Tuesday, May 28

Gawai: Child's Education vs Mabuk Ngirup

This Gawai, I want to highlight an issue that has plagued our people in Sarawak for decades.

Recently, a principal at a rural school in Sarawak told me of a toxic social media encounter she experienced when she questioned the need for parents to spend money, that should be put towards their children's EDUCATION, on DRINKING to a stupor during the Gawai celebrations.

Instead of thoughtfully considering her rhetoric, trolls began questioning her loyalty to her race, her knowledge of her culture, her use of English, & her right to question as she's just a teacher.

As a principal who encounters parents who complain about not having enough money for their children's education while spending excessively on alcohol during the festivities, I think her points speak for themselves. Have a read.

Thursday, May 16

Stuff You Don’t Wanna Miss For #HariGuruMcD 2019

We often get so caught up in the grind & rush for deadlines, that we forget those who are most important to us, our family & friends. Take them out this weekend!
**Disclaimer this post is sponsored by McDonald’s Malaysia**

#TerimaKasihCikgu! Happy Teacher’s Day!

Thanks to Wesak Day, we have a long weekend! Remember to make your way to the nearest McD from today until 20 May 2019 to redeem a free meal with your voucher!

For those of you who have to travel long distances to get to a McD, there are 2-for-1 promos on the McD app that you can take advantage of to make your trip worthwhile. Bring the entire family! Use this time to put away your smartphones & cherish the people you love the most, your family & friends.

Tuesday, May 14

Recipients of the Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2019

McDonald’s Malaysia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, awarded 25 teachers the Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2019 during the National Teachers’ Day celebration on 13 May.
**Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s Malaysia.**

Congratulations to the 25 inspirational teachers awarded Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2019! I can’t wait to read your stories here: mcdonalds.com.my/en/anugerahguruinspirasi/winners/2019

This award is about them, so let's name them first. They are Mr Muhammad Nazmi Bin Rosli (Sarawak), Madam Chung Sze Meang (Sarawak), Mr Arman Bin Ab Sani (Sabah), Mr Lee Chiong Tee (Sabah), Mr Mohd Fadli Bin Salleh (Selangor), Mr Soonufat A/L Supramaniam (Kedah), Ms Koh Bee Ching (Perlis), Mr Saifulnizan Bin Che Ismail (Kelantan), Madam Nor Azimah Ismail (Terengganu), YM Tengku Rahimah bt Mahamod (Pahang), Madam Zanariah bt Mohd. Zudin (Pahang), Mr Ahmad Mustaqim Bin Khairuddin (Pahang), Madam Lim Cheng Imm (Kedah), Dr Haji Joohari Bin Ariffin (Kedah), Mr Narizan Bin Hj Baserah (Perak), Ms Nor Faridah (Perak), Mr Kamal Khairi Bin Ghuslan @ Ruslan (Perak), Mr Mohd Eirwan Bin Halim (Melaka), Ms Padmavathy Velayadhan (N Sembilan), Mr Mohd Izranuddin Bin Jelani (Johor), Madam Hilyanti Nordin (Penang), Mr Shaiful Redwan Bin Abdul Karim (Selangor), Madam Nam Wai Ling (Selangor), Madam Wong Sok Peng (KL), & Mr Mohd Farez Bin Atan (KL)!

This is the third year that McDonald’s Malaysia has run this award for teachers & it has only gotten bigger, from 1,000 nominations in its first year to more than 7,500 this year. I am sure it wasn’t easy picking 25 out of the thousands of amazing teachers who were nominated. I agree with Melati Abdul Hai, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s Malaysia, when she said, “the increase in nominations was an unmistakable sign that Malaysia has an immense pool of exceptional teachers that are willing to go the extra mile.”

Monday, May 13

Watch This Global Music Video Featuring Malaysia's Students!

Celebrating these 18 brave souls who took at shot at this even though several of them weren't fluent in English.
Their faces, representing our academically-improving sports school, will forever be immortalized in the video.
"Aku ninga dik pandei belagu. Dik ka belagu enggau kitak?" (I hear you sing well. Want to sing with us?)
"Lagu nama cikgu?" (What song, teacher?)
"Ada lah. Am." (You'll see. Come.)
"Enda nemu aku. Lagu inggeris..." **while running away** (I can't do it. English songs...)

Not too long ago I wrote about the challenges I faced recruiting students for a public speaking competition in English. While I was training students for the competition, an opportunity for the students at my school to participate in an international music video production by Global Malaysian Network materialized & I pounced on it like a hungry cougar. I knew that my students could sing very well & I was desperate to use their interest in singing & their desire to be instafamous to spark a non-existent culture of English at school. (I know this because I just finished conducting the HIP survey at my school.) I wanted my students to see their peers singing in English in a cool music video that was produced overseas & think that speaking English isn't so bad after all.

