Thursday, September 22, 2016

Message from PA 2016/2017 committee

It has been a great pleasure to welcome you all back to school. Hope you have all settled into a routine.

We started off the year with our 1st Coffee Morning. A meet and greet with Ian Temple, new Campus Principal and his team. Despite the rain, many more parents turned up than expected, all eagerly awaiting what Ian Temple has in store for us. The new PA 2016/2017 team also had a chance to introduce themselves.

Immediately after this coffee morning, the TIS PA committee got down to planning lots of activities for you parents. First up, social media. We started off by creating a new Facebook group - Tenby Int School SEP Parents' Association. This closed group was set up 2 weeks ago and have been well received. The group is for our school family, hoping that it will help foster togetherness while encouraging diversity in school so that we can build a supportive community. Click here to join us.

For new (and some old) parents, we would like to introduce you to our other Facebook group - TIS-SEP Preloved Book and Uniform, which promotes recycling of books and uniforms, either by giving them away or selling them off. Click here to join this closed group. After you have submitted a request to join this group, do send us an email ( with details of your child's name and class. We will then approve your request to join.

That's not all, We also have in the works, a spanking new PA website! It will be launched soon! Can't wait for it!

Lots of things are already being worked on for the next 2 months. We will announce them when the time comes on our Facebook group - Do join us, so that you don't miss out on what's in store.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

TENBY's 2nd ECO FAIR, 19th & 20th May 2016

Something exciting is always happening at Tenby, Setia Eco Park!

        Tenby's 2nd Eco Fair
        19th and 20th May 2016
        10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
        Tenby Square and Senior Cafeteria

Come join us and discover a greener planet in a mobile planetarium; there will be sales of eco souvenirs and organic produce and other fun filled activities!

GOING GREEN, ECO-FRIENDLY, ENVIRONMENTAL CONCIOUSNESS and the 3Rs ♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻♻

In recent years, "going green" and eco-friendly" have become the buzz words in society. But do we understand their true meanings? Being eco-friendly simply means adopting a lifestyle that contributes towards a better ecosystem - nothing that harms the environment. It's about taking small steps towards Mother Earth to make it a better place for the community and its future generations. Green living is the practice of conserving resources like water and energy. When we are aware of what these terminologies mean, we can work effectively towards environmental conciousness.

How do we contribute towards being more eco-friendly?
  • Conserving natural resources like water and energy
  • Walking more and driving less to reduce carbon footprint
  • Eating locally grown vegetables
  • Creating less waste
  • Planting more trees

The 3Rs are at the heart of the "Go Green" global movement. The 3Rs in environmental concerns denote the elements Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Our natural resources are not inexhaustible, and our often unkind activities have had a profound effect on Mother Earth, affecting climate change. By employing the 3Rs strategy, we aim to care for our environment, ultimately working towards a zero-waste nation.

Why practise the 3Rs?

  • Protect the environment
  • Conserve limited resources
  • Save energy
  • Reduce space needed for waste disposal facilities

So let's do a reality check on our lifestyles and opt for choices that make environmental sense. Waste management is a civic responsibilty. Together, we can make a difference - for a greener and more sustainable future. ♻

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Mothers are God's greatest gift to humanity,
They are akin to angels bequethed to us from heaven above.
They carried us in their wombs, enduring hours of pain in labour with nary a complain.
They have a heart that's bigger than life,
Putting our happiness before their own,
loving us unconditionally.
They're our first teachers, our beacon of light,
Always guiding, always nurturing, always encouraging.
They're our Helpline 24 hours a day,
Doing what they do with a smile and zero judgement.
A mother's journey is long and arduous,
Each day brings a new beginning, and new challenges.
Through it all, she loves us and endeavours by her kind precepts to dissipate the clouds of darkness.
So let us honour mothers the world over,
For the wonderful, selfless beings that they truly are.
Respect them, love them, cherish them,
For mothers are more valuable than precious jewels, they are the keys of life!
Thank you, mothers, for your gifts;
Gifts of life and love; gifts of tenacity and strength, you are...

