Sunday, December 30, 2007

Brontok Attack...

Tonight I finally figured out what was wrong with my notebook. The first symptom I notice was a general slowing of the system. And to my horror, Folder Options under Tools was gone. My antivirus acted strangely and my Spybot Search and Destroy refused to update itself.

Then I found a forum which described the symptoms so well. I had Brontok lurking inside my hard disk.
And after searching the net forums for a solution, I found one: Brontok Washer. Thank heavens it worked.

But now after such a scare, I'm backing up everything.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Australian Prime Minister

John Howard lost the election and Kevin Rudd (Labor) is the new Prime Minister.
I wonder what the future holds for Australians and South-east Asians.

I just have a feeling that it will affect us somehow.

End Of Year Checklist

It's the end of the school year and I'm looking at two checklists.

Work Checklist
1. Takwim Sekolah 2008 (almost done!)
2. Laporan Tahunan 2007 (to be put together)
3. Fail Rekod Mengajar 2008
4. Office clearing up (this should be high up the list!)

Personal Checklist
1. House cleaning
2. Christmas card-writing (which I almost always end up not sending)
3. Christmas gift-buying, wrapping and tagging

And the final most special list:

Self-Indulgent Checklist
1. Having breakfast at 9 a.m. and thinking of what I'd been doing in November all those years in SPA :)
2. Having tea at 3 p.m. with old friends and catching up on the latest developments :))
3. Putting up the Christmas tree and not having to think of JKKN, ICT meetings and courses :)))
4. Calling up teacher friends so we can trade stories on who's doing what end of the year...:)))))

After one year in school, I've come to this conclusion:
I suffer more stress at school (because of the myriad jobs to be done and the uncountable people to be dealt with) but I spend more time at home.

Administrators and The Grump Factor

One of the things that really irritate me is people making snap judgments about my friendliness and my work ethic. They see me as friendly and quickly make the assumption that it means I'm going to cut them a lot of slack at work.

HELLO! Anybody home in that empty vessel you use to carry your hair??!

Now I'm beginning to understand why a lot of the administrators in school feel that they have to be serious and grumpy. There are LOTS of people out there who feel that if there's a chance to slack, they have to grab the opportunity with both hands. I'm still undecided about whether or not I need to be a grump (snapping left and right) to be an effective administrator. My dad (who retired as Chief Inspector of schools) thinks I don't need to go around scolding people to get things done. And I agree. All I should need to be is be a serious and straightforward administrator.

But I do agree that some people don't UNDERSTAND things unless it's said to them in slightly threatening shades of tone and expression.
That really really p***** me off.

*Hmm, that should make being mean easier, right?*

But I'll never be mean in class.
It's a place to have fun and discover new stuff.
I'll be cajoling, insistent, humorous, loud, slightly-gross-when-required and physically-in-your-face...but I won't be mean.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Aunt Joan Just Had A Major Op

Aunt Joan had a major operation today. Don't know the details yet.

But it seems there is no longer any problem with the blood bank. This seems to be the silver lining in my aunt's cloud.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Commonwealth Essay Competition

One of the easiest ways to reach your English students is to bring real life into the classroom. If you teach them to write a letter, why not write a real letter to a real person? The same goes for writing essays.

TESL ppl, I offer you.. or rather The Royal Commonwealth Society offers you the PERFECT opportunity to implement process-writing.
The Commonwealth Essay Competition ( is an international education project open to all young Commonwealth citizens under the age of 18. It has four different age bands, 'Classes'. Each Class offers five topics, plus the Commonwealth Question.

Competition deadline is 1st March 2008

CLASS A - Born 1989-1991
1500-2000 words
All questions can be answered by writing an essay or a story which explores the topic in an interesting and relevant way.

  1. Tell us about your favourite book OR your favourite place and what it means to you.
  2. Why decorate?
  3. Is the world becoming tribal or global?
  4. EITHER Let me tell you a story. This is how it all began … OR Fifty years from now.
  5. Refugees.
  6. The Commonwealth Question (see details below).

CLASS B - Born 1992-1993
1200-1500 words

All questions can be answered by writing an essay or a story which explores the topic in an interesting and relevant way.

  1. "You have to have a dream or you go nowhere." (Kofi Annan)
  2. An inter-galactic market research company is canvassing opinions on whether Planet Earth is suitable material for "first contact". What do you think?
  3. What advice would you give to a family living with teenagers?
  4. EITHER This is where I live OR These are the things which make me who I am.
  5. Blue.
  6. The Commonwealth Question (see details below).

CLASS C - Born 1994-1995
500-700 words

  1. Write a story or an account starting "Now, when I was your age …"
  2. Write a review of a favourite book, film, exhibition or piece of drama. Make sure you discuss why you liked it and why you think other people would too.
  3. What single change would most improve life in your community? Explain why.
  4. Write a story which includes a song and a secret.
  5. Imagine what it would be like to live for a whole day relying primarily on just ONE of your five senses.
  6. The Commonwealth Question (see details below).

CLASS D - Born 1996 or later
300-600 words

  1. Write a story or a poem entitled EITHER "The Storm" OR "The Ring".
  2. If you were given three special powers, what would they be and how would you use them?
  3. Strange happenings at the market.
  4. My best friend.
  5. You wake up one morning as the family pet. Describe your day.
  6. The Commonwealth Question (see details below).
Commonwealth Question
The Commonwealth Question is open to all candidates and entries will be judged according to the relevant criteria used in the four Classes (A to D).

