Friday, February 14, 2014

Nursery schools: Is it necessary?

She's turning four this year. She's supposed to be in nursery school (or N2*), according to all Singaporean mothers, grandmothers and aunties I met.

Here she is, still not enrolled in any nursery. The one question that I encountered from all these people was, 'WHY?'.

I may not be an expert, but here's my two cents worth of reasoning as a mother.

I'm a stay at home mom or SAHM as they call it. I know of many SAHM who send their toddlers (yes, as young as 18 months old) and children to pre-nurseries and nurseries. It seem like a 'must-do' here. I am not against nurseries, but for me, I don't feel there's a need to hurry them off to a classroom yet.

Seriously, do you really think the teachers have time to monitor emotional outbursts of your child, whether it is due to real frustration or merely attention seeking? How do the teachers teach empathy to your child in a class environment? Even with a good 1:5 teacher-students ratio, I doubt the teachers are able to give full attention to all five of the children's needs. Just imagine yourself taking care of five children, all age 3 at the same time. How effective can you correct mistakes, impart knowledge and making sure all five understand at the same time?

Kids their age, need parents to teach them day-to-day, basic skills. Skills such as being cooperative, helpful and obedient. Learning to feel for others like empathy, sympathy and apologetic. Learning to express negative feelings such as frustration and anger. They need to learn to love others (besides their family members) and feeling secure and confident about themselves. When all the correct basics are mastered, good manners come automatically.

Once they're ready for their kindergartens, they should have all that the above mentioned, instilled deep in their minds and hearts. Then, the education of alphabets and numbers amongst others may begin.

In Singapore...
N1 = Nursery 1: For children aged 3.
N2 = Nursery 2: For children aged 4.
K1 = Kindergarten 1: For children aged 5.
K2 = Kindergarten 2: For children aged 6.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fermented rice powder, grandma's beauty ritual

I'm back to Singapore again after a considerable long break for Chinese New Year. The weather seems to be hotter now, and I'm not liking it. I wished it could stay 25 - 26°C all year long. The last I checked, it was 33°C. Damn hot laaa!

I'm in dire need to cool myself. Switched on the aircond, set it to 18°C but the air doesn't seem to be cooling enough for me. I almost wanted to shut myself in the refrigerator, then I thought of my grandma's bedak sejuk which I got it from her during my visit to Ipoh on CNY! Wow, this got to be my skin saver (no joke).

Jasmine flower, used to lightly scent the bedak sejuk. - pic from wikipedia

Grandma's homemade bedak sejuk.

It took my grandma 6 months to make those skin saver, okay. I took out a small piece, place it on my palm and add in 6 to 7 drops of cold water to make it into runny, watery paste before slapping it onto my face, neck and arms! While doing this, I sat in front of the aircond for maximum syiok-ness!

I have been using bedak sejuk (direct translation: cooling powder) ever since I was a toddler. They do not have miracle creams or face mask back in those ancient days when grandma was young. Just like everyone else, grandma made her own. Have you heard of using rice water for clearer and brighter skin? What about fermented rice nutrient called Pitera that every beauty junkies would pay a bomb for? Tsk... my grandma's cooling powder has it all!

So, allow me explain briefly how it was made and what it is good for. Raw rice (grandma used white rice) is soaked in the water for 6 months until all the rice are fermented, dissolved and turned into white sendiment at the bottom of the 4-inches deep tray. She would change the water once a week. At the end of the 6th month, she poured away the excess water and added in white jasmine flowers to the sendiment before drying it under the sun. Once the sendiment is completely dried, she would break them into small pieces before storing them in an air-tight container. I remembered the whole kitchen would stink when the fermentation took place.

Good for:
1) Preventing heat rash (prickly heat) on skin.
2) Minimising large pores.
3) Control excess sebum production on oily skin.
4) Improves skin texture for sure! You should see my grandma's skin. She's 83 but her skin's as smooth as my 3-year old. (It is 100% au-naturel so don't expect overnight miracles with short term usage).

Now that she doesn't live with us anymore but in Ipoh, I missed her nyonya cookings, bedak sejuk and homemade aloe vera gel mask very much. But above all, I miss her the most!