~Julia Oh

Happy Mother's Day to the supermums and to all who assume the roles of mothers in their absence.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tenby Schools SEP Parents' Association wishes everyone an ultimate year of robust health, joyful exuberance, abundant opportunities and lavish opulence. May your Monkey days be filled with beautiful moments and memorable experiences...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

CHINESE NEW YEAR - History, Traditions and Cultural Beliefs

CHINESE NEW YEAR…it's here! it's here! 
2016 - Year of the Monkey

Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival. It signifies the end of winter and remains the most important and celebrated social festival for the Chinese all over the world. Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and lasts for 15 days; it generally falls somewhere in the period from January 21 to February 20. 
On Chinese New Year, everyone turns a year older, regardless of when you were born: it is kind of like a national birthday!

2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey, the 9th animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and the statutory holidays for this year is on February 8 and 9.

CHINESE ZODIAC…How did it it all begin?

The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve signs and is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is based on the cycles of the moon, unlike the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar cycle.

According to legend, the Jade Emperor (Ruler of Heaven in Chinese mythology) called for a meeting of all the animals that inhabited the Earth. The Jade Emperor's decree stated that all animals would cross a river in The Great Race, and each animal's position in the race would determine their order in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. He ordained that the first 12 animals to arrive would be designated as calendar signs and also as guards of the Heavenly Gate, so they could take turns on duty in order to prevent deities from secretly descending to Earth. 

On the day of The Great Race, the strong, hardworking Ox was in the lead, when the crafty Rat jumped onto the Ox's back for a free ride across the river. When they were about to reach the shore, the Rat quickly got off and scampered ahead to shore, winning the race! The Ox came in second, the Tiger third, and so it went! The happy-go-lucky Pig took his own sweet time and came in last. And so the Chinese Zodiac and its twelve signs were born, in the following order:-
  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Sheep
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

Then comes SHOPPING!

In preparation for the festival, homes are thoroughly cleaned to rid them of "huiqi," or inauspicious aura, which may have accumulated over the past year. Cleaning was also meant to appease the gods who would descend from heaven to make inspections. An unkempt and dirty home would be denied blessings from the Gods!

After the cleaning, people will go shopping to buy new clothes and decorations for their homes. Donning new clothing symbolises welcoming of new beginnings in the new year.


Chinese New Year is the celebration of a cumulative year of hard work, and also to herald a lucky and prosperous new year. Many businesses wind down and come to a grinding halt, to focus on home and family. Preceded by the Reunion Dinner on new year's eve, families of several generations sit down to a hearty feast and enjoy social time together. Round tables are preferred for their significance to unity. Traditionally hosted by the matriarch of the family, she labours hard over the stove for days on end to prepare auspicious-sounding dishes, to welcome the family members home. These days, modern lifestyle takes it a notch higher; many families prefer to dine at restaurants and hotels for the fuss-free convenience. To usher in happiness, prosperity and health, here are some dishes typically enjoyed at a Reunion Dinner because of their symbolic meanings:-

  • Yee Sang (Raw Fish) - symbolises abundance, prosperity and vigour
  • Abalone - "Pau Yue," for definite good fortune
  • Chicken - served whole, it signifies prosperity, joy and family unity
  • Fish - "Yu," to symbolise abundance and surplus
  • Prawns - "Ha," for laughter, signifying happiness, liveliness and well-being
  • Longevity noodles - to symbolize long life. The   noodles are served uncut, as to cut the length of   the noodles signify shortening the length of one's life!
  • Oyster - "Ho Si," which means good things
  • Niangao (Glutinous Rice Cake) - to attain greater advancement towards higher positions, and step by step towards prosperity
  • Black Moss - "Fatt Choi," - wealth
  • Lettuce - prosperity; Lettuce roll - prospective pregnancy
  • Clams - opening of new horizons
  • Glutinous Rice - cohesion of family. (Rice is one of the Twelve Symbols of Sovereignty, the rest being Sun, Moon, Constellation of Three Stars, Mountain, Dragon, Pheasant, Two Goblets, Seaweed, Fire, Axe head and Fu symbol)
  • Gingko nuts - "Bai guo," for its representation of silver and wealth because of its shape which is similar to an ingot
  • Water chestnut - unity
  • Lotus seed - "Lian xi," for (many) male offsprings and a full wallet

RED…is everywhere!
Setting off Firecrackers - Goodbye Old Year, Hello New Year!

