Friday, September 28, 2007

when misfortune happens

few people would think of mishaps or misfortunes, unless these things happen to them. 2 months ago, my mother was admitted to GH after having bleeding stools. she was first admitted to the third class surgical ward. the treatment by the nurses there were awful, and to make it worse, the doctors misdiagnosed my mother - based on what i suspect as inaccurate reports from biopsy and ct scan. according to them, my mother has a benign tumour which is 15 cm away from her rectum. my mother was so happy she cried.

but in the aftermath of the results, she began to experience constant trips to the toilet, complaining about a pain near her rectum. i brought her to see a surgeon in kt,s private hospital,who told us the growth is 4-5 cm away from the rectum and to go for a second biopsy and scan because he suspected that it isnt benign.

a few days after that, my mother couldnt stand the pain anymore and told me she wanted to go to kl. i quickly informed my siblings, and we made arrangements to transport her by ambulance to ampang puteri. the surgeon informed us that the growth is 4cm away and that my mother has rectal cancer which hasnt spread to other parts yet. the options are either to undergo radiotherapy or surgical removal. tomorrow, the whole family will decide what course we should take.

we never think about all these things unless it happens to us, or to people we love. all i want is for my mother to be well again, and not to be lying there on the white bed.

please pray for my mother.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

what? a day care centre?

today, i entered the staffroom and was greeted with some outburst from the teachers. i asked my colleague, and she told me our PM has suggested that the school hours be extended until 4 pm!!! what????

and so there was an angry outburst, and i guess not only in my staffroom, but also in all staffrooms all over malaysia. okay, so we understand that this is the direct result of nurin's kidnapping and murder. but to extend school hours for more that 8 hours??? that's absurd. why should the teachers be saddled with extra work of being babysitters to the students? students have less attention span, and obviously the teachers too. the rest of the govt officers might say that they work for 8 hours. but they dont deal with teenagers. they dont deal with peer pressure or truancy. we deal at an average of 150 students per week. that can mean around 90 students a day. and we teach the students, which means using our brain - a lot of it. then comes the checking of the exercises - we still use a great deal of thinking. as for me, i have to correct the grammar of my students' essays, and this isnt 10 words of composition, we re talking about an average of 200 words essay for lower secondary and 350 words essay for upper secondary.

some schools have started extending the school hours until 3.30 (in what was supposed to be "pioneer project" but it was just an ambition of one PPD officer), but none lasted. if we, as university students, complain when we have classes from 8-4pm, can you imagine the children and the teenagers? if we have to extend until 3.30, i'm pretty sure we will still have school activities on friday and saturday (which is a common scenario here). and what about 2-session schools who have more than 2000 students? and where do we put our families then? we are not only teachers, but we are also wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons.

the school is a place for seeking knowledge, and not a day care centre. what the authorities should do is to go to the root cause, and not burden us with this. nurin was kidnapped at night. does this mean the school should be extended until night time?

think. we're only humans. we need rest too.

what we need, after a 6-hour schooling, is some rest, away from the essays or math sums. we need time to regenerate, just like our students, who also need time on their own to develop into individuals.

what happened to this world?

the news of the killing of nurin shook the whole nation. many were appalled with what had happened to a little child of 8, and a lot more wish they could sula the killer. me included. what kind of a man who would do such a perverted thing to a helpless little child? probably this isnt a man, but a beast. but then even a beast wouldnt insert a cucumber or an aubergine into the private parts of a girl and then kill her. this is a madman who shouldnt be alive.

everytime we hear about tragic and brutal deaths by some amoral men, i feel there's no hope in this world. no hope for a child to live in happiness and later to become a good person. no hope for wishing for a good life, amongst good people in a good place.

but then, having said that, it doesnt mean that the evil has totally taken over this world. i was watching "Singgah Sahur" the other day, and i was touched, because there are good samaritans out there, (TV3) who take the time to visit the unfortunate families and show us that despite the calamities and misfortunes, life must go on, although with tears. and they shower some cheer to these families by giving them some hampers and money. i saw one father who lost his son in the bus crash, and i just cried when he hugged the tv3 representative. and i also like the idea of involving the audience to do some charity during this ramadhan by donating some money to buy quran, which is for a good cause.

there is still hope, let's nurture it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sepet: a review

i never had the chance to watch the film in full, even until today. but i did watch the beginning, part of the middle and the ending. i was crying and crying. okay so i'm a romantic junkie, but i could feel the pain when jason died (of course, who wouldnt?)

i see a lot of postcolonial issues being addressed here, which is a plus for yasmin ahmad. i was impressed that she incorporated Frantz Fanon's ideas on psychological impact of the colonialism in the psyche of the colonised in "Black Skin White Mask" in Orked's dialogue. impressive. not many know the theories of colonialism and postcolonialism.

the plot of the romance between Orked and Jason, a Malay and a Chinese, reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, only that Orked lives in the end. what yasmin ahmad tried to do is to re-advocate cultural hybridity which has been our national narrative. she does this by creating 2 characters who are tolerant and open for "newness" (salman rushdie's word, quoted in his banned book).

Orked is a blend of sweet innocence (wearing baju kurung with sneakers? some of my students have started wearing cotton baju kurung nowadays, without the sneakers) and a cultured, civilised intellectual. despite his coloured hair, jason is a sensitive romantic who writes poetry, and tries hard to be the one for orked.

and after i was crying buckets and buckets of tears (like i cried when watching cyrano de bergerac), there's a quote from the great rabindranath tagore in which he talks about love, which yasmin has taken from his collection of poetry, The Gardener, which he dedicated to WB Yeats:
Your questioning eyes are sad.  They seek to know my meaning as
the moon would fathom the sea.
I have bared my life before your eyes from end to end, with
nothing hidden or held back. That is why you know me not.
If it were only a gem I could break it into a hundred pieces and
string them into a chain to put on your neck.
If it were only a flower, round and small and sweet, I could
pluck it from its stem to set it in your hair.
But it is a heart, my beloved. Where are its shores and its
You know not the limits of this kingdom, still you are its queen.
If it were only a moment of pleasure it would flower in an easy
smile, and you could see it and read it in a moment.
If it were merely a pain it would melt in limpid tears,
reflecting its inmost secret without a word.
But it is love, my beloved.
Its pleasure and pain are boundless, and endless its wants and
It is as near to you as your life, but you can never wholly know