Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Napping: My School Time

School! I’m pretty much done with school (because I’ve graduated). Anyway I don’t think that I’ve spent much time in school because I always absence. Well, I categorized absence here into three different things:
1- Skipping class, and sometimes school too.
2- Daydreaming
3- Taking a nap

Among these, I like number 3 the most. I don’t really know why I like it. But I do know why I took a nap in almost 75% of my school life.

Let me list them down, see if you and I have anything in common.

1. I don’t like the teacher (but I’m not scared by him/her)

This is my top reason. I mean, if you don’t like someone, if there any better way to tell him/her? I’m not being rude, just being honest.

2. I’m all exhausted
This could happen. Honestly. When I was in Form 4, I always complaint of the timetable. Whoever arranges that bloody timetable should be more understanding. The trouble is on Beta Mondays (we got 2 different week-Alpha and Beta) my class got Biology in lecture hall for 1st and 2nd period. Then we go straight to P.E for 3rd and 4th. Then we got recess, which we can hardly get something to eat because we need to change to our school uniforms and the P.E coach always let us leave at the very last minute. After recess is Add Math double period, and after that is Physics (also double period). And so on until 2.05 p.m.

One day, we got this test (I don’t even remember what the name for this test is). It required us to do different sort of things including push-up, sit-up, a few rounds of 400 m and lots more. I could still survive add math class, because I always love math. But then, at physics lab, I can’t open my eyes. So, I sleep (it is no longer a nap if you sleep the entire period, is it?)

3. There is no teacher, neither a substitute
This is what I called free time. Yeah, usually excellent student would use this time to finish their homework and do extra revision, but I choose a nap over that boring task (which I can do later, when my grades aren’t impressive enough).

4. I’m in holiday mood
I should blame the Ministry of Education for this. Who said they can make us substitute our leave on the weekends? Well, of course they can because they are the government. But, the teachers aren’t in the mood too, why should I?

5. It is afternoon (damn hot atmosphere)
I love my country, and the weather. But sometimes I wish I live in the artic. And I do hope there is someone brilliant enough to stop global warming.

6. It is in the lecture hall (and I’m in the most strategic seat)
Lecture, as we all know, BORING! I must let my mind have a good rest, mustn’t I?

I've got lots more good reason as why to take a nap in class, but I couldn't think of it right now. Maybe I'll continue someday. Who knows?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How a TV ad influence me

Credits for my friend, Murali who talks about “How are the stories around you influencing you?” in his blog, Lifetime Learning.

I just want to share just a minor (not major) story of one of the PETRONAS ads. All of PETRONAS ads have been known as touching and always meaningful by people in my country. And I’m going to talk about this particular one:

You can watch it for free at


If you can’t understand the language, I guess I can give a picture of it. The ad starts with the male doctor release the old man to rest in his daughter’s house. But then, the man insisted to get back to his own home.

Anyway, his daughter asks him to come and live with her family. She even promises him to take a good care of him until he really is healthy again. As soon as he heard this, her husband ask her can’t he stay in the hospital at least until after Raya (this is a celebration by muslims, commonly known as Eid ul Fitr). Unfortunately for the husband, the public hospital is always full, so there is no way that his father-in-law should be allowed to stay once he is stable.

Then, they show several scenes of the family having dinner (actually at first it is them breaking fast, so we can say it is dinner too) and the old man keep breaking glasses and making messes and things like that.

He husband and wife have finally had it and they isolated the old man, providing him with his own table, and his own dining set, which is made of plastics. And they let him to eat alone.

And the couple finally realized their mistakes when their own children are imitating their unfair treat to the old man by saying that when they grow up, they will let their parent to eat alone while they are enjoying their meals inside of the house. Obviously they have sent the wrong message to the little children.

And now I’m telling you how this ad has influence me in a way. I do have parents, who are apparently old and they often get sick and being admitted into hospital every now and then. When I saw this ad, I made a resolution that when I’ve fully grown up (apparently I still didn’t finish my tertiary education and I’m jobless) I won’t treat them like that. I mean, that is far beyond humanity, isn’t it? I will take a good care of them.

