Friday, September 16, 2016

Hajj 2013, the journey to Jeddah.

This is a continuation of my Mini Series: Hajj. My last post was about me flying off to the UK for my Hajj preparation. Sorry this posts haven't got that many pictures. This is because I didn't want to document it in *that* way. Anyhow, here's the continuation......

My flight was on Thursday 3rd October 2013, at 10:10 am. Bear in mind, I only received confirmation of someone bringing in our passport on 1st October! That was very risky! Anyway, I boarded the plan on time and made way to the runway, that's what it's called right? Very model like. However, a few minutes later the flight had to turn back and we were told to get off the plane. We waited for a few hours and everyone got agitated. I mean truthfully, I didn't mind waiting as long as the plane was OK. So they checked the plane and had to fix some things on it. It's been three years now, I've kinda forgotten what it was. When everything was safe, we boarded the same plane. Alhamdulillah, the flight to the UK was smooth. I had to change my bus ticket to Leicester because of the flight delay. From here, it was obvious that the journey to Hajj is not as easy as we think it would be.

My stay in the UK was good. Everything went as planned and my Husband joined me a few days later. It was 1 and 1/2 day to our flight to Jeddah, to be exact.

On 7th October 2013, we went on the bus to Heathrow airport to meet up with our 'tour operater' for the hajj journey and to fly off to Jeddah. Everything was pretty dandy and smooth from the UK - Jeddah. But as we got to the airport in Jeddah, we slowly felt the tests we were getting.

We had to wait for our bus to arrive and bring us into Mekah. That's where we were going first because it was only a few days left to perform Hajj. We waited close to 6 hours at the airport. Whilst in Mekah, we had a few stops to go through. It's amazing how they greet all the Hujaj. We were given free food and drinks. They would stop our bus and made sure everyone got their snacks. As we were almost reaching our hotel, we were stopped by an owner of a restaurant. They're closing the shop and had some extra food left, so they decided to give us some proper meal. I think it was Mandhy Rice. After almost a day of travelling, that meal was very much waited for! Alhamdulillah and May Allah bless those people in their business and Akhirah. Amin!

Our hotel in Mekah wasn't close to Masjidil Haram. We stayed in Aziziya which is about 30 minutes away from the Masjid. On our first day in Mekah, we had a bus to bring us to the Masjid. We stayed in the Masjid for half a day and went back to our hotel. This is because we weren't familiar with the place and we have to go when the bus goes. As we went along, we made new friendd from different backgrounds and country. We have people from Bangladesh, Pakistan and also Morocco. Everyone came with one intention which was to get Hajj Mabrur! As we were staying away from the Hotel, we had either wait for the tour bus to bring us to the masjid or go on our own. Alhamdulillah during our stay there, people were competing to pay for the taxi fares! Everyone wanted some deeds of our Hajj. Money weren't an issue whilst we were there. After 5 days of staying in Aziziya, we went to Mina..........

Mina, that's a story on its own!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My third baby's 100th day and my 200th post!!

Masha'Allah! How amazing is that? Celebrating my 200th post with a story of my third child's debut to the world? It's nice to have a blog where I can jot down the important things in my life. At least, some of it. :) Just for the record, this baby was a rather planned one, because I said after I come back from hajj, I want another baby. And BAM, AllahuAkbar! That will be in a different blog altogether. Allah's miracles!

So here's how he went down or even, came out.....

My third pregnancy went by so quickly, at one point. Towards the end of it, when I became bigger and heavier, I felt like there was more than 24 hours in a day! like as soon as possible. People say that by the third pregnancy, baby will come out at least 2-3 weeks earlier. LIES!!!!! My baby hanged on to my womb for as long as he could. I felt like it's gonna be an induced baby. Every single time I attend my prenatal check-ups there were no sign of baby coming out any earlier. As keen as I was, I was still scared to go through the whole delivery process. So anyway, I gave up counting the days and just went with the flow. My final days were on the month of Ramadhan. I could've "easily" fasted the whole month but I kept telling myself I needed the food and energy in case baby comes out.

