Saturday, November 26, 2016

UPSR 2016 in Aliyah's Diary

It has been a week pass the UPSR result. The guinea pig batch they called Aliyah's batch. But I have high hopes for the KSSR (read up my earlier thoughts). It was supposed to be different from the KBSR batch which started with my batch in school in 1984. That also means I was from a guinea pig batch too. KBSR was an oversimplified version of the curriculum than the ones before. KSSR is totally different. It was supposed to emphasized on the ability of the students to make sense of what they learned. But alas the teachers mostly still carry the same mentality they had before - the KBSR mentality. They would finished up the curriculum in a rush and then focus on students to answer as many questions as they can, which they hoped would be asked in the exam. They were surprised, because that's not what happened. In a way, I was kinda relieved this happened. I hope the teachers and the school managements would now learned their lesson and eventually throw out this 'latih tubi' akin to memorizing mentality. It has to stop. They must first focus on students' ability to understand, digest, think and the ability to reprocess the information in a different scenario. Yes, all the subjects need 'latih tubi' but not at the expense of them not getting the knowledge first.

Last nite LANDSKAP on TV1 had a great discussion on 2016 UPSR. The panels emphasized, yet again, chase after the knowledge and the As will come. That should be the mentality impressed on the students and parents too. Probably it would be too much to ask for in such short span of time - 6 years, but seriously everyone have to change, including parents. Including myself. I shouldn't let the euphoria of 'As' engulfed me. Every parents wanted the best for their children. Understandably. But the As although important, because it shows persistence, hard work and determination, is not everything in your child's development. Some child have different tendencies, different needs, different interest. Parents need to always remember that and provide the necessary supports for their children.  

And Aliyah?
  
I remembered early in the morning on the 17th November, my DH quipped to Aliyah - "It doesn't matter what you got, what's important you have tried your best!" and he gave her a kiss on the forehead and a hug (something he rarely do, I must say) and off I went to send her to school. By 10 am I have already known her result through sms. It was 5A1B. A near miss, because in the last 2 trials she had scored straight As in all the core papers. And the B is for her favourite subject - Science. It was Maths we were worried about, because she carried a C throughout last year till early this year. A 'C' in Maths is a NO NO to me, not because I was after the 'A', but because that means she doesn't get the concept, in other words she was unable to process the questions and solve them. That was worrisome, because Maths is important in everything, not only her academic future, but her life too. I resorted to hiring a personal tutor to get the Maths concept through to her. And because she inherently is a brilliant kid, eventually after a few months she got it, Alhamdulillah.
  
I told her the result before the headmaster's announcement because I don't want to her anticipate otherwise. I couldn't really sense how she was taking it but I congratulated her and assured her how proud I am with her. I also texted the school's PIBG WhatsApp group to thank the teachers for all their hard work this year. I am one of the AJK PIBG and I personally know how committed the teachers were throughout the year. Anyway, Aliyah has not been so sure of her Science paper even after the exam. And I went through the paper too. The questions were rather tricky. But when asked what do you think of Science now? She said I like Science, there's so many interesting thing about it. That was a relief. She even believed she just got lucky with her Maths paper. The questions were easy she once told me. I assured her there's nothing considered luck in Maths. Maths is akin to learning something that requires psychomotor with a twist, it requires  not only understanding but regular training and problem solving exercises. She did all those training and exercises regularly this year, which made Maths appear to be easy to her, Alhamdulillah.

Anyway, there's 3 students with 6As, and 3 students with 5As1B at her school. There was a feeling of disappointments after a few students started crying. All of them were consoled by the teachers and parents too. To me it was only natural - to cry, that is. People can put a lot of interpretations into it. Probably they had high expectations and the exam let them down, probably they will be scarred for life, probably they will feel intimidated and so on.  But I believe children are a resilient lot if you gave them the right and necessary support they will bounce back in due time. In fact, a week after the result, everyone is back being their happy self that they are - children being children. Aliyah couldn't even be bothered to investigate what her friends got for their UPSR. She's just happy to spend the last few days of her primary school days with her friends. They are ready to move on. I hope their parents would too :-)




Aliyah and her friends on their Primary 6 Graduation Day :-)

Monday, October 31, 2016

5 days & 4 nights in Kota Kinabalu, when you have kids

This is a long overdue post. In fact, this post is almost 2 months overdue. So many things happen in the past 2 months that I couldn't actually calm my mind down to actually properly write things. But I did promise myself I would at least update once a month, so here goes. 