If you choose to answer the Commonwealth Question please DO NOT submit another essay and keep to your Class word count.

There is a £150 prize for a winning entry on the Commonwealth Question in each of the four Classes. This prize is in addition to the main prizes offered in each Class. Any entrant selecting the Commonwealth Question as their topic will also have their essay considered for a main prize.

The theme for Commonwealth Day 2008 is "The Environment: Our Future". Discuss the likely impact of climate change on life as you know it. What is to be done?

Now it's all up to you and don't forget to READ THE RULES!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Lesson Plan That Won't Be

Here's a lesson plan that won't be used in my class.

Set Induction : 3D Picture of a Glock

Question : What do you see here?
What's a really hot issue about guns in schools nowadays?
(Possible answers: Columbine, Virginia Tech, the inclusion of weapons in national service training...)

Take the discussion where it may go but keep it within ethical/moral boundaries.
Like I said, this is a lesson plan that WON'T be used in my class.

Pre-Listening Activity :
1. Teacher hands out worksheet
2. Students brainstorm and fill in the blanks (one column - what's good about guns and another column - what's bad about guns)

While-Listening Activity :
1. Listen to the song.
2. Note down ONE lyric or image that grabs your attention.

After-Listening Activity :
1. Explain why the lyric or image is so fascinating to you. Give reasons.
Homework : Write an essay that answers the question "Should Young People Learn About Guns?"

Looks good, huh? But I'm not doing this in class. This is just for fun.
(Got that? Third time I said it.)
Yeah, I'm a wuss.

The song I'm NOT gonna use?
Read and's better if you let the Southern California punk band sing it for you.

Come Out And Play
(Performed by The Offspring)

You gotta keep 'em separated

Like the latest fashion
Like a spreading disease
The kids are strappin' on their way to the classroom
Getting weapons with the greatest of ease
The gangs stake their own campus locale
And if they catch you slippin' then it's all over pal
If one guy's colors and the other's don't mix
They're gonna bash it up
Hey - man you talkin' back to me?
Take him out
You gotta keep 'em separated
Hey - man you disrespecting me?
Take him out
You gotta keep 'em separated
Hey they don't pay no mind
If you're under 18 you won't be doing any time
Hey come out and play
By the time you hear the siren
It's already too late
One goes to the morgue and the other to jail
One guy's wasted and the other's a waste
It goes down the same as the thousand before
No one's getting smarter
No one's learning the score
Your never-ending spree of death and violence and hate
Is gonna tie your own rope

Acoustic Mayhem

There are days when you want to zoom down the road, foot heavy on the gas and acoustic mayhem blasting on the cd player.

I've got Offspring screaming out 'Original Prankster' and the wind whistling by...ah, what bliss...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

SPM and STPM Exam Tips and Trial Papers

Looking for SPM and STPM exam tips and trial papers? It may be a bit late in the day but well, we've got two more weeks for the final sprint!

Check out this URL

Thursday, October 18, 2007

People Can Be So Wonderful

My aunt Joan has been in and out of hospital and she is due for surgery tomorrow morning.

She was actually supposed to have that surgery earlier but the blood bank was bankrupt.  Fresh out. 

Well, it WAS.

Two days ago, a doctor appealed to us to find blood donors for O+ blood type.  Otherwise my aunt would not be able to go through the surgery.  So I told my sister and did some sms sending.  Audrey went a step better (after finishing all the credit in her phone) and put up a bulletin in Friendster.

Since then, the response has been amazing.  She's had total strangers calling her up to ask her who to donate for (as they needed to complete the form at the blood bank!). Today, when Suzie Labadin went to donate at 5 pm, she was informed that she was the 10th person to do so for Joan Casius.  Today alone.  Yesterday, we know there were at least three.  We know that some people have already planned to donate tomorrow.  I doubt that my aunt can use up all those pints.  But I have a strong feeling that those extra pints will be saving some lives at Queen Elizabeth Hospital these few weeks.  After all, O blood type is Universal Donor...saves all lives!

People can be so amazing...and so beautiful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Facebook Is Driving Me Nuts!

Okay, okay... don't drag the lawyers out.  It's not Facebook that's driving me nuts. 
It's my wonderful friends and family who wanna do things to me. 

Oh for crying out loud, I've got :

- 8 superpoke! friend requests
- 1 what are you wearing invitation
- 1 new wall post request
- 2 zombies invitations
- 1 oktoberfest invitation
- 2 my aquarium requests
- 2 werewolves requests
- 2 top friends friend requests
- 1 get superlatives invitation
- 1 my room invitation
- 3 vampires invitations
- 1 wishabi request
- 1 hottest friend request
- 1 tattoos invitation
- 1 describe me request
- 2 slayers invitations
- 1 likeness quiz request
- 1 my kids invitation
- 1 my cause invitation

.... and a partridge in a pear tree?  Not.

Just looking at the list is tiring.  What more delving deep into these requests and invitations...
Unlike the Indian man in the Astro advert, I AIN'T GOT TIME!

I dread to find out how many zombies I'm gonna get tomorrow.

