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Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 28 November 2017 - Unlock limitless festive inspirations at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu this holiday season with fascinating dining offers prepared by Executive Chef Fahdrul and his culinary team. Guests can look forward to a delicious Christmas with curated menus filled your holiday season favourites.

Celebrate the occasion with our Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner at the Latest Recipe for RM178nett. For something more intimate, indulge in the lavish 5-course dinner at Favola for only RM328nett per adult.

On Christmas Day, enjoy our Christmas Day Buffet Lunch at RM188nett per adult, while Christmas Day Buffet Dinner is at RM148nett per adult.

This year, Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu is offering a special early bird price at RM128nett per adult. This is only applicable for the first 50 guests for each Christmas buffets. Children under 12 years of age is at RM80nett per child.

Chef Fahdrul introduces his special Turducken dish as this year's highlight at all our Christmas Buffet. "This is a popular dish served during Christmas and is made with turkey which is stuffed with deboned chicken and duck, as well as other stuffing. This is definitely a must try and we will also serve other delicious Christmas favorites including succulent beef and lamb roasts as well as a wonderful spread of festive desserts."

Chef Fahdrul Bin Abd Malek is a seasoned chef with more than 20 years of experience in professional cooking and kitchen management in prestigious hotels around Malaysia including The Westin Kuala Lumpur and The Andaman, a Luxury Collection of Resorts, Langkawi as well as in a prominent hotel in Vietnam.

Specializing in Asian and Continental fine dining, and Western cuisines, Chef Fahdrul's philosophy on cooking "If you care about the food at all, you should always cook what you love and love what you cook" will elevate the guest's culinary experience with exciting new menu and special promotions.


Oven Roasted Baby Vegetables with Herbs Butter
Apple Stuffing
Roasted Baby Potatoes with Beef Streaky
Poached Whole Salmon with Condiments
White Bean, Minced Lamb and Mint Salad
Watermelon, Tomato and Feta with Basil, Pumpkin Seeds
Panzanella of Tomato, Mozzarella and Crunchy Bread
Roasted Pumpkin and Charred Onion Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing
Creamy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Almond Flakes
Seafood Chowder with Vegetables
Seafood on Ice with Condiments
Minced Meat Pie
Christmas Stolen
Christmas Fruit Cake with Icing Frosting
Christmas Tiramisu
Assorted Christmas Cookies
Christmas Colchester Pudding
Caramelized Chocolate Yule Log
Very Berries Cheese Cake

To discover more, please call 088-322 238 or visit

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Is Your Toddler A Picky Eater?

Written by Dr. Liaw Yun Haw
Paediatrics Medicine, KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital

Many young children are thought by their parents to eat poorly. Although a majority of the children are mildly affected, a small percentage has a feeding disorder. Picky eaters are children who consume an inadequate variety of foods through rejection of both familiar and unfamiliar foods. Picky eating is common and is found in 20-50% of children; it is a temporary phase that many children pass through.

Picky eating peaks at ages 2-3, although it may also be seen in toddlers as young as 1 year old. They have strong food preferences, consume an inadequate variety of foods, restrict the intake of some food groups, unwilling to try new food and eat a limited amount of food. Picky eating increases stress and anxiety levels that can surround difficult mealtimes and can have a detrimental impact on both the child and parent’s psychological wellbeing.

To address this common childhood condition, Nutrition-Behaviour Modification Programme for mild picky eater has been developed with the collaboration of the Malaysian Paediatric Association and Nutrition Society of Malaysia. The main objective is to aid behavioural change in children with picky eating habits.

It empowers parents with invaluable information on nutrition and growth, and supports them with practical suggestions on helping their child outgrow this developmental phase. Successful implementation results in adequate nutrition and pleasant parent-child mealtime experience.

I will discuss one of the topics here. 

Healthy mealtime behaviour- suggestion for mealtime practices:

a) Make mealtimes an enjoyable experience for all. Talk about happy and fun things at the dining table.

b) Be a role model to your child by consuming and showing the enjoyment towards a variety of foods.

c) Encourage your child to try new food before giving them their favourite food in the same setting. It may take several times before your child accepts the food.

d) Offer your child small portions and add on as indicated by their appetite. Spend time in preparing a visually appealing plate.

e) Have at least one family meal together every day. Your child would eat better when you are close by, and share their food with them.

f) Allow your child to self-feed. Be patient and understanding even if your child makes a mess.

g) Encourage your child to sit at the table for up to 30 mins during mealtimes, after which their meal should be cleared. There should be 2-3 hour intervals between meals and snacks.

h) Avoid overpraising and/ or punishing your child for mealtime behaviour. Food should not be used as positive or negative re-enforcers.

i) Understand your child’s cues and respond, your child may have had enough food or need a short pause, not familiar with the taste or food may be too hot, lumpy etc.

