Showing posts from 2019

A Birthday Gift From MFS & Friends

3 weeks ago, I was exhausted after reading more essays than humanly possible. My mind began to wander & I started wondering how wonderful it'll be if was able to get 7000 likes on my birthday in 3 weeks. As a joke, I made this post because I didn't believe it would happen. Little did I know...

that Cikgu Mohd Fadli Salleh aka Cikgu Korea aka #MFS would see it & write about me to his 290k++ extremely active followers...

Can you guess what happened after that?

Within minutes, I received my birthday wish & the icing on the cake was the 1100++ likes that came in the following days. He has certainly built a lot of trust within his community & is able to mobilize them better than any politician.

I first met MFS during a 2018 Jawatankuasa Kecil Jawatankuasa Kajian Dasar Pendidikan Negara meeting in KL &, since then, have benefited from the information & insights he has shared on his Facebook profile. He is a very seasoned influencer with views that are very mo…

What I Learned From The 2019 Global Leadership Summit

I love events that help me to grow as a person & as a leader, especially when I can just be a participant & learn from great people who have made a mark in their careers. Even better when opportunities like these are held locally rather than in West Malaysia. Those opportunities are beyond my reach now that I have a kid.

The Global Leadership Summit is a two-day world-class leadership conference held in Illinois every August, which is also broadcast LIVE to hundreds of satellite locations in North America. In the following months, broadcasts of the Summit also take place at 900+ sites in 135 countries. They also have tools available for free, like the GLSnext app, to facilitate the application & habit-formation of what was learned.
Check out their videos here:

The 2019 Global Leadership Summit Kuching (English) was organized by GLS - East Malaysia at Good News Fellowship, during the school holidays. Michelle & I were able…

Visit Sarawak Like Moonshot Academy, Beijing!

What Is Moonshot Academy?Moonshot Academy is a private school in Beijing that attempts to address... "What is the future? The origin of MSA stems from a constant inquiry on this question. Scientific advancement is changing the traditional professional system. Those seemingly popular jobs are overtaken by machines at an exponential speed. Climate challenge has turned from an allegedly irrelevant issue to a concrete and factual challenge. The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has proposed "strengthening moral education and cultivating people" as the fundamental mission; more and more educators are asking the essential meaning of education. We, living in the present while looking beyond the future, decide to embark on this journey by initiating a future-oriented education project."

Dikecam Lagi Kerana Mempertahankan Guru BI Bukan Opsyen

Walaupun saya cuba sedaya upaya untuk meningkatkan kebolehan bahasa Inggeris saya, memang akan adanya banyak sesilapan & kekurangan juga. Selepas saya berkongsi tentang usaha saya untuk melibatkan murid-murid saya dalam kem BI, saya masih lagi dikecam oleh beberapa netizen dalam group ibubapa ini. Mungkin adanya rasa dendam daripada usaha saya untuk mempertahankan guru BI bukan opsyen awal bulan tadi:

Saya juga telah menyeru agar semua pihak BLOCK laman-laman web yang mengaut keuntungan daripada isu viral tersebut:

Human Chain Word Race: Vocabulary Activity

This is a vocabulary game I came up with for the 2019 Sarawak State English-In-Camp at SMK Santubong. The school had a scenic view of Mt Santubong & plenty of open spaces, so I wanted the participants to be enjoying nature outdoors while engaging their kinesthetic intelligence. Alas, it was scorching hot that afternoon, so we did the activity under a shade.

I'm also proud to announce that my school participated in BOTH the district & state level English-In-Camps for the first time under my watch! Moving closer to the goal of "membudayakan Bahasa Inggeris" at my school!

Human Chain Word Race

Support For DLP Math & Science Teachers

In 2020, Sarawak will spearhead the teaching of Mathematics & Science in English (under the DLP program) in 1026 out of 1265 national primary schools. It's happening whether you like it or not. The Ministry of Education has already carried out the training (costing 11 million fully paid for by the Sarawak government) & the teachers assigned to those classes will faithfully carry out their duties, ready or not. Additionally, district education offices have been empowered as the primary support for our teachers (on top of the tons of other stuff they have to do).

Now, here's the bitter truth: If Sarawak fails, the rest of Malaysia can forget about it. Most importantly, the ultimate victims will be OUR CHILDREN & I cannot stand for that. Therefore, it is imperative that ALL MALAYSIANS do what we can to support this program. Together with a few allies of education, here's our small contribution.