Books On Board

I've found a pretty good ebook seller on the Internet.  Books On Board's ebook prices seem to be the cheapest on the net.  That's in US Dollars.  And when you convert them dollars to puny Malaysian ringgit, it makes a big difference.

I just bought a book for USD5.94 (RM19.99) which cost about RM32 at the local bookstores.  Hefty savings....

But there's a downside to this.  I'm saving money, I tell myself... so I buy more.  In the end, I don't really save.  But I do have more books to read...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scary Realizations

Today, I'm going to visit a colleague in the hospital.  Last Saturday, he was admitted because his heart was only functioning at 52%.  It's incredible because he is an active sportsman and seems to be doing all the right things like eating right, going for regular exercise...
It must've been a tremendous shock to his family when he collapsed last Saturday.

It's frightening in a way because it made me realize that I'm in the 'zone'... I'm now in the age bracket where health problems begin to emerge.  Scary scary scary...

P/S M looked okay..his wife n kids were with him. The docs are hunting for the suspected blockage in his heart. :(

Friday, October 05, 2007

Finding Love And Acceptance Part II

Once upon a time, I tried to search for something missing in my life.  I KNEW it was missing but I didn't know what it was.  But I would know it if I found it because I'd feel whole inside.  I'd feel peace.

My favourite place to search for it were places like Shenanigans and Something Al's (changed name three times as far I know and is now known as Blue Note).  The music was loud enough to fill up all the empty spaces in my ears, heart and mind.  The drinks were just as great and when you hit a certain level of intoxication, the whole world was beautiful and no problem seemed insurmountable.  Best of all, you were surrounded by happy people ... and they were all my friends.  Even if I didn't know their surnames.

But after a few years, it all palled.  The music was always the same... and when it changed to trance music, it wasn't to my liking.  I liked music by GunsnRoses, Queen and Joan Jett.  And as I got older, the recovery time from an alcoholic binge grew steadily longer.  And still I hadn't found 'it'.  Not really.  In the end, I just plain got bored.

Now I'm in a contented phase of my life.  My hubby thinks I'm nutty and still wants to stick with me. My son's daily development and fascinating viewpoints keep me very much entertained.  I think I've found 'it'... and even if I haven't, I'm feeling pretty good with the way things are.

Finding Love And Acceptance

Had a talk with a friend recently. She was upbeat about her life...although things could be better.  Later I heard from others that she was seeing a married man.  At first I thought,"Why would such a winner of a lady 'sabotage' her life in such a way?"  I mean, what can that man offer her?  A few stolen hours?  Some happiness... but not much and most definitely temporary? 

Cue Whitney Houston's song 'Saving All My Love For You".

But I begin to see that it's all about finding love and acceptance.  That's what all of us want anyway.  It's just that some of us find it within ourselves, within our families and our friends.  Others seem to need to find it elsewhere.  Perhaps 'elsewhere' is more fun, more interesting... I wouldn't know.  Different strokes for different folks.

One friend said to me,"Hah, wait till it happens to you."  I may sound arrogant but I say it won't.  Because I wouldn't let it.  A relationship is like heading down a road.  But you have to take that first step.  Before you do, you have to have some idea where that road is heading.  So if you don't like what could be waiting for you at the end of that road, then don't take that first step.

Walk away.  Even if it kills you inside.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Online Social Networking? Uhh..ookay...

When I was in university, calling home was a major undertaking.  I had to make sure I had dinner before setting out in search of a phone booth.  My pockets jingled with coins and I dragged friends along (who knows if the queueing got too long and one had to go to a toilet).  Without a friend, one could easily lose a place in a line.  Then once we made the call, we had to talk super fast cos the coins were jingling super fast into the bottomless maw of the telecommunications company.  Keeping in touch with friends meant letters, movies and treks out to a meeting place.  And if one lost touch with a friend, one prayed some miracle or twist of fate connected friends again.

But now... NOW.. the Internet has turned the world of social networking onto its head.  When I learned about emailing, I thought "Wow.." but I had to know people's email addresses.  It had to be correct right down to each dot.  Then my sister badgered me to try out Friendster.  Eyeww, I thought.  Social networking.  I wasn't in the market for sly smiles and flirty giggles.

Until I had to look for a friend and turned to Friendster as one of the avenues of hope.  Then I got Ringo.  Then Facebook.  It was an uncontrollable slide into the world of online social networking.

Then I found old friends, former students... it was amazing.

I found Juraidah, ex-coursemate and long time friend.  They used to call us the 'twins' cos we looked similar.
I found Francis, ex-student.  He was in New Zealand and on his way to London for a brandnew adventure!
I found Warren + Marilyn, cousins long lost in the wilds of Kuala Lumpur.  Uh, okay, calling Uncle Thasius would've yielded up phone numbers but that's not the point!

Trying to find Shahnaz Mat Daud and Melor Ismail next.  This networking is gonna do the job...I can feel it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Conundrum of Friends

This weekend, I thought about friends.

I've had a few and of all sorts.  Some were like dandelion fluff, spinning away into the sky when the wind blows.  Some were part of the background, always there but when the scenery changed, they changed too.  Some carried 'daggers' with poison tips.  And of course some were gems.

But as usual, life's not so clearcut black and white.  I cannot point a finger at anyone and say,"I regret being a friend to that one." 
For all my friends brought something to my life.

