Saturday, January 24

In Kuching for a Week

taken from inter-borneo.com

I'm back at home in Kuching for CNY.
Part of the perks of being a teacher is a longer holiday.
I've got 7 days.
So I'm going to spend it wisely.

First, I'm going to help out with the cleaning & all the other preparations.
Then, I'm going to go shopping for new work clothes. I dont think it'll be wise to wash my G2k & Seed in the untreated water I get at school.
All the while, I hope to recover from this fever that I brought back from school. It was a parting gift from my generous housemate.

On the eve of CNY, I'm going to party...
Because I deserve to & I need to.
I have built up some tension from my first 2 weeks at school & this annoying fever.

During the first 3 days of CNY, I will visit relatives & friends.
1st day: Strictly FAMILY. 2nd day onwards: friends but family is higher priority.
During the next 3 days, I will finish the heaps of work I so responsibly brought all the 1000km way back home.
Apparently, there is a law that states that teachers are allowed to be overworked even during the holidays (FICTION).
They can also be called back to work at school for half of their holidays (FACT).

And if the weather is good, I will jog in the morning from about 6-7am.
Give me a text/call if you're in town!
Let's catch up during CNY!
You're also more than welcome to join me in the morning!

Until I see you in person,
新年快乐!
身体健康!

Tuesday, January 20

In The Garden of Eden

In the beginning God created heaven & earth.
The earth was void & filled with darkness.
From the emptiness, the cry of an angel could be heard.
He groaned in pain & gnashing of teeth for a week...
destined for oblivion.

But God does not forsake the contrite & broken hearted.
And God had heard his prayer.
For in the second week of induction...
God said, "let there be INTERNET!!!"
And there was light in the garden of Eden.

Let there be Internet!

Friday, January 16

koko' Goes To Secondary School... Again

Yes, koko' has gone back to school... again.
Once upon a time, I was there as a child.
This time, I have returned... a MAN!!

ha~~ ha~~ ha~~
This sophisticated education machine was sent "back in time" to linguify a needy generation!

Where am I doing it?
Although it was nothing like what several of my friends have gone through to get to their schools... like wading through shoulder-high flood waters & etc.
Well... My journey was still quite a memorable one.


First, I took a 30 minute flight from Kuching to Sibu.



taken from panoramio.com
Then, I took a 2 hour express boat ride from Sibu to Song.



taken from tropicalisland.de
Finally, I took a 30 minute longboat ride to my school.


Many of you must be wondering what living is like in a UK boarding school...
And today is your lucky day...
Here is my first-hand account of the living conditions in school.

My school is situated along the Katibas river in Sarawak.
The only means of arrival & departure: Boat & Helicopter

Lodging: Yes, I was placed in one of the many 3 bedroom apartments
Electricity: Yes, 2 generators take turns for a 24-hour supply
Piped Water: Yes, unfiltered & untreated river water

Landline telephone: None
Snail Mail: the school has a PO Box in the nearest town, Song
Cellphone Coverage: Yes, Celcom & Maxis on high ground
Internet Availability: Yes, but lacks in reliability, stability & speed

I will only provide my family & some close friends with my newly acquired Celcom number.
This number will only be used when I am in school.
Once I leave for a more centralised location, I will switch back to Digi.

Upon arriving at my apartment, I was pleasantly surprised at the more than minimal living standards.
Although I lack the means to communicate with the outside world, my basic necessities are well taken cared of.
I share a good apartment with a friendly & accommodating housemate who has supplied the apartment with most of everything that is needed.
Cleaning tools, a water filter, company, entertainment...
Thanks, Cikgu Chieng.

Will write more on the school & students in a later post.
At the moment, I am in Sibu: living on the generous hospitality of a fellow teacher's family.
Thank you, Cikgu Nigel Ling.
There are a few necessities that I have to purchase here & then ship over to my apartment.

Yes, there is no MidValley on school grounds.
I have to take a boat into a town or city to purchase groceries & other goods.
Then, I will have to carry everything to the express boat, then to the longboat & then all the way up a hill to my majestic residence.

Oh... oh... guess what?
There is, on my shopping list, a fridge & a washing machine.

Okay, ladies... dont worry...
I have been training in the gym for most of last year in preparation for such a situation.
I'm a very strong man with a lot of stamina!
**ladies swooning over me**
=D

haha~~
Sorry... It does get a little lonely up there...
These little delusional outbursts help me stay sane...
I miss my squeeze!!

Also, I would like to apologise for the lack of original pictures.
My camera was KIA & we will all have to wait until March for me to get a new one.
Why the wait?
Well... I insist on purchasing my next camera with my own money.
My parents have been more than generous with me for more than 2 decades already.
It's time I learned to stand on my own two feet.

Waiting makes the heart grow fonder...
I cant wait to caress the body of an SLR that I can call my own!!

Friday, January 9

What A Waste!

The principal of SMK Katibas gave me a call this morning.
Of course, I asked about the amenities & infrastructure available on school grounds.
I was also able to finalise my travel plan.
(The details are in my previous post)

The best part of the conversation occurred towards the end...

Principal: So ah what is your major?
Me: TESL.
Principal: English ah... gooood?... which university?
Me: Victoria University of Wellington.
Principal: oooh... that one... ahh... Australia.. no, New Zealand, ah?
Me: Yes, New-- **before I could finish**
Principal: **heavy chinese accent** WADD AY WAAAAAIST!!!
Me: ...... er... no la, the country needs me-- **before I could finish**
Principal: Okay. Okay. Nevermind. I'll meet you there on Sunday.
Me: Looking forward to it!

wad ay waaaaist!!!
picture taken from inmagine.com

hahaha~~
I think I'm going to love my principal.

