Saturday, August 30

Happy 51st Birthday, Malaysia!


To All Malaysians:
Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan Ke-51!

To All Non-Malaysians:
Today, marks the 51st anniversary of my country's independence from British rule.

To Everyone:
Keep your eyes on the Malaysian political scene because it is about to peak!
We may be free from outside rule...
But on the inside, we might just experience a whole new level of freedom!

I love Malaysia!
=D

Monday, August 25

The Schoolday After The Holiday

Today is Monday.
Today is the first working day after a holiday.
Many people in the country would agree with me that this day is quite a miserable day.
After a week of relaxing & sleeping in...
I have to stay up late to think of lessons that will help my students understand & apply what I am trying to teach them, wake up early in the morning to go to school, manage classrooms of restless students who have been bored by other teachers all day & help them learn a langauge that many of them dont seem to have much interest in.

I was feeling somewhat down as I stepped into the staffroom...
And I was utterly shocked to arrive at my desk...
This was what I discovered...

Wen & ShinYi is baking again!
Now they have given Nesa, Shim & I a chocolate chip muffin each!

They were delicious!
It really did made my day & encouraged me!
Thanks, girls!

p/s:
Dont feel like you have to continue baking for us, okay...
I dont mind if this is your last gift.
Although I would be more than happy to recieve more!
But no pressure, okay?
=)

Sunday, August 24

koko' in Port Dickson: A Time of Many Firsts

I spent last Friday night at Port Dickson!
It was my first time at the popular holiday destination & I was not disappointed!
I was there with 5 friends: Shawn, Nas, Saw, PohLin & Allan Mah.
From what I read online, Port Dickson is the ideal wallet-friendly beach holiday destination for KLites & my experience reflected exactly that!

We stayed in Kayns Resort.
Nas's family runs the resort so we got two complimentary rooms!
Although it is a little bit hard to find, the resort is affordable, family-friendly & has a lot of potential.

I had many wonderful memories at the resort!
We fooled around in the pool after swimming at the beach, chitchated at the jacuzzi, played volleyball & we had karaoke in the middle of the night!
hahaha~~

The pool has got a slide!
lots of slippery fun there~~
=D

Volleyball in the morning...
Ball rental available from reception...

PD has got a reputation for dirty beaches but the beach at the resort was very clean!
After some exploration, we found a sweet spot to lay down our big mat & laze under the shade of a gigantic tree...


Sunset is always beautiful at beaches...
Had some extra time after dinner so we headed to the beach for some pitch black honest conversations.

taken from rasamalaysia.com

During this trip, I had my first Malay seafood experience at a restaurant near the resort.
Nazreen Seafood was quite a busy place that served us tasty Halal food at budget prices.
We had vege, meat, tofu, mixed seafood, extra rice, extra drinks & extra ikan bakars at RM15 per person!
Good food at a good price!
Will go back when I'm in PD with Malay friends!

This was also my first vacation with Datin.
We did not get much time alone because we went in a group & different genders had different rooms...
but our long-awaited maiden osculatory embrace was amazing...
we got to know each other better...
and we had a good time together...

This PD trip was truly memorable...
Thanks, Nas!

Wednesday, August 20

Monkeys in Melaka Again


The Monkeys were in Melaka once again for another mantastic trip!
5 of the bestest friends in Cohort 2...
The Monkey Productions: Seng Chee, Guna, Shim, Nesa & I.
We finally got away from the hustle & bustle for a little relaxation & conversation.
We spent 3D2N in an A'Famosa Resort villa with a private pool.
The trip was awesome & really brought us closer together after being away from each other pursuing our degrees in various countries around the world.

I will cherish the memories from this trip, guys...
Even though we may have no more trips together in the future...
This trip is good enough for me...
=)

Here are the highlights from the trip:


We spent a lot of quality time at the pool.
We would play games, swim or just soak in the pool...
We had our man-to-man talk over some drinks at a table by the pool...
We went au naturel in the pool late one night...
Many great memories with the pool!


During this trip we had lots of distinctively Melakan food...
We tried Melaka's unique 'Nonya' food.
Zaini, a local friend, treated us to Nonya food at his favourite Nonya restaurant: Bibik Neo Restaurant, Taman Melaka Raya.
The food was authentic & unpretentious.

It was alright to me but really good to my companions.
I'd say it's worth a try.
The company was great & the owner reminded me of a composed & clever lecturer of mine, Mdm Caroline Yong.
Very memorable visit indeed!


