About Iris

Last Sunday, we went to Federation Square to visit our feathered friends.  A week before, we went there with my cousin, Cheryl who was on a 10-days trip in Melbourne.  Iris had a great time then, and she sacrificed two yummy croissants to the birds. Sensing that the experience was not adequate, we made a pack to go there again, just the two of us.  Daddy didn’t go cycling that day, and he didn’t come as well as he had a split headache. Poor daddy!

We took a train from Oak Park train station and stopped to purchase a loaf of bread at Coles, Melbourne Central. Although a dear friend suggested to purchase the bread at Coles adjacent to Flinders Street Station (which is just across Federation Square), we purposely hopped off the train at Melbourne Central as I thought Iris would appreciate a tram ride from Melbourne Central to Federation Square.  Well, the tram didn’t arrive, apparently due to some sort of disruptions.  We waited for about 10 minutes when I saw on the display that almost every tram line that runs along Swanston Street was interrupted that day.  So we walked…..  And that girl is a good walker, as steady as a horse, though occasional complaints came from her about the distance and more questions asking ‘are we there yet?’  Mama responded, ‘just in front, do you the traffic light? After the traffic light, ok?’  Twice.  Later that day, she said to me, ‘lucky I wore my NB shoes, mom. They are good for walking!’  Couldn’t agree more, pumpkin, couldn’t agree more! 

As we approached Federation Square, I got the reason for the tram service disruptions.  There was a rally taking place at Federation Square; the center of the square was packed with people protesting the budget cut imposed by the current government and in fact, it was organized all over Australia involving about 10,000 protesters. Well, what was I thinking when I saw the crowd?  At first I hesitated as I fear that people can be violent during rallies.  Alcohol and rallies do not mix well, and yes, I assumed that people may get drunk in such events.  I was proven wrong when it was indeed a peaceful protest.  The event was attended by families and many brought young children with them.  The police were everywhere and they were observing, and not to extent to obstruct the rally.  By the time I decided to proceed to the Yarra riverbank, Iris announced that she lost her Myki card.  Alamak.… Well, it is another story to tell.  Here’s some images from the rally.

The rally taking place on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at Federation Square, Melbourne, to protest the budget cut made by the Abbot government

The rally taking place on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at Federation Square, Melbourne, to protest the budget cut made by the Abbot government

Despite the ‘challenges’ to get to the venue, we had a great time seeing the different kinds of birds.  What I really like about the place is that it is clean and we don’t have to fear about stepping onto birds’ poo.  One loaf of bread was too much for us so we offered some to a nice lady who was equally attracted to the spectator.  She reciprocated with two pieces of chewing gums.  It was a good trade, and it feels good to share with others, though they are strangers.  The images below concludes our ‘meeting’ for the day. See the black swans? They are the alpha-birds; a honk from them scare the other birds away but they are nice and gentle with us.  At first I was weary of the ‘overwhelming’ responses from the birds.  In fact, they could be aggressive to each other but not to homo-sapiens that offer food to them.  The couple of lovey-dovey swans are sweet, eh? Oh ya, before the snapshot, they chased away one swan (probably male) who was tagging them. Ini kes tiang lampu kot…


Until the next entry, sayonara minna san! 


Last weekend, we went for our second visit to Melbourne Zoo.  The first visit took place in January (yep, no update on that coz we forgot to charge the camera! Sangat pandai…).  Well, during the first visit, we signed up for a year membership and with that, we are entitled to visit any zoos in Victoria as frequently as we want.   The membership fee costs us $162.00.  More info on Zoos Victoria website: http://www.zoo.org.au/members.  I think it is worthy because we can take our time going about, without having to rush like a cyclone to cover the entire ground on a single day because you know you can always come back next time free of charge.  Well, the feeling is similar to holding a monthly Myki pass which eliminates the factor of how frequent we can travel in a month.  The key question is: how do we make the most out of it? For now, we will just take one step at a time: finish covering Melbourne Zoo and then moving on to Werribee Zoo in a month or so.  Aim small, miss small – so said Mel Gibson in “The Patriot”.

This membership card has to be presented with a photo ID at the counter.

The member card has to be presented with a photo ID at the counter.

So, what was the highlight of this visit?  A reminder to self: It took place on March 3rd, 2013.  I know that I was eager to see the elephants.  Iris was expecting the Meerkat family after she saw “Meerkat Manor” on TV.  Here’s a glimpse of the iconic family.  That meerkat at the “highest point” responded really well to the fact that he is the center of attention.  Hehehe.

The children were drawn to the meerkats.

The children were drawn to the meerkats.  It’s a family in the exhibit.  I assume the one standing on the pole (in the far right image) is the leader of the pack. Their diet? Worms.

