Saturday 12 July 2014

How do you use Microsoft Word?

Anyone who knows how to use a computer would be familiar with this...

I could be bias, but I am extremely proud of my husband, who could do this... with Microsoft Word!


or even create ideas to expand the current house in Auckland to maximise its value with the least amount of renovation fees...

...all while having no background in art but a whole lot of interest in cars and houses...

I love how my husband is someone who thinks out of the box!

Saturday 5 July 2014

Do not lose heart

This morning I waited for my pastors to pick me up for our prayer meeting. There were only 3 of us, but then again, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20).

Compared to the many prayers meeting I've been before, the ones we have here in this church in Gua Musang is a whole lot more intense... We're not talking about an hour of intercession, but it went on to more than 4 hours... Praying in tongues, seeking the Lord, praying for the land, the people, the many needs...

You see, I have been praying for a long time to hear from God. From time to time, it felt like there were prompts, the 'still small voice', messages, songs etc that felt like guidance from Him but I was never really sure. I mean, we often read about the audible interaction between God and men in the old testaments. the disciples get to hear directly from Jesus in the New Testament, and also testimonies of people having dreams and visions of God speaking to them... I guess I always wanted to have a personal encounter as such; yet a part of me would still be worried and wondered what if God really did speak to me but I didn't like what He said lol.

With all the challenges Alex and I are currently facing, I couldn't help but really needed to hear from God. Scared or not scared, I felt like we needed specific direction or even hope, to persevere and brave the storm... So after praying and singing in tongues, I was silently praying within me "speak to me Lord, speak to me Lord..."

The beautiful thing about praying in tongues is that you have no control over what you speak and it felt like a beautiful language... and suddenly I found myself repeating 'too chora sei',
'too chora sei', 'too chora sei'..... And even when I started praying for other things, those 4 syllables kept coming back to me... I had no idea what it meant... And I started praying to God to explain to me...

Next thing I knew, I just had to stop praying, and I reached out for my phone, to locate my bible app...

To be honest, I have no idea what gave me that thought, I was led to interpret
'too chora sei' and 2 Corinthians (from 'too chora') chapter 4 (from the cantonese sound of the number 4 hahahaha)... And I really don't know whether that would even make sense lol... But that was the chapter I turned to...

I read each word... the whole chapter... repeatedly...

The whole chapter was speaking to me...

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.  
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  
10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  
11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  
12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,  
14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.  
15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

While I meditated on the whole chapter, the first few verses were the wake up call for me - especially on the part of do not distort the word of God. It is so easy to compromise on God's order by rationalising it to fit with our selfish desires. It is also extremely easy to 'simplify' God's words according to our own understanding...

But the verses that really spoke to me were verses 16 to 18: DO NOT LOSE HEART....

I suddenly realised how tired I have been emotionally, battling the challenges of a long distance marriage, complicated family issues, uncertain future, my husband's new transition, and the burden placed on my heart for the unjust treatment the Asli students received and the brokenness in the lives of my students...

But still what tires me out the most is the lack of breakthrough in Alex's situation even though he had worked so hard to honour God and not succumb to the ways of men, to do the right things, to go the extra mile, and yet we were brought back to the starting point... Though we are both praying together, supporting each other, and excited for the new future, I realise I do get scared... Scared of the disappointments, of having to go through rounds of road blocks, halfway leads, near misses, and the worst - disappointment from people especially the ones that matter....

BUT I FELT SO MUCH PEACE as the words sank in,


Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

I realised it is so true that we may feel defeated on the outside, but within us, God is working, and renewing us. Just like the eagle, that braces the storm, builds its muscles in the process and soar above the storm...I really believe (regardless of whether 2 Corinthians 4 has anything to do with 'too chora sei'), God did lead me to those scriptures, to those very words I needed at that moment - the reassurance from Him.

I hardly write about my Christian faith though I do often give God the glory... But this could not pass without been penned down.

And so I will not lose heart. We will persevere. We will come out victorious for God is with us.

Thursday 26 June 2014

getting to their level

There has been a lot of heat recently when a PHD student wrote a public open letter to a rather controversial yet popular news webpage, telling teachers to use L2 instead of L1 in the classrooms and was very against word-to-word translation, indirectly blaming Malaysian English teachers for the downfall of the overall English proficiency among students.

To be perfectly honest, while I feel victimised by her opinions, I looked at the teachers around me and would give her credit to a certain extent.

Of course, no language teachers would choose to teach the target language in the students' mother's tongue if they have a choice. Speaking for myself, I would choose to teach in English above all else in a really ideal situation. But how often do we get an ideal classroom?

The truth is, there are HEAPS of lazy teachers.