Make an appointment and talk to your doctor today. Managing picky eating behaviour often requires partnerships among healthcare professionals and families. The interactions and communication between a caregiver and infant influences the infant’s ability to progress in feeding skills and consume a nutritionally adequate diet.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Fitness Mom: 6 Ways To Stay On Track

Photo by Linawa Photography

As we enter the 2nd half of the year, we have a perfect time to reflect. I am sure at the beginning of this year, many peeps included "Get Fitter and Healthier for 2017" as one of their resolutions. In case you haven't quite met that goal yet, it's never too late to jump back on the wagon.

Here are 6 tips to make your journey so much easier and more meaningful.

It's just an added convenience having a gym bag ready to go in the car. Especially if you already have a busy schedule, making another pit stop at home before heading to the gym will make you lose precious time. Plus, you have one less excuse to not exercise if you are ever ready all the time.

Especially for newbie, getting into the gym for the first time can be very intimidating. But here is the thing, you are in there with a goal and one goal only, to be a better you. Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you won't make you lose anything, but instead give you a chance to learn from them.

Learn what works and what doesn't. People who are better than you usually have already had a taste of what work and what doesn't for them. Be selective when choosing what works for you and adapt it to your style making sure that you are still very responsible for your safety. In short, push ego aside, move out of your comfort zone and learn from the best.

Changes don't happen overnight, visible results might not even be obvious in a month, but every little bit of progress counts and can be used to cheer you on. You have to be YOUR BIGGEST fan. Set out mini goals. They could seem like extremely "mini" small goals, but remember this, it's YOUR GOAL.

For example, starting out a week 1 with BIG ZERO pull ups and by the end of week 4, you get to do 2 pull ups, that's great progress! Journaling up your journey. That way when you look back on Day 1, when you are now on Day 90, I can assure you that you will have No Regrets and be amazed by your own achievements.

There could be many reasons why you started, be it due to health reason or simple to look fitter and stronger. Have a clear goal and focus on that goal. Tell yourself this, is it worthwhile to start all over again just because you couldn't be bothered to take charge?

Be proud of how you look before you started your fitness journey and be prouder of how far you have come. Avoid that midnight junk snack by sticking those 'before and after' pictures on the fridge door! You could also stick a Motivational Poster to push you away from reaching your kid's leftover pizza from the night before.

Most of the time people will not understand your goal. They don't have to. It's your journey not theirs. So, if you are at a party or a gathering, it's OK to say NO to a glass of wine or a slice of pizza and it's OK to pack or request food that suits your meal type. All you have to do is 'ASK' whenever you can. You will be surprise on how accommodating some people or even restaurants can be. And if it's still hard, read No.2 and No.4 again.

So, DON'T WAIT, START NOW. TAKE CHARGE. You are your body. Any movement at all is so much more better than sitting on a couch! Don't think only lifting weights would change you.

By Nirwana Williams

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Meet Fiona Hobritus, Founder of Sabah's First Online Grocery Shopping

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

What does “Learning Through Play” REALLY MEAN?

Written by Mrs Nicky Russell, Head of Primary, Kinabalu International School

As parents we all want to do our best for our children. We want our children to have access to opportunities that will help them to grow, learn and develop, preparing them for adulthood. Knowing our children will be entering an increasingly competitive workplace, parents are now scheduling many planned activities for them each week. As a result, there is often little opportunity for children to benefit from time to play.

Play engages children’s bodies, minds and emotions and is recognised as so important to a child’s well-being and development that the Right to Play is set down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). At Kinabalu International School (KIS) we follow the United Kingdom’s Early Years Foundation Stage Framework; play is a fundamental component of our curriculum for 3 to 5 year olds.

An increasing amount of academic research confirms that play is an essential part of education. Young children are not passive learners; they learn through hands-on activities. We know that children are highly motivated to learn when they are able to actively drive their own learning and development.

This is demonstrated in the choices they make, the interests they develop, what questions they ask and what knowledge they seek. Even from a very young age, children’s choices and interests are the catalyst for building their knowledge, skills and understanding.

What Do Children Learn When Playing?
• Language skills
• How to think about and solve problems
• Confidence
• Emotional development
• Creativity and imagination
• Social skills
• Intellectual skills

In the last issue of Parents Avenue our Principal wrote about the top skills employers will be looking for in the future. The top three skills listed were Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Creativity. Through providing structured play activities in an  educational environment, we are supporting the development of these crucial skills from the very beginning.

How Does Playing Help Learning?

In the Early Years Foundation Stage at KIS we teach our youngest students through a mix of planned and purposeful play activities and adult-led lessons.

