Sunday, November 20, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger


It is 1942, America has entered World War II, and sickly but determined Steve Rogers is frustrated at being rejected yet again for military service. Everything changes when Dr. Erksine recruits him for the secret Project Rebirth. Proving his extraordinary courage, wits and conscience, Rogers undergoes the experiment and his weak body is suddenly enhanced into the maximum human potential. When Dr. Erksine is then immediately assassinated by an agent of Nazi Germany's head of its secret HYDRA research department, Johann Schmidt aka the Red Skull, Rogers is left as a unique man who is initially misused as a propaganda mascot. However, when his comrades need him, Rogers goes on a successful adventure that truly makes him Captain America and his war against Schmidt begins.(Written by Kenneth Chisholm) 

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a circular object with a red, white and blue motif.
In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) and his men invade T√łnsberg,Norway, to steal a mysterious tesseract possessing untold powers. In New York City, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is rejected for World War II military duty due to various health and physical issues. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Rogers again attempts to enlist. 

Having overheard Rogers' conversation with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited as part of a "super-soldier" experiment under Erskine, Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), and British agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Phillips is unconvinced of Erskine's claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure but relents after seeing Rogers commit an act of self-sacrificing bravery. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Schmidt underwent an imperfect version of the treatment, and suffered side-effects.

In Europe, Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) successfully harness the energies of the tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola's inventions. Schmidt, having discovered Erskine's location, dispatches an assassin to kill him. In America, Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with "vita-rays". After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and muscular, one of the attendees kills Erskine, revealing himself as Schmidt's assassin, Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage). Rogers pursues and captures Kruger but the assassin commits suicide via cyanide capsule before he can be interrogated.

With Erskine dead and the super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt (Michael Brandon) has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as "Captain America" to promote war bonds rather than allow scientists to study him and attempt to rediscover Erskine's formula. In Italy 1943, while on tour performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes' unit was lost in battle against Schmidt's forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers mounts a solo rescue attempt with Carter and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) flying him behind enemy lines. Rogers infiltrates the fortress belonging to Schmidt's HYDRA organization, freeing Barnes and the other captured soldiers. Rogers confronts Schmidt who reveals his face to be a mask, removing it to display the red, skull-like face that earned him the sobriquet, the Red Skull. Schmidt escapes and Rogers returns to base with the freed soldiers.

Rogers recruits Barnes, Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James Montgomery Falsworth (J. J. Feild), and Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci) to attack the other known HYDRA bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, in particular a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nigh-indestructible metal. Rogers and his team successfully sabotage various HYDRA operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola. Zola is captured, but Barnes falls off the train to his apparent death. Using information extracted from Zola, the final HYDRA stronghold is located and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using WMDson American cities. Rogers clambers aboard Schmidt's aircraft as it takes off. 

During the subsequent fight, the tesseract's container is damaged. Schmidt physically handles the tesseract, causing him to dissolve in a bright light. The tesseract falls to the floor, burning through the plane and falling to Earth. Seeing no way to safely land the plane without risking its weapons detonating, Rogers crashes it in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the tesseract from the ocean floor, but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft.
Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing that something is wrong due to an anachronistic radio broadcast, he flees outside into what is revealed to be present-day Times Square. There Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) informs him he has been "asleep" for nearly 70 years.
In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers, proposing a mission with worldwide ramifications.

Box office
Captain America: The First Avenger opened on July 22, 2011, in the United States and earned $4 million in midnight showings, outgrossing other 2011 original superhero movies like Thor and Green Lantern as well as the prequel X-Men: First Class, which all did between $3.25 million and $3.5 million in Friday midnights.
On Friday, the film opened at the number one spot at the American and Canadian box office with $25.7 million.It then went on to make $65.1 million, which was the second highest-grossing opening weekend for a superhero film in 2011 behind Thor ($65.7 million).
As of November 10, 2011, Captain America: The First Avenger has grossed an estimated $176,654,505 in the U.S.A and Canada as well as $191,750,151 internationally, for a total of $368,404,656 worldwide. (copied & edited from Wikipedia)

