Sunday, December 26

koko' in Penang

In this world, there are many types of friends.
There are those who cannot keep promises.
There are those who leave you halfway.
Then, there are those who are with you forever.
During my trip to Penang... I experienced all 3.

Nesa, Chee Chee, Shawn & I
Here are some of my best friends in the world.
We make an effort to meet at least once a year. This year, we agreed to meet in Penang in Dec.
Guna, an important part of our group, did not even show up.
Chee Chee & Shawn had to leave on the first night.
Sad sad~~ But thankfully Nesa stayed & showed me around his hometown.
It's just the two of us... as usual.

When you're in Penang, there's really only one thing to do... EAT.
I did plenty of that & also visited the grand Kek Lok Si Temple

Check out the intricate details! Magnificent!
I found Guna & gave him the evil eye.
Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas + 1 koko'

And now I shall introduce the hawkers & shops I had a good experience with.

Asam Laksa
Asam Laksa @ Ayer Itam Market
After my visit to the temple, we stopped by the nearby market for Penang's world famous Asam Laksa (or Penang Laksa).

Orgasmic Pleasure in a Bowl
The first time I had Asam Laksa, I didn't like it because the sauce was too thick.
This one had its favours just nice & at RM3 a bowl, I was left wanting more!

Pasembur
Pasembur @ Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
I'm a big fan of rojak & the Pasembur is really good in Penang.

Warm Flavoursome Sauce Over a Generous Serving of Salad & Crispy Snacks
The items are fresh & the stall is run by its owner.
You'll hear him banging his cleaver on a chopping board while singing along to the songs from his loud speakers.
RM4.50 (depending on which items you choose)

Tofu Fa
Tofu Fa @ Kampung Benggali
I absolutely love Tofu Fa. Love it to bits!
I love how good it feels in your mouth.
Warm, Soft, Smooth & Sweet.  hmmm~~

White Coloured Comfort (RM0.80)
You can get quality Tofu Fa almost anywhere in Malaysia but I just had to have it in Penang.

Char Kueh Tiaw
Dude, It's Only RM3!!! OMG!!!
The world famous Penang Char Kueh Tiaw.
There are plenty of good ones on the island & the mainland but the awesome ones are slowly disappearing because the grandpas & grandmas decided to retire while their children decided to become doctors or lawyers.

Char Kueh Tiaw @ Lucky Restaurant (Opposite Ananda Bahwan Restaurant)
Here's a good one on the mainland where a grandpa & grandma is still going strong.

Nasi Kandar
Fried Gizzards + Goat Curry + Briyani Rice + Spicy Coconut Chutney (RM10.50)
It started here. The world famous Mamak restaurants started right here in little old Penang & has spread all over the world. Even back to India! WTH!

Where You Tell Them What You Want
Nesa guarantees that any Nasi Kandar you step into in Penang is surely good. I've been to 5 in Penang & they have not disappointed.

Line Clear Nasi Kandar @ Penang Road Alley
Here's a unique Nasi Kandar shop where there is a line 24hrs a day!
It was once a small Nasi Kandar stall in an alley which has expanded throughout the years to occupy the whole alley.
No wonder, coz it serves an awesome Nasi Kandar meal with generous servings!

Meat Jerky
Recognise the Logo from KL?
This popular meat jerky maker from Petaling St has a branch in Butterworth, Penang.
I bought lots of pork jerky for my mom to serve during CNY.
Around RM30 per 300g depending on meat & flavour.

Chinese Biscuits
Living Proof that Good Customer Service Sells
My mother is a big fan of Penang's Chinese biscuits.
There are many stalls all over Penang island & mainland selling these biscuits (produced in Penang's factories).
I bought a whole mother lode of biscuits from this store because they allowed me to taste any biscuit I wanted to before buying.

Here's what I bought:
Dao Sa Pia (Red Bean Filled Biscuits) - RM4.50/box
Beh Teh Soh (Sweet Paste Filled Biscuits) - RM6.50/pack
Pepper Crackers - RM5.50/pack

Pickled Fruits
Lightly Seasoned Pickled Fruits
I've never really liked Pickled Fruits because they are almost always overwhelming in sweetness or sourness.
I found the ones from this shop to be milder & perhaps more suitable for the health conscious.
I got pickled nutmeg + mangoes + dried nutmeg for my mom.

Indian Desserts
Unique & Adorable Kaju Apple Dessert @ Sri Ananda Bahwan

There are about 3 Sri Ananda Bahwan Restaurants in Penang

I really like Indian desserts because they are bursting with flavour. You can find nuts, spices, sugar & ghee jam packed into cute little slices.
Sadly, too many of them are just too sweet & I avoid those like the plague.

I found the Kaju Apples at Sri Ananda Bahwan to be very palatable & mildly sweet. It is very pleasing to the eye too!
If I had a girlfriend, I'd buy her a box for Valentines day.
Chinese girls will love it coz it's so CUTE!!!
Leave me a comment if my tip got you some brownie points with your girl.

