Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preserving My Inner Child

The other day, someone accused me of being 'naive' and he made it seem as if 'naive' is such a terrible thing to be.  As if I allow every conman on the street to trick me out of my savings and as if I buy into all the frauds and scams that fly into town.  The issue we were disagreeing over was the simple matter of trust.  I chose to trust someone else who was as yet an unknown quantity to me, giving that other person the benefit of the doubt.

I didn't give that third person the keys to my house... or the PIN to my bank accounts.... or the care of my son.... or the secrets of my life.  I merely chose to give that person my friendship. 

However, this really upset my other friend who felt I should keep a distance and observe this other person first.  Watch and wait for him to do something.  Although I do not know what it is that I am supposed to watch for...

By 'coincidence', this other friend is also the type to cultivate a coolly sarcastic facade.  No matter what people say, he always has a biting response to make.  You won't catch THIS person going starry-eyed over sunsets or skipping over waves at the edge of the beach or drooling over luscious slices of mango... no, he's way too cool for that.  So cool that he's almost frozen...LOL...

Me, I prefer to preserve my inner child. 

I'll go 'wowwww...' over orange pink skies in those elusive moments just before sunset.
I'll laugh and splash in the shallows with my son...  when he laughs with delight, it is the most beautiful sound in the world to me.
And when my son and nephews shout with excitement over blue and green and yellow fish under the island jetties, I'll be right behind them, pointing out the most colourful fishes and the biggest... and the fastest...

Perhaps that is why they say children are the ones closest to God.  They wear no masks and are open in mind and heart.
How nice if all of us could be like that... what a different place our world would be.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Attending Seminars : Postlude

Today was the last day of the seminar (refer to previous post). 

More gems of wisdom :)

I learned about using mnemonic devices to enhance teaching & learning of literature.  Jane Deslorena Jaikol shared her experiences in teaching students of average proficiency and helping them to remember details of the story Robinson Crusoe.  I know how frustrating it can be when after all your backbreaking efforts, you have a young student who writes in his exam paper that in the Pearl, Coyote was shot in the head by Mokgobja who wanted rain for his lotus which he needed to eat.

Dr Norherani Moning talked about wikispaces and how they helped scaffold the teaching of academic writing. 

Eric C talked about using efficiency (E-factors) and appropriacy (A-factors) to help in the selection of reading materials for students.  I didn't ask HIM any questions as I was one of his interviewees :)

During the pleno session, the panel brought up points such as :
- the excellent quality of the papers presented
- how interesting it was to see two clear categories of presenters ; the veterans who were at home standing in front of a learned audience and those new to the 'game', some of who were clearly nervous and yet passionate about their subjects
- clear evidence of a passion for the teaching profession
- sympathy/empathy in the efforts to improve the quality of education in the schools
- a good showing of teachers as researchers, which augurs well for the future
- creative and excellent examples of presentations, especially in the use of graphics and the sharing of experiences via stories, which in turn encouraged members of the audience to share their own experiences
- innovation in the papers presented

There were 30 papers presented in all and in all the parallel sessions I attended, not once did I feel sleepy.  Not a single yawn..:)  What a pity it had to end...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Attending Seminars

I am now at the second day of a research seminar in Hotel Beverly, Kota Kinabalu. It has a title that looks dry..Seminar Penyelidikan Dan Inovasi Pendidikan Kebitaraan Bahasa Peringkat Kebangsaan 2009... but the 'kebitaraan' made me look for a dictionary and the papers presented so far has made me view the seminar title in multicolour instead of drab black and white :)

I always look forward to attending such seminars.... and this particular seminar is turning out to be one of the more memorable ones. For me, anyway.

I met old friends from so many different phases of my life.

I got to make new friends! From schools, teaching institutes, universities...

I learned new strategies to use in class, such as dialogue journals (action research by Izyan Shazwani). This is a variation on journals and an excellent alternative to e-journals for schools and communities with limited access to the Internet.

I found Jacinta Juin's presentation on learner autonomy using drama-based activities heartening because in my experience, too many teachers shy away from drama.... which is a pity because it is one of those activities that put 'power' in students' hands and which mean a lot of fun for them.

I got to refresh research knowledge, remembering the finer points of Cronbach's alfa, t-tests and One Way ANOVA.

I learned NEW things, such as 10-point Likert scales! I wouldn't like to be a respondent for one of these questionnaires!

I get to network and renew connections ;)

I wish I could go for more of these seminars...

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Great Way To Get A Boost!

There are times when you need a boost of energy.... and one of my favourite ways is to listen to Kitaro play 'Matsuri'... oh yeah!

Friday, October 09, 2009

List of Scholarship Links

Here's a list of scholarship links, shared by a friend.  I haven't verified them (too many!). Please inform me if you find any broken or invalid link.

MARA Scholarship Programs

Yayasan Proton Scholarship

PTPTN Education Loan

The Star Education Fund

Astro Scholarship Award

Shell Scholarships
click on 'Jobs and Careers'

PETRONAS Education Scholarship Programs

MNRB Scholarship Fund

HSBC Scholarship Awards

OCBC Bank Scholarship

Bank Negara Scholarship
Closing on 17th March 2010

Curtin Sarawak Scholarship

The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Scholarships

HELP University College

Adelaide   Achiever Scholarships International (AASI)

Curtin University of Technology Scholarship

Charles Darwin University Scholarship

Kolej Disted-Stamford Degree Scholarships

Leeds University Scholarships

Loughborough University Human Science Scholarships

La Trobe University Scholarships
Seems to be closed at the moment.

NUS / Asean Undergraduate Scholarship

UCL Pathfinder Scholarships

University of Sheffield Scholarship

UTAR Scholarships

Nanyang Technological University Scholarship

Tasmanian International Scholarships

University of Malaya Fellowship Scheme

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Scholarship

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST Discovery  Scholarship)

Universiti Malaysia Sabah Scholarship

Saturday, October 03, 2009

2016 Host of Summer Olympiad 2016 : Rio De Janeiro!

It's official... the host of the 31st Summer Olympics is Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Tried to tweet that info but for the first time ever, I got the page "Twitter Is Over Capacity". I have a feeling a few million people stormed Twitter about the Olympics.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tercipta Untukku (Made For Me)

A few months ago, a friend recommended a Indonesian band to me and sent me a Youtube link. The melodies were soulful and the vocals were of the unforgettable sort. Their themes seem to center on love and its many permutations.

