Saturday, January 28

Broadening Horizons in Sibu

Every year, I'd promise my PMR students a trip to Sibu if they achieved an A in the PMR English exam.
To them a trip to Sibu would be the equivalent of a trip to KL for a kid from Kuching or Penang.
Imagine a fully sponsored 3D2N trip.
Throw in a movie ticket, meal at McD, dinner at a good Western restaurant, shopping at malls, fashion tips, free massage chair sessions & being chauffeured around in a Toyota Rush.
It may not be much to many of you reading now but to a 16 year old from a humble background, that's an unbelievable opportunity!

I believe in rewarding hard work. I also believe in giving good gifts.
Remember teachers & especially PARENTS, a reward has actually got to be rewarding!
Spend some time doing research about the aspirations of the recipient & tailor your gift accordingly. Even the most exorbitant gifts may not compare to a meaningful simple heartfelt gift.
Dont give someone a piece of something they dont want & expect them to appreciate you for it. Good gifts require heart.

Why did I choose to bring them with me on a trip instead of just spending the equivalent amount of money on some kind of material thing they would want?
I believe in personal touch & making a difference in the lives of others.
I believe that they need to experience a different land & a different lifestyle to be able to broaden their mental horizons.
I believe they trust me enough to accept my philosophies.

I want them to dream bigger dreams not only for themselves or their families but even more so for their people back in the jungle. These humble children will one day change their hometown.
I believe in this very strongly & that is what I impress upon them all the time.
Go & be successful. But do not forget your roots. Come home & lift up your people. Whether they like it or not.

I started with the 2010 PMR students, at that time I taught the top class. I needed a reward so great (cost effective & enjoyable for me too) that it would actually get the As to keep getting As & motivate the Bs to work for an A.
That year, 4 students achieved A in PMR English.
I was true to my word & I took them on a great trip to Sibu. You can read about it here.

Last year, in 2011, I did not teach the top class. Instead, I was in charge of raising the passing percentage in the middle classes.
Still, I promised those classes, I'd take them to Sibu if any of them got As.
There were some prospects & I was hoping for 1 of them to actually achieve an A. She didn't.
Only 1 student in 2011 achieved an A in PMR English. He was from the top class & was not my student so I was not obliged to organise a trip for anyone but I decided to do so anyway because I wanted to motivate the 2012 PMR students.

This year, 2012, I'm back in the top class & this time I am confident of getting 2 digits worth of As.
I set a target for 10 of them to work hard for the next 9 months to achieve an A. I want all of them to get an A.
The cost of their trip would be monumental! But it's a price I'm willing to pay.
I believe I'm investing in their futures & also in the general future of the people in the area.

This year it's 4 students & 1 teacher featuring 3 awesome teachers in Sibu.
William was the PMR English A student. He also achieved 7As. Well worthy of my reward.
Alone, he would most probably be bored to death so I invited the only other 7As student, Dally.
However, I felt that 2 was still too little so I brought the Head Prefect, Andy (F5), & his deputy, Cardona (F5), along as well.
They got along just fine & had a blast!

I was nursing a fever & flu that weekend so I enlisted the help of several other teachers who were more than willing to pitch in & go the extra mile for these students.
Many thanks to Flo for taking the kids shopping & entertaining them,
Gomez for volunteering both himself & his new car,
Clement for taking us to a good Western restaurant & paying for dinner!

This is not the only thing I'm doing to motivate the PMR students.
There are a lot more I do in my personal time.
I will share them on my blog in due time.
I am also always looking for new ideas.
If you have some, do share!

Now go, think about what you can do in your school to lift up the students & give them a reason to excel!
No excuses please, you have a degree for a reason.

Saturday, January 21

She’s Gone

taken from
If only women were as simple as cellphones.
Once upon a time, I kept changing them because I could not find one that fit me well.
It was always interesting at first but once I really got to know them, I found out that they could not satisfy my needs. So I left them.
We are individuals. Everyone knows that it’s hard to find one that fits you well.
You may look at one and think. She looks great. But when you get involved, you find that she’s not that great after all.

After 22 years of searching, I finally found one that really fits me well.
When you do find one like that, you spend all of your time, energy & money to make sure that she’s yours.
In the end, when you finally hold her in your arms, it’s the greatest feeling ever.
It’s an ever greater feeling when you find that she’s exactly what you need & you never want to let her go.

Of course, there will always be younger ones, more popular ones, or more superior types.
But I have never looked at them with any interest because the one I had was all I ever wanted.
True, we had our ups and downs. Moments when we broke each other’s hearts.
But the many years we’ve spent together made her so much greater than the newest slimmest ones.

Woe to all of us who hath found true love
Because all good things must come to an end.
This is a tribute to the one who entered my life 5 years ago & left me just as abruptly.
It was involuntary. It was painful. It was her death.

It hurts as I remember the moments we’ve had.
The mistakes I made with her.
The distant lands we roamed together.
Finding another like her would probably take another 22 years…

RIP, my Sony Erickson W950i.
You will be forever remembered.

Sunday, January 15

Off To A Great Start!

I'm out in Sibu this weekend after a fortnight at school without any internet.
Firstly, I'd like to thank all my Birthday well-wishers. All 115 of them. (100 Facebook wall posts, 8 Facebook messages, 4 Blogger comments, 1 email & 2 tweets.)
I know you love me even though you only think of me for 30 seconds in a year on my birthday. Knowing that you took the effort to click on my name & type out a simple message really warms my heart. Really. Thanks.
Besides 115 x 30 seconds = 58 minutes!
That's a lot of time to be thinking about little ol' me! hehehe~~~

Together with me in Sibu are 4 students. If you've been following my blog for a year, you'll have read this post made last year.
I rewarding some of my students by taking them on a weekend trip with me to Sibu.
Will write a dedicated blog post about this later.

How is life at school?
So far so good. The first 2 weeks have been good & it's mainly due to how cooperative the students have been at school.
I was right about the F5 students, they were willing to work with me as long as I had an open dialogue with them.
Even though we face a water outage at school due to the pump being out of service, students have been cooperative & we willing to bathe in rain water or in the river.

This year I'm doing more team building activities to help students identify & get emotionally bonded with the hostels. This includes choosing a colour, mascot & motto for their respective hostel blocks.
A logo will be produced for them as well as T-shirts based on their selection.
The decorations for each room & each block will also vary according to their selected colours.
This will be quite interesting &, of course, I will share this journey here for everyone's benefit.

taken from
It has been a great start to the year, I foresee a year where I play psychological games & move behind-the-scenes chess pieces more than ever. I will also be working on my soft approach as well as my push & pull approaches for my future more urban school.
I will not be doing the magazine, I will not lead the English panel nor will I lead the English Language Society this year. I want to focus on the Hostels because it is something way larger & requires even more of my commitment & attention.
 No Internet. No water. No cell reception. But still going strong.
Now, how can I get paid more for all my contributions. hmmm~~~

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