Thursday, February 26
Sunday, February 22
Thursday, February 19
I need a change of scenery.
I need a change of activity.
I hate this mundane predictability.
Since my school is isolated. I cant leave.
I do all the same things every day of the week.
Every day in school. Day & night in school.
It's always school, school, school, school & did I mention school?
I'm surprised at myself.
I have only been here for 5 weeks... But it feels like 5 months.
I guess this is the time when a person starts to really develop the stamina to last for the 5 years he has to be at this place.
Let me give you a glimpse of my less-than-exciting life...
First of all, I eat the same food every day.
I can only go out & buy my groceries once a week at the same market.
Furthermore, I can only buy what I can carry.
= limited variety = I am really getting bored of my meals.
Secondly, my daily routine is the same.
There are only 2 places to go to.
School or home. School or home.
geee~~ look at all the tough choices I have to make every day!
Early in the morning, I go to school. (morning classes)
I go home for lunch.
Then, I go back to school. (afternoon classes + school programmes/clubs)
I go home to exercise, shower, rest & have dinner.
At night, I go back to school to finish up on the amazing amount of paperwork given to each teacher who is still expected to be an effective educator.
Later, I go home to sleep.
Tomorrow it starts all over again!
How do I keep myself from going berserk?
Well, sometimes if the heavens permit, there is internet connection at school. Then again, most times God thinks I'm better off offline.
The people here are very friendly. So I can chat & kid around with the other teachers & staff members.
The students know very little English. I love how I can make the most devastating verbal intellectual comments & still see you smile.
Sibu is nearby. I'm willing to spend 3 hrs on a smelly sardine can express boat.
But the number one thing that keeps me from going bazookas & helps me vent all this frustration is...
Which reminds me, it's almost time for my daily meditation on the field.
Praise God for the beautiful game.
**not to be mistaken with another game with a similar name where brawny men moan loudly, press against each other and have "group hugs"**
Saturday, February 14
Some tingle with excitement for the surprise & passion to come.
Some turn their heads to hide a tear for nothing will come.
Some, like myself, can't help but think of today with some dread.
Everybody expects lovers to do something special for the other.
Women especially expect to be pampered. Treated with extra love & affection.
As a man, I don't mind doing all that. Take advantage of the occasion.
But I cant. I'm broke (salary not paid yet).
I'm also an ocean away from my love.
For those of us in the world who have to spend Valentine's Day without a loved one...
Be it through failure, distance, death or divorce...
Let's lift a glass some time tonight as a toast to ourselves & the hope that we will be together with our special someone in the near future.
Wednesday, February 11
The previous 6 years have seen me leave my parents' home & full-provision for various locations within & outside of Malaysia.
Every location had something unique to offer me.
And I was also able add to or tweak the place to suit my liking.
At all these locations, I was able to recreate a new home for myself again & again.
Except the latest.
I currently live in an exclusive & spacious teachers' apartment on school grounds.
It's on a hill so I see picturesque mountains & a valley from my bedroom window.
I have a spacious living area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom & balcony.
It has great potential to be absolutely lovely!
I had a really awesome home in Wellington (both of them) & I had always hoped that once I started working in Malaysia, I'd design for myself a home that is one step above the practical & at the same time would reflect my personality.
I have more demand for art & pretty interiors than it is natural for a young single male bachelor.
Maybe I'm gay...
But anyway, I currently posses a salary that would cover for all that & a little bit more!
What's keeping me from gratifying my fetish for interior self-expression?
Lots and lots of water.
More specifically... a river: my only means of transport.
To purchase any decorative item, I'd first have to make my way to the nearest city (the best one would be Sibu: 3 hours boat ride).
I'd have to go from the jetty to a shop (taxi or friend's ride).
I'd have to transport the item back to the jetty.
Carry it onto a boat, bring it to school & carry it all the way up the hill.
- time consuming: can only do it on weekends
- limited space: can only bring what I can carry
- transportation cost: round trip can cost up to RM100
I can realise my dream.