On the 21st Ramadhan 1435 = 19th July 2014, the last 9 days of Ramadhan, my Dad's company had Iftar and Qiamulail at their company's hotel. The plan was for Khalid and Aizah to stay with my parents, nephew and niece at the hotel because I just needed some time off from them. THE PLAN. So, I went to the hotel at 3p.m to drop them off for their sleepover. I was so sleepy and tired by the time we reached the hotel (yeah, it not only happens during pregnancy, I need afternoon naps! haha). I took an hour nap and got up for Asar prayers. Everything was well and dandy. I did not feel any sign of giving birth at all! At about 6p.m, my parents came to my room asking if we wanna join them for Du'a Selamat and Yassin recitation. I asked them to go ahead first because we were not ready. At about 6:30p.m I went downstairs and was just in time for the du'a selamat and my Dad's speech to officiate the Qimullail. It was a heartfelt speech as my Dad was  crying when giving his speech. I cried too (blame the hormones). But yes his speech did touch us in so many ways. :'(

When everything was done, I took the kids out of the hall to have some quiet time. By then it was nearing Iftar. At that moment, I had a few moments of 'stomach cramps'. It was happening every 15 minutes. Being the person that I am, so laid back. I said, no this couldn't be contraction. Probably just braxton hicks since I've not got that during my pregnancy. Before Iftar, I went to the toilet and there was stain. To say it was a stain was also very tricky because it was literally ONE teeny-weeny-itsy-bitsy brown dot. So I left it as it is but just in case, I did tell Iskandar what was happening and you can see the excitement on his face!Yeah, weird right?!

We went to our room to pray Maghrib because I just could not stand up to pray in my last trimester. So, the kids and my niece prayed in our room and I went to the toilet straight after. Had episodes of tummy ache and the cramps were coming closer at 10minutes interval. We went downstairs again to have our dinner. This time I knew it was contractions! I could not walk when it was happening and had to stop at every instance it was happening. Since it was my Dad's company's event, people were stopping me and asking me questions like, "when are you due?" "Your tummy looks so low." I just said "my due date is on the 21st July, so it could be anytime now" whilst bearing the contraction pain.

We got to the dining table safely and I made sure my kids had their dinner. By this time it was already 8+p.m. I also had my dinner as I did not have that much food during the day. Whilst having dinner I was already feeling the contractions every 5 minutes!! But nothing comes between me and FOOD! Everyone knows that! Just before I finished eating, my Mom asked, "are you going back after this?" I just told her, "I think I'm going to the hospital, I don't feel right." My Mom thought I was just pulling a fast one because I was gonna leave the kids behind. I was like whatever. Went to my Dad, told him I'm going to the hospital and of course he had to announce to the whole table that I was sooo due but still wanna come. So, we salam and kissed our parents and shoot straight for the car. At that point, I was really dragging myself out of the hotel. Asked the jockey for our car and they took their time to give our keys. HOW FUN! I'm sure it wasn't that long but it did feel forever!

Pic courtesy of Google
Oh, did I mention the hotel was in KL and my hospital was in Sungai Buloh? Oh and also, we didn't bring the baby bag or Red Book with us. Sooooo, we had to go back home. We arrived home at 9:30p.m, I told Iskandar I wanna stay in the bath for a while. Because in UK they'd asked to have a warm bath first before coming in. Warm bath will soothe the contraction. Iskandar prayed Isha' whilst I was just waiting for the contraction to "go off". As if! By the time he finished solat, I asked him to time my contractions and it was still every 5 minutes. So I came out of the bath, solat Isha' and rushed out to the hospital. Before that I managed to take my Qaseh Adinda supplement since I definitely need the energy if I was gonna deliver then.

Pic courtesy of Google
Arrived the hospital at 10:30p.m, Alhamdulillah it was so smooth sailing. Got our parking space easily and we walked to the maternity ward....dragging-ly!!!!!! I had to stop at every contraction!!! We registered at the counter only to know that husbands aren't allowed to go in for the check up. So they strapped me on the ECG and what nots for a good 20minutes. They told me my graph was "nice" since my contraction was quite constant. I have NOOOO IDEA what that means! I had to wait in the waiting room to see the doctor and there was so many joyful people who was asking me questions! Even though they know my contractions were constant, they still waited for an answer while I had to deal with the contractions myself! Then we went to see the Doctor which then told me I was already 5cm dilated! That's good news for me because at least I can be in the delivery room with Iskandar. Remember I said THE PLAN was for us to have our time since the kids are away, hey, why not make it memorable and have a date in the delivery room, yes?? No? ;)