Those who are only concern about their salary and their 'claims', those who do not enter classes, those who enter classes but do not teach, those who never even bother coming to school, those who leave the school way before they should, those who use school hours to run personal errands, those who hand out answers to students during exams to ensure his/her class score well, those who never step foot in the school assembly, those who eat in the canteen during school assembly, those who get students to run tasks for them while they laze at their couch smoking, those who blatantly stand up and leave the meeting room even when the principal is still giving his speech, those who are more concern about selling things than their lesson plans, those who constantly trying on the array of tudung, those who do not enter the exam classes to invigilate and give students the permission to cheat, and those who take the easy way out.

(the examples above are found in my school.)

And I have also come across English teachers who teach in L1, simply because they do not have the competency in L2.

There is an obvious lack of creativity, passion and dedication among many of our teachers. Of course they have to take the blame to a certain extent, but I also see the great burnt out as well as lack of motivation amongst them, simply because many of us are stuck in very discouraging situation.

Most of them are struggling with long-distance-marriage, our students are a tough bunch to teach, the students' parents do not value education, and mostly, for the bright and enthusiastic teachers, their fuel easily runs out simply as there is a great lack of professional development, acknowledgement or even support.

I really enjoyed my time teaching the Catholic High Students. They are highly proficient, witty, and a whole lot of fun to teach. Not only was I able to apply whatever I've learned in teaching, I taught only in English, was able to maximise my lessons with help of technology, and students often surprised me with their end product.

But now,

I teach in a high school in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

We were apparently ranked at the very bottom of the high schools in Kelantan, and Kelantan's SPM achievement was at the bottom tier out of the 13 states.

To better show you my students' level, here's a glance of their recent results:

Most of them scored below 25 marks and those marks are already from their effort in cheating during test. (3 out of 5 classes admitted to cheating when I threatened to retest them after seeing the obvious attempts in cheating; while the other 2 were just too weak to even cheat).

I don't know whose fault is it that at the age of 14 - 17, many still can't identify the meanings of very basic vocabulary such as 'trees' and 'bread'. I wanted to blame their previous teachers but then again when I tried my hardest to teach them, they seemed to have learned it well on that lesson but very soon forget everything the next day and even had the guts to claim that I had never taught them that before.


It is a profession that brings you a lot of disappointment, if you fully invest yourself in it.

It is a profession where your pay does not equate to the time and effort of your toil.

It is a profession with the highest risk of stress-related illness.

It is a profession with little respect and regard in our country.

It is a profession highly misunderstood by many.

It is a profession you either hate or love.

But, when you have GOOD TEACHING DAYS, or a simple ACKNOWLEDGEMENT or APPRECIATION from your students,


Satisfaction, pride, relief, joy..... It is also a profession that brings you meaningful experiences.

I would not bash this particular person for her opinions, as she does have valid points; but as a senior of mine had pointed out, WE WANT TO BE SHOWN WHAT TO DO.

To be fair,

I give you the situation of my classroom, and how I handled it. I am open for constructive feedback, as I believe that's how we actually learn to be a better teacher.

I have a class of 41 students, aged 14. They are a mixture of Malays, Chinese and Asli.

Here's the thing, only 2 out of 41 could make simple sentences, very simple SVO or SVC type of sentences.

The other 39 couldn't even tell me what's the past tense of 'sing' and have yet produced a single, unguided, error-free sentence. I can safely say, they are only at 'word-level'. I even had them tested and out of the first 1000 common English words, most of them scored 50 and below. We are talking about them not even knowing the meaning of 'care', or able to differentiate 'you' and 'your'.

The Chinese students to my horror, could not understand Malay. Possibly due to their family background and the strong racial sentiment in this place, they would rather fail in the Malay language.

The Malay kids are not even proficient in Malay, as they use the 'Kelate' dialect. I have been using 'Standard Malay' for my translation and even that proved to be hard for the students. Interestingly, the Asli students were the ones with better Malay proficiency, having learned it the 'baku' way.

We could easily say that to them, English has never been a L2. It is FOREIGN.

Now, the question is,


Do be mindful that in any Malaysian classroom, we are very time-constrained and are expected to finish our syllabus before their exams while our classes are often cancelled due to many school programmes and constant new launches by the government from time to time.

As for me,


The other 70% consists of explanation in Malay as well as Mandarin, followed by a lot of drawing and acting. I even had to use their different L1 to elicit responses in English from them.

The poem I had to teach was 'The River' by Valerie Bloom.

Using google image, I sourced for pictures, and drew them onto a Manila card.

Then I started off my lesson asking them in their L1, what comes to their mind when they think of a river.
Their answers were, "water, stones, fish."
Yup, that's all they could offer as a whole class.

I then proceeded to write six words on the board - Wanderer, Winder, Hoarder, Singer, Baby, Monster. 'Which of these words, do you already know its meaning?'

