Saturday, January 29

It's Chinese New Year... Again

It's a never-ending cycle.
Yet we never tire of it & we always look forward to it.
What can I say, it's the holidays & the extra money in those ugly red envelopes.
I love to look at the older generation as they fade into lighter shades of grey & look into their once lively now confused eyes. I find a sense of comfort in their presence. Sometimes I will feel joy, sometimes I will feel deep regret. Both for them & also for myself. They compel me to silently reflect upon my own life.

When you return to your parent's home, you will find them complaining about each other, their children, the rain, the sun or how forgetful they are getting.
Sometimes there will be a showdown between mom & dad. There'd be a yell fest & none would win. Even at this age, I am still disturbed at such occurrences.
Then, you'll hear them calmly agreeing about the store with the cheapest soda or the best brand for almond nuts. They'll do mathematics together & carefully consider each cent together. They may not realise it, but moments when they work together bring a lot of peace to their children.

Holy sheet. I write like a bloody Petronas ad.
Well, my parents & the older generation are why I come home each year & spend my first 2 CNY days with ONLY the family instead of heading of to some faraway land for a vacation or to a friend's place for blackjack.
There's no shame in appreciating the outdated & vintage.
In the midst of my drinking, gambling & cursing my luck, they are always in my heart.
Maybe coz there's no chick there AT THE MOMENT.
sheesh~~ What an obviously horrible way to sell myself. hahaha~~

2011: the Year of the Bunny... hehe~~
Happy New Year, yellow people!

Sunday, January 23

Empurau 2010 - My Best & My Last

SMK Katibas - Empurau Magazine 2010
It's finally out! It was actually out 3 weeks ago. haha~~
My 2nd SMK Katibas school magazine.
I can truly say it's mine because this time I've made significant changes to it & put in my soul & spirit into making it the best magazine any school could dream of.
All the careful planning, dream dreaming, delegating, information sourcing, sponsor soliciting, photo taking/editing/arranging, typing, editing & translating BM to English (Yes, it's a school magazine that is wholly in English!) comes down to this little RM10 book.

Here a hint of how cool this magazine is
I am very proud of this book & the team that supported me in it's production but I was let down by the printer, one Vicskill Printing of Sibu.
They gave a really good offer of significantly extra coloured pages for the same price as our previous printer, Kai Ming of Sibu, but they printed the black & white pages very badly & they did not arrange the page borders properly.
Bloody hell, they printed some pages darker than others & some pages so light, a cheap photocopy would look better!

I felt betrayed when I flipped through the completed book for the first time.
It was as if somebody sunk a large kitchen knife through the heart of my newborn child.
Their samples were flawless for the larger schools but, for mine, an atrocity.
Was it because we were an obscure school printing a minuscule amount?

I was really pissed. Actually, I still am. Neither have I been compensated in any way!
When I brought the issue up with the management, they just looked at me blankly! WTF?!!
When I asked them to compensate by printing out 10-20 copies perfectly, they asked me to list down the bad pages for them & come back later with the list.
WTF? Shouldn't THEY be the ones to do this? And to think they did not even apologise.
Well, F you. That's how hurt I am.
Why did you ever vouch for them, Arthur?

No matter. The students still loved the magazine nonetheless.
And I still received plenty of compliments.
One person even called it a 4-star magazine!
How undiscerning. hahaha~~

Well, I'm very deeply saddened that the final product did not live up to my expectations. Everything was perfect except the printing.
Even more so when this was supposed to be my best & last.
Yes, this will sadly be my last magazine.

I'm really swamped as Chief Warden so I have to teach someone else to take over the production.
I have already got a team in place & I plan to put in more members for him so that he will not have to do as much as I did the past 2 years.
The magazine will go on in a different direction from the vision of a different man.

It has been a blast.
I've learnt so much through both the 2009 & 2010 productions.
I've met many people who have greatly encouraged & supported me.
But it's time to move on to bigger & better things.

I shall not interfere with future productions unless I am sought.
However, I will go after the printers for my PERFECT best & last.
My heart demands that I simply must have my baby.
That's how much effort & love I've put into the production.

Sunday, January 16

'We Move The World' Concert by SMK Batu Lintang Choir

This weekend, I returned to Kuching to show support to my beloved choir teacher, Mdm Luk, & her fund-raising concert to send the BL school choir to compete in the 1st Vietnam International Choir Festival & Competition.

At the same time, I attended the concert to support my lovely youngest sister who was the only sibling after me to take part in the school's prestigious choir.
She only recently joined & may not take part in the Vietnam competition but she is only in Form 2 & has many more competitions to look forward to.
I am secretly very proud of her. =)

At RM25/RM50 per head, they put up a great show that lived up to it's 'hefty' (the people in Kuching are extremely stingy) price tag. I actually paid a total of RM400 thanks to some return air tickets.
The choir was excellent & much better than it was during it's pioneer years.
I know because I was part of the pioneer group.
I dare say the level they are at today is 3 or 4 times better than we were when we first started out.

The pauses were chrisp & the harmony was smooth as silk.
When I closed my eyes & tuned in, the 40 odd mouths blended into 1 sound.
There is a slight issue with dynamics because there was not enough difference between piano & forte. The piano was good but they need to expand their forte to really take my breathaway.

Among the 40 choir members, there were a few who did not give their 100%.
They could be seen lip-syncing & looking around midway through a song!
If they are not serious, they should seriously be replaced because they gave me a really bad impression.

Also, the movements while singing were not perfect. Some members moved to much while others moved too little. Esp when they were supposed to sway from left to right.
It was a mess & did not accentuate the beautiful harmony coming out of their mouths.
Instead, it was distracting & I was forced to close my eyes just to enjoy the song.

Many other musical talents were showcased that night from multi-lingual singing to golden oldies from teachers to duets to a boyband to dances to an unusual blend of uncontemporary violin playing & jumping about the stage.

I remember sitting there feeling amazed that my old school had so much talent!
I felt both proud & envious at the same time.
If only I had opportunities such as these during my time! ARGH!!

All in all, I had a great time & it felt great to be able to contribute to & witness the beginning of something that is revolutionary & will make a big difference in the lives of many young people.

Do your best, guys!
You've got the support of this old boy!

Saturday, January 8

My First Week As Ketua Waden

Welcome to the new year!

I ended last year victoriously &, drawing from my 2 year teaching experience & imagination, I had a pretty good idea of what I want to do with my English L. classes, my English L. panel, the English L. Society & the school magazine the following year.
During the holidays, I spent a substantial amount of time reflecting & playing different scenarios repeatedly in my head.
I was confident in bringing into reality a lot of new things/ideas to my 4 main portfolios this year.

Suddenly, in the final month of 2010, I was appointed Chief Warden when I volunteered to just be a Warden.
I thought that I should be making some money (RM240 warden allowance) since I'm staying back at school so often during the weekends & during the holidays.
The principal & other key people thought that I'd be an ideal candidate for Chief Warden.
I was apprehensive but I decided to accept the challenge since I was promised support from the administration & the incumbent Chief Warden.

Come the first week, I was fully immersed myself in my duties as a CW.
I went down to the hostels early for the first 2 mornings & stayed there until late for the first 2 nights.
I was at the hostels every day making sure that the students were okay & they had everything they needed. I constantly reminded them about cleanliness & care for hostel property.
I organised my first spot check on Thursday night & I was down every night checking on the students in the classrooms during night self-study.
I prepared as much of the documents/forms required to run the hostels & its programmes as I could with what I could find.

I was going above & beyond the chief warden's call of duty partly because I wanted to learn as much as I could about the life & duty of a warden & also because I wanted to prove myself to the other wardens & set a good example. Especially since I was never a warden before.

To tell you the truth, it's tiring. Very VERY Tiring.
Most nights I slept late & woke up early.
I still had to teach & run the English Panel. Soon, I will assemble the English L. Society & get the School Magazine committee moving.

During the first week, I felt very inadequate because the students did not fear me & I didn't have instant command.
The students will still do everything I say but they wont do it at an instant & there was no reverent fear they had with the previous CW.
For many nights, I pondered if I should change my ways & show off my temper & be rough on them just to gain instant command & fear.
It would be a great boost to the ego to have them cower in fear in my presence & I would also gain instant respect from my colleagues (coz we teachers secretly love to torture students). My cruel exploits might even evolve into urban legends & be spread from generation to generation.

Very appealing isn't it?
But I dont want to leave a legacy of fear. I want their respect & obedience but I dont mind working for it & earning it instead of forcing a pretence of it out of self-preservation.
I dont want to teach them that violence is okay when you have power.
I want to be a reasonable man. I will reason with them. I will warn them first before I punish them.
When I punish them, I want them to understand that I'm doing it because I care for them. I want to teach them what is right. Then, I'll wack the stars out of them.

But I will not touch the girls. I will slap the boys like dogs but I will not slap a girl. I'll probably only go as far as a rotan or pulling of ears.
I dont want to show that females can be beaten when they are wrong (which is what many of the men do).
Anyway, the girls are so nice to me & they're the most obedient & hardworking at all times!

Let me end by sharing with you my vision for the hostels as Chief Warden.

My Short Term Plans:
- students have a mattress, pillow & cabinet each
- students have enough to eat
- students are quiet during night study
- the hostels are clean & loved

My Long Term Plans:
- walkie-talkies & flash-lights for principal, PK HEM, CW, wardens on duty & guards
- more gazebos in the hostel grounds
- decorative statues/sculptures in the hostel grounds
- a gym
- a dance studio
- a storehouse for recreational equipment
- a comprehensive mini-library

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