Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a morbid thought

With all the news of deaths, I was just thinking ... again ... about my own. If I were to die at this point in my life, what would I have achieved prior to my death. What would have been "my mark" in the world. Would I be remembered by anyone other than my immediate family? My 16 years of teaching .... would it amount to anything? The friendships I have forged ... would my friends miss me? What would they say of me if they were to deliver a eulogy? What would anyone say about me?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tears of sorrow

I just came home from a wake. Hubby's cousin whose death I mentioned yesterday. He was 42, happily married and had 3 beautiful little girls. Judging from the big crowd at the wake, he was well-liked and someone who had many friends.
One of the things that struck me the most at the wake was his father who is about 80. He was devastated. He is sickly and yet he has hung in there and is still alive, but his favoured son was lying there in a coffin, never to wake up. When he arrived at the wake, everyone thought he was going to be strong and show some emotion. Instead, he took one look at the coffin, and his granddaughters, and he broke down and cried like a child. It was heart-breaking and many people cried when they saw his tears of sorrow. He hugged one of the granddaughters and they cried together. It was a picture of deep sorrow and sense of loss.
As with any deaths, it is the family left behind who suffers. The wife never got to say goodbye to him as he took his last breath. The children were traumatised as they saw their father collapsing before their eyes. The elderly parents mourned the fact that their child died before them.
My heart breaks for them. I know they will all have to learn to move on, and they will. And I pray for them, that they will be strong. God bless his soul.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life's brief candle!

Life is so short indeed. Today I was saddened by news of 2 people's passing. Yasmin Ahmad, whose work is well-respected and admired by many, died last night. She was only 51. A life that was snatched away at such a young age. 51 is not exactly young but she is a prolific producer of the arts that she would have had much more in store for us. She still had so many plans and movies to make. She had yet to see many things in this world. Her sudden stroke caught everyone by surprise and most Malaysians are shocked at her death.
Just minutes ago, my husband received a text message that his cousin just died from a heart attack. We have no other details about his death as yet. But I do know this : He is only in his early 40s, almost our age; he has three little girls who are around the same age as my children. He was in the prime of his life and he is now no more. He will never see his daughters grow up to be young ladies, go on their first date and get married. His aged father will have a tough time accepting that his youngest son has died before him.
Truly life is so fragile. Life is short, even if one were to live to 100. Life is so temporal. I feel sad. The last few weeks we have had so many news of people dying, from celebrities to a local political secretary to this cousin of my husband's. A little depressing. Doesn't help the fact that I have not been feeling very perky lately.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The lethargy that just won't disappear

The last month or so, I have been feeling lethargic. It is a terrible feeling that refuses to go away. It is eating into my life because it makes me less willing and less capable to work. By work, I don't just mean career work; I also mean doing things for my family and myself. It is a lethargy that is slowly making me a lesser person than I am supposed to be.
I don't really know what has brought about this feeling / situation. But I have a hunch it is a mental and emotional drain that I am feeling, and that has affected the whole of me. I feel drained of the will to do anything. I don't feel like working. I feel like running away from my current life. I don't want to have to do anything for anyone. I just want to find a place to hide. Somehow I feel as if what I'm doing is not worth doing. There is nothing that I truly look forward to - other than finding that peace and quiet which I so desire right now.
If possible I just want to stay home for the next week or so and just find back my energy and will. And yet there is so much to do. I honestly don't know if I am up to it to do everything I am tasked with. I feel overwhelmed with the many hats I am wearing. I know for sure that I am really struggling and honestly, I am sinking. I need a lifeline to stay afloat and I don't know where that lifeline is coming from, if it will appear at all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today ... a date with the OG, and a dinner with old friends

I was going to write about our date with the OG who is a good friend but dangerous enemy. But my dear friend has already blogged about it, so I decided not to. Suffice to say that if I were to mention only good things, I would have only 2 things to talk about : the singing and the props. End of story!
This evening I met up with some old friends, my formers classmates back in Kampar. One of them was in town for a few days with her husband and son. She is now based in HK so it was a rare occasion indeed, meeting up with her. What I found funny was that she really could not recognise me. She had no inkling who I was, for the first 10 minutes! Frankly, since we had not met since we left Form 5, I didn't blame her. We were not in the same class in secondary school, but we were together for 3 years in primary school. It was good catching up. We all had a good time updating one another and sharing news about other friends. Through it all, I realized that I did not know my friends that well. Maybe that was because I lived far away from school whereas they lived near school. I never did get to go out with them and get to know them apart from school-related matters.
So for those of you still studying, take time to know your friends while you're in school. Once you leave, you might not meet again for 10, 20 or 30 years!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For the Choir Director