Not a surprise, they could only identify 'Baby' while a few boys yelled out 'Monster'. I was actually taken aback that none of them knew 'Singer'.

I then explained each of those words with a mixture of L1 and L2, and got the students to match my pictures with the 6 words. Thankfully, it was easily achieved.

As none of them brought their literature textbook (though I repeatedly reminded them before), I had to write down the poem, stanza by stanza on the board, explain to them word for word, and make sure they copy down neatly in their writing books.

As you can very well see, I had to teach in three languages.

At the end of the lesson, I tested their vocabulary by yelling out the L1 of the words, and having them give me the answer in English. Even the weakest in the class was able to provide me the right answer, which was a relief to me.

Lastly, I told them to draw the different characteristics or persona of the river beside their notes, in hopes that it will help them to remember better.

So that was how I taught the poem of The River in 70 minutes to this particular class.

Even if I tried, I would have not been able to teach completely in L1 for my lesson objectives to be achieved. It could be of my own lacking, so I would really like to know, how would you have taught differently with this particular group of students?

Any form of suggestions and ideas would be very much appreciated, as I truly want to be shown of new ways / perspective / techniques to teach my students.

If you feel like commenting on a more personal space, feel free to drop me an email on

If you are a fellow teacher and wishes to collaborate in any way (I have actually done quite a number of collaborations and thoroughly enjoy them), do drop me an email too :)

That's all for today,

God bless~

Review: Little and Friday, Newmarket, Auckland

Hands down, New Zealand probably has the best coffee! Then again, I might be downright bias.

Always on a lookout for a good cuppa flat white, I suggested to Lina to pay a visit to this cafe that is highly raved in many commercial reviews. Surprisingly Lina told me she had been to this place and said food is definitely good, hence our brunch venue was decided!

With her trusty GPS, and a short 10 minutes after, we found this cute little cafe that is co-joined with a textile shop (interesting)~~

Unlike most cafes that provide cosy little tables, this one has long, large dining tables. Not much privacy I guess, but sometimes it's good to share the table with others, and passing around the amazing chutney (which we fell in love with).

Picture below taken from since I did not have a photo taken of the layout...

Spot a very interesting sign lol.

Food choice wise, one may be disappointed if you are looking for some big breakfast or soft, gooey egg benedict as they only serve whatever is on their cabinet - which mainly are quiches, frittatas, sweet tarts and cakes. We later found out that they do however reheat your choice, and serve alongside a generous portion of salad greens :)

Lina picked Beetroot Walnut Galette, while I opted for a Mushroom and Feta Cheese Quiche. Seeing how pretty the chocolate and Raspberry cake looked, I couldn't help myself but ordered one as well!

They gave us those cute animal statues instead of the usual (and boring) waiting numbers!

and our food came...

Now let's rate the food~~~

Flat White: 4 out of 5 AWEstars
Galette: A real pleasant surprise, packed with flavours!
Chutney: OUR FAV. Nuff said.
Cake: Too full and had to takeaway to share with hubby and WE LOVED IT.

Final rating?

We will be back :)

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Paper Planes...

I'm one of those teachers who are just never disciplined enough to write detailed lessons plans before entering classes.

In fact, I work best under spontaneity.

Probably my weakness which coincidentally could also be my strength, I am often unprepared, but with an idea or available resources, I could somehow whip up something... Which is the case of this lesson of mine 2 days ago~~

It was once again a double period with my notorious 2A4. Since it was the first lesson with them after a two and a half week break, I was kinda unsure of what to expect. Wasn't exactly a good thing that the class was right after our school assembly, meaning I had no time to make a run for my desk to grab some worksheets or whatnot... Oh well, I had literally no one to blame except for myself since we actually had a rather comfortable break (which I as a *self-acclaimed* passionate educator should have used wisely to plan my activities in advance)....

I sat on the chair, throughout the assembly, trying to think of something to do with them. But no, my brain decided to go dead on me, possibly still hibernating... oh yeah, I haven't had my caffeine fix which is the most crucial part of my day....

Soon enough, assembly was over, students dismissed and I entered the class, still clueless and a lil worried lol..

At least it was a relief that only 19 was present out of the usual 30, with most of the troublemakers not back at school yet... Not the best inner thought to have but I was thankful for their absence, because I had no confidence that I could handle all the craziness at such an early start of the new semester...

After the salam and doa, I found myself just picking up my marker pen and wrote the word 'HOLIDAY' on the board, asked them what does is stand for, proceeded to explain the difference between 'HOLIDAY' and 'VACATION', and got them to share with me what have they done during the holidays or whether they went for vacation.

After all the noisy and rowdy 'sharing', I shared about my trip to New Zealand, which somehow led to questions on how long was my flight and which airline did I take....

Next thing I know, I got all of them to fold paper planes...


Paper planes.