Then, I remembered all of the other schools in Malaysia that would also benefit from this opportunity & negotiated successfully for a nationwide call for submissions rather than a invitation-only production. Then, regular teachers like ourselves & adiwiras like Cikgu Yasmin, Cikgu Korea, Cikgu Hailmi, GB Firdauz, & Cikgu Nazmi generously donated social media influence to help promote the initiative, especially to states & territories that have not signed up. In the end, 77 primary & secondary schools from across Malaysia signed up!

I thought that my students would relish the opportunity to sing & be part of an international music video. Little did I know that they would literally run away from an attractive teacher at the slightest notion of having to use the horrible language, "Engl*sh". Ladies & gentlemen, the fear is REAL. Nonetheless, I was able to either sweet talk or twist the arms of 18 brave souls. They practiced with me every morning at 6.45am & spent the entire Labor Day morning doing both the video & audio recording with me. I am so thankful for these 18 students & I believe they will find a lot of pride & joy with their appearance in the final video production (beginning at 1:50).

Sunday, May 12

Please Don’t Forget Our Rural Teachers For #HariGuruMcD

I got my voucher last Friday! 😍😋
I sent this to McD:

Dear McDonald’s Malaysia,

My name is Jarod Yong and I am an English teacher at a government school in Sarawak.

Firstly, on behalf of all government school teachers, I’d like to thank you for remembering & appreciating all of us this year with the #HariGuruMcD campaign & the much appreciated complimentary meal voucher. You have put in the effort to have more than 400k vouchers printed, packed into boxes according to the respective PPDs, & sent to the farthest corners of Malaysia, not to mention the bureaucratic hula hoops you’ve had to jump through to get this campaign approved & endorsed by our Ministry of Education. We appreciate this massive undertaking &, personally, I can’t wait to have my first McD meal in 4 years. The anticipation has brought a smile to my face, even right now.

I am writing in to request a 1-month extension form the expiry date of the complimentary meal vouchers. Currently, teachers have only 5 days to redeem the vouchers, as they are only valid on 16-20 May 2019. This doesn’t pose a problem for teachers serving in urban areas and “Luar Bandar” schools, as the nearest McD would be a drive away. However, teachers who serve in “Pedalaman” schools might not even receive the vouchers in time, let alone find the time to travel all the way to the nearest city for a McD meal. I know that this is of concern to you, because you have shown your sincerity in the way you’ve run your campaign & I’m hoping that you’ll help ensure that no “Cikgu” is left out in the cold.

Thursday, May 9

Free McD Coming Your Way, Teachers!

Guess what’s in these boxes?
At the moment, these boxes are on the way to PPDs all over Malaysia (most of them have already reached PPD offices). In each of them is a meal voucher that will make every teacher in Malaysia extremely… happy.
**Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s Malaysia.**

Selamat Hari Guru McD to all my fellow teachers!

The rumours are true! In an unprecedented move, McDonald’s Malaysia is giving away a free meal to more than 420,000 teachers at national schools and government-aided schools in conjunction with Teachers’ Day this month!

Saturday, May 4

Adakah Exam English Good = Teacher Good?

After reading unflattering comments from urban parents/teachers with obviously excellent English proficiency (C1 & above) in response to the news that some teachers have to take the MUET test, I realize that people are overlooking the effort & struggle of English teachers with average language proficiency (B2-B1).

Although I may be ostracizing my audience here (you're probably a CEFR C2 if you can comprehend my musings 🤓), I am compelled to speak the truth from my experience as someone who was a Head English teacher in both rural & urban Sarawak. Do hear me out. I'm going to be highlighting some systemic issues here. I'm also very open to criticism & correction. So, feel free to engage me in intellectual deliberation.

I agree that we need to gauge the language proficiency of our English teachers with proficiency tests, like MUET. Especially, if we want to figure out how to up-skill our human resources. I just have a problem with the ministry making teachers pay for these tests as they will have to keep on paying (both literally & figuratively) if they fail to achieve a high score. At the very least, the cost of these tests should be covered. What is the ministry going to do if teachers don't take those tests? Suspend them? Force them to teach other subjects when we have a shortage of thousands of English teachers? So, dear KPM, please don't make teachers pay for MUET.

Wednesday, May 1

Eco Public Speaking Competition @ SMK St Joseph, Kuching

My heroes! 😍😍😍

Celebrating these students who represented SMK Tabuan Jaya to the Eco Public Speaking Competition organized by SMK St Joseph for Kuching district! They were the first in a long long time. It's not typical for the students at my school to participate in ENGLISH language competitions.

Words cannot describe how frustrating it was to get just SIX students to participate in a 3-minute public speaking competition out of almost FOUR HUNDRED students at my school.

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