Put Your Name On It

17 Oct

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One of the best gifts (either to a friend or to yourself) has got to be a personalized item.  Luckily, in Penang there’s lots of ways to leave your mark.  Here are a few of my favorite:

Name tags and stickers can be printed with just about any design at Kiddo Stickers kiosk on the first floor of Gurney Plaza.  They also make pens and stamps.

Don’t leave home without your namecards (business cards).  While most photostats can do these, the guys at C&C Printing and Designs on Jalan Fettes next to Fatty Loh’s are fast, reliable and cheap.  They also print some kids name stickers, and make personalized ink stamps.

YYP offers custom while you wait embroidery on anything you can imagine.  Beach towels for an older kid, baby blanket for a newborn, or have your kid’s uniform distinguished from the other’s.  Find them along Campbell St in Georgetown, just before Cintra.  (Here’s an idea – get your dimsum fix while you wait!)

Getting custom screen printed tees is a great way to celebrate an event or promote a business.  After searching around, I was very pleased with the service and quality by Jason Ho Kean Seng.  Email or sms: widecom.pg@gmail.com, 0124932747.

International Schools Fair :: Oct 12

9 Oct

In the Traders hotel this week: a great resource for all the private and international school information you need at the 3rd Private & International School Fair, Penang.  Stop by from 12-5 and check it out.


Betel Nut Buzz

9 Oct


  • TONIGHT! Sabine Wezel, Family Constellation Consultant believes all humans are carrying with them an energetic field or blueprint of their biological families—this field is called a family soul, or family conscience.  Want to learn more about her unique way of resolving conflict?  Attend her workshop at Lifeworks Holistic Center, 7-10pm. Sure to be an enlightening evening. Contact Sabine for details: 0164154507
  • In the Traders hotel this weekend: a great resource for all the private and international school information you need at the 3rd Private & International School Fair, Penang.  Stop by from 12-5 and check it out.
  • Mark your calendar! The Straits Quay Farmers Market is on next Saturday, Oct 19.  It’s getting bigger and better!
  • The PINKS Storytelling Festival is coming up on November 8th.  This is a great activity to bring books and storytelling into your kids lives.
  • Penang Momma logo designer Stephanie Dunn has her Forget Me Not stationary business up and running!  Check her out on facebook or on her website.
  • I’ve been eating this month!  Some great new finds and oldies/goodies.  Always spot on for a quick yet restoring lunch: Annalakshmi, Coisette Villa was a surprising French gem with fabulous baguettes, we sampled some delicious noodles and wontons reminiscent of our days there at Old Shanghai, The Eighty-Eight is moving to Georgetown but we stopped in on one of their last nights for an unforgettable 5-course meal, I can’t stop going to Basil Le Bistrot, Sunday coffee is always good at SiTigun, and I urge you to check out Georgetown Winery for your date night.

Saying Goodbye to Your Amah

2 Oct

I wrote here before with some tips about hiring and employing an amah.  To round out the process, it’s also important to consider what to do when that relationship comes to an end.  Amicable or not, here are some tips for saying goodbye.

Leaving Penang: A Bittersweet Farewell
If you need to let your amah go because of your move, understand this is a sad time for both of you.  While you feel sad for missing your expat friends and help, your helper will suffer the separation from your family.  She may have been there for the birth of your children, or played a part in their rearing.  Be patient and understanding in the last time you have together.  A few things you can do to lessen the blow:

  • Give plenty of notice.  One to two months for a regular helper is standard.
  • Help her find another job.  Post your recommendations on the discussion board, or talk to a friend you know is looking for help.
  • Leave her with a printed, laminated reference letter.  This is very important.  Write a summary of the service and time you spent with your amah, and include your recommendation along with a way to contact you (email, Facebook) for further details.  Attaching a photo of your family or kids with the amah is a visual reference you can pass on.
  • Plan a special time for you and your children to say goodbye to the amah and any members of her family you have gotten to know.  Coffee and cake at a cafe, plus a few handmade things from the children or printed photos will be appreciated.
  • Give her first dibs on items you plan to give away.  One man’s trash is another’s treasure, and her family can greatly benefit from your unwanted items.
  • Add her to your Christmas Card list.  I know my amah would appreciate an annual photo of the children and a brief update on the family.  Get her home address and revisit snail mail.