Since they were rather weak not only academically but also in simple motor skills, some actually had difficulty folding the most basic and simple planes... I had to teach them how to fold a plane step by step. @_@

There were a couple of them who actually came out with more complicated designs and looked pretty damn proud lol.

Once I made sure everyone has a plane, I taught them to label parts of a plane.

'WINGS' - Both wings were labeled

'TAIL' - They cut the end of the plane, folded it upwards to create the tail

'ENGINES' - They had to draw the engines below the wings

'WHEELS' - Obviously they had to draw the wheels.

'COCKPIT' - Drawn on as well

After that, I quizzed them to make sure they remember the parts before moving on to teach them two verbs - 'TAKE OFF' and 'LAND'...

With their planes in their hands, they have to act it out when I shouted  'TAKE OFF' or 'LAND', much to their amusement.

I was even more amused by how excited they were. A glimpse of innocence could be seen underneath all the rebelliousness, the 'bajet pandai', the annoying antics, the rude comments, the stupid and uncouth jokes and the laziness....

Unfortunately, activities as such would not be quiet and peaceful or even orderly. Some of them started 'flying' their planes or even grabbing others'.... But thankfully, when I managed to obtain order again, I tested them and they could still remember those words that I taught earlier... Learning objectives achieved!

Tiring it was, but who would have known that simple resources such as unwanted papers could bring laughter and learning into the classroom ;)

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Here comes the drill...

Final few hours before the well-dreaded farewell... again...

It's always the hardest during the last night.. the anxiety.. the churning in the stomach... the thought of needing to hold and to be held while you try to cherish and soak in every single moment of it....

Then again, that's the beauty of a long-distance-marriage.

When moments as such become scarce, every single tear or laughter becomes so much more appreciated.

He had to work really long hours yesterday with quite a lot of mental turnmoil happening to him... Real estate is definitely a tough business to be in... So I was home, praying for him and occupying myself in ways I know, just to lessen a lil burden for him...

To my great surprise, he dropped by home around 3pm (during a 2-hour gap before his next appointment) with these...

... from my new-found fav bakery :)

My man, he is big on Love Through Actions. The biggest reason why I love him so much!

Then it was back to work and dealing with difficult buyers and vendors and even colleagues for him... While I waited patiently at home, prepared dinner, and waited nearly two hours for him to be back, heated up the meal, and we had the most awesome time eating dinner while watching Games of Thrones (with me closing my eyes most of the time during this particular episode lol)..

Best part was, despite the food being a lil cold after so long, Alex told me I did a good job and personally I too think I served up a rather decent meal lol. We had roasted chicken wings and potatoes (which I marinated overnight with fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, chilli powder, lots of crushed garlic and sesame seeds) and a cabbage + carrot slaw (cooked with sweet chilli sauce and a self made vinaigrette)~

After a playful night and lots of teasing and chats and a restful sleep, I got up with him at 6.30 in the morning, made him his usual breakfast, sat on the toilet bowl and chatted with him while he showered and finally sent him off to work with a tight hug and a word of prayer..... Now here I am, penning this entry...

You see, LDM is tough, and not an ideal situation to be in...

But all these little things make it so worth it.

I find JOY in the waiting, in the every single little opportunities which I could play my role as a wife, being able to pray for him before he leaves home, cleaning up after cooking him a meal, whenever he surprises me with his thoughtfulness, when he makes me feel beautiful, when he sucks in his displeasure with me and lets me get away with certain things, and the list goes on...

I found gardening a therapeutic experience (only here in New Zealand shall I stress lol)...

... especially at such a charming transition of autumn/winter... 
Surrounded by fallen leaves of various colours... 
That's the word. 

Seeing how a season is ending, my stay here in Auckland is also coming to an end.. I will be back on that plane, struggling to fill up my time during an 11-hour flight, and a further 5-6 hour bus + car trip to my hometown, back in Malaysia.

It will be a few days of running essential errands in Taiping, before going back to Gua Musang to face the many challenges of a teacher, teaching in less than satisfactory conditions and dealing with hormonal and identity-developing teenagers... 

But the good news is, with every end of a season, comes a brand new season, a brand new start waiting to be filled with amazing adventures and stories of God's works... And I can't wait to go back to my classes, energized and recharged after such a lovely break here in Auckland while knowing we are moving closer to the day that ends the distance for good...

With just about 2 seasons down the road, 


Alex and I will be celebrating the same seasons, in the same timezone, on the same ground....

in a place we could call home :')

Monday 9 June 2014

Review: Olaf's Artisan Bakery & Cafe

After hearing Alex exclaiming about this particular place over viber and sometimes torture me with pictures of his loot, I was more than excited to try out the treats myself... Thankfully the wait wasn't too long and on the 3rd day of my arrival, Alex took me to Olaf's Artisan Bakery & Cafe at Mt Eden for a well-needed brunch!