Any place you go, if you hear Ungu over the PA system or on the radio, you just KNOW it's Ungu. Then just now, I saw the band sing on an Astro channel.... sweet...

Lyrics :

Ungu feat. Rossa – Tercipta Untukku

menatap indahnya senyuman diwajahmu
membuat ku terdiam dan terpaku
mengerti akan hadirnya cinta terindah
saat kau peluk mesra tubuhku
banyak kata
yang tak mampu ku ungkapkan
kepada dirimu

aku ingin engkau s'lalu
hadir dan temani aku
di setiap langkah
yang meyakiniku
kau tercipta untukku
sepanjang hidupku

aku ingin engkau s'lalu
hadir dan temani aku
di setiap langkah
yang meyakiniku
kau tercipta untukku
meski waktu akan mampu
memanggil seluruh ragaku
ku ingin kau tau
kuslalu milikmu
yang mencintaimu
sepanjang hidupku

aku ingin engkau slalu
hadir dan temani aku
disetiap langkah
yang meyakiniku
kau tercipta untukku
meski waktu akan mampu
memanggil seluruh ragaku
ku ingin kau tau
kuslalu milikmu
yang mencintaimu

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dumb 'Technology' At Work

At work, I use the Internet a lot.  I email teachers info and documents, teachers respond with data, I maintain my online groups (looking after ten groups..), I check on what's new in the oh-so-many relevant websites..MOE, JPA, Treasury.... and I have come to depend on the net a lot.

Today, I found out I couldn't access my groups.  The web address has been blocked because it is categorized under 'Message Boards and Forums'.  OMG... it is the message boards and forums that is so useful to teachers.........

Argh... why are they treating us like kids who don't even know how to police ourselves??? They are punishing the thousands of legitimate users for the very few who abuse the network.  Is it worth it????

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dwelling On What-Might-Have-Beens

Sitting at my PC, I'm reading an online message from a voice from the past.  From the tone of the message, that old and treasured friend is thinking of the past and all his 'what-might-have-beens'.  He is a bit sad and a bit wistful.  But I'm telling him not to look back...

When I look at my students, I marvel at their 'empty' Books of Life ... they are just at the beginning of a potentially wonderful life.  It is just up to them what they make of it.  As for me, my approach to life has always been 'No Regrets But Do No Harm.'  So far that approach has worked relatively well for me.  But dare I say that I have no regrets?  Well, maybe one or two.

My friend (of the same age) seems to be wishing for some things to be redone.  But I am not too sure if that is a good idea.  Well, he can't change the past.  And when we have let enough time pass, we forget why we made certain decisions.  He made decisions a long time ago that he felt was right, so why is he wishing otherwise now?

I do not believe in looking back to make wishes.  We look back to reflect and to help us make better decisions for the future.  If we think of our past and we wish for different paths, we risk paralysing our present and wrecking our future.  We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world.  If we feel pain, we deal with the pain and we move on.  No one is more 'special' than another and no one deserves more than another.

Is life unfair?  Not really. 

I think life is a combination of our destiny and our attitudes.  It is like playing a game of cards.  We get a hand of cards, then we decide what to do with the cards we get.  What will make the difference will be prayer and a positive attitude.  Well, that's what I believe, anyway.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Meaning Of A Degree Certification

Last weekend, I met some old friends who talked of the problem of undergrads who 'outsource' their assignments.  They said it was difficult to get these students to understand the importance of doing their own work.  Then we segued into the topic of degrees, universities and rankings.   

I used to wonder why a degree was such a big deal.  Does a period of four (or three) years in an institution really make you a person fit for employment and induction into the officer & managerial ranks?  Can a certificate encapsulate your skills, talents and potential??

But by this 'ripe old age', I have learned what a degree represents to potential employers. 

First of all, that cert testifies to a certain capacity to withstand stress while having the discipline, patience & sheer tenacity to see a course of study to its fruitful end.

Second, it attests to the ability to collect data, analyse the collection of data and distill a year's worth of research &reading into its most concise and benefit-laden form (hopefully!) - the thesis. 

Third, it indicates an ability to work in teams (or better yet, HELM teams) as well as deal with & satisfy the idiosyncrasies of some of the most eccentric people in the world, the academicians.

Such a wonderful package of skills and abilities, eh?  But...one MUST go through the course of study inch by mentally-painful inch in order to acquire said abilities.  A true graduate is like gold refined by fire... while graduates who cheated their way through their course have only cheated themselves out of this refining of self.

To people wise in the management of people, such half-baked graduates stand out like a sore blister. In the teaching profession, such half-cooked graduates go on to create other half-cooked versions of themselves. 

Very sad when you think of it :(

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Breaking The Vocal Ice

Teaching English in Sabah, Malaysia is a major challenge. If only because some of the students won't open their mouths and say a single word in English. When you ask why, they grin shyly and say,"Malu..." (I'm too shy...) There are also contemporaries who make fun of them if they speak English or worse, accuse them of showing off.

So how does an English teacher break the vocal ice? Well, if you're creative and you're open to all sorts of ideas... there's PLENTY you can do!

Exempli Gratia..

a) Make them pronounce the words or phrases displayed on the whiteboard or flash cards.
b) Read! Poems, articles, speeches, ads, labels...whatever!
c) Do jazz-chants.
d) Sing karaoke songs!
e) Do choral speaking in class.
f) Tell stories in relays (e.g. story chains)

And here is one lesson I carried out with my Form Sixes :

I presented one poem by Edwin Morgan in class (with a reasonably solemn face) and after the class had recovered their composure, I made them write their own (AND present it!)

Before you say that YOUR students cannot write poems. I tell you they CAN!

Click here to read the poem by Edwin Morgan. I dare you to do this in class...but first, a word of warning : practise at home before you bring it to the classroom. And keep a straight face.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Number One Skill For A Teacher : Persuading!

And the best way to learn this is by getting involved in debating!  Yeah, I'm a bit of a debate fan...:P  Some call me a fanatic.  Fan, fanatic, what's the difference..only four letters..heh heh heh...

