Saturday, November 28, 2009

Life is Short, Don't Forget to Say I Love You

I'm in disbelief and saddened by this news of an accident that involved family members of a friend. You read or hear bout this type of news all the time, but you never think it can or will happen to someone you know. My heart has skipped a beat everytime I read the updates on this accident. Hoping for good news. Still hoping and praying. It is such a reminder of how short life is and can be. You will never know when the last thing you do is the last thing you do. The last hug or kiss, the last smile, the last words you say. Make sure they are good. And don't forget to say I love you.

To my friend Paival, my heart and thoughts go out to you and your family. May Allah give you strength in this time of need.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Of Teachers

One of my former teachers added me as a friend on Facebook. I haven't confirmed it yet. Somehow I feel a little different about adding former teachers onto my friends list. Entah la kenapa. It's not that I had problems with that particular teacher. In fact, I'd have to say he was one of the most memorable teachers I had from school. I guess it feels weird that they would be reading my thoughts and seeing my life after all these years. Hubby asked, why is it different than me adding my former students? I guess there's not much difference, except that most of my former students were of a closer age gap, more or less the same generation and the proximity and relationship was different, most of them were more like my adiks or peers or actual friends even.

While we're on this subject, there is this one lady that sends her daughter to Yasmin's school. I'm pretty sure she was one of my former students from uni. The couple dozen of times that we have bumped into each other, she has never made any contact at all. I'm pretty sure she does see me and know me. Not that I feel she should or needs to acknowledge me. Perhaps she hated my subject or hated my guts. So it's OK. I don't mind the no contact at all. Maybe I will say Hi to her someday.

On this subject of teachers, I guess if you want to be remembered by your students, then you should hope to be remembered in a good way. When I just started working the uni, there was this one former teacher, who was then a lecturer in a local teachers training college (coincidentally the one where my father was the principal!). This teacher was also coaching sports for students at the uni. I had seen him a couple of times at the uni and even once at one of my father's office function. But I didn't talk to him. Frankly, I was shy, didn't really know what to say and all. Quite some time after that, I heard - can't remember if it was from my father or my friends - that this teacher had said I was sombong. Arrogant. Cocky. Ouch, I was embarassed. Sad. I didn't want to be labeled that way.

I got to thinking about this again recently. You know what, that said teacher - he was one mean fellow. Let me put it this way - the very first time (and I can still remember this clearly) he came into our class, he scolded all of us and made us all stand on our tables for no reason but the fact that there was no teacher in class and everyone was just sitting around talking and all. He scared the bejeezers out of me! And in his class, well..no doubt he was a good teacher, he was interesting but he also gave out crazy and embarassing punishments. So you exschoolmates will surely know who I am talking about once you read this - for his exams, you had to get marks above 75%, otherwise you had to run the school field in your school uniform! How many rounds, I can't remember! I had to do this once - in my baju kurung - it was embarassing but it seemed second nature to all our seniors who entertained themselves looking at our performance. And after that - wuiii, terus aku score above 75% each time! But then in class itself, he made us do things like sing on stage..alone.. (I had to do this!) and say things like, 'Aku tidak suka barang kau..aku tidak mau barang kau' referring to exchanging things using barter system. Other classes had punishments of berjalan itik, etc. My point is..the guy was a meanie!

And so, when I first heard him say that I was sombong - yes, I was ashamed, I was sad. But now that I think of it - the guy didn't exactly score enough brownie points to be remembered as a great teacher. And so, so what if I didn't want to talk to him? Can you blame me? You were my teacher, you taught me well, I got a good grade in your subject but you also scared the heck out of me and put me in numerous embarassing situations. So, do forgive me that I do not really want to talk to you much.

Do teachers these days still do those kind of things? I think it may have been acceptable back then but the recent cases of ragging and bullying in schools have surely put a stop or lessened this type of thing from happening. Parents are also more vocal these days and any type of punishment or extreme actions by teachers are sure to be met with lots of complaints and even legal action.

