Tuesday, December 29

Are Teachers Undesirable?

My girlfriend revealed that, at the early stages of our relationship, she struggled with the thought of being with a teacher.
She also revealed that many of her girl friends have decided to write off being with teachers altogether!
And this even when some of them are teachers themselves!!
Holy cookies! Are teachers really so undesirable?

I dont know about you but female teachers rate highly in my eyes.
Not that I have a particular sexual fantasy from some inhibited childhood memories...
It's just that female teachers have high chances of being an excellent wife.
Here's why...

Husband Pleasing
At their workplace, they submit themselves to a Ketua Jabatan/Principal/Head Master.
I am a traditional man. I prefer a wife who submits to me.
In return, I will love her with all that I am & I will respect her spirit.

Money Making
They have a steady income which will increase with each passing year!
If they are extra hardworking, they can make a significant jump to a higher salary every 3 years!
Our combined income will make it easier to raise a family together.
Their pensions after retirement will provide some comfort during our golden years too.

Home-Making
They have access to low interest government housing & car loans!

There are also many aunties at school who will be an inexhaustible source of home-making tips & tricks.
They have predictable working hours which allows them to return home early to care for the family.

Child Caring
They work with children so they will be better prepared to handle mine.
They can control a class of 40++ students so they should be able to control my troupe of hyperactive monkeys too.
They will also have connections in the education ministry which can be used to secure excellent education for my children.
They know the inner workings of public examinations so my children will score better too!

taken from spike.com
And finally, all female teachers look hot!
Oh yeah~~ Teach me! Teach me!

I certainly wouldn't mind marrying a female teacher.
And I think that, as a male teacher, I'm not too bad myself.
But why do females still find male teachers undesirable as husbands?
Is it our overall personalities or is it something about our profession that brings shame?

Girls, plz share your opinion coz I can guess but I will not even pretend to know the true answer!
I want to hear it coming from you!
Be honest & do not sugar-coat. Use anonymous if necessary.

Wednesday, December 23

Must See Before You Die: Sunrise @ Bromo

Want to go on a memorable 3 night holiday & spend less than RM1500 in total covering meals, accommodation, transportation & souvenirs?
You don't have to look any further than our good ol' neighbour, Indonesia.

I was in Indonesia with my girlfriend, to view the sunrise at a lookout point overlooking the plains & 3 mountains including the world famous active volcano, Mt Bromo.

Dear friends, let me share with you that the sunrise at the Bromo Highlands is something you MUST SEE BEFORE YOU DIE.
It is breathtakingly picturesque & probably something you will never be able to experience anywhere else!
No photo will be unable to capture the beauty of the experience.
I took a lot of time just standing there taking in the beauty & praising God for his creation.
Furthermore, there's nothing more romantic than holding your girlfriend in your arms while the both of you watch the whole world light up before you.

How did I get to the Bromo Highlands?
I took a flight to Surabaya (the nearest airport) & took a 2-3hr train ride (75k rp) to Probolinggo (the stopover town).
At Probolinggo, a private air-conditioned transport (200k rp) arranged with my hotel took me to the Bromo Highlands (about 1.5hrs).

Actually, the air-conditioned transport is unnecessary because soon you'll be high enough to enjoy the cool mountain air. Non air-conditioned transport costs only 150k rp.
There is also public transportation you can take. It's significantly cheaper but it will cost you time.
You will have to hire a "becha" (bicycle taxi) from the train station to the bus station & hop on any of the green minibuses which will stop at every hotel in the highlands.
Bear in mind that the minibus will wait until it is full before departing so find one that is almost full.
Take the minibus only if you have plenty of time & minimal baggage.

Where did I stay?
I stayed at Yoschi's Guest House.
It's a charming hotel with remarkably friendly & helpful staff.
They speak English too.

I arranged my transportation to & from the Probolinggo train station with the hotel.
I also arranged for my trip to Mt Bromo with the hotel.
They were helpful and willing to explain all our options.

I took a room with an en suite which costs 200k rp per night.
The hotel experience is like staying in a traditional Indonesian rattan/wooden house!
I loved it!
Do remember to bring along some repellent because there are lots of mosquitoes at night.

The restaurant serves very elaborate & delicious Indonesian as well as Western fare.
They serve the same menu for lunch & dinner but they have a special menu for breakfast.
I recommend the Nasi Campur Yoschi, Sup Soto-Ayam, the potato breakfast dishes & the Indonesian pancakes.
Our 3 meals (for two) costed us around 250k rp.

The Journey To the Lookout Point
To get to the lookout point, we had to leave the hotel at 3am in a jeep.
You could charter a jeep for private use for 300k rp or you could do what I did, share a jeep with ppl from other hotels for 100k rp per person.

The jeep took us through extremely steep climbs, sandy plains & snakey mountain roads for about 1.5hrs before we arrived at the lookout point.
At one point there is an entrance fee to pay. It is 25k rp per foreigner. Indonesians pay a cheaper fee.
It was very cold at the lookout point so remember to bring some warm clothing or hire some from any hotel for around 30k rp.

There were many local & foreign visitors that day.

The Trek To Mt Bromo
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for a trek to the top of Mt Bromo.
I've never seen an active volcano up close so I was very curious.
But it was a veeeeeeeery long walk.
The picture above was taken at the top of the mountain. But to get there is a tiresome 30 min walk on sand from way before the Hindu temple at the base of the mountain.

There are horses you can take for 20k-50k rp depending on how far away you are from the top.
And because of these horses, those of you who decide to go by foot like the strong & adventurous me, will have to watch our steps because there are loads and loads of horse sheet &, at some areas, the concentration of horse urine is so thick that it makes my eyes tear.

Ahh~~ So this is what the crater of a collapsed volcano looks like...

Other Things I Learned
Here are some things I've learned from travelling to Indonesia.

**The Value of Indonesian Money**
Not looking at the conversion rate, I was surprised to find that the value of Indonesian money is high.
The cost of living must be so high because the value of 1k rupiah is roughly 70% of RM1 and it is not easy for them to make 1k rp.
You will find that the prices of certain things in Indonesia are not too much different from those back home.
However, thanks to the generous conversion rate, you can experience premium items at a hefty discount!

**Tipping in Indonesia**
There is a tipping culture in Indonesia.
Taxi drivers will be extra friendly, porters will be extra helpful & waiters will be extra hospitable.
When they are, give them a few thousand rp as a tip to express your appreciation.

**Taking the Train**
There are 3 types of tickets: First Class, Business Class & Economy Class.
First Class tickets place you in quiet airtight air-conditioned 2 seater carriages.
Business Class tickets place you in stuffy & piercingly noisy fan-cooled 2 seater carriages. (Noisy because of friction between the train's wheels & the tracks.)
Economy Class tickets place you in carriages that are overcrowded & never to be considered by weary travellers!

