Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kundasang Trip: A pictorial presentation



All geared up with two cars, a few tupperwares of food, and 7 teachers in tow, we headed up north to Ranau on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago with one destination carved in our minds - Poring. It took us approximately about 2 1/2 hours to reach there. We could see people of all cycles of life, well, it was the weekend after all! We'd decided to do a lil bit of hiking and next go to Kipungit Waterfall. The water was extremely cold I shivered all over!



If you're interested in doing a free back-to-nature fish spa, this is the place! Feel free to soak your feet in the cold water to experience a ticklish yet beneficial instant feet treatment. Next, we immersed ourselves in the hot water.. aaahhh.. how soothing.. especially after a whole week of work and more work, we could finally get rid of the stress that has been taken a toll on our body system. Recommended to all!



If you have even the slightest intention to see Mount Kinabalu, sacrifice your long sleep and wake up very early in the morning to see the peak. By even 8 or 9 am, the clouds will cover them and you'll have to wait till the following morning to catch a glimpse of the highest mountain in Southeast Asia!





Our next destination was Kundasang War Memorial. This park holds one of the most tragic and important history in Borneo. It was built as a tribute to the British, Australian and local soldiers who had died during the Death March all the way from Ranau to Sandakan during the Japanese Occupation.



Rose Garden is recommended to those who appreciate roses or other flowers like daisies or even cactus. You can see roses of different colours and smells, too. I'm intrigued by the fact that orange roses smell better than the red ones! (err, smelling is believing? lol!)



Our last stop before we headed back to Sandakan after spending about one and a half days at the highland was Kundasang Market. Feel free to walk along the long stalls to browse through the assortment of veggies, fruits, plants or even tidbits you can buy as souvenirs to bring back home!

So, there goes.. another trip to one of the tourist attractions in Sabah. There are a lot of activities you can do and places you can go here like Kinabalu Park, Strawberry Garden, Sabah Tea Garden and many more. If you're still thinking about your next holiday destination, Sabah might be the answer! =)

Saving the World


This was the view of Sentosa Apartments area where I live between 8.30 - 9.30 last night. It seemed like everyone was in for supporting the Earth to fight global warming (though some still did not do so huhu)! Whatever it is, kudos to all!! Earth Hour indeed reminds us how easy to conserve - by turning off non-essential lights and electronics to reduce our own power consumption, and next save the world. Do not hesitate for every little bit counts! Start today before it's too late!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Into the Darkness

Let's show our support to 60 Earth Hour in order to fight global warming!
Turn off the lights for one hour from 8.30 to 9.30 tonight.

You'll be surprised at a whole lot of things that you can do
in the dark while saving the place we're living in, be it alone or with your family and friends!
Don't miss it! Together, we can make a difference to the world!
=)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Worth the Wait

Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah), despite of all the things that happened to me today (that includes dropping a glass, dropping such an important letter at the parking lot, waking up late and next going late to school, blah blah blah... yes I know, I'm prone to trouble and silly accidents lol), I managed to get through one of the most nerve-breaking procedures in order to confirm my placement into the government service. Every education officer will undergo this interview with SPP (Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran) and once we're confirmed, it enables us to get certain privileges, allowances, incentives, holidays, and even house loan (with interests much lower to be compared with those in private sector). So, today of all days, is the day!

I din know what to expect in the beginning, but from what my batchmate, Daniel, had been telling me over and over again, the interviewer was okay so I shouldn't be THAT nervous. That mere thought was kinda comforting, yet why did I still feel butterflies in the stomach? That's unexplainably common if you are going to be evaluated, I guess. Ha-ha. Yes, I felt so relief throughout the interview and after that, for it went well, better than I'd expected. Most of the time we talked about 'our' (read: our, that is his and mine) experiences in New Zealand.. can you believe that his daughter is one of my juniors at Victoria University??? (she'd just gone there so I dun really know her) Only towards the end of the 30-minute interview did he asked me about the methods I use to teach English in the classroom. So much for memorising PIPP, Barisan Kabinet Malaysia, Konsep Islam Hadhari, PPSMI, etc. etc., eh? (lol) Whatever it is, I can't help but feel soooooo glad that it's all over now. So, there goes!~ =)

Frankly speaking, I wasn't as prepared like I did last year when I'd gone through the same thing, except that I didn't get to be interviewed due to some documentation probs. Looks like it was well worth the wait after all. I'm starting to believe that every cloud DID have a silver lining. Ha-ha.

p/s: Congrats to those who'd made it through this time 'round!
;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hello-o-o

Gosh, it has been a while since I last updated this blog,
I must have been thrown out of the universe or something.
Too many things to be done, too little time..
It has always been like that~
Either way, I'm glad I managed to settle some important matters before I got back.
Still, I dun think I could heave a sigh of relief, sit still or relax, well, not yet.
Every tick and tock of the clock reminds me of how time flies..
It's unforgiving, it'll never turn back.
So, now it's all about doing the right things and moving on..
What more with the impossible, then, becomes nothing, now =)