Hehehe. See what I found???? Recognise someone in this picture, other than Jaclyn Victor??? Hahahahaha!!!!! Well, if you do come by and visit, this is dedicated to YOU .... Mr Choir Director!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making tough calls

We cannot go through life without making choices. From the simplest decision of what you want to eat, to what course you want to take up to which person is your life partner, to where you want to reside - all these involve choices. Sometimes your decisions are made for you, like when your parents make decisions without consulting you first. Sometimes your choices are left just as choices, no decision is made. Sometime you have to make those decisions ... yourself. Once in a while those choices placed before you are difficult ones to pick. Especially as you grow older and more mature, more and more situations will be placed before you. You decide what you want to do. Sometimes those situations well, you just can't win. Die if you do and die if you don't.
To me, we have to ask ourselves what motivations we have in making certain choices. Who benefits? Who does it affect? Are there alternatives and what are they? Am I being as fair as I can be? (Though we can have a debate on what is fair)
Life is tough. Growing up is tough. All the things that come with growing up are also tough. But not all things are so gloomy. Life is full of wonder. We make mistakes. So what? If we fall, get up and move on.
To the many people who think that being in a position of power or leadership is fun, think again. You will be required to make decisions that you don't like. You might even question your ability to lead. BUT if you are mature and strong enough ... you can look beyond that difficult phase and do the best you can and continue to lead.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Suckers for work

Sometimes we ( we know who WE are ) are such suckers for work. Not that we want to do more work, but our work ethics are such that we cannot stand by and let certain shoddy work be presented for the world to see. In the process of trying to not present those said shoddy work (which are sometimes, well, more often than not, NOT our work), we end up getting those work on our already very full and tired laps. If only we can sometimes SHUT UP and let things be!!! We try, but it doesn't work. We still get all uptight and upset because we feel ashamed to be associated with less than our standard kind of work. Not that we are perfect, but if we being less than perfect cannot stand the work, what more people who are perfectionists?
Example one : Someone given a task to complete sits on it and does not budge until others pretty much give the order to PLEASE GET IT DONE! She still pretty much moves at snail's pace, so what do we do? We go and do it ourselves!!! Thus adding unnecessary worry, stress and work to our already complicated lives.
Example two : We are told we have money to spend for the benefit of the school. So we go and do all the necessary planning so that taxpayers' money does not go to waste (hey I'm a taxpayer too). Then out comes some remarks and comments that the work we do, is so unnecessary, waste of money, and that we're being cheated!! All because someone does not want to attend some extra classes organised for some people who need help. Gosh! WE DIDN'T ASK TO DO THOSE CLASSES, OK!!! We are given extra work because some of THOSE people are not doing a good job and we were asked to help.
Well, I am just upset that when we make noise, we end up with extra work. But how can one keep quiet when it is obvous there is a void to fill, or improvements to make, etc? Shall I just blame it on Malaysian mentality whereby it is : YOU MAKE NOISE, YOU DO IT LAH!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

PPSMI? Yes? No?

