Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thank you boys..

You know that scene at the end of the movie Dead Poet's Society, where Todd Anderson stands on his desk and hails to Mr Keating, 'OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN..' and most of his other classmates follow suit... And Mr Keating looks at them and says, 'Thank you boys...'

I love that scene. Pass the kleenex, please!

A few nights ago, I received an sms from a former student, who is about to graduate this coming August. He mentioned that working life is not nearly as exciting as compared to the student days (you think?). And he mentioned that he will always remember me. How nice. Perhaps because I am the only female lecturer in the program! Or perhaps because I am really, really nice! Yes, I think so. : ) Well, whatever the reason, it really means a lot to me.

Many of the students dropped by to see me before they left the university. Saying thanks, chatting about their past 4 years here and where they are headed next. It's a weird feeling each year, seeing these students move on and still being here. I shudder to think of myself being in the same position another 10 years along the road. But anyway, that's another blog all together.

There were two boys in particular that I really enjoyed talking to. I found out things that I never knew about them, I was amazed by them and they made me feel young again! And to me, this means so much. Meaningful conversations, really getting to know these students for who they are.. mean more to me than how many papers I publish, how many conferences I attend, whatever accolade or award I receive..

And for that, I want to say..'Thank you boys, thank you!'

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Good and Great

We were watching the French Tennis Open a few weeks back (before the foray which took over the minds of all men worldwide - AKA the World Cup). It was the semi final match between Roger Federer and David Nalbandian. Going into the second set, Nalbandian was leading 1 set and had broken Federer's serve. He looked to be on a winning streak. Federer was having a hard day. But then in the middle of that second set, something musta clicked in Federer because he started turning things around.

Chasing back to retrieve a Nalbandian lob he (Federer) invented an outrageous forehand winner almost with his back turned to the net. Nalbandian smiled in disbelief and Federer raised his arm in the air, finger aloft as if to say, 'That's why I'm number one.'

Following this extraordinary point won by Federer, my hubby then said something that caught my ear. He said, 'The difference between the good and great, is their imagination' Pwwwahhh...what an excellent thought. Indeed it was really an imaginative move. Under ordinary circumstances, that shouldn't have worked. I really love that phrase my hubby concocted...well done you!

Yes, Nalbandian is good...but Federer is one of the greatest tennis players ever - bordering on perfect. Federer went on to win that match but succumbed in the hands of one Rafael Nadal in the finals.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Last Monday, I delivered a speech during my Toastmaster's Club meeting. Actually, it was more of a reading. I was doing the Read Out Loud project from the Specialty Speeches manual and had chosen to read from the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach.

I first read the book about 7 years ago (that's how long I've been at UMS! that's long!), lent to me by my good friend Siva. It was a simple read and I don't remember having such a strong impression of it then.

Ran across the book sometime last year and bought a copy for myself. I had actually forgotten I had it. It was only when I was looking for a suitable book to read out loud for my project, that I found it again - hidden behind a stack of books on our shelves.

My reading project was to be of 12 - 15 minutes long. So I chose to read the introduction section of the book. And read here does not mean just reading. It was to be with full vocal variation, body gestures and actions, to give listeners a visual of the storyline.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the main character in the story is.. a seagull. But no ordinary one. Instead of living day in and day out, trying to compete with other seagulls for food..Jonathan indulges in his hobby - learning to fly, really FLY. Whilst, the ordinary seagulls just fly to and fro to their eating spot, Jonathan yearns to learn to fly at top speed, to do the loop, the inverted spin, the pinwheel. His parents urge him to stop the foolishness and to try and be an NORMAL seagull. And after crashing into the sea, time after time, he almost does give in. But alas, Jonathan has an epiphany and realizes he can do whatever he sets out to do.

Reading the passage from the book itself was exhilirating. This was the concluding passage from my reading:

His (Jonathan's) thought was triumph! It was a breakthrough, the greatest single moment in the history of the flock, an in that moment a new age opened for Jonathan Gull. How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging back and forth to the fishing boats, there's a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!

My club members later told me that they felt as though they were flying too, as I was doing the reading. I swore - at that last line, I did feel my feet somewhat lift off the ground for a moment! Everyone loved my reading. I didn't realise it then, but the book truly is magical. There are many messages there that everyone can relate to. It's highly recommended.

For more info on the book -
For more info on Toastmasters -

Off the topic - it's actually one of my dreams to one day own a bookstore. And in the bookstore, I will have a reading corner, where children, adults, whoever, can read and listen to the many wonderous stories there are out there.


My darling baby Yasmin has gotten quite mobile now. We used to put pillows at the edges of our bed, to 'protect' her. No use these days. She has no trouble climbing over them! Whenever we put her on our bed, she'll be all excited to explore. She'll crawl to the top of the bed, hold on tight to the metal bedpost and attempt to pull herself up. More over, she'll start licking and 'chewing' on the metal! Else, she'll crawl to the edges of the bed, and peer over the edge..wanting to know what's at the bottom. Twice, we caught her only at the nick of time! I get quite exhausted chasing after her, actually. And this is nothing yet...wait til she can run!

Sometimes I feel bad and sorry for her. It's as though she really wants to explore, she really wants to climb, see, touch. But everytime, I have to carry her away. I tell her that I don't want her to fall of the edge, I don't want her to knock her head on the bedpost, don't want her to hurt herself.

At the same time, I think to myself, I want to be able to let her explore, learn and take in as much as we wants. I want to tell her that she can do anything that she wants. That she can reach and climb as far and as high as she desires. That anything and everything that she dreams and desires is attainable. I want her to know that there are no boundaries, no limits to want she can do in life.

Alas, I's just not that time yet.

For now, mommy and daddy just have to set some boundaries, to protect you, darling baby. Soon, darling, soon.