Pic courtesy of Google
Little did I know, Husbands are not allowed in until the wives are about 10cm dilated. 10 CM ok!!! What theeeee? I really needed the support. I think I kept bugging them with the question "can my Husband come in now? I need to tell him what's going on." They 'assured' me everything is in good hands and he's well informed. Ok fine. The doctor came in again to break my waterbag. It felt soooo good to have my waterbag break. I know if they didn't break it, I will stay there forever. I asked the Doctor if my Husband can come in before he breaks my waterbag because with Aizah, literally 2 mins after my waterbag broke she was already coming out. The Doctor said, it's ok, we will wait and see. I don't think it will happen that soon. Alright, you should know, I thought. Tick tock tick tock. It was already 11:30p.m. The Doctor said that I was already about 6cm dilated, so accordingly I should be giving birth by 4a.m. earliest.....

WRONG!!!!!!! 12a.m I told the nurses I think I really need to push the baby out, I can really feel it. I remember the nurses taking their time putting their gloves etc and said, "tunggu ye. We all kena prepare, kalau betul baby nak keluar nanti takde barang2". I told them "Tak boleh tunggu!!! Betul nak keluar dah ni!!!!!" They just told me to selawat and zikir. So  I did. Then they checked me, I was already 10cm and they can feel baby's head! Remember my husband wasn't with me? Yeah they had to rush and tell Iskandar to come in. But they didn't tell him baby is soooo coming out! When he came to the delivery room all calm and collected, switch on the Quranic Mp3 for me and asked so what's new? I just told him I'm about to push!!!!! He quickly held my hand and gave encouragement. Haha Such a natural! :) However, at this point I just couldn't feel any contraction so everyone was just waiting. When it came, I just pusheddddddddd!!!Unfortunately, I don't really count how many pushes it was. The next think I know, baby was already out.

Alhamdulillah at 12:17a.m on 22nd Ramadhan 1435; 20th July 2014, Raja Sa'ad Salahuddin made debut to the world. He's such an amazing baby, Masha'Allah. Actually, all my kids are amazing in their own way.  Everything was well for the both of us Alhamdulillah. By 12p.m the same day, the doctor discharged the both of us. AND THAT'S WHY I LOVE GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS! I get so restless staying in hospitals that I kept bugging them I wanna go home so they checked me up and let us go on the day itself.

Three months on and he's still the same easy-to-handle baby that he is. SubhanAllah Alhamdulillah.

I'm sure you are all 'eager' to know my experience between UK care and Malaysia. I shall blog about it like I always say... soon! :D:D:D Insha'Allah.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Hajj Pilgrimage: EVERYTHING went wrong!

As I am writing this, a few Hajj jemaah have left Malaysia for Mekah to perform their pilgrimage. Can't believe it's been a year since! May Allah accept your ibadah and please make full use of the time you have there, this is once in a lifetime opportunity!

Anyway, by now, you might already know that I've been to Hajj and obviously came back safely because here I am blogging about it. ;) For those of you who sacrificed your busy schedule just to sit down and talk to us personally about our Hajj trip, we appreciate it so much. It's a different level of busy-ness here in Malaysia, so to have the time to get offline and talk face-2-face, that's an honour. But for those of you who have been busy with family and other things, we truly understand! It's not that easy to just get in the car and have a chat, especially if you're married! Errkk. I mean, I REALLY TRULY understand the situation.

Anyway, like I said in my previous post all of OUR plan went haywire when we decided to move back to Malaysia. We were supposed to fly off to Mekah from the UK in September but since our plan changed, we had to think of a way to get extra money to travel from Malaysia-UK-Mekah-UK-Malaysia. In June, we booked and paid for our Hajj package via online as we were already in Malaysia. After confirming our bookings we found out that they needed our passports for the Hajj visa a few months before departure. That wasn't the downfall.....yet!

We were told by the travel agent that we will only get our passport with the Hajj visa 2 days before departure!!! Of course that didn't work for us because we were travelling from Malaysia so we need our passport way earlier to make sure we get to the UK as scheduled.

The next 4 months was a REAL test of FAITH, masha'Allah. 