In our purpose-built outdoor learning area and our well resourced classrooms, children explore and discover the world around them. They are encouraged to practice new skills, interact with others, use their imagination and consolidate knowledge and understanding.

The progress and development children make when learning through play is greatly enhanced when combined with interaction in particular ways by skilled adults. At KIS our highly qualified and experienced teaching teams support and extend the play activities to meet the crucial developmental needs of individual children. Through their observations, assessment and professional judgement they gain vital information on how each child learns best. Activities and lessons are then carefully planned based on knowledge of each child’s stage of development at a given time and progress is measured and reported.

Parents are able to monitor their child’s progress and development in their Learning Journey Portfolio via the Tapestry Online Portal. Teachers and parents access this and upload evidence of significant moments or achievements, samples of work or supporting photographs.

Balancing Play and Instruction

In reality, while we want our children to be creative and good problem solvers, we also want them to be knowledgeable about facts and details. This requires a balance between play and instruction. While children need to know that 2 + 2 = 4, they also need to be able to understand why that is the case and apply that knowledge across a range of situations. At KIS we combine play and direct instruction in our teaching methods. As children grow older, and their development allows, children enjoy more teacher-led sessions, to help them prepare for more formal learning in Year 1.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework provides balance, quality and consistency in academic development, pastoral care and creativity for children aged 3 to 5.

The areas of learning that are developed are:
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Personal, social and emotional development
• Literacy
• Mathematics
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design

Regardless of whether a child is receiving direct instruction or engaging in structured play, a fun and enjoyable activity is the best context for learning. Dull, repetitive activities are not effective in developing a love of learning in children. Students at KIS come into the school each day keen to learn, they look forward to the varied activities that have been planned for them and see school as an enjoyable and fun place to be.

These positive experiences engender success and resilience and lead to a willingness to learn. These are crucial elements if the student is to become a life-long learner. If you would like to find out more please contact our Admissions Officer, Tina Koroh at:, to arrange a tour of the school and to explore the opportunities available for your child. You can also contact me, Nicky Russell, Head of Primary, at


Mrs Russell joined KIS from the UK in August 2006. A mother with two sons, one in the Primary school and the elder in the Secondary school, she is passionate about providing children with a wholistic education that is fun and inspires them to develop a life-long love of learning.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Unraveling The Future of Cord Blood Banking

Interview with StemLife’s new CEO, Ms. Yap Eng Gee, who is leading the exciting development of StemLife Berhad, the pioneer of cord blood banking industry in Malaysia and the subsidiary of Cordlife Group Limited. StemLife’s CEO, Ms. Yap Eng Gee gives a glimpse into how StemLife Berhad aims to achieve global recognition as the leading stem cell company in Regenerative Medicine.

I am an accountant and was the Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of TMC Life Sciences Berhad, an investment holding company primarily operating a multi-disciplinary tertiary care medical centre (Tropicana Medical Centre). Prior to that, I also served as CFO to Pantai Holdings Berhad, which has a network of hospitals marketed under two brand names – Pantai Hospital and Gleneagles Hospital.

StemLife is a consumer healthcare company that serves the needs and well being of the baby and mother. Our key focus is to address and bring awareness to our potential clients and their families by providing comprehensive protection for their children every step of the way, from baby cord blood and cord lining collection to testing, processing and storage, ensuring CARE and QUALITY as our number one commitment priority.

Since our establishment in 2001, we have to-date more than 60,000 cord units stored with us and recorded 15 successful cord blood transplants for thalassemia, cerebral palsy, brain injury and leukemia. Being a subsidiary of Cordlife Group Limited (CGL), we are part of the largest cord blood banking group in Asia with cord blood bank facilities in 7 countries (Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand).

StemLife will continue to invest in the educational and promotional activities so as to spread awareness on the benefits of saving baby’s cord blood and cord lining.

The baby’s cord blood and placenta contains rich source of very young and immature cells that are more viable than the adult bone marrow stem cells. Stem cells have the remarkable ability to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. They can regenerate into identical cells or form new cells which make them very valuable as they can be used to repair or replace cells that have been changed or lost.

Umbilical cord blood have been known to treat over 80 blood related diseases. More than 35,000 cord blood stem cell transplants have been done worldwide. The scores of diseases currently being treated, coupled with the promising future potentials being discovered every day, make the value of saving baby’s cord blood even more valuable and priceless. It is a one-time opportunity ONLY at birth to collect and store the baby’s umbilical cord blood and cord lining. Researchers and scientists all over the world are working in research and clinical trials in the hope of achieving major medical breakthroughs to treat more medical conditions.