I always tell my students that the most important skill in life for them is the ability to speak because it is through speaking that you convey information, opinions, ideas, arguments... in fact, it is through speaking that you show people WHO YOU ARE.  Some people say the window through the soul is the eyes...yes, that is true but most people only get to 'see' your eyes after they have heard your voice.

For teachers, their speaking is integral to their job specification for how can they convey information and elicit response if they cannot speak?  I am sure there are people out there who are unable to speak but are still able to teach...however, these are very rare cases and these teachers are probably very exceptional people working in very small groups with special tools.

As a teacher who has been in service for 17 years, I have found that my most essential tool is my voice, at varied decibel levels and degrees of warmth (or frost!).  It took me a while but I learned to 'fine tune' my control of my voice so as to be able to control a group of people and most importantly, to persuade.

Kids nowadays aren't like students twenty or even ten years ago.  They no longer swallow concepts and information the way they used to.  Teachers have had to change their teaching styles from Lord of The Classroom (I Talk, You Memorize) to Politician of The Constituency (I Persuade, You Decide To Accept Or Not).  I use the term 'constituency' because sometimes when I enter class, the group dynamics FEEL like a constituency's..:D

When I first started coaching people in debate, I found that as they gained more confidence in speaking up and speaking out, their personalities also began to shine brighter.  Some were already confident individuals (it takes a lot of tongue-biting gumption to stand on a stage with nothing but your brain and tongue..hahaha..) and learning how to argue only enhanced their package of skills.  However others who seemed to be 'invisible' before (in the group dynamics sense) suddenly became visible.  This naturally enhanced their ability to pull people and to persuade people. 

Where is such an ability more important than in the classroom?  But when as I walk through schools and classrooms, I see so many teachers who haven't learned to harness their most important tool : their voice.  So many of them have so much information to impart but they aren't as effective as they could be because of the way they present that info.

Why aren't there speaking classes in university???  Not the normal English Language speaking class.... but ones which are geared towards preparing teachers to be the best presenter they can be?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Teachers' Dilemma : To Be In Admin or To Be Academic Teachers

The first time news came of promotional posts for Form Six teachers was in December 2007.  That excited so many people... and then news came again of Master Teacher posts up for the taking.  In Sabah, anyway.  Promotional exercises came fast and furious and forms were being filled in by every teacher.  There were even cases of teachers filling in forms because they saw their friends filling in forms and they were afraid of being left behind. 

I remember when I was a DG44 Senior Assistant (Penolong Kanan) in school and there was an opportunity to get a DG48 post as a Form Six Academic Teacher.  I waffled for two weeks and finally gave in to the fear of being left behind and FILLED IN THE FORM!  Like so many other of my compatriots. 

And the result is... so many of my Senior Assistant friends are now stepping out of their administrative posts and taking up DG48 posts as Master Teachers or Form Six Academic Teachers.  Some are happy as they have been buckling under the stresses of administrative duties or they are teachers at heart and only took up the admin post as it was the only promotion opportunity that came their way.  However, some are unhappy (deep inside) as they LIKE the admin work but see no other opportunity of getting the DG48 promotion other than taking up the Master Teacher or Form 6 Acad Teacher post.  And when you have been in the position of making decisions for the whole school, to lose that 'power' can be deflating. 

A friend Lady J is presently pondering her choices.  She is currently Senior Assistant in a school and doing a good job.  She has just been offered a DG44 Master Teacher post backdated to the same date as her DG44 promotion.  So whichever post she takes up, it would be the same for her.  However friends are telling her that the Master Teacher post would be a better choice as in three years she can apply for a DG48 Master Teacher post (one of the special privileges of Master Teachers).  It's considered the fastest track for a teacher's career.  Her problem is that she has developed an affinity for admin work.  And I can see that she is good at what she does.

When she asked me what she should do, I couldn't answer.  She's the only one who can decide. 

But if she chooses the Master Teacher post, I think it will be a loss to the Sabah pool of 'pelapis'.  All these posts being given to so many senior teachers are playing havoc with the succession planning of the state....

But if you're a junior teacher, this can only mean good news for you, right?  You'll go up the ladder faster.... especially if you're interested in admin.

I'll probably face a similar dilemma within the next few months... wonder how 'bad' my dilemma will be.  Well, if I'm only offered one DG48 post, it's going to be a no-brainer, right?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friends That 'Care About You'

Was reading a book this morning...and one statement caught my attention.  The author says never to spend time with people who make negative remarks, especially those who do it 'for your own good' and who 'care about you'.

Old advice but I keep 'failing' to heed it in the name of friendship.

Just last week, a friend asked me so solicitously how I was doing at work or in my personal life.  I replied that I was doing okay, upon which she got an uncertain look on her face and looked as if she was thinking hard.  Naturally, I asked her if anything was wrong. 

What happened next was so typical.

She said,"Well, So-And-So so said to me... oh no, I shouldn't say this."

I took the bait and urged her to tell me.  Which she did and straightaway told me to forget it.

Hah, do you  think I can forget it?  It is like a stone in my shoe.  And I feel like such a stupid fool for this is what this friend does to me on a regular basis.  She likes to tell me things because she is 'worried for me'.

I think the next time she says that, I will say,"No, don't tell me." and change topic.  Some lessons take such a long time to learn...:(

Friday, September 11, 2009

Malaysian School Term Timetable 2010

Hooray the School Term Timetable is out!

KUMPULAN B : Sekolah-sekolah di Negeri Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya
TAHUN 2010
  04.01.2010 29.01.2010 20
  01.02.2010 26.02.2010 20
  01.03.2010 12.03.2010 10
1 13.03.2010 21.03.2010 9
  22.03.2010 31.03.2010 8
  01.04.2010 30.04.2010 22
  03.05.2010 31.05.2010 21
  01.06.2010 04.06.2010 4
2 05.06.2010 20.06.2010 16
21.06.2010 30.06.2010 8
01.07.2010 30.07.2010 22
02.08.2010 31.08.2010 22
01.09.2010 03.09.2010 3
04.09.2010 12.09.2010 9
13.09.2010 30.09.2010 14
01.10.2010 29.10.2010 21
01.11.2010 19.11.2010 15
20.11.2010 02.01.2011 44
Jumlah Hari Persekolahan Termasuk Cuti Am 210
Jumlah Hari Cuti Penggal 78

Monday, August 31, 2009

There Is Never Any Justification For Poison

If you have nothing good to say, then don't say anything at all.

