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.

Sh*t.

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...

Dealing With Data and People

My head is aching and my eyes are red....

I've been downloading excel files from my inbox for the past three days and copying the data from each file into a master file.  And in the midst of all the data crunching, I get my patience tested.

Test One
Mr X : Hello, this is Mr X from School PQR.  Actually what is it that you want?
Me : May I know who attended the briefing two weeks ago?
Mr X : I did.  But I'm not sure what you want.
Me : (pauses to find a chair to sit down and takes a deep breath).  Okay, Mr X, do you have the CD? 
Mr X : Have to open the CD ah?  Can't you just tell me....?
Me : Okay, when you open the CD, you'll find four folders. Click open Folder entitled Program MNO, then click open Folder entitled...
Mr X : Wait wait... let me find a computer.  Wait ah... you don't mind, do you?
Me : No............................................. I don't mind.

Test Two
Me : Hello, Mr W.  I am Pn. Roslyn from XXX.  I received the CD from your school but there's no data in it.
Mr W : Really?  When I checked it, it was okay.
Me : Okay, well, whatever it is, I need the data.  Can you email it to me?
Mr W : I'll go over this afternoon.
Me : Thanks.

A few hours later....
Mr W : Hi.  Here's another CD.
Me : Okay, thanks. (inserts CD in computer).  Mr W, there's nothing here.
Mr W : Huh??? That's strange.
Me : Did you burn it into the CD?
Mr W : Burn it?
Me : Yes,... burn it.
Mr W : No, I just clicked on 'send it ...'
Me : You need to BURN it into the CD.

Silence.

Mr W : Can I email it to you tomorrow morning?
Me : That would be great.

Test Three
Me : Hello, Mrs Q.  I am Pn Roslyn from XXX.  I tried to open your diskette (!!!) to get the excel file but I couldn't.
Mrs Q : That's strange.  I could open it here in my school.
Me : Yes... but I have tried opening it in two of our office computers.  I cannot access the data.  Can you email a copy to me?
Mrs Q : Okay la... tomorrow ah?  I don't have internet at home.

Test Four
Mrs J : Hello, Pn Roslyn, I have a problem.  I don't know how to make the graphs appear. 
Me : The graphs are auto-generated.  Just key in the data.
Mrs J : But where are the graphs?  .They appear where?
Me : Are you in front of the computer?
Mrs J : Need to open the computer ah?  I just shut it down.
Me : Errr... okay, . I'll just explain it then.
Mrs J : Ya.. better like that.
Me : When you open the excel file, there are worksheets....
Mrs J : Hahhh???
Me : You know, the little names at the bottom of the spreadsheet.  You can click to see different pages?
Mrs J : Oh ya...
Me : Well, the first worksheet is entitled JXH, the second is TGH.... so the graphs are on the fifth worksheet....
Mrs J : *white noise*
Me : Hello?   Mrs J?
Mrs J : Wait, I'm switching on the computer.

I  N E E D  P A N A D O L!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Auntie, What Kind Of Man Should I Look For?

Auntie, what kind of man should I look for?

I stared at my niece, mind blank. She looked back at me expectantly, curious nut-brown eyes fringed by black lashes...just perfect to snare some unsuspecting male, I thought. Though she was a mite young. But I suppose better for such a question to be answered at a young age than at too late an age. Imagine wading through a river of testosterone, getting tumbled left and right and finally yelling out,"What am I looking for????"

I suppose she wasn't asking her mother because Mummy has an agenda.

So what should I say without upsetting the parents and yet giving her a safe guideline to follow?

After some fast thinking, this is what I ended up saying.

There is no one fool proof method but this is what you could look for.
a) He should be resourceful. He need not have all the answers but he should know how to find them.
b) He should be resilient. If everything is taken away from him, can he get up and start again?
c) He should be humble. Pride goeth before a fall.
d) He should have respect for his mother or for older women. That will tell you his attitude towards women and consequently, an idea of how he will treat you.
e) He should have a healthy respect for money and its friends (credit cards etc).
f) He should like children. Otherwise you will have problems when you have children of your own. However this can be overlooked if both of you do not plan to have children. Then he should like animals ;)

Niece began to look glassy-eyed at this point.

So I asked,"What do YOU want?"

She answered,"I just want Hugh Jackman."

Ooooo-kay. Well. All righty, you can have Hugh Jackman. He's on the XMen CDs.

Niece smiled and went off.

Hmmm....

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Realizations Of A Former Penolong Kanan

I promised myself I'd create a list of realizations/ideas/strategies for penolong kanan (senior assistants) once I had enough experience as one. Well, since I've been transferred, I won't have any more time to gather experience. Therefore below is the List compiled by one with only 28 months' experience.

a) Remember always that you are dealing with people. They are not unfeeling documents that can be filed away. Take time to win their trust. Take the effort to keep their trust. Take pains to find out what makes them tick. Without the staff backing you up, you are like a ship standing dead in the water.

b) Begin the day with a smile. And try to remember that no staff ever begins their day by thinking,"What rule shall I break today?" So whenever I face a problem with staff, I will always ask myself why this person is doing this and what could be influencing his or her actions. I dare to say that in my 28 months, I have yet to meet a person who deliberately sets out to break the rules. There will always be a reason behind their actions, even if it's something as simple as procrastination or lack of respect. With proper diagnosis, there will be accurate medication. Even if that medication has to be a gentle reminder in the form of a memo.

c) Rules are to be kept. There should never be one set of rules for the staff and another set for yourself. The staff are intelligent observant thinking beings. Once they see that you do not follow the very rules you safeguard, you will begin to lose their respect. I had a problem with this one when I faced the dilemma of sticking to rules and winning the support of an important person. In the end, the situation became untenable and I chose to stick to the rules. I've never regretted the choice as gradually that important person (with a double set of rules) lost support among the teachers.

d) Do not have favourites on the staff. No matter how you may argue that you will be neutral and you won't play favourites, the most important thing is you must be SEEN to be neutral. This may mean that you have to sit with different groups every time you go to the canteen. Or you don't eat at the canteen at all. However eating with staff is good for food always helps create bonds among people :)

e) Always write down what you plan to say during a speech or a meeting. There will be less possibility of you saying something upsetting. This is important for once you have hurt people's feelings, it is very very difficult to heal wounds. Not impossible but it will take precious time. I try to prepare powerpoint slides of whatever I intend to deliver during a meeting or briefing as I can upload it into the school website or online group for records or future viewing. This will also help inform those who are unable to attend the meeting or briefing.

f) Be transparent in all you do. Or in most things you do. Staff will be happier when they know what you are doing, how you are doing it and what part they play in it.

g) When you allocate duties, make sure the staff have a list of steps to be taken. Talking about it won't be good enough for after the third sentence, everyone would have forgotten what the first sentence was. Besides, when a problem arises, it is very easy to just open the 'senarai tugas' and check whose duty it was supposed to be.


h) Tomorrow will always be a better day. So take heart.

Finding The Perfect Mate

A friend called me up recently to bemoan the fact of his single status. "How do I find that one perfect girl???"

Such an ageless question. I think for as long as there are people alive on this planet (and off!), this will always be a question echoing in minds and hearts. Whether the query is from a male or female.

As someone who has been through that wringer and emerged relatively unscathed (with just a scratch or ten), I can safely say...to all those who are still 'suffering', "Have faith and be patient...it's not going to be easy, confronting all those well-meaning ppl who keep tsking and clucking,"Why are you being so choosy...blah blah blah..." What do they know anyway?

But, as always, the worst 'critic' is yourself.

I made it easier for myself during my single days by holding to a few principles:

1) Everyone is my friend and all of them are potential fun planners & partners :)

2) To be married to the wrong person is a million times worse than to be single and having fun. So count your blessings!

3) Have faith in God's plan. He has something in mind for you. You just need to be open and silent long enough to hear Him.

4) Have faith in yourself. You're a terrific person who just hasn't been found by your life partner yet!

5) Life is too short for worries... so don't waste it!

As consolation for those who are still single...married life isn't all roses, you know. But...why waste time focusing on the negative bits?

As for finding the 'perfect' person...I'd like to know if there IS such a person. What I have come to realize (for myself!) is that I needed to find someone who I could share my life, my jokes, my happiness and my sorrows with. At the same time, I needed to be able to accept his faults. Besides I have plenty of my own faults for HIM to accept.

I found out early on that I 'scared' quite a number of men off. Whether it was with my strong personality or ... surprise surprise...the place I originated from. Friends who know me will understand ... ha ha ha.. However, my answer to that has always been "It's their loss."

I doubt a perfect person exists. But this is something only an individual will be able to answer or find out for himself or herself. Different strokes for different folks, I always say.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ancestors...

All my life, people keep taking me for a Chinese.  And I keep saying I am not a Chinese.  But I cannot deny the fact that I do have some Chinese blood.

My great grandfather was a Seiyap (or Sze Yup or Siyi) who arrived in Sabah with two other brothers.  He met my great-grandmother and they settled in Papar.  But I heard tell that his family was so angry with him that they cut all ties.  Well, as I wasn't allowed to find my Chinese relatives, I have no way to confirm that story.

But sometimes when I walk down a street and I look into a face that looks vaguely like my own, I do wonder...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Labour Day High Tea

Sometimes in our busy lives, it is good to take some time out just to shoot the breeze with friends.

Yesterday, I went for high tea with friends of the debating tendency :) We laughed, we ate, we made lots of noise, we viewed videos of past debates...

And to sum it up, Henry said,"God, you're all so terrible!"

;)

Back : L-R : me, Sibyl, Susan
Front : L-R : Audrey, Aloysia

Back : Susan
Front : L-R : me, Eric, Henry, Audrey