Thursday, May 31

Featured In US Embassy Alumni Highlight - April/May 2018


I am very surprised to be featured in the April/May 2018 US Embassy Alumni Highlight & I'm humbled by this honor. Thanks so much, Alumni Affairs Team, for helping to spread the word about the "Walk With Me In NYC" initiative!

I'm happy to announce that 5 states & 6 schools are participating in "Walk With Me In NYC"!
1. Penang = Times Square | Cikgu Ashikin Zainull, SK Minden Height
2. Johor = The Great Lawn, Central Park | Cikgu Nor Fadzleen, SMK Bandar Baru UDA
3. Sabah = Liberty Island | Cikgu Marinette Baltazar-Shamsudin, SMK Beaufort 3
4. Sarawak = DUMBO, Brooklyn | Cikgu Ho Jia Yiing, SMK Batu Lintang
5. Selangor = Brooklyn Bridge | Cikgu Nurhazirah Azhar - SK Convent (M) Kajang
6. Sarawak = North Central Park | Cikgu Raihan, SMK Katibas
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Useful info:

Thinking about pursuing your Master's Degree or PhD? The Fulbright Malaysian Graduate Study and Research Program is now open. Click HERE to find out more. Deadline: August 10, 2018.

The Alumni Newsletter relies on alumni participation to update the network on what's been happening with you. If you would like to contribute stories about your exchange experience in the U.S. or any news about your recent projects, publications, travels or achievements, please contact klpaexchanges @ state . gov

Thursday, May 24

How To Get A Malaysian International Driving License WHEN ABROAD


This was how I (1) got an International Driving Permit (Permit Memandu Antarabangsa/IDP), and (2) renewed my Competent Driving License (Lesen Memandu Kompeten/CDL), from NYC. No, you don't need to return to Malaysia. Yes, you can do the same from anywhere in the world! All you skeptics out there can can call JPJ to confirm, the proper term to use is "memohon permit memandu antarabangsa DENGAN WAKIL".

Sunday, May 20

Role Play + Peer Feedback | Low Prep ESL Activity


How do you provide your ss with authentic language practice? One of the ways, I add relevance & authenticity to my lessons is with role play. Also, it a great activity for the end of the day when your ss are tired of sitting all day listening to lectures. How do you make sure that ss are paying attention when their peers are presenting? One of the best ways is to get spectators to provide peer feedback. Here's how I implement this engaging Low Prep ESL activity in my classes.

Skills Engaged: Listening, Speaking, Cooperative Learning
Materials: Sticky notes
Time: 35-60 min (depending on class size)

Monday, May 14

Fluency Lines | Low Prep ESL Activity


How many times have you asked your ss questions, & instead of an invigorating & thoughtful discussion like the one you imagined in your head, you get crickets chirping? Perhaps there is this one student that dominates & answers all your questions all the time?

Ss want to talk but sometimes they might not feel comfortable or they might require extended wait time. This engaging Low Prep ESL activity is one way to provide everyone with an equal speaking opportunity, hold them personally accountable & also allow them to learn from their peers

This activity also lifts up the mood of a class, so if you feel that the energy level in your #ESL class has slumped, you can pull this activity out of your hat! You can also use this at the end of your lesson to give students the opportunity to go over the day's content.

Skills Engaged: Listening, Speaking, Cooperative Learning
Materials: Space (if you have a big class, your students can form a snaky-line or find an alternative space large enough to accommodate them)
Time: 10-15 min

Wednesday, May 9

If My Postal Vote Could Tell Its Story


Oh, if my ballot paper could tell the story of it's travels & the hope it carried on its shoulders.

I'm crying in the subway now while typing this. Couldn't read the news until I finished teaching a morning class. I'm rushing home now to witness this historic moment on the news! I'm sobbing uncontrollably now & New Yorkers are probably thinking I got my heart broken. Oh, on the contrary, these are tears of joy. Hear me cry out from decades of pent up frustration & tampered hope. All the injustices I've witnessed. Totally didn't expect this. Not even close. We are at the cusp of a Malaysian spring. Looking at all the effort put in by Malaysians all around the world. How can I not be moved?

