Monday, September 28, 2015

Update on the Tadika_2015

Eight years have passed since we started the tadika. Time flies. But it wasn't easy. What were the salient points in those 8 years? The incidents i remember?

For some inexplicable reason, the angsanna trees that lined on the highway side of the house have died. I suspect termites because we had a termite infestation prior to that. Now that termite infestation is another story. We had first contracted a small timer to get rid of the termites. He came about 2 or 3 times and stopped coming after that. And we had paid him in advance. Big mistake. We then contracted Rentokil and they are both professional and expensive. But they got the job done. No termites and they do bi-annual checks to see there is no new termite infestation.

Coming back to the angsanna trees. The fact they died was a blessing in disguise. The leaf fall was horrendous. Everyday we had to sweep the leaves from the garden and porch. Also the branches were hovering over the house and posed a danger.

Last year was a make-over for the school. The make-over comprised the following:

  • changed all the wooden windows to aluminium ones
  • installed steel security doors 
  • installed additional air-conditioners
  • renovated and extended the kitchen
  • renovated the bathrooms to make them more child friendly
  • made more window openings so that there will be more light
  • tiled up the porch
  • more electrical sockets for the kitchen and bathroom
  • converted all the open drains into concealed drains 
  • re-routed the kitchen waste and bath water into the sewage. This is the correct way. Only rain water should run in the drains.
  • painted the whole house

While the whole activity was going on, the children had to be housed in the adjoining house. It was fortunate that we were staying next door to the kindergarten. The whole renovation took about 3 months to complete.

On the educational front, we are continuously looking at best practices to see how we can improve further. After my visit to Garden International school in 2013, we implemented the Jolly Phonics reading programme. Also looking to implement Singapore Maths.

As the school is growing in student numbers, the challenge is to maintain the quality. Two of the teachers are now enrolled in a Montessori Diploma course. On the job training needs beefing up for the new teachers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trekking - A Trekkie Comes of Age

In my 54th year, in the year of the tiger, (2010) a madness has come upon me. There is no way else to explain this. I want to climb hills, mountains. Go trekking. Into the wilds. Yeah, where the bugs, snakes and tigers roam. Maybe i should do what other 54-year olds do. Become a fat cat. After going up Gunung Datuk, i have found that i am indeed a fat cat. Gunung Datuk took the "hisab" out of me. After reaching the base camp, all i could do was put one foot in front of the other and walk towards the restaurant. Some time later, Sivan pointed out that i looked exhausted and that i was slurring in my speech.

So why do i do it? Actually, i wanted to trek all my life and to introduce it to my children. But there were too many "buts" and this dream assumed a low priority in my list. After my trip to Perth, i decided to dust off the cobwebs from my dream and breathe some new life into it. I was really impressed by the way the mat-sallehs exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle, from the joggers to the backpackers.

So now i have hooked up with Sivan, who is an experienced trekker. And got the children introduced to trekking. Let's see how this plays out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Open Heart

This surgery was a defining moment in my life. I will rank it with defining moments like my marriage etc. The surgery has forced me to re-evaluate my life from both a physical and emotional dimension.

The surgery itself has minimal risks -- the success rate is something like 97%. That's very good odds. But let me tell you, if it's your chest they are going to open up, if its your heart they are going to stop so that they can work on your heart, that 3% looms really large on your horizon. So on the advice of my brother i made a will. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. The op went well and i have come out better than most. Sure there are the aches and pains which i feel but if i can have about another 10 quality years, then i can count myself fortunate.

What do i remember about the op & the hospital stay? the guy who showed his scars on his leg the first day i was there (it looked like he got bitten by a shark), The nurses --they are so young. And they seem so competent. The blood transfusion they gave on the second night of the operation -- the first thought that ran in my mind "shit, i am screwed. The stitches have given way and i am bleeding internally" Having to take a crap in bed -- they don't allow you to walk to the toilet. And then the young nurses clean your ass (oh, the ignominy of it, of being treated like a helpless baby), the dreams that i had of devils and demons after the op -- i will then awake and be reassured to see Nabilah beside me in the cot. It is now close to 9 months after the op and i still dont have any sensation in my left pectorals. Heart is beating fine but sleep seems to be erratic. The date of the op: 29 August 2009. The doctor who led the team was Dr. Venugopal Balchand.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Footprints in the Sands of Time