At the entrance of the aquatic “region’ where the seal and penguins are located, there is a huge fish tank which houses a couple of flat rays and another species of harmless shark.  The visitors get to touch the flat ray – I chose not to because I don’t fancy sticking my hand into the water at the presence of a creature larger than my face!   My daughter was more than happy to stroke the fish, and she said, “it is rough like sandpaper”.  My my, this girl has a lot of guts!

First hand encounter with the flat ray(s). Again, kids and adults are crazy about them.

First hand encounter with the flat ray(s). Again, kids and adults are crazy about them.

Next on the list was the seal.  They looked so graceful underwater!  I started to suspect that the shape of underwater torpedo were taken after them!  The massive tank that holds them is brilliantly engineered to create waves to simulate the ocean.  In so doing, the life of the seals are not as mundane and predictable like still water (minus the crocs of course!).  I could see that the cheerful seals were enjoying the “turbulent” very much.

The graceful seals. They move like torpedo, don't they?

The graceful seals. They move like torpedo, don’t they?

Ahhh….. Let’s not forget the carousel that my daughter adores so much, that she wanted to get on it again and again and again… The charges per ride is $3.00 per child and only only one adult can accompany them.  The horse can hold the weight of an adult, so parents can enjoy the ride as much as their kids.  How long is the ride?  Slightly under 3 minutes.  Iris went on twice that day.

The carousel, where both kids and parents can be kids.

The carousel, where both kids and parents can be kids.

After following the elephant’s trail where signage are posted in Malay language, we finally got to see the mammoth family.  In September 2012 when we first arrived, the city was celebrating the birth of a baby elephant.  Probably that is him/her in the picture.  The crowd were excited almost akin to cheering upon seeing the elephant family running about the compound.  Although they seemed happy, I do feel sorry because they are confined in limited space – but that is probably better than having them exposed to the poachers in their natural habitat, no?

The girl and the elephant.

The girl and the elephant.

We also saw a couple of gorillas that looked extremely bored in their man made environment.   The visitors, on the other hand were extremely excited seeing them.  It was indeed a reverse situation.  Nothing we (the visitors) did could wipe away that gloomy look on his face!  Maybe he was thinking, “try staying here for 8 years and see if you like it?”  We saw orang utan as well, but I didn’t put them here because my first encounter of orang utan should have been in Kuching and not in Melbourne.  What an irony…  I was partly frustrated as I had plans to visit Semenggoh Wildlife Center (the orang utan sanctuary in wild) but the plan was never materialize.  More details on Semenggoh Wildlife Center: http://www.sarawakforestry.com/htm/snp-nr-semenggoh.html

Iris and Gorilla. Imagine "Iris and King Kong"... Heheh.

Iris and Gorilla. Imagine “Iris and King Kong”… Heheh.  See the bored fellow over there? Or maybe it was just the hot weather..

After a long walk under the hot sun, we decided to rest next to this gentleman’s “territory”. I wonder how old is the tortoise?  OK, I can sense an abrupt end to this entry… Sorilah, I’ll improve the flow some other time.

At "home" with the giant tortoise.

At “home” with the giant tortoise.

That’s all from me today.  It is already past midnight and I have set a reading target for myself tonight.  Better get on to that task before I regret it.

Until the next entry, bye peeps!

It is now 11:10 am – so, good morning everyone!  🙂

Iris decided not to go to school today as she had sniffles and a little bit of cough – which I think is not severe enough for her not to attend school.  Can it be she purposely making them up so that she doesn’t have to go to school?  If the reason is latter, then there must be some reasons behind it.  It is important for a child to know that he/she must always tell the truth and to tell the truth.  We can gain a child’s confidence by listening to what he/she has to say, digest the information and respond to them.  Kids appreciate it when we listen.  Most importantly, we shouldn’t brush away what he/she said at the first instance or telling them that they are making up stories.

So, I asked why she refused to go to school and she responded with a sniffle and one or two coughs – they sounded genuine but like I said, I think they were not serious for her to miss school today.  Again, I asked her if anything unpleasant took place when she was at school yesterday?  Barulah kawan buka cerita…  Apparently one of her friends was coughing at school yesterday and he was informed by the teacher that he shouldn’t be at school if he is unwell.  I don’t know the severity of his cough.  Probably it was bad that the teacher had to advised him.  Upon witnessing the incident, Iris may have computed that “coughing is bad” regardless how severe or mild it is.   Therefore, the though of being “told off” by a teacher (just like what happened to that friend) is not entirely appealing to her.  OK, I’ll give that a pass and monitor her condition later today.  What I know about my daughter is that occasionally she will experience sneezing and slight cough in the morning when it is cold and they disappear by the time it gets warmer.  Coincidentally, it was rather chilly this morning and she was affected.  Maybe.

