Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Judging People Judging You

although i don't talk about it nowadays does not mean that i'm having a whale of time at my new place. i'm surviving here, but i begin to wonder whether Allah wants me to ponder (and really ponder) about where i'm heading in life.

i know that my psyche is undergoing that transitionary shifting, open to reinterpretation stage of hybridity (according to Bhabha's theory of hybridity) - i'm still in denial and rejecting and also accepting new stuff.

but i'm not really happy.

i know that at about 5 months into working at my old place, i already felt that i belonged to the school. but until now, i still feel like a marginalised outsider at my new place. i hate being judged. but that's what people do at my place. i hate having to have my guard up, but that's what i have to do at my current workplace.

my brother was not amused when i told the family some of my wishes. he kept accusing me for not being thankful, and threateningly asked if i wanted to return to my hometown. amidst the others' voices, he couldn't hear my answer, but i told him that if i wanted to, the principal of my former school had the power to get me back. okay i admit i sounded cocky. but it's true.

what's worse, i was judged as unworthy by certain people in my elite group - people who judge me by my race instead of my professional qualification. i guess even if i have a PhD they will still look down on me. yes, when you read this you'll give this comment "ala biasa la tu". no, it's not supposed to be that way.

i had a chat with my former lecturer mr hazidi a few nights ago. he asked me why is that i want to be accepted or appreciated.

in a way, he's right. but then i'm not like mr hazidi who has no qualms in speaking his mind.

i know i'm rebellious. it's just that i'm too nice. so i let this one particular person in the elite group to steamroll and verbally insult me (who thinks that he's mr know it all, but sadly he's not). i graciously let him have his day, because it's numbered. and part of it is, like anybody else, is this need to be accepted, appreciated because we want to belong.

so i guess i just have to read a lot of shakespeare and amaze everyone. though i don't know whether they can understand Fanon or Bhabha, should i start talking about their theories.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Day to Celebrate Educators

it is kind of disappointing that in KL the teachers had to undergo a whole day of training (as required by the JPA that all govt officers should fulfill the requirement of 7 days of training a year) on the day that teachers are supposed to be appreciated.

and it is unfortunate that our society forgets the noble deed that we have done for their children, so some are not bothered at all to celebrate the ones who shaped their lives and also their children's future.

the primary school teachers are appreciated by their pupils. but then, we're talking about pre-puberty kids here, who easily like their teachers.

it's not so in the secondary school level.

teachers are not only expected to teach and make sure the students perform in the exams, they are also the ones who have to mould the students' characters - which is difficult, imagine trying to mould more than 100 students.

i feel the sacrifice the teachers have to make so keenly this year because i find it hard to educate my students. it's a big challenge. it's even a big challenge to ask them to bring their exercise books to school, or for them to answer exercises on handouts given. the biggest challenge is to jolt them up from their fantasyland or stop them before they ruin themselves (through drugtaking, playing truant or mixing with the wrong crowd) because you pity them and wonder what's to become of them in 5 years time.

that is something the society doesn't know- that teachers worry about their students as if the students are their own children.

however, having said that, there are some students who sincerely appreciate their teachers - their role models.

these are the ones who wished their teachers today.

and these are the ones who we have succeeded in moulding - not to shower us with gifts, but to appreciate us in just mere words by thanking us for what we have done for them. yes, and i also would like to thank all my former teachers and lecturers -
Miss Norsham, my favourite English teacher who could put up with the arrogance of the Set A girls,
Cikgu Fauziah Ali - all Seri Puterians' favourite bubbly teacher and warden,
Miss Jamaliah Hamid - who told us to do more than 100 squats under the hot sun for not speaking in English on English Day (now teaching in UPM),
Dr Habibah - my first ever Literature lecturer who increased my passion in Literature with her enthusiasm and love for life,
Mr Hazidi Abdul Hamid - for guiding me throughout my TESL degree dissertation and for teaching me about life, writing and reading serious literature,
my M.A. lecturers -
Dr Carol Leon, whose gentleness made my 3 hellish and migrainish years of dissertation bearable,
Prof Lim Chee Seng - for inspiring me whenever he opens his mouth to quote Shakespeare or Donne or Milton (and for passing my M.A. dissertation so i could graduate).

i salute all of you.

while the rest of Malaysia spend their Saturday, oblivious to the significance of 16th May.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Mak

i miss my mother. right now i miss her nagging more than anything else. i miss her smile, i miss the way she scolded me and then said "mengerti?" in that p ramlee style of language on silver screen.

i know i can't bring my mother back to life, and i don't want to tell sad stories. but i want to celebrate her life as a mother, by telling the readers of her legacy, of which now i'm continuing.

my mother loved fragrant flowers - we used to have the cempaka telur and the cempaka keling trees, we still have the ylang ylang tree (kenanga) and gardenia (bunga cina), we used to have tikar seladang covering the orchid house (am not sure what it's called actually, but the small off white flowers bloom in clusters), bunga melati and there are 3 types of jasmines at home. she used to go into the garden in the morning and search for cempaka telur by using a galah (it's a tall tree) because she said she could "smell" its fragrance from far away. now, i have a pot of jasmine plant at my house. i plan to have more plants, but since i'm going to travel next month, i dare not add to my collection.

for the family tahlil yesterday, i made puding buih, which my late mother always made during fasting month. despite the migraine it gave me (because at 11pm i was still beating the meringue and the jelly), i'm happy to report that the jelly is a nostalgic food for my siblings as they reminisced eating the jelly during their childhood.

the other legacy is the briyani recipe which she learned some 40 years ago from a penangite. the recipe is the one that my family lovingly keeps and cherishes, and my sister made the briyani during the 4th tahlil at her house.