Bukti kehadiran ke Sabah :-)
I have always thought of heading to Sabah some of these days. It's the only region in Malaysia I have yet to reach after all this years. And where else best to start getting to know her, but Kota Kinabalu. So I planned one right after Aidiladha, because the kids and the uni had a full week break, and I wanted to get Sofiyah's an infant rate only for the flight (She turns 2 at the end of the year). Many things were running through my mind when I make those plans or itineraries  (mostly I made plans, but eventually whether it became a reality depends on everyone else haha), which were evident from what happened throughout the trip.

Day 1/Night 1 (13 September 2016)

We started our trip on a low key. Abah dropped us at KLIA by 2 pm. Our flight was after 4 pm. The return flight tickets for the 6 of us was RM1700 (around RM350 for adults and RM300 for kids, RM 30 for infant). I'm not sure of the usual rate, because the tickets were bought during a MAS promotional period. Anyway, I purposely bought a late evening flight, because I wanted everyone to have a good night sleep before any plan the next morning. This would also be Sofiyah's first flight and I wanted to 'tire' her down before the flight so it would be easier to wind her down during the flight. Sofiyah was initially very excited but eventually, once the flight took off she slept through the 3 hours flight. Wonderful girl! :-) I, myself was still suffering from a stomach bug throughout the whole day. Probably all the korban beef was getting to me from the day before. 

We safely arrived by 7.30 pm. We bought some dinner at the OLDTOWN WHITE COFFEE Restaurant at the terminal and later got ourselves an airport taxi which cost us around RM45 if I remembered correctly (I'm sure it's not more than RM50) I booked a hotel through one of those online booking sites, Traveloka. I eventually settled for Hotel Grandis which, was actually attached to the Suria Sabah shopping complex for RM300 a night. Quite pricey, I think, but I wanted it to be as close to Jesselton Point Jetty as possible. And it is the only hotel within a 5 minutes walking radius to the jetty. Furthermore, since this would be our first trip to KK with the kids, being close to a shopping mall would really help when we're desperate for some sort of familiarity and convenience (mostly food, of course haha). We checked in the Hotel and got settled into our room by 9.00 pm and cleaned up for our first night in KK.


Semua pun nak dipicitnya ;-)
A few minutes after take off, lulled to sleep like a baby that she is :-)
Day 2/Night 2 (14 September 2016)

It’s a brand new day in KK. I was still suffering from a mild stomach bug, but I still head to breakfast with Aliyah (We always ate in turns if the boys and Sofiyah were fast asleep). Don't feel like eating much, plus the Grandis' breakfast spread was rather bland and kinda limited. The plan of the day was to go Island hopping to any of the islands nearby. All my online research have advised visitors on getting to the islands early. But as always, the first night on some 'foreign' beds will always get everyone slow on their feet. Anyway, we managed to get everyone ready to head to Jesselton Point by 10.30 am. Since it's only a 5 minutes walk from Grandis, we saved some time and transport money there. But because we were late, there's only a couple of boat trips left. And knowing how unpredictable things can be with the kids, we only opted to go one Island instead, the biggest of the lots, Manukan Island. The return boat fare cost a total of RM126, about RM31 for adults and RM22 for kids, not inclusive of the Sabah Parks Conservation Fee. The fees were RM3 for adults and RM0.50 for kids, which you'd need to pay when you first set foot on any of the islands gazetted within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. 

We were off to Manukan by 11.45 am and arrived by noon. This would be Sofiyah's inaugural boat trip too. It was fun watching her trying to avoid getting saltwater on her face :D. We didn't make any plans to get wet, so I didn't really packed for such occasion haha... And looking at how people snorkeled and swam under the hot scorching sun, we think we made the right decision. The important thing was to ensure everyone had a proper hat and sufficient snacks and water. We roamed around the island for awhile, let the kids played with the sand on the beach under the shades. I can't really comment about the other islands nearby, but Manukan was kinda full with people. It was clean, but the beach and water fringes were full with all sorts of woods and stuff. Not the place to be if you are here for a proper getaway. There are beautiful wooden holiday villas situated on the island, but am sure the rate is the 'no need to ask' kinda rate huhu... After some ice creams break, we cleaned up in time to hop into the 2.00 pm boat back to the mainland. Then we dropped by the Suria Mall for a late lunch before we walked up back to the hotel. Truly the convenience of Grandis' location was undeniable. 



