Monday, November 30, 2009

Photos as requested by Zainal

Practicum teachers and us

Had to sneak this in. A very old photo that resurfaced recently.

Sri Aman at "Two from Galilee"

Meeting up with an old friend ... Azian, and her family.

My few seconds of fame, with some "famous" people. Haha.
For Zainal, see the tall girl behind me? Faustina, Azlan's wife!
This has to be one of those unforgetables, for me anyway. Me dancing with Jeremy and a twisted ankle
Our pride, "I have a dream", the cast and crew.

Teachers Day 2009, with my good friends. Together we are really a force to reckon with.
At ICELT, with Dr Lee Su Kim (above), and Dr Alan Maley (below).

This man ... is one person who has often inspired me, Dr Malachi Edwin.

Ladies in blue at the Royal Gala Dinner

Staff and PTA of Sri Aman at the dinner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dependence on technology

Much as I loathe to admit it, I am very dependant on all things technological. Perhaps not as dependant as some people, but I AM dependant. I guess this is a problem with most people of this generation. We get things and do things the "instant" way. Everything is expected to be done fast and proper.
When I am without my laptop and internet for a few days, I feel lost. If I have both, but they are not functioning up to expectations, I feel like I want to throw the laptop away, and make a formal complaint to the broadband service provider. I guess if I pay good money for things like that, I expect the quality to be up to standard. Speaking of broadband, someone renamed streamyx as screamyx due to its lack of speed. If you have time, go to youtube and search for Hitler and Streamyx and you get to watch how some people are just too angry with Streamyx. Have a good laugh.
I have never really baked a cake from scratch. I depend on premixes. I have never cooked pasta sauce from scratch. I use a lot of short cuts. I have never slaughtered a chicken to cook. I have never really cleaned up a fish just caught. I am sure many of you are like me in that.
Recently I have taken to watching a Chinese series made by Mediacorp, Singapore. It is about the lives of some nyonyas. I admire how the nyonyas of old used to make and cook everything from scratch. Not only that, they do it in less than desirable conditions (imagine stoves that use burning wood) and wearing their nyonya kebayas. I see them pounding chillies and what-nots, drawing water from wells, doing embroidery, making lots of kuihs and doing numerous other things, all from scratch, the hard way.
I guess I take for granted a lot of things that have only existed the last few decades. Perhaps it will be good to go back to basics once in a while if possible. Maybe in December, when I have finished some assigned work, I will try to not turn on the laptop for a week or so. I will try to bake a cake from scratch, even if it is just a simple butter cake. Let's see if I can do it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What a waste of time and money!

Yesterday was a total waste of time for me, and for about 300 over people. On top of that, it was also a total waste of money ... tax payers' money.
Some people in a certain department had to finish spending money allocated to the said department. So, to finish it, they organised a trip for over 300 students and about 50 to 60 teachers. The trip was to Genting Highlands. I thought that we were going to have sessions of talks and then wander off to the theme park or something. I understiood that there would be facilitators.
Instead, what happened was that we were all given tshirts, track bottoms, name tags and caps. We were given drinks and food. Then we were brought to the theme park and Snow World. We were fed lunch at the First World Cafe. Good food! We were also taken to the Strawberry Farm. So, tell me, where is the objective of integration or lesson on whatever that the students were supposed to learn? I don't understand.
On top of that, the whole thing was such a shoddily organised programme (what programme?) that we spend a lot of time waiting for one another. So much time was wasted because the organisers were slow, or just plain ignorant. Being in Genting Highlands is generally an enjoyable time for most people. However, it was far from being enjoyable when the students (and teachers) were herded from place to place and made to wait for groups of people who were slow. So, wouldn't you agree that it was a waste of time and money? Grrrrrr.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yes I cleaned up my table

For those who long for me to do my annual gotong royong, it's done! I have started the cleaning up of my table, and my place, in general. I have thrown away LOTS of old books and handouts, some files and lots of paper. Okay, not exactly thrown into the garbage bin, but into the recycling bin. My colleague ... the one who sits right behind me, says HE is going to blog about it. He doesn't realise that he would not be the first to do so! Haha! I feel sad about having to part with some of the books, but they are old books which I have not touched for a long time. So ... there!