Personally, I love this movie very much. The story line is quite interesting to me. Impressive! Highly recommended for those who loves superheroes movies! ^^ 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hunting for Pre-school in Miri

My daughter is going to be 2 years old by end of this year (2011). Although she already can read many words and also in short sentences, I feel that she needs to learn how to mingle with friends. Half-day schooling time will be sufficient. I can bring her home and educate her more if I want. Emm...I want her to learn how to defend herself too. Many times I saw her got bully by other children (who have siblings) during the church meeting. The other kids can just grab things from her hand, teased her or purposely push her to fall. She feels scared to take back her thing and doesn't know how to fight back nor defend herself. I don't wish to have another kid just to train her up so I choose to send her to a school for her to pick up some social skill. (I will be happy if she knows how to FIGHT! Haha!)

Of course, I don't wish to kill her interest in a boring school which cannot teach her new things. She loves to read. So reading and recognizing more words (prefer 1 to 1) in the class is my minimum requirement. I need a hygienic place too. Many parents told me that their kids kept falling sick after sending them to school (some falls sick every month). I know I can't really prevent this from happening in future. I'm prepared for that but still, it's essential to do a check at the school's environment and safety precaution before enrollment too.

It's not that easy to find a pre-school with so many requirements in Miri. Oh dear! Am I asking too much?

These are the schools I have visited this month. I would love to share the information here so that for those parents who are searching for good pre-school, you can save up your precious time. Ask yourself what type of school and budget are you looking for and call up or visit the school personally after that. Talk to the person-in-charge or interview the principal to find out more! What I'm providing here is only a rough guide.

Remember, it's important to get a good school for your kid. As he/she will have to stay there for minimum 1 year. It will be difficult to change to other school after the school reopen so make sure you decide properly without much regret!

1) Tadika Faith Montessori

Area: Opposite Pujut Primary School

Tel: 085-653400 (O), 013-8332193 (Mobile)

Monthly Fee: RM300 (half day), RM500 (full day)

Time: 8am to 12 noon (half day), 8am to 5pm (full day)

Meal included: breakfast (half day)/ breakfast, lunch and tea-break (full day)
(Parents have to bring the milk powder and label them so that the teachers can prepare milk for the child to drink when they are hungry)

Programmes: Motor skills (they are many motor skills toys for the children to play everyday), social skill (teach the students how to mingle and also be patient while waiting for others to finish the game they want to play etc), potty training, flash card (pictures only, there will be no words or alphabet introduction till they are 4 years old) and songs.

First payment: RM1085 (half day), RM1335 (full day)
(The first payment includes Registration fee, refundable deposit, 1st month school fee, worksheet/stationary per yr, school uniform x 1, sport attire x 1 and insurance for 1 yr)
*Students are required to wear school uniform everyday, so you might have to buy extra uniform (RM35 per pc) upon registration as the 1st payment only include 1 piece. 

Age: Children from 2 to 6 years old

Ratio of the class: 25 students: 3 teachers (age 2 & 3 class)

Language: So far I only see Chinese teachers around. The teacher told me that although they will use English to teach in the class, they will speak Mandarin most of the time.

Environment: There are no air-conditioner in the classroom (the extended area from the house). Only ceiling fans. The teachers will open all windows for ventilation. However, they will switch on 1 air-conditioner (in the house) before they take nap. The air-conditioner will be switch off once the room temperature is cooling enough for the children.

Playground: There are children playground with shade.

Others: They also provide tuition in the afternoon for the kindergarten and primary school children.

WOW feeling: The classroom for 2-3 years old children are quite spacious and many nice motor skill toys/games are available. So far it looks pretty complete, neat and tidy at the place.

2) Tadika Bintang Ria (Q-Dees)

Area: Jalan Jee Foh 4, Krokop, Opposite Yakin Coffee Shop

Tel: 085-421112 (O), 017-853 1112 (Mobile)

Principal: Jamie Wong

Monthly Fee: *RM239 (half day), *RM459 (full day)
* They have 4 terms (Jan, Mar, Jun, Sept) in a year. For each new term, the students are require to pay for a new set of teaching material fee. For EDP (Early Development Programme - age 2 - 3), the Materials and supplementary + Fliptec@Q Multimedia costs RM276, which means on every new terms, the school fee will be RM515, not RM239 for half day, RM735, not RM459 for full day. So average school fee per month is RM339 (11 months).