**Be On Alert & Trust Nobody**
Indonesia is a country with a high crime rate & harsh living conditions.
Make sure that your valuables are secure & be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas.
Foreigners should never wander the streets at night or, in some places, even during the day.
Be aware that people who want your business will follow you & pester you to hire them or buy their products.
Be safe & be wise when you are in the cities.
Finally, do try to enjoy yourself! =)

Thursday, December 10

Off For Holiday!

Dear friends,

I'll be away for 2 weeks on holiday!
I'll be visiting Indonesia (Surabaya & Mt. Bromo), Melaka & KL.
Will get back to blogging when I can!
=)

p/s: I'm going to try to reproduce this picture!

taken from wikipedia

Saturday, December 5

Something Worth Sharing

My friend, Loren Bong, is the lead in this Independent Malaysian short film by Juliane Block.
I took a look at it & I find that it is really something worth sharing.

The film is currently in a German competition to win a grand prize of 10,000 Euro.
All it needs is your votes.

Wait for the flash video application below to load.
You will see 5 stars at the bottom right corner of the application. That is where you vote.

Please vote 5 stars every day to support this awesome piece of work.
This is a Malaysian action film that is actually worth watching!
Watch the 30 min clip & then vote to support it!


I apologise for the limited width of my content column.
This video plays just fine in full screen.
Click 'play' & look to the right for the partially hidden 'full screen' button that is just before the cut off point of my content column.

Thursday, December 3

For New Teachers Before Reporting To School

It’s near the end of the year & very soon a new academic year will begin for Malaysian national schools.
As a newly trained teacher, I’m sure there are many of you out there who are excited & eagerly anticipating your first year at school.
Some of you have received your placement/posting letters. Some have not.
Whether it is one or the other, you have better start preparing for your placement NOW.

Things to Bring
Here are some certificates that should be handed to your Ketua Jabatan (Headmaster/Principal). Original AND photocopy.

  • All your Secondary School & Tertiary co-curricular certificates
  • Academic certificates & transcripts (PhD/Masters/Degree/Diploma/STPM/SPM)
  • Birth certificate
  • Identity card
  • Placement letter (If available)
  • KWSP details (If available)
  • Income tax details (If available)
  • Marriage certificate (If available)
  • BTN certificate (if available)
  • KISSM certificate (If available)
  • Bank Account Book
Some of the documents mentioned above are foreign to you so I will attempt to explain their significance.

Academic Certificates
Since you have been offered a job as a teacher, I assume that your degree is acknowledged by  JPA (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam).
If your academic certificates are in a language other than Bahasa Malaysia, it has to be translated by JPA.
My degree is in English but it was from a scholarship with KPM so I did not have to translate mine.
Just to be safe, you should translate your certificates AND the accompanying transcripts.
Find the contact details for JPA here.

For those of you who have completed your degree but have yet to attend your convocation, you may submit an unofficial transcript.
Your official transcript will only be given to you along with your degree.

Placement Letter
These letters will be sent to your provided mailing address from the JPN (Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri) of the state you will be posted in.
In the case where your placement is announced close to the date for reporting, the letter may be sent to your school.
Besides revealing the details of your placement, your placement letter will also have your JPN Number.
TAKE NOTE of this number.
It will be used throughout your civil service in the state.

KWSP/EPF (Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja/Employees Provident Fund) Details
This can come in the form of an annual statement with your KWSP number printed on it.
If you do not have KWSP, I suggest you sign up for it asap.
You will not enter the pension scheme immediately so your salary will be deducted into KWSP until then.
Get the location of your nearest KWSP office here.

Income Tax Details
Some of you may have been employed before & have had to settle income tax payments.
Your income tax number is what the school clerk needs so you should provide any letter from LHDN (Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri) that has your income tax number printed on it.
I do not have an income tax number so I have applied for it through my school clerk.

BTN (Biro Tatanegara) Certificate
Some IPGs (Institut Pendidikan Guru) would have arranged for their trainees to undergo a BTN camp at the end of their course.
If you have already attended BTN, 'semak' your status with your IC number here.
Then, print the page that indicates you’ve passed the course.
This is your BTN certificate.

If you have not attended BTN, report to the school BEFORE registering for it.

KISSM (Kursus Induksi Sistem Saraan Malaysia or kursus induksi) Certificate
Some IPGs would also have arranged for their trainees to undergo a KISSM course & exam at the end of their course.
If you have already attended KISSM, you should have a 'sijil kehadiran'.
Check with your IPG about this.

If you have passed the exam, you will receive a 'sijil kelulusan'.
I have been waiting for more than a year for mine.
I have checked with my IPG recently & was informed that it is still not ready.
The waiting game continues.
Until you receive it, use the 'sijil kehadiran'.

If you have not attended KISSM, report to the school BEFORE registering for it.
If you have attended KISSM but have yet to receive any certificates, WAIT. When you do get one, hand it in IMMEDIATELY.

Bank Account Book
Bring all the books for every bank account that you have. If possible, make 1 or 2 copies of each of them.
Some schools will prefer certain banks. You wouldn't know until you speak to the kerani kewangan.
As for Maybank account holders with paperless accounts (who do not have books), print your latest statement from the internet. Make sure that your name & account number is clearly visible in the print.

Sharing Is Caring
Lastly, if you found this blog post useful for your preparation...
Share it with your coursemates & juniors.

I haven't had the privilege of such information so I know how it feels to go in blind & insecure.
Teachers need to support each other. Sharing is caring!

Saturday, November 28

Top 5 Tips For New Teachers

Many new teachers who will get posted into the Malaysian national school system have asked me what advice I have to give them.
Well, I have summed all I have to say into 5 tips.
Let me put it here so that I dont have to repeat myself indefinitely.
=)

#5 Go Wherever You are Sent
This is probably the last thing you want to hear but I realise that good teachers are in short supply everywhere in this country.
It is also my heartfelt belief that a good teacher will be a good teacher regardless of location.
Furthermore, every teacher has something unique to offer to the school they enter.

Do not be afraid of a place just because of hearsay.
Do not judge prematurely.
Go & experience the school for yourself.
Try it out for a year.
Work on it before you decide to call it quits.

#4 Brace Yourself
When you first arrive at school, you will carry a ‘donkey’ label on your head.
Chances are... You will receive the most brain-dead jobs in the school that other teachers do not want to do.
Chances are... You will get the most challenging classes.
Chances are... You may even be mistreated or face some form of discrimination.

Prepare to be detached emotionally.
Work is work.
Do your work like a faithful little donkey.
Also use your human brain la...
Figure out ways to shine in your multitude of mundane donkey tasks.
In time, someone is bound to notice & pull you out of your pen.

#3 Learn to Smile & Say Good Morning! 
Smile, greet & name everybody & anybody in the school.
A smile & greeting can make a big difference in workplace relationships.
It breaks down boundaries. It melts cold hearts.
Many teachers have forgotten how to smile so it’s up to you to inspire them!