Good & Cheap - Perhaps the Best
I wanted the best Indian Dessert shop in Penang & Nesa did some asking around.
We ended up at this shop: Vickram Sweets & Snacks, Market St.
I bought a whole load of desserts & murukku for my Chinese family who otherwise would never have tried any. I got Jaangiri, Halva, Mysore Pak & many others I am unable to name.
~~~~~

Penang is really an awesome place.
I wouldn't mind moving over there for the culture, infrastructure, low-cost of living & awesome food.
It may just be the best place to retire in.

I would like to thank Nesa & Sara for making my stay a memorable one!
Send my regards to your parents too!

Saturday, December 18

SMK Katibas Menerima Anugerah Khas Ketua Menteri Sarawak 2010 - Sekolah Menengah Cemerlang Pendalaman

There I was thinking that I'd have a good quiet break from my duties as Penyelia Kawasan SPM at home in Kuching when my boss called me up suddenly & told me to dress up for a function at Hilton Kuching.
I thought that he was going to hook me up with a rich young lady but instead I was in a hall full of rich married ladies who wouldn't bat an eyelid at me.

I was called up to take pictures for my principal during the "Majlis Penyampaian Anugerah Khas Ketua Menteri Sarawak 2010".
What could I do? Saya yang menurut perintah...
Although, I did get to blackmail my boss into buying me 2 pints of Guinness after the ceremony... Oh yeah~~~ There's no beer like free beer.

My school was awarded the "Anugerah Khas Ketua Menteri Sarawak 2010 - Sekolah Menengah Cemerlang Pendalaman" for successive years of excellence in education.
We were judged according to our academic, student affairs & co-curricular performance for the past 3 years & we stood head & shoulders above the other rural schools to receive this award.

Congratulations to my boss for this award is a great symbol/milestone/memento/vindication of his many years of dedication & outstanding service leading the school.
Let's not forget his slaves aka teachers whom he pushed hard to work hard to push the students to push forward & achieve more.
He should buy all of you a pint or two.

I tip my hat & raise my pint to all of you.
Hopefully, one day I will be involved in achieving something like this & a little bit more.

Not bad for an ulu school, eh?

Friday, December 10

How's Your Holiday?

My holiday is almost non-existent but what surprises me is my complaints are non-existent too.
I am actually enjoying life stuck here in the jungle babysitting 17YO monkeys who get on my nerves every now & then & incur the wrath of my Lvl15 Roar & Lvl20 Paralyse Pinch.


I'm still here in school instead of lounging at the Playboy mansion because my PK1 & PK HEM want to be liberated from their Penyelia Kawasan SPM duties. They wanted to selfishly enjoy the long holiday so they found 2 dumb-dumbs to replace them (they were only here for 1 week! Baskets!).
Unfortunately, I am one of the dumb-dumbs who wanted simply to invigilate the SPM exams at another ulu school I've never been to but instead, got pulled into this insignificant open the vault, give test papers to Ketua Pengawas, shake leg until end of exam, wait for KP to bring the answers, keep answers in safe & send answers to HQ once a week.

I wanted to be posted to the super ulu SMK Bellaga as a humble invigilator so I'd get to experience life there for 1 month ++. Wouldn't it be great to breathe in the super fresh air from the lungs of the Earth & hunt for my own food in the rich landscape?
Maybe I'll pull some strings to make that happen next year since I've been able to rub shoulders with several senior officials through this Penyelia Kawasan post.

Believe it or not. I was able to convert the shake leg time between giving the papers to the KP & receiving the answers into productive work time!
I spent that time patching up the piles of files of the English Language Panel (boy, what a mess!), writing reports for our multitudes of activities (what a stupid pointless thing to do! who is going to read this sheet?), finishing up & touching up the school magazine (this is actually something I like to do), learning some Bahasa Iban word/phrases (to chat up hot chicks) & coming up with a 80pg module of essay/summary/grammar/exam-based exercises for the Form 3 students next year so that each class will do the same exercises & at least go through the basic training necessary to prepare them for the PMR exams (wow~ I feel like such a good teacher with a large halo above my head).

During these holidays, I'm also preparing myself emotionally & intellectually for a gargantuan task ahead of me next year & beyond.
I will be Chief Warden as of 1 Jan 2011.
I will be tasked with carrying the torch of winning the Anugerah Seri Asrama Terbilang competition by 2012.
The previous CW did a great job & I have big shoes to fill.
It'll be interesting to see what I will bring next year & I believe I will be pleasantly surprised as always because my Lord Jesus will pull me through & help me excel beyond expectations.

Sunday, November 28

Reflections of a 2nd Year Teacher

adapted from 3dartgallery.org
When I first cum... to teaching, there were options available for me outside of teaching / government. I was also aware that the window of opportunity would slowly close as I age & younger more qualified infants saturated the workforce.
However, with deep conviction, I made a decision to commit the first 5 years of my professional life to be a teacher in a government school anywhere in the country.
When I say commit, I meant it. I was going to bust my a$$ teaching no matter what my circumstance; be it in the middle of nowhere a thousand miles from home or working with hopeless & fruitless Neanderthals or teaching leaping yelling brainless chimps. I wanted to see whether I was any good at teaching & whether I enjoyed it.

Two years down this overly trodden road, I find that I AM good at it & I DO enjoy teaching!
Maybe it's because I've busted my a$$ so bad pushing homework & hustling in the classrooms that a little bit of it seeps into their minuscule hard skulls.
Maybe my gangsta attitude & the big-a$$ piece I carry around with me makes the minions afraid of me & follow my orders lest I bust a cap in their a$$es with my piece. ('piece' is gangsta for 'rotan'.)
Maybe there is such a lack of talent & competition in the teaching profession that my limited abilities give me a sky-high advantage.
Or maybe I've been at it so long, I've gone loony like many other teachers in Malaysia & cant really tell the difference.

Since I'm so good at it & I enjoy it so much... perhaps I should make teaching my life's work?
After all, isn't it the noble profession where you make millionaires but not a cent for yourself?
That's right. The remuneration is lacking & the prestige is missing. Also, just like any other relationship, the excitement might dwindle as the years go by...
Then again, I can compensate through corruption, tuition, joining competitions & etc.

I am very positive about staying as a teacher in the long run but I am not confident of being in the government or in this country.
I know that the children need me & I love them but I wont be single & available all my life.
Once I get married & start a family, my priorities must change.
I need to find an environment where my children can thrive & my talents will be properly utilised & compensated for.

I am only almost barely halfway through my 5 year commitment so I shall not make any hasty decisions.
Meanwhile, it's more homework pushing & a$$ busting for me!
=)

Sunday, November 14

Gluteus Gloom


It's something that girls adore.
They like to feel it, grab it &, of course, smack it.
Like all good things, it comes in pairs.
You know what I'm talking about...

I was jogging on a quiet Monday afternoon when I stepped on a puddle, slipped, floated into a seated position & landed right on top of my left bum. Cold hard concrete.
What followed was pain. Lots & lots of pain. Until today.
That was when I lost the functionality of my left Gluteus Maximus.

Joni Mitchell once sang that you don't know what you've got til it's gone.
Since the incident, I've learned to appreciate my quiet & faithful buttocks more.
Can you imagine feeling pain at every waking moment?
Did you know that your glutes are involved in almost every body movement including sleep?

I couldn't sit, walk, stand or even sleep without pain.
Imagine putting your socks on in the morning sideways.
Imagine having to sit on one cheek with the support of a pillow & still feel pain.
Imagine going to see your boss & being asked to take a seat.
Do you want to know how I sat? I sat on one bum. Do you know how ridiculous that looked?
Imagine the funny looks of curiosity & students peering out of their classroom windows to look at this teacher walking like he's on stilts.
IMAGINE GOING TO THE TOILET!!!

taken from joshmeandmydoves.blogspot.com
However, I did enjoy talking about it because, like I said before, injuries are sexy.
The guys empathised while the women giggled. Both were entertained. I was the hero of the hour.
I never told the students though... didn't want to arouse them unnecessarily.
A friend with a lovely black butt once told me I was injury prone.