My oh my was it packed. While queuing up, my eyes were glued to the cabinet selection... Alex was telling me to just pick whatever I want and that we could even take-away, but as usual, the Asian in me would be doing a lot of mental calculations and we ended up sharing an egg-benedict with some sweet treats...

Alex's first pick was that delectable portugese egg tart (that of course has a fancier name which I could not remember); while I picked that raspberry and custard brioche... Before we were about to pay, Alex suddenly ordered the third pastry (no idea what's it called) but turned out to be a let down...

I really love the raspberry and custard brioche as not only it will look good in pictures, it was surprisingly amazing!

I would say its a very well-balanced delight. you have the sourness of the berries, the creaminess from the custard, and some bitterness and sweetness from the decadent belgium chocolate... It's a dessert that won't make you feel 'jelak' or sick from it (if you get what I mean)..

The not-so-up-to-the-mark for us would be these two items here..
That pastry with the powdered sugar on top just tasted kinda 'meh' to me, and probably too sweet for my liking... And the husband's mocaccino with extra chocolate (He's the one with the sweeter tooth) turned out to be quite diluted and didn't have the 'kick'...

My flat white on the other hand,

... was divine...

I love how fragrant the coffee is with slight bitterness and punch, supported by the velvety texture of the milk.... Ahhhh... I love my coffee... hahahaha

And finally came our Eggs Benedict on Sourdough with in-house citrus-cured salmon

A lil hefty in price, at $21.50 one would expect at least some salad greens on the side but it is a pretty damn good dish. I particularly like the combination of the creamy hollandaise sauce and the runny yolks, together with the sourdough bread.... It was addictive!

Definitely a great place with great food! I rate it as 'WILL VISIT AGAIN, and AGAIN and AGAIN' lol.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

The man I married

This entry had a lot of interruptions, causing me to write... paused... saved as draft... rewrote... reedited... paused... etc.

Because, let's face it... Marriage is not perfection. And is never as simple as 'happily ever after.'

One moment I would be in cloud nine counting my blessings; the next I would be grumpy and dissatisfied because of some disagreements that we had as a married couple. In fact, 30 minutes ago I just got rebuked by Alex for not bringing him the right black belt. Yup.

We are so different in so many ways and I get upset by how particular or even anal he is about certain things...

He is so disciplined and independent that he makes me feel useless and redundant at times...

He has a sharp tongue and when he is not in a fine mood, he unconsciously provokes and snaps at people... And I know I had been hurt by the negativity that comes out of his lips, especially when he says things like 'I should have known better not to expect much from you'....or.. 'I should have just done it myself..' (Referring back to how he wants things done in a certain way and I am just not good in following instructions or doing those same chores that I do back home in his ways)..


I do know that I married an amazing man.

He has his imperfections and neither am I a saint. I am messy, impatient, clumsy, which directly clashes with his perfectly aligned routines and methods.

But his imperfections also made him the man I have no regrets in marrying.

He is so disciplined that he wakes up at 6am, gets his breakfast done, wipes the car (every single morning), does a 30-minute sit (to strengthen his posture), reads the news, showers, shaves, and prepares for work even though he only needs to leave home at 9am.

He is so disciplined that every time he comes back, he would first clean the shoes he wore (special treatment and cleaning would be done for his white Lacoste), placed them back into the box, complete with the protective layer of papers... (While I chucked the shoes wherever, running into the house)

And when I asked why would he go to that extent, while assuming that he has OCD, he merely explained that he is maintaining the condition and quality of the items he possesses... Of which becomes a really important trait that sustained our Long Distance Relationship... As much effort as he puts in to care for his shirts, shoes, cars etc, he puts in even more effort in our relationship. Not a day passes throughout the 5 years and 8 months without communication between us. Other than a few instances that could not be avoided, we have at least 1 hour of interaction (be it through Viber, Skype or whatnot) Every. Single. Day.

As fast as his tongue is, as fast he is to pacify me and cheer things up. It's either I let go really easily or he is really good at being funny lol. Somehow, I never managed to put on that pissed off face long enough before I cracked out in laughter.

I know he has a lot of things in his mind, especially when our financial situation causes strains, but yet he puts me high in his priorities. For instances,

He is a man, who would warm up the bathroom and bring my towel in before I enter to shower.
He is a man, who would take the yoghurt out from the fridge and let it warm a lil for me, before I consume it.
He is a man who finishes up any food I cooked regardless of whether it was a successful attempt, not leaving even a single grain of rice.
He is a man who would make me desserts. I especially love his baked flans.
He is a man who massages for me, especially when I have menstrual cramps.
He is a man who would looked up bus times, restaurant reviews, and sends me a comprehensive guide when I mentioned about wanting to go into the city on my own.
He is a man who makes sure I have my vitamins, and that I use the hand lotion after I do any washings.
He is a man who goofs around and plays childish tricks with me lol.
He is a man who stood by my side even when he was persecuted.
He is a man who hugs me, kisses me, and tells me he loves me every day.
He is a man who prays for me, every day.
He is a man who held on for more than five years of long distance, albeit the MANY challenges and storms, and said his vows without any hesitations...

