First of all, I'd like to thank my dear uncle Pak Ndak for helping me edit my blog settings. Hehe. :-P
I've started my semester holidays now, and the first book that grabbed my attention was The Six Cousins by Enid Blyton. I've totally forgotten about this book, but I remember it as another Enid Blyton favourite of mine. Em...FYI, I don't like all of Enid Blyton's books. Like the Secret Seven...they're a bit childish compared to the Famous Five. Well, anyway. The Six Cousins is a book about six cousins (duh!) - 3 country cousins and 3 city cousins - who are forced to live together on the country cousins' farm after the city cousins' home got burnt in a fire. Seeing as 3 are from the city which has facilities like electricity and pipe water, they have to adapt to a new life on the farm, which has no pipe water and no electricity. It's really interesting to read how they bonded...and both trios have their own strength and weaknesses which help to balance them all out. For instance, city cousin Melisande is really into makeup, perfume and neatness while her country cousin Jane is the messy, smelly type who bites her nails and can't be bothered to brush her hair. So Jane soon tries hard to make herself tidier and prettier - after learning a hard lesson of course! One thing I like about Enid Blyton is that she always tries to incorporate moral values in her stories...esp her short stories for kids. The values are just simple values like "respect your parents" etc, but to a child it can be quite effective.
Enid Blyton's other series like the Malory Towers also have values, but different types. Malory Towers is about Darrell Rivers and the adventures and experiences she goes through from Form 1 till Form 6 at Malory Towers (yes, Malory Towers is a boarding school). Besides the typical subjects such as English, Maths, etc, they also learn swimming, riding horses, French...not to mention the many tricks they played on their teachers! Darrell is a nice girl overall, but her one weakness is her quick temper. So there are also valuable episodes which teach Darrell how to control her temper. Reading her adventures really made me want to go to boarding school too...of course, when we returned to Malaysia, I soon realized that boarding schools like that don't exist here.
Not to berlagak (show off) or anything, but I really think Malaysia needs to change its education system. There are just too many exams here (not to mention tons of books, extra classes and tuitions). When I was in England, we learnt a lot at school yet we still managed to have fun. In fact, I still remember bits and pieces of the British history even now...the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and whoever else. Shows how effective their teaching method is. And my family still makes pancakes using the recipe I learnt in cooking class when I was 9 yrs old. And of course, the best part is the homework - take a book home and read it with your parents. The first few times I did read with either parent...but then I read by myself. Among the first books I read were Little House on the Prairie and Roald Dahl's Matilda books and (the now famous) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And that's how I fell in love with books. ;-) Another homework I remember doing is a science experiment which I missed at school. I was absent because I was "poorly" (that's how they say demam or fever), so my class teacher told my parents to do the experiment at home. It was about hot air expanding or something...I remember a soy sauce bottle with a balloon stretched over the mouth of the bottle. The bottle was then placed in hot water I think, and the balloon then blew up. It was a pretty exciting experience for all of us. Oppss...I'm rambling. I'm now repeating one of my favourite Sidney Sheldon books - If Tomorrow Comes...so I guess I'll be pretty quiet for a bit.