One whole week of hols and the next thing I knew is that fun time's over..
It's time to get back to work, strictly business.
Who says life is fair and easy?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ouch!~

I accidentally dropped one of my favourite perfumes, Escada Sentiment, this evening and ended up being speechless looking at the pieces of it shattered, lying lifelessly on the floor. Luckily it's not new and I'm about to find a new bottle instead.. But, still!!~



As I was cleaning up the mess, once again, I accidentally, stepped on one of the big pieces and ended up screaming out in pain.. There was just too much blood.. And it was simply unstoppable.. It kept oozing out from the cut.. See these plies of tissues I need to use to stop the bleeding..? (yep, that's my blood alright)



Tired of trying to stop the blood from coming out, I then decided to clean the cut under running water to get rid of dirts, and apply some medication like antibiotic cream instead. Too bad there's no First Aid Kit around the house, except for a few plasters. Nevermind. It's not that serious after all. The plasters are good enough to contain the bleeding. It din hurt anymore, but I still walk around like a crippled man. Hope everything will be okay by tomorrow!~ =)


Personality Test

I just checked out my friend's, Poh Lin, blog and came across the personality test that she did. All thanks to her, even I myself tempted to do it too.. you know.. just to get the stress out of my system after a long day at work.. All you need to do is just answer 9 simple questions and pooof!, you'll get the response in the blink of an eye. Feel free to do the test too and next get to know the real you!

Here's my result:

Your view on yourself:

You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:

You are not looking merely for a girl/boyfriend - you are looking for your life partner. Perhaps you should be more open-minded about who you spend time with. The person you are looking for might hide their charm under their exterior.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:

You are ready to commit as soon as you meet the right person. And you believe you will pretty much know as soon as you might that person.

The seriousness of your love:

You are very serious about relationships and aren't interested in wasting time with people you don't really like. If you meet the right person, you will fall deeply and beautifully in love.

Your views on education

Education is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can.

The right job for you:

You have plenty of dream jobs but have little chance of doing any of them if you don't focus on something in particular. You need to choose something and go for it to be happy and achieve success.

How do you view success:

You are confident that you will be successful in your chosen career and nothing will stop you from trying.

What are you most afraid of:

You are afraid of having no one to rely on in times of trouble. You don't ever want to be unable to take care of yourself. Independence is important to you.

Who is your true self:

You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve.

Most of em are true, though =)

p/s: I'm sooo exhausted these days I didn't manage to update this page lately.. So watch out for more entries these upcoming hols where I'd have more time to do so ha-ha~

Saturday, March 7, 2009

T.G.I.S. (Thank God It's Saturday)

It's so hot in Sandakan these days, even when it rains! Talk about global warming. The temperature keeps rising from day to day whether we realise it or not. I'm starting to get used to sleeping with the air-cond on now.. who can sleep in such heat eh?? I know I can't.

Last night, surprisingly, I went to bed earlier than usual. Well, I'm sure there's no need for explanation on my sleeping problems. And this morning, I woke up feeling achy all over instead of feeling fresher! Over-sleeping, I guess. Sigh. The first thing I did was calling Bie.. and it had really brightened up my day! Lately, we rarely talk for long. Most of the time it's because I'm over-exhausted that I don't feel like socialising with anybody. That sucks, right. Anyway, we talked for a while and I learned that he's going somewhere with his parents today. I hope everything will go well this time 'round. *winks*

I was finally able to finish reading "If You Could See Me Now" by Cecelia Ahern after soooo many days. What a relief! (it only takes me an average of a few hours to finish an interesting novel! lol) I must say, of all her novels, PS I Love You, Where Rainbows End and Thanks For The Memories were by far my favourite. In this novel, she tried to bring up the issues of invisible friends and the importance of letting loose in life in a way that can either be too complicated or too difficult to be understood although the storyline is quite simple. There are lotsa questions I figured left unanswered until the end of the story. In simpler words, it's kinda boh-ring but in a way, I like the distinctiveness depicted in this story in comparison with the other novels I'd read. I still have one more Ahern's novel to read, that is, The Gift. Maybe I'll read it during this coming one-week hols. Yesss, I'm a big fan of her work right from the first book.. and I have high expectations for her upcoming ones. =)



These coming hols, I realllllyyy need to get new books from MPH, Kinokuniya or Times to read or I'll be dead bored at night before bed or on weekends. It's so difficult to find English novels here in Sandakan I almost give up. And yeah, no matter how busy I am, I will surely find a way to read books. It's a passion I can't get rid of easily. Reading keeps me sane. Ha-ha. I still remember sneaking out of the house to the city library just to read books during my younger years (because my parents weren't at home and they din allow me to go anywhere)! Good old days. =)

