I’ve mentioned the Thaipusam festival on the blog before. It is a Hindu festival that happens every year in January. It is a very colorful and exotic thing, and while I do not recommend it for younger children, it is something that you might be interested in experiencing.
Well our good friend Dave Ray will be running a photo tour here in Penang during the next Thaipusam Festival. You will get to see the tour, embedded with the people, trailing the participants. There will be opportunities to work with the other tour participants to learn new photography techniques, and story telling with photography.
The details can be found at Dave’s tour page. The tour price includes the hotel and meals plus all the work Dave’s put into getting you into the heart of the festival.
Spaces are limited, so you need to sign up as quickly as possible.
In general, I think photo tours and photo workshops like these are a great way to get into the local culture. The tour guide has done a lot of the legwork to get you an insider’s perspective, in this case into the Thaipusam festival. The advantage of a photo tour over a regular tour is that 1) you can see what you’re going to see because the photographer often shows you the images you should be expecting to capture. and 2) you take home with you all your images to remember what you’ve experienced. I highly recommend photo tours and will be pointing out other photo tours in Penang as they come up.
[I have not been paid for promoting this tour, I just believe in the product and the photographer.]
I’ve mentioned it before that we are a homeschooling family. Our kids aren’t enrolled in any of the (many) international schools in Penang. We are hooked into the Distance Learning Resource Centre at Dalat International School which is a great opportunity for anyone who is homeschooling in Penang. One of the big benefits to this program is the opportunity to connect with the other families that are registered with DLRC. This past August one of the moms organized a field trip to Kedah and we were grateful to be part of it.
This post is being linked up to the Hip Homeschool Moms link up party. They are collecting field trips around the world that homeschoolers can find. Readers who have found this post through that website might also be interested in our field trips to
- A local organic goat farm
- A Batik Factory
- The Royal Selangor School of Hard Knocks – where we made our own pewter ice cream bowls
- and more to come
I’ve mentioned before that we’re a home schooling family. Our children are not enrolled in any of the schools here in Penang, local or. We buy our school curriculum from the US and ship it here for the kids. On average, we’re spending $600-$1000 USD per child for a year. It does cost us, I mean, my wife time in that she has to do lesson planning and teaching and reading to them. We’ve got multiple kids, so she has to plan and teach multiple levels.
But what about social activities? What about Physical Education? First, those are usually not a concern for most homeschoolers. Those are the questions non-home schoolers ask. Most homeschoolers tend to be more physically active and more socially adjusted to the children their age range who are forced to sit at desks for hours at a time and interact with only children their own age for hours at a time.
And besides the myriad kids programs and tuition programs that are out there, Dalat International School has a program call the Distance Learning Resource Centre which is for home educators, local in Penang, as well as around the region.
The benefits are huge! We paid a small annual fee for the whole family. And that gives us:
- full access to the Dalat library including online resources
- full access to the DLRC resource library
- option of enrolling in single classes taken on campus
- option of enrolling in online classes through Dalat (Sevenstar)
- option to participate in after-school clubs and athletic programs
- academic testing services
- homeschool/TCK consultation services at Dalat
- college/career counseling services at Dalat
- assistance with homeschool record keeping and transcripts
After school activities
I think the word is getting out, because this year there are now over 40 home school students who are participating in Dalat’s afterschool activities. In the past year, our daughters have been part of gymnastics, soccer, art, choir, gardening, girls scouts, and dance. There are loads more to choose from, although many of these after school clubs have limited space.
My kids have made some friends too. It’s been a great opportunity for them to connect and interact with expat children.
That’s another slice of Living in Penang. Keep coming back for more of our 31 days of living in Penang.
It won’t be long before you need to pay your bills; electricity, water, Internet, Phone, etc. All these can be done at the Post Office. Here in Malaysia, the postal service is called Pos Malaysia. There is a post office in most towns.
The post office is a dreaded errand for me. I don’t know why, because in reality I’ve only had one bad experience there where I waited in line until I gave up. Every other time I’ve been there, I’ve been first, second or at most third in line and serviced very quickly.
The process is fast. Hand over your stack of bills. If you’re lucky, they all arrived in your mailbox at the end of the month and are due near the beginning of the month. They’ll add it all together and give you a total that you can pay all at once. They scan in all the barcodes from the various bills. Then they mark off the bottom of the receipt as paid and give it back to you as your receipt. Very efficient.
After a few months of this, you should have a local bank account. CIMB, Maybank, HSBC and most of the other banks with local branches have online bill pay services. Not all of the banks cover all of the bills. For example, I can’t pay my water bill with CIMB.
Automatic deduction from your account is available for some services, like Internet and Astro. I haven’t attempted to set those up for myself yet.
So that’s the first slice of my life in Penang. Keep coming back for more of my 31 days of living in Penang. Subscribe by email or like us on Facebook to get updates of when new posts are up.
I’m taking advantage of this blogging event to give you readers a snapshot of life here in Penang, Malaysia. Living in Penang has its ups and downs. On the up side, we experience new things and learn to see things from a new perspective. Then there’s the downside. There’s the challenges of the unknown and unfamiliar. There’s the challenge of the inconveniences. For the next 31 days I hope to show you both sides of living in Penang.
Day 5: Tom Yam Fried Rice
Day 6: Going to the beach
Day 14: Field Trip to the Royal Museum in Kedah
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