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Sunday, 9 December 2018


At the end of September, Kinabalu International School reopened for the new academic year and welcomed a new face to the school – Mr Ian Gross, the new Principal. We met with him to find out more about his background, his aspirations and sought advice on how best we can prepare our own children for the future world of education and work.

How long have you been teaching and where else have you taught? Have you been a Principal at other schools?
I became a teacher nearly 25 years ago and during that time I have been fortunate enough to teach in the UK, Czech Republic, Argentina, Thailand, Egypt, Bahrain and now Sabah, Malaysia. Having started as a science teacher I soon became a Head of Department and realised I enjoyed leadership and management within schools. It added a new dimension to the scope of my work and so I continued to progress up the career ladder. I have been in leadership positions, including School Principal, in a number of highly regarded and successful schools across four continents.

How are you settling into life in Kota Kinabalu?
Having lived in a number of countries previously, it was surprising how quickly we have all adjusted to a new city and a new life. Everyone has been so welcoming, friendly and supportive; it is as if we were returning to our home rather than starting fresh in a new one.

How would you describe the KIS community?
Supportive, caring, friendly, fun, open-minded and focussed.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Supporting and nurturing the next generation. Whilst it may be a cliché for an educator to say this, it is a cliché for a reason. I very much enjoy enabling and empowering others to achieve in whatever they are doing or working towards; whether it be our students or our staff.

What are the benefits to a local student of attending an international school?
An understanding of other cultures, global perception and understanding , supported personal and social development, greater participation in extra-curricular activities, a focus on global education, career and social opportunities… The list goes on. Feel free to pop into KIS so you can see for yourself how an international school environment could benefit your child.

You have moved around a lot in your teaching career and therefore needed to select schools for your children along the way, what advice would you give to parents when choosing a school?
Look for a school that has the education and the welfare of your child at the centre of its core purpose. Too many international schools are being built as an investment opportunity for the owners. KIS is one of a few international schools globally that is genuinely a not-for-profit school. All income generated by the school goes back into the development and running of the school. As the school develops, we make sure our mission and philosophy are used to guide our decisions and what is best for our children and the community at KIS.

What is your worst and best memory from your time at school?
Back in the last century when I was in school, the focus was on memory and obedience. Too much effort was made on facts and how much you could remember and then recall for exams. Students were expected to be quiet and not to question anything. The world has changed since I was at school, now children need to be confident in the skills of learning so they can continue to be life-long learners. Children need to have the skills to ask questions, as well as the skills for listening, information gathering and interpreting. As the world progresses and continues to change, we need children to be able to understand, adapt and thrive with these changes. My best memory? When I was five, my family dog, Timmy, followed me to school and stayed with me the whole day until I went home. I don’t think schools would allow that to happen today; but it certainly was fun at the time.

How do you envisage education changing over the next ten years?
I see schools moving towards an increased use of technologies to support learning. Exams will continue to move away from factual recall and focus on use of skills. Universities will become less rooted in bricks and mortar with more online courses becoming available to undergraduates. This will allow for greater choice of course and location for internationally minded students.

What must KIS do to keep up with this change?
It’s not so much about keeping up with change as it is about the preparation of our students to be able to face and cope with change. It has been said that schools are preparing children for jobs that don’t exist yet. It is imperative that we ensure the students at KIS have the skills and understanding to support them in an ever changing global environment, where they can be confident and successful individuals in whatever industry they choose to be in.

As parents it can sometimes feel that the world around us is changing so fast, both technologically and socially. The world in which our children will live and work feels unknown to us. How best can we prepare our children for the uncertainty?
It is uncertain for us as adults, but not for the children. Have belief in their abilities, support their goals and their ambitions. With the right preparation this generation will embrace the flexibility and resilience that is required of them. Make sure they are at a school that is approachable and gives you the information you require to help you to understand your child’s education and the direction it is taking them in, so that they have choices in their future. At KIS we educate and support our children to be adaptable and to be the adults of the future who will be making those changes; we are nurturing global citizens.

If you are interested in finding out more about Kinabalu International School, contact their Admissions Officer, Tina Koroh, to arrange a tour so you can see the school in action. Telephone: 088 224526, Email: or visit


My husband and our newborn Noah taken last year by Hannah William Photography

I'm pretty sure many have warned you about how little sleep you will get after your newborn arrived. They kid you not. James (my husband) and I have been gone through it twice and have experienced our "zombiefied" moments of not getting enough sleep. We don't want to scare you much but here are some tips that might be helpful for you!

Newborn babies innately possess a startle reflex as is they are falling till about four to five months old. It causes baby to have jerking movements and baby will incidentally wake up. Swaddling helps prevent babies from startling themselves awake and helps them sleep better.