I am not going to add any comments to the article below which I copied from Patrick Teoh's blog. Read and make your own conclusions.
Chaining The Children of the Poor
M. Bakri Musa
The ancient Chinese bound the feet of their baby daughters so they would grow up with deformed tiny feet, thus limiting their mobility and participation in life outside the little world of their homes. These women would then be totally dependent on their men.
In rescinding the policy of teaching science and mathematics in English, the government is likewise binding the intellectual development of our children. They and future generations of Malaysians would grow up with warped intellect. They would then be totally dependent on the government, just as ancient Chinese women with tiny feet were on their men.
My friend and fellow commentator Azly Rahman has a more apt and colorful local metaphor; we are condemning future generations to the Pekan Rabu economy, capable only of selling pirated versions of Michael Jackson albums. That would be the extent of their entrepreneurial prowess and creative flair. They are only subsistence entrepreneurs and ‘copy cat’ creators.
Make no mistake about it. The government’s professed concerns for the poor and those from rural areas notwithstanding, reversing the current policy would adversely and disproportionately impact them. The rich and those in the cities have a ready escape; the rich through private English classes, urban children from the already high levels of English in their community.
The most disadvantaged will be the poor kampong kids. That means Malay children. Thus we have the supreme irony if not perversity of the champions of Ketuanan Melayu actively pursuing a policy that would ensure Malay children be perpetually trapped economically and intellectually. I thank Allah that I grew up at a time when the likes of Muhyyuddin were not in charge of our education system. Otherwise I would have been trapped in my kampong.
The idiocy of the new move is best illustrated by this one startling example. In 2012 when the new plan will be implemented, students in Form IV will be taught science and mathematics in Malay, after learning the two subjects in English for the past nine years. Then two years later when they will be entering Sixth Form or the Matriculation stream, they will again have to revert to English.
Pupils in the vernacular schools would have it worse. They would learn the two subjects in their mother tongue during their primary school years, then switch to Malay for the next five while in secondary school, and then switch again, this time to English, in Sixth Form and university!
Had these policymakers done their homework and diligent downstream analysis, such idiocies would not crop up. Then again this is what we would expect from our civil servants. They have been brought up with their minds bound up; they cannot think. They have depended on others to do the thinking for them.
Najib Razak’s flip-flopping on this major national issue eerily reminds me of similar indecisiveness and lack of resolve of his immediate predecessor, Abdullah Badawi. No wonder he supports Najib in this policy shift. Najib should not take comfort in that, unless he expects a similar fate as Abdullah’s. Abdullah was kicked out by his party; with Najib, it would be the voters who would be kicking him out. Public sentiments are definitely against this policy switch.
Failure of Policy Versus Failure of Implementation
The cabinet reversed course because it deemed the policy did not produce the desired results. However, in arriving at this pivotal decision the cabinet failed to address the fundamental question on whether the original policy was flawed or its implementation ineffective.
It just assumed the policy to be flawed. Muhyyuddin and his senior officers relied heavily on the 2005 UNESCO Report which suggests that “‘mother tongue first’ bilingual education” may (my emphasis) be the solution to the dilemma of members of minority linguistic groups in acquiring knowledge.
Muhyyuddin and his advisers seriously misread the Report. It was concerned primarily with the dilemma at the societal level of members of a linguistic minority having to learn the language of the majority (“national language”) versus the need to maintain linguistic diversity generally and minority languages specifically. UNESCO was rightly concerned with the rapid disappearance of languages spoken by small minority groups. The report was not addressing specifically the learning of science and mathematics.
Malay language is not at risk of disappearing; it is the native tongue of literally hundreds of millions. To extrapolate the UNESCO recommendations for Malay language is a gross oversimplification and misreading of the report.
The UNESCO Report does not address the issue of when and how best to introduce children to bilingual education. Later studies that focused specifically on the pedagogical and psychological aspects instead of the sociological and political have shown that children are quite capable of learning multiple languages at the same time. Even more remarkable is that the earlier they are exposed to a second language the more facile they would be with that language. They would also learn that second language much faster; hence second language even at preschool.
The acquisition of bilingual ability at an early age confers other significant cognitive advantages. These have been documented by clinical studies with functional MRIs (imaging studies of the brain). Malaysia should learn from these more modern studies and the experiences of more advanced societies, not from the UNESCO studies of backward tribes of Asia.
The other basis for the cabinet’s decision was ‘research’ by local half-baked and politically-oriented pseudo academics. They should be embarrassed to append their names to such a sophomoric paper. The quality is such that it will never appear in reputable journals. As for the Ministry’s own internal ‘researchers,’ remember that they came out within months of the policy’s introduction in 2003 documenting the ‘impressive’ improvements in students’ achievements!
The one major entity that would be severely impacted by the cabinet’s decision is our universities. Yet our Vice-Chancellors have remained quiet and detached in this important national debate. They have not advised the cabinet nor lead the public discussions. Again that reflects the caliber of leadership of our major institutions.
Had the cabinet decided that the policy was essentially sound but that the flaws were with its implementations, then measures other than rescinding it would be the appropriate response. This would include recruiting and training more English-speaking teachers and devoting more hours to the subject.
What surprised me is that when Mahathir introduced the policy in 2003, he was supported by his cabinet that included Najib, Muhyyuddin, Hishamuddin, and over a dozen of current ministers who now collectively voted to reverse the policy. Likewise, the policy was fully endorsed too by UMNO’s Supreme Council then. Like the cabinet, many of those earlier members are still in that body today. Yet today the Council also voted to disband the policy. Muhyyuddin, Hishamuddin and the others have yet to share with us why they changed their minds. The conditions that prompted the introduction of the policy back then are still present today. This reversal will do not change that.
Najib, Muhyyuddin and Hishamuddin are “lallang leaders,” they bend with the slightest wind change. Unlike Margaret Thatcher’s famed resolve of “This lady is not for turning,” with Najib, Muhyyuddin, et al., all you have to do to make them undertake a U turn would be to blow slightly in their faces. Blow a bit harder and they would scoot off with their tails between their legs. These leaders will never lead us forward.
This reversal will not solve the widening achievement gap between urban and rural students. The cabinet has yet to put forth new ideas on ameliorating that problem. So, just as ancient Chinese women were physically handicapped because of their bound feet, rural or more specifically Malay children will continue to be intellectually handicapped by their warped and small minds, the consequence of this policy shift. Perhaps that is the real objective of this policy reversal, the shackling of the intellectual development of our young so they will forever be dependent on their ‘leaders