G gave me lots of academic discourses and sharp witty remarks mixed in with laughter n common sense.
C taught me how to handle extremes in life and showed ME I had extremes in me.
Q played with me in the sun and after stocking up on fun n games, Q dashed cold water in my face. Brr..then I dried off and had some more fun.
R went through school with me and we shared plenty of dreams, pain and nescafe.
T took me aside when my heart was full of rain and showed me how to look for the sunshine.
H stood by me in my rollicking campus days and just went "Tsk." when I rollicked a bit too much. 
Sometimes 'tsk' became 'are you dumb or what?'
Y walked around me with a dagger in hand and taught me that some people just didn't like to see others happy.

* And no, I didn't use the first letters of their names so don't bother matching names! :)*

But I wouldn't be me without all of these people...and there were so many more I didn't mention.
This weekend sure was a reflective one.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

PhD Hopefuls: The Writing's On The Wall...

It's rock solid official... if you're hoping to do your PhD with the govt footing the bill, your deadline is AGE 40. 
For those who are doing their PhDs now with that coveted scholarship, you lucky people...
For those who are close to 40, HURRY UP!
For those who are big-eyed and still with sparkles in your vision, plan carefully.

The circular's on the MOE website.  Sad sad sad...

Yon's Married!

Yesterday was a good day.

One of my favourite people in the world, Yon, got married to his lady.
I used to wonder why people got all teary-eyed at weddings.  Kinda wet, don'tcha think?

Yesterday I found out why.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Benchmarking Visit to KL

Last week, 32 teachers from my school (including me!) went on a benchmarking trip to KL.  We visited SMK Taman Keramat in daerah Gombak and Victoria Institution.  Went to VI's museum (!), computer labs, resource centres and peeked into its exam hall (in use at that time).  In one word, wow.  Harassed the SMK Taman Keramat teachers about their efforts to build up their school to the point they were awarded Sekolah Harapan Negara for their state.  Man, we've got a long way to go before we reach their level.

But it was a good time - we got to see how excellent schools worked and we also worked on our teamwork...:)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fail Meja and Manual Prosedur Kerja

Good news for those in search of Fail Meja Ketua Panitia and Manual Prosedur Kerja.  It's now available in ebook form at
Guru Bashid himself said that he is not creating new material but just repackaging information that is freely available.  But you know the 'sakit jiwa' of retyping documents, right?

I just made payment via and am now waiting for the download link.  Hope this is legit but I think it is because Guru Bashid has a blog online ( and when I browsed through it, he looks authentic.  And he's worked in SM Sains Sabah before!

So is anyone going to retype the old pekelilings and the garispanduans and sell them as ebooks?  Opportunity is knocking...:)
I know someone who compiled all the SPs and HSPs into a CD complete with index.  But I don't know what he's going to do with it...


I'm sitting at my office desk right now.  In front of me is a Form 5 student taking her English test (she was absent during the test last week).  Under my table is a pile of papers to be marked. 

Let me list them out:
English Form 5 Paper 1 - two essays per student
English Form 5 Paper 2
MUET Listening answer sheets - MCQ, thanks to the guys at MPM!
MUET Reading answer sheets - MCQ as well (and my partner marked them for me! Thanks bunches, Florence!)
MUET Writing answers - summary & directed writing..grooooaaann..

Not so many to do, right?

But BEHIND ME sits fearsome documents - school's strategic plan drafts and school's headcount data.

Okay, I'm going now. The slave's gotta get back to work.


EPF Monies : What To Do?

Met with my unit trust agent yesterday.  He laid out columns of numbers and umpteen charts in front of me.  Basically what he was showing me was a 7.8% appreciation in my investment made just a month ago.  That means, if I cash out the unit trusts and return the $ to EPF, I will get 7.8% extra.  Minus management fees, of course.

Pretty good numbers, huh?  For just one month's 'work'.  But of course the bull's running in the market now. 

That made me think.  So many people are just letting their money sit in EPF when they could invest in other vehicles.  Of course they need to do their research properly.  Not all unit trusts do well.  But LIPPER and Standard & Poor are pretty good guides.  And I'll always go for Public Mutual and MAAKL.  Or wherever the three wunderkind Cheah, Wong and Sito go.

People always say,"But there's a risk in unit trusts...EPF is risk-free!"  Sure, there's always a risk in whatever venture you undertake.  The question they need to ponder is ..IS THE EPF TRULY RISK-FREE??

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Acmamall Book Sale at 25% Discount

Wanna buy books?  Acmamall is selling books at 25% discount for a limited time.. all kinds of books.  Just register yourself, click on the books you want to purchase and  key in 'MERDEKA' as your discount code just before you check out.

Take a look...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Finished HP And The Deathly Hallows

Last Saturday I sat down and read Harry Potter.  Took me 6 hours cos people kept disturbing me.  Dylan kept trying to yank the book away.
I am very very satisfied with the book. Many people are writers but not all are storytellers.  JK Rowling is most definitely a storyteller!

Can't wait to see the book translated into a film.  Especially the battle scenes... oooh, so much gory detail!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weddings and Harry Potter

Last Saturday was a busy busy day. 

7.30 a.m. : I was at Popular City Mall, picking up my pre-order copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

10.00 a.m. : I was inside Sacred Heart Cathedral waiting for Verma and Ian to get married.  Ian Geraint Jones was in a kilt while Verma Vitales was in a luscious white halter neck gown that swept the floor. 