We also tried Melaka's novelty chicken rice balls.
One afternoon, we got lost and ended up on Jonker St.
So we decided to stop and look for food because we were really really hungry.
We asked for the best chicken rice balls and the locals recommended: Hoe Kee, Jonker St.
After some research I found that this restaurant is owned by the children of the founder of the chicken rice ball concept!
Click the link above to read their down-to-earth story.

Anyway, the chicken rice was awesome!
I would definitely go back for the chicken rice!
RM10 each for plenty of chicken, chicken liver, stir-fried veges & extra rice.
Definitely worth it!

My opinion on chicken rice balls?
Well... they are just a novelty...
this restaurant made really soft & tasty ones, but I would prefer normal rice because the only difference is packaging...
and most importantly... price.



We also tried Melaka's heavenly 'gula Melaka' laiden 'cendol'.
When I asked about dessert, the owner of Hoe Kee recommended the place next door: No1 Kopitiam, Jonker St.
The pieces of paper stuck to the glass of the stall are actually newspaper/magazine clippings of stories written about the shop!
Famous authentic Nonya cendol indeed!

This little establishment is set up like a little cendol bar!
There was a bar counter with some of those elevated counter seats.
The cendol was average to me but my friends liked it.
My compliments were that it was flavourful but not too sweet.
At RM2 per bowl, they were a little bit on the pricy end because of the small bowls.
But if it's famous... why not?
haha~~~

The owner, Mrs Yong, is a retired teacher who started the business in 1999.
We went on and on talking about the education system.
hahaha~~

Interesting to meet someone married to family...
Interesting to meet someone who has lived through my profession...
Interesting to meet someone with so much zest for life...
I wonder if my wife will be the same...


My mom was a big fan of it so I bought some 'gula Melaka'.
I asked Mrs Yong if she had gula Melaka & enquired why her gula Melaka was RM10 per kilo while other places offered the same item for RM5 per kilo.
She explained that it was because her gula Melaka was pure.
The cheaper ones are of a lighter colour & they have cane sugar mixed into it.
When compared to their mixed counterparts, they are not as sweet but much more flavourful.
The pure ones melt easily in the Malaysian heat & can last 2 years in the fridge.

p/s:
I apologise for my lack of original pictures...
My compact camera got wet on the first day & is officially broken.

Sunday, August 17

A Much Needed Break

Life was getting exhausting for me & a good quality holiday is more than due.
It has been 7 weeks of teaching where every lesson had to be intricately planned & carried out with great meticulacy...
In between that, a 1 week of mid-practicum seminar where we listened to long speeches...
Adding to the above: overseeing the planning for a post-practicum seminar which is has been going on painfully for the last 3 weeks & will continue to go on until the end of practicum.
As you can see, a good rest is very very welcome.

Therefore, this is the itinerary for my 1 week holiday:

Mon-Wed: 5 Monkeys back in Melaka

The first time we went was at the end of our studies in KL, in 2006.
The second trip is this one, which is during the final year of our studies, & will likely be the last trip we have together.
This fact is inevitable because, after practicum, we will be posted to different states in the country.
Of course, we can meet again somewhere once a year or something like that but, even right now when we are in the same city, it is already so hard to arrange a time to see each other!
Imagine years down the road when we have even more commitments!

So this trip is truly cherished by me as our last together...
Seng Chee, Guna, Shim, Nesa & I.
Our last & bestest trip to A'Famosa Resort in Melaka.
During the trip we may be joined by Norzie, Zaini or SueFin who are coursemates & residents of Melaka.

I am really looking forward to this trip.
There's going to be lots of fun, camaraderie, partying & a man-to-man talk.
Melaka, watch out!

Fri-Sat: Port Dickson


I will also be heading down to the famed Port Dickson with a group of friends!
Nas, Saw, Shim & I will be going to Kayns Resort.
I have never been to PD and all I know about it is from second-hand experiences handed down by KLites who seem to love to go to PD!
I heard that it is quite a badly maintained beach but people continually return because there is no other beach nearby.
I'm keeping my mind open for a good time with my friends!

woooo~~~
HOLIDAY, HERE I COME!!!

Friday, August 15

The Rewards of the Profession

As a teacher, students would sometimes say thank you to you for your hard work.
Occasionally, they might even give you a gift!
As a trainee, I never expected gifts during my practicum period!
Neither did I expect to receive one only after 2 months in the school!