Remember the name of every teacher, staff member, gardener, guard, toilet cleaner, your favourite students &, yes, even the bad bad bad bad bad students.
People may not be used to it at first & there will almost definitely be haters but do persevere.
Smiling, greeting & naming someone as you pass them in the school corridors will open many doors & lift the whole workplace environment.
Don’t believe me? Try it persistently for a year!

#2 Your Boss is the Boss of You
Your relationship with your Principal or Ketua Jabatan is VERY VERY VERY important!
Remember this!!
If you have a good rapport with your boss, things will go a lot easier for you.
They are entrusted with the command of the school so they can open or close doors for you.

Most bosses are old & they do not have the ideas that you possess.
But most of them are open to new ideas.
So if you have any suggestions for improvement, I'm sure your boss would be willing to sit down with you and discuss it.

Sometimes, the boss will tell you off for a mistake.
Sometimes, the boss will make you do something that you dont want to do.
Remember to be professional.
Do not be afraid or harbour any hard feelings towards your boss.
He is just doing the boss's job.
So as a subordinate, you must do yours.

If you find that your boss is incompetent...
Well, my friend, I feel sorry for you...
He is still the BOSS!

In whatever you do remember to exercise wisdom, cunning & grace.
Don't give in to frustration & anger.

#1 You Think. Therefore, You Are.
Descartes hit the nail on the head with this one.

You must have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in this profession.
Honestly, this profession is a no play-play one okay.
No teacher should be someone who does the bare minimum & sits around waiting for the salary to arrive every month.
If it was up to me, anyone who is not serious should really get out or be kicked out.

Of course, everyone can give teaching a try.
But if you think that teaching is not for you, you should go.
If you think that there are better things that you can do in your life, go.
If you hate teaching, why the **** are you even here?! GO!!!

Go. Pursue your dreams. Be a bum. Get married. Whatever.
Do anything except take up the space of someone who really wants to be a teacher.
If you are not serious about this profession, imagine the amount of damage you will do to generations of children in the classrooms you enter.
Do some soul searching. Take some time off.
Give it ample consideration before you come to a decision.

If you decide to stay...
Congratulations.
You have just given yourself to a cause that will not bring benefit to the self but will have a magical rippling effect on the rest of society now & forevermore.

Dream big.
Dare to fight, bleed & wrestle for your students.

Be creative.
Set a new standard for others in the profession.

Be your best. Do your best. Bring up the best.
Only if people like us decide to stay & slave in this profession will there be a future for this country.

Thursday, November 19

My First Year In Education

taken from pinkcakebox.com

First of all...
YAHOOO!!!!
YEEHAAA!!!
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Yes, you guessed it...
It’s the holidays!!!
HOHOHOHOHHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!!!

Yes, being a teacher has not taken the joy out of holidays.
No, dear students, we do not enjoy prowling around in school.
Yes, teachers are also capable of fun & some really stupid things.
No, you may not do the same in our presence.

2009 will be remembered in history.
It’s my 1st year as an overseas graduate.
It’s my 1st year in the workforce.
It’s my 1st year as a full-fledged teacher.
It’s my 1st year making my own money & spending it anyhow or anywhere I like... YES!!

It has also been a really challenging year.
I was placed in a school in the middle of the jungle accessible only by water.
I suffered a year of lousy internet & no cell-phone coverage.
I worked with students who have little interest & ability in my subject matter.
I had to learn from scratch the mechanics of classroom management & the art of workplace politics.
I had to work my ass off as a new teacher aka slave in the school.
I had to cook, clean & iron... I feel like such a housekeeper.

It has also been a year of achievements.
I produced a high-quality school magazine.
I survived the worst class.
I made monkeys sit still, learn & do better in their examinations.
I made students speak English to me.
I was an excellent educator, motivator, amplifier, secretary, clerk, subordinate, manager, housemate, chef & photographer.

Despite all the difficulties faced, I’d say this has been a good year.
I’m looking forward to more.
But first… I need a break.
HOLIDAYSSSS!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Saturday, November 14

Empurau Magazine 2009

It's finally out!
Here is a picture of the 2009 Empurau Magazine of SMK Katibas!

Those of you who are close to me would have heard my squeaks & creaks on how hard I worked on this magazine to make it work... ALONE!
The person who was supposed to give me the biggest support simply refused to give me any help!
Although I did most of the work myself, there were several other individuals who came up to me & offered their help. For these people, I am thankful.
Without them, this magazine wouldn't be as good as it is today.
Without them, I'd already be a burnout psycho teacher murdering 'bad' teachers.

Now that I finally have the magazine in my arms, I dare say that I am proud of my baby.
He has come out looking like a great piece of art.
All the months of slaving overtime unpaid just to get the information right & painstaking making sure that every page is exactly how it is supposed to be has paid off.
The people who have read magazines from previous years also commented on the leap of improvements made this year.

This is the best part...
I love the way the children's eyes light up with anticipation while lining up for the magazine.
And how they instantly flip to their class photo to see how they look.
Oh, how sweet their smiles.
And how even the hardest coldest student would look at me happily & thankfully after that.
That was when I knew that my self-imposed slavery was all worth it.

To summarise my whole experience in the production of this magazine, here is what I wrote in the editorial part of the magazine.
It is my greatest pleasure & honour to present to you this year's edition of the Empurau Magazine. This is my first year in the teaching service & I am truly amazed to have been empowered with the freedom to mold & cast in stone, as I see fit, such an important document. A school magazine can portray the school as a shady incompetent institution or one that's worthy of awe. This magazine is the fruit of many sleepless nights, unrelenting frustration & compounding fatigue. Therefore, it is my sincere desire that you will find it both attractive, informative & worthy of a school on the rise.
Working with the magazine committee as well as the school staff to complete this magazine has not been a piece of cake. Of course, the staff of SMK Katibas are extremely talented & willing to share. Little did I know, all their good things came in a combo together with certain flaws. Any human resource manager will be able to relate that some flaws are easy to overlook while others are, well... a little more of a pain. Whatever it is, a compromise has to be made to achieve a quality end product. Therefore, dear reader, let me share an adage I have coined from my experience: 'You can pick your friends but you can't pick your colleagues. So live with it!'
Although there were obstacles, the fact that you are holding a handsome magazine in your hands right now is a testament that every speed bump or mountain in the way of the magazine committee was ironed out & put behind us. I would therefore like to end by thanking the bulldozers & excavators who were a big help in the production of this magazine.
Firstly, I would like to thank the Principal, Mr Clement Chieng Sui Ung, for spending his own time & energy to help with finding sponsors & for putting his faith in me. I would also like to thank Mr Chieng Hop Sing for staying up until late for several nights editing pictures & text. Furthermore, thank you to Mr Gomez Das for taking time off to design graphics including the tribal design incorporated at the bottom of every page. Big thanks to Mr Mohd Shahrir Mustapa, Mr Victor Anthony Anom, Mr Johari Abdullan & Mr Richard Atong for helping me with digging through a haystack of files seeking a needle of information. Another thank you to Mr Nigel Ling Ting Shiuh for getting things started & taking me sponsor hunting in Sibu. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who contributed but was not specifically mentioned as well as the sponsors who invested & believed in this project. Your prayers & contributions are greatly appreciated!
Now, what are you waiting for? Flip the page! Every page is eagerly awaiting your arrival!