I guess he's right. The 4" wide & 2" thick bruise on my bum after my 4" scratch on my foot proves it.

Oh well, life goes on.
Day after day, the pain subsides. Allowing more mobility.
Today, 6 days after the injury, I am able to sit for long hours without a pillow & sleep without pain.
However, I still have to put on my socks sideways.
And one bum still looks larger than the other.




p/s: I'm going jogging again tomorrow!

Sunday, October 31

Of Attitudes & Altitudes

This is a story told not to discriminate, alienate or propagate a certain ethnic group or way of life. I’m saying things the way it is. It’s my honest depiction of what I have observed with my own eyes. Please do not take offence.

Often have I wondered why the local people found it hard to break out of the chain of poverty that plagues a large majority of them. Apprenticeships & job opportunities are easily available wherever they are albeit lower wages, longer hours & hard work, it could still lead to something some day. I’ve always wondered why business owners would shun the local people & prefer to hire Indonesians for these menial jobs. I’ve always wondered why many of them have such low productivity even from the very beginning of their careers. This reflects the local men more than women. I find the local women more industrious & reliable.

After observing them & especially their young up-close for 2 years, I realise it has got a lot to do with their attitude towards life. Happy go lucky & cukup makan is a mantra many of them live by. They were not forced to live from hand to mouth. They chose to live from hand to mouth. This way of life has been handed down from generation to generation as if it was genetic.

This is what many of them will do. When they do not have money, they will go looking for work. Once they get their wages, they will not work. They want to enjoy first. They spend their money on cheap booze, contraband cigarettes & cheap women. Only when their funds run dry, they go searching for work. Some of these men even have families to take care of.

Compare this to another group that also chooses to live from hand to mouth, young Anglo-Saxons. There is however a big difference between the local men & young whites who choose a hand to mouth lifestyle. Our locals want to enjoy life while the whites want to live life. They go from country to country, town to town & city to city because they want to see the world. They finance their travels from any work that they can find wherever they are. When they have experienced all that they can from one place, they will save their money & move on to another place.

Now let’s look at another group of people who have thrived all over the world. The Chinese. They are industrious by choice. Many of them come from impoverished backgrounds as well. Since they were young, they were taught to be frugal & work hard. This is why many of them go from rags to riches in 1 generation. They are willing to work hard for a small profit & still save every penny. All the money saved will either be used for a business or for their children.

One of the challenges that a teacher working with the locals will face is the students are bright but many they are unwilling to work hard. They want to be doctors, engineers & lecturers. Many of them possess the talent & potential but few realise their ambitions because many refuse to suffer temporarily for long-term gain. This short-sightedness is a mental handicap that is keeping these people from progressing.

I have to use short-sighted rewards & punishments to steer them in the right direction. Candies & the cane are my left & right hand. I use these to get them into a positive habit. Hopefully, by the time they leave my class, there is enough momentum to carry them further. It is a slow & painful process of change. Pray for them & those of us working for them.

Tuesday, October 26

2010 #1 Act of Defiance: Tear It Up & Dunk It!

Every year is unique to a teacher even though he may be teaching in the same school & the same class.
As the academic year draws to an end, let me share with you the #1 act of defiance I encountered this year.

I taught a Form 3 class this year, two actually. But the focus is on this particular one with a majority of borderline fail students which also happens to be a class with a majority of boys.
I put a lot of pressure on them & made them do a lot of exercises.
There was this boy who probably had had enough. Can’t blame him though. I’m a tough teacher.

I gave the students exercises to do after teaching & he was making a lot of noise while the others were quietly doing theirs.
I went over to his desk & sternly told him to zip it & finish his work.
He stopped but did not do his work. He just sat there in a taiko style.
I ignored him & went on to monitor other students.
However, he decided to make noise again.

This time, I returned to his desk, raised my voice & scolded him fiercely.
This caused him to stand up, lift his exercise book & tear it in half defiantly in my face.
Then, he took the torn exercise book with him to the bin behind the classroom, lifted up the lid & dunked the book into the bin before returning to his seat & resuming his taiko sitting style.

I actually wanted to laugh because he was a really short boy & I did realise that I had been pushing them all year.
I was not scared at all. I was actually very entertained. I almost clapped.
From the look on his face, I could see that he felt guilty for his actions.
Sadly, I had to make an example out of him.

I did not get angry. I did not yell.
There was only one thing to do.
I calmly walked to the bin, collected the book, walked back to his desk & said...
“Mari jumpa Pengetua. Yang lain diam & buat latihan.”
Then, I pulled an ear all the way to the Principal’s office.

Now you know who's your daddy, right?!!

The Principal was a stern & serious man to the students. He would whack them hard.
The Principal became furious when he heard me story.
He whacked the boy & repetitively asked him rhetorically, “Siapa nak ajar budak macam kamu ini?”
He called him rude & told him that I was a good teacher doing him good.
He told the boy to apologise & the boy did.

He accepted his punishment & has clearly learned his lesson so I decided to let things be.
I told him to buy a new exercise book & copy all the notes & exercises from the beginning.
He agreed.
I told him to give it to me in 3 days.
He agreed.
Then, I told him to return to class & be quiet.
He agreed.

He gave me a complete & neat exercise book after 3 days.
The best part is he never caused me any more trouble after that.
Neither did anyone else in his class.
hahahahaha~~~
I love teaching!

Monday, October 18

People Can Surprise You After All

This week, I want to share about a decision someone made that has both surprised me & inspired me.
In every school, there is at least one teacher who is a master magician who can unbelievably disappear into thin air!
Someone who would avoid doing anything & would even struggle with the most basic tasks.

I hope you’re not one of them.
If you are, hope is not lost.
You can learn from this particular teacher in my school.

taken from blog.sophinie.com

This teacher is notorious for being lazy & lately for being anti-establishment.
He would be late for lessons, teach half-heartedly & produce faulty exam papers that are distributed unvetted because he is both the Department Head & Panel Head. What meritocracy? This is seniority at its best!
He rarely turns up for extra activities, would come late & leave early.
He is in a position of influence & would often strut it but he rarely shows the aptitude or attitude of someone deserving it.

Recently, I had an honest man to man chat with him over a few beers, hard liquor & cigarettes.
He shared his grievances with me & blamed his impotence on being let down by his superiors.
His reasons were understandable & would have consumed any emotional man.

This time however, he has decided to put a stop to wallowing in self-pity & bitterness.
He promised me that he would give his best next year NO MATTER WHAT.
WOW~~
I was impressed. I was touched. I was almost brought to tears. Or was it the tuak?
Right there & then, I witnessed a rare moment in a man’s life when he has decided to rise above his overwhelming circumstances.

His career was riddled with incompetence & inconsistency.
It was inspiring to see him decide that enough was enough & plan to show what he is truly capable of.
If he follows through, I have no doubt that he will shine.

I promised him that I would support him all the way.
I promised him that I would acknowledge his good works.
I told him that it was not too late to do his best.
I told him that he was like a butterfly.
The many years wasted in resentment was his cocoon stage.
Now, it’s time for a beautiful butterfly to emerge.

It’s experiences like these that keep you going.
I praise God that I was able to witness such a miracle.
Men were designed to be miracle makers.
People can surprise you after all.
Don’t you wish you taught in a school like mine?
=)

Tuesday, October 5

Injuries Are Sexy