My friend and i talked about our children. What he said was said well. Let me quote him. "So, it s not how many "A's" we get or what we want for our kids, but developing their personality so that they find their own oceans to swim in and leave everlasting footprints in shores of their choosing; hopefully they will make their mark and it will be everlasting! "

Yes, I think it is well said. My father came to these shores leaving his native India. He had his oceans to swim. And he swam here. Sometimes, i think, did i make that ocean into a pond, seeking safety and security instead of pushing the boundaries that bind us.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The 2 people who made the most impact in my life. The people whom i call wapa and uma. What do i remember about my father? For most of my life, he was a stern sometimes unapproachable father figure. But he was generous to a fault. I remember the time one of his ex-workers came to the house to ask for some money. We only had RM 10 in the house and my father told my mother to give it to him. My mother, being the dutiful wife, just gave it to him. After giving the last RM 10 ringgit in the house, we now were penniless. But one thing we were never short on was love. My father never told anyone of us that he loved us but we felt it and we felt it strongly. Does the sun need to say it is warm? I think the word "love" is sometimes overestimated. He just called my mother "hoi" and sometimes, "kathija" which is a far cry from the words of endearment, like darling and sayang etc that we are used to seeing in movies. Love is built brick by brick on the foundations of sacrifice, of giving selflessly, on qualities of patience, and determination. How do i know this? My father and mother ate dinner only after the children had eaten. They ate the left-overs. My father was very particular that we, the children, should eat properly. He didn't need to tell me that he loved me. I saw it everyday of my life when i ate food.

Now what about my mother? While my father was the brains in the family, my mother was the heart. She was the fighter. She was barely 5 foot 1. What she lacked in height she made up in fighting spirit. She married my father when she was barely 16 years old. She left India and came to then Malaya to marry a man she hardly knew and who was about 20 years her senior. My father was then about 35 years old. While i learnt from my father the habit of thinking through things, from my mother i learnt about working hard and not giving up even when the odds are stacked against you. I miss them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ella says

So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs.. - Ella W. Wilcox

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Roots - the Marikar connection - 1

Yesterday i received the updated geneology of my maternal side of the family. The geneology is hosted at the following url:

We come from a family group called the Marikars who have moorish ancestry. Our particular line comes from Ceylon and Morocco. Here's an excerpt of our family history describing my great-grandfather, TCH Marikar (my grandmother, Safar Marikar was the youngest child of TCH Marikar).
TCH Marikar
Herewith a short sketch of our esteemed, illustrious and colourful grandfather. Adventurous and romantic, perhaps, would describe him better.

He was born in Kandy, Ceylon in 1852. He belonged to an aristocratic family of ancestral landlords. In a family of eight, he was the second son of Thambi Cannu Marikar. He took his initials from his father’s name and was known as T.C.H.Marikar.
TCH's First Wife
He was a sportsman and an athlete, his favourite game being football. Once while he was playing, the ball went into the school ground next door. It was when he went to pick it up that he met his future wife who was a teacher there. * She was a padre’s daughter. They got married with much opposition from the powerful Marikars and the Christian community. Her married name was Ayesha. She was said to be of attractive features, gentle, soft-spoken and very intelligent. She was well versed in the Bible and in the Quran. She bore him six children.

Trade and the spirit of adventure brought appa (T.C.H.) to India. With his business acumen, he successfully built up his trade between India and Ceylon. He came to South India and established himself in the then States of Travancore and Cochin (Kerala) and parts of Madras Presidency (Tamil Nadu). Travelling between India and Ceylon could not have been easy sailing in the eighties. He owned 26 dhows and did regular trips. In Travancore, he was attracted to Mundakayam and Peermadu. Perhaps, it was the scenic beauty and climate of these places and their similarity to Ceylon that attracted him.
TCH's Second Wife
He started his business in Kottayam where he had a supermarket of sorts. He used to go to the mosque on horseback and that is when he fell in love with the Syrian Christian lady, who was renowned for her beauty and specially her long & flowing tresses. She used to watch him from the threshold of her house. One day, he carried her away on his horse. This lady, Kunjamma, was already married and had a child too, but nothing prevented the progress and fulfillment of their great romance. They married to the utter dismay, anger and embarrassment of the Syrian Christian, ‘Chowkaparambil family’, to which she belonged. Kunjamma’s married name became Mariambi. They stayed in Kottayam for some time and later settled down in Rich Grove estate in Mundakkayam.