Friday, November 6

Photography Is Such A Lonely Affair

Ever since I got my SLR, I've been the designated photographer for my school.
I have been called upon to take photos of almost every person & literally every event.
It's as if a whole new world of imagery has opened up for the residents of my school.
Another probable motivating factor is... I snap for a zero fee!

Every time I look through the pictures taken after a photo-shoot or after an event, I cant help but notice that I do not exist in any of them.
Then, I'd pause & feel my heart break over the thought that I would never ever have a recorded memory of the event with my face in it.
Everybody would be exclaiming with glee & discussing excitedly how ridiculous they looked in the photos but they'd still copy the photos & cherish then.

As for me, I have nothing to cherish.
It's only me & the fleeting memories I have difficulty retaining.

Often I'd be having dinner or taking a nap & then a photograph would pop into my head...
or I might be thinking of my next blog post & an awesome idea for an accompanying picture appears.
More often that it should, most of these moments are forgotten because, for me, photography is such a lonely affair.

I wish that God would give me a buddy who shares a mutual love for all things beautiful.
Someone who desires to cause a reaction in the hearts & minds of every picture viewer.
Someone who would drop everything to brave rain or shine at a mind-boggling hour just to get the picture done 'perfectly'.

To every photographer living as an island...
Let us remember each other in our prayers.
Now that my buddies are far away... I miss their artful contributions to my expressions.
I miss you, Nas, Mien & Manan.

Friday, October 30

What Sets My Blog Apart

I've been seriously considering lately whether I should follow the blogger's cliche of blogging about every darn restaurant they've been to.
You know, the ones where they take insanely close-up pictures of the food to show how 'yummy' it looks & share their experiences with the world (be it good, bad or so-so).

I eat out quite often but I do not find a need to blog about every single shop or stall that I visit.
Mainly because I only blog about things that have touched or impacted me in some way.
I've written posts about a few priviledged establishments because they have something there that sets them apart from the others.

This doesn't mean that I wont write about food establishments.
I'm planning to blog about my favorite places for food in Kuching simply out of my overflowing love for them.
I want to expose my love affair with Kuching food to the whole wide world!
p/s: I've got really good taste (oh, I'm so vain) so be sure to check these places out when you're in town!

I write what I want to write.
But sometimes I am clueless as to what I should put in my next blog post...
And I'm tempted to imitate the recipe of the famous ones.
hmmm~~

Nah, I dont think I should put in half-hearted pirated posts.
I'll only post something on my blog because I really want it to be there.
Either that or someone has paid me to do it... **hint** **hint**

I think that is what sets my blog apart. I blog for love. I blog for me.
I don't care to much about attracting more readers or being popular.
I don't go around leaving out-of-context comments on random blogs.
I don't want to be the next KennySia.

I want to be me.
This blog is an extension of my psyche on display for those who care.

I think I've attracted a group of readers with a similar disposition.
I've attracted people who actually care instead of those who are blindly following a trend.
And I am thankful for them.
They... No, YOU motivate me to be a better writer / blogger.
I will do my best to be sincere & truthful on my blog for you.

In this day & age, where information is at one's fingertips & almost every tom dick & kumar has a blog, it's time people started blogging with a difference.

Friday, October 23

So It's A Small Bonus

The Budget for 2010 was just announced today & a bonus of RM500 will be given to all mid-level civil servants from the rank of 41 to 52. (I hear that even retirees are getting it.)
Previously a bonus of RM500 was given to lower level civil servants to help with festivity costs.

Only a few hours after the announcement of the new budget, some of my fellow civil servants are already complaining that the bonus is too little.
True enough. Compared to the yesteryears, this new bonus is a midget dwarf.
This really got me thinking...

The first question I asked myself was:
Do civil servants deserve a bonus?
In the private sector, employees are given a bonus based on individual performance as well as the organisation's performance as a whole.
I personally think that I deserve a bonus because I waded through a whole load of sheet this year.
I gave my school 100 & 10 percent.
However, I dare not make the same assurances for my fellow servants.
How much have you done this year to deserve a better bonus?

The next question on my mind was:
Can our country afford to give away large sums of money in exchange for nothing?
Do civil servants realise that there is currently a global economic crisis going on?
Malaysia is NOT excluded.
Just take a look at the numbers from the National Statistics Department (Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia).
The Malaysian budget has already been in a deficit for many many years...
but this year, we've got a super 7.6% deficit.
(A deficit is the excess of national expenditure over revenue. Our deficits were usually below 4%)
Civil servants already cost RM38 billion in salaries this year (& ever increasing each year!)
RM500 is already a lot of money to hand out to so many of us.

Does money fall from the sky or maybe they grow on trees?

Let me end with my last question:
What is a bonus?
A bonus is a gift.
Accept it with grace & carry on.
You'll still get your salary every month.
Plus you will never get fired even if you are a lazy worker!
Oh, the perks of being a servant of the people...
Sometimes you don't feel like a servant at all!
**HIGH FIVE**

p/s: I'm a proactive patriotic idealistic citizen. I'm gonna take my RM500 & I'm gonna put it back into the economy by spending it on something for my Datin. =)

Saturday, October 17

Minah Gedik SMS Saya

taken from peperonity.com

Malam Khamis yang lepas, ada seseorang hantar sms kepada nombor telefon bimbit saya.
Hi
Sepuluh minit kemudian, dia hantar satu lagi.
Alo0. . .

Pada masa itu saya dekat ulu sana mana ada line?
Saya terima lah dua sms tu pada petang Jumaat.
Masa tu saya baru keluar dari hutan nak berimam dan sembahyang la nih.

Saya pun hairan la. Siapa pula dia?
014-955XXXX
Takde dalam fonbook.
Macam nombor semenanjung aje...
Terfikirlah mungkin member saye kat sana kot.

Oleh tu, saye pun balas pula.
Yes? How can I help you?
Tapi tak da pun reply.
Saya pun lupakan aje la.
Tak kan la nak call. Bazir kredit aje.

Pastu, malam Jumaat pula sampailah sms die.
B0leh t0l0ng i tak?
Konfirm minah semenanjung la ini!
Siapa lagi yang guna gelaran glamer 'I' kan?
Mungkin juga kawan saye so saye play along aje lah.
Tolong buat apa?