Since there was no turning back, we only had one thing to do..Which really, should have been the first thing we SHOULD do. Make lots of du'a. At that point in time, other than the obligatory prayers, performing solat hajat and tahajud was our second nature. We felt lost when we didn't perform those prayers. Waking up in the middle of the night wasn't a problem because we really wanted to perform Hajj and we know noone else could help us except for Allah. We put our trust in him and tawakal that everything will turn out perfectly as how HE planned. Even if we didn't get the chance to go this time, we didn't feel bad as we turned to HIM for help. Iskandar and I didn't put pressure on each other even though we really wanted this day to come. We hardly even utter about how much we want this opportunity to fall in place. Everything was done in our prayers. We begged ALLAH to give us what HE knows will be the best for us. We even left the travel agents to work on our visa and did not bother them with e-mails asking when we are getting our passports and visas. We left it all to ALLAH.

Nonetheless, the month of September came and we got real anxious as we were scheduled to leave to the UK in the first week of October. On 24th of September, I e-mailed the travel agent to get updates on our passport. And so they replied... asking Iskandar for his UK visa since they can't find it in his passport. Confidently I told him it is in his old passport which my brother have sent it together with the other passports. They replied that the old passport with UK visa wasn't with them. So I contacted my brother and he confirmed he DID NOT send the old passport to the travel agent. Things got even worse and to blame everyone at that time was an option. But I didn't, thanks to NLP and positive thinking. I pulled myself together and think of ways to get his visa to the travel agent as soon as possible. 

Alhamdulillah, the postal service in the UK is amazingly efficient so they received the passport in time, which was 5 days before our departure to the UK. Now things are supposedly going rather smoothly but we forgot, how are we going to get our passport within 5 days??? I contacted the post office and they said that if we are posting passports they will hold it at the custom for a month just to make sure that it's legit documentation. Of course we didn't have a month to spare!! So we continued thinking of ways to get our passport to KL. A few days before our passports and visas were approved, we had so many relatives going back and forth the UK and Malaysia but as soon as we got our passport we didn't have anyone.

But, Allah was there all along guiding us. My dad received a msg from his friend saying that they're leaving for Malaysia on the 4th October. So without hesitation, we contacted him and explained our situation. Alhamdulillah we managed to set for an appointment for the travel agent and my dad's friend to meet and pass our passports through him.However, Iskandar had to delay his flight due to some complications whereas I managed to get on the flight back to UK as scheduled. I had about 3 days to spare before our flight to Mekah. As for Iskandar, he arrived the night before our flight to Mekah.... phew! SubhanAllah Alhamdulillah!

So, you would have thought that everything would go smoothly by now right? I mean, we've got our passports AND visas! What else could go wrong?

Stay tuned for the next episode........ ;)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

And, a year later...

Err, so how do I do this? It's been a year since I last updated and I'm itching to update again! Where shall I start??

My Hajj trip update is still hanging.. it's almost another Hajj season ALREADY!
Third pregnancy, nothing about that at all and to think my baby is already 30days old!
Life as it is..gosh, there's just too much to say and I really do wanna share!

In the mean time, let me share a pic. haha Aren't we all good at that? Hence why I have been quiet. Instagram has taken its update!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

"International Education and Islamic Parenting Conference" organised by Brainy Bunch Islamic Montessori (BBIM)


First and foremost, Alhamdulillah shukur for the opportunity given by an old friend to attend the "International Education and Islamic Parenting Conference" organised by Brainy Bunch Islamic Montessori (BBIM). It meant a lot to the both of us because we have been thinking of sending Khairaldin to BBIM and attending the conference has shed us some lights on the nursery. So, thank you! Before I start sharing my experience about the talk, I will just inform you that I didn't stay for all 4 speakers due to "clingy kids". Alhamdulillah, we still managed to stay and listen to the Famous Mufti Menk, which helped a lot in our parenting skills. However, that will be on a different blog post. ;-)

The conference begin with Ustazah Isfadiah Dasuki's talk on "Raising our Children with The Book of Allah & The Importance of Islamic Education." In her talk she mentioned a few ways of raising our child with Al-Quran, which are, teaching them Ibadah, morals, sexual education and teaching them to socialise. (I think I missed out a few points and also added a few according to my understanding during the talk. It will be great if anyone who went for the conference share their experience as well. Jazakallahu khairan kathira.) 