Individuals who have their cord blood and cord tissue banked will have an advantage and potential to utilize cord blood and cord tissue stem cells in emerging treatments in the future. Whether it is to protect your family’s future health or just for peace of mind. At the very least, it may be able to save someone’s life.

StemLife has and will continuously invest in education and spread awareness on the potential and benefits of saving baby’s cord blood and cord lining to the public and medical fraternity. Being a member of the Malaysian Association for Cell Therapy (MACT), we get to meet with members of the stem cell industry and health ministry authority to share latest development and update on stem cell research, clinical trials and technology done globally and here in Malaysia as well as discussion on industry concerns and regulations.

Finding a reliable cord blood bank is crucial. Pricing should not be the key factor. It is vital that a cord blood bank has the experience, quality standards and care for handling, shipping, and storing cord blood. Financial stability and transparency is another important factor to consider to ensure baby’s cord blood is safely stored and safeguarded.

CARE and QUALITY are our number one commitment priority. StemLife has been established since 2001 with more than 15 years experience in cord blood collection and storage. Entrusted by more than 60,000 parents who have stored their baby’s cord blood stem cells with us, we have successfully released 15 of our client’s baby cord blood stem cells for the treatment of thalassemia, cerebral palsy, brain injury and leukemia.

StemLife is now part of the Cordlife Group Limited (CGL), which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and is the largest cord blood banking group in Asia region with cord blood bank facilities in 7 countries and more than 180,000 cord blood units stored.

Based on the last financial announcement prior to delisting, StemLife had cash reserve and liquid investment of more than RM70 million as at 31 December 2016, which speaks for our financial stability and capability for long term maintenance of the storage facility.

Out of the 15 stem cell units successfully released for medical treatments, an example of using sibling’s cord blood stem cells had helped to save the life of a leukemia child patient who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Leukaemia Survivor - Angel
At the age of 6 months, Angel was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Doctors had given her less than 10% chance of survival. Further anguish was brought to her mother who was considering aborting her second pregnancy. Following the advice from her gynaecologist, the mother gave birth to her second baby in 2004 and had his cord blood stem cells collected and stored with StemLife.

The baby’s cord blood stem cells were found to be a perfect match for Angel. Following the cord blood transplant using her baby brother’s cord blood stem cells, Angel regained her health which her parents were very grateful. Angel is now a healthy child, thanks to her brother’s cord blood stem cells which had given her a new lease of life.

There is still so much potential for our business to grow in Malaysia. Our mid-term goal is to have presence in all major cities with high birth rate in Malaysia.

We will continuously educate and increase awareness to reach as many parents as possible on the potential benefits of cord blood and cord lining stem cells. For our next level of growth, we are looking at delving further into mother and baby care business, by developing and offering new products and services with the reliability and unrivaled care that we have been known for.


Since its establishment in 2001, StemLife has processed over 60,000 units and assisted in 15 cord blood stem cell transplant applications. StemLife goes the extra mile to provide their clients with the most comprehensive protection possible for their children.

Stemlife Berhad was accorded the prestigious award “Malaysia Stem Cell Banking Company of the Year 2017” by Frost Sullivan.

24-Hour Customer Careline +603 2166 3636

Monday, 31 July 2017

How Do We Protect Our Kids From Sexual Predators?

I tell my children at a very young age that their private parts are ‘private’ for a reason and what are “healthy touches”. I also refer to their genitals as vagina, penis, breasts, buttocks; and not “karipap”, “mei mei”, “kukubird” and “nenen”. Reason being, I was told that if your child were to tell you that “Uncle touched my “mei mei”, it would be less effective than, “ Mama, that Uncle touched my Vagina!” which would trigger a faster response.

Second, put your child first.

An activist had to make a difficult decision when she found out her father in-law had been sexually molesting her then six-year old daughter. Fortunately for her, her husband was “on their side” too. The safety and self-esteem of their child was more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience or offense. As Johnston mentions, the shame should not be on the victim or the family of the victim. The shame should be on the perpetrator.

Thirdly, listen to your children and teach them not to keep unsafe secrets. Communication is so crucial between a parent and the child.

Most abusers cultivate a strong relationship with their victims before doing anything sexual. Often, they start by testing a child’s boundaries by being inappropriate in other ways. I read somewhere that a parent should once in a while, in a calm, conversational way, ask the child if anything was bothering or worrying him/her.

Don’t tease, even if the child says something ‘silly’ and avoid (easier said than done) lecturing or scolding at that moment, even if the child has done something wrong.

According to, some pedophiles give alcohol or drugs as a way to get them to lower their inhibitions, molesting them while they are unconscious or asleep.