According to the information booklet provided by the school, parents/guardians will just need to give the school a call if the child couldn’t turn up that day.  No medical certificate is required to attest our claim (if health reasons is given).  We did just that, and found out that several children have called in unwell that day.  Oh. Anyway, her teacher (Rosanna) is looking forward to see her tomorrow and extended her regards to Iris.  🙂  I am happy that we are dealing with very nice and well trained staffs.  No wonder the teachers are well loved by the kids.  And by the parents as well… 

Perhaps the drastic change in the temperature could explain this – we had warmer days (above 35 degrees) for 3 days consecutively (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and on Tuesday (yesterday), it plummeted  to 22 degree!  I guess in the attempt to keep up with the crazy changes in the temperature, the body system experiences some kind of “hiccups” which may explain the coughs and runny nose.

Hmmm, I can see that the sun is out now.  I need to check if Iris’ sniffles and coughs have subsided.  I am pretty sure that she will be fine – but just in case, my inner voice says “Na, go check on her!”   Until the next entry, bye everyone!

Update:  Called home to check on her 5 minutes ago.  She is fine.  The supposedly runny nose has stopped running and the coughs magically disappeared as the temperature escalates.  See, it was the weather after all.  I need to explain to her when I get home later.  Chioaw!

Iris poses in front of her kinder. The door opens 8.30am on the dot.

Iris poses in front of her kinder. The door opens 8.30am on the dot.

Exploring the school ground before entering the building.

Exploring the school ground before entering the building.  Ohhhh… a sand box!

Placing her bag and hat on the hook that she chose on the day of orientation.  It has her name on it and an image of a butterfly at the side.

Placing her bag and hat on the hook that she chose on the day of orientation. It has her name on it and an image of a butterfly at the side.


Educating them about diversity from young?


Tea party on the ground. Iris said one girl refused to let her in because only 3 persons allowed on the mat. She went to play in the sand box instead.

Yesterday, we went back to Roxburgh Park Superclinic for the second appointment for Iris’ immunization.  But first, we need to drop by at Chemist Warehouse at Broadmeadows Shopping Center to collect the vaccines.  According to the chemist, we can’t leave it in the car as the high temperature will definitely ruin them.  Plus, the temperature yesterday was insanely high – not that we are not used to the sun in Malaysia – but the heat here is totally different.  It is hot and dry, which makes it “panas yang menggigit” according to Din.  In Malaysia, it is hot and humid, therefore it is not as bad as the humidity will shield the raging effect of the sun.

Show this receipt at the counter, and the vaccines is all yours.

Show this receipt at the counter, and the vaccines is all yours.

The appointment was set at 1.30 pm and we arrived at 1:15 pm, immediately passed the vaccines to the staff at the counter for storage (as advised by Dr. Rahaman) and we waited.  Movies are shown on the LCD TV to occupy awaiting clients and in between, there are commercials related to health/life insurance, and one or two commercials on the danger of smoking (that day, it was about a doctor getting ready to amputate a patient’s gangrene foot – all thanks to nicotine).   Someone’s reaction towards that commercial was priceless!

Tak berani tengok, tapi nak tengok... Notice the blushing cheek because of the heat?

Tak berani tengok, tapi nak tengok… Notice the blushing cheek because of the heat?

Anyway, we were called in not long after that and Dr. Rahaman explained to us that he will prepare the summary of Iris’ immunization.  We could get hold of the record immediately.  Thank you, Doctor!  Since the jabs will be administered on both arms at the same time, two staffs attended to us.  They are professionals, and they have this motivating scripts that (I think!) they rehearse all the time to  ease the child’s fear.  The moment Iris stepped into the room, Nurse 1: “Hey, I think we are going to have a brave one today…”; Nurse 2: “Yeah, I can see that she is a strong and brave girl the moment she walked in through that door!”.  THAT girls, was a huge score!

There is a big chair in the room where the mother will sit, and the child is to be seated on the mom’s lap.  I was asked to hold her hands (not in the locking manner, but rather to comfort them) and on the count of 3, both nurses stick the needles in.  It was swift, and there was no cry from her.  In fact, she was elated that the whole thing is over and was so proud of herself for being brave.  She showed off the patches to her daddy and shouted, “Daddy, I did it!”  Similar to what we normally see on TV, the session was concluded with a couple of lollies and praises from the nurses.  To the two nurses who tended my girl yesterday, you are the best!  I can’t thank you enough for making the jabbing session painless – or rather, a memorable one for my daughter.

Had a lolly on her way home...

Had a lolly on her way home… The glare behind gives an indication of the heat that day.