Anyway, right after I finished reading, I straightaway did my weekend routine; doing household chores. This time I decided to throw away things that I dun want or need anymore and ended up with 5 piles of rubbish! What an achievement! Ha-ha. I also swept and mopped the floor as well as aired the pillows and duvet. I just can't describe the wonderful feeling of coming home to a spacious room with no nonsensical things lying around all over the room and everything smelling nice! You should've tried it sometimes. It helps to improve your mood and you can burn calories after calories doing it too! I did the laundry as well.. two trips altogether.. I wonder when will our landlady fix our Spin function or the most, exchange the semi-auto machine to an auto one.. hah.. in our dreams!~

Towards the end of the day I hung out with Angah at Jesselton Coffee. I ordered Mocha Ice Blended as usual and a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese while she ordered a cup of Hot Choc and a slice of Mango Cheesecake instead. And they were all super-yummy! I brought my laptop (yes, they have Wi-fi) and we browsed through Friendster and Facebook to check on our friends' latest updates. It seems like everyone is getting hitched nowadays! LOL! (not to mention those who've already had babies!) Btw, we chatted and talked about things.. and even planned an excursion to Tawau some time in April! I really miss the rest of the gang.. I wish they could be here with us too.. But with the technology all around, a video call seemed as good! =)


And yes, we're leaving for Kundasang very early in the morning tomorrow and I still haven't done my packing, or even the sandwiches or the macaroni fruit salad.. and it's already 10! But up till now, I have been yawning for the umptieth time.. I wonder whether I'd have enough energy to do 'em tonight...... (and I still have heaps of test papers to be marked! arrrgghhh!~)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beautiful Souls

My world now basically revolves around these 'kids' =)






Majority of them are in their Form 5 this year, and whether I want to admit it or not,
I'm very sure that I'm gonna miss this bunch so much then!~ =)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Teaching is a Passion, Not Just a Job

To be frank, I dun really know what to write for the mo. I've found my mind to be in a blank state. All I do is staring at the computer screen figuring and cracking my head just to find the right words to write. I want to blab about what's going on with me these few days, but I figure that it would be plainly boring. My life has not changed a bit, things just remain constant at the time being. All I think about now, even when I sleep, is work, work and more work.

I start my day as early as 5.30 in the morning. I take my bath, perform my morning prayer, prepare myself for school. It takes me only about 5 to 10 minutes to reach school and I really enjoy listening to loud music in the car on my way there. The first thing I'd do is getting myself a strong cup of coffee. If one is not sufficient to contain my sleepiness or exhaustion, I'd be more than willing to help myself to another cup. You can say that I have an uncontrolled addiction for caffeine, yes I do. Feeling afresh, I am more ready to go through another day of my life. As a form teacher, I need to take attendance after the first bell is rung. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to find students coming in late when I've already marked "0" for their attendance. I think my register book is one of the messiest books ever, scribbled away with corrections and initials all over it. Keeping up with the absenties and documentations is another matter. That's just the way it is.

My routine in a day varies from day to day, depending on my timetable. The most I could have in a day is 6 periods. Sometimes, I could get relief periods in between. And there are co-curricular activities and meetings as well. Anyway, I'd spend my free time marking books or exam/test papers, preparing work sheets or teaching aids, or writing lesson plans. There just seems to be no end for it. But in a way, I feel extremely lucky to have had only two forms to be taught this year. At least I think I could concentrate more on the teaching, unlike last year when I taught some classes of all forms except Form 2!

I try to use or prepare loads of materials or work sheets for my lessons. I know it can be boring having to use text books most of the time. One good thing about these materials is that they can be reused, altered and recycled a few times according to the students' levels. I try my very best to come up with interesting activities to engage my students during the lesson. Some of them respond well while some don't, well, different students, different attitudes. I also try to minimise the teacher-centred approach and help my students to cultivate autonomous learning both in and after school. Still, this also depends on the level of the students. I try to involve my students in a situation which comes as close as possible to being a real one so that they can see the practical side of it. So, involvement is the key to the success of student-centred approach. Weaker students, on the other hand, need to be aided step-by-step in order to get even one thing right. Sometimes, you need to spend more time on them until they are able to master it before you move on to the next one. I simply can't describe the feeling whenever they get it right, or at least apply or put to use the things I'd taught them. I may be strict but that's just the way I am. It's not really the students' fault if they are considered as 'slow-learners'; I believe that each student is teachable when they're willing to try and not give up. All that they need is more time to cope up. This is one of the major challenges that I need to face if I were to remain in the teaching line.