They might then threaten their victims by getting them into trouble if the child tells their parents. Make sure you tell your child that even if he or she makes a mistake or did something wrong, that you, as the parent will still love and help him/her. Ensure an environment that the child knows what sexual abuse is and that they have a safe haven to speak up and report it if it happens to him or her.

Finally, make sure you know who and what others is doing with your children.

Remember that anyone can be an abuser. Don’t just trust someone because they are part of a reputable organization or religious body or school. Check their background and trust your gut feeling about someone or something. “Watch our for someone who seems to single out certain kids for special attention and private relationships and who seeks social and recreational opportunities to be alone with kids without other adults there,” adds Irene van der Zande, Founder and Executive Director of Kidpower.

Combating Child Sexual Crimes is a collective effort and we need to start NOW to stop it.


Daphne Iking is an Award winning actress and TV personality. Co-founder of both Lebosi Sdn Bhd and BigIDIA, she is also an advocate for solar powered products and consults corporate leaders in Media Handling and Public Speaking.

For latest updates, follow Daphne Iking on Facebook & Instagram. Watch her Vlogs here:

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Are You Truly Ready For A Baby?


Written by Stella Matilda, Editor of Parents Avenue Magazine

I may not looked like the “established” mom who has it all under control. Keeping the house clean, preparing meals for the family and all. But I think with a three year old toddler and another baby on the way, I’m pretty qualified to share my five cents on parenthood. At least some of it.

The truth is, my husband didn’t want us to have our first child so soon after our wedding. Some believe in enjoying the marriage first. I totally agree. But I wanted kids. I always have a thing for children and I knew that we were ready. So let me just share with you the few topics we discussed prior to having our first child.

1. To care for someone other than ourselves.
This isn’t a pet cat or a dog. Bringing someone to life and to be responsible for that tiny person is a big deal. We figured, ok - we are pretty independent and have been taking care of ourselves for decades. I mean, we still have food and clean clothes!

2. Willing to make scarifies for someone other than yourself.
Right. Like ultimately money, time and sleep. That’s do-able. We had a long talk on the money bit thinking if we are actually financially ready for a little one. I thought, money will come and go but time- we can never, ever get to reverse time. Period!

I believe in goal setting and working towards it. We discussed exactly how much we needed to survive with the first baby. We had a plan and wrote it down to review the pros and cons. It always goes back to money. Thankfully, we managed to save enough for a private hospital delivery and surviving through to our third year as parents.

Remember, money is everything but so is time. Of course, if you have money, it will pretty much sums it all up - then you have money to hire a maid, go to the best hospital in town, best day care centres and schools, best of all things like toys and food too. But, here I am sharing as a middle income person who doesn’t really have all that luxury. But we are happy and blessed above all.

3. Capacity to love.
Not everyone has the will to love a child. Loving a child is about patience. This is that little person that keeps you awake all day and night. Vomit and poop what may feel like every hour. When they learn to crawl or walk, your house is no longer yours. It’s theirs.

Expect your feet to feel the pain from stepping onto toys and lego bricks (presents from your family/friends). Expect jumping and dangerous stunts from your child. Expect screams, cries and tantrums. Expect forgiveness and to love without limits by you as the parent. To always bare in mind, their childhood years are so, so, so very few. So treasure them while you can.

4. You are open to learning, changing and growing.
Motherhood is just like your mobile phone software, it needs to be upgraded once in a while. What we thought we knew could be so back dated, it doesn’t even make sense anymore!

Motherhood will change us as a person. Same goes for the daddy. You cannot stop the changes in your life. Once you enter parenthood, there is no going back. And guess what? Nobody is truly ready to be a parent. Nobody. But you have to be willing to say YES. YES. YES. Yes to the changes, yes to learning new things and yes to growing.

5. Be responsible.
You want to be someone’s mother. Your life will affect another life as deeply as it possibly can. Our choices, words, attitudes, experiences - all of it! Whatever you do will affect how your kids develop, forming the structure of their own central narratives.

How can we ever be ready for something like that? Good news is, you can clean up your act. You can be responsible. Like, today. Right now. Are you ready?

Sunday, 28 May 2017

CORD BLOOD BANKING Parents Guide: What it is & Why Consider it?

Parents Guide: What it is & Why Consider it?

If you’re thinking about saving your baby’s cord blood, you probably have plenty of questions.
Which bank should you choose? Should you make the investment? Is it worth it? The fact is, cord blood stem cells are doing amazing things today. Used in the treatment of serious diseases, these cells are improving lives and helping families across the country.

#1 What is cord blood, and Why is it so special?