The meaning of dreamfeed is the feeding given to the baby right before you go to bed. This helps prevent baby from waking up just as you are about to go to sleep and many mothers believe dreamfeeding can really help a newborn baby sleep longer. This technique is great till about 4 months old.

Sleeping too much in the day time can really rob the night time sleep for baby. If your baby sleeps past 2-2.5 hours, do yourself a favour and go wake that baby up, feed him and keep him a wake for a bit before another nap.

For some strange reason, the sound of the fan helps baby to sleep. Some say, white noise
mimics the sound of the womb and its comforting for the baby. We have a regular fan at home which I use as well to help my son to sleep. So far it still works. He is 15 months now.

Train your baby to follow a routine. Wake up, eat, nap, bath and sleep about the same time everyday. This cycle will eventually teach your baby what is happening and what to expect. Babies are fast learners. This routine will also keep you organise so you have some time for yourself. I hope!

A skill we all need to have as parents. Do change your baby’s diaper before the middle night feeding to prevent baby from waking up too much after a feeding is done.

The more you understand your baby’s sleep pattern, the better both you and baby can sleep.
Keeping a baby awake hoping to tired him out will eventually ended up in over-stimulation and
baby will experience difficulty falling asleep. Overtired baby will sleep shorter, not longer.

Encourage your baby to sleep well in the long run is by helping him to learn how to fall asleep independently. It does sound easier than done, I know! Keep trying! As they grow older, falling asleep independently will eventually become reality.

We may unconciously have a habit of rushing our baby to sleep when they cry at night. Quite often, babies wake up babble for a bit and go right back to sleep. So don’t rush in when this happen.

I really hope some of these tips will come in handy for you. It's never easy taking care of newborn. And if you ever need someone to talk, I am here for you mama!

Email me at

Stella Matilda


Epidurals are a way of transferring an anesthetic to prevent pain signals from the spine to the brain. It typically includes injecting a small amount of anesthetic within the epidural space of the spine. The epidural space contains fluid and encloses the spinal cord. The function of the anesthetic is to numb the spinal nerves and therefore, block the pain signals.

Amidst the childbirth process, the medication is shot into the lumbar area, which is located on the lower part of the spine. If properly inserted, no more pain will be felt on the lower half of the body. With lower doses however, the movement of legs or even walking around will still be possible. Since a single injection doesn’t suffice through- out the entire labour, a catheter is commonly attached to a woman’s back and this fine plastic tube is fastened into the epidural space using a needle. The main function is to add more painkillers or anesthetic if necessary.

There are several ways to go about this, either it’s handled by the doctor, or the catheter is attached to a pump that provides painkillers in small amounts or, the pump may be controlled by the patient, lessening or adding it as needed. The dosage of the epidural is gradually increased to avoid injecting too much at once. The feeling of pain begins weakening 10 to 20 minutes after applied. Depending on the anesthetist, it sometimes takes time to place the injection in the right area, or they might not administer it at all.

Epidural may be applied only when the patient is awake.
1. Patients will be asked to sit up or lay on their side, being forward to curve their back.
2. Local anesthetic is injected into a small region of skin of your back to numb it before the actual epidural catheter is inserted.
3. The anesthetist will place a fine plastic tube into the epidural space in your back.

Epidurals are proven to be efficient in reducing pain better than other forms of painkillers. Women who have applied epidurals experience minimal to no pain. According to statistics, 28 out of 100 women require additional painkillers during child birth if other alternatives of pain relief choices were used first.

Any medication that a mom-to-be employs during labor will pass through their baby’s body via the umbilical cord. This consists of painkillers and anesthetics that’s delivered through epidurals. But, anesthetics lacks a strong effect on the baby compared to different painkillers that could be taken in consideration during the birthing process. Epidurals have no long-term drawbacks. Although, one difference is the use of epidurals may have a prolonged delivery time, this is due to some babies requiring a longer time to get into the right position when an epidural is used.

• For women undergoing labor, this method of pain relief has been found to be most effective.
• Top-ups can be provided by an experienced midwife, so no wait or delay is needed from an anaesthetist.
• Another positive attribute, moms-to-be will feel calm and thus, leave room for more control leading to a more positive birth experience.
• If an unplanned caesarean occurs, an epidural can be increased with a stronger anaesthetic although an epidural will most likely not heightened the need for a caesarean.
• Permits you to rest in the event that your labor is delayed.
• When different sorts of coping mechanism doesn’t suffice, epidurals can assist in helping you endure fatigue, irritability, fatigue and exhaustion. It allows you to stay relaxed, and concentrate on the process.