CNY is almost always associated with the colour red. Homes and shopping malls are punctuated by flashes of red.. Red couplets, Red packets, Red lucky message scrolls, Red decorations, Red firecrackers, and.. wait for it...RED UNDERWEAR! Yes, you read it right! Red underwear is a must for people born in the year of the Monkey, to ward off back luck and misfortune! 

Firecrackers. One either loves them or hates them. Do you know why it has been the tradition to set off firecrackers at the turn of CNY? (And this WOULD coincide with that moment when we have just stepped foot in Snoozeland!) Well, it was believed that the deafening sounds would ward off evil spirits. Did you also know that there is a sequence to it? Start off with one string of small firecrackers, followed by three big firecrackers. This is said to symbolize "sounding out" the old year, then "sounding in" the new  year. The louder the three firecrackers, the better and luckier it will be for businesses in the coming year!

Adults give them, Kids (and the adults who opt out of matrimony!) LOVE them!
Hongbaos or red packets are synonymous with Chinese New Year. Hongbao is a gift of money inserted into small, red festive envelopes; and are given to kids by their parents, grandparents and others as a token of good wishes during auspicious occasions such as during Chinese New Year celebrations and at weddings. They are called hongbao in Mandarin and lai see in Cantonese.

The amount of lucky money should be in denominations of even numbers as they are considered lucky and auspicious. The Cantonese and Hokkien commonly practise giving hongbaos in pairs to children of close relatives as tradition has it that good things come in pairs.

The Chinese regard red as a symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. The actual significance of the red packets is the red paper, NOT the money inside. The inclusion of money in red packets is hoped to bring more happiness and blessings to the receivers. It is considered ill-mannered to stare at visitors or to show too much eagerness at receiving hongbaos. Reticence is a reflection of good upbringing. It is also impolite to open a red packet in front of the giver. KIDS...TAKE NOTE!

…to observe or not to observe

  • Sharp utensils like scissors and knives are not used on Chinese New Year's day, to avoid "cutting off" your fortune! No needlework too as it is thought to lead to a depletion of wealth.
  • No sweeping or cleaning should be done on the first day as it is believed that good fortune will be swept away. All brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are kept away. In sweeping, it must always be swept inwards because superstition has it that to sweep the dirt out of your house by the front entrance, is to sweep away the good fortune of the family. 
  • No washing clothes on the first and second days of Chinese New Year as it is believed to wash away all the good luck. Likewise, it is taboo to wash your hair.
  • All debts are to be paid before the CNY, as debts carried forward means debtors will remain in debt throughout the following year.
  • Everyone should refrain from using unlucky words, especially the word "four," which in Chinese is "ssu" and is homophonic to death. References to the past are also avoided as the focus is on a great new beginning.
  • Crying is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so the young are tolerated and placated fastidiously!
  • Do not wear black or white articles of clothing, as these are deemed unlucky because of their association to the colours of mourning.
  • People should not eat porridge for breakfast on new year's day, as porridge was considered a "poor man's meal." No one wants to start off the year "poor," as this is a bad omen.
  • The rice jar should never be allowed to become empty. This causes anxiety and the cessation of cooking during the Chinese New Year is an ill omen.

Whether we choose to observe these beliefs or not, these traditions and customs are still widely practiced as they are a continuity with the past and lend an identity to a family's culture.

The 15-Day Celebration…

Chinese New Year is often a good opportunity for people to visit friends and relatives, and express well-wishes. In olden times, the young knelt down and offered tea and good wishes to the elders. In response, the older generation showered blessings and good fortune on the young with red packets. Today, it is acceptable to just greet, "Gong Xi Fa Cai!"

First day, Zhengyue 1 (Yuen Dan): Birthday of the Chicken
CNY begins on the new moon on the first day (Yuen Dan) of the first lunar month (Zhengyue) of the year, and ends on the 15th. The first day symbolises a fresh start in one's life, with renewed hopes for prosperity, wealth and happiness. Vegetarian is the preferred way to go on the first day, in honour of a Buddhist tradition that nothing living should be killed on this day. Abstaining from meat consumption is believed to help purify and cleanse the body, and enhance longevity.

According to legend, Nuwa (the goddess who created the Earth), created different animals over a seven-day period for companionship, which is why each of the first seven days of the New Year is also known as the birthday of a certain animal.  