I don't know who said that but I believe in it.  Not that I always succeed in staying true to the basic premise in that sentence, but I try.

I have a friend who does many things in order to be true to herself.  Not everyone agrees with what she does but life's like that, isn't it?  However the latest stage of her life is to find salvation in a religion anathema to her family members.  And so they heap blame and vitriolic poison on her hapless shoulders.  Everything that goes wrong in their clan is blamed on her.  What utterly idiotic logic...

But she sits there and TAKES it.  I tell her to just get up and leave.  And she just sits there and takes it.

I remain her friend and I get some of the poison as well.  What do they expect me to do...?  Stand with them and 'stone' her?? Well, I think these righteous people should pay heed to these words:

John 8 : 7        He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone...

If even family members cannot be kind to each other and hurl poisonous words to hurt others (even knowing that their words cannot change anything), then it is no wonder our world is full of hurt and sorrow.

There is NEVER any justification for hurting other people, especially when harming them does not bring any productive results.  I tell myself that perhaps the relative herself has too much poison within... but that is not an excuse, is it? 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dealing With People In Our Lives

On the net, there are many things that get circulated and some of these are motivational stories.  I was reading the story of The Wooden Bowl one day (for the umpteenth time!) and it never fails to surprise me how some people never realize that when they mistreat their parents, their own little children are watching them and 'learning' how to treat THEM when they get old.  Poetic justice, some may say but I just think it is sad.

However at the end of The Wooden Bowl, someone tagged on that you can learn a lot about people by the way they react to a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage and a tangle of Christmas lights.

I thought of someone I love very much and laughed.  For he thinks rainy days are times to have a good sleep, he is super patient with the elderly, he can scream bloody murder if anyone dares to lose his luggage and he would probably end up flinging the tangled Christmas lights at the wall & buying new ones (so far none of our Christmas lights have dared to tangle themselves up).

I'm so glad I have him....:)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Asian Schools Football Under-15 Championships Farewell Dinner

Attended the ASFF Under 15 2009 Farewell Dinner at Palace Hotel tonight. Well, actually I emceed the function together with Henry N... so, yeah, that qualifies as having attended the function.

I am feeling happy about it because things generally went well and the evening ended on a high note. The food looked good ... although emcees hardly ever get the chance to eat (no time and no appetite!). I just assumed the food tasted good based on the empty plates heaped on the tables.

Started the evening with a multimedia presentation (recap of the championship events), moved on to the usual speech of farewell and handing-out of certificates of participation & appreciation, dinner, songs and dance by the Sabah College singers and dancers (I thought Abd Khareez did a great rendition of Hello Beautiful!), exchange of souvenirs among the contingents.... and CONTINGENT TALENTINE!

I wasn't expecting much, considering that the contingents came to play footie...but I found myself thoroughly entertained!

The Thais did a kick boxing routine... males ALWAYS love a display of testosterone...and so did I!

The Bruneians sang a love song with lots of hand clapping and Param Pam Pam! Such cuties...

The guys from Sri Lanka sang a love song...awwww... and also did some dance routines...they looked like they were having a ball onstage!

The Macao contingent sang Cantonese songs about friendship and love, complete with lights and hand-waving. They even handed out the little lights to certain members of the audience to join in the fun!

The Chinese did a martial arts routine to Zen-like music...looked like tai chi ... reminded me of cranes in slow motion.... did I mention these kids under fifteen years of age were TALL???

The Singaporeans did an updated 60's style dance routine....really cool looking steps... looked like a version of modern line dancing....but they generated a LOT of buzz...

Thanks to Eric for this pic..!

The Indonesians did a song performance accompanied by two of them playing the guitar and one enterprising young chap doing solo dance routines.

Aaaaand the Malaysians did a CHICKEN DANCE! This classic dance for group dynamics was just the right ending to a great night... especially when the other contingents were invited to go onstage for a second round of the Chicken Dance. The kids just rushed onstage and had a ball!

A perfect ending to a perfect day....
The contingents went on a city tour ... no rain for once and there were blue skies, white puffs of cloud and turquoise seas.... just the right combination for a day out with the English teacher-tour guides :)

Forgive the blurry pics... my camera couldn't handle the fast moves...LOL...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Son And His Homework

My son's only six but he already grapples with homework every night. His teacher gives him two sentences every day to copy out five times; one in English and another in Chinese...or Malay and Chinese. Tonight he has to do 'The weather is fine." and also ' ~&\%$*@~' Sorry ah, I don't know how to read Chinese characters.

Besides homework, he has also learned the skill of procrastination.

Mummy, I'm thirsty. Homework cannot be done until he gets a drink.
Mummy, it's hot. Mummy switches on the fan.
Mummy, got cheese? Mummy looks at son and walks to the kitchen to find a slice of cheese.
Mummy, I want the cheese cut in triangles. Mummy finds a knife and cuts cheese in triangles.
Mummy, I want eraser. Mummy asks where his eraser went. He says already gone.

This happens every night. With varying differences in his requests.
Mummy is now an expert in perfect cheese triangles, optimum fan angles and keeping a supply of erasers and sharpeners.

The Marketability of TESL Grads

Today I was on the phone, calling up English teachers I knew (and didn't know!) to help out during an international event in my city. It wasn't a difficult task for the teachers...all they had to do was become tour guides to Kota Kinabalu. Qualification? Ability to speak English well, cheerful personality and proactive mindset.

It wasn't the first time I've been asked to get English teachers together to do something not related to English teaching. English teachers tend to have a reputation for being willing to do all sorts of stuff (er...can I read that as being creative?) and bundling in lots of loud laughter in the process of doing the job.

I've noticed that TESL grads are extremely marketable in my part of the world. Quite a number of my TESL buddies have 'abandoned' the MOE in search of greener pastures elsewhere. One even found an employer willing to pay off her substantial bond to the government! A corporate friend of mine told me that these grads were sought after because they were proficient in English (lingua franca of the world!) and an education degree normally meant such grads were able to speak in public, prepare materials, conduct training and organize events. Most definitely a strategic asset to any organization.