1.00 p.m. : Verma and Ian couldn't wait to get their Harry Potter copies and went straight from church to the bookstore.  Result: their photos were published in two local dailies and one national newspaper.  At the time, I'd just left the church.

2.00 p.m. : At home, marking.  *Had to sit on Harry Potter book to finish work.  Most agonizing.*

5.00 p.m. : On the road to Langkah Syabas for the happy couple's outdoor wedding dinner.  Lucky it didn't rain.  But it sure was memorable.  Half of the tables were under blue tents and were equipped with bottles of white wine and lihing.  They had seashells, crystals and little fish figures everywhere.  I sat at my table and gazed at the white sands, blue seas and boats bobbing in the distance.  Then the sun HAD to set and cast a beautiful orange red light on everything.  Imagine blue green (the theme!) overlaid with orange.  Beautiful...

Okay that's it.  Wanna finish my Harry Potter book.  Yeah, haven't finished it cos I had so much work to do.  Deadlines everyday...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vision For The Nation

Here's a good way to be part of history...let your small part of Malaysia be represented.

Come and contribute your students' or children's photos to :

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Marking Papers

One aspect of teaching life that I cannot escape is marking.  But it can be a bit much when exams are scheduled back-to-back.

I just finished marking for our 1st term exams two weeks ago and last Monday, another batch of papers came in. Our local education dept revived the 'Gerak Gempur', shook the dust off it and renamed it 'Ujian Setara'.  Whatever.  They're all exams.  My heart actually fell right into my stomach when we got the news during a coordinating meeting.

The teachers were horrified.

Wonder how the kids feel about it.

Job Vacancies at The Institut Pendidikans

Want to be a lecturer?

Head on over to and start filling in those forms!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Colours RGB

There's one little thing about the WWW that drives me crazy...and that is how one little number or one little variation in the code can play havoc with the way your webpage displays.

Once upon a time, I used to spend weeks just playing with the RGB codes.  Change one number and the colour would change.  It was like having your personal colour palette..just that it's in numbers and ABCs.  It got to the point when I'd look at a colour and go,"Hmmm, that's a CD0023..."  Yeah, sick, I know.  But I tend to get obsessive that way.

Here's a good website to help pick out great colour matches.  Not only for webpages but for clothes as well...

Which Superhero Am I?

Your results:
You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Transformers On The Silver Screen

Very early this morning, I was in a cinema watching the Autobots and the Decepticons literally rampage their way across the screen.

K E W L. 

A W E S O M E.


The most 'beautiful' part of the movie was...naaah, not Megan Fox (tho' she provided just the right amount of eye candy!)
It was the transforming of the aliens from car to robot or robot to car.  Or in the case of the Decepticons, plane, heli whatever.

I don't know how those guys made every little mechanical part swish swing twist revolve rotate spin and lock into place but they did good.

I wanna watch it about 20 more times.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wanna Work Overseas As an Education Attache?

Pengambilan Pegawai Perkhidmatan Pendidikan Siswazah Untuk Berkhidmat Sebagai Atase Pendidikan (Promosi) Di luar Negara Tahun 2008-2009

If you like the idea of working in Dubai, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City or Beijing
If you have been in service for at least 10 years and spent 5 of those years as a PPPSiswazah
If you're under 50 years of age
If you can speak English
If you can speak Arabic for posts in Dubai or Mandarin for posts in China
If your LNPT has never dipped below 90% for the past three years
If you have strong capabilities in management, promotion, database, finance & accounts, ICT

Head on over to and download the info.  If not for yourself, for a friend.

But the deadline for applications is 30 June.  So hurry hurry hurry....

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Reflections of a 6-Month-Old Administrator

I've been a school administrator for 6 months now and I'm discovering things.

I like teaching young people.
I like bringing these young people into a computer lab and seeing their eyes light up. Even if it's so clearly a rare event in their lives. (Hmm, the administrator in me is scribbling notes.)
I like showing them stuff like how to throw their voice and hearing an improvement in some kids' presentations.
I like sitting in school resource centres.
I like debates, dramas, aerobics before class, march pasts..etc.
I like the Friday potluck brunches in the teachers' staffroom.
I like looking at what a school has and doesn't have and figuring out how to make things better.
I like the hurly-burly of life in school.

I don't like meetings (if they come at least twice a week and it's been thrice the past few weeks).
I don't like scolding people. Adults or youngsters. I prefer the buddy-buddy approach but sometimes instant action is required.
I don't like reports, charts and graphs. Especially if I'm the one preparing it and it's due yesterday.
I don't like marking umpteen piles of papers (especially if I just finished a batch and a new batch is coming in on Monday cos the dept insists we carry out a project of theirs. Yeah I know it's 'for our own good' but..)
I don't like clearing paperwork off my table and having the clerk heave another pile onto it.
I don't like the daily dreary office stuff that runs a school.

My Pitiful Saturday

Today I dragged myself home... it's a Saturday and I had to go to work.
It's for 'Meet The Parents' day (report cards..sigh) and also a PTA meeting.

I hate meetings... unless I'm chairing it. And if I chair it, the meeting can be done within half an hour because I normally prepare everything ahead of time and the meeting is just for distribution and coordination of duties. Hmm, that shows what kinda meetings I chair.

