9. Minyak kereta pun mahal. Luckily Japan made car save a lot on diesel/petrol. Dan hidup di sini kena ada Mr Garmin / Tom Tom, kalau tak sesat (that's the GPS BTW).

  10. Nurseries are VERY expensive! Anak hantar 2 minggu dah GBP 500. Mujur la ada Mr. Papa jaga anak, aminn.