Friday, March 4, 2011

Our Way Home 回家的路 - Back to School

You may want to start from the beginning...

From the day we arrived Kuala Lumpur to the start of new school year, we had 5 working days left! Yes, 5 working days and we had not even have a place for her in any schools!!

We could not do it much earlier in fact. Education ministry said without school leaving certificate, we can't  submit any application. The current school said that we will release the school leaving certificate towards the last few days of school when everything was returned. Chicken and egg, egg and chicken. Anyway, can't do much until we literally place our foot back home.

My husband and I decided to let our girl tried out the local school. It was a "harsh" decision considering she had been learning in international school environment. However, if you ask me now, I must say I have no regrets sending her to local school despite there were some negative comments about the system. Do read on...

We started our 1/5 workings day by visiting  the school we intended to send her. It was school holiday. The PIC said he was not sure if there was any vacancy. He directed us to Section 19 Shah Alam. So, we went all the way to Section 19. Believe me, it was not easy to find. The building has no frontage to the main road nor any prominent landmarks  nearby. There was only a very small signboard by the main road as you are approaching the junction. Anyway, we went there and were told that we had to submit at the education ministry first! And, we were directed to another place! Gosh...

After we went through it, the process was very simple actually. Somehow it was not spell out anywhere, nor in the ministry's website whatsoever (hope one day it will be!). It only took 3 days to get the approval from education ministry and on the 4th day we were at the new school already. I could not believe we could make it actually!

If we had taken the right path in the first place, it would not have been so hectic. Basically, it is like this.

1. Just make a call to the education ministry ( - tel. no. 603-8884 6000 / 603-7723 7070) to inquire for the nearest office your child should be registered with. Do not attempt to drop them any email, somehow nobody bothers to respond, I would not be surprised because I had dropped in several emails to some private schools near my place, I did not get any response either!!

2. Go straight to the ministry's office. Pick up the "returning from overseas form", fill them up. Do bring along at least 3 copies of the necessary documents namely:
- both parents (IC, passport - page with particulars + page bearing the immigration stamp stating the date you arrived home)
- school leaving certificate
- child's birth certificate/IC and passport (same as above)
- letter from employer to proof that you have been working overseas and now returning home

School results are not required for primary kids. You will be given 2 choices of schools. Be sure to find out which 2 schools you would like your child to enter prior to going there.

3. With the form duly completed and all details annexed accordingly, your application will be approved within an hour.

4. Next is to visit the allocation office which the officer will direct you where to go. This was the place I was directed by the school PIC in the first place which I am not suppose to visit until I get clearance from the education ministry. See, even the staff didn't know the correct procedure! Frankly, if these procedures are communicated well to the public, I strongly believe that the perception towards our government departments will be much favorable than now. Anyway, this is the place they will assign your child to the respective school. Submit the approved forms to the counter and come back on the 3rd working day.

5. You will receive the allocation letter on the 3rd working day. Be sure to start your day early to beat the queue!

Hurray, we got a seat! My heart is as heavy as a rock. I wasn't sure if this was the right decision, would it be the right path for her? Whether my girl is able to pull through because everybody says local school is a crazy place especially Chinese school and I am sending her to the crazy place!

Next - Our Way Home -First Week of School

Our Way Home 回家的路 - The Relocation Begins!

Click here to start from the beginning....

I started organizing the packing, got some quotes from the relocation experts and finally got them to come in for final measurements. And hoooh.... time flies, came the day they came to pick up the goods from our house, time to say bye bye.

by the way, in case you are looking for not-so-expensive shipping agent, you can consider for MAS Cargo ( They do not provide the household cargo service to all cities in the world but at least major cities are (ie. In Vietnam, MAS Cargo covers Ho Chi Minh City but not Hanoi). So, if you happen to be in the cities where MAS Cargo is available and you are looking for budget shipping, feel free to contact them to find out more.  For my shipment, the price difference as compared to the relocation agents was 50% at least.

Since it is cheap. it comes with a price of course.

The "complication" is you need to deal with three parties, separated but related. Let me put it this way, all the parties are related to MAS Cargo but they operate on its own. One party will come to your house to pick up the goods and have them check-in at the airport, the second party, which MAS Cargo itself, will ensure your goods are delivered via air freight to the destination country. Upon checking-out, you can commission another party to assist in custom clearance and transfer to your doorstep after. This could be an option in case the company you are servicing does not provide relocation coverage.

These three parties as I said, they are related but they operate independently.  Unfortunately I can't comment much about the service because finally I did not use the service. The company my husband was working then had requested us to use their appointed relocation agent instead. Anyone out there, if you had experienced using MAS Cargo before, perhaps can share it with us then!  

Back to where I was, hooooff... there goes our goods and the next day, in the morning of Christmas, we flew home.

With that, our new chapter of life begins.... with many great challenges and adventures awaiting us!!

Next ~ Our Way Home - Back to School

Our Way Home 回家的路 - Breaking the News

It has been quite some time I did not write in my blog that I almost forgot my entry password!

I could still recall vividly 2 months ago when my husband told me that he has decided to resign finally and the whole family would be shifting back to Kuala Lumpur. I have prepared my mind for it all these while, well, that was what I thought I had but it turned out, it was a difficult reality for me. Finally, my "nightmare" became a reality.

Just the thought of the relocation process, the packing-unpacking, new schooling for my girl, new adjustment for everybody blah blah blah... made me.. very vulnerable i should say.

Wake up! It is the reality we have to face. Bite the bullet and just do it, I told myself!

First thing first, I need to break the news to my girl. When I broke the news to her, she had been pretty mature in accepting the news. She sort of understood that despite how nice her current school and classmates were, this is still other people's country (we were in Ho Chi Minh City, btw), we need to go home one day.

My heavy heart got lighten up quite a fair bit, because of all the "vulnerabilities", she is always my No. 1 concern. Looks like my worries about her not able to adjust and accept the change is redundant. In fact, she is grown-up now.

As it was approaching the start of winter break and in order to catch the commencement of new school year in Malaysia beginning of January, we had decided to "accelerate" our relocation plan. Therefore, I didn't manage to organize any farewell party for her. What I had done was just prepared some small gifts for her to bring to her friends on her last day of school.

In the morning of her last day going to school, she cried finally.... She said: "I know we have to go back one day but I didn't expect it comes so fast. I am very sad." My heart sunk to the bottom, I felt like holding her in my arms and cried together but I knew I couldn't. I have to be strong so she would be strong too. It was a very difficult moments for both of us.

Going home is not so easy afterall...... 

Next ~ Our Way Home 回家的路 - Relocation Begins