Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kids Cooking School in Penang

Makers Shakers BakersMakers Shakers Bakers is a cooking school for kids and adults that recently opened for business in Tanjung Bungah Hillside. Cooking is an important skill to learn right up there with reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. Teach your kids how to cook when they are young, and they'll be capable of feeding themselves something more elaborate than sandwiches or instant noodle soup when they finally become independent and move out. If you're really lucky, they'll be such fast learners that you can start delegating the family meals to them while they're still in the house. One of my boys has practically memorized the Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream recipe and can make it without any help. The day when I realized that I could sit back and order my offspring to make me homemade ice cream was a rather awesome day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

School Field Trips Malaysia-style

Do you remember your school field trips from your childhood? Those stand out moments of the academic year when your class explored what your town had to offer. It was like a mini-vacation for a day. If you normally walked to school, this was your chance to ride the big, yellow school bus. Make sure your parents sign the permission slip. No homework the night before. Bring a sack lunch. And always stay with your buddy!

school field trip, Malaysia
Middle School students go white water rafting in Malaysia with Nomad Adventure
Photo credit: Nomad Adventure

My kids have been on some rather incredible field trips since we've moved to Penang. Time after time, I keep thinking, "This would never happen in Texas."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Learning by Playing in Penang at Kidland

Penang, kids activities
Putting out the fire

The moment I heard about KidLand opening in Penang, I immediately knew my daughter would love it. Various activity centers let kids play at adult careers such as being a firefighter or scientist. Staff members guide children through each of the activities to ensure that they get the maximum educational experience instead of just running around randomly. All the while, the kids are having fun, fun, fun. It's the same concept as the popular KidZania in Kuala Lumpur except without all the corporate sponsorship and advertising.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Family Trip Tips: Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, Cambodia with Kids

Ta Prohm
The kids explore Ta Prohm - The Tomb Raider temple

Siem Reap, Cambodia is #9 on TripAdvisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Destinations in the World. Planning our trip was easy since so many expat families in Penang visit there that I could pick up a ton of suggestions while hanging out at the school playground. Knowing that many friends had successful family trips to Angkor Wat and surrounding attractions appeased any worries I had about taking the kids to such an exotic location in a developing country. In case if you don't have a cadre of travelers to Cambodia available to you, here are their ideas.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chiang Mai's Golden Temple on the Hill

Wat Phra That is the crown jewel of Chiang Mai's temples. Perched high above the city on the summit of Doi Suthep mountain, most tourists refer to is as "Wat Doi Suthep." Its signature golden spire and filigree umbrellas glitter in the sunlight, and the surrounding temple complex is filled with gorgeous, intricate Lanna art and architecture.

Chiang Mai, Golden temple

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Who's the Fairest of them All?

Sunny beaches and tropical breezes. That's Penang for you. For most Westerners, one of the best souvenirs of a stay on the island is a bronze glow, a golden tan, and the potential for skin cancer. Not so for the locals. In Malaysia, as well as much of Asia, being fair and white is the preferred complexion.

It's as if a culture's beauty standards purposely mess with people's minds by idealizing the hardest attribute to attain. Most Malays and Indians have medium to dark skin. Beauty ads here tempt them to make it fairer. Most white people are...well... white. The beauty ideal for them in the West is tan.
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