I am currently reading Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul 2. I have got to about 1/3 of the book. One thing I must say, I have no idea what it means to have a sister. And I have no idea what it means to be a sister. Psedo-biologically speaking, that is.
You see I have no other sibling that I know of, biologically. If you have read one of my first blog entries in my old blog, you would know I am adopted. I do know that I have biological siblings. But I have never met them. I don't know who they are. So I do not know what it means to have biological siblings. On top of that I am adopted and I still have no adoptive siblings. So ... I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SISTER! So why did I buy that book?
Answer : Because it only cost me rm5.90!!! LOL!
Well, back to the topic of sisterhood ... though I don't know what it means to be a sister and not having any sisters, I DO KNOW ABOUT SISTERHOOD!
I am very fortunate to have known many girls / ladies ... womenfolk who are like sisters to me. I have had friends from way back in primary school who were extremely close to me. We shared many things about ourselves, some very private matters included. Some of these friends who were like sisters to me, are still in my circle of friends. We keep in touch and show what it means to have a sisterhood that withstood the test of time.
I have some very close sisters who are my sisters-in-Christ. We are fellow Christians who share many aspects of our lives. We support one another, we pray for one another, we are physically there for one another. We are indeed like sisters.
At times I feel lonely, because I have known no sibling. I was never given the chance to be a real sister, not even to the one and only brother I could have had. But I give thanks that I have had many other sisters, and I have had the chance to be a sister to many others. Unfortunately, my boys will never have a sister.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why my life is no longer my own ...

The last few months, that was how I felt - that my life was no longer my own; that I belonged to everyone else but me; that I was losing control over my life.
My family should be utmost in my list of priorities. In many ways, they are. Especially my children. I brought them into this world and they are very important to me. However, they are still young and are very needy. Very often their needs take precedence over mine and everyone else's. At home sometimes I have no time for myself, unless I hide myself in my room and lock everyone else out. Terrible, I know. But, to remain sane, I need time for myself and I need quiet time. My hubby, well, he IS my chosen life partner and I DO need to allocate time for him, for us. Unfortunately, I don't give him that much of my time. So sorry, mate!! My mother, who lives with me, also demands a lot from me sometimes. And there are times when I have chosen to ignore her, just so that I could stay quiet and rest.
My work is another time and energy sapping aspect of my life. The thing is I don't always view work as WORK! Sometimes work is personal. Sometimes work is interest. Sometimes work is caring and sharing. So work is never JUST WORK! Even my husband questions me about why my work takes up so much of my time and energy. Example, why I have to be at school almost daily for cheer practice, why I was busy with drama, why I had, still have, bags of tshirts in my car, why my car is like a store room, why I bring my kids along to school on weekends. The last few years, work seems to be intruding into a lot of my life, and even the lives of my family members. Sometimes this is of my own doing. Sometimes it's not. I am basically a people-work person, not a paper-work person. As long as it is people-work, I am more likely to let the work come into my life.
So this is why I have this feeling that I am losing myself in everything. I need some time off work and just go away for a while. It's only July and I am so ready for a 7 week break. I am tired, physically and mentally. Sometimes I also feel emotionally drained. NOW I am starting to feel a little sadder that I did not get the scholarship. That would have given me more opportunity to spend time with my family, as well as do things for myself. So my chance is gone since I am not eligible to apply for the next batch in December. Without the scholarship, I will not go for further studies. I cannot manage. I am barely managing now.
I will soon have to find time to just do some soul-searching and be still so that I can have some self-examination. I need to get back some control over my life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some hurts I have felt