It is a totally different situation when you need to let an amah go on unpleasant terms.  Depending on the severity of the infraction or difference in views, use your judgment for the protection of your family.  Consider the following:

  • Immediate notice – take your key back.  Especially important if there is a question of safety or loss of trust, to sever contact immediately may be the best for your family.
  • Severance.  Offering the helper the security of a period of time’s wages is also an option at the time of letting go.
  • Be honest on reference calls.  If there was only a difference in opinion or expectation, perhaps your name will be used as a contact for reference.  Please be honest about your experience to future employers who may call.
  • Probation.  Consider a period of probation if you feel the differences can be rectified.  Work through the issues and establish good communication practices.  If you still can’t mesh, be open and honest and look for someone else.

L.L.D.S.P 2014 – Starting Today – Thursday

2 Oct


Penang’s annual benefit for Breast Cancer Awareness Month starts today!  Here’s how you can get involved this weekend. (republished from the PIA newsletter by Maggie T)

Day 1. Thursday 2nd Oct starting at 7.30pm

The Wine Shop event, limit to 100 ladies @ RM100. E&O hotel will help us with this event. We will still have our Silent auction with some bidding on emails as well & etc. Includes Gourmet canapés from E&O, platters of cheeses & cold cuts, pizza, pate and smoked salmon and finish with bite site desserts also from E&O hotel plus two glasses of Pink Bubbles. Pink bubbles also on sale by glass or bottle same as last year’s prices. The Wine Shop who sponsor the Pink Bubbles will also give a donation from any purchases of wines to take away. So please shop for your wines on Thursday night the 2nd (even if not attending the event) and Pink Cancer Fund gets a 15% donation from sales! Amee Philips has donated a glamorous pair of earrings for Amee Philips Versatile Collection, Diamonds with Rose Quartz – valued at RM10,000. More auctions coming in daily!

Day 2 & 3. Friday 3rd and Sat 4th.

Combine your passion for going out for dinner and drinks with good friends or family in one of Penang’s hottest bar & restaurant – Healy Macs in Straits Quay. PIA members get 10% off food bill, so donate your 10% discount and Healy Macs will donate another 10% to our Pink Cancer Fund. So 20% of your food bill will be donated. As everyone has to eat this is a fantastic way for you to show support. Gather you friends and family and come to Healy Macs on 3rd & 4th of Oct. Please note Healy Macs is full most nights so please come early or book. There will also be a special on Classic or Pink Cosmopolitan (cocktails) Buy 1 and free 1. Any queries on this call Maggie or Trevor, they will be around on both nights to help diners with this.

Day 4. Sunday 5th Wear it PINK – Lady Captain’s Golf T

Michelle has kindly offered us a table at Penang Expo on Saturday 20th at G Hotel, we will be there to sell tickets, book tables, show some of our auctions items, create awareness, collect donations and memberships. Also PIA magazine “Irish Insights” available for collection and promote next year’s Parade.PIA will cover all costs involved in these PINK events, plus Billboard at Amee Philips so 100% raised will go to the charities.

Thank you for your continued support of PIA and these events and helping to make a difference.

Air Con

24 Sep

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On this island, it is really important that your air conditioning is functioning.  A recent power outage went from crisis to handle-it-tomorrow-lah when we realized that only the kitchen was out and the internet and bedroom aircons were OK.  So, you can see where our priorities lie.  With the constant stress these heavenly blowers of cold air are under, it’s critical that you keep them in good health.