There was a time when I was less stubborn, very suggestible & still somewhat clueless to the female psyche.
At that time, I was walking next to a good friend of mine who had broken his arm or leg or neck or whatever it was.
As we passed by this pair of attractive females, they checked out his injury & cheekily imparted these 3 divine words of wisdom: "Injuries Are Sexy".
Right there and then a blinding ray of light shone through the cloudy skies of my mind.
I was proud of my friend & at the same time very much envious.
However, I have learned something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.


As the years went by, I had my fair share of cuts, bruises & hospital visits.
Maybe even more than my fellow male because of my tendency to throw caution to the wind & go all out in competitive sports.
Every time without fail, injuries will attract attention.
From BOTH genders.
The worse the injury the better! haha~~

The males will share a laugh about how unlucky you were & they'd look at you with an air of admiration for the pain that you have endured.
The females will look at you wide eyed with intrigue & awe for your bravery as well as gasp & moan at the highs & lows of your over-exaggerated story.

I recently had an injury that looked worse than it really was.
I've toned down my story to the adults by telling them the truth & playing down the seriousness of my injury.
Still, I walked in pain for 4 days & experience pain even today.
It looks really bad but it is actually merely skin deep.

This is a picture of the injury after 4 days. Still looks bad but I've had worse.
I once had gory, memory-loss also an OMG WTF?!
This is a mosquito bite in comparison but, still, I get attention, empathy & wide eyed admiration from both genders.

What happened was I went on a hunting expedition into the jungle behind my school with 2 locals.
They had rifles while I was armed with a single-barrel scoped camera.
As we made our way through the jungle, we saw a wild boar. It was the size of a small child.
One of the men aimed & fired a shot at the boar. It struck.
But it didn't kill the little b*st*rd as it instantly charged madly at us.
To be more specific, it charged at me.

There were 2 guys with guns & this animal blames ME?!
I was unarmed! I didn't even have a penknife!
I was stunned that I stood motionless like a confused idiot awaiting the impending doom galloping towards him.
It hit me & we fell into each other's arms.

We rolled around on the leaf covered ground & wrestled each other like lovers having sex for the first time.
I punched it in the face & it hoofed me in the chest.
Thank God it wasn't smart enough to aim for my crown jewels.
After my whole life flashed before my eyes, I saw two gigantic hands descend from the heavens.
One was holding a parang.

In one fluid motion, the free hand pulled the nose & the other slit its throat.
After several muscle contractions & a loud screech, the beast landed on top of my body; breathing heavily & its juices flowing all over my body.
I got up &, of all places, discovered an injury on my foot.

I roasted the b*st*rd over fire & consumed its flesh as revenge.
Let me tell you revenge never tasted so delicious.
Definitely the best wild boar I've ever had.

That was the story I told my students.
That's the story they believed & so did you... Sucker!
The truth is my leg fell straight into a shrub-concealed drain while I was coming down a hill.
The momentum of my decent threw me forward & as my leg came out of the drain, it scraped the top edge of the concrete drain.
Flesh met concrete. Sadly, concrete won.

I'm glad injuries attract attention.
I'm glad that I'm surrounded by gullible children.
At least when I'm in pain, I get some kind of pleasure.
I love kids!
=)

Saturday, September 25

The Realities of Teaching In Malaysia

I remember not too long ago, when I was still a young strapping handsome lad with the strange haircuts sitting in a dysfunctional sauna-like lecture hall in an obscure teachers training institute which name I had to mouth to taxi drivers like a child with down syndrome & would eventually give up & say UM.
Back then I was carefree, I've completed most of my courses effortlessly & would continue to glide gracefully through the rest of the degree.

There was one thing the lecturers would resonate in the middle of a lecture even when they were talking about something completely unrelated. I would usually zone in for this little moment & then zone out again as the lecturer went back to reading from powerpoint slide to powerpoint silde.

Students are really good at that. When you talk about something really important that they must know, they are quiet & they look at you as if they're actually listening & nod when you ask if they understood but underneath that thick skull of theirs YOU KNOW the boys are thinking about sex & the girls... who knows what. I'm not a girl.
But when you decide to talk sheet, they lean forward & stare at you with gleaming eyes while licking all the sheet from your hands as if you were the bloody gingerbread man. When you go back on track, they retreat back into their risqué fantasies & such. Bloody baskets.

You're bloody doing it right now. I was about to say something bloody profound & you're probably thinking about how perverted I must have been as a college student.
To tell you the truth. I am STILL perverted.
ALL men are. The 70% who say they aren't, are lying.
I can't help it. The 24hr supply of testosterone from not 1 but 2 healthy sacks made me.
Actually, girls like perverted men. It's a fact.
Anyway, that's a topic for another day.

Back to the lecturers. Instead of waggling their tongues about pedagogies or theories which are subjective & incomplete, they would sometimes say something plainly simply true.
The best one is most definitely this one:
"When you enter the classroom, your degree is useless. What you have learned here & overseas will be useless. You will need to improvise. Furthermore, you will have to use your wits & cunning to outsmart those little innocent-looking uniformed demons who are out there to test you and torment your very existence."
Of course, they didn't say the last bit. I added it for effect. Although, they did give us a few hint hints.
If I do become a teacher trainer one day (which I hope not), I will be as vivid & blunt in my description of the profession & all it's 'challenges'.
Any future teachers want to have me as a lecturer?

Your degree is useless. It's true.
For the first few months. I tried to apply what I've learned from famous imbeciles like Piaget, Vygotsky & Gardner.
Towards the end of a mind bending first year, I decided that Skinner was the king of them all.
Screw student-centred multiplely intelligent classrooms.
Who cares if a student can paint or sing or lead or even speak eloquent English.
All Malaysians care about is something fondly known as exam.

Just say the word & you'll have everyone's attention. Especially the parents. And your principal.
If you can stare into a crystal bowl & accurately forecast the exam papers, many will worship you & pay generously for their children to have a seat in your temple every week. Many will even spread your religion & convert other parents who are sending their children to lesser religions.

The pen & the paper. Reading & writing.
These are the foundations of the Malaysian assessment system & the education system has understandably & expectantly evolved accordingly over the years.
Can you believe that we measure the morality of our students through a written exam?!

There are students with multiple intelligences who will not do well in the education system (due to its favouritism of linguistically intelligent students) but will go on to lead successful lives in the world.
Let me name a few names just to look more intelligent than you are. Like for example, Bill Gates, Einstein, maybe Jimmy Choo & definitely this dude..
However, teachers are helpless. They have to force every student to be linguistically competent so that they can blunder through university and be clerks, typists or teachers like me.
Who needs singers, designers & engineers?

Literacy is important. Everybody needs to know how to read or write.
However, everybody knows that, in order to succeed in this world, there is much more that you need.
Assessment is important. As we can see every year, it is a prime motivator for academic pursuit.
However, we need to consider whether the forms of assessment are appropriate or accurate.

I am somewhat happy that our education ministry is looking into abolishing the UPSR & PMR exams.
At the same time I am alarmed because from my observation of their policies & the past actions they have taken, I have very little faith that they have what it takes to make a real difference.
I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised instead of scoffing at a newspaper one day after reading about a new system that is more absurd than the previous one.

I am a teacher who wants to teach.
Show me that I am doing something good & I will bleed for it.
As I add on the years in experience, I find that my job gets easier & easier.
At the end of the day, I'm teaching my students to be exam literate instead of English literate.