The previous post was not about me. It wasn't about my pains, just reflecting how it would pain me. But here I'd like to share one of those incidents which indeed hurt me a lot, though it was probably not intentional.
Some time back, a few years, actually, it was Teacher's Day. I have never been much of a popular teacher. What to do? Always the tigress in class. Not that I desired to be a popular teacher. But then, I am human. So it was Teacher's Day. Someone ... some students I had been very close to actually passed by me. And said nothing to me. They went straight on to someone else, a temporary teacher, and in very loud voices, almost in front of me, gave HER a card, and said how much they liked her. Yeah, that was one of those times I felt like something had hit me really hard. I was hurt, not because they had given her a card, but because the whole scene almost seemed like it was done to spite me. And I thought they were my closest students, at that time anyway. That hurt stayed with me a long time. I never told them about it even though they detected some change in the way I dealt with them after that. Thinking back, it still hurts a little. Mainly because they seem to have forgotten me. I have not seen them for a long time, and I have not heard from them since the last time I met them. Yeah, they are busy. I know. I understand, I think.
So yeah ... this was one of those experiences that had hurt me a lot. And I know why I felt hurt. It's because I was stupid enough to let my heart be involved. To many, I am this very ferocious tigress of a woman who can really scream at some people. Or maybe I am this mother hen of a woman who just fusses over everything and everyone. Perhaps what many have forgotten is that inside this body is a heart.

Appreciation and recognition

It pains me to say this but yes, I occasionally feel the need for appreciation and recognition for what I have done. I might not have done a lot, but ... yeah, the little that I have done, sometimes needs approval and appreciation.
As a mother, it pains me when my boys go to the maid for comfort. It feels as if I have not done the job of a mother, and so they prefer to go to the maid.
As a wife, it pains me when my husband cannot find it in his heart to confide in me the troubles that he faces. As his mate and life partner, I should be the one he shares things with.
As a teacher, it pains me when I have students who have taken what I do for granted - as if I HAVE TO do the things I do.
As a civil servant, it pains me when I see deserving colleagues not given the recognition due to them.
As a friend, it pains me when I see someone hurt by words of other people, spoken without much thought.
Today I felt sad, that this pain was seen in the faces of some people.

Monday, July 6, 2009

D*starz #1

Cheer 09 is now over. The official results from CHARM are out. We didn't win, but I am very proud of the team. For those who need to understand why we still send a team even though we did not have that big a chance of winning (Sorry if this sounds bad), it's because we are proud to part of the NATIONAL level competition. No other teams or individuals in SA has gone to a national level competition and can say that she/they are among the top 20 in the country. So, yeah, we might be #17 overall in the competition, but hey, we're #17 in MALAYSIA! No one can take that away from us. The girls have worked hard, endured lots of pain (physical and mental) to get to where they are. Some of these pains were inflicted in practice, some were inflicted by others - when nasty comments and unjust treatments by some people are made/given. To those who have been nasty to them, let me say this : GET YOURSELVES INTO A NATIONAL LEVEL COMPETITION AND WIN! Then you can be nasty to others.
So there, to the members of D*starz, you have done well, so don't be sad. And it is now time to rest, focus on your studies and then later, prepare for Cheer 2010! I want those Form 3 girls who were forbidden to take part this year due to PMR to get ready! Don't be surprised if I crack a whip to get you off your bums to go for practices. Kudos to all of you, D*starz #1!!!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Step kids?

Someone in D*starz commented that they are like step kids as compared to the niche area affected kids, ie. orchestra and choir. Let me just say this : cheerleaders are NOT step kids. They are an important part of the school. The last 2 years have been a real exposure to most people on how high profiled our cheerleaders are. We have appeared on tv (TV3, NTV7). We have appeared in a movie (Hooperz, which has yet to be screened), and we have featured in several high profiled events. So to these people who feel that the school does not care, please be assured that they do, I mean, the admin does. And I am going to try my level best to get more things for the cheerleaders.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Shall we do it again next year?

This is the question in many of our minds. IT referring to musical drama. Shall we put ourselves through the whole experience again next year? It was such a stressful time for many of us that we'd love to say NO. But then, we have proven that it can be done. So ... what is there to stop us from staging another production next year? We are all tired. But we miss the drill of practising and going through the whole experience. Ask the cast. They miss one another tremendously. The orchestra? They got such favourable reviews. Someone even commented that the Sri Aman orchestra is good enough to even play at the Istana Budaya. The choir also did a good job. Someone said that the whole group of people involved is like a family. I couldn't agree more.
Personally, I am keen. BUT I am not sure I can handle the workload. Realistically, I can foresee expectations going higher. As if the bar that we have set is not high enough! We shall see. Once the decision is made, hopefully by September, we will know if we need to get going again.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

School Spirit

Time to support the school!! Just as many of you have supported the school's musical drama, it is now time to support D*starz. Make your way to Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil on your own if you're not going in the school bus. Show the team that you're behind them and they have your support all the way. Buy the supporters shirts and fans. Go in droves and make a lot of noise. Show Malaysia that Sri Aman students are the BEST supporters!!! This is one very good way to show your love for the school and inculcate the school spirit.
I actually typed something else here but it got deleted so ... I'm too lazy to retype.