Time: 8am to 12.30pm (half day), 8am to 5.30pm (full day)
* Parents have to pick up their kid on or before 12.30pm/5.30pm. Or else there will be a penalty of being late. Minimum charge of RM10 will be applied even if you are late for 5 minutes.

Meal included: breakfast (half day)/ breakfast, lunch and tea-break (full day)
(This school provides proper menu for breakfast and lunch. If your kid has food allergy, please specify the items to the principal upon registration. The notes will be stick in the classroom so that they can avoid problems in future. Parents have to bring the milk powder and label them so that the teachers can prepare milk for the child when he/she is hungry.)

Programmes: Multimedia, 1 to 1 Reading, Science and Discovery, Character Building, English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, IQ Maths, Early Discovery, Music, Art & Craft and Gymslex. (potty training too)

First payment: RM1040 (half day), RM1335 (full day)
(The first payment includes Registration fee, uniform x 2, gym wear x 1, Readers - 8 books per set, Memories to cherish album, Preschool kit, insurance, November school fee.) 
* This school doesn't collect deposit but advance school fee for November. 

Age: Children from 2 to 6 years old

Ratio of the class: 15 students: 2 teachers (age 2 and 3 class)

Language: English will be the common language in this school. Most of the teachers are non-Chinese. Only one Mandarin subject available throughout the year. They also provides teaching with the computer.

Environment: Provides fully air-conditioned in all classrooms. They have individual classrooms for each different levels. There is one set of computer in each classroom for their multimedia lessons too. Some of the toilets are specially designed for toddlers. Very cute!

Playground: There are children playground with shade.

Others: If you are busy working on Sat, this school provides day care too. The children (age 2 to 6) will be in the same classroom doing the same activities, such as colouring, sing songs etc.

WOW feeling: The principal is always around! This is very important as principal is the one who can make sure everything runs well. She is a lady who knows pretty much about early childhood education. Seeing how the children love her, and how they interact to each other, I feel safe to keep my daughter there.

I like the menu of the food too. It's important to know what are the food prepared/given to our child in the school. We don't want our child to eat junk food or imbalance diet for the whole year in school.

Fully air-conditioned, proper teaching material, children's ready progress chart, separate classrooms, safe environment and polite teachers give me the best impression of all.

I did bring my daughter there yesterday and found out she loves to be in the classroom. She sat down with the children and do colouring with them although she is the youngest among all (22 month). I feel happy to see my daughter feels secure and happy there. Well, I will still survey around before I make the final decision as this school is quite far away from my house.

3) Taska Ceria

Area: Jalan Jee Foh 6, Krokop

Tel: 014-6923255 (mobile)

Monthly Fee: RM250 (half day), RM400 (full day)

Time: 8am to 12 noon (half day), 8am to 5pm (full day)

Meal included: breakfast (half day)/ breakfast, lunch, tea-break (full day)
(Parents have to bring the milk powder and label them so that the teachers can prepare milk for the child to drink when they are hungry)

Programmes: The students will learn from flash cards, coloring, and different motor skill toys. The teacher will have a weekly report together with the student's worksheets to the parents on every Friday so that the parents can be aware on their kid's progress. Abacus lesson will be included too. 

First payment: RM830 (half day), RM1180 (full day)
(The first payment includes Registration fee, refundable school fee, 1st month school fee, yearly miscellaneous fee, uniform x 2 and 1 year insurance.) 

Age: Children from 6 months old to 4 years old

Ratio of the class: 15 students: 2 teachers

Language: The principal is a Chinese Muslim who can converse in 3 languages. She had 5 years experience in Sabah, just moved to Miri and startup recently. Next year school intake will be her first year in Miri.

Environment: The living room and one of the room upstairs have air-conditioner. However, the living room is very big, only one corner can feel the cool breeze. Other part of the living room where it keeps story books is quite hot. This school has many reachable learning toys and story books. It's quite attractive for the students to play there. The children have the freedom to choose whatever toys they want to play. 