I'm teaching the tips & tricks of examinations instead of the wonders & boundless limits of expression.

I don't mind extra work as long as it has purpose & fruitfulness.
A purpose to better those little ones sitting in my classroom hoping to learn something useful.
A fruit that will open up their minds & free them to pursue their highest heights.
It's better than filling up endless amounts of paperwork just to please a few inspectors who couldn't careless how poetic your students are under your care.

Welcome to Malaysia.
Surprise me.

Friday, September 17

I'm Peeing Through The Wrong Hole!

It's been almost a decade since I last had food poisoning.
It's one of the worst agonies a disease can bring.
Last night, I woke up every 30mins to 'pee' sitting down.
I was leaking fluids every 30mins & I was feeling bloody dehydrated.
I felt like puking, I was feverish & I was aching all over.
Plus the interruption of my beauty sleep really made it one of the worst nights in my life.

This is why I'm feeing through the wrong hole.

"One of the hallmarks of many food poisoning incidents is chronic diarrhea and bloating. The ingested chemicals, parasites or bacteria often wreak havoc on a victim's entire digestive tract. Normal digestion becomes virtually impossible as the body's fluid levels and bloodstream change to attack the invading organisms. As the bacteria or parasites die off, they often leave acidic or gaseous wastes in their wake. In cases of moderate to severe food poisoning, victims may begin to wonder if they will ever recover their normal digestive function.
The organisms responsible for most food poisoning incidents tend to draw moisture from surrounding tissues into the intestines. This excess fluid prevents the normal formation of solid body wastes. Medications for diarrhea contain ingredients designed to restore the proper balance of fluids in the digestive tract. Until this balance is restored over time, victims should stay hydrated as much as possible."
~~taken from here.
How can I teach when I need to go & leak every few minutes?
Thank God I don't have to work today.
Actually, I do. I was going to give the students some extra coaching today & tomorrow before the PMR Trials next week but it looks like I may not be able to make it.
There is no cure for food poisoning except rest & lots of fluids.
It's times like these I wish I had someone here to take care of me.
Friends, pray for my good health & recovery.

Saturday, September 11

Pimped Up PC Gaming Experience

For everything I could find at home & a minuscule investment in gaming hardware, I had an awesome time this mid-sem break.
I have spoken very little about my gaming hobby particularly because, with work commitments, I have very little time to play games. I tend to refrain because I can get very obsessed.
Anyways, the chastity belt binding my hands are now off because IT'S HOLIDAY TIME!

I hooked up my laptop via HDMI to a 32" HDTV hooked up to a 5.1 Home Theatre.
I dragged a lazy chair from a dark corner of my house & stole a cushion from a chair somewhere.
I stocked up on gamer food to keep me gaming & I bought myself a Xbox 360 Controller.
Just me in my boxers, banging away on a controller & staring intensely at the screen.
It was awesome!

I played Batman: Arkham Asylum & Mafia 2 with my low-budget system & I had an unbelievably new gaming experience!
The games were really beautiful on the large screen. Occasionally, some of my family members would stop by to watch me play. My grandma even confused the game for a movie.

PC games are usually played with a keyboard & mouse but I decided to play mine with the comfortable Xbox 360 Controller (which is now compatible with most Windows systems) instead. I've always loved the feel of this controller. It's got fat at the right places. Kinda like women (not men & their beer bellies! Ugh!).
Character movements & fights were perfect with the controller. However, when it came to shooting, I had a really hard time because the targeting arrow moved too slowly & it was hard to target moving enemies.
So if I were to play Shooter or Strategy games, I'd go with the traditional keyboard & mouse. If I were playing Adventure, Sports or Racing games, I'd go with the controller.
You should definitely get one if you call yourself a gamer.

I never did understand the power of my laptop until I saw what it was capable of on a HDTV. WOW!
I cranked up the graphics to full & still had smooth gaming! It's a first for me.
If you're a gamer, get a PC.
If you move around a lot (like me) & you don't have deep pockets, this is the laptop to get.
There may not be any left because I was told that there were only 7 in Malaysia.
ASUS N61Ja - Intel i5 M520, 4GB RAM, 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD5730

Selamat Hari Raya to All my Muslim buddies!
Selamat Bercuti to the rest of you &
Selamat Bergaming to me!
=)

Monday, September 6

My Holiday Starts Now!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I'll write about the 4 night PMR lecture I gave my students when I feel like it...
Holiday mah!

Friday, August 27

Liga Remaja Kreatif: Jalur Lebar = Senyum Lebar (SMK Katibas)

The video has been mailed today & it will hopefully arrive safely in Cyberjaya tomorrow.
I have high expectations for the video. I expect at least a consolation prize.
Check it out at the bottom of this post, leave a comment & share it with your friends.
If you have some extra time, do read the story of the production.
This experience was quite an adventure for me & it really stretched my limits. I feel that I have improved personally & professionally after this ordeal.

Last Thursday, an application form was anonymously left on my table. It was an application form for a Liga Remaja Kreatif video competition organised by the Ministry of Information, Communication & Culture.
I was very interested but, after realising that the closing date was exactly 7 days later, I decided to put it into my thick folder of contest applications received way too late to do anything feasible (like on the day of the closing date or long after).

This is the unfortunate fate of many rural school children. They are rarely given the opportunity to shine because the paperwork is passed on at a snail-like pace. The contest started 2 months ago on 1 June. Shouldn't I have received the letter at least 1 month ago?
Also, with the letter, I was supposed to receive a DVD with tips & tools for my students to use in the production of the video. The DVD never arrived. Are the ppl in JPN/PPG/PPD taking their jobs seriously? Or are they doing it half-heartedly because they do not believe that an ulu school like mine is capable of something great? Well, let me burn with the flames of vindication & pray to God that this video my students have produced will cause the scales to fall from their eyes.

Anyway, back to Thursday. I tried not to think about the contest because I was busy marking exercises & the following week, I'll be receiving exam papers that will need to be marked before 1st of September (which is 4 days from today). However, the contest seemed to relentlessly hang onto my heart. Throughout the rest of the day, I kept thinking about it & dreaming up scenes. I didn't sleep well that night.

The next day, I went straight to the principal's office & asked him if he was willing to support me & allow me to distract some of the students from preparing for the exams. This included Form 5 & Form 3 students who would be attending a motivation camp that weekend. I had to be photographer for the camp too.
After reminding me again & again of the various challenges that I will face, he hesitantly consented & approved the use of school resources for the production.

I called the best 4 students from my English Language Society for a meeting that night. I put the application form in front of them & asked them if they were willing to risk their exam results to spend time on the competition & never use the competition as an excuse for poor results. The younger ones agreed instantaneously while the older ones considered it longer before nodding too. We discussed duties, the plot & the cast. Shooting would start the following morning. Actors & cast would gather at 7.30am. We'd be taking the school boat to a longhouse.

The longhouse folks gave me a pleasant surprise. They took out all their Gawai clothes & musical instruments. They inspired me with their wholehearted support. They really went the extra mile as you can see from the video. They even prepared lunch for us from the produce of their longhouse farm. I am very thankful for them. I wouldn't mind coming back here again for future productions.

I had to constantly monitor & give a lot of micro instructions from the begging until the end of the production because my students were very very very new to this whole movie production thing.
Many of them have never touched a computer or a camcorder before.
However, whatever they lacked technically, they made up for in enthusiasm & diligence. All of which you can see from the quality of the video.
Besides, they had a superweapon... yours truly.