Of course it's not fair to say that other optionists aren't as 'good'... but most would agree with me when I say that TESL people normally stand out in any school. It's so easy to pick them out...they're either a bunch creating havoc in a room somewhere, people dressed in unusual clothing ;) or those with a sharp dress sense.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Survived Emceeing The Asian Schools Football U15 Championships Welcome Dinner!

Just got back from Palace Hotel.  All I can say is that I survived emceeing the ASFF Welcome Dinner...just.

Anybody who has ever been an emcee knows what it's like.  You prepare for all eventualities and OTHER eventualities happen.  But I suppose I should be happy because on the whole, the most important things took place according to plan, as listed below.

1) The VVIP gave his speech and we didn't mispronounce or miss important parts of his name or post.
2) The dinner began on time (despite the microphone hiccup!) and ended waaaaay ahead of time...hooray for us!
3) The right tokens of appreciation went to the right VIPs.
4) The cultural performances ended on a high note, Sayang Kinabalu sung by Asmin Mudin its composer.

I won't mention the hiccups because no-one seemed to notice except for those who planned the dinner and of course, the ones who emceed the function...LOL....

The Sri Lanka footballers sat next to us and seemed to be amused, watching Henry and I trying our best to coordinate events with the sound technician, the performance people and the floor manager while keeping our cool selves together and looking elegant.  Although I did sort of teeter on losing my cool when the microphones went dead and when I made faces at the technician, he began by flipping buttons and ended up pulling at wires under his consoles.  Most frightening sight...SERIOUSLY.  I was imagining a night without the use of microphones... was I going to shout?  Or use hand signals?  Oh the horror of it...!  But luckily, sound was restored just in the nick of time.

The loudest table seemed to be the Bruneian footballers.  Perhaps because one or two of the performances were Brunei :)  National feeling was running high at their table. 

And I didn't realize that boys under 15 years of age were so tall....especially the Chinese.

Wonder what will be in store during the Farewell Dinner.  Yes, I'll be emceeing that one too.  But with Henry as a partner, I'm not worried.  The best partner an emcee can have is one who keeps his cool no matter what and laughs at just the right times.  Oh and says,"Let's have coffee!" when things get a bit too tense!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Asian Schools Football Federation (ASFF) Under-15 Championships 2009

Last Friday, I attended a meeting for the Asian Schools Football Federation (ASFF) Under-15 Championships taking place in Kota Kinabalu from the 12th to the 18th of August.  One of the main issues discussed was Influenza A H1N1.  While the officials were worried about the pandemic, they were focusing more on how to handle the issue.  No cancelling of the championship ... :)

I'm one of four emcees tasked with handling some of the functions during the championship so it should be pretty interesting, watching the goings-on.  Looked like the emcees will be given quite a free hand, bar the usual Malaysian protocol rules.  I like this aspect of being an emcee using the English language... Malay language emceeing has too many rules!  Hmm, should I be getting worried....naaaah, don't think so.

So far, only ten countries are taking part, braving the pandemic...LOL... Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Macao, Singapore, Brunei, China, Thailand, the Philippines and of course, Malaysia!  Hmm, not too sure about the Philippines though.... well, they'll turn up when they'll turn up!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Misery Loves Company...And Isn't That Great?

Today I was miserable.

I woke up, feeling as if I had a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head and was so sure that the day was just going to get worse. Which naturally it did. Things didn't go the way they were supposed to, discussions went from bad to worse and things pretty much degenerated to the point where the aircon was too strong, the coffee was too bitter and the CARPET WAS TOO BLUE!

I just wanted to drag my useless and unproductive body home, find some pillows and bury my head out of sight until Monday melted into Tuesday.

But of course I logged into the net first. First person I met online patiently 'listened' as I typed all my grievances out. After an hour, I felt much better. Then I went into Facebook and naturally, since misery loves company, I changed my status to ' had an awful Monday.'

Almost instantly, friends and cousins began asking why, sending teddy bears, Jesuses and commiserated with me. They didn't allow me to be miserable. What sweethearts they were...

Yesterday, someone (I forgot who) proclaimed the Internet and Facebook to be bad for you. Well, depends actually. Not if you're miserable :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Right Reason To Become A Teacher

I was reading a friend's blog post where he expressed his frustration with teachers who just didn't care.

It is sad to meet such teachers as actually they are suffering inside.  Either they have forgotten the magic of teaching and seeing the light of knowledge in their students' eyes or they never really knew that magic at all.  But then why are they in the teaching world at all?  Teaching is a VOCATION, which means it is a career you are called to.  Something you have a need to do, a strong inclination towards. 

For me, to teach is life.  I MUST teach, I NEED to teach...otherwise I feel dead inside.  When I teach something new and a student says,"Oh wow...I didn't know that...", my day is made.  If I teach and I see a bored expression on a student's face, I cannot rest until I find out why that student is bored and how to dispel that look.  If you are a teacher and you're reading this and you do not understand, then you should ask yourself why on earth you are torturing yourself in a career that doesn't fulfil you.

But sadly, too many people will say,"I need to earn money." or "Well, I can't find a job elsewhere."  And BECAUSE there are many people like that in schools, they feel it is all right to have such an attitude.  They do not even feel embarrassed to admit such a thing.  Safety in numbers, you see.

You should teach because you like imparting knowledge to young people and you want to build the right sort of future for your country.  So if you have been teaching half-heartedly for the past twenty years and you don't like the current crop of leaders we have in our country right now, perhaps you should think of what share of the blame belongs to you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bond University's High School Mooting Competition 2009

And the winner this year is....Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School of Malaysia!

It may seem like an ordinary international competition win to some but to those in the know, this victory almost didn't happen. First of all, the level of competition was pretty high, with the STTSS students having to beat other equally-hungry schools in Sabah. Out of 105 teams all over the world, STSS was among the handful that made it to the finals. Second, there was an advisory issued by the Ministry of Education, barring all student travel out of Malaysia due to the H1N1 flu epidemic. Teachers and parents had to kick up a blizzard of letters and phone calls before permission was granted.

For the team to win, after all the stress and shocks they suffered, it must be pure ecstasy.