How do we teach them Ibadah?
  • We can start teaching them at a very young age. The best way to teach is by being the example! When we solat, put them in the same room as us. Let them see how we solat and why we solat, explain to them why we need to stop everything as soon as the Azan finishes. 
  • If they disturb us during solat, leave them to it. After finishing our solat, hug and kiss them as they were there watching us doing it. Even if it means they were tugging onto our 'telekong' the whole time. Hugging and kissing them after solat makes them feel that we are enjoying the solat. If we finish our solat and scold them straight after, it will show that solat is very stressful! 
  • Reward them when they do something good. When they solat on their own, reward them. When they fast, reward them! They deserve it as it is not easy for them to perform all this on their own. They need encouragements and we are the best source for them to get it from.
How to teach them morals?
  • When the child reach a certain age, GUIDE them to be independent. For instance with putting their clothes on. We can't expect them to one day wake up and miraculously put their clothes on, some have the ability Alhamdulillah but most of us needs guidance. So one day we can guide them to just put one sleeve on and when they are good at that, let them put the sleeve on themselves. Then start guiding them with their pants, when THEY feel confident, let them do it on their own. We should keep guiding them throughout their life, even when they are an adult! 
  • Give them choices and ALLOW them to make mistakes! If we don't allow them to make mistakes, how do we expect them to know what is right and wrong? 
  • Our Prophet s.a.w taught us to have good morals by projecting good morals in himself. So, take that onboard into our own family. 
How to teach them sexual education?
  • There are TWO places we can teach them sex ed. First it starts in our own house, we have to explain to them the roles of parent. Sometimes my son gets confused why is it that Mommy can sleep with Abah and yet he cannot sleep with Mommy. We have to explain to them what parents is all about.
  • Immediate sexual ed is through SOLAT. How? We explain to them why is it that boys have to solat at the front and girls at the back- this is done by teaching them the aurah and how to protect the gaze. They then understand how to respect different gender.
  • Teach them to ask for our permission before entering our room BEFORE fajr, zuhur and AFTER Isya'. Tell them why we need to close our bedroom door and why they need to ask for permission to get in, it is all about aurah and this will then make them feel ashamed to show their own aurah. Also let them know what they should not see inside the bedroom they should not see outside the bedroom. Its like whatever happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom kinda thing.
  •  Outside the household, manage the gaze. They should know by now what is shameful for them to see and what is not. When we see adverts of those not covering their aurah, tell them to lower their gaze and switch view for a moment until it's gone.
  • Avoid chattering and gossiping. Yes yes yes we all know about this but sometimes we make an effort to get out of the house to meet up with people just to gossip. So, do our best to avoid this! If you can't restrain yourself from gossiping, then avoid the people you know that would talk bad about others. Choose your friends wisely as it teaches them to choose their friends too.      
 How to teach them to socialise?
  • Socialising can be taught by letting them watch TV. We shouldn't stop them from watching TV or internet. Observe what they are watching, if they like those violent shows, watch with them and tell them why is it wrong to destroy the buildings. How real is all this destroying and killing people. Tell them and talk to them to instill a different perspective as how the TV is instilling it into them. When we STOP them from watching their favourite shows, they will find the need to watch it more and will go out of their way to watch it. So, best not to refrain them from watching TV or using the internet. Teach them to use it wisely.
Again and again, you are the best example to SHOW them how they should bring themselves up in this world. When they do anything wrong, reflect on yourself. How much gadget have you been using around them? Where are they when you are performing your solat? Have you been covering your aurah around them for them to understand that it is wrong to see other people's aurah? So, START WITH YOURSELF FIRST. Insha'Allah, the parenting will be a breeze for you. Sometimes we want to impose things onto our kids that we ourselves can't keep up with. DO OUR BEST to be the example in the household. 

I pray that Allah make it a breeze for us to care for our children according to the Quran and Sunnah. When we feel we are at lost, grab the Quran and start back from the beggining, Insha'Allah, we can't be wrong at educating our kids the right way. May Allah bless all of you for the efforts you have been putting in to care for his Amanah. Amin ya Rabbalalamin! 

Insha'Allah, I shall continue on Mufti Menk's talk in the near future. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hajj Pilgrimage : The Plan

‎This is one journey that I want to have in my memory.... forever! Ok, other than the birth of my children and their growing up stage and some other random stuff. But *this* right here, is an event that I will never want to forget! Inshaa'Allah.