Playground: There are two slides available with shade.

WOW feeling: The principal is a nice lady. She knows how to handle the small kids well. I have been struggling whether I should enroll my daughter at her place to enjoy more learning games or Q-Dees which is more academic. This place is new so the teachers will have more attention on their students (unlike those established one, the students might can't cope well with too many kids in one class). My daughter refused to leave the place when we brought her there during the open house. She loves the environment so much! Hmm...dilemma.

4) Taska Junior - 3Q MRC Junior, MRC Kids, MRC Toddlers

Area: Jalan Miri-Bintulu

Tel: 085-611069 (O), 016-8662188 (Mobile)

Monthly Fee: RM230 (half day), RM400 (full day)

Time: 8am to 12 noon (half day), 8am to 5.30pm (full day)

Meal included: breakfast (half day)/ breakfast and lunch (full day)
(Parents have to bring the milk powder and label them so that the teachers can prepare milk for the child to drink when they are hungry)

Programmes: Emphasizes on 3 languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese Language), Puzzle and story scrap book methodology, flash card, aural-oral and reading skills.

First payment: RM542 (half day), RM742 (full day)
(The first payment includes Registration fee, 1st month school fee, worksheet/stationary per yr, school uniform x 1, sport attire x 1 and 1 year insurance)
*You might have to buy extra uniform (RM22 per pc) upon registration as the 1st payment only include 1 piece. 

Age: Children from 6 months old to 12 years old

Ratio of the class: 10 students: 2 teachers (age 2 and 3 class)

Language: So far I only see Chinese teachers around. I believe Mandarin will be their common language there.

Environment: There is a big classroom which divided into 3 small classrooms with the removable wall partitions. It's not sound proof and they have to open up the door often for the middle classroom's students/teachers to go in and out, which I found it distracting. All the classrooms have air-conditioners. When I visited the place, the classroom stinks (urine smell). The children can come out from the classrooms and loitering around. No teacher bother to bring them back. I don't like the toilet. I have no idea how they are going to have potty training for the young toddler as the toilet is designed for adult (have to walk up 2 steps and the toilet bowl is the squatting type). The kid can drop inside the hole easily. Unless they have those plastic portable potty for the children.

Playground: There are children playground without shade.

WOW Feeling: So far this place is the nearest from my house and their fee is the cheapest among all. I'm worry about the hygiene there though.

5) Tadika Ria Montessori

Area: Piasau Garden

Tel: 085-655 867 (O)

Monthly Fee: RM288 (half day)

Time: 8am to 12 noon (half day)
(Monday to Friday)

Meal included: breakfast at 930am (crackers and biscuit will be provided)

Programmes: Motor skills, social skill, potty training, flash card and songs. 
Activities included: games, PE, music and celebrations of all Cultural events
Individual reading scheme is as follows:
English reading = 3 times a week
BM reading = 2 times a week (a strong emphasis is given to suku kata before reading books)
Mandarin = 2 times a week (Only for Level 2 and 3 students)

First payment: RM646 + miscellaneous fee depend on level
(The first payment includes Registration fee, December school fee, 1st month school fee and insurance per yr)

Age: Children from 3 to 6 years old

Ratio of the class: 15 students: 2 teachers 

Language: So far I only see non-Chinese teachers around. The principal is a Canadian so I believe the common language will be English in this school.

Environment: Fully air-conditioned. The younger groups will be learning in the same area but different corner without any divided rooms. The elder children will study at the first floor instead.

Playground: There are children playground without shade. The playground equipment are mostly old, colors are faded due to being exposed under the sun for years.

WOW feeling: They were having Halloween party when I visited the school. The children were having fun. Some of them even wore Halloween costumes and playing games designed by the teachers. The whole school were nicely decorated with creative Halloween art. Even the principal was wearing a witch hat, very cute! Too bad they only accept children above 3 years old else I might consider this school for my princess though. I believe the children will enjoy a lot in such environment!