To Averyl Bachi, Annabelle Yap Yang Ling and Jonathan Lee Yung Sheng, this will be something they will never forget :)

I asked Averyl to tell me about the competition and this is what she wrote :

In this competition, the organizer will give your school a case to read and a stack of related cases for you to back up your argument. They will decide whether you're the appellant or the respondent, and they will give you 2 or 3 grounds to fight on. A lawyer's help is really needed, because reading the related case is really confusing. Teachers can help to explain the English and lawyers can help with the arguments.

The regional round is in Kota Kinabalu, competing with around 15 schools. The winner will go to Australia to compete with the Australian schools.

The organizer in KK is A.C. Services (Mr. Anthony Lim).

At first it was kind of difficult, because when you read the cases and you don’t get any of it, you'll panic. It was like Greek to me at first. So you need to read it a few times. Knowing the facts of the case is important too, because in the middle of presenting your argument, the judges will cut in and ask questions, such as "Why do you think it can’t be done this way?" or "Why is he wrong?"

So it's important to anticipate what questions they're going to ask and have the answers ready. That was the hard part, not knowing how to answer the questions and thinking on your feet.

The best part was ... WINNING! and thinking "All that hard work finally paid off!"

The second best thing was the prizes! For the regionals, they gave the team RM1500 and for finals, AUS300! Annabelle Yap won Best Advocate and her prize is a 40% scholarship to study law in Bond University.

For those who would like to know more about this competition, here's the link.

Thank God For Those Who Bring Magic Into Our Lives

Sometimes, in the midst of chaos, something suddenly appears and causes me to stop and check myself. Last Friday at a hall, as I was silently cursing under my breath, dragging chairs hither and yon, a hauntingly simple melody caught my attention. The lyric 'syukuri apa yang ada, hidup adalah anugerah' seemed to freeze my thoughts.

Be thankful for what you have, life is a gift...

Suddenly all the upset and frustration just seemed to be suspended for the short while the melody was played. And for a short while, I was bespelled by a simple tune and a haunting voice.

What would our world be without talents like this to bring enchantment into our hectic lives? Then I thought of the massive talents that have recently passed away - their losses are not of mere men and women, but of magic and imagination.

So the next time I walk down a school corridor and see a boy strumming on his guitar, Maths book left unheeded, I will hold back my words of admonishment and think that for a few seconds, he is bringing magic to his world.

Jangan Menyerah

(Song & Lyrics by D'Masiv)

Tak ada manusia
Yang terlahir sempurna
Jangan kau sesali
Segala yang telah terjadi

Kita pasti pernah
Dapatkan cobaan yang berat
Seakan hidup ini
Tak ada artinya lagi

Reff 1:
Syukuri apa yang ada
Hidup adalah anugerah
Tetap jalani hidup ini
Melakukan yang terbaik

Tak ada manusia
Yang terlahir sempurna
Jangan kau sesali
Segala yang telah terjadi

Back to Reff 1

Reff 2:
Tuhan pasti kan menunjukkan
Kebesaran dan kuasanya
Bagi hambanya yang sabar
Dan tak kenal Putus asa

Back to Reff 1
Back to Reff 2

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do I Have A Personality Disorder? No. :)

Someone asked if 'Oxymoron' in my blog title meant I had a split personality or some kind of dissociative disorder.  Let's just say it took me a while to grab my breath because I was laughing too hard.

Unfortunately I am absolutely and boringly free of any disorder.  Sorry....:D 
Okay, maybe I can be a little bit paranoid and a little bit fussy....and sometimes people complain I won't let up (translate that as 'being a nag') but it's only with stuff and issues I care about.  Otherwise why would I bother?

Oxymoron in my blog title only refers to the conflict I sometimes feel as an individual living in a world with set expectations.  I think that goes for pretty much everyone else on this planet, right?  But most people just suck it up and live with it.  I blog it...LOL...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Open SESAME! Oh Why Won't You Open???

One analogy I like to use in handling situations in my life is DOORS. You know, the very cliched 'doors close, doors open' and the 'opportunity knocks, so open the door..'

Two days ago, I went to see an officer in a section that I was hoping would be able to 'help' me. Close friends know what I"m referring to. After an hour of discussion, I left his room with mixed feelings.

Let's just say, I am now looking at three doors. Bronze door, glass door and polished wood door. All these doors open to bright futures....but I would like to go through the bronze door...and the glass door is also not bad. But suddenly both seem to be shut fast. And it seems as if it's only the polished wood door that is open for me...sigh...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just One Of Those Days....

Today I feel heavy-hearted... but at the same time, I'm asking myself why I bother to FEEL anything.

I've been doing a lot of things lately and some of it isn't what I can call my 'core business'. But I do it anyway...cos someone has to do it, right? I don't ask for anything in return as I'm 'pulling one for the team'. I'm deliberately keeping this vague. So if you don't get it, never mind... I'm just letting off steam.

No matter what I do, it's just never good enough for SOMEONE. One may ask, why do you care? I ask myself that too. Maybe because most of the benefit goes to that someone???


While I don't ask for rewards, neither do I ask for brickbats. I think that is too much.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

English Teachers, On Guard!

However the heat has merely shifted to English Language...

Published: Wednesday July 8, 2009 MYT 2:42:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday July 8, 2009 MYT 3:55:24 PM

Math and Science back to Bahasa, mother tongues (Update)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has decided that the medium of instruction for Maths and Science will revert to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools and mother-tongue languages in national-type schools from 2012 onwards.

The reversal of the Teaching of Math and Science in English (PPSMI) policy will be done in stages, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Wednesday.

He however added that there will be greater emphasis on learning the English language.

English literature will be re-introduced, as will subjects on grammar and composition.

Beginning 2012, students in Year One and Year Four in primary schools, and Form One and Form Four in secondary schools, will learn Math and Science in Bahasa Malaysia.

The change will not affect those in Form Six and Matriculation.

The two subjects will be taught in two languages until 2014 for other students, he said.


On efforts to emphasise the learning of English, the number of English teachers would be increased by 13,933 -- retirees would be hired, as well as foreigners if need be.

Primary schools will also increase English classes by 90 minutes a week.

Get all these 'fascinating' updates at thestar.com.my!

Teaching of Maths & Science In English To Be Phased Out

Well, they did it.