It's best for me to start from the beginning, right? So, how did we even plan on going for Hajj? Well, we didn't really. See, every year during Ramadhan we will get flyers being sent to our house for Umrah and Hajj packages. Of course during that month you would only want to read sacred things and that is considered as one of them. As I was going through the Umrah packages for year 2011, I told Iskandar how it would be amazing to bring the kids for Umrah as we have visited Malaysia and a few other countries. It'd be nice for them to step foot in Mekah at such an early age. Iskandar, being the thinker and "financer" in the family was not too keen with my plan. So I thought how cheapo can my husband be! Yes the umrah packages aren't as cheap as going for holiday to Malaysia, it was double the price. I gave him the chance to explain his points. Then he said, "why not we do the mandatory first before taking the kids for Umrah". It didn't occur to me that he meant Hajj. He then suggested for us to save up for Hajj and try to do it as soon as possible. 

Hajj was not something I talk about everyday. Haha Duh! But you know what I mean. Hajj is looked at as an Ibadah for the elderly rather than youngsters. Of course we don't talk about it until we are about 40 years old, at least. So when my husband suggested Hajj, I had to ask "Are we even allowed to go?" because in Malaysia we'd have to wait for our name to be called before we can do Hajj with Tabung Haji. ‎Iskandar then showed me the price list for Hajj and how to go about booking it. Obviously the procedure of booking it is the same as booking any other holiday, at least in the UK. 

Without hesitating, I agreed to his plan and started planning on how much we have to save monthly in order to reach our goal. Truth be told, he wasn't earning a lot (+-£1500/month) and with one income we really had to make sure we took everything into consideration. Some way some how, after we have decided on going for hajj we were receiving funds from various source. At this time we haven't even told anyone about our plan. But money was coming in non stop. Alhamdulillah. We manged to save up at least £3000 within 4 months. The ticket per person was approximately £4000. I was so optimistic that we will be able to get the whole sum before the booking date.

Then we started telling our parents the plan to make sure there will be someone to babysit the kids. The initial plan was for my parents to come over to the UK to look after the kids since it'll be cheaper that way. However, we had to change all the plans when we found out we had to move to Malaysia for good. The plan from then on became bumpy and distorted! Everything we planned wasn't going OUR way!

To be continued.....

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Khalid's (parents) experience with UK and Malaysia's nursery.

Before I start blogging any further, let me just clarify that this is just my PERSONAL experience. Not in anyway am I belittling Malaysia education. However, I really hope that these issues are being looked and implemented at all nurseries in the near future insha'Allah. 

Let me start with Khalid's experience in his UK nursery. For those of you who didn't know, Khalid was sent to a Government funded Islamic Nursery in Leicester. This means it is a free education paid for by the government. When we first sent him to the nursery, we had to attend an open day which talks about their goals on the school, teachers, parents and students. Its main focus was on students achievement. When I say student achievement, I am not talking about how many A's they should get or even how much they need to know beforehand. No, that wasn't their main focus. Khalid started school when he just turned 3 years old. In the UK, the intake starts in September, so the child has to turn 3 by August just before the intake. So that makes Khalid 3 years 3 months-ish when he started school. During the open day, the teacher told us that they do not expect the kids to know anything at all. Parents were NOT allowed to compare their child's progression to another child's. To them, every child is unique. They also said that the age difference mattered on how much a child needs to know. For example, there could be children who are 3 years 5 months, and every single DAY of their life they are experiencing new things therefore they could be more advanced than Khalid who just turned 3. Basically, when they give homework, they do not expect perfect work, they expect SCRIBBLES. 

Homeworks were given so that the parents can connect with the child rather than to compete with other children. Like Khalid, he gets excited when he gets his homework bag every Friday, because he knows the weekend will be full concentration on him trying to figure out how to do his homework. However, being an Asian Mother, I didn't know what the teachers were expecting (even after being briefed at the open day ;). Forcing him to do the correct way was the only way I wanted to go. I wouldn't accept scribbles because to me, that isn't the right way to do it. Alhamdulillah I managed to attend one of the parents teacher's day which his teacher showed us his school work and it was  mostly scribbles. To them, he was learning something even if it means to just "hold a pencil". Every little detail that Khalid did was looked at as "brilliant work". He gets "MashaAllah" stickers for a straight line which was supposed to be a colouring task. His school  exercises were never looked at as "rubbish", it was something more and only people with patience could view the true meaning of it. Fast forward the time, Khalid has learnt so much even ADDITIONS at such a young age. However in order for him to ADD he would normally subtract first. I have no idea why, but that is how he learns. We didn't stop him from his way of learning because to us that is a unique or rather more confusing way, but if he can do it, Alhamdulillah. School was a breeze for him. He loved it and particularly looked forward to "homework bag".

