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Dec 16, 2006

buying workbooks for your kids

Schools will reopen in two weeks. Parents will be busy buying textbooks and workbooks for their kids. And this means it's going to burn holes in their pockets. Hence, buying the right books (meaning good quality of books) are important. You don't want to spend your money buying books with lotsa typo errors, incorporating the outdated syllabus and have poor quality of questions.

As a professional (not that I'm good but this is one of my main source of income) educational writer and a private tutor for many years, I'm going to share with you parents on buying workbooks from certain publishers for cetain subjects.

1. Most importantly, get the past years questions (soalan-soalan tahun lepas) from Cerdik Publications. The publisher has the rights to publish the real past years exam papers from UPSR to SPM. Go to your nearest bookshops and they will assist you.

2. Bahasa Melayu - Sasbadi books (both KOMSAS, Tatabahasa and Pemahaman) are the most realiable. You can also use Oxford Fajar Bakti.

3. English - Pearson Longman used to be very good but in recent years Penerbit Mega Setia Emas is doing a good job. If you intend to buy English Literature books for your kids, you can look out for Setia Emas' Baby Steps series.

4. Science - Oxford Fajar Bakti is good. Their reference books is highly recommended compare to Sasbadi. Note: becarefully if you are buying Year 5 or Form 5 Science books. Some publisher did not follow the latest syllabus because it was the consequence of a rushed production. Choose your books carefuly.

5. Mathematics - Pelangi is the expert in this subject. So get their Math books. Note: becareful if you are buying Year 5 or Form 5 Math books. Some publishers did not follow the latest syllabus. For example a workbook published by Oxford Fajar Bakti made mistake in their last couple of chapters. Then there's another publisher called B* Publisher. The writer from this publisher couldn't even form proper sentences and the editor did nothing to correct the mistake. I complained to the owner of Bookway, PJ, and I don't see the book the next day. The bookshop owner told me a school (in PJ i think) actually chose B* Publisher's series to be used in 2007.

6. For arts subjects like Sejarah and Geografi, you can consider to buy reference books from Sasbadi or Oxford Fajar Bakti. As for workbooks, you can trust the books published by the above publishers.

7. As fo science subjects like Chemistry, Physics, etc, you can also rely on Oxford Fajar Bakti's reference books. You can also trust the workbooks published by the above publishers. Marshall Cavendish is okay as well.

How come I didn't mention publishers like Preston, Info Didik, etc? Well, it's not because their books are no good but the publishers mentioned above are more reliable.

Hopefully this simple guideline will help you in getting good quality workbooks for you kids and of course have your money well spent.

Dec 14, 2006

7 changes I would like to see on the amazing race

Be it the US or the Asian edition, there are a few changes I would like to see on the show.

  1. There's a lack of transparency in the non-elimination leg. The producers can eliminate or not eliminate whoever they want. For example, if I'm not wrong, BJ & Tyler from season 9 survived twice from being eliminated and eventually won. In the Asian edition, it's very clear that the producers would like to keep "favourites" Sandy & Francesca from being eliminated in the first round.
  2. I wonder why must there be models on The Amazing Race (TAR) and The Amazing Race Asia (TARA)? There are a lot of beautiful people out there and they are not necessary models.
  3. Choosing Allan Wu as the host of TARA is obviously a mistake. This guy is so stiff and fake. If you watch AXN Xtreme Macau, the host Alex Niu, in my humble opinion, did a better job than Allan. Well, there's no way to regret now. Looking at the success of TARA probably we just have to accept him and see some improvement over time.
  4. I'm glad that season 10 omitted the "strip all cash" from contestants who survived the non-elimination leg. TARA should stop stripping cash too in the future season because I think begging people for money isn't very nice.
  5. The contestants rely too much on the locals and taxi drivers to bring them to places instead of self-navigation. Perhaps the producers should implement new rule to disallow locals to ride or join the contestants in their car. I prefer to watch contestants display their navigation skill rather than paying taxi drivers to bring them to places.
  6. There are too many advertisement and product placement in the recent TAR. As for TARA, we can see them every week from Ford to Sony Walkman MP3 and MSN. During the last leg on TARA, contestant need to take a picture of their partner while performing the jump at Sky Tower with Sony Ericsson Cybershot camera. And the week before, teams have to record a video with Sony HD Cam.
  7. I hope to see alliance being formed in TARA. I'm not sure why no teams form alliance to oust the others. It will be more fun than seeing teams minding their own business. The Six Packs alliance (Cho bros, Kentucky and Alabama) of season 10 did a great job and went really far.

Dec 13, 2006

Rain World Tour in KL

This should be the most anticipated concert of the year.

Date and Time: 27 JAN 2007 SAT 8PM
Venue: Stadium Merdeka, K.L.
Ticket Prices:
VIP RM750, Numbered Seating RM500, RM400, RM300, Free Seating RM200, RM130, RM80

Most of my friends thought Rain's concert is for muimui chai (young girls). There is also a friend who doesn't even know who Rain is. And luckily my sister (who's just two years younger than me) is interested (so are her friends). In fact, she's the one who suggest us to go.

There's no way I'm going to miss Rain's concert! If you see him often on TVBS Entertainment News or on MTV's TRL earlier this year, you know he's a charismatic performer. And oh yeah, he definitely can sing too! Unless you have been living under the shell or ignorant about the Korean pop culture, you know this is the concert that you don't want to miss this year.

So far there's no confirmation about the seating plan or where to get the tickets. Hopefully, there'll be more information soon.

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