But it will take a looooooooooong time.
Until then, I'd have to bear with the depressing barrenness of my apartment.
I have a cooling fan, adequate lighting, a super massive wardrobe & a lovely wooden slat bed.
But I dont have a table in my room, no mattress, no chair & no mirror.
I sleep in a sleeping bag & put my stuff on the floor or in the wardrobe.
Welcome to my home where hope is the thing with feathers.
Friday, February 6
Apparently, I experienced a flash flood.
In less than 6 hours the water rose from 2 storeys underneath up to the height of your ankle.
The boy's asrama were the lowest so they got hit first.
Then, the school garden & the bridge across the garden linking the asramas to the academic blocks.
We were wading through river water by mid-afternoon in heavy rain.
It had the potential to rise even higher.
A few months ago, it was a storey higher.
But the rains got lighter & eventually stopped in the evening.
That was when the water started receding.
This morning, water levels were high but did not flood the school.
The weather is calm so there are boats traveling the waters again.
A headcount of both teachers & students were made revealing no casualties.
A cleaning of the once flooded asramas took place in the morning with everyone being mindful for centipedes & snakes.
I am currently safely tucked away at a friend's house in Sibu.
I will be returning to school on Sunday morning & teaching on Monday.
But I am expecting more flash floods of varying intensities in the future.
Thanks for your prayers!
Thursday, February 5
Just a few hours ago, my principal declared a state of emergency.
All classes & school activities will be put on hold until further notice.
All students are to be gathered into the main hall for prayer.
Teachers will take turns in groups to have 24 hour surveillance over the school.
What are we watching for?
It has been raining for days & days at no end.
In fact, it has been raining for days & days all over Sarawak.
Water is flowing in from the deep interiors causing the Katibas river to overflow.
Our school is built on high ground. But the waters are lapping our feet now.
Usually it's a 2 storey descent to the jetty.
Now it is right at our doorsteps.
There were still boats in the river only 8 hours ago.
Now it is too dangerous to travel.
The only way in & out of school is by boat.
We are stranded.
The water pump is already submerged.
We have no more water supply lest the ones we have in the soon-to-be-depleted water tanks.
The electricity generators are close to being submerged as well.
If the water rises any further, it will mean darkness for all of us.
And for me, no internet. No cellphone coverage neither.
It is the end of the week so we are also running out of food.
There is no way for us to go out & get more food.
Meals will be provided in the main hall from now onwards but the main hall is close to submersion as well.
What will we eat if the water continues to rise?
We have started distributing life jackets to the students.
We have also started moving equipment & books to higher ground.
If things get any worse, we will continue to move higher.
Thank God, the teachers' apartments are built on top of a hill.
There are many locals amongst the staff & they are familiar with such situations.
Whatever happens, we will survive.
I may be out of contact for a while.
Do pray for me & for the school.
Let there be no casualties.
Monday, February 2
It's still Chinese New Year and I'm wondering to myself, "what am I doing here in UK?!"
I should be at home enjoying mom's cooking instead of being so gay & cooking for myself.
I should be out with my buddies at a cool establishment instead of being so boring & working on school documents.
I should be catching up with older relatives instead of force-feeding children English lessons for their own good.
**singing the tune of '12 Days of Christmas'**
On the first & second day of CNY, my housemate gave to me...
a bed-ridden fever & body aches to accompany.
On the third & fourth day of CNY, I tried to leave the house...
but I was too sick to enjoy anything.
On the fifth & sixth day of CNY, I was better but then again...
I got a toothache which hurts so very bad.
Even though, I had a plague-ridden CNY holiday, I did manage to have a good time with friends & family.
The limited time spent with them was well-appreciated.
I also managed to catch two movies: Red Cliff 2 & Underworld 3.
Red Cliff was awesome while Underworld was average.
Right now, I'm recovering from a fever, a cold & a painful toothache.
Do pray for my recovery!
It's for the benefit of my students!
what a way to start the bull year...
pain & suffering first, joy later!