After the longhouse, we dropped off the longhouse actors at school & picked up the Malay family scene actors on our way to Song town.
We were headed for the Malay village in Song to record the Malay family scene.
Here, I learned not to trust the promises of a Form 1 boy. He spoke highly of his friend's house & even talked about how he had obtained the family's permission. I wanted to source for a house of my own but he insisted on using his friend's beautiful wooden house on stilts.

Upon arriving in Song, he gave me a shock when he said that we had to walk 20 minutes to the house. This was not a torture I was prepared to impose on the crew & the actors so I went to a local friend's shop in hopes of borrowing his Hilux.
He was not in but his wife was. She casually popped the keys in my hand & told me to return it any time before leaving in her sporty Avanza & me completely stunned. Where can I find a better friend than this?
To great protest, I forced the kids to climb on the back as punishment while I enjoyed the aircon with the other teachers & the production director.

I was in for another shock when I arrived at that boy's friend's house.
It was a sorry sight. Rubbish was everywhere, the garden was unkept & the whole house looked like a total opposite of the rosy picture he painted earlier that day & the nights before.
The occupants were even more surprised when I approached them & revealed my intentions. Their children were running around the place & they looked really frustrated.
I could understand because the house was really in no shape to be in any video except one of those pleading for help kinds. Then, we found out that the friend had moved & his cousins were the current occupants.
Fortunately, I was able to find a better house through a teacher friend.

Since the theme of the competition was 1Malaysia, I had to find some Indians to appear in the video. God knows there are very few Indians in Sarawak. Even less so in such a secluded place like Song.
After shooting the Malay family scene, I sought out the only Indian family in the whole of Song. I was prepared to do a lot of convincing, bargaining & begging but was pleasantly surprised to find the mother agreeing instantaneously to have her family appear in the video.
What a blessed day we had!

Finally, the best highlight was when shooting the last scene on the final day of production... Today.
Initially, a team of 5 students were supposed to go to Sibu to shoot the city scene but, in the end, it was only the cameraman & I.
Our challenge: Find a group of Sibu-ians gullible enough to be coaxed into appearing in our video. This was no small task, mind you. City folks are very self-conscious & pessimistic. Even more so in FooChow Sibu. I know because I am FooChow.
We left school before the sun came out & arrived in Sibu at 9.30am to begin scouring the city & getting rejected or ridiculed for such an unconventional unheard of request.

But, God is good. He provided not one but a whole group of about 20 college students!
There was a class of architecture students from a local college doing a survey of the city that same morning. I got rejected by the first group I met but the second group I met hooked me up with several others & we made an awesome city scene.

I cannot help it. I'm sorry if I will offend you but I really have to say that, throughout the production of the movie, I saw God's hands moving & He provided miraculous resources, individuals & good weather. Thank you, Lord.
I would also like to thank the students for their hardwork & belief in the production as well as the teachers, staff & the principal who supported the production from beginning until end.

Go ahead & enjoy the video. It's worth it.

Sunday, August 22

Help My School's Video Production

Last Thursday, I received a letter on my table about a Liga Remaja Kreatif video competition.
I took a look at the theme: "Jalur Lebar untuk 1Malaysia"
Then, images & ideas naturally started pouring into my head as if God opened up a floodgate of infinite creativity & imagination.
I was pumping & ready to get on to it.

Then, I saw the due date... Monday, 30 August.
Which meant I had to courier it on Friday, 27 August.
Meaning I have only 7 days to do the scripting, casting, shooting, music & editing.

Initially, I decided to forget about it.
But one sleepless night was a good enough sign from the heavens that this was something I had to do.
When opportunity comes your way, you grab it with both hands & then some.

This is a part of the production that I cannot do on my own.
Please help the production by sending this person a friend request on Facebook.
[The production is complete so this Facebook account has since been closed.]

Please tell all your friends to help too!

Will share the story & the completed work next weekend!
=D

Saturday, August 14

How Many Mosqitoes Do You Kill In One Week?


I absolutely hate mosquitoes.
There is no insect in the world I hate more than the buzzing little pest that discreetly sucks your blood & after satisfying her lust, leaves a "Mozzie's wuz here" on your skin for you to scratch on. (No sexual innuendo intended.)
I loathe them. But they love me.
Seriously, I'm the mozzie magnet. My friends would sit close to me so that the mozzies will bypass them & suck on me instead.
I've always wanted to be a chick magnet but it seems I've attracted the females of the wrong species.

Whenever I see one of them flying around, I get into a frenzy.
I'd get into a clapping position & home in on these b**tards like a missile.
I'd clap away until I've killed at least one of them & then chase the others until they've escaped or I've squished every last of them.

One day, after killing 5 mozzies naked in the bathroom during an afternoon shower, I asked myself...
Who is actually winning the war?
How many mozzies do I kill in a week?
How many times do I get bitten in a week?
So I started counting 7 days ago.

taken from sodahead.com

There's nothing more satisfying than taking the life of a mosquito.
Last week, I killed 15 of them. My best day was Monday (6 kills). My worst day was Saturday (0 kills).
Not too bad, eh?

taken from sodahead.com

However, I was fighting a losing battle.
There was often too many of them for me to kill or repel. I was often overwhelmed.
I got bitten at least once every day (especially when I was sleeping! Sneaky b***tards!) for a total of 20 noticeable bites last week.
I got bitten the most on Tuesday (6 bites) when it rained & the mozzies woke up early to play.

taken from projectsenso.com

I asked God why He created mosquitoes & he just laughed.
Why wouldn't he?
I bet I look funny every time I stare seriously into empty space & get into that ridiculous clapping position.

Monday, August 9

NKRA Rating For SMK Katibas

Many have asked me for this & I have only found out recently.
To all you better funded, better situated & better staffed secondary schools with 24hrs of electricity, read this & weep!
The KPM secondary school NKRA rating for SMK Katibas is 729 out of 2237 secondary schools in Malaysia!

Don't think that we have it easy though...
This school has been a performer for many years prior to this rating system & even prior to my arrival.
All this is achieved from sheer hard work, dedication & determination of the educators serving at the school.

Don't think that the school receives select students like certain high performing schools do.
This school receives 130+ Form 1 students from the deep interiors each year. Half of them do not pass UPSR. Better students will leave for more urban schools & then come back when they have developed discipline problems.

Actually, this schools gets a lot of 'rejects' every year.
Despite the circumstances, all of them are rehabilitated through rigid & sometimes harsh discipline. Then, they are drilled with extra classes, extra attention, doomsday messages, motivation programmes & mountains of exercises into pass achievers.
A handful will achieve As.

Congratulations, teachers & staff of SMK Katibas.
Although your many years of self-imposed slavery are not recognised by much of the academic world, it makes a world of difference for the students under your care.
I will do my best with what small influence this insignificant blog has to let your light shine for the whole world to see.

Saturday, July 31

Will Climb Windows For Food


Once upon a time, there lived a young rabbit named Yellow.
Yellow had just finished a degree at Rabbit University and decided to be a teacher so he could help the children in Farmlaysia to learn & love the English language.
He was immediately accepted & sent to a school in a magical forest.

Upon arrival, he met all the farm animals who staffed of the school.
There were hornbills, hamsters, guinea pigs, cats & other rabbits too.
Everyone was very friendly & Yellow wanted to form good relationships with every one of them.
Yellow was very excited & he couldn't wait to make a difference at the school.

The other rabbits were the friendliest to him. There were 3 other rabbits teaching at that school, Copper, Navy & White.
Yellow went to live in the same house with Copper & was next door neighbours to Navy & White.
On his first week, they prepared him dinner & they spent a lot of time together getting to know each other.