Hey! The least you can do is TAG teachers who might be interested &am…

Students Participated in District & State English-In-Camps

This picture is truly worth a thousand words. Before this picture could even be taken & those half-hearted smiles immortalized, a story has already developed. This picture documents my school's inaugural participation at the Kuching District-Level English-In-Camp, despite multiple reiterations over the years.

The perennial issue has been our students have extremely low proficiency in English to benefit from such things & demanding training schedules which should not be missed lest the wrath of the coaches be incurred. Also, the paperwork for arranging transportation & getting parental consent is an effective deterrent, not to mention the slight possibility of being thrown under the bus if anything unfortunate should happen. This is a classic vicious cycle.


Cara Dapatkan e-Tunai Rakyat RM30 + Bonus Sebanyak RM5

Apakah Program e-Tunai Rakyat? Program e-Tunai Rakyat adalah inisiatif Belanjawan 2020 oleh kerajaan Malaysia untuk menggalakan transaksi tanpa tunai. Sebanyak RM450 juta telah diperuntukkan untuk agihan sekali bernilai RM30 kepada 15 juta rakyat Malaysia yang layak.

Bermula pada Januari 2020, RM30 akan diberikan sekali kepada akaun e-wallet daripada tiga syarikat yang terpilih, iaitu Boost, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, & GrabPay. Tuntutan boleh dibuat dengan syarikat-syarikt tersebut dari 15 Januari 2020 hingga 14 Mac 2020.

Siapakah yang layak untuk program ini?Warganegara Malaysia yang mempunyai MyKadBerumur 18 tahun dan ke atas dalam tahun 2020. Pendapatan tahunan kurang dari RM100,000
Bagaimana untuk mendapat bonus RM5? Dapat ganjaran RM5 dari Boost dengan kod tersebut: yondz9y
Anda perlu melanggan "Premium Wallet" (dengan membenarkan Boost mengambil gambar IC & selfie anda) & belanja RM10 dalam satu transaksiPelanggan semasa Boos…

Laman-Laman Tersebut Untung Daripada "Cyberbully" Seorang Guru

Disclaimer: Mohon maaf atas kekurangan bahasa saya. Minta tunjuk ajar ya! Kalau nak tolong edit, boleh juga!

Pada hari Isnin minggu lepas, nampaklah juga di fb sebuah nota yang ditulis oleh seorang guru BI yang mempunyai kesilapan bahasa yang ketara. Guru juga yang kongiskannya tetapi yang menyedihkan adalah guru itu turut menyindir rakan seperjuangannya. Dalam hati, saya berfikir perbuatan ini seperti meludah ke langit. Tetapi tak apa, biarkan sahaja. Hangat-hangat tahi ayam. Tak lama lagi orang akan lupakan.

Tetapi hari seterusnya isu tersebut telah ditularkan ke ENAM laman web yang dilanganni berjuta-juta orang. Maka bacalah saya apa yang mereka tularkan itu. Didapati bahawa artikel-artikel tersebut hanyalah "clickbait", berat sebelah, & banyak ditambahnya cili & bawang, TANPA memberikan guru tersebut peluang untuk mempertahankan diri. Tak apa kalau nak tular, tetapi jangan sahaja berat sebelah. Masa itulah saya rasa agak panas kerana tindakan mereka ini tidak adi…

Radio Nyawa Sarawak Interview (In BM): A Message For Teachers, Parents, & Students

I was recently interviewed by Radio Nyawa Sarawak (previously Radio Free Sarawak) & the interview was conducted in BM! I listened to it &, thankfully, I didn't embarrass myself so that's my I don't mind sharing it with you! Siapa nak dengar BM pelik saya, rebutlah peluang ini! LOL!!!

I recorded a message from my heart for teachers, parents, & students. I got so emotional talking about my pride for my students, I even cried during recording. I talked about the challenges at pedalaman schools. I also left some practical tips for rural parents who have to work far away from home. Education is a massive wicked problem & we need all hands on deck to work on it.

Listen to the radio program here:
My segment begins at 17:30.

Radio Nyawa Sarawak has been essential in exposing corruption, land-grabs, encroachment on forest reserves, & other abuses against Sarawak's rural communities. Let's support the…

Teacher Was Cyberbullied Because Of Their English

UPDATE: After communicating with the parent, I found that I HAVE NOT BEEN FAIR TO THE PARENT in this post. Therefore, I have made several amendments in light of new information & will post about the parent's experience as well as a serious call to action. Still, I am interested in hearing the teacher's side of the story to balance things out.