I may not have achieved many of my dreams and my current circumstances may still be a distance away from the ideal, but while many spend a lifetime searching for the right partner, I am glad that the man I married, is the man that completes me and makes me a better person, the man I could envision a lifelong journey with.

With less than a week to go before going back to Long-Distance-Marriage, I shall savour every single waking moment, with this man I married :)

Thursday 29 May 2014

Teacher's Day 2014

This entry is as obvious as its title. To be perfectly honest, there was nothing much to look forward to, for this year's Teacher's Day. Firstly, Nadia would not be around. Secondly, most of our students have already gone on their own holiday, skipping both Sunday and Monday of school. And thirdly, it is organised in a 'skema' manner with very very little elements of fun. Come on, last year we even had 'boling kelapa' - Coconut Bowling!

Anyhow, I had much lesser responsibilities for this year's celebration and only had to come out with a performance from the teachers. Even so, trying to garner participation from my fellow colleagues is like trying to get a cat to come down from a tree... It was ... hard. In the end, one would find it really hard to believe, but while I was in church, the idea just came really strongly onto me - to get my Asli kids involved in that performance. Not entirely sure whether it was a prompting from God but it was definitely an idea I love and a decision with zero regrets!

These kids were a delight to work with. We had so much laughter, I'm sure my fellow English teachers have too fallen in love with them, and despite the HORRIBLE PA SYSTEM on that very day, we had a blast!

I won't even delve into the many things that went wrong and made me cringe on that day, but just focus on the good parts - the parts I want to remember for years to come ;)

Presenting to you .... *drum rolls*...


The girl power~~~

and the lovable kids~~~~ (I promised them to have the pictures printed out for their own keepsake)

and that lil cheeky one with all the dramatic poses... that's Eddy lol.

Oh, here's a more complete group of us - the English teachers who took the stage ~

any guesses what could the theme colour be?
Hmmmm... Such a tough one...

And when they saw us taking pictures on the stage, some of our senior teachers and admin wanted to be included lol~

So yea....

I know some of my teaching peers received a LOT of gifts from their students, with some filling up the whole car boot and whatnot... and my loot was definitely not as much as them. Then again, I have come to accept the lack of giving culture here and just went through the day with little to no expectations...

And I received two really really pleasant surprises.

The first one was so unexpected, hence adding on to how special it was...

An ex-student of mine, asked his sister (who is still studying) to hand me a gift...

Needless to say, I was completely blown away. This boy has always been great artistically and from what I know, he is currently studying graphic design in college... This has easily become one of my most-prized possessions! He even made my nose smaller!!!

Here's the original picture for comparison ;)

So talented!!!

The second surprise was this...

a closer look?

Yup. My first response was actually "WTH! Am I a troublemaker or something??? Hahahahaha"

Turns out, 'HAVOC' means 'GEMPAK' here, or in English, probably best described as 'wow, best, sporting, of that sort lol'. One must agree it means very very different from the English definition :p

So yea,

Teaching has always been a humbling experience, and Teacher's Day or Teacher Appreciation Day or whatever one decides to call it, is a nice way of celebrating a teacher's contribution. While I also know the many backlash from media about teachers being 'syok sendiri', unworthy of the tributes and gifts, and experience grief myself seeing many colleagues of mine 'skipping' the celebration and took their own 'day offs'.....I still want to thank many out there who made me feel validated and acknowledged.

Ego-feeding aside, I really love teaching. It is something I want to keep on doing, for the rest of my life.
And I hope, with age progressing and experiences multiplying, I would not be complacent, but develop and improve until I am proud to call myself, an educator :)

Sunday 18 May 2014

Let's learn Bahasa Temiar :)

This year, I am super duper proud to say that my relationship with my Asli kids .. is... TIGHT.


I simply love them. And they are very easy to love.
Give them empty folders for English, and they...

And their energy is always so high!

Meet my fav boy! At 15 years old, this is Pereexjeex, bright, dependable and extremely hardworking!

oh, and here's Rokeey~~ the gentleman, who's gonna break many girls' hearts lol.

and here are some of my fav gals~~

 their smiles are infectious!

and here's what my 'baby asli' kids have done... They created a really simple storyboard~~

Alright, let's get back to the topic of this particular entry~~~ Let's learn Bahasa Temiar!

