Book review: How your child learns best by Judy Willis

By Anita Matthews
Published in  ParenThots, The Star, March 8, 2010

HOW YOUR CHILD LEARNS BEST
By Judy Willis, MD, MEd
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Parents and teachers who struggle to motivate and inspire their children to learn will certainly benefit from Dr Judy Willis’ book that offers “brain-friendly strategies to ignite the learning process”.

Her combined qualifications as a neurologist and school teacher, who had the opportunity to experiment brain-friendly techniques on her own children, further underscores the value of the strategies shared in this book.

Having read brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor’s book My Stroke of Insight that documented her full recovery after suffering a massive stroke, Willis’ book had a ready reviewer at hand. Taylor had written extensively of the plasticity and capacity of a brain to relearn the old or learn new things. Imagine what a parent can do with a regular kid by adopting Willis’ methods.
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Book review: We need to talk by Richard Heyman

By Anita Matthews
Published in ParenThots, The Star, Feb 8, 2010

WE NEED TO TALK - TOUGH CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR KIDS
By Richard Heyman
Publisher: Adams Media

Communications professor Richard Heyman’s book is a refreshing change from the standard staple available on store shelves. Instead of focusing on why parents need to communicate with their offspring, Heyman details the “hows”.

That nailed it for me. As a parent I have often found it difficult to say the right thing to my children and more often than not, I come off sounding as if I am taking sides. Needless to say, most times, the right words come to me only in retrospect. Perhaps I should write down past experiences for future reference. That is exactly what Heyman delivers in the 200-odd pages of this very useful book.

He starts off by sharing his and his wife’s experience of teaching their son the value of responsibility. The latter was 18 and of legal age but was jobless and not interested in college. According to Heyman, his son had always rejected parental authority and they knew they were unable to manage him. The best solution was for him to move out and take charge of his own life.

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Guy Kawasaki’s 11-point guide

By Anita Matthews

Two weeks ago, former Apple Computer software evangelist-turned-venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki made a quick trip to Kuala Lumpur, courtesy of MDeC, to share his perspective of venture capitalists and fund-seekers in conjunction with WCIT 2008.

Kawasaki, who founded Garage Technology Ventures, regaled the audience at NetBASH for two hours with his experience as a venture capitalist and shared insights on pitches that work.

Make meaning
Innovation is driven by the desire to make meaning. Kawasaki firmly believes we should take it upon ourselves to change the world and make it a better place.

Make mantra
According to Kawasaki, there’s a high correlation between mission statements and golfing — it is too long, meaningless and forgettable. Therefore, create mantra for your innovation. Examples of simple and straightforward mantras — Nike’s Authentic Athletic Performance, Wendy’s Healthy Fast Food or Fedex’s Peace of Mind. Unless you run out of options, the Dilbert’s (satirist cartoonist) mission statement generator is not your first stop.

Jump to the next curve
Don’t copy other people’s ideas. Innovators should focus their efforts on creating the next curve instead of remaining on the same track as most companies tend to do, says Kawasaki. He shared an example of ice-making. Ice harvesters stuck to traditional methods and did not move to the next curve by building a factory. Nor did the guy who ran the ice factory invent the factory.

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Book review: Jeremy Rifkin: Still relevant … perhaps more so

BY ANITA MATTHEWS

How the Shift from Ownership to Access is Transforming Capitalism
Written by Jeremy Rifkin
Publisher: Penguin (2001)

AUTHOR Jeremy Rifkin’s book titled The Age of Access: How the Shift from Ownership to Access is Transforming Capitalism is a bold warning of how society is hurtling happily to a life of “paid experiences.”

Blame it on the forces of globalisation, pervasive technology and the growing culture of instant gratification. But as Rifkin has it, we are apparently warming up and embracing the trend of paying for everything including stuff that can be got for nothing.

The edition that I read was published two years ago, so why pay any attention to a dated version and for that matter, why read this review?