Enter: the air con service guy.  I interviewed our man, Mr Wah, about what he’s seen and what he recommends.  Without proper care, air con units can get slowly less cold and develop leaks.  We go for a twice a year service, which includes a thorough cleaning and check up for each unit.  It takes a couple hours, and those nights, I pull the covers up a little higher.

If it’s been a while, or you area  few years into your stay here and are just now looking at those units…give these guys a call.  Also, let me know your best guy in the comments.

Mr Wah: 012 482 0787
He also handles electrical issues as well – came around when the fridge circuit was out and got me sorted in a morning!

Ah Seong: 019 447 8782

Welcome To Penang Expo – TOMORROW!

19 Sep

Drop by and come meet Penang Momma!  I’ll be there, along with lots of great vendors and folks from the community.  See you. :)

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Searching for Preschools

18 Sep

I have been meaning to update my preschools & nurseries posts for a while, and a friend’s extensive search for a school for their daughter impressed me!  Luckily, Ying Ying has offered to share her result with you below.  They are based in Batu Maung, so there’s some good stuff for south of the island folks.

Ying Ying was born in Penang but spent the last 15 years in the US. She and her daughter, Ania, and her husband, Chris, split their year in Penang and California. She is a mother expecting another child in 2015, and a corporate advisor. Her husband is a musician, educator and entrepreneur (www.chrisgolinski.com).

Taska Nania
Taska Nania is a Waldorf/Steiner pre-school opened 18 years ago. They opened a second school at Halaman York in Pulau Tikus in August 2014. Taska Nania is one of the few play-based schools in Penang. The teachers and staff members are very loving and caring. I requested the Chinese teacher to speak only Mandarin to Ania. Their menu seems healthier and they serve organic meals whenever they can. Like the Waldorf school my daughter went to in San Diego, the environment of the school is very calm and orderly, with its layout planned for children. Furniture and toys are all made out of wood. The toys are mainly blocks, puppets, dolls and kitchenware to promote imagination and creativity. They have real kids size toilets and sinks. They have a few rabbits and a nature based playground for outdoor play everyday.

Morning starts with half hour of play, followed by an hour of activity:
Monday – water color painting
Tuesday – beeswax crayon drawing
Wednesday – bread making
Thursday – homemade play dough modeling
Friday – class cleaning day
Morning snack is followed by half hour of singing and half hour of outdoor play. Lunch is followed by 45 minutes of creative/craft time and afternoon snack is followed by story time and goodbye song. Drop off is anytime between 8.30am-9am and pick up is 2.30pm. There is an option for afternoon care and transport. They accept students in elementary school for after care as well.

We just celebrated Mid-Autumn/Lantern Festival at the school this past Friday. In preparation for the festival, the children color painted the paper for the lantern on Tuesday, made the lantern on Wednesday and Thursday, decorated the school with lanterns and made moon cake on Friday morning. All parents were invited back to school on Friday evening for the festival, which started with singing (songs in English, Mandarin and Japanese), moon cake and snacks, puppet show accompanied by the harp played by the teacher, and lantern parade around the garden.

Here are a few links about Waldorf:


Learning Garden
This preschool is on Halaman York across the street from Taska Nania. Most learning is done through play, songs and nature observation. This may be a good option for parents who want their child to have a little more academic based education. We attended the parent toddler program last year when Ania was 1 to 2 and we loved it.

Both Taska Nania and Learning Garden offer parent-toddler program. Parent-toddler class is a good way to familiarize your child to the school’s environment, and for parents to take a closer look at the school, philosophy and most importantly, the teachers and staff members.

Odyssey is a Reggio Emilia philosophy, Singapore-based school, opened in August 2014. The facilities and classrooms is the best we have seen. This is also the most expensive pre-school in town. Learning is mainly through songs and play and they have music and art classes.