When pronouncing, remember that each suku kata is 'baku'~

Baik (Good): mejc
Tak Baik (Bad): la es
Cantik (Beautiful): lawa
Pandai (Clever): na lek
Sayang (love): sayek

Saya sayang awak (I love you): yeak sayek mahak
Saya tak nak awak (I don't want you): yeak ijek mahak

Lelaki (Boy): babe 
<pronounced as bar-ber.. not the way we call our girlies lol>
Perempuan (Girl): babok
Ibu (Mother): amek
Ayah (Father): apak

Lapar (Hungry): cerok
Kenyang (Full): behik
Mengantuk (Sleepy): seled
Tidur (Sleep): seklog
Tunggu (Wait): poijh

Tak faham (Don't understand): tok eleg
Faham (Understand): eleg

Selamat pagi (Good morning): selamat yeh yah
Selamat tengah hari (Good afternoon): selamat es is
Selamat petang (Good evening): selamat leng ar
Selamat malam (Good night): selamat layeg

Hope you learned something ;)


lesson learned

When you learn that it's more important to please God than men, everything just makes sense.

Two days ago, marked the National celebration of Teacher's Day. 16th May 2014 for me was a really low key affair, since it falls on a Friday, which is our weekend here in Kelantan. As expected, social media was buzzing with heart-warming dedications, pictures of gifts and events in the schools.... It was definitely a 'feel-good' day for teachers.

It brought me back to my first Teacher's Day here in Gua Musang, back in year 2011... which.. was unfortunately non-existent. Sad as it was, we didn't get to celebrate Teacher's Day but instead were assigned to use the funds and resources for our then-principal's farewell @_@

Then came 2012, and still... no Teacher's Day for me... We had a 'state-level' Teacher's Day held in our school instead where principals and Assistant principals from all the schools in Kelantan were celebrated while we had to do all the donkey work since our school was the host @_@

And finally in 2013, I had my first taste of Teacher's Day, which was organised by Nadia (as the president of KIB). But, both of us were the ones mainly handling most of the behind-the-scenes work... While it was a really successful event, it was also maybe a little disappointing to realise the lack of gifting culture among our students... We are humans after all. Though we do not expect our students to spoil us with gifts, but it still feels nice to be appreciated. In fact, it still saddens me that our students easily ask teachers to 'belanjo', to give them 'satu ya' and even proudly declare they find no shame in 'minta sedekah'.... It's a culture that shocked me fours years back, and still frustrates me till this day... :'(

They are always, I repeat, always, wanting to be at the receiving end. They have no concept of giving... and they want to be rewarded for basically everything.

Imagine, they demand for any form of reward just because they handed in their homework.
Yes, we are talking about homework. Something they should complete out of obligation and responsibility...
Worse still, when they demand for reward just for passing English with 'E'.

As much as I try to be positive in my classes, mentality of this sort from them breaks me. Sometimes I just could not comprehend how is it possible for them to be so shameless... One of my worst outburst happened when a student took my pen without my permission, and when I asked for it, that student yelled that since I am a teacher earning thousands I should not be so stingy with my stuff and that I should just go buy a new one!!!!!

Total disbelief.

I just could not bring my mind to comprehend that form of logic. Even when I was a student, I don't remember any friend of mine with such guts and lack of manners, especially when talking to teachers!!!!

So I started to develop favourites, and dreaded certain classes (2 to be exact). In fact it was apparent in the amount of effort I put in towards different lessons with different classes. Deep inside I knew I shouldn't be so, but it's easier to be nicer towards those who appreciates your effort than those who couldn't be bothered....

Then, I remembered what my dad always told me... "Please God, not men."

I took a really deep breath, stared at my messy table full of books and all sorts of resources, picked up a book called William's Dragons, a stack of plain papers, my 'Learning Tools Box' and walked into 'that' class.

It was still a rather rough battle. As usual these kids were late, some were playing truant, some decided to come in 20 minutes late, some sneaked out, one kept running out from the back door and back from the front door and repeating that stupid action, some belting out in songs, some throwing their bags from one end to another, one for no reason went around kicking people, some blantantly told me  they wanted to go out for a smoke, some screamed out of nowhere..... It doesn't matter how many times you scolded them, slammed the table, showed your displeasure... They can be just plain impossible. And they themselves will happily tell you that they are 'kureng' - mentally ill or retarded. I HAD NEVER, EVER, HAD SUCH A DIFFICULT CLASS OF STUDENTS BEFORE.

Still, with no idea how I managed it, I read them that book, and got 'some of them' to repeat after me, phrases to phrases. At the end of the book, they gave me a round of applause lol. I proceeded in giving them a piece of paper each, and told them that instead of William's dragons, they will draw their own dragon... Not surprisingly their first reaction was that they can't do it. Even with much coaxing, some of them refused to do the task and even wasted the paper I gave them... However, there were still some who told me they can't draw but will give it a try... I actually thanked them and gave them full use of my stationery... It was then I realised, they really can't draw.

