Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Skytrex Adventure Park.

As I get older, my fear of height worsened. And I found out today, some of the homeschooling parents are facing similar problems. What is it with age and fear?? Haissshhh....so that was the main reason why I deliberated for a long time before deciding to join the trip to Skytrex Adventure Park.
Among all my kids, Emily fears the height most. And thinking that I need to support her, I decided to do the obstacle with her (what was I thinking???). We parked our car at the parking lot and took the shuttle bus to go into the park. Kids were roaring to go.
The address:
Taman Pertanian Malaysia
Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam
40000 Shah Alam
Selangor Darul Ehsan

If u r using GPS, u most likely cannot find the park. Try to look for Jalan Liku 8/1. Once u reach the street, u can use the sign board to guide u to the park.
The map. We did the Little Adventure Obstacle Course. Start with the easiest lah kaaannn?? ;-)
If u r  from a more adventurous species, u can start with the more advanced challenges ;-)
There's no age limit. Children must be 1.1 meters and above. Those kids below 10yo will need an adult to go up with them.  As long as they know how to follow instruction & the safety procedures they should be OK.

Since we went in a group, we got the 10% discount. After 10% discount the cost is RM$31.50/person (includes 10% discount). Park entrance fee: Adults: RM$ 3/person and Children RM$ 1/person.  

Getting ready. She was a bit nervous. I was freakinggggg nervous.
 All ready to go. It helps that we went in a group. At least she know some of the kids were nervous like her.
Some kids were pretty restless by this time. Why is the briefing so long?? When can we start?? ahaksss....talk about kids' fearlessness. Patienceeeeee kiddos ;-)

The most important thing is kids need to know how to lock and unlock their pulley and carabiner. If tehy can get that, the rest should be OK. The rules are pretty simple.
And the action begins. Flying fox.
Emily in action. Facing her fear head on. Kudos girl!! ;-)
The last leg going across the lake. She actually did the flying fox twice. Coz now it's not scary anymore. It's actually FUN!! :-)
Other obstacles.

It was very interesting to observe some kids are really fearless. These are the dare-devils. U taught them to hold tightly to their landyard while doing the flying fox and they just went on with their arm free. Enjoying the ride and laughing their hearts out.

Some were more cautious and nervous. This includes Emily. But interestingly, once they completed the challenge, they decided to try again. And again. She actually did all the obstacles without me. Closely guided by other HS parents. Coz I was busy with other smaller kids. I was told she actually asked one of the HS parents whether she can quit...hahaha. But really, once u r up there, u cannot quit. U have to complete the whole thing and get down ;-)

As for me, I survived. Without embarassing myself infront of the kids...ahakss..actually it was not too bad. I actually had fun. Not too sure whether I will still have fun doing the intermediate/advance challenge though ;P

Happy faces. Kids clowning around.

We had fun ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Global Screening of One Day on Earth & Sun Bears.

Initially, the plan was to do nothing on Sunday and continue the spring cleaning. For some reason (READ; pushy woman dragging half sleepy husband on Sunday morning), we ended up here. It was definitely more interesting and exciting than dealing with piles of stuffs at home. Spring cleaning can wait. It never ends anyway ;P
There were events lined up throughout the week to raise awareness and educate the public about environment.
On Sunday, there were lectures and exhibitions on various environmental issues. But the highlight of the event was the global screening of One day on Earth. On April 22, 2012, the film was screened for free in more than 160 countries. Due to the global time differences, Malaysia was one of the earliest country to watch the movie yesterday.
It was a remarkable snapshot of our planet that was shot in every country of the world on 10.10.2010. It's about how different mind, different view, different thoughts are interconnected.

On 10.10.10;
-the earth travelled 26,000 km
-26.3% of world population is under 14 years old
-there's 1300 known style of music
-260,000 people met their spouses
-130,000 couples were married
-there were 8 million living species on earth
-every 20 minutes, a species went extinct
-30% of earth land mass is used to raise livestock
-648 million kg of poultry & meats were produced
-72 billion product crossed international borders
-4 trillion USD is in circulation
-over 172 billion USD were spent
-3.5 million tonnes of waste were produced
-350.org mobilized 7000 activities around the globe to reduce carbon emission
-average human heart beat 100,000 times
-1.3 billion people didn't have access to clean water
-45% of world population lives on less than USD$2.50
-10 million people were held in incarceration
-the average person has 60,000 ideas
-45 countries were involved in military conflict
-154,000 people died
-more than 90,000 people exceed their life expectancy

Watching the film captures those facts at different part of the world blows me away. It was really beautiful. There were happy moments. Sadness and grief. Issues to be dealt with. War. Crisis.etc.etc.

There was a story of Nina, a little girl from France who's taking a train to see her mom. And a Netherland boy who exceeded his life expectancy and celebrated his 10th birthday. And an Iranian man whose kid was just hit by a car the day before, and left him with expenses that he bearely can take. And a teenage African girl who insisted to go to school.

There were few snippets of Dalai Lama. One of my favorite quotes ;
Prayer alone cannot bring peace. Prayer alone cannot produce a better world. Peace depends on our action. Dalai Lama.

A Brazillian woman was quoted saying; For life to be precious, u must perceive life as precious. So true. We take so much for granted. Out of ignorance and convenience.

