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!

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