Menyamar jd max,bf  aku??
Ape nih?
Masa tu saye sudah dapat konfirm.
Ni bukan kawan saye ni.
Saye pun tanye la dia...
Who are you?

Aku main dail2 je number kw,.. aku shar0n atau pngil cher0n jax.
Minah gedik gatal mane nih?
Saye tak de nafsu nak main benda macam ini la.
Kan saya suda ada ger-fren?
Sorry. Saya tak main benda benda macam ini.

Sekejap lagi die pun reply...
K s0ry m'gngu..k,bye

Ape lah minah ni?
Nak main gedik dengan saye ke ni?
Buat kacau saja lah!

Jelas die tidak baca apa yang saye pernah tulis dulu bertajuk "To Girls who Want to Make Friends with Men".
Kalau ade baca pandailah sikit approach saye.
Saye bukannye mat rempit kan?

Wednesday, October 14

Happy Deepavali


Shout Out to Nesa, Guna, Diren, Guna 2, Vimal & everyone out there who celebrates the festival of lights!
Happy Deepavali!

According to Wikipedia, Deepavali or Divali has a spiritual meaning of "the awareness of the inner light".
Just as there are celebrations for the birthday of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of our inner light.
The light which outshines all darkness & awakens the individual to one's true nature.
Deepavali celebrates this through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship.
There are varying stories behind Deepavali but the essence is the same: to rejoice in the inner light.

Enjoy the festivities with your friends & family!

Most significantly, enjoy the long weekend!!!

Oh, and do think of me fondly...
because I dont get a holiday tomorrow...
**sob**

Friday, October 9

An Awkward Moment

After 12 days of teaching (I didn't have a weekend last weekend),
I'm now in Sibu for a long-awaited weekend of rest & relaxation...

Well, not quite.
I'm currently working on the school magazine (finishing touches) & will submit it to the printing press tomorrow morning at 8am together with my Big Boss aka. Mr Principal.

Earlier today, I spent the afternoon registering the Police Cadets of my school with the IPD so I had to take the last express to Sibu at 4pm.
There were no seats left & I had to sit on the roof of the boat.
Great.
No, not really.

I arrived in Sibu at 6pm.
I went straight to my budget hotel
(Yes, I'm a poor guy without a sugar momma.)
Immediately, I jumped into the shower for a long relaxing warm water wash.

After I was done, it struck me.
Sheet! No towel!
I opened the bathroom door, looked around & true enough.
NO TOWEL!!!
(I don't bring towels with me. I don't mind using towels from 'reputable' budget hotels. I wont get STDs from towels la, okay~~)

Then, I realised that I had 2 options.
ONE: Go down to reception to get one.
TWO: I could sit there in the cold air-conditioned room & 'air dry'.
It was a no brainer.
I put on a pair of shorts & jumped out the door.

"Ada tuala tak?" I asked.
Lo & behold... There I was at reception.
Dripping wet from head to toe.
Naked except for a piece of cloth covering my 'shy' parts.
It was then that I realised how awkward I looked.

There were 3 guys there.
They stopped & looked at me silently.
One was staring at my manly chest & smiling to himself.

Before the receptionist said anything.
He eyed me from head to toe.
He didn't even hand me a towel, he had to say:
"Ada deposit 5 Ringgit untuk tuala tau."

Do I look like I have RM5 conveniently tucked between my butt cheeks?
"Ya la. Saya pakai dulu nanti bayar la."
He eyed me again before making me walk over to him for my towel.

The question of the day is:
What do you do when you see a wet naked guy.
Wouldn't you give him a towel?
I remember someone from Australia who might.
hahaha~~

What an awkward moment.

taken from gymaddicts.com
My body looks like this!
Well, not quite...
My 6 pack is more like a 6 pack in 1.

Tuesday, October 6

PMR is Tomorrow

As a dutiful & loving teacher, I will perform the compulsory cliché of wishing you (students) good luck.
Then, I will hide in a secret corner to snicker at the thought of the long awaited vacation time away from you after you go off for the exams.
Oh, the thought of it makes me so...
kihehehehe~~~

To PMR students all over Malaysia...
Do your best!!

Be sure to say a prayer before you start each test!

Friday, October 2

4 - Season 1: The SPP Interview

This is the first & last episode of the hit TV series, 4 - Season 1: The SPP Interview.

The following takes places between 7am-11am.
*imagine a clock ticking... tick... tick... tick...*

7-8am
*imagine a husky voice narrating*
My alarm clock rings. It's 7am.
I wake up to find myself covered in sweat.
It was a long & sleepless night.
I look beside me & she's still here.
I hate her. But I need her.
She kept me awake all night.
I reach over to crush her, but I resist the temptation.
Bloody interview notes! I'm hooked on you now, but once I'm done with you, you'll be my toilet paper!

I head to the bathroom.
I cant bear the sight of the ghost that's staring back at me.
The heavy bags under my eyes are a reminder of the hell that I went through the past weeks.
I was given a desperate case to solve.
I gave it all I've got.
I fought with the PIPP.
I roughed up the NEP.
I even got high on 1Malaysia.

As I put my toothbrush in my mouth, I stared at myself deep & determined.
I have been waiting.
Today, I redeem myself.
Today, I face my demons.
Finally, I have my chance at the SPP Interview.

I check my wristwatch. It's 7.30am.
I look around me to see if I have everything.

white long-sleeved shirt: check!
black lounge coat, dark-coloured slacks, black socks & back leather shoes: check!
black tie: check!
government issue name-tag: check!
shiny Parker pen clearly visible: check!
important documents arranged in a clear folder: check!
ridiculously short haircut especially done for this day: check!
passport-sized photo taken the day before in a bloody rush: check!

Everything seems to be in place.
But why can't I shake of this feeling in my gut that something might go really wrong today.
I say a silent prayer as the door shuts behind me.
First things first, breakfast.

Exhibit A: Passport-Sized Photo

8-9am
The sunlight hurts my eye.
There are no clouds in the sky.
It's stuffy & bloody baskets it is warm.
As I listen to the cool purr of the soothing air-conditioner inside, I feel the sweat between my skin & my clothes.
I was pursuing an anonymous tip at the local government building when I got abushed.
This organisation is more cunning than I thought.

Now, I find myself sitting on a bench.
I am chained & bound. I cannot leave.
"He will be questioned", I heard one of the guards say with a sly smile.
I can't help but think of questioned with apostrophes.
Painful ones.

I look to my left & to my right
The other captives have the same nervous look on their faces.
They seem to be murmuring while staring intensely at pieces of paper.
They're probably chanting or praying in fear of the torture that they are about to face.

Can't blame them.
I myself am shaking in my boots.
My heart is beating nerves all over my body.
It's funny.
This feels just like the time I was about to meet my girlfriend's parents.

taken from www.supsrwk.gov.my
Exhibit B: Local Government Building (Kapit, Sarawak)

9-10am
It took some time before I was escorted into a fluorescent lit room.
A petite young lady was seated behind a large table.
I could see my personal documents on her table.
They were stripped off me when I got captured.
She looks a little too young to be questioning hardened officers like myself.