Well, maybe that is too early to say anything ambitious like that. But then, right now, I try my best to fulfill my parents’ wishes. For example, once I was too busy with my study and I’ve been busy for weeks, and I’ve been away from home for quite a long period, I simply don’t have time for anyone. But then, my mom calls me and asks me to sit right by her side and just accompany her. Not much to ask. I mean, she didn’t ask me to hike up Mount Everest, did she? I was just going to say no but when I remember this ad, I couldn’t say no. What would I feel when my children do the same to me in the future?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Giving 100%

When I found out that I was recruited to National Service, and I’m going to be sent across the South China Sea in order to report myself in one of the NS camps in Sarawak, I have two choices. I’m going or I’m not. Two tough choices I must say.

If I’m not going, then I’ll break the law. If I’m going, then I’ll spend over two months of my precious time just to do things as I’m told to? I mean those time could be used to collect money, to gain work experiences, and to get my driving licence.

Anyway, I’ve made my choice. I choose to go (or they said to serve my country, whatever). And I left the comfort of my home with one objective- this is not going to be just a waste of time.

The first week is killing me. Boring….. And I don’t know the people. I kept thinking of how am I going to make friends? I still remember our Vice Commandant of Training (TKL) gave us a welcome speech. She said that they (the management and trainers) are going to give us many chances, but it’s up to us (the trainees) to grab those chances. We won’t get anything unless we choose to involve a 100%.

Initially, everyone (trainers and some trainees) always use that phrase. “Are you going to let yourself involve 100% or not?” they kept saying, whenever someone refuse to do things as they were told to do. At first, I couldn’t understand. What’s up with a 100% involvement? Yeah, I admit that sometimes I can be a bit na├»ve and clueless.

So, I try to keep myself low-profile. I try to avoid disciplinary problem. And the result is not only I’m miserable, but I’m lonely.

Towards the end of the training programme, I finally took the TKL’s advice. I don’t care of what others are thinking. I want to do things not because I’m told to, but I want to do it for myself. That is the true meaning of involving by 100%. So, I joined the basketball team knowing that I’m nothing like the Chinese players. I represented my company in chess because I know that I can do this. I joined rafting team even though it is my first time. I speak up my opinion even though I’m going to hurt others. I tried ‘flying fox’ despite the fact that I’m scared of height. And only by that point, I’m happy to join NS. And of course, this is definitely not a waste of time.

Additional Links

Program Latihan Khidmat Negara

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Have a heart

This is a community service message delivered by ME to anyone who cares…

Years ago, someone I love suffered from slipped disc. I have no intention to explain the disease in detail because it is a boring subject, but I’ll give you some idea.

A slipped disc is when the soft part of the disc (cartilage, which made up the vertebrae in our spinal cord) swells through the circle of connective tissue. However, 20 per cent of the population have slipped disc without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.

So, the story of my beloved begins with pain at her knee. Each time she seeks doctor, the answer is always the same. You’re old, and the fluid that acts as lubricants may have running out. And each and every time, the doctor will give her an injection, to make the pain go away.

This has been going on for years until one day, my beloved paid a visit to a Chinese who practices traditional medicine. And without any help of x-ray or MRI machine or CT scan, but just to have a look at my beloved, the Chinese old man knew, the problem is not in the knee, but in the spinal cord.

Although now we know what cause the problem, we still can’t solve it. My beloved almost lost hope until yet another doctor suggests her to do an operation. Guess what! It not only has failed (due to infection), but it has made my beloved’s condition become worse.

And since then, my beloved has taken numerous medications. And none of them have any noticeable positive changes.

Hope. I guess my beloved’s hope to get well soon, has reversed impact. For a few months, we can see some changes. She got rounded face and increased fat around the neck. Purplish pink stretch marks can be seen on some part of her body. Her backaches even become more often. And what is weirder is that she had excess hair growth on her face!