but food and flowers are not only her legacy. whenever i do something, sometimes i can hear her voice in my head, admonishing me for my mistakes.

my late mother should have won the award for the best mother. she gave birth to my eldest brother during the Japanese Occupation and ran for shelter to Setiu when the bombing started. she had 9 children, and fed us well. all her children are doing very well in life, and i know she was very happy with our successes. and we owe it to her.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Biggest Loser

i'm hooked to the show. every single day i'll watch those fat people (okay okay i've to admit, i'm fat too) lose their weight and have those sexy bodies.

i was once like them way back in 2003, when a doctor told me to lose weight in order to balance my hormones. which i did, and i lost 17kgs. every morning i would briskwalk at KDE and in the evening i would do aerobic exercise. i was on study leave back then, so i could concentrate on the diet and the workout.

so what happened?

well, in the name of socialising and bonding, i would eat. SS teachers love to have feasts, sometimes we have 3 feasts in a week. and after my spiritual journey, i ballooned.

the biggest loser inspires me. okay, so i cry when one of the contestants is sent home. sometimes i jog when i see they jog on their treadmill. and i also exercise my jaw, because it's my dinner time. hehehe... and the fact that i usually cook what i want to eat makes it even harder for me to diet, since my menus can differ from one meal to the next.

but i try to eat wholesome food as much as possible. this means not eating food with preservatives (but i do eat maggi from time to time - my weakness). hopefully the next step is to actually go back to dieting. and working out.

in the meantime, i'll keep on watching the biggest loser.

Monday, May 04, 2009

My Bleating Voice

my voice sounds pathetic today. i can't shout, so that means i can't really teach in class. plus, i didn't get enough sleep last night, so this morning was like a sombre day, and even when my friend zai told me to escort the PK 1 to give away the prizes, i stood there like a zombie - i knew i did something wrong, i should stand on her right, but i couldn't care less. as i said - i just zombied.

my first class was with the hooligans. 3/4 of the class did their work earnestly, while the liat ones are just, liat. but at least they're nicer now, especially when they knew that i couldnt shout. however, some cheeky ones had been going through my handbag. i put in some hacks sweets to lessen my coughing fit in class. imagine my shock when i found a lot of sweet wrappers - and not hacks.

i feel so tired now, i should turn in early tonight and hopefully tomorrow this cough will just disappear so that i can shout in class again.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

KL is just a migraine away

i was shocked to see that after a few months working in KL, i've taken 3 mcs already. usually i only took 1 mc annually in terengganu.

2 weeks ago i called my KT neighbour, Kak Yah the neurologist, to consult on some medication for my migraine.

she laughed when i told her i've been getting migraines frequently nowadays. not to mention that at the time i'm writing this, i've flu - for the 2nd time of the year.

her comment? "well, you came to work in KL with both eyes open"

that's true. life is a lot less hectic in KT and you see the calming blue sea everyday. in KL, you start to feel the pressure the moment you leave house in the early morning for the mad dash. KL schools like to have activities on saturdays, and because now i'm the AJK sambutan, i'll be standing at the gate to usher the guests and also to welcome the VIPs - under the hot sun! that leaves only sundays for me to rest which is not enough.

during this long weekend, i just love the fact that i can just relax and rejuvenate.


Friday, May 01, 2009

To Inspire: A Journey

i must admit that before i became a teacher, i thought of so many ways to avoid teaching. my passion was in writing, and during my teaching practice, i went for an interview to become an NST journalist. that was like eons ago.

however, Allah has decreed that i teach, and despite my sulking and rebellion, i had to turn down NST offer to become a journalist and became a teacher on 1st June 1997. it was very hard at first, because it seemed mundane and my heart wasnt into it. but after awhile, grouses turned into words of inspiration as my passion grew when i sincerely felt that it was my duty to enlighten them and bring them out of their safe cocoons (here i meant my students in SMKA Tok Jiring). they were a decent lot, but i had to bring them out of their safety net because they thought that being in a good school was enough. i know that being a teacher means i have to be able to build a rapport with them, to be a friend and not an enemy so that imparting knowledge will be easier. as a result, some of my ex-students still keep in touch with me, one of them took up Literature in UIA and another took up TESL and only recently called me up to tell me she's a lecturer in UITM Dungun (and i, with my MA, still teach in school *sigh*).

My years in SS are the best in my professional life, simply because the students are of good background, they know that they have to achieve academic excellence - but all the while they had a lot of fun, in a school full of tradition that churned out distinguished elites and also royal personages, like the school song goes "tradisi kekal abadi". i felt the sense of tradition because most of my siblings studied there, and had i not studied at my beloved Seri Puteri, i would have become a Sulaimanian myself. although, i must say that whenever i started my "lecture", i would start with "when i was in Seri Puteri..." and the students would groan and roll their eyes. however, i was satisfied teaching there, because the effort put in was worth it, despite the teachers being pushed to produce more A students. i'm proud of my LCDS students, especially the committee members because it was the students who ran the society, not the teacher. by running the society they learnt something about leadership and responsibility - something that is a valuable experience for their future. and there were my tuition girls - the 1119 group and also the Literature girls, who i hope i had helped mould in becoming good young adults.

out of this, one student from my first Literature class, Sharmyn, had scored 2A and is now taking TESL in New Zealand. she reported that her lecturers told her to do MA in Literature. i'm ecstatic! SS best student (and also Terengganu best student) Khairina also told me that she's planning to take Literature in English as an elective when she goes to Lembah Beringin, and today i received the word that her Literature classmates Umi and Maryam have been accepted into TESL programme.

i'm happy to have inspired my students and hopefully they will become better people and good educators.

i may not be a guru pakar or a superteacher, but my passion speaks for myself.