A former boss of mine used to say that if the meeting takes longer than 45 minutes, it's not a meeting. And if so, then food must be provided. But I've had the misfortune to attend THREE-DAY meetings and in self-defense, I bought a PDA and a bluetooth keyboard. That meant I could type my executive report during the meeting itself. And if the meeting degenerates into a fruitless slanging match or an unproductive rally (where an issue gets volleyed left and right), I could open an e-book and switch off. I've completed whole reports in MS Excel (hundreds of entries) and a whole year's worth of planning during such horrendous wastes of time. When I say 'wastes' here, I'm picturing huge rolling dunes of barren land. Which is my precious time when I'm locked into such meetings. Or maybe that's too much for sticklers to language rules. Howzabout I use the word 'swathes'? But I digress.

Back to today's lament... IT. IS. A. SATURDAY.

And Saturdays are meant for glorious luxurious wallowing in wonderful stuff like shopping, picnicking, play, play, play and more play.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Foot-In-Mouth Disease

Ah, the foot-in-mouth disease...

I've had it so often, my immune system should be immune from it. Sadly, no-one seems to have created a vaccine for it. However friends consolingly tell me that it's okay, everyone suffers from it.

BUT no-one suffers quite the same as the one who is going through it THIS-VERY-MOMENT and RIGHT-NOW.

According to the powers-that-are (in certain professions), this disease is especially common among Sagittarians. The Chinese say that it is also the special purview of those born in the Year of the Monkey.

Guess what? I'm a Sagittarian born in the Year of the Monkey.
Talk about a double-whammy...

Whenever I suffer an attack, I apologize profusely (and in the process, I seem to make things worse) and try to make amends. Then I go home and squirm some more. Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night to think about it. Squirm squirm squirm...


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Astrology a.k.a. Stuff & Nonsense

This sort of thing tickles my funny bone... 'cos sometimes they are so right and yet can be so wrong! I suppose if you really do your chart properly, it can be useful but it's sad if you take everything as gospel truth.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Old Hobbies

I visited a friend's blog and got into a slight wrangle with him over superheroines.  In one post, he said and I quote, how many super heroes do you know who are women, anyway?

Ya, earth-shaking issue, I can tell.

Anyway, he got me scooting down memory lane and metaphorically digging into old boxes.  Again.

I used to be so addicted to the Marvel and DC universes that I HAD to write the stories for myself because I couldn't wait for the next installment.  My friends used to shake their heads at the sight of me scribbling in a book.  I must've have filled up at least 20 exercise books!  I was crazy about the New Teen Titans then - Robin, Starfire, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Raven and Cyborg.

The X-Men?  Piffle.  They were old hat to me. I chewed my baby teeth on them...literally.  My grandpa and uncle brought comics home long before they were fashionable.  When my uncle left to study in the UK, he locked them up in a huge box with a don't-mess-with-me padlock.  So I took a crowbar to it.  When he came home, he must've been horrified.  But he must've loved me more than he loved his comics because he didn't take me apart.  Oh well, I was only about 7 or 8 then.

The NTT came into my life when I was around 11 years old.  I walked into a sundry shop and saw a green-skinned superhero character on a cover.  As far as I knew, the only green-skinned cutie I knew was Garfield Logan from the pages of the Doom Patrol!  And that began a long-term love affair with graphic literature...

I suppose comicbooks were so important to me because I could lose myself in such fantastic worlds and such amazing situations... don't all of us need an escape hatch?  For me, school was a pretty stressful place and more so the university.  I'd recommend comicbooks anytime to anyone.  Way better than drugs, IMHO.

For me,  the best example of graphic literature ever is the Witchblade.  Michael Turner time, that is.  If Turner ever collaborates on anything with Z, Wohl, D Tron and Smith again, I wanna know.

Tawaran Kursus Bahasa Jepun Untuk Guru

Program Guru Bahasa Jepun - Ijazah Pertama untuk guru lepasan Maktab atau Diploma.

Did you know that Japan is an electronics heaven?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Philosophy on Rumours

It is great to keep this philosophy in mind the next time one hears or is about to repeat a rumour --


In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day, the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students...?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's correct," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say.

The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness.

Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

So next time you hear a rumour about someone, think about what Socrates said.

There is an interesting website about the subject.

Rumours can change slightly each time they're told, so they get more exaggerated over time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Pertandingan Laman Web + Courseware - WCCD 2007

Pertandingan Merekacipta Laman Web + Courseware 2007 (WCCD 2007) is back after a long hiatus!

So teachers and students from primary schools right up to the teacher training institutes, come in and join the fun! Get more info at WCCD 2007 (

Sunday, May 06, 2007

7 Reasons Not To Mess With Children

As a teacher, I have learned a long time ago not to mess with kids. But I cannot share in an open arena most of the stuff the kids do because I have a healthy respect for my well-being. Either that or I wait till the kids have left school and enough years have elapsed. However I CAN share forwards which contain the exact same spirit of my daily experiences at work.