• There’s a possibility it will influence your ability to pee and a urinary catheter may be needed
after the birth of the baby. It will be removed when the bladder is empty. But, if you’ve experi- enced a trying vaginal birth or caesarean you might need the catheter a little longer.
• Monitoring is required. Your baby’s heartbeat will be monitored constantly for 30 minutes, at least and after every top-up. Your blood pressure will also be taken every five minutes for 15 minutes to ensure the epidural gets to work. This is done be- cause the epidural can cause your blood pressure to drop.
• There’s a higher chance your baby might require assisted or instrumental delivery such as forceps or ventouse during the labor process.
• The pushing stage might be prolonged. Even if the cervix is fully dilated, you might not feel
the urge to push. With that giv- en, the midwife will encourage you to wait until feeling the urge
to push begins.
• There’s little chance of nerve damage, leaving with you a de- sensitized area on either your foot or leg, pin and needles, or a weakened leg. But this is an uncommon case, 1 in 1000
women stand a chance of developing temporary nerve damage, while for permanent damage, 1 in 24,000 women have a chance in this occurring.

Should you have further questions regarding epidural options for your birth delivery, please do speak to your doctor for advice. 

By Parents Avenue Team

Thursday, 6 December 2018


Call now to make bookings!!!

Follow them on Facebook: Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam


Y.B. Dr. Ong Kian Ming, third from left presenting the award to Jill Chieng, Sarawak Shell Berhad’s General Manager, fourth from left.

MITI acknowledges Sarawak Shell Berhad’s contribution towards lean management.

Kuala Lumpur – Sarawak Shell Berhad (SSB) was recently awarded the prestigious Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) National Gold Certification for excellent practices in the area of Lean Management by the Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI) Malaysia. This is the first time such recognition has been accorded to an oil & gas company in Malaysia.

This certification is in recognition of SSB’s outstanding efforts for the continuous improvement in its lean management deployment journey which started in 2016.

“When the oil price dropped drastically towards the end of 2015, we knew we had to embrace an effective way of working to lean our processes, remove wastes and instil discipline in our cost management, to remain competitive. Two years into this journey has resulted in a leaner organisation that generates strong, positive cashflow year-on-year, in our upstream business. This national recognition is a true testament of the hard work and efforts taken by our dedicated SSB upstream staff in ensuring we remain a competitive oil and gas company in the industry and in creating our own future,” said Datuk Iain Lo, Country Chairman, Shell Malaysia.

Sarawak Shell Berhad’s General Manager, Jill Chieng who represented Datuk Iain Lo, Country Chairman Shell Malaysia received the award from Y.B. Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI) Malaysia who was representing the Minister of International Trade and Industry Malaysia. Also in attendance to witness the award presentation were Tuan Hj Abdul Rahim Yusoff, the Deputy Director General of MPC and Khoo Choo Beng, the General Manager for Business Excellence, Sarawak Shell Berhad.

”Our Most Honourable Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched MITI’s National Policy on Industry 4.0, known as Industry4WRD on 31 October 2018. Industry4WRD will ensure our industries remain ahead and competitive in facing the challenges brought by the 4th Industrial Revolution. This national policy aims to pave the way for enhanced productivity, job creation and high-skilled talent pool, and ultimately, contribute to our economic prosperity and societal well-being. The Readiness Assessment for 4.0 will be conducted by MPC starting 2019 and it is a comprehensive programme to help firms assess their capabilities and readiness to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies and processes,” said Y.B. Dr. Ong Kian Ming.

Shell’s history in Sarawak dates back to 1910 when the company discovered the country’s first oil well, “Grand Old Lady”, on Canada Hill, Miri. This was followed by the discovery of the first offshore field in Baram in 1963. Shell then enabled the LNG business in Malaysia by building the world’s 1st commercial Gas -to-Liquids plant (Shell MDS) in Bintulu. In the downstream arena, Shell is the No.1 fuel and lubricants brand in the State through its operating company Shell Timur. Both Shell MDS and Shell Timur are joint ventures with the State Government of Sarawak. Sarawak Shell Berhad remains the largest multi-national oil and gas explorer for offshore, in the state.

Shell’s legacy in Sarawak goes beyond its business footprint. Shell continues to contribute towards the development of local talent and the growth of Miri and Bintulu from small villages to thriving cities. The organisation also continues to invest in scholarships, vocational skilling, environmental awareness, road safety initiatives and capability building through programmes for budding entrepreneurs.

MPC Deputy Director General, Tuan Hj Abdul Rahim Yusoff hopes that the recognition awarded to Sarawak Shell Berhad will motivate the rest of the industries across Malaysia, including Small Medium Industries (SMEs) to similarly adopt Lean Management processes as a stepping stone towards Industry 4.0.  