Family gatherings are the main focus of the day; the oldest and most senior members of the family will be visited. This is often referred to as Bai nian. Visitors are welcomed with tea and sweet treats, which are thought to symbolise a sweet upcoming year. The serving tray has symbolic value too - a round tray for togetherness with eight varieties for luck and wealth, or nine for good fortune and family unity. It is considered impolite to visit someone "empty-handed," so do bear gifts like pineapple tarts, mandarin oranges, tangerines, abalone, etc…

Second day, Zhengyue 2: Birthday of Dog
The God of Wealth leaves for Heaven. Taoists burn the deity's picture to send him off, praying for a luckier and more prosperous year. In honour of the deity, people eat wontons (dumplings resembling ingots). Traditionally, on the second day, married women visit their birth parents to pay their respects. This is also the day to pray to their ancestors and to all the gods. As this is the birthday of the dog, pets and strays will be fed as well.

Third day, Zhengyue 3: Birthday of Pig
Fourth day, Zhengyue 4: Birthday of Sheep
The Third and Fourth Days of the CNY are dedicated to paying respect to deceased ancestors, and visiting their grave sites. Families who had lost an immediate relative within the last three years are discouraged from house visits: they will wait until the 5th day.

Fifth day, Zhengyue 5: Birthday of Ox
The 5th day of the CNY is regarded as the birthday of the God of Wealth. Visits to friends and relatives are resumed although it is considered unwise to leave the house for long periods of time, just in case the God of Wealth should pay a visit to the home! All businesses will typically reopen today.

Sixth day, Zhengyue 6: Birthday of Horse
More visits are made to relatives and friends, along with a trip to the temple.

Seventh day, Zhengyue 7: Birthday of Man
The seventh day is named Ren Ri, or Human Day. It is regarded as everybody's birthday! On this day, Nuwa sculpted man from yellow clay and breathed life into its form. In traditional China, individual birthdays were not celebrated; opting instead for a mass celebration on Ren Ri, when everybody turned a year older on this day!

Today, individual birthdays are increasingly common but the the Seventh Day is still an especially celebratory event, with family gatherings and dinners. 

Eighth day, Zhengyue 8: Completion Day
With the creation of the world complete, the Eighth Day is considered a mid-way point. The Fujian people traditionally have family reunion dinners, in preparation for offerings and prayers to the Jade Emperor at midnight.

Ninth  day, Zhengyue 9: Jade Emperor's Birthday
The birthday of the Jade Emperor is highly revered in Taoism, as he is the God and Ruler of all Heavens (over 30 in chinese beliefs!), Earth and Underworld, Creator of the Universe, Emperor of the Universe, and Lord of the Imperial Court. 

Tenth to Twelfth Day
More visiting and feasting.

Thirteenth Day
After nearly two weeks of celebratory feasting, the Thirteenth Day is time to exercise some culinary restraint! Congee and mustard greens are traditionally eaten, as they are thought to cleanse the digestive system.

Fourteenth Day: Lantern Decoration Day
Red paper lanterns are made or purchased, in preparation for the following day.

Fifteenth Day: Lantern Festival
The last day of the Chinese New Year is also the first day of the full moon, which is why it is also commonly referred to as the "First Night". The Lantern Festival is a day of celebration, with large family dinners featuring oranges (symbol of good fortune), and sweet dumplings in soup called the tangyuan  (resembling the shape of the moon and symbolising unity and harmony). 

In some cultures, young people carry their lanterns to the temples, others simply display them at lantern fairs or in their house compounds. The festival is associated with guiding all lost and ill-bred evil spirits home. It is also the celebration and cultivation of positive relationships among people, families, nature and the superior beings, as they are believed to be responsible for bringing the light every year.

In many chinese communities, the New Year celebrations conclude with an elaborate parade in the evening, with lanterns and the most recognizable of all Chinese New Year symbols - the Dancing Dragon. 

The Dragon
The Dragon is present in many Chinese cultural celebrations as people are believed to be descendants of the mythical creature. The dragon symbol is the sign of authority and is worn on robes of the Imperial family. He is the King of all scaly creatures; fish, reptiles, amphibians, etc. In Chinese mythology, the revered Dragon is considered just and benevolent.

It is common for many businesses and homes to hold Dragon Dance performances on the 5th and/or 15th day of the Chinese New Year, as a symbolic harbinger of prosperity, good luck and good fortune.

The Lion
The lion dance dates back to the Han Dynasty (205 BCE to 220 CE in China). The lion is a notable symbol of power, wisdom and good fortune. The lion dance is a pugilistic performance for auspicious occasions such as the launch of new buildings, offices and shops. The lion dance is also performed during the Chinese New Year because of its association with the legendary Nien. Folklores wrote about this bestial creature, which ravaged the villages in ancient China every Chinese New Year's eve. It destroyed fields, crops and animals. To instill fear in the creature, villagers made a model of the lion out of bamboo and paper, with two men manipulating it. Accompanied by the loud beating of cymbals and drums, they succeeded in driving away the Nien. 

The lion dance requires great dexterity skills: the acrobatic lion dance is often performed by martial art schools and is a marvel to watch!

Tangerines and Mandarin Oranges
Both these fruits are symbolical with the Chinese New Year, without which the festival would be deemed incomplete! Pronounced as kat and kam in Chinese, they are synonymous with luck and wealth. One can never go wrong with a gift of these fruits!

Plum and Peach Blossoms
Plum blossoms symbolise reliability, while peach blossoms are chosen for their symbolisms of longevity, romance and prosperity and are favoured by singles looking for love in the coming year. 

Good Life

Bamboo Shoots
In Chinese, it is zhu sun jian, which sounds like, "Wishing everything would be well". It promotes wealth and a good beginning.

The fruit is loved for its significance to wealth, luck, excellent fortune and gambling luck.

Article by: Julia Oh

Monday, January 18, 2016

Parents' Association Coffee Morning - Natural Makeup Class

Tenby International School, Setia Eco Park
Friday, 14 January 2015

Parents' Association Coffee Morning series - Natural Makeup Class

(Article reporting by: Julia Oh/TISPA)

The TIS Parents' Association Coffee Morning Natural Makeup class kickstarted with an interesting little spread of petit dejeuner and the wonderful aroma of coffee. What was the occasion? Just mums coming together for a common purpose - How to look beautiful...with the aid of natural looking makeup. For some, it was an opportunity to meet other parents and foster a closer-knit Tenby community, which is really what parents' coffee mornings are all about!

Tummies satiated, and ice-breaking out of the way, the class got off to a good start. Ms Ana Cheong is an Image and Personal Branding Coach and Consultant, and has comprehensive experience in cosmetology and fashion. Together with Ms Sharon Chew, who conducts professional makeup courses and often works in collaboration with magazines for engagements in makeovers and product launches, they shared some lighthearted banter on the do's and don'ts of natural makeup. Hands all cleaned, ladies? Now, whip out those mirrors and be prepared for an image transformation!

It is important to be aware of your skin colour tone so you can look good with the correct play of colours. Ana showed us the colour chart wheel and shared some pointers on basic colour pairings. Generally classified into two categories of colour spectrums - warm or cool skin tones, Ana asked a simple question of how our skin reacts to sun exposure to determine our skin tone. Those who tan, fall into the warm skin tone category; while those who sunburn easily (like me!) are classified under cool skin tones. With this knowledge, we can get technical and make smart decisions on the best choice of colours for eyeshadows, blushers and lipsticks. It's all about looking good, ladies...SERIOUSLY!

Many ladies came sans makeup. At the end of the session, there was a noticeable transformation indeed. Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. And what we learn with pleasure, we never forget!

Special thanks to Jia Wei and Alwin for organising this class; Dean and Michelle for the wonderful food and drinks; and all others who had contributed in one way or another. May we also express our appreciation to all who fed the kitty; your contributions go towards food and beverage costs. Thanks everyone, for your was great fun!

Do keep a lookout in the School Newsletter, PA Blog and other communiques for upcoming PA Coffee Mornings! 

Ms Ana Cheong (in white blouse) and Ms Shirley Tan (in black jacket),  our makeup "gurus" for the day!
Makeup demonstration on volunteer model mum, Ms Sarab.
Shirley on applying foundation, "The key to applying liquid foundation is to tap, tap, tap with your fingertips and sweep upwards...never downwards."

Top: Learning by doing, with assistance from Ana and Shirley
Bottom: "Graduation!" 
Ladies looking beautiful, smiles all around...

~Photos courtesy of Joanne Ch'ng and Jia Wei, TISPA~