One selfie before we are off back to KK ;-)
Later in the evening I booked for a trip to Marimari Cultural Village, situated in Inanam, about half an hour away from KK. Initially I wanted to book through a tour agent, but I discovered that it's way cheaper to book direct with the the Village. The whole trip cost RM570 for 4 (Luqman and Sofiyah not counted), RM150 for adults and RM135 for kids, inclusive of return transfers to the hotel, a guided tour, a cultural show and lunch.

Day 3/Night 3 (15 September 2016)

We all had breakfast early and got ready to leave for Marimari. The Village had a tour van picked us up promptly 9.30 am. We started the tour with our guide, Ben around 10.30 am and spent the whole day there and finished the tour of the Village by noon in due time for the cultural dance recitals. And with lunch thrown in later, I'd say the whole Marimari experience was well worth the price we paid for it. In my opinion, the guide’s explanations, the demonstration, the free samples and the real placing with 'lived-in' tribes kinda environment gave Marimari its own uniqueness. If you have money to spare, Marimari is a must experienced trip. Not to mention, the whole village's setting is beautiful and felt authentic. The place was clean, shady and had proper walkways for strollers. We definitely had a lot of fun. Aliyah even joined in one of the cultural dance recitals. Lunch was of a traditional kampung menu and was actually rather fulfilling, which actually make for a happy camper for everyone by the time we head back to the hotel. 
WELCOME!
Trying out the Madu Kelulut




Couldn't get the video here, but as you can see, Aliyah was really into the Magunatip dance :-)

One for the camera!
Initially, the plan was to drive to the Mount Kinabalu National Park the day before we leave for KL, Day 4. I was thinking then if we were to drive all the way up to the park on our last day in KK it would be rather risky considering that we might missed our flight home. But after 2 full days on our feet it was getting rather tiring. So as with any trips with kids tagging along, there's a need to be as flexible as possible. At first, we were considering whether we should just spent the night in Poring. But thinking it would be such a last minute change of plan, plus Poring is a few hours drive away, we then declared Day 4 to be shopping day instead. I booked the rental car for Saturday/Day 5 from KK Leisure Tour & Rent a Car. The company has an office at the KKIA so it'd make it easier for us to simply dropped the car at the airport before the flight. That means we could check out from the hotel, drive our way up to the park and later head straight to the airport. Considering we had a 10.00 pm flight out of KKIA, I think we have more than enough time to reach back the airport. 

Later in the day, the kids got to grace the Grandis' roof-top pool and watch the sun set. And for dinner, we got to try out all the fresh and rather considerably well-priced seafood from the Sinsuran night market, a 15 minutes walking distance from Grandis. Anyway, apart from the convenient location, there's nothing much to boast about Grandis. The room was the right size, but the water heater and the toilet's waterworks was somewhat problematic. And at least for our room, the wifi was terrible, not to mention the bland choice of breakfast spread. We will definitely be staying elsewhere for our next visit.


Can you see the plane?

Day 4/Night 4 (16 September 2016)

I let everyone sleep in, while I planned what to buy as souvenirs.We had breakfast, let the kids rest awhile and later we had a KFC lunch and starts packing for tomorrow. Around 6 pm the KK Leisure sent a driver to pick me up and drive me to the airport to get one of their rental cars. It was a SAGA sedan for a rental of about RM190 per day. It had the smell of durian, probably because it's in season then. Anyway, I went with Aliyah and afterwards head straight to the Philippines Market to get a few more souvenirs and head back to the hotel. That's almost RM300 worth of souvenirs and snacks, inclusive of all the pearl brooches and the famous kuih cincin and amplang.   

Rambang mata Aliyah :-)
Day 5 (17 September 2016)

Earlier in the morning it was raining rather heavily. I had timed the day's plan, and I knew that if we didn't leave before 11 am, we'll never make it back to the airport in time to return the car and catch our flight. Anyway, after checking out, we managed to be on the move by 10.30 am and drive straight to Tamparuli and all the way to the Kinabalu park. The weather had cleared by the the time we reach Nabalu. The view was excellent. and the windy spring weather graced us when we arrived at the park. There's some fees to be paid to enter the park, RM3 for adults and RM1 for kids. You'd have to pay more, for the permits and what not if you are climbing the mountain. We're just there for a look-see hihi...so we walked around for while, snapped the beautifully surrounds of the park and the Mount Kinabalu, of course. 

Then we drive further up to Kundasang town, a short distance away from the park. Subhanallah. Great to be here. Again wonderful cool weather. Even sampled some of the fruits of Kundasang, including durian. Then we dropped by the Masjid Jamek Kundasang for solat at 3 pm. The water was freezing haha... Then right after solat we drive back down to KK, straight to the airport. I think there's just too many place there we had to simply give a miss because of the limited time. The drive took almost half a day, and all in all I think we spent not more than 2 hours there. Next trip, we'll definitely stay somewhere nearby Kundasang, so we could try out some of the activities up there.


Had some coconut on the way...



My cutie pie wanted to try out the Durian too :-D
Masjid Jamek Kundasang
After filling up the car's fuel tank, I dropped everyone at the departure level before returning the car by 7.00 pm. We checked in, dropped our baggage. But we do have time for dinner and solat before we got to board the plane. So it was more than enough time not to get anyone stressed out before the flight. Alhamdulillah, we arrived safely by midnight, to be picked up by my brother. 

The next day, I was still wondering about KK. A week of disappearance feels rather good. It was a great place to visit again. And the kuih cincin is to die for. Sedap giler!!

And the fact that other people at work still find ways to get things done, even without you around.....that makes life more meaningful, isn't it??..
.haha...

As the Ancient One used to say to Dr Strange: "This is not about you..."

No it is not. 

It's about going on holiday and making sure everyone else is on board and happy in the end. :-)

AT: This post took almost 5 hours to write. Ever wonder why I find it difficult to update post regularly...sigh...

And oh yes, the whole trip cost more or less RM4,500 inclusive of all the food for 5 days. I think for a 5 days, 4 night trip for 6, it was rather alright. It came to about RM750 per person. I'm sure I could do so much better in the next trip, now that I know what to expect from KK :-)  

Monday, September 19, 2016

R & R




The past few weeks, I had the chance to join in the exercise in attending to job applicants for my campus. I had the chance to exchange some related info with a few of my Sarawak seniors about one job applicant from Sarawak and some other 'infamous' applicants. The info shared with me made me noticed that, when we assigned jobs, tasks, or positions, we subconsciously (or maybe even intentionally) abide by the 2 R principles - 'Rapport & Reputation'. You don't get to be assigned a particular job, task nor post solely based on your CV. Most times you get assigned based on your good 'Rapport & Reputation'. Building a good 'Rapport & Reputation' involved a lot of time, efforts and most importantly, honesty and sincerity. 

Sometimes, people of good Rapport but with unscrupulous work Reputations get the job, which means, the job will never get done properly. They are busy projecting that they are great at their jobs, but in truth they are merely using flattery as a smokescreen for their incompetencies.   

Sometimes, people with bad Rapport but excellent work Reputation get the job, which means, he/she will not last long in the job, if you know what I mean 😒 . It is said that 'Flattery makes Friends and Truth makes Enemies'. So most times that is how it's going to be. No nonsense people have no time to flatter their superiors. What's more important is to get the job done, and to get it done properly. Fortunately for these kind of people, they usually will want to swiftly move on to do other things rather than linger around.

So at the end of the day, people who have both the 2 R principles applicable in their lives will always try to fill the empty spot with others based on the same principles. But then again, people with the 2 R principles rarely got chosen to be the one to make the choice. Again, if you know what I mean 😉


Friday, August 19, 2016

Seremban

When I first started off living in Seremban, I find the place rather off putting, chaotic and all over the place. It's not like Sungai Petani (SP) at all. In town planning structure, Seremban is comparatively like Sydney in a way, while SP is more like Melbourne. Everything in SP in placed on the two major lanes of the town, while Seremban is a bit here and there, albeit a bigger town than SP of course, with more suburbs.  Like SP, Seremban too has an old and new part of the town. But Seremban's new town (Seremban 2) is all the way on the other part of Seremban, while SP's new town is just on the same stretch of the town's two major lanes.