Monday, May 7

Why I'm Not Sending Back My Postal Vote


REGARDLESS OF TOMORROW'S ELECTION RESULTS, I AM SOOOOO FREAKING PROUD OF YOU, MALAYSIANS!!!
It's amazing how Malaysians rise up to the challenge. I managed to find a Malaysian to bring my ballot from JFK to KLIA. Another Malaysian to bring my ballot from KLIA to KCH. And, another to deliver my ballot from the airport to the RO. Amazing!
We've done all we can from abroad.

Now it's up to you, Malaysia! GO OUT & VOTE!!!

Malaysians all over Malaysia, we still need more volunteers to hand-deliver postal votes. Postal votes will continue to arrive from overseas until late May 9th. No matter where you are, we need you! Let's fight until the very end!

Volunteer here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GE14PostalVote
Tomorrow morning, go early & complete the voting process. Then, I urge you to volunteer to carry postal votes & deliver them to their respective ROs.

If your vote cannot make it back to Malaysia, MAKE SURE NO ONE VOTES FOR YOU by emailing your PACA here to make sure that your name is not on the regular voting list: https://invokemalaysia.org/pc/

For Malaysians living abroad, there might be a fellow Malaysian who can personally bring your envelopes back to Malaysia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2049351842053459/permalink/2052950415026935/
It's completely legal to have your votes delivered by hand: https://www.facebook.com/ongkianming/posts/1698073126914407
You will have to take some extra steps: https://www.facebook.com/BersihAustralia/photos/a.880742831995030.1073741826.307902042612448/1670725519663420/?type=3

Thursday, May 3

Dear Malaysia, Walk With Me In NYC


New York City is such an inspiring place. Countless movies have been made here. Famous celebrities like Godzilla have been here. It's so amazing that jealous alien races, like the Chitauri, want to destroy it. I've learned & grown so much as a human being immersed in its culture & living amongst its people. I want to share those benefits with all students in Malaysia & inspire them to be global citizens, as well as motivate them to constantly improve their English language proficiency. So come, Malaysia, walk with me in NYC.

Being able to live in NYC has been a tremendous privilege & throughout my time here, I have been looking for engaging & meaningful ways to leverage my position for the benefit of my colleagues & students in Malaysia. Some of my more notable initiatives include a US-Msia Video Exchange Project, sending postcards to 160+ schools in Malaysia, video conferencing with a school in Sarawak, & making a video for a special ed. secondary school in Johor. After significantly investing on video equipment & know-how, I thought to myself... why not do a video for the rest of Malaysia?

Honestly, I've had this idea for a while. I've been holding back because of nightmares of people trolling me because I'm not young, I've gained weight, & I'm just a teacher. But, I've only got 2 more months left. Why not put the idea out there & see if Malaysians are interested? What have I got to lose? Like a famous philosopher once said... Just do it. So come, Malaysia, walk with me in NYC!

Wednesday, May 2

Walking In NYC With SMPKV Indahpura


Recently, I took the students of a Malaysian secondary school on a video walk at Gantry Plaza State Park, one of my favorite parks in the city (mainly due to its inspiring view of the Manhattan city skyline). I posted the video on YouTube (for the teachers to show to their students on a big screen, as YouTube accepts more than double the video resolution of...) & Facebook (where a majority of my audience resides).

To think that it started 2 months ago with a simple Facebook message from Cikgu Zaidah, a PK at SM Pendidikan Khas Vokasional Indahpura. At first, I was very intrigued as I had never seen a school with that acronym before. I looked up the school on their website & found out that it's a secondary school providing vocational skills training to students with disabilities (deaf/blind/mute). Besides BM, BI, Math, & P. Islam/Moral, students are trained in either housekeeping, reflexology, culinary arts, cosmetology, & desktop publishing.

I found myself immediately thinking about the school also offering courses in computer engineering like what Kenzie Academy, which is co-founded & run by a Malaysian, is doing for the Rust Belt States in the USA. These students may have disabilities, but their mental faculties are just as sound as those without.

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