The term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. It is usually discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains precious stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies such as leukaemia, thalassemia and other blood diseases. For over 20 years, cord blood stem cells have been used in transplant medicine, the infusion of stem cells into patient’s bloodstream to regenerate blood tissue and the immune system. With emerging global research and clinical trials into regenerative medicine, new future uses of cord blood stem cells will be added on to the current 80 diseases that are treatable with these cells.

#2 The decision to save your baby’s stem cells is an important one. Why? 

They are genetically unique to your baby and other family members. Banking them is a onetime opportunity at birth only as a kind of biological insurance cum investment for potential treatment possibilities.

#3 You have decisions to make. Should saving cord blood be one of them?

Today, cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases, most of these diseases are genetic disorders and typically require a transplant. A sibling’s cord blood is often the best match for a transplant.

#4 Can your baby use his or her own cord blood?

Your baby can be treated using his or her own cord blood for a small number of nongenetic diseases like anaemia, bone marrow failure disorders and cancers. Leukaemia and lymphomas that develop later in life may also be treated with your own cord blood. There are a number of ongoing clinical trials to study treatments for diseases like cerebral palsy, type 1 diabetes and autism, which require the use of a child’s own cord blood.

Banking options for your baby’s cord:

It is completely up to the parents as to whether they want to donate their cord blood for public use or store with a private bank for their family future needs. There is value in both options. It is important to explore and understand the difference between the public and private banking before making a decision.


In public cord blood banking, the baby’s cord blood is donated to a cord blood bank, where it’s stored for use by anyone who may need it for a transplant. It may also be used for medical research. When parents donate their baby’s cord blood, they sign away all rights to it and the cord-blood bank owns the blood — there’s no guarantee that the cord blood will later be available to the family should they need it in later years.


In private cord blood banking, parents pay to have their baby’s cord blood banked for his or her own use in the future or for use by a family member (like a parent or sibling). The family “owns” the cord blood and can make most key decisions about how it is used. Cost of private banking varies for the initial collection of the blood, followed by annual storage fee or for 20 years advance storage until the child reaches the adult age.

Finding a reliable cord blood bank is crucial.

Pricing should not be the key factor. If a cord blood bank doesn’t have high standards for handling, shipping, and storing cord blood, your baby’s cord blood might not be usable if you ever need it. And if a bank isn’t financially stable with a high degree of corporate governance, where and how your baby’s cord blood is stored long term could be affected. So begin your search early. 

Ask yourself specific questions about the cord blood bank and once you have narrowed down your search, here are some important questions to note:

Does the cord blood bank meet all the medical requirements set by the medical board and is it fully accredited?
The Ministry of Health regulates and inspects cord blood banks nationally and regularly. All banks must comply with these federal regulations or be shut down.

Does the cord blood bank have clinical experience here in Malaysia?
Always consider the bank’s experience and success rate in releasing cord blood for transplants and other therapies.

Is the cord blood bank financially stable and transparent?
Ultimately, cord blood banking is a business. You should go with a bank that is reputable and financially sound to ensure that your baby’s cord blood future is safeguarded.


Should you need more information regarding to Cord Blood Banking, you can contact our partner at StemLife Berhad, the region's leading stem cell bank with over 50,000 families have trusted their precious baby's cord blood with them. They are internationally recognized and is the subsidiary to Cordlife Group in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philipines, China and Thailand. 

24 Hour Careline 03-2166 3636
Headquarters Address: 
StemLife Berhad, B-7-15, Megan Avenue II, 
12 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Lower Back Pain Prevention During & After Pregnancy

Lower Back Pain Prevention During & After Pregnancy

By Chan Yin Keen, D.C | B.HSci (Chiro), M.Clin.Chiro
One Spine Chiropractic, D27, 3rd Floor, Center Point Sabah, Kota Kinabalu.

Lower back pain is a common problem that the majority of us have experienced before. The causes vary, whether due to lifting something heavy or repetitive stress or even sitting in a chair for too long, we have all been there at one point or another. Pregnancy is also known to cause lower back pain, sometimes lasting even after birth.

In the case of pregnancy, a woman typically gains a few extra kilograms which the back has to support. This is coupled with hormonal changes that relax and loosen the ligaments around the pelvic area to allow for the eventual birth. The same hormonal changes that allow for the loosening of the ligaments in the pelvic area can also affect the ligaments supporting the spine, which leads to instability and pain.

The other cause for lower back pain occurring during pregnancy is the shift in one’s centre of gravity as the baby grows, which will cause a change in posture as one’s body adjusts to the extra weight. Changes in our posture are a little harder to notice, but do add up as months of poor posture can lead pain and discomfort.

So what can one do to help prevent or reduce back pain while pregnant? 