It took some time (months, actually) to get used to how the town and its adjacent suburbs and most importantly shopping areas are placed. But truth be told, once I got the hang out of it, I personally find Seremban such a lovely place to live. It's always so calm, nothing much goes on in this town, we're never held by much traffics and everything is cheaper that in Bangi/Kajang. It's a perfect place to raise a family.

While in SP, the majority population is of the same ethnic, the population of Seremban are diverse but they seem to get along quite well. Seeing a mixture of ethnicity working, eating together is such a common occasion here, unlike in SP. I have been observing this for a quite a while now, and I find that rather comforting, especially in the social media era where everyone seem to want to kill one another due to their differences. Seremban, clearly epitomized 1Malaysia. And of course, need I point out more that they love their MB to pieces. Tok Mat should be propelled to be PM some day, seriously :-)

Needless to say, Seremban has slowly grows on me. If it's the only thing that may prolonged my service here as a lecturer, probably the thought of continuing living in Seremban would be it. The working stress nowadays sometimes is unbearable, especially when needing to deal with fools running around this place they termed higher learning institution (HLE) - pretending to be 'moulding' our future generations. Most are frauds, but they failed to see that. I, myself think I am a fraud, pretending what I had in myself in sufficient to last another generation of students. Truthfully, I am not sure I can catch up. I fear for the sanity of the next generation of educators and their students. I fear for my own sanity, when everything seem to be so superficial. Things are running so fast nowadays, I wonder if anyone is really absorbing anything while they walk and run through the corridors of this HLE. I seriously doubt it.

I can't turn back time, but I remembered being ever so passionate about doing this without needing to check on whether my students are actually attending my class, whether they can understand what I am trying to convey, whether they learnt any soft skills from the course, whether they are able to communicate in English, whether they are job market ready??? These things never really linger on my mind when I went to class. I just went and be myself, and with the grace of Allah, my enthusiasm and commitment simply rub off on these students and they themselves took care of all those things I am made to worry about now. Such a vast difference between back then and now. What made it worst now, the HLE no longer seem to trust the lecturers to hand them the prerogative to do what they love most - teach, teach the way they love to teach. Gone are the dignified days, where teachers are revered as the experts and listened to. Now, it's all about the market. I am not even sure, why I teach no more. Sad, isn't it...

But I tell myself, in life, we must always be prepared to make changes or adapt to changes. Some changes are for the best, while some others may be blessings in disguise. I guess me living in Seremban is one of those blessings. So I still have Seremban. And the kids are doing so well. Could they be the next generation of students which are better off than the current dopey-eyed ones? I sincerely hope so. Because for now, it seems like the only thing that is stopping me from walking away from all of this is - Seremban (and my PhD Bond, of course) ;-)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Berkira

Dalam hidup aku ni, memang dah beberapa orang yang aku jumpa yang memang sangat berkira dalam segala benda, duit, masa, ilmu, kelebihan, harta benda, you name it. Kalau orang-orang ni tiada pendiddikan tinggi, tiada diletakkan harapan sebagai seorang pendidik professional, mungkin aku boleh lah tutup sebelah mata, pendamkan saja. Namun, sepanjang 15 tahun sebagai pensyarah ni, bukan seorang dua yang aku jumpa begitu. Jumlahnya mungkin 10 thn lagi sudah tidak boleh dibilang dgn jari tangan lah kot. Dalam kelas pun contoh yang diberikan kepada pelajar ada unsur2 materialistik aje. Aku rasa bersalah dan kesal pulak kepada pelajar sebab ada cikgu dia yang perangai huduh mcm ni. Aku nak doa apa pun aku tak pasti. Nak doakan dia berubah lah kot dak, tapi in the meantime, tah berapa byk ajaran sosek yang dah dia beri dalam kelas gamaknya huhuhu...