6) Tadika Bandar Peranginan

Area: Jalan Bakam, Luak Bay

Tel: 085-410912 (O), 019-8554277 (Mobile)

Monthly Fee: RM320 (half day), RM480 (full day)

Time: 7.30am to 11.30am (half day), 7.30am to 5pm (full day)

Meal included: breakfast (half day)/ breakfast, lunch and tea-break (full day)

Programmes: 3 languages for nursery level and basic maths (Counting 1 to 10). All textbooks/workbooks are from Pelangi Publisher.

First payment: RM1000 (half day), RM1320 (full day)
(The first payment includes Registration fee, 1st month school fee, advanced Dec school feel, books, misc fees, school uniform x2 and insurance for 1 yr)

Age: Children from 3 to 6 years old (although the newspapers kept advertising differently, some published as 2 years old, some published as 3 years old. I have doubled confirmed with the person-in-charge. They accept children by 3 years old according to the year of birth. Which means, although my princess is only 2 years old by end of this December, she is considered 3 years old next year in January due to her year of birth.)

Ratio of the class: 25 students: 2 teachers 

Language: They only hired Chinese who can converse in Mandarin & English. They might hire one Malay teacher to teach BM if needed. The person-in-charge said, they will use English in the classroom. 

Environment: This new kindergarten is newly built by Foochow association. The area is setup with CCTV surveillance. There is air-conditioner in each classroom but the teacher said the classroom is always cooling and windy so they will not switch it on unless the weather is too hot. There is a basic in the classroom for the students to wash their hands before and after food (they will eat in the classroom). The toilets are specially designed for adult and toddlers. Next year 2012 will be their first year in taking in students. So basically their facility are all brand new. 

Playground: There are children playground without shade.


I had gone to Rainbow Montessori. The principal was not around (the teachers told me the principal is hardly around unless I make appointment with her to meet up.The teachers are the persons who run the school everyday) And through telephone conversation, I found out the fee is the highest among all the kindergartens I have visited. It's RM350 per month. (With the first payment of RM1360, including registration fee, deposit, misc fee, insurance, school uniform x 2 pcs, 1st month school fee.)

Just for the registration fee, this school is asking for RM150. The highest registration fee among all. It's ridiculous. This registration fee includes nothing, just for registration. If this is a franchisee, then it's understandable but the problem is, it is not. And they also required RM500 deposit. Unless your child finished one year schooling with them, else this deposit is non-refundable. I don't feel like meeting the principal at all. As the way she talks wasn't friendly. When I asked how does the teacher teaches in the class, she told me to go online and search how does a Montessori school teaches and that's how they teach. Oh well! Seems like she is doing well, doesn't really need new signup for the school in future. Best of luck!

I had told my hubby about the experiences I had in the schools. We both have the same concern and in the end, we decided to choose Q-Dees because we know our girl is hunger for more knowledge. It's important to let her learn as much as possible in her young age.

Q-Dees has a knowledgeable principal. The place is clean, spacious and well-organized. Each level has separate classroom and their teaching material are properly prepared. They have menu for the food they prepare for the kids and timetable for the lessons they are going to teach. Although it's quite far from my house and the fee is not that cheap, we still think that this is the one for our princess. I will bring my princess for a trial lesson soon before we make the final decision (make payment).

p/s: Please be noted that the fees written above are what I have been told for the year of 2011 to 2012. The fees might be varies because the management has the right to do any amendment with or without prior notice. It will be better for you to call up or visit the school personally for confirmation. 

This is not an advertorial. Please do not get offended on my truthful comments or feelings about the mentioned schools. I believe everyone requires different standard for their children. Q-Dees and 3Q are franchises, so all franchisee might have different quality due to different management. What I have mentioned here are only for the particular branch that I have visited in Miri, doesn't mean that all the branches have the same quality/problems etc. ^^

Hope my sharing helps! Cheers!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Siamese Secret, Miri ~ Salad

El Paso Sapicon at Siamese Secret. RM15 (excluding service charge). Very filing. A bit different from usual salad. The crispy pita is nice. Very big piece though.
The grilled sirloin is juicy and the rest of the vegetable are onion rings, lettuce, tomato and avocado. I know you couldn't find avocado in the picture as they had ran out of stock that day so they replaced it with red and green capsicum.