Wednesday July 8, 2009

Mathematics and Science to be taught in BM, vernacular languages

The Cabinet decided on Wednesday that Mathematics and Science will be taught in Bahasa Malaysia and vernacular languages in stages from 2012 onwards. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who announced this, however, said more emphasis would be placed on learning English. Follow the announcements on Twitter

It's a pity, actually...as I've always found it easier to learn Science in English.  In university, I used to buy my Chemistry, Physics and Biology books in English so I could understand the concepts faster before attempting to answer the questions in Malay.

We are all at the mercy of our politicos.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Keyboard Shortcuts & Me

I've been involved in many computer courses, as a participant and also a facilitator.  Sometimes when I step into a roomful of ICT-aware young so-and-so's, they look at me and immediately dismiss me as an 'auntie' who probably needed to be taught how to hold a mouse.  Auntie ah, the mouse you right-click and left-click like this one...

Ah but sometimes I do get my revenge.

You see, the kids nowadays learn computers from the cradle but their computers have mice and trackballs and joysticks.  The computer I learned how to use way back when only had a keyboard.  Mice back then were animals you chased with a broomstick..or a parang

The first computers I used didn't have Windows.  They had DOS.  For those young 'uns out there, DOS has C prompts and A prompts and strings of code people memorized.  When we migrated to Wordstar and Wordperfect, we also had to memorize commands such as CTRL-TAB or CTRL-F.  If you mastered Wordperfect, you were almost a demigod because there would be nothing for you to use but a totally blank screen and the keyboard.  Years of using such commands have made it almost second nature for me to use keys as shortcuts.  Such as using CTRL-i to italicise this sentence.

But back to my revenge....ah yes... imagine a non-functioning mouse and a deadline in ten minutes.  Suddenly auntie can save the day.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Data Collection Glitches...

My head hurts...

For the past one week, I've been dealing with what I call 'ICT glitches'. I've been collecting and compiling data from schools and for the most part, it's been a breeze. However, the glitches which sit like a pebble in my shoe are quite numerous.

I've been given data in MS Word format, despite the fact that I distributed an MS Excel template. Try copy and paste data from MS Word to MS Excel and multiply that by about 400 entries. I guarantee a frustrating time.

I've been given incomplete information, resulting in the following exchanges:

Me : But this is not complete.
X : Yes, I cannot get the info.
Me : WHY??
X : The individuals forgot their serial number.
Me : Isn't it in their document?
X : They don't know where they put their document.
Me : There are two documents that contain this info.
X : Yes, they cannot find either one.
Me : ><

A similar exchange:
Me : But this is not complete.
X : Yes, I cannot get the info.
Me : WHY??
X : The individuals forgot their serial number.
Me : Isn't it in their document?
X : Uh...they don't have the doc anymore.
Me : You mean, they saw their result and they crumpled the document into a ball and tossed it into the sky.
X : Uh...*deer-caught-in-the-spotlight-look*
Me : ><

But for me, the most painful is not an ICT glitch...it's a human glitch.

X : Good morning, may I know what I'm supposed to hand in?


Some information has been modified or altered in the above post to protect the identities of certain people.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two Months Out Of School

I SAID I wouldn't say anything about which place I prefer yet.  I SAID I had to give the new place a chance.

But sometimes when the writing bug hits you, it hits you.  And so I want to say what I feel about my transfer to the new place.

First, the positive bits.  Always mention the good stuff first... classic approach.
I am where things are decided at the district level and I can say things like I wanna be emcee for the Asian Schools Football Cup pretty please!  Or organize things the way I want them done...such as the way data is compiled and analyzed.  I can sit in an air conditioned room the whole day and make calls and surf the official websites (other sites are blocked...LOL...).  The working hours is not really a factor as I spent the same number of hours (and MORE!) in SMKKL.

But the negative aspects...
There are no students to teach and no classes to conduct.  And it's not the same as SMKKL.  Yeah, I like that school and its lovable mish-mash of eccentric people (both teachers and students) and peculiar mix of bitter & sweet.  Sigh..

After having tasted the admin world (6 years in SPA) and school, I think I am someone who needs to teach. 
Or maybe I just need a few more months..

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Ripple Effect : Part Two

There are positive ripples...and there are negative ripples.

A case in point is a friend of mine, who did something she believed
was right for her. Unfortunately the majority didn't view it as positively as she did. And till today, whatever she does that resembles the old action is seen as suspect. And she is treated accordingly.

What is happening to her is kinda like ripples that keep destroying as they go on and on.

Some may say, who dares to judge? But then again, we all live in a society. This society needs rules in order to function properly. And these rules are guarded closely...sometimes even viciously. The alternative, you see, is chaos. Well, at least I think so.

That is why we should be careful about the things we do and the things we say. They have a way of living on ... way beyond our own short memories.

Today too, I heard this during a briefing :

When you change your thinking, you change your beliefs.
When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations.
When you change your expectations, you change your attitude.
When you change your attitude, you change your behaviour.
When you change your behaviour, you change your performance.
When you change your performance, you change your life.

I wish I could tell this to that friend of mine.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Form Six Teachers In Turmoil

On the 22nd of June 2009, 105 teachers from Kota Kinabalu (including Penampang) will be sitting in KK HIgh School Auditorium, waiting to receive their letters and waiting to be given their briefing.

On the same day, a few hundred others will be OUTSIDE said auditorium, feeling all kinds of emotions.  I foresee emotions such as disappointment, anger, despondency, envy. bafflement, jealousy, fury... distress.

And afterwards, this turmoil will cause problems in school :P  No need for me to elaborate.

The moral of the story : plan better next time before one implements something.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Angels In Our Lives

I've had angels in my world all my life....

They manifest themselves in ...
C who calls me up to 'blast' me about things I do (which I don't always appreciate...heh heh)
L who talks about swords, prayers and angels :D
A who gave me a much-needed push ;) in 2003
AD who gave me a wake-up call about my relationship with God
J who got me involved in debates a long long time ago
JJ who kept me sane and on-track during my Masters program
H who drinks coffee with me and listens listens listens

.... oh, so many earth angels...

And now my latest angel just called me up to offer a course to help... of all people, K, a person close to me. Really out of the blue and a welcome surprise to start off my day.