Luckily, we got her into the hospital on time. Doctors said that she could be dead if it is too late. She suffered from Cushing’s syndrome where the patient’s body produce a high level of hormone cortisol. Our body won’t do that unless there is something wrong with hypothalamus (a part in our brain). So what cause this? Well, it is because of one of the pills prescribed by the doctor. No, the pills do not damaged my beloved’s brain, but it contains too much steroid. So, basically my beloved is overdose of steroid, which in turn increases the level of cortisol in her body.

If you are wondering why I am writing all about this, then I’ll tell you. Before that, please bear in mind that the doctors involve in this story is not one, or two, or three, but much more than that.

The message is if you are a patient, or your family member is ill, you need to be a little smarter. Seek second, or third (or fourth if you like) opinion before you make any decision. Your life is at stakes!

And if you are a doctor, or you plan to be one, please be responsible of whatever you do to your patient. Have a heart (not literally because we all know you do have one). Show an act of concern, not just thinking of how much profit you could make by scamming desperate people. It won't kill you to run a few test and think harder to figure out what is wrong with your patient.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Away Message

I’m going to be away from the comfort of my house and the pleasure of internet until March next year. National Service, here I come!!!

So, there will be no posts from me until next year. Sorry for any inconvenience. But, please stay tune. I do hope to have visitors when I came back.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

There is this old photograph of me standing in front of our previous house in JB, which my parents absolutely adored. In this particular photo, I was holding a pink umbrella on one hand, and one of my favorite cuddly toy on my other hand. This cuddly toy previously belonged to my older sister. When she grew up (she’s 10 years older than me), she gave it to my other older sister (who is 5 years older than me). And by the time this photo was taken, the cuddly toy finally belongs to me. From the looks of my expressions in the photo, I seemed very happy and probably of the fact that my mom was holding the camera, focusing on me. I had this smile across my face that shined with personality and gave the picture a bit of innocence.

What innocence and decent times those were; I was yet unaware of the cruel realities of life. Everything was care free and easy. I pretty much do my own thing. This includes spending almost every minute of my early days in front of the television. Power Rangers, Ultraman, and Kampung Boy are my favorites. I sure miss the days with countless hours doing absolutely nothing stressful; I would give anything to be a child again.

As a little kid, I used to be happy and active. I have countless scars on almost every part of my body due to my mischievous act. I didn’t mind when people laugh at me since all I care is having fun.

Thirteen years later, my parents took another photo that they absolutely cherish. It was the same star, it’s me but this time I’ve become taller, and gained extra weight too. The cuddly toy that used to be my buddy is nowhere to be found since I don’t have any younger sister to pass it on.

I’m no longer interested in Power Rangers or any other action-figure. I get headaches whenever my little brothers or my nephews get their hands on the remote control. I lead an inactive lifestyle since I am too busy trying to improve my grades and to impress people. I rarely do what I really want to do since I am scared of what other people might think of me.

Nowadays, whenever I look at my old photographs or watch my nephews and little brothers, I think back at how great those times were when I was a kid. It’s quite sarcastic that as a kid you always want to grow up fast so that people treat you differently and hear your voice. However, when you grow up you wish you could turn back the time.

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering- and it’s all over much too soon. –Woody Allen-

Teacher and Student Relationship

There is a unique ‘thing’ between the teacher, educator, tutor, governess, lecturer, guru, mentor- whatever their name is, with their student, pupil, learner, apprentice- whoever we call ourselves. There’s a saying that sounds like this: Do not judge a book by its cover. But still, we can’t resist the fact that we all do that, don’t we?

When it comes to teachers, some of them can’t escape the fact that they are being judged by their students. Some students will grow a love/hate or a friendship/enemy relationship with their teachers. At first encounter it seems easy to judge teachers, but eventually you always learn something.

This is a story from someone whom I know, about her relationship with her teacher, which I think, is worth to display here.

My math teacher has transferred to another school. She is always loving but at the same time disciplining, smart and one word best describe her is extraordinary.

My greatest regret was that I got a C for Additional Mathematics in the final exam. It was one shocking result for me. I couldn’t give that to her. Even I didn’t like that fact, but a C was one last impression 
about me that I left her. On her last day, she even asked what happened to me. I was feeling so down that I couldn't answer  such a simple question.

Anyhow, a new year begins. A new math teacher, replacing her is reporting to our school real soon. Rumor spreads out that it is going to be a male teacher. A young one. Freshly graduated from a top university. All my girl classmates are looking forward to meet him. Yeah, right. I still think that it will never be the same. I miss my previous teacher.

The day finally comes. He enters our class, introduces himself, and starts teaching. As usual, I judge people. His voice is shaky. His explanations don't make any sense. He refers to the textbook a lot. This guy is either lack of confidence, or lack of preparation. And I’m practically not interested. So, I surrender to my tiredness. I sleep in his math class!

This is going on and on. I’m not sure when will I stop. If I do not sleep, I’ll do my own work. Things become even worse when I feel that his teaching is consuming too much time. I prefer that we spend more time on exercises rather than listening to his babbling about math in our daily life. The truth is, I grow my extreme dislike of this new teacher because I felt being underestimated by him. Why? The answer is simple. He did not recommend my name to a try out for Mathematics Olympiad. I still can’t believe it. I entered the Olympiad last year, and he didn't give me a chance just because of one lousy C compared to many other A’s I've got before.

One other thing is I felt quite embarrassed due to one incident. I was asleep while he is teaching in front. I wasn’t so deep in sleep. I still hear everyone around me. Suddenly, I feel like there’s someone at my side. There he is. My new math teacher is looking patiently at me. He is holding a piece of paper, and he asks me to answer one question about something that he has just taught when I was not paying attention to him. Even though I managed to answer his question (thank God), but still I got every eye in the classroom looking at me in disgust.

My ego should be praised in this case. I work harder than ever, I did a lot of math exercises and I never got anything but an A in every single test and exam. My new teacher is no longer complaining about me not paying attention in class. I knew this because once, he summoned my best friend to the Math Department. He asks her whether she got any problem with him. My friend is angry, instead of answering; she asks him why didn't he summon me too. The answer is simple and pleasant to me. He didn’t summon me because my performance in every test and exam is satisfying.

Trough my best friend, I finally understand the fact that this new teacher should not be blamed of. He made us copy notes (we never take notes in math class before) because the head of department insisted on it. He is teaching the way he is right now because he can’t leave the slow-learners to learn math on their own.

Only after that day did I realized that this new teacher is trying really hard to make us learn something. It is not just about getting best grades (although this is the school’s main priority), but it is also about relating math to our daily life and to applying it in problem solving. And that day, he finally gains my respect. I still do my own work while he’s teaching. But, we have discussed about it and he allows me as the fast-learner to move to another level. He’ll help me whenever I have difficulties. And I’m thankful that this new teacher did not report me to my parents or something.

However, I still didn’t tell him about me feeling quite sad being underestimated by him. Let’s just keep it as our secret, shall we? After all, I have proved that the C is just a stepping stone that push me to strive for my success.

From this story, we can conclude that nowadays the teachers, to some degree, need to demonstrate that they are worthy of the students' respect. Proving to us that they are not just another stereotypical teacher, trying to impress their students, but instead that they truly deserve the title of teacher.

Unlike stereotypical teacher, the teachers should be more creative in their teaching approach. I mean, if you’re teaching at 12 noon when the atmosphere is too hot, you can’t be using monotone voice. Students will fall asleep easily. Be more creative. Change your approach; don’t just explode your anger to students. It’s not entirely their fault.

In my friend’s case, the teacher solve his problem with students by communicating with them. It is clear that some student is hiding their own reasons. Teachers should just dig that problem out and together work out to find a solution that is acceptable by everyone.

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. –Helen Keller

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Call for Humanity

About a year ago, I wrote this entry in my journal.

The title attracted me to read this inspiring story of Yvonne Fong, a neurofibromatosis (NF) patient. Instead of giving up and hoping for some miracle to happen, the 19-year old initiated various ways to raise funds needed for her to seek appropriate treatment in the United States.

She started with raising awareness through her blog, so people can get to know about NF. The, she initiated HEART4HOPE- a t-shirt fundraiser. Besides that, she is in the process of publishing a book titled 'I’m not sick, just a bit unwell’, which details her battle with NF.

Yvonne has to deal with people around her along this journey. People like supplier, customers and the community itself. I was drawn to her quote, “Instead of indulging in self pity, why not think of what we can do?”

In my opinion, her spirit is important to keep her hope alive. She is eager to live a healthy life once again. I did learn of the importance of integrity through her story.

I remembered reading the article about Yvonne in The Star newspaper So, I tried to retrieve that same article via the archive at The Star Online. Unfortunately, the archive lasts for 365 days only. Luckily, I managed to find Yvonne Fong’s website. And I’m glad that I can finally get the latest news of Yvonne. It seems that she has gone through consistent medical check-up (MRI scans to monitor her brain and some other stuff). She also managed to get several successful surgeries to remove the tumors in the past years. But still, she needs our support to help her fight this disease.

~Her story still touched my heart even for years.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

crouching LIGER hidden TIGON

While some people first came across the name of ligers through the 2004 released movie-- Napoleon Dynamite, I got my first exposure on this magnificent beast by watching a documentary. I’m not sure whether it was played on National Geography or Animal Planet or Discovery Channel (I love them all), I can’t really remember.

Since I only got the chance to watch the last 10-minutes of the documentary, I think that the information was not enough. So, I surf the internet, and I found about tigons. And so does about liguars, jaglions, leopons, and lots of other Panthera hybrid. And If I were to describe my feelings in one word, I would say I feel fascinated.

But, let’s just say that that is so not me. I love writing. This is why I wrote this article. For those who have no idea of both liger and tigon, here is a summary for you. Liger is the offspring produced by male lion and female tigress. On the other hand, tigon is the offspring produced by male tiger and female lioness.

The accredited zoos under American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) would never mix two different species. However, some zoos which own ligers claimed that it happened accidentally. Pity the lion; I think it must have felt really lonely that it is willing to mate with a tigress. Unlike ligers, tigons are much rarer since it is unlikely that a male tiger is able to mate with female lioness. Besides, a lot of tigon will die before they can make it into this world. Premature birth is also likely to occur due to some reasons.

Even though it was an accident, but, like any other scientific mayhem such as cloning, the existence of liger and tigon is also being questioned. It is the matter of etiquette. This is my personal opinion:

I think that liger and tigon should be given opportunities to live like any other protected animal since they are innocent. It was their parents’ fault right? Funny. Or maybe we should blame some people who breed them to gain money from their popularity as exotic animals.

Come to think of it, I can’t imagine if these humongous ligers (which stands ten feet tall on its hind legs), does live in the wild (but this can’t happen due to their habitats do not overlap). I mean, to survive an attack of a lion is considered really lucky, and to die of being attacked by a lion is considered as horrible, what would we say if we encounter liger (which can weigh up to 1000 pounds) looking at us as its prey? Oh no, this can give me nightmares!

And I pity the zoos, or any other centre that take care of them. Ligers obviously eat more. And that costs more money. Who says it is an easy job?
External Links

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why I chose boarding school

In my very own house, we have certain policies that everyone should obey. These policies are not some sort of written laws, they are just some stuff that everyone just understand as something that we should do. And one of it is that everyone should get out of the house and study in any boarding school at the age of 16. Whatever that school may be, all we have to do is get ourselves a place in boarding school.

This may be the excuse I used in my favor to cover my enjoyment to experience new life, being away from my family. The thing is this was my dream.

So, for any of you out there who is still not determined whether or not to study in boarding schools or maybe parents who wants the best for your children or maybe even considerate grandparents about their beloved’s future, whoever you are, let’s share an insight about this matter.

First of all, we need to bear in mind that if you were to choose to attend a boarding school, you'll need to adjust to a new environment. What about the money spent there? Is it worth it? Couldn't the same education and experience be offered by any other type of school?

Being a boarding school alumni- - even though it has only been for a month at this moment, I have to say that attending a boarding school is worth it. You’ll need reasons right? My reasons are quite simple. My attendance to boarding school allows me to:

1. take responsibility
Living on your own, especially at young age is not an easy task to do. Of course you’ll get some assistance from everyone around you- it depends on how you socialize with people. But still, you’ll need to take care of yourself. This varies from simple things like doing your own laundry until some of the toughest tests like facing bullies. Not being under your parents’ supervision somehow influences some of you to try out new things, breaking the rules for example. Whatever that may be, in the end, you’ll learn to take responsibility for your own actions.

2. be in a healthy environment
Students who attended boarding schools had undergone some sort of screening first. They must be qualified enough and suits the criteria which have been preferred by the boarding school authorities. Not only that, the facilities and the teachers, and stuffs are tip top too. This is to ensure that the students have got whatever the need to achieve success and brings honor to the school.

Well, this depends on the type of boarding school. As in the case of in Malaysia, some boarding school doesn’t put their effort in this aspect. I suggest you to have a visit at that particular school first before you make that important decision.

3. have a lot of fun
Living in dormitories is fun. Imagine living in a house full of your best friends. Seriously, well, as long as you get along with your dorm mates. Here is my little advice: if you are not really the type of person who enjoys making new friends, you need to at least build a network of acquaintances. They will become handy, especially to provide you with some important information like the drama club is running interview sessions, or there is scholarship being offered right now and the due date is in 3 days.

Do not isolate yourself as you’ll end up empty and you will never be able to enjoy boarding school life. Face the facts that someday in your future; you’ll have to socialize with your office mates and get along with them to move you up the ladder.

4. learn more about peers pressure
Students are from all walks of life from a wide range of geographical background. Some of them are way different from you are. For all of these differences, you might consider to change yourself a bit to suit your pals better. Guess what. This will destroy your identity, you’ll be lying to yourself and every minute you experiences, you feel that you are pathetic. Therefore, build up your self-esteem first before you put yourself in any boarding school. Be confident of who you are.

If you are a jerk, everyone said so, including your very best friends, then you need to change a bit. Even if you don’t think so because you are just being honest and outspoken, you need to take action. Seriously, if that’s the case, try to learn some communication skills.

5. prepare for college life
The majority of boarding schools are geared for motivated students who are looking to explore new opportunities. They are often ideal choices for students who are already doing generally well at school and at home, but would simply like to find new challenges. Some of the top boarding schools are being trusted by big names in scholarship, foundation and special program for high-achievers.

6. save my money
The fees include the cost of food at the dining hall. As in my case, the food served by the dining hall 6 times a day is enough for me. Plus, the school is located so near to the hostel, I can walk. Compared to if I were attending public school which are located far away from my house, I’ll need to spend money on transportation.

7. realize how important my family is to me
As the old sayings goes: jauh di mata, dekat di hati - -it means if they are far that we can’t see them, they’ll be closer to our heart. Being away from just taught me that my family is irreplaceable.

8. discipline myself
Boarding schools usually have tighter rules. No TV, no cell phones, no staying up late at nights, and stuffs like that. Well, it depends on the school authorities but they usually have their own terms and conditions if that stuffs are allowed at their school. Of course the teachers are not supervising the students 24-7, this is why I said it taught me about self-discipline. This quality is something that will be desired by employers once these students enter the job world.

9. learn about time management
Good time management is crucial. The activities in boarding schools are packed, and they are designed that way on one purpose. That is, to encourage students to plan the amount of time they spent in particular aspects.

10. be a part of a unique community
Boarding schools have their own identity, their own tradition that has been shared among the students of many generations. This will lead to a sense of proud of their school and their status.

One last thing, i need to remind you that life is not easy. it is just the matter of how we deal with it. Tests, accidents, being hurt is a part of ingredients that colours our daily life.
These past 2 years in boarding school hasn't been the easiest for me, with this I learnt to appreciate and value my life and in many ways it made me who I am today and with that change has come, that change, for the best.