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was
physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was
a very large mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.   Irritated, the
teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically
The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah."  
The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl replied, "Then you ask him". 
A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they
were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what
the drawing was.
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." 
The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied,
"They will in a minute."
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five
and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to "honour" thy Father and thy Mother,
she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers
and sisters?"
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered,
"Thou shall not kill."
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at
the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands
of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs
white, Mom?"
Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me
cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white."
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said,
"Momma, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"
The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade
them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and
say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.'
A small voice at the back of the room rang out,
"And there's the teacher, she's dead."
A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make
the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood,
as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position,
the blood doesn't run into my feet?"
A little fellow shouted, "'Cause your feet ain't empty."
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school
for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples.
The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:
 "Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a
large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seeing Home Through An Orang Putih's Eyes

When I first set up this blog, I searched for other blogs using the terms 'Sabah' and 'tropics'.

I found Glenda Larke a.k.a. Glenda Noramly's blog and found it so interesting that I bookmarked her blog and visited it half as many times as I checked my mail.  Which is plenty!

What i found interesting was how she talked about Sabah, Borneo.. Malaysia too.  It was fascinating to read about my homeland and 'see' what she saw through her Aussie eyes.  Granted she's been in Malaysia for ages but she still had lots to say about this land I call home.

I remembered a long time ago as I was poring over storybooks and found one author's description of a tropical wonderland so marvelous that I wished I could be there.  A split second later, I realised I WAS there! 
The author talked of palms waving in the breeze - I saw hundreds of them on my way to school everyday. 
The author talked of juicy pineapples - during pineapple season, we'd eat pineapples till my tongue itched unbearably. 
The author talked of glorious hibiscus and magnificent bougainvillea - I'd crush the hibiscus flowers (red, white and pink ones!) if I sat down on the grass back home and my mum would graft endless buds of bougainvillea onto each other so she could look at a plant with multicoloured blooms...and I'd think ohno! more blooms to sweep off the verandah.

I actually felt my world move.  Imperceptibly...but surely.

Now I've found someone whose blog reveals parts of Sabah that I don't know.  And the way she talks about Sabah is as if she's talking about a foreign land.  For her, maybe.  But it shouldn't be, for me.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Story of the Hare and Tortoise

This is one of the better forwards I've ever received in quite a while..

Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race.

The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race.

He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ.

The hare woke up and realized that he'd lost the race. The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race.

This is the version of the story that we've all grown up with.

But then recently, someone told me a more interesting version of this story. It continues.

The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some Defect Prevention (Root Cause Analysis). He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax.

If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed.

This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.

The moral of the story? Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady.

If you have two people in your organization, one slow, methodical and reliable, and the other fast and still reliable at what he does, the fast and reliable chap will consistently climb the organizational ladder faster than the slow, methodical chap.

It's good to be slow and steady; but it's better to be fast and reliable.

But the story doesn't end here. The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there's no way he can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted.

He thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route.

The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river.

The finishing line was a couple of kilometers on the other side of the river.

The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.

The moral of the story? First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency.

In an organisation, if you are a good speaker, make sure you create opportunities to give presentations that enable the senior management to notice you.

If your strength is analysis, make sure you do some sort of research, make a report and send it upstairs. Working to your strengths will not only get you noticed but will also create opportunities for growth and advancement.

The story still hasn't ended.

The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realised that the last race could have been run much better.

So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time.

They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the riverbank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back.

On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they'd felt earlier.

The moral of the story? It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies; but unless you're able to work in a team and harness each other's core competencies, you'll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you'll do poorly and someone else does well .

Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership.

There are more lessons to be learnt from this story.

Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure.

The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could. In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort.

Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both.

The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we perform far better.

When Roberto Goizueta took over as CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1980s, he was faced with intense competition from Pepsi that was eating into Coke's growth.

His executives were Pepsi-focussed and intent on increasing market share 0.1 per cent a time.

Goizueta decided to stop competing against Pepsi and instead compete against the situation of 0.1 per cent growth.

He asked his executives what was the average fluid intake of an American per day? The answer was 14 ounces. What was Coke's share of that? Two ounces. Goizueta said Coke needed a larger share of that market.

The competition wasn't Pepsi. It was the water, tea, coffee, milk and fruit juices that went into the remaining 12 ounces. The public should reach for a Coke whenever they felt like drinking something.

To this end, Coke put up vending machines at every street corner. Sales took a quantum jump and Pepsi has never quite caught up since.

To sum up, the story of the hare and tortoise teaches us many things.
Important lessons are:

The fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady;
work to your competencies;
pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers;
never give up when faced with failure; and finally,
compete against the situation. Not against a rival.


Bill Gates vs. General Motors:

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on.

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated,

"If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics :

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash........
Twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Star Fiction Book Poll

There's a book poll with an April 15 deadline. I hear the kids are drowning it with Harry Potter votes.
Come on and inject some variation in!

Otherwise we are in danger of earning the headline: MALAYSIANS HARRY POTTER MANIACS!
But think of your top ten FICTION titles first before you click on to

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Book Is Not For Sale In Malaysia

I surfed one of my favourite bookstores on the net and searched for one of my favourite authors, Robin D. Owens. Guess what... there was a short sentence in red just below the title: The book is not for sale in Malaysia.

What the...???!!

Robin writes stories about the people in a community on another planet called Celta. Straightforward love stories which contain elements of psychic phenomena and intelligent cats. Could it be the spellcasting or the ways of recognizing their mates that scared the censors? Or is it the talking cats?