Yellow did not have a fridge at his house to keep his carrots fresh so Navy & White left their door unlocked so that he could enter their house to use their fridge at any time.
During the weekends, Navy would even take him to his home at the nearest town for some RnR & shopping.
Soon, the 4 rabbits bought a washing machine together which they put it in Navy & White's house.
Yellow was very thankful to have made such wonderful rabbit friends.


taken from cartoonstock.com 

On Yellow's first day as a teacher, he met the principal first.
The principal was a rabbit too like Yellow, except he was bigger, older & wiser.
The big rabbit explained to Yellow what was expected of him, which classes he would teach & what should do with them.
Yellow liked the big rabbit because he thought that he cared a lot for the little student animals & was a very hard-working rabbit. He wanted to learn from the big rabbit.

One day, the big rabbit told Yellow that he would be part of a school magazine committee.
Yellow was very delighted to find that he was going to work as assistant chairman under Navy who was the chairman & also whom he considered as his best rabbit friend.
Over the next few days, they talked a lot about what they wanted to do with the magazine.
Navy declared that he wanted that year's magazine to be better than the previous year's & Yellow was very happy because that was what he wanted too.

During their first committee meeting, Yellow noticed a change in Navy's demeanour. He was not his friendly self & was very fierce.
He did not have an open discussion with the other committee members nor did he try to inspire them.
He told them what to do with an angry face & fierce tone.
Yellow did not understand this & he felt deeply disturbed, but he kept things to himself because after the meeting, Navy was his normal friendly self again.

taken from topsir.com

Little did he know, soon he would be a target for such coldness & harshness.
One day, out of the blue, Navy & White refused to speak to Yellow or even look at Yellow.
They ignored him when he wished them good morning & they even put on an extremely unfriendly angry face every time they saw him.

They treated him like an unworthy piece of dirt & he felt really really guilty & bad about it because he looked up to them & really liked them.
However, he did not understand why they did this to him & he dared not ask them why.
He tried asking Copper but Copper just played dumb to it.

The worst part of it all is, he still did not have a fridge at home so every time he went to get a carrot for his meals, he had to endure their silent wrath & angry faces.
Also, when previously they would leave their door unlocked, they would lock it now. After a long day at work, sometimes Yellow had to climb windows to get food for his hungry stomach.
Soon, they locked their windows too so sometimes Yellow had to skip meals.
Despite all that they did, Yellow still felt kindly about them & tried to rationalise their actions.
However, he was too afraid to ask them why they did this to him or ask them to please leave their door unlocked.

Yellow would face the same kind of treatment when he went to use the washing machine at their house.
He felt like he was stealing his own food & illegally using the washing machine he had paid for.
He had a horrendous life as a beginning teacher.
Yellow was very confused, how could they be so nice to him & then suddenly be so cruel?
He feared them for some time.

Their emotional absence in Yellow's life was not an end to his social life.
He made friends with every animal in the farmhouse school.
He dined with the other animals, made merry with them & formed relationships with them.
For a long time, he suffered silently. Not telling anyone but God about what was happening until he could understand what was going on.

When it came to the school magazine, Navy never bothered to have another meeting after the first one. Even when he was constantly asked by Yellow when they would actually start working on the magazine. He would look annoyed & unconcerned before promising to do it soon.
He never got around to doing it so Yellow felt that as the assistant chairman, he had to step in at the absence of the chairman.
Through a lot of hard work & late nights, Yellow managed to finish the magazine with the help of the committee members.
However, he was very unhappy at how irresponsible Navy was. He was so positive & made so many promises in the beginning, but, in the end. it turned out to be nothing but empty talk.

Yellow never did understand why they treated him such.
Neither did he want to anymore.
Yellow bought a new refrigerator together with Copper & enjoyed many hearty meals without needing to go though the valley of the shadow of death.
Yellow still went to use the washing machine though because it was his right. He paid for a quarter of it & he was promised the freedom to use it.
He got used to the coldness of Navy & White while forming better relationships with the other animals & with Copper of whom he is very fond of.

Still, he remembers how wonderful Navy & White have been to him during his first few months & is still willing to forgive them & accept them back as friends.
But, he will not take the first step. They have hurt him deeply & put a big black blotch in his initial teaching experience.
They were the ones who started treating him warmly & they were also the ones who started treating him coldly. Perhaps that negates their initial friendliness.
However, Yellow still greets them good morning every day with the hope that they will start treating him warmly again.

The End.

Sunday, July 25

I Actually Like Teaching In An Interior School

Very few teachers can say that they like teaching in their school.
I don't think a majority of my colleagues will say that.
Even in the urban areas, I don't think many teachers will say that too.

You may think that I have it easy. Mind you... I don't.
I hold many posts in my school that involve a heavy dosage of work.
I am head of the English Panel & the editor of the school magazine. I take charge of the English Language Society as well as the Police Cadets. I also attend & photograph all of the school's activities. I am invigilator for PMR & penyelia kawasan for SPM.
Furthermore, I teach 4 classes of which 2 are PMR classes & I constantly give them essays & drills which I have to mark even during my scarce & valuable free time.

Come to think of it... there's actually very little to like about teaching where I am at.
There's only 14hrs of electricity. That means no water in the pipes, no TV & no ceiling fan outside working hours. Imagine the discomfort.
There's no cellphone coverage or landline. Almost no communication with the outside world. Peace & quiet? Not quite. Imagine when you are waiting for an important call or when you want to liaison with people outside of your school.
The school is isolated. The only way in & out is a 45min - 1hr boat ride. Imagine transporting goods, groceries & equipment.
Also, floods can happen anytime.
Lastly, you'll miss home, your buddies & your favourite hangouts.

Besides the extra monthly allowance... I actually have other reasons to like teaching in an interior school.
In my profession, two things matter most: the client & the support group.
My school thankfully happens to excel in both.

The Support Group aka. The School Administration
I was very pleasantly surprised to find such an efficient administration in such an interior locality. I expected most of the school & even the principal to be laid back & the school facilities to be in horrible condition.
Lo & behold, I arrived to find that it was the total opposite.

The Principal is determined, disciplined & blunt. The assistants are friendly & they carry out their responsibilities. The office staff are warm, quick & very helpful.
Everyone is doing their bit & some are even venturing into the additional (including myself).

Everyone is young. Everyone is approachable. Everyone is willing to help everyone in this school.
It's no surprise that this interior school has been achieving a 90++% pass rate for SPM & even a 100% SPM passing rate in 2008.
Wouldn't you like to work here?

The Client aka. The Students

Just like most students from rural/interior backgrounds, my students lack exposure.
This lack of exposure reflects in their poor attitude towards education & their poor academic excellence.
However, they are very teachable.

Give them an order & they will follow.
Reason with them & they will accept punishment.
Raise your voice & they will lower theirs.
They rarely answer back at teachers.

There's no surprise such students though ignorant are mouldable into credit achievers in public examniations.
Wouldn't you like to teach students like these?
They may not be very smart but they will do what you tell them to do.

Seriously speaking... if you cannot handle/control a classroom of these interior area students, don't even dream about teaching in urban schools.
Rural students are hamsters in comparison to the cunning & daring of the lions in the urban schools waiting for their prey (yes, you) to enter their classroom!