It helps u understand diversity. Everything depends on everything. The interconnectedness.And whatever we do creates a ripple in the cosmos. No action is too small. You can read the interview with the creators Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman & watch the trailer here.

The other highlight was the lecture on Sun Bears by Dr Wong Siew Te from The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah.
There's very little fact known about Sun Bear. They can only be found in South East Asia. Sometime it's also known as Malayan Sun Bear.
 Dr Wong Siew Te.
We learned few interesting facts about the animal. Each sun bear has a unique chest mark. No two chest marks is the same.  It's like our finger print. They are quite small in comparison to other types of bear. They have a very long tongue and sharp claws.
 Sun Bears are great climber too. A sun bear and it's cub climbing a tree to get the honey.
A beautiful example of interconnectedness. The sun bear dig the hole in the tree to get the honey. The hole was then used as a home for the horn bill.
We skipped the concert at the end because kids need to go for their horse riding lesson. After 5 lessons, some are making great progress with the horses. Some still don't like horse riding. 

The one who still hates horse riding. But loves playing with the horse nevertheless. I am hoping that he will continue with the lessons. He's very reluctant. But I have a theory. The interaction with the animal will help sooth the raging hormones of a teenager. We'll see.
Medina is still not comfortable feeding the horses. Need big brother to cover for her. Lucky u got big brother missy. But she's getting more comfortable with riding the horses. And she has been more discipline in persevering to the 30 minutes lesson too.
 After the riding lesson, kids hang out with their friends to watch the horse show.
It was a good day. And a very long day. I just feel I need another Sunday today. Can ahhh???!! ahaksss....somebody already self declared today is an off day for her.
She refused to go to school because she "think" she had stomach ache. I think she's just tired. So she is joining the homeschooling sister today. No surprise on the topic for today. They have been drawing endangered animals since morning. Starting with sun bears.

Sun bears and the cubs by Medina. The cub is using the long tongue to eat thermites on the trees. Sun bears are like a doctor. They eat thermites that kills the tree. By doing that they keep the tree in the forest healthy.
Save the Sun Bear by Emily. Sun Bears eat fruits like durian and disperse the seeds through their poops. They are an important seed dispersal agent that plant trees in the tropical forest.
Sun bear is currently threatened by habitat loss due to excessive logging, land conversion and habitat fragmentation. They are also threatened by poachers, hunting and trading of bear parts and illegal petting. You can support the conservation activities by spreading the word. Help them raise fund. Do what u do best to help out. In whatever ways. You can get more info about Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre here.

Have a great week ahead ;-)

Organic Container Gardening

I hate doing groceries. And I hate it more when half of the veggies I bought will not be fresh anymore by midweek. And I have come to realize that maybe it's almost impossible for me to get a bungalow with a decent plot of land now. I used to dream we will have a small garden that can sustain our family needs. The price of that kind of house with that kind of land is atrocious nowadays. So maybe, I have to make do with whatever I have now. The concrete balcony. And do something like this ;-)
Both my parents and my parents-in-law are from agriculture background. So Mr O really cannot understand why I have to spend money and my whole Saturday to learn about gardening.
Errrmmm...errmmm.....well....maybe it's easier to learn from an outsider?? OR maybeeee I just need an excuse?? Just give me a break lah kan?? Once in a while, time away from u and the kiddos can be really therapeutic u know....wakakaka (quickly duck under the table!!!) ;-)

Anyway, I was here last Saturday. Pieces, No 15 Jalan Mesui, Off Jalan Nagasari, KL. I followed my GPS blindly and reached the place pretty early. Was so proud of myself for not getting lost ;-)
The registration counter. Shao-Lyn and Juergen from Eats,Shoots & Roots hard at work.
Pieces is a furniture boutique. They hoard junks and turn them into gems. There were some really nice stuffs there. Open by appointment.
There were about 20 of us. I feel much better after I found out most of the participants are quite a noob in gardening ;-)
The first lecture is by Ms Tan from CETDEM. She went through the basics with us. Soil management, composting, crop rotation, fertilization, mulching, regeneration of the soil etc etc.
But what I like most about her session was when she explained the whole concept of organic gardening. Organic gardening is not just about health. It helps u discover your relationship with nature.And it teach u to be a better you. Okay...I am feeling so ZEN right now...wakakaka ;-)

The next session was done by Sabina from Eats, Shoots & Roots. She went through the concept of container gardening and how it can be done without a land.
Practical sessions. Mixing the soil.
Stuffs that go into the soil mixture.
Making sure the soil mixture is moist enough. Squeeze until u get a drop of water.
 Preparing the container from plastic bottle.

Done. Let's see whether this mint will grow in my balcony ;-)
Other type of container gardening. Rain gutter.
Bigger mineral water container.
Self watering system. Completely DIY.
Full view of the self watering container gardening system.
 Pests. Mealybugs. Aphids.
We finished around 5.30pm. I learned so much. Time to put the knowledge into practise huh???!! I think my key takeaways from the training session is I must start. But start small. And build up from there.

There are many types of vegetables that can be easily grown in a container. Kangkung, bak choy, spinach, tomato, sweet potato, lemon grass, garlic, loofah, lettuce, ginger apparently grows very well in container. OKAY...maybe easy for them but not for me...hahaha.  Nevermind...must have faith.... let's do it ;-)