Simply because it is a noteworthy read and a good follow-up to his previous books that included the 1995 bestseller The End of Work, that was on the mark about how technology in use at the workplace will eventually displace jobs.

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Malaysians abroad: Plotting a food path

By Anita Matthews

Yougeswari Subramanian literally fled her parents when she moved to New Zealand in 1991. Her husband Vijay had joined his sibling in Auckland in November 1987 when Vijay’s business venture fell through. “My five-month-old daughter Santhiya and I moved back to my parents home in Buntong,” said the 42-year-old mother of two.

Moving home brought back embittered childhood memories where Youges, the sixth of seven siblings, was forced to cook and clean in her family home. Having lost an older sister, Youges became the only daughter and indirectly burdened with housework. “Even as a 12-year-old I had learn how to budget the weekly expenses, buy groceries for the week and cook meals daily. I could not understand why my mother made me do all these things and felt that life dealt me a bitter blow at such a young age,” she recalled.
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Malaysians abroad: Helping troubled children

By Anita Matthews

PSYCHOLOGIST Lim Eng Leong remembers his late father’s advice well. “My father always said that in whatever we do, to do it to our best and pursue it to the highest,” recalled the 42-year-old former secondary school teacher.


Coming from a middle class family, the Kuala-Lumpur born Lim could have easily followed his father into the legal world but opted to teach upon receiving his bachelor degree from University Sains Malaysia in 1984. He spent 10 memorable years teaching at secondary schools in rural parts of Selangor that also included a stint at a Petaling Jaya suburb. Yet Lim felt he was not doing enough.

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Homeschoolers wary of virtual classes

By Anita Matthews

Homeschooling parents in the United States now have the choice of sending their children to kindergarten and primary schools in cyberspace, courtesy of programmes initiated by the states and private entities.

Some have embraced it; others are questioning it.

In New Zealand, Homeschooling Federation founder Claire Aumonier is wary of ceding the entire learning experience of a toddler or young child to the computer.

“I don’t see virtual schools inundating homeschoolers but I do see the Government leaning towards it because they are cheaper,” she says.

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Smart digital future home locked up

2:00AM Tuesday May 27, 2003

By ANITA MATTHEWS

If you think the term “smart home” has entered the technology vernacular along with the catchphrases smart card, smart phone, smart cars and smart school, think again.

New Zealand home automation company SmartHome Ltd claims it has had exclusive rights to use the term since 1999.

Business development manager Shane Walls-Harris said the company registered “smart home” with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (Iponz) and had a monopoly on its use within the context of home automation systems.

In fact, SmartHome has also registered related terms: smart house, future home, digital house, intelligent house and other variants.
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Policy needed to curb e-mail abuse

By Anita Matthews

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) Inc urged companies to be proactive and spell out a policy on Internet surfing and e-mail use to prevent unauthorised or careless use by employees.

Its advisory services manager Peter Tritt said a comprehensive policy would protect employers from vicarious liability as well as educate users about legal risks that they might inadvertently take.

“Having supplied a computer for work, employers have the right to make sure it is being used for that purpose. This means you can access e-mails on the computer and monitor time spent and websites visited. Most employees forget that using the Internet and e-mail at work is at the employer’s resource and therefore, not a private affair,” he said after panel discussion organised by software security firm Clearswift (Asia/Pacific) Pty Limited in Auckland in May.

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Malaysians abroad: A professor’s cognitive journey

By Anita Matthews

Prof Yeap SCIENTIST Yeap Wai Kiang’s room at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) located in Penrose is trim and tidy. The lack of clutter belies the zeal and utter passion the Malaysian-born professor has dedicated in the pursuit of artificial intelligence - a subject that has consumed his entire career.

Yeap first discovered the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) as an undergraduate at the University of Essex in England. Back in 1975, AI was just emerging as a new field of study.

“I was fascinated by AI and was lucky as there was a group of people with a strong interest in the subject which led me to do research in the area,” recalled the former Anglo-Chinese School student from Kampar, Perak.
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