Being mindful of our posture is one way. Keeping your ear lobes in line with your shoulders, pulling your stomach in, trying to not tilt your pelvis too far forward or backwards and avoiding slouching will do wonders for your posture when standing. Incidentally all this also applies when not pregnant. To avoid slouching the easiest way is to just pull your shoulder blades back, and chest forward.

In addition to putting less strain on your shoulders and back, you will look more confident and take in more air while breathing compared to when you are slouching.

The other thing I mentioned was trying to avoid having your pelvis tilted too far forward or backwards. Typically, we find a bit of anterior pelvic tilt going on, where the pelvis is rotated forward. To give us an idea of what it looks like, people with an anterior pelvic tilt will have an increased arch in their lower back, their belly jutting forward and a bum sticking out.

Now some might find the idea of an increased arch and pronounced figure appealing, but what an anterior pelvic tilt introduces is muscle imbalances, weakness and low back pain.

What we want to do is prevent swayback or anterior pelvic tilt posture from arising, and we do that with exercise. Pelvic tilt exercises, core exercises, pelvic stabilisation and gluteal strengthening exercises are the kind of exercises that should be done before pregnancy to give your body a stable base to work with. Depending on the kind of exercise, it can even be continued with during your pregnancy.

On the topic of exercise, other exercises one can do when pregnant include mostly low impact exercises like walking, swimming or using a stationary bike. These exercises keep one active, aren’t stressful for the back, and in turn help us stay healthy and pain free. As always though, seek professional medical advice if you intend to do exercise while pregnant.

Other things that can be done during pregnancy to avoid unnecessary back pain would include not bending over to lift or pick things up when pregnant. This is solid advice even for those who are not pregnant. A lot of people experience back pain due to lifting things with their back instead of their legs.

Squatting, keeping your back straight while bending at the knees and hips to pick things up is fine as it does not put a strain on our back. For those who are heavily pregnant, having someone else pick things up off the floor is also an acceptable alternative!

Having adequate rest is important for soon-to-be mothers, thus one should be getting proper sleep. Sleeping on your back is generally not the best position at the best of times, more so when pregnant. This is due to the baby’s weight possibly affecting venous flow from the lower limbs back to the heart, as well as causing lower back pain too. I think it goes without saying that lying on your stomach during pregnancy should not happen as that puts pressure on the baby and possibly reduces blood flow.

Ideally, you want to be sleeping on your side. A proper height pillow to rest your head, and your knees bent with a pillow or bolster between them will help reduce any strain in your back. All these tips should help prevent or minimize the risk of having lower back pain during pregnancy. Back pain after pregnancy can and does happen; as the hormonal changes during pregnancy that loosened the joints and ligaments did not happen overnight, likewise the return of strength to muscles and tone to ligaments will take time.

Typically if a woman has had lower back pain before or during their pregnancy, they are likely to continue to have back pain after as well. Adding the strain of pushing during delivery, bending down to pick up your newborn and even holding them to breastfeed or rocking them to sleep can cause postpartum back pain if you are not careful with your posture.

Postpartum back pain typically resolves itself after a few months; it is important to note that back pain in itself is fairly common and not something to worry about. Know when to seek professional help for your back pain, especially if it is severe pain, sudden severe pain, or having numbness or pins and needles down your extremities. When in doubt, give your local medical professional a call and seek their advice. It is better to have as much information as possible in your hands about any pain or discomfort that you may be experiencing, so you can make the best decision for your health.


Should you need more information regarding back pain in pregnancy or related topic, kindly contact Chan Yin Keen at 013-810 0373 or visit his clinic One Spine Chiropractic located on the 3rd Floor of Centre Point, Shopping Mall Sabah. One Spine Chiropractic offers chiropractic solutions for people with musculoskeletal problems.

Monday, 8 May 2017

What's Next After SPM?


Written by Jasmine Leong
Executive Director of IEC, School of English Language and Further Studies Consult

So, SPM results are out! Now what? Every year, thousands of 17 year olds all across Malaysia wait with baited breath for their SPM results, pushing aside all plans of what lies beyond, almost as if their whole life was dependant on these results and nothing else.

But guess what? There IS life after SPM! All of a sudden, students are rushing to apply for universities in haste, looking at courses available, picking their future careers, usually all within a matter of 3 months. And then they are off, leaving for the next 3 to 4 years of university study, to study, learn and become skilled citizens of the world!

Now let’s take a step back, take a big breath and see how we can unravel one of the most important decisions of a student’s life. What shall I study at university? Where should I go? What will the cost be?

The first decision the student will need to make is what he or she would like to study. Usually at this stage, we have parents on the one hand pressuring the student to decide whilst the student is bombarded with one too many choices and may feel paralysed at the decision of this magnitude. I would suggest looking at the broader perspective, especially since there is still one more step to take before embarking on a university degree.