So the gist of what I want to say is this... if you are a teacher and you want to be remembered and respected by your students, then do unto them as you would want them to do unto you someday. Teach them, share and grow with them, build a relationship with them, respect them. I think I did as much or tried my best to do so when I was teaching. At least I hope so. And for sure I wouldn't go calling any of them sombong if they don't want to talk to me. That's their prerogative.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tony Buzan & Nando Parrado

Tony Buzan added me as a friend on Facebook!! *Smitten* Haha... you wouldn't have thought huh? I attended one of his seminars in KL a few years ago. It cost a bomb..we're talking atomic bomb here...one day seminar costing more than RM1K! Seriously...but I thought I'd never have the chance again and because I really really am a fan of his mindmaps ideology and the entire concept behind it, I really wanted to go. Who knew when he'd be in KL again. Turns out a couple of months or perhaps a year later, he came again... and it was cheaper...and Tun Mahathir also attended. Hubby went for that one - lucky lucky him! But anyway, sent a friend request saying I attended one of seminars and think mindmaps are brilliant (hehe how desperate!)...well they are! And he added me! Huhuuuu!!

Equally smitten am I with one Nando Parrado. Rina smsed me tonight about an article on him in today's Berita Harian, as he was one of the speakers for this year's Youth Engagement Summit (YES 2009). I had actually heard this on radio a few weeks ago and was excited to hear that he was coming and speaking in the event. Who is he? Well, if you have watched the movie Alive (as myself and Rina have a few dozen times!), you would recognize the name as one of the characters in the movie based on the true story of a team of rugby players whose plane crashed in the Andes mountains in 1972. They survived a total of 72 days on the mountain before being rescued. Nando and his friend Roberto Canessa walked their way out of the mountains to get help. It's one of my favourite movies. Even though it is quite religious but the essence is about true human spirit and determination to survive. So OK, it doesn't hurt that Ethan Hawke plays Nando and there are some other cute fellas in there as well. Ahh, I wish I could've listened to him in person, speaking at the summit. I'm sure it was very inspiring to hear his story. I wonder if he's on Facebook..heeee!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Four

My darling baby is 4! Still my baby though...



On the phone with nenek, calling from the USofA

photos by Uncle Rozhan

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yasmin's 1st Concert

Yasmin's school had their annual concert last Sunday on the 1st November at Putera Ballroom in Kampung Nelayan. The sweet girl herself was selected to be part of a performance called The Happy Dance. Hehe.. We were quite excited to see her perform. Each time I asked her about this at home, she would shy away and deflect my question (good skill, but at such an early age?). Bought tickets for the concert for my mom and dad, hubby and myself and hubby's brothers. We were lured by the promise of good food! Tickets were 40 bucks a piece. And they were also selling photos and the concert dvd - good money making taking advantage of gullible parents who are sure to want to treasure their child's first concert, huh? Hehe...well, it's good actually. And we're not gullible, we just love our kid so much and want to treasure those memories. So OK..we can be a little gullible.

So anyway, on the day, we had to send Yasmin to school extra early. Had to be at school by 730am to get dressed in costumes and the school would arrange for their transport to the concert venue. 730am on a Sunday is EARRRLY even for the parents! Had to remind her over and over the night before that I would be waking her up early the next day for the concert. And she says, 'Yes mommy'.

We arrived at the Kampung Nelayan just after 9am, thinking we were late. Turns out, the kids haven't even arrived there. Neither were any of the teachers from the school there to show us where to sit. The organisation was a little kelam kabut. We just decided to sit at an unmarked table and later (very much later were told to move to another one). They started late - almost an hour late - on account of the VIP's late arrival. And oh my, the VIP gave a really lousy, messy, uninspiring, winding, unprepared speech full of political huhhah about the government's agenda and 1Malaysia and all.. It was sooooooo long and sooooo painful to hear. Not graceful at all. We were only there to watch Yasmin perform really... And I think so were the other parents, they were there to see their child. No one really wanted to hear all that mumbo jumbo.

So the performances started... singing, dancing, tribute to Michael Jackson, etc, etc.... and then...The Happy Dance!! I was really nervous. I hadn't seen Yasmin since that morning when I dropped her off at school. I hoped she was doing OK. We were even given a circular by the school advising us not to peep at the children in the changing room before their performance, for worry that some might want to run off to sit with the parents. And so we did not peep. I was worried that she might have stage fright, that she might be shocked to see such a big stage and so many people in front watching, that she might freeze or run off the stage. And that people might go, 'Alaaa kesiannya budak tu..' or they might laugh.

And then they get on stage. The first thing was trying to identify her amongst all the kiddies wearing the same attire. They were dressed in gold, some wearing pants, some wearing shorts and skirts. And we spot her right in the front line! Wearing a bandanna..and my first thoughts are, 'Wow, that's amazing that she didn't take it off..' She usually doesn't like stuff on her head, no clips or headbands or anything. And she's cool. Just standing there waiting for the music to start.