I was right.
She's the secretary of the Chairman.
Or in my case, as I found out, the Chairwoman.
Oh, the sound of that name sends shivers down my spine.

The secretary goes through my documents with great diligence.
She carefully eyes every one while pondering their authenticity.
She had  never seen some of my certificates before.
Indeed, I am unique in the service.

After about half an hour, I was sweating again on sunshine bench.
To my surprise, the lady in the room was sympathetic to my cause.
She told me that I will be evaluated by the Chairwoman on several grounds.
I will have to do well in every one if I were to survive the 'interview'.

I didn't work hard for the past 2 weeks for nothing.
I was ready for any question.
The 5 grounds were: possessing the required documents, professional outward appearance, communicative skills, pedagogic/content knowledge & current domestic/international events.
I was branded #10 & the Chairwoman was currently with #5.
I had a long tormenting wait ahead of me.

10-11am
I've waited a long time.
The wait was uncomfortable but it was also enlightening.
It gave me an idea of who this Chairwoman was.
Whatever tiny clues I could get from those who came out were invaluable for my preparation.

Some people came out with smiles.
Some people came out with tears.
Clearly they were shaken & unable to answer the Chairwoman's twisted questions.
However, I learned that the Chairwoman was somehow coldly professional.
She never raised her voice nor does she ever make clear what she wants to do with you.

Extended Edition: 11am-12pm
I'm beginning to feel faint & fatigued.
This is not the condition I wanted to be interviewed in.
But I have to keep myself steady & not let weariness get the better of me.
I must stay sharp.
I cannot fail!

Special Edition: 12pm-1pm
It is time.
#9 walks out & gives me a knowing eye.
Without saying anything, he's wishing me luck.
He survived.
Now, it's my turn.

I knocked, opened & walked into a large cold room.
At the far end of the room is a well-aged lady behind a condescendingly huge desk.
She's flipping through my documents. Scrutinising.
She looks at me & firstly asks me a simple question.
I had to tell her about myself.

It was just the warm-up.
She asked many perplexing questions after that.
Her questions were calculated, factual & designed to push my limits.
If there was a mentally straining moment in my life, that was one of them.

She asked me about one memorable experience I had during my studies in NZ.
Then, she asked me how I applied it to my teaching at school.
She moved on to asking what the significance of the National Education Philosophy was to a teacher.
Soon, she asked me what I understood about KBSR & KBSM.
Next, I was asked the purpose of Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan.
Later, she asked me about Wawasan 2020 & what would our country be like if it were already advanced.
Finally, she asked me if I thought that the teaching profession was suitable for me.
After I answered her, she was not satisfied. She asked me the same question again.
I gave her the same answer... again.

Before I knew it, I was released with all my documents.
From the reaction of the Chairwoman to my answers, I believe I passed.
I live to fight another day!

p/s:
Thank you for your prayers, emotional support & well-wishes!
I have the greatest friends!
=)

Look out for the new season of 4!
Season 2: The PTK Exam
Coming Soon on TV koko'!

Friday, September 25

How To Stay Loyal To Your Woman

Every man has got a favourite food, a favourite sport or a favourite band.
The same can be said about their taste in women.
Look at a man's dating history & you will see that he has a preference for one certain type of woman.
That’s his favourite type.

Some men will go goo goo over girls with big boobies or a tight ass.
Some collect life-sized Barbies.
While I prefer smart girls...
Thinking back, I realise that I have a soft spot for slim, chic, adorably nerdy-looking girls in glasses.
These girls are hard to find in the right combination but once I see one, I'm just not myself!
hahaha~~

These girls compel you to step over & make a fool of yourself by saying hi.
Oh, hello. There’s one right there!
Okay, take 3 deep breaths first to calm your nerves & slow your thumping heart.
Now all I have to do is leave my seat & don’t look too awkward as I walk over…
WAIT A MINUTE! I’m already in a relationship!

OH NO!!

So what can I do to stay loyal?
What can I do to pacify this fluttering of my heart?
What can I do the quench this fire in my pants?
Especially when my woman is not immediately available?

The answer is simple.
Immediately, give your woman a call.
Pour out your love to her. SINCERELY.
Tell her how much you miss her.
Tell her all the things that you like about her.
After that, I’m sure she’ll have several sweet things to say to you too.

While you’re talking on the phone, move as far away from the new girl as possible!
After the phone call, your desires should subside somewhat.
However, that’s not the end of the story.
Do not feed your thoughts with the other girl.
Busy yourself with something.
An idle mind is the devil’s playground!

Sounds like a lot of work, eh?
Well guys, the truth is staying loyal is NEVER easy…
It takes a lot of commitment & sacrifice.
But let me say that anything you do for your woman is definitely worth it!
=)


taken from 90210insiders.com
Cheating Doesn't Pay! (Especially When She Finds Out!)

Saturday, September 19

Salam Aidilfitri



Eid ul-Fitr is Arabic for 'festivity for the breaking of fasting'.
Those of you who have no idea should really click to read about it from Wikipedia.
Any Malaysians who have no idea what I'm talking about should really go & jump from the tallest building you can find. Seriously.

Shoutout to my IPBA-rian dudes & dudettes!
Shoutout to my Kuching futsal kakis & buddies & buddettes!
Shoutout to my fellow bloggers!
Shoutout to all you Malayisans studying overseas!
Finally, a shoutout to the Muslims in Malaysia!

You guys, enjoy the festivities!
Being the inspirational & influential & responsible & great teacher I am, I'll be here in the middle of nowhere watching over my wide-eyed & innocent students as they study for SPM & PMR.

Sorry for not sending any SMSes, ya?
No line mah!
Can save money oso!
hehehe~~

I'll be back at home on Monday evening & will be visiting my Muslim friends in Kuching with a vengeance the next day!

Here's a special message to the 3 hotties I've been thinking about these few days...
To Beef Rendang, Ketupat & Kek Lapis...
I shall be back to satisfy my carnal desires on you very soon!

P/S: Maaf Zahir & Batin!

Wednesday, September 16

School Schedule for 2010

Here is the school schedule for 2010 from Kementrian Pelajaran Malaysia.
Get your holiday air-tickets now while it's still cheap!!

Semester 1
Sekolah: 4/1 - 12/3 (10 Minggu)
Cuti: 13/3 - 21/3
Sekolah: 22/3 - 4/6 (11 Minggu)
Cuti: 5/6 - 20/6

Semester 2
Sekolah: 21/6 - 3/9 (11 Minggu)
Cuti: 4/9 - 12/9
Sekolah: 13/9-19/11 (10 Minggu)
Cuti: 20/11 - 2/1

Friday, September 11

I ♥ Ramadhan Bazaars!