What did the teacher do to deserve this? To be publicly shamed on so many websites (World of Buzz, Mashable SEA, Says, AsiaOne, RedChilli21 MY, Mothership SG, etc) & to be on the receiving end of toxic comments on social media?

Is it because the teacher has lower English proficiency than all of you? I'm sure you realize that English proficiency is a marker of privilege & not one of intelligence, right? Do you know the teacher's background? How do you know that the teacher & the others you're shaming in the comments aren't working hard to improve their English? What have you done to help this teacher do bett…

2019 TEDx Kenyalang: The Best Speech In My Life

Guess: How much time did I have to prepare for my TEDx opportunity?
a) 1 month          b) 3 months          c) 1 week          d) 3 weeks

TEDxKenyalang is held on 17th November every year. I got an invitation email on 30th October, barely 3 weeks before the biggest speaking opportunity of my life. I almost said no.

When I got the email, I was fully occupied with supporting my Form 5 students for their SPM English paper on the 5th. After that, there were a bunch of documents I had to compile or "create" for my annual keberhasilan evaluation & I had to complete numerous online data entry nonsense that Guru Tingkatans can relate to. Then, I had to run a workshop about the new Form 4 curriculum for 2020 on the 15th for the English panel at my school. Also, I was drafting proposals & writing letters to get the funds to send a good student from my school to an academic excellence workshop in KL so that this kid can share what he learned with his peers next year to help m…

2019 TJ Comics: Monthly English Comics

When I found out that the students at my school: (1) read at levels several years below their current age, (2) don’t read in English, & (3) don’t have English language reading materials easily available. I decided to print essays from students for students every month & have them pasted in every class.

What if I have students who can barely read due to years of academic neglect & literacy drought? My students hail from all over Sarawak, including rural areas and low-income communities. Unlike SMS/MRSM/Kolej, our sports school does not turn away students who perform poorly in their studies. We have accepted and kept students with straight Es as long as they have good discipline & they show commitment to their sport. Where they come from does not determine where they will be in the future. I believe my students have the ability to face their fears, improve, and win.

What kind of reading material would such students be able to comprehend & benefit from? After …

What To Do When Your Unifi Service Suddenly Drops

After finally putting my kid to sleep, I was about to settle into the couch with my wife & stream a movie, when my Unifi fiber optic internet connection suddenly dropped. When it didn't come back after 1 hour, I realized that I had to do something. Considering that I pay my bills promptly every month, it must be a technical issue. Here's what I did to fix the problem. It look me less than 20 minutes.

1. First, I checked my modem (the white machine). I checked the lights on the modem. When the modem is functioning properly, lights will be on for POWER, PON, LAN1 & TEL1. If the red light for LOS lights up, call 100 to resolve the issue. Also, I made sure that all the wire connections were tight.

2. Next, I checked my router (the black machine). Again, I checked the lights. When the router is functioning properly, lights will be on for POWER, GLOBE, WIFI, LAN1. My POWER light was blinking, so that means that there was no internet connection. Again, I made sure that all th…

2019 TJ Writes: Monthly English Bulletin

As a teacher, what do you do when you find that the students at your school: (1) read at levels several years below their current age, (2) don’t read in English, & (3) don’t have English language reading materials easily available.

After some consideration, I decided on a monthly English bulletin with contributions from the student population. These contributions come in the form of essays of any topic of any length. The bulletin will be printed & posted in each classroom.

Why? Besides addressing the problems described in the first paragraph, I wanted students to (1) have both short & long model essays easily available to the students, (2) see their peers write in English & think that it's possible for them too, (3) celebrate students' writing in English, (4) flood the school with English, & (5) provide an avenue for the critical & creative use of English. [I was so happy when Jessie Abbygil submitted the only critical essay of the year expressing her …

2019 Pen-Pals From Sarawak With Love (And One Nightmare!)

As a teacher, what would you do when you find out that a staggering majority of your students lack basic writing skills & would rather copy from their friends who have copied some random essay in the textbook? Do you, (1) call them names & blame them/their circumstances/their grandfathers, or (2) figure out how to make writing more relevant to their lives? The answer is kind of obvious, right?

In this day & age, what kind of long-form writing do people still perform? For most people, it’s emails. I could do an email exchange program for my students, but I don’t like how I’m unable to vet every reply to ensure that (1) respect was shown to the recipient, (2) effort was put into the reply, and (3) content is appropriate. The best equivalent to emails is snail mail letters. Since this was my first year at the school, I did a pilot program to see how pen-pal exchanges would work in my current context, since it worked spectacularly for my previous school in rural Sarawak.

