It is one of those things after having a child. We very rarely go to cinema. The last time we went we were given free tickets to watch Mission Impossible as a BMW white card member. Didn’t have to buy tickets. Few days ago we went to TGV Station 18 to watch 007 Spectre to only then realised that it is much cheaper to buy tickets using Maybank cards! (In fact we went to queue at the pop corn counter to buy tickets, not knowing there are separate ticket counters!) A ticket that costs RM15 or RM17 (standard or preferred seats) will become only RM10 with Maybank card (see details here). And every Thursday buy 1 free 1. Massive savings! I have a bank account with Maybank but has been dormant for many years, and I have been paying RM10 every year. So went to Maybank Greentown to activate my account today, and converted my yellow ATM card to a Maybank debit card, for RM12 one off charge, and activated my Maybank2u online bank account too. The card will come in handy for our next movie, Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 2 hehe.
Here we go, AEON is opening another mall in Ipoh, on 18th December 2015. This time is AEON Big located in Falim, apparently the largest in Malaysia! As I wrote in my earlier post that the recently opened AEON Klebang couldn’t fill up all their retail spaces on their opening day, I think we are going to see even more empty spaces there. With a population of not even close to 1 million, at around 700k, yet Ipoh is going to have four AEONs (Kinta City, Station 18, Klebang and now Falim), a Parkson Ipoh Parade and countless supermarkets cum retail spaces, the retailers are going to be the biggest losers since customers are more and more spread out amongst these places. A recent article on The Star highlighted the similarity between the overcapacity problem in China and Malaysia. Shoppers in Ipoh are not stupid, convenience will ultimately be key after the initial excitement of new shopping malls wane. We shall see which of these shopping malls do worst. My bet is AEON Station 18 will suffer the most.
AEON is hiring, with a booth infront of AEON supermarket in Kinta City, for AEON Klebang, Ipoh.
When asked when AEON Klebang is opening, the girl told me 21st October 2015 is the opening date. Escalators in the shopping mall have all been installed too, as I know. I’m just a little surprised that it is so soon, considering that the market is rather soft at the moment. Very interested to know if they manage to fill up the retail spaces there on their opening day.
Recently came across this blog post that recommends restaurants and cafes where kids can play in Klang Valley region. These are fairly decent recommendations. As I have posted before, parents with children do yearn for places where they can sit down and relax while their children can keep themselves busy. However I couldn’t help but to find that these restaurants/cafes, when compared to Cheeky Tots in Ipoh, where I now live, rather underwhelming. By and large they source their toys from IKEA. Some hardly much space or toys for the kids to keep themselves occupied for long.
This baby/toddler play area in itself is already bigger than those you can find in any of the cafes above.
And you have these playhouses,
reading corner, with some toys too,
and of course this elephant in the room (taken from their website).
The Ipoh folks should count themselves lucky to have such a family and kids friendly facility around, as I think it is hard pressed to find something equivalent in KL. In fact anywhere in Malaysia. Sure it is not free to enter, like other cafes or restaurants. But with deals like this, it is as affordable as you can get.
The Sultan of Perak passed away yesterday. It is declared public holiday today in Perak. Nursery for my daughter is closed for the day. With not much to do, brought my daughter to Cheeky Tots. Turns out that they are closed too, along with entertainment outlets that I am aware of like cinemas and bowling alleys, as a sign of respect for the deceased Sultan. In fact apparently all gatherings, performances and celebrations shall be cancelled for seven days! If my memory served me right, didn’t hear any music in the supermarket that I went to in the morning too.
So went to my parents’ house instead. With not much to do there, we ended up watching tele, which normally doesn’t happen when we are at home with SA. Mum needs to keep herself entertained, hence my brother’s children are brought up watching a lot of tele too. In fact they know better than my mum how to control the set top box. No toys for SA to play so she got bored after some time. Brought her out to play a bit of badminton. But was drizzling in the evening. Played under the awnings instead. Very pathetic. But at least SA was kept amused until it was time for dinner…
I have been in the UK for over 15 years now. That’s almost half my life spent here. It is only through holiday in Malaysia that I get to have a feel of what families generally do in Malaysia. Particularly ever since my siblings started having children.
Bringing up children in Malaysia is very different from bringing up children in the UK. If both parents have full time job, it is not uncommon to send their babies to be care for by carer or nanny. And I don’t mean sending them to day care. The babies in fact don’t even sleep with their parents at night. So parents only get to see their babies for a couple of hours a day at most on weekdays. This also means that babies in Malaysia stay up later than those in the UK. And that is again very common in Malaysia. I find this kind of arrangement fascinating. Is it in the knowledge that babies don’t have much memory at such age that parents do not mind staying away from their babies? Or that they just don’t want their babies to affect their sleeps and disrupt their life style etc. Some families get their stay-at-home maids to care for their babies as well. But increasingly it seems, at least for those who can afford to do so, that they will hire a separate nanny for caring the little ones, on top of the maids they hire to do house chores. In so doing the parents can continue to live the lifestyle like before they have any children. This to many can only be afforded by at least the upper middle class in the UK. Whether this is really an affordability issue I’m not very sure. But from what I can see is parents in the UK tend to or are more willing to spend more time with their children than those in Malaysia. At least that seems to be the case among my circle of friends and acquaintances anyway.