I absolutely love Ramadhan Bazaars!
Every year I look forward to visiting one of these daily glorious Malay food fairs!
The best of Malay cuisine are not to be found in exquisite exclusive expensive boutique diners.
The best of the best is always born out of years of trial & error in the humble kitchens of everyday makciks!
And just for 30 days a year, these sweaty chubby golden girls share their works with you at a token price of what these priceless creations are worth!

Step into one of these carnivals that can be found all over Malaysia (even in Sibu, Sarawak!) during the Holy month of Ramadhan & breathe in the festivities.
Watch as families, teenagers in school uniforms & senior citizens walk from stall to stall counting their money & wondering what delights they will find in the next stall.
Sample the stalls yourself & you'll find Roti Jala, Kek Lapis, Kari Paf, Tempeh, Agar-Agar, Leko, Ayam Masak Merah, Kari Ayam & Sambal Ikan Billis just to name a few!

However, the beauty of a Ramadhan Bazaar is not found only in the food.
It can also be found in the people.
People of every skin colour, language & social background are welcome to the same location & pay the same price for the same food.
Nobody is special there. Everyone is treated as Malaysians.
Even though we are different in so many ways...
We gather together for the one love that each & every Malaysian shares...
The love for food.

Salam Satu Malaysia!

Sunday, August 30

My Nationalistic Awakening


Kepada Semua Warganegara Malaysia...
Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan!
To all Malaysians, happy Independence Day!

I look upon this year's Independence Day with great patriotic fervour.
I am grateful that every Malaysian citizen still has some say in how the country is to be run & I am glad that Malaysia is currently experiencing the teething struggles of a truly democratic country.

I used to be a neutral I-don't-mess-with-you you-don't-mess-with-me jaded indifferent uninterested inhabitant of this country.
As long as I can make a living & enjoy life, I don't care who wins the elections.
The only politicians I could name were merely Mahathir, Badawi & (recently) Najib.
Heck, I wouldn't even bother to register to vote.
Neither would I read about current events.. I'd just go straight to the comics or football news!
But all that has changed since my nationalistic awakening.

I would prefer not to comment much on the current political situation of the country lest I draw unwanted affection from certain parties.
But I will say that the political fuss & muss of controversies & allegations occurring this year has held my interest captive.
I love a good story with a good twist.
All the complexities & ulterior motives in the latest season of the Malaysian political drama has given me a lot of excitement!
I cannot wait to see what unfolds in the next episode!

Soon, I started paying more attention to current events in the mainstream media.
Then, I started reading about the same current events from the alternative media.
Currently, I have already registered to vote.
In the future, when the time comes for me to put my patriotism into action, I will do so without hesitation.

For patriotism is not in back-biting, arguments, protests, bloodshed or war but in the pen & paper during balloting day.
That is where every citizen's true power lies.

The highest level of patriotism is displayed when we use our power to choose representatives that will serve the best interests of our country.
Have you registered to vote yet?

Wednesday, August 26

Information on Victoria University of Wellington by a Malaysian Alumnus for Prospective Malaysian Students

I have recently received an email from a prospective Malaysian student of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
In this email were relevant questions that any student should ask to better prepare themselves before flying all the way there.

I have decided to share my reply here because I think that there are many other people in the world who may be seeking similar information...
This is written specifically for middle-class students from Malaysia who will study on Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn campus.

Any past or present student of VUW are welcome to comment & add to this post!

The University

On the satelite map from google maps, I've highlighted Kelburn campus in blue & Wellington CBD in red.
Ask you can see, the university is very close to the city centre so you dont have to worry about transportation or food when you get hungry.
They are about 10-15 mins walk from each other.

Be aware however, that it is a steep uphill walk from the city towards the campus.
Do make sure you have comfortable walking shoes or flip-flops (Both cheaper in Malaysia).
Having climbed the Kelburn campus slopes every day to get to class, climbing stairs or walking long distances in Malaysia will be nothing but a breeze!
Consider the 10-15 min walk your daily exercise!
=)


The People


taken from totaltravel.co.nz

I've visited other parts of NZ but I still think that Wellington is the best.
When I was in other parts of NZ, I felt like I was in Asia. It was all hustle & bustle. There were also many people of Asian origins moving up & down the streets & inhabiting the buildings. I didn't pay an arm & a leg to fly all the way here just to get back into Asia!

Wellington has a diverse & wondrous blend of people groups. There is an equal majority of Maori (the indigenous people) & Pakeha (white foreigners). There is also a minority of other ethnicities like Indians, Koreans, Japanese & Chinese. It is only in Wellington that you get to experience New Zealand's melting pot of culture. Get to know the different people groups & be fascinated as you learn about their cultures.

The people in Wellington are amiable & very approachable. New Zealand is probably one of the friendliest countries in the world!
Usually the person sitting next to you on in class or waiting at the same bus stop will greet you with a customary "How's it going?". Please don't look confused & answer what's going where. It's a question that enquires on how your day has been.
The question is a polite gesture & sometimes people will get back to what they are doing.
Those who want a chat will carry on by talking about the weather or asking you where you're from.
Be brave. Enjoy the people. You don't have to speak perfect English. You're not expected to.


Clothings

taken from guardian.co.uk

The weather in Wellington is divided into 3 seasons: windy cold, rainy cold & sunny warm.
You will experience sunny warm the most during summer (around Nov-Feb).
The rest of the year will be a combination of the three but mostly windy & igloo cold.
You should prepare clothings suitable for the weather.

Umbrellas are a waste of money. The winds will make sure that you get wet.
Besides, you'll either ruin it or get blown all the way back to Malaysia.
I kid you not. The winds are that strong.

Bring your summer-wear from Malaysia.
Bring your best tops, skirts, dresses, shirts, t-shirts, shorts, a fashionable hoodie & a good pair of jeans.
These things are cheaper in Malaysia.

Never buy your warm clothing from Malaysia.
You can find more suitable ones at discount prices here in Wellington.
One of my favourites is Kathmandu along Willis St.
They make awesome thermals (warm underwear), rain coats & sleeping bags.
They have massive discounts twice a year in Feb & Aug.

Don't be miserly when spending on warm clothing.
Remember: Save now... freeze later!
Be prepared to spend $200-300 on a good jacket & $100-200 on a good raincoat.
Instead of a 2-in-1 waterproof tramping jacket, I would recommend that you get a jacket & a one-size-larger raincoat that can fit over the jacket. This will give you more variety in the clothes you have to wear.


Part-Time Jobs


taken from hr.wayne.edu

Wellington is a student city.
Most of the workers in the city are students & employers are more than happy to hire students because they're cheap, they work hard & they don't complain much.
Therefore, if you have the time & think that you can manage, I strongly suggest that you get a part-time job to open up other possibilities to your lifestyle like travel & extra money.

Jobs come in 3 lengths: long-term, short-term & one-off.
The names are pretty much self-explanatory.