Friday, November 13, 2009

ICELT in Melaka

Spending 2 days in Melaka for the ICELT was a lot of things. It was boring (when certain people presented), it was hilarious (those workshops), it was enlightening (when we learned new things) and it was also affirming (when we found that we were heading in the right way after all). The 2 days spent there were not in vain, and I am glad I attended the conference.
The few people or presenters who did a real good job were people like A. Maley, S.J. Hall, C. Graham, M. Edwin, R. Tan, S. Menon. Some others had lots of content which were good but they were not dynamic presenters, so it was a little dry and boring.
Here are some snippets of funny observations :
A young lady teacher ran like a little girl to an elderly but rather popular presenter saying, "Oh Mr ??, I have been looking for you", and the presenter went "Oh, I have been looking for you too" like two love-struck teenagers.
In the melodrama workshop, one participant (a man) actually picked up another (a young lady) on his shoulder and carted her off. Then he picked up another young lady (who was supposed to be a chair) and threw her away. A young lady sat on a young man (supposed to be a table) as if fainted. A rather large woman "sat" on a small young lady (who was supposed to be a chair). Two women fought literally like cats and dogs.
A presenter made participants answer questions by throwing a ball at them. The ball got thrown numerous times at people sitting NOT in the front row. The said presenter also made a comment that people who say far away from the front would have to move because the back portion was going to blow up in 10 minutes! He also made us write down the last message we received in our handphones. Some were just plain hilarious.
A presenter got everyone to sing and clap to some nonsensical sentences. She was actually teaching us jazz chants and we had to participate actively. It was fun!
All in all, it was an enjoyable conference. Although things could have been better in some ways, I'm sure we could all look past that and just bask in the enjoyment that we had. My roommate had a lot of fun too .... didn't we?
I hope I get to attend more conferences and learn and get refreshed in my knowledge of ELT, and to be affirmed that I am doing things right.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What I am looking forward to

Like I wrote in my last post, there are two more weeks to go. In the meantime, I do look forward to some things. Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be in Malacca for a conference with my buddy. It is not a trip for pleasure, but it will not all be work. We will find time to roam the streets of Malacca for food and things to buy. We might even find time (and be thick skinned enough) to go for a swim. Or in my case, a dip in the pool. For sure it will be enjoyable because we will be learning, and hopefully improving on our knowledge. On top of that, being able to attend the conference with a good friend is indeed a bonus. And on top of that, with the two of us being the nutty people we are, sometimes, we are sure to make the best of the time there. After all, we don't travel to Malacca very often.
Besides that, I am also looking forward to writing again. Some of you might be aware that I write. I have co-written several workbooks and sample exam papers for publication. I have been asked to write again and I have agreed. Yes, there is a deadline, but I will just have to find time and get my creative juices to work. I have always enjoyed writing and improving on my writing skills. I am no Grace K for sure, but I am an English Language teacher after all.
Perhaps I will also be looking forward to learning some new things which I am not ready to share about yet. Some already know what new things I will be doing next year. I am fearful and I tremble with trepidation. But at the same time I am excited and I hope I do a good job.
As for the holidays, yes, I very much look forward to that. I have not planned anything yet. Perhaps I will do so soon. Ciao.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2 more weeks

Another fortnight and we finally break for the holidays. It has been a tiring, stressful and frustrating year. Yet it has also been a fantastic, fun and enjoyable year. Hated it! Loved it! Wished it could have been different. Wouldn't trade it for the world!
Some of those things I didn't like doing turned out to be learning experience for me. Some of those wishes that didn't come true became wake-up calls for me. Someone I thought was all good turned out not to be so perfect after all. It has been an adventure, this school year. I shall blog more later. In a hurry to take Jon to his art class. More later ... hmmm that sounds like Millie O!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Her Majesty the Queen

Two nights ago marked a historical day for SA, and for most if not all of us, staff, students and parents of SA. We had dinner with her majesty, the Queen, otherwise known as the Permaisuri Agong.
The whole event was full of pomp and everyone turned up in their BEST outifts and all decked in fineries, bling blings and all. Everyone took extra care to look their best. Someone I know had her hair done, someone else had a make-up artist over to do up her makeuup. I had a manicure/pedicure. All because we wanted to look our best, and give ourselves a chance to pamper ourselves.
Looking at the outfits worn by most of us, I can safely say that this event will never be dwarfed by any other event we are all ever going to attend.
Although her majesty only spent about an hour with us, it was sufficient for us to experience the presence of ROYALTY in a very formal setting. It was scary and nerve-wrecking, but it was also something we will cherish. Pictures? Look for them in my facebook. I didn't bring my camera but some people are going to tag me there. Well, maybe I will post a few here later.