Dont worry, not his everyday look ;)
Now, let me share about his Nursery in Malaysia. His current nursery is Islamic and Malay Language based, you know, one of those "cheap nursery". The reason we wanted a Malay nursery was because we are not that fluent with Malay Language. Yes we can do rojak, but when it comes to proper Malay, sorry to say we are not that good. So we thought it is better for him to learn Malay from school and English insha'Allah he can learn from us. I see no necessity to send him to English based school (which I have heard from a few friends, their kids still come home speaking in Malay). Alhamdulillah, just yesterday I heard him talking to his friend... in English. Nonetheless, this friend of his understood what he was saying but replied to him in Malay. This is good because as much as he needs to learn Malay, his friends can also learn English from him insha'Allah. Kids catch up easily and I think it is good that we expose him to such a school because he can learn a lot, not only the basic school education but also about people around him. Alhamdulillah he is not judgmental against those who doesn't speak English. To him English is just a language and he learnt it in the UK.

So that was his friends. Let's find out about the teachers, shall we? When I registered Khalid in school I told the administrator that he only speaks English and can understand Malay. Alhamdulillah they were accommodating and put him in a class with a teacher who's been there for 16 years apparently. Therefore she knows how to educate and speak English. Of course I don't expect fluent British English. But yes, the teacher does speak English. If not a whole sentence at least a bit. One thing about Malaysian education is that, one teacher teaches ALL subject. Unlike in the UK, they make the kids go to different classes with different teachers for each and every subject. I asked his current teacher why is it that the kids have to be in the same class with the same teacher ALL THE TIME? In their defense, when the kids are "comfortable" with one teacher, they don't wanna shift about. It will be a hassle because they're not used to other teachers and will start crying. Now I understand why some of us do not dare to do public speaking. We were not exposed to different faces when we were young and was being mould by familiar faces. 
In UK however, they have different teachers for each subjects AND the children are taught to do a presentation once a week, this is called show & tell day. What they do is, they have the kids to bring things that are being discussed for the week. For example if they are learning about colours, the kids have to probably bring their favourite toys and show to their friends and tell as much as they could about the toy. No doubt the teacher will prompt them, but they will slowly get the flow and just want to talk. Hence Khalid's very outgoing and talkative behaviour. So when it comes to school nasheed or performances, the kids won't have any sort of stage fright because they are used to perform/present.

As for homework, yes Asians are Asians. We are such perfectionists when it comes to doing homework. We want nothing but A stars! Typically, Khalid got some feedback from his homework (as seen in picture). In a way, I was glad that the teacher 'wrote' something back at least I know my child's progression. BUT, I didn't take account the effect on him. I read out the teacher's comments and he was taken aback by the comments. To him, he's done his best! So, I had to explain to him that it is okay and he can work harder. Alhamdulillah, with the feedback he did work harder. He tried and tried so many times to get the 'correct' way of writing. When he finished his work, he said "I hope my teacher love my work because I did it the right way." I was anxious to get back his homework and read the feedback. As soon as he got the homework back, he said "how did I do Mommy? Did my teacher say I did it good?" Alhamdulillah there were stars, but the stars were the same as his first homework anyway. Thankfully, he didn't remember. He was glad that he got stars and all answers were ticked rather than crossed or wrote over it. Even though I am glad he is writing nicely and could do his homework better, I am scared for him. He was once a playful lad who would just play non stop and learn from playing. Like talking to himself, imagining things etc but now, he asks me for pencils and workbooks. As much as it is good, I DO NOT want him to become book clever. There is so much he can learn from exploring. So now I have to limit his workbook and only let him do work when he has homework. Alhamdulillah now he is good enough for his age and I don't want to take his childhood away from him.
So, there you go. This is my experience with these particular schools. I am not generalising with the whole of Malaysia nurseries! There may be better ones which are more expensive and this is my point, education should be standardised in some ways. Alhamdulillah I managed to gain some experience working in childcare settings and most of it are similar to Khalid's nursery in the UK. These comparisons that I am making doesn't need extra money from either the parents or nurseries. These type of learning skills or activities can easily be incorporated with those already being implemented in school. It is just a matter of improvising the needs. So, let's make a change! Let's suggest this type of activity to your child's nursery. Get the children to learn to speak for once and not spoken to all the time. It is amazing what our children can come out with. We need to teach them to talk when they want to and not only when they are upset. Insha'Allah, this will only make them a better child rather than not. ;)