The best place to seek student jobs is Student Job Search.
Register with them & visit their branches for the latest jobs.
You can also look them up online but by the time it gets up on the website, someone may have already taken it.

You can also look in newspapers, bulletin boards or online agencies.
Some establishments will put up a notice at their front door if they're hiring.
Keep your eyes open & you might just land a great job!

I have worked several different types of jobs in the city.
I've been a promoter, typist, chef, barista, waiter, cashier, labourer, surveyor & etc.
I have found that, generally, Wellington employers are very generous & considerate. They are willing to provide encouragement & listen to feedback.
If you're happy, they get extra money!

However, be careful when you seek employment with an Asian employer.
I don't mean to be racist but there are many incidents where employers with an Asian background have cheated employees.
If you are not happy at your workplace or if you are underpaid, quit.
There are many other better jobs out there waiting for you!

Keep in mind that you are there to study.
So, if your work is affecting your grades, make the necessary adjustments!


Student Accommodation


taken from victoria.ac.nz

The student halls with Victoria University of Wellington are generally commendable.
Find a list here.
Halls may be more expensive but they are a stepping stone for every new student.

The first few months is when everybody makes friends, so make as many of them as you can. Student halls are full of new students, so you'll have a higher chance of making friends there.
Halls will also organise games, events & get-togethers throughout the year.
They are doing it with your money so make sure that you do attend them.
While you're there be friendly, have fun & make some new friends!

Here are a student's categorisation for the halls:
Quiet halls: Education House & Stafford House & Te Kotahinga.
These are halls where students are known to be quiet & private people.
Happening halls: McKenzies Apartments, Cumberland House & Victoria House.
These are halls where students are known to be more lively & nocturnal.

After your first year, I would recommend that you move on to private housing.
This is because renting a house or apartment with a few close friends is WAAAAAAAY cheaper than staying in a student hostel!

Houses or apartments usually free up during summer time so that'll be the best time to arrange for a viewing.
Be sure to act quick because good places usually get taken up really quickly.

Try to deal directly with the owners.
Avoid having to deal with real estate agencies because they usually ignore students.
Students have got a bad reputation among realtors.

Look in local newspapers, online or the VUW Accommodation Service bulletin board for advertisements.
A good listing website would be TradeMe.co.nz.
Also, use these tips from the Accommodation Service to make your stay a pleasant one.


Groceries


In the Wellington CBD, there are 3 supermarkets from the New World supermarket chain (just like our Carrefour supermarkets).
The biggest one is on Wakefield St, the New World Wellington City.
There are two smaller New World Metros on Willis St & at the railway station.

New World is not the cheapest.
The cheapest would be Pak'nSave.
But the closest one is in Kilbirnie.
You'll have to take a 10-15 min bus ride. Hardly worth it if you don't have a car.

There are also 24hr mini convenience stores called 'dairies' (just like our 7-Eleven stores).
There is a list of them here.
Diaries are where you get snacks & necessities when you can't be bothered to walk all the way to the supermarket or if it's late at night.
Btw, they serve delicious warm pies. They're awesome but they'll make you fat!

List of necessities that are cheaper in Malaysia:
- toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap & etc)
- electronics (computers, laptops, cables & etc)
- condoms / tampons / sanitary napkins


Food

taken from rajukofoto.com

Sad to say, there are no 24hr Mamaks in Wellington.
Most stores close by 5pm. Restaurants close by 10pm.
If you get the munchies at 12am, you're out of luck!
Remember to stock up some food at home!

It is of course cheaper to eat at home but if you ever have the desire to dine out, there's no better place to do it than Wellington!
There are plenty of restaurants in the city. You will be spoilt for choice.
Turkish, Western, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Malaysian. You name it, you got it!

It's not cheap to dine out though. Be prepared to spend $20++ for a meal.
Drinking water is free & it's fine to just have water in a restaurant as long as you order something to eat.

To ensure that you do not spend your hard-earned money at a horrible restaurant, check out dineout.co.nz for restaurant reviews by every day people like you & me. (I used to write some reviews under the pseudonym 'koko')

For the students on a budget, there are also lots of takeaways that serve cheap awesome food!
My favourite budget places are an Indian takeaway on Willis St (around #248), Korean Country House in Manners Mall & KC Cafe in Courtney Place.

Malaysian restaurants I recommend are Satay Kampong & Istana Malaysia (the bosses there know me!)
Other places you must try: exquisite Japanese food @ Kazu Japanese Restaurant, pizzas @ Piccolo Italian Pizzeria, yam char @ Regal Chinese Restaurant, steaks @ Crazy Horse Steakhouse, Curry Laksa @ Satay Kampong, Lamb Curry @ Istana Malaysia, fruit gelato @ Kaffe Eis, crepes @ Crêpes à Go-Go & croissants @ Le Moulin Bakery.

Wellington is also the espresso capital of the world!
This city has the highest concentration of cafes than anywhere in the world!
Walk down any street or turn a corner & you'll definitely find a place that peddles fresh steaming espresso coffee!
When in Wellington, YOU MUST TRY THE COFFEE!!
Take your pick of flat white, latte, cappuccino or mocha.
My favourite is a latte made with Illy Coffee.
Most of the cafes prepare great coffee. Stay away from Starbucks or Coffee Bean.

New Zealand is a wine producing country & you will find that wines are very cheap in Wellington.
Go to any supermarket & you can get a bottle of decent wine for $20.
NZ produces really good white wine while the reds are just decent. Australia produces more flavourful reds.
My favourite NZ winemakers are Church Road, Matua, Kim Crawford, CJ Pask & Lawsons Dry Hills.
Take your time to give the different wines a try. Then, you can choose your favourites!
Look out for 2007 & 2008 wines. I hear that the grapes are at their best during those years.

Healthcare

taken from canadorec.on.ca

If you fall sick, there is a student clinic on campus that you can go to for free.
The cost of your medical consultations will be covered by your student insurance (which is compulsory for international students).
However, the place is very busy. Do call first to make a booking.
There is also physiotherapy, counselling & other healthcare services available with the Student Health Service.

The Wellington hospital is free too but it is very far away in a suburb, Newtown. You'll need to take a bus.
Keep in mind that medical fees are very high in New Zealand so go to a private establishment only when there no better options.


Conclusion

Remember that International Students are as valuable as gold to the university.
We pay exuberant fees which are exuberantly accepted by the university.
If you have any problems or issues, don't ever be shy to seek help.
For anything & everything you may need help with, there is a department in the university that is specially formed to assist you.
All you have to do is just ask.

Finally, let me say congratulations on being accepted.
Not only will you experience quality education provided by some of the most professional educators in the world, you will also be in a place where your minds will be broadened & your experiences diversified.
Wellington as well as New Zealand as a whole have got a lot to offer you.
Go out and grab hold of every opportunity!
All the best!

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