Ok so the Malaysians get to live their life on weekdays in particular. But what about weekends? On weekends they still like to spend time doing what they like to do. And shopping is one of their favourite pass time. It’s difficult to blame them because Malaysia is very hot in the day. Apart from air conditioned shopping malls there are not many other places for families to hang out. They may go to parks in the morning or evening. But parks in Malaysia are not as well equipped with children play items as in the UK. And they often look jaded due to the scorching sun in Malaysia all year round. Since public funding is scarcer than in the UK, these play items are also less well looked after or maintained.
Eating is another national pass time. Malaysia has plenty of choices when it comes to food. You can eat in hawker stalls or fine dining type restaurants. Speaking for Malaysians of Chinese ethic origin, they normally go to Chinese restaurants which are typically not children friendly. Everyone sits together at the big round table and tuck in. Kids menu is unheard of. And children will play with whatever they find and normally that means plates, bowls, chopsticks and what have you. This is fine if you do this once in a while, and go somewhere more children friendly occasionally. But no it is almost always adults oriented on where families go.
In addition, when parents want to go out, to meet friends, or just more private time for themselves, they can conveniently leave their children with their grannies, because family is tighter in the Far East. Whereas here the Brits don’t often live close together, let alone in the same house when they have their own family! When they go on a vacation, they leave their children behind too. This is tempting no doubt if given that kind of option. But it can be so much fun if the whole family can travel together.
Some parents don’t seem to appreciate that children grow very quickly. Once they get older they may not want to travel with you or to be too close to you any more even if you threaten them. And children are most innocent when they are young. So so much fun just to be around them. Ok not all the time as they can be a pain sometimes too, throwing tantrums, selfish and stubborn. But often the joy you get outweighs the pain you endure. If I were you I will treasure the moments the best I can. No one knows what life can throw at you next.
Indoor soft play is a type of children play centre that we only recently found out about. There are loads of them in the UK, over a thousand of them, but somehow we are just unaware of their presence after living in the UK for over 15 years. My English friend has not been into one before, and probably has not even heard about it before! To be fair he has not got any kids yet.
In the UK these play centres are located away from busy areas like the high streets or city center. Rates at these locations are understandably higher. But they also don’t often have large and/or tall enough premises to house climbing frames which are normally found in every indoor soft play. So these play centres are often located at light industrial estates, in warehouses for example. This explains why we have not come across of them before. And the fact that we have few friends who have kids did not help too.
So in the UK many parents will make effort to bring children to these places like play ground and indoor soft play, where children can have a fun time (I think the parents enjoy having fun with their children too). In Malaysia, there are indoor play centres too (also known as play gyms in Malaysia). They are relatively small, when compared to those in the UK. But most importantly most if not all of them are located in shopping malls. How successful these play centres are I can’t tell. What I can say is families are charged more as a result of the premium location to get in in return for a poorer indoor soft play experience. Does not mean that there is not a business case for such model, as Malaysians like to visit shopping malls for whatever reasons and that means a one-stop location for the family to do everything. Parents are happy because they can shop and children also happy as they get to have fun in the soft play (of course provided the parents are happy to bring them in!). But from what I understand, these play centres seem purely for the children to play. There are often not a lot of space like seating area where the parents can sit down, relax and possibly catch up with friends if they go in a group. This is another interesting phenomenon in Malaysia. Often children are taken to wherever the parents want to go. And the places they go are often not children friendly. Children get bored quickly and make life difficult for the parents. Children friendly places on the other hand are not very parents or adults friendly. This is probably a big reason why parents are reluctant to bring their children into the play centres, as it is awkward for them to be there for long period of time.
I just hope that there will be more young family friendly places in Malaysia. Family should stay tight as a unit, whatever the circumstances. It is all too easy to leave children at home with their grannies and leave them to play on their own.
It is this time of year when I find myself hooked to the X-Factor again! Yeah I know. But this year is a little different, as there is an act from Reading, in Danyl Johnson, that I can really support. In fact W has made our first phone vote just now. We both feel that he’s talented. So it’s not just blind support for someone local.What is rather unfounded after today’s live performance was some of the judges kept attacking him for being over-confident, cocky and not likeable, despite a wonderful performance from him, and the last act to perform as well! Particularly coming from Louis, who put through an act in John & Edward who exhibits all the above attributes, barred the fact that they can’t sing! Come on, if they weren’t Irish, do you really think Louis would have put them this far? I very much doubt it. Louis is such hypocrit, and the other two judges obviously think Danyl is a huge threat, as he’s talented and is able to give a great stage performance. Other talented acts in comparison are good but just aren’t ready to give that kind performance yet. In a way it’s unfair to acts like Stacey, whom I like because of her personality, on top of her fabulous voice, but appeared to be struggling just to be on the stage. She reminds me of Phoebe in Friends, who I thought is just a fabricated character. So I find it funny, a bit surreal at the same time, to actually to see Stacey exhibiting the kind of qurkiness that Phoebe was acting :)I fear that the twins might progress to next week, considering that their performance was actually not as bad I hoped it to be. I think the girl groups and Jamie are vulnerable this week. I hope the twins won’t stay at the expense of Jamie, as I trully think he can do better than his performance this week.