Straits International School
A British international school located in Bayan Baru, accepting students starting at 3 through high school. They are in a temporary campus for a couple years while the new permanent campus is being built.
Glorious Kids Tadika Gemilang Bistari
123 Tingkat Batu Maung, Taman Seri Mewah Indah, Batu Maung
626 1228 (Angee Lim)
This is a local traditional preschool with two branches in Bayan Lepas area. The principal and teachers here are more professional and caring compared to the other local schools we have seen. Children have workbooks and they have a class in Di Zi Gui (A Confucius teaching on what children are expected of) once a week.
Melody Kindyland
A local franchise near Quensbay in the Bay Avenue shop lot with two floors of classrooms and playrooms. Toddlers have 2-3 days a week of play time and the remaining 2-3 days of classroom time with workbooks.
D’Monte Child Care & Development Centre
A local franchise located in Batu Maung, children learn all three main languages (English, Mandarin and Malay) using workbooks and they have a class on Di Zi Gui Confucius teachings and a class on Tang Dynasty poems once a week.

Lang Tengah

11 Sep


In truth, Lang Tengah wasn’t even on my radar when I went to book this trip. I was thinking a return to Perhentians, for the gorgeous blue sea and laid back atmosphere.  But a glance at a map and a recommendation from a friend and I located this tiny island just a bit south of the one I was searching for.  Same water, and it had availability.  Done!

The ferry dock is just south of that for Perhentian and is a 6 hour drive from Penang.  I won’t lie – it was harrowing when we left at 4am to make the 11am ferry.  Perhaps camp somewhere half way, or arrange transport after flying to Kota Bharu.  We made it in time for the ferry,  landing at Lang Tengah 45 minutes later.  I took in the gorgeous water I had been hoping for.  Double bonus, the sand was pure white and powder soft.  Exhale.

We chose a Double room at the D’Coconut West Wing.  The room (and hotel in general) was pretty basic.  The food was served buffet-style and was standard cafeteria fare, save for a few outstanding curries that popped up once in a while.  We’d packed our own booze, but turned out the resort had Carlsburg, too.

But, the beach!   It was perfect. Shaded all day to some degree, and there was no trash washing into the bay.  The extra coral was raked up each morning by the hotel staff.  The 100ft of shore was just right.  There was decent snorkeling and rock exploring to be had right there.  It was a perfect spot for a new snorkeler (my 4-yr-old!)  Tons of fish, pretty shallow, and some great rocks to explore.  We did end up using water shoes to get out past the rocky shallows at low tide, so bring them along.

The resort ran a snorkeling trip every afternoon.  It was perfectly clear and the reef we visited was amazing!  My son described it perfectly – it was an underwater garden.  I could have paddled around all day.  We saw some special stuff;  Mom saw a stingray and I spied a shark!  Miles spent the whole time feeding the little fish bread from his fist.  So fun, and truly a highlight.

We couldn’t bring ourselves to leave at our planned 8am time, and thus the drive home in post-Raya Saturday afternoon traffic was not so great.  Eight hours, but we made it.  And I hope to make it again … soon!  Remember, the high season is from March-October.  The off season brings rains and cloudy water – no fun!

Betel Nut Buzz

9 Sep


  • Spiral Synergies has a lot of events coming up, including a Super Stylish Shopping event this weekend at 5.4* North and their mega-useful Expats Expo next Saturday the 20th at G Hotel.  Penang Momma will be there for community support, stop by and say hi!
  • Matt the Mobile Hairdresser is back in town, give him a call for your in-home hair treatments. 012 448 6405
  • Calling all future Engineers.  Tech Dome at Paragon is on this weekend.  Check the website for details.
  • Eating, recently.  Basil Le Bistrot, Secawan Hutton, Pigeon Apartment Cantonese restaurant behind Tai Tong, Safe Room, Coffee Elements Paragon, Monkey Cup, Gem, Woodlands.
  • Warrior Games is coming this weekend to Occupy Beach Street.  Come along to cheer on the power, speed and agility warriors.
  • The Triathlon Shop is advertising now for the Newton Challenge coming up next February.  There are some kid-friendly options including a 3.5km and a 1km race, plus some challenging routes for adults.  With races in Penang filling up so quick, better be on top of this one!

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