For further Media Enquiries, please contact:
Senior Manager, Media Relations and Issue Management, Shell Malaysia 

About Shell –
Shell is a global leader in power, energy, and gas technology and is working to meet increasing energy demand and supply challenges by delivering smarter products and cleaner energy, infrastructure, and by developing new energy sources while addressing the impact on the environment. Malaysia is one of Shell’s heartlands. The history of Royal Dutch Shell in Malaysia started more than 125 years ago in Miri, Sarawak. Shell currently has a strong market presence in the upstream and downstream sector in Malaysia. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

5 Tips On Becoming Mompreneur

Your Guide to Becoming Mompreneur

When you decide to become a mother, it doesn't mean you cannot become anything or anyone else. Many women today are becoming more and more independent and are focusing on earning their own income. In fact, the number of mothers becoming entrepreneurs has increased throughout the years. If you wish to become a mompreneur, take note of the following tips. You can work both worlds as long as do you not lose sight of several important things.

1) Planning is Important

Becoming a mompreneur requires planning. Just as businesses need business and strategic plans, so is becoming the person who will manage it. You need to think about your business and how you plan on to manage it. Do not just rush into things just because you want to. Regardless of how much you wanted to become a business owner, your venture will not succeed unless you think of a business that can remain relevant and keep operating.

2) Discipline

Remember, becoming a mompreneur means juggling family life and work at the same time. You need to have a good work ethic and a great sense of responsibility to do both. A successful mompreneur knows her priorities. You should decide which things should come first. Becoming an entrepreneur will test your ability to choose things over the other. You need to learn when to pass on doing something to make better use of your time.

3) Make an Inventory

Do a survey about your life. Take note of your experience, past jobs, education and even current resources. Think which business venture best fits you including your current living conditions and your responsibilities as a mother. A good business is something along the lines of your interest. You will find it hard to manage a business that you are not interested in. It's best do what you want so you will have the passion to pursue it.

4) Find a Mentor

Unless you have considerable experience in your chosen business venture, a mentor will do you good. A mentor can help you and advise you on what you need to accomplish. You will also have a better idea on how to run your business if you have someone with similar experience working with you. There are some things about running a business that you will not learn from books. People who have become part of the industry can give you the real deal.

5) Network

Networking works well for any industry and venture. Networks offer businesses and individuals the chance to interact with fellow industry players. You can also meet a lot of potential partners and clients through networking. Interacting with other entrepreneurs and businesses also gives a good insight on how the market is doing and what you can do about it.

Beyond the conventional responsibilities as a household keeper, mothers today are trying to explore what more they can do. These tips are just some of the ways you can successfully begin your new endeavour. 

By Grace Broadbent 
As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine/Issue #001/Oct-Dec 2015/Sabah

If you wish to contribute your story, article or an event to be featured in our magazine and website, please email to us at Thank you.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018


As a first time mom, I did not know what to expect in terms of the level of pain, or how being in labour feels like. A little advantage of being a doctor, how- ever, having had delivered quite a few babies vaginally or via surgery I’ve seen labour and am familiar with the process. 

The day my son was born, my contraction started around 3am. I squatted, walked up and down the stairs, bounced on gym ball until the pain was un- bearable, (hoping I don’t have to spend too long in labour room!), my bad, because by the time I woke my husband up and he got ready. I was in so much pain. I could barely sit still in the car on the way to the hospital. I was cursing all the way. Luckily it was early Sunday morning and the road was clear! 

Reached around 7am and I was 5 cm dilated! Wheel chaired to the labour room, and everything was fuzzy after that. The pain of labour is indeed one of a kind. Do you notice whenever you asked any mother how does labour pain feels like, you never really get a straight answers? Well, there is no straight answer! LOL! 

I was handed the Entonox (laughing) gas mask. It was not really in my mental plan. I had pictured myself going through natural labour without any medication. But at that moment of excruciating pain I just grabbed that mask and breathe it all in! It made me feel high, it did not take the pain away but it calmed me down during contraction free periods. Also in my mental plan, I did not scream, just grimacing. 

But guess what? It was probably the only time in my adult life that I actually screamed my heart out shamelessly. According to my husband I even hit him with the gas mask and barked at him whenever he tried to be helpful. Poor man. It did not help that I was later given pitocin to augment my contraction as it was in short bursts only. 

Of course, with Pitocin I was administered a shot of pethidine (painkiller) as well, which did not dampen the pain, just made me sleepy enough to rest between contractions. I was fully dialated around 9.45am, and my dear son was safely delivered at 10am sharp. I must thank the nurses and my gynecologist for being so encouraging and for the great services rendered. 

So that was it, once baby was out I already thought of having a second one. That’s labour pain for me, to hell and back to better earth now my son is in my arms.

Story by Theodora Hemalata, mother of one and a General Physician.

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Christmas Lighting Ceremony at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu