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.