Wednesday, January 7

koko' Is Leaving To Teach In UK!!!

Yes, that's right.
The Malaysian government has given me the green light to teach in UK... for real.

UK = Ulu Kapit

JPN Sarawak acted fast & was able to give their new teachers a place within less than 1 week of receiving the name list from Human Resources in Putrajaya.
I'm so proud of them.

Anyway, my school?
SMK Katibas.
A rural school in Song, Kapit.

I did some research and I found out that, although it is a rural school, it has the second highest passing rate for SPM 2007 in Kapit.
Seems like I will be going to a good school after all.
The cream on the cake would be my hefty rural school allowance!

I was also able to find pictures of the school posted on a blog of a previous student.
Check the pictures out here.
The school looks very new & well maintained.

Here is my travel itenary for this Sunday:
AirAsia: from Kuching to Sibu = 1 hr
Express boat: Sibu to Song = 2 hr
School driver: Song town to school = 2 hr

I will share a house on school grounds with another teacher but I will have my own room.
I may have my meals at the dining hall.
There is 24hr electricity, water, limited phone coverage & internet.
Looks like a pretty good place but I will only know the actual conditions once I get there.

Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, January 6

Blogging Actually Does Pay

Good News!!
I'm jobless & broke but still...
I made RM50 just by blogging in 2008!!

How?
No, I didn't sell my soul....
No, I didn't write any advertorials...
No, I didn't escort any mak datins...

In June 2008, I signed up for nuffnang.
I gave them some space on the sidebar & the bottom of my blog to display advertisements.
These adverts are screened to relate to my blog content & avoid offending me or my readers.
And I get money with every click on adverstisements.

I'd like to thank my readers for supporting me with their clicking fingers...
With this RM50 angpao, I promise to write more in 2009 & improve the quality of my writing!
I'm on my way to being rich from blogging like Kenny Sia!

Now who said blogging was a waste of time?

Saturday, January 3

Dimana Saya Diperlukan & Kebolehan Saya Dimanfaatkan



I have absolute trust in my God & I know my future is safe in his hands.
This knowledge has allowed me to live my days in full confidence that everything can be turned around for good.

Any opportunities that come my way will be made the best of.
Any obstacles that come my way is an opportunity to identify & learn from the imperfections within myself.
This is reflected in my choice of university, practicum school & location for teaching.

When it came to making my preferences known for the university within which to complete my degree & the school where I will undergo 3 months of teaching practise, I wrote on a piece of paper:
ANYWHERE

When it came to making my preferences known for the location where I will be teaching for the government, I wrote on a piece of paper:
Dimana Saya Diperlikan & Kebolehan Saya Dimanfaatkan
(where I am needed & my abilities are justified)

Many of you reading this will gasp in shock of this seemingly foolish & careless act.
But I shall not be fooled...
Before I even write those words, I utter a silent prayer to God: requesting that I be put in a place that would benefit me most & allow me to make a good impact.
For He is the only one that knows what's best for me.

With my limited pool of knowledge, who am I to decide my future?
I'd rather take a leap of faith & wow the doubters with my testimony.
And so far, God has yet to fail me...

I was placed in Victoria University of Wellington where I experienced the best years of my life!
I learned a lot: not only in the lecture halls but also from working part-time with various employers.
I also had the opportunity to travel all over New Zealand. I visited every major city & attraction as well as the northernmost & southernmost points.
I have also spent time with many different outstanding individuals who believed in me, loved me & added so much to me.

I was placed in SMK Puteri Titiwangsa for my practicum where I witnessed an excellent school at work.
The principal, the staff, the fellow teachers & the students were all so supportive & so helpful in the 3 months to motivate me & mentor me in learning the ropes of being a teacher in the big city.
With their help, I achieved the high competency award for practicum.
They have also given me insight into what it takes to have a successful school.

And now, I find out that I have been placed in Sarawak to teach & nurture the new generation.
I would have actually preferred somewhere in semenanjung because that's where my heart is...
But I believe there are good things in store for me...
Here in the land of the hornbills...
Ibu Pertiwiku.

Friday, January 2

koko' Will Serve In Sarawak

How do I know which state I'm posted to?
I checked this website & found out.
Then, I called Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri to confirm.
You can find the respective JPN phone numbers here.

How do I find out the specific school I'm posted to?
This is what I got from a phone call I made with JP Sarawak.
They have our namelists & are processing it at the moment.
The deadline to have all Guru Sandaran Siswazah Terlatih or GSST assigned to a school is Monday.
The letters should be printed, signed & mailed by Tuesday.
Expect to receive your official posting letters from Wednesday onwards.
Or if you are extra impatent like me... I plan to call on Monday.

What should I do when I find out which school I'm posted to?
For me, I'd search for the school's phone number & address at this website.
Then, I will call the school & speak to the principle.
I will inform the principal that I am a new GSST posted to his/her school.
I will also provide a rough estimate for my time of arrival taking into account the time used for waiting for the posting letter & travel arrangements.
I will also make any necessary enquiries on lodging & etc.

How much time do I have to prepare myself?
You have a month to report yourself to the school.

Which state did koko' get posted to?
I got Sarawak & I confirmed it with JP Sarawak.

Which school did koko' get posted to?
I will find out on Monday... hopefully.
And when I do, you guys will know right away on my blog!

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