But as much as I want my students to be independent learners, ironically, drill-based instruction is still the most effective method to teach grammar (based on my observations). Drills and repetitions through rote-learning help the students to understand the forms better. This might differ for other teachers or students. However, teaching a grammar point can turn into a frustrating situation especially when the students are at a low level, so what you can do is actually come up with interesting games or by relating the situation with their own experiences. This is so that the students will feel less threatened by the rules, and they can have fun and learn simultaneously.

I also believe in cooperative learning as it serves as a source of motivation as well. In addition, it will also promote team spirit among its members since they all work towards the same goal. Through group work, the students will be able to get to know their friends better and establish a rapport with one another through varied interactions. Working with friends can also boost their confidence level for they feel more comfortable having someone of the same level as theirs in the same group. I'm sure that it will not be worse in terms of idea or creativity although their work may be lack of accuracy in the language. However, if the members are too passive, there's a high probability that they will not be able to achieve the objectives of the group work. That's the point where I assume that mixing the students of different levels could work. Cooperative learning is all about cooperating with and helping one another to learn something, not just the matter of completing the task without learning anything in the end. And yeah, the reward system might work, too! With the right reward and recognition that are easy to be used and administered, I believe that we could inspire the students to perform better as well as provide them many opportunities to explore their full potentials in different fronts.

Yes, as a grown-up, I just can't deny the importance and usefulness of school education. There's more to it than sitting in the classroom listening to the teacher lecturing, or doing pair work, group work, projects, and presentations. A teacher, no matter how much he or she knows, cannot teach their students everything they want to know. Our real job is to show the students how to learn and how to think. The students are responsible to discover all the other things themselves. I still remember a saying that goes - “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a life time.” Thus, we can see how the role of a teacher has changed over the years. Apart from being a sole giver, I 'd prefer to view myself as a guide or facilitator instead to ensure that my students are able to develop holistically well beyond the classroom. I'm not aiming to be world's No. 1 teacher; I just love teaching, and that's the way it will always be, and that's all that matters. =)


Okay, okay, enough of my teacher-talk or I might bore you completely to death. =)

Bags of Happiness

Last Saturday, The Body Shop here organized a one-day sales for its members and I just couldn't afford to miss the chance of getting a 25% discounts off the total amount spent on that day! I dun want to share what I bought (notchet) except for this pic of two bagfuls of products I bought for myself and some as gifts for others.. shhhh!!~ So far, The Body Shop never fails me in giving ideas of perfect gifts or presents for my family and friends, so yeah, it's a secret! =)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snippets: This and That

1. English Drama Team first meeting for the year and audition were all carried out in the same day, that is last Friday. To be frank, I'm quite surprised to find 25 studs from various forms appeared interested to join the team, when we actually only need another 5 to make up a team of 15. After a short briefing, I'd divided them into 5 big groups assisted by either teachers or the existing members. Each was given a few lines and the mentors will be the ones evaluating them in preliminary rounds. Next, we came down to 11 candidates and the rest of us spent the afternoon doing the audition until it came down to 5. Congratulations to those who'd made it! And yeah, majority voted for Wesley's script, so that's the one we're going to work on this time 'round. Looking forward to do drama this year!

2. The staff meeting was held yesterday, quite a long one, from 8 up to 12.30 in the afternoon. Sigh. I was supervising the School's Webmasters Tutorial for new members as well at the same time. Imagine running up and down the mini theatre and computer lab! And ahhh, I was selected, unexpectedly, as the new Pengerusi for Kelab Sosial Guru-guru SMSS! I din even know who nominated me in the first place.
Not that I'm not willing to do the work, it's just that I already have a handful of responsibilities and other commitments this year... But whatever it is, I'll definitely do my best! To those who'd voted or supported me in a way, be prepared for heaps and heaps of social activities this year!! You asked for it, you'll get it.. ha-ha!~

3. Like any other weekend, I'd spent my afternoons playing squash with a few of my colleagues who are into the sport as well. It's really liberating, to actually hit the ball, run here and there, laugh away with my opponents, and sweat all the tension and problems out of my system...

4. This week, me together with 2 other teachers were on duty. Nothing much was on. Just the normal patrolling around the blocks to check on the classes as well as the students in general. My committees for Language Week seemed to be very busy preparing for next week. I hope everything will go smoothly as planned. God bless!

5. Generally, the weather's not really good this week. It rains almost everyday, especially in the morning. What a way to start a day! However, it can be blazingly hot at times you could get heat stroke!

6. Some of my colleagues cum good friends and I are planning to go to Kundasang for a weekend getaway next week. We are gonna stay at Zen Garden, I'd already arranged for that. We are also planning to do BBQ, picnic and bath at Poring Hot Spring and next touring around Kundasang area as well as shopping for fresh fruits, veggies and flowers there. Wow, I hope it's gonna be great!~

7. Am missing that person so much. It has been a while since I last talked to him. What to do.. Bin kinda busy and over-exhausted these few days... I can hardly wait for the one-week holidays to come! Yeppp, I'm going back for sure. =)