And the added 'benefit'...K would only attend the course if I went along. How could I refuse such an opportunity?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Ripple Effect As Postulated By Roslyn :)

Today, ripples are on my mind ;)

Sometimes in the course of my work (or fun!), someone asks why I bother to do such and such.  Like why bother to blow up twenty balloons for a nephew who is not having a birthday party.  Or why bother to talk to someone who doesn't want to listen.  Well, I do some of the tiny insignificant things I do because of ripples. 

The twenty balloons may 'kill' me (blow up this many and you will know what I mean!)
or the 'deaf' friend may go his way anyway (& I have wasted my breath!) but...

The kid will be happy and stay happy for a few days...
The 'deaf' friend may remember my words one day...when the time is right.

And who knows what may happen or what may be averted?

A friend shared some realizations about prayer with me which made me sit up and think hard about my own prayer life.  Then the changes in me caught the attention of other people, who asked and they too sat up and thought hard.

It never hurts to share... the worst thing that can happen is someone doesn't care.  But the best thing that can happen is RIPPLES...

So why not create a ripple a day?  It's sure to lessen the blues in this world...!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Be Careful What Door You Open

Ever heard of the saying,"Be careful what you wish for...you just may get it."?

Well, right now I'm thinking of "Be careful what door you open...you just may not be able to close it."

I opened a door and now I'm thinking of closing it.  But the problem is... I don't think it can be closed.  And even if I close it, I fear that like Pandora's Box, what's done is done.

So now what does one do when one has taken a step down a certain path and one can't turn back?

I suppose one just continues on down that path.

I used to tell my friends (and smugly at that!) that I would never take a step down a path if I don't like what lies at the end of that path.  Well, I wince now at my arrogance.  For many a time no one knows what is at the end of the path.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend of Food and Laughter

Had a great weekend...!

Saturday was hubby's birthday so we went to have buffet lunch. Son was, as usual, all upbeat about the smorgasbord of dishes on display (paying special attention to the ices and jellies). Tried taking pictures of hubby but he wouldn't cooperate so I focused on son instead. The sweetie loved mugging for the camera! Lunch was a combo of feasting and entertainment ;)

Sunday was a really packed day. Promised mum that I'd help out at the food fair in church so I stood (!) on duty at the cake stall till noon. After hours of handling cakes of all sorts (cinnamon, butter, honeycomb, chocolate moist, sponge) and cookies and biscuits etcetera etcetera, I had had my FILL of the sweet stuff. And imagine trying to answer questions like "Is this sweet? How sweet?" and "Is this delicious?". But at the same time, I had the opportunity to meet so many old friends (such as Juliana, Walter and Winston) By one p.m,, I was almost dead on my feet and yet I had another appointment.... a fun one! A friend was celebrating her baby's full moon at Langkah Syabas and I had only an hour to quickly freshen up and start driving.

All I can say is... when life offers you great food, wonderful ambience and stimulating company, you can't complain!

I'd like to say more, but I'm too mentally exhausted to elaborate... so the pictures will just have to do.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When Pain Is Good For You...

Once upon a time, I stood at a fork in my life.  Should I walk down the 'safe' road or should I try the path that looked thorny and rocky?  Shades of Robert Frost....:) 

Safe road meant safe heart, minimal problems and serene life.  No fears, no worries.  Thorny path meant possible hurt and potential flame out. Plenty of angst and lots of 'wasted' energy.  But I thought that if I continued down that safe road, I'd always think of 'what if'.  What if I took that thorny path and never regretted it?  What if things turned out well for me?  Wasn't the potential happiness worth the risk?

And so I took that fateful first step down 'the path less travelled by'.  Did I feel hurt?  Did I 'waste' time and energy in upset and anger?  Yes, yes and yes... but just as I experienced wrenching lows, I also felt over-arching joy.  And I learned something about myself.  When I had felt the bitter of pain and disappointment, I learned to appreciate deeply the happy times I had and the people in my life.  I don't think I would have been so appreciative if I had not had those hurtful times.

Paradox of life.

How To Handle A Broken Heart

A darling friend asked in mournful tones,"Did he ever really care for me?  Did he ever really love me?"

Ah yes, another broken heart.  I imagine the pain is like a piece of glass shattering, all the shards flying, ripping, cutting, slashing... rebounding upon itself and tearing new wounds over and over again... you may even feel as if you'll never be whole again, as if the pieces can never come together again... 

A painful story repeated , all over the world, throughout the centuries.... crossing all boundaries; skin colour, castes, ....   It's such a common story, yet awful in its freshness and its totality to the sufferer.

After so many years listening to other friends, handling my own little 'breakages' and drinking so many mugs of Nescafe (panacea for all ills!), I have learned that there is no fixing a broken heart.  The best one can do is to mourn the loss of dreams & hopes, cry a little (or a lot!), drink lots of coffee (or whatever) and remember the best of the other person.  There is no point in remembering the bad for it only embitters you.  But it's worth remembering the joy and laughter because for a short period of time, that other person made you the best that you can be.

James M. Barrie had this to say about love : If you have it, you don't need to have anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you have.

So a broken heart means that you love.... be happy that you CAN love...and give yourself time to mourn.  After that, pick yourself up and live.  Then love again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Disgruntled Teachers : Speak Up!

In today's News Straits Times...

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry wants to hear from disgruntled teachers.

They have been asked to submit their complaints to the ministry through their respective unions.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said during his meeting with various teaching unions last Friday, among the issues raised were the improvement of the teaching profession and the welfare of teachers.

"It was a very cordial meeting. I have suggested that they submit their views formally and from time to time we will look into them as we want to see those in the profession not only honourable but happy."

Muhyiddin, who is also the deputy prime minister, said this after a visit to the Education Ministry's educational technology division at Bukit Kiara yesterday. The visit was to find out the progress in the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) in the education system.
Teachers have long complained about their heavy workload, as besides teaching, they are burdened with a lot of paperwork.

On the issue of heavy workload, Muhyiddin said he is aware teachers have a heavy responsibility to impart knowledge to young Malaysians.

"I am keen to have a look at the present situation and see what can be done to improve their spirit and commitment to teach," he said.

Speak up? Speak up????
We've been screaming for the past few decades but no one has ever paid much attention!  I'm not too hopeful now...