And when it starts...off she goes!! Dancing dengan begitu confident dan bersemangat sekali!! Whooaaa...she remembered all the steps. Really was a happy dance. I was sooo amazed. And proud. No stage fright at all. I think she's a born performer! She does love music and singing and dancing at home and at school, so the teachers told me. And that was it...5 minutes on stage, an adorable performance and a beaming mommy and daddy!

Oh, there was one kid...who was crying all throughout her performance. Just stood there, froze and cried the whole time. Loudly and obviously too! Ooohh...that was what I was afraid of! Then there were other kids ni, that danced dengan selambanya saja...like as though they were thinking 'hmmm whateverrr...' hehehe... I guess you can't expect any perfect performances at this age! The imperfections and spontaneity makes it perfect and real.

And look at this... don't you think this is just...wrong?

Well, after that...we just lingered on for the food really...good thing it tasted good, the only thing was it was buffet so we had to berbaris punya la panjang, macam zaman sekolah dulu dulu. But all in all, it was a good and memorable day indeed.

photos courtesy of Uncle Rozhan

I Can See Clearly Now..

They say that the eyes are your window to the world and indeed, of all the senses that we are gifted with, I feel that eyesight - being able to see all the wonders of life, all the vibrant and calming colours of mother nature, being able to see a simple smile that can light up your entire day - is the most valuable. And I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy this gift. I couldn't imagine what it is like for those who do not have this. Though most often, they will be gifted in other ways.

During my second year of uni, I started noticing that I would be walking and I couldn't recognize the person walking towards me, waving from afar. And I thought, 'Ho boy...it must be all those sitting-close-to-the-tv moments catching up on me at last. It was initially tolerable. I could still see. I could still make up the writings of my lecturers on the board. No biggie I thought. I was in denial and dreaded the thought of having to wear glasses. Urgh! I can't remember what finally nudged me in the direction of the optometrist but I do remember feeling so so sad when I was told that my eyes weren't suitable for contact lenses (because of the cool dry climate in the UK). The moisture level was not sufficient, said the nice looking optician dude. Awww...and so, seemed there was no choice but to go for glasses. I waited til I was back in Malaysia to get them though - cost a bomb in the UK.

And so from then on, it was me and my glasses. My glasses and me. And my eyes went steadily downhill with an addition of at least 50 in the power, each year. Now it has somewhat stabilized and I am at 375 on both eyes. Oh, I started wearing contacts when I got back to Malaysia though - very the vain kan, I figured the weather here is humid, won't really dry my eyes out plus the optician never seemed to comment on this when I got checked. But still... gone were those days where I could see, clearly..on my own. I miss that freedom.

When I first heard of Lasik, I was all 'Eeeeee!!! Laser treatment?? On the eyes?? Eeeeeee!! Safe, meh??' That was then but now it has become a well known and recognized option. I gradually started accepting this idea ... and now, I would be all for it... if, erm..I had the finances. Freedom from glasses and contacts - yes I would want that! I know a couple of friends who have done it and yes, their procedures went well and they seem content. I could imagine that it would improve the quality of my daily life and activities to an extent.

That's my story. If you have a story on how better vision could improve — or has improved — your life or the lives of someone you know, then check out this iLASIK Video Contest. Abbott Medical Optics Inc. (AMO), a global leader in laser vision correction, recently launched the “You Gotta See This” Video Contest, inviting entrants to make a video showing the impact of improved vision, for a chance to win cash and prizes. All you need to do is submit a video, tell your friends to vote and then stand a chance to win prizes up to $5,000.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Thistle JB

I won a 2 nights stay voucher at Thistle Hotel in JB, courtesy of Mix FM. This is the 3rd time I've won something from them, lucky huh. Received an email about a month ago saying that I was the lucky winner and to furnish my mailing address. And last week, the voucher arrived. Sayangnya, it is valid until the end of November only and since I am unlikely to be going to JB in this month, I decided to give the thing away. Well, first I checked with my parents..since they go to JB quite often too, but they said not in November. So I announced it on my FB profile and will be mailing it to the lucky friend who responded. I checked the hotel's website and wooahh..it looks niiice! Tidak pa laa.. next time...