~~~~~~~
My working situation is excellent but my living conditions are harsh.
However, I've decided to accept it & work with it. I want to adapt & conquer this mountain instead of have it conquer me & have me running back home to mommy every weekend.

Whether your situation in the interiors are similar or much worse. Be encouraged. You are doing something great for the people in your locality.
If you are anything like me, you're going to give this school everything you've got in your head & in your heart.
And one fine day when you do leave, you're going to leave behind a shoe so big it'll take 5 people to fill.

Selamat Berkhidmat (& Berkorban)
Demi Negara & Bangsa 1Malaysia!

Saturday, July 17

2010 English Week @ SMK Katibas

Imagine it's just any ordinary Monday morning, you're walking to school & suddenly you see this greeting you at the door.


Last week, SMK Katibas celebrated the English language by having the English Language Panel (ELP), in conjunction with the English Language Society (ELS), organise the 2010 English Language Week (ELW)!
It was a blast!!!

For the opening ceremony, we buried a Time Capsule.
Every student from every class was given written or semi-writing assignments to complete in the English language & be placed within the capsule. Teachers & staff were invited to contribute as well.
To be opened during ELW 2013!

Every afternoon of ELW, there was an ELS BBQ to sell scrumptious burgers & savoury hot dogs fresh from the BBQ pit!
We sold out 40 burgers & 40 hot dogs in 2 afternoons!
The ELS will be doing this once a fortnight to raise funds to pay for their T-shirts (instead of burdening their already cash strapped parents).
They learn entrepreneurship, practical English language use & living skills all at the same time!

There was also a simple school-wide Storytelling Competition where the best storytellers from each class competed for a place in the finals.
In the end, it was won by this skinny over-dramatic Form 5 boy, Azmi.

There was also a Spelling Bee organised for the lower forms.
Students were given a list of 100 words to memorise the day before & yet the competition did not last for more than 5 rounds.
It was won by a multi-talented Form 2 girl, Leslie.

For the upper forms, a Crossword Puzzle Competition.
The student who gets the most number of answers correct wins.
I tried the puzzle myself & found it to be really challenging. I only managed 35/40.
The winner was Yatie from Form 4.

Then, there was the first ever ELS Treasure Hunt.
Representatives from each class were divided into groups & had to collect points at different stations.
They have to run, lift, dance, sing, act, write & solve puzzles.
The top 3 groups will receive a riddle. Solve the riddle & you will discover the location of the treasure (a golden piece of paper).
Be the first to find it & win a hamper!

Finally, there was the English Language Night produced by yours truly!
Boy, did we have a show for the students & all others in attendance that night!
I dressed up in my 3 piece suit & the other English teachers donned blazers.
Performances for the night were a duet by the 2010 Teacher Idol, a duet by the 2010 Katibas Idol, a story by the 2010 Storytelling Champion, a sketch & a dance.

I sang Jason Mraz's "Lucky" with Norhayati, the Katibas Idol. Even though my mic malfunctioned, we put on a good show.
I also produced the dance. I got a few girls together & trained them every night for a month to do the Wondergirl's "Nobody" dance. I bought dresses, gloves & ribbons for their costumes. It was more than magnificent in the end.

I absolutely have to commend my colleague, Royston, on a job well done in producing the sketch for the night which was based on "Rumplestiltskin".
The casting, the props making, the acting, the abridged plot, the multiple nightly practices & the simplified dialogues they were done with absolute care & attention.
I could see that & I am very grateful to have someone like you on my team.
Keep it up!

~~~~~~
2010 English Language Week was a great success!
I have never experienced ELW when I was back in school but my experiences in IPBA & VUW plus the images in my head of what an awesome ELW would be like has really come true.
I would like to thank the members of the administration, the ELP, the ELS & every member of the school who directly & indirectly contributed to this dream.
It was truly memorable & I believe that it has pushed the English language up a notch in the hearts & minds of the students.

I'm already brimming with ideas for next year's ELW!

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