Pre- University
Most countries including Malaysia will need the student to complete one to two more years of pre university studies before embarking on a university major degree.

1) STPM / Local Matriculation
2) A-levels
3) International Baccalaureate
4) Foundation

So which one? If you hope to enter into one of our local government universities then the STPM or local matriculation would be the best route. However, if you wish to spread your wings and look outside of Malaysia then there are a few options to consider:

Option 1>>> A-LEVELS
What are the A-levels? It is the UK curriculum exam which has been outsourced to Malaysia and typically students do either the Cambridge or Edexcel syllabus exams. The A-level programme can be studied in private colleges in Malaysia, international schools or even as a private candidate in KK.

It is an 18 month programme course and usually revolves around 3 or 4 subjects at most. It is considered quite a tough exam especially if you have not been brought up under the British IGCSE / O – levels syllabus and get thrust into the A-level system. So it is not an exam for the faint-hearted.

For students looking at studying Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science in the UK, the A-levels is one of the few routes available. A typical 6-term A-level fees can be anywhere between £21,000 - £30,000 depending on which college you choose in the UK. Malaysian colleges A-levels are of course slightly less at around RM20,000.

The IB Diploma has been gaining popularity since it began in Europe and has been said to be a more well-rounded curriculum than the A-levels. It requires the student to be an all-rounder and has additional subjects such as the Theory of Knowledge, Extended essay and creativity, activity, service. 

It is an excellent preparation for university studies and life after university. IEC represents a few IB schools in the UK and Australia, so do connect with us if you wish to find out more. Fees for the IB overseas are around the same as the A-levels in the UK.

Option 3 >>> FOUNDATION
The Foundation programme which can be studied within Malaysian private colleges and universities overseas has been hugely popular as it is only an 8 month – 1 year duration and usually streams the student into a university degree immediately. Many parents feel that the Foundation route sometimes locks the student’s choices too early.

However, I would advise that as long as the student already has an inclination of the subjects they wish to focus on, the Foundation pathway could be a better and more direct pathway into university. It also teaches subjects which are relevant to the university degree without the unnecessary depth of A-levels or the breadth of the IB Diploma.

Typical cost of a Foundation course would be cheaper than an A-level due to the duration. In the UK Foundation fees are between £10,000 - £18,000, Australia it is typically around A$25,000 and in Malaysia around RM18,000 per year.

IEC represents ALL Foundation programmes available for international students in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. So feel free to connect with us once you have your SPM results! The options are boundless! What about the USA and Canada you ask? Yes, you can enter with SPM directly into certain US universities without the required SATs or 12 years of secondary study. 

For Canada, IEC represents two universities Simon Frasier University in Vancouver and University of Manitoba that has a special international foundation for students with SPM or IGCSEs qualifications. The cost of living and fees in USA and Canada can range anywhere from RM90,000 (in Manitoba) to about RM180,000 (in American University, Washington), depending on which part of the US or Canada you apply to. Singapore private institutions also offer a range of pathways from SPM and Malaysian private institutions offer Foundation, A-levels and Diplomas as well.

Private institution tuition fees in Singapore are about a third of Australian fees and a student can manage to live and study in Singapore with about RM90,000 per year.

So what results do I need to enter pre-university, you ask? All you need is a minimum of 5 credits in academic subjects. There are slight variations depending on which course you are taking up but 5 credits will generally get you into most Foundation programmes.

What if I do not want to study anything academic? Well then, have you thought about the hospitality line? Master Chef on TV has had a huge impact on the hospitality, tourism and culinary arts industry. Entry requirements into a Diploma of Hospitality in BHMS Switzerland or Le Cordon Bleu only require a student to be 18 years of age and have completed high school. Their courses are also structured differently, for example a student studies for 6 months, and gains practical work experience in the next 6 months. Hospitality school fees and cost of living are typically €29000 per year.

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to your options after SPM. It is not as daunting after all right? Remember our doors are always open here at IEC if you need a calming hand and a reassurance that there is a pathway suitable for you.

About the writer>>>
Jasmine Leong is the Executive Director and Senior Education Consultant at IEC. IEC offers free advice, counselling and application procedures to over 100 colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, Singapore and Malaysia. Call 088 212939 for your appointment time and bring along your SPM results.

Should you need help for your children on their next education journey, do contact Jasmine Leong at IEC for consultation. She is a very helpful, not to mentioned friendly too!

Since 1981 IEC has been offering English Language courses and Further Studies Counselling and Application Services to over 100 colleges and Universities
Address: Sunny Garden, Mile 1 1/2, Tuaran Road
Telephone: 088-212 939  Website: