What Have I Been Up To?
|~taken from teacherscollege.tumblr.com~|
For the past 3 months, this was where I've been spending most of my time at, exercising my intellectual muscles, & will continue to do so for another 1.5 years!
I haven't been blogging but I've actually been really active on other forms of social media. I'm constantly sharing thoughts & content on my Facebook page, Twitter, & Instagram. I guess it's a faster way to share ideas & content. I've always thought of blogs as more meaty & for my deeper thoughts. I'll write as many blog posts as I can until the Spring semester begins on 20 Jan.
So, what have I been up to for the past 3 months?
Well, I've been...
1. collecting experiences.
Another #TouristyStuffIDid was go to Times Square! Be careful with the people dressed in costumes there. They prey on tourists for tips. They'll ask you to take a picture with them in their cute costumes, surround you & hassle you to tip each of them. Remember: "TIPS ARE OPTIONAL". If street performers act aggressively, you can call 911.
Experienced my first opera last night at Carnegie Hall with @mitchnoelle. It was breathtaking. I didn't know that opera could be so good. Hibla Gerzmava @h_gerz is a true artist with the human voice. I never knew that I could laugh, feel sad, terrified & overjoyed through my ears alone. I didn't understand the words that were sung but I could feel them through the modulations of her voice. Simply breathtaking! Thank you for the tickets, @the_fulbright_program . It is truly a privilege to be part of the #Fulbright family.
Caught my first baseball game last night with the mrs. NY Yankees vs Chicago Red Sox. I was expecting the @Yankees to overrun the @WhiteSox & truly represent New York pride. But, Yankees lost 5-2. Losing is okay as long as you gave your best. But, their performance was lethargic, uninspiring & downright disappointing. I'm not impressed. This will be the first & last baseball game in going to. Plenty of other sports out there.
We went to the @NYhistory to join a tour of the "Superheroes of Gotham" exhibition. Thank you, @iieglobal for the enriching #Fulbright opportunity. Behind us is the No 3 Batmobile replica built in November 1966 of the original used in the 1965 Batman TV Series. This replica was used for exhibitions & touring. Now it's part of a private collection in New Jersey. You can actually drive this Ford V8 powered car. Founded in 1804, the New York Historical Society is the earliest museum in New York. At the tour, our docent was very knowledgable & informative despite her advanced age. I learned a lot about the context behind the creations of the superheroes which influenced & inspired me. It was unfortunate that the display was too short. However, there was plenty to see in other parts of the building. We viewed paintings & exhibits on the history of New York. A truly magnificent gallery.
Achieved another lifelong dream thanks to the #BroadwayWeek 2for1 promotion. We caught the Les Miserables production!!! I read the super thick book by Victor Hugo when I was a teenager & it's still my favourite work of fiction of all time. Also. Reminded me of my high school choir team which won the Nationals back in 2004 under the leadership of @shindamini . I wasn't able to join them because I was at university by then. I felt like the most heart-wrenching parts were too rushed to fully appreciate. Still. It was really good to enjoy the songs of revolution which constantly reminded me about Bersih.
Caught my very first ballet performance. It was George Balanchine's The #Nutcracker by @NYCBallet at the @LincolnCenter. I was so blown away by the grandiose spectacle & at the grace & athleticism of the dancers. I have a new level of respect for the sacrifice & training these ballet dancers have to go through. It's certainly not something for the meek & weak. Excellent show. I'd recommend it to anybody. My favourite part is the snowing scene of the first act. It was magical to me. What is yours?
Had my first orchestra experience at the American Classical Orchestra performance of Bach's Saint John Passion at the @LincolnCenter. The concert depicts the moments before Jesus Christ was crucified. I really enjoy classical music & was moved by parts of the performance. Thanks for the tickets, #IIE & #Fulbright @the_fulbright_program
Our first play in New York was "The Mummers' Play" at the Medicine Show Theatre. Mumming is a ritual from a pre-Christian era when entertainers would cheer up the masses during the darkest nights of winter & bring back Spring. The ritual requires battle, death, & resurrection. The story was adapted from Prince George & the dragon. It was light-hearted & not an overly serious play. Though it has its moments, I didn't quite get it & failed to relate to it. I wasn't engaged emotionally or entertained at all. A few people walked out halfway through & I could even hear someone snoring behind me. Speaking to one of the actors after the show, I learned that it was about beginning a new life. Made sense. Thanks, @iieglobal for the tickets!
We caught the Navidad en Latino américa (Christmas in late 16th & 17th Century New Spain) performance by Early Music New York in the breathtaking @StJohnDivineNYC Cathedral. Honestly, being inside the cathedral has a humbling effect. The structure towering around me must have been built by giants! Remarkable! The performance resembled musical ensembles in Méxican & Perúvian churches in the 16th-18th century. There was an all male choir ranging from alto to bass who were able to capitalise on their range in beautiful harmony. Musicians played the bombo legüero, stringed instruments of various kinds, & a bassoon. The melodies were delicious to the ears & soothing to my post-final soul. I felt like I was enjoying a performance for aristocrats during medieval times. Thanks cultural office at @iieglobal for the tickets!
2. meeting new people & making new friends.
I dressed cultural in the Malaysian Baju Melayu for the #Fulbright Welcome Reception organised by One To World at @NYUniversity . Met so many Fulbrighters of @the_fulbright_program from all over the world! These are international change makers all under one roof!! Hope to work with them in the future & be a bridge between Malaysia & the world.
Met up with more people behind the scenes of the #Fulbright program: Maria, Mary, & Marianne. It was really an honour to have high-ranking directors make time in between meetings to have an intimate lunch with Fulbrighters & to get our honest feedback on @The_Fulbright_Program. They even wrote down what we shared. It's good to know that they're constantly looking to improve an already amazing program. Everyone I've dealt with from @IIEglobal, Kristen, Silja, Leslie, Eleen, just to name a few, really made me feel well taken cared of. I'm glad to be part of the family & looking forward to earn all of this privilege.
Attended a get together with Dato' Sri Haji @Najib_Razak for Malaysian students in New York when he was in town for the UNGA. This was as close as I got to taking a photograph with him because his bodyguards were physically keeping me away from him even though the ambassador himself tried to introduce us. It could be a racial thing because the Malay students who were there were allowed to approach him unhindered. So much for #1Malaysia. He gave a speech about how well the country performed under his leadership & his desires to continue leading the nation. He also spoke about how GST is good for the country & it was how they paid for the scholarships of the MARA students there. I had plenty of questions to ask him but he did not field any questions that day. I'm hoping for a #betterMalaysia.
Had the opportunity to interact with the Malaysian Minister of Higher Education, DS Haji Idris Jusoh, at an event organised for Malaysian students in New York. He shared about the new Higher Education Blueprint & its slogan @SoaringUpwards. I learned a lot about what has been going on in the higher education scene & their aspirations. I had the opportunity to pose a question. I brought to his attention the rural-urban divide & asked for more outreach programs for rural schools especially those in Sabah & Sarawak. I also asked if there was affirmative action for students from Sabah & Sarawak. I got a promise from the Director General of the Department of Higher Education, YBhg Dato' Prof. Dr. Asma Bt Ismail that the education system is different now. They are increasing efforts to reach rural students & there is affirmative action for poor & rural students to enter Malaysian public universities. She asked for time for them to implement their initiatives. I hope that this new ministry will serve the people well. Malaysia needs to be competitive internationally &, if the claims of the blueprint are true, we're well on our way. I hope that there will be true meritocracy & also opportunities for rural or poor children to further their education. #IdrisJusoh #SoaringUpwards
Attended the #NurulHanaAnwar "My Dear Papa ❤️" book launch at @CoffeeProjectNY Listened to her share her story about how her father was taken from her home when she was 6 & the struggles she went through personally as a result of her prominent father's incarceration. I sympathise with her & her family. I hope that her father gets the treatment he needs soon. Let's pray for him. Support Hana & her effort to free her father by buying her book. All proceeds will go towards efforts to free her father. It's a visual arts book so it'll be great for your coffee table.
A few months ago, we had the privilege of meeting @Mariabersih Abdullah Chin of #Bersih. She was in town to pitch a programme she wants to run in Sarawak. We had dinner at... of all places🙄🙄🙄... a Malaysian restaurant. Malaysian restaurants here remind me of fancy restaurants in Malaysia. Looks good but tastes like bland. Oh my poor digestive acids. Also, they tarnish the ethereal memory of Malaysian food I have in my head. Learned a lot about current events in Malaysia & things are not looking up. Also found out that Bersih is nonpartisan. They've always invited both the government & opposition to their events & willing to work with both. I'm glad that there are people like her working hard to make Malaysia better. I wonder why she is the exception. I felt challenged. We need more young people to rise up & carry the banner. The future is ours anyway.
3. enjoying local delicacies.
Went to the famous drinking place @Pocha32 in #KoreaTown #NYC with a whole bunch of my countrymen (& women) for their Boodae Jungol, Squid Soondae, Potato Jun & French Fries. Was surprised at how good the Boodae Jungol was despite the seemingly mismatched ingredients. I wouldn't mind returning for that & their Watermelon Soju. The Squid Soondae, Potato Jun & French Fries were just okay. I miss you, @Keith_Chin!
4. getting fat on my wife's amazing cooking.
#MNYD made some powerful Tom Yum Gung last night. One of the best Tom Yums I've ever had thanks to its hot & spicy flavoursome kick. The soup was made with Galangga, Lemon Grass, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Red Chilli, Lime Juice, Fish Sauce, Chicken Broth, Onions so it's savoury, spicy, aromatic, sweet & sour all at the same time. Great for cold evenings or constipation. 😋😋😋😋😋
#MNYD made 米粉糕 or hand-pulled "noodles" in 🍲broth with 🌿spinach, 🍄mushrooms, 🐖pork & fried 🐟anchovies for our 1st #housewarming. It was a bowl of goodness filled with sweet memories of home. The Malaysians & adopted-Malaysians who tasted it would agree... A simple dish made with loving hands became a balm for our displaced souls.
Finally...Wishing everyone reading this had a great year & may the next year be a better one!
Stay tuned for more updates as I've got loads of stories to tell! =)