Pulai Baru: Finding Myself At SMK Katibas Again

I left SMK Katibas in late 2015. Although I really miss SMK Katibas & the children there, I never expected to be able to return so soon after having a kid. Therefore, I was extremely grateful when MESTR wanted to involve me in a Parental & Community Engagement Program in Song, Sarawak. I was engaged to conduct a breakout session for SPM students of Song with one of their "killer" subjects, English.

The plan was a 2-in-1 program at 2 longhouses. An educational event involving students in Song at one longhouse & an official event with Dato Sri Michael Manyin involving the local community at another. The dream was to demonstrate that the rumah panjai (longhouse) could be a place of learning & encourage tuai rumah (longhouse chief) to have learning programs conducted in their ruai (common room).

Children benefit from associating reading/learning with the love, especially when parents read to them or get involved in their early learning. Also, if regular educatio…

2019 PostcardX with ASEAN Countries

A few months ago, I was engaged as a mentor at a YSEALI regional workshop with representatives from all 11 ASEAN countries. At the end of the workshop, I had access to all of them via a WhatsApp Group. I really hate WhatsApp Groups. I realized the value of having contacts abroad & the great potential for collaboration, so I asked if anyone in the group wanted to do a postcard exchange between their classes & mine.

Working with students who have low-proficiency, low-confidence & low-interest in English is a significant challenge & I jumped at the opportunity to provide a authentic context for my students to use English & to experience first hand how this language can connect them with the world. Fortunately, I received enough affirmatives to pair every class at my school with a different ASEAN partner, specifically Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines & Cambodia. Almost had a Timur Leste counterpart too, but she had difficulties securi…

2019 Post-PT3 English Day Activities

Before my arrival, the different language teachers under the Language Department worked together to plan & run activities for a Post-PT3 Language Day. Many hands made light work. However, last year, I noticed that, instead of practicing their English during the English segments of the day, students would revert to BM/BIban. This reflects their low English proficiency & highlights the critical need for more practice & exposure to English.

Therefore, this year, I asked for English to have it's own day & the surprised reaction I got indicated that I was likely the only teacher to ask for more time with the post-PT3 students. Therefore, I'd like to thank my colleagues, Cikgu Gan & Cikgu Amy, for going the extra mile by leading their own segments & providing support to the students during my sessions.

Special thanks to Dr. Tamas Kiss who designed Activities 2 & 3. He is a highly qualified & cited ESL teacher-trainer who is currently in Kuching hopin…

Judge At Junior Innovate Sarawak 2019

Honored to be involved as a judge of Junior Innovate Sarawak 2019 during the Borneo International Drobotex at the Borneo Convention Center Kuching (BCCK). We were tasked with selecting the best 3 teams to represent Sarawak at the national finals in Penang.

Students developed computer games with both hardware & software components using Adruino & a whole lot of creativity. There were bonus marks for making recycled materials a key part of the game.

What I Learned & Shared At Sarawak English Langauge Education Symposium 2019

Pictures of idea & slides from the symposium shared by me & others. If you're teaching English in Sarawak, join us at Sarawak English Educators.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of participating in the 3rd Sarawak English Language Education Symposium (SELES) organized by the Ministry of Education, Science, Techonological & Research (MESTR) Sarawak in collaboration with JPN Sarawak. At last year's, I was involved as a speaker. Year after year, I've witnessed the symposium highlighting all the amazing English teachers in Sarawak & providing a platform for them to share with their peers. It was indeed a sparky moment to rekindle the flames of our battle-weary teaching spirit.
Initially, I was roped in as one of the MCs for the Opening Ceremony, so I decided to submit a workshop-proposal abstract to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Thankfully, it was accepted! (More about it later.) When I got there, I found out that I was dropped as MC, & given a bigger role in…

M For Malaysia

Happy #MalaysiaDay 🇲🇾!

Our annual tradition during the Malaysia Day weekend is to support a local film. This year, we caught #MForMalaysia. In Sarawak, only 2 cinema's ran the documentary. The one closest to us was, 30 minutes drive away from Kuching, in Samarahan at @MMCineplexes of @SummerShoppingMall.

Sadly, we were the only ones in the theater. I walked in wondering why the heck I paid the online booking fee. 😅 In contrast, the theater next door, playing some pontianak movie, was packed. I guess political documentaries aren't the forte of regular Malaysians.