My intelligence is insulted. It seems I cannot decide for myself what may irreparably harm my thinking faculties.

I'm Melting....

The weather is so humid that my head feels foggy...

I step out of the shower and beads of sweat begin popping out down my back.
I breathe a bit too hard and sweat trickles down my scalp.
I lie in bed and contemplate the ceiling, feeling sweat slip down my neck.

The air conditioner has become my best friend.  I know I will be looking at a pretty fabulous electricity bill next month but I'm willing to pay for the comfort.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Little Bloggy Fun

Never tried this before.. in a blog, I mean.

Offline, plenty!


Name : Roslyn CT
Date of birth : *go n check my IC*
Current status : Married
Eye colour : Brown
Hair Colour : Black
Righty or lefty : Right handed.
Zodiac sign : Sagittarius.

Your heritage : Kadazan.. a few drops of Chinese blood. OK lah.. many drops!
Your fear : Going blind.
Your weakness : Talk talk talk. Lucky my job requires that skill.
Your perfect pizza : Anything + tomato sauce + cheese + onions + garlic + more onions.

Your thoughts first waking up : "Am I late?" *Check alarm clock. 6.15 a.m.* "I'm late I'm late I'm late..." *scramble scramble scram*
Tomorrow : I won't be late.
Your bedtime : 9.00 pm. A target most often missed.
Your most missed memory : Sitting in front of a great band in Shenanigans, feet on the speakers, Top10 in hand. Becoming allergic to alcohol has really spoiled my fun.

Pepsi or coke : Coke.
McD or burger king : Can I not choose?
Single or group dates : Group! Me, hubby and son!
Adidas or nike : Next question, please!
Lipton tea or nestea : Tea??!! Ack! Urk! Bleurgghh!
Chocolate or vanilla : Both swirled together.
Cappucino or coffee : COFFEE.

Smoke : No.
Curse : No.

Drank Alcohol : Does chicken dunked in rice wine count?
Gone to the mall : Yes.
Been on stage : Does giving a speech count? Yes.
Eaten sushi : Nope. Ack! Urk! Bleurgghh!
Dyed your hair : Not yet... appointment comin' up.

1 minute ago : Surfing blogs and drinking coffee.
1 hour ago : Surfing blogs and drinking coffee.
4 1/2 hours ago : Munching on kuih lapis Sarawak. It was blue (!) in colour and had a peppermint taste.
1 month ago : Thinking of headcounts, analysis, kids who cut class and my next Nescafe fix.
1 year ago : Hanging out in airports, crunching data in Excel, surfing blogs and drinking coffee.

i love : my books and my coffee.
i feel : like I don't have enough time.
i hate : not having enough time.
i hide : my white strands of hair.
i miss : my super flat stomach.
i need : more coffee.

Must I?
Hmm, serenadez, audreyst, grinmamablues, beatrice, sweetcrankyangel

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Swisscash and Its Like

One of the first things I encountered in my workplace was Swisscash. Someone tentatively broached the subject. I immediately pontificated on the evils of pyramid schemes. Such an approach normally stops any chance of attempts to persuade. :)

Yeahh, evil me.

However I noticed that a friend of mine was itching to invest. I sat down and told her about such schemes. I mean, you put money in something.. you have to get something concrete in return. Whether it's a pie, a share certificate or a brick. This Swisscash thing (and now I hear of IPC?) doesn't offer anything concrete. Just cash into an account and miraculously it will breed and grow and do better than Berkshire Hathaway. Or Fidelity Magellan. Isn't the top in earnings George Soros's company? Whatever lah.

But that friend of mine is still straining to invest. The only thing stopping her from dumping her money in is some cockup she's in, thanks to a crooked lawyer. But once that's straightened out, she'll probably run into the nearest Swisscash lookalike. They should call it Swishcash.

I just don't get it.


Sort of 'forced' my school teachers to put together a debate team (students!) for the interschool debate competition. I knew forcing was required because looking after a debate team is just a lot of hard work. But the fun to be had, the experience to be got... all so priceless.

I remember my times in La Salle... those night hours spent in the school with the boys... the cakes sent over regularly by Pn Goh n others...and that was with the kids.

The times with the teachers were just as good. But being involved in debating as a coach is just so taxing. I don't know if I have enough brain cell juice left after nine years. I suppose if I had to, I would. But now it's time for others to go through the process I went through. I'm deliberately keeping away so the others will pick up the baton. Although it doesn't stop 'em from calling me about points and lines of argument.

But those were good times, weren't they?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Where Can I Get Sukatan Pelajaran & Huraian Sukatan Pelajaran?

Every year, people ask me this question. EVERY YEAR.
I think,"Should I scream?" No lah.

You ICT-savvy people, please print out the URL and put it up on school noticeboards.
And forward the info to all your friends.

Punca Maklumat Untuk Pentadbir, Guru dan Pelajar

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Setting Up A School Website With Sabahnet

The registration process is all online at After you have registered online, please send to:

KKIP Communications Sdn Bhd
Tel: (088) 231101, 231102 ext. 188
24-Hour Hotline: (088) 234101, 016-833-1200

a letter from the principal if you are applying for an educational institution (edu) or send us a copy of the IC of the account owner if you are applying for a personal account (net). Best of all, it's FREE for schools. Hey maybe it's free for individuals too. Didn't ask that...