We rewarded her with a small Slurpee on our way home, not only because of her accomplishment that day but because we know that she would appreciate something cold in the burning temperature.   From this experience, I can conclude that mental preparation is extremely important.  We explained to her the purpose of the jabs, which is to strengthen her body.  We also explained to her that without those jabs, she won’t be allowed to school.  I think the moral boost arrived when she learned that her good friend, Laila, has received the jabs as well and that she didn’t cry.  Peer influence, ma…  🙂   Anyway, until the next entry, bye everybody!

Enjoying a Slurpee as her reward.  Notice the patches on both arms?

Enjoying a Slurpee as her reward. Notice the patches on both arms?

Like I said in the previous entry; different country means different requirements.  In the case of immunization, there are additional jabs that Iris needs to take although she has fulfilled all the immunization recorded in her health card in Malaysia.  Up to date vaccination is vital for school requirement, and the details will be kept by the council.  Seeing a GP in Melbourne is nothing like in Malaysia.  Here, we need to set an appointment, turn up at the exact time at the clinic, see the GP, obtain medical prescription from the GP and with the prescription, purchase the medicine at the pharmacy.  The consultation fees will be covered by the health insurance, however the purchase of medicine must come from our own pocket.

On Monday, we went to Roxburgh Park Superclinic to obtain the details of Iris’ immunization.  It is located at 101 Ravenhill Boulevard, Roxburgh Park, Vic 3064.  Having being informed several times about the importance of getting the jabs (no matter how much she dreads it), Iris was mentally prepared to receive the needles.  See the smile?

Budak yang tak sabar nak kena cucuk... :)

Budak yang tak sabar nak kena cucuk… 🙂

The required documents during the visit to GP - must also include passport for photo ID.

The required documents during the visit to GP – must also include passport for photo ID.

The GP is none other Dr. Abdul Rahaman Pozan (also from Kuching).  Apparently Iris still requires two jabs (for rubella and for some other illnesses which I can’t recall) – to be given on another day once we get hold of the medicine. Apart from checking the requirement for immunization, Dr. Rahaman also checked her weight and height (which she adores very much!).  At the age of 4 years and 7 months+, she weights 18 kgs and measures 109cm.  Based on the growth chart (by Australian standard), she is doing OK.  Between the height and the weight, the doctor is more concern with the weight because height is usually inherited while the weight indicates nutrition intake.  Hmm, I didn’t realize that – a measure may outweigh another due to certain factors.

Oh ya, Iris was rather confused when we left the clinic without the “injections”.  Anyway, she is already looking forward to the next visit.  Here’s a look at the prescription. We decided to get them from Chemist Warehouse as their price is often lower compared to other pharmacies.  I was looking at $300.00 to $400.00 for the medicines and it turned out to be $87.70.  Whoa, what a relieve!  Whew! Anyway, they are ready for collection on Wednesday (6th Feb. 2013) and we have set an appointment for the jabs on the same day, after Iris’ schooling hours.  Btw, I am putting plural for the jab because both vaccinations will be administered on the same day. Sounds horrifying, no?  Be brave, darling! 

The prescription for the two vaccinations.

The prescription for the two vaccinations. One copy for the pharmacy and a copy to be sent to the council – by the chemist (so said the staff at the counter of Chemist Warehouse).

Lookout for this logo if you are searching for relatively lower-priced medicines and supplements in Australia.

Lookout for this logo if you are searching for relatively lower-priced medicines and supplements in Australia (Source: http://www.riolife.com.au)


Hi again.  It seems that I am trying very hard to keep up with the postings as I have so much to cover.  During the one and a half year dorman period of this blog, many things have taken place.  I am just trying to figure out how to put them all in while ensuring that the upcoming events are up to date.  At the moment, everything is jumbled up – which reflects what is happening in my coconut now.

31st January marks the official day of Iris starting school in a foreign country.  New country, new system and different kind of people.  We woke up early that day and I packed her half a sandwich and a small mandarin orange for snack.  And of course a bottle of water.  School hours was purposely made shorter during the first two weeks to allow children to get used to kinder and to be away from their parents.  I think it is smart as children are not forced into their new routine.  It starts with two hours during the first week, gradually increasing to four hours the second week and from then onwards, the full five hours.

Let’s have a look at the girl who couldn’t wait to start school.

All set for first day at school. Yeeeeeehaaaa!

All set for first day at school. Yeeeeeehaaaa!

It is compulsory to bring a hat that covers the neck as the kinder adopts the sun-smart policy.  Every child is required to wear hat and sunscreen when they are outdoors.  Suffice to say – no hat, no play.  We bought the hat at an Asian store, costs us $2.50 and she loves it to the core. Bagus, maintenance tak tinggi.

It was her daddy who picked her up that day.  It is a must to sign in and sign out every time we send and fetch her.  The verdict?  She was very happy and extremely looking forward to go back to school.  However, someone cried during story time because she misses daddy and mummy.  Title of the story: “Why do you love me?”  Laa… Patutlah hujan. 🙂


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