They had difficulties drawing simple shapes, little to no confidence in whatever they are doing, especially when you have the ones who couldn't even try, going around mocking their drawings... I really could not stand that 'bullying' mentality! Very quickly, I went to their defense and sternly rebuked those naughty boys that they had NO RIGHT to criticise people when they themselves couldn't even produce their work. I made it clear that I never look down on those who are weak, but I have NO RESPECT for those who couldn't even try. Soon after, I saw them picking up a paper and started doodling... Though their drawings were rather ugly (probably worse than kindergarten kids), at least they were trying.

Come to think of it, I regretted for not taking any pictures of their drawings. I wanted to but they were too ashamed of their work for me to snap pictures of it.

Anyway, while they were busy drawing for their lives, I was just chatting with this boy who is often bullied in the class. I was shocked to learn that he lives in Kuala Betis and had to take a 2-hour ride to school every day, departing at 5am in order to arrive at school by 7, in a small, crowded school van. He is definitely one of the weakest in the class, could hardly copy correctly, and possibly very low IQ. But this boy, albeit being very shy at first, thanked me for reading them the story... He said he had never been read a story...

That was exactly what this job is all about.

It finally made sense.

I was stupid for dwelling on my own negativity to the extent that I had limited myself on what I could do for my students...

When my class ended, this very same boy helped me to rearrange my Learning Tool Box and carried the box for me to the staffroom, without me asking.

And on our way to the staffroom, I too found out that he had two stepmothers, five step siblings, and though he hates getting bullied in school, he finds it better to be here rather than staying at home. He even apologised to me for being stupid and so weak in English, but tells me he likes my class...

Though I know he would never come across my blog or even understand what I had written,
to that boy,
thanks for reminding me that I am a teacher,
thanks for being my student.

Sunday 11 May 2014

New Obsession

Truly and deeply, I have always believed that we are our biggest enemy, and everything boils down to 'ATTITUDE.'

It's just not a secret that when your attitude changes, everything else changes for the better.

Looking at my situation,

I thought I could rejoin my husband for good, but it was short-lived and I have to come back to Malaysia...
And on the sideline, there were so many challenges, misunderstanding, discouragement and confusion, caused by people who matter...

But by the end of the day, my husband and I knew that this was the right decision, for me to be back for now.

So, how does one deal with been woken up from a beautiful three months of experiencing togetherness with your husband (after 5 years of LDR and you thought it would be over), been thrown back to a school that had kinda given you a send off, and been allocated all 'weak classes'...

Mopping definitely would get me no where.

Thus, I chose to make the best out of my situation... and wouldn't have wanted it any other way...

Never would I have imagined the huge contrast between my teaching life now, and three years back. I mean, I am still teaching in the same school, with the same colleagues, so how different could it be?

For starters, I am not focusing on teaching upper forms anymore (which was what I had been doing for the past few years - preparing students for SPM).. They only gave me one Form 5 class in which I became the class teacher too...

Second, I am teaching 4 lower form classes which are involved in PBS (which I had no clue at all).

Third, I am teaching 2 classes of Asli students - as in two classes of only Asli students.

There was just no time for self-pity or doubt, it was all about diving in, and making sure it was a strong dive. And soon, I find myself doing something I should have been doing for the past 3 years - falling in love with teaching.

Don't get me wrong, I have always loved teaching and it IS my first choice. And although I do conduct creative projects and lessons for my students, I also stumbled with the balance of getting them to pass and actually teaching them the language. But this year, because I was given classes with 'low expectations to pass', I was able to focus on motivating them to learn this scary, foreign language - which is a situation I find myself very blessed to be in!

And as I look for ways to get extra resources for my students, I was hugely encouraged and inspired by so many generous givers out there. Many of whom I have lost contact with, be it relatives, friends, and also acquaintances from all over the world. It really cheers me up knowing that there are many people who cares about education and are willing to be a part of your effort - no matter how big or small they are.

Wonders from social media (if put to good use), I get so many packages delivered to me in my school that it gets so much interest lol.

so much so that I have more than enough stuff for my Asli kids (there are even more not shown in the pictures above) that I started distributing these awesome goodies to other students I deem deserving or needed that extra boost of encouragement.

To all you wonderful people, no amount of thanks is enough, but you have my word that I will make sure these go to the right kids for the right reasons :)

Oh yeah,

My title of the blog is about new obsession...

So what am I currently obsessed about?

Bahasa Temiar!

Yup, you read it right. Bahasa Temiar!

My little teachers, (mark the 's') have been very patient and excited about teaching me their language. I would probably be generous and teach you guys some of it on my next entry ;)

Till then,