Honestly, the movie left me wanting because it stopped right after #PakatanHarapan won the elections. It didn't contain anything a concerned & informed citizen wouldn't know. Sure, it provided plenty of behind the scenes footage of a day in the life of #TDM leading up to the polls & several exclusive interviews of key political figures. But, that's all in the past.

As a Malaysian living in Malay…

Basic Mobile Video Production by SukaSuka

Chaperoned 15 students from SMK Tabuan Jaya to the "Basic Mobile Video Production" Program by SukaSuka at Kuching Creative Heritage Hub in Bangunan Yayasan Sarawak. During this program, my students learned the basics of video production, worked as a team to produce a video, & competed with the other schools in Kuching at a showcase. Thank you, SukaSukaMY for running an excellent program. Although my students only got the consolation prize, they had a great time & were very engaged! Do invite us to future events!

I really wanted to spend this Saturday morning with my new baby boy & wife. However, I realized that if I didn't volunteer, my students would miss out on this golden opportunity to learn from skilled content producers & access a creative hub for FREE.

Keeping Pediatric Patients & Families Together at Ronald McDonald House Since 1999

**This post is sponsored by McDonald’s Malaysia**

I wouldn’t wish this of anybody, but, if you ever find yourself, a family member or a friend having to seek pediatric care away from home, know that if you seek treatment at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM) UKM in KL, you’ll be able to stay at the on-site Ronald McDonald House (RHM) for just RM5/night! FYI, there is also an RMH at Hospital USM in Kelantan. Thankfully, these houses are situated in the hospital compound itself & will go a long way to alleviating the burden of suffering families.

Back when it was launched in 1999, the RMH at HCTM-UKM was the first of its kind in the ASEAN region and since then it has become a home away from home for almost 1,300 families seeking pediatric care.

Mentor at YSEALIEduKL Regional Workshop

Last month, I had the privilege of participating my first YSEALI Regional Workshop, entitled "Empowering Southeast Asian Educators." Referred to as "YSEALIEduKL", the workshop was attended by more than 100 educators from all 11 nations in South East Asia. It was such an honor to represent Malaysia & Sarawak.

As a Malaysian alumni of a US Dept of Stateprogram, I was assigned the role of mentor to a team of 5 educators from 4 different ASEAN countries: Ary & Rizal from Indonesia, Billy from Laos, Elly from Vietnam, & Alfonz from the Philippines. During this workshop, we will design a Project-Based Learning unit applicable in all our contexts & pitch for funding at the end of the workshop. As a mentor, my role was to support them in achieving this goal.

= What is YSEALI? How Can I Join Too? =

SMK Engkilili For The Win

Earlier this year, I published an offer to rural Sarawakian secondary schools; If you have students who struggle in English, inexperienced teachers, & have not had an SPM speaker because of your geographical location, I WILL COME TO YOU. I'm pretty bogged down with all sorts of "amanah" at school so this would be my sole SPM Talk for the year. I thought that I'd be inundated with requests, but... *crickets*. The only school that responded to my offer... was none other than SMK Engkilili in Engkilili, Sarawak, 5 hours drive away from Kuching on the Pain Borneo Highway. I gladly accepted & arranged for the talk to happen during the SPM trials at my school so my teaching hours wouldn't be disrupted.

I made the offer because, as a teacher who started his teaching career at a rural school, I was hungry for mentorship & guidance but had none to turn to because all of the English teachers at my former school were new. There was also a peculiar lack of coll…

Stay With Your Hospitalized Children For RM5/Night at Ronald McDonald House

**Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s Malaysia**

Good news, Kelantan (& those seeking treatment at HUSM)!

Recently, a Ronald McDonald House (RMH) was launched at Hospital USM (HUSM), Kelantan. If your child is warded at HUSM, you'll be able to stay at the on-site RMH for just RM5/night! There is also an RMH at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HCTM-UKM), KL, where parents, with children seeking treatment there, can also stay at for RM5/night. Having a child admitted to a hospital is already unbearable enough. Thankfully, these houses are situated in the hospital compound itself & will go a long way to alleviating the burden of suffering families.

At the moment, there are 370 Ronald McDonald Houses across the globe, with only 2 being in Malaysia. Ronald McDonald House Charities Malaysia (RMHC) was established in 1990, before the first Ronald McDonald House was built in 1999 at HCTM-UKM, KL. Last month, the second Ronald McDonald House at Hospital USM…