Sunday, December 30, 2007

back to school

today we had our supposed-to-be-the-first-meeting-of-the-year-although-it's-still-2007 meeting. it was a boisterous affair, what with 134 teachers around.

with the new admin, the meeting was different. our principal just loves talking, and talking and talking. soon, i was yawning like there was no tomorrow. the other teachers behaved like the students they have in class - making noise.

after what seemed like an eternity, the meeting finally ended, with the distribution of the timetable. i checked mine. okay, english class, english class, english class.... PJ....what????? PJ class???? moi???? they must be crazy. i went to complain to Ramzu, who then told me to complain to Sifu Shafiai, the master timetable maker. and i was like, "how could you give me PJ???" but it looks like the timetable is here to stay, until they decide to change it again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


one of the topics that students have to learn in English (in the old syllabus, that is) is about neighbourliness. it's a shame that such moral value has to be taught in classroom, because this should be taught by the society, to be practised in the society.

i have been living at my housing area for more than 30 years, so my neighbours have known me since i was a small, cute, japanese looking girl (ahem!). there's Pak Abu, the mechanic, and to whom my family are indebted to, for all the things that he had done. i grew up with his daughter and know all of his children. then there's Makcik Munah and Along, who used to entertain me with cookies and tea when i paid social visits when i was just 5-6 years old. Along used to smoke cigarrette and would cook on turpentine gas burner. Makcik Munah is a merry lady whose laughter would brighten the house (she still serves me with treats when i visit her!) and now spends her time taking care of her grandson, and cooking for her only daughter, Dr Yah, who has now become my friend, my briskwalking companion, my student in baking class (wah i've become a sifu) who gave me a lot of tips when i wanted to go to London and Paris. Along and Pak Abu had passed away, and now Pak Abu's son, Din, takes over the father's place. i'm very touched, because, despite facing hardship, Din and his wife have helped me in so many ways. since my mother was diagnosed with cancer and that i've to stay alone, my neighbours all gave me their contact numbers, and told me to call them anytime there's an emergency, but Din and his wife's kindness extended more than that...when i was small i often wondered why my mother has a soft spot for certain people, but now i know why. because we always have a soft spot for those who are willing to help us when we're in need, without asking anything in return.

this is what you call neighbourliness, and may Allah bless them always.

Monday, December 24, 2007

headaches, headaches and more headaches.

after god knows how many days, after frantic calls and visits to the TM Point, my fixed phone line has been restored half an hour ago. only now i know how dependent i am on my streamyx. to amuse myself when i'm bored marking the papers, i sit in front of the idiot box, watching nigella cook delicious dishes, noting how many adjectives she uses to tempt us to try the recipes out.

now that i've come to the end of my marking, i'm more relaxed, although i did have a headache 2 days ago when i doubled the usual daily script quota just to be able to finish by today. god, i do hope the lembaga peperiksaan will pay us ASAP. marking the papers isnt like smelling roses and listening to the birds chirping.

i do have the phobia of staying alone now, after my privacy was invaded by the blardy drug addicts. i sleep with lights on, and with my mother's walking cane beside me. because of the phobia i harrassed the tukang kayu to install the new door ASAP, but because terengganu folks are slow-paced people who cant understand the mad dash syndrome, the door was installed 4 days after i went to the shop. he installed extra latches, as i had instructed him to, and with a shrug he commented "if the burglar wants to break in, he'll break in, even with the latches". yeah right. so much for the optimism and security.

even the the alarm system people are making hard for me. i wanted their techie to come over to assess, which they said "against their standard procedure". they wanted me to fax over the floor plan, then asked for the extended version floor plan, to which, irritably, i answered "look, only my late father knew about the extended floor plan and because my house has been burgled, i dont know where it is. that's the reason why i told you to send your people here". well at least they sent the quotation, so hopefully i can sleep better after this.

and just now my neighbour told me that there was a snatch theft in town. dear god, is anything safe now? is everyone dangerous? have we become that corrupted? i guess KTrg is finally prepared to become a waterfront city then, what with crimes that can match KL.

notice that i've become cranky and disillusioned. that happens when your life seems more like a string of unfortunate events.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Had A Bad Day

here i quote Had A Bad Day by Daniel Powter

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I dont need no carrying on
Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around...

i didnt have a bad day. i had a bad week. talked about being unlucky. at the rate i'm going, i'm surprised i'm still sane.

there's cerekarama or drama minggu ini (those who grew up in the 70s n early 80s will remember this) at the house, and at the same time, i was supposed to mark the 1119 papers (supposedly in peace). and then, one day, at the LDP, my car was hit by a kenari, because some stupid car in front slowed down to almost a halt (at the highway???) and i had to do an emergency brake. the next day, i was called by my neighbour, who informed me my house was burgled by some stupid blardy drug addicts (sorry, i'm really mad right now). and today, when i was on my way back (alone) to KT, the toll girl told me to turn back as the highway is closed. what???i parked my car after the toll, where most bound to the eastcoast also stopped. exchanging info was crucial at this time. my team leader was telling me go back by hook or by crook *sigh*. after a phonecall to my sis, i decided to just go on ahead, and there was a detour that bypasses Lanchang (the affected area) . i arrived after more than 7 hours driving. i decided to have dinner outside since i didnt want to face the house yet.

well, here i am, in my messy room, thanx to the stupid drug mother lost her opal bracelet, i lost my society's money and my gold chain and my gold heartshaped locket... but what amuses me is that they took my cheap sabahan rice pearls. dont know how much they got for it.

no use crying over spilt milk i supposed.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Reality Bites

has anyone seen that movie? the one starring Wynona Ryder and Ethan Hawke? i'm not about to talk about the movie, but about its title.

Today, we brought my mother (for the 1st time) to the oncology clinic. normally, when you go to any clinic, you will stare at sick people because of their abnormality. and usually, the patient will feel so humiliated when eyes are on him, because he's different from the rest.

but at the oncology clinic, nothing is uncommon or abnormal here. i saw a cancer who tied a bandanna around her head, which means she had chemotheraphy before, there's one woman who's losing hair, and another threw up noisily at the hallway just before she started her chemo session. my mother felt pain in her body, so we requested a bed for her to lie down on while waiting for her turn.

this phenomenon is not normal in any other clinic, but it is normal at the oncology clinic. i was thankful that the staff there were very understanding (as they should be) as cancer is a disease that not only affects the patient physically, but also mentally and spiritually. the same applies to their caregivers and family members. a visit to the clinic is a humbling experience, as it teaches us that cancer does not know boundaries, races or social classes. it is about human compassion, at its core.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Break from Sittin' Down

it's that time of the year again, when i'm almost glued to the chair for more than 12 hours a day. it's paper marking time. while the prospect of getting handsomely paid appeal to every examiner, (esp. the 1119 teams, but last year's payment was only cleared in july) the torture is just beginning. it doesnt matter if you get good scripts, it pains when you get the bad ones. and worse, very long scripts at that. i really pity my eyes. plus my brain, because to those who're not in the know, we've to find mistakes and mentally rectify them. worse, to restructure the sentences. that's why grammar competency is a must for an English teacher. sadly though, there are some who're not, and sometimes i shudder at all the misinformation.

speaking of English, one of my pilot brothers told me that the pilots have to sit for an English exam, and soon it'll be made mandatory for every MAS pilot. what he's so frustrated about is that they're tested on general knowledge, and not on their skills. how would anyone know what one calls a baby kangaroo?(except for Aussies, i guess) i did tell him that the exam isnt valid, as it caters for native speakers, and MAS should have their own panel of question building, but he shook his head in dismay.

so much trouble over one language *sigh*