Anyway, orang-orang berkira ni ada banyak jenis. Tapi yang paling teruk aku pernah jumpa, bukan sahaja dia ni berkira, malah dihasut nya sekali orang lain supaya turut bersama dengan pemikiran dia. Yang tambah choiiii lagi, dia tu dah lah berkira kan, hasut pulak org lain berkira semacam dia, pastu dia tak boleh terima atau tengok org dapat lebih daripada dia! Adoi, ini mcm punya olang pun ado!!! Aku pun pelik lar drp mana lah org2 ni datang. Takkan mak ayah depa pun mcm tu kot? What kind of upbringing do they actually impart on their children that led to their children jadi org yang sgt berkira ni? Aku pun bukan org senang dulu (skrg pun bukan lah millionaire, fefeeling jer millionaire hahahaha). Semua benda kena berjimat, berhalus penggunaannya. Tapi takde lah mak pak ajaq jadi kedekut, bakhil, tunggu ganjaran punya mentaliti.  

Tapi satu lah aku nak habaq, sepanjang2 aku berurusan dengan org yg berkira taik idung masin ni, hidup diaorg tak senang pun. Ada jer masalah rezeki tersepit. Daripada nak cepat jadi lambat, daripada benda mudah jadi susah, daripada terasa kaya jadi rasa terhimpit. Ada jer lah masalah yang menimpa. Yang bestnya diaorg tak perasan pun. They keep on dengki jer dkt org lain yang didakwa dpt semuanya senang tu. Dia terlupa nak tanya pulak agaknya, apa lah yang org Allah mudahkan hidup tu pernah buat selama hidup mereka. Dia terasa semua org nak kenakan dia je. Bongkak, riak dan takabbur menghiasi kehidupan. Kadang-kadang bentuknya nyata, kadang-kadang tersirat, namun sikap yg 3 ni tetap ada. Terlupa agaknya Allah bagi pinjaman je semua benda. Hatta, udara yang kita guna untuk bernafas ni, kalau dah ditarik balik, satu sen pun tak guna.

Aku bosan betul nak melayan. Kalau ikut tahap kesarcastikan aku yang dah lama aku bersarakan, dah lama dah aku laser balik. Namun setakat ni, bolehlah lagi nak bersabar. Seperti mana aku layan boss setiap kali aku nampak dia lalu - aku akan pusing kot lain - begitu jugaklah aku layan org2 macam ni. Kadang-kadang senyum pun dia tak mampu sedeqah. So apa lagi lah nilai yang tinggal huhuhu...Wallahu'alam...    

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It's that kinda time again



Every 5-years cycle it seems this feeling will come creeping in...Now, the best part is I gotta share this feeling of wanting to do my own thing with my children (and students) too. I bet they are as confused as I am. I just feel something is wrong somewhere. Education now seems so 'structured', so religiously following a certain 'regime' that I am feeling rather flustered. I always feel so alive in class, being able to look these students in the eyes and discuss things. But now, I am so busy being #daboss, it's so annoyingly annoying that I am mostly not ready or not myself when I walked into the classroom. Some people here don't get it, some will never get it. As for now, I have already known what I need to do in the next coming months, and I am going to make sure it's gonna work. My own way out of this black hole feeling! Ya Allah, please have mercy on me. I think you have shown me enough...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Aliyah turns 12 :-)

Last Sunday, the 22nd of May, Aliyah turned 12. That means I have been a mother for 12 years already. Time really flies nowadays. Guilt still crept in from time to time when I can feel that I have been spending too much time thinking of work than thinking of the children. This may be the year everything changed for her. Next year, if she succeeded in persuading her father to let her pursue her schooling at a boarding school, then she will be spending most of her time away from us...huwaaaaa. But I am sure some good things will come out of her time away at any boarding school. She's trying very hard to get her Maths sorted out. Because that's the only subject that's a bit problematic for her. Most time when she can't relates them, so she took too much time thinking about the questions and time runs out on her. Whatever it is, come November, we shall know. Whatever the outcome, I am happy with her, will continue to pray for her to be the best that she can be, In Sya Allah.

By the way, next year on, Aliyah will celebrate her birthday with her latest cousin - Adamzarif, my youngest brother and sister in law's newborn. He was born around noon on the 22nd of May in Putrajaya. Aliyah tersenyum simpul jer dengar ada orang sama birthday dgn dia :-)