Yesterday, two students caught me by surprise...
They came into the staffroom & quietly approached my table when I was seriously at work marking some papers...
"Sir..."
I looked up with a confused look, after red-penning grammatical errors for the past hour & not expecting any guests...
Two familiar faces looked back nervously... they were silent.
"Yes?" I asked.
One girl nudged the other & whispered something in Mandarin.
"We have something for you, sir." the one being nudged said.
She then proceeded to take out 2 containers!
I was speechless & my confused look became a mixture of confused joy!
"For you, sir, & Cikgu Nesa. Share."
I smiled.
They quickly turned & left.
"Thank you! Very nice of you!"

In the containers, I found:

melted white chocolate with cornflakes

Wen & ShinYi baked cookies!
How did they know?
I LOVE COOKIES!!!

chocolate cookies with choc chips

They even made letters to spell our names!
How lovely!!
Apparently they think Nesa is my wife...
Nesa Yong...
hahaha~~

THANKS, GIRLS!!!
YOUR NAMES ARE FOREVER ETCHED IN MY GOOD BOOKS!!
=)

Tuesday, August 12

From Student Choir to Teacher Student Quartet to Teacher Choral Performance

taken from englisharts.org

About 2 months ago, I was given the assignment to train a student choir for the retirement ceremony of the assistant principle of my school.
as can be seen here in a previous blog post.

However, only 2 students came for the audition.
I was thinking of changing the choir into a duet but Pn Adeliana (my advisor) came up with the brilliant idea of having teachers taking part too!
Thus, I decided to do a quartet!
So I started to compose a medley of well-known classics for a 4 minute performance.

Little did I know, there was another twist in store for this performance!
Soon, I was put in the teacher performance committee.
So my performance would only involve teachers...
and I had to come up with a performance where all teachers would be involved.
Thus, my quartet will have to be turned into a choral performance.
Something like a choir except they will sing the conventional way.

After a few revisions, my medley composition was approved today!
I used fragments of a few modern & classic songs.
These songs include those from Man Bai, My Fair Lady & The Beatles.
Man Bai's "Kau Ilham Ku".
My Fair Lady's "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face".
The Beatles' "Let It Be".
And "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".
This is not the final revision though & is subject to change...
But I will definately make sure that it will be a great show fitting for a faithful servant of the people.

I will be sure to share the performance here!

Friday, August 8

The Nature of Curiosity


taken from metro.co.uk

It has been 6 full weeks since I started my teaching practicum at SMK Puteri Titiwangsa.
The school is a girls’ school so I did have some expectations and mental preparations for any possible situation of difficulty at the school.
I drew these expectations by listening to advice and stories from peers & advisors.
Going to a girls’ school, some form of attention is normal and expected…
especially when 3 striking young men step into a school to join the teaching force…

However, the attention was not applied gradually…
it was injected in large quantities.
Causing an overdose & a natural over-adaptation…
I never expected a tsunami of attention…
and I wasn’t mature enough to handle it well.

It was overwhelming.
so I became quite fearful of coming to school…
so I started to put up a cool front to discourage approaches for anything other than academia.
I wanted to discourage the frequent adoring “hi, sir”…
I wanted to discourage the deliberate visits to the staffroom…
I wanted to discourage the coincidental classroom passing-bys…

But then again…
after 6 weeks, the hype started to slowly die down...
gradually, students stopped becoming curious…
They stopped trying to get attention…
They stopped lurking…
They stopped adoring…

They would still smile & greet you.
But they would do it differently…
Showing awareness of a professional divide…
I began to feel more comfortable…
I finally felt treated like a teacher.

I started smiling more.
I started returning greetings warmer.
I walked around the school with my mind at ease.
My cold mask peeled away…
I could be myself again…

From these 6 weeks, I have learned a lot about the relationship between a teacher & his students
I will use this knowledge to become better at handling student attention
I’m still learning… there is much for me to experiment.
But I have set a goal for myself… I have seen through the fog.
I guess from now on, the next half of my practicum can only get better!

Saturday, August 2

The Hopeless Romantic Speaks



I shall write then write no more
for in writing lies my strength
If I were to sway you
let it be in my lack of it

For if I conquer with my strength
you will have become a property
Let me love you with what's weak in me
so that you can be what's best of me

The hopeless romantic speaks
and then will speak no more
For one day he will fall weak
and on that day he will truly know

The true strength & durability
of the love that he holds dear
With that day's coming an inevitability
his one hope is that she will stay near

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